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12:35 PM ET, December 21, 2011

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco  —  How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?  —  GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected.
RELATED:
Mj Lee / Reuters:
WSJ: GOP a ‘circular firing squad’  —  In a devastating blow to congressional Republicans, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board blasted the GOP's leaders on the Hill Wednesday for botching the political battle against President Barack Obama and Democrats on the payroll tax issue …
Discussion: The Hill and Business Insider
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Obama's Hawaii Christmas dilemma  —  President Obama faces a most difficult decision with the payroll tax extension up in the air, and it isn't whether to compromise with Republicans.  —  The toughest call for the president this holiday season could be whether to join his family for Christmas in Hawaii or stay in lonely Washington.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Literally walking away from a fight  —  It was rather remarkable this morning to watch the proceedings on the House floor.  House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wanted to try again to bring up the Senate's bipartisan payroll-tax-break compromise, and instead of debating, Republicans literally walked away from the fight.
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Washington Post
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Romney Refuses To Take Position On Payroll Tax Holiday  —  In two TV interviews today, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused to take a stance on the biggest issue in Washington today: the extension of the payroll tax holiday.  A huge bipartisan majority in the Senate passed …
Marin Cogan / The Politico:
House Republicans who bucked their party  —  Seven House Republicans bucked their party and voted against sending the payroll tax bill to conference Tuesday.  —  Reps. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, Chris Gibson of New York, Tim Johnson of Illinois …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Los Angeles Times:
With payroll tax cut unresolved, Congress packs up  —  House lawmakers prepare to follow their Senate colleagues on a holiday recess, with no sign of a compromise that would save the expiring tax break for workers.  —  “The clock is ticking; time is running out,” said President Obama …
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
House Republicans stiff attempt from Democrats to call up Senate payroll bill  —  House Republicans blocked a Democratic attempt Wednesday to call up the Senate payroll tax bill by quickly gaveling the day's pro forma session to a close.  —  Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) presided over the brief session …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Manu Rajuand John Bresnahan / The Politico:
McConnell leaves Boehner on limb
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
GOP senator says Republicans need to resolve payroll tax fight and ‘move on’
Discussion: Daily Kos
David Espo / Time:
Obama Blames GOP for Tax Increase
Roll Call:
Payroll Tax Cut Standoff Begins
Discussion: Daily Kos
Major Garrett / NationalJournal.com:
Congress's Payroll Standoff — Who Blinks First?
Benjamin Kang Lim / Reuters:
Exclusive: North Korea's military to share power with Kim's heir  —  (Reuters) - North Korea will shift to collective rule from a strongman dictatorship after last week's death of Kim Jong-il, although his untested young son will be at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.
RELATED:
Scott Whitlock / NewsBusters.org:
Whoopi Goldberg: Communism Is ‘a Great Concept’ That ‘Makes Perfect Sense’ on Paper
Discussion: Doug Ross
Jordan Weissmann / The Atlantic Online:
How Kim Jong Il Starved North Korea
Discussion: americanthinker.com and Hit & Run
Jason Clayworth / Iowa Caucuses:
Newt Gingrich to gay Iowan: Vote for Obama  —  Gingrich and his wife Callista at tonight's event in Oskaloosa.  Oskaloosa, Ia.  - Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa here today that he should vote for President Obama.  —  “I asked him if he's elected, how does he plan to engage gay Americans.
news.iastate.edu:
Paul now top pick in new ISU/Gazette/KCRG Poll, but voters still uncertain  —  AMES, Iowa — A new Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll of 333 likely Iowa Republican caucus goers finds Ron Paul in the top spot among GOP presidential candidates with 27.5 percent, followed closely by Newt Gingrich with 25.3 percent.
RELATED:
James Lynch / KCRG-TV:
Vote 2012: Ron Paul Takes Lead in KCRG/Gazette/ISU Poll
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
You, sir, are no Teddy Roosevelt  —  In a speech to be delivered in Bedford, N.H., this evening, Mitt Romney will push back explicitly on Barack Obama's recent invocation of Teddy Roosevelt in a speech the president used to frame the 2012 campaign in terms of “fairness.”  Here's what Romney will say:
Reid J. Epstein / The Politico:
Gary Johnson to drop out of GOP primary to run as Libertarian  —  Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.  —  The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire …
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Obama Places Himself on the Continuum of Greatness  —  There was an initially-overlooked moment in President Obama's recent interview with 60 Minutes.  Excerpts from the interview were played on television, and CBS posted the interview in its entirety on its web site.
Evan McMorris-Santoro / 2012.talkingpointsmemo.com:
TPM2012  —  Newt's Campaign Comes Down To Earth As Iowan Calls Him ‘F—king A—hole’ To His Face  —  When a man in a camouflage coat grabs your hand in an Iowa grocery store and calls you ‘a f**king a**hole’ to your face, it might be time to take stock of your position in the state.
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Many Americans Dissatisfied With All Presidential Candidates  —  Nearly half say there is no candidate who would make a good president  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are divided when asked if there is any candidate running who they think would make a good president, with 48% saying yes …
Discussion: The Politico and National Review
BBC:
South American states ban Falklands vessels from ports  —  Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which lie 400 miles from its coast  —  A South American trading bloc has agreed to close its ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag.
Discussion: The Other McCain and Biased BBC
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Romney Tortures Jennifer Rubin  —  Romney is making life hard for his Republican Jewish fans.  —  I've written before about the agonizing plight facing Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post blogger.  On the one hand, Rubin's deepest roots lie in ultra-hawkish pro-Israel neoconservatism.
 
 
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Matt Flegenheimer / New York Times:
All 5 Aboard Plane Die as It Crashes on an Interstate in New Jersey
DealBook:
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Neal Pollack / Salon:
I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Robinson / nation.foxnews.com:
‘Cry Me a River!’ Christie Deep-Fries Obama
Siobhan Gorman / Wall Street Journal:
China Hackers Hit U.S. Chamber
Lee Davidson / Salt Lake Tribune:
Romney has six. Jon Huntsman has four. And Rick Perry has one.
Discussion: The Caucus and CNN
 Earlier Items: 
Mohamed A. El-Erian / Project Syndicate:
The New International Economic Disorder
Discussion: Business Insider
William Booth / Washington Post:
More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border
Discussion: ThinkProgress and The Agonist
BBC:
Iraqi PM urges Kurds to hand over VP Tariq al-Hashemi
Discussion: Guardian
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
The Long Run: Conservatives Remain Suspicious of Gingrich
John Paul Rollert / Slate:
A Matter of Trusts  —  What a lonely dissent in a trusts case tells us …
Discussion: SCOTUSblog