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11:50 AM 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 …
Ian Swanson / 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 may be whether to join his family for Christmas in Hawaii or stay in lonely Washington.
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 …
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 …
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 …
Major Garrett / NationalJournal.com:
Congress's Payroll Standoff — Who Blinks First?
Associated Press:
Obama blames Republicans for upcoming tax increase
Discussion: Slate, New York Magazine and Truthdig
Washington Post:
Congress leaves town with an uneasy stalemate and looming payroll tax hike
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
McCain: Payroll-tax fight ‘harming the Republican Party’
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  —  According to “The View's” Whoopi Goldberg, communism is a “great concept” that “makes perfect sense” on paper.  The comedienne and co-host made the rather astounding comment on Tuesday while discussing the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.
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.  (Jason Clayworth/The Register)  —  Oskaloosa, Ia.  - Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa here today that he should vote for President Obama.
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
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 …
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:
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.
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.
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
John Paul Rollert / Slate:
A Matter of Trusts  —  What a lonely dissent in a trusts case tells us about Sonia Sotomayor.  —  If you've ever found yourself in a debate with a room full of brilliant people at the end of which not a single mind is changed, you know what it's like to be a Supreme Court Justice on the losing end of an 8-1 decision.
Discussion: SCOTUSblog
Lee Davidson / Salt Lake Tribune:
Romney has six.  Jon Huntsman has four.  And Rick Perry has one.  —  It may not be like capturing the upcoming Iowa caucuses, but Mitt Romney at least wins among Republican presidential candidates for having the most U.S. presidents in his distant family history with six.
Discussion: The Caucus and CNN
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
DealBook:
E-Mail Clues in Tracking MF Global Client Funds  —  Federal authorities investigating the collapse of MF Global have uncovered e-mails that detail the transfers of money in the firm's last days, including transfers that contained customer money, according to people close to the investigation.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Neal Pollack / Salon:
I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you
Discussion: ThinkProgress
New York Times:
Demonstrators Who Took Over Chinese Village Halt Protest
Robinson / nation.foxnews.com:
‘Cry Me a River!’ Christie Deep-Fries Obama
Joel Gehrke / Campaign 2012:
DOJ indicts gundealer for Fast&Furious-like sales
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Siobhan Gorman / Wall Street Journal:
China Hackers Hit U.S. Chamber
Mohamed A. El-Erian / Project Syndicate:
The New International Economic Disorder
Discussion: Business Insider
 Earlier Items: 
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
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Romney leads Obama