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2:25 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:
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.
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Speaker Cuts Off C-SPAN Cameras When Dems Attempt To Bring Vote On Payroll Tax Cut  —  During a quick pro-forma session of the House this morning, Republicans rebuffed a Democratic attempt to force an up-or-down vote on the Senate-passed payroll tax holiday extension, which Republicans have thus far refused to allow.
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 …
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.
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 …
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Wire:
Gingrich to House GOP: Give In on Payroll Tax  —  DES MOINES, Iowa - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who famously lost budget battles to President Bill Clinton amid two government shutdowns, had some advice to House Republicans at loggerheads with another Democratic president: Give in.
Discussion: National Review
Brian Beutler / tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com:
TPMDC  —  Watch GOPer Literally Walk Out On Dem Attempt To Push Payroll Tax Cut  —  While Republican leaders gathered in Speaker John Boehner's Capitol office Wednesday morning for a photo op with reporters — hectoring Democrats and making the case that they're on the right side of the payroll tax fight …
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
GOP senator says Republicans need to resolve payroll tax fight and ‘move on’  —  Sen. Bob Corker said Republicans are losing in negotiations over a payroll tax cut extension and should just agree to extend the tax cut and move on.  —  “Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion?
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Daily Kos
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Explaining Obama's Approval Rating Bounce
Marin Cogan / The Politico:
House Republicans who bucked their party
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Los Angeles Times:
With payroll tax cut unresolved, Congress packs up
Manu Rajuand John Bresnahan / The Politico:
McConnell leaves Boehner on limb
Discussion: CNN, FrumForum, The Hill and Hot Air
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.
RELATED:
Faiz Shakir / ThinkProgress:
Newt Gingrich Tells Gay Iowan To Vote For Obama
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
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:
RELATED:
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
The point at which Mitt Romney loses his mind  —  Mitt Romney unveiled a brand-new stump speech in New Hampshire last night, reading a carefully-crafted, poll-tested text from two teleprompters.  Confident that his Republican primarily rivals simply won't (or can't) catch him …
Discussion: The Caucus
James Q. Lynch / Iowa Caucus 2012:
ISU/Gazette/KCRG Poll: Ron Paul new frontrunner  —  CEDAR RAPIDS — Just two weeks before Iowa's first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses there's a new leader, but the race remains “remarkably fluid,” according to a new Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll of likely Republican caucusgoers.
Discussion: The Politico, Ballot Box, CNN and GOP 12
RELATED:
U.S. Census Bureau News:
Texas Gains the Most in Population Since the Census  —  First Population Estimates Since 2010 Show Slowest National Growth Since the 1940s  —  Texas gained more people than any other state between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011 (529,000), followed by California (438,000), Florida (256,000) …
CNN:
CNN Poll: Americans agree on bringing troops home from Iraq  —  (CNN) - Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday.  Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.
Discussion: The Politico
Neal Pollack / Salon:
I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you  —  Every writer who had a drink with Hitch has now told his story.  But even Rushdie and Amis didn't know him like this  —  Christopher Hitchens and I were friends for 40 years, plus another five when we were enemies.
Discussion: ThinkProgress
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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 More Items: 
New York Times:
Iraqi Leader Threatens to Abandon Power-Sharing
Discussion: NO QUARTER
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Callista dings Mitt on Twitter
Discussion: Washington Post and NO QUARTER
Associated Press:
ECB lends Europe's banks a massive €489 billion over unprecedented 3-year period
Paul Glastris / Washington Monthly:
Obama's Rising Poll Numbers: The Dog-That-Didn't-Bark Factor
Robert Reich / The Huffington Post:
Why the Republican Crackup is Bad For America
Discussion: The Other McCain
DealBook:
E-Mail Clues in Tracking MF Global Client Funds
 Earlier Items: 
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
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Many Americans Dissatisfied With All Presidential Candidates
Discussion: The Politico and National Review
John Paul Rollert / Slate:
A Matter of Trusts  —  What a lonely dissent in a trusts case tells us …
Discussion: SCOTUSblog
BBC:
South American states ban Falklands vessels from ports
Discussion: The Other McCain and Biased BBC
Reid J. Epstein / The Politico:
Gary Johnson to drop out of GOP primary to run as Libertarian