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9:20 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:
ABCNEWS:
Capitol Stand-off: Republicans Caving?  —  My prediction: House Republicans will soon - probably within 24 hours - cave in and accept the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut passed last week by the Senate.  —  I base this on conversations with House Republicans who know they are losing …
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
Rove: Republicans should fold in payroll tax cut standoff  —  Former Bush adviser Karl Rove said he agreed with the Wall Street Journal's blistering assessment on the failure of House Republican leadership in the payroll-tax debate, and conceded that Republicans have “lost the optics” and should fold on the issue.
Discussion: CNN, GayPatriot and National Review
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.
Jennifer Epstein / Reuters:
With family away, Obama, Bo shop
Stephen C. Webster / The Raw Story:
Boehner's office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating
Discussion: Mediaite and ThinkProgress
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Romney Refuses To Take Position On Payroll Tax Holiday
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Literally walking away from a fight
Jonathan Weisman / Washington Wire:
Gingrich to House GOP: Give In on Payroll Tax
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Obama's Hawaii Christmas dilemma
James Crugnale / Mediaite:
Rep. Ron Paul Gets Irked By Newsletter Questions, Walks Out Of CNN Interview  —  Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger following a heated exchange over the controversy regarding racist newsletters sent in his name during the 1990s.  Borger asked the Congressman if he had ever read the newsletters.
RELATED:
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Paul abandons interview concerning controversial newsletters  —  Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) took off his microphone and left a contentious interview on Wednesday when a CNN reporter asked repeatedly about racist articles published in his newsletter in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ron Paul / Washington Post:
Ron Paul becoming serious contender in Republican presidential race
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 …
RELATED:
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:
Victor Morton / Washington Times:
Ex-President Carter sends condolences to Kim Jong-un  —  Former President Jimmy Carter has sent North Korea a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong-il and wished “every success” to the man expected to take over as dictator, according to the communist country's state-run news agency.
Charlie Savage / New York Times:
$335 Million Settlement on Countrywide Lending Bias  —  The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated …
RELATED:
Betsy Rothstein / FishbowlDC:
Lawmaker Says Michelle Obama Has ‘Large Posterior’  —  Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), known for his cantankerous ways and for not speaking to media unless it's his idea, was overheard at the Delta Crown lounge at Reagan National Airport today talking on his cellphone about an incident …
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Romney Reverses Position on Iraq  —  You people don't care about Iraq any more, do you?  Didn't think so.  —  In an interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd today, Mitt Romney asserts that “of course” invading Iraq was a bad idea now that we know Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.
Grist:
New EPA mercury rules are a bona fide Big Deal  —  Wednesday, at long last, the EPA unveiled its new rule covering mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  —  Anyone who pays attention to green news will have spent the last two years hearing a torrent …
RELATED:
Jason Clayworth / Des Moines Register:
Newt Gingrich to gay Iowan: Vote for Obama  —  Oskaloosa, Ia.  - Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa here today that he should vote for President Obama.  —  Scott Arnold, an adjunct professor of writing at William Penn University, had approached Gingrich to ask …
RELATED:
Timothy Kincaid / Box Turtle Bulletin:
Newt Gingrich did NOT say that he doesn't want gay votes
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay and GayPatriot
iMFdirect:
2011 In Review: Four Hard Truths  —  What a difference a year makes ...  We started 2011 in recovery mode, admittedly weak and unbalanced, but nevertheless there was hope.  The issues appeared more tractable: how to deal with excessive housing debt in the United States …
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Online:
The Most Important Graphs of 2011  —  What is it about graphs and economics?  In a discipline where facts are murky and certainty is elusive, graphs offer a bright light of information and a small confidence that the world can be summed up between two axes.
Doug Stanglin / USA Today:
Sheriff: Stray bullet kills Amish teen 1.5 miles away  —  A teenage Amish girl shot on the way home from a Christmas party in her horse-drawn buggy was apparently killed by a stray bullet fired by a man cleaning his rifle 1.5 miles away, an Ohio sheriff says.
John Hawkins / Right Wing News:
The 50 Best Political Quotes For 2011 (Third Annual)  —  50) Get the hell off the Beach in Asbury Park and get out.  You're done.  It's 4:30 PM.  You've maximized your tan.  Get off the beach.  Get in you cars and get out of those areas.  — Chris Christie 49) NPR is a very elitist …
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
Mitt Romney bin Busted: ‘Candidate Like Myself’ Would Have Done Bin Laden Raid (Except 2007 Mitt)  —  At Christmastime, it's comforting to know that a Mitt Romney interview is the gift that keeps on giving.  On Wednesday's The Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd drew a lot out of the candidate with his deceptively easygoing style.
Discussion: US Politics
Haaretz:
Assad losing control as 10,000 soldiers desert Syrian military  —  Scores killed in Tuesday's clashes, including 14 troops ambushed by opposition.  —  Get Haaretz on iPhone  —  Get Haaretz on Android  —  More than 10,000 soldiers have deserted the Syrian army, sources say …
Brian Tashman / Right Wing Watch:
Robertson Tells Father to Love his Gay Son through ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion  —  Today on The 700 Club, a man with an openly gay son asked Pat Robertson how he can show his son “the love of Jesus when you know his sexual preference is an abomination to God.”  Robertson told the father to love …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Separation of Newt and State
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Prairie Weather
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Gingrich challenges Romney to one-on-one debate over attack ads
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
Santorum: Faith leader asked me, others to consider dropping out
Discussion: The Politico
ABCNEWS:
Romney Orders Hawaiian Pizza, Feeds Reporters
Anupreeta Das / Wall Street Journal:
Activist Fund Slams AOL's Strategy
Brock Vergakis / Associated Press:
2 women share 1st kiss at US Navy ship's return
The Politico:
POLITICO Influence: Endgame
Discussion: Eduwonk
 Earlier Items: 
Jacob Albert / The Huffington Post:
A Cynicism That Veils Hope: Why More Americans Should Support Occupy Wall Street
Discussion: National Review
McSweeney's:
Newt Gingrich's Letter to Virginia, Regarding the Existence of Santa Claus and Claims …
Discussion: TBogg
James Q. Lynch / Iowa Caucus 2012:
ISU/Gazette/KCRG Poll: Ron Paul new frontrunner
Paul Glastris / Washington Monthly:
Obama's Rising Poll Numbers: The Dog-That-Didn't-Bark Factor
U.S. Census Bureau News:
Texas Gains the Most in Population Since the Census
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Romney Tortures Jennifer Rubin