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9:30 PM ET, December 22, 2011


 Top Items:
House Republicans Agree To Payroll Deal  —  House Republicans on Thursday crumpled under the weight of White House and public pressure and have agreed to pass a two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut, Republican and Democratic sources told National Journal.
Susan Jones / CNSNews:
‘Waa, No Pizza Night’: Sad Stories Roll In at Request of Obama White House  —  ( - The White House says it's been flooded with responses to the question it posed Wednesday: “What does $40 mean to you?”  —  One day after the White House asked “working” people to …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
House Republicans cave in payroll fight  —  This morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other leading officials from his caucus told reporters that House Republicans would stick to their guns when it comes to extending the payroll tax break.  If Democrats wanted to avoid a tax increase …
Discussion: The Impolitic
Brian Beutler /
TPMDC  —  BREAKING: House Republicans Cave, Agree To Two-Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension  —  A top Senate Democratic aide says House Republicans have privately offered up the terms of their surrender on the payroll tax cut, pending sign off from their notoriously unwieldy caucus.
Discussion: Crooks and Liars and Mediaite
The Politico:
On payroll tax cut, GOP caves to Obama  —  House Republicans caved to President Barack Obama's demand for a two-month payroll tax cut extension, ending an impasse that threatened to raise taxes on millions of Americans on Jan. 1.  —  The capitulation came fast Thursday afternoon …
First Thoughts: What we learned from the Romney interview
New York Times:
House G.O.P. Leaders Agree to Extension of Payroll Tax Cut
John Parkinson / ABCNEWS:
Boehner Asks White House to Negotiate, but Obama Declines Invitation
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Washington Post:
House GOP agrees to 2-month extension of payroll tax cut
Discussion: Calculated Risk
Tim Mak / The Politico:
Rep. Dave Camp floats 3-month extension
Discussion: Opinion L.A. and Daily Kos
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
McConnell sides with Dems over Boehner
Joe Holley / Rick Perry 2012 Campaign for President:
Bush 41 backs Romney for president, admits he's not Gingrich's ‘biggest advocate’  —  1,587  —  Less than two weeks before Iowa Republicans make their crucial caucus choices on the night of Jan. 3, George H.W. Bush offered words of support, if not an official endorsement, to an old friend, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Andrew Cain / Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum not on Va. primary ballot  —  Four Republican presidential candidates - Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Ron Paul — submitted paper work in time to qualify for Virginia's March 6 primary ballot.  —  No other GOP contender will be on the Virginia ballot.
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
Santorum: Vander Plaats said ‘he needed money to promote the endorsement’
Kevin Hoffman / The Blotter:
Gay community apologizes to Amy Koch for ruining her marriage  —  The gay and lesbian community of Minnesota has issued a letter of apology to recently resigned Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch for ruining the institution of marriage and causing her to stray from her husband and engage in an “inappropriate relationship.”
Bill Adair / PolitiFact:
Fact-checking in the Echo Chamber Nation  —  At a Republican campaign rally a few years ago, I asked one of the attendees how he got his news.  —  “I listen to Rush and read NewsMax,” he said.  “And to make sure I'm getting a balanced view, I watch Fox.”  —  My liberal friends …
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Paul in 1995: Say, have you read my newsletters?  —  Mitt Romney can breathe a sigh of relief, because Andrew Kaczynksi has shifted his attention to Ron Paul this week.  Andrew dug up a 1995 interview with C-SPAN, a year before running for Congress after a decade out of office.
Jackie Kucinich / USA Today:
Paul's story changes on racial comments
Dorothy Rabinowitz / Wall Street Journal:
What Ron Paul Thinks of America
Jason Zweig / Total Return:
The Ron Paul Portfolio
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
Romney Says He Won't Release Tax Returns  —  Mitt Romney, who is one of the wealthiest men ever to seek the presidency, said on Wednesday that he had no intention of releasing his tax returns if he became the Republican presidential nominee, breaking with a long tradition in both parties.
David Ng / Culture Monster:
Sarah Palin criticizes Obama holiday card — and the dog  —  So much for the holiday spirit.  Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is once again targeting the Obama administration, leveling a critical glare at the official White House holiday greeting card for not emphasizing Christmas.
Mj Lee / The Politico:
Chris Christie opens door to VP job  —  Chris Christie says that while he and Mitt Romney have never discussed a potential vice presidential role for the New Jersey governor, it would still be “presumptuous” for him to turn his back on the possibility.  —  In an interview with Fox News …
Discussion: Runnin' Scared
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
Christie's open to V.P. nod
How Democrats Fooled California's Redistricting Commission  —  This spring, a group of California Democrats gathered at a modern, airy office building just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.  The meeting was House members only — no aides allowed — and the mission was seemingly impossible.
New York Post:
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner's wife gives birth to baby boy  —  After a year filled with ridicule and scandal, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner finally has something he can feel proud about — a new baby boy.  —  Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, gave birth to the wee Democrat yesterday …
Sam Greenhill / Daily Mail:
Baby born out of wedlock must be adopted - to save her from honour killing by her own Muslim family  —  A baby girl born out of wedlock must be adopted to save her from the risk of being slaughtered in an ‘honour killing’, a court ruled yesterday.  —  If the unmarried Muslim woman's father found …
Josh Peterson / The Daily Caller:
As political season heats up, Politico's Web traffic cools down  —  New independent circulation numbers show a sharp decline in readership of Politico and other left-leaning news websites, an ominous trend for the suburban Virginia-based news outlet and its peers as Americans head into an election year.
Discussion: Big Journalism and Wake up America
Alex Massie / Spectator:
Say what you will about North Korea, at least they're authentically Korean  —  Drivel, of course, and the kind of thing you'd expect to find in the Guardian.  One expects rather more from the Times but, nay, here is a piece of Simon Winchester's column (£) today:
Keith Koffler / White House Dossier:
Did Bo Return From Hawaii for Obama's Photo Op?  —  Bo Obama was supposed to be in Hawaii.  Instead, he showed up at President Obama's side Wednesday shopping for treats at PetSmart  —  According to Michelle Obama's press office, the first dog was planning to go to Hawaii with the first lady and the Obama daughters.
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 More Items: 
The Politico:
Sources: Mitt's fourth quarter at least $20 million
Discussion: GOP 12
James Hohmann / The Politico:
In Virginia, Gingrich tries to lower expectations
Discussion: CNN
Charles C. Mann / Vanity Fair:
Smoke Screening  —  As you stand in endless lines this holiday season …
Rebecca Kaplan / CBS News:
Perry: I don't have problem with drug-testing welfare recipients
Discussion: ThinkProgress and The Raw Story
US Navy lesbian couple share first gay dockside kiss
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Biased BBC
David Weigel / Slate:
Americans Elect: No Molotov Cocktails, Please
 Earlier Items: 
James Fallows / The Atlantic Online:
What I Want for Christmas
Discussion: The Washington Note