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9:45 AM ET, December 28, 2011


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Paul maintains his lead  —  The last week and a half has brought little change in the standings for the Iowa Republican caucus: Ron Paul continues to lead Mitt Romney by a modest margin, 24-20.  Newt Gingrich is in 3rd at 13% followed by Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum at 10% …
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
For President in 2012, Mitt Romney  —  It is time for Republicans to get serious.  After flirting with just about every candidate in a large presidential field, is is time to come home to the one candidate who has the demonstrated ability to run the largest organization in the United States …
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Perry changes stance to oppose all abortions  —  (CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry revealed a hardening in his stance on abortion Tuesday, telling a crowd in Iowa that he opposed abortions in all cases, including when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest.
The Politico:
Romney in striking distance of Iowa win  —  Don't look now, but Mitt Romney suddenly seems like the Iowa front-runner.  —  The former Massachusetts governor has carefully tempered expectations in Iowa all year, visiting only a handful of times and saving the bulk of his television spending for the final weeks of the race.
Jonathan Easley / Ballot Box:
Paul holds slim lead over Romney in first post-Christmas Iowa poll  —  With the Iowa caucuses one week away, Ron Paul is standing his ground in Iowa, according to a Public Policy Poll released on Wednesday.  —  Paul leads the field with 24 percent, but Mitt Romney is a close second at 20 percent.
New York Times:
Republican Rivals Unleash Broadside on Paul in Iowa  —  MASON CITY, Iowa — The Republican presidential candidates sharpened their criticism of Representative Ron Paul on Tuesday in an effort to keep his support from growing among voters who are frustrated with government and may be inclined …
New York Times:
A New Romney, Seeking to Connect, Reveals Some Quirks  —  DAVENPORT, Iowa — When Mitt Romney introduces himself to voters, he has a peculiar habit of guessing their age or nationality, often incorrectly.  (A regular query: “Are you French Canadian?")  —  When making small talk with locals …
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Gingrich wouldn't vote for Ron Paul  —  (CNN) - Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he wouldn't vote for Ron Paul if the Texas congressman won the 2012 GOP nomination.  —  Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Gingrich slammed Paul as out of line with mainstream Republican viewpoints, including his stance on Israel, Iran, and September 11.
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Polling Gridlock in Iowa Could Produce Last-Minute Momentum
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's … and Daily Kos
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:   EMILY's List ranks Gingrich as ‘worst’ GOP presidential candidate
Boston Herald:
Endorsement: Nation needs Romney
James Rowley / Bloomberg:
Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson Says He Won't Run in 2012  —  (Updates with retirements, Obama comment in ninth paragraph.  For more on the election, see ELECT.)  —  Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced today he won't seek re-election next year …
John Bresnahan / The Politico:
Ben Nelson retiring from Senate
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Ben Nelson to retire
Michelle Hirsch / Business Insider:
America's Dirty Little Housing Secret Is Rocking The Suburbs  —  For years, the food pantry in Crystal Lake, Ill., a bedroom community 50 miles west of Chicago, has catered to the suburban area's poor, homeless and unemployed.  —  But Cate Williams, the head of the pantry …
Discussion: BizzyBlog
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Again Top Most Admired List  —  Clinton Most Admired Woman a record 16th time  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to be named by Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living today in any part of the world.
Cathy Lynn Grossman / USA Today:
Obama, Clinton top most-admired lists for 2011
Discussion: The Politico and Hot Air
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Perry sues Virginia elections board to gain ballot access  —  Taegan Goddard provides the obligatory zinger about a noted fan of states rights and the Tenth Amendment asking a federal judge to overrule Virginia's preferences on ballot access.  The statement from Team Perry:
Rick Perry sues Virginia to get on primary ballot
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Michael Calderone / The Huffington Post:
New York Times Staffers Express ‘Profound Dismay’ With Management … New York Times , Newspapers , Video , Arthur Sulzberger , Bill O'Meara , Janet Robinson , Jill Abramson , Jill Abramson New York Times , New York Newspaper Guild , New York Times Buyouts , New York Times Contract …
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Iowa GOP moving vote-count to ‘undisclosed location’  —  Threats to disrupt the Iowa Republican caucuses next week have prompted state GOP officials to move the vote tabulation to an “undisclosed location,” POLITICO has learned.  —  The state party has not yet told the campaigns exactly …
Discussion: ABCNEWS, Politisite and Ballot Box
Palestinian Media Watch:
Hamas leader Haniyeh: Goal is destruction of Israel  —  Hamas leader Haniyeh:  —  Goal is destruction of Israel in stages  —  Abbas:  —  Hamas agrees to '67 borders  —  by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  —  At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas …
Tim Mak / Reuters:
SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers  —  The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress's Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers aruging their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes.
Robin Hanson / Overcoming Bias:
Why Work Hour Limits?  —  Many laws discourage and limit work hours.  Laws require holidays and vacations, limit hours per day and week, and require extra payment for work over these limits.  And of course income taxes discourage work more generally.  The standard economic explanation …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Stephen Gordon /
In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop  —  Phil and I ended last week's FastForward Radio show discussing how higher education will change in the coming years.  My conclusion:  —  Universities Will Become Coffee Shops  —  We're faced with an education bubble.
Discussion: EconLog and Belmont Club
Robert / Jihad Watch:
Islamic honor killing in Texas: “Santa” who murdered family on Christmas morning was Muslim who didn't like his daughter dating a non-Muslim  —  Aziz Yazdanpanah, a Muslim, didn't like his daughter's non-Muslim boyfriend and was exhibiting stalker behavior.  “She couldn't date at all until …
Greg Miller / Washington Post:
Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing  —  U.S. Air Force/GETTY IMAGES - A crew chief from the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron completes post-flight inspections of the RQ-1 Predator after one of its sorties in Balad Air Base, Iraq.
Discussion: Prairie Weather
Harvey Morris / New York Times:
Italy's Borrowing Costs Drop Sharply at Auction  —  LONDON — Italy's short-term borrowing costs fell steeply Wednesday at a debt auction, easing the immediate pressure on the country's embattled economy.  —  The sale of €9 billion, or $11.8 billion, of six-month Treasury bills was seen …
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 More Items: 
Chiara Vasarri / Bloomberg:
Austerity Fuels Worst Christmas in 10 Years for Italy's Retailers: Economy
New York Times:
Iran Threatens to Block Oil Shipments, as U.S. Prepares Sanctions
Discussion: and Right Wing News
Israelis rally against ultra-Orthodox extremism
Discussion: Lez Get Real and Truthdig
GOP Rivals Unleash Blistering Attacks on Ron Paul
Discussion: Iowa Caucuses and GOP 12
Tim Robey / Telegraph:
The look that shook the nation
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Bruce Bartlett / Economix:
How Politics Came to Dominate Payroll Tax Debate
 Earlier Items: 
David Perlmutt / The Charlotte Observer:
Rev. Mark Harris: Pastor hopes for ‘civil’ marriage debate
Ben Smith / The Politico:
A very unique ad for Newt
Discussion: BuzzFeed
Norman Horn / Washington Post:
Can a Christian be a libertarian?  —  U.S. Rep. Ron Paul …
Paul Krugman:
The Defeatism of Depression  —  A number of people have asked …
David Brooks / New York Times:
Midlife Crisis Economics
Margaret Chadbourn / Reuters:
Obama to ask for debt limit hike: Treasury official
Discussion: Washington Post