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4:00 PM ET, December 28, 2011

memeorandum

 Top Items: 
The Politico:
Mitt 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.
RELATED:
New York Times:
The Retooled, Loose Romney, Guessing Voters' Age and Ethnicity  —  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?")
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% …
Zachary Abrahamson / The Politico:
How the Iowa caucuses work  —  Four years ago, 120,000 Iowa Republicans turned out in freezing temperatures to vote on their pick for a presidential nominee.  The weather report and turnout predictions for next Tuesday's caucuses are still somewhat in the air, but the campaigns' organizing efforts …
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Polling Gridlock in Iowa Could Produce Last-Minute Momentum
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
For President in 2012, Mitt Romney
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
EMILY's List ranks Gingrich as ‘worst’ GOP presidential candidate
NBC's Alex Moe / msnbc.com:
Pro-Gingrich Super PAC: Romney is ‘2nd most dangerous man in America’
Paul West / Los Angeles Times:
Romney looks poised for Iowa victory, maybe even if he loses
Discussion: The Politico
Jonathan Easley / Ballot Box:
Paul holds slim lead over Romney in first post-Christmas Iowa poll
Discussion: The Politico and Weasel Zippers
Washington Post:
Frontrunners stay (mostly) positive as super PACs do dirty work
Tony Radar / RADAR:
Anthony Weiner Wanted Threesome With Another Man, According To Mistress  —  Disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught in online trysts with numerous women, but RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that according to one of his mistresses, he expressed wanting a threesome - with another man.
RELATED:
New York Post:
Anthony Weiner wanted threesome with woman and man  —  Anthony Weiner proposed a threesome with texting pal Traci Nobles and a man, according to a new report.  —  The Queens Democrat made the suggestion in the midst of his texting and tweeting adventures that eventually forced him to resign …
CNN:
‘Liberated’ Gary Johnson seeks Libertarian nomination  —  (CNN) - Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced his intention to seek the Libertarian nomination for president Wednesday.  —  Calling his choice “both a difficult decision-and an easy one,” in a statement …
RELATED:
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Gary Johnson drops GOP presidential bid to run as Libertarian
Billy Hallowell / TheBlaze.com:
GIRL SCOUTS BOOK REFERS READERS TO LIBERAL GROUP MEDIA MATTERS TO CLEAR UP ‘MEDIA MISINFORMATION’  —  In 2010, the Girl Scouts of the USA published a book called “MEdia.”  The publication, designed for girls in grades six through eight, is a guide that apparently offers insight into how young people …
Bare Naked Islam:
Well, well, well, the Texas Christmas Day massacre of 7 people, including the killer, was a MUSLIM honor killing, after all.  —  Truth be told, I quickly discounted my initial reaction that Muslims might be involved because the killer was reported to be in a Santa costume.  Stupid me.
Discussion: The Jawa Report
RELATED:
John Avlon / The Daily Beast:
Sen. Ben Nelson's Retirement Signals Twilight of Blue Dog Democrats  —  Centrist Sen. Ben Nelson's retirement puts the Democrats' Senate majority in jeopardy and could even spell trouble for Obama's reelection.  But the absence of his and other independent voices in Congress is the real danger.
Discussion: Booman Tribune
RELATED:
Investor's Business Daily:
What Ben Nelson's surrender means for 2012
Discussion: The Other McCain
Pew Hispanic Center:
As Deportations Rise to Record Levels, Most Latinos Oppose Obama's Policy  —  I. OVERVIEW  —  By a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new national survey …
Ed Kilgore / Washington Monthly:
The Unwritten Religion “Stories” of 2011  —  One of the great conventions of year-end journalism is the “Top Ten List” of this or that “story.”  Many such lists are dreadfully uninteresting, and others probably represent content-recycling by underpaid staffers whose bosses are enjoying holiday vacations.
Discussion: Political Mojo
RELATED:
Peter Laarman / Religion Dispatches:
Top 2011 Religion Stories That Weren't
Discussion: Hullabaloo
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.
David Weigel / Slate:
Poll: Newsletters Not Hurting Paul in Iowa  —  Think about it.  If Ron Paul was suffering and taking damage from the stories about his old newsletters, what sort of voters would abandon him?  Who'd be offended by signed editorials about fleet-footed blacks and skeezy gay men?
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
Mitt Romney: The Real Austerity Candidate  —  Over the holidays, Willard Romney has been seeking once again to define himself, a job that is very similar to that undertaken by the people who renovate old country homes.  The first thing you have to do is to tear down the accumulated improvements …
Discussion: Suburban Guerrilla
Steven Hayward / Power Line:
Ode to the Welfare State  —  A friend in Texas (where else) sent me the following item, which appeared in the New York Daily News on November 4, 1949, and since it has a Minnesota connection, as well as reminding us that some things about liberals never change, I thought it worth sharing with Power Line's home town readers:
Daily Mail:
'Don't worry kids, I'll be fine': Marine shot three times in street robbery survives... by plugging bullet holes with his fingers  —  A U.S. Marine officer has told the incredible story of how he survived a street robbery by plugging bullet holes in his body with his fingers.
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Breitbart.tv
Meredith Dake / Breitbart.tv:
Going Rogue: Independent Group Runs Palin For President Radio Ads In Iowa  —  An independent group is running radio ads on WHO in Des Moines, IA asking Iowans to “vote rogue” for Sarah Palin on caucus day.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
Perry Pledges To Openly Defy A Supreme Court Decision Striking Down An Anti-Choice ‘Personhood’ Law
CNN:
Santorum gets late help from super PAC
Discussion: GOP 12
Jonathan Easley / Ballot Box:
In new ad, Newt Gingrich claims he can create ‘millions of jobs right now’
Discussion: CNN
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Perry blasts Obama for not hosting parade for returning US troops
Matt Bai / New York Times:
Newt Gingrich's Glory Days
Discussion: Iowa Caucuses and Daily Kos
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Iowa Republicans to move counting due to security concerns
Discussion: The Hill
Curtis Gans / The Huffington Post:
A Proposed Solution to Voter ID Controversy
Richard Pollock / PJ Media:
Not Just Barney: Eight Veteran House Dems Retiring
Discussion: Bloomberg and Pat Dollard
 Earlier Items: 
Tony Leys / Iowa Caucuses:
Two claim Gingrich lobbied in '03
Guardian:
Australian crocodile snaps up lawn mower after charging zookeeper
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
Scott Keyes / ThinkProgress:
After Watching Citizens United Film, Perry Shifts To Oppose Abortion Even For Victims Of Rape Or Incest
Discussion: Daily Kos
Jeffrey Gettleman / New York Times:
Somalia Faces Alarming Rise in Rapes of Women and Girls
Discussion: Jezebel, Hullabaloo and The Jawa Report
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Washington's year of drama leaves little done regarding debt
Discussion: Hit & Run and RedState
Stephen Gordon / speculist.com:
In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop
Discussion: EconLog and Belmont Club
Michelle Hirsch / Business Insider:
America's Dirty Little Housing Secret Is Rocking The Suburbs
Discussion: BizzyBlog