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6:00 PM ET, December 29, 2011


 Top Items: 
Paul West / Los Angeles Times:
Ron Paul: Sanctions against Iran are ‘acts of war’  —  Ron Paul campaigns during an event honoring veterans at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011.  (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)  —  Reporting from Perry, Iowa— Defending himself against charges of isolationism …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and The PJ Tatler
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
New Iowa Poll May Understate Paul's Support  —  I'm not always a big fan of dissecting individual polls — mostly because there are liable to be a plethora of them in Iowa and New Hampshire over the next several days and their errors will tend to be mitigated as more are added to the average.
Juana Summersand Charles Mahtesian / The Politico:
Ron Paul soft spot emerges: Foreign policy
Discussion: CNN, Tom Watson, Mediaite and Mercury Rising
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
New poll shows Romney with big NH lead
Discussion: CNN
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Romney still up big in New Hampshire
Discussion: Gallup and The Raw Story
Bachmann defection opens new rift in campaign
Shushannah Walshe / ABCNEWS:
Rick Santorum Gets A Big Polling Boost, Goes After Ron Paul
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Romney's Iowa confidence grows
Richard A. Oppel Jr / New York Times:
In Iowa: Ron Paul's Young Iowa Volunteers Clean Up for the Cause
Jennifer Jacobs / Iowa Caucuses:
Mitt Romney airs final TV ad in Iowa today, plans post-caucus party in Des Moines
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Bachmann chair's surprise defection
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro / Big Government:
EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Pelosi's Daughter: ‘My Mom Wants to Leave Congress’  —  Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Big Government this week that her mother wants to leave Congress-and that she remains in Washington only at the behest of her campaign donors.
Jake Sherman / The Politico:
Pelosi aides dispute daughter's claim  —  Nancy Pelosi's office says her daughter is wrong when she says the California Democrat wants to leave politics.  —  Alexandra Pelosi, the Democratic activist and filmmaker, said in an interview with Andrew Breitbart's Big Government …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Helene Cooper / New York Times:
White House Memo: Obama Gains Reputation as Distant in Washington  —  WASHINGTON — Air Force One had just landed in Manchester, N.H., on a brisk Tuesday morning last month when President Obama made an admission to Valerie B. Jarrett, his close friend and senior adviser.  —  “I just called Reggie,” Mr. Obama said.
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Slow News Week Leads to Headache-Inducing Obama Personality Profile  —  He's the one in control (White House photo)  —  This feels suspiciously like “he came in and trashed the place and it's not his place” journalism.  Maybe the ghost of David Broder animated this journalist for the purposes of the story:
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Pew Research Center:
Little Change in Public's Response to ‘Capitalism,’ ‘Socialism’  —  A Political Rhetoric Test  —  OVERVIEW  —  The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have focused public attention on what organizers see as the excesses of America's free market system, but perceptions of capitalism …
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Americans See Views of GOP Candidates Closer to Their Own  —  Obama, Bachmann furthest away on ideological scale  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans perceive Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul as closest to themselves ideologically, and Michele Bachmann and Barack Obama as furthest away.
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Obama, Democrats Have Edge on Payroll Tax, Unemployment
Discussion: Campaign 2012 and Daily Kos
FOLLOW ME  —  I am really sorry if I have offended anyone.  Obviously that was not my intent.  I do not support racism.  I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights.  I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people …
Perry Draws Blank on Landmark Texas Anti-Sodomy Supreme Court Case  —  CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Texas Gov. Rick Perry admitted Thursday that he didn't know about the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, a case decided while he was governor which struck down the state's anti-sodomy law and similar laws in 13 others.
Andrew Restuccia / The Hill:
Despite GOP opposition, light bulb standards will phase in on Jan. 1  —  New light bulb efficiency standards will begin phasing in on Jan. 1 despite intense opposition from conservatives, who have blasted the rules as a textbook unnecessary federal regulation.
Discussion: Blog
Robert Reich:
My Political Prediction for 2012: It's Obama-Clinton  —  My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places.  Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he's apparently coveted for years.  And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.
The New Republic:
TNR On the Most Overlooked Stories of 2011  —  Lawrence Kaplan: America's Silent Withdrawal From Iraq  —  War is over.  —  No, really.  “Permanent” bases?  Absolutely not.  A decades-long partnership between Iraq and the United States?  With the American officials who guide the fortunes …
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:
Political Predictions for 2012  —  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or both will leave the Democratic leadership by year's end.  —  As New Year's approaches, here are a baker's dozen predictions for 2012.  —  • Republicans will keep the U.S. House, albeit with their 25-seat majority slightly reduced.
Mackenzie Weinger / The Politico:
ICE launches hotline for busted immigrants  —  As states across the nation ramp up their efforts to catch illegal immigrants, the Obama administration on Thursday launched a new free hotline for people busted on violations to get help.  —  The hotline, run by the U.S. Immigration …
Discussion: Pat Dollard and Weasel Zippers
Catherine Rampell / New York Times:
Instead of Work, Younger Women Head to School  —  Workers are dropping out of the labor force in droves, and they are mostly women.  In fact, many are young women.  But they are not dropping out forever; instead, these young women seem to be postponing their working lives to get more education.
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 More Items: 
Mark Landler / New York Times:
U.S. to Sell F-15 Fighters to Saudi Arabia in Deal Worth $30 Billion
Discussion: Firedoglake and The White House
Amanda Terkel / The Huffington Post:
Rick Santorum's Two-Step Plan To End Poverty
Discussion: The Raw Story and ThinkProgress
John H. Cochrane / Wall Street Journal:
The Fed's Mission Impossible
Discussion: National Review and EconLog
Mitch Lipka / Reuters:
Middle-aged borrowers piling on student debt
Laurie Goodstein / New York Times:
Bishops Say Rules on Gay Parents Limit Freedom of Religion
Hillary Chabot / Boston Herald:
Scott Brown: Media's pulling punches with Elizabeth Warren
Discussion: Daily Kos
 Earlier Items: 
Paul A. Rahe / Ricochet Conversations Feed:
What is Wrong With the Individual Mandate?
Derek Thompson / The Atlantic Online:
Is the U.S. Getting Older and Whiter, or Younger and More Diverse? Yes.
Wall Street Journal:
Britain's Future Lies With America, Not Europe
Donna St. George / Washington Post:
In Washington area, African American students suspended and expelled two to five times as often as whites
Craig Whitlock / Washington Post:
Pentagon trimming ranks of generals, admirals
From North Korea, an Altered Procession