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11:55 AM ET, December 29, 2011


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Bachmann chair's surprise defection  —  “10 minutes ago,” Sorenson, a GOP state senator, told POLITICO about when the Paul campaign found out he was moving to their camp.  —  In one of the most surprising moments of the 2012 campaign, Sorenson strolled on stage just moments before Paul …
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.
Kevinliptak / CNN:
CNN Poll: Romney on top, Gingrich fading & Santorum rising in Iowa  —  Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Did Newt Gingrich peak too early?  —  A new survey of people likely to attend Iowa's Republican caucuses indicates that the former House speaker's support in the Hawkeye State is plunging.
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Michele Bachmann chair defects to Ron Paul  —  In a shock announcement Wednesday night, Iowa state senator and onetime Michele Bachmann campaign leader Kent Sorenson declared that he is now supporting Ron Paul for president.  —  Sorenson made the announcement at a Paul rally with veterans …
Ann Coulter:
ONLY ONE CANDIDATE IS RIGHT ON THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES  —  In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration.  If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.  —  Taxes can be raised and lowered.
Erick Erickson / RedState:
No Surprise, Iowa Social Conservatives Are About To Shoot Us All in the Foot Again
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Who won the day? Rick Santorum
Juana Summersand Charles Mahtesian / The Politico:
Ron Paul soft spot emerges: foreign policy
Discussion: Mercury Rising and Radio Iowa
Mark Halperin / The Page:
Bachmann Iowa Chair Ditches Her for Paul
The Daily:
Pro-Bachmann Super PAC switches to Romney
Mary Stegmeir / Iowa Caucuses:
Breaking: Michele Bachmann campaign chairman endorses Ron Paul
Thomas Beaumont / Associated Press:   US formally ends Iraq war with little fanfare
Kevinliptak / CNN:   High-profile Bachmann backer deals blow to her Iowa campaign, endorses Paul
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.
Robert Reich / Business Insider:
Get Ready For A Obama-Clinton Presidential Ticket
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.
Richard A. Oppel Jr / New York Times:
Ranks of Young Paul Volunteers Willingly Clean Up for the Cause  —  DES MOINES — Ron Paul's college-aged volunteer army — a core of the powerful ground organization that is the envy of rivals — is descending on Iowa from around the nation to coax people to the state's Republican caucuses …
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.
Discussion: Betsy's Page, GOP 12 and The Impolitic
Daniel Cancel / Bloomberg:
Chavez: U.S. May Be Behind Leaders' Cancer  —  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America.  —  Chavez, speaking a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner …
Daniel Wallis / Reuters:
Venezuela's Chavez: Did U.S. give Latin American leaders cancer?
Discussion: Reuters
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.
Fox News:
The New York Times Has a Weiner Moment  —  Did The New York Times just cancel home delivery of its newspaper to everyone, across the nation?  An email apparently sent out to the entire user database appeared to suggest that.  In fact, the Times even sent the email to people that don't subscribe …
Wall Street Journal:
Britain's Future Lies With America, Not Europe  —  Welcoming Britain back into the North Atlantic economic community would be a win-win for all involved.  —  In 1952, then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson said that “Britain has lost an empire but has failed to find a role.”
From North Korea, an Altered Procession  —  The funeral of Kim Jong-il on Wednesday called to mind the best stage-managed Communist state productions: the falling snow, the wailing mourners, the perfectly spaced limousines and rows of chest-beating men.  —  So perhaps it was because the scene …
Linda Greenhouse / Opinionator:
What We Think About When We Think About the Court  —  Wherever I go these days, someone is bound to ask me how I think the Supreme Court will rule in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, set for argument over three days during the last week in March.  My response, that I expect the court …
James Pethokoukis / The Enterprise Blog:
The Santorum Surge: Using tax policy as pro-family, pro-natalism social policy  —  Now that Rick Santorum is surging in the Iowa GOP caucus polls, I thought it would be a good time to look at his economic plan.  He markets it as “Made in America: Empowering American Families, Building Economic Freedom.”
Batocchio / Vagabond Scholar:
Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2011  —  Welcome to a tradition started by the much missed Jon Swift/Al Weisel.  He left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs.  As Lance Mannion puts it: … Here's his 2007 and 2008 editions.  Last year's revival is here.
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Is the Obama Boomlet Over?  —  Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of news coverage of Barack Obama's comeback in the polls.  I noted his modest bounce here, and Scott Rasmussen wrote us to say that he thought Obama's rise was due to increasing optimism about the economy.
Craig Whitlock / Washington Post:
Pentagon trimming ranks of generals, admirals  —  With the Iraq war over and troops in Afghanistan on their way home, the U.S. military is getting down to brass tacks: culling generals and admirals from its top-heavy ranks.  —  Pentagon officials said they have eliminated 27 jobs for generals …
Tim Mak / The Politico:
Eric Holder: More cops slain by illegal guns  —  The number of officers killed in the line of duty jumped 13 percent in 2011 compared with the year before — and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the increase as “a devastating and unacceptable trend” that he blamed on illegal firearms.
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 More Items: 
Dimitra Defotis / Barron's Online:
A Grim Forecast for Corporate Earnings
Slobodan Lekic / Associated Press:
Afghanistan Signs Its First Oil Contract - With China
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
The America Willard and Our Mr. Brooks Care Not to See
New York Times:
U.S. Military Sales to Iraq Raise Concerns
Marginal revolutionaries
Discussion: EconLog and Marginal Revolution
Donna St. George / Washington Post:
In Washington area, African American students suspended and expelled two to five times as often as whites
MF Global Scrutinized on Money Move
The Christian / Christian Science Monitor:
Obama's new tax on the poor: Internet gambling by states
Discussion: Instapundit
 Earlier Items: 
Scott Neuman / NPR:
Congress Really Is As Bad As You Think, Scholars Say
Priests brawl in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Iowa GOP explains moving vote tabulation away from HQ
TPM2012  —  Death Penalty For Gays: Ron Paul Courts The Religious Fringe In Iowa
Fred Barnes / Wall Street Journal:
The GOP's Answer to Union Money
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Gingrich: Campaign worker's signature fraud cost slot on Virginia ballot
Discussion: Bearing Drift and American Power