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7:05 AM ET, December 30, 2011


 Top Items: 
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
The Santorum Surge In Iowa and Beyond  —  The extent to which Rick Santorum has gained in Iowa polling is not entirely clear.  Although two polls have him with 16 percent of the vote, two others that were in the field at the same time have him at 10 and 11 percent, respectively.
Bachmann campaign loses second key staffer in Ron Paul flap  —  Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign lost another high-ranking staff member on Thursday after that staffer defended another former Bachmann official's defection to a rival campaign.  —  Wes Enos, Bachmann's political director …
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Michele Bachmann's hard fall  —  The split had been presaged, however, for weeks, thanks to a divide between the staffers and advisers on her campaign bus, and the national and Washington-based team.  Her then-state chairman, Kent Sorenson — who is now a Paul backer …
First Read /
NBC poll: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul neck-and-neck in Iowa; Newt Gingrich in 5th  —  The wild card in this race has been and continues to be Ron Paul, the Libertarian who has a growing following inside the Republican Party.  NBC's Chuck Todd has more.  —  By NBC's Mark Murray
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 …
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Michele Bachmann's hard fall  —  Four months ago, Michele Bachmann seemed poised for a banner December.  —  She'd just won the Ames Straw Poll — vanquishing her Minnesota rival, Tim Pawlenty, in the process — and was getting accustomed to life in the top tier of 2012 candidates.
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
Americans See Views of GOP Candidates Closer to Their Own
Robert Stacy McCain / The Other McCain:
IOWA NOTEBOOK: Occupy Caucuses?
Discussion: Daily Pundit
Kevinliptak / CNN:
Occupy vs. Ron Paul
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Top Santorum supporter says he can win Iowa caucus
Discussion: The Politico and National Review
Frank Newport / Gallup:
Romney Edges Gingrich, 27% to 23%, for National GOP Lead
Fox News:
Santorum Claims Iowa ‘Spark’ as Polls Show Candidacy Surging
Discussion: Naked DC and CNN
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
New poll shows Romney with big NH lead
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and CNN
Hunter Walker / PolitickerNY:
Stormfront Founder Don Black Says White Supremacists Thought Ron Paul Was ‘One of Us’  —  Ron Paul was a hot topic this week on the talk radio show hosted by prominent white supremacist Don Black and his son Derek.  Mr. Black said he received Mr. Paul's controversial newsletters …
Benjy Sarlin /
TPM2012  —  Ron Paul Downplays Newsletters : Only ‘Eight To Ten Sentences’ Were Offensive  —  Ron Paul on Thursday downplayed the fringe aspects of his old newsletters, saying on an Iowa radio program that the most offensive passages were probably only a small portion of the overall content.
Discussion: CBS News and Daily Kos
Malia Zimmerman / Hawaii Reporter:
Occupy Hawaii Island Movement Plans Protest Near Pelosi's Posh Hawaiian Hotel  —  BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the most powerful supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, may be in the right place at the right time to protest with the Big Island branch of the movement, Occupy Hawaii Island.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Jim Hoft / The Gateway Pundit:
WordPress Takes Down “Bare Naked Islam” Blog After Threats From CAIR  —  WordPress took down Bare Naked Islam Blog today after threats from CAIR.
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 …
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro / Big Government:
EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Pelosi's Daughter: ‘My Mom Wants to Leave Congress’
Welcome To Verizon Wireless:
Customers Encouraged to Use Options to Avoid Single Payment Fee That Starts Jan. 15  —  Customer Inquiries  —  For customer inquiries, please call 800-922-0204 or go to  —  Verizon Wireless offers customers numerous free and simple payment options and we encourage customers to use those options.
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.
Source: Al Qaeda leader sends veteran jihadists to establish presence in Libya  —  (CNN) — Al Qaeda's leadership has sent experienced jihadists to Libya in an effort to build a fighting force there, according to a Libyan source briefed by Western counter-terrorism officials.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Jihad Watch
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 …
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 More Items: 
J.J. Gould / The Atlantic Online:
9-Foot-Tall Supersoldier Mourns Kim Jong Il
Jason Embry / Austin American-Statesman:
Perry hits Santorum on earmarks, but Texas has sought its own
Josh Rogin / Foreign Policy:
Obama administration secretly preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition
Amanda Terkel / The Huffington Post:
Rick Santorum's Two-Step Plan To End Poverty
 Earlier Items: 
John H. Cochrane / Wall Street Journal:
The Fed's Mission Impossible
Discussion: National Review and EconLog
Hillary Chabot / Boston Herald:
Scott Brown: Media's pulling punches with Elizabeth Warren
Discussion: The Raw Story and Daily Kos