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7:25 PM ET, December 30, 2011


 Top Items: 
NBC's Mark Murray /
NBC poll: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul neck-and-neck in Iowa; Newt Gingrich in 5th  —  In the past two weeks, support has fallen sharply in Iowa for Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.  NBC's Chuck Todd reports.  —  By NBC's Mark Murray  —  Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney …
Cameron Joseph / Ballot Box:
Iowa kingmaker rips Ron Paul, hints at late endorsement in attempt to stop him  —  Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) blasted Ron Paul's foreign policy views Friday in an interview with The Hill and hinted that he might endorse someone else in order to try and stop Paul from winning the Iowa caucuses.
In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims  —  Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Texas Rep. Ron Paul has distanced himself from a series of controversial newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that bore his name and included inflammatory and racially charged language.
Leon H. Wolf / RedState:
Ron Paul: Know Who's Really Behind Islamic Terrorism?  The Jews.  —  One of the more insane claims in Ron Paul's newsletters was that the Israelis were behind the WTC bombings in 1993: … This claim is of course so ridiculous and absurd that even Paul has to protect himself by claiming that “a Jewish friend” told him about it.
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Iowa Update: Slow and Steady May Win the Race for Romney  —  Mitt Romney has led Ron Paul in five of the seven Iowa caucus polls released since Christmas.  A sixth one has them tied, leaving only one survey that still has Mr. Paul ahead.  —  Mr. Romney's lead is small in all of the polls …
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Ron Paul Claimed An AIDS Patient Is ‘A Victim Of His Own Lifestyle’ In 1987 Book
Discussion: Iowa Caucuses and Blag Hag
Justin Sink / Ballot Box:
Gingrich tears up while discussing his mother at Iowa town hall  —  Newt Gingrich choked up while discussing his mother's struggle with mental illness during a town-hall meeting in Des Moines.  —  Gingrich was asked to speak about a time his mother affected him at the event sponsored by CafeMom …
Molly Ball / The Atlantic Online:
Frank Luntz Always Makes Newt Gingrich Cry  —  Recalling his late mother, the former House speaker gets emotional — not the first time he's been brought to tears lately, and hardly out of character.  —  DES MOINES — At an Iowa campaign stop Friday morning, Newt Gingrich got all choked up remembering his late mother.
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Newt weeps at Iowa stop
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Howard Fineman / The Huffington Post:
Iowa Caucuses Offer Tale Of Two: Gingrich Laments, Romney Basks
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Jeremy W. Peters / The Caucus:   Ads and 30-Minute Special Will Promote Gingrich
Ginger Gibson / The Politico:
Memories of mom push Newt to tears
Discussion: Ballot Box, Gawker and Daily Kos
Emily Schultheis / The Politico:
Romney son makes Obama birth certificate joke  —  After getting a question about whether Mitt Romney will release his income tax returns in Concord, N.H., Romney's son Matt made a crack about President Obama's college grades and birth certificate:
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
What's the Deal with Romney's Taxes?  —  So what's the deal with Romney's tax returns?  Or more specifically, what's the deal with Mitt Romney letting himself get more and more nippy press by refusing to release his tax returns when virtually every serious presidential candidate of the last 40 years has done it?
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Ryan O'Connor /
The rest of the story follows below:
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Mitt Romney's rivals try to slow him ahead of Iowa, N.H.
Discussion: Alan Colmes' Liberaland and CNN
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Keynes Was Right  —  “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity at the Treasury.”  So declared John Maynard Keynes in 1937, even as F.D.R. was about to prove him right by trying to balance the budget too soon, sending the United States economy — which had been steadily recovering …
Amar C. Bakshi / Global Public Square:
Have the youth given up on Obama?  —  Editor's Note: Brad Chase is a partner with Capitol Media Partners, a Los Angeles-based communications and public affairs consultancy.  —  By Brad Chase - Special to CNN  —  In 2008, the youth vote helped sweep Barack Obama into office.
Jim Hoft / The Gateway Pundit:
How's That Hopey-Changey Stuff Working Out For You?... Just 55.3% of Americans Between 16 & 29 Have Jobs
Discussion: Scared Monkeys and Nice Deb
Brian Tashman / Right Wing Watch:
Gingrich Floats Choosing Sarah Palin as Vice President, Energy Secretary  —  Last night during a tele-town hall hosted by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, a caller asked Newt Gingrich if he would consider choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Gingrich sees Sarah Palin as vice president, Cabinet secretary
Norman Lear / Los Angeles Times:
Norman Lear on fighting the good fight  —  The Occupy Wall Street movement has unleashed patriotic outrage.  If you don't want to camp out or protest in the street, find another way to let your voice be heard in the new year.  —  Occupy Wall Street protesters carry American flags up Seventh Avenue toward Times Square.
Jonah Goldberg / National Review:
2011: You Can't Win for Losing  —  Charlie Sheen was clearly the man of the year.
Nando Di Fino / Mediaite:
Fox Apologizes For Poll Asking If Jews Killed Jesus Christ  —  Fox Latin America was trying to promote a National Geographic Christmas special on Facebook.  So a staffer set up a poll for users to drum up some interest ahead of the program.  The problem?  The staffer who set up the poll …
Discussion: The Raw Story and NewsHounds blog
Jon Ward / The Huffington Post:
Mitt Romney: ‘I Am Not A Wall Street Guy, Classically Defined’ … 2012 Election , Mitt Romney , Elections 2012 , Iowa Caucuses , Mitt Romney Iowa , Mitt Romney Iowa Caucus , Romney Iowa , Caucus , Iowa Caucus , Iowa Caucus 2012 , Iowa Caucuses 2012 , Mitt Romney 2012 , Mitt Romney Wall Street …
Andrew Restuccia / The Hill:
Electric car company that received a $529M federal loan recalls vehicles  —  An electric vehicle manufacturer that received a $529 million loan from the Energy Department is recalling 239 vehicles.  —  The Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) …
Washington Examiner:
York: Romney briefed church on abortion stance  —  In 1993, Mitt Romney was a successful businessman with an urge to enter public life and a plan to challenge Ted Kennedy for a Senate seat from Massachusetts.  —  Romney was also a high-ranking official in the Mormon church …
RSS Feeds … CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Four protesters, including the spokesman of Occupy Charlotte, were charged after setting fire to two American flags early Friday near the Occupy camp in Center City, police said.  —  Charlotte-Mecklenburg police weren't sure earlier if the four men …
Discussion: Sister Toldjah and Scared Monkeys
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
Ohio Rep. Steve Austria to retire, sparing GOP a primary showdown  —  Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio), forced by redistricting into a primary scuffle against a fellow Republican, announced Friday that he will not seek reelection to the House.  —  The decision spares the GOP a potentially chaotic intraparty showdown for the seat.
Discussion: CNN and The Politico
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 More Items: 
NY Daily News:
Democratic fundraiser convicted of engineering $21 million bank fraud scheme
Discussion: Hot Air
Vox / Alpha Game:
Conservative woman misses the point
Discussion: The Other McCain and Cold Fury
Shahien Nasiripour / Financial Times:
Rakoff accuses SEC of misleading federal court
New Analysis of Young Voters in Battleground States Show Steep Decline in '08 Democratic Advantage
Discussion: National Review and The Politico
Emily S. Rueb / City Room:
Violet the Red-Tailed Hawk Is Dead
Discussion: Gothamist and Runnin' Scared
Julie Pace / Associated Press:
Obama delays request for $1.2T debt limit increase
Discussion: Michelle Malkin
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
The Murdoch Primary, Let's Call It
 Earlier Items: 
Marist Poll:
12/30: Romney, Paul Battle for Lead in Iowa...Santorum Surges, Perry in Mix, Gingrich Stumbles
Jed Babbin / American Spectator:
2011: The Year the Wheels Fell Off
David Kocieniewski / New York Times:
Tax Benefits From Options as Windfall for Businesses
Wall Street Journal:
Gingrich Is Making Romney Better
Discussion: TBogg and GOP 12