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9:00 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.
Steve Deace:
Why I Am Endorsing Newt Gingrich for President  —  This country is in trouble and bold leadership is needed.  As someone that has had the privilege to vet these candidates as closely as just about anybody else has, I've come to the conclusion there are several good, Christian people running that most years I would vote for.
Discussion: CNN, The Politico and Ballot Box
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Iowa Update: Slow and Steady May Win the Race for Romney
Jeremy W. Peters / The Caucus:
Ads and 30-Minute Special Will Promote Gingrich
Discussion: ABCNEWS
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
Howard Fineman / The Huffington Post:
Iowa Caucuses Offer Tale Of Two: Gingrich Laments, Romney Basks
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Ginger Gibson / The Politico:
Memories of mom push Newt to tears
Discussion: Ballot Box, Gawker and Daily Kos
Alexander Burns / The Politico:
Newt weeps at Iowa stop
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
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
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.
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.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Gingrich sees Sarah Palin as vice president, Cabinet secretary  —  Newt Gingrich said that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be among the candidates that he would consider when considering a potential running mate, adding that the former GOP vice presidential nominee would be an ideal candidate for secretary of Energy.
Brian Tashman / Right Wing Watch:
Gingrich Floats Choosing Sarah Palin as Vice President, Energy Secretary
Vox / Alpha Game:
Conservative woman misses the point  —  Nancy French asks what marriage has to offer men and decides that some major changes have to take place if young men are going to start considering marriage part of the normal and anticipated process of adulthood: … Changing both of these things won't accomplish anything.
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
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 …
Shelby Grad / L.A. NOW:
Occupy's Rose Parade float: 70-foot octopus of corporate greed  —  Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags.  —  The octopus, said activist Mark Lipman of Los Angeles …
NY Daily News:
Democratic fundraiser convicted of engineering $21 million bank fraud scheme  —  Courtney Dupree is a former Tarheel basketball player who hosted a 2008 fundraiser for Obama  —  Attorney Thomas Foley, 43, leaving Federal Court in Brooklyn after a jury acquitted him of bank fraud.
Discussion: Doug Ross and Hot Air
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.
Jed Babbin / American Spectator:
2011: The Year the Wheels Fell Off  —  The coming year will not give us a break from the steady stream of political knavery, green graft and governmental stupidity that 2011 delivered, though it will surely provide a flood of politically-induced comedy.  —  JANUARY: An enterprising BBC reporter …
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) …
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 …
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
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 More Items: 
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Are we alone in the universe?  —  Huge excitement last week.
John Ingold / Denver Post:
Would-be Southwest Plaza bomber pleads guilty
Discussion: Associated Press
Shahien Nasiripour / Financial Times:
Rakoff accuses SEC of misleading federal court
Josh Lederman / Ballot Box:
Ohio Rep. Steve Austria to retire, sparing GOP a primary showdown
Discussion: CNN and The Politico
New Analysis of Young Voters in Battleground States Show Steep Decline in '08 Democratic Advantage
Discussion: National Review and The Politico
Declan McCullagh / CNET:
SOPA opponents may go nuclear and other 2012 predictions
Julie Pace / Associated Press:
Obama delays request for $1.2T debt limit increase
Discussion: Michelle Malkin
 Earlier Items: 
Jon Ward / The Huffington Post:
Mitt Romney: ‘I Am Not A Wall Street Guy, Classically Defined’
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
The Murdoch Primary, Let's Call It
Marist Poll:
12/30: Romney, Paul Battle for Lead in Iowa...Santorum Surges, Perry in Mix, Gingrich Stumbles
Wall Street Journal:
Gingrich Is Making Romney Better