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3:00 PM ET, January 2, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Headed for a Photo Finish in Iowa  —  The Republican caucus in Iowa is headed for a photo finish, with the three leading contenders all within two points of each other.  Ron Paul is at 20%, Mitt Romney at 19%, and Rick Santorum at 18%.  Rounding out the field are Newt Gingrich at 14% …
Roger Simon / The Politico:
Mitt don't need no surges  —  DES MOINES — If Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucuses, the race for the Republican nomination is over.  —  If Mitt Romney comes in second in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.  —  And if Mitt Romney comes in third in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
For no reason, Santorum ‘singled out blacks’  —  Over the weekend, Rick Santorum told an Iowa audience, “Diversity creates conflict.  If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict.”  It seemed like an odd thing for a presidential candidate to say.  —  The line does, however …
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
On eve of Iowa vote, Santorum focusing attacks on Romney  —  POLK CITY, Iowa — Rick Santorum took several shots at Mitt Romney during his first Monday campaign event here, seeking to neutralize the appeal of the former Massachusetts governor's business background, and implying that he lacks principle.
Discussion: RedState and Sister Toldjah
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:
‘Iron Lady’ goes back up on Iowa TV  —  Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - One day before Iowa's caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann touts her Hawkeye State roots and conservative credentials in a new TV commercial.  —  The congresswoman's Republican presidential campaign says the ad, titled “Iron Lady …
Ted Robbins / NPR:
Santorum's Support Builds Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses … Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum points to a television showing his campaign stop on live at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday.  —  After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate …
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
Frenetic Push for Votes as Iowa Campaign Wraps Up
Discussion: The Caucus and Truthdig
First thoughts: Romney vs. Santorum
Discussion: Pat Dollard, Iowa Caucuses and Poynter
John E. Sununu / The Boston Globe:
Primaries may be messy, but they make candidates stronger
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Cantor can't handle the truth about Reagan  —  CBS's “60 Minutes” ran a good profile on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last night, but there was one portion of the interview that was especially important.  —  In this video, it starts at about the 10:19 mark.
CBS News:
The Majority Leader: Rep. Eric Cantor
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Jim Hoft / The Gateway Pundit:
“60 Minutes” Grills Eric Cantor on Why He's Republican in Sunday Night Hit Piece (Video) …
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Nobody Understands Debt  —  In 2011, as in 2010, America was in a technical recovery but continued to suffer from disastrously high unemployment.  And through most of 2011, as in 2010, almost all the conversation in Washington was about something else: the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.
Nick Allen / Telegraph:
Americans buy record numbers of guns for Christmas  —  Americans bought record numbers of guns last month amid an apparent surge in popularity for weapons as Christmas presents.  —  According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers …
Robert Pear / New York Times:
After Three Decades, Tax Credit for Ethanol Expires  —  WASHINGTON — A federal tax credit for ethanol expired on Saturday, ending an era in which the federal government provided more than $20 billion in subsidies for use of the product.  —  The tax break, created more than 30 years ago, had long seemed untouchable.
Ta-Nehisi Coates / The Atlantic Online:
The Roots Of Glenn Beck  —  Mark Lilla doesn't really like Corey Robin's new book on conservatism: … Better though, is his own perspective on the roots of conservatism and its current flight into the apocalyptic and reactionary: … It's interesting that Lilla raises Buckley here.
Sam Quinones / L.A. NOW:
‘Person of interest’ detained in L.A. arson fires  —  Los Angeles police this morning detained and are questioning a “person of interest” in the spate of arson fires occurring around the city since Friday.  —  The individual, believed to be the man seen in a video police released Sunday …
Angel Jennings / L.A. NOW:
Rose Parade 2012: Occupy activists form ‘peacekeeping’ team  —  Occupy the Rose Parade activists said they had assembled a “peacekeeping” team to thwart members who might try to cause trouble during the event.  —  A team of about 36 Occupy protesters will, in three groups …
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Associated Press:
68 Occupy protesters arrested in NYC on New Year's  —  NEW YORK (AP) - Dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on New Year's Eve as they tore down barricades surrounding New York City's Zuccotti Park, the former home of their encampment that was dismantled several weeks ago.
New York Magazine:
Battered in Iowa, Gingrich Plans to Rip Romney in New Hampshire and Beyond  —  The morning after the Des Moines Register's final Iowa pre-caucus poll put Newt Gingrich in fourth place and falling, the former Speaker of the House attended mass at St Ambrose Church in Des Moines …
Tim Lister / CNN:
Islamist militants in Nigeria warn Christians to leave north within 3 days  —  The devastating scene outside St Theresa Catholic Church near the Nigerian capital Abuja on Christmas day  —  (CNN) — The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has issued an ultimatum giving Christians living …
Discussion: and Weasel Zippers
Sharon Otterman / New York Times:
Obscuring a Muslim Name, and an American's Sacrifice  —  He was buried after the Sept. 11 attacks with full honors from the New York Police Department, and proclaimed a hero by the city's police commissioner.  He is cited by name in the Patriot Act as an example of Muslim-American valor.
Edward-Isaac Dovere / The Politico:
Iowa officials brace for Occupy protests  —  Republicans across Iowa are bracing for trouble on Tuesday, concerned that caucus sites will be the next stop for the Occupy protesters who've staged demonstrations and disruptions at election events across the state.
Discussion: IntoxiNation
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 More Items: 
The Independent:
Gordon Brown's Downing Street emails ‘hacked’
CBS News:
60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll: January Edition
Steve Clemons / The Atlantic Online:
Biden Gets China
Discussion: The Politico
Ilan Grapel / Washington Post:
In Egypt, jailed but not broken
Eric W. Dolan / The Raw Story:
Indiana bill would outlaw singing national anthem ‘inappropriately’
Discussion: Liberty Street and The Reaction
Colombia Urabenos ‘drug gang leader’ shot by police
Discussion: PoliBlog
 Earlier Items: 
Peter Wallsten / Washington Post:
GOP's election battle plan: Use Obama's own words against him
Joel B. Pollak / Big Government:
Democrats' ‘Brain Trust’ Hit by Antisemitism Accusations
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Israel Matzav
James Hohmann / The Politico:
Ron Paul's Iowa victory
About 200 birds found dead in Arkansas city for second straight New Year's Eve
Discussion: The Raw Story and Joe. My. God.
Mackenzie Weinger / The Politico:
Mitt Romney: ‘Good boost’ coming from Iowa
Discussion: Daily Kos
Nelson D. Schwartz / New York Times:
Austerity Reigns Over Euro Zone as Crisis Deepens
Lydia Saad / Gallup:
GOP 2012 Battle to Date Most Akin to Dems in 2003
Discussion: The Politico and Ballot Box