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12:40 PM ET, January 12, 2012


 Top Items: 
Justin Sink / Ballot Box:
Poll: Romney slipping in South Carolina, holds just 2 point lead over Gingrich  —  Despite a historic sweep of the first two nominating contests in the GOP field, Mitt Romney holds just a two percentage point lead in South Carolina, his smallest lead of 2012.
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
‘When Mitt Romney Came to Town’  —  We knew the short film from Newt Gingrich's Super PAC, targeting Mitt Romney's private-sector work, was on the way.  We didn't know just how devastating it would be.  —  Probably the easiest-to-see version of “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” …
Publius / Big Government:
BREAKING: Palin Urges Romney to Release Tax Returns, Provide Proof of 100,000 Jobs Created at Bain Capital  —  Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has called for Gov. Mitt Romney to release his tax returns, as well as the data that could substantiate his claim of having created 100,000 jobs as CEO of Bain Capital.
Rasmussen Reports:
Florida GOP Primary: Romney 41%, Gingrich 19%, Santorum 15%  —  Mitt Romney is now running away with the race in the latest Rasmussen Reports' survey of the end-of-the-month Florida Republican Primary.  —  Coming off his decisive win in Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary …
Reid J. Epstein / Reuters:
Mitt Romney readies Bain Capital counterattack  —  COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mitt Romney's done defending his Bain Capital record.  He's going on offense.  —  The former Massachusetts governor arrived here Wednesday fresh off his New Hampshire primary win armed with a new plan for a multi-pronged response …
Benjy Sarlin /
TPM2012  —  Dems Prepare To Hammer Romney With The REAL Bain Onslaught  —  Thanks to Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, Bain Capital is all over the news this week, prompting an upset MItt Romney to accuse his rivals of turning to “the bitter politics of envy” in order to halt his momentum.
Jewel Samad / ABCNEWS:
Chamber's Donohue Calls GOP Attacks on Romney ‘Foolish’  —  The head of the Chamber of Commerce says he's “disappointed” over the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney's tenure at the private-equity firm Bain Capital, because they've given Democrats extra ammo to take out the front-runner.
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Felicia Sonmez / Washington Post:
Newt Gingrich: South Carolina will be ‘Armageddon’  —  GOP primary campaigns have a history of turning ugly once the campaign trail heads to South Carolina.  —  And to hear former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tell it, this year will be no exception.  —  Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
NBC's Andrew Rafferty /
Santorum: Attacks on Romney are attacks on capitalism
Mj Lee / The Politico:
Sarah Palin on Mitt Romney: Needs Bain show & tell
Discussion: Daily Kos
Wallacegw / CNN:
Gingrich: South Carolina will be ‘Armageddon’ of attacks
Donald Johnson / The Politico:
Mitt Romney's Bain Capital days: A black box
Michael Isikoff /
The latest political headlines powered by NBC News and
Discussion: The Hill
Linda Greenhouse / Opinionator:
Voting in Plain Sight
Stephen Dinan / Washington Times:
Romney's push against amnesty makes immigration a defining issue
Kenneth P. Vogel / The Politico:
3 billionaires who'll drag out the race  —  Meet the three billionaires who could drag out the GOP presidential primary, bloody up front-runner Mitt Romney and weaken the odds of defeating President Barack Obama: Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess and Jon Huntsman, Sr.
Arthur S. Brisbane / The Public Editor's Journal:
Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?  —  I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.  —  One example mentioned recently by a reader: As cited in an Adam Liptak article on the Supreme Court …
Michael D. Shear / The Caucus:
Obama Campaign Raises $42 Million in Fourth Quarter  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama's presidential campaign raised $42 million during the final three months of 2011, giving him what his campaign manager called a “pretty good quarter” going into his re-election bid.
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Glenn Thrush / The Politico:
Obama's 2011 fundraising haul: Bush's league
Discussion: CNN and Big Journalism
Mark Hosenball / Reuters:
Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media  —  (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.
Stewart Baker / The Volokh Conspiracy:   Volokh Conspiracy Scoops Drudge, The Atlantic, and Reuters by ... Two Years
Afghan leader Karzai condemns ‘US Marines body desecration’ video  —  Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned a video that appears to show US Marines urinating on the bloodied corpses of several Taliban fighters.  —  The Taliban has also criticised the video as “shameful” but said it would not derail attempts at peace talks.
Rana Foroohar / Swampland:
Warren Buffett Ready to Take Republicans' Tax Challenge  —  Updated, 6:10 p.m. E.T.  —  Warren Buffett is ready to call Republicans' tax bluff.  Last fall, Senator Mitch McConnell said that if Buffett were feeling “guilty” about paying too little in taxes, he should “send in a check.”
Jeremy Wallace / HT Politics:
Laura Bush wanted Jeb to run for president in 2012  —  SARASOTA  —  Former first lady Laura Bush wishes there were one more candidate in the Republican presidential primary: Jeb Bush.  —  Speaking to a sold-out Sarasota audience on Wednesday, Bush said she had hoped that her brother-in-law …
James Joyner / Outside the Beltway:
Haley Barbour Pardons 14 Murderers; Judge Orders Halt  —  Here's a story I never expected to see: Mississippi Haley Barbour, a respected conservative and former RNC Chair, has gone on a pardon spree on his way out of office, drawing howls from Democrats.  A judge has issued an injunction against more pardons.
Las Vegas Sun Blogs:
Renewable energy company founder will run as Democrat for U.S. Senate in Nevada  —  Barry Ellsworth gave Rep. Shelley Berkley $1,000 last cycle and likes her “as a person.”  —  But — you knew a ‘but’ was coming - he's running against her in a Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate …
Discussion: Ballot Box and Hotline On Call
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life:
Mormons in America  —  Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society  —  With a Mormon candidate among the front-runners for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, a musical about Mormons playing on Broadway and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) …
Discussion: The Politico and New York Times
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 More Items: 
Rachel Van Dongen / The Politico:
Mitt, Paul winning Facebook primary
Discussion: Mashable!, Poynter, TechCrunch and Gawker
Carrie Johnson / NPR:
Justice Department's No. 3 Stepping Down
Discussion: Firedoglake and emptywheel
'Ferris Bueller's Ben Stein Sues Ad Agency & Client Claiming Political Discrimination
Discussion: Guardian
Joel Gehrke / Campaign 2012:
Ethics: ‘probable cause’ in Rep Hastings sex case
Emily Babay / Washington Examiner:
Capital Land  —  Man charged after baby found in McPherson Square tent
Discussion: Campaign 2012 and The Jawa Report
Compass Direct News:
Somali Convert from Islam Whipped in Public
Discussion: Jihad Watch
Scott Shane / New York Times:
Adversaries of Iran Said to Be Stepping Up Covert Actions
 Earlier Items: 
Radley Balko / The Huffington Post:
Death In The Devil's Chair: Florida Man's Pepper Spray Death Raises Questions About Jail Abuse
Ben Geman / The Hill:
Business groups, Republicans launch onslaught on president over Keystone
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Brendan Sasso / The Hill:
Hollywood or Silicon Valley? — President Obama must choose
Bob Cesca / The Huffington Post:
The Fantastical Crackpot Cult of Ron Paul
Discussion: Alas, a Blog