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1:10 AM ET, February 10, 2012


 Top Items: 
Jake Tapper / ABCNEWS:
Fierce White House Debate Over Contraception Mandate  —  “What are we doing here?” asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, stepping outside his wheelhouse to ask about a rising storm involving the Obama administration and the Catholic Church.  “What's the point?”
Jennifer Epstein / Politico:
Biden: Compromise on contraception  —  Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he thinks a solution can be found to the deepening controversy over birth-control coverage.  —  The furor has escalated this week over a new administration rule that exempts churches and other houses of worship …
Discussion: Sky Dancing and Weasel Zippers
Amy Sullivan / The Atlantic Online:
The Contraception Coverage Debate Isn't Just About the Bishops
Faiz Shakir / ThinkProgress:
Fox Pundit Tells CPAC Crowd That Rachel Maddow Is ‘The Best Argument In Favor Of Her Parents Using Contraception’  —  In the “closed circuit world on the right,” MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is often the subject of ugly denigrations.  Whether it's being mocked for her sexual orientation, her name …
Alan I. Abramowitz / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
The Third Party Illusion  —  If you've been following the political commentary in the national media recently, you've probably heard that the 2012 presidential election is likely to result in the largest vote for a third party candidate in many years, perhaps exceeding the 19% of the national popular vote won by Ross Perot in 1992.
Discussion: Booman Tribune
American Prospect:
Wall Street's Third Party  —  This November, when Barack Obama faces off against his Republican opponent, there will be a third candidate in the race, too.  This candidate has already qualified for the ballot in 14 states, including California.  The campaign to ensure the candidate's ballot access …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Ben Armbruster / ThinkProgress:
UPDATED: Mississippi Rep. Wants ‘Gulf Of Mexico’ Changed To ‘Gulf Of America’  —  Mississippi State Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat, introduced a bill in the state's lower chamber calling for the part of the Gulf of Mexico that borders his state to be renamed the “Gulf of America.”
Mark Memmott / NPR:
Call It ‘Gulf Of America,’ Not Gulf Of Mexico, Lawmaker Says In Bit Of Satire
Discussion: Jezebel
Elizabeth Llorente / Fox News:
Mississippi Bill Changes Name of ‘Gulf of Mexico’ to ‘Gulf of America’
Discussion: Sky Dancing and Riptide 2.0
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Is 2012 Slipping Away From the GOP?  —  For a long time, I was confident that Republican voters would oust Barack Obama in 2012, hold the House and, in all likelihood, take the Senate.  Obama is a weak incumbent, who has been chronically unpopular since early in his term.
Debra Erdley /
Pa. GOP voters quit Gingrich for Santorum  —  It never pays to count Rick Santorum out.  —  A Tribune-Review/WPXI-TV poll conducted Feb. 2-6 shows the former senator was gaining strength among Pennsylvania Republicans even before this week's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota …
Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
DeMint: Brokered convention a possibility
Discussion: CNN, Campaign 2012, The Impolitic and Slate
Rick Santorum / CNN:
Santorum takes on ‘environmental terror’  —  Oklahoma City (CNN) - Speaking in one of the top energy-producing states in the country, Rick Santorum tailored his stump speech here on Thursday to appeal to a raucous crowd of domestic energy-loving Okies.  —  Reaffirming his support …
As Santorum and Romney battle, Paul slams both as liberal
Discussion: The Hill and ABCNEWS
Mortgage deal could bring billions in relief  —  WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — In the largest deal to date aimed at addressing the housing meltdown, federal and state officials on Thursday announced a $26 billion foreclosure settlement with five of the largest home lenders.
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and Hullabaloo
Nick Baumann / Mother Jones:
Marco Rubio's Plan Could Cut Off Birth Control Coverage for Millions  —  How the Florida senator—and potential VP pick—aims to use religion to undermine Obama's health care policy.  —  A new bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a rising conservative star and leading contender …
Constance Johnson / Guardian:
About my ‘spilled semen’ amendment to Oklahoma's Personhood bill |  Constance Johnson  —  I took this stand because I'm sick of the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who want to police women's reproductive health  —  As a woman and a 31-year veteran of the legislative process in Oklahoma …
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Santorum: Obama Has Put America On ‘The Path’ Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation  —  Rick Santorum continued to rail against President Obama's so-called war against religion during a town hall in Plano, Texas Wednesday night.  The former Pennsylvania senator …
Alex Seitz-Wald / ThinkProgress:
Santorum Doubles Down: ‘ObamaCare’ Is The First Step To The ‘Guillotine’
Discussion: ECHIDNE of the snakes
Dan Lamothe / Marine Corps Times:
Marine scout snipers used Nazi SS logo  —  Marine Corps scout snipers used the logo of the notorious Nazi SS organization while in Afghanistan in 2010, the service acknowledged Thursday.  —  The logo appeared on a flag in a photograph of the platoon taken in September 2010 in Sangin district …
Discussion: Daily Kos, Political Mojo and Politico
Wall Street Journal:
Apple vs. Google: The Stakes Are Rising  —  Google Inc. is developing a home-entertainment system that streams music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under the company's own brand, according to people briefed on the company's plans.  —  The effort marks a sharp shift …
Matt Stopera / BuzzFeed:
The Best Testimony From Washington State's Gay Marriage Hearing  —  Try not to cry.  Watch Representative Maureen Walsh's moving testimony from yesterday's gay marriage vote in Washington.  Rep. Walsh was one of two Republicans to vote for the bill.
Benjy Sarlin /
TPM2012  —  CPAC Wants To Help You Get A Hot Conservative Date  —  “'I was thinking about how sexy it would be to kiss you,'” world renowned pickup artist Wayne Elise told a group of young Rick Santorum fans.  “You can say that [to a girl], it's cool.”  —  Elise, better known by his handle …
Alicia M. Cohn / The Hill:
Pelosi: ‘Colbert used to be my friend’  —  Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) mocked comedian Stephen Colbert as part of her campaign against super-PACs.  —  The House minority leader released a web video on Thursday that jokingly attacks Colbert for launching a super-PAC.
Discussion: Politico and CNN
Paul Krugman:
A Strange Form of Social Collapse  —  Reading Charles Murray and all the commentary about the sources of moral collapse among working-class whites, I've had a nagging question: is it really all that bad?  —  I mean, yes, marriage rates are way down, and labor force participation is down among prime-age men …
Discussion: Political Mojo
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
King: I'm continuing Muslim radicalization hearings  —  Undeterred by critics on the left, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Thursday he's not backing down from his investigation into possible radicalization in the Muslim-American community.  —  The House Homeland Security Committee chairman defended …
Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News  —  A car that was bombed by two assailants on a motorcycle in Tehran on Jan. 11, killing Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan, is removed by a mobile crane.
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 More Items: 
David Brooks / New York Times:
The Crowd Pleaser  —  At first glance, President Obama …
George F. Will / Washington Post:
Republicans need more than rhetoric on defense
Bill Dedman /
Super PAC supporting Ron Paul is operated by a 9/11 ‘truther’
Discussion: The Raw Story and Liberal Values
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Why I'm So Mean  —  People often ask, “Why is Jonathan Chait so mean?”
 Earlier Items: 
New York Times:
A Terrible Transportation Bill
Discussion: The Hill, ThinkProgress and RedState
Janet Maslin / New York Times:
Sure, Mr. President, if You Really Want Me To  —  'Once Upon …
Monica Davey / New York Times:
Michigan Must Decide What to Do With an Unexpected Surplus
Discussion: Weasel Zippers