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2:31 AM ET, December 14, 2012


 Top Items: 
Tracy Connor / Rock Center with Brian Williams:
EXCLUSIVE: Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics  —  Embattled U.N. envoy Susan Rice is dropping out of the running to be the next secretary of state after months of criticism over her Benghazi comments, she told NBC News on Thursday.
Hans Nichols / Bloomberg:
Hagel Said to Top Obama's List to Take Over at Pentagon  —  Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has emerged as the leading candidate to become Obama's next Secretary of Defense and may be nominated as soon as this month, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Susan Rice / Washington Post:
Why I made the right call  —  View Photo Gallery — What you need to know about Susan Rice: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has withdrawn from consideration for secretary of state  —  On Thursday I asked that President Obama no longer consider me for the job of secretary of state.
Washington Post:
Susan Rice withdraws as candidate for secretary of state  —  View Photo Gallery — What you need to know about Susan Rice: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has withdrawn from consideration for secretary of state  —  U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice withdrew her name …
Lucy Madison / CBS News:
Hillary Clinton to testify on Benghazi
New York Times:
Rice Ends Bid for Secretary of State, and Fight With G.O.P.
Discussion: The Democratic Daily
Reid J. Epstein / Reuters:
Susan Rice withdraws for secretary of state
Discussion: CNN and Politico
John Gramlich / Roll Call:
House GOP Boosts Funds for DOMA Legal Defense  —  House Republicans quietly have raised the value of a contract with a private law firm that is handling the chamber's Supreme Court defense of a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Megan Ruyle / The Hill:
House Republicans made scarce during ‘cliff’ talks
Discussion: Politico
Death Star Petition Requires White House Response  —  The petition has passed the 25,000 threshold needed for a response from the White House.  The White House petition is now quite operational.  —  Andrew Kaczynski  —  a half hour ago  —  3 responses
Discussion: ComPost, AMERICAblog and Truthdig
Glenn Harlan Reynolds / New York Post:
Where big GOP bucks could matter  —  Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn't for lack of money.  They spent a lot; they just didn't get enough bang for the buck.  —  Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million.  But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.
John Hinderaker / Power Line:   A Modest Proposal  —  The old adage goes, “Don't get mad, get even.”
Paul Waldman / American Prospect:
The Strange Republican Shift on Taxes
Discussion: Eschaton
Mackenzie Weinger / Politico:
Neil Cavuto cuts off Rep. E.B. Johnson  —  Fox News' Neil Cavuto cut to commercial during a heated interview with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson where the congresswoman told him to “shut up for just a second” and he later called their discussion “a total waste of time.”
Discussion: Hot Air and Unfair Park
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Is Obama Punishing the GOP Because He's Mean?  —  Even as they grudgingly have come to accept that they can't prevent the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, Republicans have increasingly started explaining this pitiable state of affairs to themselves as the product of President Obama's unique malevolence.
Karl Rove / Wall Street Journal:   What Obama Is Really Bargaining For  —  If the GOP caves on taxes …
Judy Kurtz / The Hill:
More staffers recount confrontational elevator rides with Rep. Foxx  —  More House staffers are coming forward with cautionary tales of their members-only elevator rides with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.).  —  ITK last week brought you one tipster's claims of Foxx laying the verbal smackdown …
Hamed Aleaziz / ThinkProgress:
Steve King: I Don't Know What Happened In Benghazi But It's Worse Than Watergate  —  Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has no idea what happened in Benghazi but he does know that it's worse than Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal times 10.  Here's King from a Washington Times article published on Wednesday:
David Sherfinski / Washington Times:
King: Benghazi 10 times bigger than Watergate, Iran-Contra combined
Discussion: Washington Monthly
GOP budget concerns could stall Sandy emergency aid  —  Washington (CNN) - Northeastern lawmakers scrambled Thursday to address Republican concerns that could stall swift passage of a massive emergency spending bill to aid the victims of Superstorm Sandy.  —  “We members of the New York …
Margalit Fox / New York Times:
N. Joseph Woodland, Inventor of the Bar Code, Dies at 91  —  N. Joseph Woodland, who six decades ago drew a set of lines in the sand and in the process conceived the modern bar code, died on Sunday at his home in Edgewater, N.J. He was 91.  —  His daughter Susan Woodland confirmed the death.
Cal Fussman / Esquire:
Arnold Schwarzenegger: What I've Learned  —  Actor, former governor, 65, Los Angeles  —  The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Inc./Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York  —  Warhol photographed Schwarzenegger, then a bodybuilder, with a Polaroid Big Shot camera in 1977.
Patrick Gavin / Politico:   Arnold Schwarzenegger: ‘I love paying my taxes!’
Joe Romm / ThinkProgress:
Mother Nature Is Just Getting Warmed Up: Record-Smashing Early December Assures 2012 Will Be Hottest In U.S. History  —  We've had spring weather in early December — and that guarantees 2012 will be the hottest year on record for the United States.  —  I had reported on Monday that 2012 …
David Morgan / CNBC:
Only 15 States Opt to Run Obamacare Exchanges  —  Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.
Discussion: Power Line and National Review
Richard Hall / The Independent:
‘Gangnam Style’ death prompts warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance  —  NOTE: WE DO NOT STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS(ES) BUT YOUR IP ADDRESS WILL BE LOGGED TO PREVENT ABUSE OF THIS FEATURE.  PLEASE READ OUR LEGAL TERMS & POLICIES  —  The death of a father-of-three …
Discussion: TheFW, The Daily Caller, Mediaite and Gawker
Mick Brown / Telegraph:
In truth, Ravi Shankar couldn't stand the hippies  —  The godfather of world music had little time for audiences who misunderstood his art  —  Ravi Shankar always displayed a slightly ambivalent attitude to the extraordinary enthusiasm with which his music - sober-minded, serious …
Discussion: Hit & Run
Other Media Provocateurs Pan Steven Crowder's Performance  —  “It's important not to instigate the person you're interviewing,” Fields says.  —  Video of conservative activist Steven Crowder's tussle with a union member in Michigan this week, which led to the Fox News contributor being punched …
Discussion: The Dana Show
William A. Jacobson / Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion:
The racial slurs the MSM doesn't want to cover  —  I have posted numerous times about the union violence in Lansing, including punches thrown at Steven Crowder and the tearing down of the Americans for Prosperity tent even as bystanders screamed that there were people inside.
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 More Items: 
Kate Zernike / New York Times:
Promise vs. Reality in Newark on Mayor's Watch
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama displays menorah rescued from Sandy destruction in Hanukkah ceremony
Discussion: Politico
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Resisting the ‘no surrender’ temptation
Robert Mackey / The Lede:
Selective Editing by Fox News Contributor Revealed by Fox News
Syrian rebels may win - Russia
 Earlier Items: 
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
The Real Fat Cats
Discussion: Betsy's Page
Kelly Conniff / TIME:
And the Winner of TIME's Person of the Year Reader Poll Is...
Discussion: Telegraph and Outside the Beltway
Josh Israel / ThinkProgress:
Obama ‘May Decide To Go Blow Up Small Countries’ For Fun, Norquist Predicts
Discussion: Mediaite and The Raw Story