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1:00 PM ET, December 22, 2011


 Top Items: 
Dorothy Rabinowitz / Wall Street Journal:
What Ron Paul Thinks of America  —  It seemed improbable that the best-known American propagandist for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is.  —  Ron Paul's supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent …
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Paul in 1995: Say, have you read my newsletters?  —  Mitt Romney can breathe a sigh of relief, because Andrew Kaczynksi has shifted his attention to Ron Paul this week.  Andrew dug up a 1995 interview with C-SPAN, a year before running for Congress after a decade out of office.
Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic Online:
Grappling With Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters  —  The biggest obstacle to his candidacy is making headlines again.  If he wants to win anything, he's going to need to confront it.  —  Did you know about the racist newsletters published in the late 1980s and early 1990s under Ron Paul's name?
Alex Alvarez / Mediaite:
Hey, CNN?  Can We Talk About What's Going On Between You And Ron Paul?  —  CNN, boo boos, can we talk?  I'm getting a little worried about you.  Here, sit down.  Have some of this Wolf Spritzer I picked up at your gift shop.  No, yeah, it's pretty good.  Tastes like berries.  Berries and gravitas.
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Jackie Kucinich / USA Today:
Paul's story changes on racial comments  —  WASHINGTON - Rep. Ron Paul has tried since 2001 to disavow racist and incendiary language published in Texas newsletters that bore his name, denying he wrote them and even walking out of an interview on CNN Wednesday.
Ta-Nehisi Coates / The Atlantic Online:
Old News Cont.
Discussion: Firedoglake and ThinkProgress
James Crugnale / Mediaite:
Rep. Ron Paul Gets Irked By Newsletter Questions, Walks Out Of CNN Interview
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Ron Paul releases new Christmas ad featuring son, Sen. Rand Paul
Discussion: CNN and GOP 12
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
Who is a Ron Paul supporter?
The Politico:
McConnell: Pass short-term extension  —  In a blow to House Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the House to pass a two-month payroll tax extension — while pushing Democrats to negotiate a full year extension of the tax break.  —  McConnell's statement came …
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
McConnell sides with Dems over Boehner  —  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been awfully quiet the last few days, as House Republicans rebel against the bipartisan payroll-tax-cut compromise he negotiated and helped pass last weekend.  This morning that changed.
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
McConnell breaks with Boehner, urges House to pass payroll bill
Discussion: Hot Air
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Obama shows he's confident he's beating GOP in payroll tax fight
Concord Monitor:
Huntsman is the best choice for GOP  —  Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »  —  Editorial review board with Jon Huntsman, Jr. on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »  —  There comes a time for many politicians when they gaze at their reflection and see a president.
Discussion: The Politico and GOP 12
Gingrich Slams Paul, Challenges Romney to Debate
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Gschwarzcnn / CNN:   Huntsman wins endorsement from N.H. paper
New York Post:
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner's wife gives birth to baby boy  —  After a year filled with ridicule and scandal, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner finally has something he can feel proud about — a new baby boy.  —  Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, gave birth to the wee Democrat yesterday …
Aliyah Shahid / NY Daily News:
Matt Damon rips President Obama in Elle magazine: A prez with ‘some balls’ would have been better  —  The ‘We Bought a Zoo’ star also weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street protests, arguing Obama's lack of leadership has contributed to Americans' overall discontent
Discussion: Hit & Run
George F. Will / Washington Post:
Gingrich, the anti-conservative  —  When discussing his amazingness, Newt Gingrich sometimes exaggerates somewhat, as when, discussing Bosnia and Washington, D.C., street violence, he said, “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 16, 1994].
Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times:
Some Occupy L.A. protesters may get a lesson in free speech  —  Prosecutors say they can avoid court trials by paying $355 to a private company for an educational program.  The irony is not lost on the anti-corporate activists, who see it as patronizing.  —  Los Angeles police officers arrest …
Discussion: Associated Press and cab drollery
New York Times:
Explosions Rock Baghdad Amid Iraqi Political Crisis  —  BAGHDAD — A wave of coordinated explosions ripped across Baghdad early on Thursday, killing at least 63 people, wounding more than 180 and jolting a country already unsettled by a deepening political crisis and the absence of American troops.
Discussion: and Wonkette
Kareem Raheem / Reuters:
Baghdad blasts kill 63 as Iraq tensions rise
How Democrats Fooled California's Redistricting Commission  —  This spring, a group of California Democrats gathered at a modern, airy office building just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.  The meeting was House members only — no aides allowed — and the mission was seemingly impossible.
Stephen Colbert / The State:
Colbert guest editorial: Naming rights, state mottoes and the GOP primary + video  —  As a proud son of South Carolina I must address recent unsubstantiated rumors published in The State that I, Stephen Colbert, tried to buy the naming rights to the 2012 Republican primary.
Discussion: Los Angeles Times and 2012 Decoded
Annie Lowrey / New York Times:
Signs Point to Economy's Rise, but Experts See a False Dawn  —  WASHINGTON — As the fourth quarter draws to a close, a spate of unexpectedly good economic data suggests that it will have some of the fastest and strongest economic growth since the recovery started in 2009 …
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
U.S. Satisfaction in 2011 Ranks as Second Lowest Since 1979  —  On average, 17% were satisfied with national conditions, ahead of only 2008's 15%  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Throughout 2011, an average of 17% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States.
James Fallows / The Atlantic Online:
What I Want For Christmas  —  Now that you ask.  —  Thanks to my old Shanghai/Beijing colleague Louisa Lim of NPR for the tip.  Place your orders here.
Discussion: The Washington Note
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 More Items: 
Rich Miller / Bloomberg:
Bernanke Prods Savers to Become Consumers
Discussion: Political Mojo
Zack Ford / ThinkProgress:
Student Challenges North Carolina Speaker On Marriage Amendment
Discussion: Holy Bullies …
Suzy Khimm / Washington Post:
Get ready for Too-Big-to-Fail envy
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Byron York / Campaign 2012:
Romney changes stance on Iraq invasion
Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Exclusive: Citizens United's Iowa ad buy on Reagan flick, featuring the Gingriches
Discussion: Ballot Box and Gawker
Sean Sullivan / Hotline On Call:
The Reasons for Republican Optimism in Wisconsin
 Earlier Items: 
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
National Income and Product Accounts Gross Domestic Product, 3rd quarter 2011 (third estimate) …
Discussion: Business Insider and Hot Air
Jim Hoft / The Gateway Pundit:
Duh... Pelosi Calls For Tax Cut Extensions For 160,000,000 Working Americans …
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
Perverse Reputational Incentives In Central Banking
Discussion: TheMoneyIllusion