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3:10 PM ET, December 31, 2011


 Top Items: 
Jonathan Martinand Maggie Haberman / The Politico:
Rick Perry campaign plays blame game  —  DES MOINES - With a revamped message and a significant TV presence here, Rick Perry is hoping to revive his disappointing presidential campaign with a surprise finish Tuesday.  —  But even as they hold out hope that Perry can find a way back into contention …
David Chalian / Yahoo! News:
Ann Selzer, queen of the Iowa caucuses: For a day, the most powerful woman in American politics  —  Every presidential candidate, campaign operative and political journalist in Iowa will spend most of Saturday in suspended animation, waiting for the results of the final Des Moines Register poll before the caucuses.
First Thoughts: Three days to go
Discussion: Swampland and Washington Post
Brian Montopoli / CBS News:
Occupy Iowa: We aren't trying to disrupt caucuses
Carl Cameron / Fox News:
Virginia Attorney General Intervenes in GOP Primary Ballot Dispute  —  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is intervening in the Virginia presidential primary dispute and plans to file emergency legislation to address the inability of most Republican presidential candidates to get their name on the ballot, Fox News has learned.
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Obama to Target Congress in 2012 Re-election Campaign  —  HONOLULU — President Obama is heading into his re-election campaign with plans to step up his offensive against an unpopular Congress, concluding that he cannot pass any major legislation in 2012 because of Republican hostility toward his agenda …
Julie Pace / Associated Press:
In 2012, Obama to press ahead without Congress
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
Enjoy the payroll tax break while it lasts  —  Last week, after a needlessly-contentious process, Congress approved a two-month extension of the payroll tax break.  As part of the agreement, a conference committee will try to come up with an agreement to extend the cut through the end of 2012.
Jonathan Easley / Ballot Box:
Outside groups overwhelm Gingrich  —  When Newt Gingrich opened up a sizable lead in Iowa last month, he was promptly broadsided by a torrent of negative Super PAC advertisements that now threaten to sink his once-promising campaign.  —  The amount of campaign advertising will likely set …
New York Times:
Restore Our Future Attack Ads Harm Gingrich in Iowa
John Marshall / Associated Press:
No one hurt after camera falls at Insight Bowl … TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Flying cameras have been providing unique perspectives on everything from golf to college and professional football for more than a decade, becoming so commonplace that fans rarely notice the whizzing remote-controlled devices.
Discussion: Scared Monkeys
Power Line:
KEYNES WAS RIGHT-ABOUT THE JEWS?  —  So Paul Krugman phoned in his periodic “Keynes Was Right” column today, arguing that the Obama Porkulus failed only because, like “true” Communism, it wasn't tried vigorously or faithfully enough.  —  I wonder if Krugman also credits Keynes's views on Jews …
Alicia M. Cohn / Ballot Box:
Romney gets emotional talking about parents, tells audience 'I won't cry'  —  Mitt Romney stopped short of his GOP rival Newt Gingrich on Friday evening when he spoke emotionally about his parents but did not tear up.  —  Romney described the patriotism of his parents, both deceased, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Friday.
Haley Barbour / Washington Post:
If I were campaigning for president...  They're not running, but if they were, what would these leading Republicans be talking about on the trail?  Here are responses from Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels and Herman Cain.  —  Governor of Mississippi
William Petroski / Iowa Caucuses:
Leadership profile: Rick Santorum seen as diligent, dedicated  —  A drubbing on election night five years ago still haunts Rick Santorum's bid for the presidency.  —  But relentless campaigning in all 99 Iowa counties and several key endorsements from social conservative leaders signal …
Discussion: CNN, The Politico and GOP 12
Gingrich: Politics Is a ‘Nasty, Vicious, Negative’ and Disgusting Business  —  In an interview with ABC News, Newt Gingrich accused his Republican opponents of lying in their negative ads and offering “no hope they will be any good as president.”  —  “Politics has become a really nasty …
Dominic Sandbrook / Daily Mail:
The spectre of 1932: How a loss of faith in politicians and democracy could make 2012 the most frightening year in living memory  —  The dawn of a new year is usually a time of hope and ambition, of dreams for the future and thoughts of a better life.  But it is a long time since …
Discussion: The Other McCain and Ed Driscoll
Elliott Abrams / The Atlantic Online:
Should the U.S. Cut Off Aid to the Egyptian Military?  —  The military, which has been consolidating power and extending dictatorial rule, gets over $1 billion per year  —  Egyptian soldiers attack protesters in Cairo / Reuters  —  MORE FROM THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS:
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Flag Burning at Occupy Charlotte  —  We haven't paid much attention to the Occupiers lately; nor, for the most part, has anyone else.  But every now and then they continue to endear themselves to the American public.  Like last night, when four members of Occupy Charlotte-including their media spokesman! …
Discussion: Moe Lane
Stephanie Condon / CBS News:
Obama team exploits Romney team's birther gaffe  —  After Mitt Romney's son made a “birther” joke on the campaign trail, he quickly apologized and downplayed the taboo remarks.  President Obama's re-election team, however, is keeping the moment alive and hoping to earn a few bucks off of it.
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
What's the Deal with Romney's Taxes?
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 More Items: 
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
Gary Johnson asks Iowa supporters to back Ron Paul
Ron Lieber / New York Times:
After Outcry, Verizon Abandons $2 Fee
Waterbury Republican American:
Year of tumult for Connecticut
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
There's no crying in baseball, but in politics...
Damon W. Root / Hit & Run:
The Left-Wing Origins of Newt Gingrich's Attack on the Courts
Discussion: Washington Post
Jean H. Lee / Associated Press:
Kim Jong Il's presence is felt in series of images
 Earlier Items: 
JJ Hensley / Arizona Republic:
Black leaders in Phoenix area ask Arpaio to step down
Discussion: ThinkProgress and Tucson Citizen
Orin Kerr / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Fourth Circuit Overturns Conviction Because Officer Used A Knife to Remove the Crack Tied Around …
Discussion: walshslaw and Law Blog
Wall Street Journal:
Holder's Racial Politics
Discussion: Hot Air and TEXAS REDISTRICTING
NY Daily News:
Democratic fundraiser convicted of engineering $21 million bank fraud scheme