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The GOP race in the first caucus state of Iowa is in flux, but new polling from Pew shows the national race in the same place it’s been for a few weeks: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 35 percent of Republican voters, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney 21 and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in third with 8 percent.

The Pew data shows that while the GOP contest seems to have been defined by a weak frontrunner in Mitt Romney and party faithful attempting to coalesce around one anti-Romney candidate, there’s no difference in enthusiasm between the two groups. But there is a new dynamic on perceived electability: the Pew poll shows that Republicans are starting to see Gingrich as the candidate who can win in 2012. From Pew:



There is no difference in intensity between those who support Gingrich and those who support Romney. About three-in-ten among both groups (33% Romney, 29% Gingrich) say they support their candidate strongly; far more say they support their candidate only moderately (66% Romney, 69% Gingrich)....As Gingrich has moved into the lead for the GOP nomination, he also is increasingly viewed as having the best chance of any Republican to defeat Barack Obama. Currently, 35% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say that Gingrich has the best chance of beating Obama next November, up from just 13% a month ago.

Wisconsin's voter ID law imposes the equivalent of a poll tax on individuals with out-of-state drivers licenses and discriminates against the poor, students and the elderly, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday.

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Newt Gingrich has been stirring trouble lately by describing the Palestinians as “an invented people,” as he plays for the hearts of the GOP base.

However, as per the HuffPo’s Sam Stein, the current GOP frontrunner hasn’t always been so down on the Palestinians. Stein has posted a picture that appears to show the former House Speaker shaking hands with the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat. Click here to see that.

A third figure snapped in the picture has been identified, and confirms the meeting took place following the Oslo Peace Accords in September, 1993. The anonymous source who provided the picture to Sam Stein describes the Gingrich/ Arafat meeting as follows:



Jotting notes down in a yellow pad, Gingrich used the meeting to pitch Arafat on how best to actually construct a Palestinian state. "He said, 'Look, here is what I think you need -- an economic plan – and here is how it will work,'" the operative recalled. "It was a very positive contribution at the time and as they stood up, there were pictures."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) are at the top of a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey of Iowa GOP caucus-goers, Gingrich with 22 percent and Paul at 21. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney comes in third with 16 and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gets fourth with 11 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits.

The poll represents a drop in the state for Gingrich, who was at 27 percent just a week ago in PPP’s numbers. Pollsters pointed to the increase in Newt’s unfavorability as the major driver in the new scores. From PPP:



Gingrich has dropped 5 points in the last week and he's also seen a significant decline in his favorability numbers. Last week he was at +31 (62/31) and he's now dropped 19 points to +12 (52/40). The attacks on him appear to be taking a heavy toll- his support with Tea Party voters has declined from 35% to 24%. Paul meanwhile has seen a big increase in his popularity from +14 (52/38) to +30 (61/31). There are a lot of parallels between Paul's strength in Iowa and Barack Obama's in 2008- he's doing well with new voters, young voters, and non-Republican voters: -59% of likely voters participated in the 2008 Republican caucus and they support Gingrich 26-18. But among the 41% of likely voters who are 'new' for 2012 Paul leads Gingrich 25-17 with Romney at 16%.

Any question that the Obama campaign will ignore the surging Newt Gingrich to continue their attacks on Mitt Romney was answered in full today when Obama senior strategist David Axelrod compared the former House Speaker to the ass end of a monkey.

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Slowly, parts of the Republican elite seem to be coming around to Newt Gingrich.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday night on CNN that Newt Gingrich may be more electable than Mitt Romney in the general election. While Newt has surged in the polls, Mitt Romney has always been presumed the better candidate in a match-up with President Obama.

"My gut tells me right now as I look at it that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate," Giuliani said on CNN, "because I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney to those Reagan Democrats."

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says the right response to the failure of the Super Committee is to let a thousand ad hoc Super Committees bloom.

When the panel failed, it lost all of its power, which was in essence the power to force Congress to hold up-or-down votes on their recommendations -- no amendments, no filibuster.

Lieberman wants to extend these same powers to any sufficiently large bipartisan "gang" in the House or Senate, if they can come up with at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reducing measures over the course of three months.

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Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reached out to the Rick Perry campaign for a response to this resurfaced video that’s doing the rounds, in which Mitt Romney labels his views as “progressive.” Here’s what Perry’s spokesperson had to say:



“It’s no surprise that Mitt Romney would have described himself as having progressive views: A quick look at his record shows that he pursued plenty of progressive policies as governor, including notably raising business taxes, the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and global warming policies. In fact, Mr. Romney and Speaker Gingrich share progressive policies on government mandated health insurance and climate change."


Read his full post here

Stephen Colbert on Monday gave Newt Gingrich a big tip of his hat for thinking up new ways to scare America.

Namely, the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP): a nuclear device, detonated at a high altitude that would knock out all electronic devices in a huge area. That would lead to the "unthinkable," Colbert said: "We would have to listen to those Amish bastards say 'we told ye so.'"

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