2 Days To ABC Debate, Newt Finds the Frequency, Romney’s Armies Attack, Twisting Warren’s TARP Role, Obama Trash Talks (The PM Note)

Heather Riley

ABC News'  Z. Byron Wolf ( @zbyronwolf ) reports:

2 Days to the ABC News / Yahoo! News / WOI / Des Moines Register / Iowa GOP Debate. Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. local. Watch it on TV or stream it online. Or both.

Good Day, Iowa - Get prepped for the debate with Shush Walshe's daily dispatch from the ground, which includes a weather report and what's on local TV. http://abcn.ws/vpoMOs

What's the Frequency, Newt? - Matt Dowd Plots Gingrich on a chart to figure out why he's the frontrunner - "As of today, he leads both on authenticity and competence, which has put him in the lead nationally and in nearly every early state so far polled… And in the crucial ABC debate coming up this weekend, watch for attacks by others on these attributes.  If they can't make them stick, then Gingrich is likely to keep moving toward securing the nomination because of his advantage on these key values." http://abcn.ws/swJ2HP

Newt is Surging, but Republican Enthusiasm is Not - http://abcn.ws/rxLR9M

Romney's Army Attacks: Air Support  - Jon Berman reports on the $3.1 million ad buy (!) a Romney friendly (but legally not coordinated with his campaign) SuperPAC has in Iowa. Berman: "And now the money bomb!  The SuperPAC that is backing Mitt Romney is finally launching its ad campaign, a behemoth $3.1 million 3 week effort that dwarfs anything run in this cycle so far… It makes no mention of current Iowa front-runner Newt Gingrich, but is clearly meant to slow his momentum, and this spot could soon be followed by a more direct broadside against Gingrich." http://abcn.ws/sfn6e5

Cavalry - From Emily Friedman: In a scathing attack on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's record, two surrogates for Mitt Romney today described the GOP front-runner as an unreliable and untrustworthy conservative who makes "self-aggrandizing comments" in an attempt to make himself "sound a little smarter." Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu and former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent unleashed the most outright criticism of Gingrich by the Romney camp yet in a news conference call this morning to contrast Romney and Gingrich's views on Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. http://abcn.ws/rs46og

The Romney - Gingrich Duel summarized by Huma Khan - http://abcn.ws/uzi2E3

Lean Six Sigma - Would Newt's Business Philosophy Translate to the Government World? Matt Negrin asked the guy who thought it up - http://abcn.ws/tN8Dgt

T-Paw's Lament - Matt Jaffe dusts off his Rolodex and files this: The former Minnesota governor, once viewed as one of the front-runners in the GOP race, dropped out in August after a dismal third-place showing at the Iowa straw poll. Suffering from a drained war chest, failure to meet expectations, and trailing the likes of straw poll-winner Michele Bachmann and runner-up Ron Paul, Pawlenty withdrew from the race the morning after his resounding defeat in Ames… What seemed a prudent decision at the time, however, now seems a questionable one, especially when the state of the Republican race is taken into account. http://abcn.ws/t4Magn

Perry's Content To Let Romney Go After Gingrich - http://abcn.ws/stI4uc

But Perry's Iowa Offensive is On - http://abcn.ws/v2fkZU And he won't put it off for any Trump debate, either - http://abcn.ws/uLqELo

Huntsman's Future? - Huntsman is a Republican and he's running as a Republican, but he's not making any Sherman-esque statements about not running as an Independent. Matt Negrin reports: http://abcn.ws/rJWZsQ

Hostile Witnesses: Issa v. Holder - Darrell Issa went after Eric Holder over Fast and Furious on Capitol Hill today, suggesting the DOJ acted in Fast and Furious in a Nixonian way and saying Holder could be in contempt of Congress. Holder took offense and asked the California congressman, "Have you no shame?" Jason Ryan's report: http://abcn.ws/tTadoG

I Want My $1.2 Billion - John Corzine, former Senator and Governor and Obama bundler, says he doesn't know where the missing money at MF Global went. http://abcn.ws/ubkAd5

Plan B - Obama Defends Decision to Keep Plan B Off Store Shelves (but says he wasn't involved) - "I think it is important for us to make sure that, you know, we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine," he said. "When it comes to 12-year-olds or 13-year-olds, the question is can we have confidence that they would potentially use Plan B properly." http://abcn.ws/tPUhyG

Gay Marriage and the Iowa Economy - http://abcn.ws/rxU6kx

Obama Bristles at 'Appeasement' Charge, Brings up OBL - If you want a rise out of the President, try this: 'Hey Barack, You an Appeaser?' "Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaeda leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement," the president fired back at an impromptu news conference at the White House. "Or whoever's left out there," he added. "Ask them about that." More from Mary Bruce: http://abcn.ws/uyMaqw

Mission Accomplished, Part 2 - From Ann Compton: The president and his wife will salute the end of the war, and the combat forces who fought there as well as all military families during the event on Wednesday, Dec. 14… Fort Bragg is one of the U.S. Army installations that has deployed thousands, and is helping to close down operations in Iraq by the end of the month. The ceremony to mark the end of the Iraq War comes about 8.5 years after President George W. Bush stood beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare "the end of major combat operations" in Iraq. http://abcn.ws/sMFPX8

Massachusetts Senate - Ad Twists Warren's TARP Role - Scott Brown was the lone Republican to support Richard Cordray's nomination to be director of the Bureau that Elizabeth Warren Built. Crossroads GPS unveiled a scathing ad that attacked Warren's brand of consumer advocate. Amy Bingham reports: http://abcn.ws/tG7cLv

Cordray Blocked - More from Sunlen Miller - http://abcn.ws/uDwdSD

Reindeer Games: Payroll Tax Edition Dems Accuse House GOP of Playing Games - http://abcn.ws/sj0MxR Boehner Calls Obama's Bluff (assuming its a Bluff) on Payroll Tax for Keystone Pipeline - http://abcn.ws/uHcgtz Will a Payroll Tax Cut work? Economists split - From Michael Ono:  http://abcn.ws/rResg9

House Votes To Ban Fake Marijuana - http://abcn.ws/tf3A9n

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