PM Note: Comparing Newt and Mitt, Democrats Try Out Newt Talking Points, The Trump Primary and Pelosi’s Secret Trove


There was some name-calling on the campaign trail today:

'Godfather of Gridlock' - For the first time, Team Obama set its sights on newly minted Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich.  Heretofore they've focused almost exclusively on Mitt Romney. "You're talking about the godfather of gridlock here - the guy who two decades ago really invented the kind of tactics that have become commonplace in Washington. So, this is a whole new Newt," said David Axelrod. More from Devin Dwyer:

Newt v. Mitt: Yin and Yang - The emergence of Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker and wealthy influencer of policy since leaving elective office in the 1990s signals a sort of return to Washington for the GOP field. While everyone else seems embarrassed of their government service, Gingrich has worn it like a badge of honor. Are Republicans ready for the consummate insider? Compare Gingrich - who became rich for what he did in politics - to Romney, who became rich and then entered politics - and you have a sort of Yin and Yang of the GOP establishment. One was moderate when he succeeded in the blue state of Massachusetts. The other had some moderate views after leading part of a branch of government.

Shih Tzus - Ron Paul mocks his GOP presidential rivals in a new ad today that likens them to yappy little dogs when it comes to cutting the federal budget, according to Jason Volack. The cartoonish 30 second ad which starts airing in Iowa and New Hampshire compares his rivals to shih- tzus who "love to bark, but when it's show time, they whimper." "You want cuts, Ron Paul has been screaming for years, " the ad states.

Newt as Rudy? - Newt is going up with an ad in Iowa too. Its got a very "Morning in America" feel to it. There are amber waves of grain. And some pretty, uplifting music in the web version that just happens to come from "Rudy," the movie. People who see it on TV will hear something else.

Speaker War: Nancy v. Newt - Things have changed since 2009 when Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich appeared in a TV commercial to combat climate change together. The more recent former House Speaker and suggested Friday she had a trove of info from Congressional investigations she's hoarding on Newt Gingrich to release when the "time is right."  Turns out she, according to her office, she was just referring to already publicly available info. "Leader Pelosi was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware," spokesman Drew Hammill wrote in a statement.

New Payroll Tax Cut Plan - Democrats unveiled a new Payroll tax cut plan, according to ABC's Sunlen Miller. The $180 billion payroll tax extension plan sets up a vote that could come as early as Thursday but more likely on Friday of this week. The plan has been trimmed by about a third - from the $265 billion that was in the original proposal to $180 billion.  Most significantly, the new version gets rid of the payroll tax holiday for businesses and employers that was included in the Democrats original proposal. The payroll tax cut for individuals would stay the same as the original proposal - expanding it from the current 2 percent  to 3.1 percent.

The WH Spin on Payroll Tax Cut - Obama accused the GOP of hypocrisy on the tax credit and the White House unveiled a countdown clock. Carney argued this countdown clock is nothing like the debt deal countdown clocks derided by Democrats in the White House.

Brussels Ambassador and Israel - Jake Tapper asked Jay Carney about the Brussels Ambassador and his controversial comments about Israel:

Trump Primary, Newt Edition  - It was also a big day for Donald Trump, who found his way into newspaper headlines, conveniently, on the same day his new book "Time to Get Tough: Making America Number 1 Again" dropped. Talk about getting tough. He signed onto New Gingrich's plan to loosen child labor laws.

Gingrich called Trump an "American Icon" - And Newt, who will apparently debate anybody, is one of the few Yes RSVP's for Trump's forthcoming debate. Huntsman and Paul are No's. Santorum is a Yes. Everyone else is on the bubble.

Iraq Drawdown - 9,500 and counting in Iraq - The count keeps getting lower and lower by the week.   The number of US troops in Iraq now stands at 9,500 serving on five bases. The majority of these troops will be out by mid-December according to military officials.

Iran Drone - U.S. officials are not spending as much time elaborating on the drone that is in Iranian hands, according to Luis Martinez and Martha Raddatz:

Medicare Waste - Outgoing Medicare Head (and recipient of a filibuster) Donald Berwick listed five reasons for the waste, as reported by the NYT: "overtreatment of patients, the failure to coordinate care, the administrative complexity of the health care system, burdensome rules and fraud." Berwick's comments come at a time when the U.S. Department Health and Human Services is shuffling to manage and allocate billions of dollars into implementing the Affordable Care Act amid an ideological and political debate about its future.

Troy Mayor Gets Protest Over Comments About Gay Marriage -

Santorum on Bella - If you missed This Week, Christiane talking to Rick Santorum about his gravely ill daughter caught our eye. Asked how he can campaign with a child who needs such attention, he said he's doing it because he wants to bring a respect for lives like hers to the White House.

Good Day, Iowa - Shush Walshe is on the ground in Iowa for ABC and here's her daily report:

SCOTUS on Cheney -  Ariane de Vogue reports the Supreme Court to hear case regarding Cheney's Secret Service detail and their arrest of a man who confronted Cheney in 2006. The case arose when Steven Howards was taking his son to a piano recital in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and saw then-Vice President Cheney shaking hands with members of the public. He decided to confront Cheney about the administration's Iraq policy. He was arrested after agents saw him touch Cheney on the shoulder. But charges were later dropped.

Cameras in SCOTUS - Judiciary Committee Will Have Hearings -

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