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Thursday January 05, 2012

5 DAYS UNTIL NEW HAMPSHIRE (12 delegates)
16 DAYS UNTIL SOUTH CAROLINA (25 delegates)
19 DAYS UNTIL THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
26 DAYS UNTIL FLORIDA (50 delegates)

TOP STORY: President Obama today become the first Commander-in-Chief to hold a press conference in the Pentagon Press Briefing Room, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, to announce a new proposal for the Defense Department budget- historic austerity measures to result in a smaller, leaner military to respond to changing threats and budgetary pressures.

FROM THE LEAD OF TOMORROW'S WASHINGTON POST-

"The U.S. military will steadily shrink the Army and Marine Corps, reduce forces in Europe and probably make further cuts to the nation’s nuclear arsenal...

The downsizing of the Pentagon, prompted by the country’s dire fiscal problems, means that the military will depend more on coalitions with allies and avoid the large-scale counterinsurgency and nation-building operations that have marked the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, the Pentagon will invest more heavily in Special Operations Forces, which have a smaller footprint and require less money than conventional units, as well as drone aircraft and cybersecurity, defense officials said. The military will also shift its focus to Asia to counter China’s rising influence and North Korea’s unpredictability. Despite the end of the Iraq war, administration officials said they would keep a large presence in the Middle East, where tensions with Iran are worsening."

TOP STORY IN THE ARMY TIMES- "Coming DoD cuts will hit some services harder

THE MARINE CORPS TIMES- "Long-war abilities cut; focus now on Pacific

BREAKING TONIGHT IN DC POLITICS- City Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. has announced he will resign and turn himself in to authorities tomorrow morning on embezzlement charges.

THOMAS' STATEMENT, IN PART: "Tomorrow morning I will plead guilty to committing two federal crimes. I am resigning my position as a member of the Council effective immediately. I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry. As a Councilmember and throughout my life, I have dedicated myself to serving the residents and the youth of Washington, D.C. In the pursuit of this work, I made some poor decisions and acted in ways I simply should not have. I was wrong. I want to apologize to those I have let down, including my constituents, neighbors and friends in Ward 5, the residents of this great city, the mayor, my fellow councilmembers and the government officials that serve our city tirelessly."

COMING ATTRACTION: Tomorrow morning at 8:30am, the Labor Department will release an employment report for the month of December. As it is each month, this report provides a snapshot of the economy and the employment picture. Economists are generally bullish on tomorrow's report, predicting 150,000 jobs will be reported as added last month.

TODAY ON WALL STREET: Essentially unchanged on the day.

  • DOW down 3
  • NASDAQ up 21.5
  • S&P 500 up 4

CAMPAIGN 2012

BREAKING TONIGHT: The Boston Globe has endorsed Jon Huntsman, bypassing its native son, and former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, who is widely expected to win Tuesday's primary. Four years ago, the Globe endorsed John McCain over Romney. McCain went on to win New Hampshire, and the Republican nomination.

FROM THE ENDORSEMENT, IN PART:

"Just three years removed from a Republican administration that was roundly judged a failure, the party has a chance to renew itself - to blaze a path to bipartisan action on the budget, to introduce market-based solutions to health costs, and to construct a post-Iraq War network of alliances to promote global economic strength, knowing that true security comes from both peace and prosperity.

So far, Republican presidential contenders have shown little awareness of this opportunity

And yet the chance for renewal remains. Sour economic data and dysfunction in Washington present major obstacles to Obama’s reelection. Whoever gets the Republican nomination could easily become president. Among the candidates, only two stand out as truly presidential, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.

But while Romney proceeds cautiously, strategically, trying to appease enough constituencies to get himself the nomination, Huntsman has been bold. Rather than merely sketch out policies, he articulates goals and ideals. The priorities he would set for the country, from leading the world in renewable energy to retooling education and immigration policies to help American high-tech industries, are far-sighted. He has stood up far more forcefully than Romney against those in his party who reject evolution and the science behind global warming.

With a strong record as governor of Utah and US ambassador to China, arguably the most important overseas diplomatic post, Huntsman’s credentials match those of anyone in the field. He would be the best candidate to seize this moment in GOP history, and the best-prepared to be president."

HUNTSMAN IS POLLING AT SEVEN PERCENT in a Suffolk University Poll out today, conducted since the results of Tuesday's Iowa Caucus. Mitt Romney holds a 23 point lead.

  • Romney 41%
  • Paul 18%
  • Santorum 8%
  • Gingrich 7%
  • Huntsman 7%

THE WASHINGTON TIMES HAS MITT UP BY 14 in New Hampshire

  • Romney 38%
  • Paul 24%
  • Santorum 11%
  • Gingrich 9%
  • Huntsman 8%
  • Perry 1%

NATIONALLY, ROMNEY HOLDS A 8-POINT LEAD over Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, now his chief rivals (by the polls) for the Republican Nomination

RASMUSSEN: Romney 29%, Santorum 21%, Gingrich 16%, Paul 12%, Perry 4, Huntsman 4%

GALLUP: Romney 27%, Gingrich 19%, Paul 13%, Santorum 11%, Perry 6%, Huntsman 2%

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATES:

Saturday, 9pm ET, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH, ABC News/WMUR-TV

Sunday, 9am ET, Chubb Theatre at the Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH, NBC News/Facebook/NH Union-Leader

They will be the 14th & 15th debates of the 2011/12 primary season.

WHO WON THE DAY? Newt Gingrich, says POLITICO'S Alex Burns.

"It may all be too little, too late for Newton Leroy Gingrich, but for the first time in a long time, the former House speaker looked like a candidate with some fight in him.

His campaign put out an ad contrasting his leadership with the “timid” Mitt Romney. Gingrich ridiculed Romney on the trail as a tax-raising “moderate.” And the Union Leader, which endorsed him for president back when times were good, printed a front-page editorial calling for voters to learn the lesson of Iowa and reject the “squishy-moderate” Romney.

It remains to be seen if Gingrich’s campaign is still salvageable, and a Suffolk University tracking poll found that he had fallen into a tie for fourth place in New Hampshire with Jon Huntsman. Still, both Gingrich’s supporters and his opponents see the possibility of another political resurrection in South Carolina."

FIGHTING WORDS FROM GINGRICH ON THE TRAIL TONIGHT:

"Gov. Romney ran for governor, called himself — I’m not making these words up — called himself a moderate,” Gingrich said. “As governor, he appointed liberal judges to appease the Democrats. As governor, he raised taxes.”

TOP TALKER- "Santorum Raises Polygamy in Defending Stand Against Gay Marriage"- National Journal- Naureen Khan and Ron Fournier in Concord

"In a spirited debate with gay-rights supporters, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday defended his opposition to liberalizing marriage laws by raising the specter of polygamy. “What about three men?” he asked.
The comment evoked memories of the ex-Pennsylvania senator's controversial statement to the Associated Press in 2003 in which he associated gay sex with incest and bestiality.

Santorum encouraged the debate with several audience members who attended his address at a college convention sponsored by New England College. The audience of about 200 people included several supporters of Santorum’s rival, libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Some booed Santorum when he left the stage.

One audience member, a college-aged man, asked Santorum how gay marriage affected him personally. A young woman asked him to justify his embrace of constitutional freedoms such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while at the same time denying the right for gay couples to marry.

FROM SANTORUM'S STATEMENT IN 2003 TO USA TODAY 

"We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created."

TONIGHT'S HUFFINGTON POST BANNER

"STAY CLASSY, RICK
Santorum Compares Gay Marriage To Polygamy"

THE WAY WE SEE IT: Watch for this story to blow up tomorrow, and doom Santorum's chances of continuing his Iowa momentum any further.

FINALLY...If you were scrolling through your Twitter feed late last night, you might have seen KANYE WEST go on a rant. More than 80 of them. Over 3 hours. In a rambling train of thoughts. Reuters makes some sense of it-

"We need to take what Michael Jackson felt and Mcqueen and Steve Jobs and we need make things better," West said on Twitter during the early hours of Thursday morning from London, referring to the late singing legend, fashion designer Alexander McQueen and Apple's founding visionary.

Media outlets tried to interpret West's posts in various ways, with publications such as Slate focusing on West's announcement of design company DONDA, while others like MTV opted to highlight tweets telling readers what was on the rapper's mind.

"He's a mad genius," said Ian Drew, music editor of Us Weekly. "His ideas are grandiose, but if you look at the history of Kanye, he would tweet an idea and it would happen. He's trying to be understood and heard."

"In general, Kanye is someone who thinks he is incredibly important," said Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity."

She said the Twitter posts "showed insight into who he really is," and speculated on the rapper's mental condition, saying she "wouldn't be surprised if Kanye was suffering from depression."

AGAIN TONIGHT WE WELCOME our new subscribers who came via a link in this morning's COLLEGE DAYBREAK. Welcome to the Evening Report, we're glad to have you! 

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