* If you ignore him, he’ll go away: It appears Mitt Romney has turned down an invitation from conservative groups to face Newt Gingrich in a Lincoln-Douglas debate.
* Obama, playing a role the White House likes, delivers Congress an ultimatum: Extend the payroll tax cuts, or forget about going home for Christmas turkey.
ICYMI: Senate Dems are also upping the pressure with another vote set for next week on a modified proposal to be determined. Joan McCarter urges Dems not to move too far away from the millionaire surtax, lest they squander their political advantage.
* The problem GOP leaders face: Rank and file conservative Republicans can’t bring themselves to support any of the solutions that would enable working people to temporarily keep their tax cut.
Why? As GOP Rep. Allen West puts it: “We’re broke.”Which is why we couldn’t extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich, either! Oh, wait...
* Takedown of the day: Steve Benen knocks down the (apparently still alive) myth on the right that Obama is “abandoning” the white working class.
As Ben Adler recently noted, this is reaching the “status of official conservative shibboleth.”
Guys: No one affiliated with the Obama campaign ever said anything like this, and the Obama camp flatly denied it. C’mon, this one is comically transparent.
* Politifact nominates the Dem claim that Republicans voted to “end Medicare” as one of its lie of the year candidates.
* Igor Volsky responds: “PolitiFact’s Finalist For 2011 Lie Of The Year Is 100 Percent True.”
* Epic National Journal piece on the causes and effects of rising climate change denial among Congressional Republicans, and the worry among moderates that the GOP is badly damaging itself with it.
A taste: NJ asked every single GOP lawmaker in both chambers whether climate change is causing the earth to warm, and whether human activity is a cause. Most refused to respond.
* Remember Romney’s criticism of Gingrich’s humane opposition to deporting longtime illegal residents? We’re talking about nearly two thirds of the 10 million unauthorized adult immigrants in this country.
* Gingrich doubles down: No, Americans don’t want to expel parents and grandparents who have been here 25 years or more. Romney disagrees with this, but he won’t say they should be deported, either.
* It’s not easy being a conservative these days: George Will channels rising conservative anxiety about having Romney and Gingrich as the only available choices, pronouncing them both “too risky.”
* Avi Zenilman has the quote of the day, from GOP strategist Ed Rollins, about the plan for a Donald Trump-moderated GOP debate:
“This campaign has been enough of a circus without making him the ringmaster.”
* And millions of Americans anxiously await Herman Cain’s planned “major announcement” tomorrow about his comically minor bid for the nomination that never had any chance whatsoever.
What else is happening?