* Senator John McCain calls out House Republicans: Their opposition to the Senate payroll tax cut extension compromse is “harming the Republican Party.”
* The Associated Press goes behind the scenes with a glimpse at rising concerns about the House Speaker’s leadership, with this rough headline: “Tax cut fight ends ugly year for Boehner.”
* The negotiators Boehner appointed for conference committee talks with Dems on the payroll tax cut have previously opposed the extension as a bad idea, again raising questions among Dems about the GOP committment to compromising.
* Major Garrett, who’s plugged in with House Republicans, says the most likely outcome in the payroll tax cut standoff is that the GOP blinks first. Here’s the scenario he envisions:
House Republicans see the futility of fighting President Obama the week before Christmas and agree to the Senate’s two-month payroll-tax cut extension on one condition: Senate Democrats agree to go to conference on a full, one-year payroll tax extension with spending cut offsets by Feb. 1
GOP aides have reportedly not ruled out this possibility.
* Chris Cillizza explains why new polling shows that Obama is winning back middle class voters, and why this should cheer the Obama team, because those voters have been a key swing constituency in the last four elections.
* Pew finds that 57 percent of Americans think the wealthy don’t pay their fair share in taxes, and an identical number of independents agree, still more evidence that “class warfare” may not scare off the “center.”
* Relatedly: A new CBS poll finds that six in 10 Americans favor higher taxes on millionaires — including 43 percent of Republicans.
* The pro-Romney Super PAC is dumping big, big money into Iowa, a sign that Romney’s backers really want to knock off Newt before this thing gets out of hand.
* Indeed, Iowa remains exceptionally fluid, with Romney and Newt tied at 20 percent each, meaning anything can still happen.
* Romney’s benefitting from Super PAC support even though he piously claimed this morning that all Super PACs should be shut down.
* Jed Lewison aptly boils down Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” logic:
If Republicans had voted to replace the FBI with a voucher program giving citizens subsidies to pay for private investigators, it would have been inaccurate to say they had “ended the FBI.”
* Another key point from Ezra Klein about Paul Ryan and PolitiFact:
Ryan actually campaigned to get PolitiFact to name “end Medicare” their Lie of the Year. And yet Ryan is one of the prime offenders behind the 2010 Lie of the Year — that the Affordable Care Act was a “government takeover” of the health-care system. But Ryan hasn’t apologized for those comments or even, as far as I can tell, stopped making that argument. He wants PolitiFact on his side when it’s useful for him, and he’ll ignore the outlet when it isn’t.
* And Jonathan Cohn knocks down the right’s latest ubiquitous claim, that fact-checkers are biased towards conservatives because they cite Republican lies more often:
I would argue there’s a good reason to cite Republican lies more than Democratic lies: They have been more plentiful and more egregious in the last few years.
You're not allowed to evaluate whether this is objectively true, of course, because it would constitute taking sides and would therefore not be objective. What else is happening?