* Nice catch by Steve Benen: In that Washington Examiner interview, Mitt Romney appears to have acknowledged that he only has a “limited understanding of the economy.”

* Obama says No Dice to the GOP’s effort to tie the payroll tax cut extension to the controversial Alaska-Gulf Coast oil pipeline, another sign Dems are intent on owning the leverage in this fight.

* Chuck Schumer warns House Republicans not to leave town before the payroll tax cut is extended: “Don’t go home Speaker Boehner, because we’re going to be here. And you’ll be embarrassed before the American people if you do.”

* With Republicans now saying they oppose extending the payroll tax cut because it will allegedly harm Social Security, Joan McCarter suggests an interesting response for Dems:

Democrats should embrace this new found concern among Republicans for the program, and up the ante by coupling the payroll tax holiday with lifting the payroll tax cap. Right now, income over $110,000 is exempt from the payroll tax. Do away with that cap, and you help make sure that the lowered contributions from people who will never have more than $110,000 in income in a year don’t get hit now. It’s a win-win.

* Not that this will matter, but Social Security’s chief actuary says the Dem extension proposal would have a "negligible” impact on the program’s finances.

(Also in that link: In fairness, some Dems have criticized the extension, claiming the use of general funds to pay for it could make it harder to claim the program doesn’t contribute to the deficit.)

* Did the Obama administration refuse to relax restrictions on the Plan B pill because such a move is too politically risky heading into an election, thus putting politics before science?

* Digby: “Democrats have joined the war on science.”

* The DNC is out with an extensive memo detailing Mitt Romney’s acute case of “Multiple Political Personality Disorder,”another sign that Dems want Romney’s lack of a “core” to become the national narrative.

* Newt-mentum!!! New CNN/Time polls find Newt Gingrich leading Romney by large double digits in three of the four early primary states — and Romney’s lead in New Hamphire, which is key to his strategy, has shrunk.

* Romney says his first trip as president will be to Israel, prompting the Tweet of the day, from Chuck Todd:

Will someone one-up Romney and pledge to give their inaugural address FROM Israel?

* Stephen Stromberg has an illuminating explanation of the three categories of Republican views on climate change. Literally all the 2012 GOP presidential candidates are now officially in the denialist ones.

* Taegan Goddard says that Newt Gingrich’s declaration today that he’d appoint John Bolton Secretary of State may have broken the law.

* But Rick Hasen notes that the federal statute in question requires him to have done this “for the purpose of procuring support.”

* A nice E.J. Dionne column on the Obama team’s thinking about his need to place himself in the long progressive tradition while maintaining an air of pragmatism. Note the line about Obama’s discovery of his two inner Roosevelts.

* Jared Bernstein, who seems to have coined this phrase, goes big on the meaning of YoYo Economics, i.e., the “you’re on your own economics” Obama described yesterday.

* And Justin Elliott finds evidence that Bank of America is paying very close attention to the anti-foreclosure movement.

What else is happening?