Scott Brown rips the House GOP, CREW wants a Newt Gingrich investigation, John Brunner won’t debate, and Romney is all over television.

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House Republicans’ risky political bet on the payroll tax

Newt Gingrich fights back in Iowa

Mitt Romney, establishment candidate

Can Ron Paul win Iowa? Yup.

Is the Iowa caucus about to go into a deep freeze?


* Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) criticized the House GOP for opposing a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, calling plans to vote down the bill “irresponsible and wrong.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this morning that his conference wanted a longer-term deal and would likely vote down the extension tonight. Republican Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Dick Lugar (Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) joined Brown in urging the extension’s passage. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching automated phone calls targeting House Republicans on tonight’s vote.

* Pennsylvania state Rep. Jim Christiana (R) is not running for Congress, saying in an open letter that it would be an “unreasonable strain” on his fiancee. The decision comes as a surprise. Christiana was widely expected to run for the new 12th district, which Republicans have redrawn as more of a swing seat. Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz have been forced into a primary. Lawyer Keith Rothfus, who lost to Altmire last year, is now the only declared GOP candidate.

* The ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Gingrich Productions, alleging that the candidate’s production company illegally sold the campaign a mailing list and illegally subsidized campaign events.

* Americans Elect, a non-profit aiming to get a third-party candidate in the presidential race, has just qualified for the California ballot. That means the group is competing in twelve states. The idea is to pave the way for an independent, moderate candidate who will be nominated via an online convention.


* Missouri Senate candidate John Brunner (R) is opting out of an January 10 primary debate hosted by KTRS radio station, saying campaigns and not news organizations should organize the schedule. Rep. Todd Akin and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman have agreed to the debate.

* ESPN college football analyst Craig James is running for Senate in Texas as a Republican, he announced today. James was a star tailback at Southern Methodist University in the 1980 sand went on to play for the New England Patriots. But he enters a crowded field in the race for retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat — former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and former Dallas mayor Tom Leppertare also in the race.

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is continuing his media tour tonight, with appearances on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor,” PBS’ “Charlie Rose” and CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.” He’ll also be on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” tomorrow morning.

* Former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) is planning to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Ron Paul (R) next year. Redistricting in the state is up in the air — the court-drawn map would give Lampson a good shot, but Republicans are challenging those lines. , Lampson lost his seat in 2004 after the state GOP’s controversial 2003 redistricting; he ran and won the seat formerly held by then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R) in 2006 but lost it after two years.


“Is it on?” Yes, yes it is.

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake