The comparisons between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich ahead of tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Sioux City are becoming much more specific, but some are suggesting data shows Newt’s bubble is already bursting.

“Many conservatives are in no mood to forgive Mitt Romney for passing the Massachusetts health care law that became the model for Obamacare. Newt Gingrich is the latest beneficiary of this phenomenon. But those who seek a conservative candidate on health care are going backward if they choose Gingrich. Newt’s record on health care -- and especially health care entitlements -- makes even Romney’s look good,” writes Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy. (Washington Examiner)

Does Romney know what year it is? (National Review)

Jim Pethokoukis wonders if Newt’s bubble is bursting already. (AEI)

Finding Huntsman. (Washington Post)

The rundown on today’s think tank events. (Washington Post)

Politico Arena asks: Will Corzine drag down Democrats? Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research answers.

Obama’s Justice Department joins Britain’s ‘Climategate’ leaker manhunt. (Washington Examiner)

“Alas, judging from his megalomaniacal interview with Walters, Bashar Assad clearly hadn’t internalized that even his perennial friends are deserting him. If he had, he’d be making plans for the end of the regime and a post-Syria life in Tehran, his last remaining steadfast supporter. More likely though, given his self-delusion, Assad will remain in Syria, and face the fate of Moammar Kadafi,” writes Washington Institute for Near East Policy scholar David Schenker. (LA Times)

New Yorkers shouldn’t fear fracking, says Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce. (New York Post)

Real Americans redistribute: The payroll tax debate’s dirty secret (Washington Post)

CFR’s Amity Shlaes: “So it’s official. The New York Times, or at least columnist Paul Krugman, has declared us to be in a worldwide depression. And just in time for Christmas.” (Bloomberg)

Cato reminds us it’s Bill of Rights Day.