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Hotline Sort: Josh Mandel, Jr.

Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Some pretty impressive numbers are out in South Carolina and Iowa for Gingrich, the Joe Walsh watch continues in Illinois, the Florida House will release a new redistricting map later today and Josh Mandel gets the National Review treatment. Here's today's rundown:

7) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was picked for a jury that will hear a murder case.

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:40am

Huntsman Won't Attend Trump Debate, Bachmann on the Fence

So far, the Republican presidential field has been slow to jump on Donald Trump's latest bandwagon.

On Tuesday, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman rejected the invitation to participate in a Dec. 27 debate moderated by the media mogul and the conservative news organization Newsmax, while Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said she was still on the fence. Of the seven candidates left in the GOP field, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only one so far to confirm his appearance at the debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:40am

QUICK TAKE: 58 Die in Afghanistan Suicide Attacks Targeting Shiites

Three suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan left at least 58 dead on Tuesday, the Ashura holy day observed by Shiite Muslims.

Various reports confirm that 54 were killed in Kabul when a bomber threw himself into a crowd that had gathered at Abul Fazl  shrine to worship. Four were killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and none died in the southern city of Kandahar where the attacker hid a bomb under a parked motorcycle.

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:40am

Romney Has More Billionaire Donors than Any Opponent

More billionaires have donated to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney than to any of his opponents' campaigns, including that of President Obama.

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:40am

Polls: Gingrich Leads in Iowa, S.C.

Former House Speaker and GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich leads in the key early states of Iowa and South Carolina, according to two new polls that underscore that he is poised to claim two of the first three contests in the Republican presidential nominating process.

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 9:40am

Planet Found That Might Be Able to Sustain Life

For the first time since its launch in 2009, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has confirmed the existence of a planet outside our solar system located firmly in a habitable-zone orbit around its sun, NASA announced on Monday.

The habitable zone is an area around a star in which the temperature on a planet’s surface is just right for water, which is essential to life on Earth, to exist as a liquid. It’s thought that if life exists outside our solar system, the habitable zone represents the best chance to find such life.

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:40pm

National Journal Congressional Connection Poll Topline Results Dec. 5, 2011

United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, a national poll that tracks the public’s priorities for Congress and Washington - and its opinions on the policies that Congress is debating.

Below are the topline results from the week's Congressional Connection poll.

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Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:40pm

Public Wants Payroll Cut Even With Deficit

A majority of Americans support efforts to extend the payroll-tax cut despite concerns that an extension of the short-term reduction would increase the federal budget deficit. The public, though, is more divided on other economic issues facing Congress before the end of the year, according to a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:40pm

That Unemployment Drop

Forty years ago, high-end computer and audiotape manufacturer Memorex ran a classic television ad in which jazz great Ella Fitzgerald sings a high note and shatters a wine glass. Then her taped music plays with glass-shattering crystal clarity, and an announcer asks, “Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:40pm

Quayle to Endorse Romney

Former Vice President Dan Quayle will endorse Mitt Romney on Tuesday in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Romney is scheduled to meet with supporters in Paradise Valley, near Phoenix, where Quayle has a home. Quayle's son, Republican Ben Quayle, is the district's freshman congressman.

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 - 8:40pm