On Second Thought:

Although he didn’t exactly express support for gay marriage, Newt Gingrich is urging fellow Republicans to rethink their position on the hot-button social issue. The former presidential candidate, who previously compared same-sex marriage to paganism, now says, “The reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.” Gingrich’s political shift is a big deal, not just because it comes from a major figure within the GOP, but also because it’s a signal from the former House speaker that he believes the right wing has lost the battle over gay marriage. (Read more)

Booker Bows Out: In a move that almost assuredly means re-election victory for Chris Christie, Cory Booker has announced that he will not run against the Republican New Jersey governor when Christie’s term is up next year. Instead, Booker will most likely run for the Senate in 2014. While the Newark mayor has said publicly that he is still “exploring” a U.S. Senate bid, sources close to Booker have told BuzzFeed that privately he has decided to run. Booker was viewed as the Democrats’ best hope in the Garden State to unseat the popular Christie. (Read more)

Senator Affleck? Although much has been made about Scott Brown running for Senate again if John Kerry becomes the next secretary of state as expected, little has been made about whom he might run against in a special election for the Massachusetts seat. Until now. According to reports, actor Ben Affleck may be interested in making a run to succeed Kerry. The Democrat has long been politically active, even campaigning for Elizabeth Warren during her victorious Senate run against Brown. When asked about his political future, however, Affleck—who is in Washington, D.C., to discuss the violence plaguing the Congo with lawmakers—remained mum on his possible political future. (Read more)

Money for Something: What do lobbyist donations buy in Congress? We will likely find out next year when lawmakers deal with the issue of gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. According to the Sunlight Foundation, 51 percent of the members of the new Congress will have, at some point in their careers, received contributions from the National Rifle Association. Additionally, 47 percent received money from the powerful gun lobby this election cycle. (Read more)

Margin Call: A newly released poll conducted by CNN/ORC International shows that a majority of Americans believe that the Republican Party has become too extreme. Just 37 percent of respondents thought the same of Democrats, and in fact 57 percent viewed the party as “mainstream.” Moreover, a majority — 52 percent — approve of the job President Obama’s doing, while just 34 percent say the same for House Speaker John Boehner. This is definitely something for the president to consider in the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations. (Read more)

Limbaugh’s Lies: Watchdog site Media Matters has named Rush Limbaugh as its 2012 “Misinformer of the Year.” Talk about an appropriate honor for the conservative propagandist. Among the many, many reasons Limbaugh is deserving of the “award” — his misogynistic attack against women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke. You may recall that he called the Georgetown law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified on Capitol Hill about contraceptives. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Rachel Maddow used her MSNBC program Wednesday night to rail against the government’s weak efforts to regulate guns in the country. Maddow was particularly appalled at how “underresourced and understaffed” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is. “In the case of the gun manufacturers’ lobby, they have gotten their wish,” Maddow said. “They would please like that part of the government that regulates the health and safety of their products to disappear and through the magic of the conservative movement and the gun lobby and politicians not standing up … nobody runs that part of our government anymore.”

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