Here are some stories we’re following today:
Payroll tax cut: President Obama has hit the campaign trail and ramped up his rhetoric; he says he’ll forego his annual Hawaiian vacation to stay in Washington until Congress passes an extension of last year’s payroll tax holiday. Failure to extend the cuts would mean the average American family would see an additional $1000 taken out of their paychecks in 2012. With less than three weeks until the new year, Congress continues to battle over this legislation.
Debate night: A string of new polls this week confirm Newt Gingrich as the current GOP frontrunner. His surge couldn’t have come at a better time, with only three and a half weeks until the Iowa caucuses. Gingrich and the other leading Republican presidential candidates will take the stage on Saturday for another presidential debate. After being knocked off his top-of-the-pack perch, will Mitt Romney go on the attack?
But wait, there's more:
Weekly jobs numbers: The nation’s workforce grew in November as the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent. Today we learned that the number of Americans submitting new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 381,000 - a nine month low. Following record holiday spending over Thanksgiving weekend, is it safe to say that the economy is slowly rebounding?
Curtains close on Iraq: As the final U.S. troops return home from Iraq and the White House says it is a “definitive end” to our war there, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will meet with President Obama in Washington on Monday. But while the U.S. troop presence will be greatly reduced, the American footprint will still loom large in a country still reeling from a decade of violence. 16,000 U.S. personnel will staff the American embassy in Baghdad, according to State Department estimates.