Quotes of the Day

“Republicans in Congress dismiss our plan at their own peril,” [Majority Leader Harry Reid] warned on Monday.

Senate Republicans blocked the latest installment of President Obama’s jobs plan — a bill to extend the payroll tax cut — for the second week in a row on Thursday.

The bill, titled the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, was shot down 50-48. It would have cut the payroll tax paid by employees to 3.1 percent from the current 4.2 percent while funding itself by imposing a surtax on millionaires.

Republicans, however, showed themselves unwilling to swallow the tax hike on the rich, and some, like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), scoffed at the idea that it represented a serious compromise.

“The majority leader has yet to introduce legislation that can actually pass the Senate or the House,” McConnell said Tuesday.

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“I simply do not know where the money is

Jon S. Corzine defended his tenure as chief executive of MF Global Holdings Ltd. before a House committee, but couldn’t explain an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customers’ money.

Visibly tense in the politically charged hearing, Mr. Corzine, 64 years old, on Thursday told the House Agriculture Committee that he has been “devastated by the enormous impact on many peoples’ lives” caused by MF Global’s collapse.

Pressed for an answer as to what could have happened, he said it was possible, though unlikely, that underlings might have misunderstood an order and mistakenly dipped into customer funds. Mr. Corzine said he still expects that the money eventually will be found and recovered.

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“Before you newly active Republicans commit to Newt Gingrich as your presidential nominee on the basis of the recent debates, here’s a bit of Newt history you ought to know. I promise you, it’s going to come up if he’s the candidate.”

The day after the Republicans’ historic takeover of the House of Representatives in the 1994 election, Newt was off and running, giving a series of Fidel Castro-style speeches about “the Third Wave information revolution.” It had the unmistakable ring of lingo from his new-age gurus, Alvin and Heidi Toffler.

(Newt, who was married at the time, also began dating again.)

A few weeks later, when Newt was elected House speaker by the incoming Republican conference, there was a small elderly couple standing by his side as he gave a one-hour acceptance speech. It soon became clear who they were, when he issued a reading list to the Republican legislators. At the top of the list was a book by the Tofflers.

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“You are so angry, aren’t ya?” Christie badgered. “It’s so terrible… Oh work it out. Work it all out for yourselves. Work it all out for yourselves.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie heckled a group of protesters at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Iowa on Wednesday, calling them immature and disillusioned for supporting President Obama.

Christie had been speaking for about one minute to a crowd of roughly 200 at the Kum & Go headquarters in West Des Moines when a protester, who was standing a few feet from Christie, shouted, “mic check!”

More than a dozen people shouted back: “mic check!”

“Chris Christie and Mitt Romney… serve the corporate one percent,” the protester continued, as others echoed his chant.

A dozen-or-so protesters dispersed among the crowd then began chanting, “make Wall Street pay” and “put people first.”

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“We’re not going to cover Spencer’s ass by passing a half-baked bill,” one Republican member of the panel told POLITICO. “Even Barney Frank didn’t pass it in his two terms as chairman and Dem[ocrats] are the lead sponsors. It’s all about Spencer’s bad political position, not the contents of the policy.”

A day after Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus said he would move forward on an insider-trading bill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stopped him dead in his tracks.

In a Wednesday meeting described by one source as “extremely direct” and by another as “very blunt,” Cantor (R-Va.) ripped into Bachus, explaining in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable for Bachus to mark up the bill without having run it by GOP leaders and other chairmen with jurisdiction over its provisions.

The Alabama Republican abruptly canceled the vote, which was scheduled for next week.

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“I think that’s probably the only path [Perry] has left, to be honest,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a caucus veteran who helped her dad, former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, win Iowa in 2008. “He hasn’t shown he’s been able to speak well and own any other issues.”

Perry’s campaign, in the midst of a $1 million ad buy in the Hawkeye State, has highlighted the Texas governor’s evangelical Christian faith in its two most recent ads.

In his previous ad, “Faith,” he said: “Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they’re wrong.”

The spots appear to be part of an emergent strategy by Perry’s campaign to focus on bread-and-butter social conservatism in a last-ditch effort to revive his campaign before Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucuses, where social issues loom large.

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