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Week In The News: Iraq War Ends, Europe Wobbles, Congress Frozen

War ends in Iraq. Standoff in Congress. Americans don’t marry. Europe wobbles on. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

The US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors are seen before they are carried in during ceremonies marking the end of US military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. (AP)

The US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors are seen before they are carried in during ceremonies marking the end of US military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. (AP)

It was the week that sometimes felt like it would never come.  The week they folded up Old Glory in Baghdad and headed home.  The end of the war in Iraq.  At least for now, for us.  The battle in Congress?  Maybe a truce.  A short ceasefire.  Maybe.

On the Republican campaign trail, Romney says we don’t need “zany.”  Gingrich says, who you callin’ zany?  Chistopher Hitchens is dead.  Time Magazine names “The Protestor” as Person of the Year.  Everybody’s “Tebowing.”

This hour  On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Susan Davis, Chief Congressional reporter for USA Today.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, economics editor at The Economist.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal ” Faced with a House Republican bill that extends the payroll-tax holiday but doesn’t raise taxes on millionaires, President Obama and Senate Democrats are considering financing the extension with budget cuts. ”

Politico ” On the eve of a possible government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tamped down their rhetoric on Thursday and tried to reassure skeptics that their differences can be resolved at the eleventh hour. ”

Chicago Tribune ” As 2011 draws to a close, how fitting that Congress is fighting over money — again. Late Wednesday, a push to extend a payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits stood in the way of a crucial budget bill to fund the government’s operations. Democrats wanted to cover the cost of those initiatives with tax increases, Republicans with spending cuts. “

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