Ed Rollins is Mike Huckabee's National Campaign Chairman. Appearing on this evening's Hardball, the renowned political consultant declined to say that Romney's religion wasn't relevant to the campaign. For good measure, Rollins suggested that a senior Romney aide is . . . an atheist.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Does faith bring you guys together or separate you?

ED ROLLINS: Well, first of all, you and I are Catholics and Ron [Kaufman, senior Romney aide], are you still an atheist or have you basically converted, now that you're rich?

View video here.

So, GDP grew at 4.9 percent - the highest growth in four years.

Chris Matthews shouldn't count on a Christmas card from Hillary after the way he absolutely unloaded on her on Morning Joe today. The topic was her Christmas ad [view YouTube here], which shows her "giving" a variety of government programs to the American people.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I always thought the problem with Hillary was, her notion of government was, "I am Evita, I am the one who gives gifts to the little people and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita."
View video here. Chris was far from done.

Biting the hand that used to feed him, David Shuster has accused Fox News of being part of the "Republican establishment" and as such, going after Mike Huckabee. Shuster appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe during the 6:30 AM ET half-hour today.
DAVID SHUSTER: What's been so interesting about Huckabee, you're starting to see the Republican establishment, despite him being the "Baby Jesus" candidate [adopting Joe Scarborough's formulation], the Republican establishment is going after him pretty hard now. And you even saw it last night when the, I suppose you could call them the Republican establishment Fox News correspondent was asking some pretty asinine questions --
View video here.

♪♫ ♪ You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why - Cramer Claus is coming to town ♪♫ ♪

"But Mika Brzezinski agrees with me!" might not be Mike Huckabee's best pitch to Republican primary voters in defending his harsh criticism of the Bush administration on foreign policy. But the fact is that Mika has done her best to throw Mike a lifeline on the matter.

In a "Foreign Policy" magazine article, an excerpt of which appears below, Huckabee had famously written of "the Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality."

Interviewing Huckabee on today's Morning Joe, Mika teed up some recent news as supporting evidence for the "arrogant bunker mentality" allegation -- and the candidate was only too happy to take a swing.

View video here.

In an especially glowing interview with Barack Obama on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith lobbed softball after softball at the Illinois Senator, including this question about the successful troop surge in Iraq: "Obama is positioning himself as a candidate for change, particularly on the war. Were you a fan of the surge?" Obama’s response was not surprising, but did defy all logic:

No. And it's fascinating to me how the surge is now being defined as a success. That central question remains -- how do we get a change in behavior amongst Sunni, Shia, and Kurds? The only way I believe to trigger that change is to send a clear signal that we are withdrawing, we're not going to have permanent bases there, we will be a partner with them to help stabilize the country, but they've got to make some decisions.

Video (0:52): Windows Media (1.62 MB) and MP3 audio (384 kB) 

Smith and Obama got along so well that they actually finished each other’s sentences as Smith moved on to Afghanistan:

SMITH: And it seems now that Afghanistan --

OBAMA: Is deteriorating rapidly, which is one of the reasons I objected to this war in Iraq in the first place.

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterOn the December 18 "Studio B," Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith blasted an idea being floated by liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D)  to slap a new tax on stores that sell soda.

The market is good for corn farmers right now. Corn prices are reaching highs because of the increased demand for food and as of late, the increased demand for corn-based ethanol.

The price of corn is at an 11-year high. Its $4.38-a-bushel price tag is fueling food inflation, according to the December 17 "CBS Evening News."

However, that's contrary to what CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told viewers on the December 18 "American Morning." It is the low price of corn, he said, that has prompted the need for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to impose a "sugary drink tax," specifically drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

"[I]f you look at the history of this substance, ["American Morning" co-anchor] Kiran [Chetry] - I think this is very important - we subsidize a lot of corn production in this country," Gupta said. "We've been subsidizing it for a long time to support the corn farmers, which is a good thing. If there is a problem in all of this, it is that maybe we make too much corn and some of that corn gets turned into this high-fructose corn syrup."

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterAs noted here, Chris Matthews yesterday named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack a member of Hillary's "eunuchs chorus," people he derided for "saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say." Today, Matthews might be claiming vindication. In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, Vilsack parroted Hillary's word-'o-the-week--"change"--no fewer than eight times.

View the edited video clip of Vilsack crooning Hillary's "Change Chorus" here.

If you watched the news in the last 24 hours, you'd think women's clothing sales were the barometer for the economy. All three major networks reported a 6-percent decrease in women's apparel sales this holiday season, calling the figure "ominous," "worrisome" and "a big deal."

The only problem is that the corporation reporting the figures, Mastercard, didn't say it was that big of a deal. In fact Mastercard's SpendingPulse showed a "modest increase" in holiday sales overall, and "extraordinary growth" for eCommerce sales.

But for the MSM, good news is no news, so they zeroed in on one negative to suggest Christmas 2007 is a retail failure. And since Christmas is all about shopping, we might as well declare the whole season over before it started!

On the "CBS Evening News" Dec. 17, Anthony Mason reported "an ominous sign:

As Eat the Press has reported, NBC Nightly News has a famous new voice pitching Brian Williams at the program's introduction every night. It’s the actor Michael Douglas, best known as Aaron Sorkin’s liberal "American President" and as the evil Gordon Gekko character in the Oliver Stone Decade of Greed movie "Wall Street."

Douglas announces: "From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."

Video (0:46): Windows Media (1.46 MB) or MP3 audio (360 kB).

It seemed a little under modulated on Debut Night, or maybe it just doesn’t match up to the James Earl Jones "This....is CNN" sonorous standard. But it’s easy to remember how much all the networks loved the Gordon Gekko line to sum up those greed-head Ronald Reagan 1980s, as we wrote in our newsletter at the time: