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January 02, 2012 7:20 AM From the Weekend

By Steve Benen

We covered a fair amount of ground over the weekend. Here’s a quick overview of what you may have missed.

On Sunday, we talked about:

* President Obama intends to run against Congress this fall. Given that this might very well be the Worst Congress Ever, that’s not an unreasonable strategy.

* Rick Santorum believes diversity “creates conflict.” That’s ridiculous.

* The president signed this year’s NDAA, but as expected, it came with a signing statement.

* Newt Gingrich, apparently unaware of his entire career, believes politics has “become a really nasty, vicious, negative business.”

* The fact that Rick Perry’s staffers are already blaming one another for the campaign’s failure really isn’t a good sign.

* Where things stand in Iowa.

And on Saturday, we talked about:

* The Des Moines Register’s closely-watched Iowa Poll shows Mitt Romney leading, but Rick Santorum coming on strong.

* Mitt Romney wants to talk about Marie Antoinette. That strikes me as a good idea.

* Last week, Fox News and conservative activists picked a new target: the Girl Scouts.

* Interest in Romney’s tax returns, and his desire for secrecy, isn’t going away.

* Will Congress extend the payroll tax break through 2012? After seeing who Republicans sent to the conference committee, I’m fairly certain the policy will expire in late February.

* In “This Week in God,” we covered, among other things, a fascinating church-state conflict in Illinois, where a major Roman Catholic charity wants to be able to accept taxpayer funds while discriminating against some taxpayers.

* Remember in 1972, when Ed Muskie wept outside the offices of New Hampshire’s Union Leader, and it was, at the time, a political disaster? Crying in politics has come a long way since.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.