Fun Pictures of More Thirsty Politicians - Turns out EVERYONE drinks the stuff - http://abcn.ws/YXxLjG
#FF - Filibuster Friday? - Reid Schedules Hagel Vote - http://abcn.ws/WJxv9i (Sunlen Miller)
Drone Wars: Rand Paul vs. John Brennan Today Paul announced he'll block the confirmation of John Brennan, Obama's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, until Brennan says whether he believes the president has authority to kill Americans on American soil. http://abcn.ws/12h4d5v (Chris Good)
A First - Sierra Club President Arrested During Keystone XL Protest - Members of the Sierra Club and other anti-Keystone activists handcuffed themselves to the fence outside the White House and held a banner reading "Lead on Climate Change Reject KXL Pipeline" under a logo similar to President Obama's. They cheered the names of each protester and thanked them as they were led away from the group by police. The Sierra Club says this is their first such protest. - http://abcn.ws/VV1HKS (Sarah Parnass)
Boehner Won't Move on Sequester Until Senate Does - http://abcn.ws/Y93DPz
Obama Agenda Check - Can Anyone Imagine This House Voting on Minimum Wage, Universal Pre-K? - Obama went to North Carolina today to plug for his agenda and pick up some BBQ - http://abcn.ws/VSKWVV (Dwyer)
Scrutinizing Marco Rubio -
Rubio's 'Watershed' Moment Means He Is (Or Isn't) Totally Ready for the National Spotlight - A Point, Counterpoint - Spoiler Alert: He is - http://abcn.ws/X52RXD
House Hunters Senatorial - Marco Rubio made a big deal last night about still living in his neighborhood. It was his device to show that he's in touch while Barack Obama is not. But the house is literally on the market. http://abcn.ws/X5Tdnx
GOP Strategist Trey Hardin Explains the Scrutiny Rubio Can Expect - Oh, the poor staffer who didn't make sure Senator Rubio had a nice piece of crystal filled with water within reach of the 2016 presidential hopeful. I sympathize because I have been there. As a staffer, that is.
Hardin points out that while the water bottle is sure to make an appearance on SNL, there's more to these speeches.
"Last night Marco Rubio was introduced to his political party, and the nation for that matter, as option #1 for the 2016 run for the White House. While an exciting moment of coronation, that would never be turned down, it doesn't come without anxiety and a price for Mr. Rubio and his advisers. There is an old saying in this business that a "week is a lifetime in politics". Well, there are now about 200 weeks and lifetimes for the Senator between now and November 2016. That is a lot of time for the media and Rubio's political opponents to research and scrutinize every single aspect of his life and every single word that has ever come out of his mouth. That would be daunting and scary to face for any human being and I am pretty sure Marco Rubio is human. But, when you decide to put your name on the ballot, any fears must be channeled into the right balance of confidence and humility. Politics, especially in the modern era with 24-hour news cycles and social media, is not for the faint of heart, insecure, or defensive."
"To this point, Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio has given republicans every indication that he is ready for prime time. However, his opponents' knives sharpen with each day and it will not be long before we learn how truly tough his skin is."
We Don't Need Your Stinkin' Triggers - Arlette Saenz reports: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insisted that the U.S. border has "never been stronger" and dismissed the notion that border security is the first initiative that must be addressed before all other immigration reform is put in place. "I often hear the argument that before reform can move forward we must first secure our borders, but too often the 'border security first' refrain simply serves as an excuse for failing to address the underlying problems. It also ignores the significant progress and efforts that we have undertaken over the past four years," Napolitano said in testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee's first hearing on immigration reform Wednesday. "Our borders have, in fact, never been stronger." http://abcn.ws/VT2JML
Why Economic Growth Hasn't Helped the "Middle Class" - From the WP's Jim Tankersly: A point of increased growth today simply delivers fewer jobs across the economy and less money in the pockets of middle-class families than an identical point of growth produced in the 40 years after the Second World War. This erosion between growth and the prosperity of average Americans is still vexing economists and a lot of lawmakers have yet to even acknowledge the problem. But repairing this link is arguably the most critical policy challenge for anyone who wants to lift the middle class. http://wapo.st/X8riAo
SCOTUS Calendar - Affirmative Action, Voting Rights Act, Gay Marriage - Ariane de Vogue reports: It's been the quiet before the storm on the Supreme Court beat these last few days. The Supreme Court takes the bench again next Tuesday and is poised for a major decision on affirmative action, as well as block buster arguments on the Voting Rights Act in February and gay marriage in March. Here's look at some key decisions and interesting casescoming up in the next few weeks. http://abcn.ws/12zrqex
Buzzing at SOTU: Dorner Chase, Not Bipartisanship-"Did they catch him in the cabin?" a Capitol Police officer asked, after the last senators had filed in. http://abcn.ws/WJ57UO (Chris Good)
Twitter Takes On The State Of The Union- http://abcn.ws/X2YuuT
Mark Kelly Seen as a Possible Heir to Gabrielle Giffords' Political Career -The most dramatic moment of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night was when he said over and over victims of gun violence "deserve a vote" to thunderous applause. Shushannah Walshe http://abcn.ws/Y8psPe
Lawmakers Want Ft. Hood Attack Classified as 'Act of Terrorism' - In the wake of an ABC News story detailing claims by victims of the Fort Hood shooting that they have been neglected by the military and 'betrayed' by President Obama, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee has sent a letter to his fellow members of Congress demanding that the Obama administration classify the attack as a terrorist act and provide full benefits to the victims and their families. http://abcn.ws/VgttV0 (Blotter's Ned Berkowitz)
Feds Roll out Cyber Plan, Say Threat Is Escalating - Warning that American companies are the target of an intensive cyber-espionage campaign, President Barack Obama's top security officials on Wednesday said they are struggling to defend the nation from attacks on its private computer networks and called on Congress to pass legislation that would close regulatory gaps. (AP's Anne Flaherty) http://abcn.ws/XMhey8