Obama Supports Gay Marriage But Will He Join Legal Fight for It? – Ariane de Vogue – There is one mystery left to solve before the Supreme Court gathers to hear a challenge to Proposition 8 in late March. That is: Will the Department of Justice weigh in on the case in favor of opponents of Prop 8, the California ballot measure that defined marriage as between one man and one woman? And what will it say? http://abcn.ws/158M7Bh
Untie Me - White House to respond to petition demanding iPhone unlocking – From ABC’s Tech Editor Joanna Stern – http://abcn.ws/YiNbjD
Devastating Sequester Spending Cuts? Give Me a Break! - Jon Karl reports: The administration is saying that the Department of Transportation cannot squeeze 1.4 percent of its budget without sending air traffic controllers home and that they cannot find a way to operate effectively this year with a budget that is actually larger than the budget they had last year.
That may be true, but it raises larger questions about the government’s ability to find relatively modest savings without cutting essential services.
Jon asked Secretary LaHood about this at today’s White House briefing:
KARL: Can’t you find some other way to cut without telling air traffic controllers to stay home?
LAHOOD: This has to be a part of it. DOT has 55,000 employees. The largest number of those employees are at the FAA, and the largest number of those employees are controllers, and they’re all over the country. There has to be some impact in order to save a billion dollars. A billion dollars is a lot of money.
KARL: Let’s be clear: It’s less than 2 percent of your budget.
LAHOOD: It’s a lot of money, Jonathan.
Clever – Still Trying to Make Sequestration “Interesting?” – Gawker has Kate Upton and Ryan Gosling explain it – http://gaw.kr/15BLxNp
LaHood Warns Budget Cuts Will Be ‘Very Painful For The Flying Public’ – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned today that looming across-the-board spending cuts will cause flight delays at major airports, force the Federal Aviation Administration to furlough workers, and have a “very serious impact” on the nation’s transportation services. Painting a bleak picture, LaHood told reporters “it’s going to be very painful for the flying public” if the cuts kick-in at the end of the month. (Mary Bruce)
(A Heartfelt ABC DC farewell to Sherisse Pham, who is moving on to greener pastures. We’ll miss her on the 6th floor and everywhere else in the DC Bureau)
Political Movies that Won Oscars - And an appreciation of Angela Lansbury – http://abcn.ws/13uSGLC
21 Immigration Power Players (who aren’t in office) - http://abcn.ws/VUyi9o (Fusion’s Ted Hesson)
US Will Set Up Drone Base in Niger – The U.S. is establishing a Predator drone base in Niger that will assist the French military operation in Northern Mali but could also mark the beginning of a longer term surveillance mission in Western Africa. President Obama notified senior Congressional leaders Friday that a force of approximately 100 American military personnel is now in Niger to set up the base.
Rick Perry Invites Gun Manufacturers to Set Up Shop in Texas – Texas Governor Rick Perry is sending a recruitment message to gun and ammunition manufacturers — set up shop in Texas Perry sent letters to 26 gun and ammunition manufacturers earlier this month inviting them to consider a move to Texas if the states they currently operate in impose “restrictive laws” on their industry, according to a copy of the letter and list of the manufacturers provided to ABC News by the governor’s office. http://abcn.ws/WZK0fD (Arlette Saenz)
GOP Blasts Obama Admin for Poor Enforcement of Gun Laws – In their first collective response to the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut late last year, every Republican on the House Judiciary committee has signed onto a letter criticizing the Obama administration for not enforcing current federal gun measures. In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting Dec. 14, House Speaker John Boehner said the House committees of jurisdiction would conduct reviews of the nation’s gun laws before determining whether any new measures or changes to current laws are appropriate. http://abcn.ws/VUeKBK (John Parkinson)
Planned Parenthood TV Ad Hits Sen. McConnell – Planned Parenthood is airing a new TV ad attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican joined a brief with 10 other GOP lawmakers this week supporting the craft chain Hobby Lobby in its lawsuit seeking to avoid mandatory health coverage of birth control pills in its employee health plans. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch led the group of senators in their effort, The Washington Times reported.
http://abcn.ws/YhwO5d (Chris Good)
Oscar-nominated documentary ‘The Invisible War’ brings attention to rape and sexual assault in the military – An Oscar nomination is a terrific honor for a filmmaker, but for director Kirby Dick, the recognition means so much more. An Academy Award nomination for “The Invisible War” brings with it more attention to the subject of the documentary — sexual assault and rape in the U.S. military, and the frequent cover ups. “Every time there’s more attention to this issue, there’s more activity in Washington,” says the director. “We made this film because we wanted to change things…we wanted the military to do what [it needs] to do to protect the men and women who are protecting us.” http://yhoo.it/139XE4E (Martha Raddatz)
Cyberattacks Bring Government Attention to Security Reform – Recent accusations of a large-scale cyber crime effort by the Chinese government left many wondering what immediate steps the president and Congress are taking to prevent these attacks from happening again. On Wednesday, the White House released the administration’s Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets as a follow-up to the president’s executive order. The strategy did not outwardly mention China, but it implied U.S. government awareness of the problem. http://abcn.ws/XQHqpv (Alisa Wiersema)