By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- ‘BEST LEAD’ YET: Search crews were scouring the southern Indian Ocean today after two objects that may be related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight were spotted by satellite, officials said today. Officials described the sighting as the “best lead we have right now” and said four aircraft and an Australian Navy ship were sent to the region off the coast of Australia. The updates have been deemed “credible enough to divert resources to this area,” said John Young with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Emergency Response Division. The largest of the objects spotted on satellite was about 78 feet long, he said. “This is a lead. It is probably the best lead we have right now,” Young said. http://abcn.ws/1fJwwej
- WORD FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: Commenting on the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, President Obama said yesterday “we have put every resource that we have available at the disposal of the search process,” according to ABC’s MARY BRUCE. “There’s been close cooperation with the Malaysian government and so– not just NTSB, but FBI, anybody who typically deals with anything related to our aviation system is available,” the president told FOX News’ Dallas affiliate KDFW.
- EXCLUSIVE — ABOARD NAVY SEARCH AND RESCUE PLANE: ABC’s DAVID WRIGHT got an exclusive look at U.S. Navy’s search for missing plane off coast of Australia. http://abcn.ws/1g3nPAd
OBAMA’S DISAPPEARING COATTAILS — ANALYSIS FROM ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Senate Democrats are spending a fair amount of time these days privately grumbling about their difficult political environment. They’re blaming many of their challenges on President Obama’s tarnished approval rating. As conventional wisdom hardens around the notion that Democrats could be in deep trouble this fall, one point is missing from the conversation: Several of these senators who were elected in 2008 owe their own victories to the president’s robust finish that year. From Mark Begich in Alaska to Mark Udall in Colorado to Kay Hagen in North Carolina and even Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, these Democratic senators benefited handsomely from those original Obama coattails. Now, they must depend upon the strength of their individual campaigns. Only the strongest may be able to weather the storm facing Democrats.
MARCH MADNESS: POLITICIANS CATCH NCAA FEVER. As March Madness sweeps the nation, politicians are getting into the prediction business and filling out brackets for the NCAA tournament too, notes ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. And not just President Obama. Several well-known political figures — current members of Congress and governors — have picked their home state teams to win the championship. One former — and possibly future — presidential contender selected teams from states he won in 2012 to go far in the tournament Take a look at the teams Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., think will go all the way: http://abcn.ws/1gChZ40
WHAT TODAY’S SWING STATE VOTERS CAN TEACH THE CAMPAIGNS OF TOMORROW. Focus groups in hotly-contested states such as North Carolina and Iowa were assembled to learn about changing television viewing habits and how it will affect political advertising during the 2014 campaign season and beyond — from being careful about text message advertising to being completely sick of negative commercials, according to ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. The focus groups, conducted by the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic firm Global Strategy Group, were held in Charlotte and Des Moines with ten participants each and revealed the move away from traditional TV watching to viewing with the use of DVRs and Netflix. In addition, people are doing less traditional TV ad viewing and voters do their own research online about potential candidates. Republican pollster Neil Newhouse distilled their challenge, noting they must figure out how to “still get a message across” and “break through” when voters don’t want that message or are not tuning in to television the way they used to. Here are some suggestions to campaigns from the 20 voters in two focus groups: http://abcn.ws/NuMxgZ
OBAMA ADMITS HE’S ‘TECHNOLOGICALLY CHALLENGED’. Speaking at a White House screening of the new movie “Cesar Chavez” yesterday, President Obama told the audience he couldn’t stay to watch, but that he would get a copy on a “CD,” according to ABC’s MARY BRUCE. “I cannot stay for the screening. I’ve been promised by our director that I’m — or producer or somebody is going to get me the CD,” he said. “DVD,” an audience member corrected him, to chuckles. “Whatever. I’m a little technologically challenged. The DVD. The point is I’m going to watch it this weekend,” Obama joked. The First Lady and the Obamas’ daughters are on their way to China, so “it’s very lonely at home,” he said. “Nothing better than to see an inspiring film.” http://abcn.ws/1mhLUGO
HILLARY CLINTON JOKINGLY MULLS ‘BOSSY PANTSUIT’ FOR NEW BOOK TITLE. A lively Hillary Clinton revealed details yesterday on her upcoming memoir in regards to her experiences at the State Department — jokingly telling a crowd of publishers in New York City it would be “just another light summer read” with the funny title “Bossy Pantsuit.” Clinton said the book would discuss many of the challenges the United States faces in the 21st century, including the crisis in Crimea and Climate Change, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports. But the former Secretary of State added that she’s yet to decide on a name for the book — due to come out on June 1 — but admitted that she’s even taken to the Internet for ideas. Clinton, who has previously written four other books, proceeded to name off some of her favorites. “For example,” she said, inciting laughter from the audience of more than 400 people before even revealing them. “One possibility was ‘It Takes A World,’ — a fitting sequel to ‘It Takes A Village.’ Another plays off my love of all things Tina Fey: ‘Bossy Pantsuit.’” But Clinton quickly shot down the idea, saying “we can no longer say one of those words” — referring to Sheryl Sandberg’s new female-empowerment campaign to “Ban Bossy.” http://abcn.ws/1lPzGlT
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
AUDACITY OF HOOPS: ESPN’S ANDY KATZ ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PICKS. There was a time when President Obama was an underdog in the sport of presidential politics. But there were only hints of the Cinderella mentality when the president made his annual NCAA March Madness predictions with ESPN’s ANDY KATZ. “He has North Dakota State over Oklahoma, which is a trendy pick by many people, and he does have Harvard over Cincinnati,” Katz told “Top Line” following his annual “Barack-etology” with the president. Having covered the president and his interest in college hoops since he was a presidential candidate in 2008, Katz said Obama has an impressive grasp of the sport. “Every year, I am less surprised because he continues to be highly knowledgeable on the sport,” he said. “Dan Pfeiffer, the White House adviser, was telling me earlier that essentially, when he can, on Air Force One late at night … he’s watching ESPN, and he’s paying attention.” http://yhoo.it/1gdVxE5
@kakukowski: Obama Local Interview Questions Limited By Countdown Clock, Reporters Told To Stand http://rncresearch.tumblr.com/post/80159389665/obama-local-interview-questions-limited-by …
@jonkarl: Yet another Koch-funded enterprise …. Ballet at Lincoln Center pic.twitter.com/7Nn2e8L76m
@samsteinhp: Scott Brown awkwardly discovers that Obamacare his helping New Hampshire Republicans http://huff.to/PTojPO
@DaviesNow: This could be the start of a sea change as more consumers Cut the Cable Cord http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/03/more-consumers-cut-the-cable-cord/#.Uyroj3zKJVA.twitter … via @abc