Sleepless In The Senate

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • UP ALL NIGHT FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Tuck yourself in for an all-night talk-a-thon in the Senate. Twenty-eight Democratic Senators will take to the Senate floor to urge action on climate change starting this evening - they plan to speak all the way through Tuesday morning, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The lawmakers, led by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, are part of the "Senate Climate Action Task Force," which was formed in January to "wake up" Congress about the need for climate change legislation. The all-night session kicks off after votes conclude today and is expected to last until 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The senators will also have a presence on social media, using the hashtag #Up4Climate.
  • ALL ABOARD THE RED EYE: In addition to Boxer, Schatz and Whitehouse, the following senators are participating in the talk-a-thon: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Al Franken, D-Minn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Angus King, I-Maine, Tim Kaine, D-Va., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.
  • ANALYSIS - ABC's RICK KLEIN: It's easy to dismiss a Rand Paul straw-poll victory as another Paulite swarm, and therefore indicative of not much at all. (Surely Paul isn't three times as popular as any other possible 2016er, as the Conservative Political Action Conference results would suggest.) But there's no denying Paul's continuing popularity inside the conservative movement, as he transforms his father's libertarianism into something more modern, and potentially more appealing to a larger swath of voters. His biggest vulnerability - and biggest distinction with Ted Cruz - comes on foreign policy. Yet it's possible that, even in the context of Ukraine, foreign policy is in the process of fading as a top-of-mind issue for Republicans. And Paul, with his emphasis on personal privacy and less defense spending, may be taking his party in a different direction. As for straw-poll wins … there are caucuses and even primaries where organizing still kind of matters a lot.


TED CRUZ BREAKS WITH RAND PAUL ON FOREIGN POLICY. It may be the opening salvo of the 2016 Republican primary. During an exclusive interview with ABC's JONATHAN KARL for "This Week," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a friend, but drew a distinction between himself and the Kentucky senator on foreign policy, saying the U.S. "has a responsibility to defend our values." "I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. But I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz said. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did… The United States has a responsibility to defend our values." Cruz, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL writes, also took President Obama to task over Russia's invasion of Crimea, citing the president's "weakness" in dealing with matters of foreign policy as a reason for Russia's seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula. "A critical reason for Putin's aggression has been President Obama's weakness," Cruz told Karl on "This Week." "That Putin fears no retribution… [Obama's] policy has been to alienate and abandon our friends and to coddle and appease our enemies."

NOTED: PAUL WINS - AGAIN - IN CPAC STRAW POLL. For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won the 2014 CPAC-Washington Times Straw Poll, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. The annual straw poll held Saturday at the conservative confab gauges who attendees favor to win the Republican nomination in the next presidential election. Paul, who addressed the crowd on Friday, won the annual straw poll with 31 percent of the vote. Coming in second place was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who had 11 percent of the vote. Dr. Ben Carson took third place with 9 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was not invited to last year's CPAC, came in fourth place with 8 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania tied for fifth place at 7 percent, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, came in seventh place with 6 percent.

REP. MIKE ROGERS: DON'T UNDERESTIMATE PUTIN. Sunday on "This Week," House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., warned about Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression, ABC's MOLLY NAGLE and BENJAMIN BELL report. "We shouldn't underestimate the kinds of things that he will do that he thinks is in Russia's best interests," Rogers said. "The [Obama] administration thought, 'Well, if we - you know, if we just act nice, everyone will act nice with us.' And that's just, unfortunately, not way that Putin and the Russian Federation sees the rest of the world." Rogers noted that Putin is "scoring huge points" back home with his forceful foreign policy, using it to assert himself internationally. "Domestically, he doesn't have a lot going on. That's a problem," Rogers said. "I do think that he wants to be back on the world stage, he wants to be a world influence. And if he has to do it through brute force, he's going to do it. That's his mentality."

ROMNEY, RYAN TWEET THEIR AIRPORT REUNION. Back in November 2012, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were hoping they'd be riding around in Air Force One and Air Force Two right about now. Instead, they've had to settle for the security line at the Jacksonville, Fla., International Airport. That's where the former Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees reunited on Sunday. Ryan had his family in tow: Janna, his wife, and children, Liza, Samuel and Charles. First Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman, tweeted: "Guess who we ran into at airport today?" Then Romney tweeted a similar shot: "Bumped into this nice young family at the airport." And Romney son, Matt re-tweeted: "U guys would have been the best team!"


IN CPAC SPEECH, SARAH PALIN CHANNELS DR. SEUSS TO KNOCK OBAMA. Republican star Sarah Palin closed out the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, taking on both President Obama and the GOP establishment in her speech to the conservative crowd. Palin took aim at the president's foreign policy strategy, specifically how he has dealt with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. "How do you convey to Putin the threat that sounds like 'Vladimir don't mess around or you're going to feel my flexibility because I've got a phone and I've got a pen and I can dial really fast and poke you with my pen - pinkie promise,'" Palin said. "I'm probably being too hard on the president. After all, who could've seen this coming?" Palin said, referring to her own warnings about Russia's intentions. Talking about the president's handling of Iran's nuclear capability, Palin said, "Mr. President, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke."


@bterris: The Diaz-Balarts are a lot of things: congressmen, TV anchor, nephews of Fidel Castro, immigration reform experts: …

@zbyronwolf: "I'd love to say there's some way we could react militarily but there's not." - @SenJohnMcCain on @CNN just now. #Ukraine

@OKnox: Obama and China's Xi talk by phone about Ukraine amid hopes in the Administration of splitting Beijing and Moscow.

@TerryMoran: On Russian TV, they are actually reporting, "Russia now has a real chance to get ALASKA back." h/t : @shustry

@mattklewis: Every GOP operative should listen -> RT @politicalwire Listen to Sasha Issenberg on the Political Wire podcast: …

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