By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- OBAMA ON THE ROAD: This afternoon President Obama departs for Pittsburgh, Pa. where he will be joined by Vice President Joe Biden and spend the day highlighting two job skills training initiatives: A grant competition to encourage courses developed by industry at the community college level and an apprentice job scholarship program. According to ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL, the president and vice president will tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center followed by remarks by both on the economy.
- MORE DETAILS: The programs the president will discuss today don’t need Congressional approval — they’re funded by money already authorized by Congress, notes ABC’s DEE CARDEN and the Associated Press. “The larger of the two grant programs will put nearly $500 million toward a job training competition run by the Labor Department that is designed to encourage community colleges, employers and industry to work together to create training programs that are geared toward the jobs employers need to fill. Applications will be available starting Wednesday.” http://abcn.ws/1m5yxK8
ROMNEY SON TAKES A SWIPE AT HARRY REID ON TAX DAY. Almost two years after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeated an unsubstantiated report that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes, one of the Romney sons fired back, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. “Hey @SenatorReid here’s a shot of @MittRomney paying taxes. Does it every year. It’s how you get your paycheck.” Josh Romney tweeted a photo of his father standing in line at the post office to mail his tax forms Tuesday evening. And then it suddenly felt like we were back in the political brawl of 2012 as Ben LaBolt, a former spokesman for President Obama’s campaign, weighed in: “Pic of the vault in Zurich?” In case you forgot about the Harry Reid-Mitt Romney tax spat, here’s a recap. In the summer of 2012, Reid said someone who worked with Bain Capital, which Romney led, called his office to say that Romney “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.” “He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the Huffington Post in an interview. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?” Romney denied this, saying Reid needs to reveal his source. http://abcn.ws/1l4KLyN
NO EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL — FOR NOW. President Obama has no plans to enact unilateral immigration overhaul by executive action, faith leaders from across the country said Obama told them yesterday, ABC’s JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL report. “We did not discuss the need; we did not bring up the issue of the president doing unilateral action,” Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, a nonprofit law office serving immigrants, said at a news briefing after the Washington meeting. “We felt it was more important that Congress take action at this time.” Obama had asked the director of Homeland Security to look at ways to reduce the number of people deported for entering the United States without documentation. But White House press secretary Jay Carney says that is different from implementing immigration overhaul on his own. The Department of Homeland Security is now performing a “review of practices and implantation of enforcement guidelines.” In other words, the administration is trying to obey the law and still rid the president of a title recently given him by Hispanic leaders, “Deporter in Chief.” As for his changing immigration law, Carney said that is a nonstarter. http://abcn.ws/1l74tdd
MARY LANDRIEU CRITICIZED FOR RE-ENACTING CONGRESSIONAL HEARING IN AD. A new campaign ad from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is drawing criticism from some conservative groups for using re-enactments of statements that the senator made in an Energy Committee hearing last year, reports ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS. But Landrieu’s campaign is defending the re-enactments as necessary to avoid breaking rules that forbid the use of footage shot by Senate cameras. “It is against Senate ethics rules to use footage that was shot using Senate cameras in campaign ads,” Landrieu campaign manager Adam Sullivan told ABC News. The $250,000 ad buy began hitting Louisiana airwaves this week and casts Landrieu, now the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, as a defender of Louisiana’s oil and gas industry who has shown independence from President Obama. http://abcn.ws/1gz0HpO
–TIM MILLER SPEAKS: The Republican opposition research super-PAC, America Rising, posted a video that juxtaposes Landrieu’s re-enacted statement from the ad with the real statements from the hearing. American Rising Executive Director Tim Miller said Landrieu’s explanation doesn’t serve as justification for the re-enactment. “There is no rule that requires their campaign to manufacture a fake news show to cover a staged hearing,” Miller said. “The ad is misleading to voters who are made to think they are looking at real news footage. It is telling that Sen. Landrieu is so desperate for positive news to use in an ad that she needed to fabricate it.” http://abcn.ws/1gz0HpO
NINE CANDIDATES WHO ARE GETTING SARAH PALIN’S SEAL OF APPROVAL. The 2014 midterm elections are right around the corner, and after endorsing 64 candidates in 2010, and contributing about $300,000 to candidates in 2012, Sarah Palin is once again trying to wield influence over another election cycle. Just like in previous years, Palin’s picks get free publicity on her social media accounts, through appearances in their television ads and financial support from SarahPAC. Formed in 2009, SarahPAC is Palin’s political action committee, which is “dedicated to building America’s future by supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.” ABC’s ALINA KLEINEIDAM has an overview of the 9 candidates Palin has chosen to endorse so far: http://abcn.ws/Qb1xCT
FIX CONGRESS? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT. Every day it seems a new app hits the market seeking to solve the most benign problems facing the smartphone-wielding masses. But how about a much bigger problem — like fixing Congress, an institution with an approval rating hovering around 13 percent? “If you want to be able to hold Congress accountable, then you have to know what it is doing,” Ted Henderson, the creator of Capitol Bells, told ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN. “Living with the 21st century technology we have, you should be able to do that without turning on the TV.” Henderson, 29, started Capitol Bells almost a year ago in a fit of nostalgia. He had been a staffer for former Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., who retired in January 2013. Henderson found himself out of work and out of the loop on what was going on just miles away from his apartment. “Being on the Hill, knowing when votes are starting is the thing that kind of drives what’s happening,” Henderson said. “So it kind of became, if I feel this disconnected… no wonder everyone else feels so disconnected.” READ MORE: http://abcn.ws/1m5yxK8
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:
–EMILY’S LIST GIVES A NOD TO THREE MORE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN. Today Emily’s List, the group devoted to electing Democratic women to office, put several more candidates “on the list” — a first step toward a possible outright endorsement. They are Shenna Bellows, who is running for U.S. Senate in Maine; Rocky Lara, a Congressional contender in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District; and Kelly Westlund, a candidate in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district. “From coast to coast, Americans have made it clear that they are ready for leaders who will put women and families first,” Stephanie Schriock, President of Emily’s List, said in a statement. “Shenna, Rocky, and Kelly are all smart, tough leaders who are ready to take their leadership to Congress, and the Emily’s List community – now more than three million members, is excited to support their strong campaigns.”
–DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA ENDORSES TWO CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES. The progressive group, Democracy for America, announced the endorsements today of Staci Appel, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional district and Kelly Westlund, a Congressional candidate in Wisconsin’s 7th District. “Staci Appel and Kelly Westlund are running the winning, progressive campaigns that Democrats need to take back the House in November,” said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
COMPLICATED ROOTS: THE STORY BEHIND WASHINGTON’S ICONIC CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES. Washington’s cherry blossoms have become an iconic image of springtime in the nation’s capital. And while the trees can be appreciated solely for the ethereal beauty they cast on the shores of the Potomac River, the historical roots of the trees are more complicated. Ann McClellan, a recognized expert on the trees who has written two books on Washington’s annual festival celebrating the blossoms, told ABC’s SUSAN SAULNY that the first trees given to Washington from Japan in 1910 were a symbol of international friendship. “When they gave the gift of trees they were really giving something of themselves, because they were grateful to the United States for brokering the treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War,” McClellan said. “It was the first time Japan was treated as a bona fide member of the international community.” http://yhoo.it/1eImiAY
@russellberman: House conservatives keep heat on leadership for ObamaCare replacement, want House vote by August. Ldshp: No timeline http://thehill.com/homenews/house/203641-gop-right-wheres-our-bill …
@RollCallAbby: House Republicans Add Two Members to Incumbent Protection Program: http://atr.rollcall.com/house-republicans-add-two-to-incumbent-protection-program/ …
@dgjackson: Happy birthday to my second mom, @AnnDRomney! You are the best.