By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- POTUS PIVOTS TO THE ECONOMY: President Obama heads to Bladensburg High School in Maryland this morning to promote a career skills initiative, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER notes. There he will “announce the winners of a competition he launched last fall to bring together educators and employers to redesign the high school experience to give students access to real-world career skills and college-level courses,” according to the White House.
- A BIDEN REVIVAL: A Democratic National Committee official tells The Note: “Vice President Biden’s campaign Twitter account is re-launching on Monday. The account will be run by the DNC after being dormant for over a year. @JoeBiden will be another way for the Vice President to engage our supporters, spread the Democratic message and support our candidates heading into the midterm elections.”
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Let’s hear it for the famous names. It must be Monday, if The Wall Street Journal is reporting on Hillary Clinton freezing the Democratic presidential field, and The New York Times is writing up the kind of campaign Jeb Bush would run, should he choose to launch one. Their roles in their respective parties are not directly analogous – until or unless they are. For now, though, the twin dynasties are serving what could be a good purpose: They are forcing the country’s political class to breathe, and maybe even think, before jumping into 2016. Clinton and Bush will make their decisions on their own timelines. There’s no real reason for a donor – much less a voter – to make a move before they do.
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: At a weekend celebration marking the 25th anniversary of his father’s presidency, Jeb Bush provided a bit more insight into whether he’ll pull the trigger on a 2016 presidential run. Once again, he said he’ll make his decision by the end of this year. So many members of the Republican establishment — donors, elected officials and activists — hope his answer will be yes. But his own words over the weekend may offer a clue to what he’s thinking. He said he would base his decision on whether a presidential candidate can carry a hopeful, optimistic message without getting into “the vortex of the mud fight.” But it’s this question — these five words — that may be the most instructive of all: “Can one do it joyfully?” Given the history of recent White House campaigns, most smart GOP minds still believe it’s hard to imagine him answering that with a yes.
ABC’s DANA HUGHES: Today marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda where more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in less than three months while the world stood by notes. A somber global memorial ceremony will take place in the African nation’s capital with the U.S. Delegation led by United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power. Her Pulitzer Prize winning book “A Problem From Hell” is considered one of the most definitive accounts of the genocide and how the U.S. government and international community’s slow response contributed to the atrocities — criticism echoed today about the Syrian conflict.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: ‘MOMENT OF TRUTH’ FOR GENERAL MOTORS. Sen. Claire McCaskill, speaking Sunday on “This Week,” did not rule out the possibility of jail time for General Motors employees who may have perpetrated a coverup at the company involving a defective ignition switch. “I know Justice Department is taking a hard look,” McCaskill, chair of the Senate committee charged with overseeing the alleged malfeasance, told ABC’s JON KARL. Over the course of her investigation, she said, a year-old deposition emerged showing that GM knew at least by then that someone had redesigned the malfunctioning part and hid any tracks that would have revealed the change. “And this company did nothing” to warn owners that they owned cars with the potentially deadly ignition switch, the Missouri Democrat said. Asked whether she trusted the company’s embattled new CEO, Mary Barra, McCaskill demurred, but said: “The facts are pretty clear. You don’t need an investigation to understand that they had a defective switch and someone at GM in the engineering department changed that switch and didn’t change the part number.” http://abcn.ws/1ifPWsI
RETIRED GENERAL ON FORT HOOD: ‘WE HAVE TO CONSIDER THESE WOUNDS OF WAR’. Ivan Lopez, the man who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three of his fellow soldiers and wounding 16 others, should be considered a wounded warrior himself, former Army Vice Chief of Staff retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” according to ABC’s HALEY MUSE. “I think you have to,” Chiarelli, who is also an ABC News consultant, said when asked whether Lopez should be thought of as a soldier who was wounded himself. “If you really want to get the stigma associated with these problems, we have got to consider these wounds of war.” Chiarelli, along with Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and The New Yorker staff writer Nicholas Schmidle discussed the shooting and the lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder with MARTHA RADDATZ on “This Week.” http://abcn.ws/1h44Ea5
FORMER CHRIS CHRISTIE AIDE TO RUN SCOTT BROWN’S SENATE OPERATION. Scott Brown is moving from just “exploring” to officially running for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire this week and on Friday he announced the hire of the political operative who will run his campaign, ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE reports. He’s poached an aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who recently left the governor’s office. Colin Reed, who recently served as deputy communications director to Christie, was named campaign manager of Brown’s exploratory committee. Reed is no stranger to Brown, previously serving as his communications director during his 2012 Massachusetts Senate campaign and as press secretary in Brown’s Senate office. “I’ve known Scott for more than four years. An opportunity to work with him again is something I couldn’t pass up.” Reed said in a statement. http://abcn.ws/1oyxILQ
NOTED: Brown is making his New Hampshire U.S. Senate bid official this Thursday in Portsmouth, N.H. at 6 p.m. A Brown source confirms the details of a New Hampshire Journal story about the announcement by veteran Granite State reporter, John DiStaso. http://bit.ly/1srLL5b
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
TOURING THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN WITH THE FIRST LADY’S FOOD GURU. When Michelle Obama decided to plant her first kitchen garden as first lady six years ago, White House chef and food policy guru Sam Kass was the man who made it happen. “It’s something that the first lady and I had talked about for a long time, and this is a vision of hers that was the first thing we did when we got to the White House on the path to all the great work she’s done on health and nutrition; it all sort of grew from here,” Kass said during an exclusive tour of the newly planted White House kitchen garden with ABC’s JON KARL. Just like the garden, Kass’ role at the White House has grown. Initially coming to the White House as a chef, Kass soon took on the role as the executive director of the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and has steered an effort to make food options in the nation’s schools healthier. To tour the White House kitchen garden for yourself, and to hear about the history of presidential gardening, check out this episode of “Politics Confidential.” http://yhoo.it/1mU4uVX
WHAT WE’RE READING
“IN THE ‘CREDENTIALS CAUCUS,’ GOP’S 2016 HOPEFULS STUDY POLICY AND SEEK ADVISERS,” by the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa. Last Monday night at Washington’s Capital Grille, Senate firebrand and potential presidential candidate Ted Cruz met conservative economist Stephen Moore for a dinner that stretched on for four hours. Moore said he helped the Texas Republican brainstorm policies that would get beyond ‘standard Republican pablum.’ Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another senator eyeing a 2016 run, recently summoned former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin to his office and regularly solicits advice from scholars at the American Enterprise Institute. And to get schooled on foreign affairs, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has been consulting former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, as well as Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass. It’s all part of what might be called the “credentials caucus” — the period before the 2016 campaign when the Republican Party’s presidential aspirants quietly study up on issues and cultivate ties to pundits and luminaries from previous administrations. … Over meals, on the phone and in one-on-one chats, the rivals are building relationships with people they hope to recruit to help them navigate a range of issues.” http://wapo.st/QWyKmb
@RyanLizza: Crossing Christie: What the bridge scandal says about the Governor’s political style, and his future. http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/04/14/140414fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all …
@CarrieNBCNews: For the calendar: DMR reports that Jindal, Paul and Santorum will speak at IA GOP convention June 14. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/04/06/jindal-santorum-paul/7383287/ …