- DEVAL PATRICK: BOSTON ‘VERY PREPARED’ FOR MARATHON: As Boston prepares to hold its 2014 marathon a year after the attacks, security planning has been “on steroids,” with new preparations — both visible and less apparent — that draw on lessons learned last year, Gov. Deval Patrick said. “We’ve had every conceivable asset engaged in the planning for this year,” Patrick, D-Mass., told ABC’s RICK KLEIN and ESPN’s Andy Katz, in an interview for the new audio podcast “Capital Games.” “I will say that planning has been pretty rigorous in the past, and every year after the marathon or other large public events the team does a recap of what we’ve learned and how we can improve for the next time. You have to imagine this was on steroids this time, of course,” Patrick said. Organizers have put in place a host of new security restrictions and regulations this year, anticipating the increased public and media interest and the potential for the marathon to again be a target for would-be terrorists. http://abcn.ws/1iOhbeb
- BROAD PUBLIC APPROVAL FOR FEDS ON BOSTON BOMBING INVESTIGATION: Two-thirds of Americans approve of the federal government’s handling of its investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing and nearly six in 10 hold a favorable view more generally of the government’s efforts to try to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States, according to ABC’s GARY LANGER. Those results in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll mark unusual majority-positive ratings for government actions – difficult scores to achieve in recent years, given anti-Washington sentiment generated, in large part, by the nation’s slow crawl to better economic health. http://abcn.ws/Q97tME
- TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama will mark the Boston Bombing anniversary with a moment of silence in private. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Boston to attend a tribute to those affected by the events of April 15, 2013, at the Hynes Convention Center. The president also turns to immigration reform today, hosting an Oval Office meeting with faith leaders on the issue. This evening, the Obamas host a Seder in the Old Family Dining Room.
SNEAK PEEK: RON BARBER, ONCE RELUCTANT TO TALK ABOUT TUCSON SHOOTING DURING CAMPAIGNS, NOW OPENS UP. When shots rang out on April 2 at the Fort Hood military post in Texas, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., couldn’t help but remember his own experience with gun violence, ABC’s ALEXANDRA DUKAKIS reports. “That takes me back to the day that the shooting occurred in Tucson back in January of 2011,” Barber told ABC News in a recent interview. “I know from talking to my family afterwards how shocking and just scary that first phone call was.” Barber, the former district director to Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot twice when a gunman opened fire at an event in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011. The gunman killed six and nearly took the life of Giffords, who he shot in the head. Many others were injured, including Barber, who sustained bullets to the cheek and leg. Barber succeeded Giffords after the congresswoman resigned in 2012 and he is currently in a tough re-election fight with a formidable Republican challenger. Although Barber has been working on gun violence legislation since first taking office, he has not spoken out frequently about his personal experience with the shooting. During his two previous congressional bids — first for Giffords’ open seat in 2012 and in a race for the re-districted 2nd Congressional District in 5 months later, he acknowledges, “I didn’t talk much about it, quite frankly.” Recently, however, that’s changed. Read more later today at http://abcnews.go.com/politics
OBAMA CONDEMNS ‘IGNORANCE, INTOLERANCE’ FOLLOWING JEWISH CENTER SHOOTING. President Obama said yesterday that the deadly shooting outside a Jewish community center in Kansas is a call to action to “combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, that can lead to hatred and to violence,” according to ABC’s DEVIN DWYER. “As Americans, we not only need to open our hearts to the families of the victims; we’ve got to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society,” Obama told guests of the White House Easter prayer breakfast. “We’re all children of God, we’re all made his image, all worthy of his love and dignity,” he said, “and we see what happens around the world when this kind of religious-based or -tinged violence can rear its ugly head. It’s got no place in our society.” http://abcn.ws/Qlw00A
REP. PETER KING: US SPORTING EVENTS ‘GOING TO BE TARGETS’ FOR TERRORISTS. Peter King said. “We always have to assume that major sporting events are going to be targets,” King, R-N.Y., told ABC’s RICK KLEIN and ESPN’s Andy Katz, in an interview for the new podcast series “Capital Games with Katz and Klein.” “Now we don’t get that many specific threats against sporting events per se. But we know from listening to the chatter how terrorist want to attack iconic events. So whether it’s a major Fourth of July celebration or the Super Bowl or the World Series, we assume that that is what they’re targeting.” http://abcn.ws/1qzLD1D
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEWS with Gov. Patrick and Rep. King: http://es.pn/1iSbTOV
THE LITTLE-KNOWN LEGAL CHALLENGE THAT COULD TORPEDO OBAMACARE. While the Supreme Court considers one challenge to a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal appeals court located just blocks away is contemplating a separate challenge that could have much more dire consequences for the future of the law, reports ABC’s ARIANE DE VOGUE. “What you’re asking for is to destroy the individual mandate, which guts the statute,” Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said to an attorney representing the challengers during a hearing on March 25. The case — Halbig vs. Sebelius — was heard by Edwards and two other judges and they are expected to rule in the coming months. It concerns the American Health Benefit Exchanges (known as “exchanges”). The ACA provides for the establishment of the exchanges that are meant to help individuals (who in general are not getting insurance from an employer) to purchase competitively-priced health insurance. The philosophy behind the exchanges is that collective purchasing power will lead to more affordable insurance. READ MORE: http://abcn.ws/1gwut1L
BOEHNER’S GOP CHALLENGER CHARGES ‘ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION’ IN VIDEO. A new parody video out this week from one of John Boehner’s Republican primary opponents is accusing the House Speaker of “electile dysfunction.” In a not-so subtle spin of Boehner’s last name, Tea Party candidate J.D. Winteregg recruited a team of actors to stage a Cialis-style commercial that takes jabs at everything from Boehner’s smoking habits to his skin color, ABC’s ALEXANDER MALLIN reports. “Sometimes when a politician has been in DC too long, it goes to his head,” the narrator says in the video. “If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.” If the spot from Winteregg, an Ohio high school French teacher who launched a campaign against Boehner last October, seems purposefully suggestive — it is. A statement from Winteregg’s campaign says the “provocative” new video “comes as Boehner himself is now advertising in the district – a sign that the once comfy Congressman is worried about his re-election. It is the first time Boehner has advertised in four years.” http://abcn.ws/1p4J1vm
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA GETS COVERED IN STICKERS. A first lady known for her flora and fashion got a little unsolicited help with both yesteday from a toddler, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER notes. On a visit to Fisher House at Walter Reed National Military Center, Michelle Obama became an object for decoration by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt, who covered Obama’s face in floral stickers during a Easter card-making session. Oppelt was one of 14 children, ages 6 months to 8 years-old, participating in a pre-Easter celebration when the first lady stopped by. The children all have a Wounded Warrior parent receiving care at the facility. In the middle of her brief remarks, a child interrupted Obama to present her with an Easter Card. “Let me see. Oh, my gosh. It’s Happy Easter! I love it!” she said, receiving the unexpected gift. http://abcn.ws/1qA1Gwz
WHAT WE’RE READING
“READY FOR HILLARY PAC HIRES STAFFER WITH DEEP NH EXPERIENCE,” by WMUR’s James Pindell. “Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not a 2016 presidential candidate. Technically, she isn’t even exploring a run. But a Super PAC named Ready for Hillary has just hired a staffer with deep New Hampshire political experience that could help lay the ground work for another Clinton run should she make any affirmative steps in the future. WMUR Political Scoop has confirmed that Sean Downey will be working in some capacity in organizing the Northeast for the Super PAC, which has been committed to identifying potential Clinton supporters in 2016 and collecting checks of $25,000 or less. Last month Downey left his role as the district director for New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster. He is now a principal at Hilltop Public Solutions, a Democratic political consulting firm.” http://bit.ly/Q9cOne
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
DCCC SENDS REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES A COPY OF THE GOP BUDGET. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent 39 Republican candidates in 24 districts a hard copy of the entire 102-page Republican budget today. “Republicans running for Congress around the country are throwing out a lot of excuses about why they won’t weigh in on the Washington Republican budget – but now they can finally stop hiding because they will have a copy at their fingertips,” Josh Schwerin of the DCCC, said in a statement. Each targeted candidate will receive a letter with the following statement: “We know you want to be part of Republicans in Congress, but we heard you weren’t sure about how you would vote on their central idea: the Republican budget that stacks the deck for special interests at the expense of hardworking families.”
@zbyronwolf: Mary Landrieu playbook – run ON her power… not away from it. Elect me, she says in new ad, I’m already DC powerful…
@EamonJavers: Interesting that the White House put “at Moscow’s request” into readout of Obama-Putin call. Is call “at Washington’s request” otherwise?
@GeraldFSeib: Bob Dole, 90 and going strong, returns to Kansas to visit nine towns next week. “I’m not running for anything,” he assures Kansans.