Primary Colors

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • A WIN FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT : Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, has won the GOP primary for Senate avoiding a July run-off, according to the Associated Press. Tillis, the establishment Republican choice who had backing from Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney in recent days, beat out the Tea Party candidate, Greg Brannon, as well as the social conservative choice Mark Harris, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. The results in North Carolina were the first sign that the establishment may have beaten down the Tea Party rebellion in its effort to re-take the Senate, but in a series of primaries over the next six weeks it will continue to be tested.
  • NOT A SHOCKER: House Speaker John Boehner easily won his primary for his 13th term in Congress, beating out two tea party challengers, according to the Associated Press. He faced Eric Gurr, a computer consultant, and J.D. Winteregg, a high school French teacher.
  • CLAY AIKEN'S RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL: In a race more dramatic in its last moments than an "American Idol" finale, Clay Aiken is locked in a race too close to call in the Democratic primary in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the 2003 Idol runner-up was only besting businessman and former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco by 372 votes, according to the Associated Press. A third candidate, family counselor Toni Morris, came in last. Aiken spoke to supporters late Tuesday night and got a laugh when he said he "prefer(s) it when they just open the envelope and tell you who won." "We are comfortable not only with the results we've seen this evening. We are comfortable not only with how we'll feel tomorrow morning, but more than anything we're comfortable with the way this campaign was run," Aiken said.


ABC's RICK KLEIN: The establishment won Round One, and it's a big one. The victories by Thom Tillis in the North Carolina Senate race - in addition to lower-profile wins by incumbents in House races in North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio - validates the rally-behind-the-most-electable strategy that establishment-aligned groups are following. Big money still speaks loudly. And there's another lesson that carries all the way through the fall - one that's less than good news for the same Republicans who are celebrating yesterday's results: It's very hard to beat an incumbent. In that sense, 2010 and 2012 may have provided a false sense of what it takes to take down someone currently holding elected office. The biggest thing Democrats have going for them is that they have people now holding the jobs that Republicans are trying to take away.



OBAMA CALLS KIDNAPPING OF NIGERIAN GIRLS 'HEARTBREAKING' AND 'OUTRAGEOUS.' Speaking out for the first time on the horrific kidnapping, President Obama on Tuesday called the abduction of the Nigerian school girls "heartbreaking" and "outrageous," ABC's GINGER ZEE AND MARY BRUCE report. It's been 22 days since the 276 girls were taken from their school by extremist militants from the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, which translates to "western education is sinful." The group has since threatened to sell the girls into slavery. The girls' plight has attracted international condemnation and spurred a global call to action. "You've got one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations in Boko Haram in Nigeria, they've been killing people ruthlessly for many years now and we've already been seeking greater cooperation with the Nigerians - this may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that's perpetrated such a terrible crime," the president told ABC News' Ginger Zee.

MONICA LEWINSKY CONSIDERED SUICIDE AND 4 OTHER REVELATIONS. After 10 years of silence - a decade of dodging questions about the infamous stain on her blue dress and the jokes about the president's cigar - Bill Clinton's mistress, Monica Lewinsky, spoke out in Vanity Fair. Here are her top five revelations from ABC's ERIN DOOLEY:

HILLARY CLINTON REVEALS ONE OF HER GUILTY PLEASURES. Hillary Clinton has some guilty pleasures, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ notes. Though we may never know all of them. During a lighthearted moment yesterday at a health care conference near Washington, D.C., Clinton was asked what her guilty pleasure was. It took some pondering. Eventually the moderator said, "Are there that many?" To which Hillary replied, "No, I'm just trying to think of some G-Rated ones." After some audience laughter, she shared one, but conceded it was a little boring. "Chocolate," she admitted. "I hate to be so predictable … chocolate. Of any sort." Later in the Q&A at the National Council for Behavioral Health conference, Clinton also drew laughs when asked what role Congress should play in naming her grandchild. "Given what's going on, the poor child would never get a name!" Clinton joked, adding it would probably be called "Baby" until it went to college.

SENATORS URGE TOUGHER SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA NOW, NOT AFTER UKRAINE ELECTIONS. The United States should impose more sanctions on Russia before it has a chance to interfere with presidential elections in Ukraine later this month, a bipartisan slate of senators told U.S. officials yesterday, ABC's ALI WEINBERG reports. With less than three weeks until the May 25 elections in Ukraine, international monitors have not yet seen any signs that Russia is planning any type of obstruction, but members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland that the United States should act pre-emptively. "I see the Russians doing everything they can to disrupt those elections. And it seems to me there needs to be a consequence for that upfront so that that disruption doesn't continue to take place," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during a hearing on Ukraine.

WHY THE WHITE HOUSE WAS ON LOCKDOWN YESTERDAY. The White House went on lockdown yesterday afternoon around 4:40 p.m. after a car somehow made it past the barricades on Pennsylvania Avenue, authorities said. Security officials closed the gates, cleared the North Lawn, and asked occupants to stay inside the building after a blue Honda Civic crossed a checkpoint and parked near the White House's front entrance, according to ABC's ERIN DOOLEY. The driver of the car was a "Treasury Department pass holder" who was not authorized to cross the secure perimeter, secret service said.

GOP SENATORS RAMP UP PRESSURE ON VA SECRETARY TO RESIGN. Top Republican senators are tightening the screws on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign after allegations that up to 40 people died due to delayed care at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. "General Shinseki's time as Secretary of the Veterans Affairs has come to an end and he needs to step down," Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's second-highest ranking Republican, said at a news conference yesterday. "The president needs to find a new leader to lead this organization out of the wilderness and back to providing the service that our veterans deserve." "I ask the Secretary to submit his resignation, and I ask President Obama to accept that resignation," Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, said on the Senate floor.

NIGERIA WANTED TO GO IT ALONE TO FIND KIDNAPPED SCHOOLGIRLS, KERRY SAYS. The United States did not provide assistance earlier to Nigeria to find 300 kidnapped schoolgirls because the country's leaders requested help only recently, Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday, ABC's ALI WEINBERG reports. Nigeria had been following its own strategy but when Kerry spoke with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday, he said he was "happy" to receive the United States' latest offer of American military and law enforcement personnel to join his government's efforts, Kerry said. "You can offer and talk, but you can't do - if a government has its own sense of how it's proceeding. I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort," Kerry said. The stepped-up American presence will be evident immediately, he added.

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PUSSY RIOT COMES TO CAPITOL HILL. Two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday, asking the U.S. to add 16 Russian officials to a sanctions list for human rights violators, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina met privately with Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., to discuss human rights abuses in Russia. "We'd like to remind our government that they have obligations that they have signed that they have to honor and we would like them not to continue having such an anti-Russian policy as they do have right now," Tolokonnikova said at a news conference through a translator.

HARRY REID LIKENS SENATE REPUBLICANS TO A 'GREASED PIG.' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday drew on the image of rodeo greased pig contests to describe working with Republicans in the Senate, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. "Oft times, working with my Republican Senate colleagues reminds me of chasing one of these little pigs in a greased pig contest," Reid, D-Nev., said on the Senate floor this morning. "Regardless of all of our efforts, any time we get close to making promise, it seems as though we watch it slip out of our hands and the Republicans scamper away." Reid even described a greased pig contest, saying kids "try to scoop up this scurrying pig. It's really quite a spectacle. It's fun to watch." "The organizers get a little pig, a piglet, and they cover this little animal with grease. It's a greasy little pig, and then they turn the kids loose and they invite these children to chase one of these kids and the pigs are a little slippery to begin with but you cover them with grease, they're really slippery and these kids run around the arena and try to grab it and fall and have a great time," he added.

BRACE YOURSELF: TOP 10 TERRIFYING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. From hotter heat waves and heavier downpours to more frequent flooding and drought, climate change is already having a broad impact on the nation's weather and economy, according to a new government report, ABC's MARY BRUCE reports. "Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," according to the third National Climate Assessment. "Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state, and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes." "Americans are noticing changes all around them," according to the report. "Summers are longer and hotter, and extended period of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. … Rain comes in heavier downpours." President Obama seized on the report's alarming predictions for the future to try and bolster support for his efforts to curb climate change.


"BURNING THE BERET," by The New York Times' Maureen Dowd. "Monica Lewinsky says she would meet me for a drink. I'm game. In her new meditation in Vanity Fair, Monica mashes Hawthorne and Coleridge, proclaiming that she's ready to rip off her "scarlet-A albatross," "reimagine" her identity and reclaim her narrative. At long last, she says, she wants to "burn the beret and bury the blue dress" and get unstuck from "the horrible image" of an intern who messed around with the president in the pantry off the Oval Office, spilled the details to the wrong girlfriend and sparked a crazy impeachment scandal. I wish her luck. Though she's striking yet another come-hither pose in the magazine, there's something poignant about a 40-year-old frozen like a fly in amber for something reckless she did in her 20s, while the unbreakable Clintons bulldoze ahead. Besides, with the Clinton restoration barreling toward us and stretching as far as the eye can see to President Chelsea, we could all use a drink. The last time I encountered Monica was at the Bombay Club, a restaurant nestled between my office and the White House. It was at the height of the impeachment madness and she was drinking a Cosmo at a table with her family. After requesting that the piano player play "Send in the Clowns," she leaned in with me, demanding to know why I wrote such "scathing" pieces about her."


@ajdukakis: Return of the Millennials? @dellavolpe says no 2016 sequel plans for "Obama generation" @abc @YahooNews #PowerPlayers

@shushwalshe: The RNC unveiled some improvements in data & ground game as they begin their Spring mtg: with @c_good @ABC

@SusanPage: First Take: A preview of Hillary's campaign in 2016? With investigations and Lewinsky, it's back to the future.

@TPM_dk: L. Cheney:"Would Vanity Fair publish anything about Monica Lewinsky that Hillary Clinton didn't want in Vanity Fair?"

@realDonaldTrump: We will never have great national security in the age of computers - too many brilliant nerds can break codes (the old days were better).

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