Politics » The Note http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics The latest Politics news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers including Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and more. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:55:20 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 You’ve Got Mail http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/youve-got-mail-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/youve-got-mail-the-note/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:53:06 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898444 By MICHAEL FALCONE


  • WHAT CONTROVERSY? On a day when Hillary Clinton was battered by stories surrounding her use of a private email account during her four-year tenure at the State Department, the former Secretary managed to completely avoid the controversy du jour. Speaking to one of the friendliest possible audiences — at an event sponsored by the pro-Democrat, pro-women PAC Emily’s List — the likely 2016 presidential candidate vowed to “beat this drum as long and as loud as it takes” to pass policies like paid family leave and equal pay for women, ABC’s ERIN DOOLEYreports. “We’ve heard Republicans try to sing out of the same hymnal, talking about income inequality – it’s like watching the end of ‘Casablanca,’” Clinton lamented. The former First Lady, who admitted she was “still kind of in the grandmother glow” following the birth of her granddaughter, Charlotte, addressed 2016 speculation only indirectly: “Along life’s way, you get the chance to make millions of decisions. Some of them are big, like, do you run for office?” http://abcn.ws/1M4oSvB
  • ‘NOTHING NEFARIOUS’: While Hillary Clinton might be testing out the ignore-and-hope-it-goes-away tactic, her team has been playing defense. An aide to the former secretary of state told ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ there was “nothing nefarious” about Clinton’s use of her personal email account to conduct government business while at Foggy Bottom. Clinton, the aide insisted, did not violate any laws and turned over all relevant emails – roughly 9 out of every 10 – to the State Department for preservation. “If she emailed with her daughter about flower arrangements for her wedding, that didn’t go in,” the aide explained. But, “anything that pertained to her work there” was handed over.
  • WHITE HOUSE WON’T SAY IF HILLARY BROKE THE LAW: The White House yesterday repeatedly declined to say whether it was appropriate for Hillary Clinton to use solely her personal email account while serving as secretary of state. “Very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees in the Obama administration should use their official e-mail accounts when they’re conducting official government business,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a livelier-than-usual press briefing. In an exchange with ABC News, Earnest would not say whether or not Clinton violated that policy or broke the law by using only her personal account, ABC’s MARY BRUCE and JONATHAN KARL write. http://abcn.ws/1B5yOlK
  • FLASHBACK: WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID THAT MAY NOT LOOK GOOD FOR HER. In June 2011, when Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state, what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney asserted then may not help Clinton now, according to ABC’s JONATHAN KARL. http://abcn.ws/1zW8Y0w



ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Can anyone think of another possible presidential candidate that a story like this would stick to? The private e-mail account maintained by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State raises questions about process – and why she would seek to maintain a non-State e-mail account for official business in the first place. That spills into politics, as this puts Clinton aides in charge of dictating which e-mails will be shared publicly and when. And it touches on longstanding perceptions about the Clintons – a penchant for secrecy, a separate set of rules, and an insistence by the team around her that there’s persecution at play in press scrutiny of her official actions. Even the White House is barely defending the former Secretary of State on this one, and other former secretaries are hardly backing Clinton up, either. Can the Clinton team, though, look around and find someone else to blame this on? Surely lots of people inside State and the Obama administration knew about the special set of circumstances, going back years.

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning proves most Americans disagree completely with Rudy Giuliani. According to the survey,  American voters believe 63 to 28 percent that President Obama loves America. As for the president’s approval ratings, voters give him a negative 41 to 52 percent job approval rating, which is his best score since a negative 42 to 50 percent job approval in an April 2014 poll. As for Congress, Republicans get a negative 22 to 69 percent approval rating while Democrats get a negative 28 to 62 percent score. And some slight good news for the GOP by a 47 to 42 percent margin American voters trust Republicans in Congress more than the president to make decisions good for the country. And this may come as no surprise, but 21 percent of voters say it’s the economy that is the most important problem facing the country. More: http://bit.ly/1F93kfk





REP. JASON CHAFFETZ’S BUSINESS CARD LISTS HIS GMAIL ADDRESS. Hillary Clinton isn’t the only official who uses a non-government email address. A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card. After it was revealed on Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted all of her government business from personal email accounts, personal email has been the topic du jour, and Chaffetz is at the forefront. Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Tuesday that his panel would join in an investigation of Clinton’s email use, ABC’s JONATHAN KARL reports. Chaffetz told ABC News that his business card was not paid for with government funds and that Congress is not subject to the Federal Records Act. He said that he uses both a Gmail account and a government email account. http://abcn.ws/1wTW9CY

GOWDY WON’T RELEASE HILLARY’S EMAILS; WILL SEEK ‘COMPLETE RECORD’ OF CLINTON’S MATERIALS. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, says he doesn’t intend to release any of Hillary Clinton’s emails transmitted through her personal account that his panel obtained because he doesn’t believe the committee possesses an exhaustive account of her emails and documents. “I am not going to make any emails public,” Gowdy said. “In my judgment, it runs counter to a serious investigation to do so, so no. I’m not going to produce the emails. She’s welcome to.” Gowdy, R-South Carolina, pledged to work with Clinton’s lawyers, the State Department and the service providers to acquire all of the emails and documents: “Only she has a complete record and the committee is now going to have to go to her, and her attorneys and her email providers to ensure that we have access to everything the American people are entitled to know.” Gowdy says the committee discovered Clinton’s personal email accounts after obtaining documents late last summer that hadn’t been previously produced to any committee investigating the deadly terrorist attack, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON reports.

HAPPENING TODAY — WHO SHOULD GET OBAMACARE SUBSIDIES?: SUPREME COURT HEARS MAJOR CHALLENGE. The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, dodged a bullet in 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate. Today, it faces a second major legal challenge; this one to the taxpayer-funded premium subsidies that underpin the entire law. The nine justices will hear arguments over whether it’s legal to give out the subsidies in 34 states where the federal government established and runs the insurance exchanges, HealthCare.gov, according to ABC’s DEVIN DWYER. The debate centers on interpretation of a four-word phrase buried in the 2000-page law that says financial aid is available through “exchanges established by the state.” The stakes are high: About 7.5 million Americans have received subsidies to purchase health insurance coverage in those 34 states. If the court strikes them down, the “vast majority” will be forced out of coverage almost immediately because their premiums will become prohibitively expensive, experts say. “There could be chaos,” said Abbe Gluck, a Yale Law School professor who specializes in health law. http://abcn.ws/1AVrjyS

NETANYAHU: IRAN ENGAGED IN DEADLY ‘GAME OF THRONES.’ In a speech to Congress Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran is playing a “deadly ‘Game of Thrones’” and warned that the country’s regime “poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world.” “In this deadly ‘Game of Thrones,’ there is no place for America or for Israel. No place for Christians, Jews or Muslims….So when it comes to Iran or ISIS the enemy of your enemy is your enemy,” he said. He warned that “Iran’s regime poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world,” ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON writes. “Iran’s regime is as radical as ever,” Netanyahu said. “This regime will always be an enemy of America.” http://abcn.ws/1B5cwAw

NOTED: WHY BENJAMIN NETANYAHU HE’S A SECRET MILLENNIAL. Bibi brought along his millennial game to help make his case, ABC’s ALEX MALLIN notes. Just take the advice he offered to Congress in his speech about how they might find details about the potential nuclear deal forming with Iran. “You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this,” Netanyahu said. “You can Google it.” Google and Twitter, the basic daily diet on the web for any millennial. http://abcn.ws/1vYSetb




GABBY GIFFORDS: STRONG WOMEN ‘MAYBE, SOON, IN THE WHITE HOUSE.’ “Strong women get things done,” Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., declared at an Emily’s List gala Tuesday evening. “We lead, we collaborate…in city halls, in state congress, in governors’ mansion, in Congress. And maybe, soon, in the White House!” Poised yet defiant, the three-term congresswoman, who in 2011 sustained a bullet to the brain during a shooting near Tucson, AZ, reminded supporters that “when women run, women win,” according to ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY.



@JillDLawrence: More relevant every day, my @USNewsOpinion column this week on folly of Democrats having no alternative to Clinton: http://bit.ly/1AV65RC 

@JohnJHarwood: why doesn’t Hillary Clinton behave in ways that make people less suspicious/mistrustful rather than more?

@maggieNYT: There may be an explanation. But so far Clinton team isn’t answering questions on why. http://news.yahoo.com/clinton-ran-homebrew-computer-system-081052887.html …

@BrentBozell: .@SpeakerBoehner and @AAN are now officially funding Obama’s lawlessness and unconstitutional actions

@KObradovich: Ted Cruz’s new sr adviser has history with influential Iowa conservative groups, Steve King. #iacaucus @TedCruz http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/04/cruz-hires-aide-iowa/24357405/ …

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Hillary Dot-Com http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/hillary-dot-com-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/hillary-dot-com-the-note/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:47:28 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898439 By MICHAEL FALCONE


  • HILLARY CLINTON USED A PERSONAL EMAIL ACCOUNT EXCLUSIVELY WHILE SERVING AS SECRETARY OF STATE, and may have violated federal requirements, The New York Times reported last night. According to the Times, Clinton did not have a government email address during her four years at the State Department, and her aides took no action to preserve her emails – which is required by law under the Federal Records Act. These new revelations raise questions about transparency, legality, and certainly security. It is not clear whether any encryption protection existed on her private email account, as is required on government emails, ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS notes. http://abcn.ws/1F3DOrz ABC’s JONATHAN KARL reported on the latest for “Good Morning America”: http://abcn.ws/1M2Zoib
  • WORD FROM CLINTON WORLD: Clinton’s personal spokesman, Nick Merrill, issued a statement in response to the New York Times report. “Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes,” the statement reads. “Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved. As a result of State¹s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities.” http://abcn.ws/1F3DOrz
  • HAPPENING TODAY: Hillary Clinton speaks tonight in Washington, DC at an event organized by Emily’s List.
  • JEB SPEAKS: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a potential 2016 candidate for the White House, released more than 275,000 emails last month from his time as governor in the name of “transparency.” Bush tweeted late Monday “Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. Jebbushemails.com.”



ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The New York Times report on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account raises questions of legality, propriety, policy, and simple judgment. It also highlights the odd political position she continues to find herself in – one that’s of her own choosing. Yes, it’s been fun for Team Hillary to sit back and watch Republicans start to claw each other. Yes, it’d be nice from their perspective to see this dominate the next six or nine months. But the decision to not engage with political issues or questions, or to engage only minimally and after the fact of publication, only feeds frenzied coverage. Clinton will have to come off the sidelines at some point. Sooner might be better, given the last few news cycles.

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: It is a huge scoop, but it was news the Clinton team (and the State Department) must have known would break at some point. The New York Times reporting last night Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private e mail account while at the State Department. She didn’t even have a government e mail address. Now that it’s out, is Team Clinton relieved it broke this early before the campaign is in full swing or would it be better when they have a full team in place to hit back against the story and Republicans who want to use it against her? What will they do now? Jeb Bush also at times used a private e mail account, but not only archived each e mail–as required by law–but, released them to the public (also required by Florida’s open records laws). Will Clinton do the same? It’s one way to make the story a non-issue, but also unlikely to happen. Don’t expect Republicans, especially Bush, to forget the story though. It may be early, but this one will appear in ads and on the campaign trail.




ON IRAN, A QUESTION OF WHETHER OBAMA AND NETANYAHU REALLY HAVE THE SAME GOAL. When it comes to nuclear negotiations with Iran, President Obama has said America’s goal is to prevent Iran from ever producing a nuclear weapon, while Israel has described a different one: denying Iran the capability of ever getting there. “Our goal here is to be able to verify that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon,” Obama said after a meeting with the emir of Qatar last week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a different take. “We must prevent Iran from having the capability to produce nuclear weapons. And I want to reiterate that point. Not just to prevent them from having the weapon, but to prevent them from having the capacity to make the weapon,” Netanyahu said last year when he spoke at the 2014 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington. So do the U.S. and Israel really want the same thing? Here’s Earnest’s full response with ABC’s JONATHAN KARL, in which he defended the White House’s aims in pursuing the nuclear talks that have sparked so much controversy. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1GcRQuJ

BILL CLINTON’S OFFICIAL PORTRAIT ARTIST SECRETLY INCLUDES MONICA LEWINSKY. Here’s one issue the Clintons may — or may not — not want to brush off. In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, the artist who painted the official portrait of President Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. revealed a surprise — the portrait “subtly” incorporated Monica Lewinsky, ABC’s A.J. FEATHER writes. Artist Nelson Shanks told the newspaper that the shadow on the left side of the portrait was cast by a mannequin in a blue dress — a nod to the president’s affair with his 22-year-old intern. Shanks, who described Clinton as “the most famous liar of all time,” told the Philadelphia Daily News that the shadow represents a metaphorical “shadow on the office he held.” According to Shanks, the Clintons are pressuring the National Portrait Gallery to remove the painting. However, a museum spokesperson told ABC News that they have not received any requests from the Clintons to remove the portrait. http://abcn.ws/1Dxcjo0

BARBARA MIKULSKI: FROM GIRL SCOUT TO SENATOR, 7 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT THE RETIRING SENATOR. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, the longest-serving woman in Congressional history, announced Monday that she will retire. Mikulski, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986, said she made the decision to fight for the people of Maryland instead of campaigning for herself another time around. “I’m gonna be around. I’m Senator Barb,” Mikulski said at a news conference in Baltimore. “I don’t want to spend my time campaigning for me. I want to campaign for the people.” ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes some of the things you might not know about the storied career of the senator known to many as “Senator Barb.” http://abcn.ws/1EaJm5c

2016 CAMPAIGN PLAYLIST: POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PICK THEIR THEME SONGS. Though none of the potential 2016 candidates has yet to formally announce a presidential campaign, each contender has likely spent plenty of time thinking about what their campaign platforms will look like. But what will their campaigns sound like? ABC News recently asked prospective Republican candidates to pick a campaign theme song. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he’d probably go with one of his favorite tunes, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS writes.  http://abcn.ws/1BzFtq6

CHUCK NORRIS WILL ‘PRAY’ FOR HUCKABEE TO BE PRESIDENT. Over the weekend, Chuck Norris wrote an op-ed for WorldNetDaily website, saying he will “pray” for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to run in 2016 and become president. “Mike truly is a first-class patriot and a renowned man of integrity. Our country can truly use his caliber of character back in the White House not only to help restore the Oval Office but also our nation. Gena and I pray he will run for president and be our next president,” Norris wrote. “Mike’s not ready to make that decision yet, but he’s sure hinting strongly at the prospects.” This isn’t too surprising since he endorsed Huckabee in the 2008 race – even making a “Chuck Norris Approved” ad for him, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. In 2012, Chuck Norris backed Newt Gingrich.

WHITE HOUSE: OBAMA PROBABLY WON’T WATCH FULL NETANYAHU SPEECH. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Monday underscored the strength of the US-Israeli relationship, despite the tension over Netanyahu’s visit. “The relationship between the United States and Israel is one that has been strong for generations, for a variety of reasons,” Earnest said. “It has been strengthened under the leadership of this president.” Asked about the recent change in tone from the administration and Kerry’s comment that Netanyahu is “welcome to speak” in the U.S., Earnest noted that the Prime Minister can “set his own schedule.” “He gets to take the actions that he believes are consistent with his own objectives…whatever they may be,” Earnest said. “This has been true even in other situations when we’ve had differences of opinion with the Israeli leadership, even on entirely different topics.” Asked if President Obama will watch Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, Earnest responded: “I doubt that he will spend his whole time watching the speech.” Earnest also sounded a warning that Netanyahu should not divulge any information about the nuclear negotiations, ABC’s MARY BRUCE and CHRIS GOOD note.



@rollcall: Russ Feingold, Joe Sestak and the Improbable Senate Race Rematch http://roll.cl/1wEkeDb  via @nathanlgonzales

@HuffPostPol: Martin O’Malley won’t run for the Senate http://huff.to/1wGQQMG 

@katiezez: Netanyahu says no ‘disrespect’ meant to Obama w/@StevenMufson http://wapo.st/1DMF8zy 

@PhilipRucker: Interesting @AlecMacGillis piece on Jeb Bush’s complicated shift on the Ex-Im bank http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/03/jeb_bush_turns_on_the_u_s_export_import_bank.html …

@FusionIsNews: The never-ending DHS shutdown fight does matter to you. Here’s why: http://fus.in/1EdCFPL 

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What Jeb Bush Accomplished At CPAC http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/what-jeb-bush-accomplished-at-cpac-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/03/what-jeb-bush-accomplished-at-cpac-the-note/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:54:08 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898430



  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT — RAND PAUL’s CPAC THREE-PEAT: Sen. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, was crowned the winner of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference-Washington Times Straw Poll for the third year in a row. The Kentucky senator said he was “humbled by the enthusiastic support and encouragement I received.” Paul had gotten the crowd riled up, speaking with rolled-up sleeves, when he promised to pitch “a tax cut that will leave more money in the paychecks of every worker in America,” ABC’s BEN BELL reports. http://abcn.ws/1wzMtgN
  • BEST OF THE REST: Coming in a close second in the poll was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 21.4 percent followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who received 8.3 percent. The poll asked participants who they favor to win the GOP nomination in the next presidential election. There were more than 3,000 participants. http://abcn.ws/1wzMtgN
  • WHAT DOES RAND’S CPAC WIN MEAN?  The “This Week” powerhouse roundtable debated who’s up and who’s down after last week’s CPAC conference. http://abcn.ws/1N5Oko1
  • JEB BUSH ‘WILL NOT SIGN ANY PLEDGES’ IN 2016: Anti-taxman Grover Norquist recently told ABC News he believes Jeb Bush will likely sign his no-new-taxes pledge if and when he officially becomes a candidate for president. But, as Dana Carvey might say, “Not gonna happen.” Norquist may have had good reason to believe Bush would sign the Taxpayers Protection Pledge, where candidates vow to oppose “any and all efforts to increase taxes.” After all, the vast majority of Republican candidates for national office and many for local and statewide office have been signing it ever since Norquist started Americans for Tax Reform in 1985, according to ABC’s JONATHAN KARL. But Jeb Bush didn’t sign Norquist’s pledge (or any other pledge) in any of his three campaigns for governor of Florida and Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell says he is not going to start now. “If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups,” Campbell told ABC News. http://abcn.ws/1GALHpI
  • ANALYSIS — ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Jeb Bush didn’t leave National Harbor with a CPAC straw-poll victory (he was a distant fifth), and he didn’t leave having intimidated any of his presidential rivals out of the race. If anything, the hunger among attendees was to not have the nomination dictated to them – and surely not by someone with uncertain conservative credentials on key issues. But Bush seemed serious about his vow to be willing to lose the primary to win the general election. He didn’t back down from his positions on immigration or education, and he showed good humor in the mixed reception he got. He followed it up with his campaign saying he won’t sign the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge – more evidence of a different kind of campaign. Another point: Bush is acting like the frontrunner, maybe even the incumbent. That filters do down even to the music – “Only in America,” used by both his brother and President Obama at events – his team chose for his meet-and-selfie time with conference attendees. It’s the kind of imagery that cuts both ways in a wide-open field like this one.




JOHN KERRY DOESN’T WANT BENJAMIN NETANYAHU VISIT TO BECOME ‘SOME GREAT POLITICAL FOOTBALL.’ Two days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak to a joint session of Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry said the prime minister is welcome to speak in the U.S. but worries it injects far too much politics into the relationship. “The prime minister of Israel is welcome to speak in the United States, obviously,” Kerry said Sunday in an exclusive interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “I talk to the prime minister regularly, including yesterday.” But, Kerry added, “we don’t want to see this turned into some great political football.” Kerry echoed frustrations expressed by the White House that House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu was inappropriate, ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL writes. “It was odd, if not unique, that we learned of it from the speaker of the House and that an administration was not included in this process,” he said. “But the administration is not seeking to politicize this.” http://abcn.ws/1AKtOnA

REPUBLICANS BLOCKING DHS FUNDING ARE ‘DELUSIONAL,’ REP. PETER KING SAYS. House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Peter King Sunday called some members of his Republican caucus “self-righteous and delusional” for opposing a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security. “I said the other night, when I was at the Republican meeting, that they are self-righteous and delusional,” King said on “This Week” of the Republican contingent holding up the bill because of their opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration, ABC’s LAURA WAGNER notes. “We’re talking about maybe 40 or 50 people at most, out of a caucus of 247, out of a Congress of 435. We cannot allow such a small group to be dominating and controlling what happens in the United States Congress, especially at a time when we’re confronting terrorism,” the New York Republican told ABC’s MARTHA RADDATZ. House Republicans have tied funding for DHS to legislation that would roll back Obama’s executive orders on immigration, a move King calls “irresponsible.” On Friday night, the House approved a one-week funding extension in order to avoid a partial shutdown, after voting down a longer extension. http://abcn.ws/1wEDLh2

SECRET SERVICE WORKING TO ‘REGAIN THE TRUST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,’ SAYS DIRECTOR. The new head of the Secret Service has this piece of advice for anyone thinking about trying to breach White House security: Don’t. “I wouldn’t suggest it,” Secret Service director Joseph Clancy told ABC News in an expansive sit-down interview that explored the scandals that have rocked his agency and the path he’s now charting to protect the First Family and “regain the trust of the American people.” “We have not received an unfair rap,” he conceded to ABC’s PIERRE THOMAS. “I think when you fail, and we have failed, we own it. Now, it’s up to us to correct it.” Clancy said the more time he spends leading the Secret Service, the more he realizes an insider like himself is the only one who could get that job done. Two months ago, a bipartisan, independent panel commissioned by the Obama administration to analyze the embattled agency recommended someone with no experience inside the Secret Service, saying “only a director from outside” can “do the honest top-to-bottom reassessment” needed. “You need some experience in this position,” Clancy told ABC News, adding he plans to win over skeptics. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1EXX1ek



@OKnox: Superb timing for @jeffmason1 interview with Obama — target-rich news environment. First Q probably Iran/Bibi-related.

@DougHeye: Washington Post: GOP infighting in Va. may harm party’s White House bid in 2016 http://wpo.st/Xr360 

@JamesPindell: AP: @marcorubio “allies fully expect that he will run for president, rather than a second Senate term” http://news.yahoo.com/floridas-rubio-close-decision-presidential-run-081416772–election.html … #fitn

@jeneps: Emily’s List hasn’t yet endorsed Hillary Clinton but it’s been laying the groundwork for her ’16 run for years http://bloom.bg/1BPsMsP 

@JCNSeverino: The left working the media to lobby Chief Justice Roberts trying to sway him again on #Obamacare. Save the arguments for the courtroom.

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What You Missed and What’s Coming Up At CPAC http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/what-you-missed-and-whats-coming-up-at-cpac-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/what-you-missed-and-whats-coming-up-at-cpac-the-note/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:11:51 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898421



  • BOBBY JINDAL PITCHES HIMSELF AS A ‘FULL SPECTRUM CONSERVATIVE’: Louisiana governor and likely 2016 candidate Bobby Jindal says voters are looking for the next Republican presidential nominee to be “a fighter.” And though he has yet to formally announce his candidacy, Jindal described himself as someone who is “unafraid to tell the truth” even if he’s attacked for doing it. “I gave a speech in London about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism … I was called racist, an anti-Muslim, it’s not true but I think people are looking for a fighter,” Jindal said during an interview with ABC News on the sidelines of CPAC yesterday. In looking ahead to the future of the party, Jindal said the GOP needs to work on expanding its appeal to people across all socio-economic and age groups, ABC’s RICK KLEIN and JORDYN PHELPS report. “We need to be party of everybody,” Jindal said. “We need to fight for a 100 percent of the votes.” WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1DfjhxY
  • WHY BEN CARSON THINKS IT’S IMPORTANT FOR A BLACK MAN TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT: Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has captivated the conservative community and thrown himself into the pool of potential 2016 presidential contenders, told ABC News on Thursday that when it comes to politics, his race and upbringing give him “a great deal of perspective.” ABC’s RICK KLEIN goes one-on-one with Carson: http://abcn.ws/1AOPSwcGrover Norquist: http://abcn.ws/17BOYZB … Gary Johnson: http://abcn.ws/18qXoEaand Rep. Mia Love: http://abcn.ws/1BicneE
  • CHRIS CHRISTIE TURNS TO MEDIA BASHING: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continued to bash the media yesterday at CPAC, playing into a popular topic among the activists in the crowd. As New Jersey Governor, Christie told radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham in a question-and-answer session he has reporters from The New York Times covering him every day and accused journalists of taking sides on issues he has stood up against, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. “When you do things like I’ve done in New Jersey, take on a lot of these special interests that they support they just want to kill you…here’s the bad news for them, here I am and I’m still standing.” http://abcn.ws/17CnHGq THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO SEN. TED CRUZ’S MIND WHEN HE HEARS ‘BILL CLINTON’: https://vine.co/v/O2JdKzdxiTL
  • ANALYSIS FROM ABC’S SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The first day of CPAC is done. It was filled with cheers, hyperbole, a dose of media bashing, some costumes, plenty of foreign policy talk (even without the specifics) and a serious sizing up of the first round of potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates. Today, brings the most anticipated speaker: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In his question and answer session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity he will try to woo the conservative activists gathered and ease many of their fears that he is a squishy moderate. He will also have to answer questions on his Common Core and immigration positions, no doubt. It may not be easy, reports say there’s a walk out planned. Bush is likely to be prepare for it since its been publicized, but it may still be embarrassing. We’ll be watching. And if you missed the first day of speakers at CPAC, get caught up with a wrap featuring Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina and more from this morning ABC’s World News Now: http://abcn.ws/1FDAELn
  • ELSEWHERE ON THE TRAIL: Mike Huckabee skipped CPAC altogether this year and today holds a round table in the key primary state of South Carolina and headlines a fundraiser for the South Carolina Attorney General, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. Chris Christie will spend today and tomorrow fundraising in California. Ted Cruz, who spoke at CPAC yesterday, is reportedly addressing the Club for Growth private event in Florida today.


THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: Sunday on “This Week,” the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, ESPN senior writer and CNN contributor LZ Granderson, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham, and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts. Check the “This Week” page for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. TUNE IN SUNDAY:  http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek



WITH JUST HOURS REMAINING UNTIL FUNDING EXPIRES FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, the House and Senate remain at an impasse, ABC’s JEFF ZELENY reports, but appear to be heading toward a short-term solution. The House is set to vote on a three-week funding bill this morning rather than pass a bill to keep the department running through September. Some mainstream Republicans believe this is a wrong-headed approach, because it simply delays the inevitable and kicks the can down the proverbial road – all in defiance of President Obama’s immigration action. And some ardent conservative immigration opponents believe their Republican leaders are caving in. Call it a compromise or another episode of governing-by-crisis, but the Senate is likely to grudgingly go along with the Band-Aid approach, so they don’t have a security shutdown on their hands. It sets the stage for an incredibly divisive March for Republican leaders, who have only delayed the inevitable with this temporary fix.




MORE FROM CPAC: CARLY FIORINA CRITICIZES HILLARY CLINTON. Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO, is positioning herself as the anti-Hillary Clinton candidate, going after the likely Democratic presidential candidate in her speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, hitting her for accepting donations from foreign countries to her foundation, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. In her address, Fiorina called on Clinton to “please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments doesn’t represent a conflict of interest.” The Washington Post reported last week that the Clinton Foundation began taking foreign donations after Clinton finished her time as Secretary of State, but it reported Wednesday that the group also accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during her tenure as head of the State Department. http://abcn.ws/1GxYt8l

THAT TIME SEN. JIM INHOFE THREW A SNOWBALL ON THE SENATE FLOOR. This may be a congressional first. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a devoted climate change denier, tossed a snowball at someone on the Senate floor Thursday as he tried to debunk climate change. “In case we had forgotten because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair: You know what this is? It’s a snowball and that just from outside here so it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonal,” he said. “So, Mr. President, catch this,” Inhofe, R-Okla., said on the Senate floor, tossing the snowball to someone off-screen as he tried to suppress a smile, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ writes. “We hear the perpetual headline that 2014 has been the warmest year on record but now the script has flipped and I think it’s important since we hear it over and over and over,” Inhofe, 80, said. “As we can see with the snowball out there, this is today. This is reality.” http://abcn.ws/1LOd7v9

NANCY PELOSI SPORTS SUNGLASSES IN SOLIDARITY WITH HARRY REID AFTER EYE INJURY. Wearing sunglasses indoors may be the new craze on Capitol Hill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi walked into a news conference on DHS funding yesterday morning and threw on some sunglasses in solidarity with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. “I brought my glasses to be with Harry but he switched on me,” Pelosi said to laughs from reporters. “I tricked her,” Reid answered. Earlier this week, Reid debuted some dark sunglasses to cover up an injury sustained to his right eye while exercising earlier this year, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. But Thursday, Reid went with a different set of specs – dark rimmed glasses with a shaded lens covering his right eye. Reid has undergone two surgeries to help restore vision in his right eye. http://abcn.ws/1Fyhd6G



HOW THE REAL-LIFE FRANK UNDERWOOD IS STARING DOWN THE DHS SHOWDOWN. What would Frank Underwood do? As the House of Representatives’ majority whip – a role famously depicted in the Netflix hit series “House of Cards” – it’s a question Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., ponders as Capitol Hill faces a showdown over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security. “I think he’d storm over to the Senate chamber and just start maybe voting some people’s machines ‘yes’ to get the bill brought up,” Scalise joked of the fictional character played by Kevin Spacey. “He’d take matters into his own hands over in the Senate.” Scalise, who didn’t start watching “House of Cards” until after he became majority whip in August, said the fictional Washington depicted in the show bears only a limited semblance to reality. “They depict the Capitol and the hectic schedule. I mean everybody is running around from meeting to meeting and votes,” he said in an interview with ABC’s JEFF ZELENY, host of “The Fine Print.” “But when it comes to the interaction between members, it’s a lot more collegial than I think is depicted there.” WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1LPni0J



@SalenaZitoTrib: .@ron_fournier & I talk Millennial disconnect & whats up at #CPAC2015 on @OffRoadPolitics http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/cpac-conservatives-to-millennials-blah-blah-blah-20150226 …

@shiracenter: The next @MittRomney campaign: #Boston2024 Olympics http://roll.cl/1DyALrA 

@jonward11: for Jeb Bush, the Q&A is the message http://news.yahoo.com/for-jeb-bush–the-q-a-is-the-message-004359060.html …

@NKingofDC: Noonan on Jeb: “I think he’s making a poor impression.” http://on.wsj.com/18rjiXR 

@abbydphillip: Last night I saw an ok looking gold and white dress. Today I see an ugly blue and black dress. What is even happening?

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3 Reasons Why CPAC Is ‘American Idol’ For Political Nerds http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/3-reasons-why-cpac-is-american-idol-for-political-nerds-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/3-reasons-why-cpac-is-american-idol-for-political-nerds-the-note/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:04:08 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898416 By MICHAEL FALCONE and ERIN DOOLEY


  • DO YOU CPAC? The Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC, will draw almost all of the Republican Party’s likely presidential contenders to the Washington, DC area over the next three days. They’re each given 20 minutes to pitch their vision for country to the Republican Party faithful. At the end, the conference attendees — conservatives from all over the U.S. — will crown the winner of the CPAC straw poll. As ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY points out, basically, it’s “American Idol” for political nerds: http://abcn.ws/1ALtxj9
  • THE CONTESTANTS: Like “Idol,” CPAC is essentially a big casting call, a chance for the Republican base to preview candidates’ stump speeches before the 2016 cycle officially begins. This year’s headliners include almost all of the 2016 contenders, including Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. (Donald Trump will also speak, as will Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre).
  • THE JUDGES: Remember watching “Idol” contestants squirm under Simon Cowell’s skeptical eye? That’s basically the feeling you’ll get when you see Fox News’ Sean Hannity question former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush about common core onstage at CPAC. That will happen tomorrow.
  • AND THE WINNER IS: Just as with “Idol,” audience participation is encouraged at CPAC. The grand finale is the straw poll reveal Saturday evening — the results of an informal ballot asking attendees who they’d vote for to be president. Last year, Sen. Rand Paul won handily, garnering 31 percent of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of the first runner-up, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. But keep in mind: Only a few CPAC straw poll winners have gone on to become the party’s nominee — but it can help demonstrate momentum and attract donors, crucial in the early stages of this presidential cycle. http://abcn.ws/1ALtxj9



ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: CPAC kicks off today and while all the headliners will have a somewhat different message to the conservative attendees, one similar topic you can expect to hear is a heavy dosing of media bashing. Last night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a head start on his monthly radio call-in show, “Ask the Governor.” Host Eric Scott asked Christie about his rough trip overseas earlier this month and the potential 2016 presidential candidate laid the blame squarely with the press. “You have the national media following you around trying to justify their air fare going over there,” he said. As for the vaccine question that exploded he stressed he was a “complete supporter of the mandatory vaccinations that we have in this state,” but “parents have to have a role and a voice in those mandates to make sure that everybody understands why something is being mandated” and it was the press who got the answer misconstrued. As for the New York Times story that broke while he was away detailing his affection for luxe travel, Christie answered, “Are we shocked the New York Times does this? This is the New York Times who has already decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for president I’m sure and so anyone who raises their head on the Republican side and looks as if if they ran they might be a threat the New York Times is going to after them and that’s what that was all about.” He added that “everything I do is cleared by ethics folks before I do it,” and finally about those stories just last week that said he’s having trouble fundraising? “I don’t worry about that stuff, Eric I’ll be just fine. Let’s just put this way nobody should be out there worried about me.”

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: They’ve all got something to prove. The dozen or so presidential hopefuls scheduled to address the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday and Friday arrive at National Harbor at a tense moment for Washington. The Department of Homeland Security’s budget runs out before the conference ends; GOP lawmakers are threatening imprisonment for local DC officials over a new pot law; the Supreme Court takes up the latest Obamacare challenge next week, potentially creating a careful-what-you-wish-for moment for the GOP. The 2016ers, for their part, face challenges at once more immediate and very long-term. Scott Walker has to live up to the early hype – and turn some rough press scrutiny to his advantage, if he can. Chris Christie has to show a political pulse – much as he did a year ago on the same stage, in the wake of Bridgegate. Even Donald Trump has to prove, well, that he’s not just being Donald Trump. Then there’s Jeb Bush – the putative frontrunner, but one who has not faced down real questions on the policy positions that leave him most vulnerable in a Republican primary. A few boos would go a long way toward injecting skepticism over his prospects.




WEED THE PEOPLE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POT LEGALIZATION IN WASHINGTON, DC. The citizens of the District of Columbia in November voted to pass Initiative 71, which legalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the cultivation of up to three marijuana plants for individuals over the age of 21. That measure took effect at midnight. However, the initiative did not create funding for the regulation of the substance, which would be required to legalize sales. The measure was put on the ballot through citizen initiative, and in D.C., citizen initiatives cannot mandate spending. ABC’s A.J. FEATHER highlights key points you need to know about the initiative and what it allows and doesn’t allow. http://abcn.ws/1Fw80f7

NOTED: PELOSI REITERATES SUPPORT FOR DC’S AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT INITIATIVE 71. In a written statement last night, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her belief that the DC government has legal authority to implement the voter initiative regarding recreational marijuana use. Pelosi rejects threats from certain congressional Republicans, according to ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON. “It is very troubling that Republicans would threaten elected District officials for implementing the measure resoundingly passed by the District of Columbia’s voters,” Pelosi said.

EX-HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARIES, EVEN THE REPUBLICANS, BLAST CONGRESS OVER DHS FUNDING IMPASSE. In the latest rhetorical salvo over funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Jeh Johnson stood shoulder-to-shoulder yesterday with two of his Republican predecessors, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, blasting Congress for threatening DHS funding. Ridge was equally blunt in his assessment of Congress, despite expressing strong opposition to President Obama’s executive order on immigration, saying the president “has gravely overstepped his constitutional authority,” ABC’s JACK DATE writes. “I don’t think we right that wrong on the backs of the patriots that go to work every day and provide safety and security every day at the department of homeland security,” Ridge, the first DHS secretary from 2003 to 2005 under President George W. Bush, said. “What I don’t think makes sense is to hold the entire set of operations at the Department of Homeland Security in abeyance, as a hostage as the legislative branch starts to play a game of chicken with the president,” Chertoff, Bush’s second DHS secretary from 2005 to 2009, said. http://abcn.ws/17A6ldp SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT A DHS SHUTDOWN? It depends who you are, and how long the shutdown lasts. http://abcn.ws/1JMkIg3

EMBATTLED ‘DOWNTON ABBEY’ CONGRESSMAN AARON SCHOCK HIRES LAWYERS, PR PROS. “Am I supposed to applaud you for poking round in my things?” Rep. Aaron Schock, who has come under fire for his spending on office décor, as well as eyebrow-raising travel spending, has hired a team of lawyers from the Washington, D.C., firm Jones Day, ABC’s AMY SAPP and JOHN PARKINSON report. He has also hired communications operatives, Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh — both veteran congressional aides — to help the congressman respond to his recent troubles. “After questions were first raised in the press, Congressman Schock took the proactive step of assembling a team to review the compliance procedures in his official office, campaign and leadership PAC to determine whether they can be improved,” a spokesperson for Schock told ABC News. “Congressman Schock takes his compliance obligations seriously which is why he took this proactive step to review these procedures.” http://abcn.ws/1BwchBK

POLITICIANS BECOME CATS WITH ARTIST’S TOUCH. An Oklahoma artist’s not kitten around when he says he wants to draw a cat version of all 100 U.S. senators. Anthony Pego, an Oklahoma City artist, last week started posting on his website drawings of politicians as cats, giving whiskers and fur to pols ranging from the Senate majority leader to an Oklahoma representative. Pego, 36, typically creates metal jewelry, but the colder winter temperatures make that process more difficult this time of year, he said. So he drew Oklahoma’s U.S. senators, the governor and a district representative — clad in suits, posing before flags, and with whiskers sprouting from their cheeks, ABC’s BEN GITTLESON writes. http://abcn.ws/1LE4z84



 TEXAS GOV. GREG ABBOTT SAYS CONSTITUTION TRUMPS ‘COMPASSION’ FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC News the Constitution trumps “compassion” for undocumented immigrants. In an exclusive interview with ABC News inside the ornate governor’s mansion in Austin, Texas, Abbott, whose federal lawsuit stopped President Obama’s executive action protecting millions from deportation, admitted he has no solution for what to do with the 11 million undocumented people living and working in the United States today. He said that’s not his responsibility, its President Obama’s, according to ABC’s JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL. “As the governor of Texas, I don’t have the luxury of making that decision. That is the job of the United States Congress and the president,” Abbott said. “And [that is] the reason why we have this lawsuit.” http://abcn.ws/1ArURnt



@CPACnews: Follow us on SnapChat to see all the behind the scenes action at #CPAC2015 pic.twitter.com/p0cEzXQQyI

@rollcall: Vulnerable GOP Senators Plan to Steer Clear of CPAC http://roll.cl/1DVaa9h  via @CahnEmily

@stevebruskCNN: Huckabee, who is skipping CPAC this year, will be in Nashville addressing the religious broadcasters convention tonight.

@JessicaTaylor: #CPAC2015 could make or break Rubio: fell to 7th last yr in straw poll after immigration. My column on his task: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/233902-cpac-could-make-or-break-rubio …

@davecatanese: On @usnews Thursday morning: How to survive #CPAC2015 http://goo.gl/Pw4cL0  #TheRun2016

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Shutdown Countdown at DHS http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/shutdown-countdown-at-dhs-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/shutdown-countdown-at-dhs-the-note/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:04:43 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898407 By MICHAEL FALCONE


  • THE CLOCK IS TICKING but so far there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan to send President Obama a bill before a lapse in funding occurs at the Department of Homeland Security, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON and ARLETTE SAENZ report. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a plan yesterday to vote on a clean funding bill and hold a separate vote on a measure to stop the president’s executive actions on immigration. If House Speaker John Boehner agrees to the plan, he will have to sell it to his conference with only three full days left before the DHS shuts down. But there are many Republicans in Congress who will only vote for a funding bill if it is linked with immigration. House Republicans will huddle this morning to discuss the course ahead. http://abcn.ws/1MPmgoK
  • CRUZ SPEAKS: Yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who prompted the government shutdown in 2013, called separating funding from immigration a “mistake.” Bottom line: At this point, there’s a good chance the issue isn’t resolved before DHS funding expires at the end of Friday.
  • OBAMA HITS THE ROAD: President takes his immigration message on the road today, using his bully pulpit to frame the debate and tout his executive actions, ABC’s MARY BRUCE reports. The president holds a town hall meeting at Florida International University this afternoon. He is expected to answer questions during the discussion about the significance of the Texas ruling and “next steps in the legal process,” according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. Before leaving for Miami, the president meets privately at the White House with immigration advocates and is expected to update them on his plan to move forward with his immigration reforms, despite the obvious hurdles in Congress and the courts.
  • MEANWHILE, IN IOWA: A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning surveying early likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading with 25 percent, twice as high as his nearest rival, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. Second place is a closer race with13 percent for Sen. Rand Paul, 11 percent each for Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and 10 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. No other candidate is above 5 percent and the poll shows 9 percent are undecided. It’s equally as interesting to look at the potential candidates’ favorability scores. Christie and Bush also are lowest in favorability, with mixed or negative scores. The survey shows 41 - 40 percent favorable for Bush; 30 - 54 percent favorable for Christie; and 57 - 7 percent favorable for Walker. FULL POLL: http://bit.ly/1zeNlax



EXCLUSIVE: TEXAS GOVERNOR DEFENDS LAWSUIT THAT KEEPS 5 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN SHADOWS. In an exclusive interview with ABC’s JIM AVILA in the ornate Texas Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said the “rule of law” trumps “compassion” for taxpaying, non-criminal undocumented immigrants whose pathway to legal status was blocked by a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Texas Chief Executive. Abbott admitted he has no solution for what to do with the 11 million undocumented living and working in the United States today, saying that’s not his responsibility — it’s the president’s. But Abbott claims the Executive Action President Obama took to allow more undocumented brought to the US as children and parents of US citizens to remain in the US without fear of deportation oversteps his authority.

The federal lawsuit struck down the President’s immigration Executive Action as unconstitutional and is being appealed by the Obama Administration. A study this week by a pro-immigration reform group put the cost of deporting 11 million undocumented at $50 billion. Gov. Abbott told ABC more should be spent on border security, even though the Department of Homeland Security says fewer immigrants are crossing America’s southern frontier than they have since the 1970′s. And when asked what he would do about those already here working in secret, Abbott said that’s not his concern. Undocumented families interviewed by ABC news said they want the governor to know the issue is not about a “political battle” with the President, it’s about their lives. MORE ON ABCNEWS.COM TODAY.



ABC’s RICK KLEIN: In offering just a glimpse of her economic messaging, Hillary Clinton made clear that a certain senator she met with not long ago is shaping her thinking for 2016.  “We have to restore economic growth with rising wages for the vast majority of Americans,” Clinton said Tuesday, “and we have to restore trust and cooperation within our political system so that we can act like the great country we are.” That’s right – “restore,” as opposed to “reaffirm,” or “build on.” That’s how you campaign more like Elizabeth Warren than Barack Obama, or Joe Biden. Her lines about gender equity and women’s opportunity were to be expected given the venue, speaking to a group of female leaders in California, and she said similar things back in 2007-2008. But when she talks of the need to “find our balance again” and “make this economy work for everyone,” she sure sounds like she’s looking for a place in the “Warren Wing” of the Democratic Party.

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his annual budget address yesterday and announced a detente of sorts with one of his fiercest enemies, the New Jersey Education Association–one of the state’s largest unions–in order to reduce pension and health care costs, and limit benefits in order to fix the state’s fiscal problems. Christie said all the details still need to be worked out (something the union agreed with when they said no deal had been reached yet), but the big announcement came just one day after a judge ruled Christie needed to find a way to make $1.57 billion in pension payments he skipped last year, a huge blow to the possible 2016 presidential candidate. It also threatened to undercut his speech–and it’s message of bipartisanship–before he even gave it. He acknowledged the ruling saying in his speech, “The numbers do not lie and let me tell you this, we don’t need any court to tell us we have a serious problem.” He called the effort a “bipartisan reform plan” and cast the state’s pension problem in a national light saying many other states were grappling with similar problems, but “we can bring people together and set a national trend. By putting forward new solutions to age old problems like this, we are creating a national model.” It’s a message he hopes can help him on the 2016 campaign trail as he tries not to get bogged down by other home state problems and slipping poll numbers.


ABOUT LAST NIGHT: BIDEN’S BEST ONE LINERS. Vice President Joe Biden held a Black History Month event at his residence last night, but he also fit in some stand-up comedy. He said he was late to the event because he was waiting for members of Congress, joking, “I’ve been waiting for Congress all my life.” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was in attendance and Biden also poked fun at the looming possibility of a DHS shutdown “Be good to Jeh, Jeh may need some help because he may lose his pay,” Biden joked. “Congress is, you know, shutting down. I don’t know Jeh, man, I’d think you had a little more whack than that.” After complimenting Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who was at the event, and her ability to “get things done” Biden jabbed at the cost of living in the city, ABC’s STEPHANIE EBBS notes. “The only good thing is I don’t have to pay taxes in the district,” he joked. The mayor shouted back “not yet!” “This is a hell of a piece of property here guys! … 78 acres in this place. The president—we had he and Michelle out here a couple of times—and the first time he said ‘Joe, what’s the deal here? We should trade where we’re living. You actually have some privacy here!’ And I said ‘Not a problem as long as the power goes with the house!’…and, by the way, if I ever ran for president, I’d turn this into the White House.”




WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA VETOED KEYSTONE. President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline bill yesterday. In a statement sent to the Senate, Obama explained why. “The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people,” Obama’s statement read. “And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

NFL TEAMS MUST TACKLE SEXUAL ASSAULTS OR LOSE DRAFT PICKS, LAWMAKERS SAY. If NFL teams don’t tackle the issue of domestic violence and sexual assaults, their draft picks may be in jeopardy. In a letter sent to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called for the NFL to begin taking away draft picks from teams that do not properly address the issue, according to ABC’s A.J. FEATHER. “The NFL has previously penalized teams by removing draft picks for other infractions,” the lawmakers wrote. “We support this potential disciplinary action as a significant indication that the NFL takes these issues very seriously and intends to hold teams responsible for allowing cultures of violence and abuse.” http://abcn.ws/1D8nXph

‘COLD WAR ON A SHEET OF ICE’: POLITICAL LEGACY OF ‘MIRACLE ON ICE’ HOCKEY WIN. Thirty-five years of hindsight provide fresh perspective on the “Miracle on Ice,” the improbable 1980 victory by a group of U.S. college hockey players over the powerful Soviet team in the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games. The New York games were played at the dawn of a decade defined by the Cold War and its end. World events from Afghanistan through Iran served as a backdrop for the shocking result, and Olympic boycotts in 1980 and 1984 would later bring even greater political implications into international sporting events. On the latest episode the ESPN-ABC podcast “Capital Games” with ABC’S RICK KLEIN, we hear from some of the key players in that drama. You can listen to the episode HERE on desktop and HERE on mobile. http://abcn.ws/1DRy3Pb

MCCONNELL SUPPORTS KENTUCKY RULE CHANGE TO ALLOW RAND PAUL TO RUN FOR TWO OFFICES. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now supports fellow Kentucky senator, Rand Paul, and his push to change Kentucky law to allow him to run for the presidency and re-election to the U.S. Senate at the same time. Paul met with McConnell, who was initially skeptical of the plan, in Washington, D.C. Monday to discuss the issue, according to ABC’s JEFF ZELENY and ARLETTE SAENZ. “Senator McConnell’s initial reaction to the caucus proposal could best be described as respectful skepticism, but after a lengthy discussion of the details with Senator Paul he has become convinced that switching from a primary to a caucus is worth his support,” McConnell’s Kentucky chief of staff Brian McGuire, said in a statement. “Not only would it be helpful to the Senator’s presidential campaign but, as a one-time event paid for with funds that he’d raise, would do no damage to the state party or interfere with this year’s state races.” Being on the ballot twice in Kentucky is illegal, but standard in many other states.

NETANYAHU DECLINES CLOSED DOOR MEETING WITH SENATE DEMOCRATS. In a letter to Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined the invitation to meet privately with Senate Democrats. Durbin and Feinstein had written to the prime minister Monday night inviting him to privately address Senate Democrats during his U.S. visit in March. ”Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe doing so at this time could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit,” Netanyahu wrote. Netanyahu said he regrets that the invitation to address a joint session of Congress “has been perceived by some to be political or partisan,” ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports. Many Democratic lawmakers are planning on boycotting Netanyahu’s address to Congress.

THAT TIME HARRY REID WORE DARK SUNGLASSES TO A NEWS CONFERENCE. Sen. Harry Reid sported some new, hip eyewear on Capitol Hill weeks after an exercising injury that might ultimately cost him vision in his right eye. Reid started out the day on the Senate floor with a giant bandage across his right eye, a staple since he had an accident while exercising earlier this year. But at a news conference Tuesday urging Republicans to pass funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the bandage was gone and instead Reid donned a pair of dark sunglasses, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. http://abcn.ws/17vi2Sv



CARLY FIORINA SUPPORTERS LAUNCHED A SUPER PAC called “Carly for America” last night with some known conservative names behind it.



RICK SCOTT ON ‘FRUSTRATING’ #FANGATE AND JEB BUSH’S 2016 PROSPECTS. It was one of the most unforgettable debate moments of 2014. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist took his place on stage for a televised debate against Gov. Rick Scott. And for the first seven minutes of the live debate, Crist was the only candidate on the stage – accompanied only by a small electric fan whirling cool air behind his podium. In an interview with “Top Line,” Scott revealed what was going through his mind during the “fangate” incident – and said he was told the debate was being held up by Crist. “It was pretty frustrating,” the recently reelected Republican governor told ABC’s RICK KLEIN and Yahoo! News’ JON WARD, explaining that he was in a trailer away from the main building when his Democratic challenger took the stage at the debate’s start. “We were told he was not going to come out.” http://yhoo.it/1ArhGaS



@BobCusack: With only a couple days until deadline, chances of a DHS shutdown are increasing, not decreasing.

@mkraju: Cornyn said that fighting Obama in the courts is the “superior” way to go – not through funding process. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/gop-lawmakers-homeland-security-shutdown-115478.html …

@cbellantoni: Congress gives DC voters the middle finger: http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/marijuana-dc-legalization-congress-investigating/ …

@russellberman: After 24 yrs at NORML, Allen St. Pierre says he’ll seed his 1st legal marijuana plant at 12:01 Thurs in his DC home http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/where-you-can-legally-light-a-joint-in-the-nations-capital/385973/ …

@bterris: Whoops… Looks like the CPAC mobile app has confused @SenatorTimScott for @RealBenCarson pic.twitter.com/bevHJRzx0g

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Three Things To Watch Today http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/three-things-to-watch-today-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/three-things-to-watch-today-the-note/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:05:05 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898400



  • HOMELAND SECURITY SHUTDOWN WATCH: With the clock ticking down before funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill that he hopes will get the Senate “unstuck” from its current predicament. The stand-alone bill would prohibit the use of funding to implement President Obama’s immigration executive actions that were implemented in November, and it would have no connection to Homeland Security funding at all. The big question right now is if lawmakers will introduce a clean bill to fund the department and whether House and Senate Republicans will agree to it.
  • KEYSTONE VETO WATCH: The Senate will send the Keystone XL pipeline bill to the president today, giving him ten days, excluding Sundays, to act on the measure. That sets up a veto deadline of March 6.
  • RAHM WATCH: It’s Election Day in Chicago and the day Mayor Rahm Emanuel learns if he can avoid an April runoff. Recent polling showed Emanuel at 45 percent, but the Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff needs to reach 50 percent in order to avoid a run-off. Last week, his politically powerful friend, President Obama, stopped by to help boost his campaign. Will the president’s visit (and hug with Rahm) be enough to pull out a victory today?



ABC’s RICK KLEIN: This is the era of manufactured crises, as President Obama is fond of pointing out. It is also, apparently, the era of manufactured crises without exit strategies. Two months in the new year surely felt like plenty of time back when Republicans agreed to set a Department of Homeland Security funding deadline to force a showdown over immigration. But the end of February has come fast, with no change in the political dynamics or vote results or rhetoric. There’s been wide commentary on how Republicans knew they were given the keys to Capitol Hill on a provisional basis – that they needed to show they can govern, not just hold a majority. Well, here’s such a time.

ABC’s TOM SHINE: The New England patriots lost drafts picks for spying on other teams. The New Orleans Saints lost them for putting out hits on opponents’ players. Now Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, want NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take away draft picks “as a penalty for teams that do not appropriately address domestic violence and sexual assault.” The lawmakers will send Goodell a letter this morning.

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his annual budget address in Trenton this afternoon and he will announce a thawing of relations with a one-time bitter enemy, the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. Christie will say this afternoon that he is joining forces with the group to work together to fix the state’s pension system. There’s plenty of YouTube videos and instances of Christie and the teachers’ unions at odds (to put it lightly), but this is a bipartisan moment that he can refer back to on the 2016 campaign trail. It’s these moments he often talks about as a GOP governor in a blue state, but they have been overshadowed recently by other negative headlines over the last year.  According to guidance the governor’s office released ahead of the speech, Christie and the NJEA have been “working behind the scenes” to “find a sustainable, long-term solution to the pension problem.” In an excerpt released Christie will say, “I know we can get this done. We have proven time and again that even when we look like we’re not going to make it work and that politics and partisan interests have won, we flip the script.”  http://bit.ly/1DjBMnf




VA SECRETARY ROBERT MCDONALD APOLOGIZES FOR MISSTATING HE SERVED IN SPECIAL FORCES. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for mistakenly saying in a videotaped exchange with a homeless man that he had served in the special forces, though his service was entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division. “Secretary McDonald has apologized for the misstatement and noted that he never intended to misrepresent his military service,” a White House official told ABC News. “We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.” The exchange with the homeless man was part of a report about an effort to find military veterans among the homeless that aired on CBS News on Jan. 30, according to ABC’s CHRIS GOOD. http://abcn.ws/1FmcXab

WHAT OBAMA’S NEW RULE COULD MEAN FOR YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT. President Obama is pushing for tighter regulations on advisers who handle 401(k) and IRA retirement plans. Alleging that middle-class Americans can get ripped off by their financial advisers, the president spoke at AARP’s Washington, D.C., headquarters Monday to make the case for a new proposed rule. “Because of bad advice, because of skewed incentives, because of a lack of protection, you could end up in a situation where you lose some of your hard-earned money simply because your adviser isn’t required to put your interest first,” Obama said. “The truth is, most people don’t even realize it’s happening.” According to ABC’s CHRIS GOOD, the new rule would require that advisers who handle retirement funds like 401(k)s and IRAs act in their clients’ best interest, adhering to a new “fiduciary” standard that doesn’t currently exist. http://abcn.ws/1zbcDq0

GOVERNORS FUME OVER MEETING WITH PRESIDENT. After the President hosted the nation’s governors at the White House for a discussion Monday, the Republican Governors Association held a press conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to ABC’s A.J. FEATHER. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said this was her fifth year going to the White House to speak with the president and she has grown frustrated. “Every time we try and move the ball with him he says, ‘no,’ and so you look at the fact that we asked him about the Keystone Pipeline. He said it’s not gonna happen,” Haley said. “We talk about healthcare and he says he’s not going to consider what the Supreme Court’s going to do because he refuses to think about it.”

JINDAL: OBAMA LOVES AMERICA, BUT RUDY’S POINT WAS RIGHT. Obama loves America, but he’s disqualified himself as commander in chief, said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential conservative candidate for president. “The president loves America. He loves our country. There’s no doubt about that,” Jindal told ABC at a press conference with governors Monday after the National Governors Association luncheon with Obama at the White House, when asked about Giuliani’s Wall Street Journal op-ed and whether the mayor had lost any credibility in this whole exchange. Jindal had previously defended Rudy Giuliani while saying the mayor should have used different “phraseology,” ABC’s CHRIS GOOD reports. At the same time, Jindal said Obama has “really disqualified himself to be our commander in chief.”



FIRST LADY SAYS #GIMMEFIVE AS OBAMAS MARK 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF LET’S MOVE. For the fifth anniversary of her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity, first lady Michelle Obama is asking Americans to tweet or post to Facebook five ways to stay fit under the hashtag #GimmeFive. To promote that drive, she got some help from her husband, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD writes. The president appeared with the first lady in a YouTube video: http://abcn.ws/1w3uuPr



TOP 7 POLITICAL MOMENTS FROM THE OSCARS. The year’s biggest night for Hollywood was memorable for the great one-liners from Neil Patrick Harris, the gorgeous gowns and moving musical performances. But the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday also hit a more serious note as Oscar winners used their acceptance speeches to highlight political issues that were important to them. ABC’s STACY CHEN, STEPHANIE EBBS and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI highlight a few issues that came up. http://abcn.ws/1w33eAL



@scottwongDC: Boehner/McConnell vow to continue Keystone fight after Obama veto http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/233588-gop-leaders-obama-sadly-mistaken-if-he-thinks-keystone-veto-is-the#.VOyDCdCBwZQ.twitter …

@cam_joseph: .@marcorubio in NH: “We have government policies deeply rooted in yesterday and yesterday’s ideas don’t work anymore”

@markknoller: This afternoon, Pres Obama meets with some rank-and-file police officers to discuss enhancing trust in the communities they serve.

@bpolitics: Eric Cantor says he plans to focus on tech, defense and health-care companies as his firm expands into D.C. http://bloom.bg/17tYEFx 

@whignewtons: Congrats to @hughhewitt on moderating first gop debate. Wildly smart choice by @GOP.

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Scott Walker: That Was Then, This Is Now http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/scott-walker-that-was-then-this-is-now-the-note/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/scott-walker-that-was-then-this-is-now-the-note/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:30:09 +0000 Michael Falcone http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898394 By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)


  • HERE’S A BRIEF REVIEW OF SCOTT WALKER’S WEEKEND: “Gov. Scott Walker: ‘I don’t know’ whether Obama is a Christian” (Washington Post); “Scott Walker: ‘I Don’t Really Know’ Whether Obama Loves America” (Huffington Post); “Walker feeling the heat” (Politico). The Wisconsin governor and potential presidential candidate was in Washington this weekend for the annual National Governors Association conference, and he didn’t do himself any favors, as this sampling of national headlines attest.
  • ANALYSIS — ABC’s RICK KLEIN: This is what the pitching is like in the big leagues, Gov. Scott Walker. Walker is of course free to try to change the game, and even not take big swings in the meantime. But the idea that he wouldn’t tell The Washington Post that he believes President Obama is a Christian – after no-commenting on whether Obama loves America, and taking a “punt” on a series of questions, including whether he believes in evolution – suggests a candidate not ready for the way the news cycle churns around presidential candidates. The past month has been one of arrival for Walker, who has established himself as a first-tier contender alongside much better-known names. The danger for him now, though, is that a reputation starts to gel around Walker’s political hesitancy, if not expediency. Quibbling with the nature of campaign coverage gets you somewhere with the GOP base, no doubt. But so would deftly handling the kinds of questions that arise when you choose to put yourself in the arena.
  • RUDY SPEAKS: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani sought took to the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page last night to do a little damage control: “My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart. My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance. … Obviously, I cannot read President Obama’s mind or heart, and to the extent that my words suggested otherwise, it was not my intention. When asked last week whether I thought the president was a patriot, I said I did, and would repeat that. I bear him no ill will, and in fact think that his personal journey is inspiring and a testament to much of what makes this country great.”


HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama will appear at AARP’s Washington, DC headquarters to direct the Department of Labor to issue a new proposed rule that would require private retirement-account advisers to act in the best interest of their clients. The president will appear alongside administration figures like Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. The new rule—the specifics of which have not yet been released—would expand current requirements that advisers steer customers toward plans “suitable” to them, into a new requirement of “fiduciary” responsibility.




‘NO DOUBT’ PRESIDENT OBAMA LOVES HIS COUNTRY, SAYS SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM. Potential Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham has “no doubt” that President Obama loves his country, refuting comments made by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “Well, I love Rudy, but I don’t want to go there. The nation’s very divided. President Obama has divided us more than he’s brought us together and I don’t want to add to that division,” Graham initially said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, before adding, “I have no doubt that he loves his country. I have no doubt that he’s a patriot. But his primary job as president of the United States is to defend this country and he’s failing miserably.” The South Carolina senator said that part of that failure stems from labeling the threat posed by ISIS and other terrorist groups as “violent extremism” instead of “radical” Islamists, ABC’s LAURA WAGNER reports. http://abcn.ws/1BByVIv

ONE THING THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON. ABC’s BEN BELL asked Amy Chozick, national political reporter for the The New York Times, who covers Hillary Clinton, about when the former secretary of state might announce her 2016 intentions, her possible competition, who might run her campaign as well as one thing that surprised her about Clinton. http://abcn.ws/1Gfgo3v

MEET THE DEMOCRAT WHO’S NOT AFRAID TO CRITICIZE PRESIDENT OBAMA ON ISIS. President Obama has faced intense criticism from Republicans for his reluctance to label ISIS an “Islamic” group. But that’s not particularly remarkable. More noteworthy is that a member of the president’s own party – from his home state – has taken repeated shots at him: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. “The administration is misidentifying the enemy and their motivation,” Gabbard said on CNN last week, calling the president’s emphasis on economic aspects of terrorism a “diversion.” Known as a rising political star, the Hawaii Democrat is one of the first two female combat veterans elected to Congress. She did tour tours in Iraq, and doesn’t hesitate to make her opinions known when it comes to defense issues, according to ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY. Perhaps because of her military background – and her political affiliation – Gabbard’s comments on ISIS have reverberated. The Republican National Committee was quick to release a statement this week saying, “even Democrats … aren’t buying what the President is selling.” http://abcn.ws/1FGu5Lp

WHAT’S IN BERNIE SANDERS’ GUT? Sen. Bernie Sanders, the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history, plans on relying on his gut as to whether he will run for president in 2016. “Before I make that decision, I have to develop a sense in my own gut as to whether or not there is the grassroots support across this country,” the Vermont senator told ABC News during an interview in Iowa. “My gut is telling me very clearly that there is a lot of responsiveness to the fact that there is something wrong in this country.” Should he decide to make a White House bid, Sanders would not say if he would run as a Democrat or Independent, ABC’s JESSICA PUCKETT notes. “You know the fact that I’m in Iowa, which is a caucus state, maybe speaks for itself, but I haven’t made up my final decision,” he said. “I’ve got to say – some of my strongest supporters say, ‘Bernie, stay out of the damn Democratic Party. Run as an Independent.’” http://abcn.ws/1EjS4OQ



TOP 5 POLITICAL CAMEOS ON THE BIG SCREEN. In honor of last night’s Academy Awards ABC’s ALI DUKAKIS and JORDYN PHELPS took a look back at the top five political cameos on the big screen. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1ExBc54



@rickklein: on tap this week – Journeys with Joe, and Rahmbo: First Round Part II. what to watch in politics: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/stories-care-politics-week/story?id=29115645 …

@nationaljournal: DGA leaders talk up Manchin and Heitkamp for governor in 2016 http://trib.al/OTtmezM 

@markknoller: “Within this room, we’re not going to agree on everything,” Pres Obama conceded to governors last night, but is committed to work together.

@sbg1: President Obama’s war push faces rift with the left: imp piece from @burgessev and @mkraju http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/president-obamas-war-push-faces-rift-with-the-left-115329.html … via @POLITICO

@RealClearScott: Rubio in New Hampshire today and tomorrow. Will have a good opportunity to impress the GOP suit-and-tie set at Politics & Eggs in Manch.

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The Note: “An Ugly Lie” and a Coming Ground Offensive http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/the-note-an-ugly-lie-and-a-coming-ground-offensive/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/the-note-an-ugly-lie-and-a-coming-ground-offensive/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:53:19 +0000 Shushannah Walshe http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898332  

The Note 2/20/2015

The Note: “An Ugly Lie” and a Coming Ground Offensive



By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)



  • IRAQI GROUND OFFENSIVE TO RETAKE MOSUL COULD BE LAUNCHED AS EARLY AS APRIL. U.S. military officials believe that the Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul from the militant group ISIS could come as early as April and involve between 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops. The plan could be delayed depending on training and equipment schedules for the Iraq troops that would be involved in the offensive, a U.S. Central Command official said, noting that ISIS is on the defensive and that the U.S. military plan against ISIS is “slightly ahead of the campaign.” The official provided unusually detailed plans in a briefing for Pentagon reporters about the long-awaited push by Iraqi forces to retake Iraq’s second-largest city from the 1,000 to 2,000 ISIS fighters believed to there, ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ reports. U.S. military officials are typically reticent in providing details about the timing or force levels of planned military offensives. When asked why so many details about the planned offensive were being provided, the official said it was “to describe the level of detail that ISF are doing and the level of commitment that they have to this and the significance of this upcoming operation.” http://abcn.ws/1z4sR4d
  • WATCH ABC’s JONATHAN KARL on GOOD MORNING AMERICA today. He reports on the Pentagon’s new plans to battle ISIS, as well as that “ugly lie,” and those Rudy Giuliani comments: http://abcn.ws/1Acl7lP
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA REJECTS ‘NOTION THAT THE WEST IS AT WAR WITH ISLAM.’ President Obama Thursday challenged the idea that terrorist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State are connected to the Islamic faith during remarks at the White house Summit to Counter Violent Extremism. “The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” Obama said. “And all of us — regardless of our faith — have a responsibility to reject it.” Speaking at the State Department on the third day of the summit, he called on countries to address the conditions, or “political grievances,” that terrorists exploit such as human rights violations, lack of free speech and tension between social groups, ABC’s STEPHANIE EBBS and DEVIN DWYER report. “We need to break the cycle of conflict, especially sectarian conflict, that have become magnets for violent extremism,” he added. The president said that the coalition of 60 countries that has been conducting air strikes against ISIS “will not relent” to destroy the organization in Iraq and Syria. http://abcn.ws/1E9KbLJ
  • ANALYSIS–ABC’S DEVIN DWYER:  While the president promoted a softer approach to fighting extremism, his Pentagon was doubling down on the military campaign, unveiling in unusual detail a coming military operation to re-take Mosul from ISIS.  The northern Iraqi city is the crown jewel of the extremist group’s so-called “caliphate” in northern Iraq.  Why did the Pentagon announce the operation now, and why reveal (to the enemy) in such detail what is going to happen?  Perhaps it was meant as a deliberate counterpoint to the White House summit on countering violent extremism, which focused on and received criticism for its focus on jobs, political inclusion and human rights as solutions.  There’s also the big question of whether American troops would be involved in such an operation – that’s a decision that President Obama would have to make as Congress weighs whether to give him the formal authority.
  • ANALYSIS–THE NEW YORK TIMES’ PETER BAKER AND JULIE HIRSCHFIELD DAVIS: As he sought to rally the world behind a renewed attack on terrorism, President Obama argued on Thursday that force of arms was not enough and called on all nations to “put an end to the cycle of hate” by expanding human rights, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue. But the challenge of his approach was staring him right in the face. His audience of invited guests, putative allies in a fresh international counterterrorism campaign, included representatives from some of the world’s least democratic and most repressive countries. The three-day White House conference on violent extremism that Mr. Obama wrapped up on Thursday provided a case study in the fundamental tension that has bedeviled the American struggle with terrorism since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. While Mr. Obama has concluded that radicalism is fueled by political and economic grievance, he has found himself tethered to some of the very international actors most responsible for such grievances, dependent on them for intelligence and cooperation to prevent future attacks. “There is a very profound conceptual disagreement about whether the best way to counter violent extremism is through human rights and civil society or through an iron fist,” said Marc Lynch, director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University. http://nyti.ms/1z5i0Hc
  • AND WHAT’S WITH RUDY? A RE-CAP. FIRST THIS: “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said at a dinner in New York City, according to Politico. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” http://abcn.ws/1EZo4pf  THEN DNC CHAIR DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ REACTS: “If the Republican Party really wants to be taken seriously, really wants to avoid its problems of the past, now is the time for its leaders to stop this kind of nonsense. Enough… I would challenge my Republican colleagues and anyone in the Republican Party to say enough. They need to start leading.” http://abcn.ws/1EZo4pf THEN THIS FROM OBAMA SPOKESMAN ERIC SCHULTZ, according to ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: “Mr. Giuliani test drove this line of attack during his fleeting 2007 run for the presidency. I was obviously not at the dinner… so I’m going to leave it to those at the dinner to assess whether or not they were appropriate…I will say I do agree with him on one thing he said today which is it was a horrible thing to say.” AND THEN GIULIANI TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.” http://nyti.ms/1DA2fjd
  • ON THE PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE, according to ABC’S DEVIN DWYER: The White House says the president will push his domestic economic agenda for the middle class in a speech to the DNC this morning and later in a meeting with Democratic governors. This is about laying the groundwork for the Democratic campaign in 2016. He’ll highlight minimum wage, paid leave, free community college, immigration, etc., drawing contrasts with Republicans.
  • ON THE TRAIL: Sen. Ted Cruz heads to Bush and Rubio territory, keynoting the Duval County Florida Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Lindsey Graham is on his second day of a trip to Iowa, where he’s having mostly private meetings – but he’ll also hold a press conference this afternoon. Also in the Hawkeye State is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who holds a town hall meeting at Drake University in Des Moines. Senator Rand Paul keynotes a victory dinner for the Alabama Republican Party in Montgomery. And the Democratic National Committee will hear from President Obama, as he addresses their Winter Meeting this morning in Washington. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remains in Washington, where he gave a speech last night – today he’ll meet with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, also in town for meetings.–Ali Weinberg


THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: Sunday on “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with The New York Times’ Amy Chozick, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., TIME political columnist Joe Klein, and ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Check the “This Week” page for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. TUNE IN SUNDAY:  http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek



ABC’S LUIS MARTINEZ: Every reporter’s reaction yesterday was the same “Why are you providing so much detail?” when a Centcom official laid out when, where and how many Iraqi troops would be involved in retaking Mosul.  This doesn’t happen, military officials always want to be vague about the details and want the element of surprise to overtake an enemy.  But it’s obvious that Centcom playing the psychological card is a part of the plan for retaking Mosul.  I believe they want ISIS’s 2,000 fighters inside Mosul to know that in two months they could be facing an Iraqi Army ten times as big as they are. The key question is whether the training of the Iraqi troops will be done in time to make this assault realistic, and will it be enough.  The official said that six brigades worth of equipment has flowed into Iraq to rearm the Iraqi military.

ABC’S BEN SIEGEL: In a speech to New Jersey business leaders in Washington Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie challenged union leaders to follow his lead on public pension reform, and called on state Democrats to take up his economic policies to create more jobs and encourage businesses to stay in New Jersey. “If we don’t do this right, nothing else matters,” Christie said. His words are also true when considering any presidential aspirations. While reports of Jeb Bush poaching potential donors and advisors should concern Christie’s camp, a poor economic record would be an albatross around the neck of any presidential candidate. The next step for Christie the governor—and Christie the candidate—will be next Tuesday, when he gives his annual budget address to New Jersey legislators.

ABC’S KATHERINE FAULDERS: Okay, let’s admit it. ‘February’ is just as tough to say as it is to spell. That sneaky ‘r’ in there can confuse just about anyone — including the White House. February’s spelling is posing quite the problem for The White House Press Office. On multiple Daily Guidance and Press Schedule’s for the president that the White House sends out they have been spelling the month as FEBURARY. To their credit, I guess they are spelling it how it’s pronounced. Not only has ‘February’ created an obstacle for the White House press office, but President Obama is not a fan of the word either. Remember the Obama BuzzFeed video, “Things Everybody Does, But Doesn’t Talk About”? Cut to the scene of President Obama looking in the mirror saying “The deadline to sign up for health insurance is Febru…Febru…that’s not right…Febru…man! FEBRUARY 15th!” Coincidence, perhaps? Or maybe the White House is intentionally misspelling the word. Who knows.  The solution? Let’s get this White House to March.

ABC’S TOM SHINE: “Lethal Weapon” star Danny Glover makes a video supporting the U.S. Postal Service. His dad was a postal worker, so was his mother, sister and brother and over Christmas he worked there too, according to Joe Davidson of the Washington Post.  So as talks began yesterday between the postal unions and management, actor Danny Glover showed up in Washington for a postal worker pep rally of sorts where he unveiled his video. “Working for the postal service enabled my parents to buy their first home,” he says as “family photos are shown in the background.”  Davidson says after the rally, Glover held a news conference saying “the post office has always provided a space for those needing a living wage.  If we’re going to talk about rebuilding the middle class…we have to look at the post office.” http://wapo.st/1DzQIjP And the video: http://bit.ly/1z5ilK8



“Chris Christie Losing Home-State Donors as Jeb Bush Makes Inroads,” by Matea Gold and Robert Costa of The Washington Post. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is rapidly losing support among some of his most prominent home-state donors and power brokers, who are either hesitant to back him or shifting allegiance to former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Bush’s aggressive moves to lock up the Republican Party’s premier fundraisers threaten to undercut the Garden State governor before his expected campaign can get off the ground, while raising questions about how robust of a network of support Christie will be able to muster. Bush has stopped short of directly confronting Christie by holding a fundraiser on his home turf. But behind the scenes, he has been quietly wooing, via e-mail, a cadre of high-profile Christie backers, including a group that attended a private dinner with Bush at New York’s Union League Club in January. “I’ve known and admired Jeb for many years and I’m obviously intrigued by his candidacy, or I wouldn’t have had dinner or communicated with him in recent weeks,” said New Jersey State Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr. (R), who chaired Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign and attended the New York dinner. “Time will tell how things evolve.” http://wapo.st/185COsX

“Critics in G.O.P. Say Chris Christie Is in a ‘Bubble,’” by Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore of The New York Times. He does not return phone calls. He does not ask for support. He arrives late for meetings. And he acts as if he has all the time in the world. The complaints have piled up for weeks, dismaying many longtime supporters of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and sending others into the arms of his rivals for the presidential nomination, according to interviews with more than two dozen Republican donors and strategists. As a half-dozen other candidates aggressively raise money and chase endorsements in Iowa and New Hampshire, friends and detractors alike say Mr. Christie’s view of his status and pre-eminence within the Republican field is increasingly at odds with the picture outside his inner circle. Policy advisers, donors and even a prominent New Jersey state senator who met his wife through Mr. Christie have all flirted with or committed to rival candidates. One potential donor, Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, will back Jeb Bush, according to three people close to the Bush campaign. Mr. Johnson attended a round of Bush fund-raising events on Wednesday in Chicago, where the former Florida governor acknowledged him by name. http://nyti.ms/1ArqoVg






Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released more than 275,000 emails from his time as governor earlier this month. He released the massive cache in the name of “transparency,” but will other governors or former governors mulling a 2016 campaign for the White House follow suit? ABC News reached out to every former or current governor mulling or even just flirting with a presidential bid and no one said they would release their emails in a similar fashion, though some declined to comment, ABC’S SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. It’s important to note that given Florida’s accessible open records laws, it’s likely Bush also knew his emails would be released whether he was behind it or not. News organizations, including ABC News, got access to the emails before Bush released them thanks to those open records laws… Each state does have their own open records laws and they can vary widely. It’s also important to note Bush was well out of office, since 2007, when he released his emails. Five of the governors we asked are still in office including Christie, Pence, Jindal, Walker, and Kasich. http://abcn.ws/1AqOb7Y

WHY THE WHITE HOUSE PICKED 4TH GRADERS FOR FREE NATIONAL PARK ADMISSION. President Obama announced a new initiative yesterday to encourage young children to visit national parks — but it’s not all young kids. It’s specific to 4th graders. The program, ‘Every Kid in a Park initiative,’ allows for free admission for fourth graders and their families to all national parks for a full year, ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL notes. But what is so special about those awesome 9 and 10 year olds? According to a White House official, the school grade was decided on for “logistical, educational and instructional reasons.” “NPS and other land and water agencies already have 4th grade programming in place in many locations,” the official said. “Many states focus on state history during the 4th grade, which aligns well with what NPS and other land managers have to offer.” The White House also points to 4th graders only having one teacher at that age, making it easier for them to reach the group and research which shows the earlier a youth connects with the outdoors the better for their development long term. http://abcn.ws/1COrHPd

PRESIDENT OBAMA DESIGNATES FIRST NATIONAL PARK IN CHICAGO, OTHERS IN COLORADO, HAWAII. It’s always been a dream of President Obama’s to designate a national park in freezing conditions, he joked at a speech Thursday in Chicago. That’s what he did. The president announced three new national parks yesterday, including one in a Chicago neighborhood he said he used to drive past every day on the way to his first job, ABC’s STEPHANIE EBBS writes. It was 6 degrees with winds up to 20 miles per hour in Chicago Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The three new parks — in Illinois, Colorado and Hawaii — are some of 16 federal parks that Obama has created or expanded using the Antiquities Act, first used by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 to create Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Next year is the centennial of the National Park Service and the new parks are part of a campaign to get Americans and students to “Find Your Park.” Representatives of the White House declined to say how much the new parks would cost but said they expected it to balance out with increased visitation and economic benefit to cities around the parks. http://abcn.ws/1Lifu9h

PRESIDENT OBAMA LENDS A HAND TO RAHM EMANUEL IN CHICAGO MAYORAL RACE. During his trip to the frozen city of Chicago Thursday, President Obama squeezed in some time to help out an old friend who is locked in a tight re-election battle — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The president first appeared alongside Emanuel, who served as White House Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010, at an event designating three new national parks, including the Pullman District in Chicago. “Rahm hasn’t just fought for a National Park in Pullman, he’s fought for new opportunity and new jobs in Pullman, and for every Chicagoan, in every neighborhood, making sure every single person gets the fair shot at success that they deserve,” the president said in a speech at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy. Later in the afternoon, the president and Emanuel visited a campaign office in Kenwood, where the president thanked volunteers for their efforts to re-elect Emanuel. The president’s visit comes just five days before Chicagoans cast their ballots for mayor. Emanuel, who is facing off against four other candidates, is leading in the polls, but the incumbent Chicago mayor may not reach the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off, according to ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. If the mayoral race were to head into the run-off, Emanuel’s position as mayor could be at risk if voters whose candidate did not reach the run-off decide to solidify behind another candidate. http://abcn.ws/1zrgwZ3



MEET THE ADORABLE SECOND GRADERS WHO SCORED AN INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA. It’s an opportunity many professional journalists can only dream of: An interview with the president of the United States. But for a group of second-graders in Kansas, that dream has already become a reality. A class of students from Belinder Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kansas, submitted questions to President Obama on behalf of their school newspaper, and the president answered. “What advice do you have for second-graders and other students?” the students wrote to President Obama. “Dream big dreams,” President Obama responded. “You are fortunate to live in a country where if you work hard, do the right thing and listen to your parents, you can be anything you want to be.” The interview is now published in the latest edition of The Belinder School’s newspaper, “The Marbel News.” So how exactly does a group of second-graders from Kansas land an interview with the president? Their teacher attributes their success in part to what he calls the “the cuteness factor.” It also helped that a parent of one of the students in the class knows White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, and Earnest agreed to pass along some questions to the president’s desk, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS notes. “I thought it was awesome, but I also thought it was too good to be true and I was just having a dream,” said a student. http://abcn.ws/1CPZ7Nh




@mattzap Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced today. Here’s what you need to know: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/everything-you-need-to-know-about-maureen-mcdonnells-sentencing/2015/02/19/da53da76-b3be-11e4-854b-a38d13486ba1_story.html …

@mkraju Rubio, in interview, begins to highlight his 2016 pitch: He foresaw the problems around globe. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/marco-rubio-foreign-policy-115341.html …

@dannyyadron State Department hasn’t been able to get hackers from three months ago out of their email. http://www.wsj.com/articles/three-months-later-state-department-hasnt-rooted-out-hackers-1424391453 … 

@realDonaldTrump Gov. Scott Walker just left my office–we had a really wonderful talk. Very interesting! @GovWalker

@mollymhunter The fast food scene at @ZaatariCamp just got a whole lot, well, faster. http://abcn.ws/1EXYpgK  via @NasserTouaibia @Refugees #JO #Pizza






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The Note: Jeb Bush, A Family Matter http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/the-note-jeb-bush-a-family-matter/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/02/the-note-jeb-bush-a-family-matter/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:39:50 +0000 Shushannah Walshe http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898325 The Note 2/19/2015

The Note: Jeb Bush, A Family Matter


By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)




  • JEB BUSH ANALYSIS–ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Can you be your own man while sharing a last name with other men with complicated legacies inside and outside your own party? Can you be your own man while talking to the same men (and some of the women) who advised those other men during some of the low and high points of their foreign policies? These are central questions facing Jeb Bush, as he only starts to answer for how he plans to define himself as opposed to the Presidents Bush. The fact is he can’t and won’t ever entirely be able to be his own man in politics. His name and family connections confer early front-runner status on him, making him something other than just another ex-governor. They also make him the fundraising juggernaut he will always be. (One wonders whether the money folks talking about the “shock and awe” fundraising strategy remember what that phrase meant in George W. Bush’s Iraq war.) For big donors as for the foreign-policy establishment, the Bush name is a comfortable and powerful one. For voters and caucus-goers, it gets quite a bit more complicated. The next question inevitably becomes, does a man who once famously said he never disagreed with anything his brother did as president find a few areas where he parts ways?
  • WATCH ABC’s JONATHAN KARL on GOOD MORNING AMERICA today on Jeb Bush’s family dynamic and how we saw it play out in yesterday’s speech: http://abcn.ws/1AWsajb
  • JEB BUSH ON COMPARISONS TO BROTHER, FATHER: ‘I AM MY OWN MAN.’  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gave his first foreign policy address since indicating he is exploring a 2016 run for the White House and aimed to distinguish himself from his brother and father, both former presidents. He told the audience “I am my own man,” even though he is seeking guidance from many of their former advisers. Bush told attendees yesterday at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs he is “fortunate to have a father and a brother who both have shaped America’s foreign policy from the Oval Office.” “I recognize that, as a result, my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs,” he said. “Look, just for the record, one more time: I love my brother, I love my dad….And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.” An aide to Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee confirmed a group of 21 veteran foreign policy experts advising Bush, many of whom worked in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Bush spent most of his speech criticizing President Obama and his foreign policy. Bush also noted “mistakes” were made in Iraq, such as “using the intelligence capability that everyone embraced about weapons of mass destruction [that] turned out not to be accurate.” But he said his brother, President George W. Bush performed a “heroic act of courage,” by implementing the 2007 troop surge, adding that ISIS filling a “void” could have been prevented by President Obama. http://abcn.ws/1EpC63I
  • FAMILIAR NAMES: An aide to Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee confirmed a group of 21 veteran foreign policy experts advising Bush, many of whom worked in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.The group includes former secretaries of state James Baker, who served under George H.W. Bush, and George Shultz, who served under Ronald Reagan; two former secretaries of homeland security who served under George W. Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff; two former CIA directors who also served under the later Bush presidency, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss. Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush’s national security advisor was on the list, as well as former Works Bank presidents Paul Wolfowitz and Robert Zoellick. John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence, has also been advising Bush, as has John Hannah, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser, among others. The former Florida governor’s aide described the list as a “preliminary group of foreign policy experts” Bush will be “in touch with in coming months” to discuss “some of the challenges and opportunities on the foreign policy front.” http://abcn.ws/1EpC63I
  • IN THE NOTE’S INBOX: THE CONSERVATIVE BACKLASH TO JEB: ForAmerica launches ad effort declaring Jeb Bush “unelectable.” New video shows Bush giving Hillary Clinton a public service award on eve of first anniversary of Benghazi attack. ForAmerica is launching a new short video today declaring former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) unelectable if he runs for president…The approximately one minute video will go out to almost 8 million ForAmerica supporters through the organization’s digital and social media network. The video shows Bush at the 2013 Liberty Medal Ceremony, in which he took the stage to honor Hillary Clinton as she was given the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal on September 10, 2013. ”It’s bad enough that Hillary Clinton will likely use footage from this event against any Republican nominee, but if Jeb Bush is her opponent she will make him look ridiculous,” said ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell.  “Anytime Jeb calls Hillary ‘Obama 2.0,’ any criticism he makes of her awful record as Secretary of State, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service. WATCH: http://bit.ly/1AWcmge
  • THE TRIAL BALLOON: THE WASHINGTON POST’S CHRIS CILLIZZA reports the Bush riff on his family was totally shoe-horned into the broader address and had virtually nothing to do with what Bush was talking about more generally when it came to his foreign policy vision… Given the sort-of-out-of-nowhere nature of what Jeb said on his family — and the fact that the “I am my own man” line was included in the excerpts shipped to reporters (including this one) Tuesday night, it seems very clear what Jeb (and his team) were up to. This was a trial balloon for how (and how much) Jeb will — and will have to — talk about the Bush name in the campaign to come. His people are smart and, therefore, were well aware that the lines about his family would dominate coverage and overshadow a speech decidedly light on specifics. That level of press coverage and scrutiny will function, at some level, as a sort of gauge for how much leeway (or not) Bush has to talk about his brother and father (or not talk about his brother and father). Assuming the Bush folks did this on purpose — and I am very strongly suspicious that they did — then it’s a very smart strategic move.  Begin the airing of the major issue for Jeb — his last name and all it means — even before he is a candidate in a speech that will draw lots of attention from the politics-starved political media. Measure reaction and adjust accordingly. http://wapo.st/1FxCrVw
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS ISIS ‘NOT RELIGIOUS LEADERS, THEY ARE TERRORISTS.’ President Obama rejected the notion Wednesday that groups like ISIS are operating from a religious foundation — but labeled them simply as terrorists, adding that the United States is at war with those who have “perverted Islam.” “Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam,” Obama said at the White House. “We must never accept the premise that they put forth because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders. They are terrorists.” “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam,” the president added. Obama’s comments came on the second day of the first ever White House summit on Countering Violent Extremism, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The White House has faced some criticism over its decision to not directly tie terrorism to Islamic or Muslim extremism. http://abcn.ws/1EpIxUg
  • AT THE WHITE HOUSE: The White House summit on violent extremism moves to the State Department today for a more global focus on strategies to curb terror, reports ABC’S DEVIN DWYER.  Representatives of more than 60 countries will be in attendance – including ministers from France, Denmark and Belgium which have recently experienced terror attacks. The UN Secretary General and top US officials will also attend.  President Obama is expected to deliver a call-to-action for greater economic opportunities and political inclusion to youth vulnerable to terror recruitment around the world. And later in Chicago, Obama will designate 3 new National Monuments for protection as historic or natural treasures – the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s south side; the Honouliuli internment camp from WWII in Hawaii; and, Browns Canyon in Colorado, site of popular whitewater rafting.  He will also announce an initiative to grant free admission to fourth-graders and their families to all National Parks and federal lands for a full year. Americans younger than 16 years old can already access the parks for free, but there is a fee for adults accompanying them and for the family car. 
  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL OBAMA APPROVAL RATINGS–CO, IA, VA:  Voters in three critical swing states, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, disapprove by margins of 9 percentage points of the job President Barack Obama is doing…By even bigger margins, voters want the next president to change directions from President Obama’s policies…The president gets negative job approval ratings in all three states: 43 – 52 percent in Colorado; 43 – 52 percent in Iowa; 44 – 53 percent in Virginia. Voters support by wide margins, Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on higher income earners to reduce taxes on the middle class.  By smaller margins, voters in each state oppose the president’s proposal to provide free community college tuition. MORE: http://bit.ly/1G7g7iV
  • ON THE TRAIL: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits Washington, D.C., where he will deliver a keynote speech at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner, but there are plenty of 2016ers in early states today. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is on the second day of a South Carolina trip. Sen. Marco Rubio’s book tour also takes him to South Carolina – the Upstate city of Greenville. Sen. Lindsey Graham is in the first caucus state of Iowa for private meetings today and tomorrow. Not in an early state, but still on the road former Texas Gov. Rick Perry attends the Kern County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Bakersfield, California. Back in DC, the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting kicks off in Washington. The DNC will hear from President Obama tomorrow. -Ali Weinberg



ABC’S DEVIN DWYER: Why won’t the White House call it as it is?  That’s been the building criticism and debate around this summit that has now landed on the front page, from the New York Post to the New York Times, among other outlets. Even Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, from Obama’s home state of Hawaii, told CNN that Obama is “misidentifying the enemy and their motivation.” Other critics say it’s a sign that he’s naive and uncertain. The White House insists this is smart semantics: the president says it’s a deliberate strategy not to play into the hands of the terrorists’ propaganda machine.  Yesterday he delivered a forceful message about the roots of this fight: “We are not at war with Islam,” he said, echoing his predecessor, George W. Bush. “People, not religion, are responsible for terrorism.” Today he will address the final day of the summit at the State Department.

ABC’S ALI WEINBERG: Are men struggling to “have it all?” That’s one takeaway from a new White House economic report that found fathers in households where both parents work are taking on more child care responsibilities. According to data from Bureau of Labor Statistics and government and academic studies, the White House’s economic advisers found fathers are on average spending 4.2 hours more a week on child care and 5.3 hours a week more on housework than in 1965, but since 2008 they’ve also been more likely to report “work-family conflict” than mothers in dual-earning couples – a reversal from the pattern previously in place since 1977. (No word on what percentage of working mothers responded, “welcome to our world.”)

ABC’S TOM SHINE: He couldn’t buy a gun, but he already owned 48 guns, so he shot and killed her with two of those guns, shot and killed their son, shot and killed his mother-in-law, shot but didn’t quite kill his father-in-law.  Barbara Harrington said when her sister made the “brave decision” to leave her very abusive husband, she smartly got a protective order.  But, when “she begged the Virginia police to take his guns away, they told her they lacked the legal authority to do so.”  So even with a protective order, she was helpless and a year ago she was slaughtered.  but gun control advocates, when they focus on domestic violence,  are now starting to have some success.  Six states passed new gun laws in 2014 targeting domestic abuse says reporter Ashby Jones of The Wall Street Journal, and two of those states, Louisiana and Wisconsin, have Republican governors.  Several more are currently considering laws protecting victims of domestic violence and Missouri is even including “dating partners.”   http://on.wsj.com/1AWkEF0



Bush Adviser May Skip Campaign to Work for ‘Super PAC,’” by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Mike Murphy, the Republican strategist who has played a critical role in getting out Jeb Bush’s message and rolling out his all-but-certain presidential run, may not end up working for the campaign itself. Mr. Murphy has had discussions about joining Mr. Bush’s “super PAC,” Right to Rise, a high-dollar outfit that will work to promote his candidacy independent of an official campaign, according to people with knowledge of the conversations who spoke under the condition of anonymity to be able to speak freely about discussions within Mr. Bush’s closely held circle…Mr. Murphy’s move would place him in a crucial position, given that super PACs’ main role has been to churn out television advertisements. It can also be a lucrative assignment for media consultants. But coordination between outside groups and campaigns is legally restricted, and that could prove difficult for Mr. Murphy and Mr. Bush, given their close relationship. Nothing has been decided, according to people who have been in contact with Mr. Bush’s aides, and Mr. Murphy could still end up as lead strategist for the campaign, a position for which there is currently no other clear choice. http://nyti.ms/17uquRL

Clinton Foundation’s Global Network Overlaps with Family’s Political Base,” by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich of The Washington Post. Since its creation in 2001, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised close to $2 billion from a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests, according to a Washington Post review of public records and newly released contribution data. The total, representing cash and pledges reported in tax filings, includes $262 million that was raised in 2013 — the year Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down as secretary of state and began to devote her energies to the foundation and to a likely second run for president. The financial success of the foundation, which funds charitable work around the world, underscores the highly unusual nature of another Clinton candidacy. The organization has given contributors entree, outside the traditional political arena, to a possible president. Foreign donors and countries that are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration — and yet are ineligible to give to U.S. political campaigns — have affirmed their support for the family’s work through the charitable giving. http://wapo.st/1AnUb18




MEET IRAN’S FIRST WOMAN VICE PRESIDENT. As the first female vice president of Iran and the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar may be the most powerful woman in Iran. But long before her current role, Americans came to know Ebtekar in 1979 as “Mary,” the English-speaking spokeswoman for the Iranian student group that overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. Thirty-six years after the hostage crisis, Ebtekar said Iranian society is open to dialogue and understanding with the American people, but that there is a persistent distrust of the U.S. government, specifically as it relates to the war against the militant group ISIS. “Well, I think there’s a lot of skepticism about the role of the United States in dealing with ISIS, because the support they initially provided for ISIS in Syria strengthened this group at that time, and then also other reasons to believe this is not a genuine group, it somehow instigated or created by, I don’t know, a certain intelligence agency,” Ebtekar said, presumably alluding to the CIA, during an interview in Tehran with ABC’S MARTHA RADDATZ, host of “On the Radar.” WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW: http://yhoo.it/1DuWWl8





PRESIDENT OBAMA TAPS VETERAN SECRET SERVICE AGENT JOSEPH CLANCY TO LEAD AGENCY. President Obama has tapped veteran Secret Service agent and acting interim director Joseph Clancy to lead the embattled agency after a tumultuous year of embarrassing security lapses and bipartisan calls for a leadership overhaul, a White House official confirmed to ABC News. Clancy, who spent 27 years as an agent and later led the Secret Service presidential protection division, is personally well-liked and trusted by the Obama family, sources say. “He has delivered the leadership many of us expected him to demonstrate,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who repeatedly characterized Clancy as “credible.” “Certainly his solid performance over the past several months certainly served him well.” By selecting Clancy as the permanent agency head, Obama is bucking the recommendation of an independent review panel that had called for outside blood to lead the Secret Service, saying it suffered from an insulated management culture and lack of aggressive leadership, according to ABC’s DEVIN DWYER. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service., Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, offered skepticism of Obama’s selection, saying Clancy lacks a “fresh perspective.” “It is disappointing the President ignored the recommendation from the independent panel,” Chaffetz said. “That said, I appreciate how available Acting Director Clancy has made himself over the past few months.” http://abcn.ws/1AlCTld

WHY REPUBLICANS MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK THEIR VICTORY LAP ON IMMIGRATION. Republicans, especially some of the potential 2016 presidential candidates, were quick to claim a victory this week after a judge in Texas ordered a temporary halt to some of President Obama’s controversial immigration actions. “The Texas court decision reached [Monday] night is a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama’s lawless amnesty,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Tuesday. “This is a major victory for the rule of law.” Another potential 2016er, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Obama’s action a “blatant overreach of executive power” and “an affront to the rule of law.” But it could be a short-term victory because immigration is a potential landmine for Republicans seeking the White House in 2016, ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL writes. A poll out Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 73 percent of Americans support Congress passing a comprehensive bill rather than working to undo some of President Obama’s executive actions, including the ability of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits and legal safety from deportation. Looking to 2016, it’s even more apparent why there’s a question about whether the federal judge’s ruling is a victory for Republicans. The poll found there is a stark racial divide, with 80 percent of both blacks and Hispanics agreeing that Obama should have taken executive action, with 53 percent of whites agreeing. http://abcn.ws/1z05tVH

WHAT DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ AND MARCO RUBIO HAVE IN COMMON. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is considering a 2016 Senate bid for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, as Politico noted yesterday. These two Floridians that may be jockeying for the same job in Congress have a similar past, ABC’s A.J. FEATHER and AMY SAPP note. Both attended and graduated from the University of Florida and both felt disaffected with their student government’s major party. Wasserman Schultz attended UF from 1984 to 1990, and received her bachelor’s and master’s degree. Just short of crossing paths with Wasserman Schultz, Rubio graduated from UF in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree after some time at Tarkio College in Missouri and Santa Fe Community College in Florida. UF’s student government has been run for decades by Florida Blue Key – a “leadership honorary” in Florida, which tends to run candidates out of fraternities and sororities. Wasserman Schultz successfully won a bid for president of the Student Senate against the Blue Key party in the mid-1980s. The Florida Sentinel quoted Sen. Rubio saying, “Student government at the time was largely dominated by fraternities and sororities, and I wasn’t in a fraternity.” And while talking about his “honorary” induction into Blue Key, he said, “They didn’t pick me while I was there.”



WHITE HOUSE POINTS TO REPUBLICANS AS PARTIAL DHS SHUTDOWN LOOMS. See ABC’s JONATHAN KARL‘s exchange with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on whether a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security will be a threat to national security and to Americans’ lives. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/17rtsGL




@ananavarro @GeorgeHWBush is a class act. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2015/02/19/george-h-w-bushs-touching-resentful-and-proud-letter-of-advice-to-jeb-and-george/ …

@cmarinucci As LA Gov @BobbyJindal arrives in CA, Silicon Valley Indo-Americans say he’s distancing himself from ethnic roots http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Louisiana-Gov-Bobby-Jindal-distances-self-from-6088580.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result …

@KRobertsNJ Philippe Reines warns anonymous Clinton ‘allies’ that her team can tell who is talking. Via @emilyrs http://www.nationaljournal.com/twenty-sixteen/when-a-clinton-ally-isn-t-an-ally-at-all-20150218?ref=t.co&mrefid=walkingheader … @nationaljournal

@mattbai Call me skeptical when it comes to these White House summits. http://news.yahoo.com/obama-s-diminished-presidency-000449866.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw …

@dsamuelsohn Rudy Giuliani: President Obama doesn’t love America http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/rudy-giuliani-president-obama-doesnt-love-america-115309.html … @POLITICO


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