Scenes From The (Non-Campaign) Campaign Trail
By MICHAEL FALCONE
- HILLARY CLINTON THINKS AMERICA HAS A 'FUN DEFICIT': Hillary Clinton appears ready to embark on one of the most rigorous and time-consuming political journeys - the presidential campaign trail - so her message to Americans Thursday was unexpected: Take a break and have more fun, according to ABC's LIZ KREUTZ. "There's a huge fun deficit in America," Clinton said during remarks at the American Camp Association conference in Atlantic City. "We really need camps for adults." With a wink and a nudge to Congress, Clinton made the case that if more adults - and perhaps politicians - had more fun, more people would get along. "The red cabin and the blue cabin have to come together and actually listen to each other," Clinton joked to the crowd of roughly 3,000 summer camp professionals. http://abcn.ws/1EwfmNS
- WHAT HILLARY IS READING THESE DAYS: Clinton, who has been steadily staffing up and seeking counsel ahead of her expected run for president, also noted that she's recently been reading about founders of the United States, including the George Washington administration. http://abcn.ws/1EwfmNS
- THAT TIME JEB BUSH MET LUDACRIS. It may sound like the set-up of a joke, but it happened yesterday with the 2016 hopeful and rapper both addressing state lawmakers in Atlanta. "I actually came here because I was told Ludacris was going to be here," the potential Republican presidential candidate joked. Bush praised the entertainer, who was being honored on the floor of the chamber for his work at his philanthropy, the Ludacris Foundation, which has donated over $1.5 million to youth programs across the country, according to ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. http://abcn.ws/1EySkIH
- THE ELECTION WILL BE MEERKATTED. Yesterday, Bush meerkatted his speech in Georgia, and Mike Murphy, a Bush adviser, tweeted "you're going to see lots more" of the livestreaming app. Last night, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a potential Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton, live streamed his band playing at an event for young professionals, ABC's KIRSTEN APPLETON notes. O'Malley aide, Lis Smith, promoted the live stream with a tweet: "Unlike Jeb, his performance art is music, not political contortions. Cc @Timodc" - a nudge to Bush spokesman, Tim Miller. "I have a big decision to make, and I need to make that decision by May," O'Malley said last night to the audience in the room and online.
POSSIBLE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES JOIN OUR NCAA BRACKET POOL. When in the course of human events a person, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, watches the NCAA basketball tournament, it becomes necessary for that person to participate in a joint ABC News/ESPN bracket pool. Well, "necessary" might be pushing it, but 14 of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have done just that. In partnership with our sister network ESPN, ABC News reached out to every major politician who's said he or she is looking at a run for the White House. The result: Our official NCAA bracket pool for possible 2016 aspirants, live and viewable at ESPN.com-in the same format we and everyone else uses for ESPN bracket pools with our friends. See the ABC/ESPN 2016 Potential Candidates' Pool here : http://es.pn/1Haabt5 And what it might mean for the future of the White House and the country: http://abcn.ws/1F9rauS
with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
TOP 15 ISSUES THAT HAVE AMERICANS WORRIED. The percentage of Americans who worry "a great deal" about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week. Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern, ABC's A.J. FEATHER notes. The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans' concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern. The list also holds some good news. While Americans' concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. http://abcn.ws/1H6WJ9l
BOEHNER 'STUNNED' BY SCHOCK'S RESIGNATION. In the aftermath of Rep. Aaron Schock's abrupt and unceremonious downfall, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he believes there are "ample controls" in place to keep members of Congress in check ethically, adding a warning that any member breaking the law will have it catch up with them "sooner or later." When Schock decided to resign, his decision unraveled so quickly he did not even notify leadership that his resignation announcement was coming. Boehner says he was "a bit stunned" to learn of Rep. Aaron Schock's intent to resign at the end of the month. "But I think I expect and the American people expect members of Congress to be held to the highest ethical standards. And I think Mr. Schock made a decision," Boehner said. Schock briefly surfaced at the Capitol Wednesday, where he met with House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranked Republican. While Schock appears to be making the rounds to make amends with GOP leaders, Boehner said he has not met with Schock, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports.
SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR JOSEPH CLANCY INSISTS NO CRASH AT WHITE HOUSE. The new chief of the Secret Service Thursday insisted recent reports of a "crash" at the White House by potentially intoxicated agents driving a government vehicle "are inaccurate," and he pushed back on any suggestion that his agency deliberately "erased" surveillance video showing the incident. "There was no crash," Director Joseph Clancy told a Senate panel during his second appearance before lawmakers this week. "There was no damage to the vehicle." Indeed, the video of the March 4 incident he has reviewed shows the vehicle driving at a speed of about 2 mph before "pushing aside a plastic barrel" standing outside of a White House checkpoint, according to Clancy. ABC's MIKE LEVINE, PIERRE THOMAS, JACK CLOHERTY, and JACK DATE have more: http://abcn.ws/1Cyfm3m
SEE RUTH BADER GINSBURG'S STONE-FACED SELFIE. Justice Ginsburg dissents…from smiling. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi snapped a selfie with the ladies of the Supreme Court at her annual Women's History Month reception Wednesday, but not even a sappy Instagram filter could soften the Notorious R.B.G. While Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan smiled obligingly, 82-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - known on social media as "Notorious R.B.G." - remained remarkably stone-faced. Considering R.B.G. is an O.G. (that's original gangster, for all you non-90's rap fans), it's perhaps not surprising that she'd "mean-mug" in a selfie, ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI writes. While the group photo, taken in Pelosi's office on Capitol Hill, may not break the Internet, the "Supreme selfie" is generating some buzz in part from Ginsburg's stoic expression. Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan and retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are the only female Justices in U.S. history. http://abcn.ws/1MNV48T
'BILL CLINTON' IN DRAG PUSHES HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT. An ad campaign gaining traction online aims to send Bill Clinton back to the White House - as his wife Hillary Clinton's "first lady." A video shows male actors dressed in a giant Bill Clinton head alternating between a red dress and an American-flag bikini and posing with Hillary Clinton supporters calling on her to run for president in 2016. The video shows the "Bill Clinton" meeting supporters around the country, stopping by New York's Times Square, landmarks in Washington, D.C., Miami's South Beach and the Ohio State University campus. "They always say it: 'Hillary wore the pants,'" says the narrator in his best Bill Clinton impression. "Now, I'm wearing the dress." A note at the end says the video is paid for by BillForFirstLady2016.com PAC, and a website selling related swag says the political action committee is backed by "a national online grassroots movement of young Americans" supporting a Hillary Clinton presidential run, ABC's BEN GITTLESON notes. http://abcn.ws/1bhwb7W
@WSJPolitics: You have heard a lot about the budget this week. Five things to know about what is happening next: http://on.wsj.com/1DD5g2s
@dcexaminer: We asked Clinton donors why they gave. Here's what they said http://washex.am/1xELwnZ
@HuffPostPol: Obama "reaffirms" commitment to two-state solution in phone call with Bibi Netanyahu http://huff.to/1FLqvhI