Former Republican Chair Rips GOP and Romney

In Las Vegas, former RNC Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf delivered “a wide-ranging talk, complete with slides, to assail the GOP as ‘idiotic’ for its stances on immigration and contraception, which caused hemorrhaging among Hispanic and young, female voters” in last year’s presidential election, Jon Ralston reports.

Said Fahrenkopf: “And I thought McCain’s campaign was the worst I’d seen in modern history.”

He also couldn’t resist criticizing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s embrace of Obama during Hurricane Sandy: “He kissed him. He didn’t have to French-kiss him. I think he went overboard.”


Republican Party Makeover Hits a Snag

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) confirmed to ABC News that Republicans would not agree to any new revenues in order to avert the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts which will hit on March 1.

Greg Sargent: “What keeps getting lost here is that if Republicans did agree to new revenues, they’d likely get more in new spending cuts than they’d have to concede in new loophole closings.”

Jonathan Chait: “Obama has been offering to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare for two years now, in return for Republican agreement to spread the burden of the fiscal adjustment. They won’t take the deal… if Republicans want to reform their party’s identity and make it into something other than absolutist advocacy of low taxes for the rich, they need to come up with some negotiating position on fiscal issues other than ‘no tax hikes for the rich of any kind no matter what we get in return.'”


Kerrey Not Interested in Another Senate Bid

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) tells the Associated Press that he “has no plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat Mike Johanns (R) will vacate in 2015, and that’s extremely unlikely to change.”


Lawmaker Proposes Bill Making Gun Control Bills Illegal

Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara (R) proposed legislation which would make it illegal to propose gun control legislation, the AP reports.

“The legislation filed Monday would make members of the Legislature guilty of a felony if they introduce legislation restricting gun rights. If convicted, lawmakers could serve prison terms of up to four years.”


Emanuel Tries to Shape Special Election Field

Sources tell NBC Chicago that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has called some candidates asking them to consider stepping aside in the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).

It’s not clear who he called, but Toi Hutchinson (D) withdrew over the weekend and Patrick Brutus (D) bowed out today.


Cleland Could Win in Georgia

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that if former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) could be coaxed into running for his old seat, Democrats might have a real shot at making the race competitive next year.

Of those named in the poll, Cleland “is the only person in the whole bunch who has more than 50% statewide name recognition, with 48% of voters rating him favorably to 29% with an unfavorable view… he would start out with a lead over every Republican we tested him against. He’s up 1 against Price, 3 against Kingston, 5 against Gingrey, and 7 against Broun and Handel.”


Brown Insists He Wasn’t Drunk Tweeting

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) insisted to Fox 25 Boston that he wasn’t drunk when he tweeted a series of late night messages last month.

Said Brown: “Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial? I mean it was pretty simple, you know. I have an iPhone 5. If anyone has an iPhone 5, the keys are small. It’s very, very sensitive.”

But Gizmodo and Blue Mass Group debunk Brown’s claim and find it couldn’t have been a “pocket tweet.”


USA Today Joins Forces with Pew Research

After dumping Gallup after the election, USA Today announced a new collaboration with the Pew Research Center to survey public opinion on the biggest issues facing the nation.

The new USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll will debut later this week.


Has GOP Fallen Into Obama’s Trap on Budget Cuts?

Andrew Sullivan says Republicans will suffer politically if the sequestration cuts go into effect on March 1.

“I believe that is indeed Obama’s long game here. The precedent is the Gingrich government shutdown, which stopped his revolution in its tracks and gave Bill Clinton new political life. When cops are furloughed, when scientists complain about research cuts, when the military-industrial complex revs up its lobbying engines, I just don’t see how the sequester works politically for the GOP. It exists entirely because of their fixation on immediate austerity – despite the awful consequences that policy option has spawned in Europe.”

The Fix: “When people start paying attention to the sequester, President Obama wants to make sure that he has the political high ground in the blame game.”


Leak Could Push GOP Towards Immigration Plan

Talking Points Memo suggests the leak of the White House immigration reform plan — which Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) immediately shot down as “dead on arrival” — might be part of an overall strategy.

“Not wanting to be seen as a shill for a Democratic President’s signature achievement, Rubio’s strategy from the start has been to play up his differences with the White House as much as possible. This weekend’s outburst was only the latest incident: in interviews with the Wall Street Journal, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservative thought leaders, Rubio has positioned himself as the right-wing antidote to a far-left White House on immigration.”

“This touring indignation act isn’t just for Rubio’s own benefit. The Republicans he needs to win over to pass a bill will be a lot more comfortable if they think they’re somehow thumbing their nose at Obama by voting for it.”


Lawmaker Apologizes for Rape Remark

A video of a Colorado lawmaker talking about rape while debating a gun bill involving college campuses has gone viral, the Denver Post reports, with Republicans and Second Amendment activists likening state Rep. Joe Salazar (D) to failed Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R).

See more…


Will Markey Walk to the U.S. Senate Unchallenged?

“The path to the U.S. Senate doesn’t get much easier than the one Rep. Edward J. Markey is on,” Roll Call reports. “But that smooth path could signal significant potholes ahead.”

Markey was “first elected to Congress more than 30 years ago by winning a multi-candidate primary with just 22% of the vote, and ever since, he’s faced scant opposition in his re-election bids… Markey is untested as a candidate. No one has had a reason to dig deep into his record, so it’s unclear what his opposition research file will contain. What’s more, the congressman’s campaign isn’t close to midseason form: Two months into his Senate run, his campaign website consists of nothing more than a splash page.”


Axelrod Joins NBC News

The Washington Post reports that David Axelrod, one of the chief architects of President Obama’s two presidential campaigns, is joining NBC News and MSNBC as a senior political analyst.


Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Donation Limits

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to campaign finance laws limiting how much an individual can give to political campaigns, the Associated Press reports.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal from an Alabama resident and the RNC who are arguing that it’s unconstitutional to stop a donor from giving more than $46,200 to political candidates and $70,800 to political committees and PACs.

Rick Hasen: “A ruling in this case could have important implications not only on the issue itself, but on the broader question whether the Court will change the standard for judging the constitutionality of limits on contributions, an issue the Court expressly declined to address in Citizens United.”


Behind the First Lady’s Bangs

First Lady Michelle Obama cut her hair because she’s having a mid-life crisis, the New York Daily News reports.

Said Mrs. Obama: “This is my midlife crisis, the bangs. I couldn’t get a sports car. They won’t let me bungee jump. So instead, I cut my bangs.”


Here Comes the Bully Pulpit

President Obama will make a full court press to push Congress to avoid the automatic spending cuts set to take effect on March 1.

First Read: “Per the White House, the president will make these remarks surrounded by emergency responders — “the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution,” it says… Today, Obama will be surrounded by first responders; tomorrow, it might be military families; and the day after that, it could be with essential government workers who could be furloughed. This is the one power a president has with Congress as it relates to domestic policy: the power of persuasion. We have seen the future of this sequester fight over the next few weeks, and it is today — a massive public-relations effort with the president using his pulpit to drop a political hammer on Congress.”


How Obama Shapes Media Coverage

President Obama “is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House,” Politico reports.

“Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated. Instead, the mastery mostly flows from a White House that has taken old tricks for shaping coverage (staged leaks, friendly interviews) and put them on steroids using new ones (social media, content creation, precision targeting). And it’s an equal opportunity strategy: Media across the ideological spectrum are left scrambling for access.”


New Bowles-Simpson Plan Unveiled

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson proposed a new framework to cut the country’s debt by $2.4 trillion over the next decade, CNN reports.

The Wall Street Journal notes the new proposal “would reduce the federal budget deficit by $2.4 trillion over 10 years, more than the $1.5 trillion package that White House officials have said is their goal. Obama administration officials say any deficit-reduction package must include new tax revenue as well as spending cuts.”

“House GOP leaders have not yet detailed the size of the deficit-reduction package they will propose, but they have said it would balance the budget within 10 years, which would put it in the $4 trillion range. They have said, though, that it won’t include any tax increases.”



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