Christie Skewers Media in Expletive-Filled Rant

Gov. Chris Christie (R) “gave an expletive-laced speech at an annual New Jersey media roast Wednesday, taking aim at reporters who had mocked him for the George Washington Bridge scandal, his travels and the state’s finances,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Christie: “We don’t give a shit about this or any of you.”

He told one journalist to “open your eyes” and “clean the shit out of your ears. This is a guy who says he doesn’t know what I’m doing every day. Then just get the fuck away from me then if you don’t know what I’m doing.”

White House Uses Situation Room to Lobby for NSA Bill

“The White House held threat briefings for key senators Thursday in its secure Situation Room as part of a lobbying effort to pass a bill preventing anti-terror spy programs from expiring June 1,” Bloomberg reports.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) “portrayed the briefings as a sign that there aren’t enough votes for passage. Burr and other senators were working on fallback plans should the bill fail, as provisions of the USA Patriot Act will expire June 1 if Congress doesn’t act.”

Said Burr: “I don’t think anybody should be rooting for this to all go away. Clearly with the hard press that’s on between the administration and taking people to the White House Situation Room, they don’t have the votes right now for the USA Freedom Act.”

Spin-glish

A must-read in the mail: Spin-glish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf.

“Spinglish—the devious dialect of English used by professional spin doctors—is all around us. And the fact is, until you’ve mastered it, politicians and corporations (not to mention your colleagues and friends) will continue putting things over on you, and generally getting the better of you, every minute of every day—without your even knowing it.”

Negative Reviews of Congress Cross Party Lines

“The new Republican-led Congress is drawing harsh reviews from the public – including most Republicans. Just 23% of Americans say congressional Republicans are keeping the promises they made during the campaign, while 65% say they are not, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) say the new Congress has accomplished less than they expected, while 4% say it has accomplished more than expected. About half (53%) say its accomplishments are in line with what they expected.”

“On both measures, the public’s views are far more negative than they were in March 2007, during the early stages of the new Democratic-led Congress, or in April 1995, shortly after the GOP had gained control of the House and Senate for the first time in four decades.”

An Epic Battle Begins for the GOP Nomination

Joe Klein: “Nothing much is going on right now in the 2016 presidential campaign–unless you’re a Republican political junkie, in which case every day is Christmas or, perhaps, Halloween. Did you know that Donald Trump might actually run this time, instead of using our nation’s highest office to promote his reality-TV show? Or that the very former governor of New York, George Pataki, thinks he’s a candidate? Are you tremendously relieved that the GOP’s most persistent Dr. Strangelove — former U.N. ambassador John Bolton — has taken his hat out of the ring? I sure am. But that leaves 15 or more candidates either in it or circling.”

Companies Say Clinton was Worth the High Speaking Fee

“Critics of Hillary Rodham Clinton have been deriding the steep fees that she commands on the corporate speaking circuit, and even though the former secretary of state speaks publicly for free these days, the big companies that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to hear her talk say she was worth the money,” the New York Times reports.

Carly Fiorina Stiffed Former Staffers

“Twelve of about 30 people who worked on Fiorina’s failed 2010 California Senate campaign, most speaking out for the first time, told Reuters they would not work for her again. Fiorina, once one of America’s most powerful businesswomen, is now campaigning for the Republican nomination in 2016. The reason: for more than four years, Fiorina – who has an estimated net worth of up to $120 million – didn’t pay them, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.”

Who’s Standing with Rand?

Rick Klein: “Sen. Rand Paul didn’t get the same backing from his Republican colleagues than the last time he talked his way through legislative deadlines – but that’s part of the point. This was a stunt that was about his 2016 candidacy, if the campaign merchandising push and online trolling of Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton didn’t make that clear. It shows, again, that Paul will inject a strain of national-security thinking into the GOP debates that will push his rivals in uncomfortable ways. It’s possible that his timing is off; the march of ISIS, with scenes of beheadings seared into memories, might change the tone of any discussion inside the Republican Party. But Rand standing alone will make him stand out, for better or worse.”

Sanders Threatens to Crowd Out O’Malley

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “is moving fast to corner the market for a firebrand liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016 — complicating life for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D),” The Hill reports.

“O’Malley would like to position himself to the left of Clinton and capitalize on a perceived unease about the former secretary of State among progressives. His problem is that Sanders is already on the battlefield and advancing.”

Bush Says Science Isn’t Decided on Climate Change

Jeb Bush hit back against President Obama’s claim that climate change runs an immediate risk, adding that while it shouldn’t be ignored, it’s still not “the highest priority,” CNN reports.

Said Bush: “For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you. It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality.”