Do Democrats Have a Plan B?

Jill Lawrence: “Far be it from me to underestimate Hillary Clinton. She’s weathered scandals, tragedies, her husband’s affairs and impeachment and her own wrenching primary loss to Barack Obama to become her party’s leading 2016 presidential prospect by a mile. Make that a light-year.”

“Stipulate that the former secretary of state is on a different plane from most other Democrats when it comes to experience, endurance and popularity. And yet, as one damaging report after another emerges, it’s got to be asked: How dumb is it for Democrats to count so completely on this one person? What is their Plan B?”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States… and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), quoted by The Hill, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress.

Netanyahu Warns Deal Paves Iran’s Path to Bomb

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “forcefully argued against a nuclear deal with Iran, telling a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday that such an agreement would have the opposite effect of what the international community intends because it would effectively supply Iran with the means to produce a nuclear weapon,” the Washington Post reports.

“Netanyahu’s speech generated a swirl of controversy before it was even delivered and laid bare fissures between the prime minister and the Obama administration.”

Politico: “Netanyahu did not reveal new details of the emerging deal, which would lift some sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear ambitions. But the prime minister said provisions already made public would not only not end Iran’s programs, it would guarantee that it retains a nuclear weapons capability.”

Wall Street Journal: 10 key lines in Netanyahu’s speech

Petraeus Strikes Plea Deal Over Leaking Classified Data

“David Petraeus, the best-known military commander of his generation, has reached a plea deal with the Justice Department and admitted providing his highly classified journals to a mistress when he was the director of the C.I.A,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. He is eligible for up to one year in prison but prosecutors will recommend two years of probation and a $40,000 fine.”

Politico: “The deal struck between Petraeus and the Justice Department would save Petraeus from the scrutiny of a public trial where details of his personal life and affair would be made public. He remains married to Holly Petraeus.”

Boehner Caves on Homeland Security Funding

Speaker John Boehner “told his restive flock Tuesday that he will allow a vote on a clean Homeland Security spending bill later today, citing concerns about terrorism and pinning blame on the Senate for failing to pass limits on President Obama’s immigration actions,” Roll Call reports.

“The Ohio Republican told his members the Senate’s DHS bill would be brought up for a vote after it arrives back in the House later today, according to a source in the room. That effectively leaves it up to the courts to rein in Obama — or not.”

Said Boehner: “Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight.”

O’Reilly Caught on Tape Contradicting His Own Book

An audio recording clearly refutes claims Fox News host Bill O’Reilly “made in his 2012 book, Killing Kennedy, and again on air, that he had stood on the doorstep of the home where Lee Harvey Oswald friend George de Mohrenschildt committed suicide in 1977, and had actually heard the fatal shot being fired,” Bloomberg reports.

“The audio tape of the phone call between O’Reilly and Florida investigator Gaeton Fonzi shows that O’Reilly was not in Florida on the day of de Mohrenschildt’s suicide, and only learned of it when Fonzi called him.”

How Republicans Can Win in 2016

A must-read: 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America by Whit Ayres.

“If the 2016 Republican nominee wins the same percentage of the white vote that Mitt Romney won in 2012 — 59 percent — then he or she will need to win 30 percent of the non-white vote to be elected. That is far greater than the 17 percent of the non-white vote that Romney achieved in 2012, or the 19 percent John McCain won in 2008, and better even than the 26 percent of the non-white vote that George W. Bush won his 2004 reelection campaign.”

“On the other hand, if the 2016 Republican nominee wins no more of the non-white vote than Romney’s 17 percent, he or she will need to win 65 percent of the white vote to win. That is a level of white vote achieved by only one Republican nominee in the past forty years: Ronald Reagan in his 49-state landslide reelection sweep in 1984, when he won 66 percent of the white vote… Republicans can complain about these trends, wring their hands over them, and get heartburn as a result. What they can’t do is change them.”

McDonnell Seeks to Have Conviction Thrown Out

Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) “fired the opening salvo in a bid to get his public corruption conviction thrown out, arguing in a filing that the case against him was ‘built on a boundless definition of bribery,'” the Washington Post reports.

“There is some indication he could find success there. The appeals court overturned the district judge’s ruling that McDonnell report to prison by Feb. 9, allowing the ex-governor to remain free on bond while it takes up the case. It is a signal that the judges think there is an issue worthy of their consideration.”

A Terrible Start for Republicans

“The opening weeks of the 114th Congress have been nothing short of a disaster for Republicans, who declared upon taking control of both chambers last fall that the era of governing by crisis and fiscal cliffs was over,” The Hill reports.

“Since their declaration, House GOP leaders have yanked several high-profile bills from the floor after rebellions from rank-and-file members. Counting an emergency measure to keep the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) running through Friday, Congress has sent President Obama a total of only four bills, even as Republicans promised to get off to a fast start this session.”

Clinton Only Used Personal Email at State Department

Hillary Clinton “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record,” the New York Times reports.

“Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.”

Washington Post: “It was not clear why Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, created the private account. But the practice appears to bolster long-standing criticism that Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have not been transparent.”