New York Times: “Her career as a lawmaker is behind her, but so is her role as the fragile, slightly mysterious victim in the months after she was shot point-blank in a parking lot here just over two years ago. Now, she is the face and emotional dynamism behind a new advocacy group and a separate political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, dedicated to reducing gun violence. It is an effort, she said, that gives her ‘purpose.'”
New York Times: “Four years into his tenure, the onetime critic of President George W. Bush finds himself cast as a present-day Mr. Bush, justifying the muscular application of force in the defense of the nation while detractors complain that he has sacrificed the country’s core values in the name of security.”
“The debate is not an exact parallel to those of the Bush era, and Mr. Obama can point to ways he has tried to exorcise what he sees as the excesses of the last administration. But in broad terms, the conversation generated by the confirmation hearing of John O. Brennan, his nominee for C.I.A. director, underscored the degree to which Mr. Obama has embraced some of Mr. Bush’s approach to counterterrorism, right down to a secret legal memo authorizing presidential action unfettered by outside forces.”
“Eight months after Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential bid ground to a halt in Iowa, her campaign manager there signed a sworn affidavit, pointing his finger at another top staffer in a still-simmering dispute over the misuse of a contact list of home-school family names,” NBC News reports.
“The list was the at the center of a flap late in Bachmann’s presidential run, when a powerful Iowa home-school network called NICHE complained that its collection of contacts for thousands of home-school families had been mined by the campaign and used to expand its fundraising.”
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) is seriously considering seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in Pennsylvania as her party tries to unseat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the 2014 election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“Democrats are seeing Corbett as vulnerable in light of his low approval ratings in recent statewide polls. Though state Treasurer Rob McCord and of other Democrats have dropped hints about entering the race, the only one to toss his hat in the ring to date is John Hanger, the former state environmental secretary.”
Michelle Cottle says too much is being made of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) weight.
“More to the point, why is Christie’s fatness exponentially more problematic than, say, John Boehner’s manic chain-smoking or crazy tanning fetish? And what about some of the borderline alcoholics we’ve watched swan about the halls of the Capitol over the years? Or, if we really want to fret over an impaired ability to govern, what about the members of Congress who cling to office until they are so senile they can barely recognize their own wives? (Lighthearted case in point: a now deceased senator once tried to compel a former colleague of mine to escort him to the bathroom because the lawmaker mistook the young reporter for his aide.) I’ve been in Washington going on 17 years, during which time I’ve dealt with more than one lawmaker unnervingly past his prime.”
The blizzard that struck New England has some Massachusetts Republicans concerned that the storm “could jeopardize the ability of state Rep. Dan Winslow and other GOP candidates to qualify for the ballot in the special election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry,” National Journal reports.
“Candidates for the special election must submit 10,000 certified signatures by Feb. 27 to qualify for the April 30 primary. With Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick (D) declaring a state of emergency Friday afternoon and banning cars from driving on the roads, Senate contenders are forced to put a hold on signature collecting until the storm passes.”
The New York Times says House Democrats are starting to appreciate “a new political reality that few of them expected: They matter.”
“It is one of the more notable aspects of the current House of Representatives, which is still controlled by Republicans and more deeply partisan than ever. With Democrats now in control of 200 seats, a handful more than they had in the last Congress, and Republicans often sharply split on big issues like spending and taxes, Democratic votes have been decisive in getting major legislation through the House.”
“Other issues that are equally threatening to Republican unity like gun laws and immigration changes will likely be on the agenda early this year, giving Democrats what they hope will be an even bigger opportunity to play a pivotal role both in shaping legislation and in deciding its fate.”
Tea party leaders are turning to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to deliver their message following President Obama’s State of the Union address, CNN reports.
Paul will make his remarks soon after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wraps up the GOP response Tuesday night.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was playing golf at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and hit a spectator on the sixth hole “after a bad swing went 50 yards into the gallery,” Yahoo Sports reports.
“The ball smacked the female fan in the forehead, causing what was later called concussion-like symptoms and while the lady that got hit wouldn’t give her name, Rice got an assistant to get her number so she could later contact her to make sure she was alright.”
President Obama has agreed to do much more than fundraising for House Democrats. He’s also going to help with candidate recruitment, Roll Call reports.
Said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY): “It’s transformational.”
If you’re a student, joining Amazon Student is no-brainer.
A publicist for Ashley Judd told E! News that she was appreciative for the attention Karl Rove’s attack ad gives her as she mulls a U.S. Senate bid against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Juts published: The List: A Novel by Karin Tanabe.
The book was inspired by the author’s experiences working at Politico and is “bursting with behind-the-scenes details about what happens when media and politics collide.”
Dr. Connie Mariano, the former White House doctor who drew the ire of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for saying his obesity was not healthy — he called her a “hack” — actually got a phone call from the governor, KTVK-TV reports.
Said Mariano: “It was essentially the tone of the press conference only louder. It was hard to get anything across.”
Ironically, Mariano was a Christie supporter but isn’t likely to back him in 2016: “The way he acted lately I don’t think so. He wasn’t very nice to me. Politically if this is the way he handles stress… is this presidential? I’ll have to think about that. Is this a presidential way to behave? C’mon.”
Michael Hirsh says “the idea of political capital — or mandates, or momentum — is so poorly defined that presidents and pundits often get it wrong.”
An example is the “abrupt emergence of the immigration and gun-control issues illustrates how suddenly shifts in mood can occur and how political interests can align in new ways just as suddenly. Indeed, the pseudo-concept of political capital masks a larger truth about Washington that is kindergarten simple: You just don’t know what you can do until you try. Or as Ornstein himself once wrote years ago, ‘Winning wins.’ In theory, and in practice, depending on Obama’s handling of any particular issue, even in a polarized time, he could still deliver on a lot of his second-term goals, depending on his skill and the breaks. Unforeseen catalysts can appear, like Newtown. Epiphanies can dawn, such as when many Republican Party leaders suddenly woke up in panic to the huge disparity in the Hispanic vote.”
Bill Clinton spoke to House Democrats at their retreat today and told them to “come up with a plan,” Politico reports.
Said Clinton: “I think we’re going to be fine, but we’ve got to learn to compare ourselves to the competition in a way that is not threatening and is not negative. We have got got to have a jobs agenda that seems affordable and realistic. We need a 10 year budget plan that doesn’t overdo the austerity… Do it all in a same spirit that you took out there in this last election.”
He added: “This last race was a referendum in large measure on what the American people did not want, we have to create a future that they do want.”
“Seemed odd at the time. But, you know, I’m an odd person. One thing about getting into the senior status of life, like I am, you don’t really care. You just say what you say and then you get away with it.”
— Clint Eastwood, quoted by NBC News, on his “invisible Obama” routine during last year’s Republican National Convention.