Mark Sanford (R) is out with his first ad for the South Carolina 1st congressional district special election.
Stu Rothenberg: “Republicans continue to argue about whether the party needs to take steps to prevent the next Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Ken Buck, as well as how it might do so… The truth is that while most insiders agree about the problem, nobody has come up with an easy solution. And that’s because there isn’t a quick fix.”
“It is both true and obvious that not all uncompromising conservatives lose general elections and not all pragmatic conservatives win them. But in competitive contests and during years without a huge pro-Republican wave, the quality of candidates definitely matters. And ideological positioning is only one part of what makes a ‘quality’ nominee.”
National Journal obtained a memo from DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY) to House Democrats which argues that the caucus “is in a stronger political position to start the 2014 campaign than in either of the last two cycles — an argument aimed at rebutting the hardening belief in Washington that House Republicans have a near-lock on their majority.”
The memo “boiled down to one theme: Republicans and their tea party allies are deeply unpopular with the public, which means that Democrats — with President Obama’s help — should be able to overcome a congressional map that leans red. Democrats, who won a net of eight seats last year, need to win another 17 more to retake the majority.”
Writes Israel: “Redistricting has empowered the worst elements of the Republican Party, amplifying the extremist echo chamber and making the tea party Republican congress toxic to voters. Republicans redrew already-safe members into even more Republican districts, driving control of their party more to their base, forcing more primaries, and making it less likely that they can put forward a party agenda that appeals to Independents.”
According to a Washington Post examination, “more and more foreign governments are sponsoring all-expenses-paid trips to countries for lawmakers and their staffs, though an overhaul of ethics rules adopted by Congress five years ago banned them from going on most other types of free trips.”
“This overseas travel is often arranged by lobbyists for foreign governments, though lobbyists were barred from organizing other types of congressional trips out of concern that the trips could be used to buy favor. The overseas travel is covered by an exemption Congress granted itself for trips deemed to be cultural exchanges.”
Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) said he “is ready to move past his crushing eleventh-hour defeat from a self-inflicted wound in last year’s U.S. Senate race,” the Evansville Courier & Press reports.
He would not rule out a future run for office and “vowed not to shrink from the scene, no matter what else happens in the future.”
Said Mourdock: “I’m going to find a way to have my voice heard.”
“I don’t believe he is qualified, but I don’t believe that we should hold up his nomination any further.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by Roll Call, on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Defense secretary.
Sen. John McCain told Meet the Press that he expects there will be broad support in the Senate for a bipartisan plan to require background checks on gun purchases.
Politico: “McCain’s comments are the latest indication that the background checks element of President Barack Obama’s broad gun control agenda is probably the only measure that stands a chance of becoming law.”
Joe Scarborough reviews Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage by Jeffrey Frank. and calls it “a highly engrossing political narrative that skillfully takes the reader through the twisted development of a strange relationship that would help shape America’s foreign and domestic agenda for much of the 20th century.”
Peterson he “never intended to shoplift and expects to get the charge dismissed once he explains to authorities that he was only rushing to the restroom.”
President Obama played golf today with Tiger Woods, “once the sport’s dominant player before his career was sidetracked by scandal,” the AP reports.
In the mail: Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism: Lincoln, Douglas, and Moral Conflict by John Burt.
The New York Times says the book is “a work that every serious student of Lincoln will have to read, although its sheer bulk alone — more than 800 pages — as well as the density of its prose may deter all but the most intrepid Lincolnophiles.”
A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA Today would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents
within eight years.
“The bill is being developed as members in both chambers of Congress are
drafting their own immigration bills. In the House, a bipartisan group
of representatives has been negotiating an immigration proposal for
years and are writing their own bill. Last month, four Republican
senators joined with four Democratic senators to announce their
agreement on the general outlines of an immigration plan.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that many Republicans and some Democrats have cautioned Obama “to keep his
distance from the process for fear of driving away potential GOP
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called the proposal “half-baked” and predicted it was dead on arrival on Capitol Hill.
Sen. John McCain told NBC News that Chuck Hagel will likely be confirmed next week as Defense secretary.
“After Senate Republicans voted to sustain a filibuster and block the former Nebraska senator’s nomination from advancing toward confirmation, McCain acknowledged that Hagel will likely win confirmation once the chamber returns from its recess.”
“Bucking a trend in which states have been seeking to restrict abortion, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable,” the New York Times reports.
Cuomo’s proposal “would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.”
An unprecedented leak of Pope Benedict XVI’s personal correspondence shows “tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI,” the Washington Post reports.
“The next pope may bring with him an invigorating connection to the Southern Hemisphere, a media magnetism or better leadership skills than the shy and cerebral Benedict. But whoever he may be, the 266th pope will inherit a gerontocracy obsessed with turf and Italian politics, uninterested in basic management practices and hostile to reforms.”
The Week: Can the Vatican survive in the digital age?
“It strikes me as unlikely – I’ll take a Paul Ryan position, it’s it’s not on my current list.”
— Newt Gingrich, interviewed on ABC News, on whether he’ll run for president again.
Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D) is expected to drop out of the 2nd congressional district special Democratic primary and back former state Rep. Robin Kelly (D) in the contest to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The move shakes up
the Democratic field just nine days before the Feb. 26 primary election.
Capitol Fax: “The reasons are many, including Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to point his massive super PAC right at Hutchinson while backing rival Robin Kelly.”
Bloomberg has attacked Hutchinson for her support for the National Rifle Association.