7) Senate Republicans blocked the nomination
of law professor Goodwin Liu
to a federal appellate court Thursday, the first time Republicans have ever united to successfully filibuster a judicial nomination. Liu fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate, winning only 52 votes. All Republicans except Sen. Lisa Murkowski
(R-Alaska) opposed ending debate.
6) In a speech Thursday. President Obama
promised support for democratic uprisings in the Arab world and called for the first time to begin negotiations for a Palestinian state based on Israel's pre-1967 borders, the Wall Street Journal reports
5) A Nevada district judge on Thursday overturned
Secretary of State Ross Miller
's (D) ruling that the 2nd District primary should be an all party free-for-all, ruling instead that parties have until June 30 to nominate a candidate. This is a big boost for GOP chances, as Republicans were facing the strong risk of vote splitting under the all-party "ballot royale" scenario. Democrats can still appeal
4) Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman
(R) made his New Hampshire debut Thursday, and made no apologies about his tenure working for the Obama administration, saying "In a time of war, in a time of economic difficulty in this country, I'm the kind of person, when asked by my president to stand up and serve my country -- when asked, I do it."
When pressed, he didn't endorse House Budget Chair Paul Ryan
's proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system, but said "that is something like (what) we set up in Utah, where you've got a multiplicity of insurance options." The Boston Globe
has the story here
But in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," Friday, Huntsman said he would have voted for the Ryan plan, including the Medicare provision. Check out his entire interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos here
3) A new Gallup poll
out early Friday shows, for the first time in their tracking of the issue, a majority (53 percent) of Americans thinks "marriages between same-sex couples should ... be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages." Just a year ago, only 44 percent of Americans believed those marriages should be valid. Gallup found support for legal gay marriage decreasing with age: 70 percent of those aged 18 to 34 support gay marriage, while just 39 percent of Americans 55 and older think those marriages should be legal.
Moreover, the poll shows those Americans who identify politically as independents are tracking significantly closer to Democrats on this issue. Support for gay marriage rose 13 points among Democrats (69 percent) and 10 points among independents (59 percent) over the past year, but support was unchanged among Republicans (28 percent).
2) Priorities USA, an outside group that will be able to raise unlimited money from outside donors to assist Democratic candidates has launched a television ad
in South Carolina hitting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
(R) on health care and needling former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
in the process. Romney is scheduled to be in the state this weekend.
1) Rep. Mazie Hirono
(D) jumped into the race
for retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka
's (D) seat on Thursday, joining former Rep. Ed Case
(D) in the Democratic field. The two faced each other in a close gubernatorial primary in 2002, with Hirono winning.
The two other names to keep an even closer eye on now: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
(D) and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann
(D). Hannemann could steal away votes from Case, who compiled a centrist record in Congress, while Hanabusa and Hirono could split support.
"I appreciate that Mazie called me beforehand to tell me the news -- and I wish her well. I am definitely considering a Senate run, but I am still evaluating all my options. I will make my decision when I feel it's appropriate," Hanabusa said
-- Steven Shepard contributed to this post