EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final edition of Last Call!. Beginning on Monday, National Journal's coverage of politics will be delivered in The Edge, a brand new evening dispatch designed to wrap up the day in Washington and prepare you for tomorrow. Other Hotline products, such as Wake-Up Call! and Latest Edition, will remain unchanged. As always, we welcome your feedback. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our service to you, please contact Sara Petersen.
We are sad to report that today is our final edition. Thanks for sticking with us over these last 15 years. And, please, send us your fondest memories. But don't worry, we're not going away. You can still find many of your favorite features, including the Shot/Chaser and the Swizzle Challenge, in Wake-Up Call! beginning on Monday. We'll be adding more Last Call! features and a few surprises as well in the coming weeks, so keep reading. We'll see you Monday morning.
We'd also like to say thanks to those who called out the Overserved and wrote countless Swizzle Sticks and Shot/Chasers over the years: ex-eds. Eron Shosteck, Danielle Jones, Neil Swanson, Brian Kline, Dave Smith, Nora McAlvanah, Mike Memoli, Holly Noe, Maura O'Brien, Jamie Shufflebarger and Tim Alberta.
WHAT'S NEWS . . .
- Pres. Obama's admin. is "announcing a broader opt-out for religious nonprofits" under the Affordable Care Act, allowing them to "offer coverage that does not include contraception" (AP).
- Sec/State Hillary Clinton formally resigned, "capping a four-year tenure in the office that saw her shatter previous records for countries visited" (AP). Energy Sec. Steven Chu confirmed that he will step down as well (Politico). Meanwhile, Senate GOPers vowed again to block Obama's nomination of CFPB dir. Richard Cordray (Roll Call).
- In MA SEN special, ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R) will not run to replace Sen. John Kerry (D), according to "a person familiar with the decision" (AP). The move is a potentially crippling blow to GOPers' hopes of flipping the seat. Attention will now turn to ex-Gov. Bill Weld (R) (On Call).
- In GA SEN, state Sen. Steve Thompson (D) says he is "seriously considering" a bid, after a group of Atlanta business people asked him to enter the race (Marietta Daily Journal). Meanwhile, Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, whose name was floated for the GOP nod, says she will not run (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
- In SC SEN, state Sen. Tom Davis (R), who had been mentioned as a potential candidate, said he will not run against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) or for "any statewide office" in '14 (Hilton Head Island Packet).
BY THE NUMBERS
- "Last Two Speakers of Dying Language Refuse to Talk to Each Other" (TIME).
WE HEAR ...
- "He called me, actually a week before Susan got out of the thing. He called me and said, 'You're my choice. I want you to do this.' He asked me to keep it quiet. I did. I sat on it" -- Kerry, on getting the call from Obama before UN Amb. Susan Rice withdrew her name (Boston Globe).
- "Nothing we are going to do is fundamentally going to alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down" -- VP Biden (CNN).
- "Oh geez, I don't know" -- IA AFL-CIO president Ken Sagar, on what message Dems can use to defeat Gov. Terry Branstad (R) (On Call).
- "In preparation for a major, two-year renovation of the West Wing, the government is undertaking extensive work" to complete a "nearly identical replica" of the Oval Office for Obama in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It is slated to be ready for Obama to move in "by August" (Real Clear Politics).
- "NBC News president Steve Capus says he is resigning after 7 years of running division" (AP).
- "Thanks for visiting, Cindy Adams, and good riddance" (Washington Post).
- "The Quotable Ed Koch: Wit, Wisdom, and One-Liners" (New York Magazine).
- Celebrate National Pisco Sour Day (Cuba Libre, 4:30 pm).
- Enjoy the Americana sound of DC's "The Riverbreaks" (Kennedy Center, 6 pm).
- Dave Barry reads from "Insane City" (Politics & Prose, 7 pm).
- Check out this year's Oscar-nominated shorts (E Street Cinema, 6:45/7:30 pm).
- Kevin Spacey stops by "Late Show" (WUSA-TV, 11:35 pm).
- Charles Ross presents his one-man "Star Wars" trilogy (Birchmere, SAT 7:30 pm).
- Get a head-start on Mardi Gras with a Masquerade (Bayou, SAT 9 pm).
- Obama sits down for a pre-game interview with Scott Pelley (WUSA-TV, SUN 4:30 pm).
- Super Bowl XLVII: The 49ers take on the Ravens in NOLA (WUSA-TV, SUN 6:30 pm).
- Geraldo Rivera told the "Fox & Friends" crew this morning that if he runs for NJ SEN, he'll ride his Harley all over the state to introduce himself. For some reason, we're not sure that's a winning strategy.
- The FBI decided to raid an eye clinic in the Bob Menendez scandal after spotting a "document shredding truck" outside the building. We've never heard of such a thing and we're guessing Rod Blagojevich hasn't either.
- Scott Brown's decision not to run for Senate makes sense, considering his opportunities in the private sector and the possibility of racking up additional campaign debts. We'd hate to see Brown sell his soul -- or his body -- to pay them off.
- Tomorrow morning, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to change his position on gun control -- just this once.
- House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor discovered this afternoon that the House has blocked Spotify, sending him into a Twitter rage. How is he supposed to blast his favorite tunes now?
- No bones about it ... in today's Last Call! Cell Phone Pic of the Day. Keep them coming.
- The state of South Australia was the first place in the world to grant universal suffrage as well as the right for women to stand for federal elected office.
- That last one stumped the Last Call! community, so here's a toss-up: "If you toss a penny 10,000 times, which side is likely to come up more times than the other?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
"Cash on hand"
"I'm sorry to see him in this position" -- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), on the prostitution scandal surrounding Menendez (Newark Star-Ledger).
"You mean you have photographs?" -- Col. Mustard ("Clue").
Sarah Mimms, Editor