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What Does Hillary’s Announcement Mean?
Like President Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s views on gay marriage have evolved. But unlike Obama, whose position flipped midstream in a presidential campaign, there’s no reason for Clinton to come out in favor of gay marriage at this moment—unless she’s mulling a presidential run.
Her move is a sign of how support of same-sex marriage is a litmus test for the Democratic base. Anyone in opposition, as most Democratic candidates were in 2008, will have a hard time in presidential primaries.
If she runs in 2016, Clinton would start as a clear front-runner, but opposition is already forming. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, for example, has already staked out his position, legalizing gay marriage in his state.
Any candidate running to Clinton’s left would face long odds. But her belated positioning on gay marriage may leave room for an opponent to accuse her of being too cautious. Replace “Iraq war” in 2008 with “gay marriage” in 2016, and that could be the anti-Hillary playbook.
HILLARY CLINTON ENDORSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. With a video announcement released today, Clinton has joined the parade of politicians from both parties who have come out strongly in favor of gay marriage in recent weeks, Politico reports. "I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples," Clinton said in a video recorded for the Human Rights Campaign. "I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law." The statement comes as a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act outlawing gay marriage that is before the Supreme Court, and Bill Clinton, who as president signed DOMA into law, recently said he believes it is unconstitutional. Read more
- Support for legalizing gay marriage has reached an all-time high of 58 percent, according to a new poll from ABC News/The Washington Post.
WOMEN RETRACT MENENDEZ PROSTITUTION CLAIMS. Three Dominican women who claimed that Robert Menendez paid them for sex say they were paid to make up the claims and don’t know the Democratic Senator from New Jersey, the McClatchy news service reports. Dominican Police said Monday the women were paid between $300 and $400 by a local lawyer to record the interviews last October. Interviews with two of the women appeared on the conservative website The Daily Caller, the news service reports. Read more
OBAMA RENEWS MINIMUM-WAGE FIGHT WITH LABOR PICK. In announcing Thomas Perez as his nominee for Labor secretary today, President Obama said that the current head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division “understands that the minimum wage should be a wage you can live on.” Obama has called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from $7.25 an hour. Read more
- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has threatened to block Perez’s nomination unless he gets a response to a letter he sent in 2011 regarding voter registration in Louisiana.
EASTER EGG ROLL AT RISK OVER FUNDING? A recent email warning from the White House to Congress raises the possibility that the annual Easter Egg Roll, planned for April 1, could be nixed due to "funding uncertainty," Politico reports. “By using these tickets, guests are acknowledging that this event is subject to cancellation due to funding uncertainty surrounding the Executive Office of the President and other federal agencies,” the email reads, noting that the event will not be rescheduled. The event, in its 35th year, is expected to draw 35,000. The White House said Monday that it sent out the warning due to the possibility of a government shutdown. Read more
- @newtgingrich: Shameless! How else can to describe the threat to cancel white house Easter egg hunt? Maybe pathetic, demagogic? You try to find right words
GOP REPORT CALLS FOR MORE INCLUSIVE PARTY. The GOP must project a more inclusive image and embrace immigration reform to remain competitive in presidential politics, according to a 100-page report issued Monday the by the Republican National Committee, The New York Times reports. The review contrasted the successes of the Republican gubernatorial wing with the moribund rigidity of a federal wing that “is increasingly marginalizing itself.” The report relied on focus groups that described the party as “narrow-minded,” “out of touch,” and a group of “stuffy old men.” Tucked into the back of the report were some primary-process reforms that rankled some on the right. Read more
- National Journal’s Ron Fournier asks if the report’s call for party members to blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance offers the GOP a Sistah Souljah opportunity.
FIVE STAFFERS TO WATCH ON HOUSE AND SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEES. The House and Senate will be wrangling with their respective budgets this week. There’s little expectation that the two chambers’ products will be combined into a joint budget resolution, but they serve as the starting points for broader budget debates between Republicans and Democrats. Here’s a look at the top staffers on the two Budget committees who are critical to this process. Read more
HOUSE TO TAKE UP ARMING OF SYRIAN REBELS. House Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is introducing a bill that would provide $150 million in aid—including arms—to “appropriately vetted” Syrian rebels, The Hill reported. Despite the urging of top advisers, the president has thus far declined to arm the Syrian opposition. The issue divides members of both parties, making it difficult to predict the fate of such a bill. Read more
NEW CNN SHOW TO FEATURE BIG NAMES THIS WEEK. CNN continues with its reinvention today, as host Jake Tapper debuts The Lead at 4 p.m., with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and comedian Stephen Colbert appearing. Guests on Tuesday will include Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner; and on Thursday, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The conservative website Breitbart.com writes there are “two reasons conservatives should be excited” about the show. Read more
CYBERATTACK HITS FLORIDA ELECTION SYSTEM. In the first known case of a cyberattack aimed at corrupting an election, a grand jury in Florida investigated 2,500 computer-generated requests for absentee ballots made last year to the Miami-Dade County elections website, NBC News reports. The requests were made in advance of an August primary. Because they originated from a small number of overseas IP addresses the county’s software system caught the unusual requests before ballots were issued. The attack could represent just the first of many similar efforts. “This has been in the cards, it’s been foreseeable,” an elections integrity expert told NBC. Read more
HISTORY CHANNEL DENIES CASTING OBAMA LOOKALIKE AS SATAN. After Glenn Beck and others noted a striking resemblance between the character of Satan on the History Channel’s The Bible miniseries and President Obama, the channel and the show’s producers have denied any intentional resemblance, The Wall Street Journal reports. "This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan … has previously played parts in several Biblical epics—including Satanic characters, long before Barack Obama was elected as our President,” the producers said in a statement. Read more
** A message from API: A tax on energy is a tax on everything. New energy industry taxes will cost jobs, undermine energy security and raise energy costs for everyone in this tough economy. Learn more at EnergyTomorrow.org
BIDEN, PELOSI TRAVEL TO VATICAN FOR POPE CEREMONY. Vice President Joe Biden and some lawmakers—including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi but not Speaker John Boehner, who declined—will travel to the Vatican for Tuesday’s installation of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is leading the Republican delegation on behalf of Boehner.
HOUSE TO INVESTIGATE IMMIGRANT RELEASE. A House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday will examine the administration’s release of thousands of immigration detainees in anticipation of the sequester cuts. Despite the hearing, which could embarrass the administration, The Washington Post reported over the weekend that a group of Republicans in the House are “nearing a deal” on immigration reform. Read more
IRISH LUNCHEON WITH BOEHNER, OBAMA. The annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon is being held on Tuesday in the Capitol, hosted by Boehner and attended by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and the president. Kenny and Obama may have much to talk about. Ireland’s crash and recovery could hold some lessons for the U.S., as National Journal’s Catherine Hollander reports. Read more
"If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird." -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, quoted by Huffington Post, responding to remarks made by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
EXPLORING THE WORLD’S ABANDONED AND OFF-LIMITS GEMS. In the cracks, scaffolding, tunnels, bridges, and abandoned train stations of London, a network of self-described “urban explorers” weaves in and out, undetected. These incognito infiltrators have secretly snuck to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, Notre Dame, and London’s Shard. These activities, known as “Urbex,” have exploded into a global movement, writes Matthew Power in this month’s GQ. And London-based Bradley Garrett has become the de facto face of the movement. Garrett graced the British tabloid covers after his crew scaled the 1,016-food Shard in London and released a series of breathtaking photos. To see this hidden world, Power embedded himself with Garrett. Read more
* A message from API: New energy industry taxes will cost jobs and raise energy costs for us all. More at EnergyTomorrow.org.
APPROVING KEYSTONE WON’T BRING OBAMA BIPARTISAN GOODWILL. If President Obama wants to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as a way of extending an olive branch to congressional Republicans, they are likely to see it as one riddled with thorns, National Journal’s Amy Harder reports. Democrats and Republicans alike increasingly think that Obama will approve the 1,700-mile, Alberta-to-Texas pipeline sometime this year. But after years of delay, bitter messaging wars, and even one outright rejection of the project, Republicans would welcome Obama’s approval of the pipeline with subdued optimism that probably wouldn’t create much long-lasting bipartisan goodwill. Read more
SUPPORT PLUMMETS FOR U.S.-BROKERED PEACE IN ISRAEL. It’s little surprise that Americans favor Israelis instead of Palestinians in that age-old conflict. But as Obama travels to the Middle East this week, it’s also worth noting how American opinion has changed when it comes to the question of how much the U.S. should be involved in the peace process. Those who believe the U.S. should stay out of negotiations has risen some 15 percentage points from over a decade ago, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. “Seven in 10 want the U.S. largely to leave resolving the conflict to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves – a result that underscores the difficulties in finding a solution to the decades-old conflict,” ABC wrote. Read more
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