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What’s Hillary Up To?
When Hillary Clinton addressed Vital Voices, the women’s-empowerment organization, at the Kennedy Center Tuesday, fans stood outside with placards announcing their support. On Friday, she’ll be honored at another event, even though she swore to take six months off when she left the State Department.
What is she up to?
Pundits love the idea of her running in 2016. So do friends and colleagues. Her former campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said she hopes Hillary runs. But Clinton hasn’t made up her mind and no one thinks she will for some time. She would be 69 in the fall of 2016 and she’ll have to weigh her health and the political climate before deciding.
For all the hype, she could well stay out. After all, her husband offers the example of how to have fun and do good on the world stage without the hassles of courting New Hampshire committeemen. But until she decides, every word and utterance will be scrutinized.
OBAMA TO TOUT COLORADO’S GUN CONTROL EFFORTS. President Obama will tout Colorado’s new gun control legislation in an appearance at 5 p.m. EDT today at the Denver Police Academy, local Fox affiliate KDVR reports. Gov. John Hickenlooper, who signed new laws mandating universal background checks and banning high-capacity magazines, will participate. Read more
- Negotiators are still sparring over some of the seemingly less controversial provisions in the proposed gun control legislation, even as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring a bill to the floor this month, Roll Call reports.
OBAMA TO TAKE 5 PERCENT PAY CUT. In a show of solidarity with furloughed federal workers, President Obama will return 5 percent of his salary, retroactive March 1, The New York Times reports. The cut will stay in place for the rest of the fiscal year. The President’s salary is $400,000, meaning the cut will take away roughly $17,000. “The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury,” an unnamed administration official told The Times. Both Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his deputy, Ashton B. Carter, will be returning part of their salaries, too. Read more
WHY STEPHEN COLBERT’S SISTER COULD BEAT SANFORD. Former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is set to run against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for an open House seat and it’s a matchup for the ages: Sanford, who famously lied about hiking on the Appalachian Trail while cheating on his wife in Argentina, and Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. Even if this race wasn’t competitive, there would still be political reporters flocking to Charleston to catch a celebrity sideshow. But aside from the spectacle, it’s shaping up to be one hell of a barnburner, as National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar reports. Read more
- National Journal’s Jill Lawrence has 6 big questions that need answering on the South Carolina race. No. 1: Will Sanford’s mistress-cum-fiancée be a part of the campaign?
CONSERVATIVES URGE SENATE GOP TO CONFIRM OBAMA COURT NOMINEE. A letter signed this week by six former solicitors general, including those from all three Bush administrations, is urging the Senate to confirm Principal U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan to the D.C. Court of Appeals, Talking Points Memo reports. “We urge his timely consideration by this Committee and his swift confirmation in the US Senate,” wrote the signatories, who include Ken Starr and Ted Olson. Republicans recently filibustered another nominee to the court, forcing her to withdraw her nomination. Read more
POLL: RUBIO LEADS GOP’S WIDE-OPEN 2016 FIELD. With 19 percent support, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination in a Quinnipiac Poll released today, The Washington Post reports. But Rep. Paul Ryan is not far behind with 17 percent support, and Sen. Rand Paul garnered 15 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got 14 percent and Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received 10 percent. Read more
FIVE REPUBLICANS TO WATCH ON GAY MARRIAGE. While Senate Democrats are rapidly accepting gay marriage – only seven holdouts remain – that's not the case for their Republican counterparts. Just two GOP senators have come out in support of same-sex marriage this year: Rob Portman of Ohio, who announced his support last month, and Mark Kirk of Illinois, who joined Portman on Tuesday. National Journal’s Elahe Izadi looks at some Republicans who could switch on the issue. Read more
WOODWARD AND SPERLING DINED AND MADE UP. After a February brouhaha in which Bob Woodward hinted that White House economic adviser Gene Sperling threatened him in an email exchange, the pair sat down for lunch at the White House last month, The Wall Street Journal reports. The White House contested Woodward’s version of events, leaking the email exchange, which looked more innocuous than the journalist had suggested. “It was kind of them to invite me, and I agree it was a good conversation,” Woodward said. “At the same time it was serious and detailed, a good exchange of views and information.” Read more
- @morningmoneyben: Hey why don't I get a "make-up lunch" after every cranky WH staffer email?
KERRY TO VISIT ISRAEL, TURKEY THIS WEEKEND. With Israel and Turkey making progress toward repairing frayed relations, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to both nations this weekend to help move the process forward, the Associated Press reports. Kerry will also discuss Syria and attempt to lay the groundwork for a revival of dormant Mideast peace talks. Kerry will head to the Far East later in the week. Read more
- In an address today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that when it comes to budget cuts “we need to put everything on the table.”
KITCHEN GARDEN WITH THE FIRST LADY. First lady Michelle Obama holds the fifth annual White House Kitchen Garden with students from "schools that have made exceptional improvements to school lunches from Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Vermont."
"Unfortunately, they were barbecued." – Former Gov. Mark Sanford, on the pigs he brought into the S.C. state House to protest pork barrel spending (Morning Joe).
IN 1913, A NEWSPAPERMAN WENT INTO THE WOODS ALONE AND CAPTIVATED A NATION. THEN WHAT HAPPENED? Joe Knowles reached Man vs. Wild status with his eight-week sojourn into the deep woods of Maine, updating a rapt audience with accounts and illustrations done with charcoal on birch bark for the Boston Post. When Knowles – a slightly flabby, middle-aged illustrator armed with nothing but a jockstrap – staggered out of the woods in Canada, “almost black from exposure to the sun ... scratched and bruised from head to foot by briars and underbrush,” he was greeted with a hero’s welcome, the Boston Post wrote. But what actually happened during those eight weeks and after is a mystery that took decades to unravel, writes Bill Donahue in April’s Boston Magazine. Read more
PLAY OF THE DAY
NUKE KIDS ON THE BLOCK. Obama’s poor basketball shooting performance (2-of-22) was roundly mocked by late-night hosts Tuesday. David Letterman showed a highlight reel of Obama sports bloopers and Jimmy Fallon made Dick Cheney “aim” jokes. Also dominating the shows was North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un’s recent provocations against the United States and the subsequent U.S. response. Kim’s threats of war toward Austin brought one of The Daily Show’s better sight gags in a while. Similarly, Stephen Colbert mocked the images of Kim looking at what passes for a modern computer in North Korea. Watch it here
TODAY’S KEY INDICATOR
EARLY JOBS NUMBERS A DISAPPOINTMENT. Private employers added 158,000 new jobs in March, with a slowdown coming in construction job growth, according to the ADP National Employment Report. Forecasters had expected about 200,000. It was the smallest gain since October. “Wednesday's reports suggested the first quarter may have ended on a softer note, as did data on Monday showing factory activity cooled in March,” Reuters reports. The report, which comes two days ahead of the government’s much-watched jobs report, is not always predictive, but is a worrisome sign that the economy may continue to sputter. Read more
TODAY’S PHOTO GALLERY
AFGHANISTAN AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT. Women in full hijab, toting machine guns, as they train for the Afghan Uniform Police; a Frenchman skiing in the Shahidan Valley during the “Afghan Ski Challenge”; young Afghan Scouts in full uniform; an Afghan model in a fashion show – all are remarkable images as curated by The Atlantic’s "In Focus" blog. See it here
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