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The Edge

John Boehner’s Tanning-Bed Denial and the World’s Best Pizza Box—THE EDGE

January 24, 2014

By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, pleaded not guilty to charges that they engaged in conspiracy and fraud when accepting gifts and loans totaling about $165,000. The Syrian peace talks nearly broke down, but government and opposition leaders agreed to meet over the weekend. The Republican National Committee plans to shorten its primary calendar. Clay Aiken might actually run for Congress, and House Speaker John Boehner still maintains that he doesn't use a tanning bed.

TOP NEWS

McDONNELLS PLEAD NOT GUILTY: The former governor and his wife entered not-guilty pleas this morning on conspiracy and fraud charges. The family accepted about $165,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a dietary-supplement company. The court appearances were the start of what could be a months-long legal fight. (Zapotosky/Weiner, WaPo)

 

SYRIAN PEACE TALKS AVERT COLLAPSE, FOR NOW: Syrian government officials will meet on Saturday with opposition leaders, putting on hold worries that peace talks would end today without a resolution. The opposition delegation had originally refused to meet face-to-face with government leaders, who threatened to walk out of the talks. A U.N. intermediary said both parties would meet in person on Saturday and Sunday and that the talks could take a week before they take a break. (Liz Sly, WaPo)

RNC PLANS TO SHORTEN PRIMARY CALENDAR: Hoping to avoid a repeat of the bruising, drawn-out battle before the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee is planning to shrink the party's primary calendar and make it harder for states to push their nominations to an earlier part of the year. (Cameron Joseph, The Hill)

BUT HOW MANY REPUBLICANS WILL BE WEEDED OUT? Not all Republicans are happier about a shorter primary schedule. Some think it will only further help the front-runners, which might fix some of the party's mistakes from 2012 but would not help cultivate talent in 2016. (Josh Kraushaar, NJ)

FORMER SENATE STAFFER LOSKARN FOUND DEAD: Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was found dead after committing suicide, according to authorities in Sykesville, Md. Loskarn had been arrested on child pornography charges and was in his parents' custody. (Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call)

CLAY AIKEN PREPARES FOR CONGRESSIONAL BID: The singer plans to run as a Democrat for North Carolina's 2nd District. Some state Democrats concede that Aiken's fame could help him, but say it will be a tough run in the Republican-leaning district. (Emily Cahn, Roll Call)

THE WEEKEND IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will be on "Meet the Press" to talk about Tuesday's State of the Union address. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer will be on "Face the Nation" to discuss the debt-ceiling extension and the tea party's influence. White House press secretary Jay Carney will talk about the State of the Union address on "This Week." And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will discuss the Republican Party's plan for 2014 on "Fox News Sunday."

TOP LINES

GAY WASHINGTON: The 30 most influential out Washingtonians, including lawmakers, judges, editors, and more. (NJ)

BOEHNER ISN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OR USING A TANNING BED: John Boehner joined Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" and said Republican infighting may be at its worst ever, among other points regarding his skin tone. (Brian Resnick, NJ)

5 THINGS TO WATCH IN THE SOTU SPEECH: Starting with how hard Obama attacks the GOP. (Ian Swanson, The Hill)

THE DEATH OF 'THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID': The blatantly immature quip was popularized by "The Office" but has all but died out. (Daniel Gross, The Atlantic)

TOP READS

DANNY PEARL'S FINAL STORY: In 2007, a friend of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl set out to find the truth about how he died after being kidnapped and killed in Karachi, Pakistan. (Asra Nomani, Washingtonian)

WHAT THE NEWS GETS WRONG ABOUT SOUTH SUDAN: Journalists have largely missed the nuances of infighting in South Sudan, focusing heavily on tribal divisions. (The Economist)

TOP VIEWS

LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES: Stephen Colbert might be the first victim of a court ruling against net neutrality. (Reena Flores, NJ)

HOW THE WORLD'S BEST PIZZA BOX WORKS: Tired of soggy pizza boxes, Vinay Mehta invented VENTiT. (Mridula Chari, Quartz)
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