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Koch and Guns at CPAC—THE EDGE Brought to You by the National Retail Federation

By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Crimea scheduled a referendum on whether it will secede from Ukraine and join Russia, but President Obama said it would violate international law and would not be recognized by the U.S. Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and others spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and Mitch McConnell brought a gun. Russia is pushing for the International Monetary Fund to go ahead with a 2010 set of reforms without U.S. approval. An ABC News/Washington Post poll puts Hillary Clinton far ahead of her possible Republican challengers in 2016, and shows that Jeb Bush's last name might be holding him back. But Bernie Sanders says he would be a better president than anyone else, including Clinton.

 

TOP NEWS

CRIMEA MOVES TO HOLD VOTE ON JOINING RUSSIA: A referendum was scheduled for March 16 allowing citizens in Crimea to determine if they want to break from Ukraine and join Russia, or just to gain greater independence from Kiev. A Kiev court has ruled the Crimean Parliament's actions are illegal and issued an arrest warrant for new Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, who was installed a week ago. (Herszenhorn/Cowell, NYT)

OBAMA ORDERS SANCTIONS, WON'T RECOGNIZE SECESSION: The president signed an executive order freezing assets and blocking visas of anyone who has impeded democracy in Ukraine, although it doesn't name anyone specifically. (WaPo)

AT CPAC, CHRISTIE DEFENDS KOCH BROTHERS: He didn't mention them by name, but he criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for antagonizing "two American entrepreneurs who have built a business, created jobs, and created wealth and philanthropy in this country." Reid said earlier this week that "Senate Republicans are addicted to Koch." (Adam Wollner, NJ)

 

... RUBIO TRIES TO RECLAIM THE CONSERVATIVE MANTLE: The Florida Republican fell out of favor with tea partiers over immigration reform, but at CPAC, he showed firm stances on foreign policy and took a substantive approach that makes him look like a contender in 2016. (Lucia Graves, NJ)

… AND McCONNELL BRINGS A GUN: The Senate minority leader received his biggest round of applause at CPAC when he entered the stage holding a rifle over his head, then handed it to Sen. Tom Coburn and thanked him for his time in the Senate. (Sarah Mimms, NJ)

RUSSIA PUSHES FOR IMF REFORMS WITHOUT U.S. INPUT: Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has suggested the International Monetary Fund move ahead with a 2010 set of reforms without approval from the U.S., which is the only country that holds a controlling share of votes within the organization. To bypass U.S. support would require complex rule changes, but G20 leaders are growing impatient with President Obama's inability to get Congress to approve a shift of $63 billion that is required to make the reforms go through. (Yukhananov/Kelly, Reuters)

GILLIBRAND'S MILITARY SEXUAL-ASSAULT BILL FAILS: The Senate voted down a motion to proceed on the bill, which would "strip commanders of the power to decide which sexual-assault cases are prosecuted." (Stacy Kaper, NJ)

 

JUSTICE WILL REVIEW COMCAST DEAL; TOP ANTITRUST OFFICIAL RECUSED: The Justice Department, not the Federal Trade Commission, will review Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable, but the head of its antitrust division will sit the examination out because of his previous work representing NBC-Universal and General Electric in a 2011 deal with Comcast. (Brendan Sasso, NJ)

BLACK CAUCUS WANTS ISSA TO LOSE GAVEL: Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa should be stripped of his gavel and called for him to apologize for cutting off Rep. Elijah Cummings's microphone in a hearing on Wednesday. (Bernie Becker, The Hill)

TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Conservative Political Action Conference continues through Saturday. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will hold an event in Miami at 2:35 p.m. on expanding opportunities for the middle class. The Senate is in session but the House is not.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Excellent!"

Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

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TOP LINES

POLL: CLINTON LEADS, BUSH LAGS IN 2016. Hillary and Jeb, that is. More than twice as many respondents in an ABC/Washington Post poll said they'd definitely vote for Clinton than any other candidate. And 48 percent said they definitely would not support Bush for president. (Balz/Craighill, WaPo)

OF COURSE NATE SILVER USES A GRAPH TO HIRE PEOPLE: The FiveThirtyEight editor fits writers into four quadrants: awesome, good journalists, bad sports journalists, and terrible op-ed columnists. (Jack Dickey, Time)

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE SAT: Preparing for the SAT can be expensive, and there's a wide gap in scores between the rich and the poor. (Brian Resnick, NJ)

TOP READS

THE FRANK UNDERWOOD OF VENEZUELA: National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello "amasses his influence not as a mesmerizer of crowds, but as a master manipulator of those around him." (Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, The Atlantic)

BERNIE SANDERS ON THE PRESIDENCY: The Vermont independent and self-described socialist says he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton. (Jay Newton-Small, Time)

TOP VIEWS

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP OF 1 WORLD TRADE CENTER: Time creates an interactive panorama from the top of the tallest building in the western hemisphere. (Josh Sanburn, Time)

A HELICOPTER FOR MARS: NASA tested a prototype of a rocket that lifts off vertically and hovers like a helicopter, but uses fuels that could be made on other planets. (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic)

LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert theorize about a future with Hillary Clinton as president, including kidnappings and possible shark attacks. (Reena Flores, NJ)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Excellent!"

Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

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