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The Edge

Mitch McConnell’s B-Roll Secret—THE EDGE Brought to you by the National Retail Federation

By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: At least two people have died and more are injured after a gas-leak explosion destroyed two buildings in Harlem. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Russia in one last attempt to get the country to back off of Ukraine before the U.S. imposes economic sanctions. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has decided against challenging the state constitution in order to run for a third term. The Congressional Budget Office says Republicans' plan to delay Obamacare's individual mandate would save $31 billion. Mitch McConnell has released an odd YouTube ad consisting entirely of B-roll and inspirational music, but it's a savvy way of addressing campaign finance laws. And police have decided against catching criminals who have crossed state borders in more than 180,000 cases.


AT LEAST 2 DEAD IN HARLEM BUILDING COLLAPSE: The explosion, which destroyed two buildings, was triggered by a gas leak. At least 18 were injured and more than a dozen are still unaccounted for. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the search "will take quite a bit of time." (Marc Santora, NYT)


KERRY TO VISIT RUSSIA: The secretary of State will make a "last-ditch diplomatic effort" on Friday, meeting with Russia's top diplomat. Kerry said he will present Russia with "a series of options" and that if Russia does not back down on Crimea, the U.S. will go forward with economic sanctions. (Gearan/DeYoung, WaPo)

BREWER WON'T RUN FOR THIRD TERM: The Arizona governor would have had to challenge a provision of the state constitution, making her a long shot for another four years in office. (AP)

INDIVIDUAL-MANDATE DELAY WOULD SAVE $31 BILLION: But CBO reports that it would also result in 13 million fewer people accessing health care, and that it would raise premiums 10 to 20 percent by 2018. The House is scheduled to vote Friday on a Republican plan to delay the Obamacare individual mandate. (Clara Ritger, NJ)

OBAMA TO ORDER OVERTIME PAY EXPANSION: The president will direct Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to strengthen protections on overtime pay "for millions of workers" who have had to work more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay. House Speaker John Boehner quickly responded to news of the proposal, saying the focus should be on job creation and that "if you don't have a job, you don't qualify for overtime." (Zachary Goldfarb, WaPo)

FTC INVESTIGATES HERBALIFE: The company disclosed today that it has received a civil investigative demand from the Federal Trade Commission—good news for hedge-fund manager William Ackman, who bet $1 billion against Herbalife, called it a pyramid scheme, and has lobbied aggressively to have it investigated. (Alexandra Stevenson, NYT)

NSA USING FAKE VERSION OF FACEBOOK TO GATHER DATA: The agency has used a malware infection program that includes tricking users into signing into a Facebook look-alike site, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. Facebook has denied any knowledge of the program, but says it could not work over the site's default HTTPS protocol, which it integrated last year. (Dustin Volz, NJ)

TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Rep. Peter DeFazio, and others will speak at the National Congress of American Indians' 2014 Summit. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will participate in a panel discussion at 8 a.m. on the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius (10 a.m.), Secretary of State John Kerry (10:30 a.m.), Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (10 a.m.), Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (10 a.m.), HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (2 p.m.), and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (10 a.m.) will testify to congressional committees about their departments' budgets.

Join National Journal on Tuesday, March 25th for "A New America: How Millennials are Sparking Change" underwritten by Microsoft. Student Activity Center, Black Box Theater, The University of Texas at Austin, 3:00 - 5:00 pm. RSVP @ https://a-new-america-how-millennials-are-sparking-change-tickets


THE STORY BEHIND THAT WEIRD MITCH McCONNELL VIDEO: The two-minute video consisting entirely of B-roll "isn't about pitching McConnell's candidacy—at least not directly. It's about coordinating with super PACs in plain sight." (Shane Goldmacher, NJ)

McCAIN DOESN'T BELIEVE LOW APPROVAL RATING: "There is a bogus poll out there," McCain said after receiving a 30 percent approval rating. "I can sense the people of my state. When I travel around, which I do constantly, they like me, and I am very grateful."

THE GUY WHO STARTED EMAIL ATTACHMENTS: It's been 22 years to the day since Nathaniel Borenstein emailed a photo of his barbershop quartet. (Nick Stockton, Quartz)


WANT TO GET AWAY WITH A CRIME? JUST CROSS A BORDER: Across the country, police have decided against extraditing fugitives in more than 180,000 cases, even when criminals are staying in a neighboring state. (Brad Heath, USA TODAY)

DEMOCRATS OBSESSED WITH, TERRIFIED OF NATE SILVER: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continues to use Silver's name in fundraising emails, even though he hasn't been writing, because so many people read the emails. (Scott Bland, NJ)

THE $300 MILLION SEX ECONOMY: A new study shows just how much the underground commercial sex economy can be worth in cities like Miami and Atlanta. (Elahe Izadi, NJ)


INTERACTIVE: LAST SIGHTINGS OF MALAYSIAN AIRLINE. Some accounts have the flight turning around and being spotted over the Strait of Malacca, but officials say they aren't sure and that it could be farther east in the South China Sea. (The Guardian)

LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES: Stephen Colbert gives the Justice Department credit for publicly suing Sprint for overcharging the department on its secret spying program. (Reena Flores, NJ)

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