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- "The Justice Department on Monday will instruct all of its employees across the country, for the first time, to give lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers." (Washington Post)
- In KY SEN, "former President Bill Clinton ... will come to Louisville" on Feb. 25 "for a campaign event for" Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). (Louisville Courier-Journal)
- In MT SEN, American Crossroads (R) has spent $138,000 on a TV ad opposing Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D), who was appointed to serve out the remainder of Sen. Max Baucus's (D) term Friday, that will air this week. (Hotline reporting)
- In NE SEN, attorney Bart McLeay's (R) campaign spent $100,000 on a new TV ad featuring his family that began airing during the opening ceremony of the Olympics last Friday. (Omaha World-Herald)
- In the FL-13 Special, state CFO Alex Sink (D) released a new TV ad Friday hitting former lobbyist David Jolly (R) for lying about Sink's record on health care. (Tampa Bay Times)
- Also in FL-13, Jolly released a new TV ad Friday attacking Sink for not supporting a balanced budget amendment using footage from last Monday's debate. (Tampa Bay Times)
- The Tampa Bay Times endorsed Sink. (Tampa Bay Times). The Tampa Tribune endorsed Jolly. (Tampa Tribune)
- In FL-26, House Majority PAC (D) "is making an approximately $90,000 ad buy" this week "to defend" Rep. Joe Garcia (D). (Roll Call)
- In GA GOV, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) raised $319,000 from Jan. 1-13, the two weeks before the start of the next legislative session, and has "about" $4.3 million cash on hand. State Sen. Jason Carter (D) raised "about" $150,000 and has $1.36 million cash on hand. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In NE GOV, Attorney General/2012 SEN candidate Jon Bruning (R) "acknowledged Saturday that he will run." (Omaha World-Herald)
- In PA GOV, businessman Tom Wolf (D) released his third TV ad on Friday highlighting that he shares 20-30% of his company's profits with his employees. (PoliticsPA.com)
- In the San Diego mayoral race, President Obama "weighed in ... Saturday, endorsing Democrat and first-term City Councilman David Alvarez over his Republican rival, Councilman Kevin Faulconer." (U-T San Diego)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Special elections offer message previews for the next general, and while Republicans hammer away at Obamacare to try and unravel Alex Sink's campaign in FL-13, Sink's new TV ad previews how Democrats might defend themselves on Obamacare across the nation, by tagging GOPers with wanting to "go back" to the way things were on preexisting conditions and other popular elements of health care reform. It's one of the few times of late that Democratic advertising has even mentioned health care, something else to keep an eye on going forward.
• Republican candidates are avoiding public appearances with Chris Christie as he travels around fundraising for the RGA, and the trend is set to continue this week as he travels to Chicago. However, arguments that the scandal clad governor is hurting the committee may be overblown because they ignore the ultimate purpose of these trips: to raise money. Unless RGA fundraising takes a nosedive under Christie's leadership, it's hard to argue that he's doing any real damage to the group's bottom line.
• It will be an interesting week for Deal. Just a few weeks after being hammered for a lackluster responde to a 2.6-inch snowstorm that snarled Atlanta, the weather forecasters Deal incorrectly blamed for not foreseeing that event are calling for another winter storm this week. He'd better be prepared: The new storm offers Deal the opportunity for some degree of redemption, but another failure could make a dent in his status as a favorite for reelection.
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Lacking a House, a Senator Is Renewing His Ties in Kansas" (New York Times)
- "Now that Mitt Romney has categorically ruled himself out of the 2016 presidential race, the battle is on for the most enduring part of his legacy — his fundraising operation. ... Candidates and committees in 2013 paid Romney's still idling campaign at least $675,000 to rent its fundraising lists, while prospective presidential candidates like" Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) "have cozied up to Romney's fundraisers and donors in closed-door meetings and fundraisers. Romney himself quietly slipped into Manhattan in December to headline a big-donor dinner for the RNC." (Politico)
- "Michelle Kwan is fitting in some time for political campaigning while she covers the Sochi Games" as an analyst for Fox Sports. "The two-time Olympic figure skating medalist is asking notable names to pose for a photo holding a pin supporting her husband," RI GOV candidate/former Education Department official Clay Pell (D). (Providence Journal)
- "Bill Keller, a columnist at The New York Times and its former executive editor, will leave the paper to become editor in chief of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism start-up focused on the American criminal justice system." (New York Times)
- Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) "refused to budge on Friday as federal prosecutor Matt Coman hammered him with emails, phone records, checks, credit card statements, calendar entries and signatures on contracts suggesting Nagin had perpetuated corrupt dealings with city vendors. Citing the frenzied pace of his job, especially after Hurricane Katrina, Nagin said he didn't recognize some of the records and that others failed to show any indication that payoffs were behind the interactions." (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
- "Not this year. It's not going this year. So you all shouldn't write about that because that's not happening." -- Sink, on the Democrats' chances to take back the House in 2014 in an interview with the Tampa Tribune editorial board (Tampa Tribune)
- "It's important that people think that their government not be used to bully them." -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on the turmoil surrounding Christie (KTRK-TV)
- "How Candidates Share Without Coordinating With Outside Groups" (Roll Call)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 30s. Northwest winds around 10 mph.
- The House returns at noon, and the Senate is back at 2 p.m.
- D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and Education Secretary Arne Duncan tour DC Scholars Stanton Elementary in Southeast D.C. to mark the one-year anniversary of the School Turnaround AmeriCorps grant program. (9 a.m.)
- Olympic Women's hockey: 1-0 Canada looks to keep place with 2-0 USA when it takes on Finland. (MSNBC, 10 a.m.)
- First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the National Symposium on Veterans Employment in Construction. (Labor Department, 11:15 a.m.)
- Georgetown goes for four in a row when it hosts Providence. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- Maryland travels to Charlottesville to play red-hot No. 20 Virginia. (ESPNU, 9 p.m.)
- The U.S. men's curling team faces China in its second match. (USA Network, 5 a.m. Tuesday)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- John Quincy Adams was elected to the House of Representatives from Massachusetts following his presidency.
- The winner is Tom Davis, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "What current member of Congress is the highest enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Liberal Donors Putting Their Personal Agendas Ahead of the Democratic Party
- Midterm Elections Looming Large in Senate Agenda
- Charlie Crist Hugs Barack Obama All Over Again
- Time Running Out on Debt Ceiling
- Five Things to Know About the Newest U.S. Senator
"Those closest to" former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "say he is keeping his cards close to the vest and might not announce his plans" to run for NH SEN "until April or May." (Roll Call)
"NH Republicans: Time running short for Brown to decide on Senate bid" (The Hill, Nov. 12, 2013)
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.