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- House Speaker John Boehner "scrambled to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal government's borrowing authority." (Washington Post)
- In the FL-13 Special, the Chamber of Commerce released a new TV ad attacking former state CFO Alex Sink (D) "for supporting Obamacare." (Politico)
- Also in FL-13, Vice President Biden "will appear at a fundraising event for" Sink next Wednesday in Coral Gables. (CNN)
- In GA SEN, businessman David Perdue (R) "calls his opponents 'childish' as crying babies wearing T-shirts with his opponents' names flash across the screen" in his first TV ad. "A source from another campaign tracking the buy says the ad ... initially has about $170,000 behind it." (The Hill)
- In KS SEN, physician Milton Wolf (R) raised $216,000, while contributing $7,000 of his own money and loaning the campaign an additional $30,000, in the fourth quarter of 2013 and has $179,000 cash on hand. (AP)
- In MT SEN, Rep. Steve Daines (R) released his first TV ad of the campaign on Wednesday, "which takes on the form of a job interview with the people of Montana." (release)
- In NY-18, former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) "announced her intention to run for her old seat in an email to supporters" Wednesday. (Capital New York)
- In CA GOV, former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari (R) raised $976,000 in the first two weeks of his campaign. (Sacramento Bee)
- In CO GOV, a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 2, shows Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) leading four GOP challengers: state Sen. Greg Brophy (47-37%), Secretary of State Scott Gessler (46-40%), state Sen. Mike Kopp (47-38%) and 2010 Constitution Party nominee/ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo (48-39%). (release)
- In IL GOV, Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) "is moving forward with" a $1.34 million media buy "over the next five weeks," beginning with a 30-second ad focusing on jobs. (Chicago Sun-Times)
NATIONAL JOURNAL'S 2013 VOTE RATINGS
- Congress was more polarized in 2013 than at any time since National Journal began calculating its ratings in 1982. For the fourth straight year, no Senate Democrat was more conservative than a Senate Republican—and no Senate Republican was more liberal than a Senate Democrat. In the House, only two Democrats were more conservative than a Republican—and only two Republicans were more liberal than a Democrat. The ideological overlap between the parties in the House was less than in any previous index. (National Journal)
- The 15 Most Liberal Senators
- The 15 Most Conservative Senators
- The 15 Most Liberal Representatives
- The 15 Most Conservative Representatives
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Pay close attention to this New York Times story highlighting the DSCC's intense get-out-the-vote efforts in crucial, Republican-leaning Senate battlegrounds. The party believes it can microtarget likely Democratic voters who might not otherwise show up in a midterm election. That advantage is expected to have the largest impact in states like Arkansas, Iowa, and Alaska -- with smaller, homogeneous voting populations where sophisticated voter ID methods can make a big difference.
• Why is this so important? It's widely known that turnout among key Democratic groups -- minorities, young people, unmarried women -- drops dramatically in midterm years, but there is one way of thinking about it that we find particularly stark. Those groups' midterm turnout tends to align with presidential year turnout from a full decade prior (i.e., 2010 looked a lot like 2000). Basically, Democrats need to build a time machine to bring the electorate in line with recent levels that have brought them success.
• Scott Brown's e-mail list gaffe is another strange moment in the former senator's will-he-or-won't-he effort. But the degree to which Democrats have seized on Brown's error is yet another sign that, unlike most candidates before entering a race, his decision to a private citizen isn't sparing him from criticism.
• The new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado has Hickenlooper looking increasingly secure for reelection, but voters are as conflicted as ever on gun control -- 52% oppose stricter new gun control laws, while 86% support universal background checks and 50% support a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines. This general disapproval leaves an opening for GOP candidates seeking to exploit the issue.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Intruder scared away by Big Mouth Billy Bass" (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Tech Industry Flexes Muscle in California Race" (New York Times)
- "An off-season mayor's race in America's eighth-largest city has become an unexpected magnet for national political groups, as labor unions and Democrats scramble to keep San Diego government in liberal hands and Republicans seek to capture their first big-city mayoral election win in half a decade. (Politico)
- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) "has added a potent weapon to his bipartisan charm offensive: better booze. Desperately in need of Republican friends to get his agenda through a divided General Assembly," McAuliffe "has restocked the executive mansion bar and thrown open the doors for nightly receptions." State Sen. Thomas Garrett (R): "Everybody's more charming after a few drinks." (Washington Post)
- "Everyone wants to know whether or not I'm going to run for president. There's a lot of reasons to run for president, but there's one overwhelming reason not to run for president. I'd like to get that Z06 with 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. 3.4 seconds!" -- Biden, at the United Auto Workers Conference in Washington on Wednesday (Buzzfeed)
- "Christie and Romney, a GOP odd couple" (Washington Post)
- Priorities USA Action (D), "recently retooled as an early" pro-former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) "effort, will sit out the midterm elections this year." (Buzzfeed)
- "I'm off the grid. I move about with my TV show so that the drones can't find me, and that you won't know exactly where I am, as long as we have solar power and we can reach the satellite." -- Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I), in an appearance on CNBC Tuesday (National Journal)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
- The House returns at 9 a.m., and the Senate is back at 9:30.
- Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Rand Paul (R-KY) hold a news conference to discuss the introduction of a resolution that would require congressional approval for any military mission in Afghanistan after 2014. (Senate Radio/TV gallery, 11 a.m.)
- The Caps host the Jets. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- NBC kicks off its Olympic programming with tape-delayed coverage of snowboarding, freestyle skiing and team figure skating. (WRC-TV, 8 p.m.)
- Jay Leno's final episode of the "Tonight Show." Again. (WRC-TV, 11:35 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) counts several senators, a secretary of state, a vice-presidential candidate and a congressman among his relatives.
- The winner is Mike Amery, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Minnesota precinct caucuses were held Tuesday night. Who won the GOP straw polls for U.S. Senate and for governor?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Remember the IRS Tea-Party Scandal? Get Ready for Round Two
- Republican Adman's Latest Gambit: Actual Crying Babies as Politicians
- Rep. Henry Waxman Is Retiring With $750,000 in the Bank
- House GOP Abandons Tying Debt Ceiling to Keystone or Risk Corridors
- How Big Tobacco Can Triumph Over CVS Cigarette Ban
"This is like frat house governor. Clearly he's trying to be friendly, but I'll watch my wallet over there." -- Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R), on McAuliffe's happy hours (Washington Post)
"34 things the feds could seize from the McDonnells" (Washington Post)
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.