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- "The Obama administration, grappling with continued political fallout over its health care law, said Wednesday that it would allow consumers to renew health insurance policies that did not comply with the new law for two more years, pushing the issue well beyond this fall's midterm elections." (New York Times)
- "The Senate on Wednesday dealt an embarrassing setback to President Obama when several politically vulnerable Democrats defected to help Republicans defeat the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to be chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division." (Washington Post)
- Charles and David Koch, "the billionaire brothers who are perhaps the best-known patrons of conservative Republican politics, are bespectacled and in their 70s. They look genial enough. But Democrats are embarking on a broad effort that aims to unmask the press-shy siblings and portray them, instead, as a pair of villains bent on wrecking progressive politics. On Thursday, the" DSCC "is starting a digital campaign that will use Internet ads and videos, as well as social media, to tie Republican Senate candidates to the policies and actions of the Koch brothers. Its slogan: 'The G.O.P. is addicted to Koch.'" (New York Times)
- In the FL-13 Special, former state CFO Alex Sink (D) released a new TV ad on Wednesday touting her willingness to work with members of both parties. (release)
- Also in FL-13, Bill Clinton recorded a robocall for Sink, calling her "someone who will work across the aisle to get things done." (Tampa Bay Times)
- In IA SEN, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) endorsed state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) in a fundraising email sent out by Ernst's campaign on Wednesday. (Hotline reporting)
- Romney will also appear fundraisers for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) on March 19 and 20. (Idaho Statesman)
- In NC SEN, state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) launched a biographical TV ad on Thursday. In the ad, Tillis says: "My story's not special. In America, it happens all the time. But the train wreck in Washington puts that at risk." (Politico)
- In AR GOV, the RGA launched a new 15-second TV ad, saying former Rep. Mike Ross (D) "followed [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi's liberal lead" in Washington. (Politico)
- In NY GOV, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) formally announced his bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday in a video posted to his campaign website. (release)
- In IL GOV, state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R), "fresh from getting the backing of the state's largest public employees' union, found himself the target of barbs Wednesday night questioning whether he could stand up to labor if elected. But Dillard, who is looking to use union support to establish himself as the alternative to wealthy front-running candidate," businessman Bruce Rauner (R), "lashed back at his rivals." Dillard "likened electing Rauner ... to 'putting a rat in charge of the cheese.' ... The increased intensity of the campaign was on display during the second televised debate in two nights for the four Republicans seeking the right to challenge" Gov. Pat Quinn (D). (Chicago Tribune)
- In WI GOV, former Trek executive Mary Burke (D) launched her first TV ad of the campaign on Wednesday, attacking Gov. Scott Walker's (R) job record. (release)
- In AZ-07, state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D) "disclosed he is gay at a news conference Wednesday ... saying the furor over Senate Bill 1062 prompted his decision to go public." Gallardo "is one of three announced candidates" in the race to replace retiring Rep. Ed Pastor (D). (Arizona Republic)
- According to a new Fox News poll of national RVs, conducted March 2-4 by Anderson Robbins Research (D)/Shaw & Company Research (R), 38% approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 54% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted Feb. 9-11, 42% approved and 53% disapproved. (release)
- In NY GOV, a new WNBC-TV/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll of RVs, conducted Feb. 27-March 3, shows Cuomo leading Astorino 65-25% in a general election matchup. (Wall Street Journal)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• While it's not likely to play a major role in 2014, the failed vote for controversial DOJ nominee Debo Adegbile is the latest sign the White House isn't doing much to help the red-state Democrats up for reelection. While Sens. Mark Pryor and John Walsh voted no, most targeted 2014ers backed the nomination, including Sens. Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Warner and Tom Udall. Add the continued Keystone XL delays and proposed budget, Obama's playing more to his base than to helping his party hold onto the Senate. -- Josh Kraushaar
• Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) is criticizing primary challenger Seth Moulton (D) for taking a $1,000 donation from Republican-leaning White Mountain PAC. Moulton, who considered a run as an independent in 2012, returned the check after realizing it was a Republican group, but the issue offers a preview of Tierney's strategy for the Democratic primary: Brand Moulton as a Republican in disguise, or at least as not a true Democrat. -- Jack Fitzpatrick
• Democrats are kicking off a new stategy of attempting to tie Republican Senate candidates to the Koch brothers as Americans for Prosperity continues to dump millions into races across the country. It's a strategy that Democrats used last cycle with Karl Rove's group, Crossroads GPS. But one challenge they face this time is that while Rove was well-known from his years advising George W. Bush, the Koch brothers are still widely unknown to most Americans. -- Julie Sobel
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "One in five dollars spent by all super PACs, nonprofit groups and the like on election advocacy came from identifiably conservative groups attacking Republican congressional candidates, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal campaign disclosures covering Jan. 1 to Feb. 28." (Center for Public Integrity)
- "There's a lot of people in the Senate that didn't serve in the military. ... Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different backgrounds - and I think that's part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that's not how it works in Arkansas." -- Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), on AR SEN candidate/Rep. Tom Cotton (R). (NBC News)
- "I just want everybody to have a little bit more perspective. I'm not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before." -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), at UCLA on Wednesday, clarifying comments she made on Tuesday drawing a parallel between Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent actions in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler's in the 1930s. In her remarks at UCLA, Clinton also called Putin "a tough guy with a thin skin." (Los Angeles Times)
- "If not, I'll go work at Wal-Mart. I've got to have a job." -- Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), on what he would do if he lost his May runoff election (Fox News)
- "I hope just because I'm not on the ballot people don't take it easy this time." -- Obama, referring to the 2014 elections at a DNC fundraiser in Boston on Wednesday (The Hill)
- "Did you read about the man who died and in his obituary ... did you read about this man who said, 'Don't send flowers, don't send donations to anything, cancel your New York Times subscription.' So I did." - Former first lady Barbara Bush, when asked about a recent column by the New York Times's Maureen Dowd headlined, "Brace Yourself for Hillary and Jeb" (Fox News)
- "Cuomo Burnishes His Political Brand, Using de Blasio as His Foil" (New York Times)
- "We had fun, and we'll probably do statewide again." -- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), on his loss in Tuesday night's TX SEN Republican primary (Dallas Morning News)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy this morning, then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the mid 30s. Northeast winds around 10 mph.
- The annual Conservative Political Action Conference kicks off in National Harbor, Md. Today's speakers include: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (R), New Jersey Gov. Chrs Christie (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). (Gaylord National Convention Center, 8:45 a.m.)
- The House is back at 9 a.m., while the Senate returns at 9:30 a.m. with an opening prayer from the Dalai Lama.
- Obama holds a town hall event on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act. (Newseum, 11:35 a.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Two of James Madison's vice presidents died in office: George Clinton and Elbridge Gerry.
- The winner is Tom Davis, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the last winner of a special House election to lose to someone in the ensuing general election that they defeated in the special election, and who defeated him/her in the rematch?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Your CPAC Viewing Guide: 6 Story Lines to Watch
- Democrats Turn To Social Security For Political Momentum
- Are Boehner's Potential Successors Already Angling?
- Hillary Clinton's Love Letter to Millennials
- How Republicans Won the Fight Over Abortion in Texas
"John [Cornyn] is a friend, and a good man. He's earned considerable respect in the Senate. We have not agreed on everything, but we have agreed on the vast majority of issues. Together, we're a strong and effective team for Texas." -- Cruz, in a Facebook post on following Tuesday's Texas primaries
"Your rigid code of honor, which drives me nuts, makes you a wonderful human being, and I am proud to call you my friend and don't ever change." -- "Leslie Knope", to "Ron Swanson" in Parks and Recreation
Adam Wollner, Editor