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- "The Democratic effort to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed got a surprise boost Tuesday as skeptical Republicans in the Senate voted to allow the proposal to advance, with issues of poverty and economic opportunity emerging as a central battleground between the parties. ... The triumph may be temporary, because the measure still faces big hurdles in the Senate and longer odds of passing the House." (Washington Post)
- In LA SEN, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) raised "nearly" $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of last year and has $6.4 million cash on hand. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) raised "more than" $1 million and has $4.2 million cash on hand. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
- In NH SEN, Senate Majority PAC (D) has launched a new TV ad, claiming that former Sen. Scott Brown's (R-MA) interest in the seat "doesn't make sense for New Hampshire." (release)
- In NJ SEN, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R) said Tuesday he won't run against Sen. Cory Booker (D). (Newark Star-Ledger)
- In TX SEN, a super PAC supporting Sen. John Cornyn (R) "is launching a major television buy Wednesday against" Rep. Steve Stockman (R) focused "on Stockman's business record and alleged ethical problems, but the group "is not publicly disclosing the size of the buy." (Politico)
- In FL-19, 2012 candidate/former state Rep. Paige Kreegel (R) announced Tuesday we would run against Rep. Trey Radel (R). (Naples Daily News)
- In MT-AL, former Baucus state director John Lewis (D) raised "about" $396,000 in the fourth quarter, spent "about" $68,000 and has "about" $328,000 cash on hand. (Missoulian)
- In GA GOV, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) "raised more than $4 million" in the second half of late year and "has roughly that amount on hand." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In KS GOV, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) raised "more than" $1.6 million in 2013 and has "nearly" $2 million cash on hand. (AP)
- In MI GOV, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has purchased "TV ad time during the Super Bowl" on Fox affiliates in Detroit and Lansing, while former Rep. Mark Schauer (D) "confirmed he is seeking public funds to help finance his campaign into August." Tuesday's developments are "an early sign that the ... race could be a financial mismatch." (Detroit Free Press)
- In NY GOV, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) "said Tuesday that he's '50-50'" on running, "though his pointed critique" of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) "tax relief proposals sounded like the sort of material that would go into a stump speech." Astorino "brushed off the recent comments of state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, who told the Buffalo News that the county executive had informed members of the state's congressional delegation that he intended to run. Cox, Astorino noted, wasn't in the room for that meeting, which he said would remain confidential." (Albany Times Union)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has raised money by citing a possible Brown challenge (a practice Brown called "shameful"), but recent developments show that Dems aren't just sitting back and laughing all the way to the bank as the former senator continues to ponder a N.H. run. They are taking it seriously: In addition to the Senate Majority PAC ad, Shaheen has a poll in the field asking about a potential Brown candidacy.
• Schauer's decision to accept public financing sets the stage for a wide fundraising imbalance between him and Snyder, in what most expected to be a top-tier race. Snyder spent $6 million of his personal money on his 2010 campaign, and is poised to spend $400,000 on his first major TV ad buy of the race next month. If Schauer's fundraising struggles are as acute as his recent move indicates, it could rob Democrats of a key gubernatorial pick-up opportunity this cycle.
• Iowa and Senate Republicans have spent a good deal of time already worrying about the possibility of a nominating convention in the race to replace Sen. Tom Harkin (D). If no GOP candidate gets 35% in the primary, the task of nominating a candidate goes to convention delegates. Now, with Rep. Tom Latham's (R) retirement, the issue has been extended to IA-03: The same rules, and worries, now apply there for the House GOP as about a dozen Republicans eye the open seat.
HAIR OF THE DOG
Police in Kentucky said a prison inmate "escaped from a minimum security facility in Lexington on Sunday," but as "temperatures dropped into the low single digits Monday, officials say the man walked into a motel and asked the clerk to call police," saying "he wanted to turn himself in and escape the arctic air." (AP)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama's leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president 'doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out.'" (Washington Post)
- "To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying." -- Gates, writing that both Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) admitted that their opposition to the Iraq "surge" had been politically motivated (New York Times)
- "Ready for Hillary Raises Over $4 Million from 33,361 Donors in 2013" (release)
- "Name a redeeming quality of hip-hop. I want to know anything about hip-hop that has been good for this country. And it's not -- before you get carried away -- this has nothing to do with race. Because there are just as many hip-hopping white kids and Asian kids as there are hip-hopping black kids." -- MS SEN candidate Chris McDaniel (R), blaming "rising gun violence on a 'hip-hop' culture that 'values rap and destruction of community values more than it does poetry'" (Mother Jones)
- "Eric Cantor's Challenger from the Right" (National Review)
- "To be blunt, if nothing else, Brian needs a good workout before he makes a good run. Thus far, with all due respect to Brian, he's not run a good campaign. He will not win this seat if he continues on the track he's been on." -- Former California state Senate Minority Leader Ray Haynes (R), on Assemb. Brian Nestande's (R) CA-36 campaign. Haynes "is looking to enter the ... race," despite the fact that Nestande "wasn't expected to face competition from his fellow Republicans." (Palm Springs Desert Sun)
- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) "told attendees of the 73rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show on Tuesday that 12-year-olds should be allowed to work." (Portland Press Herald)
- "This past year, I have achieved something big that I've not spoken of until now. Countless hours of physical therapy -- and the talents of the medical community -- have brought me new movement in my right arm. It's fractional progress, and it took a long time, but my arm moves when I tell it to." -- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), comparing physical therapy to her fight for stricter gun laws in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday, the third anniversary of the shootings in Tucson, Ariz.
- Giffords will also sky-dive to mark the anniversary live on television. (NBC News)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 20s. Southwest winds around 5 mph.
- The House and Senate both return at 10 a.m.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue delivers the annual State of American Business address. (U.S. Chamber, 9:30 a.m.)
- The Baseball Hall of Fame announces its 2014 induction class. (MLB Network, 2 p.m.)
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) "will deliver remarks on reforming antipoverty programs and improving income mobility" at an AEI event on Capitol Hill. (S-211, 2:35 p.m.)
- The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute releases a new poll regarding "American voter opinions about ... Obama, an early look at the 2014 elections, minimum wage and other issues." (National Press Club, 3 p.m.)
- The Wizards are in the Big Easy to take on the Pelicans. (Comcast SportsNet, 8 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Former Sen. Gale McGee (D-WY) was the last senator from Wyoming never to have held previous elective office.
- The winner is Darryl Nirenberg, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who pitched for Casey Stengel and also served in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Obama Invites NSA's Top Congressional Critics to Meet at White House
- Senate Republicans Flip the Script on Unemployment
- Partisan Tug-of-War Unlikely to Derail Spending Bill
"The only way that a Democrat has any possibility of winning this race—and frankly, I think it is very minor at that—is if we nominate a mamby-pamby, big-spender, big-government, big-earmarking Republican who is nothing but somebody who wants to build a bigger government, just like we've seen both parties build in Washington. That may give a Democrat the chance to win. But otherwise, when I'm nominated, I'll be the most-electable candidate out of the whole Republican field that's out there now in this race." -- GA SEN candidate/Rep. Paul Broun (R) (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"The only way Georgia is going to change is if we have all these illegal aliens in here in Georgia, [and] give them the right to vote. It would be morally wrong, it would be illegal to do so, under our current law. Actually, all these illegal aliens are getting federal largesse and taking taxpayer's dollars. That's the only way this state is going to become Democratic again, in the next number of decades." -- Broun, in the same interview (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief