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- "Moving quickly to fulfill his State of the Union pledge to assert executive authority on behalf of everyday Americans, President Obama on Wednesday used a visit to the U.S. Steel plant" in West Mifflin, Pa., "to announce the creation of a new kind of retirement account for workers who are not offered one through their employers. The appearance, which came just hours after Obama called for a federal minimum-wage increase during a stop at a Costco Wholesale store in Glenarden, Md., marked the beginning of a concerted White House push to meet a slew of policy goals while avoiding the political pitfalls of a polarized Congress." (Washington Post)
- "Given up for dead just months ago, a new five-year farm bill easily cleared the House Wednesday morning, raising hopes that Congress can send it to" Obama "next week. The strength of the House's 251-166 vote makes this easier, and it's now expected that when the bill papers arrive in the Senate Thursday, cloture will be filed promptly, setting up a pivotal roll call vote Monday." (Politico)
- "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate" in the fourth quarter of 2013 "on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014." (AP)
- The DCCC raised $5.6 million in December and has $29.3 million cash on hand and no debt. (release)
- In CO-06, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) raised $459,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and has $1.67 million cash on hand. (KDVR-TV)
- In MA-06, former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R) raised $435,000 in the fourth quarter and has $394,000 cash on hand. (Boston Globe)
- In NY-04, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice (D) "said Wednesday that she will run ... to replace nine-term incumbent" Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), "ending weeks of speculation -- and courtship -- by national Democrats." (Newsday)
- In CT GOV, 2010 nominee Tom Foley (R) announced Wednesday he will enter the race, pledging to "reverse the state's tax and spend policies, create jobs, and fix the problems of our least fortunate citizens and communities -- especially those in our cities." (release)
- In FL GOV, a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted Jan. 22-27, shows former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R), 46-38%. In the previous poll, conducted Nov. 12-17, Crist led Scott, 47-40%. (release)
- In PA GOV, according to a new Franklin & Marshall College poll of RVs, conducted Jan. 22-27, 23% believe that Gov. Tom Corbett (R) "has done a good enough job ... to deserve reelection," while 63% "believe it is time for a change." In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 22-27, 20% believed Corbett deserved reelection, and 67% thought it was time for a change. (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Some Democratic donors and strategists are talking about triaging the party's House campaign efforts to focus more money at Democrats' endangered Senate majority, but it's worth noting that the resulting alarm bell should be much quieter than it would have been in years past. As we've noted (harped on?) again and again this cycle, for a party committee, the DCCC gets an unprecedented share of its dollars -- nearly 40% -- from small donors, much of which is collected online. That's why they've opened a big fundraising lead despite being in the minority. Big donors are still a big deal for the DCCC, but they're not the be-all, end-all.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Authorities say a New Mexico woman called in a fake report of a gunman near a convenience store to help a friend avoid a traffic ticket over a taillight." (AP)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "With Democrats' grasp on the Senate increasingly tenuous — and the House all but beyond reach — some top party donors and strategists are moving to do something in the midterm election as painful as it is coldblooded: Admit the House can't be won and go all in to save the Senate." (Politico)
- "Unpopularity of the House Could Turn Senate Races" (New York Times)
- "This could be the year that Congress bans taxpayer money to pay for presidential political conventions. ... Bipartisan legislation targeting political convention money has passed the Republican-led House and is being championed in the upper chamber by" Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), "a former Democratic National Committee chairman who is close to" Obama. (The Hill)
- "In N.H., GOP weary of waiting for Scott Brown" (Boston Globe)
- Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) "has apologized to NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto a day after physically threatening him at the conclusion of an interview in the Capitol Rotunda following the president's State of the Union address." (NY1)
- "I don't want to belabor this one incident, because stuff happens, but I do think -- as someone who has had his own share of tension with local media about, ahem, different subjects -- I may have something to add to the conversation." -- Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), writing an op-ed in the New York Daily News about the Grimm incident
- "Texas billionaire Harold Simmons left behind no bequests for political causes or charity, according to an attorney arguing Wednesday that a judge should seal his will." (AP)
- "Why I Put My Political Career on 'Operational Pause'" -- Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) (Roll Call)
- "The 33.5 million people who saw" Obama's "fifth State of the Union made it the smallest audience for the annual speech since" President Bill Clinton's "last address in 2000." (AP)
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) "will meet" Obama "when the president visits Wisconsin" Thursday, "but Walker's ... challenger," former Trek executive Mary Burke (D), "will be out of town." Burke's "campaign said she had spoken with the president by phone." (Wisconsin Public Radio)
- "Forming a rare alliance with his predecessor," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) "is joining the gun-control advocacy group founded and funded by" former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I). (New York Daily News)
- "The world is literally about to blow up." -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on his disagreement with Obama over foreign policy. (Roll Call)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Sunny. Highs around 30. Southeast winds 5-10 mph.
- The Senate returns at 10 a.m., while the House is adjourned for the GOP retreat.
- Obama delivers remarks on the economy in critical Waukesha County, Wis. (11:20 a.m. ET/10:20 CT)
- Labor Secretary Thomas Perez meets with workers at 5th Street Ace Hardware in Northwest D.C. to discuss raising the minimum wage. (11:30 a.m.)
- Men's basketball: No. 13 Cincinnati faces No. 12 Louisville in an AAC matchup. (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Rep. John Kline (R-MN) carried the nuclear launch codes for Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
- The winner is Rick Sense, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "In retirement, this former president was listed in his local phone directory with a different title, not as president. Who was he and what was the title?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- The Curious Votes of the GOP's Favorite Candidate
- It's Time to Unskew the 2014 Election Polls
- Inside House Leadership's Emerging 2014 Obamacare Strategy
- Obama's Love of Elites
- Meet the Man Who Sends Congress to China
"In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour." -- Obama, during Tuesday night's State of the Union address (transcript)
"And by the way, 10-10 is no 9-9-9." -- 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain (Buzzfeed)
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.