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- President Obama on Friday "will call for ending the government's control of phone data from millions of Americans, a senior administration official said. The move marks a significant change to the National Security Agency's controversial bulk phone record collection program." (AP)
- The Senate overwhelmingly passed the 12-part omnibus spending bill, 72-26, on Thursday, funding the government through the end of September. The $1.1 trillion package sailed through the House on Wednesday, and Obama is expected to sign it quickly, before the government runs out of funding on Saturday. (National Journal)
- "A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed legislation on Thursday to repair and expand the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in response to the ... Supreme Court decision last year that gutted one of the nation's most powerful tools to fight voter discrimination. ... The bill would create a new formula to re-establish preclearance for four jurisdictions—Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas—and any other state shown to have committed five or more voting rights violations during the past 15 years." (National Law Journal)
- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) "will resign after the current session of Congress, foregoing the final two years of his term." Coburn "has been battling a recurrence of prostate cancer but said he wasn't leaving early because of his health." He "timed his resignation so his replacement could be elected during the regular ballot process this year." (Oklahoman)
- In the FL-13 Special, Women Vote! (D), the independent expenditure arm of EMILY's List, will soon begin a direct-mail program targeting 46,000 voters. Meanwhile, the NRCC on Thursday released a Web video ad backed by a "six-figure" expenditure. (Hotline reporting)
- In IA SEN, businessman Mark Jacobs (R) is reupping his pre-Christmas TV ad, an introductory spot. (Des Moines Register)
- In KY SEN, businessman Matt Bevin (R) raised "nearly" $900,000 in the fourth quarter of last year. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
- In VA SEN, former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie (R) announced his bid to take on Sen. Mark Warner (D), "giving the popular incumbent a high-profile challenger with the ability to tap into national GOP fundraising networks." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In CA-25, Rep. Buck McKeon (R) "formally announced Thursday that his 11th term will be his last and endorsed" 2012 CA-26 nominee Tony Strickland (R), "who doesn't live in the district." (KHTS-TV)
- In CA-36, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) raised "about" $413,000 in the fourth quarter and has "almost" $1.2 million cash on hand. (Palm Springs Desert Sun)
- In CA GOV, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) "ended his ... campaign Thursday." (San Francisco Chronicle)
- In WI GOV, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) "announced Friday she will not run for governor, clearing a path for" former Trek executive Mary Burke (D), "the only announced Democratic candidate." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- "Twenty subpoenas were directed at key members" of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration and campaign on Thursday, "demanding that documents related to the George Washington Bridge controversy be given to a legislative panel investigating the origins of a traffic jam apparently manufactured out of spite." (Bergen Record)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Coburn's retirement has the potential to break open a logjam in Oklahoma's all-GOP congressional delegation. If the special coincides with the general this November, it might mean that ambitious members won't get a free shot and will have to risk their House seats to seek a promotion.
• House Majority PAC's new TV ad backing up Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in AZ-01 is getting attention for the swipe it takes at the "disastrous" Obamacare rollout. To follow the trend in Democratic health-care messaging, we've got our eyes pinned on FL-13 next, where the GOP may force Dems to play defense on Obamacare in the special election.
• A handful of Republican governors up for reelection this year are indicating that big cuts to education could be a liability as they seek second terms. Sources close to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) say he'll unveil a plan next month to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into public education, making him the third incumbent governor to pursue such a plan in the face of relentless criticism from Democratic challengers who view the cuts as draconian. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) each made similar announcements this week, and the issue has also been at the forefront of races in Texas and Kansas.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Saxby Chambliss inducted into Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame" (Savannah Morning News)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "I think we need to take a real close look at this. ... I think that there's some medical reasons for marijuana." -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Las Vegas Sun)
- "After decades of trying to amass power, several women have vaulted to the top of influential congressional committees, putting them in charge of some of the most consequential legislation being considered on Capitol Hill." (Washington Post)
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Washington state Democratic delegation have made a wager over Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Seahawks, involving sourdough bread and chocolate from San Francisco, against chocolate, apples, gin, wine and salmon from Washington. (Bellingham Herald)
- "Nobody can read him. I don't think he can read himself." -- Donald Trump (R), on New York state GOP chairman Ed Cox, whom Trump said "sent a 'shockingly weak letter' to GOP leaders around the state questioning Trump's efforts" toward a possible GOV run (Buffalo News)
- Obama "has told Senate Democrats he expects" House Speaker John Boehner "to pass immigration reform this year, defying predictions the issue is dead for 2014." (The Hill)
- "I would hope that someone else would run, although there's no question in my mind that [former Florida Gov.] Jeb [Bush] is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won't, because I think he'll get all my enemies, all his brother's, all -- and there are other families. I refuse to accept that this great country isn't raising other wonderful people." -- Former first lady Barbara Bush (C-SPAN)
- "Albrecht Gero Muth, an eccentric German native who pretended to be an Iraqi general, was convicted Thursday in D.C. Superior Court of first-degree murder in the death of his 91-year-old wife in their Georgetown rowhouse." (Washington Post)
- "The writer and the puzzle: Richard Ben Cramer couldn't crack A-Rod" (Sports Illustrated)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 40s. South winds around 5 mph.
- The House and Senate will meet only for pro forma sessions.
- Obama delivers his NSA-reform speech. (Department of Justice Great Hall, 11 a.m.)
- The Brookings Institution holds a discussion on "President Obama's NSA Reforms Speech: What Are the Implications for Privacy, Commerce and National Security?" (2 p.m.)
- The Wizards host the Bulls. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- NFL Conference Championship games on Sunday: Patriots vs. Broncos (WUSA-TV, 3 p.m.), and 49ers vs. Seahawks (WTTG-TV, 6:30 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Ronald Reagan broadcasted Chicago Cubs games on the radio.
- The winner is John Robert Greene, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Name the president who was drafted by a professional football team, and turned down that opportunity to coach collegiate boxing." The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- 10 Super PACs You've Never Heard of That Will Make News in 2014
- Battling Cancer, Coburn Cutting Senate Career Short
- Senate GOP Forming Plan to Tie Up Debt Limit, Again
- There's No Simple Solution for Economic Mobility
- How the NBA Hooked the Nerds
"I'm like a kid in a candy shop. ... I want to take a couple of these home." -- Vice President Biden while touring the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Thursday (Detroit Free Press)
"Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am in White House Driveway" (The Onion)
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Adam Wollner, Editor