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- Pres. Obama "'enjoyed a constructive and wide-ranging discussion' over dinner" with Senate GOPers last night, where they discussed "deficit reduction and immigration reform, as well as a gun control measure that the Senate will take up in the coming days" (The Hill).
- At the RNC's Spring meeting, "a coalition of libertarians and conservatives" on the Rules Cmte voted to remove a requirement "that the winner of a state caucus or primary automatically gets to control its delegates." Though the full RNC will need to approve the change Friday, the "nearly four-hour fight" signals that chair Reince Priebus "will face difficulty in winning buy-in for many of the recommendations made last month" by a task force "he convened on how to win elections again" (Politico).
- MA SEN Special: Though the Dem primary isn't until April 30, Rep. Edward Markey (D) "is so confident in his front-runner status he has already scheduled a post-primary fundraiser" (Boston Herald).
- AK SEN: Sen. Mark Begich (D) said "he may vote to sustain a threatened" GOP-led filibuster on gun legislation today (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner).
- LA SEN: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) will report raising $1.2M during the first quarter and ending with $3.46 million on hand, "almost twice as much as she had at this point in her last reelection cycle" (release).
- MI SEN: '10 MI-15 nominee/cardiologist Rob Steele (R) said that he is considering a bid for the open seat (Roll Call).
- NC SEN: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) will report bringing in "over" $1.6M in the first quarter and ending it with $2.7M in the bank (release).
- OR SEN: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) "raised just over" $1M in the first quarter and ended March with $1.3M on hand (Portland Oregonian).
- IL-13: Rep. Rodney Davis (R) "raised just north" of $401K in the first quarter and ended March with $334K on hand, as the DCCC targets his seat (Roll Call).
- AR GOV: Ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) made his bid official, announcing that he has raised more than $350K for his nascent campaign (On Call).
- According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of nat'l adults, conducted 4/5-8 by Hart (D)/McInturff (R), 47% approve of the job Obama is doing as POTUS, while 48% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 2/21-24, 50% approved of Obama, and 45% disapproved (release).
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Republicans don't need to be too concerned that they don't have strong, announced Senate candidates yet in AR, NC, AK, MI or their secondary targets. There's plenty of time left in the cycle to start a campaign. However, the voids may encourage "B" or "C" level candidates to announce sooner, which could be discouraging to superior GOP recruits who are hoping for a clear field.
• Max Baucus's closest election yet came in 1996, after he supported President Clinton's gun-control package. But he still won by 5 points. Baucus is being coy about current gun legislation for the moment, but given that track record it's hard to see why voting for gun control this time would cost Baucus his job when he has already survived this fight. 1996 might be a cautionary tale for other red-state Dems, but less so for Baucus himself.
• With SD Dems' top two candidates eyeing the Senate race, Dennis Daugaard and Kristi Noem -- should she choose to run again for her House seat -- solidify their reelection position the longer the shadow primary between Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Brendan Johnson drags on. The two have essentially frozen the field in all three races, as other Dems wait to see if and where they land.
• Mary Landrieu can breathe easier this month after more than doubling Bill Cassidy's haul in the first three months of the year. However, the quarter ended with a crowded GOP field still looking likely. Since, John Fleming has pulled himself out of the running, Jeff Landry has started a super PAC and Chas Roemer has been awfully quiet. Next quarter's totals will be a far better predictor of just how keen both parties are to take the Pelican State seat.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Trying to heat waffles, woman shot by oven" (Bloomington Pantagraph).
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Federal investigators" visited Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign HQ in Louisville for an hour on Wednesday, "and campaign staffers handed over information pertinent to the investigation of a leaked tape that revealed the campaign's strategy" against actress Ashley Judd" (ABC News).
- "Weiner in or Weiner out, you'd probably have a runoff" -- Quinnipiac Univ. pollster Maurice Carroll, on how ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) could shake-up the NYC Mayoral race (Bloomberg).
- Ex-MS Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has left American Crossroads, "upset with the way" the Conservative Victory Project "was rolled out" (Huffington Post). Barbour denied that the CVP had anything to do with his departure, arguing that he had always intended to leave after the '12 election (Politico).
- "He enjoys verbal combat and acts as if every battle is a nuclear war. He is often called 'controversial,' but that doesn't come close to characterizing his reputation, even among Republicans on Capitol Hill" -- Stuart Rothenberg, on NRSC comm. dir. Brad Dayspring (Roll Call).
- When Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced a deal on background checks yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seemed to be conspicuously absent. "Two sources familiar with the situation" said "Toomey did not think it was a good idea for Schumer to attend the press conference," fearing "it would antagonize" the NRA. Schumer agreed (CNN).
- "Next frontier for Cheeks Kilpatrick: Panel exploring existence of alien life" (Detroit News).
- Ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) will be in Washington next week, "just as the Senate will be immersed in debate over new gun legislation" (CNN).
- "The Origins Of The Emanuel Family Dynasty" (BuzzFeed).
- 50 years ago last month, the Beatles recorded their first LP, "Please Please Me," during one marathon 585-minute session. Only one of the songs, "Boys," on which Ringo Starr sang the lead vocal, required just one take.
- The winner is Chris Huckleberry, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Today is the start of the 77th Masters golf tournament. Name the golfer who hit hit the 'shot heard 'round the world' when he holed a double eagle from 235 yards with a 4-wood on the par-5 15th hole in the final round that forced a playoff with Craig Woods in 1935 and propelled him into a 36-hole playoff victory." The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Why Rand Paul Was Right to Reach Out to Black Voters
- Is the GOP Preparing to Attack Dems on Social Security?
- Progressives Fight Obama on Entitlements with Eye on 2014
- Republicans to Begin New Assault on Obama’s Climate Plans at Hearing for EPA Nominee
- Will Chris Hayes's Television Experiment Pay Off?
"Your continued RFAIs on this subject are unnecessary. However, if you are required by Commission guidelines or procedures to continue to send them, we will continue to respond with the exact same explanation" -- Crossroads GPS treasurer Caleb Crosby, again rebuffing FEC requests for additional information on its donors, in a letter on Wednesday (Bloomberg).
"No. ... Leave me alone dammit. ... Did I stutter?!" -- Stanley ("The Office").
Sarah Mimms, Editor