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- The RNC's "Growth & Opportunity Project" released its recommendations this a.m., calling on the party to find immigration solutions, engage minorities, young people and women, reduce the number of presidential debates, hold a quarterly summit of GOP pollsters and move the convention to June or July (Hotline reporting).
- Pres. Obama will nominate asst. AG Tom Perez as the new Secretary of Labor today. If confirmed, he'll be "the only Latino in Obama's second-term Cabinet" (Los Angeles Times).
- MA SEN Special: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) released a new TV ad playing up his relatability, while implying that voters "cannot relate so easily" to Rep. Edward Markey (D) (Boston Globe).
- NYC Mayor '13: Comptroller John Liu (D) brushed his "legal troubles" aside and "officially began his campaign," criticizing Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) for addressing the needs of the "1 percent" over the "100 percent" (New York Times).
- IA SEN: Rep. Steve King (R) said he will "conduct polling over the next few weeks to see where he would stand" before making a final decision about running, adding that he felt energized post-CPAC (CNN).
- LA SEN: LG Jay Dardenne (R) will not run. Dardenne: "This fell in my lap. ... I love what I'm doing and I will continue to do that for the balance of my term" (LAPolitics.com).
- UT-04: '12 nominee Mia Love (R) has hired ex-UT GOP chair Dave Hansen, who "successfully ran" Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R) reelection, for a potential rematch with Rep. Jim Matheson (D) (Salt Lake Tribune).
- AZ GOV: '12 SEN nominee Richard Carmona (D) "says he will not run." Carmona: "I'm not ready to say I'll never do it again, but this time, it just isn't the right time" (Arizona Republic).
- OH GOV: Rep. Tim Ryan (D) will not mount a bid, preferring to retain his spot on the House Appropriations Cmte (On Call).
- WH '16: WI Gov. Scott Walker (R) acknowledged "that he’s open" to a bid and "pointedly declined to pledge to serve a full four-year term" if reelected (Politico). Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) won the CPAC straw poll (National Journal). MD Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) wrote an op-ed for Politico this a.m. about his push to end the death penalty.
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Republicans must learn how to defeat Democratic senators with nominees that aren't pulled from the congressional delegation. Of the mere 6 Democrats who have lost since the '90s, 5 were knocked off by sitting or former GOP congressmen.
• Steve King's defenders say he's no Todd Akin, but his CPAC appearance likely did little to reassure Republicans who see another Senate race implosion brewing in Iowa. He argued for a renewed focus on social issues, rejected GOP "rebranding" and even recalled his frustration at Ronald Reagan's "amnesty act." King won his own way in his 2012 House race, and GOPers shouldn't expect his message to change if he runs statewide.
• One big shoe in the Arizona GOV race has dropped, with Richard Carmona deciding not to run. The next one might involve Gov. Jan Brewer, though maybe not in the most obvious way. It seems unlikely that Brewer will try to run for another term, though she's speculated that she still could under AZ's term limit law. But her Medicaid expansion plan has fomented a civil war in the state GOP, one that could expand into the GOP governor's primary depending on what stances Brewer's potential successors take.
• Anthony Weiner's $100K+ polling and research expenditure comprises the vast majority of his spending over the past two months. As the polls were reportedly conducted in late January, the fact he didn't make any significant outlays after that suggests he didn't like the numbers he got back.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Phoenix-bound dog ends up on flight to Ireland" (AP).
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) dormant NYC mayoral campaign paid more than $100K to a San Francisco-based polling firm earlier this month, suggesting he was contemplating a return to politics in this year's elections (On Call). Liu: "That's a lot of money to spend on polls. ... I think he should run. Just stop texting" (CBS New York).
- "The Five Candidates Most Likely to Take On Mark Sanford" (On Call).
- Ex-WA Gov. Booth Gardner (D) died on Friday at age 76 after a long battle with Parkinson's (AP).
- "I don't think I'm a particularly good candidate -- sort of a balding, fat guy. And second of all, I'd say if I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term. I wouldn't leave office mid-term" -- ex-Bush adviser Karl Rove, on ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) telling him to return to TX and run for office ("Fox News Sunday").
- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is giving away a trip to L.A. to a "lucky supporter," who will get to join him and comedian Conan O'Brien for brunch early next month (release).
- "I still have the dent in my filing cabinet that I kicked it after I heard the news that he had signed the amnesty act of 1986" -- King, discussing his frustrations with Ronald Reagan at CPAC (On Call).
- "History Channel's Satan Looks A Lot Like Barack Obama" (BuzzFeed).
- "'So who's your favorite for 2016?' -- that's [the line] everyone [is using]" -- CPAC attendee Megan Roberts, on flirting at the conference (ABC News).
- Jake Tapper's new show, "The Lead" debuts on CNN at 4 p.m. (Washington Post).
- Zachary Taylor is the only U.S. president to be elected from Louisiana.
- The winner is Zachary Stokes, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "What award-winning, box office smash was released on video cassette with a green plastic casing to combat piracy?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Republicans Can't Win Latinos With Immigration Reform
- 5 Staffers to Watch on the House and Senate Budget Committees
- Are There Lessons For the United States in Ireland's Post-Crash Economy?
- The Next Arab Challenge
- The Path to a Debt-Free College Degree?
"Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller has lost the office suite his staff tried so hard to keep to Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas Republican's office confirmed Friday" (Roll Call).
"I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll have to -- I'll set the building on fire" -- Milton Waddams ("Office Space").
Sarah Mimms, Editor