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- "Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year. The Labor Department says employers added 113,000 jobs, less than the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. ... Still, more people began looking for work in January, and some of the jobless were hired, reducing the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent." (AP)
- "A week after signaling that House Republicans would pursue an overhaul of immigration laws," House Speaker John Boehner "declared Thursday that his caucus is unlikely to move forward until President Obama gains their trust." (Washington Post)
- "The Senate failed to move forward on a three-month extension of assistance for the long-term unemployed on Thursday, leaving it unlikely that Congress would approve the measure soon while undercutting a key aspect of" Obama's "economic recovery plan." (New York Times)
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) "has called a press conference for Friday" at 10 a.m. MT/12 p.m. ET "and is expected to announce his appointment of" MT SEN candidate/Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) "to fill the remaining year of " Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) "Senate term. ... On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Baucus on a 96-0 vote, with Baucus voting 'present,' clearing the way for Baucus to be" the next U.S. ambassador to China." (Billings Gazette)
- "A collection of Democratic-aligned groups are launching a coordinated push in 2014 Senate races to counter heavy spending from the powerfully funded conservative organization" Americans for Prosperity (R)", Democratic strategists said Thursday evening. The nonprofit" Patriot Majority USA (D) "will begin airing TV ads over the next week in North Carolina and Arkansas, home to two highly competitive Senate contests that have seen considerable outside spending on the right. In a third race, the Alaska-based super PAC" Put Alaska First (D) "will air ads defending" Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) "from an ad campaign initiated by AFP." (Politico)
- In CO SEN, a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 2, shows Sen. Mark Udall (D) leading 2010 nominee Ken Buck (R), 45-42%. In the previous poll, conducted Nov. 15-18, Udall also led Buck, 45-42%. (release)
- In CA-52, Americans for Prosperity (R) "will spend about $145,000 on ads to air on San Diego-area cable TV stations in an attempt to weaken" Rep. Scott Peters (D). (Politico)
- Americans for Prosperity (R) will also "spend nearly $400,000 running ads hitting" Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in FL-26 "for backing ... Obama's health-care law." They're also targeting Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in the his safely Democratic FL-09 with online ads. (Washington Post)
- In TX-32, Rep./former NRCC chairman Pete Sessions (R) "brags that 'he took Nancy Pelosi out of power'" in a new TV ad released Thursday for his primary campaign. "The ad represents a $300,000 cable and online media buy." (Dallas Morning News)
- "There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run." -- Vice President Biden, on running for president in 2016 in an interview on CNN's "New Day." Biden said he would make a decision in summer 2015. (CNN)
- In the San Diego mayoral race, fourth-place primary primary finisher Mike Aguirre (D) endorsed Kevin Faulconer (R). (KPBS-TV)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• We were all surprised when Liz Cheney (R) abruptly dropped out of the Wyoming Senate race last month, but a quick look at her fourth-quarter campaign finance report shows, unbeknownst to many in D.C., her campaign was struggling at the end of last year. She spent more than $900,000 in the quarter -- a staggering sum for the nation's least-populous state, and more than any other non-incumbent 2014 Senate candidate. When she dropped out of the race, her campaign assured reporters that her bank account was healthy. But now we find out that's not true: Cheney raised under $720,000 for the quarter, less than she spent -- and far less than the $1 million her campaign told reporters. And she had just $612,000 left in the bank, $180,000 less than she began the quarter with and about a third of Sen. Michael Enzi's (R) reserves.
• After collectively coming to the realization that they had fallen behind as a party, House Republicans have invested heavily in their digital operations in the last year. But it will take a long time for that work to pay off in the way it did (literally) for Democrats last year, when the DCCC raised a staggering $19.4 million online.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"PETA wants monument honoring chickens killed in Gainesville truck wreck" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) "faces a possible House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations by a former staffer that she improperly mixed campaign and official funds to help win a 2012 House leadership race." (Politico)
- "Four years after leaving as mayor, Ray Nagin made a public appearance in New Orleans on Thursday, this time on the stand in his own corruption trial. He sought to relate a much more innocuous view of his behavior in office than prosecutors have outlined, and he displayed familiar traits as he proceeded: relaxed confidence, humor, irritability." (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
- "Federal prosecutors added 10 mail-fraud charges Thursday to already-pending extortion and bribery charges against" former Arkansas state Treasurer Martha Shoffner (D), "accusing her of using $9,800 in re-election campaign funds for personal expenses." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
- "Marty Plissner, the longtime political director of CBS News who coined the phrase 'too close to call,' died Thursday. He was 87. The cause of death was lung cancer." (Politico)
- Former Port Authority of N.Y./N.J. official David Wildstein "loved stories about politicians caught in a lie, and nursed grudges with sources who had lied to him. And he had a rule: Do not attack political operatives for doing stupid things, because they do what they do for their bosses, the politicians." (New York Times)
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) "said Thursday that she is not 'furious' about how" Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) "handled the winter storm after her brother was stuck on an Atlanta interstate for 27 hours last week. ... Haley called Deal on Thursday and apologized. ... Deal accepted her apology." On Tuesday, Haley said: "While I was trying to fix South Carolina, I was furious at Georgia for not taking care of that." (Columbia State)
- "That would be great to help glue this thing and to have the U.N. help glue it. And you know, f--- the EU." -- State Department official Victoria Nuland to Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, in a private conversation leaked online Thursday (National Journal)
- "Jay Leno has said goodbye to 'The Tonight Show' before, but not like this. The comedian became tearful and choked up Thursday as he concluded what he called the 'greatest 22 years of my life.'" (AP)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 40s. West winds around 5 mph.
- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson lays out his priorities for DHS in a speech. (Wilson Center/Ronald Reagan Building, 11:30 a.m.)
- President Obama will be at Michigan St. in East Lansing, Mich., to sign the farm bill and deliver remarks. (2 p.m.)
- The Wizards will try to get back above the .500 mark against the Cavs. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- NBC presents tape-delayed coverage of the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics. (WRC-TV, 7:30 p.m.)
- The U.S. women's hockey team plays its first game in group play against Finland. (NBC Sports Network, 3 a.m. Saturday)
- No. 20 Virginia looks for its seventh straight win in Atlanta against Ga. Tech. (WTTG-TV, noon Saturday)
- Georgetown goes for three in a row at home against Butler. (Verizon Center, 1 p.m. Saturday)
- American looks to get back on track in the Patriot League against Colgate. (Bender Arena, 2 p.m. Saturday)
- Maryland hosts Florida State in an ACC matchup. (Comcast Center, 3 p.m. Saturday)
- It's homecoming for GW when they host Fordham. (Smith Center, 4 p.m. Saturday)
- The Caps host their final game before the Olympic break against the Devils. (Verizon Center, 8 p.m. Saturday)
- The gold medal for team figure skating will be awarded. (NBC Sports Network, 10 a.m. Sunday)
- The Wizards host the Kings. (Verizon Center, 6 p.m. Sunday)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- State Sen. Julianne Ortman (R) won the Minnesota Republican straw poll for the U.S. Senate race, while former state Rep. Marty Seifert (R) won for the governor's race.
- No one answered correctly, so here's our Swizzle Challenge for today: "Who was the only president to serve in the House of Representatives after his tenure in the White House, and from which state was he elected?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- GOP Strategists: Don't Bet the House on Obamacare
- House Democrats Exploit Their Technological Edge in Fundraising
- Will Jeb Bush Fill the GOP's Governor-Shaped 2016 Hole?
- The Democrats Have Cash in All the Wrong Places
- The End of the Power of One
"[I]f I blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, 'I must be in some third world country.' I'm not joking." -- Biden, in Philadelphia on Thursday (New York Daily News)
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.