OBAMA AGENDA: About last night
If you missed the State of the Union, our full play-by-play is here.
Perry Bacon Jr. writes: "More than 20 presidential candidates have told the story of President Obama's America for the past year. On Tuesday, Obama had the country's microphone to himself for perhaps the final time and told his own story, admitting some of the problems that his potential successors lament but, in effect, suggesting they are glossing over a long list of accomplishments."
From Benjy Sarlin and Alex Seitz-Wald: "In many ways, the speech functioned as a point-by-point rejoinder to the long list of attacks Republican candidates have levied against his administration during the presidential race. It was almost as if, after a yearlong Friars Club Roast, the president finally got to take the podium and rebut his tormentors."
The New York Times lede: "President Obama on Tuesday set forth an ambitious vision for America's future but conceded his own failure to heal the political divisions holding back progress, calling it a lasting disappointment of his tenure."
And here's the Times' ed board weigh-in: "In his final State of the Union speech, President Obama endeavored on Tuesday to lift Americans above the miasma of a brutally negative presidential campaign to reflect on what the nation has endured and achieved since he took office in the midst of a dire recession."
And from the Washington Post lead story: "President Obama tried to use his final State of the Union address Tuesday to calm Americans' economic and national security anxieties, tout his record and rebuke Republican presidential hopefuls for the vitriolic tone of their campaigns to replace him."
The Post and Courier's take: "Responses to Haley's address were immediate but not necessarily praiseworthy, even from her own party. Some conservatives accused her, and the Republican Party, of hijacking the State of the Union response to attack brash presidential party front-runner Donald Trump over his harsh stand on immigration."
She told the TODAY Show this morning that "Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk."
And she says she'd "sit down and talk" with GOP candidates about a possible VP spot.
And around the world, from the AP: "All 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after drifting into its territorial waters a day earlier have been freed, the U.S. and Iran said Wednesday. The Navy said the American crewmembers returned safely and there were no indications they had been harmed while in custody. The nine men and one woman were held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf after they were detained nearby on Tuesday. The tiny outpost has been used as a base for Revolutionary Guard speedboats as far back as the 1980s."
OFF TO THE RACES: Cruz and Trump are neck and neck in Iowa
The Des Moines Register GOP poll is out! "According to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, considered the gold standard of polling for the first caucus state, Cruz is the first choice of 25 percent of GOP caucus-goers, compared to 22 percent for Trump. Rubio receives 12 percent support, while Carson - who once led the poll back in October - gets 11 percent."
A Union Leader lead editorial: "The only ones who should be more upset than Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina today are the voters of New Hampshire. Once again, a TV network, with the complicity of the National Republican Committee, is trying to determine winners and losers in advance of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary."
The Wall Street Journal notes: "Republicans and Democrats Agree: We Hate Wall Street"
BUSH: His campaign (not super PAC!) is out with a very personal ad about his daughter's struggle with drugs.
CLINTON: Eric Holder is endorsing Hillary Clinton, the AP reports.
The big picture, from the Washington Post: "Clinton has seemed this week to relish playing the aggressor in what she has dubbed the "let's get real" period of the race. Sanders has been drawing contrasts, too, ticking off differences with Clinton on Social Security, energy and other policies at his rallies."
CRUZ: The Trump truce is crumbling, Hallie Jackson reports (with one of us!)
The Wall Street Journal dives into his feud with Rubio over tax cuts.
An important note on the downballot threat, via POLITICO: "A leading Republican pollster privately told Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team Sen. Ted Cruz would be the biggest drag on House Republicans should he win his party's nomination, according to multiple sources who attended a small meeting of senior GOP lawmakers earlier this month."
POLITICO also writes on Ted Cruz's new push in New Hampshire.
RUBIO: Leigh Ann Caldwell took a great took at Marco Rubio's changing immigration positions over the years.
TRUMP: A take from John Harwood, citing longtime GOP strategist Scott Reed: "The party has traditionally valued ideological orthodoxy. With Mr. Trump's divergence from conservatives on health care, entitlement spending and the Iraq war, Mr. Reed said, 'ideology is getting flushed down the toilet.'"
*** Wednesday's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" line-up: Andrea Mitchell interviews at 12p ET -- Amb. Wendy Sherman, the AP's Julie Pace, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Taya Kyle - wife of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle.
*** Wednesday's "MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts" line-up: Thomas Roberts interviews: Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders about his tightening race against Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker about former Rep. Barney Frank about President Obama's final State of the Union, New York Times' Josh Barro about why the Powerball winner should take the annuity, State of the Union attendee Ryan Reyes, his partner Daniel Kaufman was a victim of the San Bernardino attack, and Huffington Post's Jordan Schultz about the St. Louis Rams move to Los Angeles.