Feedback
Politics

First Read’s Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: A clue to Obama’s post-presidency?

The Washington Post writes that Obama’s speech yesterday on the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative gives a clue on what Obama would focus on post-presidency: “It was clear that this was no ordinary White House event. Obama was channeling his life experience, from the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, and was projecting forward to what he would do when he leaves the White House at age 55.”

“Unidentified armed men who may belong to the Russian military are blockading an airport near Sevastopol Friday in an escalation of tensions between the neighboring states that Ukraine's interior minister is calling an ‘armed invasion,’” USA Today writes.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports the Obama-advocacy group Organizing for Action took money from a doctor convicted of Medicare fraud and tax evasion and tried to get him to re-write the check to another arm of the group that does not have to disclose donors.

CONGRESS: Blocked

“A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation that would have provided $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans. The bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and fresh penalties against Iran,” AP writes.

Democrats are upset with two of Obama’s picks for the federal bench in Georgia because they feel they are too conservative.

OFF TO THE RACES: The Tea Party turns 5

“On Feb. 27, 2009, the tea party held its first protests in more than 30 cities across the United States. Five years later, the grass-roots group is throwing a big bash in D.C. to celebrate its birthday, and we're wondering much of the same things about tea party members that we were prior to the 2010 midterms, when they proved they weren't kidding about getting comfortable in the home Republicans begrudgingly made for them,” the Washington Post reports. “Can they win primaries in the 2014 midterms? How long can this movement last? Can the Republican Party continue to survive with such a narrow base?”

The New York Times: “The list of marquee names on hand was testament to the growing clout of the Tea Party: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee — all three elected to the Senate thanks to its activist support. But inside the Tea Party Patriots anniversary event on Capitol Hill on Thursday, timed to commemorate five years from the day Rick Santelli, a CNBC journalist, delivered an on-air tirade that helped spark the political movement, there was a sense of dejection and restlessness along with the congratulations and cheer.”

The Hill: “Hundreds of activists met in Washington, D.C., to mark the cause’s advent, acutely aware their nascent movement faces challenges. But together, they sought to reassure themselves they’re as vibrant as ever even in the face of building criticism.”

Tuesday will be the kick off of the Tea Party vs. Establishment primaries in Texas, though several local tea party group yesterday endorsed another candidate over Rep. Steve Stockman (R).

On fifth anniversary of Tea Party, the latest NBC/WSJ polling shows just 24% says they support the movement; 65% say they don't. The highest support has ever gotten in the poll was 30%.

Arizona’s at it again… “A day after being reprimanded by Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, for failing to heed her call for action on the budget and the state’s child welfare agency, Arizona’s Republican-led House of Representatives promptly took up a new piece of social legislation on Thursday that would permit the surprise inspection of abortion clinics in the state,” the New York Times writes. “The measure, which would also require the clinics to report “whenever an infant is born alive after a botched abortion,” was championed by the Center for Arizona Policy, the same powerful Evangelical Christian group that pushed a bill Ms. Brewer vetoed on Wednesday that would have made it easier for businesses to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds.”

The Washington Post: “Conservative activists said Thursday that they will continue to press for additional legal protections for private businesses that deny service to gay men and lesbians, saying that a defeat in Arizona this week is only a minor setback and that religious-liberty legislation is the best way to stave off a rapid shift in favor of gay rights.” More: Religious-freedom measures that could have implications for gay rights are pending in Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case next month in which two businesses argue that they should be allowed to refuse to give their employees contraception coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act.”

And this quote from Peter Sprigg at the Family Research Council: “There is a sense of alarm within the pro-family movement and among conservative Christians that there [are] growing threats to religious liberty, and many of those threats do relate to the agenda of the sexual revolutionaries.”

“The Clinton Presidential Library will make its first release on Friday of records that were previously withheld from the public under legal provisions that expired early last year, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said,” Politico writes. “About 4,000 to 5,000 pages will be put online at 1 P.M. Friday, with paper copies becoming simultaneously available at the library in Little Rock, the spokeswoman said. More releases are expected in the next couple of weeks.”

IDAHO: The Chamber of Commerce goes on air today attacking a challenger to Rep. Mike Simpson (R).

KENTUCKY: “A federal judge on Thursday signed an order directing officials in Kentucky to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries,” AP writes.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd interview’s Ready for Hillary Senior Advisor Tracy Sefl and MSNBC Contributor Robert Gibbs about 2016. Plus, we’ll look at the rising stars in Florida politics as we continue #TDR50 with MSNBC’s Joy Reid. Then, Chuck interviews Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson followed by his Friday Takeaway.

Friday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Guest host Ari Melber interviews New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt, MSNBC Contributor Perry Bacon, Buzzfeed Congressional Report Kate Nocera, Democratic Pollster Margie Omero, Republican Strategist Hogan Gidley, Mother Jones reporter Dana Liebelson, and CEO and President of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis.

Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews: Esther Armah and Dr. Daudi Abe discuss My Brother's Keeper; Sports Illustrated Assistant Managing Editor Kostya Kennedy about New Orleans police arrest warrant for Darren Sharper; Boston Magazine contributor Susan Zalkind on her piece that asks: could the Boston Bombing have been avoided? ; and It's Oscar time! Dr. Sandra Fenster talks the psychology behind the movies that make up Hollywood’s biggest night.***

Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Kristen Welker, subbing for Andrea Mitchell, interviews Rep. Adam Schiff, Oscar nominated MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, USA Today’s Susan Page, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Politico’s Glenn Thrush, NBC’s Bill Neely and Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson.