OBAMA AGENDA: An always complicated relationship hits bottom
“Relations between the United States and Israel have always been a bit complicated and combative, especially involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” as one of us wrote. “During the later 1980s, George H.W. Bush's secretary of state, James Baker, barred Netanyahu from the State Department after he criticized the United States. In 1996, President Bill Clinton had his share of frustration. ‘Who's the f@%&-ing superpower here?’ the former president reportedly told aides after first meeting Netanyahu, who was then serving his first stint as Israeli prime minister.”
“But with Netanyahu set to address Congress on Tuesday - without first notifying the Obama White House - and with him likely to criticize the Obama administration's nuclear talks with Iran, it's hard to remember a time when relations have been worse between the two countries.”
NBC's Andrew Rafferty previews Netanyahu's speech, noting that at least 40 Democrats plan to skip it.
The New York Times reports on how disagreement over the semantics of a nuclear Iran became a chasm between Obama and Netanyahu.
In an interview with Reuters yesterday, Obama said: "“If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist ... if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon."
How hard is it to get tickets to the speech? Via the New York Times: “If Taylor Swift and Katy Perry did a joint concert at Madison Square Garden wearing white-and-gold and black-and-blue dresses, accompanied by dancing sharks and llamas, that’s the only way you’d have a tougher ticket,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner."
The Obamas are announcing a new initiative focusing on girls' education around the world.
Perry Bacon Jr. notes that Obama’s policing task force didn’t embrace the most controversial proposed reforms.
The AFL-CIO has released a new letter signed by major union leaders opposing fast track trade promotion authority, calling it "an undemocratic, unaccountable and completely unacceptable way to develop economic policies that afffect us all."
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CONGRESS: Jamming Boehner
Senate Democrats blocked Republicans' efforts to start negotiations on a DHS funding bill that includes immigration members, essentially booting the issue back to the House.
American Action Network is airing an ad targeting House conservatives to urge them to pass a clean DHS bill.
NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell and Kelly O'Donnell report on Sen. Barbara Mikulski's retirement -- and the line of Democrats who might try to replace her. (And Martin O'Malley is out with a statement this morning saying that he WON'T pursue the seat.)
House Speaker John Boehner's office is promoting a new video to preview Netanyahu's speech, saying that "America’s bond with Israel is stronger than the politics of the moment."
OFF TO THE RACES: The Hillary Emails
BUSH: From the Las Vegas Review Journal: "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday told a crowd of about 400 people in Las Vegas that he applies conservative values — not just talks about them — as he seriously considers a run for president in 2016."
CARSON: He's officially created an exploratory committee, the Wall Street Journal reports.
CHRISTIE: Allies of Chris Christie are holding their first event for bundlers on March 16.
CLINTON: Breaking last night in the New York Times: " Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record. Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act."
POLITICO makes this point: "Clinton, backed by Cheryl Mills, her most trusted adviser, has bucked the advice of many top Democrats — former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe personally urged her to staff up late last year — by pushing the hiring of many key staffers into the spring, until after her formal declaration. That has left Clinton, a defense-minded politician who coined the term “War Room,” without a rapid response team to offer robust explanations to reporters probing the fundraising and management practices of her family’s foundation — or even to muster an organized corps of surrogates to get out the talking points."
GRAHAM: Lindsey Graham (with Sheldon Adelson in tow) is hosting a speech-watching fundraiser today at the Capitol Hill Club.
He's heading to New Hampshire next week for Politics and Eggs.
PERRY: Austin Barbour (nephew of Haley) will run Perry’s super PAC, per the NYT.
WARREN: Elizabeth Warren is skipping Netanyahu's speech, the Boston Globe reports.
*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson, and Senior Washington Correspondent Anna Palmer about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing Congress, and USA Today Reporter Anna Arutunyan about the death of Boris Nemtov.
*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will anchor from Capitol Hill for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech. Her guests include Senator Angus King, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus and NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O’Donnell.