OBAMA AGENDA: Trouble in Yemen
From the AP: "Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday after announcing a broad regional coalition to oust Shiite rebels that forced the country's embattled president to flee. Some of the strikes hit positions in the country's capital, Sanaa, and flattened a number of homes near the international airport."
Writes the Washington Post: "[A]s the end of Obama’s presidency draws closer, his pragmatism is increasingly colliding with his strongly held belief that U.S. military power will never be able to fix the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without a clear end date, senior White House officials warn that the U.S. role in the wars will go on forever."
The U.S.-Iran talks have restarted as U.S. officials say they still view March 31 as a firm deadline for an initial agreement.
CONGRESS: House passes GOP budget; Senate up next
The Senate is up next after the House passed its conservative budget last night.
POLITICO previews tonight's vote-a-rama in the Senate.
House Speaker John Boehner makes his case for the doc fix bill in National Review: "Make no mistake — this bill is not perfect. But it is an opportunity to solve a problem permanently and improve Medicare in the process. We should seize that opportunity and do some good for the American people."
The Wall Street Journal lays out where we are with the doc fix now as resistance among Senate Democrats seems to be waning.
OFF TO THE RACES: After race to right, can GOP tack to the middle?
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McClatchy's Lightman: “The 2016 Republican presidential candidates figure that to win the party’s nomination, they have to get cozy with hardcore conservatives. But to win the general election, they have to move away from that same constituency. It’s a quadrennial predicament that’s bedeviled Republican White House hopefuls since the rise of the Moral Majority and the Christian right 35 years ago. Those interest groups are powerful and persistent, committed to a mission that would recast the party as God-fearing champions of limited government and individual freedom.”
Per a release, “On the heels of the first presidential candidate announcement, Mike Rogers, former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is announcing the New Hampshire leadership of Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security (APPS) at an event in Manchester today.”
BUSH: The New York Times (with an Oskaloosa dateline) goes behind the scenes of the conservative movement to unite behind someone whose last name isn't Bush.
And msnbc.com’s Steve Kornacki writes about the significant resistance to Bush among his own party’s rank-and-file.
The Boston Globe: "Jeb Bush takes a firm line on lraq"
BIDEN: Msnbc.com's Alex Seitz-Wald reports on the latest from Bidenworld: "Interviews with more than a dozen people close to the vice president paint a picture of a politician torn between a decades-long aspiration for the presidency, a deep commitment his family and a recognition of a political reality tilted against him." MORE: "For reasons both bigger and smaller than Hillary Clinton, Biden will not achieve the dream to which he’s now come so close. But he refuses to rule himself out completely and will keep a presidential pilot light burning as long as possible. If nothing else, the fiercely loyal Biden will use these next two years to defend the legacy of the Obama administration and his role in it. "
CLINTON: POLITICO reports on her new tech team and what it shows about her 2016 strategy.
CRUZ: Msnbc.com's Aliyah Frumin and Ali Vitali caught up with him at a young professionals event in Manhattan.
JINDAL: It turns out that the Louisiana governor is a gym rat, per msnbc.com
PAUL: From Time: "In an olive branch to defense hawks hell-bent on curtailing his White House ambitions, the libertarian Senator introduced a budget amendment late Wednesday calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years—a roughly 16 percent increase."
SANDERS: Bloomberg notes: Bernie Sanders needs the thing he hates the most - money in politics - to mount a real challenge to Hillary Clinton.
WALKER: He says he would reject a deal with Iran on "day one" of his presidency.
And around the country...
NEW JERSEY: Prosecutors are trying to get one of Sen. Bob Menendez's top friends and donors to cooperate as a witness in the senator's corruption case, writes the New York Times.
NEW YORK: The New York Times profiles Chirlane McCray, writing that she is less involved in the day-to-day running of New York City than expected.
*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Fmr. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Fmr. Rep. Patrick Murphy, MSNBC Aviation Expert Capt. John Cox and NBC’s Richard Engel, Keir Simmons and Tom Costello.