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Off to the races: Walker makes his case

Scott Walker has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with this provocative headline: “Scott Walker: How to Win the Obama-Walker Voters.” He writes, “In the wake of the 2012 elections, Republicans are being warned once again that they need to compromise their principles to win at the ballot box. That the only way to win the center is to move to the center. If this were true, Barack Obama would not be president today—and I would not be governor of Wisconsin.”

In other words, Republicans don’t have to compromise on conservative principles to win because he won in a state where Obama won. He notes that he won Milwaukee County executive with 60-plus percent in 2008, when Obama did, too. And he writes of 2012: “Here is where the results get intriguing: Exit polls showed that roughly one in six voters who cast their ballots for me in the June 2012 recall also planned to vote for Mr. Obama a few months later. These Obama-Walker voters constituted about 9% of the electorate.” And: “The way Republicans can win those in the middle is not by abandoning their principles. To the contrary, the courage to stand on principle is what these voters respect. The way to win the center is to lead.”

Embracing Bush… After Republicans have refused to use George W. Bush’s name in the past two presidential elections and becoming anathema to the Tea Party for increasing spending, Chris Christie invited the former president to the RGA in Arizona. “George W. Bush made a surprise appearance Thursday at the Republican Governors Association meeting here,” Politico writes. “The former president flew in from Dallas at the request of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who became chairman of the RGA earlier in the day.”

Toying with a run… “Hillary Clinton on Thursday argued that women can play a critical role in promoting sustainability while speaking at a Philadelphia event, where she also dealt lightheartedly with what appeared to be a friendly heckler,” Politico writes. More: Clinton, asked about how the government can return to an era of compromise, was poised to answer when an audience member interrupted and, according to someone in attendance, appeared to shout ‘Hillary ‘16!’ ‘That’s funny,’ Clinton responded, amid laughs and applause. ‘Well there are some hecklers that I would never say anything bad about.’”

National Journal profiles the man behind Susana Martinez, the man who discovered her and transformed her from a DA to governor. But: “Some of her key allies were finding that courage in short supply. They had begun to see Martinez not as a fresh-faced technocrat, but as a callow figure who had placed far too much trust in a single political aide, the 39-year-old McCleskey, whom many here view as the ‘Karl Rove of New Mexico.’ Yes, he discovered her and transformed her from a county district attorney into a national force. But these Martinez allies say that his mercenary, dog-eat-dog style of politics now superseded the act of governing, and that he had effectively walled off any other voices from pricking the governor's eardrums, let alone her conscience. They tell a growing number of stories about what they say is McCleskey's inappropriate involvement in the state's affairs.”

Rick Perry tells the New York Times why he chose not to expand Medicaid, which would have given thousands of low-income people in Texas health care: "It's like putting 1,000 more people on the Titanic when you knew what was going to happen." (H/T: Political Wire.)

FLORIDAThe Daily Rundown's Jessica Taylor: "Want to know how Obamacare is likely to affect the 2014 midterms? An upcoming Florida special election may provide the best glimpse.  The contest to replace the late Republican Rep. Bill Young is set for March 11 – just days before the enrollment deadline for the individual health care exchanges."

USA Today: "Rep. Trey Radel's decision to seek treatment after pleading guilty to a cocaine possession charge may be only the beginning of his troubles. The Florida Republican's political future remains in doubt, as calls for Radel to resign grow louder. At the same time, he could face punishment from his House colleagues if the ethics committee takes action."

KANSAS: “The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Kansas over the state's refusal to allow residents to vote in state elections without showing proof of citizenship,” USA Today writes. “Under a new law, Kansas requires new voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A Supreme Court ruling in June, however, requires that states accept federal standards for voter registration: Voters must swear they are U.S. citizens but aren't required to show a document. As a result, nearly 18,000 voters in Kansas who registered to vote for the first time this year can vote in federal elections but not in state or local contests because they have not submitted documents proving citizenship.”