OBAMA AGENDA: French twist
Obama heads to Monticello today with French President Hollande. Obama and Hollande have a co-bylined op-ed in the Washington Post on the strength of the U.S-French relationship. They lead off with their cooperation on talks with Iran.
USA Today notes the complication of throwing a state dinner for France and Hollande Tuesday given the recent break up of Hollande and longtime girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler.
An All-American defensive lineman at the University of Missouri, Michael Sam, came out as gay and could become the first openly gay NFL player.
Speaking of gay rights, “The Obama administration will continue the extension of federal benefits to married same-sex couples as heterosexual couples, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce on Saturday,” The Hill writes. “The Justice Department plans to issue a policy memo on Monday, which will allow same-sex couples to be able to file jointly for bankruptcy and will mandate that they will not be compelled to testify against each other in trial, among other new rights.”
Matt Yglesias reports that the AFL-CIO is supporting the Keystone Pipeline.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife were the most generous Americans in 2013 giving away $970 million in Facebook stock.
North Korea again canceled a U.S. envoy trip to visit American missionary Kenneth Bae. The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. would have made the trip.
The Obamas ate at Oyamel Saturday in a pre-Valentine’s celebration.
CONGRESS: On the debt ceiling, immigration
Treasury Secretary Lew writes in a new letter to House Speaker Boehner that the debt-ceiling must be raised by Feb. 27.
“Time is running short for Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit — the Treasury Department says it will run out of spending authority by Feb. 27. Congress recesses this week on Wednesday, then takes a week off and comes back Feb. 25 — just two days ahead of the deadline,” Politico writes.
National Journal notes there could be a vote Wednesday: “GOP House members are still considering a number of preconditions for raising the debt ceiling, including a short-term extension of the current sustainable-growth-rate formula through which physicians are reimbursed under Medicare, as well as a restoration of military pension cuts that were included in the December budget agreement. By Wednesday afternoon, however, House Democrats leave for Camrbidge, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, for their annual issues and policy retreat, where both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will make appearances. After that, House members aren't scheduled to return to session until Feb. 25.”
Chuck Schumer says delay immigration reform actions until 2017 when Obama leaves office, if that will make Republicans happy.
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says get over the trust deficit.
Rep. Aaron Schock paid Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Bears linebacker, $25,000 to appear at a $50 a person fundraiser last fall, Roll Call reports.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the NFL to change the Redskins’ name.
Could Harry Reid be mulling more changes to the Senate rules?
OFF TO THE RACES: Paul, NJ paper whack Christie
Dan Balz makes it clear: “House Republicans’ latest revolt against immigration reform spells potential trouble for the party’s 2016 presidential candidates. The last thing the GOP needs in 2016 is another primary season marked by debate and dissension over the fraught issue.”
Rand Paul took a whack at Chris Christie for the bridge scandal: "It's important that people think that their government not be used to bully them. So for example, one of the things that conservatives have been upset with President Obama is that it looked like he was using the IRS to target taxpayer groups. Nobody wants to think their government would shut down a bridge or do something just because you're a Democrat and I'm a Republican. It's an unsettling charge. I don't know if it's true, but it's unsettling."
Paul also says Hillary Clinton’s not fit for office because of Benghazi.
But don’t miss this comment by Paul at remarks in Houston: “What I do believe is Texas is going to be a Democrat state within 10 years if we don’t change. That means we evolve, it doesn’t mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a welcoming party.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has an op-ed in Politico where he hits Obamacare. He conflates Friday’s jobs report and the Congressional Budget Office report to blame the struggling economy on… Obamacare.
CALIFORNIA: Well, this could be why Sandra Fluke didn’t run for Congress… EMILY’s List endorsed Wendy Greuel for the seat to replace Henry Waxman. Greuel was the 2013 L.A. mayor runner-up.
FLORIDA: Charlie Crist says lift the Cuba trade embargo. That’s not making Republican Cubans happy. The Miami Herald notes Crist’s flip-flop. Here’s Crist from June 14, 2010 in Miami Beach: “I think the current policy in place is responsible. I do support the embargo.”
Beth Reinhard says Crist is hugging Obama all over again.
KANSAS: Ouch. The New York Times on the residency issues for Sen. Pat Roberts and what it could mean in his race to fend off a Tea Party-backed primary challenger: “In an interview, the three-term senator acknowledged that he did not have a home of his own in Kansas. The house on a country club golf course that he lists as his voting address belongs to two longtime supporters and donors — C. Duane and Phyllis Ross — and he says he stays with them when he is in the area. He established his voting address there the day before his challenger in the August primary, Milton Wolf, announced his candidacy last fall, arguing that Mr. Roberts was out of touch with his High Plains roots.”
MONTANA: Lt. Gov. John “Walsh’s [D] name will be added to the roster of 51 appointed senators of the past half-century. But of that group, only 19 of the 36 who tried went on to leverage the advantages of incumbency into election in their own right — a 56 percent success rate. Another 15 were placeholders who got out of the way at the next election,” David Hawkings reports. “And the final two, both tapped at the end of 2012, will now be joined by Walsh in seeing their places in that database decided this year. Each falls into a different camp.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Don’t expect Scott Brown to announce anything until April or May, Roll Call notes. The “filing deadline is in June and the primary is not until Sept. 9, the latest of the cycle.”
Karen Tumulty says “Brown is not doing the private spadework that would be expected of someone who is seriously preparing” to run for the Senate. In fact, she writes, “There are also hints that Brown might be setting his sights higher than the Senate. In addition to moving to the state that holds the nation’s first presidential primary, he lately has made two trips to Iowa, site of the first caucuses. Or it could all be an elaborate fan dance by a faded phenom, aimed at maintaining the kind of interest that fuels speaking fees and television appearances.”
NEW JERSEY: The Star-Ledger wishes it could take back its Christie endorsement for governor, saying it “blew” it.
PROGRAMMING NOTES. *** Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC's Chuck Todd interviews The New York Times' Jonathan Martin, Craig Gustafson of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Robert Wexler, President of the Center for Middle East Peace. Plus, our Monday Gaggle with The Washington Post's Dan Balz, National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru and Democratic Pollster Anna Greenberg followed by a packed data bank.
*** Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Mad Dog Radio's Evan Cohen, NBC's Richard Engel and Anne Thompson, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and NBC News Presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, subbing in for Tamron Hall, interviews Charleston Daily Mail reporter David Boucher, Criminal defense attorney John Burris, and Deanna Fei on the AOL CEO “distressed baby” controversy.