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OBAMA AGENDA: Military aid to Ukraine?

The New York Times: “With Russian-backed separatists pressing their attacks in Ukraine, NATO’s military commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position, American officials said Sunday. President Obama has made no decisions on providing such lethal assistance. But after a series of striking reversals that Ukraine’s forces have suffered in recent weeks, the Obama administration is taking a fresh look at the question of military aid.”

President Barack Obama releases his $4 trillion budget, which he said aims to provide economic security for all Americans, NBC’s Andrew Rafferty reports, adding that he has urged a reversal of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, calling them "mindless austerity."

It focuses on middle income tax breaks and a focus on education and infrastructure. The Washington Post writes that the plans "echo the priorities of many Republican lawmakers, who are torn between their pledge to shrink the size of government and their desire to demonstrate an ability to govern."

Bloomberg continues on that theme, saying Obama's alternative goal in his budget is to divide Republicans, possibly pitting "Republican defense hawks like Senator John McCain of Arizona against budget hawks like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas."

CONGRESS: A predictable response

The response from Republicans in Congress was "predictable,” says the Washington Post. They see in this “new Obama” the return of an old “tax-and-spend” liberal who had been forced into hiding by the recessionary economy and big budget deficits."

After a positive note from Rep. Paul Ryan after the president’s State of the Union address, his response to the President's budget: “I hope the president is willing to rethink his tax-and-spend approach so we can get things done for the American people.”

The Hill goes behind the scenes of how "climate denier" Sen. James Inhofe convinced fellow Republicans to vote for a Democratic bill that said climate change is "not a hoax." Spoiler: because it didn't connect climate change to human activity.

OFF TO THE RACES: Brooklyn, here we come?

CHRISTIE: The New York Times notes Christie's penchant for high-end travel when others are footing the bill. "The governor, a Republican now preparing a run for president, shot to national prominence as a cheese-steak-on-the-boardwalk Everyman who bluntly preached transparency and austerity as the antidote to bloated state budgets. But throughout his career in public service, Mr. Christie has indulged a taste that runs more toward Champagne at the Four Seasons."

CLINTON: Clinton's campaign headquarters are likely to be in New York City, MSNBC reports.

Clinton will be honored by EMILY's List in March. The group's president, Stephanie Schriock, is a possible senior advisor to Clinton for her campaign.

HUCKABEE: Huckabee's Beyoncé comments continue to plague the former Arkansas governor. A Des Moines Register/ Bloomberg Politics poll found that an overwhelming 61% of LIKELY REPUBLICAN caucus goers thought Huckabee went too far when he said the Obamas are bad parents for letting their daughters listen to the superstar. These active Republicans said that even though 40 percent agree mostly agree that Beyonce's music is "mental poison." Ouch.

O'MALLEY: The former Maryland Governor split with President Barack Obama's decision to expand oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic Coast. "The benefits of drilling do not out with the threat to local economies, public health and the environment when an inevitable spill occurs," he wrote in a NY Times op-ed.

WALKER: Walker told Iowans in a conference call Monday that he's the fresh face Mitt Romney was talking about, and he knocked Jeb Bush, saying, "we need a name for the future."

Also around the country….

FLORIDA: Floridians are overwhelmingly more in favor of a Jeb Bush presidential run than of fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio, a Mason-Dixon poll found.

And the Miami Herald notes that Rubio has missed 45 percent of Senate votes in the past month because of his book tour and fundraising swing.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Bioethicist from NYU Dr. Art Caplan and Health Care attorney Nick Diamond, and Miami trial attorney Michael Grieco about the Aaron Hernandez trial.

Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Sen. Joe Manchin, Fmr. Amb. Michael McFaul, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Karen Tumulty and NBC’s Ron Allen.

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