OBAMA AGENDA: “I am my brother’s keeper”
“President Obama will announce details for what he is dubbing his ‘My Brother's Keeper’ initiative on Thursday, a new government partnership with businesses and philanthropic organizations that he hopes will help high-risk minority men gain the skills they need to succeed as adults and stay out of jail,” USA Today writes.
“Long before he arrived at the White House, Barack Obama was the son of a single mother, challenged and tempted by the same societal ills that disproportionately keep African-Americans impoverished and behind bars,” AP writes. “Now the nation's first black president is unveiling a new initiative aimed at breaking down those obstacles, and pledging to continue the fight long after his presidency ends.”
Big changes are coming to nutrition labels, set to be announced today. “First lady Michelle Obama — whose staff was key in getting the proposal out of FDA, where the labeling revamp has been in the works for 10 years — is slated to announce the changes at a Let’s Move! anniversary event at the White House with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg,” Politico writes. Calories and the number of servings will be more prominent on labeling.
OFF TO THE RACES: Veto power
Jan Brewer (R-AZ) vetoing a controversial Arizona bill that gay-rights advocates saw as discriminatory: “Senate Bill 1062 ... could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want,” she told the room packed with journalists from around the country. “Let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.”
The Arizona Republic: “Since the Legislature’s passage of the bill last week, the Governor’s Office had received more than 40,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls about the bill, mostly in opposition.”
National Journal: “By choosing not to sign, Brewer has gone from a governor who helped secure her state's reputational demise in 2010, when rhetoric against illegal immigration reached its apex, to a governor who prevented another wave of economic boycotts and enduring scrutiny, a move underscoring just how much politics on social issues—especially gay rights—have changed around the country.”
The Arizona Republic’s editorial page: “Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of SB 1062 may turn off the heat of the national spotlight. Give her credit for doing the right thing. … Republican lawmakers’ foray into extremist legislation hasn’t worked out well. The latest excursion to the edge of the flat earth is over, thanks to a governor who is willing to make some of her base angry for the sake of the greater good. Now it’s time to get serious about moving the state forward in a rational, non-ideological way.”
Not everyone thinks it was a good idea. Rich Lowry calls Brewer “foolish.” He contends “there was nothing anti-gay about Arizona’s anti-gay bill” and that it merely “consisted of minor clarifications of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” He concludes: “The critics of the much-maligned Arizona bill pride themselves on their live-and-let-live open-mindedness, but they are highly moralistic in their support of gay marriage, judgmental of those who oppose it and tolerant of only one point of view on the issue — their own. For them, someone else’s conscience is only a speed bump on the road to progress.”
“National Democrats are launching a program to expand voter access to polls, with a Thursday announcement aided by former president Bill Clinton,” USA Today writes. “The Democratic National Committee says it will fund and staff a permanent effort in battleground states to work for early voting and online voter registration, and against voter identification laws, combating what it calls Republican efforts at voter suppression.”
National Journal writes that Rand Paul “scares the living daylights out of many Republicans looking for an electable nominee capable of challenging Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he's working overtime to broaden the party's image outside its traditional avenues of support. The 2016 Republican nominating fight will go a long way toward determining whether Paul is the modern version of Barry Goldwater or at the leading edge of a new, more libertarian brand of Republicanism.”
Politico profiles Vice President Joe Biden, potential candidate.
COLORADO: “Surprise decisions by a slew of top-tier Republican challengers to enter this year's Senate race show that the GOP really does believe Obamacare's disastrous implementation will deliver a sweeping set of victories in November,” National Journal writes. “The best and most recent example came Wednesday, when The Denver Post reported that Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. The move shocked Washington's political establishment: Not only was the two-term congressman risking what looked like a bright future in the House, but he had announced last year that he wouldn't run for Senate. At the time, Udall looked nearly impossible to defeat in blue-trending Colorado.”
*** Thursday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Chuck Todd will interview former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) regarding Governor Brewer’s veto of SB 1062. Plus, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett joins Chuck to discuss President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. Then, we’ll continue our week long look into Florida politics with former Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and The Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith and Chuck will interview Rick Weiland on his campaign to be South Dakota’s next senator.
*** Thursday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Guest host Ari Melber interviews USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, The Washington Post’s Jackie Kucinich, Republican Strategist John Feehery, Democratic Strategist Steve Elmendorf, MSNBC.com’s National Reporter Trymaine Lee, and Howard Bragman, Chairman of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations. Also, Ari will interview Maxey Scherr, Texas Democratic Candidate for US Senate.
*** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews NBC’s Richard Engel, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Brady Campaign Chair Sarah Brady, Brady Campaign Pres. Dan Gross, and Medal of Honor recipient Santiago Erevia.