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OBAMA AGENDA: Don’t get “sleepy"
Obama warned Democrats not to get “sleepy” in the midterms. He said at a Senate Democratic fundraiser in Virginia per the Washington Post: "We are really good at presidential elections these days, if I do say so myself. And as a corollary to that, we’re good at Senate and House elections during presidential years. It’s something about midterms… I don’t know what it is about us. We get a little sleepy, we get a little distracted. We don’t turn out to vote. We don’t fund campaigns as passionately. That has to change and has got to change right here, because too much is at stake for us to let this opportunity slip by.​"
“Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force,” AP writes.
But “Russia is unlikely to pull back its military forces in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, analysts and former Obama administration officials say, forcing the United States and Europe into a more limited strategy of trying to prevent President Vladimir Putin from making advances elsewhere in the former Soviet republic,” AP writes.
To try and create more leverage, the EU is sending a $15 billion aid package to Ukraine.
CONGRESS: Fight over tax credits’s Tim Noah: “President Obama’s new budget increases spending on and expands eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the largest and most successful government assistance program for the working poor. The much-praised House GOP tax reform introduced last week would cut the EITC, even though a House GOP report excoriating most federal assistance to the poor singled out the program for applause. This new partisan difference over the EITC – a program that in the past has been a rare source of bipartisan agreement – speaks volumes about Republicans’ newfound ambivalence toward the working poor.” “The wife of a Florida Democratic congressman says he pushed her during a domestic dispute. Lolita Grayson was granted a temporary protective injunction against her husband Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., after she accused him of shoving her against a door at her home on Saturday. A spokeswoman for the congressman says the charges are “absolutely false” and ‘completely dishonest.’”
NBC’s Tom Curry: “After outcry from homeowners, the House has passed legislation that would largely repeal increases to flood insurance premiums which Congress enacted less than two years ago.”
OFF TO THE RACES: Last night’s Texas Two-Step
Hillary Clinton gets some positive poll numbers from Pew: 69%/26% see her as tough, 56%/35% see her as honest, just 36% say she’s hard to like (57% do not). The one potential trouble spot: Her weakest numbers are on having new ideas – 49%/40%. Clinton’s top negative is Benghazi, but just 15% say so and just 28% of Republicans do. By a 51/43 margin, Americans want her to run for president in 2016. And 59% say there’s at least some chance they’ll vote for her; 38%, however, say there’s no chance they’ll vote for her. And here’s a fascinating number: More people now say being a woman and running will help her (33/20), a reversal from 2008 (24/35). And even Republicans say her ties to her husband and his administration will help her.
Quote of the day: "Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s. All the Germans that were ... the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people, and that's what's gotten everybody so nervous." – Hillary Clinton on Russia’s move into Crimea, as quoted by attendees at a private fundraiser, per the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
A Washington Post/ABC poll finds record-high support for same-sex marriage – 59%/34%.
To that point, AP writes, “Illinois' attorney general says county clerks statewide can immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even though the state law legalizing gay marriage doesn't take effect until June. Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued the guidance Tuesday in response to a question from Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean.”
And: “A group of Republicans has come out in support of legalizing gay marriage in Utah and Oklahoma, arguing that allowing same-sex unions is consistent with the Western conservative values of freedom and liberty once championed by Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. Led by former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, 20 Republicans signed a friend of the court brief submitted Tuesday to a federal appeals court in Denver that is reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. The list also includes former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Republican National Committee chairman Kenneth Mehlman and several state legislators from Wyoming and Colorado.”
FLORIDA: Benjy Sarlin: “Republicans have been crowing for months that Obamacare will wreak untold devastation on Democratic candidates in the 2014 elections. All the while, Democrats have argued the other side is overreaching and that their all-or-nothing pledge to repeal the health care law will backfire. Those competing theories will get an early test run next Tuesday in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, where Democrat and former gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink, 65, is squaring off against Republican businessman and lobbyist David Jolly, 41, in a special election.”
TEXAS: As expected, Sen. John Cornyn (R) easily dispatched of Rep. Steve Stockman, 59%-19%, avoiding a runoff and all-but ensuring his reelection. He will take on
The somewhat unexpected story of the night: Rep. Ralph Hall (R), the oldest member of Congress at 90, did not avoid a runoff. He got 45% of the vote vs. 29% for former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who spent $400,000 of his own money on the race. Hall could become just the second Republican in Texas history to not win renomination. The last, per the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog, was Greg Laughlin in 1996. He lost to Ron Paul. Laughlin and Hall have something else in common – they both switched parties from Democrat to Republican. Hall switched just 10 years ago, in 2004, when he was 80.
George P. Bush, 37, son of Jeb Bush, won his race for Land Commissioner.
The front pages of The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman are all about the lieutenant governor’s race.
AP: “The first primary in what Republicans hope is a triumphant election year sent a message that U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and the tea party still wield considerable influence in one of the nation's most conservative states. But to find out exactly how much, Texans will have to wait. In a primary where an extraordinary number of statewide positions were up for grabs following Gov. Rick Perry's decision not to seek another term, some incumbent candidates successfully fought to beat back tea party challengers Tuesday. But several candidates who forced runoffs in May were either praised by the outspoken freshman senator, Cruz, or who ran with his no-compromising swagger.”
The Dallas Morning News’ analysis on the strength of the Tea Party: “It was a mixed tea bag, but the brew here is still stout. Washington leaders such as Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Pete Sessions easily cruised to victory, out-gunning and out-spending tea party challengers. But legislative veterans, including Sen. John Carona of Dallas and several others from North Texas, were in trouble — painted by opponents as too comfortable and too entrenched.”
The Washington Post: “Former congressman Francisco "Quico" Canseco (R-Tex.) wants a rematch against Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Tex.). But first he will have to survive a runoff campaign against Will Hurd (R).”
*** Wednesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Washington Post’s Anne Gearan, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D),’s Beth Fouhy, Politico’s Manu Raju, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Investigative Reporter for Reuters David Rohde, Republican Strategist Chip Saltsman, and Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress Aisha Moodie-Mills.
*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews: Amb. Nicholas Burns, Rep. Eliot Engel from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and Andrew Weiss, Vice President of Studies of the Russia and Eurasia Program Carnegie Endowment about the latest on the Ukraine; Georgetown University Law Professor Paul Rothstein about Day 3 of the Oscar Pistorius trial; Michael Kinney reporter for The Norman Transcript, and Michael Brooks-Jimenez, the family attorney for a man who died after an altercation with police.
*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: Chris Matthews is hosting. Andrea Mitchell files a report from Paris with Secretary Kerry, NBC’s Ian Williams from Ukraine, Washington Post’s David Ignatius and Eugene Robinson, Mayors Against Illegal Guns John Feinblatt, CA Congressional Candidate Eloise Gomez Reyes