First Read's Morning Clips

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
OBAMA AGENDA: The latest Obamacare delay
“The White House on Wednesday announced a new ObamaCare delay that will allow some consumers to keep health plans that do not meet the law's standards until past the end of the Obama presidency,”The Hill writes.
The Hill: “President Obama will participate in a town hall Thursday morning at the Newseum, in a bid to encourage Latinos to enroll in ObamaCare before the March 31 deadline. The question-and-answer session will be hosted by the Asegúrate campaign, a collaboration between the nonprofit California Endowment, a private health endowment, and major Spanish-language media outlets, including Univision and Telemundo.”
A Fox poll finds Obama’s approval rating at an all-time low of 38%.
“The nonprofit advocacy group formed out of President Obama’s reelection campaign tightened its fundraising policies this week after acknowledging that its executive director helped arrange a meeting with a White House official for a prospective financial backer of the organization,” the Washington Postreports. “The move violated Organizing for Action’s policy prohibiting staff from offering to help supporters meet with administration officials to resolve individual issues or requests for government assistance.”
Mark your calendars… On March 16th, the Crimean parliament will hold a referendum vote on whether to rejoin Russia. “Indeed, Crimean lawmakers said on Thursday that they had unanimously approved a law seeking membership in the Russian Federation,” the New York Times reports.
CONGRESS: Military sexual-assault bills to get votes
The Washington Post: “The Senate will hold long-awaited votes Thursday on proposals to help curb the rise of sexual assaults and rape in the U.S. military, capping almost a year of emotionally-charged debate led by the chamber's growing number of women.”
“Should a lawyer be disqualified from public service for representing a client like a cop killer? The question arises after the Senate rejected President Barack Obama's candidate to be the government's chief civil rights attorney,” AP writes. “The White House, attorneys and civil rights groups argued that a bipartisan vote Wednesday blocking Debo Adegbile from advancing toward confirmation set a troubling precedent that could dissuade lawyers with aspirations to serve in government from taking on unpopular clients or working for unpopular causes.”
The Hill: “The Republican campaign arm blasted Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.) for their vote in favor of Debo Adegbile, whom the RNC described as ‘a convicted cop-killer’s most ardent defender.’”
A reminder… John Adams called his defense of British soldiers in the Boston Massacre "one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country."
As CPAC kicks off, a Washington Post poll finds trouble for Chris Christie (R) among Republicans. It “found that three in 10 of all Republicans say they would not vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if he ran for the White House.” So does Jeb Bush benefit? “The poll also found that former Florida governor Jeb Bush has problems of a different kind. He is more popular in the Republican Party than Christie but faces potential head winds as a candidate. The Post-ABC poll found that almost half of all Americans, and 50 percent of registered voters, say they ‘definitely would not’ vote for him for president — a possible hangover from the presidency of his brother George W. Bush.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, who gets the best marks in the poll, said this about Russia’s Putin yesterday: “As for President Putin, I know we are dealing with a tough guy with a thin skin. I’ve had a lot of experience, not only with him but people like that.”
Robert Costa: " ‘A full stomach — and an empty soul.’ That scathing synopsis of the Democrats' pitch will be the crux of Paul Ryan's message to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, when the Wisconsin Republican addresses activists. Ryan's critique, even if delivered in his usual aw-shucks style, will probably stir talk of a possible presidential bid. Politicians looking only to chair the Ways and Means Committee rarely toss out such red meat.”
The New York Times: “One year into the era of Pope Francis, a new [Pew] poll has found that a broad majority of American Catholics say he represents a major change in direction for the church, and a change for the better. But his popularity has not inspired more Americans to attend Mass, go to confession or identify as Catholic — a finding that suggests that so far, the much-vaunted “Francis effect” is influencing attitudes, but not behavior.”
Democrats may have gotten Travis Childers to run in Mississippi, but as Jessica Taylor writes, “national “Republicans argue they’ve now put 14 Democratic-held seats on the map. Some remain long shots, like Oregon or Minnesota, but polling in Michigan remains neck and neck, and even Iowa could be a real contest depending on who the GOP nominee is.”
The FOX poll finds that Hillary Clinton gets the best marks of who people think would be the best president – 50/47 say good president, Rand Paul 28/42, Biden 28/63, Rubio 24/33, Christie 24/52, Bush 24/56, Ted Cruz 20/41.
Clinton beats Christie in a head-to-head 49-38, Bush 51-38, Cruz 52-36. (They also think the bridge lane closures are a bigger problem for Christie than Benghazi is for Clinton.)
CONNECTICUT: A Quinnipiac poll finds Connecticut voters support doctor-assisted suicide 61/32, with even a majority support from Republicans 51/42. Connecticut is considering legalizing the practice.
FLORIDA: “With just days to go in the smash-mouth special election on Florida’s Gulf Coast, both parties are managing expectations ahead of what could be a narrow margin of victory,” Roll Call’s Abby Livingston writes. “The race to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., is the most competitive special election of the 2014 cycle. Neither party is exuding confidence about the contest for the swingy 13th District, and nearly anyone who claims to have seen an internal poll says this tossup race will go down to the wire. While the results of House specials are often viewed through a national lens, there is possibly no word that makes national operatives involved in this race cringe more than ‘bellwether.’”
INDIANA: The Club for Growth says Richard Mourdock would be a senator if he had just gotten a flat tire on the way to the debate in which he made controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.
NEW YORK: Cuomo vs. de Blasio: “New York State governors and New York City mayors have long been prone to conflict, but there were higher expectations for Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio, both Democrats with long histories in New York politics,” the New York Times reports. “Their shared history would seem to make them naturally compatible in a way that Mr. Cuomo and former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a political independent, were not. But the increasingly fractious relationship between Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio has gripped New York’s political world, and will be tested further over the next month as the governor and legislators put the finishing touches on the state’s budget.”
*** Wednesday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and MSNBC Contributor Steve Clemons on the situation in Ukraine. Joining Chris from CPAC will be Republican Strategist Matt Schlapp, Washington Post Political Columnist Dana Milbank, and Chairman of the College Republican National Committee Alex Smith. Also, joining Chris will be Political Strategist Angela Rye and Republican Strategist Joe Watkins.
*** Wednesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall interviews Rep. Marcy Kaptur about the latest on Ukraine; Georgetown University Law Professor Paul Rothstein about Day 4 of the Oscar Pistorius trial; USA Today's Darrell Delamaide on the Federal Reserve's release of the "Beige Book"; ; Lino Rulli, Host "The Catholic Guy" with the Pope's comments on the sexual abuse scandal and civil unions; and the Florida Times-Union Larry Hannan on the Marissa Alexander case.
*** Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Fmr. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Rep. Mike Rogers, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker , the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and NBC’s Ian Williams and Mark Murray.