OBAMA AGENDA: The Sebelius fallout
While Obama had insisted during the fall that he would not push Sebelius out, the Washington Post writes that "some White House allies said Thursday night that the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov had heightened tensions between Sebelius and the president’s staff members, who had become increasingly mistrustful of the department she led. Some Democrats, meanwhile, had argued privately that someone should be held accountable for the problems with the federal insurance exchange."
The Wall Street Journal: "People familiar with the decision-making between the White House, HHS and its sub-agency Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have described a disjointed system in which HHS was regularly overruled on policy matters by the White House. HHS also deferred many technical decisions to CMS and a network of contractors who were tasked with building the website, they said."
NBCNews.com's Maggie Fox notes that Sebelius "was always President Barack Obama's second choice for the job, and before she resigned on Thursday after overseeing the rocky rollout of his signature health reform law, he snubbed her. When he announced enrollment on the exchanges had surpassed 7 million — far more than anyone expected when the exchanges failed badly for the first two months, it was Vice President Joe Biden, not Sebelius, who stood victoriously at his side."
The New York Times: "Ms. Sebelius said in an interview on Thursday that she had always known that she would not 'be here to turn out the lights in 2017.'"
On Sebelius replacement Sylvia Burwell, the Times notes that "at 48, she is on the other side of the digital divide from Ms. Sebelius, 65, who foundered in part because of the vast technical problems with the administration’s health care website overseen by her agency."
Before yesterday's Sebelius news (and the Hillary Clinton shoe-throwing incident), the big event was President Barack Obama's ode to Lyndon Johnson on civil rights. The New York Times notices what Obama didn't talk about: his own legislative priorities.
CONGRESS: Boehner: Fate of unemployment benefits up to WH, not GOP House
Cue the Democratic eye rolls. Roll Call: "Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday it’s up to the White House to make a new proposal before he’ll consider an unemployment benefits extension, as the House left town for two weeks without acting on a bipartisan Senate bill."
ICYMI: NBC's Luke Russert writes that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited race as a key reason Republicans haven't brought up an immigration bill.
Noted: The Hill on GOP votes against the Ryan budget yesterday; "All three Georgia Republicans running for the Senate voted against the bill...Other "no" votes include Republicans facing primaries who voted against the bill from the right and others in swing districts who may have opposed it from the left. Democrats often use the Ryan budget plan's changes to Medicare to attack GOP candidates."
POLITICO writes that the CIA is scrambling to smooth things over on the Hill after last month's eruption over allegations of spying.
OFF TO THE RACES: Dodging shoes (again)
Yesterday's pre-Sebelius frenzy: "A woman was taken into federal custody Thursday after throwing a shoe at Hillary Rodham Clinton as the former secretary of state began a Las Vegas convention keynote speech."
GOP operative Tim Miller writes that everyone – including the media – should treat Hillary Clinton like an official presidential candidate. “What do you call a politician who has close friends running three coordinating super PACs with a stated goal of laying the groundwork for that politician's presidential campaign?... The reality is Hillary Clinton is running a campaign for president right now, whether she'll admit it or not, so she should be held to account by the media and voters the way any other candidate would.”
Jeb Bush defended his "act of love' comments last night in Connecticut, per Politico. "You know, I’ve been saying this for the last three or four years, I said the exact same thing that I’ve said regularly,” he said. “And the simple fact is, there is no conflict between enforcing our laws, believing in the rule of law and having some sensitivity to the immigrant experience, which is part of who we are as a country.”
Nevada political guru Jon Ralston skewers religious conservatives objecting to an RNC in Las Vegas. "The national GOP now can choose to cower in the face of the forces of demagoguery and prejudice, who now add to their catalogue of smears that of a fine community, or they can select the place with the best hotels, best restaurants, best shows and best megadonor."
LOUISIANA: Gov. Bobby Jindal is now calling for the resignation of Rep. Vance McAllister of smooching scandal fame, saying the lawmaker's behavior is "embarrassing."
Jindal's call comes after the Republican party chairman in the state issued a scathing statement blasting McAllister's "extreme hypocrisy."
Meanwhile, "Former 5th District U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Ruston, who resigned abruptly last summer to take a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Cabinet, said he won’t rule out a run for his old job next fall,' writes the Monroe News Star.
MISSISSIPPI: One of us (!) reports on the fallout from controversial comments made by Thad Cochran challenger Chris McDaniel in 2006/2007. A McDaniel spokesman told NBC News "that Republicans who are arguing that a McDaniel primary could cost the GOP -- a la Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock in 2012 -- are mistaken, saying it is 'metaphysically impossible for a Democrat to win Mississippi.'"
NEW HAMPSHIRE: John DiStaso on Scott Brown's formal announcement last night: 'After nearly a year of flirting with the media and Granite State voters, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown made his candidacy for the U.S. Senate official Thursday night, tearing into Sen. Jeanne Shaheen as an allegiant follower of President Barack Obama and an agenda that has set the nation on the wrong course."
NORTH CAROLINA: House Speaker Thom Tillis leads the pack of GOP challengers to Democrat Kay Hagan in a new Crossroads poll, writes the Washington Post.
TEXAS: Obama met behind closed doors with gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Friday’s “The Daily Rundown” line-up: NBC’s Luke Russert interviews The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, The Boston Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Politico’s MJ Lee, GOP Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson and Democratic Strategist Rodell Mollineau.
Friday’s “Jansing & Co.” line-up: Chris Jansing interviews MSNBC.com’s Managing Editor Dafna Linzer, Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel, MSNBC Legal Analyst Faith Jenkins, Former FBI Profiler Clint Van Zandt, Los Angeles Times Report Chris Megerian, Breaking Black columnist at the Grio Goldie Taylor, Director of Africana Studies and Assoc. Professor of English at Lehigh University James Peterson, Registered Dietitian and author of GET SMART Samantha Heller, and judge for Bravo’s Top Chef Tom Colicchio.
Friday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Guests include Politico's Health Care reporter Jennifer Haberkorn on the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom on the Oscar Pistorius trial; Blind Side actor Quinton Aaron; Vanity Fair's Digital Director Mike Hogan joins Tamron to talk about Steven Colbert replacing David Letterman as host "The Late Show"
Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviews Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Ruth Marcus, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Principal Anita Berger and senior Avery Coffey, who’s been accepted to 5 Ivy League schools.