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1:20 PM ET, February 21, 2013


 Top Items: 
Numbers / Pew Research Center for the People …:
If No Deal is Struck, Four-in-Ten Say Let the Sequester Happen  —  Deficit Reduction: Focus Mostly on Spending But Keep Taxes in Mix  —  OVERVIEW  —  After a series of fiscal crises over the past few years, the public is not expressing a particular sense of urgency over the pending March 1 sequester deadline.
Mike Dorning / Bloomberg:
Obama Rated at 3-Year High in Poll, Republicans at Bottom  —  President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents' popularity stands at a record low.
USA Today:
On issues, public is more aligned with Obama than GOP  —  SETTING A NATIONAL AGENDA: WHAT NEEDS TO GET DONE THIS YEAR?  —  In a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll, Americans were asked how urgent it was for President Obama and Congress to pass major legislation on some top issues this year.
Discussion: ABCNEWS, Taylor Marsh and Balloon Juice
Steve Benen /
Americans aren't buying what GOP is selling  —  A new Bloomberg National Poll shows President Obama's approval rating reaching a three-year high and public approval of Republicans reaching a three-year low.  The same poll found that a plurality of Americans blame the congressional GOP, not Democrats, for “what's wrong in Washington.”
John Stanton / BuzzFeed:
Ed Markey Compares Campaign Finance Ruling To Decision Upholding Slavery  —  “The Dred Scott decision had to be repealed, we have to repeal Citizens United,” Massachusetts Democrat says days after meeting with black clergy.  —  Image by Josh Reynolds / AP  —  WASHINGTON — Rep. Ed Markey …
Alexandra Jaffe / Ballot Box:
Markey compares campaign finance ruling to slavery ruling, draws Republican ire
Discussion: The Right Sphere
T.W. Farnam / Washington Post:
McCutcheon case could give Citizens United a run for its money in Supreme Court
Discussion: The Fix and PostPartisan
Talking Points Memo:
McCain Jeered At Town Hall After Opposing Mass Deportation  —  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) got an earful from his constituents in his home state while defending his bipartisan immigration plan at a town hall.  —  According to the Associated Press, an “angry crowd” reacted negatively as McCain described …
Discussion: Crooks and Liars and Post Politics
Jason Horowitz / Washington Post:
Republican senator John McCain is still raising questions and hackles
Discussion: The Fix, Althouse and Booman Tribune
Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
Sen. Cruz: Obama trying to ‘scuttle’ immigration reform
Discussion: Politico and Trail Blazers Blog
Laura Bush: Take me out of pro-gay marriage ad  —  (CNN) - Former first lady Laura Bush, who is one of three prominent Republicans featured in a new ad supporting same-sex marriage, has asked the spot's creator to remove a clip of her espousing support for equal marriage rights.
Discussion: The Hill
Quinnipiac News + Events:
Release Detail  —  February 21, 2013 - Donor Controversy Takes Toll On NJ Senator, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Booker Tops Rivera 2-1 In 2014 Senate Race  —  New Jersey voters disapprove 41 - 36 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is doing, a 15-point drop in less than a month …
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Poll: Menendez allegations take toll; Geraldo unpopular
Eric Fleischauer / Decatur Daily:
Sen. Shelby: budget cuts ‘draconian’  —  HARTSELLE — U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 are “draconian” but don't reduce spending enough.  —  The Tuscaloosa Republican voted against the 2011 deal designed to resolve a debate over whether Congress …
Discussion: Post Politics
Luke Johnson / The Huffington Post:
Richard Shelby Plans To Vote For Chuck Hagel Confirmation
Discussion: Right Turn, Post Politics and Daily Kos
Karl Rove:
A Better Republican Sequester Strategy  —  Congressional Republicans are simultaneously united, divided and confused about the $85 billion of cuts in defense and domestic discretionary spending that begin on March 1 when the budget sequester takes effect.  —  Republicans are united …
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
G.O.P. Resisting Obama on Tax Increase
Fox News:
South Africa names new head in Pistorius' murder investigation; previous investigator faces reinstated attempted murder charges  —  Prosecutors reinstated attempted murder charges against a policeman leading the murder investigation into Olympian Oscar Pistorius, in the latest twist in a case …
Discussion: Gretawire
Steven Nelson / US News:
Joe Biden's Shotgun Advice Could Land Jill Biden in Jail  —  Felony aggravated menacing, reckless endangering charges could result from shooting gun in air  —  Vice President Joe Biden might want to have a talk with his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, before he makes another public statement about guns.
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
John Kerry: The un-Hillary Clinton  —  John Kerry is no Hillary Clinton — and he's OK with that.  —  In the three weeks since Kerry succeeded Clinton as secretary of state, he's already sent unmistakable signals of his independence with a more assertive, proactive and risk-taking stewardship …
Discussion: Taylor Marsh
Diane Webber /
Waiver In Hand, Florida's Rick Scott Backs Medicaid Expansion  —  Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he would back expansion of the Medicaid program under the federal health law.  At a hastily-called press conference, Scott, a Republican, said he supported expanding Medicaid for three years …
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Rand Paul returns more money to Treasury  —  (CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul cut another six-figure check to the United States Treasury Wednesday, taking the money he said he didn't need from his office's budget to make a tiny dent in the nation's massive federal debt.
Discussion: The Hill
David Welna / NPR:
Meet The Virginian Shaping The House GOP's Immigration Plan … Comprehensive immigration reform seems to top everyone's legislative wish list this year, and bills are already taking shape in the White House and the Democratic-led Senate.  —  A bipartisan group of senators recently laid …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and The Hill
Jim DeMint / Politico:
DeMint to Cruz critics: Cork it  —  Imagine a new senator who ran a campaign of “no more business as usual.”  No more special interest politics, no more backroom deals — and he won.  He came to Washington, and he delivered.  He didn't stay quiet, he spoke passionately for what he believed in …
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Opponents Of Proposition 8 Tell Supreme Court To Allow Gay Couples To Marry  —  “The only substantive question in this case is whether the State is entitled to exclude gay men and lesbians from the institution of marriage and deprive their relationships—their love—of the respect …
Discussion: Joe. My. God.
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 More Items: 
Danny Yadron / Wall Street Journal:
Senators in Immigration Talks Mull Federal IDs for All Workers
Neal K. Katyal / New York Times:
Who Will Mind the Drones?
Discussion: Hit & Run and emptywheel
Investor's Business Daily:
Jackson Graft Case Further Indicts Black Caucus
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Allie Grasgreen / Inside Higher Ed:
New book explains why women outpace men in education
Discussion: Althouse
Zack Colman / The Hill:
Gore talks climate on ‘Jeopardy!’
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Zack Colman / The Hill:
Renewables constitute all new US electricity capacity added in January
 Earlier Items: 
Billy Hallowell /
Kevin Cirilli / Politico:
Jimmy Carter: No relationship with Obama
Discussion: CNN
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Sensing weakness, Karl Rove's critics pounce
Kevin Bohn / CNN:
NRA ramps up campaign against proposed gun control measures
Discussion: Politico and Hot Air
USA Today:
Preschool debate obscures core problem: Our view
Discussion: National Review
Fred Lucas / CNSNews:
Susan Rice Misspeaks: Focus on Benghazi Talking Points ‘Bigger Tragedy’ Than Actual Terrorism Attack
Tom Beardsworth /
George Galloway in anti-Israel storm