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8:35 PM ET, February 26, 2013

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 Top Items: 
Rosie Gray / BuzzFeed:
Rand Paul Explains His Surprise Vote For Chuck Hagel  —  “The president gets to choose political appointees,” Paul says.  —  Image by Gary Cameron / Reuters  —  WASHINGTON — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said his support for a filibuster against Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel never meant that he would vote against Hagel's confirmation.
RELATED:
Tim Mak / Politico:
Chuck Hagel clears Senate hurdle toward confirmation  —  The Senate voted 71-27 on Tuesday to end debate on Chuck Hagel's nomination to become secretary of Defense, ending a Republican campaign that forced Democrats to fight for every step toward confirmation, which is expected later in the day.
Talking Points Memo:
Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel As Defense Secretary  —  The Senate confirmed former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) as the next U.S. Secretary of Defense on Tuesday, ending a long and contentious nomination process marked by an unprecedented GOP filibuster of a presidential cabinet level nominee.
Tom Vanden Brook / Associated Press:
Senate approves Hagel to lead Defense Department  —  The vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary came after debate was stopped.  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 58-41 Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel as the new Defense secretary to succeed Leon Panetta, thus ending a contentious battle over his nomination.
Fox News:
Senate approves Hagel for Defense secretary after historic nomination fight
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
Hagel wins confirmation to lead Pentagon
Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:
Hagel Prevails in Senate After Bruising Bout With G.O.P.
Peter Brookes / Boston Herald:
Prez should pull Hagel's nomination
Halimah Abdullah / CNN:
Hagel bruised but still standing
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Sara Murray / Wall Street Journal:
Hagel Is Confirmed as Defense Secretary
Discussion: Algemeiner.com and Lawfare
Russell Berman / The Hill:
Boehner tells Senate to ‘get off their ass;’ Reid says GOP ‘sitting on their posterior’  —  A salty Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday told members of the Senate to “get off their ass” and pass a bill to replace $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts, setting off an exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
RELATED:
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
The Republican Sequestration Plan  —  Whether or not you agree with it, and whether or not it will work, President Obama's strategy on sequestration is perfectly obvious.  His goal is to end the automatic budget cuts, which he regards as stupidly constructed and likely to harm the economy …
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
WaPo/Pew sequestration poll question oddly missing an option  —  Let's see if you can figure out what Pew and the Washington Post left out of this poll question about blame for the sequester.  I won't even give you a hint, even if Rovin had to tip me to this by e-mail:  —  Say, where is the option for Senate Democrats?
Virginia / CNN:
Obama: Cuts are a ‘self-inflicted wound’
Jake Sherman / Politico:
John Boehner: Let Senate get ‘off their ass’ this time
Phillip M. Bailey / WFPL:
Liberal Super PAC Goes After Mitch McConnell's ‘Chinese’ Wife  —  A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife.  —  For months, the liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.
RELATED:
Scott Keyes / ThinkProgress:
Liberal Super PAC Sends Racist Tweet About Mitch McConnell's Chinese Wife  —  A liberal super PAC in Kentucky is on the defensive after recently sending a racist tweet attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) wife for being Chinese.  —  McConnell, running for reelection in 2014 …
Discussion: Post Politics
James Hohmann / Politico:
Tweets on Mitch McConnell's wife's race condemned
Discussion: CNN
John Stanton / BuzzFeed:
Liberals Accuse McConnell Of Favoring China Because Of Wife's Race
Discussion: TheBlaze.com and The Daily Caller
Kirk Semple / New York Times:
Wave of Immigrants Released Ahead of Automatic Budget Cuts  —  In a highly unusual move, federal immigration officials have released a wave of detainees from immigration detention centers around the country in an effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said.
RELATED:
Franco Ordonez / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
In face of coming budget cuts, U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody  —  WASHINGTON — The federal government released groups of illegal immigrants from custody across the country Monday at the same time the White House was making its case that impending budget cuts would harm efforts …
Eliana Johnson / National Review:
No CPAC Invite for Christie Because of ‘Limited Future’ in Republican Party  —  New Jersey governor Chris Christie was not invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference because of his position on gun control, according to a source familiar with CPAC's internal deliberations who requested anonymity to speak freely.
RELATED:
Jeffrey Young / The Huffington Post:
Chris Christie Medicaid Plan To Offer Coverage To Poor New Jersey Residents
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Chris Christie takes Obamacare Medicaid expansion
Discussion: CNN and Mediaite
Greg Stohr / Bloomberg:
Apple Joins Morgan Stanley to Back Gay Marriage at Supreme Court  —  Dozens of companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Morgan Stanley (MS), are planning to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, saying bans in 41 states harm workplace morale and undermine recruiting.
RELATED:
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage
Numbers / Pew Research Center for the People …:
GOP Seen as Principled, But Out of Touch and Too Extreme  —  Images of the Parties: A Closer Look  —  OVERVIEW  —  At a time when the Republican Party's image is at a historic low, 62% of the public says the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56% think it is not open to change and 52% say the party is too extreme.
Alex Seitz-Wald / Salon:
Bachmann: 'I didn't get anything wrong'  —  The Congresswoman touts her flawless run for the presidency and love of Beyonce  —  Tea Party Rep. Michele Bachmann has been laying low since last November's election when she came dangerously close to losing her House seat, possibly in preparation …
Discussion: The Raw Story
Arshad Mohammed / Reuters:
Kerry defends liberties, says Americans have “right to be stupid”  —  (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.”
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Why Everything Republicans Are Saying About The Sequester Is Wrong  —  Barring a last minute Congressional compromise, $85 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts will go into effect in the next 72 hours as a result of the sequester mechanism included in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Michael Doyle / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Who should pay to defend Larry Craig's bathroom antics?  —  WASHINGTON — A federal judge this week will confront the surprisingly important fallout from former Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig's 2007 bathroom arrest.  —  Craig's own money may be on the line Wednesday, but that's not all.
Andrew Stiles / National Review:
GAO Report: Obamacare Adds $6.2 Trillion to Long-Term Deficit  —  Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion, according to a Government Accountability Office report that will be released today.  —  Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), who requested the report …
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
9th Circuit judges split over anti-Bush protest  —  Over an impassioned dissent signed by eight judges, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday rejected the Obama Administration's request that the court reconsider a ruling favoring demonstrators who sued the Secret Service …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Mike Shields tapped as RNC chief of staff
Discussion: Roll Call
Kayla Tausche / CNBC:
Breaking News from CNBC's Kayla Tausche: Tribune Company Hires Bankers to Sell Newspapers
Avi Issacharoff / TheTower.org:
EXCLUSIVE: Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Operating in Gaza; Grad Rocket Fired at Israel
 Earlier Items: 
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Dems pitch Department of Peacebuilding
Benjamin Weiser / New York Times:
In Cannibal Case, Officer's Wife Testifies About a Chilling Discovery
Discussion: BuzzFeed and Gothamist
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Surveillance Law
BuzzFeed:
There's A Conservative Parody Of Michelle Obama's Evolution Of Dance Video
Discussion: The Atlantic Online
Chris Moody / Yahoo! News:
Nikki Haley slams Washington after meeting with Obama
Discussion: Washington Monthly and Hot Air
Alex Pappas / The Daily Caller:
Ashley Judd's biggest problem: Her history of bizarre comments
Discussion: Mother Jones and Wonkette
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Amanda Meade / Guardian:
News Corp Australia defends use of James Foley beheading images

Nikhil Pahwa / MediaNama:
Thomson Reuters emails Indian digital publisher Medianama: we'll take your articles if you don't tell us not to

Michelle Castillo / Adweek:
HuffPost India launching November 25; won't be overseen by former managing editor Jimmy Soni

 
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