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2:36 AM ET, February 27, 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:
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.
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.
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
Discussion: National Review and Atlas Shrugs
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
Hagel wins confirmation to lead Pentagon
Sara Murray / Wall Street Journal:
Hagel Is Confirmed as Defense Secretary
Discussion: Lawfare
Peter Brookes / Boston Herald:
Prez should pull Hagel's nomination
Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:
Hagel Prevails in Senate After Bruising Bout With G.O.P.
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, The Daily Caller and WFPL
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
CNN:
Christie's advice for Washington
Discussion: Politico and Mediaite
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:
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?
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Bloomberg's cash paves way to Jackson's seat
Discussion: CNN
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:
Mark Murray / NBCNews.com:
NBC/WSJ poll: Public wary about sequester cuts, but Obama in stronger political position than GOP  —  With automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to begin Friday, majorities of Americans believe they aren't a good idea and say the contentious budget negotiations make them less confident …
RELATED:
Virginia / CNN:
Obama: Cuts are a ‘self-inflicted wound’
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 …
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.
Discussion: Towleroad News #gay
RELATED:
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Meet The Republicans Telling The Supreme Court To Let Gay People Marry
Discussion: The Dish and Addicting Info
Associated Press:
Ex-legislator Robin Kelly wins Democratic race for ex-US Rep. Jackson Jr.'s Chicago-area seat  —  CHICAGO — Former Illinois legislator Robin Kelly captured the Democratic nomination Tuesday in the race to replace disgraced ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., after a truncated campaign season …
RELATED:
Chicago Tribune:
Decision day in race to replace ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
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
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Voting Act Challenge Hinges on a Formula  —  The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Wednesday in a major voting rights case.  Here is some of the history of the law and the issues that are likely to be raised before the court.  —  A. The Voting Rights of Act of 1965 addressed pervasive lawless conduct …
Discussion: ACS Blog
RELATED:
Nicole Flatow / ThinkProgress:
Caltech Physicist: If All Science Were Run Like Marijuana Research, Creationists Would Control Paleontology … In the face of obstacles to marijuana research from both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute …
Discussion: Daily Kos
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.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Harriet McLeod / Reuters:
Shooting at South Carolina university wounds one: school
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Food issues polarizing America
Discussion: Addicting Info, Gawker and TheBlaze.com
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Mike Shields tapped as RNC chief of staff
Discussion: Roll Call
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
9th Circuit judges split over anti-Bush protest
 Earlier Items: 
Andrew Stiles / National Review:
GAO Report: Obamacare Adds $6.2 Trillion to Long-Term Deficit
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
Chris Moody / Yahoo! News:
Nikki Haley slams Washington after meeting with Obama
Discussion: Hot Air and Washington Monthly
 

 
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