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2:30 PM ET, March 9, 2014

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 Top Items: 
James Hohmann / Politico:
A Rand Paul rout in CPAC straw poll  —  NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Rand Paul handily won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, one gauge of the Republican base's mood less than two years before the 2016 primary season kicks off.
RELATED:
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama to Dems: It's time to worry  —  The election is coming, the election is coming!  —  That's the message coming from President Obama as he tries desperately to rouse Democrats out of a midterm election stupor that could cost his party control of the Senate — and bury his agenda once and for all.
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Justin Sink / The Hill:
WH defends Obama's Key Largo vacation  —  White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended President Obama's weekend vacation in Key Largo, despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, arguing Obama would be able to monitor events from Florida.  —  “What the president will be doing this weekend …
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
Leading Republicans Move to Stamp Out Challenges From Right  —  WASHINGTON — As conservative activist groups stirred up trouble for establishment Republican Senate candidates in 2010 and 2012, party leaders in Washington first tried to ignore the insurgents, then tried to reason with them …
Discussion: Liberaland and Hullabaloo
Simon Denyer / Washington Post:
Malaysia Airlines plane vanishes over South China Sea; Vietnamese reportedly spot oil slicks  —  BEIJING — Vietnamese air force planes have spotted two large oil slicks that officials believe are from a Malaysia Airlines flight that suddenly vanished from air traffic control screens …
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Philip Rucker / Post Politics:
Mitt Romney gathers top advisers for campaign reunion in Utah  —  Is Mitt Romney getting the band back together?  —  The 2012 Republican presidential nominee has invited his debate prep advisers and senior campaign aides to his mountaintop chalet in Park City, Utah, for a weekend of skiing later this month …
Discussion: Liberaland
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Little R-S-P-E-C-T  —  WASHINGTON — IF you can't spell it, you can't get it.  —  President Obama pulled a Quayle Thursday night at a White House performance by the women of soul and muffed the title of Aretha Franklin's anthem.  “R-S-P-E-C-T,” he said, looking a bit confused and eliciting laughter.
Discussion: Hinterland Gazette and Althouse
The Hill:
Is US losing new cold war?  —  If there is a new cold war with Russia, many observers believe the U.S. is losing it.  —  First under President George W. Bush and now under President Obama, the U.S. and Vladimir Putin's Russia have engaged in a series of foreign policy battles — and Putin has repeatedly got his way.
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Joseph Gerth / Courier-Journal:
McConnell waves musket, falls flat at CPAC  —  The normally sharp-shooting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have misfired on Thursday when he took to the stage at the Conservatives Political Action Conference brandishing a gun.  —  The gun was actually an award from the National Rifle Association …
Tim Murphy / Mother Jones:
Has the Conservative Political Action Conference Purged the Kooks?  —  The annual conservative confab was notable for who wasn't there.  —  Pete Marovich/Mct/ZUMA  —  In the bowels of the National Harbor convention center in suburban Maryland on Thursday, a nonprofit called Empact America …
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
Is Ben Carson 2016's sleeper candidate?  —  Neurologist Ben Carson could be 2016's sleeper presidential contender.  —  You won't find him in early polls, and he doesn't make headlines for huddling with top advisers in primary states.  —  Carson is lauded for his plainspoken yet forceful ability …
Ron Suskind / New York Times:
Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney  —  In our first year in Washington, our son disappeared.  —  Just shy of his 3rd birthday, an engaged, chatty child, full of typical speech — “I love you,” “Where are my Ninja Turtles?”  “Let's get ice cream!”  — fell silent.  He cried, inconsolably.
George F. Will / Washington Post:
The IRS's behavior taxes credulity  —  What's been said of confession — that it is good for one's soul but bad for one's reputation — can also be true of testifying to Congress, so Lois Lerner has chosen to stay silent.  Hers, however, is an eloquent silence.
RELATED:
David Martosko / Daily Mail:
IRS caves on Lois Lerner documents, will provide Congress with ALL of her emails since tea party targeting scheme began
 
 
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 More Items: 
Jonathan Turley / Los Angeles Times:
The president's power grab
USA Today:
Hard drugs demand solid understanding: Column
 Earlier Items: 
Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times:
Republicans question Iowa's key role in presidential balloting
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Todd S. Purdum / Politico:
Why the Cold War isn't back  —  German Chancellor Angela …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
MiamiHerald.com:
Busted in Nicaragua: ex-Rep. David Rivera's pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
 

 
From Mediagazer:

David Carr / New York Times:
Hacking at Sony Over ‘The Interview’ Reveals Hollywood's Failings, Too

Michael Calderone / The Huffington Post:
Politico's Laura McGann Joins Vox To Lead Political Coverage

Michael Birnbaum / Washington Post:
Facebook blocks Russian page supporting Navalny, Putin's biggest critic

 
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