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3:10 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.
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.
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.
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Republicans Coalesce Around Clever Plan To Make Looming Spending Cuts Much Less Draconian  —  The GOP's emerging legislative fix to the sequester is both counterintuitive and clever.  But it probably won't force Democrats to abandon their insistence that the coming automatic cuts be replaced in part by new revenue.
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.”
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 …
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Blaspheming Saint Romney  —  Until around the time Todd Akin blew up his Senate race, the conventional wisdom in campaign world was that if Romney won, he'd carry the House and the Senate as well.  That supposition underlay the GOP's entire substantive agenda from tax reform to entitlement cuts to repealing key provisions of Obamacare.
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:
EXCLUSIVE: Cornyn asks president to withdraw Hagel [Updated]  —  This post has been updated.  —  Right Turn has learned that a third of Senate Republicans, led by Minority Whip John Cornyn (Tex.), have called on President Obama to withdraw Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary …
Discussion: Israel Matzav
Eric Fleischauer / Decatur Daily:
Sen. Shelby: budget cuts ‘draconian’
Discussion: Slate, Hot Air and Post Politics
Luke Johnson / The Huffington Post:
Richard Shelby Plans To Vote For Chuck Hagel Confirmation
Discussion: The Rightnewz
Aaron Blake / Post Politics:
15 GOP senators call for withdrawal of Hagel nomination
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:
Rep. Markey compares campaign finance ruling to Dred Scott decision on slavery
Discussion: Power Line
T.W. Farnam / Washington Post:
McCutcheon case could give Citizens United a run for its money in Supreme Court
Discussion: The Fix and PostPartisan
Christine LaCroix / KASW-TV:
McCain responds to ‘jerk’ comment at town hall meeting  —  PHOENIX — One day after a confrontation at a town hall meeting in Sun Lakes, Senator John McCain held another town hall in Phoenix.  —  On Tuesday, an audience member of the town hall meeting fired off a string of heated questions about border security.
Discussion: PoliticusUSA and The Raw Story
Talking Points Memo:
McCain Jeered At Town Hall After Opposing Mass Deportation
Discussion: Crooks and Liars and Post Politics
Jason Horowitz / Washington Post:
Republican senator John McCain is still raising questions and hackles
Discussion: Althouse and Booman Tribune
Paul Colford /
New entry in the AP Stylebook: husband, wife  —  The following entry was added today to the AP Stylebook Online and also will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring:  —  husband, wife Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable …
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Sensing weakness, Karl Rove's critics pounce  —  For the first time in a dozen years, Karl Rove's critics smell blood.  —  After his electoral wipeout in November — and motivated by years of resentment that's spilling over — Rove's credibility within his own party is at an all-time low.
Michael Tackett / Bloomberg:
Republicans Seeking Better Returns Reject Kingmaker Rove
Discussion: Booman Tribune and
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.
Scott Keyes / ThinkProgress:
Oops: Top Republican Senator Inadvertently Embraces Roe v. Wade  —  CHARITON, Iowa — During a town hall on Wednesday, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee embraced the reasoning behind the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing a woman's choice to get an abortion …
Discussion: Daily Kos
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
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
Kevin Bogardus / The Hill:
Business and labor make breakthrough in immigration talks  —  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO on Thursday announced a breakthrough in talks on immigration reform, releasing joint principles for a temporary worker program.  —  The nation's largest labor federation …
Discussion: CNN and Politico
Olivier Knox / Yahoo! News:
Drones have killed 4,700, U.S. senator says  —  Just how many people have America's drones killed?  Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has put the death toll at 4,700—the first time an American official has publicly put a figure on the impact of strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles.
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 …
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
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. and The Raw Story
Sandra Jones / WTVR-TV:
Whistleblower says he was fired for talking to CBS 6  —  RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The Richmond Police officer who blew the whistle on fellow officers accused of making inappropriate comments about harming President Obama and the First Lady was fired from the Richmond Police Department.
Discussion: The Raw Story and Pressing Issues
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 More Items: 
Hayes Brown / ThinkProgress:
Fox News: Al Jazeera America Is A Plot To Activate Muslim Sleeper Cells In Detroit
Discussion: Mediaite, Wonkette and The Raw Story
Lisa Graves / The Nation:
Pete Peterson's Long History of Deficit Scaremongering
David Welna / NPR:
Meet The Virginian Shaping The House GOP's Immigration Plan
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and The Hill
Neal K. Katyal / New York Times:
Who Will Mind the Drones?
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 and The College Fix
 Earlier Items: 
Zack Colman / The Hill:
Renewables constitute all new US electricity capacity added in January
Billy Hallowell /
Kevin Cirilli / Politico:
Jimmy Carter: No relationship with Obama
Discussion: CNN and Weasel Zippers
USA Today:
Preschool debate obscures core problem: Our view
Discussion: and National Review
Tom Beardsworth /
George Galloway in anti-Israel storm