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5:00 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.
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.
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.
Karl Rove:   A Better Republican Sequester Strategy
Numbers / Pew Research Center for the People …:
If No Deal is Struck, Four-in-Ten Say Let the Sequester Happen
Discussion: Hot Air and American Prospect
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
Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:
15 G.O.P. Senators Ask Obama to Withdraw Hagel Nomination
Discussion: WFPL
Aaron Blake / Post Politics:
15 GOP senators call for withdrawal of Hagel nomination
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
Zack Ford / ThinkProgress:
Laura Bush Objects To Being Quoted Accurately Supporting Marriage Equality  —  This week, the Respect for Marriage Coalition launched a new $1 million print and television ad campaign highlighting bipartisan support for marriage equality.  Unfortunately, it seems Former First Lady Laura Bush …
Discussion: Althouse, Taylor Marsh and Politico
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 Daily Caller and The Hill
Tom Benning / Trail Blazers Blog:
Pro-gay marriage group honors Laura Bush's request, removes her from ad campaign
Jon Huntsman / The American Conservative:
Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause  —  The party of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has now lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.  The marketplace of ideas will render us irrelevant, and soon, if we are not honest about our time and place in history.
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: New York Times, Politico and The Hill
Benjy Sarlin / Talking Points Memo:
Key House Republican: Don't Even Think About A Path To Citizenship
Discussion: The Maddow Blog and The Plum Line
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
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 …
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
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
George F. Will / Washington Post:
When solitude is torture  —  “Zero Dark Thirty,” a nominee for Sunday's Oscar for Best Picture, reignited debate about whether the waterboarding of terrorism suspects was torture.  This practice, which ended in 2003, was used on only three suspects.  Meanwhile, tens of thousands …
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
Howard Kurtz / CNN:
MSNBC, a bastion of Obama advocates?  —  Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's “Reliable Sources” and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief.  He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.  —  (CNN) — David Axelrod is a smart guy who knows a heck of a lot about politics and the press.
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
RNC's New Ad Takes Obama Wildly Out Of Context  —  The short clip makes it appear as if Obama is pledging his support for the sequester rather calling on Congress to come up with a broad approach to avoid it, using his veto as part of a threat to force a plan.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Ray Hagar / Inside Nevada Politics:
Reid says he'll run for re-election in 2016; won't comment on Sandoval as opponent  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the capital press corps at the Nevada Legislature Wednesday night that he will seek re-election in 2016.  —  The news conference came after he gave a speech to state lawmakers …
Neal K. Katyal / New York Times:
Who Will Mind the Drones?  —  IN the wake of revelations about the Obama administration's drone program, politicians from both parties have taken up the idea of creating a “drone court” within the federal judiciary, which would review executive decisions to target and kill individuals.
Investor's Business Daily:
Jackson Graft Case Further Indicts Black Caucus  —  Corruption: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s guilty plea to fraud charges raises fresh questions about the Congressional Black Caucus.  It's a group with many laudable goals, but why do so many in it succumb to corruption?
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
Congressman Says Americans Need Guns To Protect The Nation From Sharia Law  —  Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told a conservative radio show on Thursday that the GOP must oppose gun regulations to protect the country from the threat of “Sharia Law.”
Discussion: The Raw Story
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 More Items: 
Andrew Stiles / National Review:
‘War on Women’ 2.0  —  'Ladies Man," read the lead-story headline …
Steven Brill / TIME:
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Discussion: National Review, CNN, Wonkette and Gawker
John Hamre / Washington Post:
The wrong way to weed out spies
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
Sandra Jones / WTVR-TV:
Whistleblower says he was fired for talking to CBS 6
Discussion: The Raw Story and Pressing Issues
Olivier Knox / Yahoo! News:
Drones have killed 4,700, U.S. senator says
 Earlier Items: 
Allie Grasgreen / Inside Higher Ed:
New book explains why women outpace men in education
Discussion: Althouse and The College Fix
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Opponents Of Proposition 8 Tell Supreme Court To Allow Gay Couples To Marry
Discussion: Joe. My. God. and The Raw Story
Billy Hallowell /
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Rand Paul returns more money to Treasury
Discussion: Hot Air and The Hill
Kevin Cirilli / Politico:
Jimmy Carter: No relationship with Obama
Discussion: CNN and Weasel Zippers
Glenn Thrush / Politico:
John Kerry: The un-Hillary Clinton
Discussion: Taylor Marsh