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4:45 PM ET, March 9, 2014


 Top Items: 
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 …
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.
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
Four Factions, No Favorite  —  THIS is a season of possibility for Republican politicians.  Their party is poised to do well in November.  Their Democratic opponents are stuck in neutral — waiting for Hillary, praying for Obamacare.  And thanks to a few strategically placed traffic cones …
Discussion: Althouse
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.
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
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 …
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
What Is It About CPAC?  —  In a Q&A I held yesterday at The Hive (sub req), a reader asked (in so many words), What is it about CPAC?  Every year it totally takes over the political news space.  There's wall to wall coverage.  Netroots Nation, which is also held every year …
Thomas Fuller / New York Times:
Disparate Theories on Fate of Jet as Search Grows  —  SEPANG, Malaysia — As military aircraft and a flotilla of ships from a half-dozen nations combed the waters south of Vietnam on Sunday for signs of a jet with 239 people onboard that vanished a day earlier, the authorities …
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
Mark Halperin / TIME:
Clinton Super PAC ‘Ready For Hillary’ Gets Readier  —  Hillary Clinton's shadow presidential campaign is shifting into overdrive with the ‘Ready For Hillary’ Super PAC's website getting a makeover  —  This weekend is a big one for the juggernaut Hillary Clinton for President shadow campaign.
Pagan Kennedy / New York Times:
The Fat Drug  —  IF you walk into a farm-supply store today, you're likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock.  That's because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals' bodies, helping them pack on pounds.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Ashley Killough / CNN:
Crist: Democrats ‘ought to strengthen up’ and support Obamacare  —  (CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who's looking to get his old job back - this time as a Democrat - argued Sunday that Democrats need to “strengthen up” and own Obamacare in this year's midterms.
Discussion: Tampa Bay Times and PoliticusUSA
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.
Condoleezza Rice / Washington Post:
Will America heed the wake-up call of Ukraine?
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 More Items: 
Ron Suskind / New York Times:
Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney
Jonathan Turley / Los Angeles Times:
The president's power grab
USA Today:
Hard drugs demand solid understanding: Column
Joseph Gerth / Courier-Journal:
McConnell waves musket, falls flat at CPAC
 Earlier Items: 
Alexandra Jaffe / The Hill:
Is Ben Carson 2016's sleeper candidate?
Todd S. Purdum / Politico:
Why the Cold War isn't back  —  German Chancellor Angela …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice