Kasich Backs Off Flip On Civil Unions; We Nearly Had Gingrich-Santorum '12 -- Or Santorum-Gingrich?

Click hereto read online and see our archives.


  • Pres. Obama "prodded both Israelis and Palestinians to return to long-stalled negotiations with few, if any, pre-conditions, softening his earlier demands that Israel stop building settlements in disputed territory," while "insisting that 'peace is possible'" (AP).
  • The House passed a continuing resolution, 318-109, that will fund the government through Sept. and avoid a "partial federal shutdown, while also softening the blow" of sequestration (CNN). The House passed the Ryan budget without the support of 10 GOPers (On Call).
  • The "debt-free" RNC raised $5M in February and ended the month with $7.5M CoH, while the DNC brought in $3.8M and "still owes" nearly $22M (Politico).
  • SC-01 Special: Ex-Gov. Mark Sanford (R) raised $78.5K in the two-week pre-runoff period and ended with $271.8K CoH. Ex-Charleston Co. Councilor Curtis Bostic (R) raised just $5.2K and loaned his campaign $50K. he ended with $56.5K CoH (Hotline reporting).
  • MA SEN Special: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D), in an op-ed this a.m., called on Rep. Edward Markey (D) to repudiate billionaire Tom Steyer, who said he would target Lynch if he didn't oppose the Keystone Pipeline (Boston Globe). Markey did, in a statement this a.m. (release).
  • The Congressional Leadership Fund launched its first two TV ads of the cycle targeting Dem Reps. Joe Garcia (FL-26) and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) for opposing the Ryan budget. The ads will run on cable and target "suburban moms" (release).
  • CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda (D) released an internal poll showing him with 57% support in a hypothetical open primary, another in a series of aggressive steps to avoid a challenge from ex-Obama admin. official RoKhanna (D) (On Call).
  • MI-03: LG Brian Calley (R), a GOP rising star, says he won't run for Rep. Justin Amash's (R) seat, should his friend run for SEN. Calley: "No. Absolutely not, under any circumstances" (Hotline reporting).
  • OH GOV: Gov. John Kasich (R) "said he favored civil unions" in a Thursday interview, but his office backed off the statement later in the day. Spokesperson Rob Nichols: "He may have used the term 'civil union' loosely in this instance" (BuzzFeed).
  • WH '16: Ex-AR Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said he is not ruling out a bid (TalkBusiness). Dr. Ben Carson said he would "'have to seriously consider it'" if he still has support in "'a year and a half'" (CNN)


  • According to a new Pew Research Center poll of nat'l adults, conducted 3/13-17, 47% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as POTUS, while 46% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted 2/13-18, 51% approved of Obama, and 41% disapproved (release).


Hotlineeditors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

CuritsBostic's FEC numbers look pretty bleak. Mark Sanford outraised him 15-to-1 in the pre-runoff period. But, the period ended on March 13, almost a week before Bostic's surprise victory over the rest of the GOP field in Tuesday's primary. Though consultants said they saw Bosticsurging in the final two weeks of the primary campaign, it's unlikely that potential contributors did. The next FEC report will be a far better measure of whether voters are coalescing around Bostic, but with an April 2 runoff, it will be too late.

• GOPers who "evolve" on social issues may be helping themselves electorally, but they're not doing any favors to their socially conservative counterparts. Sen. Rob Portman's support of gay marriage brought a renewed focus -- and new contrast -- to the issue, and fellow Ohio GOPerJohn Kasich paid the price with his ill-timed misstatement on civil unions.

• Elizabeth Colbert Busch should probably do her best to keep Jenny Sanford out of the news for the next 2 weeks, endorsement or not. Anything that reminds voters of Mark Sanford's past is likely to hurt him in the GOP runoff, a race in which Busch presumably wants Sanford to prevail.



  • Sources within Stephen Colbert sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch's (D) SC-01 campaign say she's spoken with ex-SC first lady Jenny Sanford about endorsing her. A spokesperson: "Elizabeth has not met with or in any way pursued such an endorsement" (Columbia Patch).
  • "You can't worry about fourth grade until you finish third grade" -- NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R), asked by a third grader whether he'll run for president (CNN).
  • Ex-Mitt Romney mgr. Matt Rhoades and RNC research dir. Joe Pounder are forming an opposition research group, America Rising, "that hopes to be the GOP's answer" to the Dem group, American Bridge (Politico).
  • "I came very, very close. Look, the response I received was incredibly positive. ... There was a clear opening in the race, I think, for a more independent voice. If I had felt I could raise the money [for] a credible campaign, I would have done it" -- VA LG Bill Bolling (R), on passing on an indie bid for VA GOV '13 (Washington Post).
  • "As Mitt Romney struggled in the weeks leading up to" the WH '12 MI primary, ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) "nearly agreed to form a joint 'Unity Ticket' to consolidate conservative support and topple Romney. ... But the negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president" (BloombergBusinessweek).
  • "I did express my regret in saying he that was a numbnuts because I didn't -- I probably shouldn't have used the word 'numb'" -- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), on apologizing to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (Huffington Post).
  • Mack|Crounse Group, a "top" Dem consulting firm, "split this month after one of the partners used a shell firm to produce mail pieces that attacked candidates backed by the other partner's banner progressive clients" (Roll Call).
  • "My campaign headquarters last summer we shared [a building] with a dispensary. You could see the sign, it was like: 'Marijuana, Jared Polis.' Marijuana outperformed me by 10 points, so it was a great association for me" -- Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) (National Journal).
  • The NRSC hired Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) comms. dir. Brook Hougesen as its press secretary and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) ex-mgr. Sarah Morgan as its western regional political dir. (Roll Call).
  • "Well, I did meet with Linda McMahon yesterday..." -- RNC chair Reince Priebus, on ex-RNC chair Michael Steele saying he could take him in a cage match ("Morning Joe").
  • We asked our Friday Feature what he would be doing if he weren't at his current job, and he said: "I'd probably be unemployed and homeless. I discovered a long time ago that I really can't do anything else. My dream job used to be war correspondent. But I'd likely be dead by now." For more see today's Media Monitor in Hotline's Latest Edition.


  • The band "Pearl Jam" was originally named after Oklahoma point guard MookieBlaylock, who holds the single NCAA tournament record of 23 steals in 1988.
  • The winner is Alixandria Lapp, and here's her Swizzle Challenge: "Which pioneer of the emo rock genre broke up after their second album, with half the band forming the Foo Fighters and one member embarking on a solo Christian rock career?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"Why Is Michele Bachmann So Quiet?" (National Journal Daily).


"Michele Bachmann: Repeal Obamacare Before It 'Literally Kills' People" (Huffington Post).

Sarah Mimms, Editor