Steve King Sees Path to Victory; Frank Lautenberg May Not Return to D.C.; Margaret Thatcher Dies

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  • Pres. Obama "will try to woo" GOPers over dinner on Wednesday, the same day he "formally unveils" what he considers a "compromise budget." But already Senate GOPers are casting the plan "as another attempt to raise taxes to fuel more deficit spending" (Politico).
  • MA SEN Special: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) released his third TV ad, highlighting his work "on behalf of working families and seniors" (release).
  • VA GOV '13: Ex-DNC chair Terry McAuliffe (D) "has agreed" to five debates (Washington Post). McAuliffe "stepped down" on Dec. 1 as GreenTech Automotive chair, just weeks after announcing a bid (Politico).
  • NYC Mayor '13: A "coalition of left-leaning labor unions" and Dem activists "have pledged more than" $1M to a campaign to stop City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D) and have released the first TV ad of the race criticizing her (New York Times).
  • IA SEN: Rep. Steve King (R) said "he sees a 'path to victory'" and that he is "close to a decision" (Quad-City Times).
  • KY SEN: Sec/State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said she's undecided about the race, but took a few swipes at Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell, though she didn't mention him by name (cn|2).
  • NJ SEN: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) "will not return" to the Hill this week "and now it's unclear when -- or even if -- the veteran lawmaker will be back." If he resigns, Gov. Chris Christie (R) would appoint a replacement ahead of a special election to fill out the remainder of his term (Politico).
  • IA-04: Special asst. to the Army Undersec. Jim Mowrer (D) has met with the DCCC and, per a source, "will run regardless" of whether Steve King runs for SEN or reelection (Roll Call).
  • IL GOV: AG Lisa Madigan (D) added to her "huge fundraising lead" over Gov. Pat Quinn (D), "raising more than" $750K in the first quarter (Chicago Sun-Times).
  • WH '16: TX Gov. Rick Perry (R) said he is "indeed" open to running and will make a decision after the legislature adjourns in "'approximately 55 days'" (CNN).


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day

• Legislatively speaking, Senate Republicans would be better off if Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) resigned late this year, so they would have an extra GOP senator for all of 2014. But electorally, even with a compressed campaign schedule, Republicans should hope for a quicker Lautenberg retirement. A November 2013 special election would mean the GOP nominee would get to run with popular Gov. Chris Christie (R) on the ballot. Moreover, one of NJ's GOP House members might be persuaded to run, since he wouldn't have to give up his House seat to mount a statewide bid, and might even start the race with a cash-on-hand lead.

• Is Anthony Weiner really plotting a political comeback this year? A NYT Magazine sit-down seems like a safe jumping-off point, but is the disgraced former rep. prepared to answer all the questions about his online interactions and the effect they had on his family? Mark Sanford answered the questions about his affair until the press got tired of asking them. But South Carolina ain't New York, and the Big Apple media is going to tear Weiner apart.

• Want another reason why Scott Brown probably won't run for Senate in New Hampshire? Insiders from both sides of the aisle agree that he wouldn't clear the GOP primary field, and someone close to former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) is making it known that Bradley is still seriously considering his own bid.

• Former Gov. Mike Rounds and U.S. Atty Brendan Johnson, cast as the early frontrunners by their supporters, seem to share the same perception problem -- they're just too liberal. The GOPer is facing conservative groups and activists who are openly seeking an alternative in the primary, and the Dem must sway those who feel a moderate like former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin offers their party a better chance in deep-red SD.



  • "Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain Has Died" (New York Times).
  • The New York Times Magazine will publish an "extensive interview" with ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and wife Huma Abedin "in the coming weeks" (Politico).
  • "While we cannot provide you every detail of the bill today, we can commit to you that we are writing tax reform bills" -- Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), in an op-ed this a.m. (Wall Street Journal).
  • NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and "top aides are looking to use last week's round of embarrassing scandals in Albany to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) -- and they're already eyeing" Maj. Leader Joseph Morelle (D) for the seat (New York Post).
  • "I've had this mustache about nine months, or maybe a year -- because mustaches grow, you see. ... I can even give you the date, if you'd like: June 18, 1967" -- Sen. Angus King (I-ME), on how long he's had his mustache (Bangor Daily News).
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that while he "wants to preserve marriage as an institution between a man and a woman," he would be open to civil unions (Salt Lake Tribune).
  • "Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus -- they get the most attention. That's what he's paid to do" -- CT Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), responding to criticism from NRA exec. VP Wayne LaPierre (CNN).
  • reporter Jana Winter is "facing jail time over her refusal to reveal a source she used in a story" about alleged Aurora, CO, shooter James Holmes, "an episode receiving remarkably little attention in the mainstream press -- and prompting suggestions on the right that the media and advocates are ignoring" her "plight because of hostility to her employer" (BuzzFeed).
  • "Florida politicians raise 'concern' over Jay-Z and Beyoncé's jaunt to Cuba" (New York Daily News).
  • Leeland Eisenberg, who "took hostages six years ago at one" of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) campaign offices, has escaped a NH halfway house (CNN).
  • "NASA Has a Plan to Kidnap an Asteroid" (New York Magazine).


  • Musician Al Kooper owned a a vintage 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that was so beautiful then-GA Gov. Jimmy Carter (D) used to rent it to pick up visiting dignitaries at the local airport.
  • The winner is Dan Scanlon, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Several military leaders have gone on to become President of the United States, starting with George Washington. Name the two generals that served in the Mexican-American War and later became President." The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"Every year is the year of the Italian in my house" -- VP Biden, attending a gala held by the Italian ambassador (Washington Post).


"I'm Joe Bidenopoulos" -- Biden, introducing himself to a group of Greek men in OH (Weekly Standard).

Sarah Mimms, Editor