The White House
- President Obama plans European Tour for March. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that the president will be traveling to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy this coming March. While in the Netherlands he will participate in the Dutch government’s Nuclear Security Summit, before heading to Brussels for a U.S.-E.U. Summit, marking his first visit to the E.U. seat of government. While in Italy Obama will be meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss income inequality.
- Michelle Obama celebrates the big 5-0. The White House through a star studded bash this past Saturday, including performances by Beyonce and John Legend. Samuel L. Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Magic Johnson were all also in attendance at the party that last until 2 a.m.
- Obama announces new plans for the NSA. The president made a speech last Friday calling for an end to government control of private citizens’ phone data, and asked that the intelligence community receive court orders before searching records. While the proposal still have to go through Congress, the White House asked the intelligence agencies to provide alternative recommendations by the end of March.
- Capitol Hill picks up communications expert from non-profit sector. Sean Bartlett, who currently serves as communications director at the UN Foundation announced that he is taking a new position as communications director for DNC chair and Florida Representative Debbie Wassermann Schultz. His previous Hill experience includes working as press secretary for the California Democrat Maxine Waters.
- Two veteran Obama staffers leave the White House. Karen Richardson has served on Barack Obama’s staff since his days in the Senate as well as working on his 2008 campaign. She has announced that she will be leaving Valerie Jarrett’s Office of Public Engagement, although there is no work yet on what her next move will be. Jenny Urizar was one of Obama’s original campaign staffers in Chicago and served in the White House since day one on the National Security Council Staff. She will be moving to the State Department to work as a senior advisor on Secretary Kerry’s Global Partnership Initiative.
- Terry McAuliffe campaign staffer to join the DCCC. Josh Schwerin will be serving as the national press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after serving as spokesman for now Governor McAuliffe in Virginia. Previously he worked on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2008 campaign as well as serving as Representative Scott Murphy’s communications director.
Beyond the Beltway
- Virginia Attorney General will not defend state’s same-sex marriage ban. Democrat Mark Herring has said he thinks Virginia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment.
- DCCC releases video to mock Speaker Boehner’s upcoming “Tonight Show” appearance. Entitled “Headlines the Speaker Doesn’t Want to See,” the video compiles host Jay Leno speaking on real headlines that are unflattering to Republicans.
- Max Baucus to begin confirmation hearing to become ambassador to China. The Democratic Senator is slated to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next Tuesday.
- Colorado Representative invites Obama and Harry Reid to check out the weed in his state. Democrat Jared Polis has extended an invitation to have the two leaders visit a marijuana store in his home state to see how Colorado is managing the newly legalized pot industry.
- Nancy Pelosi loses House floor bet on NFC Championship. The minority leader had bet some local bread and chocolate from San Francisco against the Washington delegation that her beloved 49ers would win this past Saturday. They ended up losing 17 to 23 against the Seattle Seahawks.
- DCCC identifies 10 potential seat wins for Democrats. Thanks to a slew of moderate Republicans choosing not to seek reelection this year, Democrats are hoping to pick up ten new seats in the House of Representatives. These include Tim Griffin’s seat in Arkansas, Frank Wolf’s seat in Virginia, and Shelley Moore Capito’s seat in West Virginia.
- Former New York Representative Otis Pike passes away at 92. The Long Island Democrat is famous for leading a 1975 enquiry into the CIA’s abuse of power. As leader of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, he was the first to hold hearings into the role the CIA played throughout the 20th century in coups around the world.