Good Friday morning. From our Morning Money colleague Ben White: The February jobs number is out today. “It’s the first report that will cover employment gains made entirely during Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump is clearly gearing up for it with a tweet Wednesday celebrating the 298K ADP jobs number.”
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PALM BEACH POST FRONT PAGE: “Trump mansion sale spurs Russia intrigue: Oligarch paid $95M, but evidence lacking that he lived in or inspected site” A1 PDF http://bit.ly/2m79msT … Story http://bit.ly/2lKtO7m
AT 1600 PENN — PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is meeting with House chairmen involved in repealing and replacing Obamacare. The participants: VP Mike Pence, Budget Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Education and Workforce Chairman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
— BEHIND THE SCENES: In the House, practically no one knew what this meeting was about — including people close to the participants, leading to a couple of head-scratching phone calls with us Thursday evening. The two main committees — Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce — have passed the legislation, so it’s a touch late for a strategy session. But a White House source said it’s a thank you to the chairmen that guided the repeal and replace process. They also want to draw attention to the fact that the bills sailed through committee unopposed by Republicans — which the administration says has not gotten the attention it deserves.
WHERE HEALTH CARE STANDS — Top vote-counters in the House say they think the health-care replacement legislation will get through their chamber. It won’t be easy — and it won’t be pretty — but they believe they’ll squeeze it through. But there’s increasing skepticism that it can get through the Senate. During his newsy Playbook Interview Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reminded us that the legislation will be subject to unlimited amendments when it hits the Senate as part of the reconciliation process, practically ensuring it will be changed. If this bill blows up, Trump has signaled he’ll blame Democrats, who are expected to stand in unified opposition to the legislation. But that might not work. Republicans say it’s on Trump to make this thing work.
— MAGGIE HABERMAN and ROBERT PEAR on A1 of the NYT: “After Halting Start, Trump Plunges Into Effort to Repeal Health Law”: “There are East Room meetings, evening dinners and sumptuous lunches — even a White House bowling soiree. Mr. Trump is deploying the salesman tactics he sharpened over several decades in New York real estate. His pitch: He is fully behind the bill to scotch President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, but he is open to negotiations on the details. In so doing, Mr. Trump is plunging personally into his first major legislative fight, getting behind a bill that has been denounced by many health care providers and scorned by his base on the right. If it fails, Mr. Trump will find it difficult not to shoulder some of the blame.” http://nyti.ms/2msHPpm
— “Budget referee may call foul on Obamacare repeal,” by Rachana Pradhan: “The fate of Obamacare may lie in the hands of a number-crunching Republican appointee whose bottom line might single-handedly blow up the GOP quest to repeal and replace it. Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall was handpicked two years ago by top Republicans in Congress — including now Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price — to lead a nonpartisan office that will soon release its estimate of how many Americans the Republican health care bill will cover and whether it shrinks or balloons the federal deficit. With the House repeal bill under attack by Republican moderates worrying about coverage and conservatives fuming about entitlements and spending, the CBO assessment will matter. It’s widely expected early next week.
“Hall, in the post for two years, has already signaled that his office won’t soft-pedal the coverage assessments. If a health plan doesn’t have comprehensive benefits, it won’t count as coverage. Fearing a bad CBO ‘score,’ Republicans facing backlash in their drive to gut Obamacare are turning the budget agency and its team of professional economic analysts into a punching bag as they try to discredit it.” http://politi.co/2nlDa6f We expect a CBO score by Monday
THE NEXT FIGHT — “Conservatives want to blow up Senate rules to kill Obamacare,” by Elana Schor and Jen Haberkorn: “House Republican leaders narrowly tailored their Obamacare repeal bill to avoid violating Senate rules, but conservatives are pushing back with advice of their own: Tear up the rule-book. A growing number of conservative lawmakers on Thursday urged GOP leaders to push the limits of how much of the health law they can reshape under a powerful procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation — and to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she doesn’t decide in their favor.
“Such a gambit would require the unlikely buy-in of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a noted institutionalist who earlier this year avoided talk of changing his chamber’s rules to kill the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees. If the Senate changes precedent for what can be passed under reconciliation now, a future Senate — whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats — could enact a wide range of legislation with only a simple majority.” http://politi.co/2n6gYRj
ALWAYS BE SELLING — “White House pushes party officials nationwide to mobilize on health overhaul,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Facing mounting roadblocks on Capitol Hill, the White House is pleading with political supporters across the nation to pressure congressional Republicans to support President Donald Trump’s health care overhaul. During a national conference call Thursday evening, White House political director Bill Stepien told Trump backers and national Republican Party officials to pressure members of Congress to support key planks of the president’s agenda — notably his plan to replace Obamacare. ‘To continue the progress that’s being made — specifically on the court, and specifically on Obamacare — [Trump] really needs your help,’ Stepien said on the call, which lasted nearly 20 minutes. ‘We need to do this as a team.’” http://politi.co/2mq5lRX
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Partnerships between Medicare Part D and PBMs help save each senior roughly $2,340 per year. PBMs have also helped Medicare Part D keep premiums stable since 2006. Learn more about how PBMs deliver value for patients and taxpayers: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
WHERE’S REX? — “Mexican foreign secretary goes straight to the White House, skips usual channels,” by LA Times’ Tracy Wilkinson: “Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray met [Thursday] at the White House with President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, along with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, a top financial aide, the Mexican government announced. Striking in its absence from that announcement was any mention of a meeting with officials from the State Department … [W]hen asked whether any sessions were scheduled at the State Department, the spokesman, Mark Toner, said he didn’t know Videgaray was in town. … Later, however, Videgaray himself explained that he had spoken by telephone to Tillerson the night before to let him know he was arriving in Washington.” http://lat.ms/2n5wP2m
HMM — “Authorities looked into Manafort protégé: An associate of an ex-Trump campaign chairman is suspected of connections to Russian intelligence,” by Ken Vogel and David Stern: “U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have expressed interest in the activities of a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence who consulted regularly with Paul Manafort last year while Manafort was running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, came under scrutiny from officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department partly because of at least two trips he took to the U.S. during the presidential campaign … Kilimnik, a joint Russian-Ukrainian citizen who trained in the Russian army as a linguist, told operatives in Kiev and Washington that he met with Manafort during an April trip to the United States. And, after a late summer trip to the U.S., Kilimnik suggested that he had played a role in gutting a proposed amendment to the Republican Party platform that would have staked out a more adversarial stance towards Russia, according to a Kiev operative.” http://politi.co/2m6r7IM
COMING ATTRACTIONS — “Treasury calls on Congress to raise debt limit, begins steps to delay default,” by WaPo’s Damian Paletta: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday began taking “extraordinary measures” to delay the U.S. government from defaulting on its obligations, as he called on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to lift the debt ceiling ‘at its first opportunity.’
“Mnuchin, in a letter to Ryan, said Treasury was now suspending the sale of certain state and local securities, a practice the federal government normally performs to assist with tax policies. Treasury will soon likely suspend payments to certain pension funds as it tries to delay, as long as possible, falling behind on other payments. Eventually, though, it will run out of options and not have enough money to pay its bills. ‘As I said in my confirmation hearing, honoring the full faith and credit of our outstanding debt is a critical commitment,’ Mnuchin wrote to Ryan. ‘I encourage Congress to raise the debt limit at the first opportunity so we can proceed with our joint priorities.’” http://wapo.st/2lKfBay … The letter http://bit.ly/2n6vAAc
BORDER WARS — “Number of immigrants caught at Mexican border plunges 40% under Trump,” by L.A. Times’ Jenny Jarvie in Atlanta: “The number of immigrants caught by Border Patrol agents as they attempt to cross the Southwest border has plunged dramatically, dropping 40% since President Trump took office and signed sweeping executive orders to enforce immigration laws. About 840 people a day were caught trying to cross the border or deemed inadmissible after presenting themselves at a port of entry in February, down from about 1,370 a day in January, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Although there are often seasonal fluctuations — fewer immigrants usually attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. in winter — Border Patrol agents typically see a 10% to 20% surge of people making the journey in February. Already, Trump’s supporters and leading members of his administration are celebrating the new data as an early payoff of the new president’s strident stance on illegal immigration.” http://lat.ms/2nmbnCD
MITCH MCCONNELL sat down with us for a live Playbook Interview Thursday, sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Kentucky Republican made plenty of news on issues ranging from health care to politics. McConnell had some advice for his fellow Republicans as they begin the health-care debate. “When you have a president of a different party, you can freelance all you want to. You know, go have press conferences, you guys show up with a 10-point plan to do this or that,” McConnell said. “But now we have an actual chance to change the country. We have somebody who will sign legislation that we pass. We need to get into a governing mode and start thinking about actually achieving something rather than just kind of sparring.” McConnell also talked about his confidence that SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed by April 7. Other nuggets:
— TAX REFORM WON’T BE DONE BY AUGUST: “As you and I were discussing before we came in here, there are some constraints here … We have two reconciliations to do. We have to get the one we’re going to use for health care out of the way before we go to the second one. I share your view that finishing on tax reform will take longer. But we do have to finish the health care debate, up or down, win or lose, before we go to taxes.” Video http://politi.co/2mOzux1
— MEXICO WON’T PAY FOR THE WALL: “Well, I’m in favor of border security. There are some places along the border where that’s probably not the best way to secure the border. But I think General Kelly knows what he’s doing. I think the president picked an outstanding person to be in charge of homeland security and my suspicion is we will take his advice.” WILL MEXICO PAY?: “Uh, no.” Video http://politi.co/2msHUJB
— MCCONNELL ON STEVE BANNON: “WE BEAT HIM EVERYWHERE”: When Bannon, now the White House chief strategist, ran Breitbart, he tried to take down Senate Republicans — including McConnell. The majority leader said bygones are bygones. “I’m happy. I won. I won every one of them. And he got a new job. He should be happy too.” Video http://politi.co/2mqzlNP
— ON 2018: “What I say to my colleagues and Sen. [Cory] Gardner, who is running the committee: ‘Let’s not fall in love with the map.’ The map is good … But the single biggest determinant of the outcome of an election two years into a new administration is what kind of shape the administration is in.” Video http://politi.co/2mOACRg
HAPPENING TODAY — TRUMP will call Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have lunch with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and meet with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
THE JUICE …
— PRIORITIES USA, the big-time Democratic outside group, has a new polling memo with polling data from the early days of the Trump administration. “President Trump’s ratings are net negative, but his base is keeping him afloat … Voters are hearing good news about Trump on the economy, while they perceive real weaknesses across other areas, especially Russia, leadership, and integrity. … Trump is vulnerable on the economy because voters believe he looks out for the interests of the wealthy and corporations, and progressives must leverage that to show how his economic policies are failing regular people.” The memo http://politi.co/2lKcn6V
— JOHN KERRY has signed a book deal. AP’s Hillel Italie: “Kerry, 73, has signed with Simon & Schuster, the publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. The book, a memoir covering his life from childhood through his recent time as secretary of state, does not yet have a title or release date. … Kerry met with several publishers about the book, for which financial terms were not disclosed. He was represented by Robert Barnett, the Washington attorney who recently worked on book deals for Clinton and for Barack and Michelle Obama.”
— NORM EISEN, the Obama administration ethics czar and former ambassador to the Czech Republic, has signed a contributor deal with CNN.
THE PLAYBOOK POOL: POLITICO Playbook is gearing up for college tournament time with our very own bracket challenge. Our Playbook outposts across the country (D.C., N.Y., N.J., Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, California) are co-hosting the PLAYBOOK POOL – a bracket challenge where you can face-off against your friends, top Playbookers, and political insiders. Track who’s up and down after each round in Playbook as you compete to win prizes including Amazon Echoes and Dots (where you can listen to the Playbook flash briefing), BEATS headphones, Snapchat Spectacles and more. You’ll be able to create your bracket starting March 12 when the brackets are released on Selection Sunday eve.
TRUMP, INC. — “With Trump in White House, His Golf Properties Prosper,” by NYT’s Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig: “It is a golden age for golf — at least as far as the Trump Organization is concerned. On Memorial Day weekend, the Senior P.G.A. Championship will be held at the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Washington. In July, the company’s course in Bedminster, N.J., is hosting another major event, the United States Women’s Open. The company is also bidding to host the Scottish Open or a half-dozen other possible professional tournaments at courses it owns in spots around the world from Miami to Dubai.
“‘The stars have all aligned,’ Eric Trump, who as executive vice president of the Trump Organization oversees all its golf properties, said on Thursday morning, while sipping an iced tea at the restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel before appearing at a promotional event for the Memorial Day tournament. ‘I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.’ What he did not mention at the news conference, while the cameras were rolling, is the product placement of incalculable value that is helping boost the Trump Organization’s golf courses: his father.” http://nyti.ms/2lKpZ2l
HEADLINE OF THE DAY — TIMES OF ISRAEL: “Rejecting Purim spiel, Putin tells Netanyahu to stop dwelling on past”: “Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop living in the past Thursday, after the Israeli premier tried to tie tensions with Iran to an upcoming Jewish holiday about a thwarted genocide of Jews in ancient Persia. In a meeting with Putin in Moscow, Netanyahu said Persia had made ‘an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed’ some 2,500 years ago, an event commemorated through the Jewish holiday of Purim, which Israel will celebrate starting Saturday night and lasting in some places until Monday.
“‘Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews,’ Netanyahu said. ‘They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles.’ Adopting a conciliatory tone, Putin said that the events described by Netanyahu had taken place in the fifth century B.C.’ ‘We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now,’ Putin said.” http://bit.ly/2msRuvQ
SUPERCUT — @MattNegrin: What “Sean Spicer doesn’t know” http://bit.ly/2m6e2zm
THE SHABBAT MYTH — “Shabbat’s not the reason Trump tweets on Saturdays,” by Annie Karni: “The prevailing narrative about when President Donald Trump launches his most reckless tirades involves the absence of the two people viewed as the great moderating influences in his life: his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. The couple are Orthodox Jews who observe the Sabbath, which runs from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday — the time when Trump has been most likely to go off-leash….
“‘I think it’s a very foolish assumption to say that in some way, people in the Trump administration wait until the Sabbath so they can make decisions that otherwise, other members of the Trump administration might weigh in on,’ said [Rabbi Haskel] Lookstein, rabbi emeritus at the Kehilath Jeshurun congregation on Manhattan’s Upper East Side [and who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism in 2009]. ‘I think it’s playing around with religious behavior,’ added Lookstein, who remains close enough to Kushner and Ivanka Trump that they invited him to deliver the invocation at the Republican National Convention last summer — an opportunity he ultimately declined. ‘The way in which I believe Jared Kushner and Ivanka observe the Sabbath is they observe it together with their children,’ he said. ‘They’re disconnected—but anything could be discussed.’” http://politi.co/2mIm3yn
NEW AXE PODCAST – David Axelrod interviewed SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CALIF.) http://cnn.it/2n63AwJ
FOR YOUR RADAR — “South Korean court throws president out of office, 2 dead in protest,” by Reuters’ Joyce Lee and Cynthia Kim in Seoul: “South Korea’s Constitutional Court removed President Park Geun-hye from office on Friday over a graft scandal involving the country’s conglomerates at a time of rising tensions with North Korea and China. The ruling sparked protests from hundreds of her supporters, two of whom were killed in clashes with police outside the court. Park becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil over a corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in jail.” http://reut.rs/2mOokbu
CLICKER — “All of Trump’s Russia Ties, in 7 Charts,” by Michael Crowley http://politi.co/2n6mpQe
GOOD QUESTION — “With Trump in White House, Some Executives Ask, Why Not Me?” by James B. Stewart in his NYT “Common Sense” column: Stu “Loeser now runs his own strategic consulting firm, and told me he has clients who are business executives considering a run for high public office. … Boldface corporate names widely discussed as contenders for the next Democratic presidential nomination include chief executives like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Robert A. Iger of Disney and Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com, along with Sheryl Sandberg … and Oprah Winfrey … All deny they’re running, or even seriously considering it. But everyone demurs so far ahead of the first primaries, as did Hillary Clinton four years ago, and it hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating.” http://nyti.ms/2ms9DKo
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Partnerships between Medicare Part D and PBMs help save each senior roughly $2,340 per year. PBMs have also helped Medicare Part D keep premiums stable since 2006. Learn more about how PBMs deliver value for patients and taxpayers: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
PETER THIEL WATCH — “Palantir’s Man In The Pentagon,” by BuzzFeed’s William Alden: “Palantir Technologies has an important new ally inside the military establishment, with one of the company’s own lobbyists being appointed to a top Pentagon job where he will have the ear of Defense Secretary James Mattis. … Justin Mikolay, a Palantir insider … has been hired by the Trump administration as a special assistant to the defense secretary … Mikolay, 37, worked for Palantir for four years as an ‘evangelist,’ according to his LinkedIn profile, meaning he met with government officials to sell Palantir’s software.” http://bzfd.it/2m9fXnB
FORBES’ 100 BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR: Top 10: “Google, Wegmans Food Markets, Boston Consulting Group, Baird, Edward Jones, Genentech, Ultimate Software, Salesforce, Acuity and Quicken Loans.” The full list http://for.tn/2msW4dJ
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “Schwarzenegger for Senate?,” by Carla Marinucci in San Francisco: “Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — the ‘Terminator’ action hero who made ‘I’ll be back’ one of filmdom’s most iconic phrases — may be mulling a political comeback, according to several GOP political insiders in California. The prospect of Schwarzenegger’s return to elected politics in a 2018 U.S. Senate run — possibly as an independent — is generating increasing buzz in state Republican circles, fueled by the former governor’s seeming ability to get under the skin of President Donald Trump on social media. … His entry into the 2018 Senate race — when Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein would be 85 years old and up for re-election — ‘would give Arnold the stage to jam Trump for the next 16 months,’ according to one veteran GOP strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity.” http://politi.co/2ncX0RI
— “NC Senate leader Phil Berger changes news headlines on Facebook posts – violating the site’s policy,” by Raleigh News and Observer’s Colin Campbell: “Visitors to Senate leader Phil Berger’s official Facebook page might have thought this headline appeared in The News & Observer: ‘Has Roy Cooper flip-flopped on HB 2? Gov. Cooper now refusing to support men in women’s bathrooms.’ But that headline never appeared in the newspaper or on its website. The real headline on the news story: ‘In HB2 repeal effort, Gov. Cooper is silent on proposed nondiscrimination law.’ The person managing Berger’s page used a little-known Facebook tool to change the headline on the article being shared, making it appear that the headline was written by the news organization. A typical user of Facebook can’t make such a change, but a manager of a professional or group page can.” http://bit.ly/2m6ebTq
— “Hey Coastal Elites, Don’t Dis ‘Flyover Country – Fund It,” by Wired’s Issie Lapowsky: “Former AOL CEO Steve Case is bringing together Republicans and Democrats at a summit in DC at the end of the month — called ‘Rise of the Rest.’ ‘There’s a reason they feel left behind. They kind of have been left behind,’ Case says about Americans who aren’t seeing the economic benefits of the digital revolution. ‘Some of the disruption funded in places like Silicon Valley is destroying jobs in other parts of the country.’” http://bit.ly/2n6019H
PLAYBOOK’S SUBJECT LINE A YEAR AGO TODAY – “TRUMP: ‘At the right time, I will be so presidential that you’ll call me and you’ll say, “Donald, you have to stop that”’ http://politi.co/1TOpqPb
NEW POLITICO PRO feature — Our defense reporters track some of the most politically dynamic defense programs and policy fights in regularly updated briefings highlighting legislative action, budget documents and key influencers in government and the private sector in Defense Program Watch. http://politico.pro/2mpKAGf … Sign up for alerts here http://politico.pro/2n5Ox62
MEDIAWATCH — “‘Game Change’ Authors Writing Book About ‘Trump the Man’ and His Campaign,” by NYT’s Alexandra Alter: “[P]enguin Press announced that it had acquired their latest book, which will explore Mr. Trump’s striking and unexpected rise to the presidency. The book has also been purchased for a mini-series on HBO, which turned ‘Game Change’ into an original movie, with Julianne Moore as Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Ed Harris as Senator John McCain. Like ‘Game Change,’ the new mini-series by HBO Films will be directed and executive produced by Jay Roach, and executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman of Playtone Productions.
“[Mark] Halperin, who has covered eight presidential campaigns, insisted there was plenty of fresh material. ‘Trump in particular, as much as he’s covered and has been covered, in some ways he’s an undercovered figure, in terms of Trump the man, and that’s one of the things we’re going to do with the book,’ he said. [John] Heilemann added, ‘We’ll be looking at all the big unanswered questions of the race, some of them are obvious, some of them are less obvious, but of course we’re interested in breaking news.’ The book is scheduled to be published in early 2018.” With a Q&A http://nyti.ms/2msUt7F
— MSNBC has a new “This is who we are” ad running. It’s inspired by Andrea Mitchell. http://on.msnbc.com/2mD2nff
DATA DU JOUR — per the NYT: “Since its inception on Feb. 3, The New York Times’s ‘sponsor a subscription’ program has collected enough contributions to grant more than 1.3 million students across the U.S. free and unlimited access to NYTimes.com. More than 15,500 individual contributions have ranged from as little as $4 to, in one case, $1 million (from an anonymous donor).”
SPORTS BLINK — “NFL abuse of painkillers and other drugs described in court filings,” by WaPo’s Rick Maese: “National Football League teams violated federal laws governing prescription drugs, disregarded guidance from the Drug Enforcement Administration on how to store, track, transport and distribute controlled substances, and plied their players with powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories each season, according to sealed court documents contained in a federal lawsuit filed by former players. The sealed material, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, provides a rare look into the league’s relationship with drugs and how team doctors manage the pain inherent in a bruising sport to keep players on the field.” http://wapo.st/2lKwgef
SUNDAY SO FAR – NBC’s “Meet the Press”: HHS Secretary Tom Price … Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio). Panel: David Brooks, Helene Cooper, Stephanie Cutter, Rick Santelli
— “Fox News Sunday”: Gary Cohn, Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Panel: Jason Riley, Julie Pace, Michael Needham, Juan Williams
–CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) … Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Panel: former Sen. Rick Santorum, Neera Tanden, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)
— CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Political panel: Ezra Klein, Indira Lakshmanan, Peter Baker and Avik Roy
— ABC’s “This Week”: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney … Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Panel: Rich Lowry, Jamal Simmons, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Katrina vanden Heuvel
SPOTTED — Eric Trump on a Thursday flight from DCA to Ft. Lauderdale … at the Trump hotel bar last night: Lynn Patten, Katrina Pierson, Matt Mowers, Coalter Baker, Ryan Williams, Craig Stevens, Joseph Uddo … Jeremy Irons yesterday buying a dress for his wife at the clothing shop Hampel Katalin in Budapest, where he’s filming a movie … Wolf Blitzer wrapping up dinner at Cava Mezze, then taking a leisurely stroll down Barracks Row with two friends.
–SPOTTED at the Verizon Center for Northwestern’s second round Big Ten Tournament win over Rutgers: Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) buying a beer for Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), just two rows below Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose son is on the Wildcats. Also at the game: Peter Alexander, former Obama speechwriter Cody Keenan
OUT AND ABOUT — Juleanna Glover, Carol Blue and Josef Palermo hosted a party last night at Carol’s house to celebrate Jamie Kirchick’s new book, “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age.” $19.63 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2lKb5cf SPOTTED: Andrew Sullivan, Michael Barone, Norm Eisen, Ken Weinstein, Tom Mallon, John McConnell, Ben Schreckinger, Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle, Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku, Julia Ioffe, Eli Lake, Michael Wilner, Josh and Ali Rogin, David Satter, Jonathan Rauch, Rep. Ken Buck, Ben Jacobs, Betsy Woodward, Tim Mak, Kevin Chaffee, Muath al-Wari and Jamie’s proud parents Carol and Bill.
–SPOTTED at a surprise birthday party for Matt Bravo, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s floor director, at Stanton and Greene: Derrick Dockery, Eric Zulkosky, Bart Reising, Kelley Hudak, Kelly Dixon, Shuwanza Goff, Parker Poling, Mike Shields with the House Homeland Security Committee, Rick Limardo, Chadwick Carlough, Brett Quick, Patrick Wilson, Mike Ference, and the hostess with the mostest, Summer Bravo with Xcel Energy.
–SPOTTED last night at NBC’s Andrew Rafferty 30th birthday party at the Kingfisher bar: Chris Maloney, Nick Kalman, Jordan Frasier, Jenna Sakwa, Ryan Laughna, Ryan Reilly, Igor Bobic, Dave Weigel, Sahil Kapur, Niels Lesniewski, Justin Green, Ariel Cohen, Evan McMorris- Santoro, Sabrina Siddiqui.
TRANSITIONS — Meghan Apfelbaum is leaving digital advocacy firm Salsa Labs. She’s heading to Hustle, the firm best known for handling Bernie Sanders’ text-message based outreach. She will head up client management … Hope Goins has been named minority staff director for the House Committee on Homeland Security. … Kathy Kraninger is now a senior exec at OMB covering DOT, DHS and DOJ. She previously was at Senate appropriations.
OBAMA ALUMNI: James Cadogan, a member of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s senior management team, has been named inaugural director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund … Melanie Newman, former director of public affairs at DOJ, is joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in a new position as chief public engagement and communications strategist. http://bit.ly/2nb9k50
— Peter Boogaard is now FWD.us’s communications director. He was the deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at DHS before taking over as the communications point person on immigration for the Obama White House.
BIRTHWEEK (was Tues.): Bloomberg’s star commodities and agriculture reporter Lydia Mulvany, the pride of Ottawa, Illinois, who studied philosophy before going into journalism.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jon Haber, president of Cascada Strategy, Georgetown adjunct professor and alum of Leahy, Feinstein, Kennedy and OPIC (and champion birthday hat-tipper) – he’s celebrating with dinner at home with his family. “It doesn’t get better than that.” – read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2nm7GNc
BIRTHDAYS: Perri Peltz … Brad Dayspring, Politico VP of global comms and the pride of Pompton Lakes, N.J. … Matt Jessee, policy advisor at Bryan Cave Strategies … Bill Nichols … Vernon Loeb, managing editor of the Houston Chronicle and WashPost alum … Jim Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent … John Murray, former Cantor comms guru and public affairs lead at Monument Policy Group (h/t Stewart Verdery) … Ron Elving, NPR’s senior editor/correspondent on Washington Desk … Thomas McGill … Politico’s Nicole Adams … Carrie Filipetti, director of portfolio management at the Paul E. Singer Foundation … Randy White … Sarah Coppersmith, VP at Scott Circle (h/ts birthday boy Jon Haber) … record producer Rick Rubin is 54 … CNBC’s David Faber is 53 … Wayne L. Firestone, CEO of DC-based International Lifeline Fund (h/ts Jewish Insider) … Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (h/t Sean Johnson) … Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices … Jean Cornell … Stuart Spencer, a Louise Slaughter alum and Rules Committee alum … Adam Weinstein … Deloitte’s David Lau … Adam Bodily, who has worked on four consecutive presidential campaigns, starting with 43 in ’04, two Romneys and a Kasich … Portman alum Colin Coletti …
… Amy Weiss, CEO of Weiss Public Affairs … Kevin McKeon, DCCC alum now SVP at Putnam Partners … Wei Soo, co-founder and director of legal and new markets at Global Citizen, is 35 (h/t Kindred Motes) … Credit Suisse’s Murong Yang … Nicole Guillemard, founder and president of Eureka Strategies Group and former Bush WH national Hispanic spokesperson … NYT’s Danny Hakim … Ed Hooper … Ashley Summers … Christie Roberts, DSCC research director and a Jon Tester alum … Chris Corcoran, senior adviser to Louisville Mayor Jim Gray and an OPOWER alum … Amy Dorcy … Josh Johnson … Dwane Bennett … Mike Callahan, supervising producer for national security at CNN … Joel Gravely … Emily Schultze … WashPost Live’s Alex Treadway, a Daily Caller alum … Cary Hatch, CEO of MDB Communications … Victor Pickard … OFA alum Simeon Talley … Henry Doggett … Margaret McEntire … David Kass (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … actor Chuck Norris is 77 … Britain’s Prince Edward is 53 … Jon Hamm is 46 … Robin Thicke is 4-0 …. Carrie Underwood is 34 (h/ts AP)
****** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Government programs aren’t always known for coming in under budget, but with the help of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the Medicare Part D program has done just that – save taxpayer money while providing quality prescription drug benefits for seniors. PBMs work to negotiate significant cost reductions for seniors, saving each beneficiary roughly $2,340 per year. But this private-sector, cost-saving solution not only works on behalf of seniors, PBMs also partner with employers, unions, health plans, state governments and public sector retirees to manage increasing drug costs and keep their workforce and members healthy. Learn about the private sector solution keeping seniors and workers healthy and bending the drug cost curve: www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org ******
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