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Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.
 

Quick News
  • GOP: New Hampshire feeding frenzy
  • Democrats: Scrapping in New Hampshire
  • Iowa: 4 takeaways
  • Candidates’ corner
  • Obama visits US mosque today
  • Obama-GOP leadership huddle
  • 2 generals: Women should register for draft
  • FBI joins probe of Flint water
 
GOP: New Hampshire Feeding Frenzy (NYT, AP, NYT, Hill, me)
• Emboldened by Donald Trump’s defeat in the Iowa caucuses, conservative leaders and rival candidates for the Republican presidential nomination began to challenge him aggressively in New Hampshire Tuesday, aiming to cut into his wide lead – and perhaps even to embarrass him and and deny him victory in a second consecutive state (oh the shame of it)
 
• Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), buoyant from his Iowa win, teased Trump for having attacked him bitterly on the way to an embarrassing loss. Jeb Bush released an ad in which he called Trump a man of “deep insecurity and weakness.” (probably true) Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) sarcastically called him “Donald the Magnificent.” (he didn’t stay down for long)
 
• Cruz and Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla), who came third in Iowa, hope to extend their momentum in New Hampshire, with Cruz looking to peel away Trump’s supporters on the hard right and Rubio working to consolidate votes from more mainstream Republicans and independent voters (and who’s prob starting to feel a bit like the anointed one by the establishment)
 
• Former Sen Scott Brown (R-Mass), who lives in New Hampshire, endorsed Trump. In Milford, NH, Trump said, “I would like to finish first” in New Hampshire, and told Fox News’ Sean Hannity his campaign “didn’t have much of a ground game because I didn’t think I was going to be winning.” (so, not such a great deal maker – or a liar – it’s not what he said)
 
• At his rally, Trump said: “If we are attacked, somebody attacks us, wouldn’t you rather have Trump as president if we’re attacked? We’ll beat the shit out of them.” Trump said under him, the U.S. would get along better with Russia and other countries. “Let them use some of their weapons that cost billions of dollars. Let them beat the shit out of ISIS also, right?” (charming…)

• Graphic: 2016 primary calendar and results (NYT)

 

Democrats: Scrapping in New Hampshire (NYT, Hill, me)
• Hillary Clinton, coming off a razor-thin victory (did she win?) in Iowa, has decided with the support of former President Bill Clinton, that she would help herself by closing the gap in New Hampshire against Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) rather than shifting focus to Nevada and South Carolina, which vote later this month. The Clintons even hope she might pull off an upset win
 
• But Sanders is planning a serious battle. Sanders and his team plan to spend more than $1 million on TV ads in an attempt to solidify his advantage. He also drew about $3 million in donations in the 24 hours after his caucus speech Monday night
 
• In Keene, NH, Tuesday afternoon, Sanders told reporters: “Secretary Clinton has a very formidable political organization and, as you know, has virtually the entire political establishment on her side. So, you know, we are taking nothing for granted.”
 
• Advisers have encouraged the Clintons to devote more time to Nevada and South Carolina but have been met with resistance because the couple refuse to entertain the idea that what could be the last presidential campaign of their political careers would include a loss in NH. Clinton advisers said she plans to focus on courting young voters and liberals – Sanders’ fans
 
• Tad Devine, a top Sanders campaign aide, said: “We will leave one person at least” in Iowa for the purpose of picking off Clinton delegates. The delegates aren’t pledged, University of George science professor Joshua Putnam said. They can ultimately change their minds. Plus, there are nearly eight Martin O’Malley delegates – who will be up for grabs (not over – fat lady etc…)
 
Iowa: 4 Takeaways (Politico, me)
Ted Cruz front-runner: The Texas tea party favorite has run a nearly flawless three-step campaign: 1) Keep out of Donald Trump’s way to avoid the incessant abuse (sort of); 2) quietly marshal the support of evangelical voters: and 3) offer late targeted attacks on Trump to let voters know you can’t be bullied – Trump’s “New York values” was one that worked
 
Hillary Clinton isn’t a very good candidate: 43% of Iowa Democratic voters self-identify as “socialists.” Bernie Sanders understood that; she didn’t. She has a political tin ear and comes across as a shadow of her husband as well as policy heavy and at times inauthentic. She also doesn’t learn well from her mistakes. Doesn’t mean she won’t ultimately win
 
• Marco’s the man: Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla), who came within 2 points of making Trump third, might turn out to be the real long-term winner. He came close to doubling his predicted finish – with much of his 23% support poached – unexpectedly – from Trump. He and party elders will view him as the Republican with the most potential crossover appeal in a general election
 
Trump-Rubio – ZAP POW: So far, Rubio hasn’t confronted Trump – in hopes of goading the once – and perhaps future – front-runner into attacking Cruz. But that was before Rubio invaded Trump’s turf. Trump is going to launch a barrage of attacks on Rubio, as well as on Cruz – and Rubio had better be ready (this is going to be great – and revolting – stuff)

 

Candidates’ Corner (Politico, Reuters, NYT, me)

• Debate spat! There’s a potential Democratic debate in New Hampshire Thursday night, but the campaigns are sparring over details of more debates and right now the debate isn’t a sure thing. “I sure hope – we’re in Bernie Sanders’ backyard here in New Hampshire – I sure hope he intends to show up in his neighboring state,” Hillary Clinton said on CNN on Tuesday
 

• Sanders has publicly proposed a debate in Brooklyn – his hometown and the home of Clinton’s campaign and his campaign says she won’t debate there. “I would like to see us debate in New York City, and I am a little bit amazed that Sec Clinton does not want to have a debate in the state that she represented,” Sanders said at a presser in Keene, NH, Tuesday
 

• Two major online betting sites on Tuesday lengthened Donald Trump’s odds at becoming the next president following his Iowa loss. Ladbrokes and Paddy Power said Trump’s odds of winning were now 7/1, compared to 3/1 on Monday (ouch). Marco Rubio has taken over as favorite to become the GOP nominee, Ladbrokes said
 

• Donald Trump was, astonishingly, silent on Twitter for 15 hours and 29 seconds from his last post before the Iowa caucus to his first post Tuesday. Then he unleashed a brief barrage, ending up by blaming the media. “I will be talking about my wonderful experience in Iowa and the simultaneous unfair treatment by the media-later in New Hampshire. Big crowd.”

 
• A case of Zika virus infection transmitted by sex, rather than mosquito bite, was discovered in Texas on Tuesday, Dallas County health officials confirmed. They said a patient with Zika was infected after having sex with someone who had returned from Venezuela, where Zika is circulating. The CDC then said men traveling to these areas should consider wearing condoms (NYT, Fox News)
 
Obama Visits Mosque Today (AP, me)
• President Obama is scheduled to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore today – his first visit to a U.S. mosque. Its campus contains a mosque and schools that runs from kindergarten through 12th grade. Last week, Obama because the first sitting president to speak at the Israeli Embassy. In remarks, he warned of growing anti-Semitism in the world
 
• The WH said that today, Obama will focus on the need to speak out against bigotry and reject indifference. “For some time, we’ve been asking for pushback. Perhaps this will start a trend,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spox for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (don’t count on it)
 
• CAIR has tracked a growing number of attacks on mosques and individuals in the months following the Paris terrorist attacks and the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif. A severed pig’s head was delivered to a mosque’s doorstep in Philadelphia. Someone attempted to set fire to a mosque in Southern California. Hooper said bullying and harassment are on the rise
 
• Meanwhile, some Republicans have attacked Obama for not linking attacks like the one in Paris to “radical Islamic terrorism.” Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have done so. Obama has said he refuses to describe ISIS that way because it grants them a religious legitimacy they don’t deserve (Trump has also called for a ban on Muslims entering the country)
 
• Attendees a the Baltimore mosque are predominantly of Turkish heritage, said Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies specialist at American University. Obama “left it literally to the last” to visit a U.S. mosque, Ahmed noted, “but better late than never.” (45% of GOP think he’s praying 5 times a day, anyway)

 

• The number of women and children coming to the U.S. illegally being apprehended at the border dropped 65% in January, new data show – soon after the Obama admin launched controversial raids targeting immigrants who had recently crossed the border. Cold winter weather could also play a role (Politico)
 
Obama-GOP Leadership Huddle (Reuters, NYT, Politico, me)
• President Obama met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) on Tuesday in the Oval Office. Following the meeting, the two ate lunch together in the WH. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) joined them for the earlier meeting. Ryan has in the past accused Obama of “blatant violations of the Constitution” (fly on wall for lunch)
 
• During the meeting in which the leaders hoped to find common ground, Obama urged action in areas where Republicans had signaled some support, including ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, providing tools to help address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis and advancing cancer treatment. McConnell said later he thought the TPP should wait until after the election
 
• Sniping between the admin and the Republicans resumed just hours after the meeting, as WH chief of staff Denis McDonough slammed Republicans’ latest attempt (which failed) to overturn Obamacare. “Groundhog’s Day is great for a movie plot, not a legislative strategy,” McDonough tweeted in response to a post from Ryan’s account (BTW groundhog said early spring Tuesday!)
 
• The leaders also discussed taking action to combat opioid addiction, criminal justice reform and the fight against the Zika virus. “It actually is possible for leading Republicans to sit down in the same office with a leading Democrat and have a conversation about the priorities of the country. It’s not treasonous to do that,” WH spox Josh Earnest said (oh come on, ’tis too)

• Dutch police are training eagles (great pic of eagle about to trash drone mid air) to swoop down and take out unlicensed drones flying into off-limit spaces. The eagle clutches it in its talons and drags it to the ground.The eagle gets rewarded with a piece of meat. Scientists are researching whether it’s having any impact on the eagles’ welfare (Reuters, me)

 

2 Generals: Women Should Register For Draft (NYT, Hill, me)
• At a Senate hearing on women in combat, Gen Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believed that now that the Pentagon had opened all combat roles to women, “every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft.” Gen Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, agreed
 
• And the acting secretary of the Army, Patrick Murphy, encouraged Congress to look into the matter, saying “it should be a national debate.” The officials had been asked their views by Sen Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), who said, “I think it’s the right thing going forward.”
 
• It’s unclear whether SecDef Ash Carter supports the idea; a spox didn’t return an email seeking comment (hmm – bit of a dodge, Ash). Carter announced in Dec that all military roles would be opened to women. WH spox Josh Earnest said it was not “an official admin position” that women be required to register.”
 
• Under the current system, all men ages 18 to 26 living in the U.S. are required to register for the draft with the federal govt’s Selective Service System. The military ended the draft in 1973. Congress would probably need to pass a law to make military service compulsory. If women were required to register, it’s not clear exactly how a draft would be carried out

• Super Bowl 50 ad: Christopher Walken (who just can’t help looking creepy) in a not at all bad ad for Kia / Super Bowl 50 ad: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler receives a – special – portrait, in this ad for Skittles (meh) / Sun Trust wants you to let go and breathe so you can enjoy life in this Super Bowl 50 ad (average) (WSJ, me)

 
FBI Joins Probe of Flint Water (Reuters, Detroit News, Hill, AP, me)
• The FBI is joining a criminal investigation into lead contaminated water in Flint, Mich, exploring whether any laws were broken. Federal prosecutors in Michigan are working with an investigative team that includes the FBI, US Postal Inspection Service, EPA’s Office of IG and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division
 
• Flint was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched the source of its tap water from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in April 2014. Flint switched back last Oct after tests found high levels of lead in blood samples taken from children. Gov Rick Snyder (R) has apologized repeatedly for the state’s poor handling of the matter

• In DC, the GOP-controlled House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the Flint crisis today and has invited the EPA’s acting deputy assistant administrator in its Office of Water to testify. Kevin Creagh, director of the Michigan Dept of Environmental Quality is expected to testify that state officials “relied on technical compliance instead of assuring safe drinking water.”

&&&


 
• The committee also invited Darrell Earley, former Flint emergency manager, but he’s refused to testify. Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) on Tuesday called on Snyder to force him to testify, saying “it was about saving face for the politicians who are worried about what he might reveal under oath.” (I’ll bet)
 
• Snyder hasn’t been invited to testify. Oversight Committee ranking member Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md) said, “Having such a one-sided hearing undermines the credibility of the committee and subjects the committee to accusations of partisanship” (what credibility?)

• The Senate is expected to vote this week on an amendment to an energy bill sponsored by Sens Gary Peters (D-Mich) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) providing $600 million to Flint in aid. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said Tuesday that Flint was a “man-made crisis” and urged his “colleagues, especially my Republican friends,” to support the proposal

 

• Watch Teddy Bear the porcupine predict the Super Bowl 50 winner – Broncos or Panthers – and make the cutest little noises in the history of sounds while doing it)

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Victoria Jones – Editor