* Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a “gun rights” pol who presented the NRA’s school safety plan today, breaks with the organization on background checks:

“Yes. Absolutely, I’m open to expanding background checks,” Hutchison said on CNN Tuesday. “You can do it in a way that does not infringe upon an individual and make it hard for an individual to transfer to a friend or a neighbor.”

It’s good to have someone so directly aligned with the NRA conceding that expanding background checks doesn’t have to infringe on individual rights.

* A must read from Steve Benen on John McCain’s support in 2000 for expanded background checks, and what it says about today’s radicalized GOP.

* Jill Lawrence gets this right: No, it’s not fair to blame Obama for not moving on guns “fast enough,” and yes, it’s absolutely premature to declare defeat in the gun wars.

* Mike Tomasky on how Marco Rubio is preparing to take a final position on immigration reform based on whatever is best for his 2016 ambitions, which means those ambitions may dictate whether reform happens.

* After being informed by Dems that he will bet the Congressional processes he has requested, Rubio’s office demands “several” hearings. Escape hatch number four?

* In so doing, Rubio is effectively throwing in his lot with Senator Jeff Sessions, who is now claiming: “A sound committee process will take months — not the two-week timeframe Chairman Leahy has outlined.”

Come on. For the likes of Sessions, this is only about giving the armies of the right time to mobilize and perhaps kill reform.

* Shorter Ted Cruz: Obama is pushing real immigration reform as part of a secret plot to derail fake immigration reform.

* Lee Fang has an interesting and deeply reported piece looking at the quiet growth of the right wing’s think tank infrastructure, and how it’s enabling conservative successes at the state level.

It’s another reason, as Jamelle Bouie wrote the other day, that liberals need to take the battle for control of state legislatures much, much more seriously.

* Today Senators Mark Kirk and Tom Carper came out for gay marriage, and Wonkblog has a fascinating chart documenting changing sentiment on the issue in the Senate that neatly illustrates just how fast a cultural shift this has really been (not to mention how belated the sudden rush to get on the right side of history was).

* Think Progress tallies it up: A working majority of the United States Senate now supports marriage equality.

* Meanwhile, meet the Republicans in Congress who have come out for gay marriage. All four of them.

* And speaking of which, Dana Milbank  rounds up a number of signs that the GOP could be growing ever so slightly less intolerant. I had missed this amusing quote about Don Young’s “wetbacks” crack:

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, fired off a statement saying that “slurs” such as Young’s “do nothing to elevate our party.”

No kidding!

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.
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