Morning Bits

Confused is right. “Clarify the clarify.”

Confounding. “Twice, the House has passed legislation to replace the president’s ‘sequester’ with common-sense reforms that would reduce spending, and preserve and strengthen our safety net for future generations. We’ve spelled it all out, done our work. Because we’re committed to getting spending under control. And we have long said there’s a better way to cut spending. Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues in the Senate haven’t taken action. They haven’t acted on our plan to replace the president’s sequester or offered one of their own.”

Contemptuous for his legal obligations and for Congress. Par for the course: “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that he had no updates on when President Barack Obama will release his budget for the next fiscal year. . . . Republicans have blasted Obama for missing the deadline — his third consecutive miss and the most of any president since the [Budget and Accounting Act of 1921] was passed, according to data from the House Budget Committee.”

Concluding Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) isn’t the only Democrat with a problem. “A new connection emerged today between the doctor at the center of a controversy surrounding New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D) and Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Nominee for governor of Virginia. Menendez has been accused of soliciting prostitutes with the help of Solomon Melgen, a Miami doctor and a longtime Democratic campaign contributor. Menendez denies the accusations. Melgen is currently under investigation by the FBI, but has not been charged with a crime. . . . In 2009 McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign received two separate donations from Melgen’s company [Vitreo-Retinal Consultants] of $5,000 each. Those are the only two donations Vitreo-Retinal or Melgen has made to a candidate in Virginia directly.”

Consigning America to a second-class status power. “The Navy’s top officer has devised a stark plan to impose $4 billion in spending cuts threatened by the debt reduction process known as sequestration, warning that Middle East surveillance flights would be cut in half, ballistic missile patrols substantially reduced and civilian employees furloughed for up to 22 days.”

Confirmable? Maybe not. ” ‘Sen. Hagel did not do a very good job before the Armed Services committee,’ [Sen. Mitch] McConnell told Kentucky reporters. ‘I think the opposition to him is intensifying. Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet.” Then again, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says no filibuster.

Contrary to White House expectations Obama’s gun photo has become a nightmare. “The White House decided to release a photo of the president skeet shooting because of ‘persistent questions’ after President Obama in an interview said he had engaged in skeet shooting at Camp David ‘all the time.’ White House press secretary Jay Carney downplayed Obama’s initial remarks, saying the president wasn’t trying to overstate his use of guns and insisting Obama had ‘never pretended or suggested’ that he grew up as a hunter or marksman.” But “all the time” was an overstatement, right?

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