Afternoon Fix: Sarah Palin shakes up foreign policy team

Mary Beth Cahill is now at the United Auto Workers, Sarah Palin has rejiggered her foreign policy team, Donald Trump has made up his mind and Pat Roberts thinks “hot” means “partisan.”

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is making some changes on her foreign policy team. Randy Scheunemann, who has advising Palin on foreign policy since the 2008 presidential campaign, is out. Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of a number of books about liberals, is in.

* The United Auto Workers have named longtime Democratic operative Mary Beth Cahill as director of their Washington office. Cahill, who served as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s longtime chief of staff and also campaign director for Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid, will be tasked with heading up the union’s national political program as well. “She is a renowned authority on women and politics and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the union’s political operations,” said Bob King, president of UAW, of Cahill.

* Donald Trump tells Bloomberg News: “In my mind, I have already decided. I am going to announce. But I can’t do anything until the show ends.” Republican pollster John McLaughlin has been in talks with Trump, but his firm is not yet employed by the media mogul.

* At a Finance Committee hearing today, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) might have gotten himself in trouble with an odd joke. He told one of the witnesses, a doctoral candidate in economics at MIT, that “I always heard a Ph.D. was a pretty hot Democrat.” Future Ph.D. Aviva Aron-Dine responded, “Pretty…sorry?” Roberts continued, “Somebody asked me what a pretty hot Republican was, and they said, `Nothing.’ So, you know, it’s an equal deal.” He then went back to the questioning. A spokeswoman later told the Wall Street Journal that Roberts meant “hot as in partisan.”

* In an interesting peek at how carefully the White House monitors press about Michelle Obama, a small weekly paper in California was asked to remove from a story about touring Marine One a line saying that the first lady made eye contact with the pilots but did not speak to them. The paper’s president told the Daily Caller she “complied” with the White House’s request “because it was not worth making a fuss over.”

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Rick Santorum has launched an exploratory committee, putting the Pennsylvania senator one step closer to a presidential run. He will participate in Thursday’s South Carolina debate, sponsored by Fox News. While many potential candidates’ spouses have expressed reluctance about the grueling spotlight of a presidential campaign, Karen Santorum is very supportive of her husband’s bid.“For me it’s not just another political race,” she told the Brody Report in an interview airing tomorrow. “It’s about going on to the battlefield and defending God’s truth in the world.

* Will Ferrell is working on a movie about running for Congress in South Carolina, of all things. “Southern Rivals” will pit Ferrell against Zach Galifianakis as dueling politicians in a small S.C. congressional district. It’s scheduled to come out around election season next year. So, which district should it be?

* Software company founder Barry Hinckley, who is running against Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) next year, is making the rounds in Washington this week with Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). Hinckley doesn’t consider himself a tea party guy, but he says that "maybe because they're closer to my age and they're freshmen . . . they probably had a little more understanding of my position.”

* Earl Ray Tombin is out with a new ad starring his wife, Joanne. “He’s a loving father, a good husband, and he’s doing a great job as governor. I should know. We’ve been happily married for 31 years,” she says. The ad also emphasizes the acting West Virginia governor’s work on coal mine safety, about a year after the disaster that killed 29 miners in the state. Tomblin leads in what little polling has been done on this special gubernatorial primary, coming up on May 14.

THE FIX MIX:

Here’s a 2008 town hall attendee asking Sen. Obama how he would catch “Obama bin Laden.”

With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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