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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- President Obama said Friday in South Korea that neither Israel nor the Palestinians have demonstrated the political will to move negotiations forward, days after the Palestinian Authority and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal, which led to Israel suspending peace talks. Obama also said the U.S. and Europe are laying groundwork for sanctions against whole sectors of the Russian economy if Russia invades eastern Ukraine. (Associated Press)
-- The U.S. and Japan weren't able to conclude negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership during Obama's visit, but White House officials said before leaving Tokyo they had achieved a "pathway" to resolving remaining issues on the table after round-the-clock negotiations all week. Hangups remain over Japanese tariffs on agricultural products like cheese and pork. (New York Times)
-- The White House will turn its attention to midterm elections in the next few weeks, placing a heavy emphasis on the economy and differences between Democratic and Republican budget proposals. President Obama has fundraisers scheduled in early May in Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area, and he doesn't have another major foreign trip planned until after the midterms. (Wall Street Journal)
-- House Speaker John Boehner, campaigning in his district ahead of primaries two weeks away, told a local Rotary Club it's too late to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering an alternative. Boehner also mocked some House Republicans for wanting to avoid immigration reform. "Here's the attitude. 'Ohhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhh. This is too hard,'" Boehner said in a mock-whine. Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the Speaker only teases the ones he loves. (Cincinnati Enquirer, Roll Call)
-- The board of Cover Oregon, the state's health care exchange, will vote Friday on whether to drop its website and join the federal insurance marketplace. Joining the federal exchange would cost the state about $5 million, while fixing the catastrophic failure of a website would cost more than $78 million, according to one estimate. The Obama administration and state officials have already agreed that shutting down the state marketplace is the best path forward. (Oregonian, Washington Post)
-- A federal judge on Thursday struck down Arkansas's voter identification law, which requires voters who can't provide identification to travel to a county clerk's office to affirm they are too "indigent" to afford a photo ID. The Arkansas law doesn't help low-income voters receive an identification, unlike most other states with voter ID laws. (MSNBC, Reuters)
-- The NRA will kick off its annual meeting today in Indianapolis with a call for reciprocity for concealed weapons permits. All 50 states allow concealed weapon permits, though rules vary widely from one state to the next. (Associated Press)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with Russian troop movements, while NYT starts with setbacks on the Asia trip. WSJ cites falling mortgage demand. USA Today looks at structurally deficient infrastructure and fortunes made on Medicare lobbying.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is courting a small cluster of influential libertarian donors with appearances at a Club for Growth conference in Florida, a fundraiser at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix and private meetings. A top Paul fundraiser is close to PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who gave $2.6 million to a pro-Ron Paul super PAC in 2012, though Thiel hasn't signaled his intentions this year. (New York Times)
-- Colorado: Here's that Quinnipiac Senate poll we said we'd be looking out for: Sen. Mark Udall (D) leads Rep. Cory Gardner (R) by a statistically insignificant 45 percent to 44 percent margin. President Obama's approval rating is 21 points underwater, and 59 percent say they oppose the Affordable Care Act. Check out the gender gap: Udall leads among women by 17 points, while Gardner leads among men by 15. (Quinnipiac) Grain of salt: Quinnipiac is new to Colorado, and some of their 2012 numbers there were a little off. Still, guess we know why Gardner jumped in the race, and why Udall has already gone negative.
-- Ohio: Gov. John Kasich (R) has $8.5 million on hand as of the middle of the month, compared with just $1.5 million for Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D). (Columbus Dispatch) Reid's Take: Both the DGA and the RGA have talked about the Big 5, governor's races in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin that are likely to cost each side tens of millions of dollars. Ohio, where Kasich's approvals have rebounded, seems most likely to drop off that list first.
-- North Carolina: Yesterday, we told you D.C. Republicans don't necessarily root for Rep. Walter Jones (R) in his bid for another term. Today, we have evidence: Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and former Commerce Secretary Don Evans are among those who donated to former Bush administration official Taylor Griffin (R). The Republican Jewish Coalition also chipped in $5,000. (Bloomberg)
-- Texas: "If money wins campaigns then David Dewhurst would be the senator from Texas and not Ted Cruz," said Ed Valentine, an advisor to Rep. Ralph Hall (R). (The Hill) Remember that quote in advance of the May 27 runoff. Dewhurst lost because he wasn't farthest to the right. Hall, similarly, is getting outflanked in his matchup against wealthy former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe (R).
-- Washington: The Obama administration on Thursday said it wouldn't renew a No Child Left Behind waiver after the state failed to implement changes to teacher and principal evaluations. Washington is the first state to lose a waiver under the Bush-era education law. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said the decision would lead to layoffs and program cuts. (Washington Post, Seattle Times)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama began his day in Tokyo, where he met U.S. Embassy staff and bid farewell to the Emperor and Empress before departing for Seoul, South Korea, where he arrived about 11:23 p.m. ET. In Seoul, Obama laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and formally returned artifacts removed by an American Marine during the Korean War. Later, Obama heads to the Blue House, where he meets President Park Geun-hye for bilateral meetings, a press conference and a working dinner.
-- Vice President Biden is in Wilmington, Del., with nothing on his public schedule today. On Monday, Biden will deliver remarks on budget and economic policy at The George Washington University, the White House said.
-- Lawyers for the owners of eight restaurants and bars on Capitol Hill say in new court papers that Xavier Cervera intentionally hindered their performance in order to regain control of the restaurant chain. The lawyers say they're also trying to recover a Vespa that Cervera took after selling the restaurants. Cervera denied the charges. The court documents also show a market decline in revenue between 2012 and 2013; Lola's and Molly Malone's revenue fell 25 percent each, while Boxcar, a new outpost in Eastern Market, saw its revenues drop 30 percent. Pacifico Cantina was the only outlet in the Capitol Hill empire to see its revenues increase. (Wall Street Journal)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where
-- Iowa: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is running near saturation-level broadcast ads in the Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets beginning Friday. Braley's campaign is spending almost $280,000 on new ads over all three markets between April 25 and May 8.
-- A Republican group called Trees of Liberty is spending about $260,000 on broadcast and cable over the next few weeks, but it's not clear if they're advertising for a specific Republican candidate or just against Braley. We'll keep an eye on FEC independent expenditure reports and bring you updates when they file.
-- Oklahoma: A new outside group is spending $110,000 on behalf of Rep. James Lankford (R), running for retiring Sen. Tom Coburn's seat, in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The ads are attributed to the Foundation for Economic Prosperity, but public forms filed with the TV stations say the money actually comes from the First Amendment Alliance Educational Fund. The First Amendment Alliance, associated with the Educational Fund, hasn't filed IRS forms since 2011, though it reported receiving money from Texas energy groups that year. (The Oklahoman)
-- Lankford's main rival, former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, has benefitted from $435,000 in ads from an outside social welfare organization called Oklahomans for a Conservative Future. That group put out a poll we told you about yesterday that showed Shannon ahead of Lankford.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- “Too many women trying to build a life and a family in our country don’t just face ceilings on their aspirations and opportunities. They feel as though the floor is shaky, even collapsing beneath them. That’s not only their problem. It’s our problem," Hillary Clinton said Wednesday in a speech to a massive crowd of mostly women business leaders. Pep talk, or internal monologue that sheds light on her 2016 thought process? Phil Rucker describes her speaking style as a cross between Joel Osteen and Sheryl Sandberg. (Washington Post)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Proof that D.C. is expensive: A salary of $53,046, the national median, goes as far in the nation's capital as a salary of just $38,840 would in Mississippi, according to new data published Thursday by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. Hawaii is next on the most-expensive list; $10,000 in Honolulu goes as far as $6,461 in Danville, Ill., the biggest discrepancy between two urban areas. Check out the difference between your salary's purchasing power in D.C. and metro areas around the country. (Washington Post)
-- Mortgage lending dropped to the lowest level in 14 years as interest rates rise and homeowners stop refinancing. That could depress new home construction and sales; new mortgage applications last week were 18 percent below last year's levels. (Wall Street Journal)
-- Stocks are down in pre-market trading on worries over the situation in Ukraine. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.5 percent, while European markets are trading lower. (CNN) Not helping: Ford's profit fell 39 percent in the first quarter. (Associated Press)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- In which one candidate hoping to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in Congress lives on a yacht, another insists she's not a "woo-woo silly person" and actor Richard Schiff -- also known as Toby from "The West Wing" -- says we shouldn't have a gun culture because he wants to shoot a kid in the head. Another instant classic from #ThisTown (New York Times)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- University of Nevada, Reno students might have gotten all excited to go see former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, after fliers promising a visit from the Republican rock star popped up around campus. But if they called the number listed on the flier for ticket information, they were in for a surprise: The number went to a telephone sex line. Palin isn't scheduled to visit the campus. (Associated Press)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Attorney General Eric Holder canceled plans to address a group of Oklahoma City police cadets after conservative state legislators promised to protest the meeting. State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R) called the cancellation a "victory." (Associated Press)
-- A New Hampshire state representative will not face charges after a December 23 incident in which he ran over and killed five ducks, then asked for help from a Nashua police commissioner. The state attorney general's office said Thursday it had considered reckless operation and official appression charges, though they ultimately decided against the seven-term Democrat. (New Hampshire Union-Leader)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Fresh off his remarks about "the Negro," Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy would really like it if the New York Times retracts their story. You know, the one with the quotes that others caught on video. On The Peter Schiff Show, Bundy added: "I'm wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their family structure together and the chickens and the garden and the people have something to do?" (TPM, Mediaite) Keep digging, Cliven.