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* Senate Republicans blocked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's confirmation Thursday, demanding more time to study his record. It was the first time a national security nominee has ever faced a filibuster. Senate Republicans had urged that the vote be delayed until later in the month, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opted not to delay. From here, Democrats can try again after next week's recess. Several Republicans have said that at that point, they will vote to end debate and proceed to a vote on Hagel, at which point he would only need 51 votes for confirmation.

* Senate Democrats released a plan to avert the looming automatic spending cuts known as the sequester through alternate savings. But even they acknowledged the plan stands little chance of passage, leaving the threat of the sequester kicking in on March 1 without a clear solution.

* House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reaffirmed that he doesn’t plan to move on President Obama’s recent policy proposals until and unless the Senate moves first. But on immigration, Boehner said: “I’ve done everything I can to try to encourage those bipartisan conversations as they continue. No decision has been made on who should go first, I think we’re way too far down the road.”

* Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she will not run again as Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate. “I believe I’ve been effective as lieutenant governor, and I think I can be more effective in other office, and I look forward to that,” Simon said. Quinn's polling numbers have been downright bad, and he is expected to face significant primary opposition next year.

* According to the liberal magazine Mother Jones, staffers at the tea party group FreedomWorks produced a parody video of a staffer in a panda suit simulating a sex act on a staffer wearing a Hillary Clinton mask. According to the report, which multiple sources have confirmed, two female interns were asked to appear in the scene, part of a film meant to be shown at the FreePAC conference last July. It was nixed after several staffers voiced loud objections. FreedomWorks spokeswoman Jackie Bodnar called the allegations “unsourced, baseless and intentionally harmful accusations made by disgruntled former employees.”

* Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is reportedly considering a Senate run, should Sen. Carl Levin (D) opt for retirement. Amash is a libertarian-leaning congressman who has clashed with House Republican leadership.


* Obama reportedly met on Thursday with James Carter, the man who released Mitt Romney's "47 percent" video, according to Carter's cousin, state Sen. Jason Carter. The cousin said Obama thanked Carter, who is the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter.

* So what did Boehner (R-Ohio) give his wife for Valentine's Day? "Same thing I got you, honey,” he shouted over his shoulder at a reporter who asked him, after blowing him a kiss to the reporter.

* Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert will appear at a fundraiser for his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, on Feb. 23. This fundraiser will be in South Carolina (A previous report indicated Colbert would raise money at a separate event in New York on Feb. 22.) Colbert Busch is running as a Democrat in South Carolina's 1st District special election. The district leans heavily Republican.

* Republican Sean Bielat will run in the Massachusetts Senate special election. Bielat previously lost in the state's 4th District twice; first to former Democratic congressman Barney Frank and later to current Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D). Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, will also reportedly run.

* Obama will spend Presidents' Day weekend in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he’s expected to be “relaxing with some friends,” according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.


"Some guy in Normandy," for the win.

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Aaron Blake · February 14, 2013

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