Donald Trump does surprisingly well in a CNN poll, one presidential candidate has actually declared, and Rep. Anthony Weiner thinks the individual mandate could die in the Supreme Court.
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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
* Is Donald Trump’s publicity-stunt presidential bid more viable than it seems? A CNN poll of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents finds ten percent of primary voters picking the real estate mogul/reality television star. That’s still fifth place. But he’s only two points behind former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Trump pulls about equally from supporters of all the major candidates.
* Tom Beaumont is joining the Associated Press. A veteran of Iowa caucus coverage, Beaumont has been the Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter since 2002. "Tom breaks the news that matters most in presidential politics in Iowa," said AP regional editor David Scott in a press release.
* The high court may well kill the health-care law’s requirement to buy insurance, according to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). "I think there's a pretty good chance that the Supreme Court will strike down the mandate," he told reporters today. He’s not upset about it, though. In Weiner’s view, the loss would pave the way for Congress to pass a public health insurance option instead, liberals’ preferred cost-control measure.
* The final bill for Sen. Claire McCaskill’s unpaid plane taxes will likely be about $320,000, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, because of $80,000 in interest. McCaskill anticipated interest and late fees on the plane, she told reporters Monday, but she said she did not yet know how large they would be. The final amount is still unofficial.
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:
* The Club for Growth PAC has raised $350,000 for Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) since endorsing his Senate candidacy last month. Meanwhile Flake, who has taken heat from fellow Republicans in the past for supporting immigration reform, just recently changed his position on the issue.
* Sarah Palin is in Florida, speaking at the Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speakers lecture series. Vice President Joe Biden is also in the Sunshine State, attending fundraisers for Sen. Bill Nelson and checking out the Yankees’ spring training. Presumably, their paths won’t cross.
* Crossroads GPS, the conservative campaign powerhouse, has launched a website to crowd-source scrutiny of data from the Obama administration, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. The website will also agitate for more transparency from the White House. Democrats are crying foul, saying that Crossroads is itself against transparency for political donors.
* Democracy for America, Howard Dean’s PAC, has endorsed California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in the in the upcoming special election to replace Rep. Jane Harman (D). Term limits bar Bowen for running for her current office again. Known for her advocacy on environmental issues and election integrity, Bowen will face off against Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn , and liberal activist Marcy Winograd .
* The 2012 Republican primaries have their first official candidate: Fred Karger, a retired California political consultant. While former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Godfathers’ Pizza CEO Herman Cain have formed exploratory committees, Karger is the first candidate to actually file with the Federal Election Commission. He’s also the first openly gay Republican presidential candidate. How much attention and access he’ll get for the quixotic bid is unclear – Karger was left out of last month’s Faith & Freedom Coalition forum in Des Moines. The Post’s Dan Zak profiled Karger last month.
THE FIX MIX:
RIP, Elizabeth Taylor:
With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake