A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- D.C. city council member Muriel Bowser (D) easily outpaced Mayor Vincent Gray in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Gray conceded defeat just before midnight as he trailed by a 44 percent to 33 percent margin with most precincts reporting. Bowser won Wards 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, while Gray won in Wards 5, 7 and 8. (Washington Post) Meanwhile, community activist Brianne Nadeau (D) ousted longtime council member Jim Graham with 58 percent of the vote in Ward 1, while former city council aide Charles Allen beat ex-Harry Reid advisor Darrel Thompson for the Democratic nomination in Ward 6. (D.C. Board of Elections)
-- 7.1 million people signed up for health care before open enrollment closed Monday night, President Obama said in a Rose Garden address Tuesday. Allies are already plotting for this year's open enrollment period, which begins November 15; the CBO has projected up to 13 million will enroll in exchanges by 2015. (Washington Post, WonkBlog, New York Times) White House officials called the final day of open enrollment "s--t-tastic," a nod to both the high enthusiasm for the law and the continued flaws in the website's operation. (Politico)
-- Get those press releases ready: Coming ACA implementation dates include the April 15 expiration of high-risk insurance plans, and insurance companies setting their rates for next year in May and June. (Washington Post)
-- House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan's proposed budget, released Tuesday, would cut $5 trillion in federal spending over a decade, most of it from repealing ObamaCare and revamping Medicaid, while consolidating seven individual income tax brackets into two. The budget cuts $145 billion in education funding and $90 billion in Pell grants, along with hundreds of billions in food stamp benefits (Washington Post, New York Times)
-- A new Quinnipiac survey finds 55 percent of voters oppose the Affordable Care Act and 40 percent say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports it. Democrats lead the generic ballot by a slim 40 percent to 38 percent margin, while just 42 percent approve of the job President Obama is doing. (Quinnipiac) The truth about generic ballots: Democrats need a double-digit lead if they hope to make real gains in Congress.
-- Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are on life support after President Mahmoud Abbas defied American diplomats by unilaterally signing a dozen United Nations peace treaties, Secretary of State John Kerry, attending a NATO meeting in Brussels, cancelled a meeting with Abbas that had been scheduled for today. (Washington Post)
-- Front Pages: WaPo puts Muriel Bowser over 5 columns. NYT and WSJ lead with faltering Middle East peace talks. And USA Today highlights GM's Barra visiting the Hill, along with Tiger Woods' exit from the Masters. The Affordable Care Act got positive ink in states where exchanges have run well; here's the Seattle Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Wednesday will announce what amounts to the first major policy proposal of the 2016 campaign. Jindal, formerly Louisiana's top health official, will release a 26-page plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a series of Republican reform proposals. It's part of an effort by Jindal strategists to attract attention from big donors who are otherwise interested in wooing Jeb Bush. (Washington Post)
-- WH'16: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addresses Liberty University's student body Wednesday in Lynchburg, Va. He'll be introduced by his father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz. (Associated Press) Meanwhile, Cruz will receive a $1.5 million advance on his personal memoirs after HarperCollins won a four-day bidding war. That's more than the $1.25 million advance Sarah Palin received for her book. (Washington Examiner)
-- Iowa: Republicans are gleeful over Rep. Bruce Braley's (D) comments to a group of Texas trial lawyers about the prospect of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) leading the Judiciary Committee. Braley's quip about Grassley, the "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," is featured in a $250,000 ad blitz paid for by a conservative outside group, while the NRSC is running early robo-calls. It's been the subject of at least a dozen articles in the Des Moines Register alone, though Braley strategist Jeff Link told the Register he thinks Republicans are overplaying their hand, "like they overplayed Obamacare."
-- How much of a problem will Braley's comments be? We asked the expert, David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University and the legendary former Register reporter. "Republicans are having a real tough, confused primary with no front-runner and a lot of concern about whether they could win. And all of a sudden [Braley] has made a mistake that has energized them. I know Grassley, and this will put him in the game," Yepsen told us. "It's just perfect for an attack ad that we're going to see over and over." Plus, Yepsen added, after watching the video of Braley's remarks: "That's pretty good liquor behind him."
-- Nevada: Another measure of just how important the race for lieutenant governor is: Both Republican primary candidates are running television ads already. State Sen. Mark Hutchison is highlighting the fact that he's Gov. Brian Sandoval's pick for the job, while former state Sen. Sue Lowden is accusing Hutchison of voting to implement ObamaCare in the state Senate. (Las Vegas Review-Journal) Background on the race, and its possible implications for a Sandoval-Harry Reid showdown in 2016, here and here.
-- Colorado: The Colorado state House on Tuesday celebrated April Fool's Day by passing a resolution abolishing the state Senate. The Senate "has lower approval ratings than rabies, Satan and the United States Congress," the joke resolution (maybe not so much a joke?) said. (Denver Post)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to talk about raising the minimum wage. Obama then heads to Chicago, where he attends two DNC fundraisers. He returns to D.C. this evening. Vice President Biden has no public events on his calendar.
-- Members of the Republican National Committee's site selection committee meet early this afternoon to decide on finalists for the party's 2016 convention. Eight cities -- Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix -- made the initial cut back in February. Insiders tell us Vegas, Dallas and Kansas City have pushed particularly hard to win the 2016 confab.
-- DCCC chairman Steve Israel meets the press today at 10 a.m. at the National Press Club, where he will rip into the Ryan budget and analyze the midterm elections.
The Buried Lede: The political nuggets that deserve a spotlight.
-- "History says that Rick Santorum should be the next Republican nominee for president. Republicans are wont to nominate the guy who came in second the last time around (see: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney). Having won 11 states in 2012, Santorum should be the front-runner. Problem for him is that no one believes this will be the case."
-- More from Ben Terris's profile of Santorum, playing the role of a movie executive in between political campaigns: "We’ll go with a long close-up shot of Santorum, talking about [a dog he had to put down] in such a way that it seems like he’s talking about something else: about knowing when to call it quits. 'I think we’re down to just one in the family who isn’t ready to let go,' he says." (Washington Post)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Fixing the faulty ignition switch that has been linked to 13 traffic deaths in General Motors vehicles costs just 57 cents, members of Congress said at a Tuesday hearing featuring company CEO Mary Barra. Barra said GM had hired Kenneth Feinberg to find ways to compensate victims of the crashes. (Associated Press)
-- Andy McCain, son of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and COO of the family's Budweiser distributorship, has been elected chairman of the 2014-2015 Fiesta Bowl board. (Arizona Republic)
-- The Dow gained 75 points yesterday and markets are up slightly in pre-open trading. Most international markets posted gains on Tuesday, with the Nikkei rising 1 percent. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Did William Henry Harrison really die of pneumonia after just a month in office? New evidence suggests he died of enteric fever and septic shock -- and the treatment he received from physician Thomas Miller sounds quite unpleasant. (New York Times)
-- Savings and loan financier Charles Keating has died at age 90. John McCain, the only one of the five senators cited in the Keating Five scandal still serving in public office, released a brief statement offering his thoughts and prayers to Keating's family. (Arizona Republic, Associated Press, New York Times)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Strong contender for Press Release of the Year award goes to Jake Rush, an attorney challenging freshman Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). Rush claims Yoho is attacking him for the role-playing games he plays and for his side career as a sometimes-actor who's played roles ranging from George Washington to Jesus to MacBeth. "Bottom line - There is nothing wrong with being a gamer. It's kinda nerdy, but North Central Florida deserves a legitimate debate on the issues instead of Ted Yoho's usual sideshow distractions," Rush said in a three-page press release that we're pretty sure isn't an April Fool's prank. (Miami Herald, with bonus shot of Rush in a very tight super hero costume)
-- Watch an osprey fight two Canada geese over a prime nesting spot. (Idaho Statesman)
Attn HuffPo: Things liberals will be outraged by today.
-- Is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo trying to anger the left? His plan for publicly financed elections, proposed in his new budget, applies to just one contest: The race for state Comptroller. No need for public financing in the governor's race: Cuomo already has $33 million in the bank. Daily Kos's Markos: "I'm fond of comparing Cuomo to Joe Lieberman, and the comparison fits better by the day." (Daily Kos) Side note: Just ask New York members of Congress how they feel about Cuomo. There's a reason Martin O'Malley is getting so many invites to come meet donors in the Big Apple.
-- An Oklahoma House committee has passed legislation requiring minors to get a prescription for the morning-after pill. The bill now goes to the full House. A federal judge struck down a similar law in January. (Associated Press)