-- How It's Playing: "Confident and at times cocky, the president used the pageantry of the prime-time speech for a defense of an activist federal government." (New York Times) "At times boastful, confident and even cocky, Obama appeared unfazed by his party’s electoral pounding in the midterm election less than three months ago or his year of slouching approval ratings." (Los Angeles Times) "Obama appeared liberated." (Reuters) "This was not a speech uttered in retreat. Instead, he brashly wagged his finger at his critics." (Associated Press) "Upbeat, defiant and preachy, he offered a hint of conciliation but mostly populist proposals sure to alienate [Republicans]." (New York Daily News) Obama tied his "middle class economics" proposals to liberal legacies like Social Security, Medicare and college aid. (USA Today)
-- Quick Clips: Obama proposed $320 billion in new taxes on the wealthy. He pledged to veto any effort to roll back his executive action on immigration. Obama mocked Republicans who claim they're not scientists when it comes to climate change. He called for free community college education, promised to veto legislation sanctioning Iran over its nuclear program and touted the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Full text here.
-- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) gave a personal, and populist, Republican response to Obama's address, offering an introduction to the new Republican Congress more than a direct rebuttal to Obama's speech. Ernst pledged to pass the Keystone XL pipeline bill, attacked the Affordable Care Act and called for a "comprehensive plan" to defeat America's enemies abroad. (Washington Post) For a rookie, Ernst handled a tough job pretty well. Full text here.
-- By The Numbers: Obama spoke for 59 minutes and 57 seconds. The speech, and the Republican response, generated more than 2.6 million tweets, with the heaviest volume coming during Obama's zinger: "I have no more campaigns to run. I know because I've won both of them." Most-tweeted about topics during the live tele-cast: Community college, equal pay, climate change. (Twitter) Facebook generated 13.8 million reactions to the speech from 5.7 million people. Residents in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina were the most engaged. First Congressional reaction delivered to our inbox: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who put out a statement more than 15 minutes before Obama started speaking.
-- Two U.S. Navy warships, the USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry, are in position in the Red Sea to evacuate Americans from the U.S. embassy in Yemen if necessary. Embassy workers would likely be evacuated from the airport in Sanaa under air cover, by helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft stationed aboard the ships. (CNN) Houthi rebels seized control of Yemen's presidential palace on Tuesday. The whereabouts of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was unknown, though Houthi leaders said he was safe. (New York Times)
-- An internal CIA review found the agency repeatedly overstated the value of intelligence gained during brutal interrogation sessions, years before the Senate release came out last month. The 1,000-plus page report, dubbed the Panetta Review, was led by Peter Clement, the deputy director of intelligence for analytic programs. It hasn't been turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee. (New York Times)
-- Front Pages: State of the Union coverage all around, from WaPo ("Shadow of crisis has passed"), the LA Times, USA Today ("Obama pushes plan to hoist middle class") and NYT ("Obama Defiantly Sets An Ambitious Agenda").
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is prowling in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) backyard. Bush sat down with about 15 Garden State Republicans at a Jan. 8 dinner in midtown Manhattan organized by former RNC finance chairman Lawrence Bathgate two weeks ago. New Jersey Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. attended, too. (Bergen Record) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spent his trip to Europe meeting with prominent conservative groups like the Young Britons Foundation and the Margaret Thatcher Foundation. He had lunch Monday with about 20 British members of Parliament, then spoke to a group from AIPAC. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
-- Nebraska: The company constructing the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp., filed eminent domain proceedings on Tuesday against about 90 landowners to secure the rights to build the pipeline across their property. Landowners filed suit on Friday, asking a judge to declare a law allowing the governor to approve a route unconstitutional. (Los Angeles Times)
-- New Jersey: The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity is organizing around opposition to a hike in the state's gas tax. AFP says it wants to study why the cost of maintaining New Jersey's highways was three times higher than any other state, according to data compiled by another Koch-backed organization. Two Democrats have proposed raising the gas tax by between 15 cents and 25 cents a gallon over a few years. (Newark Star-Ledger)
-- Maryland: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) will be sworn in today, a day before he unveils a budget that will try to close a $750 million revenue shortfall. Hogan's budget was done a few weeks ago, but he held back in publishing it after Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) offered last-minute cuts. (Washington Post) Hogan fiscal adviser Robert Neall says the $20 billion unfunded liability in Maryland's retirement system is "an area of concern." (Baltimore Sun)
-- Nevada: Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) will propose generating $570 million in a new tax increase package, mainly through a gross receipts tax that would cost businesses between $400 and $4 million a year. Cigarette taxes would increase by 50 percent, to $1.20 a pack, and slot machine operators who have more than 500 machines would be subject to a gross revenue tax, too. Mining companies would see a small increase in payroll taxes. The money would help fund education programs. (Las Vegas Sun)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama hits the road for a post-State of the Union tour this morning with a stop in Boise, where he'll tour a new product development lab at an engineering center at Boise State University. It's Obama's first stop in Idaho as president. He'll head to Lawrence, Kan., where he'll stay overnight.
-- Vice President Biden has nothing but meetings at the White House on the calendar today. He'll attend the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Thursday.
-- The House meets at 10 a.m. for morning business today, with first votes expected between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Last votes are expected between 3 and 4 p.m.
-- The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. to continue consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline bill. They'll consider amendments from Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Amendments proposed by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) were tabled on Tuesday, but an amendment sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) passed 94 to 5.
-- House Democrats will hold a series of meetings beginning next week to reexamine their governing rules as tension mounts between younger members who want promotions and party leaders. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) will chair the meetings, which she said will focus on a wholesale review of how the House Democratic Caucus operates. (Politico) Members we talk to say they're feeling more angst over top committee assignments than over senior leadership positions.
-- Ben Jenkins will become the new Vice President of Communications at America's Health Insurance Plans. Jenkins comes from the Distilled Spirits Council, where he served as vice president of state government communications. "Ben is a thoughtful, savvy communicator with considerable experience navigating complex policy issues happening at the state and federal levels," AHIP president and CEO Karen Ignagni says in a statement going out this morning.
-- Zac Petkanas will become communications director at Media Matters for America. Petkanas is a former top communications aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who spent the 2014 cycle helping Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D). (Politico)
-- A winter weather advisory is in effect for the D.C. metro area until 6 p.m. tonight. Light snow and a wintry mix are expected today, with highs in the mid-to-upper 30s. (Capital Weather Gang) Federal workers have the option for unscheduled leave or telework. Loudoun County schools are closed today, and Anne Arundel County schools will close two hours early. Keep up with the complete list of closings here. The two worst words in the English language: Wintry mix.
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's allies have set up the Senate Leadership Fund to help collect donations and coordinate spending among Republican groups aiming to keep the Senate majority. Crossroads head Steven Law, a former McConnell chief of staff, will sit on the board. (New York Times)
-- Mitt Romney will charge Mississippi State University $50,000 to deliver a lecture on campus next week, barely a fraction of the $250,000 to $300,000 that Hillary Clinton charges for university lectures. Romney will speak as part of the school's Global Lecture Series, and he plans to donate most of his fee to Charity Vision, a nonprofit run by one of his sons. (Washington Post)
-- Stock futures are down less than half a percentage point in pre-market trading after a barely positive day on Wall Street on Tuesday. European and Asian markets are mixed in Wednesday trading. (CNN)
C1: Take time to digest the long reads
-- Surveillance cameras at Vice President Biden's residence in Delaware failed to capture images of a gunman who fired shots near the home on Saturday, leaving Secret Service and local police without leads or suspects. The security system at Biden's house was so unreliable at times last year that the Secret Service turned it off for several months. (Washington Post)
C4: Fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- The NFL has informed the New England Patriots that its initial investigation has found game balls supplied for Sunday's AFC Championship game didn't meet league specifications. Eleven of the 12 balls supplied by the Patriots were underinflated by about two pounds per square inch each. The Patriots could be fined a minimum of $25,000, and the NFL could strip them of a draft pick. (Boston Globe)
Attn Matt Drudge: What outrages conservatives today
-- HealthCare.gov is sending personal data from consumers who sign up to private companies specializing in advertising and analyzing internet data, despite pledges from the Obama administration that personal information is being protected. Data sent to the private companies includes IP addresses, which can identify an individual behind the data. The administration says the data is used to improve the consumer experience. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to the Obama administration on Tuesday asking for explanations about oversight. (Associated Press)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- The state of our union was supposed to be really bad, according to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. All of those paragons of foresight predicted the economy would be in the dumps by the beginning of 2015 if President Obama won re-election. Lee said gas would cost $5.45 a gallon, Gingrich guessed $10 a gallon. Romney said chronic high unemployment would continue. Trump predicted the stock market would crash; it's up 35 percent since Obama won a second term. (ThinkProgress)