-- The Obama administration has postponed executive actions on immigration indefinitely after a federal judge ruled against them Monday. President Obama said Tuesday the administration would appeal, but in the meantime it had no choice but to comply with Judge Andrew Hanen's ruling, which halted an expansion of an existing program for undocumented children that was supposed to begin today. (New York Times)
-- Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi on Tuesday called for a U.N.-backed military operation in Libya after the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians by an affiliate of Islamic State. The Egyptian government did not give the U.S. a heads up before conducting airstrikes in Libya in response to the murders. (Washington Post) The U.N. Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Libya. (Associated Press)
-- Ukrainian troops began retreating from the railway hub of Debaltseve on Wednesday in a major defeat for government forces. The town, where about 5,000 Ukrainian troops had been surrounded by pro-Russian separatists for a week, was the biggest point of contention in cease-fire negotiations between Ukraine and Russia last week. (Washington Post)
-- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to stop bombing and shelling the northern city of Aleppo as part of a six-week truce, the top U.N. envoy to Syria said. Assad loyalists launched a new offensive aimed at cutting off the main supply line to insurgents in Aleppo. No start date for the cease-fire has been announced. (New York Times)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with the administration's new policy on sales of armed drones to U.S. allies. LA Times devotes two columns to the administration's response to a judge's ruling blocking executive actions on immigration. WSJ banner: "Obama Dealt Setback on Immigration." USA Today banner: "Obama immigration plan blocked." NYT puts immigration in the left column and leads with India's booming economy.
White House 2016: The long, strange road to Pennsylvania Ave.
-- Clinton: Hillary Clinton held a private one-on-one meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at her D.C. home in December, at Clinton's invitation. She solicited policy ideas and suggestions from Warren, a sign Clinton wants Warren's ideas conveyed in person, rather than in public speeches or op-eds. (New York Times)
-- Bush: Jeb Bush began paying four advisers out of his own pocket to help him build a presidential campaign after November 2013. Bush's team thinks its first-quarter fundraising goal of between $50 million and $100 million will convince a number of potential rivals to stay on the sidelines. (Politico) Bush will call for a robust U.S. foreign policy in a speech today before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, his first big foreign policy speech since exploring a race. (Reuters) Bush will roll out 21 foreign policy advisers today, all of whom worked for his father or brother. (Washington Post)
-- Paul: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is considering announcing his presidential bid on April 7. Paul aides said the date would allow them to announce a big fundraising haul at the end of the second quarter. He's most likely to declare his bid in Kentucky, followed by a campaign swing through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Kentucky GOP will decide on March 7 whether to hold a caucus or a primary; Paul wants a caucus so he can run both for president and for re-election to the Senate. (New York Times)
-- Biden: Vice President Biden, intent on taking himself out of the running: First, he's getting heat for placing his hands on the shoulders of Stephanie Carter, wife of new Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Then, Biden said he has great relations with the Somali community in Wilmington, Del., "because an awful lot of them are driving cabs." (Fox News, Huffington Post) Worse, or not as bad, as the 7-Eleven crack about Indian Americans?
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Oregon: Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) will announce a series of ethics reforms when she officially assumes the governorship today. Gov. John Kitzhaber's (D) resignation takes effect at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. (Oregonian) Kitzhaber and fiancee Cylvia Hayes haven't made a public appearance since he submitted his resignation on Friday. (Oregonian)
-- Illinois: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) leads the field a week before Election Day with 45 percent of the vote, compared with 20 percent for Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D). Emanuel needs to hit 50 percent to avoid an April runoff. Alderman Bob Fioretti and businessman Willie Wilson each take 7 percent. A quarter of African American voters remain undecided; Emanuel leads 42 percent to 13 percent among those who have made up their mind. (Chicago Tribune)
-- Ohio: Former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) is actively raising money for his bid against Sen. Rob Portman (R). Strickland staffers are asking for donations ahead of the March 31 fundraising deadline, listing the Ohio Democratic Party headquarters in Columbus as their return address. Strickland has said he'll make a public announcement by the end of this month. (Youngstown Vindicator)
-- California: Almost half of California residents, 46 percent, say they're inclined to support Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D) seat next year, while 37 percent say they're not inclined. The only candidate who receives more support: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R), at 49 percent. Just 35 percent say they're inclined to support former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), less than the number who say they'd back Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D), Jackie Speier (D) and John Garamendi (D). (Sacramento Bee)
-- Florida: DNC chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) is considering a bid for Sen. Marco Rubio's (R) seat. Wasserman Schultz aides say she's increasingly convinced Rubio will run for the White House instead of re-election. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) is also considering a bid, and (of course) so is former Gov. Charlie Crist (D). (Politico) One interesting theory we heard the other day: If Rubio loses his presidential bid, his career is far from over. After all, Florida's governorship will be open in 2018.
-- New Hampshire: Good job news for Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), Democrats' top pick to challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) next year: A new UNH survey shows 55 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of the job she's doing as governor, and 53 percent view her favorably. Almost two-thirds, 65 percent, say the state is headed in the right direction. (UNH) President Obama's approval stood at just 42 percent in the same poll. They haven't released Ayotte's approval rating yet.
-- South Dakota: U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson will announce he's resigning to return to work in the private sector at a press conference on Wednesday, a possible prelude to a bid for statewide office. Johnson is the son of former Sen. Tim Johnson (D). He plans to open a Sioux Falls office of the Minneapolis-based law firm of Robins Kaplan LLP. (Associated Press)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid at the White House this afternoon before sitting down with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Later, he'll deliver remarks at the second day of the White House's summit on countering violent extremism.
-- Vice President Biden heads to South Carolina (!!!) this morning to participate in a Department of Transportation event with Secretary Anthony Foxx. They'll visit the Port of Charleston before heading to Columbia to tour Owen Steel, along with Rep. James Clyburn (D). Biden then heads to Foxx's home town, Charlotte, where he'll spend the night.
-- The House and Senate are on break this week.
-- Another cold day in D.C. today: Highs will only get near 30 degrees, with snow showers possible during the evening commute. (Capital Weather Gang) Federal employees have the opportunity for unscheduled telework, and schools in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties are closed. Full list of closures here.
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, one wing of the Koch brothers' big donor network, can keep its donor list secret, for now. District Court Judge Manuel Real blocked a request from California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) to force the group to disclose its donors. (Bloomberg)
-- Stock futures are pretty much flat this morning after the Dow added 28 points on Tuesday. Asian markets were up while European indices were mixed. (CNN)
C1: Take time to digest the long reads
-- Ten conservative PACs raised more than $54 million and contributed just $3.6 million to candidates and independent expenditures. The worst offenders included the National Draft Ben Carson for President super PAC, which contributed just $531,788 of the $12.8 million it raised, and the Tea Party Express, which spent only $567,907 of the $12.3 million it raised. "The conservative movement has a right to expect more than this from the PACs that are representing it." (Right Wing News)
-- Reid's Take: The rise of the "scam PAC" wasn't new to 2014, but the sheer amount of money involved means there's more money to be made. The sad fact is that most of the money these PACs raise comes from small-dollar mail donors who probably only give $25 a year. Their money isn't going to elect the candidates they believe in; it's going to line the pockets of phony consultants.
-- The fate of President Obama's executive action on immigration is in the hands of the courts. So are the Affordable Care Act and executive actions on climate change. In fact, a surprising amount of Obama's agenda is being left up to judges, after Republican legal challenges. Former White House senior counselor John Podesta: "I guess we're used to getting sued." (Washington Post)
C4: Fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- A new report from Israel's state comptroller shows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara spent about $24,000 on takeout food in 2011, despite the fact that the prime minister's residence has a private chef. Monthly cleaning expenses ran about $20,000 between 2009 and 2013. The report comes four weeks before Israel's elections. (Washington Post, Los Angeles Times) Hey, sometimes a prime minister's just got to have pizza.
Attn Matt Drudge: What outrages conservatives today
-- The Clinton Foundation has dropped a self-imposed ban on collecting money from foreign governments and has recently taken contributions from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia and Germany, along with the Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. The foundation stopped taking foreign money in 2009, when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Saudi Arabia has given the foundation between $10 million and $25 million since it was created in 1999. (Wall Street Journal)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- An Oklahoma legislative committee endorsed a measure on Monday that would ban funding for Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, which critics say highlights negative parts of America's past. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Dan Fisher (R), is part of the "Black Robe Regiment," which advocates against what it calls the "false wall of separation of church and state." (ThinkProgress)