Ted Cruz’s delicate balancing act

How the NRA spent $32 million on politics in 2012

Why the assault weapons ban is going nowhere, Part 2

How immigration reform failed, over and over

Why Hillary can’t wait forever to make up her mind on 2016

Who is Mo Cowan?

Why the Judiciary Committee is the center of the (congressional) universe

New Jersey is a Democratic state. Why can’t Democrats find someone to run against Chris Christie?

Jay Leno on Michael Bloomberg’s big donation to Johns Hopkins (video)


* The office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) denied allegations that a major donor supplied him with free trips to the Dominican Republic where he engaged with underage prostitutes, adding that the allegations "are manufactured by a politically motivated right-wing blog." The accusations, which were reported on conservative Web sites in the lead up to 2012 election, have resurfaced due to an FBI raid on the home of the Menendez donor.

* Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to act to curb gun violence. In addition to Giffords, who nearly lost her life in a 2011 assassination attempt, the committee's Democrats invited her husband, Mark Kelly, National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre, and Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson to appear on Wednesday. Republicans invited Independent Women’s Forum senior fellow Gayle Trotter and Denver University Professor David Kopel, a prominent opponent of gun control.

* Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) called a GOP proposal to allocate Wisconsin's electoral votes by congressional district a "double-edged sword." He added: "What may look appealing right now depending on who your candidate was might, four or eight years from now, look like just the reverse. And the most important thing to me long term as a governor is what makes your voters be in play.

* Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) took a swipe at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the issue of immigration, calling him "amazingly naive" on the subject. “I love and respect Marco,” Vitter (R-La.) said in an interview, before adding: “I think he’s just amazingly naïve on this issue. This is the same formula we’ve seen before. … Promises of enforcement never materialize, and the amnesty happens immediately.”

* A Chicago teenager who reportedly performed with her school’s marching band at several events for President Obama’s inauguration last week was shot and killed  Tuesday afternoon, police said.


* Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun's wife, Niki Broun, says he's going to run for the Senate. Broun's office said nothing is official yet, but that he will make his plans known within the next week.

* Illinois state Sen. Napoleon Harris (D) dropped out of the race for the seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr., and endorsed former state representative Robin Kelly (D). The departure of Harris, a former NFL linebacker, whittles the list of candidates down to 21 (!).

* The White House had no reaction to the skeet shooting challenge Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) offered up for Obama.

* Michigan state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will not challenge Gov. Rick Snyder (D) in 2014. Democrats are still looking for a candidate to rally behind.


Break it down!

With Aaron Blake