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* President Obama will meet with congressional leaders on Friday to discuss a way to avoid the fallout of the sequester, which is set to begin kicking in that same day.

* House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republican House members that delegations traveling abroad will be forbidden from using taxpayer-funded military aircraft once sequestration takes effect.

* Education Secretary Arne Duncan's claim on Sunday that teachers "are getting pink slips" as a result of sequestration doesn't appear to be backed by evidence. When pressed to come up with an example on Wednesday, Duncan pointed to one county in West Virginia, acknowledging, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.” Officials in the county said the “transfer notices” sent to educators had more to do with a separate matter.

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) downplayed CPAC's decision not to invite him to speak next month. The governor said he "didn't know that I hadn't been invited to CPAC until like two days ago when I saw it in the news," and added: "I can't sweat the small stuff."


* Despite the roughly $2.5 million New York City Michael Bloomberg (I) spent helping former state representative Robin Kelly defeat former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson in Illinois's 2nd District Democratic primary, he contends it's not all about the money. "You don't have to put money into every race. In the end, the money doesn't matter, it is the people that show up at the polls," Bloomberg said in an interview.

* Montana state Rep. Champ Edmunds (R) plans to challenge Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). And he could test the GOP's new effort to nominate more electable Senate candidates.

* Obstetrician and tea party supporter Greg Brannon (R) kicked off his campaign against Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). Brannon could be one of many Republicans vying for a chance to take on the Democrat.

* Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) is getting a primary challenger: New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.


A different kind of backup singer.

With Aaron Blake