The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Obama's SCOTUS strategy | Clinton, Sanders in Nevada dead heat | CNN town hall with Cruz, Rubio, Carson at 8 p.m. EST | Trump at rival 'Morning Joe' town hall | Jeb chest bumps Dubya

DEVELOPING THIS A.M. -- APPLE REFUSES TO UNLOCK TERRORIST'S IPHONE: Via The Washington Post's J. Freedom du Lac and Ellen Nakashima, hours after a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the Silicon Valley giant responded with a heck no. 

"Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone." http://wapo.st/1SygzQJ

TRUMP'S TAKE: Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's first fundraising email had 60 percent spam rate Trump, Clinton fundraising off Brexit vote UK vote triggers talks with US MORE slammed Apple for not unlocking the iPhone. "To think that Apple won't allow us to get into her cellphone," Trump said on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday morning. "Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up." http://bit.ly/1QIzOkx

JUST RELEASED – TRUMP INCREASES S.C. LEAD: Via The Hill's Bradford Richardson, Donald Trump leads the GOP field with 35 percent support according to a new Monmouth University poll, nearly doubling that of his nearest competitor, Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzVa. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes Our most toxic export: American politick 'Never Trump' group ad compares Trump to Reagan MORE (R-Texas) at 19 percent. Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioVa. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes The Hill's 12:30 Report Rubio Senate challenger drops out MORE (R-Fla.) places third with 17 percent support, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) with 9 percent, Jeb Bush with 8 percent and Ben Carson with 7 percent. http://bit.ly/1PQQg2v

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SHIFT IN MOMENTUM -- S.C. MAY BE BAD NEWS BEARS FOR CRUZ: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has been banking on a strong win in South Carolina, but his support appears to have plateaued. Why: Observers say attacks on Cruz's campaign tactics from his rivals is fueling this. http://bit.ly/1QlFikP

It's Wednesday and the Duke-UNC rivalry heats up again tonight! Be prepared for your Twitter feeds to be consumed by this game. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning -- and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send comments, story ideas and happy thoughts to cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook

NEW POLL -- SANDERS, CLINTON NECK-IN-NECK IN NEVADA: Via The Hill's Bradford Richardson, just days before this weekend's Nevada Democratic caucuses, Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Dems adopt minimum wage in platform draft Clinton warning about 'accessible' email adds fuel to controversy MORE is in a dead heat with Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Trump, Clinton fundraising off Brexit vote UK vote triggers talks with US MORE. Clinton leads with 48 percent, with Sanders at 47. http://bit.ly/1RMTiJH

LET THE SCOTUS FIGHT COMMENCE: Via The Hill's Jordan FabianPresident Obama has one major goal in picking Justice Scalia's successor: making it as hard as possible for Republicans to block. How to accomplish that: While the administration won't release a short list of potential nominees, Democrats will likely break a gender or racial barrier -- or find someone Republicans won't have a legitimate reason for blocking. http://bit.ly/1RMRl06

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, YA BROKE ME DOWN: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, Paul RyanPaul RyanHouse Democrat sit-in: well intended but in the wrong well Trump up, Obama down after shocking Brexit vote Republican chairman: Our tax reform plan fits with Trump's vision MORE had one personal demand before accepting the Speaker's gavel: He wanted his weekends home with his kids, not fundraising. But he's now coming to terms with that responsibility, and sources told The Hill he is planning to team up with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in March for a fundraising swing through California. http://bit.ly/1opH7Y4

LOOK, I CAN BE COOL! LOVE ME. LOVE ME! Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Hillary Clinton is looking for likeability by taking more selfies and having more star-studded appearances with celebrities. Think Katy Perry, Lena Dunham and all the selfie sticks. http://bit.ly/1TqIHFB

THE NIGHT OWL SIDE TO TED CRUZ: Via The Washington Post's Katie Zezima, here's a fun look at Ted Cruz's tendency to stay up late having dinners at 10 p.m. and meetings that run until 2 a.m. As Chip Roy, his former Senate chief of staff put it: "You didn't often try to set 7 a.m. radio interviews or television shows because it didn't really fit his rhythm."

TWEET STORM OF THE DAY: Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraDemocrats end sit-in on gun control Dems sustain protest as GOP angles to start recess early Clinton vows to work closely with Democrats MORE (D-Calif.), a surrogate for Hillary Clinton, went on a Twitter tear this morning about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Here's one: "If Sanders is campaigning on immigration reform & supporting Latinos, fine. But he should explain his spotty record & how he'll get it done." http://bit.ly/1R8bSKj

BROTHERLY LOVE: Jeb Bush chest-bumps former President George W. Bush, saying, "I love ya." http://bit.ly/1KWxeei

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Politico's Ken Vogel (the photos are adorable)
I was talking w/ my then-GF (now wife) on phone, which Hillary borrowed to apologize for me being on trail on [Valentine's Day] http://bit.ly/1TqvuMS

The Boston Globe's Matt Viser
Curious why Jeb Bush recently ditched his glasses? Here's his response, via [NBC News's] Peter Alexander http://bit.ly/1Ql15zx

Politico's John Bresnahan
Obama clearly not used to getting applauded at the end of press conferences. CUZ REPORTERS DON'T APPLAUD!!! http://bit.ly/1SSdlIn 

Fox and Friends (so this happened...)
Does Hillary Clinton's barking sound like a real dog? We put the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show champ to the test! http://bit.ly/1Sy8sUr

 

ON TAP:

Congress is on recess this week.

3 p.m. EST: The U.S. Justice Action Network will release a poll on criminal justice reform in six states.

6 p.m. EST: Hillary Clinton holds a fundraiser in Chicago, Ill.

7 p.m. EST: Donald Trump holds a rally in Sumter, S.C.

9 a.m. EST tomorrow: Sen. Tim ScottTim ScottTrump veepstakes in overdrive Police: 3 killed in Tel Aviv terrorist shooting GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo MORE (R-S.C.) campaigns with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Greenville, S.C.

11:45 a.m. EST: Jeb Bush holds a town hall in Columbia, S.C.

1 p.m. EST tomorrow: Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig, who briefly ran for president as Democrat before dropping out last November, and others hold a sit-in at the U.S. Capitol to protest big money in politics. 

2 p.m. EST tomorrow: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) holds a town hall in Clemson, S.C.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

7 p.m. EST: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) will join Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball" from Hilton Head, S.C.

8 p.m. EST: CNN is holding a town hall for Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Rubio, announced Saturday.

Tweet from The Boston Globe's Matt Viser: Difference between a "town hall" in NH and SC? In SC, there are no questions from actual voters. Just a 45-minute stump speech. http://bit.ly/1TnHCwX

ALSO AT 8 p.m. EST: MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is holding a rivaling town hall event featuring Donald Trump, announced yesterday. This should cause a stir. http://bit.ly/1ooP3YW

9 p.m. EST: The Duke-UNC men's basketball game.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Café au Lait day!

MUST HAVE BEEN QUITE THE EXCLUSIVE PARTY: Paul McCartney was denied from a club where Tyga was playing after the Grammys. At least he had a good sense of humor about it. "How VIP do we gotta get?" McCartney joked. "We need another hit, guys. We need another hit. Work on it!" http://bit.ly/1QkCfcJ

IN CASE YOU AREN'T HUNGRY FOR LUNCH YET: Here is a new live stream feed inside Georgetown Cupcake. It's amazing. http://bit.ly/1R8aw2c

THE SADDEST THING I'VE READ TODAY: A few brands of grated Parmesan cheese contain high levels of wood pulp. http://bloom.bg/1KWtzx5

WHAT'S BUZZING ON FACEBOOK: No one can agree on the answer to this brainteaser – and it's driving everyone crazy. http://bzfd.it/1XxR41e

And with that, here's a penguin couple that spent the weekend celebrating their 22nd Valentine's Day together (!) -- complete with champagne and fish. http://bzfd.it/1XxwNc7

 

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