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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump up in Rubio's home state | GOP senator chased by elephants | Biden, Lady Gaga team up for Academy Awards | 8 in 10 Hispanics don’t like Trump
RETIREMENT ALERT – FREEDOM CAUCUS LOSES A FOUNDER: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, Rep. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonWestern Republicans seek new federal appeals court Arts groups gear up for fight over NEA What gun groups want from Trump MORE (R-Ariz.), a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection. Reason: The standard answer — he wants to spend more time with his family. Election effect: His district is deeply Republican. http://bit.ly/21jyfo9
OOOOF – THIS WON'T SIT WELL WITH RUBIO: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, A new Quinnipiac survey has Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMuhammad Ali Jr. detained by immigration at Florida airport Two progressive activists were behind Trump Russian flag prank at CPAC Tom Perez embodies the Democratic Party. This is why he should lead it. MORE leading in Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioAt CPAC, Trump lashes out at media Conquering Trump returns to conservative summit Rubio brushes off demonstrator asking about town halls MORE's (R-Fla.) home state of Florida. Trump: 44 percent, Rubio: 28 percent. Rounding out the field are Ted CruzTed CruzBrietbart CEO reveals that Trump donors are part owners At CPAC, Trump lashes out at media Conquering Trump returns to conservative summit MORE at 12 percent; John Kasich, at 7 percent; and Ben Carson, at 4 percent. http://bit.ly/1Qgm5Wd
Tweet from Rubio's communications director Alex Conant: How reporters think: "There's 20 days, 15 elections, 3 debates, millions spent before Florida. BUT OMG A POLL SAYS MARCO IS LOSING TO TRUMP" http://bit.ly/1TH1Sv4
Happy Thursday! Filing from a joint presentation by the American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, and Brookings Institution on the changing demographics in the country and their effect on elections, 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. Follow along on Twitter for updates from the event — and send comments, story ideas and happy hour suggestions to email@example.com and on Facebook.
JUST RELEASED... LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Via NH1's Paul Steinhauser, Gov. Maggie Hassan's (D-N.H.) Senate campaign has released a web video blasting Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteLewandowski saw no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire NH governor 'not aware’ of major voter fraud Former NH AG: 'Allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless' MORE (N.H.) over the Supreme Court nominee. Watch: http://bit.ly/1Oxynnp
TOPIC TO WATCH FOR IN THE DEBATE TONIGHT: Via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda, Donald Trump says he will decide in the coming months whether to release his tax returns. He weighed in after 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said there was likely a "bombshell" hidden in Trump's tax returns and amid growing pressure for the businessman to open up his finances. http://bit.ly/1TGXs7f
ANNOUNCED TODAY – THE DREAM TEAM: Via The Los Angeles Times’s Christi Parsons, Vice President Biden and Lady Gaga are teaming up during Sunday’s Academy Awards for a special presentation aiming at combating sexual violence. http://lat.ms/1Lf7wls
NEW POLL – DON’T COUNT KASICH OUT YET: GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has 22 percent support in Pennsylvania, (unchanged since October), followed Marco Rubio, with 16 percent (up by 5!), John Kasich, with 15 percent (up by 12 points!), Ted Cruz, at 12 percent, and Ben Carson, with 6 percent. http://bit.ly/24rnSO7
GOP ESTABLISHMENT: OH, YUP. THIS COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, Republicans in Washington are coming to grips with the increasing likelihood that Donald Trump will be the party’s presidential nominee. So naturally, a few House members have joined the bandwagon. No senators have endorsed Trump yet, but Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsGOP lawmaker suggests Sessions should recuse himself from any Russia probes Pelosi calls for DOJ probe of Priebus on FBI, Russia Roger Stone: Marijuana crackdown would be 'huge mistake' MORE (R-Ala.) is confident his colleagues would come around. http://bit.ly/21tGIC0
THE HILL TO EXPAND AS DIGITAL TRAFFIC GROWS: “Few [news organizations] have lapped up [the political season] with more gusto than The Hill,” writes USA Today’s Roger Yu.
– Jimmy Finkelstein, the New York-based businessman who owns The Hill, told USA Today he plans to accelerate the momentum by boosting staffing by 25 percent this year. Video production also is a priority, and he has thought about expanding it beyond politics and policy. And its print product, he speculates, will likely be gone in five years. Read the Q&A with Finkelstein here: http://usat.ly/1T9vCRy
IF YOU WATCH ONE VIDEO TODAY: Here’s an interview with a 15-year-old Swedish girl who explains why she joined ISIS and why she regrets it. http://bit.ly/1mY8Z47
AN INTERESTING TAKE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE: FiveThirtyEight’s David Wasserman has a fascinating piece about how Marco Rubio could ultimately win more delegates than Donald Trump in the race, even with fewer overall primary votes. It’s worth reading. http://53eig.ht/21tyhGI
GUYS, IT’S OFFICIALLY THE FUTURE: Via Time magazine’s Anand Shah and Theodore Waddelow, here’s how close we are to driverless cars and what it will still take to make them a success. http://ti.me/1RpP7l9
OBAMA’S “SCOOP” ON LINKEDIN: President Obama posted about his first job as an ice cream scooper on LinkedIn. “Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists.” http://bit.ly/1OxfUHL
ANNOUNCED TODAY – PLANNED PARENTHOOD PUMPS IN THE CASH: Planned Parenthood is launching an ad buy worth at least $1 million in support of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonReport: New national security adviser breaks with Trump on 'radical Islamic terrorism' EPA head previously used private email for government business Arkansas lawmaker proposes bill that would remove Clinton name from airport: report MORE. How so: The ads will target Michigan, Texas and Virginia ahead of their March primary elections. Watch: http://bit.ly/1WLn1lL
Signing a recent tax return- isn't this ridiculous? http://bit.ly/20Xd6uF
Politico’s Gabe Debenedetti
With Reid's endorsement, just four Senate Dems are left not endorsing Clinton: Menendez, Merkley, Tester, Warren. http://bit.ly/1Q3Dgc1
WATCH: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeFCC's GOP chairman blocks Internet privacy rule Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare MORE's convoy charged by elephants during trip about poaching: http://bit.ly/1QHB5hT
1 p.m. EST: Howard University holds a Black History Month discussion with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
1:30 p.m. EST: The McCain Institute holds a discussion on human trafficking. Sen. Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampThe buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch MORE (D-N.D.) will be speaking.
1:45 p.m. EST: The Senate will vote on a resolution honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
2:45 – 3:45 p.m. EST: The House votes.
3 p.m. EST: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will discuss his latest book, “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities” at the Newseum with NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams. Details: http://bit.ly/1WJr8ik
5:35 p.m. EST: President Obama delivers a statement from the State Department.
6 p.m. EST: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Trump's media attacks: He doesn't understand democracy Drug importation won't save dollars or lives Dems fear divisions will persist after DNC chair election MORE (I-Vt.) participates in the MSNBC college tour with anchor Chris Matthews in Chicago.
6:30 p.m. EST: The International Spy Museum holds a book discussion on "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists."
6:30 p.m. EST: The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Albania and the U.S. Albania Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati will speak. Details: http://bit.ly/1oCASj7
8 p.m. EST: The Washington Press Club holds its 72nd annual congressional dinner. Participants include Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report Back to the future: Congress should look to past for Fintech going forward CNN to host town hall featuring John McCain, Lindsey Graham MORE (R-S.C.), and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante and retired Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch.
8:30 a.m. EST tomorrow: The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its second estimate of the U.S.’s fourth-quarter GDP.
WHAT TO WATCH:
8:30 p.m. EST: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson participate in the CNN, Telemundo and Salem Radio Republican presidential debate in Houston. CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF ...
Today is National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day and National Clam Chowder Day!
“FULLER HOUSE” TO BE RELEASED: Netflix’s follow-up to “Full House” will premier at 3:01 a.m. EST tomorrow morning, midnight Pacific Time. http://lat.ms/1XOAlH8
TRUMP LOVES THE POORLY EDUCATED: No, actually. That’s a Trump quote. Anyway, Jimmy Kimmel had a ball with that line. See for yourself: http://bit.ly/1oCGFoS
A FEW OF US HAD TO RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE, HUH? To celebrate gaining their 1 millionth Twitter follower, the Montreal Canadiens are creating a Twitter promo that automatically tweets a photo of a jersey featuring new followers’ names. Now apply this to a few immature people who then (obviously) created obscene Twitter handles ... Head smack. http://cbsprt.co/1S3pYyT
And with that, here’s a paralyzed bunny that got a homemade wheelchair. It’s the talk of Facebook right now – for good reason. It’s adorable. http://bit.ly/1mZtai5
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