THE INSIDE SCOOP: Obamacare replacement politics … RAND PAUL joins with Freedom Caucus — TRUMP to strategize with House GOP deputy whips — ZUCKER SPEAKS in Jerusalem

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Good Tuesday morning. By now, you know that House Republicans released their Obamacare repeal bill on Monday evening. Read all about the details ( Here is the political reality: This isn’t a walk in the park. Some conservatives already hate this thing (see Bade, Rachael and it has only been out for 12 or so hours.

FOR EXAMPLE: SEN. RAND PAUL (R-Ky.) will join with the House Freedom Caucus at 3:30 p.m. today to pan the legislation and call for an immediate vote on an earlier repeal bill that the GOP passed when Barack Obama was president. Perhaps recognizing the coddling that needs to be done, House Energy and Commerce Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-Ore.), the man charged with shepherding the legislation, hand-delivered the bill to several conservatives lawmakers’ offices. This bill will get zero Democratic votes, so House Republicans can’t afford many defections. (There are five vacancies in the House, and we don’t know when this bill will come for a vote, so it’s impossible to say with certainty how many people they can afford to lose.)

THE BIG QUESTION: Does the this-is-Obamacare-lite narrative stick? Or could supporters beat back on the Freedom Caucus and Paul? That’s what to watch over the next few days. Hugh Hewitt, the popular conservative morning radio show host, said he was not offered anyone to talk about the bill on his show.

WHAT PROPONENTS OF THE BILL SAY: They want conservatives to relax. They say this repeal and replace bill — which, by the way, wasn’t easy to cobble together — repeals taxes, spending and mandates, reforms entitlements, strips funding from Planned Parenthood and kicks Medicaid control to the states. In other words, this is what Republicans have been asking for! The bill was penned by the committees of jurisdiction, not in the speaker’s office, which is what many conservatives have been clamoring for. Supporters believe the White House wants this bill to pass — but we’ll see how much the president leans in. From the proponents’ point of view the stakes are just too high for the GOP. Failure, they say, is simply not an option after more than a half-dozen years of promising action. BUT, BUT, BUT … If Republicans can’t pass a bill, the familiar blame game will ensue. Was it because the committees and leadership were timid, as conservatives are sure to say? Or will the narrative take hold that, in the quest for the perfect, the conservatives blew up a good bill? If nothing else, Republicans will blame Democrats for not working with them.

REMEMBER … THERE ARE JUST 67 LEGISLATIVE DAYS until the August recess. The president’s surrogates — including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — say they expect to replace the health care law and complete tax reform by then. Are you beginning to see why we think that will be difficult? … HEY, 1600 PENNSYLVANIA … When will Trump weigh in on this plan? A tweet could help.

WHAT THE GOP LEADERSHIP WANTS YOU TO READ — “The Health Bill You’ve Waited For: Our plan removes taxes and mandates, while offering tax credits to help Americans afford coverage,” by Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

AT THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY — The president will meet with the House deputy whip team, the lawmakers charged with the daily nitty gritty of vote counting. ALSO ON TRUMP’S SKED TODAY: A phone call with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, lunch with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a “policy discussion” with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), a meeting with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and an evening visit with Boy Scouts of America.

ONE THING EVERYONE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT — In any other White House, if an administration copied text word for word from a corporation and put it out as a statement on White House letterhead, the backlash would be fierce. There would be an investigation, an apology and someone might get fired. Not in Trump’s White House. A White House press release praising ExxonMobil cribbed an entire paragraph and another sentence from the energy giant. While the media seized on the gaffe — and the fact that Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson formerly ran the company — there was no action taken. The president tweeted four times yesterday praising Exxon for creating jobs. As the Washington Post noted, he was taking credit for a program announced in 2013. a side-by-side comparison with both releases

IMPORTANT STORY — “U.S. starts deploying anti-missile system in South Korea after defiant North’s latest test,” by Reuters’ James Pearson and Ju-min Park in Seoul: “The United States started to deploy the first elements of its advanced anti-missile defense system in South Korea on Tuesday after North Korea’s test of four ballistic missiles, U.S. Pacific Command said, despite angry opposition from China.

“The announcement came as North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong Un had personally supervised Monday’s missile launches by an army unit that is positioned to strike U.S. bases in Japan, stepping up threats against Washington as U.S. troops conduct joint military exercises with South Korea. ‘Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,’ U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said in a statement, referring to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.”

CONFIRMATION WATCH — “Sessions’ No. 2 in waiting faces heat on Russia probe,” by Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett: “Senate Democrats, intent on keeping questions about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia front and center, are turning to their next target: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ top deputy. Rod Rosenstein, a veteran U.S. attorney whom President Donald Trump has nominated to become the Justice Department’s No. 2, heads into his confirmation hearing Tuesday squarely in the eye of the firestorm over the Russia controversy that has engulfed the Trump presidency for weeks. …

“[T]he weight of the Russia investigation would fall on Rosenstein if he’s confirmed. Democrats are using what would usually be a noncontroversial nomination to extract as many concessions from Rosenstein as possible. The best case for the minority would be getting him to commit to naming a special prosecutor to investigate any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Short of that, they want to eat up time – the most precious commodity in the Senate – and throw the Trump administration back into an uncomfortable, Russia-hued spotlight.”

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER — “GOP refuses to back Trump’s wiretap claim,” by Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan: “President Donald Trump will have to look somewhere besides Republican-controlled Capitol Hill for back-up to his explosive and unsubstantiated charge that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. Trump was reportedly incensed Sunday that Republicans didn’t defend his allegations on the Sunday shows — in fact, several pointedly refused to lend Trump a lifeline when pressed. And more than 48 hours after the initial allegation, Republicans in Congress remained mostly mum as the controversy flared and threatened to create a lingering distraction for the GOP as they try to pass major legislation in the coming weeks.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan offered no comment on the matter. And some of the chief critics of the Obama administration on Capitol Hill said there was simply no evidence they knew of to support Trump’s claim. ‘Boy. I have no idea,’ said No. 3 Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, appearing flummoxed. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s behind it. I’m hoping in the next few days we’ll find out.’ It was perhaps the most vivid example of Trump’s ‘tweet first, ask questions later’ policy damaging the fortunes of the congressional GOP.”

— “Kremlin-backed media turns on Trump,” by Michael Crowley:

— NYT’S PETER BAKER: “Trump’s Wiretapping Claims Puncture Veneer of Presidential Civility”: “When last they saw each other six weeks ago after the ceremonial passing of power, President Trump and former President Barack Obama parted with smiles and handshakes. But it did not take long for the surface bonhomie to degenerate into a fierce and public clash unlike any other in modern times. While Mr. Obama has remained quiet for the most part, some of his closest loyalists moved into opposition mode, leading what some only half-jokingly call ‘the resistance.’ Mr. Trump, convinced that Obama holdovers still in government are trying to sabotage his presidency, took the conflict nuclear over the weekend by accusing his predecessor of bugging his telephones last year.

“Mr. Trump provided no proof, and the charge was quickly dismissed by intelligence veterans and, indirectly, the F.B.I., but that did not make it any less sensational or any less historic. Never in recent generations has the natural friction between current and past presidents spilled over into such a public spectacle. If sustained, it could fray the institution of the presidency, further erode the public’s already low confidence in the nation’s leadership and leave both allies and enemies with the impression of an America at war with itself.”

SCOOP — “Trump plan pays for immigration crackdown with cuts to coastal, air security,” by Jeremy Herb and Bryan Bender: “The Trump administration wants to gut the Coast Guard and make deep cuts in airport and rail security to help pay for its crackdown on illegal immigration, according to internal budget documents reviewed by POLITICO — a move that lawmakers and security experts say defies logic if the White House is serious about defending against terrorism and keeping out undocumented foreigners.

“[OMB] is seeking a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget, the draft documents show, even as it proposes major increases to other Department of Homeland Security agencies to hire more border agents and immigration officers and construct a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. The budget numbers mark the most detailed breakdown yet about how President Donald Trump envisions restructuring DHS to meet his pledge to halt illegal immigration and deport some of the millions already here.”

THE WORST JOB IN WASHINGTON? — “D.C.’s toughest gig: Defending Donald Trump,” by Shane Goldmacher: “When President Donald Trump floats wild and evidence-free conspiracy theories — of massive voter fraud and illegal wire taps ordered by his predecessor — he typically does so from the relative safety of his phone’s keypad, sometimes while weekending at his seaside Mar-a-Lago resort. It is his beleaguered White House advisers who are then forced into the bright media spotlight to defend him, however tenuously connected Trump’s beliefs are to the truth, leaving them often twisted into rhetorical pretzels or twisting in the wind.

“‘I’ll just let the tweet speak for itself,’ White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered on Monday to defend Trump’s latest wire-tap allegations. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was similarly searching for solid ground on ABC’s ‘This Week’ on Sunday. ‘If this happened, if this is accurate,’ she said, ‘this is the biggest overreach and the biggest scandal,’ ‘If, if, if, if,’ pushed host Martha Raddatz. ‘Why is the president saying it did happen?’ Alex Conant, a veteran Republican communications professional, empathized with their predicament. ‘Your ability to do your job well is only as good as the information and the policies that you’re advocating,’ he said.”

M.I.A. — “The disappearing Sean Spicer: The White House press secretary has pulled back from his often-contentious televised briefings,” by Matt Nussbaum and Hadas Gold: “The White House has not held a televised briefing in seven days, after regularly holding the traditional on-camera event in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on weekdays when President Donald Trump was not travelling. Instead, Spicer and the press shop is increasingly turning to off-camera ‘gaggles’ that shield the embattled press secretary from scrutiny — both from a fascinated national audience and a certain regular viewer in the Oval Office. … [On Monday he] at one point said Trump has ‘sources’ for his [wiretapping] claim and when pressed on what those sources were, he snapped at the inquiring reporter, CNN’s Sara Murray: ‘Sara, you’re not on camera, you don’t need to jump in.’ … Tuesday’s briefing, he said, will be televised.”

WE’RE GOING TO SXSW — Come join us for our inaugural AUSTIN, TEXAS, event, Monday, March 13 at the WeDC House (340 E 2nd Street). Doors will open at 11 a.m. RSVP

— THE PAIRING OF THE DAY: “Charles Koch Institute to Host 2017 SXSW Panel on Criminal Justice Reform, Featuring Snoop Dogg and Weldon Angelos”

HILLARY CLINTON is speaking at an Annie’s List event in Houston April 7.


— NEIL GORSUCH, Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, will meet with Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)

— HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI will appear on “CBS This Morning” at 8 a.m. to talk about Trump’s ban, Obamacare and other news of the day.

— PAGING ALL INTERNS: The White House has officially listed its summer 2017 internship application

— SPEAKER PAUL RYAN raised $5 million on a recent swing to Texas, during which he also toured the border.

LATE-NIGHT BEST – ANDERSON COOPER on Colbert — “Anderson Cooper And Kellyanne Conway Are ‘Rethinking’ Their Relationship” – 9-min. video

FOR THE RECORD — BOSTON GLOBE: “Here are photos that show Obama’s inauguration crowd was bigger than Trump’s”:

YOU’RE INVITED! … SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL will sit down with us for a live Playbook Interview Thursday at The Washington Court Hotel (525 New Jersey Ave NW). This is already a newsy week: the health care replacement bill is out, Trump has asked Congress to investigate alleged wire-tapping by the former president of the United States and the House and Senate are in the middle of it all. Doors open at 8 a.m. RSVP

GET SMART FAST — “How Trump’s new travel ban targets the whole world,” by Nahal Toosi: “It’s not just a few countries. It’s not just about Muslims. And in some cases, it’s probably won’t be temporary, either. President Donald Trump’s newly revised travel ban may at first seem to be more limited in its reach than his sweeping earlier order suspending refugee admissions and barring entry for citizens of several predominantly Muslim countries. But the new order, signed Monday, still contains provisions that could ultimately slow travel and immigration to the United States from every corner of the globe. The order could ultimately backfire on Americans wishing to travel abroad, and, for some countries, what appear to be temporary bans could effectively prove permanent.”

ONE WAY TO HANDLE THE OBAMACARE HEAT — “Central Valley GOP Rep. David Valadao spends hours in one-on-one meetings with constituents — and away from the crowds,” by LA Times’ Phil Willon: “Central Valley Rep. David Valadao found a way to open his doors to people in his hometown without having to face protesters, hecklers and the public berating that scorched his Republican colleagues up and down California in recent weeks. Instead of staging a free-for-all town hall in a high school gym, on Monday afternoon the former dairy farmer invited local residents into his Hanford office for one-on-one, 10-minute chats.No shouting. No demonstrators or police. No politician on stage nervously pacing back and forth. And no TV news crews recording it all. …

“For weeks, Valadao’s critics have jabbed him for not holding a town hall meeting, and his office drew protesters, including local union members and Democratic activists. The congressman says some of those demonstrators came from outside his congressional district, and said he doubted they had any ‘sincere’ concern about the issues facing the people he represents. Valadao defended the format he used Monday, which he called a ‘huddle,’ saying it allowed him to hear people out. The congressman also brushed aside criticism, saying he held six to eight open forums and community coffees in his district over the last year and that protesters were a common sight at almost all of them.”

— “The Republican Health Care Plan Includes A Tax Break For Insurance CEOs,” by BuzzFeed’s Paul McLeod: “The Republican plan to replace Obamacare includes a tax break for insurance company executives making over $500,000 per year.”

— WSJ’S RICH RUBIN: “Top Earners Would Pay Less Tax Under GOP Health-Care Proposal: Two levies affecting high-income people would be repealed under the plan.”

CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN’s first “Women Rule” Podcast: “‘I felt I had to speak out and say something’”: “Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) surprised her conservative home state last fall when she turned against Donald Trump after the ‘Hollywood Access’ videos surfaced showing him engaged in lewd conversation about women. Then only days later, she softened her stance, saying she would still vote for the Republican ticket. The reversal drew scorn from critics — and the whole episode put Fischer at risk of being on the outs with a president who prizes loyalty. But now the senator has emerged as a key congressional ally of Ivanka Trump in her push for action on family leave.

“‘We’ve had a couple of meetings,’ Fischer said. ‘She’s very committed to women who are looking for flexibility, who are looking for help, who are looking for an acknowledgment of what we deal with in our lives.’ Fischer is the co-sponsor of a bill that offers tax credits to incentivize small businesses to offer paid family leave to their workers. Critics say this voluntary approach is not enough to help working families. But as we met in her Hill office to discuss the complicated journeys of women in politics for POLITICO’s first Women Rule podcast, Fischer expressed a pragmatic view. ‘It’s a good bill,’ she insisted. ‘It is something we can get passed.’”

CABINET UPDATE — “Carson says slaves were ‘immigrants’ with dreams for their children,” by Victoria Guida: Ben “Carson, making his first speech to the HUD staff since his confirmation last week, said America is a ‘land of dreams and opportunities’ that has drawn millions of people from overseas throughout its history. ‘There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,’ he said. ‘But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.’”

— CARSON later posted this statement on Facebook: “The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. Slaves were ripped from their families and their homes and forced against their will after being sold into slavery by slave traders. The Immigrants made the choice to come to America. … In contrast, slaves were forced here against their will and lost all their opportunities. We continue to live with that legacy. The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten, as we demand the necessary progress towards an America that’s inclusive and provides access to equal opportunity for all.”

“Sessions updates testimony to Congress, insists he was ‘correct’ to say he had no communication with Russians in campaign,” by WaPo’s Matt Zapotosky:

SCOOP — “Trump hires Rudy Giuliani’s son for White House role,” by Annie Karni: “Andrew Giuliani [is working] in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs … The political scion had hoped for a career as a professional golfer, and made headlines in 2008 when he sued Duke University for cutting him from the varsity golf team after he threw an apple at a teammate and threw and broke a golf club in a parking lot, according to the lawsuit.”

HABER-SCOOP — NYT A20, “Trump Tells Planned Parenthood Its Funding Can Stay if Abortion Goes,” by Maggie Haberman: “The White House, concerned about the possible political repercussions of the Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood, has proposed preserving federal payments to the group if it discontinues providing abortions. The proposal, which was never made formally, has been rejected as an impossibility by officials at Planned Parenthood, which receives about $500 million annually in federal funding. That money helps pay for women’s health services the organization provides, not for abortion services … In private discussions with people close to Planned Parenthood, White House officials have at times suggested that there could even be an increase in federal earmarks if the work related to abortion ends.”

— JUST A NOTE … TRUMP is offering Planned Parenthood funding the day the House GOP Obamacare scraps it!

JEFF ZUCKER SPEAKS — “Jeff Zucker on Donald Trump, Fake News, CNN’s ‘Golden Age,’” by Variety’s Debra Kamin in Jerusalem: “Zucker, who is in Jerusalem this week for the media-centric INTV conference at the city’s historic YMCA, told attendees that Trump’s declarations of fake news and his labeling of journalists as ‘enemies of the people’ has helped usher in a golden age for CNN. … In a friendly hour-long back-and-forth, Zucker and [Israeli news anchor Yonit] Levi discussed CNN’s coverage of the election, Zucker’s views on the elevated importance of journalism under the current administration, and also — in an anecdote that drew laughter and gasps from the crowd — the true story of how Zucker himself played a critical role in launching the television career of the current leader of the Free World when, as president of NBC Universal, he ordered ‘The Apprentice’ with Trump as host.

“‘Mark Burnett brought [‘The Apprentice’] in as a package. It was pitched to us as ‘Survivor’ in a different jungle, the jungle of the boardroom,’ Zucker said. ‘I had lived in New York for all my adult life but I was working in Los Angeles, and as a New Yorker I really understood the appeal of Donald Trump, in terms of his ability to create publicity, his ability to create a big commotion.” He jumped on the pitch. ‘So you are the man who made Donald Trump a television star?; asked Levi, to which Zucker simply said, ‘Well, I am the man who greenlit ‘The Apprentice.’ Zucker has always understood Trump’s appeal, he told the crowd, which is why CNN gave the real estate mogul-turned president so much coverage early on in the presidential campaign. ‘Once he decided to run, knowing him and knowing his charisma and his ability to attract attention, I think we understood earlier than most other news organizations that he should be taken seriously,’ Zucker said. ‘And that it wasn’t a whim. We understood early on that there was something to it in a way that others did not.’”

K-FILE – “Steve Bannon in 2013: Joseph McCarthy was right in crusade against Communist infiltration,” by CNN’s Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski:

KATIE GLUECK in McClatchy, “Can Ronna Romney McDaniel unite a fractured Republican Party?”

VALLEY TALK — “Facebook, Rushing Into Live Video, Wasn’t Ready for Its Dark Side,” by WSJ’s Deepa Seetharaman: “According to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, people have used Facebook Live to broadcast at least 50 acts of violence, including murder, suicides and the beating in January of a mentally disabled teenager in Chicago.”

— THE PLAYBOOK POOL: POLITICO Playbook is gearing up for college tournament time with our very own bracket challenge. Our Playbook outposts across the country (D.C., N.Y., N.J., Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, California) are co-hosting the PLAYBOOK POOL – a college basketball bracket where you can face-off against your friends, top Playbookers, and political insiders. Track who’s up and down after each round in Playbook as you compete to win prizes including Amazon Echoes and Dots (where you can listen to Playbook in 90 seconds), BEATS headphones, Snapchat Spectacles and more. You’ll be able to create your bracket starting March 12 when the brackets are released on Selection Sunday eve. More details to come.

— COMING ATTRACTIONS — NEW POWER LIST: We are launching our second Playbook Power List. This time, we’re looking for Washington’s “Up and Comers” — politicos who are making a name for themselves as the next generation of D.C. players. Please email us at, and with nominations. We’ll publish the list the week of April 24.

MEDIAWATCH – “ESPN layoffs to hit on-camera personalities,” by CNN Money’s Ahiza Garcia: “The details are still being finalized, but layoffs are expected to take place through June. … ESPN may also buy out some contracts that aren’t ending soon.”

–“The One Network Evening Newscast That’s Growing,” by TVNewser’s Chris Ariens: “NewsHour, anchored by Judy Woodruff, is up +11 percent for the most recent four weeks of programming vs. the same period last year. … NewsHour draws about 1.1 million viewers per episode. While that is dwarfed by the broadcast programs anchored by Lester Holt, David Muir and Scott Pelley, those newscasts have lost a combined 1.15 million viewers since last February. … For the period from October – January the show is up +24 percent vs. the same period a year earlier.”

HOLLYWOODLAND — “Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks & Meryl Streep Team For Pentagon Papers Drama ‘The Post,’” by Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr: “A timely film about the vital role of the press in keeping government honest is coming together with a powerhouse cast. … [The] film is a drama about the Washington Post’s role in exposing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, and how the Post’s editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Kay Graham challenged the federal government over their right to publish them.”

CLICKER — U.S. News & World Report has debuted its second annual Best Countries list, ranking countries based on indicators like power, economic influence, and quality of life – the top three countries this year are Switzerland, Canada, and the U.K. The U.S. slipped down to number seven this year after being number four last year. The full list

SPOTTED — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at Subway at 20th and K streets, eating lunch on Monday by herself, with a security detail inside and outside around her SUVs. … Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne at the Hirshhorn’s Yayoi Kusama exhibit on Monday, between back-to-back sold-out shows at 9:30 Club. … On the Blue Line Monday morning: Carter Page, “guzzling a Coke and juggling a fat briefcase and a box of something (cake? Cupcakes? FSB documents?). Hurried off the train at Farragut West around 9:35” … Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Monday on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to D.C.

ENGAGED — Adam Fetcher, a former Obama campaign and administration spokesman, proposed to Christine Kim in the middle of a frozen lake this past week while on a dogsledding and camping trip in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (she said yes before their group slept under the stars at -7 degrees). Fetcher now works as a communications adviser and speechwriter at Patagonia and is a board member of the Boundary Waters Trust. Kim is an attorney who is director of recruiting and diversity at Briggs & Morgan. They live in Minneapolis. Pics

WEEKEND WEDDING — Jared Eichhorn and Sarah Cannon return to work tomorrow after marrying Saturday at the historic St. Peter’s church in their hometown of Cleveland. Jared is Speaker Paul Ryan’s cloakroom director – a position he also held under Speaker John Boehner. Sarah is legislative director for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and previously worked for the late Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio). The two were introduced by LaTourette in 2011. Pic

SPOTTED: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), groomsmen Brad Bailey and Cory Fritz, David and Monica Popp, Kara Hauck, Steve Gilleland, Adam Wolf, Annie Minkler, Lindsay Slater, Jamie Neil, Emo Henshaw, Nikki Wallace, Colleen Gaydos, Justin Oswald, and Tim Lolli.

OUT AND ABOUT — John McCarthy hosted a young leaders reception last night to welcome the ambassador of Liechtenstein, Kurt Jaeger, to Washington. SPOTTED: Suzanne Kianpour, Anastasia Dellaccio, Ben Chang, Alex Skatell, Benny Johnson, Asawin Suebsaeng, Fran Holuba, Carrie Adams, Christine Brennan, Dominic Lowell, Jamie Weinstein, Laura Mullen, Reema Doodin, Michelle Fields, Phil Bednarczyk.

TRANSITIONS — Marty Reiser and Kelley Hudak have both been promoted in House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s policy office. Reiser is now deputy director of policy, and will focus on health care, tax reform, pensions and veterans’ issues. Hudak is now coalitions director, and will manage the office’s relationships with industry stakeholders and the conservative movement. … Naz Durakoglu, most recently senior adviser to Victoria Nuland at the State Department, is joining Atlantic Council as senior fellow and strategist for the Council’s new open source and digital forensic research lab, @DFRLab. …

… AT&T has hired Marissa Shorenstein as SVP for the East region. She previously ran the consulting firm Marissa Shorenstein LLC and was director of comms for Andrew Cuomo’s 2010 NY gubernatorial campaign. Khoo has been named chief marketing officer at Conservation International. She previously held that position at Human Rights Campaign. Smith, a 22-year veteran of Capitol Hill, will join Cornerstone Government Affairs on March 20 as an SVP. Keane, the pride of Wisconsin, has been promoted to EVP, leading the newly-combined government and public affairs department at the American Beverage Association.

–“Torrie Miller Matous tapped as new Martha Roby Chief of Staff,” by Alabama Today’s Elizabeth Lauten: “Matous will move to the other side of the Capitol, where she’ll serve as Roby’s top adviser, leading a team of 15 staff members working from offices in Washington, D.C., Montgomery, Dothan, and Andalusia.”

— “Top Rubio aide to lead PR for major GOP digital firm,” by Marc Caputo: “Restructuring in the Donald Trump era of GOP politics, [Targeted Victory] is launching a new public-affairs division under the leadership of a top adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio, his former chief of staff Alberto Martinez,” who becomes SVP at TV.

CRUZ ALUMNI — Chris Perkins today is formally launching Ragnar Research Partners, along with partners Matt Gammon, Ryan Steusloff and Dan Narvaiz. Ragnar Research Partners will be providing full-service public opinion research for GOP candidates nationwide, as well as corporate, trade association and public affairs research. Perkins was the pollster to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Katie McCormick Lelyveld, the pride of Chicago, VP and head of comms. at biotech firm Human Longevity, Inc. and former press secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama — she’s celebrating with “breakfast with my baby boys, lunch with my parents in town from Chicago and dinner at Juniper and Ivy with my husband and a glass of big and chewy red wine” — read her Playbook Plus Q&A:

BIRTHDAYS: James Gleeson, senior comms manager at SpaceX and a Jill Biden alum … Kristan King Nevins, COS for Karen Pence … Willard Scott is 83 … Michael Eisner is 75 … Guy Benson is 32 … WaPo’s Tom Sietsema (for real this time) … Anne Farris Rosen, journalist and adjunct professor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland … Josh Holly, principal at The Podesta Group … Kirk Adams (hat tips: Jon Haber) … Rep. Juan C. Vargas (D-Calif.) is 56 … Politico alum Elizabeth Williams … Bush 43 Education Dept. alum Tori Hatada … Breanna Deutsch, press secretary for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), aka “the Sheriff” … John Goodrum, a Bush 43 WH alum now an energy consultant at Preng & Associates in Houston … Twitter’s Adam Kaiser … Valerie Morris of Hamilton Place Strategies … Noreen Nielsen, alum of Obama WH CEQ and CAP Action … Carol Danko, former Grimm, King, and Price staffer, now VP of public affairs at SIFMA and the Duchess of DuPont (h/t Saat Alety) … Matt Handverger of Beaconfire RED and formerly of Team Becerra (h/t Leti Davalos) … former Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) is 49 … former Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) is 61 … columnist Suzanne Bregman Fields, Ph.D. is 81 … David Baltimore, former CalTech president, is 79 (h/ts Jewish Insider) …

… MSNBC PR’s Rachel Zuckerman, celebrating with a low key gathering at one of her favorite spots in the city, Gemma (h/ts Maggie Steenland and Kristen Osborne) … U.S. News’ Alan Neuhauser … Chase Untermeyer, alum of Qatus Advisors and former U.S. ambassador to Qatar … Matt Glassman of NBC 4 Washington … Nicole Lapin, host of “Hatched” on The CW, author of “Rich Bitch” and alum of CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg … Tanya Hayre of Powell Communications and an MSNBC alum … former Miss D.C. Kate Michael, a.k.a “kstreetkate” … Michael Jerry Kenny … Sally Barth … Stephen Saunders … Mark Schuermann of Nomura … Matt Higginson, head of politics and gov’t affairs at Medium, is 37 … Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of the White Coat Waste Project, is 39 … Myron Belkind, former president of the National Press Club and AP bureau chief in London and Tokyo, now a professor of journalism at GW … John Sciuto of Wells Fargo Advisors and CTIA alum … political consultant and Schumer alum Michael Tobman … WNYC senior producer Jennifer Hsu … Hallie Williams … Lewis Cohen, Democratic donor and activist … Deloitte alum Jeremy Little, now principal at CKP in Houston … Elizabeth Reiter … Michael Jerry Kenny … Sally Barth … Becky Carroll … Carrie Mulvihill … Jolene Plautz … Alyssa Whitney (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Bryan Cranston is 61 … author E.L. James is 54 … author Bret Easton Ellis is 53 … Rachel Weisz is 47 (h/ts AP)

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