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Vote for Me, Win a Free Car

Long-shot Bob Quast will do almost anything to win the Democratic nomination.

The "blow your balls off” candidate is back with another campaign commercial, called “#winaDINO" Bob Quast, 44, is a long-shot primary candidate for the U.S. Senate from Iowa. According to LinkedIn, he is also president of Custom Limousines & Exotic Cars, Inc. where he rents out “very expensive high-end limousines.” Quast is using his experience in the car rental business to appeal to voters with his latest ad.“Iowa, if I win this election, I’m going to blow your mind and give away a free car,” Quast says, promising to give away his campaign car, a 2014 Chevy Spark.

LOW BALLIN’

Krugman Is a Steal at $225K

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The only thing hypocritical about acclaimed economist Paul Krugman’s CUNY salary is the right-wingers suddenly begrudging someone his free-market value.

When I first read those articles Wednesday about Paul Krugman’s new City University of New York salary, I didn’t even understand what the “story” was supposed to be. I don’t mind admitting that I had to have it explained to me that the $225,000 figure was supposed to mark some kind of hypocrisy on Krugman’s part. Oh, please. The only hypocrisy on display here, as usual, is that of his right-wing critics, suddenly begrudging someone his free-market value.

Russian Spy Planes in U.S. Skies

Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Russian surveillance planes already fly over America, thanks to a long-standing treaty. But a new, ultra-sophisticated spy plane has U.S. military and intelligence bosses spooked.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory. This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way?As the United States and Russia face off publicly over Ukraine, behind the scenes, President Obama’s national security cabinet is having its own quiet feud over a long-standing agreement to allow Russian surveillance flights over U.

‘An Act of Love’

How the Pope Is Remaking the GOP

AFP/Getty

The wildly popular Francis is offering cover for a few Republicans, including Jeb Bush, to start speaking out in favor of some deeply unpopular issues within the party.

When Jeb Bush stepped up this month to declare illegal immigration “an act of love,” he provoked precisely the conservative pile-on you’d expect. The right’s favorite crabby uncle, Charles Krauthammer, dourly pronounced the comments “bizarre.” Rep. Raul Labrador accused Jebbie of pandering.  Noted intellectual Donald Trump declared Bush’s thinking “ridiculous” and “dangerous.” And God help anyone who ventured onto sites like RedState.com. Most perfectly, fake-winger Stephen Colbert eulogized, “He will be missed.

Cruz and the Anarchist Puppeteer

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The senator from Texas and the anarchist busker from New York City have a lot more in common than you might expect.

What would you rather watch: A speech by Ted Cruz or a performance by an anarchist puppeteer?This week, you could’ve seen both as the pair were in the news. Kalan Sherrard, the puppeteer, for being arrested by the NYPD while performing his nihilist-anarchist puppet show in the Times Square subway station. And Cruz, for a Politico story about how his campaign fundraising skyrocketed during last fall’s U.S. government shutdown that he was instrumental in causing.

ON THE DEFENSE

Stop Stockpiling Web Glitches

The Daily Beast

Members of the President’s Intelligence Review Group declare that playing defense by alerting the public to hacks is the best response when situations like Heartbleed occur.

When word spread last week about the greatest cyberspace vulnerability in years, the aptly named Heartbleed vulnerability, the first question that many asked was “Did NSA know?” Because of the prior revelations about NSA activity, there is now a natural suspicion among many citizens that the NSA would be using such a weakness in the fabric of cyberspace to collect information. Bloomberg even reported that the NSA did know and had been exploiting the mistake in encryption.

Farmville

Is Iowa’s Guv the Next Christie?

Brian Frank/Reuters

Terry Branstad is a GOP kingmaker who could lose his bid for a sixth term thanks to scandal upon scandal.

Terry Branstad is a political Goliath. The five-term Iowa governor has been the dominant figure in the Hawkeye State’s politics for decades. Branstad has never lost an election and is perhaps the longest-serving governor in American history. But after 19 years in office (16 from 1982 to 1998 before returning to politics in 2010), Branstad has found himself in scandal after scandal after scandal.The most recent controversy that the Iowa governor has faced in recent weeks is an ongoing investigation about whether the state was firing employees for political reasons and then paying them to agree to confidentiality agreements about their termination.

Existential Dread

Liberal Hypocrisy on Cash and Guns

Vartanov Anatoly/Shutterstock

Michael Bloomberg’s anti-NRA campaign reveals why liberals love money in politics as much as everybody else: They’re terrified.

Have you heard the depressing, outrageous news?The dreaded Koch brothers are dumping $50 million into an election-year campaign to target their political enemies and—this is a direct quote—“make them afraid of us.”Isn’t it revolting? When will the influence of money in politics ever subside?Wait, what’s that you say? I have my names wrong? That’s not the Koch brothers with the $50 million plan? That quote belongs to someone else?It’s actually Michael Bloomberg spending that sum, to strike fear into the hearts of NRA members and beat them at their own game?It’s Shannon Watts, the activist profiled with Bloomberg for the New York Times report on the effort, who tells Reuters, “I think the NRA should be very afraid”?Oh.

2016

The Book Tour Hillary Should Fear

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

When Elizabeth Warren hits the road to promote her memoir, the senator likely will draw a critical group of Democrats that the front-runner has had trouble connecting with before.

Elizabeth Warren is not running for president. This we know, not just because she said so at a press conference in December (It’s hard to get much more definitive than “I’m not running for president and I plan to serve out my term”) but because she has done nothing in terms of travel or fundraising that would lay the groundwork for such a campaign.Running now would open Warren up to charges that she abandoned Massachusetts after little more than a cup of coffee in the Senate, and that she is hurting the chances of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female president.

Re-Entry

Christie: Pro-Life for Prisoners

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

At a bipartisan event in Jersey City, the governor tried claim his share of Republican leadership on what the GOP hopes will be a defining conservative issue come 2016.

Riding high on word that according to a Fox News poll he is leading the 2016 Republican field, embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrived in Jersey City Thursday to deliver a message to the GOP about prison reform: “You need to be pro-life after they get out of the womb.”Christie, sitting opposite former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, used the event to combine his pro-life views with his progressive stance on incarceration, which mirror those of prominent conservatives across the country.

House Divided

Cantor’s Passover Slam of Obama

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The House Majority Leader reportedly flipped out at the president over immigration reform during a private call ahead of the Jewish holiday.

A phone call initiated by President Obama to wish House Majority Leader Eric Cantor a good Passover on the eve of the holiday turned contentious when the Republican blamed Obama for congressional inaction on immigration reform, saying that after five years, “the president still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done.”Taking questions from reporters in the White House briefing room Thursday afternoon, Obama said he had a “very pleasant conversation with Mr.

MAZEL TOV!

Hillary’s New Title: Grandma

Samantha Sais/Reuters

Chelsea Clinton shocked her mother, the audience, and America when she announced she’s pregnant. With one Clinton presidency done and another one possibly starting, this could be the making of a dynasty.

NEW YORK—“Few women can steal the spotlight from Hillary Clinton,” one attendee at a Clinton event said Thursday, but Chelsea Clinton managed to do just that when she announced she’s pregnant.The room at the Lower East Side Girls Club, comprised of tween girls, members of media, Clinton loyalists, Anna Wintour, and America Ferrera, burst into cheers at the news.Though it was billed, “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” Chelsea said she and husband Marc Mezvinsky don’t know if they’re having a boy or a girl.

Girl Power

Stop Calling Hidalgo a Style Icon

Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The fashion media has painted Hidalgo as Paris's stylish first lady. But with a love of pantsuits and pointed flats, she's more Hillary Clinton than Michelle Obama. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Two weeks ago, Paris elected its first female mayor. While Anne Hidalgo’s election was a groundbreaking moment for women in politics, the glossies went wild for another reason. With a platform that includes a strong focus on supporting Paris’s fashion industry, along with a friendship with many of its main players, Hidalgo has been thrust into a position akin to the fashionable first ladies of the world; the media has covered her—and her wardrobe—in the same vein as Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, and even former French First Lady Carla Bruni.

Open Primary

GOP Candidate's Awkward Obama Vote

Harry E. Walker/MCT/Zuma

Longtime Republican operative Barbara Comstock is a frontrunner to win the GOP nomination for Congress in a Northern Virginia district. However, she may be hurt by a 2008 vote for Barack Obama.

Virginia State Delegate Barbara Comstock is the ur-Republican.Comstock, who is the frontrunner for her party’s nomination in the open seat in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, made a career as a party apparatchik before seeking elected office. She investigated Whitewater in the 1990s, before moving on to digging up dirt on Al Gore in 2000 and becoming a zealous defender of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay while he was under criminal investigation in 2005.

Lies

Putin Sounds Like Obama on Spying

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Russian president uses similar logic and words that the American president does when justifying mass surveillance.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program.”Who said it, Vladimir Putin or Barack Obama?Obama did, of course, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was Putin. On Thursday, Putin told his guest Edward Snowden that Russia does not spy on all its citizens—only individuals after a court order.Putin: “Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

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Go It Alone, Obama, for Democracy

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He’s been hammered for going around Congress with executive orders. But he’s within his authority—and he should go further on voting and transparency to make government work better.

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