• Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty

    Fired Up

    Hopelessly Devoted to Hillary

    They’re ready to do more than just volunteer if Clinton runs in 2016. A Hillary tattoo? Her face on their car? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    One sees them whenever Hillary Clinton arrives in town. Without the means to afford the often hefty ticket price to see her speak, they stand outside with homemade signs, chanting, “Hil-Lar-Ree!” They have replaced the background photograph on their Twitter profile to a simple picture of the former first lady; their bio lists Hillary Clinton alongside their favorite sports teams. For seven years, they have tracked her every move on social media. And the moment Hillary Clinton shoots the starter pistol on the 2016 campaign, they will leave behind jobs, families, and responsibilities, and go where she needs them.

    To be clear, these aren’t the operatives and fundraisers and Clintonistas and Friends of Bill who are already hosting high-dollar fundraisers or angling for administration jobs. Some of them are, by their own admission, apolitical. But in Hillary Clinton they feel something beyond the usual kinship with a political figure who shares their ideas. It is more like a spiritual connection, one they describe in near-rapturous terms.

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  • Peter Bauer/Daytona Beach News-Journal, via AP

    TOO FAR?

    Tennessee to Criminalize Pregnancy

    The state legislature has passed a bill that would allow police to investigate drug-taking mothers if their unborn children are harmed by their addiction.

    Tennessee may become the first state with a law that could criminally prosecute pregnant women if they harm their unborn children by taking illegal drugs. Miscarriages, stillbirths, and infants born with birth defects would be grounds for police investigation and charges that could put the mother behind bars for up to 15 years.

    Last week, the proposed legislation to allow for criminal assault charges to be brought against drug-addicted pregnant women overwhelmingly passed the Tennessee Senate with bipartisan support after already sailing through the House. The bill states that “nothing shall preclude prosecution of a woman for an assaultive offense for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”

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  • A woman votes on November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Cengiz Yar Jr./AFP/Getty)

    SWING

    Win Women, Win the Midterms

    The female vote gave the House to Republicans in 2010 and to Democrats in 2006. No wonder we’re talking about pay equality six months before Election Day.

    You could be forgiven for looking at the 2014 election cycle and thinking you’re watching a rerun of 2012. “The 1 percent! The war on women!” In the latest episode, the White House signed an executive order on federal salaries billed as promoting equal pay, as a part of its effort to keep the political gender gap working in their favor.

    It makes sense that Democrats would want the coming election to be a replay of the last one. They won.

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  • Courtesy of Livestream

    Hillary Blasts Putin

    Clinton said at the Women in the World Summit Russia's president is "motivated by the past" and that dysfunction in Washington threatens U.S. leadership.

    Hillary Clinton blasted Vladimir Putin as a relic from a bygone era on Thursday night as she called on the U.S. and its allies to stand up to Russia’s aggression.

    The former Secretary of State said Russia's seizure of Crimea was an attempt to restore the might of the collapsed Soviet Union, a faded ambition that should be consigned to history. "We have to say no to somebody like Putin,” she said.

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  • Mike Stone/Reuters

    Texas Pro-Choicers Arm for Battle

    Despite a disappointing ruling in the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, the pro-choice movement is only gearing up for battle.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit gave a victory to anti-abortion advocates Thursday and as a result, pro-choice Texas is refusing to cave into Rick Perry and co.

    Judge Edith H. Jones wrote in the three-judge panel ruling that the state law requiring all abortion providers to meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers (ACS) did not cause an “undue burden on the life and health of a woman.”

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  • Mel Evans--Pool/Getty

    Not Cool

    Slut-Shaming of Bridget Anne Kelly

    The Bridgegate report commissioned by Chris Christie included gratuitous details about the personal life of one of his staffers.

    When the results of the internal Bridgegate investigation, commissioned by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were released Thursday, it included a curious revelation. Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff whom he fired on January 9 after the release of her smoking gun “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email, had been involved in an affair with Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager.

    The report, which cost New Jersey taxpayers $1 million, states that “Kelly and Stepien became personally involved, although, by early August 2013, their personal relationship had cooled, apparently at Stepien’s choice, and they largely stopped speaking.”

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  • Blue Lantern Studio/Corbis

    TERMINOLOGY

    What Is ‘Natural Marriage?’

    When a group like the Family Research Council is losing a debate there's only one thing left to do: change the terms.

    Today’s Politics 101 pop quiz: In the course of a fierce ideological battle, when it becomes clear that one side is getting its butt kicked, what are leaders of the losing team expected to do? A. Double down. B. Scare the crap out of their followers. C. Beg for money. D. All of the above.

    No one really needs help with this one, do they?

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  • Samantha Sais/Reuters

    Testing the Waters

    Friends (of Hillary) With Benefits

    The political operation that had been aimed at 2016 is now about to get a test drive, enlisting its 2 million supporters to help the candidates that Clinton endorses for this November.

    For six years, Hillary Clinton has toiled in the shadow of Barack Obama. He was the electric young upstart who upended her inevitable path to the White House in Iowa. He was the president, she the Secretary of State. Now he faces global crises, while she travels the globe addressing groups like the American Society of Travel Agents and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

    But that dynamic is likely to flip in the coming months as the midterm election season gets underway. That’s because, with his underwater approval ratings, President Obama has been an unwelcome presence on the campaign trail. And Clinton meanwhile, is not only a sought-after presence on the campaign trail, but Ready for Hillary, the grassroots super PAC that has been building a list of supporters in advance of a 2016 run, is now planning to get involved in 2014 as well.

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  • Jaap Buitendijk/Summit Entertainment

    Pantsuits

    Hollywood vs. Hillary 2016

    The villain in the new movie Divergent bears a striking resemblance to Hillary Clinton. Why are Hollywood’s powerful female leaders always the bad guys?

    Many people will love Divergent, the new Hunger Games-style science-fiction movie that arrives Friday in theaters: fans of the blockbuster young-adult novel by Veronica Roth on which the film is based; fans of actress Shailene Woodley, who plays Roth’s nonconformist heroine Tris; fans of a post-apocalyptic future in which the Earth’s remaining human beings wall themselves off inside the ruins of a major metropolis (in this case, Chicago) and split up into five factions (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite) designed to “keep the peace.”

    One person who won’t love Divergent, however, is Hillary Clinton.

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  • Chris Keane/Reuters

    Sex & the Military

    How Did the General Get Off?

    A top Army officer faced life imprisonment on sexual assault charges and other crimes but walked away Thursday with a minor reprimand. How did that happen?

    Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who had been charged with sexually assaulting a female captain who worked for him, walked free Thursday.

    Sinclair received a surprisingly light sentence given that he had originally faced life imprisonment and his own defense lawyers seemed resigned to some jail time, asking this week that he not be imprisoned for more than 18 months. Instead, in a decision that surprised many, Sinclair was docked $20,000 in pay and received a letter of reprimand, but was allowed to remain in the military and keep his pension and benefits.

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  • Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, speaks to supporters at her campaign headquarters Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. (LM Otero/AP)

    Wendy Davis Will Turn Texas Purple

    A new poll shows Wendy Davis within single digits of her Republican opponent—one more sign that Texas’s voters are no longer reliably red.

    Let’s start by stating the obvious: It is hard for a Democrat to win statewide office in Texas today.  Recently, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, pointed out that Texas has gone longer than any other state in the union without electing a Democrat to high office.  Which makes Wendy Davis’ ascent in the Texas governor’s race all the more impressive.

    This week, a new poll showed Sen. Davis within just seven points of her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.  The poll shows that 42 percent of Texas voters back Davis, compared to 49 percent for Abbott.  Now, put in the context of the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election—in which Republican Rick Perry won by almost 18 points over his leading Democratic rival—and the seven percent gap between Davis and Abbott is impressive.  In the context of previous polls that showed Abbott widening his lead over Davis, this new poll is even more stunning.  Wendy Davis has a serious shot at becoming the next governor of Texas. 

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  • Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post, via Getty

    Pro-Pot Lesbian for Governor

    Heather Mizeur, a two-term Maryland delegate, is running for governor in an attempt to make the safely Democratic state a laboratory of liberalism.

    There’s no such thing as a Maryland liberal. Terms like “California liberal” or “Massachusetts liberal” are well known (and, depending on whom you ask, pejorative) terms in the American political lexicon. But “Maryland liberal”? Not so much. It sounds clunky and sort of hilarious. This could all change if Maryland decides to veer left and elect Heather Mizeur, a wonky, pro-pot married lesbian, as governor.

    Heather Mizeur has just finished explaining everything, seemingly every public policy issue, in exacting detail to a group of surprisingly still-awake seniors and stray nearby supporters at the Springwell Senior Living Community in Baltimore City. We’re talking: criminal justice reform, drug policy reform, tax cuts, tax hikes, school construction policy, wages, fracking, campaign finance, health care, more health care, family planning, corporate tax loopholes, universal pre-kindergarten, and marriage equality, to name a few. Mizeur, a two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, brings to bear her encyclopedic memory of acronyms and best practices research from across the country (“Five states across the country have tried this… Georgia, of all places, did this… In Oregon there was a program to… This has worked in Kentucky….”) She’s smart, maybe too smart. She speaks in thick paragraphs that her staffers probably wish they could condense and sharpen at times.

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  • Kevin Dietsch/UPI, via Landov

    Sexual Assault Bill SNAFU

    The New York Senator may have lost the vote to move prosecution of sexual assaults outside the military, but she’s still a champion in certain circles who will continue to maintain a watchful eye on reform.

    Legislation that would have transferred the decision to prosecute sexual assault in the military from commanders to lawyers outside the chain of command failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the senate Thursday. The 55 senators that supported New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act included all but three of the 20 women currently serving in the senate. Those three, Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Deb Fischer of Nebraska backed legislation crafted by McCaskill, which cruised to an easy victory after two hours of emotional debate.

    Except for the glaring difference in how women in the still male-dominated senate voted, pigeon-holing supporters for either bill along ideological or partisan lines proved difficult. The pro-Gillibrand vote had a more progressive caste overall with Democratic newcomers Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Cory Booker in her camp. But she also won over iconoclastic Republicans Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley, a coalition that is rare for a Democrat in Washington today.

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