Peggy Noonan: “It was the most effective of his presidency and for interesting reasons. Its first purpose was to demonstrate to his party that he’s in charge and formidable. He did that. The second, in my read, was to present himself in a new way to voters, especially those in the middle, and especially old Democratic constituencies. I think he did himself some good there…”
“This was great stuff. You can say Mr. Biden fibbed, misled and exaggerated, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but in rope-a-doping Republicans on Medicare and Social Security he showed real mastery. ‘Some Republicans—some Republicans—want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I’m not saying it’s the majority.’ When they catcalled and booed he said he was glad to see it—’I enjoy conversion.’”
“I don’t care how planned that line was, it was good.”
Andrew Sullivan: “I used to hate Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speeches. He’d usually arrive inexcusably late; proceed to hug everyone within touching distance; then blather on for well over an hour about every policy minutia the DC wonk class obsesses over. One year, he was still talking an hour and a half in. Then he’d stay forever afterwards, incapable of saying goodbye, absorbing every milliliter of love he could drain from the crowd, and generally looking like he was having the time of his life.”
“I was bored silly. But you know what? People loved those speeches. They loved the laundry list of post-big-government specifics, and they loved the way Clinton effortlessly stole most of the right’s policies, while appearing to be far saner and happier than any of them. And as I absorbed Biden’s SOTU this week, it was Bill Clinton who came to mind, the last Democrat who merrily triangulated his way to a landslide re-election.”
“Mark Warner and Marco Rubio are quickly becoming the Senate’s most prominent — and effective — bipartisan duo,” Punchbowl News reports. “Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee chair, and Rubio (R-Fla.), the vice chair, are in lock-step as they clash with the Biden administration on key national security matters, most notably the classified documents scandals and the Chinese spy balloon incident.”
“These issues have united senators from both parties. Warner and Rubio have the support of the entire Intelligence Committee as they push to get briefed on the classified documents found at the homes of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.”
“When Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, meets President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, the two hope to reset relations after an era defined by right-wing populists and threats to democracy in both nations,” CNN reports. “The talks, expected to center around efforts to combat climate change and tackle anti-democratic extremism, come roughly a month after protesters aligned with far-right former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government institutions in Brasilia following Bolsonaro’s election loss.”
“A proposal to ban minors from carrying some guns on public property without a 21-year-old present failed to advance this week, as Republican lawmakers decided not to include the proposed amendment in a broader crime bill,” Reuters reports.
“The proposal had been recommended by a bipartisan working group in the legislature, but was removed last week amid opposition from Republicans in the state House of Representatives, who said people who do not intend to commit crimes should not be penalized for carrying guns.”
“The Biden administration’s decision to end the Covid-19 national emergency declaration could undermine a central justification for its student-debt forgiveness plan as the Supreme Court prepares to decide the fate of the program,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mr. Biden outlined a plan in August to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers making under $125,000 a year. Unable to pass the plan in Congress, the White House relied on expanded executive powers tied to the emergency declaration to enact the plan, and Mr. Biden said his intent was to ‘address the financial harms of the pandemic.’”
Should Melania Trump have been in the Situation Room during the U.S. raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria? No. But her idea to highlight a hero dog was no dumber than anything her husband did https://t.co/HUByCESsaZ— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) February 8, 2023
“Donald Trump’s social-media reach expanded this week with the restoration of his Facebook and Instagram accounts, and he is now seeking a return to YouTube, people familiar with the move say, as he looks to boost his 2024 presidential campaign,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“A 23-year-old Kansas mayor who re-installed himself back into office last month in what some horrified observers said was ‘essentially, a coup’ is refusing to leave in the face of furious community opposition,” the Daily Beast reports.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney never apologized to Harry Whittington — who died yesterday — for shooting him in the face while hunting, the Washington Post reports.
“An estimated 27.3 million people watched President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on television, the second smallest audience for the annual event in at least 30 years,” NBC News reports.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “is warning state agency and public university leaders this week that the use of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives — policies that support groups who have been historically underrepresented or discriminated against — is illegal in hiring,” the Texas Tribune reports.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) “was booted from his perch on the powerful Armed Services Committee last month as retribution for delaying the confirmation of numerous Defense Department nominees last year, and for his role in challenging Mitch McConnell’s hold as the chamber’s top Republican,” Roll Call reports.
“When the Armed Services panel announced its roster last week, Hawley’s name was conspicuously absent from the list — a surprise move that came directly from McConnell’s office.”
Rep. John Duarte (R-CA) paid a hefty fine for plowing federally protected streams and wetlands on his farm but now sits on the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over water resources, the HuffPost reports.
A new report finds that Stephen Bannon’s “War Room” podcast has been the top spreader of misinformation in the conservative media ecosystem, The Hill reports.
“Nuclear-armed North Korea showcased its missile production muscle during a nighttime parade, state media reported on Thursday, displaying more intercontinental ballistic missiles than ever before and hinting at a new solid-fuel weapon,” Nikkei Asia reports.
“North Korea held the widely anticipated nighttime military parade in Pyongyang on Wednesday to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its army… Leader Kim Jong Un attended with his daughter, who is seen as playing a possible future leadership role in the hereditary dictatorship.”
“In a posthumously published book, former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe said he pushed then-President Donald Trump to take a stronger stand on North Korea but found Mr. Trump weak and overly eager for a deal,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Abe said in the Japanese-language book, published this week, that he grew worried North Korea would learn of Mr. Trump’s dovish tendencies.”
Wrote Abe: “We absolutely couldn’t let the outside world catch wind of it.”
“Florida lawmakers are expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to give Gov. Ron DeSantis new power over the state’s most iconic theme parks amid his ongoing feud with isney,” CNN reports.
“Under a fast-tracked bill that could be headed to the Republican governor’s desk by the end of the week, the state would take over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the 55-year-old government body that has effectively given Disney control over the land around its Orlando-area theme parks. The district’s existing board, made up of individuals with close ties to Disney, would be replaced by a five-member board hand-picked by DeSantis.”
“A Delaware man who carried a Confederate flag through the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday,” NBC News reports.
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) was assaulted Thursday morning in her Washington, D.C., apartment building, The Hill reports. Her office said the attack does not appear to be politically motivated.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is lobbying to succeed Labor Secretary Martin Walsh, the New York Post reports.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is left with no staffers after four resigned this week, and the final remaining staffer was fired by its chair, Rep. Nannette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), The Hill reports.
“Top House Republicans on Friday demanded answers from SEC Chair Gary Gensler about why former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on the eve of his scheduled appearance before the Financial Services Committee last year,” Politico reports.
“President Biden’s administration is developing a sweeping bill that would revamp the country’s asylum system to speed up the resolution of claims in large-scale processing centers at the border with Mexico,” Reuters reports.
“Another intruder has breached the home of Air Force One, one of the nation’s most sensitive military bases, and this time a resident opened fire on the trespasser,” the AP reports.
“Hunter Biden’s legal team on Thursday defied a records request from House Republicans, calling their investigation into his business dealings an ‘expansive and invasive’ quest to turn President Biden’s son into a political weapon,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“In a letter to the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell questioned the legitimacy of the Republican-led inquiry into the president and his family, arguing that the investigation lacked a valid legislative purpose. Mr. Lowell repeatedly referred to the younger Mr. Biden as a private citizen and said the information sought by the House panel ‘is precisely what is prohibited by the Supreme Court.’”