SPOTTED: KELLYANNE CONWAY holding court at the BLT Prime at the Trump Hotel Saturday night. Pic http://bit.ly/2tC2wo8
-- TRUMP’S WEEK AHEAD: Monday: The Houston Astros come to the White House. Tuesday: Trump is in California. Wednesday: Trump is in Missouri. Thursday: Trump hosts the Prime Minister of Ireland at the White House, and goes to the Capitol for the St. Patrick’s Day lunch.
ELENA SCHNEIDER and BRENT GRIFFITHS with a Moon Township, Pennsylvania dateline: “President Donald Trump got business out of the way quickly Saturday night – urging voters to elect Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone, who’s locked in an unexpectedly tough special election battle in Pennsylvania – before turning to the main subject of the night: himself.
“Trump touted his tax reform plan, his new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and his newly announced plan to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while slamming the news media – including calling NBC host Chuck Todd a ‘son of a bitch.’ The president also talked about his desire to impose capital punishment on drug dealers, describing a discussion with Singapore's president about that country’s hardline approach.” http://politi.co/2Fr4IUV
-- IF YOU’RE KEEPING TRACK AT HOME, the RNC dropped another nearly $18,000 on phone calls opposing Conor Lamb yesterday.
THE SCORECARD -- WHO HAS SPENT WHAT: NRCC: $3.5 million. CLF: $3.3 million. RNC: $1.2 million. America First Action: $1.1 million. Conor Lamb: $3 million. DCCC: $312,500.
PHIL RUCKER (@philiprucker): “The president of the United States is heaping praise on North Korea’s dictator and China’s ‘president for life,’ but is attacking the free press and personally disparaging American journalists.” … JOSH ROGIN (@joshrogin): “Trump says Japan is ‘very happy with what I'm doing’ on North Korea. That's not true.”
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE endorses RICK SACCONE. http://bit.ly/2HkTiyw
TRUMP ALSO UNVEILED -- OR RE-UNVEILED -- HIS 2020 CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: “Keep America Great.”
-- FLASHBACK – WaPo’s Karen Tumulty, Jan. 18, 2017: “Halfway through his interview with The Washington Post, Trump shared a bit of news: He already has decided on his slogan for a reelection bid in 2020. ‘Are you ready?’ he said. ‘“Keep America Great,” exclamation point.’ ‘Get me my lawyer!’ the president-elect shouted. Two minutes later, one arrived. ‘Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it — I think I like it, right? Do this: “Keep America Great,” with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. “Keep America Great,”’ Trump said. ‘Got it,’ the lawyer replied.” http://wapo.st/2FAckjZ
Happy Sunday morning from AUSTIN. We're chatting with Reps. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) today at a Playbook Exchange at the WeDC house (at Easy Tiger, 709 E 6th Street). Doors open at noon, and programming starts at 12:30 p.m. We'll put highlights in tomorrow's Playbook.
-- NOTE FOR 90’S MOVIES FANS: Stacy Dash from “Clueless” is running against Barragan. (Dash won’t win, but it’s still fun.)
MORE SXSW FUN: ANNA is sitting down with KATIE COURIC for a SXSW “Speaker Connect” session at 7 p.m. at the Wisteria Room. … ON MONDAY -- Anna is hosting a live back-to-back #WOMENRULE podcast taping at 12:30 p.m. with former Texas state Democratic legislator WENDY DAVIS and Milkbar CEO and founder CHRISTINA TOSI. http://bit.ly/2If87UH … ON TUESDAY -- DANIEL is on a panel with JOE LOCKHART, TIM MILLER and AUBREY QUINN at 9:30 a.m. called “Communicating in the Era of Constant Crisis.” http://bit.ly/2tDnwei
UP NEXT: PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW WITH BILL GATES -- RSVP to get a spot on the waitlist for our Thursday morning event. http://bit.ly/playbookbillgates
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MASS.) is on a big-time media kick, and is insisting that she is not running for president. Trump called her Pocahontas last night in Pennsylvania! Warren, for her part, has been talking a bit more to press in the Capitol, and did a round robin on Sunday shows.
-- WARREN on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” with JOHN ROBERTS, about the Native American question: ROBERTS: “There are many people who are saying should you choose to run in 2020, and one of these groups is the ‘Berkshire Eagle,’ Massachusetts newspaper that endorsed you in 2012 that the issue of your ancestry will come up and they’re suggesting that you put it to rest saying, quote Elizabeth Warren should screw up her courage and take the spit test, a DNA test, a positive test would permanently resolve the issue while possibly shutting down President Trump. Would you be willing to take a DNA test to put this issue to rest?”
WARREN: “Let’s start again, where you started. I’m not running for President. But let me tell you a little bit about my family. Now my mom and dad were born and raised out in Oklahoma and my daddy was in his teens when he fell in love with my mother. She was a beautiful girl who played the piano. And he was head over heels in love with her and wanted to marry her. And his family was bitterly opposed to that because she was part Native American.
“And eventually my parents eloped and they survived the Great Depression, they survived the Dust Bowl. They went through a lot of hard times. They raised three boys, my older brothers all of whom went off to the military. They raised me. They knocked around and it was tough but they hung together. They hung together for 63 years. I know who I am because of what my mother and my father told me, what my grandmother and my grandfather told me, what all my aunts and uncles told me and my brothers. It’s a part of who I am and no one’s ever going to take that away.”
-- @CNNSotu: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren: ‘I went to speak to Native American tribal leaders and I made a promise to them that every time President Trump wants to try to throw out some kind of racial slur, he wants to attack me, I’m going to use it as a chance to lift up their stories.’”
-- WARREN TO CHUCK TODD on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS,” via Brent Griffiths: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren insisted Saturday that she was not running for the White House in 2020, but the Massachusetts Democrat repeatedly dodged on whether she would serve her full six-year term if she wins re-election to the Senate this November.
“‘I am in this fight to retain my Senate seat in 2018. That’s where I’m focused … That’s where I’m going to stay focused. I'm not running for president.’ Asked repeatedly if she would serve a full six-year term if re-elected, Warren said she was not running for president and would fight ‘for the people of Massachusetts, and for the people across this country.’” http://politi.co/2FHI4qM
-- SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-ARIZ.) tells CHUCK that Trump needs to be challenged: TODD: “He’s running for reelection already. He announced that last night basically. Do you think he needs to be challenged from somebody who espouses your views?”
FLAKE: “Yes, I do. I do. I mean, it would be a tough go in a Republican primary. The Republican Party is the Trump party right now. But that’s not to say it will stay that way.”
-- CHUCK speaks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. http://nbcnews.to/2FFNtP5
MAKING LIGHT OF IT … CHUCK closed “Meet the Press” by saying: “Because if it’s Sunday, we’ll be back, sleepy eyes and all.”
-- CIA DIRECTOR MIKE POMPEO on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: “Pompeo: U.S. making ‘no concessions’ to North Korea,” by Aubree Eliza Weaver: http://politi.co/2FzyEuf
-- A FEW BITES FROM ABC’S “THIS WEEK” ... JONATHAN KARL talks to RAJ SHAH: SHAH: “There’s no intention whatsoever to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel, right now.” …
KARL: “Is the president aware that his lawyer paid that kind of money to a porn star to buy her silence? Does he approve of that?” SHAH: “I haven’t asked him about it. But that matter has been asked and answered.” KARL: “No, not since he acknowledged this last week. This was the first time we’ve had a chance to ask about it. So, can you go back? Can we find out if the president approves of the fact…” SHAH: “I haven’t asked him about that.” KARL: “Will you ask him about that?” SHAH: “I haven’t asked him about it yet.” KARL: “But will you ask him about it, Raj?” SHAH: “I’ll get back to you.”
NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN and MIKE SCHMIDT: “Trump Talks With Clinton Impeachment Lawyer About Aiding in Mueller Response”: “President Trump is in discussions with a veteran Washington lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during the impeachment process about joining the White House to help deal with the special counsel inquiry, according to four people familiar with the matter.
“The lawyer, Emmet T. Flood, met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office this past week to discuss the possibility, according to the people. No final decision has been made, according to two of the people.” http://nyti.ms/2p5ZIKC
-- THE PRESIDENT: “The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job and........have shown conclusively that there was no Collusion with Russia..just excuse for losing. The only Collusion was that done by the DNC, the Democrats and Crooked Hillary. The writer of the story, Maggie Haberman, a Hillary flunky, knows nothing about me and is not given access.”
-- MAGGIE is far from a Hillary flunky. She’s universally respected by reporters, Republicans and Democrats. She breaks more news on the Trump administration than any reporter in America. And Trump has spoken to her on the record many, many times.
W.H. REVOLVING DOOR -- “Christopher Liddell Is Front-Runner to Become Trump’s Top Economic Adviser,” by NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Jim Tankersley: “President Trump is strongly considering Christopher P. Liddell, a White House official who was an executive at Microsoft and General Motors, to succeed his departing top economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, according to two people briefed on the discussions. Mr. Trump has not made a firm decision, those briefed on the process said.
“But Mr. Liddell, the White House’s director of strategic initiatives, is currently seen as a front-runner to replace Mr. Cohn as the director of the National Economic Council, they said. ... The president has always wanted a prominent business figure to oversee the council ... His aides, mindful of the difficulties they have had attracting people from outside the White House, have been looking internally, and a successor could be named as early as next week.” http://nyti.ms/2HowAWn
TRUMP INC. -- “Out of Public View, Trumps and Kushners Are Talking Business,” by NYT’s Ben Protess, Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker: “Jared Kushner’s family company recently began construction on an oceanfront development in this Jersey Shore city, a project that has the strong backing of local officials, who agreed to support it with $20 million in bonds. But unknown to Long Branch officials, the Kushners have been in talks to team up with another family-run company that has an even bigger presence in the White House: the Trump Organization. The Kushners are in private discussions to have President Trump’s company manage at least one hotel at the center of the development known as Pier Village, according to people briefed on the previously unreported talks.
“The Kushner Companies and the Trump Organization have signed a letter of intent, though no deal is final and the Kushners are not required to inform city officials. The long-running talks blur the line between family, business and politics in ways that lack precedent: Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, retain financial interests in their family businesses. The Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser has raised questions about a potential deal — one reason the two-year-long discussions have not been completed.” http://nyti.ms/2Dj9VbD
HAPPENING TODAY -- SELECTION SUNDAY … THE NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET will be revealed today at 6 p.m. on TBS. SIGN UP for the SECOND-ANNUAL PLAYBOOK POOL. PRIZES include: Apple Watches, AirPods, GoPros and Google Homes -- plus bragging rights for beating Playbookers nationwide. FILL OUT YOUR BRACKET TONIGHT and square off against governors, senators, members of Congress, mayors and other VIPs. Sign up http://bit.ly/2GahfsZ
-- POLITICO MAGAZINE: “Trump Madness: POLITICO Magazine’s 2018 Bracket: The Trump White House often feels more ‘Game of Thrones’ than ‘aTeam of Rivals.’ Now you get to predict who makes it to the series finale.” http://politi.co/2HqB5zB
HOW TRUMP GOT TO YES ON NORTH KOREA, via NYT's Peter Baker and Choe Sang-Hun: “Then he got to the point: The United States, South Korea and their allies should not repeat their ‘past mistakes,’ but South Korea believed that North Korea’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong-un, was ‘frank and sincere’ when he said he wanted to talk with the Americans about giving up his nuclear program.
“Mr. Kim, he added, had told the South Koreans that if Mr. Trump would join him in an unprecedented summit meeting, the two could produce a historic breakthrough. Mr. Trump accepted on the spot, stunning not only [South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong] and the other high-level South Koreans who were with him, but also the phalanx of American officials who were gathered in the Oval Office.” http://nyti.ms/2FzM6hA
2018 WATCH -- NATASHA KORECKI in Chicago: “A Dem incumbent’s 2018 struggle: The Trump-emboldened challenger from the left”: “Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is facing the most daunting primary challenge of his nearly 14-year career — but you wouldn’t know it from his campaign spending. While the conservative Democrat is under assault from the left with the best-organized and best-funded opponent he’s faced, Lipinski sat nearly dormant on the airwaves for three weeks as newcomer Marie Newman leveled attacks.
“Newman began 2018 with less than $237,000 in her campaign account to mount a primary challenge, while Lipinski had six times that at $1.7 million. Yet it was Newman who was first in the race to air TV ads during a critical period in the primary, the same period when polls showed the little-known candidate made huge gains in name ID.
“It’s the latest illustration of Lipinski’s struggle to hang on to his seat as longtime Democratic incumbents across the country face challengers from the left energized by the national political climate and the 2016 insurgent candidacy of Bernie Sanders.” http://politi.co/2HnZC8t
DEEP DIVE – “The Putin Generation: Young Russians are Vladimir Putin’s biggest fans,” by WaPo’s Anton Troianovski in Kurgan, Russia: “Here, where the forest of the taiga meets the grassy steppe, the ‘Putin Generation’ is no different from anywhere else across Russia’s vastness: coming of age without a rebellious streak. Today’s Russian young adults have no memory of life before Putin, who first took power as their president 18 years ago. Some have taken to the streets in protest, but social scientists say many more have grown to accept him. Polls show that Putin enjoys greater support among youth than among the public at large.” http://wapo.st/2Fs1lNF
MEDIAWATCH – The NYT has announced the launch of their first narrative nonfiction podcast, “Caliphate” with Rukmini Callimachi, a Times foreign correspondent and expert on the Islamic State.
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from SXSW in Austin:
-- “The Killers of Kiev: How Putin Created an Assassin’s Metropolis,” by Joshua Hammer in GQ: “If you are an enemy of Putin, there’s one city where intrigue and assassins are bound to follow you. The Ukrainian capital of Kiev may be considered just inside the West these days, but it’s a very wild West indeed.” http://bit.ly/2oX3syQ
-- “The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t,” by Rachel Monroe in the Atlantic’s April issue: “For years he used fake identities to charm women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then his victims banded together to take him down.” http://theatln.tc/2DeLVq2
-- “How Billionaires Learned to Love Populism,” by Amy Chua on the cover of the March/April issue of POLITICO Magazine: “What’s behind the Trump alliance between self-dealing plutocrats and blue-collar voters.” http://politi.co/2p4DZTm
-- “My Life In the Elusive Green Economy,” by Michael Grunwald in the March/April issue of POLITICO Magazine: “The renewable future is here—if you can find a plug.” http://politi.co/2Fs33hX
-- “The Financial Whisperer to Trump’s America,” by Tim Alberta in the March/April issue of POLITICO Magazine: “Dave Ramsey has spent 25 years helping radio listeners climb out of debt. What does he see behind their economic anxiety?” http://politi.co/2FBkkRK
-- “Is Big Business Really That Bad?” by Robert D. Atkinson and Michael Lind in April’s Atlantic in an adaptation of their new book “Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business”: “Large corporations are vilified in a way that obscures the innovation they spur and the steady jobs they produce.” http://theatln.tc/2FvOupN ... $24.44 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2IfCjio
-- “The Catastrophic Success of #MeToo: Understanding the feminist movement that's remaking America,” by Alice B. Lloyd on the cover of the Weekly Standard: Jill “Abramson was the first woman to hold the executive editor spot [at the Times] —arguably the pinnacle of American journalism. Sulzberger had offered it to her over the phone in 2011, and she didn’t think to ask at the time what her predecessors’ compensation had been. ‘My advice to younger women now is don’t do what I did,’ she tells me. ‘Just be very straightforward and ask those questions. I was stupid not to.’” http://tws.io/2oXBoLx
-- “How to Raise a Boy,” by Will Leitch in the Cut: “I’m not sure what to think about what my dad tried to teach me. So what should I teach my sons?” http://bit.ly/2Gao1iA
-- “The Last Temptation,” by Michael Gerson on the cover of April’s Atlantic: “How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory.” http://theatln.tc/2FADTdi
-- “My 10-Year Odyssey Through America’s Housing Crisis,” by WSJ’s Ryan Dezember: “Misery over real estate hasn’t ended—2.5 million homes are still worth less than their mortgages. Here’s the story of one Wall Street Journal reporter’s upside-down American dream.” http://on.wsj.com/2oXlqBb
-- “This Bitcoin-Trading Family Man Faced Years in Prison. Now He’s Telling His Story,” by Time’s Katy Steinmetz: “Investors in Silicon Valley are obsessing over the technology that underpins these tokens, known as blockchain; crypto-related startups and hedge funds are popping up one after the other; regulators around the world are on high alert, as cryptocurrencies become more interwoven with financial systems. As prices have soared (and plummeted) over the last year, the fever has spread to America’s living rooms too, where regular people are running up credit card debt to invest in something many of us don’t really understand.” http://ti.me/2GYBJ7g (h/t Blain Rethmeier)
-- “The Male Glance,” by Lili Loofbourow in VQR – per Longreads.com’s description: “The male glance is what we do to art by women: it’s a look that is quick, it judges, it supposes, and it moves on. It’s what makes art by men serious, and art by women dismissive. ‘We’ve been hemorrhaging great work for decades,’ writes Lili Loofbourow, ‘partly because we were so bad at seeing it.’” http://bit.ly/2twPLvg
SPOTTED: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) reading Politico on an American flight from Chicago O’Hare to DCA – pic http://bit.ly/2Fp0xci.
SPOTTED, THE SXSW EDITION: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) having dinner with Walter Isaacson last night at an outside table at Le Politique in Austin. The two were joined by Warner’s wife Lisa, his godson and other friends.
-- “Innovation Nation: A Celebration of Public Service & Innovation” at 3Ten ACL Live drew lots of politicos, including: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gideon Lett, Linda Moore, Gary Shapiro, Tiffany Moore, David Grossman, Tim Day and Suhail Khan.
-- SPOTTED at a dinner last night hosted by Vox Media at their space in Austin: Jim Bankoff, Bill Simmons, Kara Swisher, Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Austin mayor Steve Adler, Katie Couric, Evan Williams, Lydia Polgreen, Peter Kafka, Nellie Bowles, Michael Calderone, Andrew Golis, Hilary Rosen
-- VOTERUNLEAD held a #RunAsYouAre SXSW candidate training Saturday. SPOTTED: Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood, Alex Lasry, SVP of the Milwaukee Bucks, and candidate trainers state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa of Wisconsin, Erin Vilardi and Jehmu Greene.
TRANSITIONS -- Katon Dawson is now managing director of Mercury; he served as chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party for seven years. Karl “Butch” Bowers Jr. is now of counsel to the firm, which is launching a new office in Columbia, South Carolina.
ENGAGED -- Ethan Epstein, associate editor of the Weekly Standard and contributor to Politico Magazine, got engaged to author Tara Barnett. The couple, who plan to wed next month, met as undergraduates at Reed College. Pic http://bit.ly/2p24Kst
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Charles McElwee, writer for the American Conservative who also works in economic development at Greater Hazleton CAN DO, Inc. How he got his start in journalism: “I began writing columns for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker shortly after college. My writing focused on the region's history, culture, and politics. These essays were inspired by the socio-economic forces driving the region. Despite its size, Hazleton has historically been a culturally and politically relevant city at the national level. It is a microcosm of the socio-economic, technological, and demographic changes occurring across the country.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2Dj2FMS
BIRTHDAYS: Michael Holley of the White House ... MC Gonzalez, SVP at Estee Lauder Global Public Affairs and former comms director for Michelle Obama (h/t Kara Carscaden) ... Rupert Murdoch is 87 ... Sam Donaldson is 84 ... Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead is 56 ... former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is 53 ... Justice Nino Scalia would have been 82 (h/t Fred Graefe) … Matt Sobocinski … Nick Shapiro ... Ben Becker, principal at Precision Strategies ... Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey ... Energy Northwest’s Jason Herbert is 32 ... Jen Mullin, director of public advocacy at Exelon … James Pollack ... NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer ... Austin Carson ... Gale Norton is 64 … Ashley Summers ... Square’s Abby Rogers ... Justin Weaver … Politico’s Allison Muehlenbeck, celebrating live from SXSW and our Playbook Exchange event ... Politico’s Emily Riley and Micaela Rodriguez ... Amy Weiss, CEO of Weiss Public Affairs …
… Christina Arvanites, associate producer at MSNBC’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell (h/t Hayley Andrews) … Michal Grayevsky, a top aide to Ronald Lauder (h/t Alex Levy) ... Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and GOP strategist (h/t Matt Beynon) ... Nik Holtan of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP … Laurye Blackford ... Joe Quinn, VP of public affairs at the Aluminum Association, is 41 ... Haley Viccaro ... Will Lane ... Laura Zimmerman ... Ashley Stover … Justin Wilson, vice mayor of Alexandria ... Nikki Budzinski, senior adviser for JB Pritzker’s Illinois gubernatorial campaign ... Rachel Dodsworth ... Cookie McCarton ... DoD’s Jeff Hayes ... Harry Wolff is 39 ... Bush 43 VA alum Jon Schneider ... Andrew Fagerstrom ... Ann Calvert ... Carrie Pugh of the NEA ... Tripp Welde (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)