President Obama listens as Mexican President Felipe Calderon addresses the media during a joint news conference at the White House on March 3. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
–The White House’s initial budget negotiation offering is $6.5 billion in cuts over the remainder of the fiscal year, slashing some construction and maintenance contracts as well as FEMA grants. They’re trying to sell it as $50 billion by counting the $4 billion in cuts already passed and the $40 billion gap between Obama’s original 2011 budget and the actual levels this year (the same formula House Republicans used to cast the $61 billion in cuts they passed as $100 billion.)
–February jobs report: Non-farm payrolls swelled by 192,000 jobs as the unemployment rate edged down to 8.9%, the lowest level since April 2009. The broader U-6 rate dropped to 15.9%, and January and December numbers were revised up.
–If Jon Huntsman were to be competitive in a presidential primary, he’d have to clean up moderate states like New Hampshire. Former Republican Governor John Sununu: “Huntsman won’t play well here. Huntsman won’t play well anywhere, because Huntsman’s only barely a Republican…. We’re not going to nominate an Obamaite. And I will make sure the Republican Party does not nominate an Obamaite.” Sununu’s partial to Romney.
–Nate Silver is bearish on Newt Gingrich’s chances. In a field this thin, anything can happen. But primary surprises usually come from unknown quantities, which Gingrich isn’t. He has a new website, albeit with some old stock photography. And in case you didn’t already know this, the Internet is merciless.
–Jonah Goldberg sees a field divided between fighters and fixers.
–Indiana’s election chief has been indicted on felony charges of voter fraud, perjury and theft.
–Florida’s high-speed rail snafu goes to court.
–The view from West Virginia: Congressional mine safety hearings are appalling.
–Wisconsin’s Scott Walker has gotten more cable news play this year than all other governors combined.
–Wild: An American who disappeared four years ago in Iran has rematerialized alive.
–And Ralph Reed is hilarious:
“I’m a supply-sider when it comes to politics,” Reed said. “Once they see where the supply of voters is and what they care about, they’re going to find that they have to have a broad, comprehensive message that encompasses both the cultural agenda and the economic agenda.”