FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: THE SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND is up with its first attack ad against SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.VA.). The ad features a voice over by VP MIKE PENCE from a recent stop in the state where he railed against the senator, saying over and over again “Joe voted no.” SLF sees the Manchin seat as one of its biggest pickup opportunities of the midterms. The ad will run on cable for 10 days and on broadcast during the Sunday shows in the Charleston and Huntington and Bluefield and Beckley markets. This is a really good example of how an outside group can amplify a government official’s message. This is a small, five-figure buy at the moment. The ad http://bit.ly/2Bt95vB
Happy Valentine’s Day. Today is also Ash Wednesday. NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN: “Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, said on Tuesday that he had paid out of his own pocket to a pornographic-film actress who had once claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.
“In the most detailed explanation of the 2016 payment made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, Mr. Cohen, who worked as a counsel to the Trump Organization for more than a decade, said he was not reimbursed for the payment. ‘Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,’ Mr. Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times.
“‘The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.’ He declined to answer several follow-up questions, including whether Mr. Trump had been aware that Mr. Cohen made the payment, why he made the payment or whether he had made similar payments to other people over the years.” http://nyti.ms/2EHrbvQ
— @maggieNYT: “Several White House officials are now prefacing or concluding their sentences in convos w reporters by making clear they can’t swear by the information they’ve just given.”
IMMIGRATION PROSPECTS LOOKING DIM … BURGESS EVERETT: “Trump readies blame game if Senate fails on DACA”: “President Donald Trump is refusing to budge from his immigration framework, and he and his allies on Capitol Hill are laying the groundwork to heap the blame on Democrats if the Senate fails to reach a deal this week.
“In Trump’s view, according to administration officials and GOP senators, he’s already compromised beyond where he and his staff felt comfortable by offering 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. And if Democrats want to step up this week and sink the president’s proposal, that will be on them, they said.
“‘It seems to me this ought to be a pretty sweet bipartisan deal to solve the problem,’ Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said of the president’s proposal. If Democrats reject it, ‘I think we’re looking pretty good from a PR standpoint.’ ‘Anything that goes left of this wouldn’t even get taken up in the House. The president is not going to sign anything that doesn’t secure the four pillars,’ said a senior administration official familiar with his thinking. ‘We took a lot of blowback. If you want the middle ground between Democrats and Republicans, this is the bill.’” http://politi.co/2EHCqVe
— LET’S PLAY THIS OUT A BIT. At this point, it does not look like the Senate is going to approve any immigration bill. If it doesn’t the focus will turn to the House. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told his whips last night that they will canvas support for Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) immigration bill — legislation that doesn’t stand a chance of passing the Senate. But the House will clear that, and Democrats will try to force Speaker Paul Ryan to put centrist legislation on the floor. IF ANYTHING WERE TO HAPPEN, the best bet at this point would be a one-for-one trade: DACA protections for beefed up border security. It’s completely feasible, though, that nothing happens at all, or until the summer after further court action.
SCOTT PRUITT’S LUXE TRAVEL — “EPA: Pruitt has ‘blanket waiver’ for first-class travel,” by Emily Holden: “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is pre-approved to fly first class whenever he travels, a spokesman said Tuesday. ‘Due to security reasons, he has a blanket waiver to buy business or first class,’ Jahan Wilcox said. Wilcox declined to say who specifically signed off on that policy, or when, or how the agency determined that flying coach was a security risk. He said that information would have to be requested via the Freedom of Information Act, a process that can take months to complete.” For Pros http://politico.pro/2stXTMy
— CBS’S JULIANNA GOLDMAN: “In early June, Pruitt traveled to Italy for meetings at the Vatican and to attend a summit with international energy ministers. Taxpayers picked up the tab for his round-trip business-class flight, which cost at least $7,000, several times the cost of what was paid for other staffers who accompanied him on the trip.
“CBS News has learned that when Pruitt returned home from Milan on June 11, he flew on Emirates Airlines, whose business class cabins are some of the world’s most luxurious, complete with an onboard lounge that promises what the airline calls a ‘truly unique journey.’” http://cbsn.ws/2EC9YnL
— THE JUSTIFICATION that allowed Pruitt to fly a foreign carrier says: “Because the Administrator is attending meetings in Italy the morning of departure the only [A]merican carrier is Delta flight that leaves at 3:25pm back to JFK and but they need more time to get to Milan which is closer than going all the way to Rome. Leaving on the 4:10pm flight on the foreign carrier from Milan to JFK is the only later flight available that would get the Administrator back in time to catch the connection to IAD in order for him to arrive in time for his meeting the next day and to complete the mission of the agency.”
THE BATTLE FOR CONGRESS …
— NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL: “Poll: GOP gains on generic ballot, Trump approval ticks upward,” by Steve Shepard: “Fully 39 percent of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, are undecided.
“Voters are split almost evenly along party lines. Democratic voters break for their party, 85 percent to 5 percent, while Republicans similarly favor the GOP, 84 percent to 8 percent. Among independent voters, 26 percent would vote for the Democrat, 25 percent for the Republican and nearly half, 49 percent, are undecided.” http://politi.co/2srdzA5
— “Corker edges closer to reelection bid,” by Burgess Everett: “‘In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda. The senator has been encouraged to reconsider his decision and is listening closely,’ said Micah Johnson, a spokeswoman for the senator. … Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has put up strong fundraising and poll numbers in a primary that Corker ostensibly left last fall amid a feud with President Donald Trump. Blackburn’s campaign has indicated she’s unlikely to leave the race if Corker reenters it.” http://politi.co/2nZ6uCi
— ILLINOIS SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH talked with ANNA and REENA FLORES for the latest “Women Rule” podcast and she wasn’t ready to commit to Democrats taking back the Senate. “I don’t know,” Duckworth said, “I think that we need to just get out there and do the hard work of connecting with the American people, and a little less talk, a lot more action.” “What the Midwest can teach the Democratic Party is: we have to care about everyone. We can’t just care about minorities, or immigrants, or identity politics,” Duckworth said, cautioning that “if we just focus on the left wing side of the party, or the more conservative side of the party, it doesn’t get us anywhere.”
MORE FROM DUCKWORTH …
— ON HOW SHE CAN’T ‘TECHNICALLY’ TAKE MATERNITY LEAVE: “Because if I take maternity leave, then I won’t be allowed to sponsor legislation or vote during that time period.” The Illinois Democrat and Iraq War veteran, who is expecting her second child this spring, will be the first sitting senator to give birth in office. She plans to take 12 weeks of paid leave – but she’s working with her party’s leadership and her staff to figure out how she can still take important votes while she’s out. “It’s going to change some Senate rules,” Duckworth said.
ANOTHER ISSUE: “You are not allowed to bring children onto the floor of the Senate at all,” Duckworth pointed out. “If I have to vote, and I’m breastfeeding my child, especially during my maternity leave period, what do I do? Leave her sitting outside?”
— ON CALLING TRUMP ‘CADET BONE SPURS’: “I think bullies need to have a taste of their own medicine, and he is a bully. And you stand up to bullies … I just think it’s ironic that you have an injury that is so severe it keeps you out of serving your country, but you don’t remember which foot it was in, or whether it was in both feet.”
— ON WHO SHE WANTS TO RUN IN 2020: “I’m going to have to say Amy Klobuchar … I would love to see more Midwestern Dems run. I think Sherrod Brown would be fantastic. Amy would be fantastic.” Subscribe and listen to the full podcast http://bit.ly/2o6qcLw
DAY 8 OF ROB PORTERGATE …
— ELIANA JOHNSON, BEHIND THE SCENES: “Porter blamed ex-wife’s black eye on an accident in off-the-record meeting with reporters”: “When now-former White House staff secretary Rob Porter sat down for an off-the-record meeting with four reporters hours after the publication of a Daily Mail story showing his first wife with a black eye, he was quick to deny the allegations of physical abuse. The reporters present for the meeting — the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, Axios’ Jonathan Swan, and the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender — pressed Porter to explain the picture of his first wife with a black eye as well as his comment that he had taken the picture in question.
“He told them what he had told his colleagues: that, on vacation in Venice, the two had quarreled over a Venetian glass vase, and that his then-wife, Colbie Holderness, had accidentally bruised her eye in the course of that altercation. Porter, who until that point had been seen as one of the most competent and trusted aides in the West Wing, also confirmed that he was resigning his post, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and two other communications aides – Josh Raffel and Raj Shah – did not dispute that White House chief of staff John Kelly had urged Porter to stay, according to a person familiar with the exchange.” http://politi.co/2F2D1yy
— WAPO’S ASHLEY PARKER, PHIL RUCKER and JOSH DAWSEY: “Kelly does not enjoy the confidence of an increasing number of his subordinates, some of whom said they believe that the retired four-star Marine Corps general has misled them. Kelly is ‘a big fat liar,’ said one White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion. ‘To put it in terms the general would understand, his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty.’ … The internal animus is not limited to Kelly. White House counsel Donald McGahn and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin are also facing scrutiny over how Porter managed to work at the White House — and hold an interim security clearance — for more than a year despite the allegations of abuse during his two marriages. …
“Instead, these people said, Kelly seemed to shirk blame, grumbling to at least one confidant that the communications office should be held partly responsible. In internal conversations, Kelly sounded defensive and complained that the media was overhyping the story, according to a senior White House official who spoke with him.” http://wapo.st/2ED75D4
— NYT’S JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and MIKE SHEAR: “White House Let Rob Porter Keep Job Even After Receiving Final F.B.I. Report”: “[P]ressed on whether senior officials — including John F. Kelly, the chief of staff; Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel; and [Joe] Hagin — could have been unaware as far back as last summer that such a significant issue had been raised about one of the president’s closest aides, she conceded she could not be certain. ‘Not that I’m aware of,’ Ms. Sanders said. ‘I can’t say with 100 percent certainty.’ According to the two people briefed on the matter, the White House security office reviewed the allegations about Mr. Porter in July and saw that the F.B.I. had interviewed Mr. Porter’s two former wives but not Mr. Porter himself.
“The office asked the F.B.I. to go back and do so … In November, the F.B.I. provided another report to the security office, the two people said, adding that at that point, a final review began to determine whether to grant Mr. Porter a security clearance. As part of that review, three officials in the personnel office, including its head, were supposed to come to their own conclusions about whether to grant the clearance.” http://nyti.ms/2F4LIsc
— ANDREW RESTUCCIA and EMILY STEPHENSON: “White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last fall”: “The White House quietly imposed a ban on new interim security clearances for anyone in the executive office of the president last fall, but it let existing employees with interim clearances stay on, according to an email obtained by POLITICO. The Nov. 7 internal email to senior leaders at the Office of Management and Budget said the White House personnel security office had advised that it would no longer grant interim security clearances. Pending requests for interim clearances were expected to be denied, though exceptions could be requested … Staffers who had already been granted interim security clearances … could continue to hold them while their background investigations were finished.” http://politi.co/2o46tfq
— COUNTLESS REPUBLICANS have asked us why the White House doesn’t simply fire someone, admit wrongdoing and move on.
WHAT EVERYONE IS SAYING BEHIND THE SCENES — ISAAC DOVERE: “Dems: Bill Clinton too toxic to campaign in midterms”: “Democrats are looking to embrace the #MeToo moment and rally women to push back on President Donald Trump in the midterms—and they don’t want Bill Clinton anywhere near it. In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told POLITICO they’re keeping him on the bench. They don’t want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.
“‘I think it’s pretty tough,’ said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus and one of the leading voices in Congress demanding changes in Washington’s approach to sexual harassment. His presence ‘just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was.’ …
“Privately, many Democratic politicians and strategists are harsher and firmer: Don’t come to their states, and don’t say anything about their campaigns. They are still worried about saying it out loud, but they don’t want him now, or maybe ever. They know Republicans would react by calling them — with good reason — hypocrites.” http://politi.co/2Geo8sl
THE FIRST FAMILY — “APNewsBreak: Shooting range tied to Trumps rattles neighbors,” by AP’s Jake Pearson in Wingdale, N.Y.: “A company tied to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump owns a 171-acre hunting preserve that is being used as a private shooting range, where the sound of rifle fire from a wooden tower and exploding targets has riled nearby residents, neighbors told The Associated Press. One neighbor complained that it rattles the windows of his home; another said it ruins the serenity of the surrounding woods. A third confronted the property’s representative over the summer. … ‘It’s like you’re in a war zone,’ said Elisabetta Berghold, who lives on 42 acres down the road from the Trumps’ land.
“The Trumps appear to have acquired the property via limited liability companies that contain some version of the property’s address in their names but do not reveal the Trumps’ connections. LLCs are often used to buy property or conduct business in ways that obscure the people behind the transactions. … A money manager from Connecticut, Jeffrey Ferraro, is listed as the company’s organizer and in sales records as a representative for the LLC. …
“Neither the Trump Organization’s spokeswoman nor its general counsel acknowledged requests to discuss the property. An email to Trump Jr. about the property was not returned. Berghold, an active Democrat and no fan of the president, said that after she confronted Ferraro on July 3, he apologized and said they would keep down the noise. She said when she confronted Ferraro about the shooting, he said that his ‘partners have the Secret Service coming, and they shoot, too.’
“A spokeswoman for the Secret Service said the agency had no comment. Ferraro would not discuss whether Secret Service agents shoot on the property.” http://bit.ly/2Cle4Lv
THE NETANYAHU AFFAIR …
— WAPO’S LOVEDAY MORRIS and RUTH EGLASH in JERUSALEM: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted in two corruption cases on suspicion of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, police recommended Tuesday, ramping up pressure on the leader who has served more than a decade in office.
“After more than a year of investigations, Israeli police said they believe there is sufficient evidence against the prime minister to indict him on suspicion of giving political favors for gifts worth around $280,000 in total and of cutting a deal with a newspaper publisher for favorable coverage. Israel’s attorney general must now decide whether to proceed with charges, a process that could take months.
“The announcement will amplify calls by Netanyahu’s opponents for him to resign and will likely complicate his ability to govern at a time when security officials are warning of an increasing likelihood of war on the country’s northern border and impending economic collapse in the Gaza Strip.” http://wapo.st/2EsavFa
— ISRAEL HAYOM, Sheldon Adelson’s paper, is caught up in this scandal. Netanyahu allegedly offered to depress its circulation if Yedioth Ahronoth, another paper, gave him positive coverage. ISRAEL HAYOM’S HEADLINE TODAY, translated from Hebrew: “THE RECOMMENDATION: BRIBERY. NETANYAHU: THERE’S NOTHING THERE.” http://bit.ly/2jYPwAZ
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “‘Leadership, Fitness and Sex’: Trump aide moonlights as podcast host,” by Nahal Toosi: “If staff turmoil at the White House has President Donald Trump searching for leadership advice, he’s in luck: One of his top aides is here to help. An official on Trump’s National Security Council — where stressed-out aides aren’t exactly known for their ample free time — has launched a website and related podcast on leadership. The title of his first episode? ‘Leadership, Fitness and Sex.’ The host is retired Rear Admiral Garry Hall, who serves as the NSC’s senior director for international organizations and alliances. The ‘Admiral’s Almanac,’ a podcast available on a personal website, appears to be a side project for a man whose day job is, in theory at least, punishingly busy. ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Rear Admiral Garry Hall,’ announces the website, which features Hall standing behind a desk in a uniform decorated with medals.” http://politi.co/2BZWam5 … The podcast http://bit.ly/2F28n8x
SEXUAL HARASSMENT FILES – “Top Democratic Consultant Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations,” by HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel: “Democratic consultant Jim Walsh resigned from both of his digital strategy firms on Tuesday, facing allegations of sexual misconduct. Walsh was the co-founder of the two firms, DSPolitical and Rising Tide Interactive. … HuffPost spoke with a woman who said Walsh sexually assaulted her over a decade ago, when she was 21 years old and was looking for advice about how to get into politics. She is involved in politics in Washington state, so she brought her concerns to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the national organization that the party works with.” http://bit.ly/2C22322
TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — The president is meeting a bipartisan group of lawmakers on infrastructure. In the afternoon he is holding a working session on the “Opportunity Zones” that are part of tax reform and he will sign into law the “DHS Blue Campaign Authorization act” and the “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Assault and Safe Sport Authorization Act.”
HAPPENING TONIGHT — Trey Anastasio is playing an intimate solo acoustic show at Sixth and I tonight.
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — MANY OF US HAVE BEEN THERE … “Having three airports in Washington is great. Until you go to the wrong one,” by WaPo’s Steve Hendrix: “Amid the usual queries at the information counter at Reagan National Airport … Leanne Omland gets a version of this whopper about once a day: Where’s my airport? It often falls to Omland to break the bad news to someone who has stumbled into the dark side of having three major airports serving one city: 1) You are at the wrong one. 2) You are in for the taxi ride of your life.
“‘Their faces just fall,’ said Omland, a Travelers Aid manager at National. ‘It happens every single day.’ Having a super-abundance of airports is considered a big-city perk in Washington, as in New York, London and other major hubs. But with greater choice comes a greater chance that you will find yourself at, say, National Airport while your flight is boarding at one of the other two, Washington Dulles International or Baltimore-Washington International Marshall.” http://wapo.st/2C21Hse
MEGATRENDS — “Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere,” by NYT’s Frances Robles: “The scourge of crystal meth, with its exploding labs and ruinous effect on teeth and skin, has been all but forgotten amid national concern over the opioid crisis. But 12 years after Congress took aggressive action to curtail it, meth has returned with a vengeance. Here in Oregon, meth-related deaths vastly outnumber those from heroin. At the United States border, agents are seizing 10 to 20 times the amounts they did a decade ago. Methamphetamine, experts say, has never been purer, cheaper or more lethal.” http://nyti.ms/2GcF5TM
JARED FINANCIAL UPDATE — “Jared Kushner credit line debts increased in 2017,” by Josh Gerstein: “Jared Kushner, a White House aide and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, appears to have drawn more money out of three separate lines of credit in the months after he joined the White House last year, a newly released document shows. Recent revisions to the financial disclosure form filed by Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, bumped up each of those debts to a range of $5 million to $25 million. Versions of the couple’s disclosures made public in July valued those debts at $1 million to $5 million apiece. The loans were extended by three banks: Bank of America, New York Community Bank and Signature Bank.” http://politi.co/2nVyyq8
MEDIAWATCH — NYT ON MCCLATCHY’S WILLIAM DOUGLAS: “From Olympic Press Box, Chronicling the Changing Color of Hockey” http://nyti.ms/2Btlcsw
— per Morning Media: “The New York Times announced Tuesday night it was splitting with technology writer Quinn Norton, who was just named that morning as the editorial board’s ‘lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology.’ The Times expressed concern Tuesday evening after old tweets surfaced in which Norton called Twitter users “fag” and admitted being friends with neo-Nazis. ‘Despite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us,’ editorial board editor James Bennet said in a later statement. ‘Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways.’”
BUZZFEED VS. DNC — “BuzzFeed is Suing the D.N.C. Over Issues Involving the Russia Dossier,” by Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo: “BuzzFeed is taking the Democratic National Committee to court in an attempt to compel it to turn over information it believes will bolster its defense against Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian business magnate who says he was libeled in the dossier when it tied him to the Russians’ alleged hacking of the D.N.C.’s e-mail servers. In a nutshell: BuzzFeed believes the D.N.C. has information that could show a link between Gubarev and the e-mail hacking, which would undercut his libel claim. ‘We’re asking a federal court to force the D.N.C. to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights,’ a BuzzFeed spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.” http://bit.ly/2sugPe2
ABOUT CALIFORNIA MEDIA … THE LOS ANGELES TIMES has a new owner, so it brought to the surface something we often chat about over after hours when dreaming about the future of media. Someone should start a California media outlet that covers the state as if it’s a country. An outlet that treats Los Angeles and San Francisco like the unique — and vibrant — company towns they are. Cover the talent agencies and Silicon Valley like they’re power centers — write about the fights, the deals, the power brokers, the wealth and the drama. (The Hollywood Reporter and The Information both do this very well, albeit under separate roofs.)
COVER CALIFORNIA POLITICS like it’s the Super Bowl — and national news through a lens Californians would care about. (The LAT does this pretty well now.) California has two high-profile senators — one thinking of running for president — the House majority and minority leader, and companies that are seeking to change Washington and the world.
EVERY MAJOR NATIONAL ISSUE is on display in miniature in California.
JAKE tweeted some of these ideas yesterday, and Peter Hamby replied: “Ding ding. 40 million people. Politics. Hollywood. Immigration. Innovation. Agriculture. The Environment. Steer clear of homogenized national news, cover more California.”
SPOTTED: Jeb Bush in first class on a flight from Phoenix to D.C. Tuesday
OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at a reception last night hosted by Arnold & Porter to welcome Chris Dodd, former U.S. senator and MPAA chairman and CEO, as senior counsel (audio of what former Vice President Joe Biden and Dodd told the crowd http://bit.ly/2GedNwC): House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Connecticut Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro and John Larson …
… Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Richard Alexander, Maureen Dowd, Carl Hulse, Stephanie Cutter, Tammy Haddad, Kate Bedingfield, Hilary Rosen, Cary Sherman, Sheila Johnson, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, Ryan Williams, Annie Starke, Allison Preiss, Matt Butler, Amy Friend, Jeremy Sharp, Vince Frillici, Aaron Klein, Adam Wells, Caren Auchman, Lori McGrogan, Mindy Hanneman, Scott Stephanou, Chris Ortman and Bryan DeAngelis.
EMBASSY PARTY CIRCUIT — Pool report: “Tuesday evening, Ambassador Cui Tiankai, The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and Meridian International Center hosted a celebration of the Year of the Dog (which begins Friday) at the Embassy. Guests enjoyed acrobats, traditional music, and dumplings.”
SPOTTED: Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Gwen Holliday, David Rennie and Nina Potts, Scott Mulhauser and Kara Carscaden, Ben and Ashley Chang, Bill O’Leary, Lee Satterfield and Patrick Steel, Theresa Loar, Melanne Verveer, Tracy Bernstein, John Arundel, Anastasia Dellaccio, Andy Rabens, Anish Goel, Philippa Hughes and Sharon Yang.
SPOTTED last night at an screening of Hulu’s new original series “The Looming Tower” hosted by The Washington Post — (trailer http://bit.ly/2ECiMKj … pic of some stars of the show and principals http://bit.ly/2svsycc): Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Jeff Daniels, Tahar Rahim, Peter Sarsgaard, Wrenn Schmidt, producers Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, David Ignatius, David Bradley, Emily Yoffe, Kevin Madden, Mary Bono, Erin McPike, Natalie Boyse, Janet Donovan, Artur Orkisz, Mark Paustenbach, Lynne Weil, Sarah Gilmore, Michael Falcone, Gerald Rafshoon, and Sena Fitzmaurice.
BIRTHDAYS OF THE DAY: former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) is 71. How he got his start in politics: “I was told I was naturally gregarious. I ran for Governors Council in NH, it paid $200 a year and I needed the money.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2BsoTi9
—Karen Anderson, senior director for policy, communications and external affairs at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. A trend she thinks deserves more attention: “I’ve recently joined the board of a fantastic nonprofit called StoptheTraffik that focuses on human trafficking prevention. I don’t know if I’d call it a trend or a horrifying reality, but have learned a lot about the growing problem of human trafficking around the world. This is an enormous, eye-opening issue that does not get enough attention. I’m excited to support StoptheTraffik and hope that I can help them in their work.” Q&A: http://politi.co/2stwMBd
BIRTHDAYS: Michael Bloomberg is 76 … Carl Bernstein is 74 … Stephen A. Schwarzman is 71 … ABC News’ “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz … Hugh Downs is 97 … Oscar Ramirez, co-founder and principal at InSight Public Affairs (hat tip: Jon Haber) … Michio Aida of the WH Office of Digital Strategies … Ede Holiday … Ed Patru, V.P. at DCI Group … Alan Blinder, who covers the South for the NYT, based in Atlanta … Politico’s Kat McKibben … Andrew LaCasse is 32 … Jon Sawyer, executive director of DC-based Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is 66 … the late Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas would have turned 77 … Dave Cuzzi, president of Prospect Hill Strategies … Jamie Vilmain … Sakina Jaffrey … John Buckley … Marty Markowitz is 73 … Steve Tisch is 69 … Fresh Air’s Terry Gross is 67 … Jacob Luneau, president of Red Pelican Strategies in Baton Rouge … Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is 69 …
… Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, is 38 … Dan Walsh, SVP of Valente and Associates … Hannah VanHoose … Bobby Honold … Caitlin Patenaude … Brittany Candrian Richman … Cristina Marcos, who was just hired to be a producer on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” … Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something … photographer Rod Lamkey … Mark Elliot … Sharon Daniels … Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project … Galen Main … Carlos Sanchez … Colin Van Ostern … Jenny Nielsen … Daniel Stublen … Sarosh Mahdi … WaPo alum John Vockley … Neal Mann … Bill Beach … Alan Feinberg Jr. … Griff Hathaway … Lindsay Jackson … Mike Inganamort … WJLA’s Brianne Carter … Gwendolyn Elaine … Sheila Riggs … Kate Sullivan … Brooke Lierman … Jen Pihlaja (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)