PRESIDENT’S APPROVAL TUMBLES
Spending isn’t the only thing falling because of sequestration: President Obama's job approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since his re-election. Gallup says Obama’s approval rating is now 46%, down 7 points in a week. His disapproval rating also jumped to its highest level since November, hitting 46%, a jump of 6 points. Gallup surveys roughly 1,500 adults across the nation each day and records the average ratings over three days. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.
A separate survey, by CBS and The NY Times, says 38% of Americans blame Republicans for sequestration; 33% blame the President.
BRENNAN CIA VOTE TODAY
John Brennan's nomination to be director of the CIA is set for a key test before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee is scheduled to vote today on Brennan, currently serving as President Obama's counterterrorism adviser.
Brennan's nomination has been held up by demands from Democrats and Republicans for more details about the classified Justice Department legal opinions that justify the use of unmanned spy planes to terrorist suspects overseas, including American citizens, and about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. (AP)
NEW GUN TRAFFICKING BILL
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has rolled out a bipartisan proposal to fight gun trafficking. The bill, backed by big-city mayors and sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is also supported by two Senate Republicans: Susan Collins of Maine and Iowa’s Chuck Grassley.
The trafficking bill is thought to have a better chance of passing than a bill on universal background checks.
PRESIDENT “NOT BLUFFING” ON IRAN
Think the White House isn’t serious about stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? That’s a big mistake, says Vice President Biden. He tells pro-Israel activists – again – that the President will do whatever it takes to keep Tehran out of the nuclear club.
His policy, Biden said, “is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. Period. End of discussion,” Biden told attendees at the American-Israel Public Affairs Council conference in Washington. “Prevent. Not contain — prevent,” Biden added.
“Big nations can’t bluff and presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff and President Barack Obama is not bluffing,” Biden declared, in what he said was a preview of remarks Obama will make during a trip to Israel scheduled for later this month. “We are not looking for war [but] all options, including military force, are on the table.”