Giving Back:

President Obama plans to give back 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury as a gesture of solidarity with federal government employees affected by the sequester. Workers will be forced to take furlough days as part of the automatic across-the-board spending cuts. Officials say Obama’s voluntary move will be retroactive to March 1, the day the sequester cuts were enacted. News of the president’s decision comes one day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced they would return a portion of their salaries because of the sequester. (Read more)

Same Old, Same Old: How is the Republican National Committee’s rebranding campaign going? If a recent op-ed written by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for conservative website Red State is any indication—not so well. Priebus continues to spew the same vitriolic rhetoric that he says has negatively impacted the party. Case in point: In the opinion piece he penned, Priebus accuses Democrats of endorsing infanticide. As Steve Brenen noted on The Maddow Blog, “why in the world is Reince Priebus doing this? He and his party took a beating in 2012 over Republican opposition to Planned Parenthood, so in the midst of a rebranding campaign, Priebus wants to focus anew on condemning Planned Parenthood?” Despite its efforts to rebrand itself, this still seems very much like the same old Republican Party that sustained numerous defeats in the last election. (Read more)

Apples and Oranges: And speaking of Republican effort to rebrand—Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert probably isn’t helping his party’s image after his latest epic rant, in which he somehow equates same-sex marriage with bestiality and gun control. Gohmert actually made the comments back in February, but they were just released by the website Right Wing Watch on Tuesday. Gohmert was discussing his opposition to gun control and limits on ammunition during a conference call when he made a bizarre and nonsensical detour into the topic of marriage. “And I pointed out, well, once you make it 10, then why would you draw the line at 10? What’s wrong with nine? Or 11? And the problem is once you draw that limit; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?“ he said. (Read more)

Sanford Wins: Disgraced former Gov. Mark Sanford will face off against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the South Carolina congressional special election after winning a Republican primary runoff Tuesday. Sanford, who is seeking redemption after the fallout from a sex scandal in 2009, is still considered the favorite, but his past escapades (i.e., “hiking the Appalachian Trail”) when he was really with his onetime-mistress-now-fiancee in South America might still play a critical role in shaping the outcome of the campaign. Democrats have already used the affair to attack Sanford, and even some Republicans are admitting Sanford has a female voter problem. As one GOP strategist said, “Surveys show Sanford has a problem with women, and some may never forgive him.” (Read more)

Video of the Day: On his program Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly blew up at fellow conservative Laura Ingraham after she said comments the Fox News host made last week in which he said anti-gay marriage opponents needed to do more than just “thump the Bible” to win the argument were flat out wrong. “I’m not mad at you, I’m disappointed,” O’Reilly said after much shouting. “Of all the conservative radio hosts, you have the most common sense — of all of them. But you bought into this garbage … and I’m disappointed.”

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