Let Me Start: The real GOP response? Freak out.

Updated

COUNT THE SCANDALS: Did Gov. Chris Christie use Sandy money for political gain? It’s a question many are asking this week after newly-revealed records show Christie helped channel $6 million from recovery funds to a project conceived years before the storm struck. 

And on Wednesday, the New York Times dove into the team of people surrounding Christie that helped him win re-election last fall, but who also stand to be implicated in the growing scandal over the traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. 

CENTER LEFT ACTION, CENTER RIGHT LANGUAGE: Last night’s State of the Union address was a reminder of why voters sent President Obama back to the White House in 2012. As Chris observed last night, Obama sent a message to the country about America’s potential for greatness, and what it can do to be great again. 

MSNBC Live, 1/28/14, 10:58 PM ET

Chris Matthews: Obama reminded people why they voted for him

Chris Matthews reacts to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, calling it “a masterful address.”

But was it enough to quell the faction of the right that want to see the president fail? Over and over in his address, Obama threw the ball back to Congress, noting that it was their inability to work for the American people that was hindering the country’s growth and progress. While the country remains divided, the State of the Union provides a glimmer of hope that perhaps Congress can work together and work with the president to help America succeed.

A FRACTURED RESPONSE: “Maybe they need four to come up with one idea,” Rev. Al Sharpton said after listening to the Republican Party’s official response delivered by Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. McMorris Rodgers’ response was the GOP’s “official” statement, but it didn’t stop other Republicans from also delivering responses: Utah Sen. Mike Lee delivered the tea party’s response; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz released a statement and video calling the president “lawless;” and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delivered his own response online. If the GOP was hoping to present a united front heading into the midterm elections, they might want to rethink their strategy.

IN OTHER NEWS…

  • NUMBER OF THE DAY: $10.10–that’s what President Obama plans to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to. 
  • ‘WHOA THERE’ OF THE DAY: New York Rep. Michael Grimm threatened a New York 1 reporter last night after the State of the Union when the reporter asked him about an ongoing federal investigation into the congressman’s campaign fundraising. “I’ll break you in half” were among the things Grimm said (on camera) to journalist Michael Scotto. 
  • ODD INSULT OF THE DAY: Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp accused our colleague Rachel Maddow last night of being a “cheerleader” rather than a journalist. Watch the exchange here.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Lady Gaga said she is addicted to it. It’s not harmless.” -Sen. Jeff Sessions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the dangers of pot (h/t Sam Stein)
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Let Me Start: The real GOP response? Freak out.

Updated