Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The White House’s lobbying isn’t subtle: “Shortly after the Senate narrowly cleared the first procedural hurdle to temporarily extend federal benefits to the unemployed, President Obama urged Congress to pass the bill and laid out the moral case to help poor and struggling Americans.”
* Syria’s chemical weapons: “The first batch of the most dangerous materials in Syria’s banned chemical weapons stockpile was exported from the country on Tuesday, loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel in the Syrian port of Latakia in an operation overseen jointly by the United Nations and the group responsible for ensuring the arsenal’s destruction.”
* Iraq: “A government airstrike killed 25 al-Qaida-linked militants in a besieged province west of Baghdad amid fierce clashes Tuesday between Iraqi special forces and insurgents battling for control of the key cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraqi officials said.”
* Awkward, but true: “Even as the United States and Iran pursue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East.”
* I fear this won’t end well: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he is open to finding an offset to pay for extending unemployment benefits through 2014.”
* Bob Gates gives the Beltway something new to chew on: “President Obama eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered in Afghanistan, his doubts fed by top White House civilian advisers opposed to the strategy, who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary, Robert M. Gates.”
* Progress: “Cancer death rates in the U.S. have dropped 20 percent in the past two decades, thanks largely to less smoking, increased prevention and better detection, a new report finds.”
* His reception may not be friendly: “Rep. Trey Radel today will begin the next phase of an attempted comeback, returning to work for the first time since he plead guilty in November to cocaine possession. The Fort Myers Republican is expected to show up for votes this evening.”
* Yglesias says extreme cold is better than extreme heat. Klein says the opposite. I enthusiastically side with Ygleasis, though on average, at least half of the reading audience will disagree.
* Brad Dayspring probably should have thought this one through a little better: “A political strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee seems to have forgotten his own gun safety rules, less than two months after publicly shaming Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Kentucky, for shooting without eye and ear protection.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.