First Read Flash: Venture into Syria

Updated
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves the Jefferson Hotel after a dinner meeting hosted by President Barack Obama for a few Republican Senators in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves the Jefferson Hotel after a dinner meeting hosted by President Barack Obama for a few Republican Senators in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

McCain’s secret trip. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), “one of Congress’ strongest advocates for increasing America’s role in Syria, on Monday became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since a bloody civil war broke out there more than two years ago,” NBC News reports. “McCain stayed in the country for several hours during the unannounced trip and met with rebel leaders, who called on the U.S. to increase its support of the Syrian opposition by providing weapons, a no-fly zone and air strikes on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.” The White House declined to comment on McCain’s visit.

Heineman out. Republican Gov. Dave Heineman won’t seek the state’s open Senate seat, he announced over the weekend. Possible candidates for the GOP-favored seat still include Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, RNC committeeman Pete Ricketts, and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, who Roll Call reports is likely to announce his candidacy soon.

Hillary 2016, imagined. Politico examines what the political team for a potential White House run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would look like. Two top names: former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Robby Mook, who’s currently managing Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s bid for Virginia governor; and current Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil.

No ‘Reagan Republican.’ On Fox News Sunday, former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole bemoaned the current state of the Republican Party, saying the party should be “closed for repairs” because it lacks vision and is unable to pass any meaningful legislation. Dole said he doubted he would even be welcomed in the current GOP. “Reagan wouldn’t have made it, certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

First Read Flash: Venture into Syria

Updated