YIELD, THEN STOP: Democrats are grabbing for a chance to stop Gov. Chris Christie's movement toward a 2016 run--and this current investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures could be their ticket to keeping the Christie momentum at a red light. A new New York TImes article dives into the Democratic Party's operations to slow the New Jersey governor down--with as many as 11 different videos lately painting Christie as the bully in the lane closures, and sending out nearly 60 emails to news media about the saga.
Yet, while the New Jersey governor's popularity has taken a hit recently in the polls, there are signs that core Republicans are feeling warmer toward Christie than they did before. But that isn't stopping some key Republican leaders from keeping a distance: Gov. Rick Perry, for instance, won't be nearby when Christie makes his trip to the Lone Star State, and Gov. RIck Scott a few weeks ago even refused to pose for pictures with Christie when he swung through Florida.
FLORIDA, FLORIDA, FLORIDA!: Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is hoping to take back his leadership role in the Sunshine State, and he's certainly doing it with a fight--a fight that's working in his favor. A new poll released by the University of Florida shows Crist leading current Gov. Rick Scott by 7 points. Crist, who's kept a relatively low profile since announcing his campaign last November, is currently promoting his book The Party's Over: How The Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became A Democrat, but will his candid revelations about his former party help or hurt him? Phil Latzman of the Sun Sentinal, who spent years covering Crist, published an op-ed Thursday that asked the very question Floridians may be concerned about: "He's a chameleon that changes stripes with the political current. He's either an endangered species, or about to be cloned elsewhere as a lawmaker who can successfully change his skin...is it all about the people of Florida, or all about Charlie?"
Programming note: Charlie Crist will play Hardball tonight at 7 p.m. ET on msnbc.
'DIFFICULT TO MOVE': House Speaker John Boehner criticized the Obama administration Thursday for killing the possibility of immigration reform this year. "There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws," Boehner said at a press briefing. "And it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes."
But if Republicans are all standing firm with Boehner in their belief the White House is to blame for the lack of trust, someone should pass that memo around. According to the Washington Post's Robert Costa, "longtime Boehner ally" Ohio Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi hit on the GOP's larger problem: "Right now, Jesus himself couldn't be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that."
IN OTHER NEWS...
- QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I, by the way, have always found Louie to be unbelievably gracious every time I've seen him. Now, I don't watch TV..." -President Obama jokes about Rep. Louie Gohmert at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast
- NUMBER OF THE DAY: 10,000--or something like it. That's how many words Sen. Ted Cruz found time to write for the Harvard Law Review recently.
- GIFT OF THE DAY: Pope Francis received a life-size chocolate replica of himself as a gift from students at the Accademica of Maestri Cioccolatieri. The chocolate statue is made of 1.5 tons of cocoa.
- 'NOT RUNNING FOR 2016' ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DAY: "The answer is no, I'm not running for President in 2016. It's time for someone else to take that responsibility, and I'll be supporting our nominee." -Mitt Romney