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Taking His Show on the Road: Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama took his pitch for investments in manufacturing to a North Carolina factory Wednesday, calling on Congress to help him implement what he called common-sense ideas for spurring innovation, training workers and bringing jobs back to the United States. After saying in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that he wants to make the United States a magnet for manufacturing and jobs, Mr. Obama headed to a Linamar Corp. factory in Asheville to press the case for corporate tax reform and the creation of innovation institutes. Last year, Mr. Obama asked Congress to spend $1 billion to create a network of 15 manufacturing institutes. In his State of the Union speech, the president renewed that call and announced that he would use his executive authority to launch three of these institutes, which will focus on manufacturing innovation."
More SOTU Coverage From Slate—The Big Idea: Obama challenges Republicans: See what happens when you oppose my grand plans; Moneybox: The GOP’s latest rebranding effort is a return to the gospel of George W. Bush. Politics: The president brought a lot of ideas and one simple message: Republicans are the problem; Future Tense: Obama, Rubio Agree on One Thing: Technology Could Fix the Higher Ed Mess; Weigel: Voting Rights Advocates Wonder Whether Obama Already Blew It.
Quote of the Day: "The water moment did not bother me," GOP strategist Bruce Haynes told Politico of Marco Rubio's poorly timed gulp of water. "I thought it made him human. Washington types will snort and buzz about it but it probably made the average voter smile. And for Republicans, making voters smile is a welcome change of pace."
Trying To Make Sense of It: The New Yorker: "It was a defensible act, and perhaps several minutes overdue, but physically clumsy to such a magnificent degree that it smudged out the actual meaning of everything he had said before and everything he would say after. That such a thing could happen, that Rubio’s very human need for water in a time of stress could become the defining moment of a fourteen-minute policy speech, will be cited by many contrarians as further evidence of the shallowness and vapidity of the media class and of the public at large. Well, fine, but that’s scoring easy points—and no one will suggest that what Rubio said about the housing crisis, government spending, or which party cares more about solving the immigration crisis is somehow not important or worth discussing. But it is significant, too, that the people watching the speech, people who are at once an audience to entertainment and participants in the civic enterprise, found it so transfixing."
The NRA's SOTU Response: The Hill: "The National Rifle Association pushed back against President Obama’s calls for gun control in his State of the Union address, arguing the proposals would lead to 'confiscation' of citizens’ firearms. A new Web video released Tuesday night from the nation’s largest gun lobby sought to rebuff the president’s impassioned call for lawmakers to vote on a package of measures including bans on the sale of assault weapons, high-capacity clips and instituting mandatory background checks." Watch:
SOTU Rewind: "Gabby Giffords Deserves a Vote"
Fugitive Ex-Cop May Have Been Hiding Across the Street From Police: Associated Press: "Police scoured mountain peaks for days, using everything from bloodhounds to helicopters equipped with high-tech search equipment in their manhunt for a revenge-seeking ex-cop. They had no idea he was so close, possibly holed up in a vacation cabin across the street from their command post. It was there that Christopher Dorner may have taken refuge last Thursday. ... The search ended Tuesday when a man believed to be Dorner bolted from hiding, stole two cars, barricaded himself in another vacant cabin miles away and mounted a last stand in a furious shootout. ... He never emerged from the ruins, and hours later a charred body was found in the basement of the burned cabin along with a wallet and personal items, including a California driver’s license with the name Christopher Dorner, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press."
What Happened in the Final Moments of the Standoff: More AP: "A SWAT team surrounded the cabin and used an armored vehicle to break out the cabin windows, said a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The officers then lobbed tear gas canisters into the cabin and blasted a message over a loudspeaker: 'Surrender or come out.' The armored vehicle then tore down each of the cabin’s four walls. A single shot was heard inside before the cabin was engulfed in flames, the law enforcement official said."
Explainer: How Do You Win a Gunfight?
What We're Still Waiting To Learn: How, exactly, did the fire start?
The Pope Sweepstakes: Reuters: "Pope Benedict may have shocked the world by announcing his resignation on Monday, but some cardinals apparently started maneuvering for the succession as long as two years ago. ... No cardinal can openly campaign for a job whose election is said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. But behind the scenes, at meetings inside the Vatican's thick walls and dinners at the finer Roman restaurants, the cardinal electors size up potential candidates among themselves and drop subtle hints to Vatican watchers in the media about who's up or down. This round of discreet discussions, dubbed 'totopapa' or 'pope sweepstakes' by irreverent Romans, was only kicked into a higher gear on Monday when Benedict announced the first papal abdication for centuries."
Slatest Rewind: Who Will Be the Next Pope?
Drone War Honors: Associated Press: "[T]he troops that launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that for the first time the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it from afar. ... The new blue, red and white-ribboned Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life to get it. Officials said the new medal will be the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944."
Coming Soon to Fox News: Media Decoder: "Fox News on Wednesday added the former Republican Senator, Scott Brown, to its contributor ranks, two weeks after Mr. Brown decided against another run for a Senate seat in Massachusetts. Mr. Brown will make his debut as a paid pundit on Wednesday night’s edition of “Hannity,” the channel’s 9 p.m. program. His hiring is the latest in a series of contributor changes Fox has made this winter; last month the network renewed Karl Rove’s contract and parted ways with Sarah Palin and earlier this month it declined to renew Dick Morris’s contract."
Buying Time: Fortune: "Media giant Time Warner has begun discussions to separate itself from Time Inc., its $3.4 billion (in annual revenue) publishing division, according to three people familiar with the matter. Meredith, the Des Moines-based publisher of Family Circle and the Ladies' Home Journal, is in talks with the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. A meeting of the buyer's representatives occurred today to discuss a potential deal, which is still in a formative stage and may never come to fruition. In this scenario, most of the company's publishing titles, such as People, InStyle, and Real Simple, would be carved out and rolled into an independent company and sold to Meredith. Time Warner would maintain control of at least three titles—Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune, according to the sources."
Unimaginative but Not Unexpected: Associated Press: "House Speaker John Boehner says 'it's hard to imagine' the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate reaching a budget deal. ... Despite his pessimism, Boehner says Congress must find a way to reconcile its disagreements over fiscal matters in order to address the nation's long-term spending problems. Boehner also dismissed Obama's proposal for universal preschool for all 4-year-olds. Boehner said getting the federal government involved in that process would be 'a good way to screw it up.' "
More Quick Hits From Slate—
Behold: Spying on Mexico’s Carpoolers
The Vault: When Valentines Were Really, Really Mean
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