Christie's Stormy Inauguration Day: Star-Ledger: "In his inaugural address today, Gov. Chris Christie delivered an impassioned pitch for his second-term vision with no reference to the scandals swirling around his administration. ... The Republican governor won re-election by 22 percentage points, though there was a record low turnout for a statewide election in New Jersey. The speech was light on policy, yet Christie touched on two of his signature issues — education reform and mandatory drug treatment. ... Christie also made a veiled reference to the tax cut that has so far eluded him."
What Was Missing: Associated Press: "His speech came less than an hour after Democratic lawmakers announced they were consolidating twin probes into allegations that aides engineered traffic jams in September in the community of Fort Lee as political retribution, apparently against the town's mayor for not endorsing his re-election bid. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who was on the podium during the inaugural address, said the merger of Assembly and Senate committees was the 'optimal approach to ensuring the people of New Jersey get the answers they need to these questions about the abuse of government power.' Lawmakers have not decided whether the probe will also be extended to allegations raised over the weekend by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. The Democratic mayor said Christie's underlings tied the delivery of Superstorm Sandy aid to the low-lying city of 50,000 across from Manhattan to support for a prime real estate project."
Also Missing? The Party: NBC News: "The scandals enveloping the Christie administration weren’t the only factor overshadowing Tuesday’s inauguration festivities, either. An impending east coast snowstorm has already put a damper on celebrations: an inaugural party at Ellis Island was canceled early Tuesday in anticipation of inclement weather that evening."
From VP Shortlist to Federal Charges: Washington Post: "Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government. Authorities alleged that for nearly two years, the McDonnells hit up executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. again and again, lodging near constant requests for large loans, clothes, trips, golf accessories and private plane rides. In exchange, authorities allege, the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governorship to Williams’ struggling company, a small former cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements. ... Charges mean the couple could face a maximum of decades in prison, though would likely serve far less if convicted."
From Prostitution Scandal to Governor Candidate: Associated Press: "Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be a candidate in Louisiana's 2015 governor's race, announcing his decision Tuesday in an email to supporters. ... Vitter's announcement ends months of speculation about his intentions, and his decision is expected to influence which other potential candidates enter the race. Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited, so the race is wide open. Vitter can run without forfeiting his current position in the U.S. Senate, which isn't up for re-election until 2016. ... He has proved to be a resilient politician, holding elected office for more than two decades as a state and federal lawmaker and easily winning re-election to a second U.S. Senate term in 2010, despite ties to a prostitution scandal. ... Voters don't appear to hold the scandal against Vitter, with more than 58 percent giving him good marks in a recent Southern Media and Opinion Research poll about his job performance."
From TARP to Governor Candidate: Los Angeles Times: "Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari announced Tuesday that he is running for governor of California, staking his campaign on his ability to create jobs and improve public schools. The 40-year-old Republican has long been mulling a run, and has spent much of the past year meeting with donors, politicians and GOP activists. ... His entry into the contest offers Republicans two dramatically different paths as they try to take on incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat. The other Republican in the race—Assemblyman Tim Donnelly from Twin Peaks—is a staunch conservative, founder of a Minuteman border-patrol chapter and a tea-party favorite. Kashkari is a fiscal conservative who supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights and voted for President Obama in 2008. Kashkari, who has never held elected office, ran the taxpayer-funded federal bank bailout under President George W. Bush and Obama and has worked as a fund manager, investment banker and engineer."
Purdue Shooting: ABC News: "One person died in a shooting today on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and one person is in custody. Police said the victim was a male and they were trying to identify him. The suspect is not cooperating at all with authorities, according to campus Police Chief John Cox. They are still trying to obtain the suspect's identity as well. Purdue campus police said the shooting occurred in the basement area of the electrical engineering building this afternoon. The suspect was apprehended moments after the shooting as he ran outside and was caught by West Lafayette, Ind., police, Cox said at a news conference today. ... The shooting triggered a "shelter in place" text message alert for the rest of campus, students told ABC news. Classes were in session when the shooting occurred, Cox said. Police said there was no ongoing threat to the university."
The Sad End to the Search For Avonte: New York Times: "The New York City medical examiner said on Tuesday that remains found on the Queens shoreline last week were those of Avonte Oquendo, a boy with autism who disappeared last fall after walking out of his school near the East River. DNA testing confirmed the identity of the remains, said Julie Bolcer, the spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. Avonte’s mother and other relatives had provided the police with DNA samples for the purposes of those tests, she said. .... The search narrowed on Friday after pieces of a body were discovered on the waterfront at College Point, along with articles of clothing and footwear – size 5 ½ Air Jordan sneakers — that appeared to match those worn by Avonte when he walked out of the Riverview School during the school day on Oct. 4."
Weather Watch: CBS/AP: "Thousands of flights were canceled, students got an extra day off from school or were being sent home early, and the federal government closed its offices in the Washington area Tuesday as a winter storm bore down on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 10 to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and southern New England and up to a foot in New York City, to be followed by bitter cold. Cold air with wind chills as low as 10 degrees below zero was forecast. It warned of heavy winds and hazardous driving conditions as the storm moved up the East Coast."
That's all for today. See you back here Tuesday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.
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