Filibuster draws response on domestic drone use | Filibuster catapults Rand Paul into the major leagues | This week's poll results: No deal
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March 8, 2013
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National Pulse
Filibuster draws response on domestic drone use
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U.S. Air Force via Reuters
Sen. Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster appears to have forced the president's hand, with Attorney General Eric Holder issuing a brief statement denying that the administration does not have the constitutional authority to use drones to target non-combatant citizens on U.S. soil. The statement contained some loopholes, but Paul appeared content with the response. Holder has indicated that President Barack Obama will address the public soon on drone policy, and observers say the president is moving toward a codification of drone use policy. The Hill/DEFCON Hill blog (3/8), Politico (Washington, D.C.) (3/8)
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Filibuster catapults Rand Paul into the major leagues
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he's "seriously" considering a presidential run in 2016, after his filibuster won him the spotlight and apparently caught the public imagination. "I think our party needs something new, fresh and different," he says. The Hill/Ballot Box blog (3/8), Politico (Washington, D.C.) (3/7)
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Reader Polls
This week's poll results: No deal
Pessimism reigned this week as readers expressed strong doubt at Washington's ability to sort out the budget and debt debacle. More than a third of those responding to this week's poll say they believe that Congress and the White House will not reach a new budget deal before next year's midterm elections, and only a small fraction predicted that there will be an agreement in the near term to stop the budget cuts under the sequestration process. Full results are below. Next week: GOP 2016.
Nothing. They will be unable to reach a new short- or long-term budget deal before the 2014 elections  36.61%
Allow sequestration to go forward while negotiating a new short-term budget agreement  23.94%
Allow sequestration to continue until new, long-term budget and tax reform legislation takes its place  23.64%
Reach an agreement to suspend the sequestration cuts while a deal is being worked out  8.05%
Reach an agreement on taxes and spending cuts to replace the sequestration  5.82%
None of the above/other  1.94%
Agenda Items
Unemployment drops to a 4-year low in new jobs report
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The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in February, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month to a four-year low, according to Labor Department figures. Employers added 236,000 jobs and private-sector pay ticked up 0.6%, with workers putting in more hours at higher rates. "Not only are the headlines good, but the details are good as well. You very quickly run out of superlatives in this payroll report," said economist Craig Alexander. The Wall Street Journal (3/8), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/8), The Washington Post/Wonkblog (3/8)
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Data Points
Political ads downplay impact of "sequester" cuts
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Recent claims that the "sequester" spending cuts will mean only a 3% cut in federal spending are technically true, but ignore the fact that much of the budget is off-limits, writes Robert Farley. That means that the areas of government affected by the cuts will actually see markedly steeper cuts, with defense spending to fall by 8% and nondefense discretionary spending to fall by up to 6%. (3/5)
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The Conversation
Daily Diversion
Why the pundits loved Rand Paul's filibuster
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The cable networks were all over Sen. Rand Paul's old-fashioned filibuster, and Stephen Colbert thinks he knows why. "Talking and talking and talking to fill hours of empty time -- it's the story cable news was born to cover," he says. Comedy Central (3/7)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive!
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival through Tuesday in Austin, Texas, and we need your help! SXSW has too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to readers to help document the best panels as blog contributors. If you're headed to Austin and want to contribute to SmartBrief's blogs on social media, leadership, finance, food and beverage or education, check out our guest-post guidelines and send a note to Jesse Stanchak.
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-- Madeleine Albright, first female U.S. Secretary of State
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