February 14, 2013
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SmartBrief on Business and Politics

National Pulse
Can Republicans retool for the digital age?
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Republicans have big problems both with their brand and with their use of new technologies on the campaign trail, according to GOP pollsters and other party insiders. To become competitive again, they say, the GOP must find its own version of David Plouffe, the Obama adviser who dragged his candidate's campaign into the Facebook and YouTube era. "Not having that is like Nixon not shaving before his first debate -- you've got to understand the world you're competing in," Plouffe says. "And I still don't think the Republicans are there." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/14)
Reader Polls
Quickie poll results: What did you think of the president's speech?
President Barack Obama's State of the Union address did not impress most of the respondents to our quickie poll. A little more than half of participants said they hated or disliked the speech. Only 31% had a positive impression.
Hated it  29.78%
Disliked it  21.47%
Loved it  18.96%
Neutral/no opinion/didn't watch  17.51%
Liked it  12.27%
Agenda Items
Executives cautiously welcome Obama's early-education plan
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The White House issued new details about the president's plan to ensure that every 4-year-old has access to preschool education. The plan, intended to ensure that America builds a strong and well-educated future workforce, received a cautious welcome from business leaders. "The evidence is, if we don't make this investment and we don't make it wisely, we're going to pay for it later," said real-estate executive and workforce-development advocate Bob Powers. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/14), Bloomberg (2/14)
Data Points
What you get, give for Valentine's Day may depend on where you live
Americans are expected to spend $18.6 billion on Valentine's Day candy, gifts, cards and other items this year, according to the National Retail Federation. This analysis from Esri details what sweethearts buy each other based on ZIP code. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/14)
The Conversation
Daily Chuckle
The unquenchable Marco Rubio
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Sen. Marco Rubio's ill-timed water break distracted from the substance of his State of the Union rebuttal -- and it wasn't the first time the Florida senator has gotten a dry mouth mid-speech. This greatest-sips compilation shows a number of views of Rubio reaching for the bottle, even if it belongs to Clint Eastwood. The Examiner (Washington, D.C.) (2/13)
What light is to the eyes -- what air is to the lungs -- what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man."
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, American politician and orator
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