William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:41 P.M. ET:

AND THE PHONE RANG – The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has returned the phone call of our new secretary of state, John Kerry, after a week.  We don't know whether Lavrov agreed that Kerry could take him to the senior prom or not, but the week's delay, which was clearly intentional, has been noticed.  It was a blunt statement to Kerry that the Russians will treat us any way they wish.  Kerry has a history of foreign-policy weakness, and this is what he gets for it.

HAGEL – We've reported that Republicans in the Senate have pretty much caved on Chuck Hagel, who will probably be confirmed for secretary of defense next week.  But I saw Lindsey Graham on TV tonight, and he still had some fight left in him.  He feels that some piece of information about Hagel could still convince Democrats in the Senate to abandon the nominee.  I don't think that will happen, but I'm happy to see one Republican willing to fight, on principle, over the inadequate choice for a key position.

MARCO FIGHTS BACK – Some of the loonies in the mainstream media tried to make a big issue of Marco Rubio having to take a drink of water during his reply to President Obama's State of the Union message.  But Rubio turned the moment to his advantage.  His PAC, Reclaim America, has now raised more than $100,000 selling water bottles with RUBIO stamped on them.  You have to contribute $25 to get a bottle.  I think Marco has good instincts in battling the bias of the mainstream media.  It's the Reagan approach:  Talk above them and around them, and never let them beat you.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE – Haven't the Clintons made enough money off their public offices?  It's now revealed that Hillary Clinton has signed with the Harry Walker Agency, which handles speaking engagements.  What comes next?  A talk show?  The cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition?  Maybe a TV reality show, where we can vote candidates off the 2016 Democratic ticket.  Watch carefully to see who's paying for some of the "speaking engagements," if we're allowed to find out.

February 18, 2013