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Political Strategy Notes

The squeeze is on, as President Obama meets with Democratic leaders today to hash out strategy on the budget sequestration, gun violence, immigration and other items of the national legislative agenda. The NYT's Jonathan Weisman and Elisabeth Bumiller report on the Democrats' top priority -- finding the best strategy to secure a temporary fix to prevent $1 trillion in scheduled budget cuts.

At TPM, Brian Beutler's "Armed Service Republicans Reveal Unsustainable GOP Position On Sequestration" probes the GOP strategy for negotiating a deal on cuts and spending and the dilemma they face with respect to defense cuts and raising revenues.

Obama's wunderkind speechwriter Jon Favreau is leaving to write movies. Cody Keenan will take the lead on SOTU, reports Christi Parsons, of the L.A. Times D.C. Bureau.

Nicole Flatow's "Blacks, Hispanics Waited Almost Twice As Long To Vote As Whites In 2012" at Think Progress reports that an M.I.T. analysis indicates " that white voters waited an average of 12.7 minutes, while Black and Hispanic voters waited an average of 20.2 minutes... the longest lines were in Florida, where another recent study estimated that at least 201,000 people may have been deterred from voting by lines that were hours long. This was in no small part due to Gov. Rick Scott's (R) elimination of 6 early voting days in the state and other voter suppression initiatives that several top Republicans later admitted were intended to keep Democrats from the polls."

Meanwhile, Aliyah Frumin reports at msnbc.com: "Determined to avoid a repeat of the GOP's 2012 voter-suppression efforts, New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and Assistant Democratic House leader James Clyburn are pushing for the "Voter Empowerment Act," which requires electronic voting machines to produce paper receipts, allows for voter registration on election days, creates a new national voter hotline, and criminalizes voter intimidation practices."

Despite Gov. Christie's popularity, Dems are expected to hold the state legislature, reports Terrence Dopp at Bloomberg.

In NC, the state Obama lost by the closest margin, however, the Raleigh News Observer's Jim Jenkins paints a disturbing portrait of state Democratic Party disarray.

It's war in Missouri, where Republican supermajorities in the state legislature are trying to ram through tougher voter i.d. laws, but meeting "fierce resistance" from state progressives, reports Jason Hancock of the Kansas City Star.

Chris Cillizza crowns Sen. Marco Rubio the GOP's new prince in a softball profile. Time Magazine concurs.

For some laughs and an informative look at what pulls Sen. John McCain's chain, read Paul Slansky's "Who the Hell Are You? The John McCain news quiz" at The New Republic.