Daily Kickoff: Clinton team addresses Blumenthal’s hacked emails | How Cotton got Graham to sign the letter | Kerry, Carter, Dempsey on the Hill today

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“Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right” — by Kori Schake: “Whatever Senate Republicans’ mistakes, and angry as the president might be about legislators undercutting him during the endgame of a difficult negotiation, he might want to consider his complicity in the matter: Had he not flouted the requirement for the president to submit international agreements to the Senate for its consent to ratification, Congress would get its chance once the deal had been completed. Obama should reflect on that, particularly since going forward he’s bluffing with a weak hand. If his point was to prove he’s still relevant, he’s succeeded. If his point was to negotiate an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, he’s provoked a mutiny that will make the policy difficult to carry out.” [ForeignPolicy]

“Was the GOP’s Iran letter really unprecedented” by Michael Crowley: “From Reagan to Clinton, both Democrats and Republicans have tried to sabotage the other party’s foreign policy.” [Politico]

SATIRE: “Iran Offers to Mediate Talks Between Republicans and Obama” by Andy Borowitz: “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, said that his nation was the “logical choice” to jumpstart negotiations between Obama and the Republicans because “it has become clear that both sides currently talk more to Iran than to each other.” [NewYorker]

IRAN TALKS: “Iran Picks Conservative Cleric to Head Powerful Supervisory Body: The body that chooses and supervises Iran’s Supreme Leader has elected a conservative cleric as its new chairman, dealing a blow to progressives at a crucial time in the nuclear talks with the U.S. and other world powers.” [WSJNYTimes]

“The Fatal Flaw in Obama’s Dealings With Iran” by Douglas Feith: “Taking a collaborative approach to negotiating with bad actors always turns out badly. Better to coerce them.” [WSJ]

HAPPENING TODAY: “Three of America’s top national security officials face questions on Capitol Hill about new war powers being drafted to fight Islamic State militants, Iran’s sphere of influence and hotspots across the Mideast. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will testify Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a high-profile hearing that likely will cover a myriad of U.S. foreign policy issues.” [AP] • Watch live at 9:30am [CSPAN]

TOP TALKER: “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, spoke to reporters about her use of private email during her time at the State Department. She said her decision to use the account was for the convenience of carrying only one device and “didn’t seem like an issue.” She also said that looking back that using a second email account might have been better.” [CSPAN] • In case you were wondering: Why the first question went to a Turkish TV reporter [WashPost] • “Bill Clinton has sent a total of two emails in his life” [WSJ…Or has he? [TheHill]

Ben Smith: “The U.N. is also, always, kind of a shitshow. It’s inaccessible, incomprehensible, disempowered, roiling with frustration. And so it was probably the right place for the effective kickoff of the 2016 general election campaign Tuesday. Clinton events — the 2008 campaign, the 1976 race for attorney general of Arkansas, certainly the 1992 campaign, large stretches of the presidency — often have the feeling that the wheels are about to fall off, and Tuesday’s press conference was a masterpiece in that genre.” [BuzzFeed]

Clinton Team Addresses Hacked Emails of Longtime Adviser Sidney Blumenthal: “It was Mr. Blumenthal’s hacked email account, more than two years ago, that first revealed Mrs. Clinton’s private email address. Those emails, obtained by the hacker known as Guccifer, contained Mr. Blumenthal’s advice to Mrs. Clinton on matters of international diplomacy.”

“In the well-publicized hack of Sid Blumenthal’s email account, a note he sent Secretary Clinton on September 12, 2012, was posted online,” Mrs. Clinton’s aides wrote, referring to the day after the Benghazi, Libya, attack. “At first blush, one might not think this exchange would be captured on the state.gov email. But in fact, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email, that very same day, onto the state.gov system.” [FirstDraft] • “Wild Thing: Max Blumenthal’s Creepy Anti-Zionist Odyssey” [TabletMag]

Hillary on Sen. Tom Cotton’s Iran letter: “The president and his team are in the midst of intense negotiations. Their goal is a diplomatic solution that would close off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb and give us unprecedented access and insight into Iran’s nuclear program. Now, reasonable people can disagree about what exactly it will take to accomplish this objective, and we all must judge any final agreement on its merits.”

“But the recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership. And one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter? There appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander- in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letters’ signatories.”

Sen. Bob Corker: “Some of this is pushback because of the administration taking the position that it’s taken. Again, that is someone else’s observation,” Corker told reporters. “The fact that the administration has pushed back on Congress having any role, especially on the congressionally mandated sanctions and issuing a veto threat at a very common-sense approach.” [TheHill] • “McCain: GOP letter to Iran not ‘most effective’ response” [TheHill]

BEHIND THE SCENES: Why Graham signed: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an aspiring presidential candidate who will run with a vigorous foreign policy platform, was having second thoughts after initially declining to sign on. “He came to me a couple of times, and I wasn’t going to sign the letter,” Graham recounted. “I told him I don’t think I’m going to do that, because I’m negotiating with Democrats to get on the bill. So when the president just says, ‘I’ll veto that bill,’ in the middle of us putting it together? I said ‘enough is enough.’” Graham reversed himself and agreed to sign the letter during a weekend phone call, one of the last GOP senators to add his name.” [Politico]

2016 WATCH: “That Iran Letter? Bobby Jindal Suggests the Ideas Were His” by Jason Horowitz: “I’ve been saying it for some time now,” Mr. Jindal, who will officially add his name to the letter on Tuesday, said in an interview at a conference of evangelical pastors… Mr. Jindal, who dined with the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, a few weeks ago in Louisiana, echoed the argument made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel before Congress last week. He added that the extra pressure on Iran could “impact the quality” of an eventual deal, and that he hoped to have shaped the case put forth by the letter.” [NYTimes] • “Jindal to Biden: Apologize to Cotton” [Politico]

Gov. Scott Walker: “Unless @BarackObama is prepared to submit the Iran deal for Congressional approval, the next president should not be bound by it. Republicans need to ensure that any deal President Obama reaches with Iran receives congressional review.” [Twitter]

Jeb Bush: “The Senators are reacting to reports of a bad deal that will likely enable Iran to become a nuclear state over time. They would not have been put in this position had the Administration consulted regularly with them rather than ignoring their input.”

“Cruz warns Iran deal could lead to more terror” by Katie Glueck: “Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday sought to drive home the risks of a bad nuclear deal with Iran by suggesting to a room of fire fighters that it could lead to their confronting another terrorist attack.” [Politico]

Rand Paul: “Did Rand Paul Flip-Flop on Iran By Signing Tom Cotton’s Letter? by David Knowles [Bloomberg] • Mark Leibovich Essay: “You and I Change Our Minds. Politicians ‘Evolve.’” [NYTimesMag]

“Black lawmakers vow to stand by Israel despite sitting out Netanyahu speech” by Ron Kampeas: “Leading black lawmakers have taken pains to put the blame for the speech incident on Boehner and convey their continued support for Israel. At the news conference with Lewis, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the caucus chairman, described a phone call he had with Ron Dermer… “During that telephone conversation I pleaded with the ambassador to seek a postponement of the joint session, but he dismissed that idea,” Butterfield said. “Notwithstanding, I pledged my continued personal support and explained that Israel has many friends in the Congressional Black Caucus.” [JTA] • “Jewish Congresswoman Pushes for Israel ‘Regime Change’ After Bibi Speech to Congress” [Forward]

Bibi’s Tech Advisor Vincent Harris: “One man + One mistake: How a Twitter error ended up on Jimmy Fallon and what I learned about being slow to anger.” [Medium]

Thomas Friedman Op: “Is It Sheldon Adelson’s World?” [NYTimes]

Shmuley Boteach Op: “Dear Susan Rice, I’m sorry: I didn’t mean to make it personal. But try to see Netanyahu with more empathy.” [WashPost]

“Robert Menendez’s defiant survival strategy” by Manu Raju & John Bresnahan: “Sen. Robert Menendez stood up at a closed-door Democratic lunch Tuesday to address an issue that’s been dominating the news: Iran. But he didn’t mention the big issue that’s been putting him in the headlines lately — his looming indictment on federal corruption charges. It was all in keeping with the defiant, business-as-usual approach… And in an interview on Tuesday, Menendez jabbed the DOJ for recent leaks that his allies have said were clearly intended to undermine him. “All I can say is leaks are in violation of the law,” Menendez said. “And I hope there is an investigation as to however, whomever is conducting such leaks.” [Politico]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Over 1,200 guests attended the FIDF Gala Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria last evening in NYC. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the crowd via satellite and IDF Gen. Hertz Halevi delivered the keynote. Halevi noted that Israel must be prepared on its Syria border. “Syria has long ceased to be the state we all knew four years ago. We call it ‘50 Shades of Black,’ though I must admit I haven’t read the ‘grey’ version.”… Spotted: Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Gen. Yaacob Ayish, Consul Gen. Ido Aharoni, Nily Falic, Arthur Stark, Larry Hochberg, Marvin Josephson, Tony Felzen, Herb and Vicki London, Ida and Harvey Axelrod.

NPR in Israel: “In The West Bank, Living Side By Side — But Agreeing On Nothing” [NPR]

**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

STARTUP NATION: “PayPal Doubles Down On Israel: Confirms CyActive Acquisition, New Security Hub” by Ingrid Lunden: “PayPal — soon to be spinning off from parent company eBay — today confirmed it is buying CyActive, a specialist in predictive malware detection based out of Israel. And it will use the company’s operations to kickstart a larger security hub in the country, including potentially more acquisitions.” [TechCrunch] • “Israel’s Yallo raises $4 million to disrupt the phone call as we know it” [GeekTime] • “19 under 19: outstanding Israelis to watch” [Israel21c]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Pritzker Group backs Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus” by John Pletz:“Pritzker is leading a $12.5 million investment in Viv, Kittlaus’ follow-up to Siri, the digital personal assistant he built from technology developed at Stanford Research Institute and later sold to Apple… Viv is a software platform designed to pick up where Siri left off, performing more complex, multistep tasks, such as booking a flight. The idea is that as computing extends to items such as watches, wearable devices and cars, voice will become the default platform to interact with them.” [Crains]

“App developer aims to makes Apple Watch good for the Jews: Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick, tells host Niv Elis about how his apps can help you as a Jew.” [TLV1ToITablet]

BOOK REVIEW: “A Leading (Jewish) Congressman Reflects on His Life as a Novelist: “Sales and reviews have been very strong and a lot of people think, not that the book is that good, it’s just that a book by a member of Congress is presumed to be that bad. They’re pleasantly surprised by it,” said Rep. Steve Israel… Mr. Israel wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to write for an hour. He’ll write throughout the day on his iPhone.” [Observer]

THEATER REVIEW: “Iddo, the Smartest Netanyahu Brother” by David Samuels: “As his new play ‘A Happy End’ premieres in New York, the playwright reflects on the decisions that shape lives” [TabletMag]

“TriBeCa Synagogue’s Memorable Building and Stubborn Architect” by David Dunlap: “Few congregations are as closely identified with their buildings as the TriBeCa Synagogue has been with its marble-clad, potbellied sanctuary, designed in 1967 by the architect William N. Breger, who died Feb. 23 at 92.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “New York County Doesn’t Want Hasidic Jews to Vote: Lawsuit” by Victoria Bekiempis: “The Sullivan County Board of Elections, which oversees voting in the Village of Bloomingburg, sent notices to 184 of 285 registered voters January 16 stating that it “intended to cancel their voter registration and to deprive them of the right to vote”–and more than 160 of those 184 voters are Hasidim, alleges the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.” [Newsweek]

DESSERT: “Inside Streit’s Matzo Factory’s final Passover season” by Melissa Kravitz: “A century of matzo tradition is crumbling on the Lower East Side. Streit’s Matzo Factory, which has been baking the kosher unleavened bread since 1915, will put out its last signature pink boxes on Rivington Street this Passover. But the 100-year-old brand isn’t stuck in the past. “When you think of a Jewish mother I hope you think of me,” Streit’s new spokeswoman and former “Real Housewives of New York City” star Jill Zarin said during a factory tour yesterday.” [AMNY]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**


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