Daily Kickoff: Iran Bill Battle; Liberals warn Dems: ‘Don’t choose war’ | Bloomberg Knighted Last Night | Mercer PACs raise thirty million for Cruz bid

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TOP TALKER: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Noncommittal on Nuclear Deal” by Asa Fitch: “Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday said he neither agreed nor disagreed with the nuclear deal the Tehran government reached with world powers, adopting a wary stance that appeared designed to appease domestic opposition of rapprochement with the West.” [WSJCNN] • @khamenei_ir: “Hours after the #talks, Americans offered a fact sheet that most of it was contrary to what was agreed. They always deceive & breach promises.” [Twitter] • “C.I.A. Director Brennan says Rouhani persuaded Khamenei to reach an understanding with the West” [NYTimes]

IRAN BILL BATTLE: “Democratic Sen. Chris Coons on Wednesday offered an amendment to a an Iran nuclear bill that would remove the measure’s tie to Iranian-sponsored terrorism, a change that could attract more support for the legislation from his party. Senator Chris Coons plans to have his amendment called up for debate on Tuesday, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to work on the bipartisan legislation.” [ReutersPolitico] • “Liberals warn Senate Dems on Iran: Don’t choose war”[Politico]

“White House mocks Netanyahu on Twitter” by Jordan Fabian: “The bomb diagram attached to a White House tweet looked a lot like a chart used by Netanyahu during a 2012 speech to the United Nations General Assembly… The White House’s chart is almost identical to Netanyahu’s, red line and all. At the bottom of the bomb is a blue line, representing the zero percent chance Iran develops a nuclear weapon under the deal.” [TheHillNYTimes]

David Horovitz interviews Yuval Steinitz: “Asked for his overall assessment of a deal hailed by the US as “historic,” Steinitz responded with a sigh and the plaintive lament: “The deal? I don’t understand anything about it.” He then suggested that the framework was foggy and marked a pitiful precedent for international diplomacy: “Usually there’s a signed document, and then the sides argue about the interpretation. Now, they’re not arguing about the interpretation, but over the text. Because nothing was agreed. There is no text.” [ToI]

WSJ FRONT PAGE: “Iran Nuclear Agreement Gives Assad a Reason to Worry” by Sam Dagher: “Prospects look dimmer for Mr. Assad if a nuclear agreement opens the door to a broader rapprochement with Iran over its role in Syria… Iran and Russia are willing to envision a solution to the four-year-old conflict in Syria that eventually eases him out of power while safeguarding their own strategic interests in the country, according to people familiar with details of current Syria diplomacy.” [WSJ]

Kissinger: “Iran deal will drag US into nuke conflicts” [FoxNews] • ICYMI: “The Iran Deal and Its Consequences” by Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz [WSJ

“Some Republicans Seek Status Quo on Iran” by Peter Baker: “Here is what I think we should do,” Mr. Graham said. “Continue the sanctions under the interim agreement. That’s worked pretty well for the world. It has controlled Iran’s nuclear ambitions. They got some money, but do not do a final deal until you have the best opportunity to get the best result.”… Kevin Bishop, a spokesman for Mr. Graham, acknowledged this week that the senator’s view had shifted. “Senator Graham wasn’t wild about the interim deal when it was announced,” Mr. Bishop said, “but it’s looking better in light of what President Obama is now discussing.” [FirstDraft]

Tom Cotton: Bombing Iran Would Take “Several Days,” Be Nothing Like Iraq War: “This president has a bad habit of accusing other people of making false choices, but he presented the ultimate false choice last week when he said it’s either this deal or war,” the Arkansas Republican said.” [BuzzFeed]

Rob Eshman: “Maybe Obama knows what he’s doing… That’s not to say Israel and Congress shouldn’t work to improve upon the deal. One major step they can take is to surround the deal with mutual defense pacts among the U.S., NATO, Israel and the Arab world.” [JewishJournal]

Ari Shavit: “The Obama-Friedman interview doesn’t set off one alarm bell, it sets off a thousand. And when we add all the fateful questions about the Lausanne agreement, we get a strong feeling that something very dire is happening right before our eyes. We begin to suspect that the Obama-Khamenei agreement will not prevent Iran from going nuclear, but will only postpone the achievement by a few years.” [Haaretz]

2016 WATCH: “In first steps on campaign trail, Rand Paul shadowed by Iran deal” by Andy Sullivan: “I am somewhat skeptical of the president’s agreement,” Paul told NBC’s “Today” program on Wednesday. “However, I am in favor of negotiations over war and I think I’ve been one of the reasonable people in our party who has not been beating the drums for war.”… Paul’s view on the Iran deal, while clearly not completely behind Obama, reflects his skeptical approach to foreign policy and in particular to wars.” [ReutersWSJ]

Jewish Dems email… “If Rand Paul has truly chosen his position once and for all, at least he is finally being open and honest about his beliefs that the U.S. should no longer provide support for Israel’s safety and security.”

“Rand Paul battles Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Rand Paul and Debbie Wasserman Schultz spent the Kentucky senator’s first day on the presidential campaign trail fighting about abortion.” [Politico]

HRC & DWS: “DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is persona non grata to President Obama’s political team (which has leaked a slew of unflattering anecdotes) but she’s a lot more popular with Hillary Clinton and her staff. Clinton’s team has no immediate plans to displace the outspoken Florida congresswoman if Clinton becomes the nominee — in part out of loyalty, and Wasserman Schultz has told insiders she has no plans to go. DWS remains a killer fundraiser, especially among South Florida Jewish donors.” [Politico] • “Robby Mook Just Took the Hardest Job in Politics—Saving the Clintons From Themselves” [MotherJones] • “Hillary’s Israel Connection: Oren Shur” [YNet]

Jeb Bush raised over $1M yesterday in Chicago with help from William Kunkler, Sandy Perl, and Richard Porter [SunTimes]

“Network of ‘Super PACs’ Says That It Has Raised $31 Million for Ted Cruz Bid” by Nicholas Confessore: “The first of the new super PACs, called Keep the Promise I, filed paperwork indicating it was based in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., with an accountant named Jacquelyn James serving as treasurer. According to publicly available tax returns, Ms. James and her firm, Golub, LaCapra, Wilson & DeTiberiis, are also the accountants of record for a family foundation set up by Robert Mercer, a Long Island billionaire.” [NYTimesNRBloomberg

SCENE YESTERDAY: Ted Cruz spoke at the Prime Passover program to a group of hotel guests, spending a reported $11,000 per-person for the holiday stay, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. After his speech, Cruz and his senior advisor Nick Muzin were seen chatting with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. [TwitterInstagram]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Bloomberg Knighted – “At a formal investiture ceremony at the British ambassador’s residence in Washington, the ambassador, Peter Westmacott, presented the former New York mayor with the insignia marking him as a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. “Back in New York,” Mr. Bloomberg told the guests, “a good friend of mine — this is a friend of long standing — he said to me that this is only a honorary knighthood, and it doesn’t make me either a knight or a commander, nor does it come with a title ‘sir,’ and I said to him, ‘Well, thank you, Sir Paul McCartney.’”

Running for Mayor of London? “Zero chance, zero interest,” Bloomberg said flatly… When asked what he thought of the growing field of presidential candidates, Mr. Bloomberg was equally definite. “Hillary and Jeb are the only two who know how to make the trains run,” he said, to get people back to work.” Spotted: Vice President Joe Biden, Colin Powell, Kevin Sheekey, Colin Powell, Tina Brown, Harold Evans, Diana Taylor, Bloomberg’s daughters Emma and Georgina, and grandson Jasper. [FirstDraft] • See a pic of VP Biden stealing Jasper’s pacifier. [Imgur]

**Good Thursday 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 SPOTLIGHT: “One of Thrillist’s first employees got $2M to launch a new parenting site for guys” by Madeline Stone: “Meet Fatherly, a brand-new site created by early Thrillist employee Mike Rothman and marketing exec Simon Isaacs. The site officially launches today after several months in beta. The goal, according to Rothman, is to provide parenting advice for guys who are on their first or second kid and looking for content geared towards them specifically.” [BusinessInsider]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Mark Pincus, Zynga’s Founder, Returns as C.E.O.” by Nick Winfield and Mike Isaac: “When Mark Pincus hired a new executive to run Zynga, the online game company he founded, he wrote on Twitter, calling the executive, Don Mattrick, an “Internet treasure.”Now, less than two years later, Zynga’s Internet treasure has left the company, and Mr. Pincus has returned as chief executive.” [NYTimes]

“Time to Credit Jeff Zucker for Bringing CNN Back from the Dead” by Andrew Kirell:“Glance over cable news ratings for the past several months and a pattern emerges: CNN is no longer at the bottom of the big three. Such progress has been overshadowed — at least in terms of media coverage — by Fox’s continued dominance and MSNBC’s fading influence, but give CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker credit for bringing the oldest cable news channel back from the dead.” [Mediaite]

“In Plane Sight” by Kate Gassman Bennett: “Penny Pritzker is the only multibillionaire in the Obama Cabinet. And it shows. Our sources tell us that Pritzker, the Commerce secretary and former ace Obama campaign fundraiser said to be worth around $2 billion from her family’s Hyatt Hotel fortune, has been traveling around on official business in her own red-and-white-patterned Gulfstream G450.” [Politico]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Aby Rosen closes on sale of $86M retail co-op to Jeff Sutton”[RealDeal] • “Fifth Third Center in downtown Cleveland sells to Hertz Investment Group of California” [Cleveland] • “West Loop office owners Joseph Mizrachi and David Werner try divide-and-conquer strategy” [ChiBusiness] • Alex Sapir & Rotem Rosen on the NoMo SoHo Hotel [BusinessWire

SPORTS BLINK: “Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office think tank is a force to be reckoned with” by Ramona Shelburne: “Andrew Friedman has had plenty of suitors over the years. Every winter, some organization would call and try to pry him away from the Rays. He always turned them down. But this Dodgers job felt different. He needed this challenge, spiritually as much as anything.”[ESPN]

Mazal Tov: “The newest Duggar baby is named Israel, his father announced in an IDF T-shirt” by Abby Ohlheiser: ‘Jill Dillard, formerly Jill Duggar of the “19 Kids and Counting” clan, had her first child with husband Derick on April 6. The baby boy is named Israel. In the family’s first photo, Derick made sure everybody knows how he feels about Israel by wearing what appears to be an Israel Defense Forces T-shirt. Baby Israel wore an “Israel” onesie.” [WashPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Aboard Flights, Conflicts Over Seat Assignments and Religion” by Michael Paulson: “A growing number of airline passengers, particularly on trips between the United States and Israel, are now sharing stories of conflicts between ultra-Orthodox Jewish men trying to follow their faith and women just hoping to sit down. Several flights from New York to Israel over the last year have been delayed or disrupted over the issue, and with social media spreading outrage and debate, the disputes have spawned a protest initiative, an online petition and a spoof safety video.” [NYTimes]

“Judge Drops 2 Terror Attacks From Arab Bank Case” by Stephanie Clifford: “A federal judge in Brooklyn on Wednesday largely upheld a jury verdict that found a Middle Eastern bank liable for 24 terrorist attacks, but agreed to drop two of those attacks from the verdict.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT: “What Happens When a Classic Resort Goes Kosher for Passover” by Lilit Marcus: “On Friday afternoon in early April, the lobby of the The Gideon Putnam hotel in Saratoga Springs was buzzing with activity. But it was a little different than the normal weekend rush to check in and unpack. There was much to do before the sun set. Passover (Pesachin Hebrew), one of the most beautiful and symbolic Jewish holidays, was about to begin, and the Gideon Putnam was gearing up to host its first-ever Passover retreat.” [CondeNast]

“The Power Lunch: Kosher for Passover Version” by Rebecca Gale: “Whether it’s the Longworth Cafeteria or BLT Steak, the power lunch continues during recess just as it does when Congress is in session. But for those for whom an in-session day requires more time in the office, recess periods can be better time for the power lunch of the white tablecloth variety. But what happens when recess falls during Passover, eight days in which all bread products must be eschewed? We found one D.C. restaurant that may have a solution for this gap in the marketplace.” [RollCall]


That’s all folks; have a great day! Next Daily Kickoff will be on Monday.

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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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