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Obama agenda: Outreach

Obama has four trips to Capitol Hill this week, meeting with Republicans and Democrats. His meetings begin tomorrow with Senate Democrats. On Wednesday, he meets with House Republicans, then on Thursday with both Senate Republicans and House Democrats.

USA Today: “The Capitol trips the rest of the week are part of Obama's new outreach to Republicans, seeking an alternative to the sequestration cuts of $85 billion that began March 1.”

At the Gridiron Dinner Saturday, President Obama poked fun at himself, Bob Woodward, Marco Rubio, John McCain, Ted Cruz and even his Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Here are Obama’s full remarks.

“President Barack Obama is close to naming Thomas Perez, a civil rights official in the Justice Department, as his choice to head the Department of Labor, two people familiar with the process say,” AP reports. “His nomination could come as early as Monday, the people familiar with the process said Saturday.”

The AP: “Three goals will dominate President Barack Obama’s coming visit to Israel, his first as president: Convincing Israel and its leadership he means what he says about stopping Iran from building a nuclear weapon, mending a deeply troubled relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, in return, enticing Israel back to negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Keeping secrets. “The U.S. government, led by the Pentagon and CIA, censored in the name of national security files that the public requested last year under the Freedom of Information Act more often than at any time since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press. Overall, the Obama administration last year answered its highest number of requests so far for copies of government documents, emails, photographs and more, and it slightly reduced its backlog of requests from previous years. But it more often cited legal provisions allowing the government to keep records or parts of its records secret, especially a rule intended to protect national security.”

USA Today wonders what’s next for First Lady Michelle Obama: “According to the White House, she and her staff are in the midst of strategizing how the next four years might differ, or might not, from her first term as FLOTUS, generally hailed as a rousing success with her clever blending of conventional and unconventional.”