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Off to the races: You, sir, are 'a liar'

“Hillary Clinton’s next chapter — the paid speaking circuit — begins today,” Maggie Haberman writes. “The former first lady, senator and secretary of state has overnight become one of the most in-demand speakers in the world — as a a reported $200,000-a-pop fee attests — even before she takes the stage at the National Multi-Housing Council in Dallas. A few hours earlier, also in Dallas, former Florida governor and fellow potential 2016 contender Jeb Bush will give his own address to the World Affairs Council. Both speeches — Bush’s is open to the press, Clinton’s is not — are on the eve of Thursday’s opening of the George W. Bush presidential library.”

“Jeb Bush can check the boxes needed to win the White House — money, résumé and connections.

But he’s also got a problem: his last name,” Politico notes. “Many leading Republicans say the former Florida governor would be a stronger candidate ahead of 2016, if they weren’t worried about Bush baggage. On Wednesday, he’ll be in the spotlight in Dallas, giving a speech ahead of the dedication of his brother’s museum.”

Over the weekend, David Catanese profiled Jon Huntsman and Huntsman 2.0 for the Daily Beast. "He’s begun dipping his toe back into the political pond—traversing the country at a brisk pace and delivering meaty op-eds and speeches that pointedly address the woes of his party. 'They want to see a vibrant two-party system,' he says of the universities and business groups that have extended speaking invitations to him. 'And I think they're curious at how we might regain that diverse debate that the two-party system allows in this country.'"

"But when asked if the reception he’s receiving indicates there’s an appetite for another White House run, it’s clear he’s not even sure of the answer. 'I don’t know.  It’s way premature,' he said."

ARKANSAS: “Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, the well-funded group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is seriously considering a months-long television, radio and direct-mail campaign against Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, one of four Democrats who opposed expanding a background check for guns,” National Journal reports. “The goal: Make an example of him. Senior members of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns met at length Sunday to debate potential responses to the failure of President Obama’s gun regulation package, including a watered-down background check provision that fell five votes short.”

MASSACHUSETTS: “The final debate of the Senate Democratic primary devolved into an exchange of insults and character allegations Tuesday night, as Representatives Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch abandoned collegiality for a heated confrontation with one week remaining in their contest,” the Boston Globe writes, adding, “The sharpest exchange, though, came when Markey said Lynch’s opposition to federal financial assistance for manufacturers prompted an endorsement for Markey from an automobile workers union. Lynch retorted that he had voted for that bailout, frequently praised by the Obama administration as a successful countermeasure to the recession.” 

LYNCH: “I don’t want to call you a liar, but you are.”
MARKEY (to the moderator): “Steve was inappropriately, personally insulting.”
LYNCH: “I take it back, you’re not a liar, you’re just misinformed.”
MARKEY: “He is incorrigible here.”

The Senate candidates are back on air after the Boston bombings.

MONTANA: “The surprise retirement of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) immediately swung attention to the state’s former Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, who declined to say Tuesday if he would seek the job,” the Mark Z. Barabak writes in the L.A. Times.

Schweitzer told Barabak: “I’ll look around once I climb that mountain. There should be a pretty good view from there. I’ll look around and see what I do next.” But he indicated he’s not in a rush to leave Montana: “There’s not a sound to be heard, unless it’s the howl of a wolf or the yip of a coyote. Life is good. You can print that in the L.A. Times." (Irony: Schweitzer lives on Georgetown Lake in Montana.)

NEW JERSEY: Chris Christie leads Barbara Buono (D) 58%-26% for the governor’s race and he has a 67% approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

VIRGINIA: Writing for the New Republic, David Catanese notes that Ken Cuccinelli could be the GOP’s next big star if he wins Virginia’s gubernatorial contest. “If indeed he’s able to dispatch former Democratic National Committee chairman and uber-fundraiser Terry McAuliffe just as Republicans are enduring a wrenching period of soul-searching about their identity, his timing could be impeccable. He has the social conservative street cred of Rick Santorum, speaks the libertarian language of Rand Paul, and brandishes the constitutional acumen of Ted Cruz. And if he captures the governorship, odds are he’ll have a longer list of tangible achievements in two years than Marco Rubio racks up in five. He'll also, surely, have a longer list of controversies.”