With Manhunt Underway in Boston, Politics Pushed Aside

BY Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlij  April 19, 2013 at 8:51 AM EST

Boston Manhunt Underway

Police in Watertown, Mass., search for one of the suspects in Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

With a massive manhunt in Boston underway, any semblance of politics is likely to go by the wayside Friday.

Boston-area residents are being asked to stay in their homes, as one of the suspects in the marathon bombing was killed in an overnight shootout with law enforcement and as cable news reporters breathlessly follow every twist and turn.

President Barack Obama was briefed overnight by homeland-security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco about developments in the investigation as well as the events in Boston and Watertown, Mass., a White House official told reporters.

With so little solid information about the brothers suspected of planting bombs at the marathon Monday, it’s difficult to know how the conversation will shift. The Associated Press is reporting the men are from a Russian region near Chechnya and that at least one of them was in the United States legally.

Chances are what we learn about the men and their motives will become a part of the political conversation in Washington. And we’ll keep bringing you up to speed as the situation develops.

But for now, we’ve rounded up good reporting from on the ground and posted a live video feed from our public media partners.

After authorities released these images and video, the NewsHour gave an update on the story.

You can follow the evolving situation and watch live-streamed news conferences on our homepage.

THE PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

“This wasn’t easy,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told the NewsHour Thursday night, hours after he and the seven other members of the Gang of Eight formally rolled out their comprehensive immigration reform proposal at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Margaret Warner asked Durbin to give a flavor of what the group’s two dozen meetings were like.

“Well, there were nice, kind and quiet meetings and more eruptive meetings,” Durbin said. “As I said today to John, I said, Mount McCain erupted a few times, but fortunately no one was injured and we got back on path in a hurry. So despite the strong feelings that we each brought to this issue, because it is so important to each of us and to our country, I think at the end we struck a good balance.”

Warner also pressed Durbin if he was confident the others in the Gang of Eight were committed to vote against amendments to the bill that they might favor, but that could derail the overall legislation.

“You put your finger on the biggest challenge,” Durbin said. “When you have a brokered compromise that really tries to strike a balance, and then you open it to amendments, I know they’re going to be some heartbreaking votes there. There will be things which, if I were an independent on this issue and not vested in this process, I would gladly vote for them. I’m sure the same is true on the Republican side. But we have got to measure which amendments go too far, destroy the balance. It’s going to be a tough balancing act.”

Watch here or below:

Thursday’s news conference was abound with gracious remarks about the bipartisan process that led to the compromise, and even a few moments of levity, such as when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., approached the lectern and declared, “I’ve changed my mind.”

As Rubio turned to walk away, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., exclaimed, “Not again!”

But the Florida Republican put his colleagues quickly at ease, saying, “Just joking.”

Rubio then delivered a full-throated defense of the group’s proposal.

“It’s tragic that a nation of immigrants remains divided on the issue of immigration. This must once again become our strength, and I believe that through this effort we can make that happen,” Rubio said. “We all wish we didn’t have this problem, but we do and we have to fix it. Because leaving things the way they are, that’s the real amnesty.”

Here is Cassie M. Chew’s primer on the 844-page bill.

Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown looks at how Democrats have received the bill.

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane, meanwhile, examines how senators are seeking to balance which hot-button issues to support. And the Post’s David Nakamura notes Rubio’s support for the measure puts him at odds with some conservatives.

LINE ITEMS

  • A Senate Democratic leadership aide told reporters Thursday that Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has made a procedural move to “freeze” the gun bill where it is. The tactic allows him to bring it back again when he chooses. “Make no mistake, this debate is not over. In fact, this fight is just beginning,” Reid said Thursday. He added that he’s talked with Mr. Obama and that they agree “the best way to keep working towards passing a background check bill is to hit a pause and freeze the background check bill where it is.”

  • The Washington Post takes a look at how the gun control movement is vowing to press on. And Politico reports on the mental health measure that will likely pass as part of the gun legislation.

  • States United To Prevent Gun Violence created this gun control ad to suggest gun laws are antiquated. Watch here or below.

  • Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad has a good piece on how the Massachusetts Senate special election was put on hold after the bombings, and what’s next ahead of the late-April primary.

  • The House on Thursday passed cybersecurity legislation. The Hill has a good primer on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

  • The Center for Public Integrity has a detailed story noting that the Chemical Safety Board responsible for regulating the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, “has been criticized for failing to complete investigations in a timely manner.”

  • Turns out Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., hired the man who allegedly sent him a suspicious letter as an Elvis impersonator years ago. The man was charged Thursday and faces up to 15 years in prison.

  • Jon Ward delivers an update on the complicated friendship between Mr. Obama and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reserving South Carolina air time in the 1st Congressional District matchup between Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and former GOP Gov. Mark Sanford. South Carolina Republicans wouldn’t talk about the race when a Washington Post reporter made the attempt.

  • The Concerned Women Political Action Committee has floated the idea of backing Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, as a potential write-in candidate in the race. “The people of South Carolina have no good options right now,” CWPAC President Peggy Nance said in a statment. “We are only considering it … but I have to say, ‘Congresswoman Jenny Sanford’ has a nice ring to it.”

  • Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz spells out the tea leaves from Senate fundraising figures.

  • The Nation profiles the New York City mayoral race as part of a special issue on Michael Bloomberg’s New York.

  • A graduate student seems to have discovered errors in two Harvard economists’ calculations that had served as the foundation for political arguments to slash the national debt.

  • Chris Cillizza wants you to caption this.

  • Are political news sites lucky enough to get a Christine O’Donnell comeback?

  • New planets!

NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

TOP TWEETS

Katelyn Polantz and politics desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

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