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JEB RIPS OFF THE BAND-AID, answers dad/brother question: ‘I AM MY OWN MAN’ – Chicago speech jabs Obama directly, Hillary indirectly – SHOCK and AWE: Jeb staffed up secretly – NEW DGA staff

By MIKE ALLEN

2/18/15 7:30 AM EST

By Mike Allen (mallen@politico.com; @mikeallen), with Daniel Lippman (dlippman@politico.com; @dlippman)

Good Wednesday morning. It’s Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent.

DRIVING THE DAY -- JEB'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE! On his campaign'sbiggest day since announcing nine weeks ago that he was exploring a run, Jeb Bush will use a foreign-policy speech in Chicago to directly take on the dad/brother question that hovers over bid: “I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man.” The remarks, previewed for reporters by Bush’s Right to Rise PAC, call for a tougher U.S. role in the world. Jeb jabs Obama directly for weakness and apologies, and Hillary indirectly for resets and hashtag diplomacy.

--PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: If Gov. Bush doesn’t wind up as the Republican nominee, the most likely reason will be his last name – the huge question of his campaign is whether that is a surmountable burden. So he walks a clever line here, declaring his love for 41 and 43, without embracing their policies. Walking away from his family wasn’t practical, but he can’t own 43’s record. So the governor today provides a skilled opening answer to a question he’ll never stop being asked.

-- EXCERPTS of Bush prepared remarks for Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 12:45 p.m. ET:  “American leadership ... has been a benefit to the world. ... I have doubts whether this administration believes American power is such a force. Under this administration, we are inconsistent and indecisive. We have lost the trust and the confidence of our friends. We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies. ...  The great irony of the Obama Presidency is this: Someone who came to office promising greater engagement with the world has left America less influential in the world. ...

“I ... have been lucky to have a father and a brother who both have shaped America’s foreign policy from the Oval Office. I recognize that as a result, my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs’ – sometimes in contrast to theirs. I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man – and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences. Each president learns from those who came before ... Every president inherits a changing world… and changing circumstances. ...

“The administration talks, but the words fade. They draw red lines … then erase them. With grandiosity, they announce resets and disengage. ... Hashtag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement. Personal diplomacy and maturity is replaced by leaks and personal disparagement ... I believe, fundamentally, that weakness invites war ... and strength encourages peace. ... We have no reason to apologize for our leadership and our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace and human freedom.”

--BUSH FOREIGN POLICY ADVISERS – Reuters’ Steve Holland: “An aide provided ... a diverse list of 20 diplomatic and national security veterans who will be providing informal advice ... It includes James Baker ... former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, ... two former secretaries of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, former national security adviser Stephen Hadley and a deputy national security adviser, Meghan O'Sullivan, as well as two former CIA directors, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden.” http://reut.rs/1CHQzpe

TICK-TOCK – “Inside Jeb’s ‘shock and awe’ launch,” by Ben White and Marc Caputo: “Bush’s first step, after [a Nov. 2013 signal of interest in running] was to hire full-time help. Within a month, he had dipped into his personal fortune to hire four staffers: former chief of staff and longtime adviser Sally Bradshaw; former spokeswoman Kristy Campbell, longtime aide Brandi Brown and travel aide Josh Venable. Bush’s political consultant, Mike Murphy, joined in conference calls from his California home. ... [After the Dec. 16 Facebook announcement,] Bush’s team hit the phones and emails with ... a ‘shock and awe’ campaign that could raise between $50 million and $100 million by the end of the first quarter of the year. ...

“[Henry] Kravis’ $4 million haul [at a Jeb event last week] has led to a donor arms race with Coral Gables billionaire Miguel ‘Mike’ Fernandez, who said ... he intends to raise $5 million at a fundraiser next week at his waterfront mansion. About $1 million of that ... would come from Fernandez himself. ...

“In less than a month, Bush has ... spoken at a dozen super PAC fundraisers — about as many as Romney did in the entire 2011-12 election cycle. ... Bush ... outmaneuvered Romney by getting to the 2012 nominee’s top Iowa consultant, David Kochel. Murphy made first contact in early fall.” http://politi.co/1A5c1Y3

--“Romney’s top fundraiser just dropped a big hint that he’ll back Jeb Bush,” by Vox’s Andrew Prokop: “Spencer Zwick ... announced ... he was urging 2016 Republican candidates to support immigration reform this year. ... Zwick praised Jeb Bush and said serious GOP presidential candidates should be in a similar place to Jeb Bush on immigration, according to Time’s Zeke Miller. Zwick’s statement ... was co-written with Mike Fernandez, a supporter of Bush.” http://bit.ly/1FrOwvr

HOT IN HILLARYLAND – “Hillary Clinton’s uncontested nomination is dangerous for her and her party,” by Vox’s Matthew Yglesias: “Clinton ... would be better off if a serious candidate such as Warren, Joe Biden, or someone else managed to enter the race with enough backing and plausibility to force Clinton into a real campaign. That would mean real debates, real media strategy, real policy rollouts ... Anything less leaves her dangerously unprepared [against] a Republican who will have emerged battle-tested from an unusually deep field of plausible contenders.” http://bit.ly/1AkxPhb

--WSJ A4, “Foreign Gifts to Clinton Foundation Climb: Government donations raise ethical questions,” by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus: “At least four foreign countries gave to the foundation in 2013—Norway, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands ... The number of governments contributing in 2014 appears to have doubled from the previous year. Since its founding, the foundation has raised at least $48 million from overseas governments ... The Clinton Foundation has set a goal of creating a $250 million endowment ... Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman donations went to the endowment drive.” http://on.wsj.com/1vEVAMD

--“Debbie Wasserman Schultz considering 2016 Senate bid,” by Marc Caputo: Calculates that having Hillary Clinton at the top of the 2016 ticket would help lift her candidacy in a year-of-the-woman campaign.” Not expected to challenge Marco – would go for his open seat if he’s running for White House. http://politi.co/1ARhNND

** A message from TransCanada: Did you know that TransCanada has invested over $5 billion in emission-less energy like wind, solar and hydroelectric power? In fact, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index has recognized TransCanada for 13 straight years. Creating good jobs and operating in 33 states, TransCanada is America’s trusted energy partner. www.TimetoBuildKXL.com **

FIRST LOOK -- DGA staffs up – Forthcoming release: “[DGA] Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson announced ... Senior Adviser: Kevin O’Brien [who] most recently worked as Deputy Chief of Staff to Montana Governor Steve Bullock. ... DGA Communications Director: Jared Leopold [who] served as Communications Director for Senator Maria Cantwell for four years ... Finance Director: Noam Lee During the 2014 cycle, Noam directed the DGA’s major donor program. ... DGA Policy Director: Kwame Boadi Originally from Ghana, Kwame Boadi grew up in Alexandria ... DGA Digital Director: Gavrie Kullman.” http://bit.ly/1Jpdbng

--“EMILY’s List announces two key senior hires for the 2016 campaign cycle: Anne Caprara, Vice President of Campaigns and M?thoni Wambu Kraal, Senior Director, State and Local. Caprara [was] political director for the [DSCC] in 2013 ... Wambu Kraal recently [was] EMILY’s List Western Regional Director for statewide and local races, covering all of the states west of the Dakotas.”

OUT THIS AM -- Swing state Quinnipiac poll – CO, IA, VA: “Clinton runs best overall against leading Republican White House contenders in ... [all three states] but ... Rand ... is in a virtual tie with her in Colorado and Virginia ... Bush ties her in Virginia ... and ... Walker is in a virtual tie in Colorado. ... Clinton has a markedly better favorability rating than the Republicans in all three states ... Christie is the poorest performing Republican, trailing Clinton by margins of 5 to 10 percentage points, while each of the other Republicans is in the running in at least one state.” http://bit.ly/17S4S2W

RAND PLANS APRIL 7 ANNOUNCEMENT, per NYT’s Jeremy Peters, with Kitty Bennett, on p. A12: “[H]e would most likely declare his candidacy in Kentucky, ... then depart on a campaign swing through states with the earliest nominating contests, like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.” http://nyti.ms/1vEUz7a

--FLASHBACK – Playbook, Nov. 10: Rand advisers “expect the campaign will be a ‘go’ by mid-April, with an announcement as quickly after that as his staff can put together a fly-around to the early states.” http://politi.co/1EjNmgx

WALKER HIRES -- “Former NHGOP exec director Andy Leach among two big NH hires by Scott Walker PAC,” by NH Journal’s John DiStaso: “Leach is now a senior adviser for New Hampshire to Walker’s political action committee. Also on board to head New Hampshire day-to-day operations, is Michael Bir, who was most recently the political director of the Michigan Republican Party and was previously the 2010 and 2012 Ohio ‘Victory’ program director for the [RNC].” http://bit.ly/1DpBhL3

--Send us your 2016 hires: mallen@politico.com

INVISIBLE PRIMARY -- Sen. Lindsey “Graham ... reaching out to Granite Staters; visit in the works,” by NH Journal’s John DiStaso: “Graham has made telephone calls to key state Republicans and ... his adviser, Christian Ferry, the former deputy campaign manager for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been to the state personally in recent days ... to inquire about the possibility of setting up meetings between Graham and key activists.” http://bit.ly/1BlpNYn

SOCIAL 2016 – WSJ A4, “On Social Media, 2016 Rivals Let the Jabs Fly,” by Natalie Andrews, with Heather Haddon: “Paul appears to be the first potential presidential candidate who is openly criticizing his would-be rivals on Twitter. In addition to noting Mr. Bush’s support for Common Core, he has criticized Mrs. Clinton’s record as secretary of state, specifically ... Benghazi ... Paul often uses Twitter to insert himself in the day’s news cycle. When Mr. Bush flew to Utah to meet with Mitt Romney, ... Paul tweeted ... about the two swapping friendship bracelets” emblazoned “Common Core.” http://on.wsj.com/1zmZHyr

--TWEET VOLUME – Average tweets per week since Nov. 3, per Twitter via WSJ: Cruz 31 (multiple accounts) ... Rand 30 ... Christie 24 (multiple accounts) ... Walker 19 ... Webb 8 ... Carson 6 ... Perry 6 ... Jeb 5 ... Hillary 1.

--FACEBOOK FREQUENCY – Candidate mentions, Jan. 6 to Feb. 3, per Facebook via WSJ: Hillary 8 million ... Cruz 4.84 million ... Rand 3.63 million ... Walker 3.12 million ... Jeb 2.35 million ... Christie 2.17 million ... Carson 2.1 million ... Bernie Sanders 1.96 million ... Perry 1.85 million ... Marco 1.03 million ... Jim Webb 20,000.

--FLASHBACK – Politico, Feb. 5: “How Rand Paul trolls his rivals: Behind the Republican’s effort to be the first true Twitter candidate for the White House,” by Katie Glueck http://politi.co/17gjojO

THE WAY TO WIN -- “Forget Barefoot; New Trendsetter in Running Shoes Is Cushioning,” by NYT’s Lindsay Crouse: “Athletes who spent the past few years embracing or scorning barefoot running can now consider whether increasingly popular ‘maximalist’ shoes — with their chunky, heavily cushioned soles — are the sport’s new wonder product.” http://nyti.ms/1CHUQZR

FOR YOUR RADAR --“Behind the curtain, troubles persist in HealthCare.gov,” by Rachana Pradhan and Brett Norman: “The ‘back end’ ... still isn’t properly wired to the health insurance companies. It’s slow going for health plans to make sure the 11.4 million people who have signed up end up in the right plan. Subsidy payments aren’t automated, so the insurers get payments based on estimates. And adding information like a marriage or the birth of a child is ... convoluted.” http://politi.co/1zn9GUy

CLICKER -- “What Record-Breaking Snow Really Looks Like” http://theatln.tc/1E594bx

HOT VIDEO – “Billy On The Street with First Lady Michelle Obama, Big Bird, And Elena” http://bit.ly/1EnxICc

MEDIAWATCH -- “NYT Magazine kicks off redesign with new ethics podcast,” by Poynter’s Benjamin Mullin: “The New York Times Magazine Tuesday debuted the first new feature in its long-awaited redesign: ‘Ethicists,’ a weekly podcast produced in partnership with Slate. The podcast, a re-imagination of the magazine’s longtime ‘The Ethicist’ column, will feature three ethicists answering questions for a half-hour. The panelists are Politico media columnist Jack Shafer, novelist Amy Bloom and constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino.” http://bit.ly/1zn9O6n

--“Times mulling changes to NYT Now subscription model,” by Capital New York’s Joe Pompeo: “[E]xecutives are considering whether NYT Now, the Times' low-priced mobile app that offers a slimmed-down version of the daily news report, should continue to be a subscription product, C.E.O. Mark Thompson suggested during an appearance at Re/code's Code Media conference Tuesday evening. ... [T]he app hasn't brought in as many paying customers as the Times had hoped it would—fewer than 20,000, according to media analyst and Capital contributor Ken Doctor.” http://bit.ly/1vF1yNA

--“Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio joining MSNBC as food correspondent,” by L.A. Times’ Stephen Battaglio: “Colicchio is already a frequent guest on MSNBC programs; his formalized role marks the first time a major national TV news outlet has committed to covering what is known as the food movement as a regular beat. His segments and appearances will be seen with the channel’s lineup of progressive political talk hosts that include Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews, and on ‘Morning Joe.’ Colicchio will also have his own weekly half-hour show, ‘Stirring the Pot,’ on MSNBC's new online channel Shift this spring.” http://lat.ms/1AkALu1

WHAT SILICON VALLEY IS READING -- “Apple Orders More Than 5 Million Watches for Initial Run,” by WSJ’s Lorraine Luk and Daisuke Wakabayashi: “Apple has asked its suppliers in Asia to make ... five to six million units of its three Apple Watch models ... ahead of ... release in April.” http://on.wsj.com/1LbUvVx

--“Snapchat Said to Seek Up to $19 Billion Value in Funding,” by Bloomberg’s Leslie Picker and Sarah Frier: “Snapchat Inc. is seeking a new round of funding that would value the company as high as $19 billion ... making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world. ... Snapchat also has been developing new features to make it more of a destination for entertainment, a strategy that could help it lure more viewers and sell more ads.” http://bloom.bg/1AkzoeR

WASHINGTON, INC. -- “Phillip Stutts & Company Changes Name” to Go BIG Media -- Release: “[T]he firm’s new direction will primarily be towards the creative, production, and targeting of digital and traditional media.” http://bit.ly/1CHJV4D

ENGAGED: Hibah Hussain from Google’s D.C. Policy team to Tim Grayson, a lawyer at Skadden Arps who got engaged Sunday night, thanks to a little paw tip from Hibah’s cat Appledore. Hibah got home from the gym to find Appledore wearing a collar. Appledore never wears a collar, so she went up to investigate and found a ring looped around it. And then Tim asked her to marry him and she said yes. Pic of the couple, with cat http://bit.ly/1DCBysF

BIRTHDAYS: Packer fan Denny Jungwirth (h/t A-Rod, the Foxer) ... James Hohmann, the pride of Apple Valley, Minn., celebrating with dinner at minibar ... Keith Urbahn, former Donald Rumsfeld chief of staff, now at Javelin ... former Sen. John Warner  is 88 … former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) … Kiara Pesante, the pride of Brooklyn ... Abbey Blume Gibson… Matt Burgess ... Danielle Borrin … Adam Prather … WH associate comms. director Stephanie Young (h/t Addie Whisenant) ... Danielle Most of Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s office (h/t Peter Cherukuri) ... Elizabeth Kanick, Deputy CoS for Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (h/t hubby Michael) ... Rebecca Kaplan … John DiStaso, the Dan Balz of the Granite State …

... Denise Dunckel , SVP, external affairs, Invitation Homes (h/t Margaret Chadbourne) … Sean Conner ... Marc Lampkin of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck ... Shana Marchio … Parul S. Choksi ... NYT alum Michael Janofsky ... NPR’s Rachel Martin ... Mark Sickles ... DDC Advocacy’s William Bertles  ... Carol Vanterpool ... Willem Rijksen ... Leon Mary ... Toni Morrison is 84 ... Yoko Ono is 82 ... Cybill Shepherd is 65 ... Juice Newton is 63 ... John Travolta is 61 ... Vanna White is 58 ... Dr. Dre is 50 ... Molly Ringwald is 47 ... actress Maiara Walsh is 27 (h/t AP)

DESSERT -- John Oliver renewed at HBO – release: “HBO has renewed Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for its third and fourth seasons, it was announced [Tuesday] by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Consisting of 35 shows apiece, season three will run on HBO in 2016, to be followed by season four in 2017.” http://bit.ly/17ROMWV

--“At Chipotle, How Many Calories Do People Really Eat?” by The Upshot’s Kevin Quealy, Amanda Cox and Josh Katz: “The typical order at Chipotle has about 1,070 calories. That’s more than half of the calories that most adults are supposed to eat in an entire day. The recommended range for most adults is between 1,600 and 2,400. ... Most orders at Chipotle give you close to a full day’s worth of salt (2,400 milligrams) and 75 percent of a full day’s worth of saturated fat.” http://nyti.ms/1zNvjfG

** A message from TransCanada: TransCanada’s investment in emission-less power is benefiting America today. With a wind farm in Maine, 13 hydroelectric stations in New England and highly efficient natural gas power plants in New York City, Rhode Island and Arizona, TransCanada is a leader in delivering clean energy in the U.S. That’s why the Dow Jones Sustainability Index has recognized TransCanada for 13 straight years. Creating good jobs and operating in 35 states, TransCanada is committed to being a responsible part of North America’s energy future. TransCanada: America’s trusted energy partner. www.TimetoBuildKXL.com **

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