How Kirsten Gillibrand lost 40 lbs. in a year — Romney has infrastructure-in-waiting; Pawlenty runs Romney ’08 playbook — Carol E. Lee elected to WHCA — Caroline Hughes b’day

DANA (“Danna,” like Bash) PRIEST, who won a Pulitzer as co-author of The Post’s Walter Reed series, has a blockbuster coming on the government-wide intelligence community, reports Gordon Lubold, general of POLITICO’s “Morning Defense.” Her piece was going Sunday but now may run Monday because The Post wants the Web buzz and traffic when more people are online. A good story for Jeremy Peters might be The Post’s increasing tendency to save big accountability pieces for Monday, giving the Sunday paper -- which still has the most space and highest circulation -- an identity crisis. An interdepartmental committee is on the case. Dana’s bio   PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN -- ABC's Jake Tapper: "On Air Force One Thursday, flying back from Michigan, President Obama received a phone call from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. 'I've got two things for you,' Emanuel told the President. 'Carol?' White House energy and climate change adviser Carol Browner told the president that BP had, at least temporarily, capped the well in the Gulf. Emanuel then told the president that the Wall Street reform bill had completed its final step before the president signs the bill to become law -- it passed the Senate. 'Mark this down as a good day,' the president said. The White House plans on spending much of the time between now and November talking about the reforms, what they will mean for the average voter, and how with few exceptions Republicans opposed the bill. A bill signing is expected Wednesday, and the White House plans on making a big deal out of it."   Story Continued Below SUNDAY SO FAR: Vice President Biden on "This Week" ... In their first join appearance ever, the four campaign committee chairmen (Menendez, Cornyn, Van Hollen, Sessions) will debate on "Meet" ... Clyburn v. Pence on "Fox News Sunday" ... Gov. Richardson and J.D. Hayworth talk immigration on "Face" ... Candy Continue Reading

COMEBACK KID II: Big Bennet victory in Col. shows Obama muscle — GOP insider nightmare: Ken Buck, the high-heels guy, wins upset — Dems take chair to Linda McMahon — Marissa Hopkins b’day

RUT-ROH -- The Guardian, “Fears of al–Qaida return in Iraq as US-backed fighters defect”: “Al-Qaida is attempting to make a comeback in Iraq by enticing scores of former Sunni allies to rejoin the terrorist group by paying them more than the monthly salary they currently receive from the government … They said al-Qaida leaders were exploiting the imminent departure of US fighting troops to ramp up a membership drive.” Good Wednesday morning. DENVER POST 1A: “BUCK ‘N’ BENNET … Buck prevails over Norton in tense outsider-vs.-insider race … Obama-backed incumbent beats former House Speaker Romanoff.” Article Front-page image Story Continued Below 100% REPORTING: DAVID ESPO’s 14thLd-Writethru, 1:24 a.m.: “Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet won the Democratic nomination to a full term in Colorado, overcoming a fierce primary challenge at home and an outbreak of anti-establishment fever nationwide. In Connecticut, Linda McMahon easily captured the Republican Senate primary … Bennet will face prosecutor Ken Buck, winner of a tight GOP primary … McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, will begin the general election campaign as an underdog in her race with Democratic attorney general Richard Blumenthal.”  --Star Tribune: “Minnesota DFL voters on Tuesday narrowly decided that gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton has the right combination of money, message and political miles to lead them to victory.”  --AP, 4 a.m.: “Georgia's bruising Republican primary runoff for governor had no winner Wednesday as some 2,500 votes separated the two candidates, leaving the race too close to call and a re-count likely.” TEA-PARTY TRIPLE CROWN:  --Denver Post: “Ken Buck defeated Jane Norton in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, setting up a general election this fall that pits an Continue Reading

WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: ‘targeted, consequential, limited attack’ — HILLARY TO SPEAK SOON — OBAMA TO MEET ANCHORS — BIGGEST HILL PUSH since health care — DAVID CARR, STEVE McMAHON bday

DRIVING THE DAY: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, in his five-network round-robin of Sunday shows this a.m., stressed that the basic question facing members of Congress right now is: Should there be consequences for those who use chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including children? McDonough repeatedly said the answer will be watched closely not just by Assad, but by his supporters in Iran and Hezbollah. McDonough did four of his interviews on-set, and talked by satellite to George Stephanopoulos, who was in New York. McDonough started shortly after 7 a.m., and was scheduled to wrap before 10 a.m. --McDonough to Stephanopoulos, on ABC’s “This Week”: “What this is, George, is very clear: [a] targeted, consequential, limited attack against Assad forces and Assad capabilities so that he is deterred from carrying out these actions again. Here is what it is not. It is not boots on the ground. It is not an extended air campaign. It is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. This is a very concerned, concentrated, limited effort that we can carry out and that can underscore and secure our interests.” Transcript Story Continued Below --McDonough to Chris Wallace, on “Fox News Sunday,” who said it “sure sounds like the president is going to abide by what Congress decides”: “As the president said, this is not an empty exercise. We are expending a great amount of energy and investment in trying to … make sure that Congress understands.” DRIVING THE WEEK – JONATHAN KARL, from the White House lawn, on “This Week”: “This will be the biggest congressional effort by the White House since the battle over health care.” --CANDY CROWLEY on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “Right now, the reality is the votes aren’t there.” --OBAMA GIVES INTERVIEWS at the White House tomorrow to five network evening-news Continue Reading

TRUMP’S Wednesday meetings: Kelly, Coats, McMahon and Perdue — Trump to Indiana to celebrate Carrier victory — PELOSI’s embattled leadership bid — B’DAY: Larry Summers

Driving the Day Listen to Playbook in 90 Seconds ... Subscribe on iTunes TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY MEETINGS -- Linda McMahon, the founder of WWE wrestling, and a two-time Senate candidate in Connecticut; Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia; Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican retiring from the Senate; Gen. John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general who was the head of United States Southern Command and is now a candidate for secretary of state.Story Continued Below Good Wednesday morning. All the jokes about the Mitt Romney/Donald Trump dinner have been cracked. Two extremely wealthy men sat down at Jean-Georges, three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan that happens to be housed in the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle. They ate frog legs while they discussed the future of the republic. We’re not that funny -- we have no new jokes or quips to add. It is notable that Romney said of Trump: “It’s not easy winning. I know that myself. He did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in.” It’s not an apology, like some have said Romney owes Trump, but it seems like Romney has said what he needs to say to get State -- or else he’s been thoroughly humiliated. 2-min. video of Mitt speaking to the pool after his dinner -- MAGGIE HABERMAN, JULIE DAVIS and BINYAMIN APPELBAUM -- “Steven Mnuchin Is Donald Trump’s Expected Choice for Treasury Secretary”: “Mr. Mnuchin, 53, was the national finance chairman for Mr. Trump’s campaign, and his selection would elevate a wealthy loyalist to a pivotal economic post. He began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner, before creating his own hedge fund, moving to the West Coast and entering the first rank of movie financiers by bankrolling hits like the ‘X-Men’ franchise and ‘Avatar.’ ... He would be the third Goldman Sachs alumnus to Continue Reading

TRUMP doubles down on travel ban – WHO’S ANCHORING COMEY — TRUMP UNHAPPY with Sessions — LINDA McMAHON on the hiring ‘bottleneck’ — TRUMP ORG’s new budget hotel chain – MSNBC’s PRIMETIME SURGE to No. 1

Driving the Day Listen to the Playbook Audio Briefing ... Subscribe on iTunes ... Visit the online home of Playbook Good Tuesday morning. Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. Story Continued Below IN CASE YOU DIDN’T GET THE POINT MONDAY MORNING, another statement from President Donald Trump on Twitter at 9:20 p.m. last night: “That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!” JEN HABERKORN and BURGESS EVERETT scoop that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to vote on replacing Obamacare by the July 4 recess. We even hear that Senate Republicans are starting to send pieces of what might end up in their plan to the Congressional Budget Office. SURE, A VOTE CAN HAPPEN, but listen to the quotes Burgess and Jen got from Republican senators, and tell us if you hear confidence or skepticism that a bill will pass: SEN ROY BLUNT (R-MO.): “I don’t think this gets better over time. So my personal view is we’ve got until now and the Fourth of July to decide if the votes are there or not. And I hope they are.” SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-MAINE): “Just listening to the debate over the past few weeks, I think cobbling together a bill that could get 50 votes is going to be a challenge, but you never know.” A PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE NEGOTIATIONS: “[McConnell] wants to be done with this one way or the other.” Read Jen and Burgess’s great story FYI -- There are, at most, 19 legislative days between now and the July 4 recess. **SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: IMPORTANT READ -- SEUNG MIN KIM -- “How Trump is stalling his own nominees”: “Trump tapped Kevin McAleenan on March 30 to lead Customs and Border Protection, a critical position for his drive to revamp U.S. Continue Reading

Toledoans reflect on Trump’s first year

Share Tweet Share Email Comments Print Donald Trump has been President for one year, and what a year it has been. Supporters point to tax cuts, a new conservative Supreme Court justice, and an administration quietly deregulating businesses as positive steps needed to undo mistakes from former President Barack Obama’s eight years in office. Others are shocked by President Trump’s public statements and rhetoric, and maintain the anger that fueled protests that overwhelmed Washington the day after his election. What sort of direct impact has Mr.Trump’s administration had in northwest Ohio? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask. One municipal race in the November, 2017, election — a Perrysburg City Council contest — underscores that fact. Ashley McMahon, 28, expected she would get involved in local politics eventually, but Mr. Trump’s election prompted her to travel to Chicago for a regional women’s march one day after Mr. Trump’s inauguration. After that experience, she connected with local Democratic groups that inspired her to run for the remaining two years on an unexpired Perrysburg city council term. The ballot was officially nonpartisan, but she was open about her affiliation with the Democratic Party in a city that decisively voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.  She lost to Haraz Ghanbari, 36, garnering 40.6 percent of the vote compared to his 59.4 percent. Mr. Ghanbari, a registered Republican who appeared at multiple Trump campaign stops in the Toledo area, is a Naval Reservist who has been outspoken on veterans’ issues nationally.  “President Trump has signed into law 10 significant pieces of veterans’ legislation during his first year, which is a testament of the great bipartisan support in Congress to work with President Trump on the veteran initiatives he outlined during his campaign,” Mr. Ghanbari said in a Continue Reading

Reader sound off on Trump values, Chris Rock and ‘The Argyle Sweater’

Make America industrious again Bronx: I like Bernie Sanders. He has this childlike optimism about people. As much as I like him, he is naive. Everything will not come up roses. Donald Trump is worse than a schoolyard bully. He has lived a life of privilege and perhaps he considers a million-dollar loan from his father as small. He is not used to hearing the word “no.” The United States government is composed of three branches: executive (President), judicial (Supreme Court) and legislative (Congress). In his business life, his word is law. Trump, as President, will have temper tantrums when his word is not law. We will have to deal with a modern-day Hitler or Stalin. This is not the American way. Trump is playing on people’s fear of losing jobs to foreigners. Americans need to get up off their laurels and put value on education and hard work. Our children learn how to play the system and brutally take what they want from people who have worked for what they have. We need a candidate who will put education and values first and foremost. Anna Maria McCrory Why we need Trump Bronx: Donald Trump may be obnoxious, but he is saying what everyone is thinking or talking about among friends and family. It’s about time we come together as a a nation and let the so-called representatives of our country know that we have had enough of immigration, political correctness, racial tension, economic problems, young men and woman serving our country and losing their lives, cops disrespected, criminals being coddled, schools that are failing, the English language replaced by a thousand other tongues and mistakes created by selfish, greedy leaders. Enough is enough. Lucille Martinez Migrate? Great! Montclair, N.J.: You mean if Donald Trump is elected President, thousands of liberals would leave the United States (“My country ’tis of flee!” March 2)? Wow, that’s the best reason yet to vote for Donald Trump. Continue Reading

I’m party of one, says lone New York GOP rep-elect Michael Grimm

Newly elected New York House member Michael Grimm has a message for the White House: I'm no party's man. Grimm, a Republican who bested freshman incumbent Rep. Michael McMahon (D-S.I.) in last week's election, said his priority is creating jobs, not pushing out President Obama. "I don't want our next two years to be a time where we just butt heads and get nothing done. It's no longer about Democrats or Republicans," said the former FBI agent. That already puts him at odds with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said the goal is to get rid of Obama. Grimm, 40, is used to being a renegade. He ran with little local party backing, and goes to the just-won Republican Congress as the only GOPer in the city's delegation. "Above all, I'm an American. I'm not there to toe a party line. ... There are Democrats, Conservatives, Republicans and independents in my district, and I have to represent all of them," he said. He has already clashed with Mayor Bloomberg over the issue of building a mosque at Ground Zero and extending term limits - Grimm opposes both moves. "I expect to have a good working relationship with Mayor Bloomberg," said Grimm, noting that Hizzoner called him the day after he snagged the House seat. He already shares a strong bond with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, whom he did a clearance check on as a young agent when Kelly was up for a federal drug czar spot. Kelly, he said, later tried to hire him for an NYPD counterterrorism post. Grimm gave up the prestigious FBI gig in 2006 because, he said, "I always thought there was life after the bureau for me. I set a goal of 10 years. I served 11. I wanted to leave when I was on top." He vows not to stay in Congress "forever" - but gives no deadline. The right-leaning district is one of 61 seats that Republicans picked up on Election Day to gain control of the House. Republicans held the seat from 1981 until Rep. Vito Fossella resigned two years ago Continue Reading

Supermodel Carol Alt sues Rangers great Ron Greschner

Former Ranger Ron Greschner says his supermodel ex-wife, Carol Alt, is using a civil suit to get at his financial papers and leak the info to associates.In court papers filed Friday, Greschner says he has moved on since their 2001 divorce, but Alt hasn't. "I have since remarried and have five children, and I believe that she continues to harbor resentment towards me and the desire to have information about me," Greschner wrote to Manhattan Federal Judge Colleen McMahon. "I am very concerned that if Ms. Alt is privy to any information about my financial status or dealings she will publicize it to these so-called acquaintances." Alt sued Greschner last year, claiming she is owed a share of $18 million from the 1999 liquidation of stock. He has agreed to turn over some tax returns but is asking McMahon to shoot down Alt's request for financial information from the past eight years. "As a former professional hockey player, I do have the opportunity to participate in events and do public relations activities," he wrote. "Gossip can never be helpful to that effort." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Like Roach Motel, once in the gang, you can’t crawl out

Kevin McMahon never had a chance. Both his parents were junkies. McMahon was born addicted to heroin, he said Tuesday in Brooklyn Federal Court. Then, when he was 6, Mommy and her boyfriend killed Daddy. Mommy went away. Grandma took little Kevin in for a few years, but she couldn't handle him in their rough East New York neighborhood, so when, he said, he was 12 or 13, she threw him out into it. He slept in alleys and yards, and one day, he found a cabana and went inside. He was discovered by the owner. The good news: The owner and his wife took Kevin into their home, and over time, they essentially adopted him. The bad news: The owner was top John Gotti hit man John Carneglia. And he took Kevin right under his gun-bearing wing. A teenager. Perfect chum. Just the age when kids with not enough love or luck are feeling the most vulnerable. And McMahon isn't the only one the Mafia grabbed at this impressionable age. Peter Zucarro, who also testified at the ongoing trial of mob hit man Charles Carneglia, John's younger brother, said that he was about 13 when neighborhood mobsters started giving him money for doing errands, sucking him in. "I wanted to be just like them," Zucarro said. One problem: The mob is like a Roach Motel. You crawl in, but you can't crawl out. Both Zucarro and McMahon and other informants have referred to themselves as "property." The capos owned them. In this democracy, they volunteered to live in a military dictatorship. They obeyed any order. Anything to feel like they belonged. It's like the story of the child soldiers in Africa, kidnapped and then rewarded for killing. In his great book "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier," Ishmael Beah tells of a contest the grownups would hold between the kids "for who could slice the prisoners' throats quickest. ...A lot of things were done with no reason or explanation. Sometimes we were asked to leave in the middle of a movie. We would come back hours later after killing many Continue Reading