National: Democrats adopt 2016 presidential primary calendar | Associated Press

Leaders of the Democratic Party adopted their 2016 presidential nominating calendar on Saturday, setting the stage for a successor to President Barack Obama. The Democratic National Committee, or DNC, approved rules for its 2016 convention along with a primary schedule that will begin with the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, 2016, followed by voting later that month in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The 2016 framework is in line with plans pushed by Republicans and gives states incentives to hold their primary contests between March and June, aiming to avoid a front-loaded calendar that encroaches on the Christmas holidays. Pointing to the 2016 national meeting, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz predicted it will be the convention where “we will nominate the 45th president of the United States of America.” The plans were approved unanimously without any discussion.

Kentucky: Senate passes bill to let Rand Paul run for re-election and president in 2016 |

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make clear U.S. Sen. Rand Paul may run for two federal offices at once. Household political names like Lyndon Johnson, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were bandied about during a brief debate, the heart of which is whether Paul can run for president and for re-election to his Senate seat on the same Kentucky ballot in 2016. Kentucky’s junior senator has said he is considering a run for the White House, but that he will definitely run for his Senate seat the same year, putting him at odds with a state law banning the same candidate from appearing on a ballot twice.

Kentucky: Bill benefiting Rand Paul passes Senate committee | Associated Press

Republican Senate leaders in Kentucky cheered a bipartisan vote Wednesday that advanced a bill to let Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul run for president without automatically giving up his Senate seat – but Democratic leaders in the House warned it was not a sign the bill has enough support to become law. Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, joined seven Republicans in voting to send the bill to the Senate floor. McGarvey told reporters he thinks Paul can run for two offices at once just like former Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman did in 2000 when he was Al Gore’s running mate. But Greg Stumbo, leader of the Democratic-controlled House, repeated his comments from last week that “a man that can’t make up his mind which office he wants to run for ain’t fit to hold either one.” Asked if that were true of Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat who ran for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat while Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008, Stumbo said: “That’s exactly right. Quote me on that.”

National: Joe Biden sees lingering “hatred” in voter ID laws | CBS

During an event honoring African-American History Month Tuesday evening, Vice President Joe Biden pressed Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act and said that voter ID laws offered in some southern states are evidence of lingering racism. He specifically pointed to voting legislation in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas as examples of what’s going wrong on the state level. “These guys never go away. Hatred never, never goes away,” Biden said of the laws in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas, the latter two of which are facing lawsuits by the Justice Department to block their laws that would require showing identification before voting. “The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

National: Joe Biden: Voting rights fight continues |

On the 85th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth, Vice President Joe Biden said he never imagined the country would once again be fighting over the Voting Rights Act. “I never thought we’d be fighting the fight again on voting rights, I really didn’t,” Biden said Monday to the annual King Day breakfast at the National Action Network. The vice president marked the civil rights leader’s birthday with a renewed call to action for the cause he said got him into public office in the first place.

District of Columbia: Biden calls for DC voting rights during tribute | Businessweek

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday used a tribute to 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass to renew the call for equal voting rights for people who live in the nation’s capital. During a ceremony unveiling a statue of Douglass in the Capitol, Biden hailed Douglass’ work advocating equal justice, and noted that Douglass supported complete voting rights for residents of the District of Columbia, where Douglass once lived. Although each of the 50 states was allowed two statues of notable citizens in the Capitol, the District of Columbia was not allowed any statue until a measure passed by Congress last year. Residents chose to honor Douglass, whose home near the Anacostia River is a national historic site. Biden said he and President Barack Obama back Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, in her effort to bring statehood and full voting rights to the city.

National: Joe Biden: ‘Immoral’ to restrict voting | Politico

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday bashed voting rights requirements – calling them “immoral, callous” – and warned of political consequences for those who try to impose barriers to casting a ballot. “To me it is the most immoral, callous thing that can be done, the idea of making it more difficult to vote,” Biden said at the annual gala dinner of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a minority-focused public policy organization. The vice president pointed to data indicating that in 2011 and 2012 at least 180 bills in 41 states were introduced that aimed to stiffen requirements for voting — voter identification measures, for example.

National: Biden critical of challenges to Voting Rights Act | USAToday

Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd gathered for the annual commemoration of Bloody Sunday in 1965 that Americans “can’t let their guard down” against attempts to restrict access to voting. Speaking before the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch on Sunday morning, Biden said states had passed 180 laws restricting voting, “some more pernicious than others.” “Here we are, 48 years after all you did, and we’re still fighting?” Biden asked a capacity crowd at Wallace State Community College in Selma. “In 2011, 12 and 13? We’re able to beat back most of those attempts in election of 2012, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.” Biden, who brought his daughter and sister with him, joined several speakers at the rally who were critical of voter ID attempts and a lawsuit brought by Shelby County, Ala., to overturn Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law whose passage was inspired by the events in Selma. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case last week. The vice president joked that he got the “credit or blame” when he was a senator for convincing Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., the presidential candidate of the States’ Rights Democrats in 1948, to vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.