A signal that Rubio is close to launching

The "Inside Politics" forecast
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Story highlights

  • A signal that Marco Rubio is close to jumping in
  • John Boehner trying to get the House back on track
  • Newt Gingrich on why Hillary Clinton won't be president

Washington (CNN) A huge Obama foreign policy decision, a big immigration question and interesting steps related to Hillary Clinton, John Boehner and Marco Rubio filled an informative Sunday loop around the 'Inside Politics' table.

1. A signature hire sends a signal from Team Rubio

There's nothing like a signature hire to quiet those who think you might blink and skip the fight.
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    At issue is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who remains a single-digit blip in Republican polls. So weak have his early poll showings been that many GOPers to this day say they would not be shocked if he decided not to move from exploratory candidate to official candidate.
    But a new hire sends a signal. Veteran South Carolina GOP strategist J. Warren Tompkins is signing on to run a pro-Rubio super PAC. That same PAC is in line for seed money from Florida billionaire Norman Braman.
    Tompkins is a protege of the late GOP Gov. Carroll Campbell and legendary South Carolina strategist Lee Atwater.
    His hiring is seen as a signal in GOP circles that Rubio is close to launching.

    2. Hillary Clinton has fond Gingrich memories, and vice versa. But, of course, there is a but ...

    For those of us who lived through the Clinton White House years, and especially the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it was interesting to say the least listening to Hillary Clinton a few days ago wax nostalgic about her relationship with Newt Gingrich.
    And the former House speaker shared similar fond memories in a conversation with Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast.
    But don't break into "Kumbaya" or order the marshmallows.
    "He said, if she becomes president, she'll be a hard worker; she'll be pretty practical," said Kucinich.
    "However, he doesn't think she's going to get there because of what's happening with the Clinton Global Foundation and because of the foreign money. He's testifying to the Homeland Security Committee next week and he says he's going to bring up the problem of foreign money in American politics. "

    3. Speaker Boehner looks to get the House on track -- and has an odd ally

    It's been a rough start for the Republican Congress and House Speaker John Boehner.
    But Boehner sees a chance to get two big-ticket items on their way to passage, and through those debates to get the House back on a more productive track.
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    Robert Costa of The Washington Post shared his reporting on the speaker's calculations -- including one health care bill where he struck up an alliance with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
    "There's two pieces of legislation to really keep an eye on that he wants to muscle through," said Costa.
    "One is the Republican budget: He wants to just get it through the House, get a compromise with the Senate. And the next is the Doc Fix bill, which is how Medicare reimbursements are done for doctors. Boehner wants to solve that long-term and it looks like he is going to have the votes to get it done."

    4. In Afghan meeting, a compromise aimed at securing an Obama legacy item

    President Obama meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani this week, and is open to slowing the withdrawal of U.S. forces. A big change, but with a bigger goal in mind.
    Julie Pace of The Associated Press shared inside reporting on the administration's willingness to leave up to 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the time being.
    "There's one big reason why the President is going to have some flexibility in the drawdown, and that's because he's very focused on one specific aspect of this plan, and that is pulling out all U.S. troops by the end of 2016," said Pace. "That would allow him to make the case at the end of his presidency that he had fulfilled his promise to end the war in Afghanistan."

    5. Watch the border: Will this spring bring calm or a replay of the 2014 influx?

    The always intense political debate over immigration policy heated up last spring during a dramatic surge in the number of young children illegally crossing into the United States.
    The surge undermined what was already a long shot chance of congressional consensus on immigration reform.
    NPR's Steve Inskeep reports that both policymakers and political strategists are watching to see if there is a similar seasonal surge this year.
    "Now we're getting back into the spring season, when it's a little bit easier to travel, and we'll see if the numbers go up again," said Inskeep. "If they do, of course, we're going to have another series of news stories about a really sensitive issue that's been very difficult for either party to solve."