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“We must encourage principled, conservative men and women from every ZIP code and every background to join in the national debate because only our principles and policies will make our Republican Party, and more importantly our nation, stronger,” GOP strategist Mary Matalin advised the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee’s annual state leadership luncheon Wednesday in Atlanta.

“Republicans will not win future national elections unless more women and minorities run as Republicans at the state level and enter the pipeline of leadership,” she continued, noting that the committee itself has earmarked $6 million to recruit “200 new diverse candidates and 300 new women candidates” as the midterm and presidential elections approach.

She also reminded her audience that in the 2012 election, women favored President Obama by 10 percentage points over Mitt Romney, with a similar “gender gap” occurring in every presidential election since 1980.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Are we in a candidate debate, or are we in the ‘Twilight Zone’?”

— New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, to his four rival Democratic candidates for mayor; they were assembled for a live, one-hour debate on local cable channel NY1.

AL JAZEERA AMERICA, FIVE DAYS OUT

The new network goes live Tuesday, in a mere 120 hours, give or take a few minutes — before a potential audience of 71 million households worldwide. The network assumes the coveted broadcast landscape now occupied by Current TV, the progressive news network founded by Al Gore in 2005. Al Jazeera America has revealed the titles of its extensive daily prime-time lineup, beginning at 5 p.m.:

“Inside Story,” “Early Evening News,” “Real Money With Ali Velshi,” “The Stream,” “Nightly News With John Seigenthaler,” “America Tonight With Joie Chen,” “Consider This” and “Late Night News.”

The network initially will air 14 hours of daily live news and discussion gleaned from 12 U.S. bureaus and 70 international bureaus — deemed “extraordinary reporting resources” by network President Kate O’Brian.

REASSURANCE

“Protecting civil liberties and privacy in the conduct of our intelligence activities is not my job alone; it is the job of every intelligence professional. No one is perfect, of course, and it is important to examine carefully different alternatives that enable the intelligence community to fulfill its core mission of serving the American people, under the law, in a manner that protects both their security and their freedom. While there are undoubtedly ways to do this job differently, I hope no one doubts our commitment to get it right.”

— From an op-ed by Alexander W. Joel, the civil liberties protection officer for the office of the director of national intelligence, as written for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. The White House and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, incidentally, announced Monday that an independent panel would review National Security Agency surveillance protocols.

POLL DU JOUR

68 percent of Americans would continue to work if they won $10 million in a lottery.

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