By Tracey Webb Follow @WebbWriterguru
Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, March 5, 2014.
1. The Ukraine crisis. Diplomacy was at the forefront in an effort to end the standoff between Russia and Ukraine and Western allied countries. Secretary of State John Kerry held face-to-face talks in Paris with foreign ministers of Ukraine and several European nations, as well as Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Kerry said while Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty won't go unanswered, "It is important to try and resolve this issue through dialogue... I don't believe any of us are served by greater confrontation." Still, the situation remains tense. The U.S. and its European allies haven't ruled out imposing tough sanctions against Russia, and Russia is threatening to confiscate Western assets if that occurs.
2. Obama's foreign policy. The Senate's top Republican says Ukraine is just latest example of what he suggested was President Obama's failed foreign policy. "Can you think of any place in the world, any place where we are better off now than we were when he came to office? I am hard pressed to think of any single place in the world where we are better off," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
3. Lone Star politics. Texas kicked off the 2014 election season with its primary contests, many of which turned out as expected. The Senate's number two Republican, John Cornyn, coasted victory over several challengers getting 62% of the vote. In the governor's race Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis easily won their primaries. But the oldest member of Congress, 90-year-old Republican Rep. Ralph Hall, is headed for a runoff. He could only manage 46% of the vote against five challengers. His runoff opponent is former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who made Halls age an issue in the race. Meanwhile a Bush is also back in Texas spotlight. George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, won the Republican primary in the race for the prestigious office of Texas Land Commissioner.
4. Thumbs up for same-sex marriage. The number of Americans who support same-sex marriage is at a record high. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 59% of those surveyed favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally wed, while 34% oppose such unions. The poll follows federal judges striking down same-sex marriage bans in Texas and Kentucky. The survey also found seven in 10 Democrats and just over six in 10 independents supporting same-sex marriages, while a majority of Republicans oppose them by a 54% to 40% margin.