DAYBREAK DAILY: McDonnell already under attack -- in Iowa

ABC7 TRAFFIC: ‘Good Morning Washington’ has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly cloudy with highs in the low 50s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Coverage of the townhouse fire in Woodbridge; update on repairs to the Washington Monument; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: Could D.C.'s Cardinal Wuerl be the next pope? With the start of the papal conclave just days away, Cardinal Wuerl is in Rome - and there are reports that he could be a candidate for the next pope. Would you like to see Cardinal Wuerl elected? ABC7's Suzanne Kennedy reports:

NEVER TOO SOON: Actually, this is way too soon, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Less than two weeks after Virginia lawmakers approved a landmark, tax-fattened transportation deal, Gov. Bob McDonnell is the subject of an attack ad -- in Iowa. Nearly three years ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses, the Patriot Super PAC, a Fairfax-based group with tea party leanings, has taken out a tiny TV ad buy of less than $5,000 urging Iowans to beware.”

ABORTION SWIRL: Virginia is obsessed about it, or so it seems, per the Times-Dispatch, “The debate over abortion in Virginia played out at a Henrico County office building (Thursday), where the representatives of the Department of Health heard public comment on proposed regulations that would require the commonwealth's 20 existing clinics to comply with building standards for new hospitals. More than two dozen advocates were given two minutes each to voice support or criticism over the regulations, which, if approved during a Board of Health meeting next month, would make Virginia among the most restrictive states in the nation in terms of regulating abortion and abortion clinics.

“. . . Supporters of the regulations, including representatives of Christian conservative groups opposed to abortion in almost every circumstance, said they are necessary to protect the health of women who go to the clinics. . . Opponents, including civil rights groups, women's rights groups and clinic operators like Planned Parenthood, said the true intent of the new rules is to eliminate access to a woman's legal right to seek an abortion in Virginia by imposing medically unnecessary renovations to the clinics that are so costly that they will be forced to close.”

AN INDUSTRY OF ONE: And when it’s threatened, so is a way of life, per the Washington Post, “. . . This is the economic vulnerability exposed by the budget cuts brought on by sequestration. A decade of expanding federal largess has shielded the metro area from the worst effects of the financial crisis and the slow recovery. It also left the region, in investment terms, with a precariously unbalanced portfolio — heavily concentrated in a single stock, which is now falling. “This is our spending bubble,” said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. “It’s really distorted our economy.”

POPE RAMBO?: In a perfect world, anyway, per the New York Times, “No candidate for pope can have it all. But the cardinals who will elect the next pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church seem to be looking for someone who combines the charisma of Pope John Paul II with the grit of what one Vatican analyst called, only slightly tongue in cheek, “Pope Rambo I.”

POLITICO PLAY: “President Barack Obama tried to offer a simple assurance: he isn’t claiming the power to have drones kill an American not “engaged in combat” on U.S. soil. The statement, delivered Thursday in the form of a 43-word letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), seemed intended to provide the unequivocal declaration Paul and his supporters were demanding when he mounted a nearly 13-hour, old-fashioned filibuster on the Senate floor Wednesday.”

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY: Not everyone is dazzled, per ABC7 – WJLA, “The Verizon Center is well known for its sights and sounds. But those sights could soon be a huge problem for nearby neighbors. A new signage ordinance could have the outside of "the phone booth" burning bright through all hours of the night. Ever since the then-MCI, now-Verizon Center came to Chinatown, it's been a bustling place. Some call it the Times Square of D.C. But with growth comes conflict. The latest example is the Verizon Center owners' plan to install several giant new LED signs to show video advertisements.”

ON BLOCKS: No help for you, per City Paper, “District officials are currently investigating why no D.C. ambulances were available to transport a seriously injured police officer near the intersection of Benning Road SE and East Capitol Street to the hospital last Tuesday. One possible reason: the city's fire department has a lot of broken ambulances. The city is supposed to have 39 ambulances available to respond to calls at any given time. When an emergency dispatcher was looking for an ambulance to transport the wounded police officer Tuesday, four ambulances were out of service for mechanical reasons, according to fire union boss Ed Smith.”

ALREADY SWINGING: Preview of the brawl to come, per the Washington Examiner, “The Virginia governor's race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is already a flamethrowing match as the candidates aggressively attempt to define their opponent to voters. With the General Assembly session in the rearview mirror, Cuccinelli is more free to engage McAuliffe. He has used his time to paint the former Democratic National Committee chairman as a party rainmaker with weak ties to the state. McAuliffe, meanwhile, is just as quick to go on the attack against Cuccinelli for his controversial battles against abortion access and for dividing his own party by ripping Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation package.”

SEARCH SUSPENDED: Just the facts, per the Baltimore Sun, “The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday for two men missing in waters about 15 miles off the coast of Assateague Island after their fishing boat sank a day earlier. The broken-down fishing vessel was battling 20-foot waves and 50 mph wind gusts in the Atlantic Ocean when a wave knocked North Carolina fisherman Patrick Small off the deck. From the water, Small saw another wave strike the boat, shearing off the pilot house with two other men inside, he told rescuers.”

INSIDE BASEBALL: Of D.C. doings, per the Washington Times, “A small team of lawyers for the D.C. labor-relations office appeared in D.C. Superior Court this week to fend off allegations that the District government is conspiring to interfere in an intra-union dispute over the leadership of a 200-member bargaining unit for youth-corrections officers. District officials continue to insist they do not seek to meddle in the affairs of the Fraternal Order of Police/Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services Labor Committee.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps beat Panthers 7-1.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST: With a local flavor, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Once again, we have some Virginia musicians representing the commonwealth and hoping for their big moment in Texas: * Ki Theory, the electronic musician from Richmond who's had his work associated with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Tron" film franchises. * Daniel Bachman, a finger-picking guitarist from Fredricksburg who's had some love from the NPR crew. * The Last Bison, the folk-opera band from Chesapeake that released its major-label debut, "Inheritance," on Tuesday.”

NEWSTALK: 10 a.m., NewsChannel 8.

--Skip Wood

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