TUESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* President Obama has an interesting proposal for Russia to consider, trading curtailed missile defense for help with Iran.

* The Obama administration is beginning to engage Syria directly. Good.

* February was another very poor month for auto manufacturers.

* President Obama sees some value in buying stocks now, with their prices so low.

* Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) had surgery today to remove part of his left lung. Fortunately, the senator appears to be cancer free.

* Obama continues to correct Bush’s mistakes: “President Obama today asked federal agencies to consult with wildlife biologists over decisions that may affect threatened or endangered species.”

* Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) defended Rush Limbaugh from criticism levied by his own party chairman. Natch.

* On a related note, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seemed to take some pleasure in needling RNC Chairman Michael Steele today. Gibbs also had some fun at CNBC’s Jim Cramer’s expense.

* There’s reason for some skepticism when it comes to the new healthcare poll from Rasmussen.

* House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) doesn’t want the White House messing with congressional earmarks.

* John Berry, the new Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, is apparently the highest-ranking openly gay official in American history.

* Would the White House pursue healthcare reform and energy legislation under budget rules to prevent GOP obstructionism? The idea is on the table.

* Nice line from Ezra responding to David Brooks’ call for Obama to tackle problems slowly, one at a time: “If a patient has cancer and heart disease, her doctor doesn’t have the luxury of treating only one or the other. Whether history is ‘calling’ anyone is immaterial. ”

* Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) reminds Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) about the name of the majority party.

* SEIU has a clever new web video about the conservative apoplexy over the Employee Free Choice Act.

* And finally, Jon Chait has a very sharp idea for taking advantage of rich people’s ignorance of tax-law basics: tax them at the rate they think they’re already paying. “This is one of the great scamming opportunities of all time, with the side bonus that the targets richly deserve their fate.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.