Gov. Nikki Haley, in D.C. for annual Republican Governors Association meetings, attended a dinner at the White House last night, and tweeted a photo of herself and husband ahead of their “date night at the White House,” where Haley sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama. [Reuters]

As the Defense Department looks to cut armed forces levels to pre-WW II levels, The State reports that South Carolina’s military bases could lose out in the next round of base closures if federal military quality of life standards are not embraced by the state. [NYT, The State]

SLED says it has pulled 65 concealed weapons permits after additional funding provided by legislation last year empowered state investigators to conduct mental health background checks on CWP applicants and current permit holders. [AP]

Palmetto State football standouts hoping to make the jump to the big leagues are competing in the NFL Combine, where SB Nation calls it “The Clowney Show” after the USC defensive end ran a 4.47s 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest for a DE ever and which would have put him sixth among running backs. Here he is smoking Johnny Football. So, yeah. Clemson WR Sammy Watkins also impressed over the weekend. [SB Nation]

A1 in NYT today: “In the DeMint era at Heritage, a shift from policy to politics” [NYT]

Two-time DUI-cited state Rep. Ted Vick last seen with a pebble in his shoe (and before that, reportedly packing an illegal pistol on the way to the drunk tank), says he won’t run for re-election in November. The two DUI charges are still pending. [AP]

Democrats gathered in Columbia Thursday for an event to rally around a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. CNN’s Peter Hamby has his account and the CP’s own Corey Hutchins wrote about the event for Slate. The Post and Courier looks at S.C. Republicans’ quest for a candidate and S.C. Dems’ seemingly “Anyone named Hillary” campaign. [CNN, Slate, P&C]

Congressman Mick Mulvaney, by all accounts in a safe R district, got some ink in the NYT over the weekend over his all-Spanish speaking forum held last week with Latino constituents in the Upstate. [NYT]

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has cut the ribbon at a handful of South Carolina field offices recently, signaling the formal beginning of his primary and re-election campaign. [AP]

Maurice Bessinger, the Midlands barbecue baron and former president of the National Association for the Preservation of White People, has died at the age of 83. [The State]

College of Charleston product Brett Gardner, a 6-year Yankees outfielder promoted to the team’s starting lineup a few seasons back, has resigned with the team in a four-year, $50 million deal. [ESPN]