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August 30, 2014


McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal

"Jesse Benton resigned as Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign manager following reports that he had emerged as a figure in an endorsement scandal during the 2012 Iowa presidential caucus," the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

"In an emailed statement Friday evening, Benton denied any involvement in the scandal, in which Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson admitted receiving payments from U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's campaign before switching his endorsement to the congressman. He had previously backed U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann."




Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration

President Obama "is considering a delay of his most controversial proposals to revamp immigration laws through executive action until after the midterm elections in November, mindful of the electoral peril for Democratic Senate candidates," the New York Times reports.

"The president vowed in late June to act unilaterally, declaring a deep frustration with what he termed Republican obstruction in Congress... But now Mr. Obama and his aides appear to be stepping back from a firm commitment to that timing, a move that could draw fire from immigration advocacy groups who are expecting decisive action soon."





Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law

"A federal judge invalidated a major Texas abortion regulation that would have shut down 19 licensed clinics next week, ruling that it created 'a brutally effective system' designed to close abortion facilities, not to improve women's health as state lawyers had argued," the Austin American Statesman reports.




Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Arkansas finds Sen. Mark Pryor (D) barely ahead of challenger Tom Cotton (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 43%.





August 29, 2014


Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge

A Mississippi judge has tossed out Chris McDaniel's (R) challenge to that state's June 24 GOP primary runoff results, ending another chapter in one of the most bitterly contested U.S. Senate primaries in recent memory, CNN reports.

Jackson Clarion Ledger: "McDaniel is taking the long holiday weekend to mull whether he'll accept defeat from the June 24 GOP U.S. Senate primary, or continue his appeal to the state's high court."




America's First Real Post-Cold War President

Stuart Stevens: "Every President has to deal with a chaotic world that often seems focused on wrecking havoc on America's self-interest. Presidents fail at foreign policy objectives more frequently than they succeed. Yet rarely have we seen a President so openly struggle with a declaration of American purpose and goals. Some of this is undoubtedly due to President Obama's personality and the reluctance he shows in leading on many issues, foreign and domestic. But for the first time since JFK, we have a President who is not a product of the Cold War era--and the ramifications of that are profound."




Peters Keeps Lead in Michigan Senate Race

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 45% to 39%.




Obama Hints He'll Delay Action in Immigration

President Obama "is suggesting that he will defer his self-imposed deadline for announcing an expected change in immigration policy, as the White House wrestles with the political and legal dilemmas involved in making significant alterations without congressional approval," the Los Angeles Times reports.

This would "bow to the concerns of Democratic lawmakers running in Republican-leaning states who have expressed opposition to Obama's plans to act unilaterally on the hot-button issue."

Greg Sargent: "The case goes like this: In the core red states that will decide Senate control, there are very few genuinely persuadable voters left. Base turnout will be decisive. Any action by Obama risks further inflaming the GOP base at a time when the fading of Obamacare as a major issue, and the lack of 2010′s seismic levels of rage, could mean core GOP voters aren't quite as engaged as during the 2010 shellacking."




Baker Catches Coakley in New Poll

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Charlie Baker (R) has edged ahead of Martha Coakley (D) in the race for governor, 38% to 37%.




Is Rick Perry Really Ready for 2016?

Dan Balz: "He has waded into national issues. He has taken on President Obama over border security. He has spoken critically of the administration on foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation. He has appeared on Sunday talk shows and given numerous interviews. Along the way, he has scooped up favorable coverage from a once-scornful media."

"Oh, yes. He also was indicted by a grand jury in Austin -- two felony counts of abuse of power."

The Des Moines Register reports Perry is headed to Iowa next week.




Cruz Builds Out Team for 2016

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "is expanding his political operation, a move sure to stoke speculation that the Texas Republican plans to run for president in 2016," the Washington Examiner reports.

"In recent weeks, the Cruz team signed contracts with three Republican consultants with national experience and ties to some of the early presidential primary states."




GOP Doesn't Need a Wave to Win

Amy Walter: "Despite dismal numbers for President Obama, a public deeply pessimistic about the direction of the country, and a Senate battleground based almost solely in red states, Republicans aren't running up the score in Senate races, even in deep red states. Many are asking: why hasn't the bottom dropped out on Democrats yet? The answer is: it already did."




Why Obama's Gaffe Stings

Chris Cillizza: "As with all gaffes, the worst ones are the ones that confirm people's pre-existing suspicions or fit into an easy narrative. That's why '47 percent' stung Mitt Romney so much, and its why 'don't have a strategy' hurts Obama today."

Washington Examiner: "There are gaffes -- and then there are gaffes... Rather than the average inartful comment that disappears after a few news cycles, the no-strategy line could help cement charges that Obama lacks the competency to handle multiple crises at once."




Deal Assumes Hispanic Student is Illegal Immigrant

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has come under fire after making a statement that a Hispanic student attending a forum was an illegal immigrant, WGCL-TV reports.

Said Deal: "There's a fundamental problem that can only be resolved at the Congressional level and that is to deal with the issue of children, and I presume you probably fit the category, children who were brought here."

The student responded: "I'm not an illegal immigrant. I'm not. I don't know why you would have thought that I was undocumented. Was it because I look Hispanic?"




Romney In Demand by GOP Candidates

"Mitt Romney, widely criticized by Republicans for losing a presidential race that many thought to be winnable, is suddenly one of his party's most sought-after campaigners," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"He has lent a hand to GOP Senate candidates in Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire in a travel schedule that has included three-dozen fundraising events and rallies in the past year."

The Week: The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney




What Book Should Obama Read?

Rick Perlstein: "The Book of Job, maybe. It's the best story I know at driving home the fact that the world just isn't always a reasonable place. Not grasping that, I think, is Barack Obama's tragic flaw: He still seems to stubbornly believe that if he just explains clearly and calmly enough to his friends across the aisle why his ideas will bring the greatest good to the greatest number, there'll finally be no more Red America and no more Blue America. But my 18 years studying conservatism has convinced me the right just doesn't work that way -- they're fighting for civilization stakes, and he's a liberal, so, Q.E.D., he's the enemy. His longing to compromise with them just ends up driving the political center in America further to the right."




Capitol Hill Buzzes with Predictions of Government Shutdown

Byron York: "A few weeks ago Washington was buzzing with predictions that Republicans will impeach President Obama. Now, Washington is buzzing with predictions that Republicans will shut down the government."

"Both have come mostly from Democrats facing long odds in November's midterms, hoping the GOP might do something suicidal before voters go to the polls. For them, sheer ecstasy would be Republicans shutting down the government while keeping House offices open to draft articles of impeachment. The only problem is, well-connected Republicans insist it's not going to happen."




Landrieu Claims Parents' Home as Her Voting Address

"In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill," the Washington Post reports.

"Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu's federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records."




Democrats See Benghazi Inquiry Stretching Into 2016

"A House Republican-led investigation of the 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, will extend well into next year, and possibly beyond, raising concerns among Democrats that Republicans are trying to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects," the New York Times reports.

Wall Street Journal: Is the stage set for a 2016 campaign about foreign policy?




Lawyers Present Closing Arguments in McDonnell Trial

"After weeks of sometimes deeply personal testimony, tedious and tawdry exhibits and scores of witnesses, jurors in the corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, today will hear closing arguments," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.




O'Malley Offers Staff to South Carolina Democrats

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), "a 2016 White House aspirant trying to win backing in the first Southern presidential primary state, is sending four aides from his political-action group to help the S.C. Democratic party with the November election," the Columbia State reports.

"No other major Democratic candidate has offered staffing help to the state party."




August 28, 2014


White House Now Insists Obama Has a Strategy for ISIS

The White House is pushing back after President Obama's stated his administration currently doesn't have "a strategy" for dealing with ISIS, Business Insider reports.

"White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest subsequently insisted that Obama specifically articulated a 'comprehensive strategy' for dealing with the Islamic State during the briefing... Overall, Earnest said the word 'strategy' at least 24 times during his CNN interview."




Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet."

-- President Obama, quoted by CNN, on how the United States will deal with the ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria.




Pence Will Visit Iowa

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) will soon visit Iowa to support the re-election campaign of the state's governor, the Washington Post reports.

"Pence's trip, set for Sept. 8, is the latest sign that he is considering a 2016 presidential bid."




Forecast Shows Democrats Outperforming Expectations

Sam Wang has updated his Senate forecast which shows Democrats with a 70% probability of retaining control of the upper chamber.

One reason his forecast is more favorable to Democrats than others is that he's relying more on actual polls than so-called "fundamentals."

"This year's Senate race is harder than any electoral forecast that the other forecasters have ever had to make. To be frank, 2008 and 2012 were easy. My own experience is guided by 2004 Presidential race, which was as close as this year's Senate campaign. In 2004, I formed the view that the correct approach is to use polls only, if at all possible."




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