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July 29, 2014


Still Very Close in Kentucky

A new Survey USA poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) just ahead of challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%.




U.S. Says Russia Violated Arms Treaty

"The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday," the New York Times reports.

"It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia and adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin's support for separatists in Ukraine and its decision to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor."





Carter Has Edge in Georgia

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds Jason Carter (D) just ahead of Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.




July 28, 2014


The McDonnell Trial Activity Book

With former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) and his wife Maureen about to go on trial, here are some games and puzzles to guide your through the courtroom drama.

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Bonus Quote of the Day

"I've been approached by various people to get involved. I'm keeping an open mind about running for office in the future."

-- Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, in an interview with Real Clear Politics.




Campaigns May Soon Be Run Entirely By Super PACs

Phillip Bump: "We're obviously a few miles down the road from the days when candidates for elected office stood on wooden platforms. But we are perhaps further than you might think. In fact, there is nothing in federal law that would prevent a super PAC or group of PACs from picking out a candidate and taking care of his or her entire campaign. And we're starting to get a glimpse of what such a campaign might look like..."

"So if you're a candidate, what is the absolute minimum that you need in order to run for office, the thing that only you can provide? The answer is this: The candidate. And in a world where that candidate is restricted in fundraising and spending but those PACs aren't, why not let the PACs handle the TV ads and radio and the online marketing and the field and all of that? For years, candidates have been happy to have outside groups run negative ads against opponents. Why not let them do more? The candidate is just himself, and the PACs do everything else."




Appeals Court Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Bans

"A federal appeals court panel today struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

"Today's decision is significant because it also renders unconstitutional similar marriage bans in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia - states that are part of the 4th Circuit. Same-sex marriage is already legal in Maryland, which is also in the circuit."




No Signs of a GOP Wave Forming

Nate Cohn: "Unfortunately, generic ballot polling has been sparse so far this cycle. Last week, however, there were three national polls, by Fox News, CNN and Pew Research, asking the generic ballot question. None showed an anti-Democrat wave, like the one that brought Republicans back to power in 2010. In fact, none of the three polls showed Republicans with a lead among registered voters at all."




Leaked Document Sheds Light on Nunn Campaign

National Review obtained a fascinating document from Michelle Nunn's (D) U.S. Senate campaign which highlights what her strategists consider her major weaknesses.

"Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn's accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to 'terrorists' and 'inmates' during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light's accounting system was 'not adequate to account for federal funds.'"

"The Nunn campaign plan also contains details about messaging, fundraising, staffing, organization, and scheduling that are usually closely held."

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Obama Raising Money With Little Transparency

For years, President Obama "railed against the surge of unlimited spending flowing into American political campaigns, arguing that average voters were being shut out of a secretive system that lets special interests bankroll elections," the AP reports.

"Now, as Obama enthusiastically raises money for Democratic super PACs, he's embracing some of the same secretive elements of that system, drawing charges of hypocrisy from good-governance advocates who say the public deserves to know what Obama's saying and to whom he's saying it when donors pay for a few minutes with the president."




Jindal Still Hasn't Endorsed at Home

The Huffington Post reports that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) "has been putting his mark on Senate races around the country, expanding his sphere of influence should he decide to run for president in 2016. So far, he's endorsed GOP Senate candidates in Arkansas, Iowa and North Carolina. But in one tight Senate contest, Jindal is noticeably absent: In his home state, he hasn't yet endorsed a Republican challenger to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)."




Peters Expands Lead in Michigan

A new Mitchell Research poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 43% to 38%.

The same poll showed Peters leading by 3 points in June. The poll had Peters trailing Land by 6 points in April.




GOP Closer to Taking Senate Control

Cook Political Report: "Just how close are Republicans to picking up the six seats they need to win the majority? The short answer is pretty close. Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats hold very different perspectives on the state of play in the most competitive races, and where the overall battle for the majority stands today."

Also interesting: "One great frustration we have this cycle is polling. Yes, polling has been problem in the last three cycles, but it seems to be getting worse, not better this cycle."




Quote of the Day

"People are so fed up with the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington. Congress is unfortunately unable to even agree on the most obvious kinds of things. I think Darth Vader looks pretty good to a lot of people."

-- Hillary Clinton, in an interview on CNN, on polls showing voters prefer Darth Vader for president over her and other potential candidates.




Tea Party Allies Defend Amash

"No House Republican enrages the business-friendly wing of the GOP more than Justin Amash. But members and operatives who hoped to end his political career are running out of time and moxie before Michigan's Aug. 5 primary," Roll Call reports.

"So far, many of Amash's cash-flush critics have passed on investing substantial resources in his GOP rival, Brian Ellis (R). At the same time, Amash allies such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have tangibly backed the libertarian sophomore's re-election in the 3rd District."




Strategist to the GOP Insurgents

"The highest-profile Republican insurgents of 2014 have had a few things in common: They've all run against longtime incumbents whom they accused of going native in D.C. They've all relied on super PACs to buoy their campaigns. And in three of the biggest primaries of the year, hard-right candidates have hired the same general consulting firm: Cold Spark Media, a small, Pittsburgh-based company led by former advisers to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey," Politico reports.




Democrats Hold Edge in Generic Ballot

A new CNN/ORC International poll finds Democrats lead Republicans in the generic congressional ballot, 48% to 44%.




Why Democrats Are Encouraging Impeachment Talk

John Avlon: "Beyond the hysterics that fundraising emails use to scare donors into opening their wallets, the whole incident provides an example of the feedback loop of modern politics - one side's extremes quickly becomes a fundraising call to arms for the other. Nobody wins but the professional partisans get to pocket cash by fanning the flames."

"Democrats are trying to call Republicans' bluff - there's nothing they'd love more than an election-eve example of the Stockholm syndrome that seems to afflict the GOP leadership. Last time, Ted Cruz & Co convinced their party to shutdown the government without a plan past freefall and it all ended predictably. Democrats want to be thrown in that brier patch - it might be their best chance to win the midterms."




Rand Paul Staffs Up for 2016

In the latest sign Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "is ramping up for a presidential bid, his leadership PAC has hired Republican consultant John Yob as national political director and chief strategist of its Michigan operation," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Mr. Yob served as national political director for John McCain during the 2008 primary season and ran state and national convention delegate operations for Rick Santorum in 2012."




Hamas and North Korea in Secret Arms Deal

"Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel," the Daily Telegraph reports.

"Security officials say the deal between Hamas and North Korea is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is being handled by a Lebanese-based trading company with close ties to the militant Palestinian organization based in east Beirut."




Most Disagree with GOP Lawsuit Against Obama

A new CNN poll finds that a majority of Americans oppose impeaching President Obama by 65% to 33%, and also oppose House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit against the president by 57% to 41%.

In addition, a majority disagree by 52% to 45% that Obama gone too far in expanding executive power.




The Sarah Palin Channel

For just $9.95 per month: The Sarah Palin Channel.

In a video greeting, Palin promises her new venture will "cut through the soundbites" and "find solutions" for the "problems confronting America."

Said Palin: "Tired of media filters? Well, so am I. So, let's go rogue together and launch our own member-supported channel!"

See more...




GOP Prospects for Taking Senate Brighten

"With 100 days to go until the midterm election, unexpectedly strong bids by several Republican candidates and President Obama's continued sagging approval ratings are boosting GOP chances of capturing a Senate majority," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"A battery of recent polling shows Republican candidates mounting competitive bids for at least 10 Senate seats now held by Democrats, including in Iowa and Colorado, states that have been leaning Democratic in recent years. Many Republican candidates have narrowed their opponents' fundraising advantage, according to the latest campaign-finance reports. And a series of international crises has dealt the president some of the lowest approval marks of his second term, weighing on his party's candidates."

Roll Call: 6 reasons Senate Republicans should be optimistic -- and concerned about Election Day




Pension Battle Mars Christie Record

"What happens in New Jersey over the coming months could do more to determine Christie's chances of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination than anything he does on his closely watched early forays into Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina," the Washington Post reports.

"That is because the biggest prerequisite for a sitting governor to run for president is a success story in his home state. And months after being reelected in a landslide, Christie... does not have a rosy one to tell. New Jersey was shocked in April by an $807 million budget gap that Christie's administration did not foresee. The governor now says he will have to miss a couple of yearly installments against the state's unfunded pension liability -- payments that were part of a law he signed in 2011 and touted as one of his greatest achievements."




Outside Money Behind Record Number of Ads

"An explosion of spending on political advertising on television -- set to break $2 billion in congressional races, with overall spots up nearly 70 percent since the 2010 midterm election -- is accelerating the rise of moneyed interests and wresting control from the candidates' own efforts to reach voters," the New York Times reports.

"In the first full midterm cycle where outside groups have developed a sophisticated infrastructure, the consequences are already becoming apparent: a harshly negative tone dictated by the groups and a nearly nonstop campaign season that could cause voters to tune out before Election Day."




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