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July 29, 2014

Visits to Iowa are a Show

Mark Leibovich: "It would be one thing if all of this early activity and attention in Iowa resulted in a smarter electorate, better candidates or a more authentic version of democracy. But in general, the quaint 'retail' settings of Iowa diners and New Hampshire living rooms are treated mostly as media sound stages, places where reporters report on how many other reporters showed up... As a result, these scenes have become backdrops for set pieces that blur into an anesthetizing noise: So-and-so has been to Iowa five times; some other so-and-so is 'thinking about' running for president; and here's yet another picture of yet another so-and-so looking a voter right in the eyes and telling him the truth about something or other, as the discerning voters here insist."

Top Democrat Says GOP Impeachment Talk Helping

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY) said the Republican lawsuit against and push for impeachment of President Obama is paying dividends for his party, according to The Hill.

Said Israel: "I think that the Republican strategy of lawsuits, approaching impeachment, is fundamentally misfiring."

He added: "Look, I understand their strategy is intended to gin up their base, but it's having the unintended consequence of moving our base in a midterm election and also moving persuadable voters, swing voters to us in a midterm election."

Most Wouldn't Want Obama Campaigning for Them

A new Fox News poll found that 57% of American voters would not want President Obama to campaign with them if they were running for office this year, while 41% said they would.

Can Democrats Flip Texas, Arizona and Georgia?

Sean Trende uses Nate Silver's demographic calculator to estimate how long it will take for Texas, Arizona and Georgia to become blue states given current population trends.

"I waited a long time. Arizona finally flips in 2036, and Georgia flips in 2048. Texas never does. Even if we double the rate of Hispanic and African-American population growth, Arizona doesn't flip until 2024, Georgia until 2028, and Texas until 2032. On the other hand, if we assume a marginal reversion to mean for Republicans among minorities -- 11 percent of the African-American vote and 32 percent of the Hispanic vote -- only Arizona flips, and then only in 2044."

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"How did I get here? Why am I the guy they shoved out on the end of the diving board, OK, stuck him in the butt with a knife?"

-- Parker Griffith (D), quoted by the Huntsville Times, on his decision to run for Alabama governor.

Fiorina Inches Back Into Politics

"Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, is diving back into electoral politics," according to U.S. News and World Report.

"For now, her work is focused on pushing back against Democrats' claim of a Republican-led 'war on women' in the 2014 midterms. But her recent moves in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire have convinced some she's eyeing a bigger prize come 2016."

A Major Unforced Error by Michelle Nunn

First Read looks at the leak of a strategy document from Michelle Nunn's (D) campaign and notes "the revelation isn't good for her consultants' business, that's for sure."

"More importantly, this is something Nunn can't afford. If she's going to win -- in this environment, in the red state of Georgia -- she's got to run a flawless campaign. Talk about a major unforced error. And the timing couldn't be worse for Nunn: This story comes out just after the GOP's nine-week runoff and with the start of the general election."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline: "Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate"

Are Republicans Repeating Mistakes of 1998?

Byron York: "That's what scares some Republican strategists. Back in 1998, there was an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the midterms about President Bill Clinton. The strategists who favored attacking the president won the day, but in the end their strategy didn't work out. Now, there is an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the 2014 midterms about President Barack Obama."

Democrats Keep Up Impeachment Chatter

Politico: "Something very strange is happening on Capitol Hill. Democrats can't talk enough about impeaching a president of their own party. And Republicans keep saying that there isn't a chance they'll give it a try."

"With just three days left until Congress recesses for the month of August, Democrats have successfully kept alive the idea that Speaker John Boehner is mulling impeaching President Obama -- an option the Ohio Republican insists he isn't pursuing."

Most Money Paid to Fundraisers

Fox Detroit has a report on campaign fundraising that includes this interesting nugget:

"Since 2010, the Conservative Strikeforce has raised nearly $10 million. More than $9 million of the loot was paid to the fundraisers. That means candidates got less than 8 percent of the money donors sent in."

Brownback Took Loan from Running Mate

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) "relied on a loan from his lieutenant governor to raise slightly more money this year than his Democratic challenger," the Kansas City Star reports.

"Brownback reported taking in $1.2 million for the reporting period ending July 24. That included a $500,000 loan from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon. Subtract the loan, and challenger Paul Davis (D) would have raised about $378,000 more than Brownback between Jan. 1 and July 24, records show."

Alexander Internal Poll Shows Him With Huge Lead

Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) internal polling shows him with a 30-percentage point lead over tea-party challenger Joe Carr in Tennessee's Republican Senate primary, 53% to 21%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Conversation with John Dean

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean joined us on the Political Wire podcast for a discussion about his fascinating new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.

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Kerry Under Fire from All Sides

"Anyone who has made even a passing glance at the Israeli media in the past few days will have noticed the incredible chorus of criticism being directed at John Kerry right now. The secretary of state has been lambasted by all sides for his apparent failure in attempts to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas," the Washington Post reports.

Daily Beast: "The resumption of violence was the latest example of just how disconnected Kerry's whirlwind diplomatic efforts have been from the combatants he's trying to get to stop fighting. The Israeli government has been particularly vocal in its criticism of Kerry's peacemaker attempts. But in the Palestinian camps, there has been public discontent, too."

Strip Club Endorses Pastor for Congress

"A Phoenix strip club has endorsed a Democratic pastor for Congress. And the candidate, Rev. Jarrett Maupin, says he welcomes the The Great Alaskan Bush Company's support," the Arizona Republic reports.

Said Maupin: "The Lord works in mysterious ways."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"We're not gonna impeach the president of the United States. There just aren't the votes there even if we believed that it was warranted."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview with KFYI.

Obama Mulls Massive Move on Immigration

"Even as they grapple with an immigration crisis at the border, White House officials are making plans to act before November's mid-term elections to grant work permits to potentially millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to stay in the United States without threat of deportation, according to advocates and lawmakers in touch with the administration," the AP reports.

"Such a large-scale move on immigration could scramble election-year politics and lead some conservative Republicans to push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, a prospect White House officials have openly discussed."

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%.

Quote of the Day

"Well, I think there will probably be many candidates. I mean, I'm somebody who believes anybody can run."

-- Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Fusion, on the 2016 presidential field.

Dead Heat in Connecticut

A new Anazlone Liszt Grove Research (D) poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) in a dead heat with challenger Tom Foley (R) in the race for governor, 46% to 46%.

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.

See more...

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."

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