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August 01, 2014

How the Forecasts Have Changed

The Upshot has a nice chart showing how their daily election forecasts have changed over the last four months.

Organizers Hope for More Subdued Fancy Farm

"When Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) get up to speak Saturday at Fancy Farm, organizer Mark Wilson doesn't want the constant chanting and noisemaking that has made the event more a test of will than a political speaking contest," the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

Said Wilson: "We want to get some more civility to the program. The last few years, it got a little bit worse than it had been."

"There's a long tradition of showmanship and heckling at Fancy Farm, but it wasn't always like it is today -- where politicians have to strain to be heard over a screaming crowd."

Republicans Hand Democrats a Campaign Message

First Read: "Another stunning legislative embarrassment for House Republicans has handed Democrats a mighty big talking point over the next three months until the midterm elections: The GOP is incapable -- if not unwilling -- to govern, they will argue..."

"In other words, Democrats now have something fresh to run against. And you couldn't necessarily say that on July 1. Yes, there was the government shutdown last fall. But that was a year ago -- and it got immediately overshadowed by the months-long story about HealthCare.Gov's failure (an example of the Obama's administration own difficulty in governing). But what's significant about yesterday's legislative embarrassment for Republicans is that 1) it comes just three months before the midterm elections, and 2) it came a day after the House, in a partisan vote, moved to sue the president. That's why Democrats have a chance to exploit this -- that is, of course, until we see the next Democratic misstep or national/international crisis."

David Perdue, Then and Now

"My answer is no."

-- Georgie U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (D), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in May, when asked if he would support Mitch McConnell (R) as Senate Majority Leader.

"I don't want to put words in his mouth... but he was very clear with the Leader that he's going to be a team player."

-- Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on Perdue's apparent change of heart after talking to McConnell this week.

Democrats Propose Tele-Caucuses in Iowa

Des Moines Register: "Members of the military could participate in the 2016 Democratic caucuses by phone, under a set of proposals the Iowa Democratic Party is rolling out for national party members today. Democrats have been mulling ideas for expanding participation in the caucuses and removing some of the barriers for certain voters who can't attend a precinct meeting in person."

Brown Making History in New Hampshire

Smart Politics notes that if Scott Brown (R) "wins the New Hampshire GOP primary, he would become just the fourth major party politician in U.S. history to face three female major party U.S. Senate nominees, and, if he loses to" Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), "would become the first to lose to two of them."

Hundreds of Big Donors are Ready for Hillary

Washington Post: "At least 222 donors have signed up as co-chairs of Ready for Hillary's national finance council -- a commitment that requires donating or raising $25,000 each, or at least $5.6 million between them... More than 600 other donors are considered members of the finance council, required to give or raise $5,000 each. The Ready for Hillary fundraising team includes scores of President Obama's biggest campaign bundlers."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I should have never placed my hands on the young man."

-- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), quoted by Roll Call, about an altercation with a GOP staffer caught on video.

Inside the Secret George W. Bush Book Project

Politico: "When Bush's book comes out on Nov. 11, it's sure to force a re-evaluation of the Bushes on many levels: the history of the elder Bush's presidency, the true nature of the relationship between the father and the son, the novelty of one president writing about another, the evolution of the younger Bush in his post-presidential years, and the political future of the Bush dynasty. And it promises a unique perspective -- it's not as if there's a massive collection of presidential biographies by other presidents."

Quote of the Day

"If I open the newspaper tomorrow and I learn that Obama resigned, I wouldn't be surprised."

-- Dick Morris, quoted by Newsmax.

Clinton Described His Chance to Get Osama Bin Laden

Hours before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, former President Bill Clinton told an audience in Australia about his missed chance to kill attack mastermind Osama bin Laden, ABC News reports.

Said Clinton: "I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden ... He's a very smart guy. I spent a lot of time thinking about him. And I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him."

Sky News has the audio.

Skinny Dipping Veep

"It's the Joe Biden you didn't know -- and might not want to see. Secret Service agents dread being assigned to protect the vice president, in part because Biden's a big fan of skinny dipping, according to a new tell-all book," the New York Daily News reports.

"In The First Family Detail, author Robert Kessler quotes unnamed Secret Service agents dishing about the supposedly 'hidden lives' of Presidents and the other important people they protect."

How Ted Cruz Became a Power in the House

"Careful not to be viewed as orchestrating action in the House, even though he holds regular 'fellowship' meetings with members," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "listened quietly and nodded along as his guests laid out their concerns and discussed possible demands for Boehner," the Washington Post reports.

"He agreed that Boehner was distracted and said they should stick to their principles. The freshman senator also reminded them to be skeptical of promises from House leaders, particularly of 'show votes' -- legislative action designed to placate conservatives that carry little, if any, weight."

"That quiet assurance was enough to persuade the conservatives to effectively topple Boehner's plan, at least on Thursday, by balking when he said he would hold a largely symbolic standalone vote on Obama's program."

Cuomo's Back Room Style Challenged

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "is a skilled back-room operator, renowned for pressuring allies and foes behind the scenes to achieve results that show him in the best possible light," the New York Times reports.

"But in Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, he has encountered an adversary who seems eager for the spotlight and is challenging the very way the governor does business."

Cantor Will Resign from Congress

"Less than two months after his stunning primary upset and just hours after stepping down as House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said Thursday that he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives effective Aug. 18," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

"Cantor said he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4. By having a special election in November, the winner would take office immediately, rather than in January with the next Congress."

Big Majority Wants to Keep Obamacare

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds a strong majority of the public continues to prefer that Congress work on improving the Affordable Care Act (60 percent) rather than working to repeal and replace it with something else (35 percent), shares that have been consistent over the last several months.

Abercrombie Trails Badly in Hawaii

A new Civil Beat poll in Hawaii finds David Ige (D) leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in the Democratic primary for governor by double-digits, 51% to 41%.

July 31, 2014

Bonus Quote of the Day

"In order for Washington to work better, and for Republicans to work better, and for Republicans to come together to defend conservative principles, we need to build relationships between both chambers and I'm working hard to do so."

-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), quoted by the Washington Post, on his efforts to derail the border bill that failed in the House of Representatives.

Sessions Helped Tank Border Bill

"Some Republicans frustrated over the last-minute collapse of support for a border bill have been blaming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But it turns out they may have the wrong Republican senator in their sights," the Washington Examiner reports.

"A number of sources on Capitol Hill say lobbying by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions helped sway that state's House delegation against the bill, leading to the collapse... Aides said that Sessions' behind-the-scenes and public opposition to the package played an outsize role in its failure."

Said one staffer: "If you think this had more to do with Sessions than Cruz, I could say absolutely, there's no doubt about it."

House GOP Delays Recess

"House Republicans plan to delay their August recess to stay in Washington until they have enough votes to pass a bill responding to the border crisis," The Hill reports.

"GOP leaders pulled legislation from the schedule Thursday after it became clear the votes weren't there to pass a $659 million supplemental funding bill. But just as it appeared the conference would leave town for a five-week recess having done nothing to respond to the crisis, Republicans held a closed-door conference meeting and emerged staying they would extend their workweek to try to get something done."

House GOP Leaders Pull Border Bill

"House GOP leaders have postponed a vote on the border supplemental -- a sign they don't yet have the votes to pass it," Roll Call reports.

"The $659 million bill intended to deal with the crisis of child migrants coming across the border would have been followed by a vote on separate legislation prohibiting President Barack Obama from granting deportation relief and work permits to any more illegal immigrants."

The Hill: "The decision is another defeat for House GOP leaders, who have repeatedly failed to bring their members in line on tough votes."

Washington Post: "The pulling of the bill marked an embarrassing failure in the first real test of the new leadership team that takes office Thursday following Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor's resignation as majority leader."

Hagan Slightly Up in North Carolina

A new Gravis Marketing survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) holds a 3-point margin over challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 41%, with 15% still undecided.

CIA Admits Spying on Senate Committee

"An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program," the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: "The admission from the CIA was in sharp contrast to the defiant position that Brennan had taken when the dispute first surfaced publicly in March. At the time, Brennan warned that lawmakers would regret accusing the agency of wrongdoing."

Congress Continues Its Streak

Pew Research: "As of Wednesday the current Congress had enacted 142 laws, the fewest of any Congress in the past two decades over an equivalent timespan. And only 108 of those enactments were substantive pieces of legislation, under our deliberately broad criteria (no post-office renamings, anniversary commemorations or other purely ceremonial laws). That's two fewer than the previous Congress -- itself not generally considered a model of productivity -- had managed by this point in 2012."

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