McCarthy Never Told Boehner He Would Drop Race

House Speaker John Boehner “seemed to have no inkling on Thursday that his deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was preparing to withdraw from the speaker’s race,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Said Boehner, a few minutes before the vote: “I’m confident he’ll win today and I’m confident he’ll win on Oct. 29.”

“But even as he reflected on his 25-year congressional career and what he might do next, his House Republican conference was thrown into a fresh round of turmoil—one that might even delay the Ohio Republicans departure… Boehner immediately postponed the election, as he and his stunned colleagues scrambled to figure out their next move.”

A Republican Party in Total Chaos

Matt Lewis: “The GOP’s presidential primary race legitimately risks nominating Donald Trump and descending into a parody. And now the Republican-controlled Congress is in total chaos. No one wants to be Speaker… All of this comes with the backdrop of a coming debt ceiling deadline in November that comes before another big budget vote in December.”

“What a mess. Could Republicans have imagined a more nightmarish series of political events a year out from a presidential election? Sadly, I doubt it.”

Time for a Bipartisan Speaker?

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew from the Speaker’s race “because although he could have won a majority of the Republican Conference, he would not have had 218 votes on the House floor,” the Washington Post reports.

Dent also said it might be necessary to form a “bipartisan coalition” with Democrats to elect the next speaker and avoid having to appease the “rejectionist wing” of his own party, which he said has made the House ungovernable by insisting on “unreasonable demands.”

McCarthy Drops Speaker Bid

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has withdrawn from the race for House speaker and the election for the top post has been postponed, Politico reports.

New York Times: “As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote… A group of about 40 hard-line House conservatives announced Wednesday night that they would support Representative Daniel Webster of Florida, making it unclear whether Mr. McCarthy could assemble the 218 votes on the floor that he would need to be elected later this month.”

Koch Brothers Eye Marco Rubio for $1 Billion Prize

New York Daily News: “Slowly but surely, the GOP is narrowing down its list of presidential candidates. The big prize — aside from the presidency itself — is still the nearly $1 billion contribution the kingmaking Koch brothers, Charles and David, will reportedly throw behind the conservative agenda next year. According to a political insider who ran into David Koch at a recent event in Manhattan, Florida Sen. Rubio is the front-runner for dough now that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is out of the race.”

Lessig Waits for Debate Invite

“The Democratic nominating contest is getting lonely for Lawrence Lessig. Mr. Lessig, the Harvard law professor who rails against unfairness in campaign finance, shifted his message to the unfairness in the debate selection process and the fact that he had not been invited to next week’s gathering in Las Vegas,” the New York Times reports.

Said Lessig: “I’m surprised by the lack of recognition from the Democratic Party. It’s unclear how if you’re not a politician or a billionaire you get to a place where you are able to participate.”

Quote of the Day

“We’ve got to stop paying attention to the PC police who say every lifestyle is exactly of the same value. No, it’s not of the same value. It is very clear that intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values do much better in terms of raising children. So let’s stop pretending that everything is of equal value.”

— Ben Carson, in an interview on Sirius XM.

House Conservatives Spurn McCarthy

“A group of hard-line conservatives threatened to upend the Republican race to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, announcing on Wednesday it will throw its support behind a little-known Florida lawmaker to become the next speaker,” the Washington Post reports.

“The House Freedom Caucus’s backing of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) ahead of a crucial internal party vote Thursday deeply complicates Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy’s bid to succeed Boehner. The group counts enough members — about 40 — to deny McCarthy the majority of the whole House he would need to claim the speaker’s chair.”

Sanders’ Unorthodox Debate Prep

Sen. Bernie Sanders “is uninterested in going through the motions of typical debate practice,” Politico reports.

“While CNN is billing the event as a showdown, Sanders’ team sees the first Democratic debate as a chance to introduce a fairly niche candidate to a national audience. So his team intends to let him do what he’s been doing. Far from preparing lines to deploy against Clinton — let alone O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, or Jim Webb — Sanders plans to dish policy details, learned through a handful of briefings with experts brought in by his campaign.”

Carson Stumbles on Debt Limit Question

Ben Carson “appeared to have some difficulty in explaining exactly whether he would support raising the debt limit in a recent interview,” Politico reports.

Said Carson: “Let me put it this way: if I were the president, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely would not do it. They would have to find a place to cut.”

Interviewer Kai Ryssdal pressed: “To be clear, it’s increasing the debt limit, not the budget, but I want to make sure I understand you. You’d let the United States default rather than raise the debt limit.”

Carson responded: “No, I would provide the kind of leadership that says, ‘Get on the stick guys, and stop messing around, and cut where you need to cut, because we’re not raising any spending limits, period.'”

Clinton Opposes Pacific Trade Deal

In a major break with President Obama and her own past statements, Hillary Clinton told the PBS NewsHour that she doesn’t support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Said Clinton: “What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.”

Though she helped negotiate the treaty, Clinton now says she isn’t convinced the deal would produce new jobs, raise wages and protect national security.

Jonathan Chait: “Is anybody going to believe that she will actually oppose the treaty as president? Sure, she might slightly mollify some supporters in labor, who would like cover to support her candidacy even though they disagree on the agreement. But she will also do more damage to her overall credibility and reputation for conviction — which happens to be the biggest single problem she faces right now.”

Minority Voters Would Be Key to Biden Campaign

“Facing a spirited challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has reminded her supporters that she will be better positioned to defeat Mr. Sanders once the primary fight moves to more racially diverse states, where polls show she enjoys a large advantage over him among blacks and Hispanics,” the New York Times reports.

“But a late entry by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. into the Democratic contest could complicate Mrs. Clinton’s strategy, particularly if he were able to portray himself to minority voters as President Obama’s rightful heir. There may be no more consequential element to a campaign by Mr. Biden. If he were able to loosen Mrs. Clinton’s grip on nonwhite voters once the race moves to South Carolina, Nevada and the many Southern states poised to vote on Super Tuesday, it could set off a prolonged, bruising and expensive Democratic primary.”