September, 2015

Jindal’s Spending Hasn’t Worked

First Read: “Kasich has spent nearly $5 million in TV ads (all in New Hampshire), and he’s gone up in the polls. Jindal and his supporters have spent $2.5 million (all in Iowa), and he really hasn’t. As for the Bush spending, ALL of it has come this month, with $2.3 million coming this week alone. The right time to judge whether the money is working or not is in about a month. It took Kasich about a month of advertising to start seeing results in New Hampshire, let’s check in around Nov. 1 to see how much of a difference money is making for Jeb in the early states.”

Biden Has a Candidate’s Schedule

Vice President Joe Biden’s schedule over the last month looks a lot like that of a presidential candidate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Since the beginning of September, Mr. Biden has held events with nearly every Democratic constituency that would be critical to any White House bid—from women and African-American voters to environmentalists, Latinos and union workers… This weekend, Mr. Biden will deliver the keynote address at the annual dinner of the country’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization, the Human Rights Campaign, and on Saturday, he spoke at a concert focused on combating global poverty that drew thousands of young people.”

GOP Field No Longer Worries About Deficit

“Republicans came into this presidential campaign with painful memories of how, in the last one, Democrats blasted Mitt Romney’s tax plan as a giveaway to the rich. They’ve heard a new wing of conservative intellectuals urge them to focus on tax cuts to working-class Americans rather than the wealthy,” the AP reports.

“Yet the release of Donald Trump’s tax plan adds to the number of major GOP presidential candidates who propose to cut all taxes — but especially those for the wealthy — as deeply, or deeper, than Romney proposed. The lesson Republicans seem to have drawn is to simply stop worrying about balancing the budget. The plans would blow open deficits over the next decade that economists estimate ranging from $3.6 trillion to $12 trillion.”

Christie and Kasich Try an Iowa Reset

National Journal: “Neither Christie nor Kasich is ex­pec­ted to win the state’s first-in-the-na­tion caucuses, where con­ser­vat­ive voters tend to dom­in­ate. But both cam­paigns now hope that, in an un­settled pres­id­en­tial race, a bet­ter-than-ex­pec­ted Iowa fin­ish could help launch them to suc­cess in their make-or-break state of New Hamp­shire one week later. Already, Christie and Kasich are ex­pand­ing their Iowa teams and plan­ning to spend more time on the ground in­ter­act­ing with voters. Christie traveled to Iowa for a two-day swing this week, and Kasich is set on Wed­nes­day to make his second trip there in less than a week.”

Pope Secretly Met with Kim Davis

Pope Francis secretly met Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis “who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and gave her words of encouragement,” Reuters reports.

A Vatican spokesman “said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement. This was unusual for the Vatican, which normally issues either denials or confirmations.”

Rick Klein: “It’s little surprise that this or any pope would stand up against gay marriage. But having spent time with this particular county clerk – the very public face of outright defiance of the US Supreme Court – has specific ramifications that surely the pope and those around him are aware of. Maybe that was the point – in which case conservatives have every bit as much of the right to cite this papal visit’s political message as their liberal friends.”

How Mitch McConnell Schooled Ted Cruz

Politico: “By moving to quarantine Cruz from the rest of the conference over the past three months, the majority leader demonstrated that he’s learned the lessons of the Cruz-backed government shutdown in 2013 and the Texas senator’s rogue strategy last winter that helped Democrats confirm a raft of judges in the lame duck session. In doing so, McConnell cemented his position atop the Senate GOP, dashing any hopes among House Republicans, or conservative activists, that his future might be in doubt.”

“The message is clear: McConnell isn’t going anywhere, and everyone in the Senate knows it. Even Cruz won’t say he should resign.”

The Kennedy Interviews

The Miller Center at the University of Viriginia posts 19 interviews with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on topics ranging from immigration reform and health care reform to his family’s impact on American politics.

New York Times: “The 694 pages of transcripts contain few revelations but offer detailed accounts of how legislative fights were won or lost, interspersed with arguments for a strong, assertive role for the Senate.”

GOP Candidates Face Big Fundraising Deadline

“Republican candidates, many of whom are gasping for air in a historically crowded field, are charging toward Wednesday’s midnight fundraising deadline that will offer hard evidence about whether they can mount a serious bid for the White House,” CNN reports.

“And with some Republicans — like Scott Walker, who ran out of cash and dropped out — saying the field needs to be narrowed quickly, a poor fundraising quarter may be just the thing that pushes candidates out the door.”

Paul Says Cruz Is Finished in the Senate

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “had a blunt message for his presidential rival and fellow Republican senator Ted Cruz (R-TX): You’re a hack,” Politico reports.

Said Paul: “Ted has chosen to make this really personal and chosen to call people dishonest in leadership and call them names which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence he can’t get anything done legislatively.”

He added: “I approach things a little different, I am still just as hardcore in saying what we are doing is wrong, I just chose not to call people liars on the Senate floor and it’s just a matter of different perspectives on how best to get to the end result.”

First Read: “You can tell who is interested in remaining in the Senate after this presidential contest — and who isn’t.”

McConnell Wants to Deal Directly with White House

As President Obama and top congressional leaders “prepare to launch negotiations on a two-year budget deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is maneuvering to cut key Democrats out of the talks,” Politico reports.

“The ambitious budget goal, outlined by McConnell on Tuesday, could help ease the threat of repeated government shutdowns until after the 2016 elections. But drama is already unfolding behind the scenes with McConnell’s private suggestion that the discussions be limited to just him, President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), according to Democratic sources — a proposal that the president and outgoing speaker have rejected.”

Wall Street Journal: “The talks are fresh and unlikely to be wrapped up before Mr. Boehner leaves office on Oct. 30. It is unclear whether his successor, likely Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), would be interested in participating in them.”

Big Donors Seek Larger Role in Campaigns

New York Times: “In an election cycle that is already on track to break spending records, and with few limits on contributions to ‘super PACs’ and other outside groups, big donors have never been more important. No longer satisfied with sitting on the sidelines and writing big checks, many of them are eager to play larger roles in the campaigns.”

“They expect their views to be heard quickly and their concerns taken seriously, sometimes creating headaches and potential awkwardness for the campaigns and super PACs, which must tend to the contributors and their seemingly endless suggestions and questions.”