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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted the Obama administration’s decision to extend enrollment in the healthcare law’s insurance exchange for some people, suggesting the president had made “a joke” out of his signature achievement, The Hill reports.
Said Boehner: “What the hell is this, a joke?”
He added: “This is part of a longterm pattern of this administration manipulating the law for its own convenience. It’s not hard to understand why the American people question this administration’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Harry Enten: “Early polls often don’t foretell the eventual margins of the primaries, something that shouldn’t be surprising. But what if Clinton in fact wins the Democratic nomination in a landslide, while the Republican nominee does so only after a long and close race?”
“History suggests possibly. There’s been a strong correlation between the margin of victory in the primaries and the later margin in the general election. But correlation isn’t always causation. Let’s look at the data.”
Wonk Wire: Nearly half of all Americans now want to keep Obamacare rather than repeal or replace it.
Marc Ambinder: “I don’t think unions will ever give up on Democrats. The party will always be friendlier than Republicans. In big, populous states, union endorsements still matter.”
“But I do predict, based on conversations I’ve had with labor leaders here, that, to get attention, labor will take a page from the Tea Party movement and try to become more militant and more focused on income inequality. Because Americans support labor’s causes, by and large, but don’t like the labor movement as a spokesman for them, I also predict that the labor movement will go through several more circular firing squads, where forward-thinking union leaders call for the movement at large to devote less political attention to the specific, contractual concerns of their own workers and more to campaigns that non-union workers can rally around, like state minimum wage campaigns, and a call to reduce concentrated corporate political power.”
In a new television ad with pigs squealing in the background, Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) subtly threatened to castrate big spending lawmakers if she’s elected.
Said Ernst: “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.”
Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) and his wife “want separate trials on the federal corruption charges they both are facing, saying in court filings late Tuesday that a joint proceeding would prevent Maureen McDonnell, in particular, from taking the witness stand to exonerate her husband,” the Washington Post reports.
“Well, I think (laughs) … I’m not sure, uh, uh. … Let me just say it this way, when we were in the Legislature together we worked perfectly well together.”
— Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), quoted by Honolulu Civil Beat, when asked what he likes most about his opponent, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI).
There were renewed calls for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) “to disclose the identities of corporate donors to his now dormant NERD Fund Tuesday after e-mails revealed a top aide who was paid from the fund intervened in the purchasing process on behalf of at least two companies, including one headed by Snyder’s cousin,” the Detroit Free Press reports.
Snyder dismissed the controversy “as election-year politics.”
Benjy Sarlin: “The solid red state is shaping up as a key boost to Democratic hopes of retaining the Senate thanks to a GOP primary field both sides believe could produce a nominee too hobbled, too extreme, or too gaffe-prone to win in November.”
“The candidate causing the biggest headache is Paul Broun, a four-term GOP congressman who opposes abortion without exception, thinks the Big Bang and evolution are ‘lies straight from the pit of hell,’ (gravity waves be damned), and likened President Obama to Hitler and Karl Marx before he was even inaugurated.”
“Then there’s fellow Rep. Phil Gingrey, a doctor who suggested last year that Todd Akin was ‘partly right’ about his theories on ‘legitimate rape’ (Gingrey later apologized).”
“I did not prepare well enough to run for the presidency of the United States.”
— Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), quoted by USA Today, on his failed 2012 bid for the GOP nomination.
The Week: “The best possible scenario for a candidate running to succeed a two-term president from the same party is for him to be very popular…. But when the sitting president is unpopular, the candidate is trapped. (Don’t take it from me. Just ask John McCain.) She can’t offer more of the same, because no one wants that. But neither can she directly denounce the president for his missteps and promise to take the country in a dramatically different direction, since doing so would seem disloyal to both him and their party.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) “is no longer supporting personhood… making him the second Republican in the last five days to disavow the movement to ban abortion — even in cases of rape or incest — that he’d previously supported,” KDVR reports.
“Coffman made his abrupt 180 on the issue public through his campaign just hours after his opponent, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, challenged Coffman to do so.”
“After most women cast their ballots for President Obama in 2012, Republicans have worked overtime to boost their standing among female voters. They launched a major push to recruit female candidates for Congress, opened the first GOP political consulting firm exclusively aimed at winning over women voters, and established an organization that endorses women running for office,” the Boston Globe reports.
“But measured by the number of GOP women running for Congress, the efforts are not yielding many results.”
“Three Secret Service agents prepping for President Obama’s trip to the Netherlands were sent home for ‘disciplinary reasons,'” the Los Angeles Times reports, “in another embarrassing incident for the elite agency charged with protecting the president.”
“It’s not clear precisely what rule the agents violated on this trip, but a night of excessive drinking on the part of at least one agent appears to be the cause. The Washington Post, which first broke the news, reported that an agent was found passed out in a hotel hallway Sunday morning.”
“The White House and congressional Democrats are preparing to step up attacks on Republicans over pocketbook issues like the minimum wage in the most aggressive and coordinated move yet to try to reverse the Republican momentum that threatens their control of the Senate in the final two years of the Obama presidency,” the New York Times reports.
“The effort is set to begin within the next two weeks in the Senate when Democrats will call a vote on their proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10, and it will continue through spring and summer with additional legislation to eliminate the pay gap between men and women, lower interest rates on college loans and close tax loopholes that benefit corporations with business overseas.”
Rep. Bruce Braley (D), who is running for U.S. Senate, apologized after video was leaked that shows Braley mocking Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” the Des Moines Register reports.
“In an effort to embarrass Braley, Republican operatives today began to circulate the video of him warning some out-of-state lawyers that Grassley might become the next judiciary committee chairman if they didn’t contribute money to help elect Braley.”
Robert Costa, a Washington Post reporter with his finger on the pulse of the Republican party, joins us on the Political Wire podcast to discuss how GOP leaders are positioning themselves ahead of the midterm elections.
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