Rachel Maddow presented a new possibility of what the induced Fort Lee traffic jam was retribution for if it wasn’t over the mayor’s gubernatorial endorsement.
“With his strong-armed change to the filibuster rule and an iron-fisted control of the Senate floor, Senator Harry Reid has engaged in the greatest consolidation of congressional power since Newt Gingrich ruled the House, unleashing a bitterness that may derail efforts to extend unemployment insurance,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Reid’s brutish style matters beyond the marbled chamber of the Senate. Senate legislation has increasingly turned into a battle over amendments and Mr. Reid’s uncompromising control over the process. The six Republicans who voted to take up the unemployment bill on Tuesday expected at least to be allowed votes on their amendments to shape the legislation. Instead, Mr. Reid dismissed all Republican proposals as unacceptable and then proposed his own new unemployment deal.”
French President Francois Hollande “says he is considering suing a magazine after it claimed he was having an affair with an actress,” the BBC reports.
Hollande said the report was an “attack on the right to privacy”, but he did not deny the allegation.
Closer ran the story and features seven pages of photos of actress Julie Gayet.
Chicago Sun Times: “First, Bruce Rauner (R) seemed to say he favored cutting the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage. Then, he retreated from those ‘flippant’ remarks made in December and said this week he favors increasing pay for Illinois’ poorest workers to as much as $10 an hour.”
“On Thursday came yet another twist in the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s confusing and evolving stance on a vital issue affecting 1.1 million Illinois workers: a September video in which Rauner said he ‘adamantly, adamantly’ opposes raising the minimum wage.”
Gov. Chris Christie (R) “did about as well as he could, given the circumstances. All he can do now is wait, and hope it passes without many more revelations,” Politico reports.
“That was the sentiment coming from people who wanted to offer support to the Republican governor of New Jersey, a man whose sky-high political stock took a hit in the last week over a bizarre, seemingly picayune story about closed traffic lanes on a bridge.”
The Hill: “GOP strategists and donors praised the way Christie took back control of the story, saying the press conference was exactly the right first step in dealing with a scandal that threatens to torpedo his 2016 hopes. But while Christie might have stopped the bleeding, observers say the extent to which he contains the political damage depends on what other revelations emerge.”
Daily Beast: Seven reasons Christie isn’t toast.
The Guardian compressed Christie’s two hour press conference to just three minutes.
Gallup: “Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%). But the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification edged up to its highest level since Gallup began regularly measuring ideology in the current format in 1992.”
For the first time in history, more than half the members of the House and Senate are millionaires, OpenSecrets found.
“Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012… The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 — an increase from last year when it was $966,000.”
Rush Limbaugh said Republicans were nothing more than “a bunch of wildebeests” for not rallying behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) as he faced a major scandal.
Said Limbuagh: “Have any of the RINOs, the Republicans in name only, the moderate Republicans, have any Republican establishment types come out and said that they support Christie? They haven’t. This is the thing, folks. This is the thing. Republicans — when any of them get in trouble, I mean — it’s like a bunch of wildebeests.”
He continued: “If a lion in Africa attacks a wildebeest, all the other wildebeests scram and get out of there and offer no assistance whatsoever. You’ve seen it on National Geographic. You’ve seen it on all the Earth shows, all the animal shows, animals eating animal shows, you’ve seen it all. And the Republican Party is the same way.”
President Obama “is leaning toward extending broad privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens and is seriously considering restructuring the National Security Agency program that collects phone-call data of nearly all Americans,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mr. Obama plans to unveil these and other changes to surveillance programs as soon as next week… Though he has made no final decisions on some of the most controversial proposals, Mr. Obama is nearing the end of his closely watched assessment of surveillance reforms that will define the NSA’s rules of the road for years to come.”
David Wildstein, the Port Authority official at the center of Chris Christie’s bridge traffic scandal who refused to answer questions before the New Jersey legislature today, “was Wally Edge, a pseudonymous blogger who broke news about New Jersey politics on a site called PoliticsNJ.com, Politico reports.
Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) “has told senior members of his party that he will challenge Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia and announce his candidacy as early as next week, giving Republicans a top-tier candidate in what has become one of the nation’s most competitive swing states,” the New York Times reports.
“The bid by Mr. Gillespie, a longtime party operative turned lobbyist with ties to both Republican grass-roots and establishment wings, also underlines the intent of more mainstream Virginia Republicans to take back control of the party after a Tea Party-backed candidate lost the governorship.”
Larry Sabato: “Another midterm election beckons, and over the next 10 months we’ll see headlines about a thousand supposedly critical developments–the “game changers” and the “tipping points.” But we all know there aren’t a thousand powerful drivers of the vote. I’d argue that three factors are paramount: the president, the economy and the election playing field. And, at least preliminarily, those three factors seem to be pointing toward Republican gains in both houses in the 2014 midterms.”
“An appointee of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) at the center of an apparent plan to engineer a monster traffic jam as an act of political payback refused to answer questions Thursday from state lawmakers,” NBC News reports.
“The appointee, David Wildstein, invoked the Fifth Amendment, which offers protection against self-incrimination.”
“You’re going to see conservatives returning the favor he gave them over the last year. There’s no love lost between Chris Christie and conservatives.”
— GOP strategist Rick Wilson, quoted by National Journal, adding that Christie “goes out of his way to be a dick to other Republicans.”
David Frum, author and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is our guest on the latest episode of the Political Wire podcast.
He talks about the upcoming midterm elections and what Republicans should do about the growing gap between the Tea Party and the GOP Establishment.
Time: “In the following interactive, we put together 12 questions that have a statistical correlation to a person’s political leanings, even if the questions themselves are seemingly apolitical. At the end of this (completely anonymous) quiz, we’ll use your responses to guess your politics.”
Some great clicks from Wonk Wire:
- U.S. Attorney To Investigate Christie Bridge Scandal
- Let the States Handle Health Care System
- Debate Begins Over U.S. Oil Export Ban
- Janet Yellen: ‘Public Policy Should Address Human Suffering’
- A Single-Payer System is Not Health Care’s Panacea
- War on Poverty is Not Lost
- Court May Still Limit President’s Appointment Authority