Secretary of State John Kerry is condemning remarks from an administration official who labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “chickenshit,” calling the comment “disgraceful” and “damaging.”
“It is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging, and I think neither President Obama nor I — I’ve never heard that word around me in the White House or anywhere,” said Kerry during an appearance at The Atlantic’s Ideas Forum on Thursday.
“I don’t know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted, but they make life much more difficult,” he added.
In a story published by The Atlantic, anonymous senior administration officials levied a series of criticisms against Netanyahu, who is known to have a chilly relationship with President Obama.
“Chilly relationship” doesn’t begin to describe it. Netanyahu treats this administration with naked contempt.
* If you’re looking for a poll in Colorado to tell you what you want to hear, there are plenty to choose from. Democratic firm PPP shows Cory Gardner and Mark Udall tied at 48 percent. But Quinnipiac shows Gardner leading 46-39. And another by SurveyUSA for the Denver Post has Gardner up by just two at 46-44.
* A new USA Today poll has some glimmers of hope for Democrats. Voters prefer the Democratic candidate in the generic ballot by 5 points among all voters and 1 point among likely voters, and then there’s this:
African-American participation has dipped only slightly, from 13% of the electorate in 2012 to 12% of the likely-voter sample in the new survey.
Democrats would be thrilled if African-American voters turned out at nearly the same rates as in the last presidential election.
* Looks like Joni Ernst’s anti-government zealotry cost her the endorsement of the Quad City Times, which specifically cited her policy stances as a reason to endorse Bruce Braley. On the other hand, newspaper endorsements are only seen by hoity-toity “reader” types, so they can’t do that much damage.
* Brian Beutler pushes back on the notion that Barack Obama’s unpopularity is costing Democrats the Senate, with a solid argument: Democratic Senators are outperforming the president even red states, and Republicans are having to fight to hold even their own red state seats.
* Nate Cohn has a detailed and illuinating look at the debate over whether the polls might be underestimating support for Democrats. There’s historical precedent for it:
The polls have generally underestimated Democrats in recent years, and there are reasons to think it could happen again. In 2010, the polls underestimated the Democrats in every competitive Senate race by an average of 3.1 percentage points, based on data from The Huffington Post’s Pollster model. In 2012, pre-election polls underestimated President Obama in nine of the 10 battleground states by an average of 2 percentage points.
If that were to happen this year, there’d be a few big races that would flip from Republican, where they look like they’re going now, to Democratic.
* Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush go behind the scenes at the growing Republican effort to figure out how to stop Hillary Clinton.
* Steve Benen cites a real world example of the impact of GOP voting restrictions, and concludes: Republican vote suppression efforts are just poll taxes by another name.
* At the American Prospect, I suggested a new slogan for Chris Christie (“Christie ’16: Vote for me or I’ll punch you right in your stupid face”), and noted how the campaign against the Affordable Care Act has turned almost every Republican into a Randian.
* Harry Reid emails the Progressive Change Campaign Committee list with a reminder: Mark Begich is running for reelection in a very difficult state on a platform that includes expanding Social Security.
* First Scott Brown suggested ISIS and/or anyone with Ebola might stroll across our border. Now he’s warning of still another threat:
“Carrying diseases doesn’t need to be Ebola,” said Brown. “but the whooping cough and polio and other types of potential diseases are coming through.”
When ISIS gives your kid polio, you’ll know who you should have listened to. And has anybody considered that terrorists might be sneaking across the border and infecting our political candidates with that dangerous ailment known as the vapors? Somebody needs to ask Brown how the Illuminati figures into this.
* And Ted Cruz wants Republicans to know that the biggest mistake they could possibly make in 2016 would be nominating someone whose name is not “Ted Cruz”:
“[I]f we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole [in 1996] or a John McCain or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result, which is millions of people will stay home on Election Day, which is what happened for all three of them,” the senator said. “And if we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.”
Only by nominating someone in the mold of Barry Goldwater, but maybe more of a jerk, can they prevail. Seems sound to me.