- “Telling it like it is,” the campaign’s slogan, is part of a broader strategy to fight his way back into the top tier, which also includes embracing the mantle of underdog, campaigning like a guerrilla and camping out in New Hampshire. He has already spent at least 19 days in the Granite State this year. He’ll go straight there from his announcement and stay on the ground through the Fourth of July.
- Christie earned positive coverage from education, foreign policy and entitlement plans he rolled out the past few months. Several of the proposals would be problematic in a general election – like raising the retirement age and means-testing benefits – but, in the short-term, they highlight Christie’s conservative bona fides and make him look like a maverick. “They call it the third rail of American politics,” he bragged recently as he talked about Social Security. “They say, ‘Don’t touch it.’ So we’re going to hug it!”
Rivals within the GOP establishment discount Christie’s chances of ultimately winning the nomination, but their strategists acknowledge worrying about him for three reasons: A) He’s better at town-hall-style meetings than anyone else. B) He could really shine if he gets on stage for the debates. C) If Jeb Bush tears down everyone else in a game of whack-a-mole, Christie could emerge as a last man standing.
How Bridgegate changed Christie: Matt Katz, who is writing a book about the governor and covers him for WNYC, answered several of our questions about what to expect during this week’s rollout. “He’s bitter and defensive about the extent of the press coverage of Bridgegate, which is going to continue to shadow his presidential run because of the pending trial of former associate,” Matt emailed. “He has closed himself off to some of the noise — he no longer tweets back and forth with journalists and constituents, and he appears to read less of his press (he personally called the New York Times operator to cancel his subscription). He has dramatically reduced the number of press conferences in New Jersey and he is more likely to blow off questions … But he had a freewheeling press conference in Trenton the other day that went on for more than an hour — he referred to reporters as ‘you people,’ told the teachers’ union to ‘grow up’ and said Democratic legislators ‘need to be medicated.’ That indicates that the old Christie may be back.” Read our full Q&A here.
Expect a heavily biographical speech tomorrow. The 52-year-old Christie will be surrounded by people who have had the biggest impact on him, including friends he played baseball with. There will be a lot of talk about how his relatively modest upbringing shaped him, an implicit contrast to Jeb. A preview video posted to YouTube Sunday shows Christie speaking powerfully about a conversation he had with his mother on her death bed.
The venue choice is risky for two reasons: “The public school is also the alma mater of David Wildstein, the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official and Christie aide who pleaded guilty in May to charges related to the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Christie was in the class behind Mr. Wildstein. He has distanced himself from his former ally since the lane closure scandal came to light last year.” Also: “Livingston’s interim superintendent James O’Neill, long a vocal critic of the governor’s, said he wouldn’t be attending the announcement.” The superintended said, “I think he’s been a terrible governor.” Teachers will surely protest outside, though this could work to a Republican’s advantage.
Don’t forget the other downsides of Christie’s record: “New Jersey’s economy grew just 0.4 percent in 2014, ranking 46th. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded three times by each of the three ratings agencies under the Christie administration. And Atlantic City is falling apart,” the Philadelphia Inquirer noted Sunday in a story which suggested pretty strongly that Christie’s ship has sailed. “He has among the highest unfavorable ratings of the Republican contenders in most polls, a more reliable sign than horse-race numbers at this early stage of a candidate’s potential standing … 55 percent of Republicans in this month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll said they would never consider voting for Christie.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Beau Biden encouraged his father to run for president before he died of brain cancer last month, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson and Peter Nicholas. “And Hunter Biden told a friend in recent weeks he, too, would like to see the vice president wage one more campaign for the White House. The Biden family’s wishes add an intriguing wrinkle to a Democratic presidential race that has unfolded in unpredictable way … Several Biden allies said they expect a decision to come by August.”
— Ted Cruz released an email that Karl Rove sent him in 2009 as part of an escalating spat over his new book: George H.W. Bush wrote Cruz a $1,000 check during his campaign for Texas attorney general in 2009 after the two spent a day together at Kennebunkport. When Karl Rove found out, according to Cruz’s new book, he threatened to have George W. Bush endorse his opponent if the campaign publicized the check. “He suggested that the elder Bush was too old to have good judgment anymore,” Cruz writes. “I was offended by that characterization and knew from my visit with 41 that it wasn’t remotely true.”
- Karl Rove punched back: In a post for Medium, he strenuously denied making the comment in an online post challenging the book. He says he reveres Bush 41 and then offered this burn: “One piece of advice I offered [when Cruz was running for Senate] was that he should stop describing himself as the ‘next Marco Rubio,’ since he did not have Senator Rubio’s outstanding legislative record of accomplishments as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.”
- Responding to Rove around 10:30 p.m., Cruz’s campaign sent reporters the text of three emails from 2009. “I understood that my recounting … the disparaging remarks he made about President George H.W. Bush would cause him some discomfort,” Cruz said in an accompanying statement. “But I never imagined that his response would be a straight-out falsehood … Below is email correspondence, contemporaneous from that week, demonstrating the veracity of my account.” Read the emails here. Rove’s chief of staff, Kristin Davison, Rove’s chief of staff, tells my colleague Katie Zezima that Karl has no recollection or record of the e-mail Cruz published from him.
- More backstory on bad blood between W’s political team and Cruz: “Cruz writes in his book that after working on George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 and being part of the legal team that litigated the Florida recount, he wanted a senior job in the White House. ‘I didn’t get it, and for a simple reason: In the heat of the campaign, I had forgotten some of my own life lessons. . . . I was far too cocky for my own good, and that sometimes caused me to overstep the bounds of my appointed role,’ he wrote. ‘I burned a fair number of bridges on the Bush campaign.’”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) finally weighed in on the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision with a Time Magazine op-ed that posted last night. “Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party,” he writes. “Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right. So now, states such as Alabama are beginning to understand this as they begin to get out of the marriage licensing business altogether. Will others follow?”
GET SMART FAST:
- Iran negotiations will continue past Tuesday’s deadline. The real deadline is July 9.
- Greek leaders ordered banks closed for six business days, starting today, and imposed strict limits on ATM withdrawals, as talks for them to stay in the Euro look increasingly likely to fail. This has led to panic and a run on the banks.
- The New York manhunt is finally over.
- The FBI and ATF are investigating five suspicious fires at black churches across five states in recent days. (BuzzFeed)
- Virginia will have a Republican presidential primary next year, instead of a convention that would empower tea party activists, the state GOP’s central committee voted 42-39. As part of the deal, intended to encourage establishment candidates like Jeb Bush to compete in the Commonwealth, party leaders tentatively agreed to let a convention pick the GOP nominee for governor in 2017.
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) plans to announce he’s running for president on July 21 at The Ohio State University, his alma mater in Columbus, and will head immediately to New Hampshire for two days of campaigning before visiting South Carolina, Iowa and Michigan.
- Ex-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) announced that Dave Hamrick, who worked on the 2008 Obama campaign, will be his campaign manager. (NYT’s Maggie Haberman)
- Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance Sunday during a worship service at the site of the Charleston church shooting, reading a passage from Scripture and receiving a standing ovation.
- Ben Carson won the Western Conservative Summit’s presidential straw poll in Denver on Sunday. The retired neurosurgeon got 224 votes at the end of a weekend GOP cattle call, edging out Carly Fiorina’s 201 votes. Jeb Bush finished 14th. (Denver Post)
- Donald Trump, in an escalating feud with Univision, posted anchor Jorge Ramos’ cell phone number online. He’s since taken it down.
The Supreme Court will hand down its final three decisions for the term beginning at 10 a.m. Via the AP:
- Lethal injection: “Death-row inmates in Oklahoma are objecting to the use of the sedative midazolam in lethal-injection executions after the drug was implicated in several botched executions. Their argument is that the drug does not reliably induce a coma-like sleep that would prevent them from experiencing the searing pain of the paralytic and heart-stopping drugs that follow sedation.”
- Independent redistricting commissions: “Roughly a dozen states have adopted independent commissions to reduce partisan politics in drawing congressional districts. The case from Arizona involves a challenge from Republican state lawmakers who complain that they can’t be completely cut out of the process without violating the Constitution.”
- Mercury emissions: “Industry groups and Republican-led states assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by coming up with expensive limits on the emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants without taking account of the cost of regulation at the start of the process. The first-ever limits on mercury emissions, more than a decade in the making, began to take effect in April.”
“Watch what comes before the justices start issuing opinions,” Robert Barnes, The Post’s Supreme Court reporter, emailed The Daily 202 this morning: “They will release a list of cases that they have accepted or rejected for next term, and abortion, affirmative action and dues for public employee unions are among the possibilities.”
A deep dive on Jeb’s business record — “Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals,” by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Tom Hamburger: “Records, lawsuits, interviews and newspaper accounts stretching back more than three decades present a picture of a man who, before he was elected Florida governor in 1998, often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk. Five of his business associates have been convicted of crimes; one remains an international fugitive on fraud charges. In each case, Bush said he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing and said some of the people he met as a businessman in Florida took advantage of his naiveté … He has brokered real estate deals in Florida, arranged bank loans in Venezuela, marketed industrial pumps in Thailand, wholesaled shoes in Panama, promoted a building-materials company to Mexican interests and advised transnational financial services firms.”
— “In Bernie Sanders, an unlikely — but real — threat to Hillary Clinton,” by John Wagner and Anne Gearen in Rochester, N.H.: “For all the excitement surrounding his grass-roots effort, Sanders still faces significant skepticism from party elites — and even from some of his supporters — about whether he can advance beyond being a summer sensation. Ultimately, Sanders’s fate may rest with voters like Beth Powers, who sat in the bleachers Saturday at a Nashua community college gymnasium, where Sanders kicked off his seven-stop Granite State swing before a crowd of more than 500 people. ‘I love Hillary, but I like that fact that Bernie is a populist, and he’s saying a lot of important things,’ said Powers, 48, a high school teacher in nearby Milford who started learning about Sanders on Facebook through postings by friends and liberal media sites she follows.”
“The Clinton campaign declined to discuss Sanders’s candidacy on the record, but the strategy is plain: She will not attack him — she has yet to mention him on the campaign trail — and will stick to her plan to roll out her policy agenda in phases this summer.”
— “How Donald Trump’s man in Iowa plans to mess with the GOP — and win,” by Colby Itkowitz in Des Moines: “Chuck Laudner is best known for engineering Rick Santorum’s upset caucus win here in 2012 by driving around the former senator from Pennsylvania in his pickup truck. He is now traversing the state, laying the groundwork to convert celebrity gawkers who flock to events featuring Trump, a famed real estate magnate, into first-time caucusgoers. To Laudner, that means running what he calls a ‘parallel campaign.’ While the 15 or so other Republican candidates fight over the 120,000 regular GOP caucusgoers who turn out every four years to spend hours in school gymnasiums or church basements for the grueling voting process, Laudner is seeking out ‘people who wouldn’t be caught dead at a Republican event.’”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Hillary Clinton’s embrace of gay marriage helped her win the day on social media after SCOTUS’ gay marriage decision. Our campaign analytics partner, Zignal Labs, has an algorithm to track whether mentions of the 2016 candidates are positive, negative or neutral. Usually, the conversation is pretty mixed. On Friday, the Hillary sentiment was about 7-to-1 positive.
Compare Clinton to Jeb Bush, who took a lot of heat for his opposition to the court’s recognition of a Constitutional right to gay marriage. His mentions skewed slightly negative over the course of Friday:
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
There were many images of people celebrating gay pride over the weekend in New York and San Francisco after the SCOTUS ruling:
But 2016 Republican candidates promised to fight the decision:
And on another subject entirely:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New York Times, “Kerry, in Vienna, Begins Effort to Complete Nuclear Accord With Iran,” by Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger: “Their goal is to bridge a number of technical and political divides over the next week in hopes of getting a final accord to Congress by July 9. If the administration hits that target, Congress will have 30 days to review the accord under the terms of legislation that President Obama signed in May. If a deal came later in the summer, that review period would extend to 60 days because of the August congressional recess, which would give opponents in Congress more time to mobilize against the agreement … Major differences appear to remain on inspection provisions, the pace at which economic sanctions against Iran would be removed and how quickly Iran could expand its uranium enrichment capability during the final years of an accord.”
— Wall Street Journal, “Iran Wish List Led Nuclear Deal Talks with U.S.,” by Jay Solomon in Vienna: “Iran secretly passed to the White House beginning in late 2009 the names of prisoners it wanted released from U.S. custody, part of a wish list to test President Barack Obama’s commitment to improving ties and a move that set off years of clandestine dispatches that helped open the door to nuclear negotiations. The secret messages, via an envoy sent by the Sultan of Oman, also included a request to blacklist opposition groups hostile to Iran and increase U.S. visas for Iranian students, according to officials familiar with the matter. The U.S. eventually acceded to some of the requests, these officials said, including help with the release of four Iranians detained in the U.S. and U.K.: two convicted arms smugglers, a retired senior diplomat and a prominent scientist convicted of illegal exports to Iran. Clandestine meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials that started three years ago in Oman’s capital, Muscat, have yielded negotiations that aim to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for removal of international sanctions.”
— San Francisco Chronicle, “S.F. Pride Parade celebrates marriage ruling”: “It was already going to be one whopper of a party. But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry fresh off the presses, Sunday’s Pride Parade in San Francisco became a rainbow-colored, joyous celebration for the ages. Hundreds of thousands of people lined Market Street to cheer, dance and wave the rainbow flag as floats, politicians and LGBT groups of every description paraded past.”
— Dallas Morning News, “Texas AG Ken Paxton lends moral support to clerks who refuse gay marriages”: “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican social conservative, offered at least moral support Sunday for county clerks and their employees who feel their religious beliefs dictate that they decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses. In a nonbinding legal opinion, Paxton said religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment ‘may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.’ The clerks who balk at licensing gay marriage ‘may well face litigation and/or a fine,’ Paxton warned … ‘But,’ he added in a press release, ‘numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.’”
— The Hill, “Pope’s activism sets stage for awkward visit to Capitol Hill,” by Devin Henry: “Congressional Republicans say they are ready to welcome Pope Francis to Capitol Hill this fall — even if he uses part of his speech to challenge them on issues like climate change or income inequality. Francis is set to address Congress in September, presenting him with an enticing opportunity to press his case to lawmakers on a host of hot-button issues. The pope’s critique of capitalism has already earned him scorn from the right … Francis ventured into another charged debate (last) week by labeling gun manufacturers as unchristian. The Vatican also recognized the state of Palestine, an affront to American foreign policy in the Middle East. Depending on the content of his speech, the pope’s address to Congress could create some uncomfortable moments for Republicans and Democrats alike, particularly if applause starts to break down on partisan lines.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Ted Cruz writes in new book about his father’s desire to fight for Fidel Castro. Talking Points Memo gave prominent play to an AP write-up: “At 17, Rafael Cruz led a group of insurgents staging urban sabotage against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cruz was eventually jailed and tortured, and upon his release wanted the underground to help him personally reach Castro’s camp in the Sierra Maestra highlands. ‘My dad asked if he could join Castro in the mountains and keep fighting,’ the firebrand Republican presidential candidate writes … ‘But he was told there was no way to get to the rebels.’ Instead, the elder Cruz bribed his way to a Cuban exit visa and headed to the University of Texas. He returned home shortly after Castro seized power in 1959 but, Ted Cruz writes, was appalled to see Castro had ‘declared to the world that he was a communist.’ Castro didn’t formally call his revolution socialist until the eve of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
House Republicans may compel John Kerry to testify before the Benghazi committee about the State Department’s failure to turn over Hillary-related emails. “I have met with Secretary Kerry’s chief of staff privately, we talked on the phone last week, our next interaction will be public, and … if I don’t get satisfaction with that public interaction with his chief of staff, the next person to come explain to Congress why he has been so recalcitrant in turning over documents will be the secretary himself,” Rep. Trey Gowdy said on the CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday. Per National Journal: “Gowdy is seeking the emails of 10 top Hillary Clinton aides during her time as secretary of State, and says the department has provided just some messages from one of them. The extent of State’s document production is important because Gowdy has said he will not call Clinton to testify until the lawmakers have documents they need to inform their questions.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Bush is meeting with pastors in Charleston, Rand is in Nevada, Cruz is in New York and Carson is in Alabama.
–At the White House: The president signs Trade Adjustment Assistance in the East Room at 2 p.m. and hosts a working dinner with President Rousseff of Brazil in the Blue Room at 6 p.m. The press briefing is at 12:30.
–On the Hill: Both chambers are on the July Fourth recess.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I have a good wife now. My (other) two wives were very good. And I don’t blame them, but I was working … 22 hours a day.” – Donald Trump, asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper how he reconciles his support for “traditional marriage” with the fact he’s been divorced twice
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— “We open up the work week with a picture perfect summer day – sunshine, pleasantly warm temperatures and low humidity,” the Capital Weather Gang reports. “But, alas, moderate-to-high levels of humidity return Tuesday and so do daily chances for storms – but you’ll need to factor in the storm threat in late day plans through the July 4 holiday.”
— The Nationals split a double-header in Philadelphia yesterday. After rain postponed Saturday’s game, the Nats won the first game 3-2 and dropped the second 8-5, ending their win streak.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Watch Bernie Sanders record the song “Freedom” in studio in 1987.