I spent yesterday staking out the AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting in Silver Spring, Md., where the leaders of the 56 unions that make up the federation are gathering behind closed doors to mull a possible endorsement in the Democratic presidential primary. Sanders got an hour to make his pitch Wednesday; Clinton will get an hour this afternoon. Then the union chiefs, who represent 12.5 million workers, will debate privately over what to do. Two-thirds of them need to sign onto any endorsement. That could be difficult at this stage in the nominating fight, especially with Sanders looking as strong as he does right now.
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Here’s what the tension boils down to: Top political operatives inside organized labor – already reeling from long-term declines in membership – do not want to lose even more juice by backing the quixotic bid of a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont. But others lower in the ranks, and those who have worked closely with Sanders over his 25 years in Congress, are more concerned about ideological purity than anything else.
Sanders used his time yesterday to argue that he could actually win a general election. Normally, the senator does not speak from notes, but he carried with him the results of a CNN/ORC poll published Sunday that tested head-to-head matchups of him and Clinton versus various Republicans. Among registered voters, he was statistically tied with Jeb Bush, led Donald Trump by 21 points, and beat Scott Walker by 5 points. “Her numbers were a little bit better,” he said. “That to my mind answers the question of electability. Can Bernie Sanders win? Well, we know that CNN is an infallible news organization, don’t we? They never get it wrong. And they’ve told us that, yes, I can win!”
Sanders then made the case that he’s stronger on labor’s issues. “I am not aware that there is anybody in the House and Senate that has a stronger voting record for the AFL-CIO,” he said. “It’s a 98 percent lifetime voting record.”
Two women epitomize the divide inside labor:
Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, defended her group’s early endorsement of Clinton. She’s a close friend and ally going back to Hillary’s days as first lady, so the move was not surprising but it drew quiet complaints from other union heavyweights about jumping the gun. “I love Bernie. I think he’s a great guy. As someone who personally believes you have to fight against oligarchs, I love that he uses the word,” Weingarten said. “This is someone who has spent 25 years fighting to change the balance, just like we have fought to change the balance, BUT what we need is to WIN in changing that balance, not just fight.” She knocked her hand on the table for emphasis and repeated the word “WIN” a few more times.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United, hinted that her group may endorse Sanders sometime in the next month. “He can talk about our issues as well as we can talk about our issues,” she said last night. “Bernie Sanders taught many of us single payer health care … His politics haven’t shifted in 40 years. It’s as though he’s from the labor movement.” Then she described the endorsement choice as “complicated” and “difficult,” saying it is “not black-and-white.” Sanders is headlining a 9 a.m. rally outside the Capitol this morning, cosponsored by her group, to celebrate Medicare’s 50th anniversary.
It would be historically unusual for the AFL-CIO to endorse so early. The federation as a whole has only waded early into a competitive Democratic primary twice over the past three decades (for Al Gore in 2000 and Walter Mondale in 1984). Normally, individual unions offer their own endorsements. Then the federation gets behind someone once it is clear who the nominee will be.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Donald Trump tops the Republican field with a stunning 20 percent of the vote, according to a new Quinnipiac poll published at 6 a.m., a week before the first debate among presidential candidates. He is 7 points ahead of his closest GOP competitor, Scott Walker, who takes 13 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning voters; while Jeb Bush clocks in at 10 percent. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson are likely to make the debate stage with 6 percent, as well as Ted Cruz and John Kasich with 5 percent. Chris Christie (3 percent), Bobby Jindal (2) and Carly Fiorina (1) are trailing. But Trump is highly polarizing, even among Republicans: the poll showed that 30 percent of primary voters would never support him.
— “Debris found in the western Indian Ocean on Wednesday appears to be part of a Boeing 777, the same model as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared in 2014,” CNN reports. “The source said there is a unique element to the Boeing 777’s flaperon, a wing component, that Boeing observers believe they are seeing in photos. The debris was found off the coast of Reunion Island, a French department in the western Indian Ocean.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Hillary spokesman Philippe Reines turned over 20 boxes of work-related emails, many from a personal email account, to the State Department, a lawyer revealed in open court yesterday, as a federal judge chided the government for its slowness in responding to FOIA requests.
- There is little appetite for North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows’ motion to remove John Boehner as Speaker, even among the most conservative members of the House. “You’ve got a member here and a member there who are off the reservation,” Boehner said yesterday. “No big deal.”
- “Boehner expressed for the first time his support for repealing the 40-year-old ban on domestic crude oil exports, a move that could breathe new life into a bill in his chamber,” Reuters reports.
- The House passed a bill making it much easier to fire or demote hundreds of thousands of VA employees.
- “The editor who oversaw Rolling Stone magazine’s erroneous story about a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia will leave the magazine, more than eight months after the story was published,” Paul Farhi reports. Meanwhile, three Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers filed a defamation lawsuit against the magazine yesterday.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will announce today that he is closing the scandal-plagued Baltimore City Male Detention Center, according to NBC affiliate WBAL.
- A temporary restraining order was issued by the Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent an anti-abortion group from releasing more undercover video of leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers, the AP reports.
- Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood called on the NIH to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.
- And Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered state health officials to inspect Planned Parenthood offices that perform abortions, citing the videos.
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was indicted with racketeering related to an off-the-books $1 million loan to his unsuccessful campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2007. “Following the indictment’s unveiling, Fattah stepped down as ranking Democrat of the Appropriations subcommittee that controls the budgets of the Justice Department, FBI and U.S. attorney’s office,” Paul Kane and Mike DeBonis report. “The congressman told reporters in the Capitol that he rejected the allegations but embraced the chance to formally fight them in federal court.”
- Bernie Sanders spoke to supporters at more than 3,500 house parties around the country last night over a livestream on YouTube from a packed living room in a modest Southwest Washington apartment.
- Jim Gilmore, the former Virginia governor, filed his paperwork to become the 17th Republican candidate for president.
- Hillary got what was likely a $600 haircut (or more) at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue last Friday, the New York Post’s Page Six reports.
- Hillary will will call for lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba during a speech in Miami on Friday.
- Rick Perry blamed Bill Clinton for sparking the 2008 financial crisis in a New York speech outlining his plan to get rid of banks that are “too big to fail.”
- Of the $60 million that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has raised for his two gubernatorial bids, inauguration, political action committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia, nearly $18 million has come from contributors to the Clinton Foundation or to Hillary’s current campaign, Laura Vozzella calculates. Many of the donors have little or no connection to Virginia.
- Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984 and later advised Ross Perot’s independent campaign in 1992, met with Trump advisers in early June at the 21 Club in New York as they were seeking advice about how to navigate the GOP contest.
— “University of Cincinnati man police officer, who shot man during traffic stop, charged with murder,” by Kevin Williams, Wesley Lowery and Mark Berman: “University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, 25, now faces life in prison for shooting Samuel Dubose, 43, on the evening of July 19, roughly two minutes after pulling him over for failure to display a front license plate. At first, Tensing said he was forced to shoot Dubose because he was being dragged by the car and nearly run over, according to the initial police report. But Deters said that didn’t happen, and Tensing was wearing a body camera that captured the incident.”
— “Trump’s presence in first debate makes prep challenging for candidates,” by Dan Balz and Robert Costa: “Figuring out how to handle Trump is a constant subject among campaign aides, especially with regard to his demeanor. Will he be combative and mostly disregard the rules and moderators, or will he go from being ‘P.T. Barnum to Reaganesque,’ as one campaign adviser wondered…Trump adviser Chuck Laudner, a longtime Iowa strategist, said the wealthy businessman plans no special prep sessions. ‘It’s low-key, absolutely low stress,’ he said. ‘This isn’t 50 consultants locked in a war room with a fake podium and cardboard cutouts of the other candidates, playing the game of Risk. … He’s going to get his views across and do so in a way that’s not programmed.'”
— “Defense contractors hunker down, then report blistering earnings,” by Jacob Bogage: “The defense contracting industry had expected a sustained downturn in defense spending this year amid delays to ambitious research and development plans as the federal budget faced repeated budget crises. So companies cut back on expenses and their headcount…But the threats posed by the Islamic State and in other global hotspots has kept contractors busier than expected, analysts said.” Now, despite all the hand wringing over sequestration, they’re reporting huge profits.
— Matea Gold has an exclusive on Charles Koch’s letter to donors in his network previewing their summit this weekend. The billionaire invokes an unlikely figure as an inspiration: William Gladstone, the liberal prime minister who ran Britain during the Victorian age. “Gladstone was known both for his populism and for his advocacy of limited government and reducing taxes, two central principles supported by the Koch-backed political network,” Matea writes. “It was Gladstone who said, ‘This, if I understand it, is one of those golden moments in our history, one of those opportunities which may come and may go, but which rarely returns,'” Koch wrote in a letter. The theme of the three-day conference hosted by the group Freedom Partners is “Unleashing Our Free Society: A Strategy to Expand Opportunity for All Americans.” Matea also has a must-read on the front page of the paper this morning about the Koch network taking a page from the Obama playbook. They now have about 1,000 staff, more than double their 2012 number, and a massive voter database.
— “The story behind Marco Rubio’s frustrating first job as a politician,” by Robert Samuels in West Miami, Fla.: “The meeting at city hall was in its grueling third hour when the fresh-faced 26-year-old newcomer started to lose his cool. He fidgeted in his seat. He rocked back and forth. He buried his head in his palms before grabbing the microphone in exhaustion. ‘Can we do something?’ he said. ‘I don’t care what we do. Let’s do something.’ Long before Marco Rubio emerged as a national Republican star and a top-tier White House contender, he began his political career with a brief, frustrating tenure in the smallest of small-time jobs. From April 1998 until his February 2000 debut in the Florida legislature, Rubio endured hours of monotonous debates about inadequate bus stop benches, the relative merits of oak vs. black olive trees, and what snacks should be allowed in city park vending machines.”
“Two years out of the University of Miami’s law school, Rubio was elected with 744 votes, becoming the junior-most member of a five-person city commission in West Miami, a predominantly Cuban and working-class community of about 6,000, not even a square mile long. This article is based on a review of 63 hours of recorded city commission meetings from that time and more than 200 pages of meeting minutes the city of West Miami provided to The Washington Post through a public records request.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: There are some signs that Donald Trump may be evolving into more of a social-media phenomenon than a mainstream media one. The Republican presidential candidate has been getting increasingly more attention on social media than from the mainstream media, perhaps a signal that the establishment press has begun to tone down its coverage in recent days. Trump’s share of the conversation on Twitter remains massive, but his share of mainstream media is on the wane.
This is Trump’s share of voice across social media yesterday:
And this is his share of voice using only traditional and broadcast television mentions:
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
Picture of the day:
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall had a close encounter with an eagle, leading to plenty of USA-related jokes on Twitter:
Tweets of the day:
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) celebrated NASA’s 57th birthday:
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) celebrated his birthday. “This year’s German Chocolate cake & homemade ice cream > last year’s veggie cake with ranch dressing,” he tweeted. See both cakes below:
A cameraman captures video of the plaque outside the office of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-N.Y.), who was indicted Wednesday:
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) tweeted that her dog, Atticus, belonged on this list of Capitol Hill’s cutest dogs:
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) marked the opening of the new Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital in Anchorage, named for the late Navy SEAL. “Chris Kyle knew and helped w/ the challenges facing our vets. It’s fitting that his legacy be honored this way,” Young tweeted:
Instagrams of the day:
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act:
There was also cake for Bernie Sanders at an organizing event Wednesday night:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New Hampshire Union Leader, “In one-on-one interview, Clinton talks issues, calls Planned Parenthood video ‘disturbing,’” by Dan Tuohy: About the Planned Parenthood videos, Hillary told the newspaper: “I have seen pictures from them and I obviously find them disturbing…Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. I think there are two points to make. One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women…and this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country. And if there’s going to be a congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one part of it.”
— The New York Times, “Chris Christie’s Personality is selling point and New Hampshire may not be buying,” by Nick Corasiniti: “Interviews over the last month with dozens of current and former New Hampshire Republican Party town and county chairmen and chairwomen, officials and voters struck three consistent concerns about the Christie campaign’s chances here: the size of the field, his brushes with controversy at home and, perhaps most worrisome for his campaign, his personality. ‘Christie has a forceful personality, but unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword,” said Andy Seale, a former chairman of the Milford County Republicans. “The ‘tell it like it is,’ to be honest — he’s going to have to do a lot of convincing for folks to believe he’s really telling it like it is.'”
— Los Angeles Times, “Immigrant in U.S. illegally was released before Ohio crime spree in which he’s charged,” by Matt Pearce: “A Mexican man living in the U.S. illegally had been stopped by Ohio authorities and released weeks before a crime spree in which he’s suspected that left one woman dead, officials said. Juan Emmanuel Razo-Ramirez, 35, is accused of attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl, shooting a woman in the arm, killing another woman in her home, then getting in a shootout with police in Lake County, Ohio, on Monday.”
— Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Scott Walker’s office pushed for language to gut open records law,” by Patrick Marley and Mary Spicuzza: “Gov. Scott Walker’s office pushed to add language into the attempted overhaul of Wisconsin’s open records law that would have shielded briefings, discussions about policy drafts and other ‘deliberative’ documents…The records, described as ‘deliberative process materials,’ would have also made unavailable to the public opinions, analyses, recommendations, suggestions and notes that preceded a final decision.”
BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:
— Politico, “18 GOP members draw line in Planned Parenthood fight,” by Jennifer Haberkorn: “Eighteen House Republicans say that they will not support any government spending bill that provides taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, potentially increasing the risk of a government shutdown battle this fall … The threat to withhold government funding ups the ante on the renewed effort by Republicans on Capitol Hill to defund the women’s health organization in light of a series of sting videos aiming to show that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood says it has done nothing illegal and merely facilitates the donation of tissue with the patient’s consent.”
— The Hill, “Treasury signals end-of-October debt limit deadline,” by Peter Schroeder: “Lawmakers will likely have at least until the end of October to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a letter to Congress on Wednesday. Lew told lawmakers that while he cannot pinpoint when the nation would be in danger of missing debt payments without a borrowing boost, he was confident he would be able to avoid default until at least late October. ‘We believe that the measures will not be exhausted before late October, and it is likely that they will last for at least a brief additional period of time,’ he wrote.”
— Washington Post, “More than two dozen members of Congress have been indicted since 1980,” by Hunter Schwarz: “Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was indicted Wednesday for — what else — allegations of mishandling money. And he’s in plenty of company. More than two dozen members of Congress have been indicted since 1990. A handful of the indictments were about sex, and one was about lying about military service. But the vast majority, like Fattah’s, are about money — specifically, members of Congress accused of accepting bribes in exchange for pulling strings on their end. You see the word “racketeering” pop up a lot while reading about their charges. Everyone’s looking to get ahead, and for some members of Congress, the pull of using their office for personal gain is too strong.”
–Roll Call, “On unattended guns, questions linger for Capitol Police,” Hannah Hess: “Called before Congress for an oversight hearing after a tumultuous few weeks of reports of loaded service weapons left in problematic places around the Capitol … Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine promised the acts would be dealt with ‘firmly and effectively.’ But 10 weeks after that hearing, and six months after the first incident, only one of the officers who left a weapon unattended has been disciplined. The agent assigned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail who left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall served a six-day suspension without pay. He remains on assignment with the Kentucky Republican.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Drudge Report asks whether Pope Francis is the “antichrist.” From Talking Points Memo: “The Drudge Report on Wednesday pondered whether Pope Francis, who has recently fallen out of favor with some conservatives, is actually the ‘antichrist,’ noting that the pope’s ‘stand on homosexuality, Islam, capitalism, and the New World Order’ fuel chatter. Drudge links to an article on Charisma News explaining, ‘Why So Many People Think Pope Francis Is the Antichrist.’ The post asks whether Francis’ role as antichrist signifies the second coming of Christ.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Nine more undercover videos ready to drop on Planned Parenthood. From the Daily Caller: “David Daleiden, founder of the Center For Medical Progress (CMP), told conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity Tuesday there are nine more sting-operation videos that reveal Planned Parenthood’s operations … CMP has already released three videos showing Planned Parenthood officials, personnel, and doctors discussing the harvesting of aborted baby parts. Congress proposed legislation Wednesday to defund Planned Parenthood’s abortion activity and moving the money to community health centers and hospitals instead.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton will attend an event at the home of Heather Podesta. Rick Perry will campaign in New Hampshire, focusing on Carroll County. Bernie Sanders will participate in a question-and-answer session at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mike Huckabee will campaign in Guthrie Center, Jefferson and Rockwell City, Iowa. Lincoln Chafee will attend the Winchester County Democrats Meeting in Winchester, New Hampshire.
–On the Hill: The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and resume work on the highway bill. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the Iran nuclear deal.
–At the White House: President Obama will participate in a conference call with grassroots supporters to discuss the Iran nuclear deal.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Let’s get a pullup bar out there and see who can do the most pullups.” — Rick Perry challenged Donald Trump to a competition of physical strength after the businessman suggested he was not tough enough to be president
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— We’ll have a steamy morning that leads to a stormy afternoon. “A fair amount of clouds could be hanging around in the humid morning environment but the sun gets enough midday penetration to push highs into the low-to-mid 90s,” forecasts the Capital Weather Gang. “While a pop up thunderstorm is possible anytime, the main line of storms is likely to start early afternoon in the lee of the Appalachians and exit our eastern suburbs in the early evening. The most likely timeframe for storms in the immediate metro is between about 2 and 6 p.m. (subject to some adjustment). A few storms may generate strong wind gusts and brief heavy downpours.
— The Nationals beat the Marlins 7-2.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Jeb Bush visited the world’s longest candy counter in Littleton, New Hampshire:
Watch the newly released trailer for “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” from Paramount Pictures:
Check out 19 amazing photos from the history of NASA in commemoration of its birthday, via The Huffington Post.
Watch Ben Carson, a legendary neurosurgeon, play the game “Operation” for IJReview in a funny 90-second video.
Watch a baby elephant calf run after birds in a heartwarming 70-second video.
The Hill published its annual “50 Most Beautiful” List, raising the perennial question of why anyone would allow one of their staffers (or, for that matter, their member) to participate. It is one of those things that everyone pretends not to care about but still looks over anyway. Buzz in the Capitol yesterday centered on how many of those featured this year are not actually congressional staffers, but random lobbyists and journalists.