THE BIG IDEA:
— Jeb Bush gave valuable ammunition to Democratic ad makers yesterday when he declared, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” while referring to the debate over Planned Parenthood. Bush tried to clean up his comment with not one but two statements. The second version added the words “I misspoke.”
The kerfuffle highlighted how hard it will be for Republicans to play offense on women’s issues in a sustained way. In 2012, pro-life candidates blew two winnable Senate races with comments about rape and abortion, as Mitt Romney lost women by double digits. Republicans were much more cautious in 2014, even running commercials touting their support for widely-available birth control. Using the embarrassing undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials, another of which came out yesterday, social conservatives have convinced GOP operatives that this will be a winner in 2016. A handful of Republicans running for president are now threatening to shut down the federal government this fall to try cutting off Planned Parenthood, which is already barred from using federal funds to pay for abortion.
Even after the hard-to-defend videos, the group is still viewed favorably by 45 percent of Americans, according to this week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Only 30 percent view it negatively. As a point of comparison, the same poll found that Jeb is viewed positively by 26 percent of Americans and negatively by 40 percent.
Bottom line: The GOP does not have the numbers to ultimately succeed, as demonstrated by a test vote on Monday, and it is inconceivable that there would not be more inartful comments like Jeb’s during a prolonged legislative battle. Sensing the opportunity to run the war-on-women playbook, Hillary Clinton quickly pounced on Twitter:
Bush's comment even drew rebukes from the right.
the political editor at the conservative site Townhall, Guy Benson, arguing that the comment will help Democrats “obfuscate” on Planned Parenthood’s “barbarity” by “conflating” the issues. A senior writer at The Weekly Standard, John McCormack,
: “Isn’t one benefit of an establishment candidate supposed to be that he’s not going to make gaffes like this?” Meanwhile, on the left, the Huffington Post said the “unforced error”
the ghost of Romney.
On the defensive, trying to get the right to rally around him, Bush responded to Clinton on Twitter last night:
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary’s private e-mail setup. The Post scoops that agents have in the past week contacted a Denver-based technology firm that helped manage the unusual system. “Also last week, the FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state,” Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger report. “The FBI’s interest in Clinton’s e-mail system comes after the intelligence community’s inspector general referred the issue to the Justice Department in July. Intelligence officials expressed concern that some sensitive information was not in the government’s possession and could be ‘compromised.’ The referral did not accuse Clinton of any wrongdoing, and the two officials said Tuesday that the FBI is not targeting her.”
New details raise fresh questions about the security of Clinton’s system: The server installed in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home as she was preparing to take office as secretary of state was originally used by her 2008 presidential campaign. The staffers who set it up had limited training in computer security: “In 2008, responsibility for the system was held by Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to the former president who served as a personal assistant and helped research at least two of his books. Cooper had no security clearance and no particular expertise in safeguarding computers, according to three people briefed on the server setup.” The email system was also unreliable: it crashed for days after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, while HRC was still at State.
— Terrible New Hampshire numbers show why Hillary launched a $2 million ad buy this week: A WMUR Granite State Poll published last night shows Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by only 6 points, 42-36, with 5 percent backing Joe Biden. The sample is small (276 likely Democratic primary voters), but it follows a national NBC/WSJ survey that shows Clinton’s unfavorable numbers rising among crucial constituencies, including white women, young people, independents and African Americans.
— John Kasich and Chris Christie have made the cut for Fox News’ debate tomorrow night. Rick Perry did not. Based on an average of the five most recent national polls, the 10 candidates invited to be on stage for the 9 p.m. Eastern debate are Donald Trump (23.4%), Jeb Bush (12.0%), Scott Walker (10.2%), Mike Huckabee (6.6%), Ben Carson (5.8%), Ted Cruz (5.4%), Marco Rubio (5.4%), Rand Paul (4.8%), Chris Christie (3.4%) and John Kasich (3.2%). The five polls included in the average were conducted by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.
The Fox News Decision desk emails to defend the inclusion of Kasich over Perry: “Given the over 2400 interviews contained within the five polls, from a purely statistical perspective it is at least 90% likely that the tenth place Kasich is ahead of the eleventh place Perry.”
Whatever the methodology, it is a really big break for Kasich. It would have been humiliating for the sitting governor of Ohio to not appear among the top 10 at a debate in Cleveland. The slight uptick in support seems to validate his super PAC’s decision to run a big ad buy in New Hampshire, and Kasich’s decision to announce in the weeks before the debate, hoping that he would get some kind of a bounce.
Besides Perry, who is being relegated to the underdog debate? Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki. These seven will appear together at 5 p.m. Eastern, where each will almost certainly try to make a splash to get their way into coverage of the main debate.
Jindal’s super PAC will broadcast an ad on Fox News during the main debate. “The debate in Cleveland is all about a celebrity, but one candidate is moving up where it counts, in Iowa: Bobby Jindal,” a narrator says. Jindal is shown at a town hall meeting saying, “If you elect somebody to D.C. that wants to be popular with the mainstream media, we are done as a country.” Watch here.
GET SMART FAST:
- With 14 large fires raging across California, the U.S. Forest Service will issue a report today warning that two-thirds of its budget could go to fighting wildfires within a decade. Compare that to 16 percent in 1995. (Chris Mooney)
- Jeb received more than $9 million in income since January 2014 by delivering speeches, sitting on boards of directors and helping to manage private investment firms, according to a disclosure filed last night. This means he has received about $38 million in income since leaving the Florida governorship in 2007.
- The FAA is investigating low-fare Allegiant Air after multiple emergency landings and in the midst of its pilot union questioning safety standards.
- With no warning, long-term care insurance premiums have risen for federal workers and military personnel.
- Capitol Police arrested an active-duty Marine who works for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), after authorities found a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his vehicle during a routine security screening, The Hill reports.
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- President Obama will heavily echo John F. Kennedy’s 1963 speech supporting a nuclear-test-ban treaty in a speech at American University today to sell his own nuclear deal with Iran.
- Marco Rubio is doing an event in Cleveland today at a restaurant owned by a booster of the effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio.
- Rupert Murdoch has spoken by phone with Donald Trump to try mending fences after calling the businessman an embarrassment. CNN’s Brian Stelter describes the call was “cordial and forward looking.”
- Trump told Bloomberg that Paul Volcker would be a model for the kind of Federal Reserve chairman he would appoint if elected.
- Scott Walker is rolling out his 65-member Iowa leadership team today. It includes more than one-third of the state’s senate Republicans and six state representatives. (Des Moines Register)
- Walker will sign the Milwaukee Bucks arena funding bill, unpopular among movement conservatives, on August 12th at the state fair park. (WITI)
- Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy broke up, the Muppets characters announced on Twitter, part of a play to drum up publicity for a new show on ABC.
–“How the Obama White House runs foreign policy,” by Karen DeYoung: “…it may be too late to change impressions of an [National Security Council] bureaucracy whose size has come to symbolize an overbearing and paranoid White House that insists on controlling even the smallest policy details, often at the expense of timely and effective decisions. When the president has wanted to move swiftly on some of his most ambitious policy initiatives — the opening to Cuba and the early Iran nuclear negotiations — he has circumvented the usual practice for decision-making and kept a close hold within the White House…, the NSC, designed in Harry Truman’s time to coordinate sometimes-conflicting diplomatic and defense views, is still widely seen as the place where policy becomes immobilized by indecision, plodding through months and sometimes years of repetitive White House meetings.”
— New SEC rule “could reveal the huge pay gap between CEO and worker pay,” by Drew Harwell and Jena McGregor: “Thousands of public U.S. companies are likely to soon be forced to share a number many would rather keep under wraps: how much more their chief executives make than their typical rank-and-file employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to finalize on Wednesday a long-delayed rule forcing businesses to share their “pay ratio”… Fifty years ago, the typical chief executive made $20 for every dollar a worker made; now, that gap is more than $300 to $1, and it’s growing.”
— “Chelsea Clinton steps into the spotlight, on her own terms,” by Jessica Contrera: “Today, the woman who could become America’s only two-time first daughter has decided: If the spotlight must always shine on her, she might as well use it in her favor…She isn’t quite a celebrity. Or a philanthropist. Or a politician, though let’s not rule that out. Now serving as vice chair of her family’s foundation, she has reinvented herself as a champion of uncontroversial causes, her life an endless string of grand entrances, polite speeches, photo-ops — after which she retreats to her eight-figure Manhattan condominium, expecting the media and the public to preserve the boundaries she has cherished since childhood.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Real-time monitoring of the field shows that most of the news surrounding the announcement of who got into debate centered on Perry missing the cut and Kasich locking up the final spot. This graph shows mentions of the GOP field between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. Look at how Perry and Kasich get separation from the field:
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
Pictures of the day:
Snakes on a train? A five-foot-long black snake was spotted eating a bird yesterday morning at the Naylor Road stop of Metro’s Green Line (Read WaPo’s story here):
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) wished President Obama a happy birthday on Twitter. “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; be proud & keep doing great work!” he wrote:
First lady Michelle Obama also marked the occasion, tweeting “Happy birthday to a loving husband, wonderful father and my favorite dance partner. 54 looks good on you, @POTUS!”
Tweets of the day:
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Apple CEO Tim Cook to push for more diversity in the technology industry:
As he left the Oval Office, Vice President Biden was asked by reporters if he’s going to run for president. “Only if you’re my running mate,” he quipped to the Wall Street Journal’s Carol E. Lee:
Instagrams of the day:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) started the day by paddle boarding:
Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) wished a happy birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— The New York Times, “Friends of Joe Biden worry a Run for President Could Bruise his Legacy,” by Carl Hulse and Jason Horowitz: “Those supporters, in the White House and the Senate, and within the political circles he has moved in for decades, fear that the legacy Mr. Biden has built as an effective partner who took on tough jobs for President Obama, not to mention the deep reservoir of public good will and sympathy he has amassed in his poignant handling of personal tragedies, could be sacrificed in the pursuit of an unsuccessful challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination…While the concern about Mr. Biden appears widespread among his political allies, few seem eager to tell him out of fear of hurting his feelings and seeming to be presumptuous about a decision that is all too personal.”
— Los Angeles Times, “4 Uber Drivers Cited at LAX Have Serious Criminal Records,” by Laura J. Nelson and Joel Rubin: “The drivers have been convicted of child exploitation, identity theft, manslaughter and driving under the influence, according to court records. Each offense would make them ineligible for a city of Los Angeles taxi permit…The disclosures come as the Los Angeles City Council weighs whether to assert jurisdiction over a new airport permit process that would allow Uber and other app-based ride companies to legally pick up passengers at LAX.”
— Portland Press Herald, “Opponents of Gay Marriage Suffer Another Loss in Bid to Conceal Donors to Maine Campaign,” by Steve Mistler: “The National Organization for Marriage has lost another round in its attempt to hide the identities of donors to a successful 2009 referendum campaign that reversed Maine’s marriage equality law…the Maine Supreme Judicial Court refused the organization’s request for a stay that would have enabled it to delay complying with a state ethics board ruling that it must file a report identifying the sources of the $2 million that NOM gave to the referendum drive…The decision Tuesday sets the stage for NOM to proceed with an appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court.”
BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:
— The Hill, “McConnell eyes fall talks to avert shutdown,” by Alexander Bolton: “Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he would begin negotiations with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown in September. The majority leader vowed there would not be another shutdown on his watch — but it could be difficult to avoid, given the long list of thorny issues he will have to tackle this fall. Funding for the government is set to run out at the end of September, and Democrats and the White House want to increase defense and non-defense spending.”
— Politico, “Iran deal foes spend big, get little so far,” by John Bresnahan and Anna Palmer: “Pro-Israel groups have spent more than $11 million on a TV ad blitz aimed at scuttling President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, but so far they aren’t gaining any ground with House and Senate Democrats. Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, created by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has shelled out more than $11 million since mid-July running ads pressuring lawmakers to vote against the deal when it comes before Congress next month … The group has been running network TV ads in 23 states, spending more than $1 million in California, Florida, New York and Texas, respectively.”
“Yet the CNFI ad blitz doesn’t appear to have moved any Democratic votes at this point. … Just on Tuesday, Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida publicly declared their support for the agreement … New York Reps. Nita Lowey and Steve Israel both came out against Obama’s deal on Tuesday … However, none of the 151 House Democrats who signed on to a May 7 letter to Obama urging a negotiated settlement over Iran’s nuclear weapons program have come out against the P5+1 agreement at this point. Unless the anti-deal forces begin making inroads into that group — which has so far held steady — Congress will not be able to derail the agreement.”
— The Hill, “Senators struggling to reach 11th-hour cyber deal,” by Cory Bennett: “The Senate is on the verge of punting again on a long-stalled cybersecurity bill that supporters say is needed to bolster the nation’s failing digital defenses. According to several people with knowledge of the negotiations, senators are struggling to reach a deal to restrict floor debate and swiftly move the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — intended to boost the sharing of data on hackers between the public and private sectors — before the Senate’s month-long August recess. While Democrats had apparently settled on a list of roughly a dozen amendments as of Tuesday afternoon, Republicans were still working Tuesday evening to determine which amendments they wanted to see the light of day.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Jon Stewart takes a big parting shot at Fox News. From the Huffington Post: “Jon Stewart has [a few] more nights left in the ‘Daily Show’ chair, but on Monday he delivered what may be his parting shot at longtime nemesis, Fox News. The network’s talking heads have called him a ‘tool’ of President Barack Obama, referred to the pair as having a ‘bromance’ and described the comedian as an administration ‘propagandist.’ So where’s the evidence? Instead, Stewart played clip after clip of Fox News hosts over the years gleefully pointing out his many disputes with the administration.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Fifth Planned Parenthood video turns to “intact” fetuses. From The Hill: “A Planned Parenthood official discusses the procurement and cost of ‘intact’ fetuses and altering abortion procedures to meet specific needs in a video released Tuesday … In the fifth of a series of videos from the Center for Medical Progress, a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses contributing to the organization’s ‘diversification of the revenue stream’ and the potential to ‘get creative’ with conditions for procurement needs. The video was reportedly filmed in April at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Marco Rubio holds a meet-and-greet in Cleveland. Martin O’Malley will speak at the opening of his campaign’s new office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hillary Clinton will raise money in Portland, Oregon.
–On the Hill: The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. to resume work on a cybersecurity bill.
–At the White House: President Obama will deliver remarks on the Iran nuclear deal at American University.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m a Catholic, but I’ve used birth control, and not just the rhythm method, okay?” – Chris Christie at a New Hampshire town hall yesterday morning. “My church has a teaching against birth control. Does that make me an awful Catholic…? I don’t think so.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— The Nationals beat the the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-4.
— “We have a good chance to tally our 13th straight 90-degree day at Reagan National today. Yet the lower humidity and nice breeze make for a pretty pleasant day despite the heat. Tomorrow starts nice, too, before shower and storm chances rise late tomorrow and into Friday,” the Capital Weather Gang reports.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Jimmy Fallon poked fun at Donald Trump in a sketch about preparing for the GOP debate:
For President Obama’s 54th birthday, The Hill newspaper documented his increasingly graying hair. Watch the video (“Obama graying through the years”) here.
Speaker Boehner told the Golf Channel why he’s too much of a sinner to run for president: “I smoke cigarettes, I drink red wine… I cut my own grass.” Watch the clip here.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) went skeet shooting with CNN’s S.E. Cupp in Prince George’s County. Watch the package here.
Bobby Jindal did a push-up contest for BuzzFeed at its New York office. Watch the Louisiana governor take on the ghost of his 2009 State of the Union response here.