Cruz and Paul in 2013 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

THE BIG IDEA: Ted Cruz’s operatives are quietly reaching out to Rand Paul’s early supporters and endorsers, making the case that the Texas senator is their best bet if they want a Republican nominee who is friendly to libertarians.

Saul Anuzis, the former Michigan GOP chair who is working for Cruz, recently traveled to New Hampshire to meet with Paul backers and make that case, my colleague David Weigel scoops for the 202. The key to his pitch: Paul is floundering and Cruz is viable. Other sources tell me that Cruz is poised to roll out a few endorsements from 2012 supporters of Ron Paul who have held off on signing with Rand.

The Texas senator has a robust network of super PACs, with the hefty backing of hedge-fund magnate Robert Mercer, while the head of Rand’s main super PAC got indicted by the feds last week on 2012-related campaign finance charges. Cruz allies are also circulating recent news reports that highlight organizational problems within Paul’s orbit.

The Kentucky senator, who is simultaneously running for reelection and president in 2016, is struggling to expand his coalition while consolidating the libertarian purists. After spending 2013 as a media darling, he’s drifted out of the conversation and slipped in the polls. A survey released yesterday by Public Policy Polling found Paul getting just 3 percent among likely Iowa caucusgoers, down from 10 percent in April. (Cruz is in sixth place at 9 percent.)

Cruz himself freely acknowledges that he wants to dip into the libertarian bracket. The Texan is on a bus tour this week across the South, with a focus on states with early March primaries. Katie Zezima, on the Cruz beat for The Post, relayed between stops in Tennessee that Cruz is invoking the Fourth Amendment, a Paul favorite, whenever possible.

On Sunday, during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Cruz pivoted twice to libertarian-leaning answers. First, he bragged about being “an original co-sponsor” of Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill. “What the Fed is doing is dangerous,” he said. “They are debasing the currency with QE1, QE2, QE infinity!” Then, asked about databases kept by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to track diversity, Cruz touted his unrelated work “to lead the effort to end the federal government’s bulk collection of phone metadata.”

In contrast to Paul, who brought the Senate to a standstill to force the Patriot Act’s expiration, Cruz supported a compromise bill, which President Obama signed into law. In Iowa this spring, Cruz criticized Paul for making the perfect the enemy of the good. “If you’re a terrorist, we need to track down everything you do and we need to go out and find you and kill you,” Cruz said to cheers Sunday, per Katie. “But, if you’re a law-abiding citizen, the federal government has no business seizing your phone calls or your emails.”

Cruz got relatively short shrift from debate moderators last Thursday, but online polls suggest that he’s since gotten a statistically significant bounce nationally. His campaign says it raised $1.1 million during the 100 hours after the debate from more than 10,000 contributors.

A year ago, it was widely assumed that Paul could count on the very base of support Cruz is now coming after. A spokesman for Rand did not respond to a request for comment about how they’ll respond to Cruz’s play.


Rand in N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

— Preview – Jeb Bush is laying out his foreign policy strategy in a speech tonight at the Reagan library. President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. military forces from Iraq was “premature” and a “fatal error,” he will argue. “What we are facing in ISIS and its ideology is, to borrow a phrase, the focus of evil in the modern world,” he plans to say, according to prepared remarks provided by the campaign. “And civilized nations everywhere, especially those with power, have a duty to oppose and defeat this enemy.”

  • “So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?” Bush will ask. “That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well. … ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat.”
  • “And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge…then joined in claiming credit for its success … then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away,” he will say. “In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once.” Watch the livestream of the Bush speech at 6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern here. The campaign is also releasing a new 1-minute web video on national security this morning. Watch it here.

Marco Rubio will lay out his own strategy for dealing with anti-American regimes on Friday morning during a speech at the Foreign Policy Initiative in New York. The appearance is timed to bracket Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Havana the same day; Florida’s senator will speak about the Obama administration’s “capitulation,” an aide says. Rubio will take questions but focus on Cuba and Iran.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:


Perry on Friday (AP Photo/David Goldman)

— Rick Perry, facing a cash crunch, has stopped paying his staff. “The former Texas governor, who has struggled to gain traction in his second presidential run, has stopped paying staff at the national headquarters in Austin as well as in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina,” the Post’s Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, along with Texas Tribune’s Abby Livingston, report. “Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller told staff last Friday, the day after the first Republican presidential debate, that they would no longer be paid and are free to look for other jobs — and, so far at least, most aides have stuck with Perry — according to this Republican.”

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly came back from a beach weekend with her family, and tackled the controversy with Donald Trump — sort of. She said she had “decided” not to address the personal attacks against her by the businessman post-debate. “I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism,” she said, before decreeing it was time to move on.

In Ferguson, things remained mostly calm overnight, despite a state of emergency declared by St. Louis County authorities. Police arrested dozens of prominent protestors on the anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown, and charged an 18-year black man who was critically wounded by police with assaulting law enforcement officers. Nonetheless, it was a mostly calm day, despite the fact that activists temporarily shut down a major freeway in the area.

GET SMART FAST:

  1. A White House staffer has been placed on leave after she was accused of taking the gun of an off-duty U.S. Capitol Police officer (her boyfriend) and firing it at him during a domestic dispute.
  2. Colorado and New Mexico each declared disasters, and the EPA has stepped up its response to the mining disaster that has put toxins into the Animas River.
  3. Japan switched on a nuclear reactor on the southern island of Kyushu, marking a first, tentative return to nuclear energy following the catastrophic meltdowns at Fukushima four years ago.
  4. A 20-year-old New Jersey man who prosecutors said tried to organize support for the Islamic State was arrested on Monday in Jordan. He allegedly said he wanted to “form a small army.”
  5. The outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx is apparently on the wane. It’s been eight days since the latest recorded case. Twelve have died, and 76 have been hospitalized and released, per USA Today.
  6. “China’s central bank devalued the Yuan, its tightly controlled currency, causing its biggest one-day loss in two decades, as the world’s second-largest economy continues to sputter,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
  7. A spate of attacks across Turkey that targeted security forces and a U.S. consulate killed six people.
  8. Russia’s economy contracted by 4.6 percent in the second quarter, the latest sign of trouble for Vladimir Putin.
  9. Google, one of the best-known brands on the planet, radically restructured itself under the corporate name Alphabet to reflect its far-reaching ambitions.
  10. The Michigan House Speaker has ordered an investigation of two state representatives after The Detroit News reported that one of them sought the help of a state employee to distribute a fictitious email alleging that he had a homosexual affair in order to make allegations of an affair with the other lawmaker look tame by comparison.

POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:

  1. Hillary Rodham Clinton signed a statement over the weekend declaring “under penalty of perjury” that she has turned over to the government all of the e-mails that were federal records. (Rosalind S. Helderman)
  2. Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard professor and democratic theorist, will announced this morning that he will explore a protest bid for the Democratic nomination, the New York Times reports: “If he can raise $1 million in small donations by Labor Day, Mr. Lessig said, he will run.”

  3. Democratic actress Melissa Gilbert, best known for her portrayal of Laura Ingalls Wilder on NBC’s “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s and ‘80s, announced she’ll run for Congress against freshman Republican Mike Bishop, who succeeded Mike Rogers this year. (Detroit Free-Press)
  4. Bernie Sanders has hired a 25-year-old African-American press secretary, Symone Sanders, and she’s now introducing him at events. The move comes after he’s taken heat from Black Lives Matter activists. (David Weigel)
  5. Bernie also officially secured the endorsement of National Nurses United, which represents 185,000 nurses.
  6. “For the second time in 18 months, Chris Christie vetoed a bill in New Jersey that would allow transgendered people to amend their birth certificates without proof that they had undergone a sex-change operation,” per the Bergen Record.
  7. Bobby Jindal said he’s going to start “randomly” mentioning Trump in his stump speech so the media covers him.
  8. Martin O’Malley stepped up his attacks on the Democratic National Committee as being in the tank for Hillary and trying to stifle debate. “If we cut off debate, if we tell the people of New Hampshire that we’ve become such an impoverished party that we can only afford one debate before the New Hampshire primary, what the hell kind of Democratic Party is this?” he asked on Boston Herald radio.
  9. 85 percent of New York City voters believe Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ploy to dramatically limit Uber’s expansion was motivated by the generous contributions he receives from the taxi industry, not concerns about congestion, a Quinnipiac poll finds.

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

How Donald Trump abandoned his father’s middle-class housing empire for luxury building,” by Emily Badger: “Where the son spares no expense, the father counted pennies. Where Donald builds in glass and steel, his father built in brick. Donald has made the family name a synonym for luxury, but the origins of the Trump empire lie in Fred’s decidedly less elite market: the lower-middle class, the outer boroughs, renters. The differences reflect not just the separate eras in which the two men built, but also their diverging ambitions. The younger Trump looked at what his father had created, he wrote in his 1987 book ‘The Art of the Deal,’ and decided he wanted to do something ‘grander, more glamorous, and more exciting.'”

On the heels of the nuclear deal, the next Iran battle is closer than you think,” by Karoun Demirjian: “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) recently issued a threatening prediction, surmising that no matter how Congress ends up voting in September, lawmakers will try to pass an extension of existing Iran sanctions this fall – even if Iran might consider that a breach of the nuclear pact…extending [the Iran Sanctions Act] is no simple matter, as some of the sanctions within it are aimed at punishing Iran’s nuclear aspirations — posing a problem for the entire nuclear deal.”

A Republican consultant tries his hand at a different kind of political theater,” by Maura Judkis: “Cal Chandler’s candidacy is either a political consultant’s greatest challenge or his worst nightmare. Chandler is coasting by on his family name but is clueless about governing. He lies and cheats and breaks the law. But top political consultant Russ Schriefer…decided to take him on anyway, crafting his media campaign, complete with patriotic ads and yard signs…Why haven’t Chandler’s antics vaulted him past Donald Trump as the political spectacle of the month? Because Chandler is the main character in “The Fix,” a musical by John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe opening Tuesday at Signature Theatre.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ: 

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Bernie had a big day in Los Angeles. Sanders dominated the non-Trump mentions Monday, with a big rally in California (17,500 showed up in LA), and locking up the all important Lil B endorsement. Here’s a snapshot from our partners at Zignal Labs of what the day’s media traffic looked like:


As for what they were saying about Bernie on Monday, here were they day’s most popular Sanders tweets:


–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:

Pictures of the day:

Roger Stone, who either quit or was fired by Donald Trump, depending on whose version of events you believe, posted this selfie:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) wore a “Free Brady” t-shirt while taking the ALS Ice Bucket challenge at the statehouse (a reference to Tom Brady’s suspension over Deflate-gate):

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was “thrilled to cross paths with Little Miss Dynamite Brenda Lee,” she tweeted. “She is FABULOUS!”:

Tweets of the day:

Trump suggested he’s reconciled with Fox News:

Then he went after Rand with several tweets:

Trump also remembered Frank Gifford, the former New York Giants player and husband of Kathie Lee Gifford, who died Sunday. “What a couple,” he tweeted:

Meanwhile, Jeb put himself firmly on the side of Megyn Kelly:

Former Obama adviser David Plouffe piled on Chuck Schumer for opposing the Iran deal:

Instagrams of the day:

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) tried Google’s self-driving car. “I was not a believer. But … now I know it works!” he wrote:

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is using the first part of August to work his fields. “Time to cut the winter wheat,” he wrote:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

Reuters, “Hillary Clinton’s shifting rhetoric on coal is a departure from her coal miner roots“: In her 2008 bid for the White House, Hillary Clinton cast herself as a blue-collar Democrat who was unabashedly pro-coal, a stance that helped her beat opponent Barack Obama easily in primaries in states that produced or were reliant on coal…Eight years later, a Reuters review of her recent campaign speeches and policy announcements shows that the great-granddaughter of a Welsh coal miner is now talking about the coal industry in the past tense.”

BuzzFeed News, “The Battle over Warrantless Wiretapping Moves Closer to Supreme Court,” by Hamza Shaban: “There’s a legal battle brewing over your phone’s location data, the private acts it captures, and who — besides you and your carrier — can use it and under what circumstances. And given a recent federal court decision, the Supreme Court may have to decide the victor. In a federal appeals court ruling filed last week, the 4th Circuit declared that phone location data is protected by the Fourth Amendment, which shields citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures…The ruling brings clarity and protection to residents of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas, where police must now seek a warrant…In Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia, prosecutors don’t need a warrant to secure that information.”

New York, “Donald Trump and Roger Ailes make up, sort of,” by Gabriel Sherman: “According to two high-level Fox sources, Ailes’s diplomacy was the result of increasing concern inside Fox News that Trump could damage the network. Immediately following Thursday’s debate, Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails. The chatter on Twitter was equally in Trump’s favor. ‘In the beginning, virtually 100 percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,’ one Fox source, who was briefed on the situation, told me. ‘Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.’ Things got worse for Ailes over the weekend. In a phone conversation, Trump told Sean Hannity that ‘he was never doing Fox again,’ according to one person with knowledge of the call. The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seem to have pushed Ailes to defuse the war. One Fox personality told me that Fox producers gave instructions to tell in-house talent not to bring up Trump’s controversial comments that Kelly had ‘blood coming out of her wherever’ during the debate. According to one count, Fox only aired Trump’s comment once since Friday, while CNN mentioned it at least 50 times.”

— Politico, “Former Rep. Aaron Schock in legal battle with DOJ over records,” by John Bresnahan, Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman: “Former Illinois GOP Rep. Aaron Schock has been locked in a bitter five-month legal battle with the Justice Department over control of thousands of pages of records from his tenure in Congress, including threats to throw him in jail for contempt if he didn’t comply, newly unsealed court documents show.”

HOT ON THE LEFT

Why Pope Francis’s visit poses a challenge to Congress. From the Associated Press: “A political pope is sure to seize his opportunity when he addresses a political body. So both Democrats and Republicans are looking forward to Pope Francis’ remarks to Congress next month – and bracing for them, too. The pope thrills Democrats with his teachings on climate change, social justice and immigration. At the same time, his message on life and the Catholic Church’s traditional opposition to abortion comfort Republicans.”

HOT ON THE RIGHT

Russian warships dock in Iran for war training. From the Washington Free Beacon: “Two Russian warships have docked in northern Iran for a series of naval training exercises with the Islamic Republic, according to Persian-language reports translated by the CIA’s Open Source Center. The two Russian ships docked in Iran’s Anzali port on Sunday and will hold ‘joint naval exercises during the three-day stay of the warships in Iran,’ according to a Persian-language report in Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.”

DAYBOOK:

–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Donald Trump will appear on Fox and Friends around 7 a.m. to discuss his relationship with the network. Later, he will speak at the Genesee and Saginaw Republican Party Lincoln Day Event in Michigan. Ted Cruz, on his bus tour, will campaign in Tupelo and Olive Branch, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Hillary Clinton will attend a town hall in Claremont, New Hampshire, and then a community forum on substance abuse in Keene. Marco Rubio will hold a fundraiser in Long Beach, California. Jeb Bush will hold a fundraiser in Los Angeles before delivering his foreign policy speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Rand Paul will campaign in Manchester, Hooksett and Claremont, New Hampshire, on a five-county tour. John Kasich will hold a town hall meeting in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee will hold events in Manchester, Maquoketa and DeWitt.

–On the Hill: Both chambers are in recess.

–At the White House: President Obama is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There will be actual babies born on Election Day 2016, whose parents haven’t even met yet. So, everyone, pace yourselves.” – Comedian John Oliver explains to his HBO audience why he’s not aggressively covering the presidential race

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

“Today will in all likelihood be our wettest of the week,” the Capitol Weather Gang forecasts, “but this is a two-for-Tuesday sorta deal as we get 1. needed rain to fight the August-to-date deficit and 2. it brings another change toward more comfortable weather for middle to late week. After today’s morning rain/showers and this afternoon’s, possibly severe storms, we favor mostly sunny skies for Wednesday to Friday with low, low humidity and temperatures only in the 80s. Weather perfection is on the way.”

The Nationals started a West Coast swing by “clobbering” the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-3.


Mei Xiang, the female giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, eats breakfast. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

— “Panda pregnancy watch is on at Washington’s National Zoo,” by Michael E. Ruane: “The zoo said it doesn’t know if Mei Xiang is pregnant, because female pandas exhibit signs of pregnancy even when they are not pregnant … But zoo experts have detected the rise in Mei Xiang’s hormone levels that marks the final part of her cycle.”

VIDEO OF THE DAY:

Interns for Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) spoofed the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air theme song:

Donald Trump performed the “Green Acres” theme song at the Emmy Awards in 2006:

Scott Walker took Facebook’s 60-second trivia challenge:

Ted Cruz led a singing of happy birthday for an 88-year-old veteran.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) posted four pictures of herself shot-gunning a beer after Todd Akin won the Missouri Republican primary in 2012.