THE BIG IDEA:
NASHVILLE—Ted Cruz refrains from publicly attacking his GOP rivals in the presidential race, most notably Donald Trump, invoking the 11th commandment to not speak ill of other Republicans.
His father Rafael, an ordained minister who keeps an aggressive travel schedule speaking to conservative groups, apparently does not feel quite the same way. And it was Rafael who spoke to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies here Sunday, the morning after their convention voted to recommend its members support Ted’s campaign. (Harry Reid’s 2010 challenger, Sharron Angle, is the organization’s president).
In a 45-minute talk, the 76-year-old criticized his son’s leading rivals for inconsistencies on immigration, abortion and education. He decried the Supreme Court for “calling homosexuality a civil right,” accused the Republican Party of “relegating God to the basement” for the sake of “inclusion,” and defended Ted against questions from conservative birthers.
“The battle is not November of 2016. The battle is the primary,” Cruz said during a prayer breakfast, conveying apologies from his son that he was not able to make it. “Stop listening to their rhetoric and start looking at their record. Jesus put it this way: You shall know them by their fruit. It’s about time we do some fruit checking.”
Cruz senior, wearing a pinstripe suit and raising his hand in praise as the crowd sang “Amazing Grace,” zeroed in on the 10 Republicans who appeared on the main stage for the Fox News debate.
“I personally know there were at least three on that stage that, even though they tell you they’re against amnesty, they’ve been promoting amnesty for years,” he said, not naming names. “There were at least three on that stage that say they’re against Common Core, but they’ve been promoting Common Core for years and years and years. They tell you they’re pro-life. One of them, I’ve seen a video of this candidate where he starts by saying, ‘I’m pro-life but the decision is between a woman and her doctor.’ If the decision is ‘between a woman and her doctor,’ you are pro-abortion. You’re not pro-life.”
That last point is an unmistakable knock on Scott Walker for his campaign ad last fall, aired in Wisconsin during a tough reelection race, defending a law that required mandatory ultrasounds before women could obtain abortions. Walker recently defended the spot, saying he was only making the point that the bill ultimately left the decision to a woman and her doctor.
During the run-up to the primaries, as Sen. Cruz makes a hard play for evangelicals, his dad is an asset. He has spoken at more than 100 pastors’ conferences over the past two years. The native of Cuba (who fought for Fidel Castro in his youth) recounts his own inspiring personal story about finding Christ, defeating alcoholism and returning to his wife and son after abandoning them. He will publish a book by the end of this year on the role that pastors played in the American Revolution. “The Bible is quite clear on who we have to elect,” he said Sunday.
But during a general election, Cruz senior’s history of bombastic rhetoric could become a serious liability.
Cruz senior complained that 38 million evangelicals sat out the 2012 presidential election. “We get what we deserve,” he said. “Don’t come with these platitudes that God put Obama in power. God didn’t put Obama in power — we the church did that by sitting on our rear ends in our pews singing Alleluia.”
Rafael sounded like a public figure from a bygone era as he attacked the June Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. “I think the Devil overplayed his hand this time,” he said. “They’re calling homosexuality a civil right. The next obvious step is that they’re going to come to your church and demand to be hired!”
After blaming a 1962 Supreme Court decision banning prayer in public schools for leading to skyrocketing teen pregnancy and violent crime the following year, he predicted that the same-sex marriage ruling has been a “catalyst” for social conservatives. “It’s becoming the spark to wake up the sleeping giant,” he said.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— The U.S. government is working on a package of “unprecedented” economic sanctions aimed at Chinese companies and individuals in retaliation for cybertheft of state secrets, according to the Post’s Ellen Nakashima (her story is leading the front page). Although the government hasn’t decided whether to implement them, the “final call” will be made in the next two weeks. It would represent a “significant expansion” of the public response to what officials say is theft of “everything from nuclear power plant designs to search engine source code to confidential negotiating positions of energy companies.” The sanctions could come at a “particularly sensitive” time for both countries as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Washington next month on an official state visit.
— China and Russia are aggressively capitalizing on recent hacks to target U.S. spies. The Los Angeles Times this morning quotes American officials accusing the two governments of “aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases — including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms — to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents.” Three alarming nuggets from the story:
- “At least one clandestine network of American engineers and scientists who provide technical assistance to U.S. undercover operatives and agents overseas has been compromised as a result, according to two U.S. officials.”
- “U.S. intelligence officials have seen evidence that China’s Ministry of State Security has combined medical data snatched in January from health insurance giant Anthem [records on 80 million people!], passenger records stripped from United Airlines servers in May and the OPM security clearance files.”
- “According to U.S. officials, Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin infiltrated the State Department’s unclassified email system for several months last fall. Russian hackers also stole gigabytes of customer data from several U.S. banks and financial companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., last year.”
— Scott Walker attacks Jeb Bush as soft on Iran in a fresh web video. The 60-second video is built around a clip of the former Florida governor saying that he’s not going to rip up the Iran nuclear agreement on his first day in office. Then Walker is shown promising that he will rip it up on day one. “Unlike others, I don’t need months or years to mull this over,” he says. Watch here.
GET SMART FAST:
- The Federal Reserve intends to stick to its plan of raising interest rates before the end of the year, despite massive turmoil in the markets last week, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz blocked a resolution praising President Obama and the Iran nuclear accord at the Democratic National Convention this weekend. DWS is from a heavily Jewish district and faces heavy pressure to oppose the deal (she hasn’t announced how she’ll vote so far).
- Over the weekend in Nashville, Trump pledged to “get rid of gangs” and empower the police, pointing to some “some bad apples” who “get shown on television.”
- Statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson were removed from the “main mall” at the University of Texas at Austin on Sunday.
- Yale’s president asked students and alumni to begin a conversation about whether the university should rename Calhoun College, named after white supremacist John C. Calhoun (who graduated in 1804 and became vice president). (Yale Daily News)
- ISIS blew up yet another historic temple at the Palmyra ruins in Syria.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dealt a major blow to the lawsuit against NSA data collection, ruling that plaintiff Larry Klayman has not proved that his own phone records were collected and thus has not proved he has standing to sue.
- Egypt, which has been without a parliament since 2012, will hold parliamentary elections on Oct. 18-19.
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Obama will this week become the first sitting president to visit Arctic Alaska, highlighting climate change amid criticism of his decision to allow drilling off the state’s coastline. Today Obama will change the name of Mount McKinley, the continent’s highest peak, to Mount Denali, something demanded by Natives.
- Scott Walker says it’s a “legitimate issue” to consider building a wall along the Canadian-U.S. border.
- Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley became the 31st senator to announce support for the Iran nuclear deal yesterday.
- Larry Kudlow, the conservative economist, has told national Republicans that he will challenge Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal if he supports the Iran deal. (Roll Call)
- Bill Clinton warmed up a crowd of 150 for his wife at an East Hamptons fundraiser last night.
- Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at the Sussex Democratic Jamboree in Delaware over the weekend.
- Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s wife of 50 years filed for divorce, saying “their marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown” and asking a court to give her sole ownership of all property they acquired during their marriage. Her filing says they’ve been separated since January, and her attorney says that he intends to take a deposition from the Republican on November 20. (AL.com)
- Three top Jeb Bush fundraisers abruptly parted ways with his presidential campaign Friday, amid what Politico describes as “internal personality conflicts and questions about the strength of his candidacy.”
- New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen formally and unsurprisingly got behind Hillary.
- David Axelrod, who knows a little about Democratic politics, told The Atlantic that he thinks Hillary is going to be nominee. “I think panic is the operative mode for the Democratic Party,” he told Molly Ball. “I think it’s indisputable she’s had a rocky few months. But if you look at her support among Democrats, and the resources she brings, she’s still very strong.”
- In his entire life, Pope Francis has never set foot in the United States, the AP notes in a curtain-raiser on his Sept. 22 visit.
- With his popularity sagging, the Kremlin released pictures of Vladimir Putin working out in the gym. (Reuters)
— “What happened to Scott Walker?” by Dan Balz and Jenna Johnson: “Walker backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who — in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races — continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following. These supporters say what is needed now is a return to basics, a more disciplined focus on the issues Walker long has championed in Wisconsin. They say there also needs to be a clear acknowledgment inside the campaign that the governor has yet to put to rest questions about his readiness to handle the problems and unexpected challenges that confront every president.”
— “Crowds flock to Georgia to pay tribute to cancer-stricken Jimmy Carter,” by David Weigel: “The cars and SUVs and RVs began lining up outside Maranatha Baptist Church early Saturday evening. Jimmy Carter, a Maranatha parishioner and the 39th president of the United States, was due to teach Sunday school the next morning…His first post-cancer lesson drew nearly 1,000 people to a church built for a few hundred…Cynthia Alfont, a 47-year-old immigrant from the Philippines, flew from California to Knoxville, Tenn., then drove six hours straight to Plains. Georges Kabongo-Mubalamate, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, flew from his job in Maine then drove three hours from Atlanta. Kent Schroeder, 62, packed his sister and mother into his SUV and drove the hard 14 hours from Illinois…Many Plains pilgrims said they vote Republican but admire Carter. It would be a different country, they said, if more Democrats were like him.”
— “Iran’s post-sanctions windfall may not benefit Hamas,” by William Booth: “In the congressional battle being waged over the Iran nuclear deal, critics point to a likely windfall of cash and weapons that could flow from Tehran to terror groups, including the Islamist militant movement Hamas…Yet assertions that Hamas will benefit from the Iran deal are far from certain. Hamas is officially on the outs with Iran — and has been for several years. Whether a newly ascendant Iran, flush with petrodollars and free from economic sanctions, would bring Hamas back into its orbit as a client sub-state is one of the great unanswered questions bedeviling military analysts and intelligence agencies in the Middle East.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: During an 11-minute speech for the ages at the MTV Video Music Awards last night, Kanye West declared his intention to run for president–in 2020. His impact on the political conversation was immediate. In the six hours following Kanye’s speech, there were 278,775 tweets mentioning Donald Trump. Of those, 149,683 also mentioned West–more than 53 percent. Two consummate show men. Maybe The Donald could put him on the ticket? Here’s a word cloud visualization of the talk about Trump during that window, via our analytics partners at Zignal Labs:
–Pictures of the day:
President George W. Bush took selfies with high school students in New Orleans, where he visited to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:
“Behind me is the NSA,” tweeted Rand Paul from the campaign trail. “When I’m President we’ll turn it into a Constitutional Center to study the Fourth Amendment!”:
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), indicted last month on charges of misuse of funds, shared an old photo of the late Michael Jackson visiting the Capitol:
A Ted Cruz barbecue in New Hampshire featured a Simpsons cake, much to his delight (if you haven’t seen Cruz’s video of Simpsons impressions, watch it here):
— Tweets of the day:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) celebrated his 79th birthday:
Thanks for the kind birthday wishes! Casey Stengel was right: “If I’d known I’d live so long, I would’ve taken better care of myself”
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 29, 2015
Democrats remembered Emmett Till, a black teenager killed after apparently flirting with a white woman, on the 60th anniversary of his death:
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted a roadkill joke after visiting Mallard, Iowa:
“Ducked” into Mallard on my way back from NW Iowa. assume duck not alive. https://t.co/tXHwuLkhZJ
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 28, 2015
Former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) slammed Sarah Palin and Trump: “If these two were any more full of themselves they’d be Russian nesting dolls,” he wrote.
–Instagrams of the day:
The Post’s Robert Costa caught Rick Santorum horsing around backstage at HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher:
Ben Carson enjoyed a moment of quiet on a flight:
Georgetown welcomed the class of 2019 to campus:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— Tampa Bay Times, “Jeb Bush touts consensus-builder style, but many point to discordant Florida record,” by Adam C. Smith: “His style is my way or the highway,” said former Florida House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, a Republican who supported most of Bush’s agenda but is undecided for 2016. “The whole time I worked with him, he never listened to me or anybody else in the process. If Mitch McConnell and John Boehner think they’re going to have a great relationship with President Jeb Bush, they better watch out.” Former Republican state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, who several times opposed pieces of Bush’s agenda, recalled little appetite for compromise or negotiation from the governor: “If you don’t agree with him on something, there is no making it better. It’s my way or hit the highway.” Notably, Jeb never had to govern with a divided government…
— Boston Globe, “Even in college, Donald Trump was brash,” by Matt Viser: “His former classmates said he seemed a student who spoke up a lot but rarely shined in class, who barely participated in campus activities, shunned fraternity parties, and spent most of his spare time pursuing his dream: using his advantages as the son of a prominent New York real estate developer to get an early start on the business career that would make him very, very rich…Trump rented an apartment close to campus in a four-story row house that a fellow tenant remembers being infested with cockroaches…He drove a green Ford Fairlane convertible, and had a fondness for fried oysters from an off-campus Howard Johnson’s. He stuck out by carrying a briefcase on campus while most students toted books under their arms.”
— The Economist, “Horrific tragedy reinforces Europe’s escalating migration crisis:“ “On August 28th, Austrian police said they had found 71 dead migrants in a refrigerated lorry…Beyond its immediate horror, the discovery highlights two worrying developments in Europe’s migrant crisis. The first is the increasing sophistication of people-smuggling organisations within Europe…A second, related development is the use of private vehicles to circumvent police and border officials who have stepped up their checks of buses and trains along well-trodden migration routes…Both developments stem from the same problem that leads to migrants being tear-gassed at Greece’s border with Macedonia, or occupying filthy camps in Calais: the clash between the wish of many asylum-seekers to reach particular parts of Europe and governments’ jealous preservation of their own national migration and asylum policies.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Clerk asks SCOTUS for permission to deny gay marriage licenses. From Talking Points Memo: “The Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June now is asking the Court to intervene in her case. Rowan County Chief Clerk Kim Davis’ lawyers filed an emergency appeal late Friday asking the Court to grant “asylum for her conscience” and allow her to continue to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples … Davis, an avowed Christian, has a religious objection to issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Texas deputy killed ‘because he wore a uniform,’ sheriff says. From the New York Times: “A 30-year-old Houston man was arrested Saturday in the fatal shooting the night before of a sheriff’s deputy who was filling the gas tank of his patrol car. At a news conference Saturday afternoon, the Harris County sheriff, Ron Hickman, identified the gunman as Shannon J. Miles and said that he had been arrested on capital murder charges … Deputy Goforth ‘was a target because he wore a uniform,’ the sheriff said.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: The State Department is going to release 6,106 pages of Hillary’s emails today. Ted Cruz will hold events in Milford, Concord and Manchester, N.H. Marco Rubio will rally in Reno, Nevada. Rand Paul will attend a GOP event in Essex, Vt. John Kasich will attend the Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security National Security Forum in Southfield, Mich. Mike Huckabee will campaign in Tipton, Vinton and Tama, Iowa. Bobby Jindal will hold events in Storm Lake and Sheldon, Iowa. Rick Santorum campaigns in Albia, Centerville, Newton and Waukee, Iowa.
–On the Hill: Both chambers are in recess.
–At the White House: President Obama travels to Anchorage to participate in a roundtable with Alaska natives and address a conference on Arctic climate change.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“This feels like 2008 all over again,” said Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer, reflecting on her fresh numbers that suggest Hillary Clinton is not inevitable after all. (See the full GOP results here and the Democratic results here).
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— “Much like yesterday, cloudiness may cap our heat potential today,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “Those clouds could also deliver some raindrops. This is likely fairly isolated around here if it occurs. Nothing too heavy, and most spots might see nothing…Highs head mainly toward a range in the mid-80s to near 90.”
–The Nationals “roar back” to beat the Miami Marlins, 7-4.
–Kirk Cousin’s performance in the Redskin’s 31-13 win at Baltimore this weekend has stirred up a now perennial quarterback controversy.
— The Aug. 6 Metro derailment happened after a technician disregarded a rail defect found by a track-inspection machine several weeks before the accident occurred, according to a report issued Friday. (Paul Duggan)
— Marvin Mandel died yesterday at 95. The former governor who dominated Maryland’s political landscape in the 1970s after succeeding Spiro Agnew and is remembered not only for modernizing and streamlining the state government but also for a racketeering conviction that was overturned on appeal, had heart ailments. Read Bart Barnes’ obituary here.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
President George W. Bush danced during his New Orleans visit:
President Obama toured the Faubourg Lafitte neighborhood in New Orleans: