Murray Asked Koch Industries for Donation

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), head of the Senate Democratic campaign effort, apparently left a voice mail for the president of Koch Industries asking for a donation. The company is owned by billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch.

Koch president Philip Ellender wrote back: “I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.”

Markets See Little Chance U.S. Government Defaults

Despite the chance the U.S. government could default on its financial obligations if a deal to raise the debt ceiling isn’t reached by August 2, Credit Writedowns notes that investors are currently lending the federal government money for free — 0.000% interest — for Treasury bills that mature two days after the drop dead date.

Bloomberg to Officiate at Gay Wedding

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “who delivered speeches, held fund-raisers and lobbied lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, will now punctuate his official advocacy with an unusually personal gesture: by presiding over the marriage of two top City Hall aides at Gracie Mansion,” the New York Times reports.

“The marriage is scheduled for July 24, a month to the day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the same-sex marriage bill into law.”

Rubio Book Deal Coming?

“Word in Miami political circles is that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  is inking a book deal, and the senator’s office isn’t quite denying it,” the Miami Herald reports.

“Chances are, Rubio’s in for a good million if there’s a deal in the works. But that’s pure speculation based on the way the national news media, tea-party types and Republican candidates covet his endorsement or even his spot as a v.p. candidate in the coming presidential elections.”


Schmidt Faces Ethics Investigation

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), “who has been accused of accepting thousands of dollars in free legal services from a Turkish-American group,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“If a formal investigation finds wrongdoing, Schmidt could face reprimand, censure or expulsion. If the office decides to dismiss the case, however, it could do so without ever saying anything publicly.”

Murdoch Shuts Down Newspaper

As the mounting scandal at the British tabloid News of the World threatened to bring his company’s reputation to a new low, Rupert Murdoch went into damage-control mode and announced the publication would shutdown this weekend, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast highlights the top 10 scandals at Murdoch’s News Corp.

Why Republicans Won’t Compromise

Nate Silver: “The Republican Party is dependent, to an extent unprecedented in recent political history, on a single ideological group. That group, of course, is conservatives. It isn’t a bad thing to be in favor with conservatives: by some definitions they make up about 40 percent of voters. But the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘conservative’ are growing closer and closer to being synonyms; fewer and fewer nonconservatives vote Republican, and fewer and fewer Republican voters are not conservative.”

“Republicans are still fairly unpopular — only about 40 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the party, which is barely better than their standing in 2006 or 2008 (although Democrats have become significantly less popular since then). As long as conservative Republicans are much more likely to vote than anyone else, the party can fare well despite that unpopularity, as it obviously did in 2010. But it means that Republican members of Congress have a mandate to remain steadfast to the conservatives who are responsible for electing them.”

Word of the Day

Inspired by the debt ceiling negotiations: “triangulation.”

“Multiple senior House Democratic aides tell TPM that caucus members were caught off guard by news stories about President Obama’s push for deeper deficit and spending reductions — and particularly about the White House’s willingness to cut Social Security as part of a grand bargain to raise the debt limit.”

Romney’s Aggressive Strategy to Manage the Press

Matt Lewis notes that Mitt Romney’s reinvention as a more casual everyman candidate is anything but casual.

“Every detail — from the ubiquitous references of discount retail giants Wal-Mart and Target to sporting a pickup truck at fundraisers — has been meticulously choreographed for the ex-venture capitalist so eager to shed the perception he’s too slick, too stiff and too phony.”

Trump Suggests He Could Re-Enter the Race

Donald Trump tells the Christian Science Monitor that “it will be an easy decision” to re-enter the presidential race “if the Republicans choose the wrong candidate and if the economy is bad.”

But this is priceless: “If ‘The Donald’ feels the time is right to get back in the race, look for him to make the announcement on the next season of his reality TV show The Apprentice — his primetime soapbox.”

Can Bachmann Win?

Jonathan Chait: “Many reporters have noted that a one-on-one matchup between Romney and Bachmann is Romney’s dream scenario. That’s true — it’s his best chance to have the establishment rally behind him. I haven’t seen them mention that it’s also Bachmann’s dream scenario — she gets to face off against an establishment candidate totally unacceptable to large segments of the party base.”

The biggest threat to Bachmann: If Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets into the race.

The Myth of the Independent Voter

Alan Abramowitz dispels the idea that independent voters are the largest segment of the American electorate and will decide the 2012 election.

“Research by political scientists on the American electorate has consistently found that the large majority of self-identified independents are ‘closet partisans’ who think and vote much like other partisans. Independent Democrats and independent Republicans have little in common. Moreover, independents with no party preference have a lower rate of turnout than those who lean toward a party and typically make up less than 10% of the electorate. Finally, independents don’t necessarily determine the outcomes of presidential elections; in fact, in all three closely contested presidential elections since 1972, the candidate backed by most independent voters lost.”

Debt Limit Deal May Be Close

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told House Republicans that the chances of congressional leaders and President Obama reaching a tentative debt-ceiling deal within 48 hours are “maybe 50-50,” according to National Journal.

“That prognosis from Boehner was relayed by several House Republicans as they left a morning briefing with the speaker — and later confirmed by a GOP leadership aide.”

Said Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “I get the impression that it’s better than 50-50. It will be agreed upon in the next 48 hours; if not, it won’t be for a long time.”

Who Benefits from Stalemate on Immigration Reform?

Mark Halperin: “Democrats, already dominant with the rising tide of Hispanic voters, stand to gain in the 2012 election and could lock in many Latinos to long-term party allegiance. Hispanics aren’t a monolithic bloc, but they are heavily aligned with the Democratic perspective, especially over a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are here now. So far, the GOP has bowed to the fervent anti-illegal-immigration sentiment in the conservative grass roots. No one has stepped up to replace George W. Bush or John McCain as a strong proponent of broad legal changes.”

Obama Almost Put Up for Adoption as Child

Out next week: The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father by Sally Jacobs.

The Boston Globe reports the book claims that Barack Obama Sr., according to immigration records, discussed putting his son up for adoption.



Majority Want No Changes in Benefits

A new Pew Research poll finds 60% of Americans say “it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are; only about half as many (32%) say it is more important to take steps to reduce the budget deficit.”

Snowe Teams Up with DeMint

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), possibly facing a tough primary challenge next year, has co-written a Wall Street Journal op-ed with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on the need for a balanced budget amendment.

As First Read notes, “the substance of this op-ed is much less significant than the fact that Snowe — worried about a Tea Party challenge — got DeMint to do this.”

Majority of White House Staffers Got Raises Last Year

Gawker notes that “of the 270 White House staffers who have been there for more than a year, 146 — or 54% — received raises. The average salary increase was 8%. If you look at only staffers who got raises, the average increase was twice that.”

“That’s a much bigger raise than the average white-collar worker got. According to a survey conducted last year by the human resources consulting firm Mercer, most firms were projecting a 3% increase in base pay for executives. White House workers did nearly three times as well.”

Republican Fundraising Off to a Slow Start

Bloomberg reports the Republican field of presidential candidates “is lagging behind the fundraising pace of both Democratic and Republican contenders at the start of the 2008 campaign.”

“The message from the first round of Republican disclosures for the 2012 cycle is that unlike prior campaigns, when candidates strove to post big numbers early to intimidate rivals, the early reports provide evidence of weakness.”

First Read: “The Republican presidential fundraising reports are still coming in, but a clear winner has already emerged: Barack Obama. Whoever claims the GOP nomination is going to find it close to impossible to keep pace with the president’s fundraising juggernaut.””

The GOP’s Case Against Taxes

Ezra Klein: “The bottom line is that the Republican Party’s opposition to taxes is no longer based on any recognizable economic theory and appears impervious to all efforts to design taxes that respect the policy reasons that conservative economists have traditionally given for resisting tax increases. A lot of people have hypothesized that Ryan, in being more policy-oriented than many members of his party, is more aware of the need for higher taxes than many members of his party. What we’ve learned in recent months is that that isn’t true: He’s just better at developing complicated rationales that make increasingly extreme positions sound like garden-variety policy points.”

Quote of the Day

“I swear every time Mitt Romney opens his mouth I think he’s running against me.”

— Rush Limbaugh, speaking on his talk radio show, criticizing Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney for “running against the Tea Party.”

Movement Seen in Debt Limit Talks

Congressional leaders meet with President Obama at the White House later this morning to discuss a deal to cut spending, raise revenues and increase the nation’s debt limit.

Washington Post: “President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue… Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.”

Wall Street Journal: “In a sign that both sides see the opportunity for a fundamental revamp of the U.S. budget, Messrs. Obama and Boehner have recently discussed an option that includes tying a deficit package to a broad tax overhaul, people familiar with the talks say.”

New York Times: “The intensifying negotiations between the president and the speaker have Congressional Democrats growing anxious, worried they will be asked to accept a deal that is too heavily tilted toward Republican efforts and produces too little new revenue relative to the magnitude of the cuts.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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