It's choosing time: Did primary voters in Virginia deliver an earthquake or a tornado? Would you rather have a steak with Eric Cantor or a drink with Rick Perry? Is a race for House leadership more "House of Cards" or "Election"? Who would Hillary Clinton rather face -- more interviewers from NPR, or from Fox News?
Here's a glimpse of some of the stories your ABC News political team will be covering in the week ahead:
Eric Cantor's stunning defeat is emboldening tea party groups to invest more heavily in Republican primaries -- and prompting GOP establishment forces to respond in kind. The next front is Mississippi, where the air war is heating up in advance of the June 24 runoff pitting Sen. Thad Cochran against tea partier Chris McDaniel. The lesson that everyone is potentially vulnerable, in an environment where even the House majority leader could go down, isn't lost on many members of Congress, even though primary season is already well under way. And the GOP tent will be pitched in one place by the end of the week, at the aptly named "Road to Majority" conference in Washington sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Speakers from Chris Christie and Marco Rubio to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul get to offer their take on the best path forward for a splintered GOP.
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Meet Kevin McCarthy, the affable former deli owner who hangs out with Kevin Spacey and Arnold Schwarzenegger and, remarkably, seems to have locked up the House majority leader's slot without much of a fight. The whip's job he's vacating, though, will be the subject of all the jockeying when the House Republican Conference holds its leadership election on Thursday, a meeting necessitated by Eric Cantor's decision to leave his post early as the House's No. 2. Tea partiers will want a seat at the leadership table, while House Speaker John Boehner will be looking for a majority whip who won't use any of his or her tools against him. The only voters are the 233 House Republicans, and the election combines some of the best and worst aspects of papal conclaves and student council races. The ballots are secret except to a select few, so expect deals and counter-deals, all predicated on rivalries based on who sits with whom at lunch -- or at party fundraisers.
There's a new Iraq war debate building in Washington. The growing crisis in Iraq is putting pressure on the Obama White House to authorize U.S.-led airstrikes -- in the country, of course, where President Obama has proudly proclaimed his end to a war he never supported in the first place. It plays into a broader critique of American foreign policy, with the U.S. in danger of losing progress made at hotspots that are heating up anew across the globe. Concerns are growing in Washington as criticism over the president's decision to trade Guantanamo Bay detainees for the only American POW of the wars in Afghanistan in Iraq.
Comprehensive immigration reform was the biggest loser of the week that doesn't rhyme with Meric Schmanter. The White House may not publicly accept that reality, but they will feel its consequences: Pressure will mount on President Obama to ease immigration enforcement policies, now that the legislative path is blocked. Meanwhile, a flood of unaccompanied children who are streaming over the U.S. border with Mexico is putting a new twist on a stale policy debate. Even as political urgency fades, a humanitarian crisis builds -- and the two become intertwined quickly.
The debut of "Hard Choices" has brought some hard questioning, or at least some hard-to-explain answers. Hillary Clinton's first week out touting her memoir produced headlines on her personal wealth, foreign-policy disappointments -- and even a testy exchange on gay marriage with an NPR (!) host. Tuesday brings another rare television event -- a pair of evening exchanges with Clinton, on two different cable networks, one of which happens to be Fox News. Early reviews suggest Clinton was a bit rusty after so many years on (what qualifies for her as) the political sidelines.