Perhaps it’s out of deference to the 41st president that it’s not broccoli but asparagus currently having aspersions cast upon it. While Republicans were eating budget spinach they’ll be digesting all year, Kathleen Sebelius’ vegetables tasted like a pretty bad Website. Hillary Clinton would have preferred rotten tomatoes, surely, to what actually came her way. And Iowa Senate candidates are focused on … meatier matters, while the favorite congressman of “Duck Dynasty” stars would much prefer a clean plate right now.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the stories your ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:
Attorney General Eric Holder ignited a conversation around race this week, when he clashed with GOP House members and then told Al Sharpton’s group that he and President Obama are being unfairly targeted by political opponents. Suddenly, everyone is talking about race and politics, from John Boehner and Louie Gohmert to Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton – even Hank Aaron. The debate peels back the curtain on a long-obscured aspect of the Obama era, with implications for the White House-Capitol Hill relationship and decades-long struggles around civil and voting rights. Who will throw the next match into this tinder box?
The first big batch of competitive primaries comes in May. With Congress going on a two-week recess, this is the time to see which – if any – of this year’s batch of tea party challengers is for real. A flurry of ads from outside groups is supporting Chris McDaniel’s challenge against Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who is perhaps the most endangered incumbent in primaries this year. But then came a blazing fastball: Audio surfaced from McDaniel’s days as a radio talk show host, where he called Mexican women “mamacitas” and said he’d boycott taxes and move to Mexico rather than pay reparations to the descendants of former slaves. The signal? The establishment is awake, and tea partiers in places including Kentucky, Kansas, South Carolina, and Georgia have narrowing windows to make their marks.
It’s time to cue another will-she-or-won’t-she speculation. No, not Hillary this time – it’s Elizabeth Warren’s turn. Her new memoir, “A Fighting Chance,” will be released April 22, and the run-up will revive talk on the left of who if anyone will represent the left in the Democratic field in 2016. Warren has repeatedly ruled out a run, but a campaign-year book mixing autobiography with policy has a way of making people skeptical about such assurances. As Warren begins to make the campaign rounds for the midterms, expect the buzz to get louder.
Republicans’ long search for a consensus alternative to Obamacare is taking a new and unexpected turn. It looks like a partnership could be developing between two of the biggest names in GOP politics – one a House member, one a senator, and both with possible presidential ambitions. Aides to both men confirm that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are having discussions about a joint health care proposal they could introduce in the coming weeks. Ryan and Rubio have collaborated a few times in the past, but on nothing as high-profile as a replacement for Obamacare. A Ryan-Rubio bill could quickly become the de facto GOP alternative – and provide a target for other 2016ers to distinguish themselves by way of contrast.
Tuesday marks the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, with a memorial service to be attended by Vice President Joe Biden among a long list of luminaries. It will revive difficult memories as well as proud ones, with a city’s persistence in the spotlight. Plus, a series of reports finalized in time for the anniversary have highlighted steps that still need to be taken around public safety. And there’s the issue of US-Russia relations – always a hot topic of other reasons –in the news again as we look back on Boston a year later.