By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Liz Cheney's race against Sen. Mike Enzi in Wyoming will scramble perceptions and expectations when it comes to primary challenges in the tea party age. That's because it's not clear what Enzi has done to draw a serious GOP primary challenger - and it's not clear what Cheney has done to connect herself to the Wyoming Republican voters who are the only voices that matter here. Cheney will need to play a generational argument, one that connects her to a young crop of Republican senators who ran against the establishment and won: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee. But it's hard for a Cheney to credibly run as a non-establishment figure, particularly when this Cheney is more Virginia than Wyoming. Cheney may have tapped into latent frustration with Enzi, who's the first to admit he's never been a stellar fundraiser. Yet it's also easy to imagine Cheney's candidacy igniting a national base but never really catching on in the nation's least-populous state.
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The nuclear option in the Senate is off the table - for now. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear that Democrats have "damn sure" preserved their right to change filibuster rules again. The first test is likely to come when President Obama nominates a new Homeland Security secretary. While Reid can rightly claim a significant victory this week, has he made it more difficult to make the threat again? Democrats were with their leader this time, but also showed that they have little stomach for going nuclear. The White House may nominate someone who is seen as broadly acceptable. But if not, and a bitter fight ensues the next time around, will Reid be like the boy who cried wolf on the nuclear option?
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
IS IMMIGRATION REFORM THE ANSWER TO A STRONGER ECONOMY? THE BUSH INSTITUTE SAYS 'YES'. Members of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently threatened to reject the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill, but the George W. Bush Institute is making the case that reform is in line with Republican philosophy and good for the U.S. economy. Jim Glassman, the executive director of the Bush Institute, tells Power Players that immigration reform will promote economic growth, saying, "The engine for growth for the U.S. has been immigrants." "President Bush himself, Jeb Bush, President Bush's father, George H. W. Bush … they've been dedicated to having a sensible immigration policy for decades now," Glassman says. "And as far as conservatives in general, you know, most conservatives want growth." The Bush Institute, along with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recently published a study making the case that immigration reform will accelerate economic growth. http://yhoo.it/12G3oCO
HILLARY CLINTON ON TRAYVON MARTIN: 'NO MOTHER, NO FATHER SHOULD HAVE TO FEAR'. Hillary Clinton says that her prayers are with Trayvon Martin's family and that no parent should have to fear for children walking down the street, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. During a speech on Tuesday, Clinton briefly addressed the verdict involving George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012. Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury on Saturday. "In a week that I know has brought heartache - deep, painful heartache - to many across our country, the solidarity and solace you find here is all the more important," Clinton said. "My prayers are with the Martin family and with every family who loves someone who is lost to violence. No mother, no father should ever have to fear for their child walking down a street in the United States of America." Clinton spoke onstage at a massive convention of the African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta before more than 10,000 attendees. The convention has been happening all week in Washington, D.C. http://abcn.ws/18jSqE2
NOTED: Last night, Clinton also talked about long lines in African-American voting precincts, calling for Congress to take up the Voting Rights Act. "The idea that in the 21st century, African Americans would wait in line to vote for 10 hours while whites in the affluent precinct next door waited just 10 minutes, or that African Americans would receive flyers telling them the wrong time and day to exercise their constitutional rights-that is not the America we expect, or the America we want for our children," she said. "I had the great privilege of traveling on your behalf to 112 countries. That is not the America we want to serve as a model for the rest of the world, either," Clinton added
ERIC HOLDER CRITICIZES STAND-YOUR-GROUND LAWS. Attorney General Eric Holder strongly condemned "Stand Your Ground" laws yesterday in a speech that became intensely personal at times and addressed the shooting of Trayvon Martin and Saturday's acquittal of George Zimmerman, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. At the NAACP convention in Orlando, Fla., Holder, the first black attorney general, said of the "Stand Your Ground" laws that it is "time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods." "These laws try to fix something that was never broken," Holder said at the Orange County Convention Center. "There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if - and the 'if' is important - no safe retreat is available. But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely." "By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety," he said. "Stand Your Ground" laws, which have passed in more than 30 states including Florida, allow people to defend themselves with deadly force, rather than retreating from the situation if they feel that they are in danger. http://abcn.ws/191Tzmx
HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama delivers a statement at the White House this morning on the confirmation of Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
FACING OIL GLUT, EXECUTIVES EXPLAIN PAIN AT THE PUMP. The days of $3 gasoline may be gone. That was the takeaway message from oil industry executives and analysts called before Congress to determine why petroleum prices have steadily risen for consumers despite massive increases in domestic production, ABC's MATTHEW LAROTONDA notes. Chris Plaushin of the American Automobile Association, which tracks gas prices, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday that external factors, including hurricanes, overseas unrest and increased demand from countries like China and India meant the current levels were here to stay. "The result of these myriad factors is a 'new normal' where the days of a national pump price below $3 is likely a thing of the past and state and regional price spikes that see retail prices move violently in a span of days are more common," he said. "Consumers are still getting hammered, they're getting hammered today at the pump," committee chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., later retorted, adding that it was happening, "at a time when their newspapers are filled with stories about how there's new oil supplies and the consumer is saying, 'How's it going to get to me?'" http://abcn.ws/16Hjee2
ED MARKEY SWORN IN TO U.S. SENATE. Edward Markey of Massachusetts was sworn in yesterday as the newest member of the U.S. Senate, filling the seat previously occupied by Secretary of State John Kerry, ABC's JEFFREY COOK writes. Markey, a Democrat, served in the House of Representatives for 37 years and defeated Republican Gabriel Gomez in a June special election after President Obama nominated Kerry to become the nation's chief diplomat. Markey took his oath of office Tuesday in the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol building and will fill out the remaining year and a half of Kerry's term. First elected to the House in 1976, Markey has established himself as one of the Democratic Party's leaders regarding energy issues. He was the ranking member of the National Resources Committee and ranked eighth in seniority in the House when he stepped down for the Senate seat. http://abcn.ws/18jmOhA
WHAT WE'RE READING
"CUCCINELLI LOOKS TO GO ON OFFENSE AGAINST MCAULIFFE OVER VIRGINIA ANTI-SODOMY LAW," by the Washington Post's Ben Pershing. "When Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II challenged a federal appeals court ruling that deemed the state's anti-sodomy law unconstitutional, Democrats pounced, accusing the Republican of pursuing an anti-gay agenda. Now Cuccinelli's campaign for governor is looking to turn the tables on opponent Terry McAuliffe, casting it as an issue of protecting children from predators and pushing the Democratic gubernatorial nominee to take a side. Cuccinelli's campaign is launching a Web site Wednesday that shows 90 Virginia sex offenders who have been prosecuted under the state's anti-sodomy law since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sodomy statutes criminalizing sexual activity between consenting adults were unconstitutional. Visitors can enter their Zip code and see 'offenders who live or work near you, who may be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if Ken doesn't win this appeal.' McAuliffe, the site says, is 'playing politics instead of protecting our children.'" http://wapo.st/12w2kxL
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX
-BANKRUPTING AMERICA LAUNCHES 'SPEND IT OR LOSE IT' EFFORT. An announcement from the group, Bankrupting America, a project of Public Notice: "Bankrupting America is launching a new campaign taking a stand against Spend It or Lose It, the broken federal budgeting process that creates incentives for wasteful spending. The campaign will include an online petition calling on Washington to revamp the budgeting process and stop wasting tax dollars by rewarding fiscally irresponsible behavior. … The campaign will run through Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year, and feature web videos, online advertising, social media and additional online interactive components to highlight the problem and urge lawmakers to find solutions." http://bit.ly/18kRbEm
@mollyesque: GOP Gotterdammerung: immigration edition http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/the-immigration-fight-is-the-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-gop/277867/ …
@zbyronwolf: Why Haven't Clinton's helped Chelsea's Mom-in-Law? Once fell on sword for bill - Great read from @laurasgoldman http://nakedphiladelphian.blogspot.com/2013/07/congressional-candidate-snubbed-by.html?m=1 …