By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- POLL: ‘POLITICAL PERIL’ FOR POTUS: Challenges across the policy spectrum are keeping Barack Obama in political peril, with the public divided on initiatives ranging from Senate-supported immigration reform to Obama’s signature health care law, ABC’s GARY LANGER notes. As he readies a new pitch on economic growth, the president’s job approval rating has slipped below 50 percent for the first time since September in ABC News-Washington Post polls. Even with a recovery in consumer sentiment, just 45 percent approve specifically of his handling of the economy, and 60 percent say the country’s headed seriously off on the wrong track. NEW POLL: http://abcn.ws/18x4C4p
- IMMIGRATION AMBIVALENCE: Today’s poll shows that Americans divide essentially evenly, 46-44 percent, on the Obama-supported, Senate-passed immigration reform law, with strong critics well outnumbering strong supporters. Reflecting the view of House Republican leaders, more support breaking the bill into pieces for further consideration rather than a single up-or-down vote, 53-32 percent. Views on the Senate bill seem to reflect the fact that it’s got something for partisans on both sides to dislike – particularly Republicans, just 29 percent of whom support the measure, vs. half of independents and 55 percent of Democrats. Ambivalence produced by the disparate elements of the Senate bill shows through in this result: On one hand, 66 percent of Hispanics support the measure. On the other, even Hispanics divide on whether the bill should be handled piecemeal or as a whole.
- PARTISANSHIP RUNS HIGH ON HEALTH CARE: Just 42 percent of Americans support Obamacare, 3 points from the fewest in ABC/Post polls since mid-2009, while 49 percent oppose it. Strong opposition exceeds strong support by 14 points, near the average. Partisanship continues to run high on the law, and tellingly, its support among Democrats, 58 percent, fails to approach the 72 percent opposition among Republicans. Americans divide by 51-45 percent on the administration’s decision to delay the part of the law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage or pay a fine.
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: There’s a big uh-oh for backers of comprehensive immigration reform in the new ABC News-Washington Post poll. Only 32 percent of respondents want a single sweeping measure, while 53 percent want smaller pieces. That’s the House Republican talking point rather exactly, and watch for this fact to be cited a bit more than the poll result showing a bare majority in support of the Senate-passed bill. For House Republicans, this is a way to capitalize on mistrust of Washington – mistrust they have played into, of course, but now are trying to play against. One big dynamic that’s changed in the last few weeks: The idea that sheer momentum, or shame, would force the House to take up the Senate immigration bill is gone.
ABC’s GARY LANGER: Whatever President Obama’s challenges, today’s ABC News-Washington Post poll finds that Republicans are hardly rejoicing: They’re far more critical of their own party’s leadership than are Democrats of theirs, with 52 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – a new high by a substantial margin – saying the GOP’s going astray. And Congress, for its part, manages just a 21 percent approval rating – up by 5 points since March to more than a two-year high, but still dismal by any measure. Part of the public’s grouchy political sentiment may reflect an expressed desire for greater comity than Washington customarily exhibits; 68 percent say it’s more important for political leaders to cooperate on important issues than for them to stick with their positions (26 percent). http://abcn.ws/18x4C4p
ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE: Yesterday, Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate in Georgia — a traditionally red state where Democrats see changing demographics as a potential opportunity to pick-up a senate seat. In an announcement e-mail, Nunn, a ninth-generation Georgian, describes her father as an “independent-minded statesman” who “taught me the value of hard work.” Besides her father, the only other politician she mentions by name is former President George H.W. Bush. (An Atlanta-based community service organization she helped start merged with Bush’s Points of Light Foundation). The tone of the e-mail (she leaves out her party affiliation) reflects both Nunn’s opportunity and challenge in the race. She’s not going to win by tacking left. And her words aren’t particularly surprising given what she’s running for and where.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
CAN CANADIAN-BORN TED CRUZ ON HIS PRESIDENTIAL ELIGIBILITY. Sen. Ted Cruz had never won an election before Texans elected him to the Senate last year, but already the Republican’s travel schedule looks more like that of a presidential candidate than one for a freshman lawmaker, with stops in key battleground states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida. Politics Confidential’s JONATHAN KARL joined Cruz on a recent trip to Iowa — his first visit to the state, in fact — where he insisted that he isn’t looking ahead to the next presidential election in 2016. One controversy surrounding a potential Cruz presidential bid is his eligibility. So-called “birthers” argued that Barack Obama was ineligible to be president, because they incorrectly asserted that he was not born in the United States and did not meet the Constitutional requirement for a president to be a “natural born” citizen. Cruz was born in Canada, not the United States. But he was born a U.S. citizen, because of his mother’s U.S. citizenship. “My mother was born in Wilmington, Del.,” Cruz said. “So, I’m a U.S. citizen by birth.” Cruz said he would not “engage in a legal debate” about the topic. “The facts are clear, I can tell you where I was born and who my parents were,” Cruz said. “And then as a legal matter, others can worry about that. I’m not going to engage.” http://yhoo.it/15EBLst
OBAMA TELLS SUPPORTERS ‘I’M GOING TO NEED YOUR HELP’. Rallying his most dedicated supporters, President Obama asked his activist organization last night to “keep the momentum going” and back his second-term agenda, as he launches a new economic campaign, ABC’s MARY BRUCE reports. “We’ve got to get folks activated and involved,” Obama told Organizing for Action volunteers at their summit. “Winning is good,” Obama told the non-profit group that promotes his agenda. “But you run for office and you win so that you can actually get things done. It’s the beginning and not the end of a process.” The rallying cry comes as the president readies to kick off several months of speeches aimed at reframing the economic debate, ahead of key negotiations with Capitol Hill this fall. “Naturally, it’s not going to be as full of razzmatazz as a campaign. First of all, we don’t have a billion of dollars to spend,” he said to laughter. “Nevertheless, in some ways this stuff is more important.” The president plans to kick off this effort with a speech Wednesday at Knox College in his home state of Illinois, the site of his first major economic address as a senator in 2005. http://abcn.ws/162Cvr2
TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama meets with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to discuss the administration’s effort to pass immigration reform. In the afternoon, he honors the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Louisville Cardinals at the White House. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza in New Orleans. While the speech is intended to focus on the fight against childhood obesity and her LetsMove campaign, ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes, it is also an opportunity for her to weigh in on the immigration debate.
DREAMERS TELL REPUBLICAN HOUSE: THAT’S NOT OUR DREAM. House Republicans today begin an effort to carve comprehensive immigration reform into little pieces, ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL and JIM AVILA report. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to address the immigration status of undocumented immigrant children, known as DREAMers. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have been crafting a bill, expected to be called the Kids Act, to offer a path to citizenship only to children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents — a move critics said would separate families by sending parents home and only addresses a fraction of the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. Cantor, R-Va., the second-highest-ranking Republican in the House and a Tea Party leader, said last week at a GOP press conference the only path to citizenship he favors is the one for DREAMers, as “it’s an issue of decency, of compassion.” DREAMers, however, reject the Kids Act or any similar legislation because it is not expected to include a pathway to citizenship for the remaining undocumented individuals currently in the country, including their parents. http://abcn.ws/161uTaJ
JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN LAYS OUT MILITARY OPTIONS FOR SYRIA. In a letter to Congress, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has laid out in unclassified fashion the U.S. military’s options for Syria that have been presented to the White House for consideration, ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ notes. He also cautioned about unintended consequences of U.S. military action. “Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next,” he said. “Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.” The options and Dempsey’s concerns for U.S. military options in Syria are contained in a letter he sent Friday to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who had requested an unclassified assessment of potential options for Syria. During Thursday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dempsey and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, had a tense exchange, during which McCain said Dempsey had not provided the committee with adequate information about U.S. military options in Syria. At the hearing, Committee Chairman Levin asked Dempsey to provide an assessment about U.S. military options. Following the hearing, McCain told reporters that he would place a hold on Dempsey’s nomination to serve another two-year term as the nation’s top military officer unless he received more information from Dempsey. http://abcn.ws/17ztK9z
U.S. LAWMAKERS WELCOME ROYAL BABY. When the news broke that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and Prince William were celebrating the birth of a royal baby boy, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives began reacting on Twitter, sending a range of well-wishes out to the royal couple, but also tweeting name suggestions and lamenting the debt each baby born in the United States incurs at birth, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON notes. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., was first to take to Twitter to send congratulatory wishes to the royals. “Congratulations to Will and Kate on the birth of their baby boy! #RoyalBaby,” @RepLoisCapss tweeted. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, implored the Prince and Duchess to name the baby boy after him: “Name suggestion to royal couple, ‘Steve,’ @SteveKingIA tweeted. “Just seems to fit a future king:-)” And Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., pointed out that had the royal baby been born in the United States, he’d own a sizable chunk of the national debt, which stands at almost $16.9 trillion, right from birth. “If the #RoyalBaby were born a US citizen, he’d inherit more than $53,340 in debt,” @RepGosar tweeted. http://abcn.ws/11ap6xF
FLASHBACK: RONALD REAGAN CELEBRATES ROYAL BABY. Thirty-one years ago last month, in the White House backyard, an American president and British prime minister celebrated the arrival of a royal baby and heir to the throne, who is now a new father, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER writes. “The Prime Minister has come to us at a particularly auspicious moment: the birth of an heir to the throne of the United Kingdom,” President Ronald Reagan said outside the Oval Office on June 23, 1982. “We have every hope that she will carry back to London our fondest good wishes, those of the American people, Nancy and myself, to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and to their little son,” he said. That son is, of course, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who was born two days earlier on June 21. Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who stood by his side, had just concluded their fourth bilateral summit in as many weeks. STORY AND VIDEO: http://abcn.ws/11aiwY2
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
FUEL INDUSTRY REP HEADS TO THE HILL. Today, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing examining the role of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Charlie Drevna, President of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, will be testifying. Here’s an excerpt of his remarks: “In 2013, we now know that the RFS is a program based upon erroneous market assumptions, obstacles that prevent the safe consumption of ethanol at increasing mandated levels, and many other unintended negative consequences. These critical flaws, in combination with the resurgence of domestic energy production, have led us to one unquestionable conclusion. It is now abundantly clear that the RFS has systemic problems that Congress must address immediately and decisively to avoid severe economic harm to individual consumers and our nation’s economy.”
@RealClearScott: Paul Ryan says he’s thinking about running for president & is heading to Iowa. But enthusiasm for him has faded fast: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/23/paul_ryan_2016_buzz_is_quiet_ahead_of_iowa_visit_119329.html …
@Brendan_Buck: Clearest indication the president’s econ speeches will be a nothingburger is how hard the WH is working to convince people its actually not.
@billburton: For the sake of argument, let’s say Speaker Boehner should be judged on how many laws he repeals — how’s that track record going?