By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- PRESIDENT KING? PROBABLY NOT, BUT… : After surveying the field of contenders expected to enter the Republican presidential primary in 2016, Rep. Pete King, an 11-term Republican from Long Island, N.Y., said he is considering running for the country’s highest office, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON reports. “I’m going to certainly give it thought. I’m going to see where it goes,” King said during an interview with ABC News yesterday. “My concern right now is I don’t see anyone at the national level speaking enough on, to me, what’s important – national security, homeland security, counterterrorism.” As King weighs an improbable campaign, he called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “solid candidates,” but said he has been disappointed by the lack of focus on foreign policy by other candidates that are presumed to enter the Republican primary. http://abcn.ws/17ooZQ3
- KING ON THE OTHER GUYS: “I would hope that our party is not defined by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz,” Rep. King said, taking aim at conservative Republican senators from Kentucky and Texas, respectively. “The big debate that Republicans seem to have in the Senate on foreign policy is whether or not, you know, the CIA was going to use a drone to kill an American in Starbucks,” he said. “To me, we should be going beyond that and we should go back to being a party – whether it’s Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush – of having a strong national defense, and that should be, to me, an essential part of the presidential debate. And so far, that’s missing.” King expressed “some mixed feelings” about Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is also thought to be a front runner for the Republican nomination should he enter the race. “The fact, coming from Florida, he voted against the Sandy aid to New York, I know that is a parochial issue, but that was also an issue of life and death for my district,” King said. “For a guy whose state got billions of dollars in the past for hurricane and storm relief to [be] posturing against New York, I thought it was cheap politics.” http://abcn.ws/17ooZQ3
- SPEAKING OF PAUL AND CRUZ: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will hold a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa today. The two Republicans plan to meet with “leaders of the Evangelical, African American and Latino communities,” according to an announcement. Meanwhile, another potential 2016 presidential contender, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., is also in the Hawkeye State to attend the Iowa Republican Party’s summer picnic and speak to a group of evangelical pastors.
- THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: Sunday on “This Week,” we go on the trail to Iowa with Tea Party favorite and potential 2016 candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Three years before the next presidential election, what’s this freshman senator doing in the Hawkeye State? And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with former Obama White House Green Jobs Adviser and co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire” Van Jones, former Bush White House Press Secretary and co-host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five” Dana Perino, and ABC News’ Matthew Dowd, Jonathan Karl, Cokie Roberts, and Pierre Thomas. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Let us stipulate that Rep. Peter King is unlikely to visit Iowa as a possible presidential candidate, much less become an actual candidate. Let us further stipulate that he is even less likely to become the Republican nominee, and even further that no bookie would offer odds on a “President King.” That doesn’t make his public flirtation with 2016 unimportant. The notion of a candidate to push back against the Ted Cruz-Rand Paul vision of foreign policy, and to make that critique explicit, is attractive to a growing coalition of Republicans, some of whom would even consider themselves to be tea partiers. King – or, more likely, someone who fills a similar void – would provide an important point of distinction when it comes to national security and anti-terrorism policies both abroad and domestic. It probably won’t be a Long Island accent to carry that argument forward, but it will undoubtedly be part of the 2016 mix.
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The week is ending in a far different place than it began in Washington: a full slate of President Obama’s stalled nominees have finally been blessed by the Senate. Some sailed through, others squeaked by, but the decks are quickly clearing for the next round of fights. And don’t worry, they’ll be coming. The truce has an expiration date. Not all Republicans are convinced they got a good bargain in the negotiations Sen. John McCain brokered for the party to move beyond Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s nuclear threat. Now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a restless caucus on his hands, with some freshly-inspired by their progress and others disgusted by the compromise.
ABC’s TOM SHINE: Fifty-three percent of those who suffer military sexual assault are men. Brian Lewis, a survivor, will tell Congress today that when he tried to get help from the V.A. he discovered only 12 of 24 V.A. treatment centers for post-traumatic stress disorder treat victims of military sexual trauma and only one accepts male patients. It took Brian six years to get the help he needed. “The Veterans Health Administration fundamentally fails male survivors of military sexual trauma every single day,” he says. Later today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will listen to a panel of survivors tell V.A. horror stories.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CHIEF KAREN MILLS HEADS TO HARVARD. Karen Mills, the outgoing head of the Small Business Administration, is leaving to return to her old stomping grounds: Harvard University, ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE reports. Her first stop in the fall will be as a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics. “It’s a great get for us and we’re looking forward to having her engaged with campus,” Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson said in an interview. “We’re really excited to have her.” It will be a homecoming of sorts for Mills, who is a graduate of Harvard College and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. After spending the fall semester at the Institute of Politics, Mills plans to join the U.S. Competitiveness Project, a research effort at the Business School. At the Kennedy School, Mills will be one of five other fellows, who will be announced in the weeks to come. This spring’s Institute of Politics fellows included former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue; Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook; and former counselor to President George W. Bush, Karen Hughes. Mills plans to leave her post in August, and President Obama has not yet announced who he will nominate to succeed her.
TOO NEGATIVE, TOO SOON: WILL THE LIZ CHENEY STRATEGY PAY OFF? This week Liz Cheney started her Wyoming Senate bid with what some might consider an insult, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. Cheney, a Republican, called her GOP rival, Sen. Mike Enzi, ”just confused” at her very first campaign event. She was referring to Enzi’s contention that she had promised him not to run if he did. An obviously surprised Enzi said after her announcement Tuesday, “I thought we were friends.” The dig is a clear hit at his age: Enzi is 69 while Cheney is 46. But in a Republican vs. Republican match-up, is it the right move to go mean at the starting line? Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist with family ties in the state, says it’s the wrong move. “Going after him and tearing him down will actually splash mud back onto Liz Cheney,” Bonjean said in an interview with ABC News. “It’s bad form and it’s bad politics in a state like Wyoming to go after a senator with high approval ratings in a way that is tearing him down.” Bonjean added, “You want to engage the hug-the-opposition strategy.” By that, Bonjean means Cheney should have employed what some have called the “gold watch strategy,” praising your fellow Republican and hoping they get the hint and move on to greener pastures. http://abcn.ws/12ZADNT
COUNTERPOINT: James King, chairman of the political science department at the University of Wyoming, pointed out that since Liz Cheney is not challenging someone who is an “unpopular incumbent,” she does need to “do something to distinguish herself” and that’s exactly what she’s doing. “She has to make a contrast somehow and obviously she has decided on age and thinking that Wyoming wants someone more confrontational with the Obama administration,” King said.
MCCAIN PLANS BLOCK ON JOINT CHIEFS NOMINATION. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., threatened to place a hold on the re-nomination of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a second term, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports. “Actually, I’m putting a hold on General Dempsey until General Dempsey responds to the legitimate questions that he committed to do,” McCain told reporters after a Senate Armed Services hearing with Dempsey on Thursday. McCain, who backs military intervention in Syria, engaged in a testy exchange with Dempsey as the Arizona senator asked Dempsey whether the U.S. military should intervene in Syria. “I’ve given those views to the president. We’ve given him options. The members of this committee have been briefed on them in a classified setting. We’ve articulated the risk. The decision to use force is the decision of our elected officials,” Dempsey said. http://abcn.ws/1avG2RT
OBAMA TOUTS HEALTH CARE LAW SAVINGS, BLASTS GOP. Kicking off a public push to sell the benefits of “Obamacare” to the American people, President Obama yesterday touted how his signature health care bill is saving Americans money and slammed Republicans who are “rooting for this law to fail,” ABC’s MARY BRUCE reports. “Health care costs have slowed drastically in a lot of areas since we’ve passed the Affordable Care Act,” the president said at a White House ceremony. More than three years after signing the reforms into law, the president urged Republicans “tying to make political hay out of this thing” to give up their fight to repeal the bill. “Despite all the evidence that the law is working the way it was supposed to for middle-class Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted — for nearly the 40th time — to dismantle it. We’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and there’s a lot of work that Congress needs to do… And yet, instead we’re refighting these old battles,” he said, chuckling in disbelief. http://abcn.ws/18qAhaQ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: RICK PERRY SIGNS ABORTION BILL INTO LAW. Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed into law the restrictive abortion bill that initiated State Sen. Wendy Davis’ 11-hour filibuster and ignited the protests of pro-abortion rights advocates across the country, ABC’s JOAN E. GREVE notes. In his remarks before signing the bill, Perry said the new law would prevent “reckless doctors’ performing abortions in horrific conditions” as a part of “our continued commitment to protecting life in the state of Texas.” Abortions in Texas will be prohibited after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The law also enforces surgical center regulations on facilities that perform abortions, which critics say could shut down a majority of Texas’ abortion clinics. “That is reasonable. That is common-sense expectation for those caring for the health and safety of the people in the state of Texas,” Perry said in reference to the higher safety requirements. http://abcn.ws/12P9a0g
JOHN BOEHNER ACKNOWLEDGES ‘TRICKY PATH’ TO IMMIGRATION REFORM. Rejecting the comprehensive approach to immigration reform passed by the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner reiterated yesterday that he will take a “step-by-step” approach in order to achieve “fairness” in immigration reform, especially “for children who came to this country illegally but through no fault of their own.” “The American people have kind of had it with 1,300-page bills that no one’s read,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference Thursday. “Listen, the House is going to do its job, and we’re going to do this in a common-sense, step-by-step way.” Joining with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who supports green cards for young people, Boehner spoke about the need for “basic fairness” when it comes to forging a path to citizenship for children who were brought here as minors with their parents—children who are widely referred to as “DREAMers,” after the DREAM Act legislation. http://abcn.ws/12zmSp8
RAHM EMANUEL STRIPS OFF TIE, DANCES TO ‘BLURRED LINES’. So you think you can dance? Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel apparently does, according to ABC’s JOAN E. GREVE. Emanuel’s recent visit to the annual Taste of Chicago festival was enough to attract attention, but not for what he was eating. Instead, it was his dance moves that are quickly becoming an Internet sensation. A YouTube user called “jwhousto422″ posted a video to YouTube showing the 53-year-old mayor thrusting his hips to Robin Thicke’s popular song, “Blurred Lines,” while taking off his tie and biting his lower lip. Cartoon blogger Josh Fruhlinger tweeted the video, describing it as both “erotic” and “terrifying.” This is not the first time that Emanuel, a former ballet dancer, succumbed to the rhythms of a catchy tune. The Atlantic Wire also unearthed a video of him swaying during Jennifer Hudson’s concert at the Taste in 2012. http://abcn.ws/12PNRf0
WHAT WE’RE READING
“WHY ARE REPUBLICANS SO HAPPY ABOUT A BILL EVERYBODY HATES?” by the National Journal’s Ben Terris. “A sign hangs above the side exit to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office. ‘Full Cry,’ it reads. Nobody would blame the California Republican—who for the past two years has been the majority whip, tasked with counting and corralling Republican votes—if his unwieldy caucus sent him into paroxysms of snot-nosed, throat-catching sobs. They’ve left him short on plenty of votes. But that’s not what the sign means. … In this case, full cry—the whip’s office mantra since the House GOP spent a January weekend reevaluating itself in Virginia—comes from the genteel world of foxhunting. When a hound picks up the scent of its prey, a hunter will let out such a cry, sending his team of dogs all galloping together after the same soon-to-be-bloodied prize. You can see how it appeals to House leadership. Last week, the House Republicans achieved an elusive Full Cry moment. After being embarrassed in June when it failed to pass a comprehensive farm bill that dealt with food stamps and agricultural programs, the GOP put on the floor an agriculture-only version of the bill that stripped out the food-stamp component that traditionally accounts for 80 percent of the legislation’s outlays. The decision was universally opposed: Conservative groups like Heritage Action told members to vote against it, the most powerful farm lobby group issued statements opposing it, and Democrats spent hours accusing the GOP of putting rich agribusiness ahead of poor people in need. When the bill passed with only GOP support, McCarthy says it was one of his biggest accomplishments of the year.” http://bit.ly/15sk6nJ
@RealClearScott: @CHueyBurnsRCP & I look at the wingding of @amyklobuchar being first 2016 Dem to visit Iowa. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/19/klobuchars_iowa_visit_a_test_drive_for_2016_119289.html …
@chriswilsondc: Let’s use Celsius today