By RICK KLEIN ( @rickklein )
History shall record that, three years from the next presidential election, a freshman senator announced that she will not be part of said next election.
What Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced is basically what Sen. Barack Obama said in the months after his election to Congress. ("I pledge to serve out my term," said Warren on Wednesday. "I will serve out my full six-year term," said Obama, once upon a time.)
That's not to dismiss the meaning of what Warren said, from either direction you might approach it for potential import.
To handle the big headline first - a pledge is a pledge, and that's more than a promise, but breaking one is a one-day hit with a potential four-or-eight-year payoff. (Perhaps Warren should have added an asterisk anyway: "as long as Hillary runs…")
More urgently, the fact that Warren felt compelled to declare her non-interest in 2016 has implications for both the long-term Obama agenda and the short-term efforts to get a budget deal that would foreclose another shutdown.
Warren represents an element of the Democratic Party that remains disappointed, if not angry. The space she occupies is space this president and the next Democratic nominee for president need to be comfortable in.
President Obama's speech Wednesday, casting income inequality - five years into his own presidency - as "a fundamental threat to the American dream," was at least an implicit response to the energy that's building on his left.
And it comes at a moment with policy consequences: There's a real and growing chance that a budget deal of some (limited) consequence emerges in the next week-plus. It cannot go any further than Paul Ryan and Patty Murray's offices without the support, and perhaps the enthusiastic support, of congressional Democrats.
For her part, Warren's pledge on Wednesday included a promise to continue to fight for the causes and issues she holds dear. She won't be fighting alone.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Gov. Chris Christie leaves today for his first trip to fundraise as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and Democrats are pouncing. He heads today to Oklahoma to fundraise for Gov. Mary Fallin, and Friday he will be in Idaho raising money for Gov. Butch Otter. Fallin has been a controversial figure more recently, announcing last month the state would stop processing all military spouse benefit applications at state-owned facilities of the Oklahoma National Guard rather than begin accepting applications from same-sex spouses. The Democratic National Committee has released a web video trying to align Christie and Fallin highlighting Christie's comments at the RGA last month that electing and re-electing GOP governors is "priority one, two, and three," as well as his "sole focus." It also reminds viewers of Fallin's move on spousal benefits, but also that she has called the DREAM Act "amnesty." Just yesterday, Democratic Super PAC American Bridge put out its own video comparing Christie to Rep. Steve King on the issue of immigration. One thing that is clear: Democrats may have seemed to back off during his re-election fight, but not now. WATCH HERE: http://bit.ly/1iCjUNq
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
MEET THE 'DUCK DYNASTY' CONGRESSMAN. The newest House member, Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., talks to ABC's JEFF ZELENY about his first trip to Washington (which came after he was elected), and what the support of the "Duck Dynasty" family meant for his prospects. "I think it validated me a little bit more and gave people a little bit more, people that are already swayed to me, it just really just told them you know what, he must be a pretty good old boy if Fred and Willie and Jeb and Jason are all behind him," McAllister said in the latest edition of "The Fine Print," the ABC/Yahoo! News "Power Players" series. As for what he's looking to do in DC: "Until we have the numbers in the Senate or a different president it's never going to be repealed," he said. "The way to move government forward is, you don't always get what you want, but you take the cards that you're dealt with and you play the best hand you got." http://yhoo.it/19j2YBY
COMING TODAY - ENERGY ANNOUNCEMENT. Per the ASSOCIATED PRESS: "Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Obama says the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs. Obama was set to announce the plan Thursday as part of his wide-ranging, second-term drive to combat climate change and prepare for its effects."
BECAUSE THIS ALWAYS WORKS. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid still sees hope for an immigration bill to pass the House, telling a local newspaper on Tuesday that he thinks House Speaker John Boehner is "going to cave in." Reid told the Las Vegas Sun editorial board Tuesday. "I think there's going to be so much pressure on the House that they'll have to pass it," ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. Boehner, last month: "There are a lot of private conversations that are underway to try to figure out, how do we best move on a common-sense, step-by-step basis to address this very important issue … because it is a very important issue." http://abcn.ws/18EKCAO
WHAT WILL BROWN DO? Only he knows for sure, writes ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, who had a brief e-mail exchange with the once-and-maybe-future senator. Scott Brown made another appearance in New Hampshire on Wednesday, visiting with potential voters in Londonderry. It's just the latest event on his Will He-Won't He Run for U.S. Senate tour in the Granite State. So will he? According to the Eagle-Tribune, Brown visited the Harold Square restaurant, which sounds like a stop on the campaign trail. But, in an e-mail to ABC News, Brown would only say, "Nothing has changed. I'm all set. Thanks for checking," signing it with an "SB," and then following up with a YouTube video of his daughter, recording artist and former American Idol contestant Ayla Brown singing "O Holy Night." http://abcn.ws/1bin5TN
NEW TODAY FROM THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Two new ads from the Chamber begin airing today in West Virginia, as the business group plays offense before the calendar flips to 2014. The ads hype two Republicans, Senate candidate Shelley Moore Capito and House candidate Even Jenkins, who will challenge Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, promoting them for "standing up" to President Obama's so-called "war on coal."
The Moore ad: http://youtu.be/qgImNxKv8eY
The Jenkins ad: http://youtu.be/NCj-A7rlp88
BOTTOMS UP. As the first secretary of state to visit Moldova since James Baker, Secretary of State John Kerry toured a winery and sampled its wares, unveiling a new label that will adorn Moldovan wines sold abroad. He announced a trade mission that will send Moldova wine-makers to the U.S. to learn about the American wine market. Why does Kerry care so much about Moldovan wine? The answer has to do with Europe, Russia and protests raging right now in Ukraine. ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes that roughly 290 miles north of Moldova's capital, Chisinau - where Kerry visited with Moldova's president and where he sipped wine on Tuesday - protesters have seized parts of Kiev to protest Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an agreement with the EU. Kerry, notably, chose to visit Moldova instead of Ukraine. http://abcn.ws/1bj95tU
BAD DOG, GREAT PICS. The newest member of the Obama family got a little rambunctious as she stepped into the spotlight Wednesday. Sunny, the Obama's new puppy, joined the first lady this afternoon for some holiday arts and crafts with the children of military families, ABC's MARY BRUCE writes. Bounding with excitement, Sunny got a bit too frisky at one point and knocked Ashtyn Gardner, 2, of Mobile, Ala., to the ground. The first lady gasped and immediately helped the toddler to her feet. Dressed in a bright-red dress with a big black bow, Ashtyn appeared to be fine. The first lady then introduced her to Sunny, who moments later playfully licked Ashtyn's face. http://abcn.ws/1cnuxOM
WHAT WE'RE READING
"Republicans tussle over gay candidates," by POLITICO's AUSTIN WRIGHT and JAKE SHERMAN. "Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party's gay congressional candidates. Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn't back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks." http://politi.co/1bj0WBo
"Biden Faults China on Foreign Press Crackdown," by THE NEW YORK TIMES' MARK LANDLER. "Innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences," Vice President Biden declared. http://nyti.ms/1eYK5ZB
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
"How to Avoid Twitter's Pitfalls (For Political Types)," by ABC's ANNETA KONSTANTINIDES. http://abcn.ws/1cZgnS9
"Local ballet school's 'Nutcracker' at American University tripped up by Chris Matthews' Obama interview," per the WASHINGTON POST's RELIABLE SOURCE. http://wapo.st/1iCc4Dl
@ThePlumLineGS: Wonder if stories about Ds on offense on Ocare will get anywhere near the attention the fake ones about Ds running from it did