First, Do No Harm

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • ABC's HELP VS. HARM INDEX: The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll tested whether people see any of a dozen institutions as more helpful to their best interests, more harmful or not much of an influence either way. The results, according to ABC's GARY LANGER provide fresh evidence that primary concerns are local; small is beautiful, at least in business; and Congress is, well, just plain unpopular. FULL RESULTS:
  • SMALL BUSINESSES EASILY WIN TOP CREDIT: A broad 72 percent see them as more helpful to their interests, vs. just 5 percent more harmful - a net positive of 67 percentage points, far and away the best score. Half "strongly" think small businesses are helpful, double the next closest in intensity of sentiment.
  • GOING LOCAL: Forty-nine percent see the local news media in their area as helpful, 15 percent as harmful - a 34-point net positive score, albeit with 35 percent reporting no impact (vs. 21 percent for small businesses). "The local government where you live" lands a 19-point net positive score - 38 percent say it helps them, 19 percent say it hurts.
  • CONGRESS GETS THE GONG: Partisans on both sides can easily see something there to dislike. Seventeen percent of Americans see Congress as more helpful to their best interests, while 44 percent see it as more harmful - a 27-point net negative rating. Ratings drop in terms of national institutions, with net scores of a scant +3 points for the Democratic Party and +1 for the national news media; -5 for the Obama administration and the federal government overall, and -9- to -11 for the Republican Party, Wall Street and large business corporations.



WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS NEW BENGHAZI EMAIL. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday sought to defend a newly released email from a White House communications adviser, prepping then-U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for her round of interviews about the Benghazi attack, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. "This document was not about Benghazi," Carney told ABC's JONATHAN KARL. "It is often forgotten that during that time period there was an enormous amount of attention and focus, appropriately, on the fact that there were protesters, sometimes violent protesters, surrounding U.S. embassies, causing us to draw down personnel at those embassies, causing great concern, understandably, about the safety of American personnel at other diplomatic facilities around the Muslim world. And that was a focus of a great deal of press attention, and thus would be, as the promos indicate, one of the areas of focus of those Sunday shows."

5 REASONS WHY RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE IS GOING NOWHERE FOR NOW. The latest blow to President Obama's domestic agenda came yesterday when the Senate failed to advance a measure that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10. With a vote of 54-42, Senate Republicans shelved one of the key initiatives the president urged Congress to pass in his state of the Union address this year. ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ takes a look at five things that stand in the way of a $10.10 federal minimum wage right now:

BILL CLINTON ACCUSES POLITICAL PRESS OF BLINDNESS. Former President Bill Clinton joined his wife Hillary Clinton yesterday in criticizing the press for the way it covers politics, with the former president arguing that the press "borders on blindness" when the facts don't conform to a particular story line, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and LIZ KREUTZ note. Bill Clinton made his comments yesterday at a lecture he gave at Georgetown University. Hillary Clinton made her remarks last week at the University of Connecticut. "One of the problems is if a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline," Clinton said at the beginning of a lecture he gave on policy at his alma mater. "And then once people settle on the story line, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, everything that happens into the story line, even if it's not the story."

NOTED: HILLARY GETS A STANDING OVATION AT BILL'S SPEECH. Bill Clinton was the headliner, but it was his wife Hillary Clinton who got a standing ovation in Washington yesterday. Hillary Clinton seemed to surprise the crowd when she entered the hall, receiving a rousing reception from the audience that included a standing ovation. Bill Clinton got a laugh when he mentioned his wife and possible 2016 presidential candidate at the top of his remarks. "I want to thank Hillary for coming with me today. It's been a long time," Clinton said, stopping for a moment for loud cheers. "She hasn't had to sit through one of these in ages."

HARRY REID SLAMS REDSKINS OWNER, NFL OVER TEAM'S NAME. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted the NFL and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for not changing the name of the football team, saying the league should follow the example set by the NBA in its handling of LA Clippers' owner Donald Sterling's racist comments, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. "Commissioner Silver and the NBA leadership have set the standard for how professional sports organization should act in the face of racism," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor. "How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its team bears the name that inflicts so much pain for Native Americans?" "It is untoward of Daniel Snyder to try to hide behind tradition. Tradition? That's what he says in refusing to change the name of the team," Reid said. "Tradition? What tradition? A tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake."

DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR STEPPING DOWN. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has announced that he is stepping down later this year, according to ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ. Flynn has run the Defense Department's intelligence agency for almost two years and was slated to be in the post for an additional year. He will continue to head the agency until the early fall. Known as an innovator in intelligence collection and analysis, Flynn instituted changes at the DIA intended to transform the agency's methods and which may have come into conflict with the rest of the intelligence community. In a joint message to the DIA workforce released Wednesday Flynn and his deputy, David Shedd, announced that both would retire from their DIA post. A DIA spokesperson said Shedd's retirement had been long expected.

WHY ONE FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WANTS TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. In his first appearance in front of Capitol Hill lawmakers in nearly 30 years, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens made a pitch yesterday for a new amendment to the Constitution, ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN notes. "Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns," Stevens said in front of a Senate Rules Committee. The amendment is a proposal he had included in his book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution," published earlier this month. But the former justice, who retired from the court in 2010, argued his amendment is even more necessary in the wake of the recent McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

CUOMO CRITICIZED FOR SEEKING TECH ADVICE FROM GOOGLE'S ERIC SCHMIDT. Looking for advice on how to spend $2 billion for schoolhouse technology, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned to one of the men who built Google into a global colossus, according to ABC's JOSH MARGOLIN. Now critics are asking whether it's appropriate for Eric Schmidt, the tech company's executive chairman, to be recommending projects that his company could well benefit from. "It's a flat-out conflict," said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog. "Google is getting its top people into places they can throw around some influence." Cuomo announced earlier this month that Schmidt would be the only tech expert on a three-person advisory panel - the Smart Schools Commission - charged with helping the governor's administration spend the cash to be raised through a bond issue on the November ballot.


MICHELLE OBAMA BINGE WATCHES MILITARY HOMECOMING VIDEOS TOO. We all know military homecoming videos can be addicting, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY notes. Once you start, you sort of can't stop. Neither can First Lady Michelle Obama, who admitted yesterday at a Joining Forces event at the American Red Cross that she binge-watches military homecoming videos. "I don't know about you, but I could watch those videos all day," she said. "These scenes tug at our heartstrings … but these heartfelt moments raise so many questions and so many concerns: What happens after the cameras are turned off? What's next for those families?"


CRACKING THE 'CONFIDENCE CODE': WHY MEN OFTEN OUTPERFORM WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. Despite major strides in recent decades, women have yet to attain full equality in the professional world. And evidence presented in a new book by a pair of powerful female journalists suggests that the biggest factor holding women back isn't lack of competence. The culprit is a lack of confidence. "There actually is a confidence gap, there's science behind this," BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay told ABC's SUSAN SAULNY. Kay and ABC News' Claire Shipman are the co-authors of "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance." WATCH:


@JessicaTaylor: Over next 2 months, we'll either be writing about the Tea Party's downfall or its resurgence. My @thehill column …

@stevenportnoy: The 28th Amendment? Schumer promises a vote to add limits on campaign cash to the constitution.

@CapehartJ: What Donald Sterling did right on race.

@AaronBlakeWP: Q poll of FL: Jeb 27, Rand 14, Rubio 11, Christie 7, Cruz-Huck-Ryan 6

@daveweigel: Rick Scott's disgraced former Lt. Gov. is writing a tell-all, due a few months before election. …

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