By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- ‘ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?’ Hillary Clinton is thankful that she followed her instincts throughout her career, rising above the doubts and negativity, she writes in a newly released excerpt from her book “Hard Choices,” according to ABC’s DAN GOOD. “I’m eternally grateful that I was born to loving and supportive parents in a country that offered me every opportunity and blessing – factors beyond my control that set the stage for the life I’ve led and the values and faith I’ve embraced,” Clinton wrote in the book’s author’s note, which publisher Simon & Schuster shared with ABC News. “When I chose to leave a career as a young lawyer in Washington to move to Arkansas to marry Bill and start a family, my friends asked, ‘Are you out of your mind?’ I heard similar questions when I took on health care reform as first lady, ran for office myself, and accepted President Barack Obama’s offer to represent our country as Secretary of State.” http://abcn.ws/1lOFD0B
- WHAT’S IN A TITLE? Clinton says she considered numerous titles for the book, with Washington Post reader suggestions giving her some ideas. “My favorite was ‘The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It’s Still All About My Hair,’” she wrote. The excerpt comes before the book’s June 9 release, as well as a sit-down interview with ABC’s DIANE SAWYER. http://abcn.ws/1lOFD0B
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Will the nation’s oldest member of Congress become the first incumbent to lose a primary in 2014? That’s the question in the Dallas suburbs today, when 91-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall faces down a challenger who is pushing 50 but is barely half his age. John Ratliffe is attacking Hall as an unreliable conservative, and even suggesting that voters should be concerned about Hall’s age. If he succeeds, it will be a statement on how hard tea party energy, once unleashed, is to control: Among those offering effusive praise for Hall in the final days of the campaign was … Sen. Ted Cruz.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Last week Democratic Senate candidates Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, Natalie Tennant of West Virginia, and Michelle Nunn of Georgia all called for Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation. Those three plus one time Republican, now Democrat, candidate for Florida governor Charlie Crist reveal the slow drip, drip, drip. The question this week is not only what candidates will join the call for Shinseki to step down, but what Democratic sitting Senators, including those running for re-election do as well. The scandal is not going anywhere and at some point soon, even this week, we could see more of the dominoes fall. Of course, it’s much easier for candidates running in red states to send out a press release than a sitting Senator who needs to work with the White House, not in some future–and only possible–time, but now.
14 FOR 14: THE MIDTERM MINUTE
KELLY AYOTTE TO ENDORSE SCOTT BROWN. Today U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is endorsing New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown in Ayotte’s hometown of Nashua N.H., ABC’s MICHAEL FALCONE reports .”After serving with Scott, I know first-hand that he is a proven leader who will listen to your concerns to find commonsense solutions to reduce our debt, repeal Obamacare, and make sure the next generation enjoys a bright future filled with opportunities for success,” Ayotte writes in an e-mail message to supporters. “With 35 years serving in the Army National Guard and a strong record in the Senate, Scott wants what’s best for our state and country.” The endorsement event takes place at 2:30 PM at Norton’s Classic Café on Main Street in Nashua.
THE TEXAS RUN-OFF: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. WHO’S ON THE BALLOT? From a CIA agent fighting to clinch a hotly contested GOP congressional nomination to an Obama-hating Democrat hoping to topple GOP Sen. John Cornyn, a cast of colorful characters are on the ballot. Plus, the oldest member of Congress, the only WWII veteran left on the Hill, is fighting for his congressional life. Here’s a primer from ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY and ARLETTE SAENZ:
TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: A NASTY RACE GETS NASTIER. With neither candidate securing more than half the vote in a four-way March primary, the Texas lieutenant governor’s race culminates in a runoff tonight between David Dewhurst, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2003, and state Sen. Dan Patrick. WHY IT MATTERS: Texas voters might hand Dewhurst his second stinging runoff defeat in as many years. In 2012, Dewhurst was considered the hands down favorite to win the Texas Senate race until a little known Tea Partier named Ted Cruz swooped in and bucked the establishment pick. Out went the idea of U.S. Senator Dewhurst and in came U.S. Senator Cruz. It just might happen again as Dewhurst was forced into a runoff by Patrick, a conservative radio host who secured 41% of the votes in the March primary while Dewhurst trailed behind at 28%. The primary race turned nasty in recent weeks after Jerry Patterson, a former opponent and current Dewhurst supporter, leaked some of Patrick’s private medical records, which documented time he spent in psychiatric hospitals thirty years ago. (And who can forget the Dewhurst campaign’s spoof of “Let It Go” from the Disney hit “Frozen”?)
TEXAS SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REPUBLICAN RUNOFF: OVER THE HILL OR ON IT? Call it a generational contest. U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, 48, is fighting to unseat 91-year-old incumbent Rep. Ralph Hall, the House’s oldest serving member to date. Hall, who has already served 17 terms, promises the next term would be his last. But Ratcliffe, critical of Hall’s approach to the national debt, says he just couldn’t risk waiting another two years – and though he swears he’s not making Hall’s age an issue, Ratcliffe’s “Next Generation” ad certainly seems suggestive. WHY IT MATTERS: This is hardly your typical tea-party-versus-establishment-Republican race. Both candidates are positioning themselves as “true conservatives” — and both have garnered support from influential Tea Party groups. With Ratcliffe’s fundraising now outpacing Hall’s, this promises to be the 91-year-old’s toughest race yet.
WHO’S VOTING AND WHEN? Registered voters can cast their ballot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. (Since part of the state is in mountain time, all the polls in the state will be closed by 9 p.m. eastern.)
OBAMA VOWS TO CHILDREN OF FALLEN VETS, ‘YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE’. Just hours after returning from his surprise trip to Afghanistan to honor troops overseas, President Obama yesterday honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice, ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL reports. Speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, following a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Obama spoke of heroes “known and unknown” who are buried at “this holy space.” “The fallen patriots we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion. Not so we might mourn them, but we do. Not so that our nation might honor their sacrifice, although it does. They gave their lives so that we might live ours, so a daughter might grow up to pursue her dreams, so that a wife might be able to live a long life free and secure,” he said. “Everything that we hold precious in this country was made possible by those who gave their all. And because of them our nation is strong, safer and will always remain a shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world,” the president said. http://abcn.ws/1jS8nsk
U.S. LAGGING IN ‘SACRED OBLIGATION’ TO CARE FOR VETERANS, BIDEN SAYS. Welcoming veterans to his home on Memorial Day, Vice President Joe Biden told them that the U.S. is “behind” in caring for its soldiers and that problems at the Veterans Affairs Administration must be addressed, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. “That is a sacred obligation, and we’re behind right now,” Biden said. “The VA is having problems, and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.” Biden referenced recent expansions of VA eligibility, such as the Obama administration’s move in 2010 to change VA rules and pay new claims to vets who were exposed to the Agent Orange herbicide used by the U.S. military in Vietnam, but he said that’s no reason for other failures to be tolerated. “This is a long-term commitment this nation has to make, so it seems to me on this day we as Americans have to recommit ourselves not just with words but with deeds,” Biden said. It was a brief reference to the simmering VA scandal at an otherwise bittersweet and happy event: The VP and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, welcomed a group of vets to their home at the U.S. Naval Observatory in northwest D.C. to kick off the sixth annual Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge, a six-day, 350-mile bike ride from the Bidens’ home to Virginia Beach. http://abcn.ws/1olZCd2
HILLARY CLINTON MARCHES IN CHAPPAQUA MEMORIAL DAY PARADE. Hillary Clinton was spotted Monday marching in Chappaqua, N.Y.’s annual New Castle Memorial Day Parade, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ notes. Decked out in a navy blue pantsuit, American flag scarf, straw hat and dark shades, the former secretary of state marched in her hometown’s parade alongside residents and other local politicians, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino. Following the parade, Clinton mingled and took photos -even a selfie- with those in attendance, according to Journal News reporter, Terence Corcoran. The Clintons have lived in Chappaqua for nearly 15 years and the annual Memorial Day parade is a favorite activity of Hillary Clinton’s, and one she must attend — no matter what. http://abcn.ws/1ra3L5S
@GovernorOMalley: I love that as governor of MD I can still play street music in Annapolis.
@mattyglesias: The real reason Silicon Valley can’t win on the Hill: http://www.vox.com/2014/5/27/5752946/lobbying-and-policy-change-explains-why-silicon-valley-cant-win …
@SalenaZitoTrib: ….there is a wave out here building that is big, strong and fed up & it is about to change Washington as we know it http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/25/voters_seek_middle_want_results_122745.html#ixzz32jjrmpTu …
@MarcACaputo: Marco Rubio to U.S. Chamber: Your Cuba trip is ‘misguided,’ propaganda for Castro regime http://bit.ly/1ksYZv6