By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- KERRY — ‘WE’RE OPEN TO DISCUSSIONS’ WITH IRAN: The United States and Iran may find themselves unlikely allies in the fight against Sunni extremists in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated Monday. During an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Kerry said the United States would be willing to work with Iran on ways to stem the progress of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the former al-Qaeda affiliate, as it tears through Iraqi, taking over towns and reportedly executing thousands of Shiites, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. “We’re open to discussions,” Kerry said. “I think we might be open to any constructive process that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country, and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces.” Iran has reportedly offered the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, its military assistance.
- MCCAUL HITS OBAMA: House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, criticized the Obama administration for its deliberate response to the escalating crisis in Iraq, while calling the threat from the extremist group ISIS overrunning the country “one of the biggest threats” to the United States. “This is a crisis. It does call for a response, not going to Palm Springs for a fundraiser,” McCaul said Sunday on “This Week,” referring to President Obama spending Father’s Day weekend in Florida. “The action needs to be now, not two weeks down the road,” McCaul added. “The President should come back to the White House, get a team of experts together.” http://abcn.ws/1p5dLu6
- OBAMA, BIDEN TAKE FLIGHT: President Obama will fly back today from Palm Springs at and arrive back at the White House at 5:30 pm ET. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden travels to Brazil today where he will attend the World Cup matchup between Team USA and Ghana.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Emily’s List is out with their first ad campaign in North Carolina today. According to the group, known for backing female Democratic candidates that support abortion rights, the $3 million statewide campaign is their biggest program launch of the 2014 cycle so far. It has television, online, and mail components and the first part is a 30 second anti-Thom Tillis TV ad. This campaign begins Emily’s List “Women Vote! 2014″ project in the state described as a campaign that will “persuade and mobilize women voters on the airwaves, in the mail and online to support Senator Kay Hagan’s reelection bid.” The first ad, titled “Day in the Life” features a pregnant teacher who must also pay for school supplies and alleges Tillis is behind education cuts. The ad ends with the teacher saying, “It just doesn’t seem right for the kids.” The group says the ad will include broadcast and cable in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro through the end of June. WATCH: http://bit.ly/1hVuZd4
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: “There is a divide within our party,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declared to ABC’s Jonathan Karl on “This Week” yesterday. “I don’t think it’s divided at all,” countered RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, on CBS. To be fair, only one of those men just saw his political career end in his own backyard. But the fact remains that the Republican Party is divided, and divided even over whether there are real divisions. It’s more the 2016 cycle than 2014 where those divisions are likely to play out; as Cantor and others have noted, Republicans are far more united on policy than on tactics. President Obama has brought them broad unity of purpose, driving turnout this year. But in the 2016 race, when Obama won’t be on the ballot, that’s when the divisions (or lack thereof) will matter.
ERIC CANTOR ‘ABSOLUTELY’ SHOCKED BY PRIMARY LOSS. Outgoing Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told ABC’s JONATHAN KARL that he was “absolutely” shocked by his primary loss this week to Tea Party challenger David Brat, a defeat that has sent shockwaves through Washington as the man seen as a possible heir to Speaker John Boehner was dethroned. “Absolutely…I don’t think anybody in the country thought that the outcome would be what it was. And, you know, I just am a believer, as I said that night, and subsequently, that there are some things that happen for a reason and we may not be able to really discern it now and given the perspective of time, I think we’re going to be able to look back at this, and what seemed really bad at the time may turn out to be really good,” Cantor said on “This Week.” The 51-year-old Virginia Republican was defeated Tuesday in his 7th District Republican primary by Brat ,a tea-party backed college professor at Randolph-Macon College. During the interview with ABC News, Cantor told Karl he believed his defeat could not be attributed to his stance on immigration reform, after Karl presented him with a tweet sent by conservative Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, reading, ”Earthshaking primary results in Virginia tonight. Resounding rejection of #Amnesty and support for Rule of Law. Personal regrets to Eric.” http://abcn.ws/1sgeU5M
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ERIC CANTOR. House Republican Majority leader Eric Cantor, 51, came to “This Week” for his first interview following his defeat in Virginia’s 7th district Republican primary to David Brat, a tea-party backed college professor at Randolph-Macon College. ABC’s BEN BELL has together a list of five things you might not know about the Virginia Republican. http://abcn.ws/TZ7KUr
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
A HILLARY WITCH HUNT? REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS ON THE BENGHAZI HEARINGS. In the select committee investigating the Benghazi attack, Rep. Elijah Cummings is leading the Democrats into what he described as a Republican “witch hunt,” which he believes is intended to tarnish the reputation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We had a hearing and it seemed like there was Republican talking points where everybody mentioned Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton,” the Maryland Democrat told “The Fine Print’s” JEFF ZELENY in a recent interview. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.” As the leading Democrat on the special committee, Cummings said it will be his job “to defend the truth” about the 2012 attack that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/UFnfS0
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
HILLARY CLINTON GOES TO COSTCO, RUNS INTO SONIA SOTOMAYOR. The busiest Costco in America got a little busier Saturday morning when Hillary Clinton stopped by to sign copies of her book, “Hard Choices,” outside Washington, D.C., ABC’s BETSY KLEIN notes. In a makeshift “room” within the superstore created by pallets of bulk paper towels and water bottles, more than 1,300 people came to the land of the free and the home of the bulk to get a glimpse of Clinton, who signed a Costco-sized stack of books and shook hands for over three hours. But everyone was surprised when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor unexpectedly stopped by to say hello during her shopping trip. “I don’t believe this. I’m so glad to see you,” Clinton told Sotomayor, who was casually dressed for her shopping trip. The two hugged and Sotomayor praised Clinton’s book. “Wow, I loved yours, too,” Clinton said. http://abcn.ws/1mXdFA7
@MarthaRaddatz: With Iraqi troops in baghdad today with truckloads of new recruits heading straight to the fight pic.twitter.com/4dlvT6HkGj
@rajivwashpost: Warship like Mesa Verde, which DOD moving to Persian Gulf, isn’t so much for airstrikes as evacuation of civilians and pilot rescue
@jmartNYT: Notes from the chick-fil-a belt: how voter mobility, diminished localism is reshaping politics http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/us/population-shifts-turning-all-politics-national.html?hp&_r=0 …
@ThePlumLineGS: As unaccompanied minors crossing into Texas becomes full blown crisis, Obama has no good options: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/06/16/morning-plum-obama-is-in-a-very-tough-political-jam-on-immigration/ …