Washington’s Whiplash Week

Jun 13, 2014 9:45am

By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)

NOTABLES

  • THE RACE IS ON:The fight for House majority leader may not be as ferocious as once thought, with Kevin McCarthy knocking out opponents long before the balloting begins, ABC’S JEFF ZELENY reports. First, Jeb Hensarling decided against jumping in. Then, Pete Sessions threw in the towel. McCarthy backers believe he has a clear path to winning next Thursday when rank-and-file House Republicans choose a new majority leader. But this is a secret ballot election, so surprises can certainly happen. Team McCarthy is on guard for a surprise attack and at least one other candidate to jump into the race. The battle for House Whip may be the most interesting race of all. Keep an eye on Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who seems to be quickly consolidating support from several corners. But Pete Roskams of Illinois is still trying to hang on, while Marlin Stutzman of Indiana has also thrown his hat into the ring.
  • CLOSER TO HOME: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived in the United States this morning, Pentagon officials confirmed, marking another step in his reintegration process following nearly five years spent in captivity, ABC’S LUIS MARTINEZ reports. The former POW’s plane landed in San Antonio, Texas, where he’ll continue his reintegration process at Brooke Army Medical Center, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. “Our focus remains on his health and well-being,” Kirby said…The Idaho man’s post-captivity reintegration process entails three phases, starting with recovery…It was also up to Bergdahl to decide when he might make contact with his parents, and, as of Thursday, Defense officials said he had still not spoken with his family. The third phase of reintegration in San Antonio includes a reunion with family members. Bergdahl’s doctors are expected to brief the press this afternoon: http://abcn.ws/1qEqTpa. WATCH ABC’S ALEX PEREZ on GOOD MORNING AMERICA with the latest from Brooke Army Medical Center http://abcn.ws/1qaQV5Y
  • HINTS AS TO WHY HE WALKED: In a pair of letters, the captured U.S. soldier asks his government to reserve judgment about his disappearance—and complains about the officers leading his unit in Afghanistan. Writing from a Taliban “prison,” Bowe Bergdahl urged his family and his government to wait until they had all the facts before judging him for leaving his base. Then Bergdahl explained, at least in part, why he left his fellow troops in 2009. “Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent. The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that where actuly (sic) the ones risking thier (sic) lives from attack,” he writes in a letter dated March 23, 2013 and obtained by THE DAILY BEAST’S KIMBERLY DOZIER. It’s one of two letters sent by Bergdahl to his parents during his five years held by the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network in the tribal region of Pakistan.” If this letter makes it to the U.S.A., tell those involved in the investigation that there are more sides to the cittuwation (sic),” he adds. “Please tell D.C. to wait for all evadince (sic) to come in.” The copies of the two letters were given to The Daily Beast by sources in contact with the Taliban.  http://thebea.st/1irinF5
  • TRAGEDY IN IRAQ: After Islamic extremists swarmed his city this week, Saad Hussein fled here with his wife and six children. But after one night, he was on his way back home to Mosul, hearing that things were quiet there. “What can we do?” said Mr. Hussein, at a checkpoint on the road from Erbil to Mosul. “You have to depend on your God.”… As many as 500,000 Iraqis fled Mosul this week after the city was besieged by the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, many of them Sunnis who seemed less fearful of the beheadings and summary justice that the group is known for than of their own government and the barrage it might unleash in an effort to take the city back, THE NEW YORK TIMES’ TIM ARANGO reports from Erbil, Iraq. That many Sunnis would prefer to take their chances under a militant group so violent it was thrown out of Al Qaeda sharply illustrates how difficult it will be for the Iraqi government to reassert control. Any aggressive effort by Baghdad to retake the city could reinforce the Iraqi Army’s reputation as an occupying force, rather than a guarantor of security. http://nyti.ms/1lgBd1q WATCH ABC’s MARTHA RADDATZ, who has spent so much time in Iraq over the last decade, explain the situation on GOOD MORNING AMERICA: http://abcn.ws/1oWIUjf
  • THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: In his first interview since his stunning primary loss, House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., comes to “This Week” Sunday. Plus, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas., discusses the threat to the U.S. from the deteriorating situation in Iraq. And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News contributor and syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham, and ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
  • Today the president and first lady travel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. It is Obama’s first trip to Indian lands as president, notes ABC’S MATT LAROTONDA.

 

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s RICK KLEIN:Congratulations, Mr. McCarthy. Now what do you have? Kevin McCarthy has the House Republican Conference sufficiently wired that he won’t have to endure a fight when he moves up a slot in the leadership rank – no small feat in this splintered group. But that, of course, opens up a fight for his old job where the conservative wing of the GOP conference is going to insist on a say. And McCarthy will be on a leash that’s shorter than a whip’s whip. No matter what happens in next week’s leadership elections, Republicans will be doing this all over again after the election, less than six months from now. That’s an argument for McCarthy not to push much of anything before then.

ABC’S DANA HUGHES: The first ever global summit on sexual violence will wrap up today in London where Secretary Kerry will join officials from more than 140 countries as well as humanitarian groups and activists working to fight the massive problem. The conference was sponsored by the UK government and featured Hollywood A-listers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt using their star power to call attention to rape being used as a weapon of war in conflicts across the world. The four day summit focused on developing better systems to hold perpetrators accountable, providing justice and support to victims, as well as better training and prevention for militaries.

ABC’S ALISA WIERSEMA: Father of the Year, Governor Chris Christie, paid tribute to Dads across the country as he danced his way through “The Evolution of Dad Dancing” in honor of Father’s Day on Thursday’s episode of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Donned in stereotypical Dad attire, khakis and a polo shirt, Christie grooved his way through some classic Dad moves like the “The Belt Grabber” and “The Lawn Mower,” while also incorporating more daring moves into his routine, including “The Dance You Do at a Springsteen Concert” and the “I Saw This Once on Dancing With the Stars.” Saving politics for last, Fallon closed out the dance party with a move called “This Bridge is Closed” in allusion to the Bridgegate scandal Christie was a part of earlier in the year, at which point the New Jersey Governor jokingly walked off stage. Watch the full clip of the NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon “Evolution of Dad Dancing” here: http://bit.ly/1v8lNUH

 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

INTOXICATING SCIENCE: NEW BOOK UNCORKS THE SCIENTIFIC MYSTERIES OF BOOZE: If you’ve ever woken up with a throbbing head and flu-like symptoms after a night of alcoholic indulgence, it’s no mystery what caused the unpleasant side effects. But there also are many mysteries surrounding the science of alcohol – including its mechanical effects on the body – and author Adam Rogers set out to find the answers in his new book, “Proof: The Science of Booze.” “I wrote a feature for Wired about a mysterious fungus that lives on whiskey fumes,” Rogers told ABC’S DAVID KERLEY and YAHOO’s OLIVIER KNOX on  “Top Line,” explaining his foray into boozy science over drinks at Washington, D.C.’s Jack Rose Dining Saloon. “It’s sort of a science mystery, and in the process of writing that, I got interested in a lot of the other processes that go into making and consuming alcoholic beverages,” he said.  http://yhoo.it/1kSQ3Qz

 

BUZZ

‘CHICKS’, ‘SKANKS’ AND ‘HAGS,’ HEATED OPENER IN IOWA SENATE RACE: Just over a week into the campaign, the Iowa Senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley has intensified, with both camps coming under fire over controversies involving sexist language, according to ABC’S KYLE BLAINE. It all began when the Braley campaign released a TV advertisement last Thursday, featuring a baby chick as a way to illustrate how they said Ernst never made a “peep” about cutting pork while serving in the Iowa State Senate. While the ad never explicitly refers to Ernst as a “chick,” her campaign was nonetheless quick to denounce any implicit comparisons…Then, only days after attacking Braley for offending women, the Ernst campaign found itself on the defensive, when it was revealed by Democratic operatives that Joni Ernst’s husband, Gail Ernst, had made inflammatory statements about Hillary Clinton and Janet Napolitano on his Facebook page. http://abcn.ws/1nzBIIF

GET ON THE BUS: While Hillary Clinton travels the country promoting her new memoir, “Hard Choices,” a posse of the former secretary of state’s biggest fans is following her every move in style: on board “the Hillary bus.” The campaign-style bus, which was made and wrapped in the key early-voting state of Iowa, was created by Ready for Hillary, the super PAC urging Clinton to run for president. For the month of June, staffers of the group are calling it their home, logging thousands of hours traveling from city to city just to greet Clinton at her book tour stops and sign up new supporters, reports ABC’S ELIZABETH KREUTZ. Wrapped with the group’s logo and, on the back, a massive photo of Clinton’s face, the flashy mobile coach is hard to miss, and doubly serves as a mobile-advertisement for the group’s cause. And watch KREUTZ take us on a tour of the Ready for Hillary bus making its way around the country (note: lots of snacks!):http://abcn.ws/1prgvUt

OBAMA ‘TOBACCO FREE’ BUT STILL CHEWS NICOTINE GUM, DOCTOR SAYS:President Obama “remains tobacco free” but still maintains “occasional use” of nicotine gum, according to an official summary of his periodic physical exam conducted in May, reports ABC’S DEVIN DWYER. Physician to the president Dr. Ronny L. Jackson says Obama’s overall health is “excellent” and that “all clinical data indicates that the president is currently healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency,” according to a memo released by the White House. Obama, 52, still has perfect 20/20 vision. He maintains a healthy weight of 180 pounds (though he had lost 1.3 pounds since his previous exam). And his blood pressure remains within the “normal” range, Dr. Jackson found. Obama’s cholesterol levels – 213 mg/dl overall – is “borderline high” under established medical guidelines, however.  A jump in his LDL (“bad cholesterol”) level from 110 mg/dl in 2011 to 137 mg/dl this year puts him in the “borderline high” category, according to the Mayo Clinic. http://abcn.ws/1hSeZs6

UP NEXT FOR CANTOR CAREER-KILLER DAVE BRAT: KARAOKE Dave Brat, the little-known college professor who trounced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a shocking upset Tuesday, certainly has news to shout about. But instead, he’ll be singing. Brat’s campaign, along with the music-loving, conservative group #LibertyKaraoke, will host a karaoke night for supporters in Washington, D.C., next Thursday, notesABC’S ERIN DOOLEY.For as little as $20, Brat fans can croon the night away with the potential congressman, according to the event’s Facebook page “Dave Brat stunned the Washington Establishment by defeating Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican Primary last Tuesday. Now it’s up to grassroots activists to help him make it across the finish line in November,”  the page says. (It notes that the event is “private” and a contribution is required for entry). http://abcn.ws/1qC3Ds6

DOES NANCY PELOSI HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR ERIC CANTOR?Nancy Pelosi paused, smiled and chuckled a bit before saying “sure,” she feels at least some sympathy toward outgoing Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “It’s hard to lose an election,” said Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader of the House. But she quickly added: “We all know you keep your home fires burning. The people are the boss, they speak.” Pelosi and Cantor have sparred for years, particularly ever since Republicans won control of the House in 2010 and Pelosi lost her position as speaker. “I had as much sympathy for Mr. Cantor as he would want me to have for him,” the California congresswoman said, flashing a smile once again that seemed to stop just short of being gleeful at the turn of fate for Cantor, who became the first House majority leader to lose a primary race since the position was created more than a century ago. http://abcn.ws/1xPaPWA

JOHN BOEHNER SLAMS PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR ‘TAKING A NAP’ ON IRAQ: As al Qaeda-linked terrorists wreak havocacross Iraq, House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on President Obama for ignoring the escalating crisis there, contending that the president has been “taking a nap” while the situation rapidly deteriorated, reports ABC’S JOHN PARKINSON. “It’s not like we haven’t seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of Western Iraq. Now they’ve taken control of Mosul. They’re 100 miles from Baghdad,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference at the Capitol. “And what’s the president doing? Taking a nap!” Earlier this year, on Jan. 9, Boehner publicly urged Obama to “maintain a long-term commitment to a successful outcome” in Iraq, and called on the president to “get engaged.” Today, Boehner said the administration’s failure to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq “continues to have serious consequences for Iraq and American interests in the region.” “The president has celebrated our exit from Iraq as a hallmark of his foreign policy agenda but our focus should be instead on completing our mission successfully,” Boehner said. “I would urge the president once again to get engaged before it’s too late.” Boehner said he believed the United States should provide equipment and the technical assistance to the Iraqi government, but he declined to opine whether the U.S. should launch airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, also known as ISIL and ISIS, to help shift the momentum there. http://abcn.ws/1ppBYgy.

 

ICYMI

HILLARY CLINTON SCOLDS RADIO HOST FOR ‘PLAYING WITH MY WORDS’ ON GAY MARRIAGE:  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got into a testy exchange today with “Fresh Air” radio host Terry Gross, accusing her of “playing with my words” when pressing Clinton about when, and why, she decided to support same-sex marriage, notes ABC’S ELIZABETH KREUTZ. Gross asked Clinton multiple times whether the reason she now publicly supports the issue was because her own position changed from the 1990s or because the U.S. public’s had shifted. Clinton did not answer to the satisfaction of Gross, so the host asked her repeatedly to clarify. The exchange incited a heated back and forth between the two women, and showed a rarely seen, defensive side of the potential presidential candidate. “You know I really, I have to say, I think you’re being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue,” Clinton said, after Gross suggested Clinton’s opinion had changed since the ’90s. “I’m just trying to clarify so I can understand,” Gross responded. “No,” Clinton snapped. “I don’t think you are trying to clarify. I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons. And that’s just flat wrong. So let me just state what I feel like I think you are implying and repudiate it. I have a strong record. I have a great commitment to this issue and I am proud of what I’ve done and the progress were making.” http://abcn.ws/1nzmNOv

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@ABCJimKane  @ABCNewsRadio Vic Ratner gets his RTCA career achievement award from colleague Ann Compton pic.twitter.com/xxiJHUR1fe

@rickklein congrats @David_Kerley @d_steinberger winning award for series including Kevin McCarthy (!) & taxpayer-funded donuts http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/06/house-spent-about-2m-of-taxpayers-money-on-coffee-pastries-foundation-finds/ …

@JohnMcCain Must-read @MilitaryTimes: “#Iraq War vets angry, distraught as insurgents gain ground” http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140612/NEWS08/306120054/Iraq-War-vets-angry-distraught-insurgents-gain-ground?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report&utm_campaign=JUNE%2013%202016%20SITREP …

 @TheStalwart ·Brilliance from the New York Times. Video of Brazil fans watching team’s first goal. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/sports/worldcup/brazil-first-goal-videos.html?hp&_r=2 … (via @williamfleitch)

 

 

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