By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- MEETING OF THE MINDS: President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with President Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Ceren of El Salvador to discuss the influx of migrant children from their countries to the U.S. This is the first such meeting since 1998, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The meeting comes as the administration considers launching a small pilot program that would offer refugee status to some children from Honduras. Under this program, children would be screened in Honduras to determine whether they would be eligible for refugee status in the U.S.
- PRESIDENTS OF HONDURAS, GUATEMALA — U.S. PARTLY TO BLAME FOR BORDER FLOOD: Before meeting with President Obama on the border crisis today, the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala spoke at an event in Washington, DC hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, ABC’s SERENA MARSHALL reports. Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez said via a translator that while drug trafficking and lack of opportunity were the first cause of immigration, “ambiguity that has been the hallmark of the debate” over U.S. immigration reform has also been a factor. “Here we have to say the coyotes, the smugglers, who are very much a part or organized crime networks perversely have sought to exploit those ambiguities,” he said. “And peddle a mistake…a totally wrong interpretation to the parents of these children and saying “You can get your kids into the U.S., we can do it for you.” http://abcn.ws/1pfIaFu
- THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: This Sunday, “This Week” reports the latest on the crisis in the Middle East. And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, CNN “Crossfire” co-host S.E. Cupp, and UC Berkley professor and former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich. See the “This Week” homepage for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
MEET THE NEW WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: JOSH EARNEST’S GUIDE TO SOFTENING “HARD-BITTEN” REPORTERS. Josh Earnest stepped up to the podium as the new White House press secretary just weeks ago, but already he’s figured out a few ways to butter up “hard-bitten” White House reporters. Principle among his methods, the father-to-be revealed to ABC’s JIM AVILA, is to discuss parenthood. “It’s something that so many people can relate to and hearing the experience of even some hard-bitten White House reporters … talking to them about the birth of their first child, they routinely describe it as the best day of their life,” said Earnest, whose wife is due later this summer. “I think, like all parents who are about to have their first child, we are feeling a lot of trepidation about this experience that we’re preparing for, but also incredibly excited,” he said. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1nB0SHP
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: What is most stunning about the Chris Christie-Rob Astorino flap is the lack of subtlety on all sides. It started with Christie publicly calling Astorino’s uphill climb against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a “lost cause,” then Astorino holding a press conference calling on Christie to resign his RGA chairmanship if he didn’t support him. (How was that ever going to go well?) The situation then got worst when Astorino went to Aspen to confront Christie and while he didn’t get his support, four other governors boldly defied Christie to back him. Rick Perry went the opposite of subtle tweeting a photo of the two together. It’s hard to understand how anyone involved thinks this kind of public feuding (or in Perry’s case at the very least teasing) could ever end up well. None of this would have happened if at the beginning of the week Christie just said he supported Astorino, whether that was followed up with stumping and money or not. Of course it didn’t and we’ve had a week of headlines–and possibly more to come–because of it. Not always, but sometimes subtlety on all sides of an argument is key.
with ABC’s SCOTT WILSON
CHRISTIE, HALEY CHALLENGE WHITE HOUSE HANDLING OF MIGRANT CHILDREN. Govs. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Chris Christie of New Jersey had harsh words for the White House’s handling of the border crisis during a Republican governors’ panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival Thursday night, according to ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL. Haley worried about the potential costs of temporarily sheltering migrant children in states across the country, despite assurances that the federal government would foot the bill. “We do care about these children … but we also have our own children to take care of,” Haley said. Christie questioned the system in place that allows children to be released into the custody of ”possibly illegal” relatives ahead of their court dates. “It’s completely illogical and it’s why folks get so frustrated with the government,” he said. Of the panel’s participants, Haley, Govs. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Rick Scott of Florida all face reelection in November. http://abcn.ws/1kesB1X
NYC DEPUTY MAYOR ON ‘CHOKEHOLD’ CASE: THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT. It’s New York City’s ugliest roll call: Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Anthony Baez — the litany of men of color injured and killed at the hands of New York City cops. A week ago, yet another name — Eric Garner — was added to that list, ABC’s JOSH MARGOLIN notes. But with Bill de Blasio, a police critic and unabashed liberal, now sitting in the mayor’s office, it was supposed to be different. New York was supposed to be different. In an exclusive interview with ABC News, the man in charge of managing the current NYPD crisis insisted that this time around it is different. “Things are very different,” said Anthony Shorris, the first deputy mayor. “Over the last six months, this administration has entirely changed the entire nature of police-community relations.” Sitting in the ornate Blue Room at City Hall, Shorris acknowledged that there is still a lot to do in eliminating the gulf that separates New York City’s minority communities from the NYPD. But in the first seven months of de Blasio’s term, Shorris said, the administration has started putting the city back together. More than anything, he said, that’s why there has been no unrest or violence in the wake of Garner’s death in NYPD custody last Thursday. “It’s about building bridges between police and communities across New York,” Shorris said. http://abcn.ws/1sZKGDF
THE ONE ISSUE 91-YEAR-OLD BOB DOLE IS STILL FIGHTING FOR. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is making the rounds — everywhere from the plains of Kansas to the marbled halls of Capitol Hill, notes ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ. Dole, who celebrated his 91st birthday this week, returned to Capitol Hill for what could be his final legislative push — ratifying an international treaty for people with disabilities. “This is not a Republican or Democrat treaty. It’s not liberal or conservative,” Dole said at a news conference Wednesday. “As a Republican, I don’t want to see a headline saying ‘Republicans vote against disabled Americans and disabled veterans.’” In 2012, Dole sat on the Senate floor as he watched a vote to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities fail by just five votes. Dole recounted that moment in an interview with ABC’s JEFF ZELENY. “We knew we had an uphill battle, and when my Kansas senators voted against it I knew we were in trouble because one had been a co-sponsor and the other had been for it,” Dole explained. http://abcn.ws/1AcfiUs
HOW CONGRESS SAVED THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. A two-time MVP outfielder and a United States senator say the congressional hearings on steroids in baseball nearly a decade ago had a direct impact on preventing players tainted by the baseball’s steroids era from being considered for the Hall of Fame, ABC’s RICK KLEIN and ESPN’s ANDY KATZ report. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., told the ESPN’s Perspectives podcast “Capital Games” that while he thought at the time the hearings shouldn’t have been a congressional priority, they doomed the candidacies of high-profile players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa. That, in part, paved the way for this weekend’s crop of three clean players from the same era gaining induction in the Hall. “What I think the hearing helped do was, that the American people looked up and said, ‘You know, it’s maybe the first time that it really hit us between the eyes that we have a real problem here.’ And I think it helped to change things,” said Donnelly. http://abcn.ws/1rONfpa
FORMER OLYMPIC SKATER MICHELLE KWAN STARS IN POLITICAL AD FOR HUBBY. Former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan is pirouetting into the Rhode Island gubernatorial race, ABC’s SCOTT WILSON notes. Kwan is featured in a new ad supporting her husband, Clay Pell, in the state’s Democratic primary. The 30-second ad titled “Equality” is Kwan’s attempt to appeal to the state’s female voters. “One of the reasons I’m so excited about my husband, Clay Pell’s candidacy is because Clay is committed to a women’s-equality agenda that strengthens protection for women in areas like pay equity, sexual harassment and domestic violence,” Kwan says in the ad. “Clay knows Rhode Island can be ready for tomorrow by making it one of the best places for women to live and work. Clay believes what I believe: We need equality for all women.” In a May WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll Pell placed third among the four Democrats vying for the nomination. http://abcn.ws/1oj2WVE
REPUBLICAN GOVS SPLIT WITH CHRIS CHRISTIE OVER NEW YORK CANDIDATE. Once upon a time, the Republican governors in the country were unified behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Not anymore. The unity was fractured this week over Christie’s decision to withhold Republican Governors Association support from New York gubernatorial contender Rob Astorino, according to ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. Instead of backing Christie’s decision on the basis that Astorino is lagging in the polls behind incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo, four high-profile GOP governors are breaking with Christie to promote the New Yorker. News of the remarkable split came this morning after Astorino, the county executive in suburban Westchester County, confronted Christie at the RGA summer meeting in Aspen, Colo. An Astorino aide confirmed that Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — all possible Christie rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 — have decided to help Astorino by either campaigning or fundraising or both. http://abcn.ws/1rdsrqa
FIVE WAYS PAUL RYAN THINKS HE CAN END POVERTY. Rep. Paul Ryan thinks the federal government should stop its habit of treating poverty as a series of isolated problems and start listening to the “boots on the ground,” local community leaders fighting for different results. Yesterday, Ryan, R-Wisconsin, released an anti-poverty proposal he coined an “Opportunity Grant,” which concentrates 11 safety-net programs – food stamps, housing assistance, child care and cash welfare, among them – into a single stream of funding offered to states that agree to the program. The proposal is budget neutral, meaning states would receive the exact same amount of money for safety-net expenditures as they currently do under law, he told those gathered at the American Enterprise Institute. He believes the grant addresses poverty in a more holistic, “collaborative” way. “This isn’t your garden variety block grant,” he said. The speech and a short panel discussion that followed were pitched as a call for economic solidarity. Arthur Brooks, AEI’s president, told the crowd, “Patriots fight for America, no matter how they vote.” ABC’s NOAH WEILAND took a look at five ways Ryan believes he can help end poverty. http://abcn.ws/1sZ3keW
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
THE KOCH BROTHERS WANT TO SCARE THE OBAMACARE OUT OF YOU. Some people have an unnatural fear of clowns, particularly creepy clowns. Some Republicans feel the same way about Obamacare. A “Creepy Care-nival” held on the National Mall in Washington, DC this week was intended to combine the two and make young people terrified of Obamacare. The Creepy Care-nival featured knife throwing jugglers, a house call from Dr. Grim Reaper, and a virtual death panel. The ghoulish displays were created by Generation Opportunity, the Koch brothers affiliated group that also produced the controversial “Creepy Uncle Sam” ads. Tightrope walkers, acrobats, and clowns mingled with elected officials like Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Louie Gohmert of Texas. ABC’s BENJAMIN SIEGEL was on the scene—chronicling the creepiest of the creepiest at the Koch’s “Creepy Care-nival.” http://abcn.ws/1pNwzw1
@gregmcrc: As Obama vacations, #GOP leaders should go to border, call on Prez to end the children trafficking crisis he created and secure the border.
@AaronBlakeWP: 2014: The election about nothing? http://wapo.st/1keZw6K
@nationaljournal: What would the National Guard actually do at the border? http://bit.ly/1rRfNOO
@Timodc: Most trafficked post on http://AmericaRisingPAC.org this week… “O’Malley Falls Asleep” https://www.americarisingpac.org/omalley-falls-asleep-job/ … cc @Lis_Smith