Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Aug 5, 2014 9:00am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)

NOTABLES

  • PRIMARY PRIMER: We have three days of primaries this week with six states voting, but today we’ll be watching Kansas, Missouri, Washington, and Michigan, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and CALEB JACKSON note. There’s a marquee match-up in Kansas that’s another GOP establishment vs. tea party brawl, and this week marks the last two possibilities the tea party could knock off an incumbent senator. They’ve had some victories including defeating Eric Cantor, but they’ve poured loads of money into trying to topple an incumbent senator and have completely struck out in places like Kentucky, Mississippi, and South Carolina. This week will mark their last two opportunities, the first being this evening in Kansas and it even feature’s a relative of the president’s. http://abcn.ws/XzQSoS
  • KANSAS’ MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Three-term incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts is facing off against tea partier Dr. Milton Wolf, a distant cousin of President Obama in Kansas. Wolf–who has never before run for public office and is related to the president on his mother’s side–has been playing into the anti-Washington sentiment across the country and attacking Roberts for being a creature of Washington. They’ve both made mistakes, WALSHE notes, Roberts with his residency issues and Wolf with those gruesome x-rays, but Roberts looks like he will still be safe. Of course we could be surprised and Wolf has become a larger threat than Roberts and his campaign ever initially believed. We’ll be watching. Wolf has become a larger threat than Roberts and his campaign initially believed, but polls show it’s still likely the incumbent comes out victorious tonight. http://abcn.ws/XzQSoS
  • RECESS READER – HERE’S HOW MUCH LESS CONGRESS WORKS THAN YOU DO. On track to become one of the least productive in modern history, the 113th Congress isn’t exactly popular, note ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ and ERIN DOOLEY. Despite their failure to address the border crisis, lawmakers have now officially gone home for five weeks of R&R. As it turns out, your elected officials in Washington work about a hundred days less than you do. The House is scheduled to be in session in Washington a total of 133 days this year. The Senate will be in session about the same amount or a few days more. But if you’re an ordinary American worker with two weeks of vacation and federal holidays off, you’re likely clocking in around 240 days a year at the office. http://abcn.ws/1snlbdX

 

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Connecting some disparate dots this morning . . . a few reasons for Democrats to smile at the start of recess. There’s Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, getting into a heated conversation with a DREAMer/activist who wants to know why King wants her thrown out of the country. (Bonus: There’s Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., scrambling out of the camera frame.) http://youtu.be/PI8rCleTbSoThere’s Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., opining that Democrats have launched a “war on whites.” (Bonus: There’s Laura Ingraham, whose program Brooks was on, offering that his “phraseology might not be the best choice.”) http://wapo.st/XAenhJ Data points like this might matter not at all in the midterms, with the built-in GOP turnout advantage. But they may help explain why only 35 percent of voters say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party – 14 points lower than Democrats’ standing, in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. It also underscores a point being made today by conservative columnist Matt Lewis: “The best way for conservatives to derail Obama is to shut up and stay out of the news.” http://bit.ly/1oaJNW7

 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

ABC’S ’14 FOR 14- HOT SEAT: GET TO KNOW ENDANGERED ARIZONA DEMOCRAT REP. RON BARBER. Two weeks from the Republican primary in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional district officially determines his opponent, Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber weighed in on the race, his likely opponent Martha McSally and reflected on his predecessor, Gabby Giffords, in the latest instalment of ABC’s “14 For 14 Hot Seat” interview series. Barber is running for this congressional for the third time in two years, and McSally, his presumed Republican rival, is no stranger to him.  In fact, she almost bested him in 2012. With the power of the Republican establishment and the Koch brothers behind her, the former Air Force colonel is intent on snatching the seat back for Arizonans sick of a broken Washington. But that doesn’t mean Barber is going down without a fight. In the ABC interview with ABC’s ALI DUKAKIS, the congressman said McSally is going to have to finally answer some serious questions about her positions. The segment is part of ABC’s “14 for 14″ project, which is tracking 14 crucial contests across the country between now and Election Day. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1s7PZRn

 

TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama attends events at the US-Africa Business Forum today where he will announce that American businesses have committed over $14 billion to Africa for investments including construction, clean energy, banking, and information technology. “These investments will deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for US businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa,” according to the White House. In the evening, the President and First Lady host a formal dinner for African Leaders at the White House.

SNEAK PEEK: TONIGHT’S WHITE HOUSE STATE DINNER MENU. Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party for an astounding 400 people. Now, imagine they all have vastly different tastes, dietary restrictions and cultural traditions. Preparing a meal that will wow them all is the daunting task facing White House Chef Cris Comerford, ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes. “When we got the word from the State Department that we were hosting 50 different nations, we did quite intensive research about what the African nations would like in terms of their flavors,” Comerford told ABC News, “because you still want to please your customers even though we’re hosting and this is the United States and we want to do traditional American foods, we also want to incorporate nuances of different flavors and spices from Africa.” The honored guests at tonight’s White House gala for African leaders will be treated to a scrumptious meal three months in the making. Comerford set out to find “different things that we know would give that menu a little twist,” and decided on American dishes seasoned with African flavors like Madagascar vanilla and saffron. http://abcn.ws/1mgXjTe

–THE MOUTH-WATERING MENU INCLUDES chilled tomato soup flavored with toasted cumin, sumac and a touch of cinnamon, garnished with a chickpea fritter, a chopped salad with “that little feel of African flavor,” and Wagyu beef from a Texas cattle ranch marinated in chermoula, with paprika, olive oil and garlic. “We’re just adding hints, but not overpowering it,” Comerford said of her African touches. “We want to give them that feel that this is what American cooking is all about.”

 

BUZZ

with ABC’s SCOTT WILSON

HOW THE U.S. IS KEEPING THE AFRICA SUMMIT SAFE FROM EBOLA. 51 leaders from across the African continent have descended on Washington for this week’s Africa Summit, and the U.S. is taking extra precautions to be on the lookout for an uninvited guest: the Ebola virus that is sweeping across West Africa, notes ABC’s MARY BRUCE. “There is a screening process that individuals have to go through when they board aircraft departing the countries where this outbreak has been reported. There is additional screening that occurs when individuals who started in that region of the world arrive in this country,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been training Customs and Border Protection officers, who are often the first people to see visitors entering the U.S., to make sure they can spot the symptoms of the deadly virus. http://abcn.ws/1o7bksg

NOTED: WHICH AFRICAN LEADERS DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT? More than 45 African heads of state are now in Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first of its kind. The Obama administration invited nearly all of Africa’s leaders, hoping to strengthen ties between the U.S. and the continent, with an eye on investment, trade and security cooperation. But while nearly all of the continent’s leaders were invited, ABC’s DANA HUGHES notes that four did not make the cut: 1. Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan 2. Catherine Samba-Panza, Interim President Central African Republic 3. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe 4. Isaias Afewerki, President of Eritrea. HERE’S WHY: http://abcn.ws/1v39UmC

‘ARCHITECT’ OF OBAMA’S WHITE HOUSE BIDS GIVES ADVICE TO 2016 HOPEFULS. David Plouffe, the “architect” of Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns, shared insights about the 2016 presidential election in an interview Monday with Politico’s Mike Allen, ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER and ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN.  But first, he did some political prognosticating. Plouffe said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has the “rawest political skill” in the Republican Party, but may be too thin-skinned. “You can’t run for president constantly being agitated about what is being said about you,” he said. He also gave a nod to Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. Cruz is in line with the “hard-core tea party voter,” Plouffe said, but noted that someone more moderate may have wider appeal. Underscoring the divide within the GOP, “A candidate like Christie or Paul would seem like Bernie Sanders compared to the tea party,” Plouffe said, referring to the progressive senator from Vermont. Here are five pieces of advice the former top White House adviser has for potential 2016 presidential hopefuls — Democrats and Republicans: http://abcn.ws/1ltBtfl

WHY MITT ROMNEY INSIDERS ARE TRYING TO KILL ‘DRAFT MITT’. “Draft Mitt” — a group hoping to coax former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney into making another run in 2016 — received a major setback from former Romney campaign insider Spencer Zwick, ABC’s SCOTT WILSON reports. A close confidante of Romney who was the finance chairman for 2012 Republican presidential nominee’s campaign, Zwick told the Deseret News that Romney will not be running for president. “This organization has absolutely no bearing on Mitt Romney running for president,” Zwick told the Utah newspaper. “He says he’s not running for president and nothing this organization can do will change that.” “Mitt is not supporting this,” Zwick told the paper. “None of us are asking people to do this.” DraftMitt.org was created by the Utah Republican State Chairman James Evans. The website invites individuals to sign a petition encouraging Romney to run for president for a third time in 2016. Since launching in May the site has received nearly 116,000 signatures and Evans had promised that “all petition signatures will be hand delivered to Mitt Romney.” http://abcn.ws/1ottcw5

CHRIS MCDANIEL OPENS LEGAL CHALLENGE IN MISSISSIPPI GOP PRIMARY RACE. Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel officially announced the beginning of a legal effort to challenge the results of his primary fight against six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, notes ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. The campaign formally filed a challenge with the Mississippi Republican Party’s executive committee, the official first step to mounting a legal challenge. On June 24, Cochran beat McDaniel by over 7,600 votes and those results were certified unanimously by the party’s executive committee. Since that time McDaniel volunteers have been combing through voter rolls and in a press conference Monday McDaniel’s attorney Mitch Tyner said they have found 3,500 cross over voters, 9,500 votes they believe have irregularities, and 2,275 absentee ballots they also believe were “improperly cast.” Tyner said they believe they have 15,000 votes “cast that should not have been.” http://abcn.ws/1APwijx

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

JOHN KERRY BECOMES HIS OWN TRANSLATOR. Secretary of State John Kerry is known for his grasp of many languages and yesterday during a photo op with the Angolan Vice President, he had to put those skills to work. Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente opted to speak in his native Portuguese in his appearance with Kerry before their meeting at the State Department, which took Kerry by surprise, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. They both looked around for a translator, but there was none. Instead, after Vicente spoke, Kerry delivered a CliffNotes version of what was said. As he completed his summary, he looked at his counterpart for approval. “Is that fair?” he asked. Kerry’s wife Teresa, the daughter of a Portuguese doctor, is fluent in the language. http://abcn.ws/1kiu4Ei

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@RickSantorum: Pls read my @rollcall article re #CRPD. It’s time to bury this flawed UN Treaty once & for all http://ptrtvoic.es/1uh2bwQ 

@eramshaw: Congressional Inaction Leaves Border Communities Hoping for Funds http://trib.it/1mgA2AX  via @nachoaguilar

@TheFix: For the 1st time ever, a majority of Americans disapprove of their OWN congressman. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/08/05/a-majority-of-people-dont-like-their-own-congressman-for-the-first-time-ever/ …

@JeffSmithMO: Naivete, or grifting? Ben Carson requests speaking fee for Iowa Family Leadership Summit – @davecatanese has it: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/run-2016/2014/08/04/gop-presidential-hopefuls-to-descend-on-iowa-in-august …

@tnr: How Much Is Obamacare Raising Your Insurance Rate? Depends on Which State You Live In. http://on.tnr.com/1oxm9CE 

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