— -- Admit it – you were trying to figure out what zero percent is if we go metric. Or maybe you were busy watching someone taking the whole “running” thing too seriously. Don’t sweat it and don’t drive too fast on the way there -- we’ve got you covered while you’re counting up the number of current Republican candidates for president. It’s 10, and remarkably, that number might not change in the next week, but will grow soon enough.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:
Germany, Poland, and Estonia are the new Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -- at least for a few days. Jeb Bush is headed to Europe for a week-long trip that will precede his all-but-certain formal entry into the presidential race on June 15. The meetings, conferences, and speeches are part of a broad effort by Bush to appear presidential inside a field that’s already too big to fit on a debate stage. But as Scott Walker and Chris Christie learned during recent trips across the pond, they provide all-too-easy opportunities to trip up. Bush’s actions will come under additional scrutiny now that his date is set and he’s not the frontrunner he once hoped to be.
There’s a new set of culture wars brewing and it’s not necessarily to the GOP’s liking. A confluence of events have brought Republicans up close and uncomfortably personal to issues of gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual abuse. To list some unrelated developments, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert stands accused of sexual misconduct and a financial cover-up; a member of the politically active Duggar family has been accused of improperly touching his siblings; the Supreme Court is ready to rule on gay marriage; and, a Republican sports legend has become the face of the transgender community in Caitlyn Jenner. The GOP's reaction has been silence, for the most part, reflecting broader anxiety among social conservatives about the pace and direction of the current conversation. And the Duggars’ endorsements have disappeared from Mike Huckabee’s campaign website.
You thought the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign was already fully underway? Next weekend brings the “next phase” of that campaign, the part where the Scooby Van and intimate gatherings get traded in for big public events. That’s the plan, anyway, starting with a rally in New York City on Saturday that will feature the campaign debuts of Bill and Chelsea Clinton, although no word whether granddaughter Charlotte will also make an appearance. A Clinton Global Initiative event in Denver will take place in the days preceding the rally, giving the candidate’s famous family members new chances to put forward the work they’ve so publicly been up to. Clinton makes the turn toward bigger campaign events at a moment when her vulnerabilities are coming into clearer focus, even as her primary opponents' flaws come into sharper relief.
President Obama heads to Germany for the G7 summit over the weekend for a packed agenda that includes trade, climate change and global health issues, just to name a few. But talk of ISIS could dominate, particularly as Obama meets with Iraq’s prime minister at the summit for the first time since the fall of Ramadi. The administration’s strategy has come under growing scrutiny, with the 2016 arena providing fresh, daily fodder. The summit -- pointedly being held without Russia’s involvement -- could also gauge sentiments around a possible nuclear agreement with Iran.
The Romney primary is about to begin. Mitt Romney passed on another presidential run of his own earlier this year after a brief flirtation with campaign number 3. Since then, he’s sparred with Evander Holyfield and made plans to continue to be a player in national politics. The most visible manifestation of this will come starting Thursday outside Salt Lake City, where a range of major 2016 candidates will attend Romney’s annual policy conference. Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Chris Christie will be among the attendees vying for Romney’s -- and, perhaps more importantly, his fundraisers’ -- attention in Utah. Jeb Bush won’t attend, but Romney associates have made clear that he was invited and isn’t being snubbed.