What the ABC News political team is tracking in the days ahead.
By RICK KLEIN
September 6, 2015, 10:41 AM
• 4 min read
-- You know what? This is a terrific race. It’s got the best and most beautiful walls, maybe to the north as well as the south. It’s got gefilte fish and poppy seed bagels, Quds and Kurds, Kanye West and Indonesian businessmen. We have a huge pledge, so long as it isn’t called una promesa. There’s a Donald and a veep and a Hillary and a Jeb, though low energy is for third-rate losers.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:
Congress’ return will bring the first votes on Capitol Hill on the Iran nuclear deal in the House. While much of the political drama is gone now that President Obama has secured the votes to sustain a veto, the White House wants to stop it from going that far. The arguing has only really begun: Hillary Clinton and former vice president Dick Cheney both have speeches scheduled to lay out their very opposing views on the deal. A Washington rally against the deal will draw both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump -- a first-of-its-kind joint campaign event sure to draw wide notice and just might spawn further teamwork.
He’s laying it all out there, as only Joe Biden can and does. The vice president has made clear in recent days that the question isn’t whether he wants to run for president so much as it is whether he’s able to, given the raw emotions and family tragedy he will always be grappling with. He may still be weeks away from deciding, but an intensifying public schedule will stoke speculation. Biden will appear at a Labor Day event in Pittsburgh, and then on Stephen Colbert’s new show on Thursday. Meanwhile, the pieces of a campaign are being built around him, servicing an anxious Democratic Party and just waiting for a candidate.
One clerk’s standoff against gay marriage in Kentucky has become a national political issue after Kim Davis was found in contempt of court and wound up behind bars. It has prompted a conservative backlash, though something short of unity inside the GOP field. Ted Cruz called on “every believer” to help “stop the persecution,” while Mike Huckabee called Davis personally and is planning to attend a rally in Kentucky Tuesday to support her. It’s ignited a fresh debate in the Republican Party and beyond about how to cope with the rapid social change ushered in by the Supreme Court. Some candidates are urging quiet resolution, while others hope to win new concessions for those with deeply held religious beliefs.
BEN AND CARLY
Forget Donald Trump. (OK, don’t.) There are two new stars inside the presidential field, both of whom -- like Trump -- can say they’ve never held elected office. The rise of Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina is good news for a GOP that’s championing diversity, and for a conservative movement that’s grown sick of those with government experience. It’s bad news, though, for the raft of governors and senators who make up the rest of the field. The three outsiders out-poll the other 14 candidates combined in recent national numbers. Fiorina has all-but secured a spot at the next debate, while Carson is close to locking in first-tier campaign status, even though he’s been doing less campaigning than some of his rivals. Other candidates -- notably Scott Walker and Rand Paul -- are struggling for traction in this remade field.
Summer break is over for the Democratic frontrunner, and it’s been a rough few months. Bernie Sanders’ crowds and Joe Biden’s buzz have competed for headlines with Hillary Clinton’s email server -- what it contains, and what it doesn’t. Clinton isn’t quite apologizing for her unusual email arrangement, which has contributed to a steep decline in her approval ratings. She’s responding by emphasizing her organizing strength in early-voting Iowa and New Hampshire, and seeking out new ways to underscore the historic nature of her candidacy. “Women for Hillary” is the campaign’s newest gambit, though reinvention is more the norm than the exception when it comes to this particular campaign.