April 4, 2014 -- intro:“Cha-ching.” Yes, that was the sound David Ortiz made while taking a selfie alongside President Obama. But might it also be the Koch brothers counting new ways to influence elections? Paul Ryan tallying figures in his budget? Democrats raising money off of that same budget? White House officials counting Obamacare enrollment numbers? Art-house auctioneers eager to put George W. Bush’s Putin on the block?
At least we’re at the right hearing, or so we hope. Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories your ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:
quicklist:1 title:SPRING STEPS text:Something odd just happened: Democrats had a good week. That is to say, it’s been a week where Democrats can at least feel a little bit better – about Obamacare enrollment, about an improving economy, and about a Republican budget that outlines the kinds of contrasts President Obama and his allies are eager to make in 2014. None of this constitutes an overarching message for the year, and smart Democrats know they’re still facing a yawning enthusiasm gap. But it’s how a party – in this case, led by its president – stitches together favored data points that defines a vision. Democrats may not get a better chance to hit refresh on their midterm messaging.
quicklist:2 title:ALL THE WAY text:The Presidents Club is getting busy again, Texas style. A three-day reunion marking the 25th anniversary of the George H.W. Bush presidency gets things started this weekend. Then the four other living presidents convene in Austin over several days next week for the Civil Rights Summit, marking the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act. President Obama delivers the keynote speech on Thursday, and Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton will also speak. Meanwhile, the W. collection is going on display at the Bush Presidential Center just outside Dallas. Here’s guessing the Putin painting gets a little more buzz than the bathtub scenes.
quicklist:3 title:THOUGHT LEADERS text:We’re entering what might be called the ideas phase of the 2016 Republican presidential race. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has released a health-care plan; Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has put out the latest edition of his budget; Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be on the airwaves talking about education reform. There’s more early-state action than usual in the coming week, with Ryan in Iowa for the state GOP’s Lincoln Dinner Friday night, then another New Hampshire gathering for would-be contenders on Saturday. In town for the New Hampshire Freedom Summit will be Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, and -- wait for it -- Donald Trump.
quicklist:4 title:FAMILY TIES text:It’s repaying a political debt – or maybe just making sure there are no awkward Thanksgiving conversations down the road. Bill Clinton hits the fundraising circuit Thursday for Marjorie Margolies, bringing in cash for a former congresswoman who wants her old job back after famously losing it when she voted for a Clinton budget. Oh, and did we mention that Clinton’s daughter wound up marrying Margolies’ son? Clinton’s support for Margolies makes sense on a few different levels, but it carries some political risk, too. She’s running in a reliably Democratic House district in Philadelphia and its suburbs, but it’s quite a crowded Democratic primary field. Liberals are rallying behind several of Margolies’ opponents, her Clinton connections notwithstanding. Margolies has proven a less-than-stellar fundraiser, and a return to Clinton-era pols and allies is not necessarily what all Democrats are favoring these days. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton will get more than her average buzz for a speech when she pops up in an early-voting state – Nevada – on Thursday.
quicklist:5 title:NEXT TURNS text:Developments in some long-running scandals figure to make fresh headlines. On Tuesday, the state legislative committee investigating the lane-closure scandal in New Jersey is scheduled to meet, most likely to issue subpoenas for materials related to Gov. Chris Christie’s state-ordered probe. And on Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will vote to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify in connection with the IRS’ tea-party group targeting. In both cases, the line between legitimate inquiry and political overreach is a blurry one, but neither scandal is going away quietly just yet.