All Roads Lead To Hillary

Credit: Cliff Owen/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • CLINTONS' PATIENCE GROWING THIN WITH WEINER: Bill and Hillary Clinton increasingly see Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign as an embarrassment and potential liability, and are signaling through associates that they are eager to see him exit the race, several former Clinton aides and advisers told ABC's RICK KLEIN and JEFF ZELENY. One Clinton associate said the Clintons are "bristling at the comparisons" between Weiner and Bill Clinton, and between Hillary Clinton and Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin. The pressure they are applying on him to exit the race has been coming from those outside the Clinton inner circle, at least for now, and there are no immediate plans for that to change. It's not clear whether either of the Clintons has had direct communications with Weiner or Abedin since the latest batch of racy communications between Weiner and a young woman surfaced last week. One source told ABC News, however, that Hillary Clinton reached out to Abedin on her 37th birthday Sunday.
  • MONEY HONEY: One particular frustration voiced by several prominent Democratic donors is that Huma Abedin contacted them to raise money for her husband's campaign, KLEIN and ZELENY note. The clear implication, according to those donors, was that supporting Weiner was akin to supporting the Clintons, given Abedin's longstanding and close relationship with the former secretary of state. In her Sunday New York Times column, Maureen Dowd quoted several Clinton associates voicing concern that the Weiner-Abedin story was beginning to reflect poorly on the Clintons. "The hard stink of this one is going to get on everyone involved," one friend is quoted by Dowd as saying.
  • HILLARY, INC.: Hillary Clinton is coming to a television, movie screen and an e-reader near you sooner than you think, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP notes. The unofficial Hillary Clinton industry is alive and kicking in pop culture and politics. Other than the mild admonishment from her husband former President Bill Clinton that everyone should focus less on an election three years away, there haven't been many complaints from Hillary world about the glut of attempts by outsiders to capitalize on the Clinton speculation. She has also unveiled a masterfully crafted schedule that has kept her in the public eye just enough to feed the persistent 2016 buzz. And then there are the political forces. The "Ready for Hillary" super PAC has been raising money and rallying supporters on her behalf for months.


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: That sure was a quick rest for Hillary Clinton. Remember her plans to spend the year recovering and refreshing from her brutally tiring stint as Secretary of State? Her public schedule seems as robust as ever, particularly for someone who knows how to lay low if she wants to. The lunch with President Obama and her breakfast with Vice President Biden are only the latest signs that Clinton will increasingly remain at center stage. The question is whether it's sustainable. The more visible she becomes at this very early stage of the 2016 race, the more her old critics - from talk radio to conservative groups - begin rising up. The challenge for Clinton is keeping her approving glow from fading for as long as possible. This may become more difficult, with every passing day in the glow of the spotlight.

ABC's RICK KLEIN: From the latest jobs tour, here comes an actual proposal. The White House bid to offer corporate tax cuts in exchange for job-investment programs may not strike many as particularly "grand" so far as bargains go, but it's OK to grade on a curve of dysfunction these days. The fact is that any bargain, even a miniature one, would be somewhat miraculous. This won't be an easy one to slip by the tea party; new spending smells like new spending to that caucus, regardless of the pay-fors. But given the depth of disagreements, and the many chances for everything to go off the rails and toward a government shutdown - or worse - putting something on the table beats just words.

ABC's JOHN PARKINSON: It's almost as if the White House is reading from the GOP's playbook. Does this line from top Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer sound familiar? "If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we should give the people who work there a better deal, too," Pfeiffer said, previewing the president's economic speech today. Republicans must have made that same point 100 times this month in arguing for a delay to the individual mandate after the administration decided to delay the employer mandate by a year. There are many more, but here's an example from Speaker Boehner July 17: "If the president believes that the employer mandate is too much for the employer community, how about basic fairness for American families and individuals?" Finally, a "grand bargain" would include much more than changes to the corporate tax rate…if a deficit reduction grand bargain is reached, it would likely offset or replace sequestration, increase the debt limit, and most importantly encompass tax and entitlement reform. Then maybe there is some stimulus money left over for job creation.

ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: So, what happened yesterday with Cory Booker and the first caucus state of Iowa? When The Daily Beast reported that the school in Iowa City had him listed as a speaker at the end of next month, Booker's Senate campaign responded that the listing was inaccurate and he would not be going. Lin Larson, in the University of Iowa's Communication and Marketing department, told ABC News the confusion stems from a miscommunication of sorts. The Booker campaign told the university that the firm that handles Booker's speaking engagements was supposed to cancel the speech, but "we just received word." When asked if they were disappointed, Larson said they understand that "schedules change." "It's not the first time speakers have been welcomed to campus and they decided to make other arrangements. We would welcome back Mayor Booker back at another time," Larson said. As soon as the news broke there was chatter about Booker's possible presidential aspirations or maybe being the number two pick on a 2016 ticket. He does love talking about his Iowa ancestry. At last year's Democratic National Convention he spoke about his grandmother being born in Des Moines and said, "I want to be described as a son of New Jersey, but a grandson of Iowa."


THE LIFE OF A DREAMER: ONE YOUNG WOMAN'S JOURNEY TO LIVE LEGALLY IN THE U.S. Evelyn Rivera is a DREAMer. Her family came to the United States from Columbia when she was three years old, and for much of her childhood, Rivera didn't know that she was an undocumented immigrant. Rivera tells ABC's JIM AVILA that although she was born in Columbia, she feels "very American in blood, in my language, [and] in saying the pledge to the flag of the United States." Rivera now lives in the United States legally under a program started by the Obama administration in 2012 that grants temporary legal status to DREAMers - children who were brought here by their parents-and is campaigning for a path to citizenship for the entire undocumented community. Asked about the recent comment by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, accusing many DREAMers of being drug runners, Rivera says she was "shocked." "I didn't think that that would come from a legislator," Rivera says. "That is not who we are. We are Americans, we are students, and we work and contribute to this country."


HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama travels to Tennessee today, where he will propose a "grand bargain" for middle class jobs in an attempt to break the political impasse with Republicans, ABC's MARY BRUCE and ANN COMPTON note. The president is visiting the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga on the fourth stop on his economic tour. At 2 p.m. ET, he delivers remarks in which he will offer to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for job investments. "As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the President will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle class jobs," Dan Pfeiffer, a Senior Advisor to the president said yesterday.

ALSO ON THE AGENDA: BRADLEY MANNING VERDICT. The judge in the in the Bradley Manning court martial will announce a verdict in the case today at 1 p.m. ET, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ writes. Alleged to have leaked 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks, the Army private faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The court martial held at Fort Meade, Md., concluded on Friday following closing arguments that spanned two days. Prosecutors argued Manning knew that by releasing the documents they would end up in the hands of al Qaeda. Manning's attorneys argued that Manning was a young, naive, well-intentioned soldier who wanted the released documents to spark debate about U.S. foreign policy.

JIMMY CARTER HEADED TO NORTH KOREA? Former President Jimmy Carter has been considering a mission to North Korea to seek the release of imprisoned Korean-American tour operator Kenneth Bae but has "no immediate plans" to go, his spokeswoman told ABC News. Several news reports from the region have stirred speculation that a Carter visit could be imminent. Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported Sunday, citing human rights advocates, that Carter had scheduled a trip to Pyongyang and would possibly meet with North Korea's premier Kim Jong-un, ABC's DEVIN DWYER reports. "President Carter has no immediate plans to visit North Korea," Carter press secretary Deanna Congileo said. Carter has discussed with Secretary of State John Kerry a possible trip to North Korea as recently as last week but had not finalized plans, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday. "They discussed a range of issues during their meeting," Psaki said. "And, certainly, he didn't indicate he was going at the time because it sounds like he didn't have plans to go."

-BACKSTORY: The 39th president was in Bogota, Colombia, Monday, according to The Carter Center. He and wife Rosalynn Carter were leading a delegation to celebrate the country's elimination of river blindness, a parasitic disease that his foundation has led the fight against. White House spokesman Josh Earnest Monday created confusion about a possible Carter mission to North Korea when he appeared to confirm a trip at the daily press briefing. "I can tell you that President Carter is traveling to North Korea on a private trip," Earnest said definitively. "He's doing that in his personal capacity." Officials later walked back those remarks, saying a trip was not confirmed.

ELIOT SPITZER: I WON'T VOTE FOR ANTHONY WEINER. Eliot Spitzer won't vote for Anthony Weiner for mayor of New York, he said in an interview yesterday, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. Asked by Chris Matthews on MSNBC to confirm that he believes Anthony Weiner should not be mayor of New York, Spitzer said, "That is correct." The two men have been shackled together - albeit reluctantly - since they announced they would seek political redemption after being forced to resign from office. Spitzer resigned in 2008 for soliciting high-priced prostitutes as New York attorney general and as governor, and Weiner left Congress in 2011 after it was discovered that he had been sending lewd messages and pictures to women online. While Spitzer has said that after resigning as governor he has not solicited other prostitutes, Weiner was forced to admit that he continued to send sex messages to women even after his resignation.

NOTED: A poll shows that Weiner has gone from being a front runner to fourth place in the mayoral contest in just two weeks. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, which showed Wiener near the head of the pack just two weeks ago, he now trails City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller William Thompson. In the poll of likely Democratic primary voters, only 16 percent said they would vote for Weiner. Asked whether he should drop out of the race, 53 percent said that he should. A majority, 65 percent of voters, said that Weiner's behavior - which included recent revelations that he sent lewd messages to women online even after he resigned from Congress - is a legitimate issue in the campaign. And a new high of 40 percent of voters said it should disqualify him, compared to 23 percent when the question was asked last week.

OBAMA THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND MIDEAST PEACE TALKS. President Obama has thrown his full support behind the resumption of negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials, a process Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing since he began his post at the beginning of the year, ABC's DANA HUGHES notes. "I am pleased that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and President [Mahmoud] Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings" the president said in a statement. "This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead." Kerry announced today that former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, will serve as the new special envoy for Mideast peace and act as America's chief negotiator in the talks, happening this week.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: JAMES COMEY CONFIRMED AS FBI DIRECTOR. James Comey has been confirmed as the seventh director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a vote of 93-1 in the Senate yesterday, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., cast the only vote against confirmation. He had placed a hold on Comey's nomination over the FBI's use of drones on U.S. soil, but Paul's office released that hold this afternoon after receiving a response to his concerns from the FBI explaining the use of surveillance drones are used in "very limited circumstances to conduct surveillance when there is a specific operational need." "The FBI today responded to my questions on domestic use of surveillance drones by saying that they don't necessarily need a warrant to deploy this technology. I disagree with this interpretation. However, given the fact that they did respond to my concerns over drone use on U.S. soil, I have decided to release my hold on the pending FBI director nominee," Paul said in a statement.


"WHY DIDN'T LIZ CHENEY RUN FOR THE SENATE IN VIRGINIA?" by the National Journal's Alex Roarty. "Republican officials are grumbling that Liz Cheney passed up an opportunity to run in her adopted state of Virginia, leaving the party empty-handed as it searches for a challenger against Sen. Mark Warner. Instead of taking one for the Republican team, she's sparked an intra-party war in Wyoming. And, some strategists say, her prospects would be slightly better running in a battleground state than waging a long-shot primary battle against a popular sitting senator. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney grew up in Northern Virginia and lived there until last year. Her reputation as a hawk and stalwart supporter of the military would appeal to the state's significant population of veterans and its large defense industry, and her more-moderate positioning on divisive cultural topics such as gay marriage is tailor-made for swing voters in the Washington suburbs. … Instead of trying to translate her anti-Obama message against a Republican, the message would make more sense against Warner, who has been a reliable ally of the Obama administration. Even if Warner looks unbeatable, Republicans could use a qualified candidate in Virginia. Few Republicans expect the party will recruit anyone stronger than a low-profile state legislator. Cheney, at the least, would have given the party a challenger who could have raised millions to make Warner work for a second term."


@DavidMDrucker: On #Obamacare defund or shutdown: 'compromise could be acceptable, depending on the circumstances.' …

@conncarroll: Karl Rove wants to play prevent defense in 2014. Conservatives have other ideas …

@edatpost: Something remarkable happened recently: All of a House panel's D's & R's voted the same way on an #immigration bill

@mlcalderone: Weiner: "Voters don't give a s-t how my campaign is organized…Leave that for ."

@EvanMcSan: Boehner spox: Obama's expected proposal is "leaving small businesses and American families behind"