The Note: From Scandal To The Spotlight

Credit: Seth Wenig/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • THE RETURN OF SPITZER: Eliot Spitzer's decision to jump back into politics just five years after he went from tough talking governor to "Client 9? in a prostitution scandal was surprising for a number of reasons, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes, but in his first day of the campaign for New York City comptroller, he made it clear he is in it to win it. He told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that he "would not be running if I believed I could not win." The question is, can he? "Five years might be enough time in purgatory," longtime New York City Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told ABC News. "Nobody runs for comptroller to be comptroller, you run for comptroller to be mayor."
  • THE SCENE: Spitzer's first test will be getting on the ballot. When he announced his intentions Sunday, he only had four days to collect more than 3,700 signatures from registered New York City voters. At his first event as a candidate Monday, he was swarmed by the press while he was trying to get signatures in Union Square. He spent most of the one hour doing interviews and dodging a heckler from the Howard Stern show than actually getting signatures. He got only 12 himself before jumping into a cab. Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer, the most high-profile candidate seeking the New York City comptroller's job, which serves as the city's chief auditor and chief fiscal officer, had been seen as a shoo-in for the job, until Sunday.
  • ANALYSIS: From ABC's RICK KLEIN: "When it comes to sex scandals, voters tend to grade on a curve. As swift as the public is to condemn, opportunities for comebacks and redemptions continue to abound, from Clinton and Sanford to the new potential Weiner-Spitzer Democratic ticket in New York City. It should no longer be surprising event that, as Spitzer put it yesterday, "People do get second chances." Not all people, surely; there's still a John Edwards level of scandal that keeps one unelectable, if not untouchable. The nature of the scandal matters, as does its handling, and Eliot Spitzer's swift exit helps him in explaining his astoundingly poor private judgment. Also in his favor: He's reaching down the ballot, to a relative backwater office that's seldom held by former governors. Judging from day one on the trail, though, Spitzer is already getting what he wanted: attention."


TOUGH PATH TO 218 VOTES: WHY ONE POLITICAL SCIENTIST IS SKEPTICAL THE HOUSE WILL PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM. What are the chances that the House of Representatives will pass comprehensive immigration reform? Political scientist Tom Wong has been taking a scientific approach to answering that very question, tallying votes and crunching numbers to forecast the potential outcomes, and tells ABC's JIM AVILA he's "skeptical" the House will follow the Senate's lead and pass a comprehensive bill. Based on his own vote tally, Wong says there are 203 solid 'yes' votes in the House and an additional 11 votes that are likely but not guaranteed. "If we take that 203 number, add 11 more we're at 214, and we need 218 for a majority, so this ends up being a game of inches," says the assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego. "It could go either way in the House." The 11 votes that Wong has designated as maybe votes are for representatives who are facing tight reelection races in 2014. Wong says more than 60 percent of congressional districts are not racially diverse, with white populations making up more than 80 percent of those districts.


WITH AID ON THE LINE, EGYPT HAS NO LOBBYISTS. What happened to Egypt's high-powered lobbying team? The military overthrow of the government of Mohamed Morsi has put $1.5 billion in U.S. aid suddenly on the line, and Egypt no longer employs any registered lobbyists to help keep the money flowing, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. That's a notable departure from just last year, when Egypt employed a trio of D.C. power players to hold meetings and shepherd its military officers around the Hill. Before - and even after - the days of Hosni Mubarak's regime, Egypt employed super-lobbyist Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., of the Livingston Group, and former Rep. Toby Moffett, D-La., of the Moffett group - all under the umbrella of their joint venture, the PLM lobbying group. In 2009, for instance, Podesta accompanied military officers to meetings with Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. Not anymore. After the uprising that swept Mubarak from power in February 2011, Egypt kept its lobbying team on the payroll. But contracts with all three lobbying firms were terminated in January 2012, according to documents filed with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Morsi was elected president in June 2012, five months after the lobbyists stopped working for Egypt, but the country didn't hire any replacements. Egypt currently has no registered lobbyists working for it, according to the Justice Department database.

TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama meets with the Congressional Black Caucus today, their first such meeting in over two years, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. "The President will discuss legislative priorities, including the need to create jobs and build ladders of opportunity for American families striving to get into the middle class, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform and voting rights," according to the White House. Later, the president meets separately with Treasury Secretary Lew and Defense Secretary Hagel. Also today, Vice President Biden travels to Arizona today to attend the noon memorial service for the 19 firefighters killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. The First Lady hosts the second annual kids' "State Dinner" at the White House today at noon.

RICK PERRY WON'T RUN FOR GOVERNOR OF TEXAS A FOURTH TIME. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced yesterdaythat he would not seek a fourth term as governor, ending months of speculation, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. At a campaign style event in San Antonio tractor factory, Perry, 63, recited a litany of accomplishments in his 13 years in office before prefacing his decision with a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes: "For everything there is a season." "I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead, but the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said. Perry promised that he would spend the next 18 months "actively" leading Texas, as he "prays" and "reflects" on his future path. "Until I leave this office I will continue working hard to do what's best for Texas," the former Republican presidential contender said. The decision raises questions about what, if anything, the future would hold for the former presidential contender outside of Austin. With Texas' relatively strong economic record under his belt, and his aggressive pursuit of a socially conservative agenda, Perry appears poised to export a Texas-based vision for the national conservative agenda.

WHAT'S NEXT? Gov. Perry did not get specific about his future plans. "I think he's more likely than not to look at president. That's a decision that doesn't have to be made with any finality until the midterms," said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican communications strategist. "If you read between the lines, this is not a guy who is going to ride off into the sunset."

WHEN IS A COUP NOT A COUP? WHITE HOUSE RESISTS EGYPT AID CUT. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the Obama administration is going to take some time - how much time he did not say - to review whether the military-led ouster of Egypt's president is a coup. Meanwhile, the White House has does not intend to immediately cut off aid to the new military-backed Egyptian government, ABC's JONATHAN KARL notes. "It would not be in the best interests of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs to Egypt," Carney said in a White House press briefing yesterday after repeated questions on U.S. aid to Egypt. Asked directly if that would mean no immediate cut off of the $1.5 billion in aid the US gives to Egypt each year, Carney replied: "We think that would not be in our best interests."

BACKSTORY: U.S. law - specifically the Section 7008 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 - says that U.S. foreign aid cannot be extended to "the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed in a military coup d'état or … a decree in which the military plays a decisive role." But Carney said the administration is not ready to label the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a coup. "This is an incredibly complex and difficult situation," Carney said. "President Obama made clear our deep concern about the decision made by the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsi from power and to suspend the constitution. It is also important to acknowledge that tens of millions of Egyptians have legitimate grievances with President Morsi's undemocratic form of government - governance, and they do not believe that this was a coup. Indeed, they were demanding a new government."

LAUTENBERG FAMILY TAKES SIDES IN NEW JERSEY SENATE RACE. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., received an important endorsement Monday in his bid for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. The Democratic congressman is running in a special Senate election to serve the remainder of the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term and yesterday he earned the backing of Lautenberg's family. In a clear dig to the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, Newark mayor Cory Booker, the family wrote that Pallone most reflects Lautenberg's values including his focus on being a "workhorse, not a showhorse." "Frank Pallone, like Frank Lautenberg, has always looked out for working families in New Jersey and made them his top priority - in fighting for economic justice, health care reform, environmental protection, education and so many other issues," the letter reads. "Frank Pallone, like our Frank, will put in the hours and hard work necessary to fight for New Jersey in the Senate. And Frank Pallone knows that gimmicks and celebrity status won't get you very far in the real battles that Democrats face in the future." It doesn't come as a surprise that the Lautenberg family would endorse Pallone over Booker because there were clear tensions between Lautenberg and Booker before his death. Most notably, Booker announced his intentions to seriously consider a run before the 89-year old Democratic senator had announced whether he would seek another term himself.

NEW TECHNOLOGY PUTS BOOKER, MCAULIFFE CAMPAIGNS ONE CLICK CLOSER TO CASH. Newark Mayor Cory Booker's nearly 1.4 million Twitter followers now have a one-click way to help the " social media phenom" in his campaign for U.S. Senate, ABC's JOAN GREVE notes. So, too, do supporters of Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman running for governor in Virginia. The two campaigns have started using Givver, the "first platform dedicated to fundraising with Twitter," according to its website, which allows backers to tweet dollar contributions to charitable and political causes, ranging from $3 to $250. Users must sign up for Givver before they can donate. Booker introduced Givver to his supporters June 14 by tweeting, "Help me reach $100k goal by tomorrow. You can tweet to #give $5 to our Senate campaign - sign up at #Booker4Senate." The Booker campaign declined to say how much money it has raised on Givver. "I think it's overall been successful because, again, it's a pretty straightforward process," Huynh said. "It doesn't require a huge infrastructure on our end and so there aren't huge fixed costs." McAuliffe hasn't tweeted about it, and his campaign's Givver activity isn't as far along. A McAuliffe representative confirmed to ABC News that the campaign has signed up to use Givver and is setting up its account.


DEMOCRATIC SUPER PAC SETS SIGHTS ON 2016. An announcement from the pro-Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century: "Expanding its scope beyond Republican candidates for office, American Bridge 21st Century announced today the launch of Correct the Record, a dedicated research, tracking and rapid response communications project to defend Democrats in preparation for the 2016 Presidential election. The website,, will introduce an aggressive rapid response program to defend potential Democratic candidates from false attacks leveled by Republicans, and also will house the early opposition research and video tracking already being done by American Bridge on potential Republican candidates."


"SEQUESTRATION PUSHES HEAD START FAMILIES TO THE PRECIPICE," by the Huffington Post's Sam Stein. "Rhonda Reynolds was paying bills in downtown Pratt, Kan., on a hot and sunny mid-June afternoon when the second call came from her daughter's Head Start teachers. Reynolds, 48 years old with shoulder-length blonde hair and a reassuring smile, jumped into her Ford Taurus and drove several miles home. It was 2:30 p.m. Just one hour earlier, those teachers, April and Misty, had told her they wanted to chat. Now they had called back, asking to meet in person and soon. Reynolds pulled up to her one-story home. Minutes later, April and Misty arrived. They declined a drink of water. April went to use the bathroom while Misty took a seat on one of the two living room couches. Reynolds nervously sat on the other. 'What's going on?' she asked. 'Is it bad?' 'They did away with the Head Start program,' Misty replied, her head bent low. April came out of the bathroom and sat next to Misty. For the next 20 minutes, the three of them cried. In all, 14 children in Pratt, a town with a population just under 7,000, were dropped from Head Start, the federally funded education program for lower-income families. Reynolds' 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who had learned numbers and words, manners and social skills during her time in the program this past year, was among them - another casualty of the budget cuts brought about by sequestration."


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