White House Power Lunch


By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • CHOWING DOWN LIKE IT'S 2016: President Obama and Hillary Clinton have a lunch date. The former secretary of state will break bread with the president at the White House today, ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes. The White House did not specify why, or what the two would be talking about. Since leaving her job at the State Department in February, Clinton has been leading a more or less public life, delivering paid speeches around the country. Speculation has mounted that Clinton will run for president in 2016, and she remains the most talked-about possible White House contender in the Democratic Party. A group of political allies and former associates, Ready for Hillary, is operating as a super PAC to promote her as-of-yet-nonexistent candidacy. http://abcn.ws/1bz4bLt
  • ALSO ON THE AGENDA: President Obama will host the San Francisco Giants at the White House, congratulating them on their 2012 World Series victory. In the afternoon, the president will meet with civil rights leaders as well as state and local elected officials "to discuss strengthening the Voting Rights Act and safeguarding every eligible American's right to vote," according to the White House. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez will also participate in the meeting.
  • JACK LEW ON ANOTHER DEBT FIGHT - BRING IT ON: Asked about raising the debt ceiling in coming months, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS on "This Week" that President Obama would not negotiate on the issue. "The mere fact of negotiating over the debt limit, after 2011, would introduce this notion that somehow there's a question about whether or not we're going to pay our bills, whether or not we're going to protect the full faith and credit of the United States," he said. "Well, it's not OK to default. Congress can't let us default. Congress has to do its work," Lew said. http://abcn.ws/15oTKUS


ABC's RICK KLEIN: The one thing we want to talk about most is almost certainly the one thing they dare not broach at lunch. Today's meeting at the White House between President Obama and his friend-turned-rival-turned-ally-turned-possible-successor will spark predictable 2016 speculation. (This advisory from the White House - "The Vice President will be in Washington, DC. There are no public events scheduled" - will hardly help.) Dissecting the lunch menu, though, misses developments outside the White House walls - and outside the formal control of the Clinton world. Rather quietly, and without Clinton's involvement, key players in the Obama reelection campaign have aligned themselves with the campaign-in-waiting known as the Ready for Hillary PAC. That PAC, by the way, will reveal its fundraising names and figures for the first time this week. Under the theory that nothing about 2016 matters until Clinton acts, consider that the rest of the campaign is having to react even while the former secretary of state doesn't.

ABC's JEFF ZELENY: Anthony Weiner may have lost his campaign manager over the weekend, but that simply means what many close to him already knew: He's calling his own shots and is not guided by a typical political script. If he talks about his transgressions long enough, the thinking goes, people will grow tired of hearing about it and give him another shot. That's highly debatable, but Weiner is certainly finding fresh ways to talk about his mistakes. The latest came Sunday when he invoked the navigation system of life. It was quite a scene when he told a Baptist church in Brooklyn: "Faith is like that GPS device in your car, if you make a wrong turn it doesn't yell at you. Quietly it says 'recalculating." Then, he added: "I have worn that machine out sometimes." Ok, then. We'll see if the GPS survives 43 days until the Democratic primary.

ABC's MICHAEL FALCONE: Rand Paul says he didn't start the fire. But he's certainly not going to let it engulf him without a fight. A full-fledged Republican family feud has erupted between two of the most important figures on the GOP stage - Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie - both the subject of intense speculation about their potential presidential ambitions. After Christie criticized Paul for his libertarian ways at a panel of governors in Colorado last week, Paul fired back over the weekend lashing out at what he called Christie's "gimme, gimme, gimme" attitude toward getting federal money for Hurricane Sandy relief. "I didn't start this one and I don't plan on starting things by criticizing other Republicans," Paul told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "But if they want to make me the target, they will get it back in spades." This is definitely just the beginning.

IN MEMORIAM: FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN AND AMBASSADOR LINDY BOGGS. Former Rep. Lindy Boggs, who filled her husband's seat in the House of Representatives after his plane disappeared and went on to serve 18 years as a tireless advocate for women and minorities, died Saturday at the age of 97, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. "She was remarkable in every way," ABC's Cokie Roberts, one of Boggs's three children, said. "She was able to accomplish a great deal for a great many people around the country and around the world, but doing it in an always gracious, always pleasant way that would serve as a great lesson for folks of today who think that the only way to operate is through confrontation and criticism." President Obama honored Boggs in a statement. "Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones of Lindy Boggs. Her legacy as a champion of women's and civil rights over her nine terms in office as the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Louisiana will continue to inspire generations to come," Obama said Saturday. http://abcn.ws/12sxcob

A REMARKABLE LIFE: Born on a plantation in Coupee Parish, La., in 1916, Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne graduated from Tulane University, where she met her future husband, Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., while working on the student newspaper. The two married in 1938, and two years later Hale Boggs won election to the House, launching a long and prominent career that would include the role of House majority leader. Hale and Lindy Boggs would become a political power couple, representing Louisiana in Congress for nearly a half century combined. When Hale Boggs's plane went missing over Alaska in 1973, Lindy took over his House seat in a special election. She would serve until retiring in 1990. Boggs was the first woman to represent Louisiana in Congress. http://abcn.ws/12sxcob


EGYPTIAN TURMOIL, VIOLENCE SPARK PROTEST AT WHITE HOUSE. Growing violence in Egypt sparked a protest outside the White House yesterday, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. A few hundred demonstrators gathered on Pennsylvania Ave., with tourists looking on, to rail against the Egyptian military, after dozens of protesters were reportedly killed in Egypt Saturday when military forces opened fire on them. Chanting "Yes to Morsi" and "Down, down Sisi," referring to Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian military leader, they demanded the reinstatement of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and insisted that the military takeover in Egypt is, in fact, a military coup. The White House has resisted such a distinction. (The terminology has become politically charged, as the United States would have to cut off $1.55 billion in aid to Egypt if a coup has taken place. Under U.S. law, aid cannot go to a country whose military played a decisive role in overthrowing a democratically elected leader). Outside the White House Sunday afternoon, a line of protesters stretched 60 yards long, saying differently. A largely Muslim crowd, attendees identified themselves as Egyptian born. One young woman, a dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen, had voted for the first time in Egypt for Morsi last year. They held Egyptian flags and signs bearing photos of Morsi and decrying the Egyptian military. One read, simply: "IT'S A MILITARY COUP." http://abcn.ws/1c5U6oG

TREASURY SECRETARY JACK LEW ON THE FUTURE OF DETROIT. During an interview for "This Week," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Detroit would have to deal with its creditors in order to resolve its recently-declared bankruptcy when he was asked about the possibility of a federal bailout for Motor City, ABC's BEN BELL notes. "Detroit's economic problems have been a long time in developing. We stand with Detroit trying to work through how it approaches these issues," Lew told ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS. "To that extent that there are kind of normal relations between the federal government and state and local government - we've been using those methods. Even in the Treasury Department, we have a program where we work to help with housing programs. I think when it comes to the questions between Detroit and its creditors, that's really something that Detroit is going to have to work out with its creditors," he said. http://abcn.ws/15oTKUS

NOTED: LEW ON WHO WILL REPLACE BERNANKE. "I have to start by saying that Chairman Bernanke has been an extraordinary and remains an extraordinary Fed chairman," Lew said. "I'm going to keep private any conversations that we're having with the president on the question of when and what kind of succession there should be. I think that those conversations are best left in the privacy of the Oval Office."

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: ANTHONY WEINER'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER DROPS OUT. Anthony Weiner isn't dropping out of the New York mayoral race, but his campaign manager did, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports. As the fallout from a sexting scandal intensifies, Danny Kedem, the campaign manager, has stepped aside. It is the latest sign of discord inside the Weiner campaign, where the candidate is calling his own shots and becoming alienated from many of his former allies, advisers and supporters. But Weiner is forging ahead with his candidacy, saying voters should determine his fate. He taped a new campaign commercial on Saturday and attended a church service on Sunday. The resignation of Kedem, first reported by The New York Times, is only the latest jolt to Weiner's candidacy. Kedem told Weiner of his decision to leave over the weekend, a person close to the campaign said, after Weiner insisted he was staying in the race. Kedem, 31, took the reins of Weiner's improbable candidacy earlier this spring and helped lead him to the front of the pack of candidates seeking to follow Michael Bloomberg as the next mayor of New York. http://abcn.ws/179aEVt

WORDS FOR WEINER: On Sunday's edition of "This Week," Anthony Weiner suffered criticism from both the left and the right with ABC conservative commentator George Will and Editor and Publisher of The Nation and WashingtonPost.com columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel both chiming in: http://abcn.ws/12VG80n

-WILL: "This would be a part of a lot of somber sociology in the media about the Republican war on women. I will skip that. I will go instead to the fact, what explains this man, Peggy, is that animal neediness for public gratification. There are people like this. He got out of college, went to work on the congressional staff, became the youngest member ever of the New York city council, ran for the House. He can't live without this."

-VANDEN HEUVEL: "I have to say, as a life-long New Yorker, I find this such a turnoff, such a distraction from the real scandals of the city. And to get serious for a moment, the metastasizing inequality in the city is a real scandal. When was the last time you really fixed on that? There is one candidate in this race, Bill de Blasio, who is speaking to that in a coherent way. But otherwise, until Anthony Weiner's sexting and all of that leave the race, the oxygen's sucked out."

ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN LEADERS TO RESUME PEACE TALKS. Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials will meet over the next two days to try and hash out parameters to formally resume direct peace talks, the State Department announced on Sunday. This will be the first time in nearly three years the parties will have sat down for negotiations, ABC's DANA HUGHES notes. Secretary of State John Kerry recently spoke with both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and personally extended an invitation to their respective senior negotiating teams to come to Washington for the talks, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point. We are grateful for their leadership," Kerry said in the statement. The meeting follows Kerry's announcement July 19 in Amman, Jordan, that the Israelis and Palestinians had reached agreement to begin negotiations on the parameters to resume direct final status negotiations. At the talks in Washington, the Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh, Psaki said. http://abcn.ws/14cyDZ7


"SEN. RAND PAUL HITS BACK AT NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE OVER SURVEILLANCE," by The Associated Press' Erik Schelzig. "U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., hit back Sunday at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the two Republicans' ongoing spat over national security. Christie last week criticized Paul's opposition to warrantless federal surveillance programs, saying it harmed efforts to prevent terrorism. Paul told reporters after speaking at a fundraiser outside Nashville on Sunday that Christie's position hurts GOP chances in national elections and that spending priorities of critics like the governor and Rep. Peter King of New York do more to harm national security. 'They're precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their 'Gimme, gimme, gimme - give me all my Sandy money now.' ' Paul said, referring to federal funding after the hurricane last year. 'Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.' King in a phone interview late Sunday called Paul's criticism of Sandy aid 'indefensible.' 'This was absolutely life-or-death money that was essential to New York and New Jersey,' King said." http://cjky.it/11pDsuc


@JillDLawrence: Gillibrand, Warren, Klobuchar finally getting '16 buzz. What took so long? My analysis @nationaljournal http://bit.ly/1cgjYg3

@rajivwashpost: #Afghanistan war now more unpopular with Americans than the #Iraq war ever was http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/07/26/afghan-war-now-more-unpopular-with-americans-than-the-iraq-war-ever-was/ …

@robertcostaNRO: Mitch McConnell on McCain and Schumer: "When are you all getting married?" http://www.nationalreview.com/article/354628/mitch-mcconnell-darth-vader-robert-costa …

@PostRoz: On trail with McAuliffe, @paulschwartzman reports most striking aspect of campaign is studied absence of a campaign. http://wapo.st/18HPd16

@ZekeJMiller: GOP Goes Public With Long-Brewing Foreign Policy Civil War http://ti.me/16oAIwK via @TIMEPolitics