Empire State Of Mean
By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
- NO LAUGHING MATTER: It was a joke. That's how New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner described his comment earlier this week that suggested he had inside information into Hillary Clinton's 2016 plans, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports. "Have you ever heard that sometimes people say, 'Yes, but if I tell you I'd have to kill you?'" Weiner said last night. "It was a joke, everyone laughed, it was a joke." When pressed by ABC News after a New York City mayoral debate, he declared: "I have no insight into campaign 2016. I'm struggling right here with 2013." Team Clinton isn't laughing. The latest dustup for Weiner came Monday night at a forum sponsored by BuzzFeed when he said he knew what role his wife, Huma Abedin, would play in a Clinton presidential campaign. "I do," Weiner said. When pressed for an answer, he said: "I'm not going to tell you." Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, departed from previous protocol of steering clear of commenting on Weiner and said bluntly: "We have absolutely no clue what he was talking about. Maybe his campaign does. Doubt it though." http://abcn.ws/17MkUDn
- IN THE CENTER, BUT ON THE SIDELINES: Anthony Weiner was standing center stage during the first televised debate in the New York mayor's race last night, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports from New York, but the hour-long forum crystallized one thing that has become increasingly clear: His candidacy is on the sidelines. Zeleny notes: "Weiner was a footnote in last night's sparring contest. Only City Council Speaker Christine Quinn spent much time engaging him, which seemed to be a strategy less about Weiner than an attempt to improve her standing among women voters. The other candidates essentially ignored him. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio appeared to be in the driver's seat - a position reflected in the latest polling in the race. He seems to have benefited the most from Weiner's fall. Meanwhile, Quinn struggled to make her case throughout the evening, trying - with little success - to separate herself from Mayor Bloomberg. She's no longer the front-runner and it shows."
- WEINER AT THE BACK OF THE PACK: The latest polling shows the New York City mayor's race is in flux again, but Anthony Weiner still trails far behind, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP notes. New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio now leads - for the first time in yesterday's poll conducted by Quinnipiac University - City Council Speaker Christine Quinn 30 percent to 24 percent among likely voters in the city. In Quinnipiac's previous poll released in late July, Quinn led de Blasio 27 percent to 21 percent. Anthony Weiner is polling at 10 percent in the latest survey, down from 16 percent in July. "A few weeks ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio looked like an also-ran. Today, he's the leader of the pack, and a winner in the runoffs. Follow the bouncing ball, folks," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Nobody thinks former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner will pack it in, but 52 percent of likely Democratic primary voters wish he'd go away and 51 percent say they'd never vote for him," Carroll said.
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
HAVE YOU 'HERD'? WHILE POLITICIANS VACATION, GOATS HARD AT WORK IN WASHINGTON. Congress may be out of town for its August recess, but that doesn't mean that no work is getting done in the nation's capital. At the hallowed grounds of the Congressional Cemetery in Southeast Washington, where historical figures like J. Edgar Hoover and John Philip Sousa lay in final rest, a herd of goats has been laboring away in a fenced-off portion of the cemetery, munching down overgrown poison ivy and other weeds. "We got called in to deal with a problem vegetation issue," the goats' keeper, Brian Knox, told "The Fine Print's" JEFF ZELENY during an interview, standing in a clearing that was densely covered with ivy just a week before, prior to the goats' arrival. The non-profit organization that maintains the historical cemetery was concerned the invasive ivy would kill the trees that line the edge of the cemetery and cause them to fall on the historic tombstones. Knox said his Maryland-based Eco-Goats company was uniquely suited to deal with the problem. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/17N2in1
CORY BOOKER WINS NEW JERSEY SENATE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY. Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic primary last night for the special election to fill New Jersey's U.S. Senate seat that is open due to Frank Lautenberg's death in June, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Booker beat his opponents by a wide margin, with 59 percent, while his closest challenger Rep. Frank Pallone had 20 percent, followed by Rep. Rush Holt with 17 percent and State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver with just 4 percent, according to the Associated Press. Booker will face off against Republican businessman Steve Lonegan who beat physician Alieta Eck, according to the AP. The results were not a surprise as Booker, 44, has been the front-runner in the race for months. "He was the frontrunner from the beginning of the race and has an extraordinary level of popularity for a politician, especially as a politician that is the mayor of Newark, being the mayor of a city has rarely been seen as the path of greater political glory, but he has been something of a phenomenon in New Jersey politics," John Weingart, the associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, told ABC News. Booker will face off against Lonegan on October 16. He is heavily favored in that race as well. That same Quinnipiac poll showed Booker leading Lonegan 54 to 29 percent in a general election face off. http://abcn.ws/1eIebhR
NOTED: If Booker wins in October, he will need to run again just next year for the full six-year term. Booker is the first African-American to be nominated by a major party for a statewide office in New Jersey, something that Rutgers University's John Weingart notes has been hardly mentioned in the race. "It's noteworthy that it is not noteworthy," he said. "I don't know if it speaks to him or the state of race relations, but that would have been a big story various times in the past, but now it is just a footnote to this election."
MORE MONEY, MORE PROBLEMS FOR CORY BOOKER. Cory Booker cruised to the Democratic nomination for New Jersey's open Senate seat yesterday, but following him like a trail of dust on a dirt road are ethical questions about whether he used his celebrity as the Twitter-happy mayor of Newark, and his potential ascension to the U.S. Senate, to raise $1.7 million from wealthy tech executives for a nascent tech startup, Waywire, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. "Essentially, they've turned him into a millionaire," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a government ethics watchdog group. "What kind of influence is that going to have over Cory Booker's decisions when it affects those particular clients?"Details of Booker's relationship with Waywire, a company he co-founded, were reported in a front-page New York Times article last week. They detailed Booker's heavy involvement in soliciting donations for the venture from wealthy donors, including Google's executive chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, and Oprah Winfrey. Booker's stake in the site, whose mission is murky but deals with online video discovery, accounts for between $1 million and $5 million of Booker's personal net worth, according to financial disclosure forms. Both he and his office have tried to downplay his involvement in the startup and to deflect ethical questions by saying that Booker is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company and he will step down from the board if he's elected to the Senate. But if Booker were a senator right now, it would be illegal for him to be involved in the business, Holman said. http://abcn.ws/16NLZZP
AMERICAN BRIDGE RELEASES VIDEO TAKING ON BOOKER'S GOP RIVAL. File this one under, "Wow that was fast." The GOP nominee for the New Jersey U.S. Senate seat Steve Lonegan had that title for less than an hour when the Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, was out with an anti-Lonegan video, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. It compiles some of the businessman and former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey's eyebrow raising comments. Trying to label him as the "face of the 'new' GOP," the video includes Lonegan saying "I'll be as callous and uncaring as you can imagine. I have no interest in paying for your health care" and "I'm a right wing radical. I don't believe there should be a minimum wage," amongst many others. John Weingart, the associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University told ABC News it's likely Lonegan has "attacks prepared" against Newark mayor and Democratic nominee Cory Booker and Lonegan will have a "fair amount of funding," but Booker is still "heavily favored" in the general election match up. WATCH: http://bit.ly/18tdQOv
OBAMACARE CAP ON SOME HEALTH COSTS DELAYED. Another provision of President Obama's signature health care law has hit a snag, according to ABC's DEVIN DWYER. An annual cap on out-of-pocket health care expenses for some consumers will remain on hold until 2015, one year later than planned, according to little-noticed guidelines posted on a Labor Department website. The delay means some Americans will have to wait a little longer to realize the full benefit of one of the Affordable Care Act's key consumer protections - a first-ever legal limit on how much people have to spend on their own health care. The hiccup in implementation primarily affects people enrolled in group health plans with separate administrators for medical services and prescription drug benefits, government officials and industry representatives told ABC News. Under the law, combined out-of-pocket spending on medical care and prescription drugs cannot exceed $6,350 a year for an individual or $12,700 a year for a family, including co-payments and deductibles, starting in 2014. Those caps will take effect as planned for all health plans sold in the new insurance exchanges and offered through employers whose medical and drug benefits are administered by the same entity. But Americans enrolled in other plans could still face higher costs. http://abcn.ws/14LaYiB
WHITE HOUSE QUOTES MEAN GIRLS IN BO INSTAGRAM. The first dog is still "trying to make fetch happen," as mean girl Gretchen Wieners would say, ABC's JOAN E. GREVE notes. The White House posted a photo to its Instagram account of Bo, the Obama family dog, in the Oval Office with a tennis ball in his mouth. The caption for the photo read, "Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen," a tagline from the 2003 film "Mean Girls." The photo collected more than 9,000 "likes" in about two hours, already making it the second-most- popular photo on the White House's Instagram, which was started in June. http://abcn.ws/13Wsgqv
WHAT WE'RE READING
"IRS DRUMBEAT CONTINUES WITH CONGRESS ON BREAK," by the Washington Post's Josh Hicks. "House Republicans opened a new front Tuesday in their examination of the IRS targeting issue, demanding all work-related e-mails from the personal account of agency official Lois Lerner. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) requested the communications in a letter to Lerner, who was placed on administrative leave in May after an inspector general's report revealed that the agency had screened groups for extra scrutiny based on their political ideology. The congressman said investigators had discovered that Lerner sent documents relating to her official duties to a personal e-mail account labeled 'Lois Home.' 'This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business,' the letter said. GOP lawmakers last week accused the IRS of continued targeting after a processor acknowledged to congressional investigators that management still required him to send tea party applications for extra scrutiny. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Charles Boustany (R-La.) sent a letter to acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel this week calling on him to issue a directive against the practice." http://wapo.st/1a3TEXk
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX
-MADISON PROJECT ENDORSES MITCH MCCONNELL'S GOP CHALLENGER. Jim Ryun, a former Congressman from Kansas and the leader of The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative group to endorse Ted Cruz, penned an Op-Ed in USA Today: "Next year we will have a number of opportunities to elect these new principled Republicans - all in conservative-leaning red states. There are opportunities in Democrat-held seats in Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Alaska, and North Carolina. And yes, there are Republican seats in Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wyoming and others currently being wasted on Republicans of yesteryear. … And there's Louisville businessman Matt Bevin who's challenging the sitting Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell's quiet support for backroom deals and lack of leadership to fight the legislative battles needed to move our country in the right direction, has undercut conservatives in the Senate for years. We are proud to be the first national organization to support this historic conservative insurgency to empower the grassroots over the party establishment." http://usat.ly/1cxoARx
-" CONGRESS MUST HELP AMERICA'S DRIVERS AND DITCH RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD ," a Fox News Op-Ed by Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance. "The Obama administration is digging in its heels when it comes to repealing harmful energy regulations that increase consumer costs with little benefit to the environment. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a classic example of hugely misguided energy policy, but to the Obama administration and its environmentalist allies, the RFS is a beneficial regulation aimed at curbing emissions and safeguarding against climate change. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a classic example of hugely misguided energy policy. What they don't say, but mean, is that it artificially drives up the cost of gasoline and when that happens, people can't afford to drive as much. Remember how energy prices need to 'skyrocket?' Well, they are." http://fxn.ws/1d4mlD0
@HotlineJosh: From @nationaljournal this a.m: Christie Won't Help Cory Booker's GOP Opponent In Senate Campaign http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/christie-won-t-help-cory-booker-s-gop-opponent-in-senate-campaign-20130813 …
@politicalwire: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is writing a book http://politicalwire.com/archives/2013/08/14/gillibrand_writing_a_book.html …