Will Cooler Heads Prevail On Government Shutdown Threat?

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By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • ROMNEY COUNSELS AGAINST GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney waded into the debate among Republicans on Capitol Hill over whether to allow a government shutdown to occur if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded as part of the continuing resolution, saying last night that "there are better ways to remove Obamacare," ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. The idea is being promoted by several of the Republican Party's rising stars - Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. Though he didn't mention any of them by name, Romney said he considers the proposal to be ill advised. "Emotion is understandably at play in Washington among some of our fellow Republicans. I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government," Romney said at a private fundraiser in Wolfeboro, N.H., according to his prepared remarks. "What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty? I'm afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy," he said. http://abcn.ws/1er24p4
  • ANALYSIS: From ABC's RICK KLEIN: "Mitt Romney did something interesting last night: He lent his voice to a policy debate that's roiling his party in Congress. His speech last night, at a New Hampshire GOP fundraiser, included a surprise warning against those (hello, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and even Marco Rubio) threatening a government shutdown in an effort to deny funding to Obamacare. Romney won't win many points with conservatives with an attack on the tea party's favored legislative strategy, or a sliver of a defense of Obamacare. But he doesn't have many points he could win with that crowd, post-election, anyway. More intriguing was his warning not to 'cast an emotional vote, a protest vote, an anger vote' in the 2016 primaries. He went on to say 'there will only be one or perhaps two who could actually win the election in November.' Romney didn't name names. Of course, he didn't have to."
  • WHAT WE'RE READING: "The economic policy speeches President Barack Obama has been delivering in recent weeks are turning out to be blunt attacks on Republicans, with an eye toward coming fiscal battles and the 2014 congressional elections," Reuters' Steve Holland notes. "Obama's basic message across the country, most recently sounded on Tuesday in Arizona, is that while he has made great strides in improving the economy, further progress is being thwarted by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. By obstructing his proposals, Republicans are hurting the nation's 'most vulnerable children,' Obama said, along with farmers, the military, home-buyers, middle-class job seekers, immigrants and businesses seeking to hire immigrants. From Galesburg, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Phoenix, Arizona, Obama has been unrelenting in tone, attacking 'slash-and-burn partisanship,' 'phony scandals,' and the 'gutted' farm bill - all the work of Republicans now spoiling for a fight that 'could plunge us back in financial crisis.'" http://reut.rs/15J2g3C


RON PAUL: RETIRED BUT NOT RELENTING. Ron Paul doesn't miss much about being in Congress. The retired Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate tells ABC's REENA NINAN he's relieved to no longer have to book his flights based on House Speaker John Boehner's schedule and has left the "political shenanigans" of Washington behind. Paul, who serves as the chairman of the libertarian advocacy group Campaign for Liberty, which was born out of his presidential campaign, says he now gets to focus on the issues of "economics, noninterventionist foreign policy, and personal civil liberties" that he's "been trying to talk about for 30 years." "We have a revolution going on now," Paul says. "It's an intellectual revolution. It isn't this political shenanigans that everyone wants to talk about." Asked what the chances are that there will be another Paul presidential campaign in 2016, with his son Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as the candidate, Paul says he hasn't talked to his son about the possibility. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/13Mfnvo


HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama participate in an interview with Zillow. "The President will answer questions from citizens around the country that will be submitted through a range of social media platforms by Zillow's users and social media community using the hashtag #askobamahousing," according to the White House. In the afternoon, the president will travel to Camp Pendleton, Calif. where he will deliver remarks and visit with troops and their families.

OBAMA TELLS LENO: HILLARY CLINTON HAS THE 'GLOW.' President Obama told Jay Leno last night that his former secretary of state, foe-turned-friend Hillary Clinton, "had the post-administration glow" when they met for lunch last week, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. "You know, when folks leave the White House, about two weeks later they look great," the president jokingly told Leno on his sixth appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show," his fourth since taking office. The president reportedly said he and his 2008 rival, who is widely speculated to be readying a 2016 run for the White House, are "genuinely close." Obama invited Clinton, whom he praised as a "great secretary of state," to lunch at the White House last Monday to catch up. "We had a great time," he told Leno. http://abcn.ws/12Z5Giq

MITT ROMNEY'S 2016 CRYSTAL BALL. At a private fundraiser in Wolfeboro, N.H., last night Mitt Romney offered a prediction for the 2016 election, telling the New Hampshire crowd that there likely "will only be one or perhaps two" Republican candidates who could beat the Democratic nominee in the general election, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. "As the first-in-the-nation, you will have a big role in choosing our next nominee for president," Romney said in remarks prepared for delivery. "My guess is that every one of the contenders would be better than whoever the Democrats put up. But there will only be one or perhaps two who actually could win the election in November. Think it through. Stay smart." http://abcn.ws/1er24p4

LINDSEY GRAHAM GETS ANOTHER CHALLENGER FROM THE RIGHT. He's not officially in yet, but South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright looks like he will be Sen. Lindsey Graham's next Republican challenger, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. The Republican from Spartanburg has not announced, but he is up with a new website declaring his intention to run for Senate. "As a South Carolina state senator, Lee Bright has earned the reputation for being the most conservative leader in the legislature," the post reads. "His impeccable voting record reveals a strong belief in Second Amendment freedoms, pro-life values, the advancement of civil liberties and fiscal responsibility. It's time to take this proven track record to the U.S. Senate so South Carolina can lead the charge against the Washington establishment." Over the weekend Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, officially announced her candidacy and Richard Cash, a South Carolina businessman announced several months ago. http://abcn.ws/14hyb92

RAND PAUL: QUESTIONS ABOUT NEO-CONFEDERATE EX-AIDE A 'BUNCH OF CRAP.' Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., lashed out at an interviewer yesterday for asking persistent questions about a former aide who in the past espoused pro-secession, neo-confederate views, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP notes. "Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me," Paul said on NPR's "On Point" when host John Harwood asked him about being criticized by The Economist for his close associate to former aide Jack Hunter. Hunter, a former radio shock jock, co-wrote a book with Paul, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," and was Paul's social media director. In his radio statements, Hunter advocated for racial pride, opposed Hispanic immigration, and supported the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, according to the Washington Free Beacon, which broke the story. Paul said it was "unfair" to suggest that he should be painted with a "broad brush" because of the actions of his former aide. "That won't make much of an interview if I have to sit through reading after recitation of people calling me a racist," Paul said. "I'm not going to really go through an interview reciting and responding to every yahoo who wants to throw up a canard." http://abcn.ws/19M7SvV

CHELSEA CLINTON LEAVES DOOR OPEN TO POLITICAL RUN, BUT 'NOT NOW.' Could Chelsea Clinton follow in the footsteps of her former president father and former secretary of state (and potentially future presidential candidate) mother? "Not now," she told CNN's Nima Elbagir on Monday in Rwanda, during a nine-day trip through Africa with her father, ABC's JOAN E. GREVE reports. But in the same interview the only child of Bill and Hillary Clinton did not rule out the possibility either. "I'm so grateful for the work I'm able to do in places like Rwanda - I know that I'm making a difference," she said. "I'm also grateful to live in a city and a state and a country where I really believe in my elected officials, and their ethos and their competencies." She added, "Someday, if either of those weren't true, and I thought I could make more of a difference in the public sector, or if I didn't like how my city or state or country were being run, I'd have to ask and answer that question." In the over 12 years since her family left the White House, Clinton has led a "deliberately private life," she told Elbagir. "And now I'm attempting to lead a purposely public life," Clinton said. http://abcn.ws/16smXxv

PENTAGON TO CUT FURLOUGH DAYS IN HALF. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced yesterday that Pentagon has made the $37 billion spending cuts mandated by sequestration and can now reduce the total number of furlough days for civilian employees from 11 to six, ABC's DANA HUGHES notes. The reduction means that the furloughs will end for most of the employees next week, as they have already done their six days, senior Defense officials told reporters. In a memo, Hagel outlined how the Pentagon had managed to make up for the budget shortfall by making "painful and far reaching changes" that included hiring freezes, layoffs of temporary workers, cuts in facilities maintenance and training. "The Air Force stopped flying in many squadrons, the Navy kept ships in port, and the Army cancelled training events," he said. "These actions have seriously reduced military readiness." Even with those changes, the Pentagon was still roughly $11 billion short of the budget sequestration demanded. In May, Hagel announced 11 day furloughs for roughly 640,000 civilian employees after he decided that any deeper cuts to training and maintenance would jeopardize the military's "core readiness mission and national security." http://abcn.ws/188XhHm

THREE REASONS ARIZONA IS GROUND ZERO FOR IMMIGRATION POLICY. Arizona became ground zero in the immigration debate when the state passed a law meant to curb illegal immigration in 2010. Critics said that the "show me your papers" law, SB 1070, was discriminatory, and the Supreme Court ruled much of it unconstitutional two years after it was signed into law. But immigration is still a huge issue in Arizona. FUSION's TED HESSON outlines three reasons: http://abcn.ws/19Ly35M


GEORGE W. BUSH UNDERGOES HEART SURGERY. President George W. Bush successfully underwent heart surgery yesterday to open a blocked artery, his office said in a statement. The surgery followed Bush's annual physical exam in Dallas Monday when doctors found the blockage, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. A stent, which is a tube that is placed in the artery to keep it open, was placed this morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital without complications. "President Bush is in high spirits, eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday," according to the statement from Freddy Ford, a Bush spokesman. The minimally invasive procedure is "very common" and takes about an hour to complete, according to Dr. John McPherson, a cardiovascular specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Blockages of the artery can be diagnosed if there are symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath during exercise, or by way of a stress test - either physical exercise on a treadmill, or taking medicine that simulates exercise. Ford said Bush exhibited no symptoms before his physical. http://abcn.ws/171jtC2


@maggiepolitico: . @GovChristie aides have started wrestling w/ whether he could stay on as gov and run for Potus given SEC rules http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/chris-christie-wall-street-95256.html …

@HotlineJosh: Matt Bevin's got the resources to fight back v. McConnell. New ad hits Min Ldr on bailouts/TARP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKDTcgKm_Q&feature=youtu.be …

@mlcalderone: AQ observer calls terror alert "crazy pants." Another: "not completely random, but most people are, like, 'Whaaat?'" http://bit.ly/1cJ4ktH

@JesseFFerguson: Republican Congressman and Speaker Pelosi did monthly moment of silence for troops. Speaker Boehner ended it. http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/07/house-of-representatives-no-longer-observes-monthly-moment-of-silence-for-troops/?print=1 …

@ByronYork: So why does no one-really, no one-consider Santorum a GOP frontrunner for 2016? http://ow.ly/nHUGI