Obama Cashes In Out West
By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
- IN THE MONEY: President Obama wakes up in San Francisco this morning and has a full day of fundraising on the West Coast, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. Today, the president attends a House Majority PAC event in San Francisco, followed by a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event in Los Altos. The president then travels to Los Angeles to attend another fundraiser for the DNC. Press Secretary Josh Earnest yesterday defended the president's decision to spend three days fundraising in the midst of several international crises and pushed back against criticism that it sends the wrong message. "The President, like most professionals, has the capability to deal with more than one priority at a time, and particularly, somebody who has the trappings of the presidency alongside him," he said. "He's got his own airplane. He's got dedicated phone lines. He has senior advisors who will be accompanying him every step of the way to make sure that he has access to the information and technology necessary to represent American interests in the midst of these challenging international times."
- THE WHITE HOUSE HAS ALREADY SHIFTED PLANS: The president considered taping an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel LIVE" while in L.A., but the White House decided it was not the right time "in part related to the challenges of doing a comedy show in the midst of some of these other more serious matters that the President is dealing with in the international scene," Earnest said.
- WHAT'S IN A NAME? Say goodbye to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and hello to the NRSC. The committee is ditching its formal name, ABC's JEFF ZELENY reports, and will soon be known simply by its initials. It's the political equivalent of Kentucky Fried Chicken officially becoming KFC. GOP senators were told about the change during a political briefing Tuesday at the NRSC. So what's behind it? First, it saves a few precious seconds in the committee's TV ads. But even more, the change marks the committee formally becoming a nonprofit corporation - like the Democratic committees did long ago - to create a corporate shield to protect people from being personally liable for unpaid campaign debts. The NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring tells ABC News: "The incorporation was a long overdue change that was made predominantly for legal liability reasons, but if doing so creates an additional second or two at the end of an ad to drive message, well gravy."
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
READY FOR WARREN? EVEN IF YOU ARE, THE SENATOR SAYS SHE'S NOT. Are you ready for Warren? That's the question supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren are asking with the recent formation of a Ready for Warren Super PAC, which is taking a page from Ready for Hillary in laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign should the Massachusetts Democrat decide to run in 2016. Though many of her fans are cheering "Run, Liz, Run," Warren is putting the brakes on such enthusiasm. "I am not running," Warren told ABC's JEFF ZELENY, host of "The Fine Print," when asked if she's mulling the idea of a presidential bid. It's the same answer she always gives - in the present tense. She doesn't rule out whether she would ever run. "I am focused on the 2014 elections," she said. "We've got an election coming up … just a few months away - that's what we need to work on." WATCH: yhoo.it/UsmV85
-FYI: SIX TOP DEMOCRATS WHO AREN'T SO READY FOR HILLARY. Hillary Clinton has remained coy on her potential presidential candidacy in 2016, but that hasn't stopped Democrats from endorsing her. The Ready For Hillary Super PAC has been in full swing organizing Clinton supporters, and in January 60 congressmen said they would endorse her if she were to run. Some major Democrats have spoken out against endorsing Clinton too early, including a few who indicated they may challenge her for the nomination. From Deval Patrick to Brian Schweitzer, ABC's NOAH WEILAND has the scoop on six prominent Dems who aren't (quite) ready for Hillary. http://abcn.ws/1sLqtBn
ABC's RICK KLEIN: There's nothing unusual about President Obama's public schedule for Wednesday - and that's the point. On the West Coast in the middle of the week, the president will be attending three fundraisers, walled off from the press almost entirely. (The first event is for the House Majority PAC, which is, of course, a Democratic Super PAC.) That's it. He'll be working plenty in between, surely, and White House aides are right in pointing out that multitasking is what the presidency is all about. But to pretend that this White House doesn't care about optics is nonsensical. And the decision to maintain a brisk weekday fundraising schedule in this world environment - a plane blown out of the sky over Ukraine, American planes not being allowed to land at all in Tel Aviv - sends what message that's helpful to President Obama?
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: Could Congress really go away for the entire month of August without doing anything to address the border crisis? Yes, Democrats and Republicans increasingly believe. Yes. Democrats are refusing to change the 2008 law that has contributed to a wave of migrants coming across the border from Central America. Republicans say they won't approve President Obama's emergency spending request without revising the broader immigration law. But this episode of Capitol Hill gridlock goes far beyond typical partisan lines. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has pleaded - in public and private - for a change in the law. Democrats simply disagree with him, saying the administration has the authority to make the changes under existing law. The big question now: Will the president weigh in and urge Democrats to listen to Johnson? So far, he hasn't. And there are six more days on the Congressional calendar before they leave town for the summer.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The Florida governor's race-one of the closest watched this cycle-has an unforeseen crinkle in it, according to a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning. Republican Gov. Rick Scott trails former Gov. Charlie Crist-previously a Republican now a Democrat-by a narrow 45 to 40 percent in a head to head match up. But, when the libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added in, the race becomes too close to call with 39 percent for Crist, 37 percent for Scott, and 9 percent for Wyllie. Wyllie gets his strongest support from independent voters who back Crist over Scott 45 to 38 percent in a two-way matchup, but split with 36 percent for Crist, 34 percent for Scott, and 12 percent for Wyllie when it becomes a the three-way race. Wyllie won't become the next governor of Florida, but as Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipac poll said, "He may have a great deal to say about who does win." Voters give Scott a negative 43 to 48 percent approval rating, which is actually one of his best scores since he became governor four years ago, and a negative 40 to 45 percent favorability. As for Crist, he gets a 40 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable.
with ABC's SCOTT WILSON
INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS PRESENT EVIDENCE FOR HOW MALAYSIAN PLANE WAS SHOT DOWN. Senior U.S. intelligence officials presented evidence Tuesday that they say makes a "solid case" as to why the U.S. believes a Russian made SA-11 missile fired from separatist-held eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ reports. While the leading theory is that Russian separatists brought down the plane, the U.S. intelligence community still cannot determine who pulled the trigger or why. The officials pointed the finger at Russia for having "created the conditions" behind the shoot-down and labeled as "not plausible" new Russian claims that the plane may have been brought down by a Ukrainian fighter jet. In a briefing with reporters, senior intelligence officials pointed to a variety of evidence, including the detection of a surface-to-air missile launch from a separatist-held area of eastern Ukraine. They cited Russian training of separatists in air defense systems, though not necessarily the SA-11, and Russian separatists having used other air defense systems to bring down 12 aircraft in recent months. http://abcn.ws/1kb1aWN
JOHN KERRY: EGYPTIAN CEASE-FIRE PLAN STILL WORKABLE. Secretary of State John Kerry said his first full day of meetings here to discuss a resolution to the Israeli-Hamas violence was "constructive" but there were no immediate signs of any progress towards a cease-fire, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. As he has for the past few days, Kerry reiterated that the United States believes that a proposal released by Egypt for an immediate end to hostilities is the best way forward, and that only Hamas is left to sign on to that plan. "While we still obviously have work to do, it's also clear to me from each of the parties that I've met with that there is a framework available to end the violence. And that framework is the Egyptian initiative that has been put forward," he said. Kerry made those remarks while addressing reporters at the Egyptian presidential palace where he met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. http://abcn.ws/1p6V1XL
PRE-TEENS ACCOUNT FOR SHARPEST SPIKE IN UNACCOMPANIED CHILD MIGRANTS. Children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without parents are increasingly younger, according to newly released figures by the Pew Research Center, ABC's JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL report. Sixteen percent of the minors who've crossed illegally and unaccompanied in fiscal year 2014, ending Sept. 30, were 12 and younger, compared with 9 percent in the same nine-month period for the previous year, Pew found. The remaining 84 percent of unaccompanied minors who've crossed this year were teenagers. The change from last year so far represents a 117 percent increase in the number of unaccompanied kids 12 and younger making the dangerous trek."The big message here is that when looking at who is crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and being apprehended, a growing number are young children," Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew's director of Hispanic research, told ABC News. The majority of children this year have come from Honduras, followed by Guatemala and El Salvador. Mexico, which normally leads, comes in fourth. http://abcn.ws/WBDHUg
JOE BIDEN'S DJ NEPHEW IS TAKING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY BY STORM. There's an up-and-coming D.J. on the New York scene, ABC's BETSY KLEIN notes. He spins at Montauk hotspot the Surf Lodge, Hamptons parties hosted by club promoter Ronnie Flynn, and "Saturday Night Live" after-parties. Oh, and his uncle happens to be the vice president. Jamie Biden, 32, is taking the music industry by storm. The New York Times reported that in addition to D.J. gigs on the New York circuit, he is working on an album. The long-haired Biden, who was once described as "more White Stripes than White House," is also the lead guitarist for rock band Bloody Social. Vice President Joe Biden is the brother of his father, James Biden Sr. The vice president's office did not respond to a request for comment on Jamie Biden's music career. Biden, 32, said that although he attended his uncle's inauguration, he has yet to play for him. "He has more important things to do, at the moment, than coming to see me play, for now," he told the Times. http://abcn.ws/1rpGXx2
THE TERMINATOR AND CHUCK SCHUMER HAVE FOUND SOMETHING TO AGREE ON. Seems like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former movie star and Republican governor of California, and Chuck Schumer, the long-time Democratic senator from New York, wouldn't have much in common, ABC's CALEB JACKSON reports. Turns out, they both see eye to eye on at least one issue: Open primaries. Schwarzenegger publicly tweeted his support for Schumer on Wednesday after the senator penned an Op-Ed for The New York Times suggesting that the country should adopt a Congressional open primary election system to reduce the polarization currently plaguing Congress. On Twitter, Schwarzenegger applauded Schumer's stance. Schwarzenegger's home state of California has used the non-partisan, open primary system since 2010. Washington State uses an open primary election system too, along with Louisiana where the system is sometimes referred to as a "jungle primary." According to Schumer, California was virtually a magnetic field for political polarization until voters decided to adopt the open primary system in 2010. http://abcn.ws/1nbSOxr
'NSA IN DA HOUSE': STATE DEPT. DOESN'T OBJECT. German artist Oliver Bienkowski probably wasn't seeking the U.S. government's approval when he projected onto the U.S. embassy in Berlin, early last Saturday, the words "NSA in da House" beside a peace sign and an image of President Obama wearing a backwards baseball cap. But the U.S. State Department, while it disagrees with the message, says it's okay with the act, according to ABC's CHRIS GOOD. "Well, I strongly disagree with the message in it, but support the ability of people to freely express that message," State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at Tuesday's daily press briefing. They were the first substantive comments the State Dept. had offered on the act. The U.S. and Germany have had some recent diplomatic tensions over American spy policy. Last fall, it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had eavesdropped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone conversations, sparking public backlash in Germany. This month, Germany reportedly expelled the top U.S. spy in the country, after German media reported on two incidents of Germans suspected of passing German government or intelligence secrets to the U.S. http://abcn.ws/1ltwZVJ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUTS AT THE WHITE HOUSE: THEN AND NOW. Legendary moonwalker Buzz Aldrin may have been "out of town" when the world celebrated Apollo 11-s lunar landing, but he marked the anniversary yesterday with a presidential handshake and a meeting in the Oval Office - the same spot from whence President Nixon made that famous interplanetary telephone call to the moon 45 years ago, notes ABC's ERIN DOOLEY. Nixon called the date July 20, 1969 - the day Aldrin, 39, and Neil Armstrong, 38, stepped off the Apollo 11 lunar module and onto the moon - the "proudest day of our lives." Four months later - following a 21-day quarantine procedure designed to shield Earth from possible lunar pathogens and a 24-country "good will tour" meant to demonstrate the United States' willingness to share its lunar expertise - the Apollo 11 team visited the president at the White House. http://abcn.ws/UqbuxN
@JesseFFerguson: The HIll - "DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Op-Ed: Democrats, Republicans have a stark contrast in priorities" http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/213049-democrats-republicans-have-a-stark-contrast-in-priorities#ixzz38F7RfSgg …
@jeneps: Looking forward to the @Schultz44 on-camera press briefings http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/eric-schultz-white-house-109269.html …
@realDonaldTrump: Going to D.C. for big groundbreaking on Old Post Office site. Will be spectacular new hotel. Lots of jobs!