Your 2016 Weekend Speed Read

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • TED ON JEB: In an interview yesterday with "This Week" anchor GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Republican voters want a presidential candidate "who will stand up and lead" and, as for Jeb Bush… "Look, Jeb Bush is a good man. He's a good governor. I respect him," Cruz said. "If he chooses to run - it certainly looks like he's going to - he's going to have to make the case to Republican primary voters, concerning his record, concerning certainly his support for Common Core, concerning his policies on immigration, and I think we'll have a debate on that."
  • CRUZ ON CLINTON: Despite new signs of economic growth, Cruz said potential 2016 rival Hillary Clinton will have trouble running on the economy if income inequality doesn't improve. "If Hillary Clinton wants to run by telling Americans that the economy is doing great and you can credit President Obama and Hillary Clinton for that, I would encourage her to follow that strategy," Cruz said. "I'm glad President Obama and Hillary Clinton have discovered income inequality because it's increased dramatically under their failed policies."
  • CORRECT THE RECORD ON CLINTON'S MIDDLE CLASS CRED: Today Correct the Record, a subsidiary of the Democratic super PAC, American Bridge, is releasing a one-page analysis document, titled "Fighting for America's Workers," that details Hillary Clinton's achievements when it comes to creating and sustaining jobs, supporting labor rights and strengthening the country's manufacturing base, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ reports. The analysis, shared first with ABC News, is the most recent in a series of documents the group has disseminated about Clinton's work on topics such as the environment and foreign policy, and specifically mentions what Clinton has done to help provide workers with paid family and sick leave, expand job training opportunities for workers, and curb the outsourcing of jobs. READ THE DOCUMENT:
  • BACKSTORY: The latest release from Correct the Record comes a day after New York's Working Families Party formally called on Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016. According to a New York Times report over the weekend, Clinton has been consulting with more than 200 policy experts to develop an economic platform designed to appeal to both middle class workers and Wall Street bankers. According to Correct the Record's communications director Adrienne Elrod, "Hillary Clinton's economic vision remains clear, concise and consistent - that our country must do more to help the middle class so that all Americans feel and experience the impact of an improving economy. This can be no better summed up than in Hillary's own words, where she recently said, 'No matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have the opportunity to build a good life for yourself and your family.'"
  • WHAT WILL HILLARY DO DIFFERENTLY IN 2016? ABC's JONATHAN KARL and the "This Week" roundtable on how her approach has changed since 2008. WATCH:
  • WHAT ABOUT WARREN? Here's what Van Jones told STEPHANOPOULOS on "This Week" yesterday: "Elizabeth Warren, that's the name that is actually on the lips of every grassroots Democrat. … I think what Hillary Clinton has got to deal with now, she's in a different world when it comes to economics. Post-Occupy Wall Street, income inequality, is a completely big issue. … There is a Democratic Party out there very comfortable talking about middle class, very comfortable talking about tax the rich. How does she relate to that? … I think what you see Elizabeth Warren doing right now is putting herself in a position where if, as you suggested George, something happens, she would be in a position to get in this race. I don't think she will - as long as Hillary Clinton is going along on the trajectory where she looks strong - Elizabeth Warren is not going to get in this race. But if she stumbles, if there's a scandal, if there's a health issue, she's got herself in a position where she could step in and say, 'I'm the one.'" TRANSCRIPT:
  • RICK AND KAREN SANTORUM ON 'BELLA'S GIFT': Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is actively considering another run for the Republican nomination, and his wife Karen discuss their new book inspired by their daughter, Bella, who has survived a rare genetic disorder. WATCH:


-SANDERS SPEAKS: This morning, the Brookings Institution will host Sen. Bernie Sanders to "discuss his economic policy ideas to spur growth and rebuild America's middle class." MORE:

-FIORINA HITS THE ROAD: Potential 2016er Carly Fiorina is scheduled to speak to the Conservative Party of New York in Albany today. Tomorrow, she'll be in Bedford, New Hampshire for a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast hosted by The New England Council. And on Thursday, she will deliver remarks at Lincoln Lab's "Reboot Congress" Event in Washington, DC.


ABC's ALI WEINBERG: With positive jobs statistics out Friday, potential Republican presidential candidates can't just point to unemployment numbers as a consequence of failed Democratic policies, and Sen. Ted Cruz was the latest to demonstrate the alternative strategy: saying income inequality is growing along with the economy: "if Hillary Clinton wants to run by telling Americans that the economy is doing great… I would encourage her to follow that strategy. Because the simple reality is, that's true for the wealthy." That echoes what Jeb Bush said unveiling his economic message in Detroit: "The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks." It's clear that Republicans are calculating that they can navigate an improving economic landscape by taking a page out of the Obama campaign playbook: focus on populism and decry the rich getting richer.

ABC's RICK KLEIN: Seldom have so many non-candidates not campaigned for an office voters aren't really clamoring for them to run for in the first place. These are strange times in Democratic 2016 positioning. "Draft Warren" is gaining in numbers and visibility, even as Sen. Elizabeth Warren herself edges into the future tense in describing her lack of a presidential campaign. Vice President Joe Biden hits Iowa on Thursday - but it's an official visit, which is just as well since he's doing nothing tangible on the political side. "Nobody ever says never," Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday on "Meet the Press." But perhaps the more apt phrase this year is nobody ever says yes. The reasons are obvious enough. Actually, make that "reason" singular; the reason goes by the initials "HRC," and while you can't find her on the trail, you'll find her name way out front in virtually every 2016 primary poll you can find. The Clinton (non-)campaign is falling into place, only slightly in the shadows. But it's not just "Warren Wing" Democrats who are worrying about the quiet on their side, as the GOP race swirls into action.

GEORGE PATAKI, WE MEET AGAIN: 11 QUESTIONS FOR THE POTENTIAL 2016 CANDIDATE. Former New York Gov. George Pataki acknowledged in a recent interview with Newsmax, "People don't remember who I am, but we can remind them of that." Pataki, 69, is flirting with a run for the nation's highest office - the third time he's done so since 2008 - and he recently launched a super PAC called, "We the People, Not Washington." ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI spoke with Pataki about his potential 2016 run. Here's a preview:

-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, said he thinks the next Republican presidential nominee should be an outsider - more specifically, a governor. Do you agree? "I think it's a little self-serving for a governor to say the next president has to be a governor. I think it's enormously important that that person have the ability to show their executive skills and capability at managing something, and I know I have that experience and ability."

-You were recently in the early primary state of New Hampshire to give a speech and meet with locals. How did that go? "It was tremendous. One of the things I love about New Hampshire is that so much of the politics is retail, where you get to sit across the table with people and hear their ideas and let them hear your ideas, as opposed to a 30-second sound bite on a TV commercial." READ MORE on TODAY.



CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION NOT TARGETING CHRISTIE, FEDS SAY. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, under scrutiny because of a 2013 traffic controversy, is not the target of a new inquiry into possible corruption, the Garden State's top federal law enforcement official said, according to ABC's JOSH MARGOLIN and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. "Any characterization that we are investigating the governor about this is just not true," said Matt Reilly, a spokesman for New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "We talk to people all the time. It doesn't mean we're investigating anybody." The probe, however, is examining the conduct of other current and former members of Christie's gubernatorial administration, sources familiar with the investigation said. Christie's spokesman declined to comment.

TEEN'S HUMANS OF NEW YORK STORY INSPIRES PRESIDENT OBAMA. What started with a picture and a post on the popular Humans of New York blog has led to more than $1 million in donations and now, a trip to the Oval Office. In the post, 13-year-old middle school student Vidal Chastanet talks to Humans of New York about the person who has influenced him most, Ms. Lopez, his school's principal. Chastanet attends Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, the neighborhood in New York City with the highest crime rate. "When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter," Chastanet told Humans of New York. Their story inspired President Obama, so it was only a matter of time before Chastanet, Nadia Lopez and Brandon Stanton, the Humans of New York creator and photographer, received an invitation to the White House, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS writes.

ABOUT THE OBAMA PSA THAT AIRED DURING THE GRAMMYS. During music's biggest night, President Obama appeared in a public service announcement that aired during the Grammy Awards in which he urged the artists to take a stand on sexual violence, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS notes. He called on Americans to end sexual violence against women saying, "It's not okay and it has to stop." The president also asked the Grammy artists to call on their fans to join the "It's On Us" campaign. "Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters. And all of us, in our own lives, have the power to set an example," Obama said. "And to the artists of the Grammy's tonight I ask you to ask your fans to do it too. It's on us." The "It's On Us" initiative aims at stopping sexual assault on college campuses. WATCH:


@ScottWalker: Departing for the United Kingdom on a trade and investment trip for the state. My political staff will post some comments while I'm gone.

@NTVsSteveWhite: ICYMI: @BenSasse live tweeted his trip to the boarder. Follow him for photos and comments on his visit with Border Patrol.

@BenjySarlin: Pete King! Lindsey Graham! John Bolton! Meet the Rand Paul 2016 Debate Society. My story, w interviews: …

@betsy_klein: Mike Huckabee tells CNN @NewDay he hasn't seen the "new and edited version" of the Bible that allows gay marriage

?@ethanklapper: Remember the GSA Vegas scandal? Well it's why federal workers literally can't have nice things …