March 30th, 2014
09:45 AM ET
8 months ago

The "Inside Politics" Forecast: GOP donors look to Walker, Rubio

CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

1. GOP donors look to Walker, Rubio: Iowa, of course, remains the first official stop in the presidential nominating process. But there was an early GOP trial of sorts over the last several days in Las Vegas, and the buzz out of the meeting is a telling snapshot of the early – very early – state of play.

The Republican Jewish Coalition meeting drew a handful of GOP prospects and while the host, GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, got most of the attention, the gathering featured many important Republican fundraisers and activists.

Chris Christie had many fans and potential backers on hand, but reports from those at the meeting also indicated significant worries about the toll of Bridgegate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also made a strong impression. But he is exploring, not committed to, a 2016 run, so even those inclined to support Bush were careful to think about a Plan B.

Word from the scene was that Scott Walker and Marco Rubio were getting a fair amount of buzz from those looking for a horse, especially in the event Bush doesn’t run and Christie is considered too weakened.

2. McConnell saving cash to counter potential outside group attack: Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell won’t have trouble raising money if he needs it for his re-election bid. And he is neck and neck in polls with Democrat Alison Lundgren Grimes. So you might expect a McConnell ad barrage against the Democrat.

But McConnell, even though comfortably ahead at the moment, also faces a tea party primary challenge from Matt Bevin.

So Manu Raju of Politico reports McConnell is marshaling his resources, in part because “they are worried about outside groups coming in and attacking McConnell ahead of that May primary.”

A freeze frame of Bevin’s ad poking fun at the McConnell campaign’s March Madness mistake:
Bevin political ad

3. Christie's comeback strategy: Two women deliberately picked for interviews: Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared word from Chris Christie’s inner circle that perhaps his new media offensive did not go as planned.

For starters, Maggie is told Team Christie deliberately picked two women: Diane Sawyer of ABC and Megyn Kelly of FOX.

“The idea was to go for a softer tone because they believed that they knew they were going to get heat “ for the Christie-commissioned report that said he knew nothing in advance about the George Washington Bridge lane closings.

“They felt it was important to get him back on the media bike essentially and let him just get back to normal,” Haberman told us. But Christie also had a press conference, and was at times combative. “A lot of his allies were caught by surprise at the confrontational tone,” Haberman said.

4. Democrats in the "chickens with their heads cut off stage": The Atlantic’s Molly Ball shared insights on the Democrats’ “chickens with their heads cut off stage.”

In her words assessing “the level of Democratic panic. There is a lot of 2010 déjà vu going around. They just lost a special election, they even got Scott Brown back to torment them. So there is a question about is this going to be 2010 all over again and if so how do they deal with it.”

And just in case you were wondering what this highly technical political term means:
chicken without its head

5. Biden's week courting the base with an eye to 2016?: When the boss is away, the understudy tends to the base – perhaps with an idea of a campaign to come.

That was the gist of what Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev shared with us, noting Vice President Biden’s busy week courting Democratic constituencies while President Obama was overseas this past week.

Among his stops: a gay rights gala in Los Angeles, a job training event in New Hampshire, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

A tweet from Biden’s office about his jobs training event in the state that happens to hold the first primary in the presidential race:


Filed under: Inside Politics
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Rubio, Walker, Christie, Santorum, etc. They are nothing more than the latest clowns to be released from the GOP car to keep its base all in a tizzy and salivating to stop the evil Democratic presidential candidate. Jen Bush has already been picked by the GOP leadership (just like they pre-ordained Mittens in the last presidential cycle). That's why he and his idiot brother, George, have been keeping such a low profile, in the hopes that their low-information, memory-of-a-gnat voting base will forget that all of the gop's policies are PROVEN FAILURES and will once again vote against their own self-interest.

    Stupidity and the memory of a gnat: that's what it takes to vote GOP/tea bag.

    March 30, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. t

    ...Priebus just ordered a Cadillac Escalade.......because the current CLOWN CAR is way too small.................

    March 30, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Steve851

    Despite all the troll comments, the GOP bench is much stronger and, unlike 2012, presents some serious people for 2016. I don't see any of them beating Hillary because the GOP is so splintered, but at least there are serious people this time. It's good to see the donors looking at people other than Christie or Jeb, both of whom are non-starters. Perhaps donors would better spend their money keeping a GOP Congress. Based on the past 13 years, divided government is better anyway as it does so much less harm. The six years of total GOP rule under W and the two years under BO were total disasters

    March 30, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    @daviddavid, Paul is a ore 60's racist.
    How does the saying go . . . You don't have to be a republican to be a racist but if you are a racist you are probably a republican.
    Randy thinks that business owners can discriminate against others "not like them". Not presidential material for so many reasons.

    March 30, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. HRC16

    Scott Walker is right, the focus should be on 2014. If we can motivate the base to vote, perhaps the democrats can hold the senate and gain some seats in the house.

    March 30, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. THE KOCH BROTHERS SUBVERSIVE GOP STOOGES PARTY NEEDS to be VOTED OUT IN NOVEMBER !!!!

    If your looking, don't waste your time on these two LOSERS who won't even be elected, but I'll tell you what , I will vote AGAINEST both of these morons.

    March 31, 2014 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
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