May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
4 years ago

The ‘Inside Politics’ Forecast: The White House settles on a 2014 villain – 'Republicans Inc.'

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.


Democrats, or the Obama White House to be specific, are in search of a Campaign 2014 bogeyman and apparently are a tad frustrated.

Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News shared reporting on ‘Inside Politics’ tracking how the White House would like a “corporate villain” to use as the centerpiece of its campaign year arguments about economic policy and economic fairness.

“They can’t go after oil because that hurts Louisiana and Alaska Senate candidates,” said Goldman. “They can’t go after health insurers because the president needs them on their side for Obamacare. They can’t go after the Koch brothers even though Harry Reid is because the WH is saying, ‘hey our hands are dirty too’ in the Super PAC game.”

So she says, the options appear limited this cycle and the White House is settling for “Republicans Inc.” but that just doesn’t seem as strong as the messages of past campaigns.


Conservative Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and New York City don’t often appear in the same sentence.

But on Monday, the Hoosier meets the Big Apple, with significant 2016 implications.

Robert Costa of The Washington Post shared word that Pence is visiting New York to meet with conservative editorialists and GOP donors, as part of an effort to explore the possibility of a 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

This meeting might not help him win the GOP presidential nomination but they sure are cute:


Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean thinks the world of George P. Bush. And that fact that you now know that might well be interpreted as at least a gentle poke at New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie.

George P. is a candidate for statewide office in Texas who also happens to be the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Kean’s son recently held a fund-raiser for the younger Bush, and his father – Governor Kean – made a point of stopping by.

The elder Kean is a mentor of sorts for Gov. Christie, but has turned more critical of late because of the so-called Bridgegate investigation and trouble between Christie and Kean’s son.

Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared the Garden State intrigue with national ramifications.


Two freshman senators used their invitations to speak to the spring Republican National Committee meet some key activists who might be able to help their 2016 presidential aspirations.

Several sources at the RNC gathering in Memphis said Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky “did themselves some good” by working the meeting and arranging a few private conversations with key party activists.

Most notable, though, according to several sources on hand was a relatively muted nature of any 2016 buzz at the meeting. There was less about Chris Christie than at the last party gathering, the source said.

“There’s no real excitement or buzz about anyone,” said one source on hand for the meeting. “There is still a sizable group waiting on Jeb.”

Rand’s strategy for capturing the nomination—showing he can build the biggest tent:


And two Democratic senators who sparred publicly over how to deal with sexual assault in the military are joining forces to turn a spotlight on the problem – and efforts to deal with it – on college campuses.

Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post told us of the effort involving Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Gillibrand was not happy with her Senate colleague a couple months back when McCaskill successfully fought a Gillibrand proposal to all but remove the military chain of command from decisions about sexual assault investigations and punishments.

But if there was any bad blood, Nia suggests the two colleagues have set it aside; and on Monday they are meeting with university officials, law enforcement and students about ways to combat sexual assaults on college campuses.

“I think in many ways we are beginning to see what it means to have twenty women in the Senate,” said Henderson.

A graphic from Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics on the number of women in the Senate and the House:

IP women in congress

Filed under: 2016 • Inside Politics
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. rs

    To successfully paint the GOP as "villains" (probably an understatement, really), all the Democrats have to do is let them speak:
    *They hate the President, and block, obstruct and hold-up every legislative initiative or appointment they can. Not because they disagree, but because they can.
    * They are engaged in an aggressive program to strip Americans of the Civil and Voting Rights (even Mr. Paul says it's over the top).
    * They have no economic policy or plan beyond building the largest plutocratic class ever in the U.S.
    * They stand opposed to anything that supports the middle class (minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, health insurance, etc.)
    * The waste huge amounts of tax dollars on silly hearings, and symbolic votes, yet ignore that since Reagan, the deficit has only shrunk under Clinton and Obama.
    * The GOP has set loose the white trash of America on a variety of anti-government protests- much like Putin uses Russian skinheads against his enemies.
    One can go on and on. Maybe they can recycle Mr. Akin to explain rape again to women.

    May 11, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. king

    the repubs divide and conquer method, is destroying this country. their mantra of, hey those folk across the train tracks are lounging off your tax dollars and wont work, send the repubs into a frenzy, and they are willing to sacrifice our nation's infrastructure and suck up all the money from circulating in our economy, pushing it to a small amount of rich folks, who intern are not investing it back in america, but building up countries like china, which is getting more powerful by the day, in their economy and in their military might. this is how the repubs are using divide and conquer to destroy the future of this country. the repubs knows when they get the repubs voters mad, they throw all rationality threw the window, and this empowers them to backdoor more money to big corporations who are paying the repubs handsomely to do so. open your eyes repubs before we wont be able to recover.

    May 11, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. Hector Slagg

    I suggest they GOOGLE POGO. We have found the enemy and he is..........

    May 11, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. larry

    Because of you filthy democrats my health insurance costs have doubled.

    May 11, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Tom1940

    In looking for "villains" – have Democrats tried looking in the bathroom mirror lately. That is the place most of their villains reside. This Administration has the worst history of "hoof and mouth" disease (behind Joe Biden – (whom they do not claim as one of their own – i.e. part of the Obama White House Inner Circle – so it's reported). of any modern Presidential Administration. They are their own worst enemies. The full spectrum of "democrat – ubber/left progressive "agents" and minions, whom seem bent on destroying any opposition, from GOP Moderates to Tea Party Folk, have instead brought the wrath of Congress and are now lining up to get criminal charges brought against them (by the hands-full), if they aren't careful. Now with the Special Congressional Committee appointed on Benghazi – for sure there will be daily excerpts leaking and published throughout the primary and general campaign between now and November election time.
    Not a good thing for any candidate still brave enough to register "Democrat". Small wonder then that as "campaigners", none are better at the election process, then Dems. However, once in office, performing within the law and carrying out their duties according to their oaths of office – seems to be a "stretch" . I guess they just can't help it. Being corrupt, criminal and underhanded and doing deals behind closed doors, and getting a few people killed in embassies along the way is just the "cost of doing business" for the Democrats and their party!!!

    May 11, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. brownbuttonglutton

    Lol while the middle class is fading away under 8 years of democrat policies. As the rich getting richer under 0bama. Good luck with that. Shellacking.

    May 11, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. brownbuttonglutton

    Hey King. Who signed nafta? Here I'll help you out. It was slick Willy.

    May 11, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Tony

    Do you want the Senate to repeal the ACA 50 times and investigate Benghazi cover-up (rather than the Benghazi attack) 24/7, for the next two years? Democrats, if you are sick of do-nothing Republicans, let that be your motivation. Go out and vote.

    May 11, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Liz the First

    It's time we pointed out in as plain English as possible how bad the republican ideology is for this country. the people who support it are cutting their own throats voting for people whose only purpose in being in government is to destroy government and pave the way for the rich to become even richer. their governing philosophy is a proven failure for everyone but the super-rich. and the people most likely to vote for them are the ones it hurts the most. how do we reach folks and make them understand this?

    May 11, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. brownbuttonglutton

    Lmao. Good luck. All indications are Republicans take control of the Senate. Maybe even a veto proof majority. You can thank Democrat policies for the past 8 years. The Democrats have done nothing but play race politics and enrich their wall street cronies. A vote for dems is a vote for billionaires like tom steere, warren buffet, George soros, and don sterling.

    May 11, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. brownbuttonglutton

    Hey Liz the rich have gotten richer under 0bama and the democrats faster than anytime in history as the.middle class fades away. A vote for dems is a vote for wall street billionaires.

    May 11, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Luberal R Lazlows

    Dens have been doing a fine job killing the United States:
    0.1% growth of the US economy for Q1

    Lowest employee participation rate in decades

    Highest food stamp participation rate

    US debt beyond $17 trillion and growing

    $ Billions being spent to support illegal immigrants

    No economic, political, diplomatic leverage on the World Stage.

    Giving $ Millions to Governments that are sympathetic to Muslim Extremists (who have pledged to destroy the US)

    Blatantly spying on US citizens

    Using the IRS as a political weapon

    Constantly lying to the US people to pass their agenda

    Silencing the press by spying on reporters, forcing prepared questions only, and closing off public events from the press ("most transparent Administration in history" = lie)

    Hyper-polarizing Dem vs. Rep, Conservative vs Liberal, poor vs rich, black vs white to the point that cooperation is impossible (what do you expect from a community organizer)

    Obama = Sub-par

    May 11, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. smith1

    stupid article. Aren't minimum wages jobs support for changing college loans screwing with voter registration immigration reform, the lack of congress to do anything the environment . the affordable care act enough to run on . Repos are just going to keep hollering about Benghazi and Hillary. Saw an add that has the president taking away our guns again. Repos are rehashing the same old nonsense. Vote

    May 11, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. phantom235

    Phoney straw men is BO specialty.

    May 11, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. James R. L.

    Of course they can go after the criminal mafia family, extreme right wing fascist, Koch brothers. It isn't because the extreme right wing activist SCOTUS forced everyone to a donations knife fight, it is what the K brothers have done with their money, pure evil.

    May 11, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    The sooner of a lame duck Obama, the sooner for prosperity for America.

    May 11, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Bryan

    Be nice to have a leader who dident need a villain

    May 11, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. steve696

    Democrats: "Must have straw man!" "Must have straw man." Repeat after me, "Must have straw man." Cannot run on record. "Must have straw man."

    May 11, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. YoonYoungJo

    I'm not sure if you can paint the GOP as villains. They have to be villains which I don't believe they are. I do not agree with their policies. I do believe, a lot not all, tend to be greedy but aren't we all to a degree? I think the difference between Democrats and GOP isn't the greed. It's that democrats are willing to allow policies that help someone other then themselves. Whereas with GOP, they do allow policies that help others but far far less then democrats. It's like the minimum wage issue. For one, I truly believe raising the min wage is a matter of national security. Providing and creating an environment that ANYONE that works 40 hours a week can be part of the middle class is important. Otherwise you allow for corruption and the seeds of corruption to take root. Also the argument that the min wage is a job killer is only half true. If only one industry or area of the workforce were forced to raise their min wage, then yes, its a job killer. Buy every industry is forced to raise their wage, it's actually a job creator. Those in the middle class, those working at these min wage jobs pump 95%-100% of their money back into the economy. By doing so, as an example, you would have companies like McDonalds that wouldn't have to be so focused on their dollar me menu to increase profits. You would find these same min wage workers, and middle class consumers, having a few extra dollars to spare wouldn't need to order off the dollar menu. Department stores like Walmart may notice, a parent, having a few extra dollars. May say yes to their child picking out a $10 dollar toy or a couple dollars in candy. All of this, in turn would mean larger local pools of revenue to compete for. If a pie, representing a local economy or state only has $1 million dollars spread around, you can't make $1 million and $1 dollars from it no matter how hard you try. As Obama used to mention many times earlier in his presidency. You need to increase the size of the pie, this way everyone can have a little more, even the 1%. Increase the total size of the pie and everyone still gets the same fractional percentage of the pie, everyone still gets a bigger piece.

    May 11, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Scott

    Obama is a lame duck because he is lazy.

    Searching for a villain instead of trying to figure out to improve things has been one of Obama's main problems. It is Washington politics as usual.

    May 11, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    The WH just wants to claim all Republicans are bad.........when in truth........all the Dems..... are what's bad in America.

    May 11, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Thomas Harold Richard

    The White House's strategy will totally resolve the partisan political deadlock... NOT!

    May 11, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. NameFrank Deery

    Progressive politics, from the VA mess to Obamacare, plus a disasterous foreign policy,
    will prove triumphant for Republicans in
    2014, and maybe 2016, because Democrats
    put their faith in Obama, a lousey President.

    May 11, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Quentin

    Democrats are destroying our country as well as Republicans, as far as I can tell. Democrats now have put the most assaults on our Freedoms. Democrats Play the Race card. And the majority are advocates for child murder in the womb, while letting murderers live. Republicans aren't all that great either, considering the History of Presidents under the Republican banner. But at least we knew what we were getting into.

    May 11, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Scott

    If it weren't for the GOP fighting the liberals, this country would've fallen in the toilet years ago. Since the takers now outnumber the makers, we will not recover now. It's too far gone. Most will think I'm crazy, but remember what conservatives said twenty years from now and you'll be wishing for a liberal opposition.

    May 11, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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