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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It is 100 days until the 2014 midterm election, so no surprise our trip around the Inside Politics table this Sunday delivered some fun campaign nuggets. But we didn’t ignore 2016 entirely.
1. Yes, the Obama White House loves the GOP lawsuit
That’s right, Julie Pace of The Associated Press talked about a rare bipartisan agreement in Washington: the sense in both parties believe that the House GOP plan to sue the president is a political plus.
Say what? In a nutshell, House Republicans see it as a way to go home to their red districts and promise they are standing up to the president, while the White House and fellow Democrats see a huge opening to question GOP priorities and gin up Democratic fund-raising in the process.
“They are going to be hammering this point: that there is one week left in this congressional session and this is what Republicans are focused on,” said Pace.“Also look for Democrats and the White House to start talking about the possibility of impeachment. If they think the lawsuit is good politics for them, they think the impeachment narrative is even better.”
Part of the DCCC fundraising and social media push on the lawsuit:
2. The land of Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, Romney, Warren and …
I’ve asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick directly on more than one occasion, and he is adamant that no means no. Even more adamant that his wife will make certain that no means no.
The “no” in question is, of course, 2016 and a presidential run.
Yet all of a sudden Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t the only Massachusetts Democrat whose 2014 travels have some wondering if there isn’t a little wiggle room in that 2016 promise.
Patrick has put stops in New Hampshire and Maine on his 2014 schedule, with another New Hampshire swing set in September. His political aides say there likely will be more midterm travel as well, even as he winds down his final year as governor.
Just helping fellow Democrats. Period. End of story.
Most likely that’s the case. But some veteran political observers are beginning to wonder if the usually road-shy governor is dialing it up a bit just in case. As in just in case Hillary Clinton for some reason doesn’t run.
Patrick himself added fuel to this speculative fire this past week with a radio interview in which he yet again seemed less than enthralled with the prospect of a Clinton candidacy. He said, not for the first time, that he worried there was too much of a sense of entitlement in Camp Clinton.
Also part of their WGBH conversation: "It's not like we're pals. I don't know her very well. I respect her enormously.”
And, even though no means no, it can’t hurt to digest what Governor Patrick told a caller who asked if any politician from “liberal” Massachusetts could get elected president.
“Massachusetts is not that liberal," the governor said, citing voter registration data that show unenrolled – or independent – voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats.
3. A Libertarian threat to GOP Senate hopes
Politico’s Manu Raju teed up a fascinating question for the last 100 days: will Libertarian candidates perhaps prove the difference if Republicans fail to net the six Senate seats they need to capture the Senate majority.
“In all of these competitive races, there is a Libertarian candidate in each of these states,” said Raju. “And of course the Libertarian candidates are threatening to siphon off just a small portion of the vote from the right, some from the left, but probably mostly from the right in states like Alaska, even in Arkansas, now there’s even possibly a Kentucky Libertarian candidate who may come up.”
Manu cites Tester’s 2012 race in Montana as an example of this strategy and says don’t be surprised to see Democrats trying to prop up some of these Libertarian candidates as the election draws closer.
4. Christie atop CNN poll, with N.H. return on tap
Robert Costa of The Washington Post pulled back the curtain on a key stop of the Chris Christie comeback tour.
The New Jersey governor is making his second 2014 campaign stop in the state next week, a big fundraiser for the state party at a minor league baseball stadium, and Robert reminded us how Christie has the early building blocks already in place.
“He already has a big network in New Hampshire,” said Costa. “Colin Reed, a former Christie adviser, is managing Scott Brown’s Senate campaign and Matt Mowers, another former Christie adviser, is the executive director of the New Hampshire GOP. So we’ll see Christie try to build some relationships and try to get some momentum.”
ICYMI- the top finishers in the new CNN poll of the GOP 2016 field unveiled on ‘Inside Politics’:
5. Candidates get schooled on 2014, 2016
Education policy is always a presidential campaign issue, and NPR’s Juana Summers zeroed in on how several GOP 2016 contenders are looking to make a mark in the schools debate.
“We talked a lot earlier in the program about Senator Rand Paul’s speech to the Urban League last week,” said Summers. “What we didn’t talk about is what he said about education and that is an area where he’s not alone. In the last week, we’ve heard Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, former Vice Presidential candidate and House Budget Chairman –among others – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.”
Juana says she will be watching to see how much impact the rhetoric of the potential 2016 presidential picks has on the Congressional candidates going back to campaign in their districts at the end of the month.