August 25th, 2014
08:53 AM ET
3 weeks ago

The “Inside Politics” Forecast: Will Eric Holder be leaving the Justice Department?

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) – An exit strategy, proof of the Obama Midterm Drag, and insights into some of the most intriguing faces and races of 2014 and 2016 filled our weekly close-of-show trip around the Inside Politics table.

1. FROM FERGUSON TO THE EXIT?
Could Ferguson serve as the final chapter in Eric Holder’s career as attorney general?

Nia Malika Henderson of the Washington Post takes a look at the options Holder currently has on the table for leaving the federal government.

“Inside the Justice Department, people have speculated that [by] the end of the year he would be moving on,” said Henderson.

“But now the calculus is probably different,” she notes: If the Senate changes hands in November, it would make it difficult for another Obama nominee to be confirmed should Holder step down.

“[There's] also this question about Barack Obama's legacy, and the attorney general's legacy around civil rights as well. They very much feel like there's more work to do.”

2. TO MITCH MCCONNELL, CRUSH = “KICK THEIR A–“
Mitch McConnell still has a tough race of his own on to worry about in the final 10 weeks of the 2014 midterm campaign. But Jonathan Martin of The New York Times found the Kentucky GOP senator in good spirits during an interview this past week.

McConnell, as we have discussed for weeks, set a high and colorful bar early in the cycle when he told Jonathan’s colleague Carl Hulse his goal was to “crush” the Tea Party this year.

“Yes, we were determined this time to have the most electable nominees everywhere,” was the tame way McConnell described his strategy in the new conversation with Martin. Meaning determined not to let more controversial tea party candidates win GOP nominations only to lose in November.

In private, Martin discovered the senator has a more colorful way of describing his goal:

“Privately I'm told he was telling fellow senators he was going to kick their A–,” said Martin.

As Martin notes, the flipside of success is that McConnell won’t have candidates to blame if the GOP falls short of its goal of picking up a net gain of six seats – and with that the Senate majority.

3. A HAWKISH TONE AS BROWN MAKES A RACE OF IT
Perhaps the best news for GOP Senate hopes this past week was a New Hampshire poll showing a neck-and-neck contest between Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and GOP challenger Scott Brown.

Not too long ago, Brown – the former Massachusetts senator who has migrated north – was down 10 points or more. Robert Costa of The Washington Post recently spent some time in the Granite State, and shared insights on the tone Brown believes is making a difference in the race.

Hint: Think John McCain, who recently visited to campaign alongside Brown.

“He's playing up his military record in the Army National Guard,” said Costa.

“He believes that talking about hawkish view on foreign policy is the key to win in a state like New Hampshire that allowed John McCain back in 2000-2008 to do so well in the presidential primary.”

4. NEED PROOF OF THE OBAMA DRAG: SEE NH’S BLUE STATE BLUES
If you need evidence of why we call the president’s approval rating the North Star of midterm year politics, then study the new WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll that shows that close Shaheen-Brown Senate race.

Remember President Obama carried New Hampshire fairly easily in both 2008 and 2012.

But this new survey put his approval rating at just 37 percent among likely voters – 59 percent disapproved of how the president is doing his job.

Strategists in both parties say there is zero doubt that President Obama’s slide is the driving force in making the Senate race so competitive.

And Republicans say the “Obama Drag” is in evidence elsewhere, too: in two House races in the state with Democratic incumbents. Both are close, and while 10 weeks is a long time in a campaign, Republicans are getting more confident the closing chapter of this campaign year will be played out on terrain favorable to them.

Democrats, on the other hand, are less and less sure the President will be able to engineer even a modest uptick in his numbers.

5. ALL THE WORLD IS A CAMPAIGN STAGE
Not so fast if you think tracking down a 2016 presidential contender is as easy as racing off to Iowa or New Hampshire.

Have you tried Israel? Mexico? China even?

Julie Pace of The Associated Press helped us understand how more and more of the 2016 wannabes are looking to burnish their foreign policy chops.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got decent media attention during his annual overseas trio – Guatemala this time – to perform surgeries and other eye care for disadvantaged children.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is soon off to Mexico, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is planning a trade mission to China and Japan.

All part of stamping their passports and expanding their horizons, Pace notes.

“One of the ideas,” explains Pace, “is to try to get your foreign policy credentials touched up now and avoid having one of those bumpy credential building trips during the presidential election year when the glare's on you a lot, à la Mitt Romney.”


Filed under: 2016 • Eric Holder • Inside Politics • Jeanne Shaheen • Mitch McConnell • Scott Brown
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Marty

    Mr. Holder will not leave the administration. They can not be that exposed.

    August 25, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Jonathan Martin of The New York Times found the Kentucky GOP senator in good spirits during an interview this past week.
    ----------------------------–
    McConnell is very vulnerable on the topic of health care reform. McConnell says that he wants to overturn the ACA while keeping Kynect, which is Kentucky's implementation of the law. Grimes should make him talk/lie about it some more.

    August 25, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. johnny Doughboy

    Will Eric leave the Justice Dept? Good question, and the answer may be Eric and Barack may go on to other things like traveling on the speaking circuits for goodly sums of money, accept a position with higher institution of learning, undertake new careers in crooning with popular music as Barack has a pretty good voice, and numerous possibilities out there.

    August 25, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    Have you tried Israel? Mexico? China even?

    Julie Pace of The Associated Press helped us understand how more and more of the 2016 wannabes are looking to burnish their foreign policy chops.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got decent media attention during his annual overseas trio – Guatemala this time – to perform surgeries and other eye care for disadvantaged children.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is soon off to Mexico, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is planning a trade mission to China and Japan.

    All part of stamping their passports and expanding their horizons, Pace notes.
    --------------

    And for all their traveling abroad not one of the above is presidential material. Neither will any one of them ever become President of the United States of America. These are candidates who want nothing more than to continue to feed their ever hungry ego at the expense of the people they pretend to "serve" ... when in fact, they serve no one but themselves and their grandiose imagine of themselves. America MUST do better than nominate egocentric candidates stumping for themselves, but not for America.

    August 25, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Bean Counter

    Holder leave?!
    Q: who is going to uphold the Administration's racist agenda instead of upholding the law?

    Q: who is going to willfully and unlawfully going to ignore the United States' immigration laws and blatantly aide and abet criminal immigrants?

    Q: who is going to protect the Administration from blatant lawbreaking such as the trade of 5 terrorists for 1 deserter?

    August 25, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Well,
    There are Lies, Statistics, and Dammed Lies. Now why would the subject of Eric Holder leaving the Administration even come up? Could it be he is also disgusted with Obama? The Obama Administration appears to revolve around a Golf Ball and not much else. Obama ran for the position but has no idea on how to do it. Rome is burning and the Liberal's are Fiddleing. The Economy in the country is down about 30 percent. The Meter is running with nobody at the switch.

    August 25, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    “He believes that talking about hawkish view on foreign policy is the key to win in a state like New Hampshire that allowed John McCain back in 2000-2008 to do so well in the presidential primary.”
    -------------------------------–
    Republicans are fighting the old wars all over again. This is exactly how Republicans are going to be surprised and beaten in 2016, just like they were in 2012. Conservatives can not adapt to the ever changing world as quickly as liberals and moderates because change goes against everything that they stand for, conserving and protecting the old ways. It's just not in their veins.

    August 25, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Beano – Pretty serious charges. Fortunately you are clueless, unwilling to accept reality, and therefore, a Fox viewer.

    August 25, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr.Holder will leave the administration only when he is assured that he will not be leaving our POTUS flapping in the wind.
    There is mutual respect, sense of purpose and common bond between our President and our Attorney General.
    These two men believe and live the mantra: " I am my brother's keeper".

    August 25, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Really???

    Holder is almost as racist as Obama. He should leave and take his do nothing President with him.

    August 25, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Lily

    There is no way Eric Holder can leave now. If Pres. Obama is thinking deeply he can't let Holder go. He is his left hand and even more than Hillary. If Hillary wants to win black voters, she must also insist that Holder stays. The man is fantastic. He is not afraid of any one and he tells it as it is. Black people like him very much. I like him too because he is man of his words.

    August 25, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. rick

    I very seriously doubt Mr Holder will be leaving. He has only started to finaly demilitarize the police departments. This is nothing but a roumor started to place doubt on that agenda by those who are trying to stop it. And between him.. The overwhelming support in congress and the stated willingness of the president to sign it into law as soon as touches his desk. Has many worried. Yes there are many out here who have attention spans longer than a goldfish. And that is also a worry to those who try and fudge the facts. And we are voters.. The biggest worry of all..

    August 25, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. rs

    Gunderson

    Well,
    There are Lies, Statistics, and Dammed Lies. Now why would the subject of Eric Holder leaving the Administration even come up? Could it be he is also disgusted with Obama? The Obama Administration appears to revolve around a Golf Ball and not much else. Obama ran for the position but has no idea on how to do it. Rome is burning and the Liberal's are Fiddleing. The Economy in the country is down about 30 percent. The Meter is running with nobody at the switch.
    _______________________
    Good Morning Gundy, I see you are fact free as normal. Has it occurred to you that no one from the Administration, including Mr. Holder have said anything about leaving? Are you so head-in-the-sand to the point that you still fail to see that: the economy was up 4% last quarter? That unemployment is down to below when Mr. Obama took office? That we are seeing absolutely record corporate profits? And, yes, my retirement investments are bangin'.
    Now ponder this- all of this happened without one single solitary Republican vote. They drove the ambulance into the ditch and parked their backsides under a shade tree for 6 years.

    Do you really think that makes these welfare queens electable?

    August 25, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    1. FROM FERGUSON TO THE EXIT?
    Could Ferguson serve as the final chapter in Eric Holder’s career as attorney general?
    ----------------

    Or could it serve as a very valid reason for Eric Holder to stay on until 2016. I suggest, yes, he will stay on. I seriously doubt he ever had plans NOT to stay on.

    I also suspect most folks understand where the "Holder might leave" talking points originate ... and why certain people are advancing that meme.

    August 25, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. rs

    Bean Counter

    Holder leave?!
    Q: who is going to uphold the Administration's racist agenda instead of upholding the law?

    Q: who is going to willfully and unlawfully going to ignore the United States' immigration laws and blatantly aide and abet criminal immigrants?

    Q: who is going to protect the Administration from blatant lawbreaking such as the trade of 5 terrorists for 1 deserter?
    __________________________________
    Pretty big (and clueless) words, son.
    1. What racist agenda? The GOP passed the ALEC "shoot first" laws. And they work, and our cities are in turmoil because of them. I don't see white teenagers getting killed over cigars or skittles, do you?
    2.Please explain how the President can be ignoring federal law while at exactly the same time deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants? No President has deported more.
    3. You clearly don't know your history, of how America works in times of war. The POWs as you call them were never charged, hence they were legally simply guests of our nation in Cuba. As for the "deserter", I remember when it was a patriotic honor to bring back our soldiers- I guess not so much for you eh?

    August 25, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Bean Counter
    Holder leave?!
    Q: who is going to uphold the Administration's racist agenda instead of upholding the law?

    Q: who is going to willfully and unlawfully going to ignore the United States' immigration laws and blatantly aide and abet criminal immigrants?

    Q: who is going to protect the Administration from blatant lawbreaking such as the trade of 5 terrorists for 1 deserter?
    ------------
    You forgot Benghazi, birth certificate, and death panels.
    And Big Foot.

    August 25, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. ja

    Holder is the only true AG, in recent years, most other only pandered

    August 25, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. smith

    Holder should have been gone a couple years ago. Dem potus always choose lousy AGs.

    August 25, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. rs

    I love the Right-wing posters here. Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder are racists. Yet, they fail to mention it is the GOP systematically stripping millions of minorities of their right to vote; they passed and support ALEC's various anti-minority laws (including Arizona's SB 1070- now completely gutted by the courts as unconstitutional) and their "shoot-first because I am a coward laws" that have resulted in at least a hearty handful of unarmed Black teenagers being shot to death by Whites. The GOP even fell over themselves to support the welfare queen rancher Bundy out in Nevada- right up until his racist spew got to be too much for the GOP (the 4 police shootings and three fatalities probably didn't help, either). Finally- what party began the "Obama isn't an American" meme with the lunatic "Birthers", or the racist TEA Party with their hilarious racial profiles of our President?
    Really GOP, who is racist?

    August 25, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Sniffit

    Wow. This show looks like a veritable smorgasbord of vapid bobbleheadery. Somewhat unsurprising in light of King's involvement.

    August 25, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Why is it all of a sudden we are getting this talk about A.G. Eric Holder leaving the Justice Department? Why is his alleged leaving being tied to Ferguson? Could it be that there is real fear in some quarters that Holder just might uncover something that is truly scandalous?

    August 25, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "You forgot Benghazi, birth certificate, and death panels.
    And Big Foot."

    Pretty sure this show is CNN's version of a death panel for the truth.

    August 25, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Tampa Tim

    Ashcroft and Gonzales were such probably the lousiest AGs in history, and they were chosen by The worst president ever.

    August 25, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    smith

    Holder should have been gone a couple years ago. Dem potus always choose lousy AGs.
    -----------------------------------
    Your right bias is "slipping" again. You almost make it sound as if Republican presidents always choose great AGs. In politics, implications are not all that different from accusations. After all, it is the preferred method of slandering your opponents.

    August 25, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. yolanda

    But hey, what a fine job he did by deciding not to press charges against those fine young New Black Panthers for intimidating voters in Philly in 2008. What great pillars of the community they are. No racial favoritism there, eh? Minister King Samir Shabazz and his billy club....nice.

    August 25, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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