Marco Rubio returns: He lost a fair amount of buzz after the bipartisan and sweeping immigration reform bill he helped usher through the Senate. But the young GOP senator from Florida apparently still sees himself as a potential presidential contender.
Rubio was candid when asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Sunday’s “This Week” whether he thinks he’s ready to be president.
“I do,” he said. “I think that’s true for multiple other people that would want to run.”
Rubio maintained that he has the necessary experience for the job.
Red state Democrats rethinking Obama? – For months, the political conventional wisdom has been that endangered Senate Democrats seeking re-election in red states would steer clear of President Obama and distance themselves from Obamacare.
Fueling this narrative were three instances of Democratic senators declining (or citing scheduling conflicts) to appear with President Obama when he visited their states. And in the case of Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, she recently touted her ability to stand up to the president on oil and gas issues.
But there are three pieces of evidence this week that confound that strategy.
The horrible story of Nigerian girls being kidnapped for going to school seems to have affected President Obama and the first lady personally as the U.S. government also struggles to find consequential ways to help rescue them.
First lady Michelle Obama joined the social media campaign to raise awareness about the missing Nigerian schoolgirls when she tweeted a photo from the White House with a determined and sad look on her face and a piece of paper in her hand saying, “#BringBackOurGirls.”
WH: Climate change is happening now, and it is alarming: The White House has released a years-in-the-making climate change assessment that predicts the alarming effects of rapidly changing global weather patterns. Rising sea levels, more droughts in the West, more hurricanes and more tornadoes will affect every American, the report says.
So what to do about it? Congress has shown no willingness to act. Democrats passed a sweeping climate change bill in 2010 and promptly lost their control of the House of Representatives.
President Obama is expected to enact new regulations unilaterally in June that would place new restrictions on power plants. The White House climate change fixer, new special adviser John Podesta, said efforts by Republicans to rein in Obama’s climate change authority have “zero chance” of working.
The Obama drag: Republicans have a great advantage heading into the 2014 midterm elections, according to another poll. But this poll, conducted by the PEW Research Center and USA Today, suggests their advantage could be starker than it was even in 2010, when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
In a generic question about whether a voter supports the Democrat or the Republican in their own district, Republicans got 47% and Democrats got 43%. That’s a switch from October, when Democrats held an advantage in a PEW poll.
More troubling, perhaps, for Democrats is that President Obama is not a draw for their voters. Just 31% of Democrats think of their vote as “for” the President. Four years ago, 47% of Democrats felt that way.
Numbers like these could have implications for Democrats in 2014, for sure. But they could also influence how Democrats run for president. Sixty-five percent of the people in the poll said they hope the next president has policies that are not similar to Obama’s.
Minimum wage vote – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a procedural vote on legislation that would raise the minimum wage gradually from $7.25 to $10.10. No Republicans have said they’ll vote for it, and some Democrats haven’t said for sure. Even if, somehow, a minimum wage increase could pass the Senate, there’s little chance House Republicans would allow a vote.
So anyone interested in actually seeing a higher minimum wage should not hold their breath for this vote.
But that won’t stop President Obama from appearing Wednesday afternoon to complain that Republicans are standing in the way. Democrats clearly want to use the minimum wage as a wedge issue in 2014.
Why? It’s popular.
Democrats have “wrong track” blues heading into November: A Washington/Post ABC News poll out Tuesday morning shows a dip in support for President Obama. Just 41% of registered voters approve of his job performance.
The number can’t be good news for Democrats, who control the White House and the Senate.
The main question of 2014 will be whether they can hold on to the Senate. Democrats must defend seats held by senators in eight states won by Mitt Romney in 2012..
Pop quiz on Obama’s foreign trip: There was a point during his news conference in South Korea on Friday morning when President Obama referenced how the U.S. was standing up to a rogue world player.
“We don’t reward bad behavior,” he said, before outlining what the U.S. would do to deter it.
Was he referring to:
c) North Korea
Sushi and robots, not sanctions and trade agreements–On President Obama’s visit to Asia, we’ve seen him eat $300 sushi, view an archery demonstration and play soccer with a robot. What we haven’t seen is any movement on a key Pacific region trade agreement, any sort of development on new sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, or any pivot on the troubled U.S. effort to get chemical weapons out of Syria. On Thursday the president moves from Japan to South Korea.
Good Congress, Bad Congress – You could get intellectual whiplash watching some of the campaign commercials starting to emerge from Democrats in 2014.
Take Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn wants her dad’s old job. She’s running as a Democrat to fill the Georgia Senate seat he held as a Democrat for 25 years, from 1972 until 1997.
But Georgia politics and the Democratic Party have changed a lot in the meantime. Nunn is running as a political outsider and her first TV ad makes clear she wants voters to think she’ll have her sights set on Washington and members of Congress if they send her to Capitol Hill.