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.
First, Sen. Mark Pryor, the Arkansas Democrat, invited Obama to view tornado damage with him in his home state.
Then, the White House announced that Landrieu would appear with Michelle Obama for an event in with veterans in New Orleans on Saturday. Landrieu was unable to appear with the President when he visited Louisiana late in 2013.
Finally, Sen. Kay Hagan, the North Carolina Democrat, indicated support for expanding Medicaid as part of Obamacare in her state. Hagan voted for the health law but along with other conservative Democrats has put it on the backburner since. No more. In an interview with North Carolina-based McClatchy newspapers, she defended the Medicaid expansion, a key feature of the law that has been rejected by many states, including North Carolina. Hagan’s Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, was state House speaker when the Medicaid expansion there was rejected.
Don’t look for these Democrats to start sounding like Nancy Pelosi and Obama, but it is evidence that conventional wisdom can oversimplify things.
Politics roils Benghazi inquiry – Democrats are meeting Friday to decide whether they should take part in the new special select committee House Republicans authorized to investigate the Benghazi attack.
House Republicans, meanwhile, continue to deal with backlash after their campaign arm used the Benghazi effort in an online fundraiser. House Speaker John Boehner was asked to respond four times at a news conference Thursday, and he came back with repetitions of a talking point.
Koch brothers to spend $125 million on 2014 – Politico reports Friday that Charles and David Koch, the conservative billionaires who have spent millions to affect the political conversation, will double down on the midterm elections through their super-PAC Americans for Prosperity. The Politico report suggests that the Koch brothers, who have increasingly become a target of Democrats’ ire, have already spent $35 million on attacking vulnerable Democrats over Obamacare. That amount will apparently balloon to $125 million by year’s end, according to Politico.
Solar panels at the White House – A bipartisan bill to promote energy efficiency at government and private buildings has stalled for now in the U.S. Senate, but President Obama is pushing forward with executive actions. And as part of the PR effort, the White House on Friday released new video of solar panels being installed at the White House.
Also on Friday, CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy reports, Obama will announce a series of executive actions meant to bolster green-job creation and combat carbon pollution.
The President also plans to use a visit to California on Friday to reveal commitments from more than 300 private companies and public sector organizations to make the buildings they use more energy-efficient.A fact sheet outlining the details of the announcement brags that these new solar commitments "span every corner of the United States." They also include commitments from well-known companies like Clif Bar, Apple, IKEA and Whole Foods to increase solar usage.
The President will probably point to his host on Friday, Wal-Mart, as an example of a corporate leader on the issue of solar. The company has set a goal of producing or procuring 7 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020 and as part of that is committing to double the number of solar projects at its facilities.