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.
1. WILL THE “REPUBLICANS INC.” MESSAGE WORK AS WELL AS PAST CAMPAIGN CYCLE VILLAINS?
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.
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“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.
2. PENCE TESTING THE 2016 WATERS
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:
3. JEB BUSH MAKES INROADS INTO CHRISTIE’S HOME TURF
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.
4. INSIDE THE RNC GATHERING: “WAITING ON JEB”
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:
5. GILLIBRAND & MCCASKILL JOINING FORCES TO STOP SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON CAMPUSES
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: