August 10th, 2014
09:48 AM ET
8 years ago

The “Inside Politics” Forecast: Could Iraq be a factor in tipping the 2014 midterm scales?

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) – New details on the 2016 chapter of the seemingly permanent presidential campaign, questions about Iraq’s political impact, and three intriguing 2014 calculations as we whipped around the “Inside Politics” table Sunday.

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1. Iraq was a big issue in ’06 & ’08; what about in ’14?                       

Maeve Reston of The Los Angeles Times noted there was no rush of statements from candidates in top 2014 midterm races after President Obama authorized military airstrikes in Iraq.

That announcement came Thursday night, so it is going to take a while before we know if this becomes a passing or lasting issue in Washington and out on the campaign trail.

But as Reston smartly notes, the initial caution of some candidates suggests they worry a new Iraq debate could complicate their already difficult campaigns.

“They know they have their core Democratic voters who don’t want a greater incursion into Iraq and Republicans will have an opportunity to go after them by trying to tie them to Obama’s ‘weak foreign policy,’” said Reston.

2. Iowa campaign cash deluge

CNN’s Peter Hamby shared new insights on Iowa’s 2014 Senate battle, including another dustup involving Democratic candidate Bruce Braley and a dispute over chickens on his vacation property that has Republicans thinking victory is within reach.

Joni Ernst is the Republican nominee and one GOP worry has been less than stellar fund-raising by her team. But Peter notes that outside GOP groups see the race as an opportunity to pick up a seat, and are ready to spend on Ernst’s behalf.

“Outside Republican spending on this race has quintupled over the last month,” said Hamby.  “I’m told outside groups are looking at going in even heavier in the coming months because of Braley’s self-inflicted wounds. “

“And I’m also told that Rand Paul, who we were just talking about, has another trip to Iowa in the works, so he’ll be going back out there in September/October to help the Republican nominee Joni Ernst, in a race that Republicans think is still on the table.”

3. Montana dirty tricks?

Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared a bit of palace intrigue on the topsy-turvy Montana Senate race.

Appointed Sen. John Walsh announced this past week he would not be a candidate for a full term, bowing out after a New York Times report revealing Walsh plagiarized much of his master’s thesis.

Walsh withdrew just before a state deadline allowing the Democratic Party to pick a replacement. Still a likely GOP pickup, but Maggie notes a lot of Republicans - convinced the damning information was leaked - are wondering why the timetable wasn’t pushed later so it would be harder or impossible to get a new candidate.

“It left a bit of wiggle-room that some Republicans are not totally comfortable with,” said Haberman.  “They wouldn’t have minded seeing him stay in for, say, another week or so and then, when he couldn't get off the ballot, sort of seal the deal this way.”

4. New Hampshire stealing the 2016 spotlight

Iowa was crowded with 2016 GOP presidential prospects this past week, including a weekend event organized by Christian conservatives. Now, New Hampshire is about to steal the spotlight for a bit as the early 2016 jockeying intensifies.

I’m told Chris Christie, who just concluded his second summer New Hampshire visit, is setting up a third for early September. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is also coming back, and this next time – also in September – looking for as much a three days in the state, including private time with key activists.

Not to be outdone, a good GOP source says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is looking to add a second day to a trip already planned later this month, like Jindal hoping to mix in public events and some private activist courting.

On the Democratic side, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is back to help the New Hampshire Democratic Party next month. on the political tug-o-war between Iowa and New Hampshire:

Screen shot 2014-08-09 at 12 30 23 PM

5. Estranged in Alaska

Lisa Murkowski kept her Senate seat last time – in 2010 – by waging a write-in campaign after losing her GOP primary to a tea party candidate. She isn’t up for re-election until 2016, but is making an interesting 2014 play that could shore up her right flank but leave her vulnerable elsewhere.

Politico’s Manu Raju shared reporting on how Murkowski is sharpening her criticism of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is up this year and is a big GOP target.

“She is refuting any suggestions that they work together as a team,” said Raju. “Now, this is a risk for Murkowski because when it comes time for 2016 she is going to have to run as a bipartisan moderate at a time when the conservatives are still angry at her for a number of votes she’s been taking over the years.”

Why does Murkowski think it’s a risk worth taking?

“If Begich loses and Republicans take the majority, she could become chairman of the Energy Committee, a very powerful perch in the next Senate,” said Raju.

One of the write in ads from her last campaign in 2010:

Filed under: Inside Politics
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. BoZo

    CNN is not making the case here for the title of the story within the body of the article. I use to give people credit, but CNN constantly illustrates why this country is stupid enough to elect Obama and crony democrats.

    August 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. jpmichigan

    As usual Obama's a "buck short and a day late". Those who cry foul about bombing the terrorist SISI, will be the first to cry we should have done some thing sooner when they threaten Americans. When one supplies terrorist who use the cover up of helping the rebels in Syria, what does one expect when they use the same weapons on others. USA must with its allies fight terrorism where ever it exists. For terrorist are barrarians who use and kill women, children the elderly, Christians as human shields, to protect their ideology , which is to kill all that stand in their way.

    August 10, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. aaron

    Murkowski is a piece of work. But, even as the oil companies' concubine, she was better than TPer Joe Miller. She only won because Dems hated Miller so much that even her arch right-wing self was better than him. After she won, she announced that she recognized that she had been elected by a "coalition," and would conduct her Senate office accordingly. She was very willing to discard that stance in a minute at the chance of pushing the oil companies' agenda on the Energy Committee. She'll get 2 years of it. The American memory is very short, but when she's cornered again in 2016, Dems will get reminded of her betrayal over and over again....mainly by other Repubs.

    August 10, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. NameFrank Deery

    We are in Iraq, now, not because Christians
    Are at risk, but because Iraq's oil pool is.
    Period! Had Obama cared about Christian
    persecution, which goes on all Over the Mideast, and for years, he would have acted sooner. Had he acted to help-at least-our allies the Kurds-this could have been avoided. Now, The oil fields and dam that runs refineries and power to Iraq, as ISiS advances, is in ISIS hands!
    Oil boys nervous! So, finally, Obama moves.
    from shamming to some sort of tethered leadership. Oil boys worried! He jumps-like in
    Libya! A mess to this day!
    Iraq? Under Obama? Kurds will survive, but the rest gone.

    While Obama vacays-at taxpayer expense-in
    Martha's Vineyard. Not So Chicago! Not Oakland, not Bankrupt Dettoit! Not Watts!

    Oh, and by the way, our borders are unprotected.

    August 10, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel


    Obama squandering the cost of our people and our money in Iraq, by doing little about ISIS should be a concern for all Americans.

    August 10, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Anyone remember when the republicans did anything that would help Americans? Government shutdowns, unnecessary wars, credit downgrades, failure to pass: jobs bill, immigration reform, health care etc. are reasons why republicans are unfit to govern.

    August 10, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    Did you truly believe that the war in Iraq was ever going to end?

    August 10, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Seb

    All of the sacrifice, the dying, the bleeding has led to the success in Iraq... He said (straight faced). Nevermind that 90% of all of the high info voters who put Barry into power have no idea that we are now back to square one in Iraq and launching missiles at the insurgents. Good thing the unbiased media who lambasted Bush throughout his entire presidency have the journalistic creed to accurately report on this current situation. Mission accomplished

    August 10, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |

    It turns out that republicans were right about Obama. He's by far not a leader.

    August 10, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. David H. Thoreau

    Republicans, if in control , would put American boots on the ground. Republicans are bankrolled by the military industrial complex which makes billions on wars. It is a matter of money.

    August 10, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Bigwilliestyles

    Don't u folks on the right ever tire of that same old 'gonna win in a landslide" line?

    August 10, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. J Anthony

    you rabid right commenters would be hilarious if you weren't so deluded. If you actually believe Obama is "far-left" and responsible for every problem under the sun, you've been listening to too much hate-talk on AM radio and watching too much FOX news. If you've been paying attention for the last 5 years, you'd know this president surrounds himself with plutocrats both liberal and conservative. Nothing he's done can be accurately described as "far-left", unless you're so far to the right that you can't see straight. Pure political propaganda, and you're all eating it up.

    August 10, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Yeah, I miss a leader like W....a guy strong enough to drag our country into an unending war. Is that the kind of leadership you like?

    August 10, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. rs

    1. No one in America wants to re-insert our soldiers into Iraq.
    2. The GOP owns Iraq- it was a stupid war to start, executed badly. It is what it is.
    3. The GOP in the House thinks fixing the VA is too expensive; they think fixing immigration is "too expensive" Wanna bet whet they'll think ANOTHER war in Iraq is?
    4. The only thing that really interests the GOP? Faux controversies- not leadership.

    August 10, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Show up at the polls in November!!!! It's the only time YOU will have to PUNISH the GOP for ALL their OBSTRUCTION and INCOMPETENCE over the last SIX YEARS AND THEIR STUPID 24 BILLION DOLLAR goverment SHUTDOWN . VOTE THE GOP party of STUPID OUT once and for all!!!!!!

    Now here is your typical low IQ Democrat voter. Republicans have only held ONE part of government and it has been for 3.5 years, not 6 years. Obama has been president for 5.5 years now, Democrats have held the Senate for EIGHT years now, and Democrats held the House from 2006-2010, leading us right into a recession. So most of the government has DEMOCRAT controlled for most of the last 8 years. People like you is how morons like Obama get elected.

    August 10, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. whitepine

    Why does America and Obama have to solve the world's problems? Bush upset the stable Iraq and now it is a free for all. McCain and the GOPs think that the only way to solve problems is with a gun or war. How can we be world leaders when we are so politicially divided and dysfunctional ourselves? How can you talk peace when your own nation is at war with itself?

    If God created this world and controls it, let Him fix it. Everyone is praying to God for peace and control...what God and who's God....let the Gods fight it out and settle who is the real ruler of this earth. Why are we fighting for a God who doesn't need our help anyway?

    August 10, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama squandering the cost of our people and our money in Iraq, by doing little about ISIS should be a concern for all Americans.
    Think that one through Rick. Which brain trust attacked Iraq for no reason, with no end plan. The GOP screwed it up to begin with. Do you really think anyone really wants to go back to Iraq after the way Bushco screwed it up?

    August 10, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. Name

    here comes the repubs jumping ship again as Obama climbs aboard their vessels. they run around the corner with pitch forks and torches, shouting Obama is a weak freckles leader, who is the causes of every bad thing on the planet. Obama does what they wants, they appear from around the corner, Obama is a ruthless dictator, who wants to make America and the world a socialist planet. the repubs have gone to the well so many times, that even a 2 year old can predict every move they make.

    August 10, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. anthony78

    It turns out that republicans were right about Obama. He's by far not a leader.

    So what about the other half of the Republicans who say he is a Dictator? You, my friend, have one confused Party on your hands...
    Meanwhile, lets recap the Republican's greatest acts of leadership as of late...

    1. Shut the Government down; $20+Millions lost
    2. Almost 50+ AHCA repeals lost.
    3. I seriously can't think of anything else Republican
    Leadership has gotten us.

    August 11, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  20. anthony78

    @SimplyPut @Klutch Cargo
    Are you the same commenter posting under multiple names? Sure sound like it.

    As far as all the country's problems... If my "Lib" education serves me correctly.. its the job of congress to write the legislation for the President to either sign into to law or not.
    Now.. can you tell me exactly what those laws were (or lack of) and why these are the fault of Lib's? Like, seriously? Do you guys even know how Government even works??
    Republicans ran on a "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" platform. Sooo.. where are they? They claimed they were "focused like a laser". Sooo... where are the jobs. Or would you rather go back to GWB's losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month? And DONT bring up DEBT. Your guy Cheney said deficits don't matter. Bush kept 2 wars off the books, AND gave tax breaks to the rich (during war time). Lets also remind you of the Republicans vowing to work against the President and do the opposite of whatever he wanted (even when it was in the interest of the people). Meanwhile unemployment HAS gone down, the GDP is in its best shape since '08, and fewer of our service men are in harms way. But its the oil companies who are still seeing the highest profits ever, while raising our prices, and you claim higher gas prices are the the fault of Obama's taxes and regulations? C'mon guys.
    You've been so brainwashed its scary.

    See you at the ballot box in '14 and '16. And we can continue these same arguments when Hillary is President.

    August 11, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  21. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    What do you mean "I" have NO policy ???

    CODE PINK is "My" policy !!!

    Allahu Arkbar !!!

    # Public Unions Forever
    Hope and Change
    Yes WE Can

    # Save our Vet's from the VA
    Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... Just kidding !!!

    August 11, 2014 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    While Obama vacays-at taxpayer expense-in
    Martha’s Vineyard. Not So Chicago! Not Oakland, not Bankrupt Dettoit! Not Watts!

    Oh, and by the way, our borders are unprotected.

    Why would he vacation in any of those places? Has any other President vacationed there? I see you for what you are Frank. And so do many others. Did you complain about Bush's tax payer funded vacations? No you didn't. Another envious little melanin challenged man. Too bad dude, he's still POTUS. Something you'll never be.

    August 11, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  23. Joe Obama

    I am tired of people saying "obama's weak foreign policy"! It is quite clear he has NO FORIEGN POLICY.

    August 11, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
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