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) – A Missouri Democratic family feud, a Kentucky Senate tactic worth tracking and some new nuggets about the busy 2016 GOP presidential maneuvering made for an action packed trip around the Inside Politics table:
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1. Missouri rivalry in play amid Ferguson shooting fallout
Jonathan Martin of The New York Times suggests we keep an eye on two Missouri political power players as the fallout over the Ferguson police shooting plays out.
Gov. Jay Nixon and Sen. Claire McCaskill don’t care much for each other, Jonathan reports.
“You've seen a few hints of this in the past few days in the coverage of the Ferguson story,” said Martin, who believes Ferguson may receive a presidential visit in the not-too-distant future. So will the Missouri politicians play nice then? Not so fast.
“Watch the body language. Watch those two. They basically are the big Democratic figures in that state. And there's a lot of folks in the same state on the same party, they don't get along so well.”
2. Hoping to “Akin’ McConnell in Kentucky
Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post took us inside the tight Kentucky Senate race, specifically a tactical effort the Democratic campaign hopes lures GOP incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell into a gaffe.
Democratic contender Allison Lundergan Grimes is highlighting differences with McConnell on issues important to women voters.
“What she wants to talk about isn't abortion. It's certainly not Hobby Lobby, because the state she's running in [is] very conservative, fairly religious. She wants to talk about the Violence Against Women's Act, as well as equal pay for equal work,” said Henderson, who added that the Grimes’ camp hopes the constant pressure on McConnell to answer questions about those and other issues will provoke some kind of stumble.
3. A big 2016 week, or is Hamby just hungry?
Leave it to CNN’s Peter Hamby to notice a very busy political week in his favorite place for barbeque: South Carolina.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are heading to South Carolina in the days ahead.
“Rand Paul is going to be in South Carolina raising money for Congressman Mick Mulvaney, Marco Rubio is going to be headed to the Third District, probably the most conservative district in the state, speaking to conservative activists at a BBQ hosted by Congressman Jeff Duncan,” said Hamby.
4. In courting the establishment, Paul is persistent.
Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared inside details of Rand Paul’s latest attempt to win big supporters in the GOP establishment.
Yes, the buzz about the recent Paul sighting in the Hamptons was that he was with actor Alec Baldwin. But Maggie reports a much more important breaking of the bread: dinner with several longtime GOP establishment donors at the home of former Treasury Department official Emil Henry.
To be fair, though, notes Haberman, “It was a meet and greet. It was not a fundraiser. He is not a first date candidate .. for a lot of these donors."
5. Ohio roots and a thick Rolodex, but does he have what it takes?
Add Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman to the list of potential 2016 presidential prospects who are getting more active in testing their viability.
Portman was in Colorado this weekend campaigning in that state’s big Senate race, and is due in New Hampshire this week to campaign with GOP candidate Scott Brown. And that’s not all, Portman also will take part in a big presidential tradition in New Hampshire: a politics and eggs breakfast discussion
Many in the party dismiss Portman’s chances, suggesting he is too soft spoken or too moderate. But those close to Portman see a “center-right” void in the current GOP early pack.
And he has a deep Rolodex of friends, ranging from Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney to former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg and a host of veteran GOP activists in the lead-off presidential primary state.