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- At least a dozen GOP sens. are regularly meeting with Pres. Obama's top aides in an attempt to plot a way forward on the looming fiscal challenges facing leaders this fall, those involved in the meetings say (National Journal).
- Sens. on Wednesday "reached a deal that, if passed, would fix the big jump in interest rates for federally backed student loans" (NBC News).
- After negotiations between Jim Messina, Alissa Mastromonaco and the two cmtes, Obama committed to holding 14 fundraisers for the DCCC and the DSCC, and to make his camp's email list and trove of voter data available to Dem candidates in '14 (Hotline).
- VA GOV '13: A new Quinnipiac Univ. poll of RVs, conducted 7/11-15, shows ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe (D) leading AG Ken Cuccinelli (R), 43-39%. In the previous poll, conducted 5/8-13, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli, 43-38% (release). A Roanoke College poll shows Cuccinelli up 37-31% (release). Why so many undecideds? Roanoke pollster Harry Wilson says his polls "typically have more undecided than other polls. I've never known precisely why. I try to get my interviewers to push, but perhaps others push harder (Huffington Post).
- WY SEN: Dick Cheney daughter Liz Cheney (R) "launched her campaign" on Wednesday "by calling" Sen. Michael Enzi (R) "confused" (NBC News). The entirety of Dick Cheney's interview with Time: "It's her campaign, so you’ve got to ask her. [I know] you guys have got to ask. [Pause.] Obviously, I'm a strong supporter of hers." (Time)
- KY SEN: A super PAC backing Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell will spend $270K on a week of ads, starting tomorrow, aimed at defining Sec/State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) (Politico).
- MD GOV: The state GOP "is weighing whether to open its primary elections to independent voters, a plan some envision delivering statewide victories that have largely eluded the party" (Balitmore Sun).
- NY GOV: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) campaign "is on the air with TV ads touting the creation of a commission to investigate government corruption" (Capital Tonight)
- WH '16: VP Biden was profiled by GQ. Biden: "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America. But it doesn't mean I won't run" (GQ). Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will headline the North Iowa Dems' Wing Ding Fundraiser in Clear Lake, IA, next month. Then-Sen. Obama headlined the event in '07. (Des Moines Register)
- NYC Mayor '13: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn "is launching a major multi-network TV ad buy" on Thursday (New York Post).
- A new New York Times/Siena College poll of Dem RVs, conducted 7/9-15, shows Quinn leading the Dem primary over ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, 27-18%, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 11%, '09 nominee Bill Thompson at 11%, Comp. John Liu at 7%, ex-Councilor Sal Albanese at 2% and minister Erick Salgado at 1%. Among GOP RVs, ex-MTA Joe Lhota leads the GOP primary over billionaire John Catsimitidis, 32-21%, with The Doe Fund co-founder George McDonald at 3% (release).
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Dems have an opportunity to use the fruits of Obama's Big Data labor. But the lists are both expensive to maintain and unproven in a statewide, rather than a national, election (or, really, any election not featuring a guy named Obama). Keep an eye on the VA GOV race, where McAuliffe's team is trying to extend the Obama winning streak, using lots of the same tools and techniques.
• Thursday's new NYT/Siena poll is either a sign that Quinn has reclaimed her frontrunner status, or it's an outlier. And with Marist and Quinnipiac showing Weiner leading, it's tempting to peg the new survey as the latter. But NYC polls have a rough track record, so dismissing the NYT/Siena result would be a mistake -- at least until pollsters begin to employ LV screens to simulate the electorate in the historically low-turnout primary.
• Another day, another bit of bad news for Democrats in West Virginia. Robin Davis' decision narrowed down an already bare-bones list of potential Democratic candidates for Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat to one name: Sec/State Natalie Tennant. Hoppy Kercheval adds another to the list: retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Allen Tackett, who was close to the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Republicans' chances of picking up a seat they haven't held since 1958 are looking stronger every day, but they're not home yet.
• If Lisa Madigan had any doubts about her decision to skip an IL GOV race, the last few days may have her feeling better about it. In a taste of what the race could have been like, she has fielded questions about whether her powerful dad had ever asked her to hire anyone or give someone a raise, whether they had discussed him stepping down, and even why it was okay for her to be AG given her father's position. Especially with the speaker's ethics under fire over patronage allegations, those issues wouldn't have gone away anytime soon.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Vancouver (WA) man's gun shooting defense: Biden" (KOIN-TV).
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Cash-strapped" VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) "has found a way to defer his monthly real estate expenses on the millions in property he owns -- by renting his western Henrico home to his hand-picked state health commissioner" (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Star Scientific CEO Johnnie Williams met with then-VA health sec. Bill Hazel in Nov. '10, "the first indication that McDonnell ... directly intervened on behalf of Williams, whose gifts of luxury items and five-figure payments and loans to the McDonnell family have triggered state and federal investigations" (Washington Post).
- A CA grand jury is "looking into whether a PAC and three so-called dark-money groups -- including one with ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch -- broke a campaign disclosure law by funneling" $11M "from secret sources to influence ballot initiatives" in the state in '12 (Daily Beast).
- At a meeting of GOP sens. on Wednesday, McConnell "told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file" GOPers. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who helped negotiate the deal, "got so frustrated with McConnell's presentation of events, that he called 'bullshit' loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said" (Roll Call).
- A DSCC staffer posted "an anonymous comment" on a SD GOP blog attacking the blog's operator "for supposedly praising" ex-Gov. Mike Rounds, but the blogger tracked down the IP address (Buzzfeed).
- "I was at a party recently where some people had a bowl out, and I thought they were M&M's, and then it was Skittles. Let me tell you: when you think it's M&M's, and it ends up being Skittles, it's a little shocking" -- Lhota, musing about candy at a kosher grocery in Brooklyn on Wednesday (New York Times).
- Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) has been transferred from DC to Las Vegas while recovering from a 6-way heart bypass surgery. He said in a statement he'll be back to 100% "very soon" (Reno Gazette-Journal).
- "Down the corridor, I stopped at McConnell's office to get my chocolates" -- Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid, armed with "a handful of Hershey's Kisses." Reid, asked about McConnell's role in negotiating a deal on the filibuster: "I'm not going to talk about it, especially with a Kentucky newspaper" (Louisville Courier-Journal).
- IA Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund, "who complained about excessive speeds" driven by troopers guarding Gov. Terry Branstad, has been fired. He was suspended 2 days after filing a formal complaint about Branstad's speeding vehicle (Des Moines Register).
- "It's been about seven or eight years since I was able to play" -- Scotty Moore, 82, Elvis's 1st guitarist, hobbled by arthritis (Jackson Clarion Ledger).
- "Inspired by 'Sharknado,' some potential disaster movies featuring Nebraska" -- Lincoln Journal Star. Best one: "Cattlelanche": "A geological survey of a dormant underground volcano in Lewellen or somewhere goes horribly awry, causing an eruption that results in a mountain range suddenly forming in sparsely populated western Nebraska, sending thousands of ranchland cows barreling toward the more populous side of the state."
- Spotted: A senator we won't name having dinner with his daughter and what looked like her boyfriend on Capitol Hill last night. Some imagined dialogue that went through our head: "Have her home by 8:30 or I'll invoke the nuclear option, if you know what I mean." "I'd hate to have to filibust you in the chops." "I better see some regular order going on, buddy." What else would a Senate dad tell a new suitor? Let us know and we'll run some good ones tomorrow.
- Grover Cleveland is the only president to have personally administered the death penalty.
- The winner is Anthony Adragna, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the first Jewish governor of an American state?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Tax Reform's Latest Offshoot: Corporate Coalitions
- Obama's Helping Hand Surprises Hill Democrats
- Senators Reach Deal on Student Loan Rates
- Americans Want Congress to Pass the Senate Immigration Bill
- Republicans, White House in Talks Toward Big Fiscal Deal
"I'm absolutely not too old to be senator. I'm the median age" -- Enzi (CNN).
"He doesn't have a home, and someone has said that the best nursing home is the U.S. Senate" -- Then-Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC), on then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), 98 (New York Times).
Reid Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor