As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s (D) book tour rolls on, a “potentially serious political problem” for her as been revealed “as she considers a 2016 presidential run: She and her husband are established members of the 1 percent, leading lives far removed from the millions of middle-class voters who swing elections. Clinton has underscored the contrast with a series of stumbles in discussing her finances — the latest in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper published Sunday, in which she compared herself with other multimillionaires. Unlike the ‘truly well off,’ Clinton said, she and former president Bill Clinton ‘pay ordinary income tax’ and have amassed their fortune ‘through dint of hard work.’ Some influential Democrats — including former advisers to President Obama — said in interviews last week they fear that Clinton’s personal wealth and rarefied, cloistered lifestyle could jeopardize the Democratic Party’s historic edge with the middle class that powered Obama’s wins.” (Washington Post)
DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “said Friday she expects … Clinton to help Democrats heading into the midterm elections and raise money for the national party.” Wasserman Schultz, in an interview with C-SPAN: “I’m confident that she’s going to be (involved), and I’ve spoken to her. … She’s going to be involved in helping Democrats across the country to get elected, including the DNC.” (AP)
O’MALLEY: MAKES FIRST IOWA TRIP. “[I]n a carefully written speech orated with the aid of teleprompters,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) “reeled out lines meant to talk up his achievements and meant to inspire” at the Iowa Democratic Party convention. “O’Malley was pressed for time, but he didn’t leave the venue without shaking hands with everyone he could reach.” (Des Moines Register)
O’Malley also “paid tribute to” retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D) at a fundraising dinner, telling him he was “very, very blessed and fortunate to call you my friend.” Clinton and Vice President Biden “appeared by video … with pre-taped messages honoring Harkin.” (Des Moines Register)
“After Saturday’s convention, O’Malley accompanied” IA GOV candidate Jack Hatch (D) “to campaign events in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque — help that Democrats … said was genuinely appreciated. … Some close to the governor say they’re convinced he will make it clear that he’s a candidate soon after leaving office in January, regardless of whether Clinton has decided. Others are more skeptical, suggesting that he wants to be ready to go if it turns out Clinton isn’t.” (Washington Post)
FAITH & FREEDOM: MORE 2016ER SPEECHES. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “argued Friday for reforms in education and the treatment of non-violent drug offenders as part of a ‘pro-life’ philosophy that extends beyond abortion” in an address at the Faith & Freedom Coaltion’s “Road to Majority” conference. “He received a warm reception, and indicated he has no plans to leave the political stage anytime soon.” (Politico)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “served up conservative red meat during a well-received speech at the … conference. … He called for an end to aid to ‘any country that persecutes Christians,’ allowing ‘the acknowledgment of a supreme being in the classroom’ and an end to the ‘war being waged … against the unborn,’ drawing cheers from the crowd each time. And Paul warned, ‘America’s not experiencing growing pains, America’s in a full-blown spiritual crisis.’” (The Hill)
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) “urged the Republican Party to prioritize its commitment to everyday people over the interests of corporate America, hitting on a populist theme he has been highlighting over the past year.” Santorum: “We need to be the party of the worker, not just the party of business.” (Washington Post)
IOWA: CLINTON AHEAD. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted June 12-16, Clinton has an edge over each of the potential GOP opponents tested against her in Iowa. She leads Christie 44-36%, Paul 46-40%, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 47-41%, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) 46-39% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) 49-36%. (release)
PAUL: OUTREACH, CONT. Paul “is introducing this week a bill that restores voting rights to nonviolent felons in federal elections. Paul is also pursuing drug sentencing reform in the Senate and is mulling efforts aimed at easing nonviolent criminals back into the job market. He even wants to redefine some drug offenses currently classified as felonies to misdemeanors. Together, the moves add up to a concerted effort to get minorities, young people and civil libertarians excited about Republicans — groups that much of the party admits it needs.” Paul: “I believe in these issues. But I’m a politician, and we want more votes. Even if Republicans don’t get more votes, we feel like we’ve done the right thing.” (Politico)
CRUZ: NEW YORKER TREATMENT. Jeffrey Toobin profiles Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the New Yorker: “Cruz’s ascendancy reflects the dilemma of the modern Republican Party, because his popularity within the party is based largely on an act that was reviled in the broader national community. Last fall, Cruz’s strident opposition to Obamacare led in a significant way to the shutdown of the federal government. … As he travels the country, he has hardened his positions, delighting the base of his party but moving farther from the positions of most Americans on most issues.” (New Yorker)
HUCKABEE: PALMETTO STATE STOP. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) “made a brief stop in Spartanburg County (S.C) on Saturday to campaign for” businessman Mike Campbell (R), who is running in Tuesday’s runoff election for lieutenant governor. (Spartanburg Herald Journal)
“Huckabee will host evangelical pastors from … Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada as he leads them over to Europe in an event called, ‘Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II Tour: God Raising Extraordinary Leaders for Extraordinary Times.’” (Christian Broadcasting Network)
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"President Trump is expected to announce that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be White House communications director, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Trump has left the role open since Mike Dubke resigned in May, and the President has vented frequently to his friends about the performance of his press operation." According to NBC News, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus are resisting the move.
"President Donald Trump's second-quarter job approval rating has fallen below what any other past president has gotten during the same time frame. A new Gallup poll found that Trump averaged a 38.8% rating between April 20 and July 19. The average approval rating for that time is 62%. President Obama was at the average during this time period, as was President Nixon. President Clinton is the only president who was below 50% by the second quarter, coming in with a 44% approval rating." There is also a large partisan gap. "Just 8% of Democrats approved of Trump's job performance during the second quarter, but 85% of Republicans did. Approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent administrations, but the 77-point gap for Trump is a new record."
"The US government will soon prohibit American citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to two tour groups that cater to Western tourists who want to visit the secretive country. The US will announce the ban within a couple of days, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The agency was informed of the development by officials of the Swedish government, which represents America's interests in North Korea, he told CNN."
"Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running. The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. While that’s still a 3.2 percent cut from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, it is more than $116 million above Trump’s budget request. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $145 million in fiscal 2018, which is $103.7 million above the White House budget request."
"The White House’s Office of Management and Budget detailed Thursday how it would jettison hundreds of existing or planned regulations as part of its larger push to ease federal restrictions on the private sector, upending federal policies on labor, the environment and public health. ... The Trump administration said it was pulling or suspending 860 pending regulations."