Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats (R) will consider a Senate run, per spokesperson Dave Barnett. Barnett: “He would consider looking at it in the middle of October, and decide by the end of the year.” Vander Plaats “has sought statewide office before.” He ran in the GOP gubernatorial primaries in 2002, 2006 and 2010. “Vander Plaats emerged as an important statewide figure in part for his role in Mike Huckabee’s 2008 victory in the state, and then led a successful recall of judges who had backed marriage equality in Iowa.” (BuzzFeed)
IN BRALEY’S CORNER. Vice President Biden “called on Democrats to support” Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D) candidacy, “warning of threats to the party’s achievements if Republicans gain control of the chamber.” Biden made his remarks at a fundraising reception prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) annual Steam Fry. Biden: “Unless we can maintain this seat, unless we can begin to break down the majority in the House of Representatives, everything you have fought for for the last six years and beyond is in jeopardy. … This is now a party where the tail is wagging the dog, where Ted Cruz is running the show, a freshman, in terms of the ideas of the party.” (Des Moines Register)
GIFFORDS COMING. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) “will headline a fundraiser” for Braley’s campaign. She and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will talk at Braley’s annual “Bruce, Blues, and BBQ” fundraiser on Oct. 27 in Des Moines. Since the attack that badly wounded her, “Giffords has advocated for gun control legislation. Over the summer, Giffords and Kelly toured seven states seeking support for federal legislation that would expand background checks on gun purchases. Braley and Giffords both were elected to Congress in 2006 and became friends. Earlier this year, Braley gave Giffords his guest ticket for the State of the Union Address so she could bring more family members to the event.” (AP)
— Julie Sobel
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Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."
In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."
President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.
The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"