Hillary Clinton has never ruled out running for president in 2016 and most observers think she'll do it. But now we have proof she's seriously considering a bid.

Politico has a fascinating report on a meeting early last summer in Clinton's Washington, DC home in which she was given a detailed presentation on what she needs to do to prepare for a White House bid.

Clinton listened closely but said little and made no commitments, according to people familiar with the nearly hourlong gathering. It appears to have been the only formal 2016-related presentation Clinton has been given from anyone outside her immediate circle....  More»


In the latest episode of Political Wire's podcast, we sat down with Democratic consultant and media strategist Joe Trippi for a look at the 2014 elections, the future of the political parties, and the potential for technology to disturb the reigning two-party paradigm.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Republicans stand to gain seats in 2014 — maybe win the Senate — if they don't shoot themselves again: After taking a beating in the government shutdown battle, Republicans have pulled even or edged ahead in the generic congressional polls, with the botched ObamaCare rollout hurting the Democratic Party and taking its toll on President Obama's ...  More»

January 8, 2014, at 8:32 PM

There's little doubt that the revelations that aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) snarled traffic around the George Washington Bridge as political retribution is at least a roadblock to the governor's presidential aspirations in 2016.

But will it stop him altogether? It's too early to know for sure, but there's plenty of interesting speculation.

Jonathan Chait: "The e-mails prove that Christie’s loyalists closed the bridge deliberately as political retribution, not as a 'traffic study' as claimed. They display an almost comical venality bordering on outright sociopathy....  More»


In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we chat with David Frum, an author and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, about his views on the Republican Party's evolution, how the GOP should treat ObamaCare, and the challenges Hillary Clinton could face in 2016.

Here are five takeaways:

1. The recession and its aftermath have helped fuel a radical brand of conservatism. In President Obama's first term, a slow economic recovery and conservative anger toward his policies stoked Republican fears about the direction of the country, making them more susceptible to radical ideas....  More»


If the political scandal enveloping New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ends up derailing his 2016 White House dreams, there are several Republicans who could take over his spot as the preferred candidate of the GOP establishment.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is probably best positioned to inherit the support of the GOP establishment, which encouraged Christie to run for president in 2012 and has been taken somewhat aback by the latest scandal.

Bush has the advantage of being a two-term governor of a swing state, and he holds the potential to attract the support of Latinos by having a Mexican-born wife and children of mixed descent....  More»


While Gov. Chris Christie (R) may ultimately survive the bridge traffic scandal, the episode has almost certainly reinforced his image as a bully.

Christie denied being a bully at his news conference yesterday, saying, "I am who I am. But I am not a bully." But it's not just Democrats who see the parallels. Many Republicans do, too.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told NBC News, ”It seems to me that this whole bridge thing reinforces a narrative that's troublesome about the guy, he's kind of a bully."

And then there’s his extensive YouTube record....  More»


If reports are correct, President Obama could soon face a big test of his presidential authority.

In oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the justices "seemed skeptical of the Obama administration's contention that it had acted properly in bypassing the Senate to appoint several officials during a break in the Senate's work," the New York Times reports.

"Several justices seemed attracted to the relatively narrow argument that President Obama had acted during a break in the Senate's work that was too brief to allow a recess appointment. Others spoke in favor of a much broader argument that would limit such appointments to recesses between sessions of Congress....  More»


In a new episode of the Political Wire podcast, we talked with Chuck Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) political headaches, the potential for infighting in the two major parties, and the forces that could shape the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Here are five takeaways:

1. The political headaches for Christie are just beginning. Christie has taken a beating in the headlines over emails between aides who appeared to be discussing lane closures on a bridge as political retribution. Still, Christie for now continues to enjoy rock-solid approval ratings, and some polling suggests Americans aren't following ...  More»


Hillary Clinton isn’t expected to announce her intentions about a presidential bid until after the midterm elections, but it’s already a real possibility she won’t face any real opposition if she decides to run.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told reporters yesterday he wasn’t going to run. He joins Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who said late last year she wouldn’t be a candidate either.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) clearly wants to run, but has said he won’t if Clinton is a candidate. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is also thought to have ambitions for higher office but almost no one thinks he would ...  More»


Steve Kornacki, anchor of MSNBC's weekend show Up and a longtime observer of New Jersey politics, gave us an extensive analysis on the Political Wire podcast of the bridge scandal that has vexed Gov. Chris Christie (R) and has put a cloud over his political future.

Here are five takeaways:

1. The endorsement retribution theory in the Christie bridge scandal doesn't make sense: New Jersey Democrats repeatedly accused the Christie administration of closing the lanes as payback against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) for his decision not to endorse the GOP governor's re-election....  More»


Ever since the "Bridgegate" scandal broke into the national headlines, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has insisted he knew nothing about the traffic jam caused by his closest aides in a ham-handed attempt at political retribution.

His denials started with a two-hour marathon press conference when he claimed he was "blindsided" by the news.

He later told Yahoo News, "I don't think anybody knows what it feels like to have the kind of attention that I've had in the last nine days until you go through it... It's awful. Listen, it's awful. I can explain to you as vividly as you like, but you won't get it....  More»


In a new episode of the Political Wire podcast, we chatted with Republican political strategist Mike Murphy about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) political troubles, the new Mitt Romney documentary MITT, and the GOP's biggest problems heading into 2016.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Christie's presidential chances have taken a dent, but don't write him off too quickly: Political headaches are mounting for Christie in the wake of the controversy over his administration's politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. But the media, Murphy said, have been quick to hype up the story's longer-term importance....  More»


In the latest episode of Political Wire's podcast, we chatted with Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama, about the Democrats' messaging strategy on ObamaCare, about what other politicians can learn from Obama's personality, and about the nexus between policy and communications in the White House.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Democrats should run on, not away from, ObamaCare: After a rocky rollout for the health insurance exchanges, a key part of the health-care reform law, Democrats have reasons to cheer up a bit ahead of the 2014 midterm elections....  More»


After three days of winter meetings, it's clear the Republican National Committee has made little progress in rebranding a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

A quick look at the media coverage confirms the party is still struggling:

Politico: "After the 2012 election, establishment Republicans promised things would be different next time. They'd stop turning off women. They'd tamp down on rogue outside groups. And they'd get the tea party movement in line. But now that 2014 is here, those goals seem as elusive as ever and even insiders admit the party's got a long way to go — if it really wants to ...  More»


In a special edition of Political Wire's podcast, we spoke with three former presidential speechwriters — former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, former George W. Bush scribe David Frum, and former Clinton writer Michael Waldman — about the State of the Union address.

They discuss the purpose that the SOTU address serves and how it comes together, and offer some of their expectations and advice on what President Obama might talk about Tuesday in his next SOTU speech.

Here are five takeaways:

1. It takes a long time to write and involves a lot of people: The process of crafting the SOTU isn't so much a traditional writing process as it is ...  More»

January 28, 2014, at 9:55 AM

Many who wanted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to run for president in 2012 — and who have been urging him to jump into the 2016 race — did so because he was viewed as the most electable Republican.

But a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows how tough it will be for him to rebound from his recent political scandals.

More Americans now view Christie negatively than positively, by a margin of 29 percent to 22 percent. That's a sharp reversal from a similar poll three months ago, when 33 percent viewed him positively and 17 percent viewed him negatively....  More»


One of the most moving moments during this year's State of the Union address was when U.S. Army Ranger Sergeant Cory Remsburg received a two minute standing ovation after being praised by President Obama.

Remsburg was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2009. As ABC News reports, the explosion left him in a three-month coma and rendered him partially-paralyzed and brain damaged. After daily physical and speech therapy, Remsburg can walk and speak again.

Obama used the solider as a symbol of how America "never gives up" and "does not quit....  More»


In the latest episode of Political Wire's podcast, we chatted with Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster for the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, about the political impact of President Obama's State of the Union address, the president's lukewarm poll numbers, and the Republican Party's brand challenges ahead of the midterm elections.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Obama's speech targeted women, especially unmarried women: Democrats need to turn them out in November: The president's speech clearly played to women, an important Democratic voting block....  More»


House Republican leaders released a set of "principles" to guide the upcoming debate on immigration reform.

The outline provides a path to citizenship for young people brought to the United States as children, makes changes to the visa system, and improves border security with an electronic fingerprint system.

But as USA Today notes, "The principles do not make clear whether most undocumented immigrants would ever be able to apply for green cards or become U.S. citizens."

Republicans fall into three groups on the issue. One group led by the House leadership and Rep....  More»


In their latest line of attack on President Obama, Republicans are now saying he has a "lawless presidency."

The phrase evokes images of a Wild West where anything goes.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told ABC News that the president's embrace of executive orders to get things done is "creating a dangerous trend which is contrary to the Constitution."

The Washington Post notes that, in fact, Obama has taken fewer such actions than any president since Grover Cleveland in the late 1800s.

Ryan responded, "It's not the number of executive orders, it's the scope of the executive orders....  More»

February 3, 2014, at 4:58 PM

We’re two years away from the presidential primaries, yet new polls are being released every week that test possible 2016 matchups.

The latest is a new CNN/ORC poll that shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) now trailing Hillary Clinton (D) in a presidential race by 16 points.

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein makes the academic case that general election polls at this early date are essentially worthless.

Writes Bernstein: "The results are some messy mix of relative party standing, candidate name recognition, recent press reports about the candidates, and who knows what else....  More»


If you donate to a candidate online, pay attention to the fine print to make sure your donation goes to the candidate you want and not his or her opponent.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a series of websites that look like they support a Democratic candidate for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the Republican Party instead.

The Tampa Bay Times interviews one donor who thought he was giving to Alex Sink's (D) congressional campaign. It even used the same blue and green color scheme as the candidate's official website....  More»


Just days away from the deadline to extend the nation's borrowing limit, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told House Republicans in a private meeting not to fight it, according to Roll Call.

Said Boehner: "There's no sense picking a fight we can't win."

Despite calls from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to insist on concessions from President Obama, Boehner knows it's not possible without risking default on the nation's debt.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew set a deadline of Friday to pass a bill. He said that otherwise he would need to take "extraordinary measures" to stretch out the current borrowing authority until the end of the month....  More»

February 6, 2014, at 5:19 PM

In the latest episode of Political Wire's podcast, we chatted with Teddy Goff, who masterminded the Obama campaign's digital efforts. Goff discusses how the internet age is reshaping the ways in which young people get their political information, as well as how campaigns organize, turn out the vote, and fundraise.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Young people get their information differently, so the Obama campaign sought their support differently: People no longer have to settle for what's on TV or in the newspapers for their information. Now they can seek it out from their preferred sources and get it from friends on social networking sites....  More»


In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the legal implications of scandals plaguing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), particularly the ongoing investigations into his administration's closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Toobin recently penned a column for the New Yorker on how Christie has a long road ahead in Bridgegate.

Here are five takeaways:

1. The bridge scandal is not as bad as Watergate and Iran-Contra: In terms of how the scandal's legal and political fallout is proceeding, Bridgegate does bear some resemblance to past scandals such as Watergate, Whitewater, and the Iran-Contra ...  More»

February 10, 2014, at 8:46 AM

In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we spoke with Celinda Lake, the Democratic pollster for the George Washington University Battleground Poll. Lake shared her insights with us on the mood of the electorate and Democrats' turnout challenges as the 2014 midterms approach.

Here are four takeaways:

1. We're in unfamiliar territory when it comes to voters' frustrations with government and the economy: The last time Americans felt this sour about their government was during the Watergate scandal, Lake said. Americans are fed up with both parties, and their frustration with Congress has gotten to the point where voters are even souring to some extent ...  More»


In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we chatted with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report to get up to speed on the 2014 midterm election landscape.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Incumbency is not the asset it once was: For the longest time, lawmakers mostly helped themselves when they touted their experience and stature in Washington. But a new Battleground Poll shows that a majority of Americans are willing to toss out their own member of Congress. Voters are simply disgusted with Washington, Walter said, so it's not wise for congressional incumbents to run as Washington insiders....  More»


In just a few weeks, the Republican primary season begins with at least six incumbent senators facing Tea Party challengers. The November elections are months away but these are the races to watch. At stake is whether the GOP has a real chance at taking control of the U.S. Senate this fall.

Republicans need to win six seats to take control of the chamber. Their chances could depend entirely on the candidates they nominate in primaries over the next several months.

In the last two election cycles, flawed nominees almost certainly cost the GOP victories in Colorado, Delaware, Nevada, Missouri, and Indiana....  More»


Two important Democrats suggest that Hillary Clinton has already won the Democratic presidential nomination.

Robert Shrum, who was involved in eight Democratic presidential campaigns, says the media may want a race but it’s wishful thinking.

"Handicappers in the presidential race abhor the opposite of a vacuum — a campaign two years out where one candidate seems to blot out the entire field. Thus a mini-chorus now rises, and may swell, questioning Hillary Clinton's apparent lock on the 2016 Democratic nomination. It's a predictable reflex, but in cold, hard reality, logic suggests that the lock is authentic, not just apparent....  More»


In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Republican digital strategist Patrick Ruffini about how political campaigns present and future will change the way they use technology and data to better reach voters, winning their support and turning them out.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Campaigning is moving toward a digital era in which data will help campaigns reach the right voters more efficiently: Traditionally, campaigns defined universes of potential voters, and distinguished between winnable votes and non-winnable votes in a very binary way....  More»

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