Quotables
July 29, 2014
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While speaking to media Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) bluntly addressed the idea that Republicans are angling to impeach President Obama.

Boehner actually laughed when a reporter, who mentioned "talk of impeachment that's coming more from Democrats than Republicans," asked for the Speaker's opinion on the matter.

"We have no plans to impeach the president," said Boehner flatly. "We have no future plans."

"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill," he continued. "Why? Because they're trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's elections."

The Speaker further dismissed the notion of impeachment as "a scam started by Democrats at the White House." Kimberly Alters

2016 Watch
8:30 a.m. ET

That's certainly the implication of The New York Times' analysis of Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, which for several elections has been "among the most powerful forces in national politics, a shadow party that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, data, and opposition research to help elect candidates." And while you can certainly never count out a political operative who's been as successful as Rove has, the Times makes a compelling case that the mighty may have indeed fallen.

The nonprofit arm of Crossroads is facing an Internal Revenue Service review that could eviscerate its fund-raising. Data projects nurtured by Mr. Rove are being supplanted in Republican circles by a more successful initiative funded by the Koch political network, which has leapfrogged the Crossroads organizations in size and reach.

And the group faces intense competition for donors from a new wave of "super PACs" that are being set up by backers of the leading Republican candidates for president, who are unwilling to defer to Mr. Rove's authority or cede strategic and fund-raising dominance to the organizations he helped start. [The New York Times]

The Times rattles off other factors, too: the death of Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, two of Crossroads' biggest donors; the losses of ever-so-many Crossroads-backed candidates in recent elections; the departure of top fundraisers like Ed Gillespie and Haley Barbour; Rove's rather unfriendly relationship with Jeb Bush; and on and on. Read the whole thing here. Ben Frumin

Watch this
8:09 a.m. ET

Nobody likes the annual job evaluation (unless there's a raise, maybe). But "as someone who runs a company, I've been told that it is my job to occasionally have performance reviews," said Conan O'Brien, "CEO of Conaco," on Conan. So, he put on "serious" glasses, showed his alpha-boss dominance by throwing stuff around, and threatened and mocked his employees, mixing in a little sexual harassment for the fun of it. The result is an often funny, irreverent caricature of a bad performance review, and while it is mostly safe for work, maybe wear headphones if the boss is within hearing distance. —Peter Weber

survey says
8:00 a.m. ET

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows once again that disliking Congress has become an increasingly widespread and bipartisan hobby.

Only 23 percent of poll respondents agreed that congressional Republicans "are keeping the promises they made during last fall's campaign." After the first few months of 2011's GOP Congress, 33 percent of respondents said lawmakers were keeping their campaign promises. That number was 40 percent for the Dem Congress in 2007, and a whopping 59 percent for the GOP in 1995.

Only 41 percent of Republicans today approve of the Republican-led Congress. Compare that to 60 percent in April 2011.

The poll surveyed 2,002 adults from May 12-18. Meghan DeMaria

This just in
7:22 a.m. ET

A suicide bomber struck the Imam Ali mosque in al-Qadeeh, in Saudi Arabia's eastern Qatif province, during Friday prayer services. Witnesses tell Reuters that 30 people were killed in the blast. The official Saudi news agency has confirmed an attack at a mosque, but hasn't provided details. Photos posted to Twitter show bodies covered with rugs and blankets amid rubble inside the Shiite mosque.

Saudi Arabia is about 15 percent Shiite, and most of them live in the eastern part of the Sunni kingdom. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. BBC News tries to make sense of the attack in the video below. —Peter Weber

I spy
7:20 a.m. ET

That startling claim surfaced in interviews CNN conducted with two North Korean defectors, including Kang Myong Do, who said that in the 1980s, his job was to send North Korean spies around the world, a practice that still exists today. Kang says there are likely hundreds of agents working for North Korea in the U.S. at any one time, most of them Korean-Americans.

How do Kim's agents recruit Korean-Americans to help North Korea?

"There are three different tactics they use," he said. "First is to give them free visas to North Korea, second, to give them access to do business and make money there, and third, they use women to entice them. This tactic has been widely used since the '80s." [CNN]

The entire CNN report is worth a read and watch — it's full of fascinating nuggets on North Korean spycraft. But there's one important asterisk: "CNN is unable to independently verify [these] claims, as North Korea is one of the world's most secretive countries." Ben Frumin

Noted
6:24 a.m. ET
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On Friday or next week, the Obama administration will formally unveil new clean-water regulations aimed at giving the federal government greater authority to curb pollution in lakes, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater, The New York Times reports. The rule, known as Waters of the U.S., isn't a surprise: The Environmental Protection Agency proposed it a year ago, and has spent months holding public meetings, reading public comments, and finalizing the language.

"Water is the lifeblood of healthy people and healthy economies," EPA chief Gina McCarthy wrote in an April blog post. "We have a duty to protect it. That's why EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are finalizing a Clean Water Rule later this spring to protect critical streams and wetlands that are currently vulnerable to pollution and destruction."

The federal government had broad authority to regulate the nation's waters under the 1972 Clean Water Act, but Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 created confusion over smaller waterways. The new rule would cover about 60 percent of U.S. waters, The Times reports. Farm and some business groups oppose the rule, and Republicans are trying to stop it through legislation — the House has already passed a bill blocking the rule, and Senate Republicans are working on their own measures. Peter Weber

Gay marriage
5:22 a.m. ET
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It's not clear if Friday's referendum to allow same-sex marriage in traditionally Catholic Ireland will pass, but the fact that it might signals a pretty rapid turnaround for a country that only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. If the Irish approve the gay-marriage proposal, the Republic of Ireland will be the first country to do so by popular vote. The polls suggest the measure has a good chance of passing, though it's unclear if conservative sections of rural Ireland will turn out in large numbers to defeat the referendum.

The Catholic bishops of Ireland are opposed to the measure, but some parish priests publicly support it, as do some conservative political parties. "In many ways, Ireland hasn't changed because the Irish people have always been tolerant, decent, and compassionate," Sen. David Norris, 70, told The New York Times. "But you've still got to say that it's extraordinary to have once been considered a criminal and now I might be able to marry — if anyone would have me, that is!"

In majority protestant Northern Ireland, the government has voted down three recent proposals to join the rest of the United Kingdom in allowing same-sex marriage. Peter Weber

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