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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) isn't getting too close to Virginia Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.

"I like Ed Gillespie, he is a friend of mine, he's a good man," Cruz told The Hill in a recent interview. But Cruz stopped short of an endorsement. "That's ultimately a decision for the voters of Virginia."

When asked, Cruz refused to say whether Gillespie's candidacy could unite the Virginia GOP. Instead the junior senator from Texas started criticizing Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who Gillespie is challenging.

"I can tell you Mark Warner is not listening to millions of Virginians who are hurting under the Obama economic agenda," Cruz said. "Mark Warner is not listening to millions of Virginians who lost their job, lost their health insurance, have been forced into part-time work."

Gillespie jumped into the Virginia Senate race on Thursday.

Cruz has publicly said he plans to stay out of Republican primary fights but he has on occasion given something of a nod to certain conservative candidates. Recently he described the tea party challenger to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) "utterly fearless," a description he tends to use on allies.

A multi-millionaire Georgia Republican Senate candidate wanted to be clear at a recent campaign event: He's against the autoworker bailout but is for the Wall Street bailout.

During an appearance at the Fayette County GOP in Georgia early in January, David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General who is now running for outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), was asked by a woman in the audience about "corporate welfare." The woman asked about Delta Airlines terminating pensions for employees before going on to merge with Northwest Airlines. In response, Perdue argued that some bailouts can be good, like the Wall Street bailout, while others are a bad idea, like the bailout of the Detroit autoworkers.

"I believe in capitalism. I believe when companies fail, there are bankruptcy laws to deal with that. I do not support the bailout of Detroit." Perdue said.

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A Nebraska Republican Senate candidate a trillion omnibus bill to a "short bus to nowhere."

In a tweet a day before the Senate voted on a House-passed $1.102 trillion omnibus bill former state treasurer Shane Osborn, one of a few candidates running in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary wrote that voting for the bill was a "short bus to nowhere."

Osborn deleted the tweet but TPM was able to obtain a screenshot.

The bill, it should be noted, passed the chamber Osborn wants to join 84-14 meaning even most Republicans voted for the bill.

On Friday Osborn said he regretted sending the tweet.

"My Mother is a nurse who takes care of special needs children and we consider them part of our family," Osborn said in a statement to TPM. "I quickly realized the tweet sent the wrong message and deleted it immediately."

This post was updated.

President Barack Obama should have met sooner with Congressional lawmakers to discuss Iran sanctions, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued Friday.

Gates made his case at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Friday morning. His comments came a few days after Obama called on Democratic senators to hold off on moving to impose new sanctions on Iran. Obama, in making that case, argued that doing so could imperil nuclear talks with Iran.

"My view is that should have started January 21st, 2009," Gates said.

Obama made the call during a Tuesday closed-door session with Senate Democrats. Democrats coming out of the meeting stressed that though that Obama indicated that he would sign new sanctions if a nuclear deal fell through.

"If Iran isn't in the end to make the decisions that are necessary to make it work, he'll be ready to sign the bill to tighten those sanctions. But we've got to give this six months," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said after the meeting.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lamented the retirements of what he calls "bridge-builder" lawmakers in office that were successful at working across the aisle.

Gates, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Friday, listed former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sam Nunn (D-GA), and other lawmakers who were known for moderation and sometimes working with members of the opposing party.

"What has bothered me a great deal over the last 25 years or so is [these] people have nearly all quit," Gates said.

Gates also cited House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), who announced his plans to retire earlier in the week.

"And then you have guys like Buck McKeon," Gates said. "It's those people that have gotten things done and it's the way they treat people that makes a difference."

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin appears to be shying away from supporting a government shutdown after full-throated support last October.

In a new interview with National Review published on Thursday, Bevin expressed strong opposition to a government shutdown under any circumstance. The conservative magazine posted a video of Bevin, who's running in the GOP primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, responding to a question about government shutdowns.

Bevin argues that government shutdowns are a terrible idea:

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will retire at the end of the current session of Congress.

Coburn, who has been in Congress for a total of 15 years, announced his decision on Thursday evening.

"I've had a lot of changes in my life," Coburn said in an interview with The Oklahoman, which first reported the news. "This is another one."

Coburn's office confirmed the statement to TPM shortly after.

Coburn's decision means he's ending his time in Congress two years before his term ends.

His decision came a few months after he announced that he would undergo treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer.

Read Coburn's full statement below:

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is attacking President Barack Obama for plotting politics, martini in hand, with his fellow Democrats.

"So what's the President's big idea for helping the economy getting back on track? Well, last night, according to published news reports, he was drinking martinis and plotting his 2014 political strategy with his fellow Democrat party members," Cornyn said in a Thursday email to supporters.

The senior senator from the Lone Star state seized on a report in Politico detailing a Wednesday night meeting in the East Room of the White House where Obama was seen sipping a martini. According to the report, Obama invited the Senate Democrats to trade ideas on their agenda for the year.

Cornyn added that Obama is ignoring a chance to take a bipartisan approach with Republicans by drinking with Democrats.

"So rather than talking to Republicans in bipartisan discussion about how we could come together on real solutions to the problems that face our economy and people out of work, the President instead has defaulted in favor of poll-tested ideas and political gimmicks leading into the run-up to the 2014 election," Cornyn continued. "Now, sipping martinis and plotting politics while millions of Americans are out of work shows just how out of touch the President has become."

Obama has repeatedly been criticized for not making enough of an effort to reach out to members of Congress, including ones in his own party. But in 2013 Obama did hold a series of closed dinners with House and Senate Democrats as well as most Senate Republicans.

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has a new campaign video that's hard to miss.

In the video, Donnelly stands alongside actress Maria Conchita Alonso and calls for a "gun in every California's gun safe," and the restoration of the "film industry back to where she belongs, Hollywood."

"He has big ones…and he is angry…" Alonso interjects in Spanish, which is subtitled in the video.

At one point in the roughly three-minute spot Donnelly makes a short, seemingly expletive filled rant (the words are bleeped out) on how frustrated he is about taxes and regulation.

"It makes me want to…[the next few words are bleeped out]…everytime I hear that high taxes and regulations have driven another business out of our state," Donnelly continued. "Right now in North Dakota McDonald's is paying workers $15 an hour plus a signing bonus!"

Donnelly also attacks California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on his lead ammunition ban as a "cowardly act" that is the "first step to banning hunting in our state." Alonso cuts him off then and argues, in Spanish, that animals suffer because of hunting.

Donnelly just looks puzzled in response.

"If you honor me with your support, I will lead California back to prosperity, so help me God," Donnelly concludes.

(Photo credit: Youtube)

Watch the video below:

Ed Gillespie formally jumped into the Republican primary to defeat Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Thursday, unveiling his candidacy with a new campaign website and video.

In the video, the former Republican National Committee Chairman touts his family's history immigrating to the United States from Ireland. Prior to announcing his run, Gillespie's old consulting website was interestingly scrubbed of clips featuring his support for comprehensive immigration reform.

"My father came to this country from Ireland because his father found work as a janitor here," Gillespie said in the video. "My parents never went to college but they were two of the smartest people I've ever known and the hardest working."

"I'm running for Senate because the American dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty," he added.

He goes on to say that he and his wife "have raised our family near historic Mt. Vernon. And if our nation doesn't change our course our children, yours, and theirs will not enjoy the prosperity of previous generations."

Gillespie adds that his platform will focus on policies "that will grow the middle class" and allow people to lift themselves out of poverty.

You can watch the whole video below:

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