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

Updated: January 2, 2013, 3:48 PM.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is getting a primary challenger.

Ohio Tea Party leader Ted Stevenot plans to announce his candidacy for governor on Jan. 7. Stevenot's decision to challenge Kasich follows the Ohio governor promoting the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in Ohio. Stevenot has strongly criticized Kasich for highlighting the expansion.

Stevenot is the former president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a tea party group in the state. According to an announcement on the coalition's website, Stevenot will announce his candidacy on Jan. 7 at a press conference where he will also introduce his running mate, Brenda L. Mack, who served as the president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association.

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The Democrats targeted by the conservative Americans for Prosperity with a new major ad buy are slamming the new ads as "grossly misleading" and "lies" that misrepresent their positions.

On Thursday AFP, the Koch brothers-backed group, announced that it would spend $2.5 million on a round of ads attacking Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on Obamacare. The ads featured the three senators saying that Americans would be able to keep their old insurance plans if they liked it under the new healthcare law. But, the Democrats shot back, the ads take their words out of context. Both the Hagan campaign and Landrieu campaign noted that those two Democratic senators have strongly criticized parts of the healthcare law. Landrieu and Hagan both supported legislation that makes insurers offer the option of letting people keep their old policies permanently.

"A new year and a new smear from a Koch-brothers backed group that has no accountability to North Carolinians, takes secret, undisclosed cash and has a record of airing ads that fact checkers call ‘false,’" Hagan campaign communications director Sadie Weiner said in a statement on Thursday.

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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) apologized for supporting legislation that banned same-sex marriage.

In an interview with LGBT news outlet Watermark Online, Crist was asked about his support for adding a ban on same-sex marriage to Florida's constitution.

"I'm sorry I did that," Crist said in the report published Thursday. "It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me."

Watermark then pressed Crist to elaborate on his position and discuss moving to support same-sex marriage.

"I made a mistake. I’m not perfect… please don’t hold me to that standard. And I’m sincerely sorry. I understand when it’s necessary to say I was wrong. That‘s the journey I’m on… and I’m still on it," Crist added. "As a Republican, on social issues I always felt I was a round peg in a square hole. I just didn’t fit. But I tried, until I couldn’t do it any more… until I had to say, ‘Enough is enough.’"

Crist is running in the Democratic primary for governor. Before running for Senate and switching parties Crist served as governor of Florida.

Crist has previously expressed regret (albeit not as directly as with Watermark) for signing the petition proposing adding a same-sex marriage ban to the state constitution.

"Would I do it today? No," Crist told The Miami Herald in 2013. "I think the best way to judge where my heart is, is to look at the deeds that I have done, whether as attorney general, governor — restoration of rights, civil rights cases, things of that nature, that I think show a compassionate heart and hopefully someone who cares and knows who the boss is — and the boss is the people of Florida."

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) has a new Senate campaign manager.

Gingrey has appointed Patrick Sebastian, formerly the New Jersey state director for the Republican National Committee, to run his campaign, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday. Sebastian has also worked on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election campaign and Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

In November Gingrey's campaign suffered a mass exodus as four top staffers all quit at once. The staffers told TPM that the departures had to do with a "leadership struggle" within the campaign.

Gingrey is running in a big GOP primary for outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss's (R-GA) Senate seat.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is set to headline a fundraiser for Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), who's facing a primary challenge from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), on Thursday.

The fundraiser is the latest broadside in an increasingly contentious Democratic primary between Schatz, who was appointed senator by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercromie (D) upon the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Hanabusa.

The primary is less about ideology than about a personal divide. Inouye had said he wanted his protégée Hanabusa to succeed him, but Abercrombie appointed Obama campaign veteran and former Lt. Gov. Schatz instead.

"Senator Schatz is pleased to have the support of the Mayor given his leadership on common sense gun safety legislation and strong promotion of clean energy production to slow the effects of climate change," Schatz campaign manager Clay Schroers said in a statement. "Senator Schatz's priority is always delivering for Hawaii, and effective leadership in the Senate for Hawaii means developing relationships with leaders across the country."

The fundraiser is one of the first public appearances for Bloomberg since he left the mayor's office. A day earlier Bill de Blasio (D) was sworn in as the new mayor of New York.

The conservative Americans for Prosperity released a trio of new ads Thursday going after Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on Obamacare.

Americans for Prosperity, which was co-founded by David H. Koch and has gotten financial support from his brother Charles Koch, is spending $2.5 million on the ads, which are set to run over the next three weeks.

Each tailored ad attacks the senator for saying that under Obamacare Americans can keep their insurance plan if they like it.

"It's the lie of the year," a voiceover in the Shaheen ad said. That ad then features a clip of Shaheen saying "you can keep your insurance if you like it."

Similarly, the Landrieu ad first features President Barack Obama saying "if you like your current insurance you can keep your current insurance. Period. End of story." Then Landrieu is clipped on the Senate floor saying "those individuals who like the coverage they already have will be able to keep their current plan… This is a very accurate description of this bill."

In the Hagan ad, a woman named Sheila A. Salter describes how her health care policy was canceled under Obamacare.

"Kay Hagan told us, if you like your insurance plan and your doctors, you can keep them," Salter said. "That just wasn't true. Now I have a temporary policy that cost me 20 percent more."

AFP has already devoted millions in 2013 to attacking Landrieu and Hagan, who are top targets for Republicans in 2014. Republicans also feel that if former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) decides to challenge Shaheen in New Hampshire there's a good chance she could be defeated in 2014.

Watch the Hagan ad here:

Watch the Landrieu ad here:

Watch the Shaheen ad here:

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) said Monday he is tentatively supporting a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

But Pryor, in an interview with Arkansas television station KATV, said he was not supporting a proposal by the Obama administration to hike the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2015.

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A fundraising email for Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) made a curious plea: donate $0.

A fundraising email sent to supporters by Booker's Senate campaign manager, Addisu Demissie, on Monday asked supporters to contribute $0 before the fundraising deadline. The email, with the subject line "Ten great stories of our campaign," is a listicle of ten moments from Booker's successful campaign to succeed deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Just before the list the campaign asks for a "$0 contribution before our year-end campaign finance deadline."

A source close to Booker's campaign team told TPM that the fundraising email was mistakenly sent out to about a third of campaign listserv's recipients.

See a picture of the email below.

A few days earlier Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) sent out a very straightforward fundraising email. With the subject line "Fundraising email" Franken wrote "Yes. This is a fundraising email. See, here's a contribution link: Can you give $5 or more today?"

This post was updated.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) has a recommendation for cleaning your gun: liberal tears.

Stockman, who's a longshot candidate running in the Republican primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), tweeted out a picture of a gun with a spray can that read "liberal tears." The text with the picture read: "the best gun lubricant."

Gun control is one of the topics Stockman has been trying to win support among Texans on by being to the right of Cornyn. Although Cornyn was endorsed by the National Rifle Association earlier in December Stockman has been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America, a more aggressive pro-gun group.

The Obama administration strongly condemned terrorist bombings in Russia that resulted in 30 dead.

The attacks, a bombing on an electric bus in Volgograd and another bombing at a railway station a day before that, come as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympic games in Sochi.

In a statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the United States is offering its "full support" to the Russian government in preparing for the Olympic games in Sochi in response to the terrorist attacks. Hayden's statement read:

The United States condemns the terrorist attacks that struck the Russian city of Volgograd and sends deepest condolences to the families of the victims with hopes for the rapid healing of those wounded.
The United States stands in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism. The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants.