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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

The Republican congressional candidate who said Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is the "Rosa Parks of our generation" is now saying he was not making a "literal comparison" and that it wasn't about skin color.

The statement follows the candidate, Ian Bayne, who is running in the GOP primary against Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), saying that Robertson was really making a defense against the persecution of Christians.

"We are a Christian nation based upon the foundation of free will and individualism," Bayne said in the new press release on Monday. "People know this, and those who have come here from other countries to practice a religion other than Christianity, know and desire this as well. The comparison between Parks and Robertson is based on the recent persecution of Christians, and not in skin color or literal comparison."

Bayne previously told TPM that that he thought comparing Robertson to Parks was complimentary to Parks.

"To me, not knowing him, it is clear that he wanted to expose the, what I call, persecution of people who are open Christians. What better way to do it than in an open interview not on your television show so A&E can't argue some breach of contract," Bayne told TPM. "So having seen that I believe and I thought it was complimentary to Rosa Parks because I see Rosa Parks as a courageous person that stood up in the face of a system that was bad and said hey, enough is enough."

Bayne's comments followed an interview Robertson did with GQ where the Duck Dynasty star said that he did not believe African-Americans were mistreated during the Jim Crow era in the United States. Robertson said "not once" did he see blacks receiving mistreatment.

"Where we lived was all farmers," Robertson said in the interview. "The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. "

Photo credit: Ian Bayne for Congress.

This post was updated.

The liberal group Americans United for Change is out with a new ad blitz attacking Republicans for failing to come to an agreement with Democrats over extending unemployment insurance benefits before the end of the year.

"Who had a merry Christmas? The richest one percent," a voiceover in the ad, airing nationally, said. "Republicans in Congress made sure of that, protecting billions in taxpayer giveaways and for those facing tough times, Republicans stripped 1.3 million Americans of jobless benefits — folks who want to work but cannot find a job."

The voiceover in the ad continues that "It's wrong to leave more than a million Americans behind. Tell Republicans restore unemployment benefits now."

The national ads, which are set to air Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 are accompanied by new polling results commissioned by Americans United for Change and conducted by Public Policy Polling showing bipartisan support for extending unemployment benefits.

The ad and the memo come just a few days after President Barack Obama blasted House Republicans for leaving for the holidays without compromising with Democrats on extending unemployment insurance. In a Friday press conference Obama said that extending unemployment insurance should be the first order of business when Republican lawmakers return in January.

(Photo credit: YouTube)

Watch the ad below:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) re-election campaign is getting into the holiday spirit with its latest attack ad.

The ad is a political version of the "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" featuring McConnell attacking Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"Twas the night before Christmas, four years ago," McConnell said in the radio ad. "Liberals wanted Obamacare but Kentucky said no. If you like your plan you keep it, they said with a twinkle in their eye. Newspapers now say, that was the year's biggest lie. Higher taxes, more spending, sky-high record debt, Obama's war on coal —had enough yet? So Obama wondered who's my candidate for these times? And guess who it goes to?"

A voice then interrupts McConnell announcing "Alison Lundergan Grimes" as the Democratic nominee for the Kentucky Senate seat.

"The differences are stark and your choice will be clear," McConnell continued. "But you’ll make your decision in November next year. I’m Mitch McConnell and this approved message is mine, thanks to the McConnell Senate Committee ’14, who paid for this time. So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Kentuckians all, especially Alison Lundergan Grimes, I’ll see you next Fall."

The Grimes campaign said McConnell was playing "political games."

"As we've seen from his insurmountable disapproval ratings, Kentuckians are tired of Mitch McConnell's silly political games," Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in a statement. "Our campaign looks forward to continuing to hold McConnell accountable as folks across the Commonwealth unite around Alison's campaign. The people of Kentucky are ready for a new senator in the new year."

This post was updated.

Listen to the ad below:

Former Rep. Artur Davis (R-VA) won't run for outgoing Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-VA) congressional seat.

Davis, a former Democrat who switched to the GOP, had previously said he planned to run for Wolf's seat. But Davis announced Monday, a few days after Wolf announced that he would not run for reelection, that he would not be running for the outgoing congressman's seat

"In making this decision, I have decided to focus on the reasons I entered politics 15 years ago: to bring communities together and to be a constructive voice on issues like education and poverty," Davis said in a statement according to Gannett's Washington Bureau. Davis concludes the statement saying that he would "relish" a chance to serve in office again.

"Frankly, I would relish an opportunity to lead on the issues I care most about, whether as a public servant or as a citizen," Davis continued. "That time and place, however, is not Virginia’s 10th District congressional race."

Read the full statement below:

People in politics aren’t known for candor about their goals, but I will be direct here: a year ago, my plan and ambition was to run for Frank Wolf’s seat if he retired. But a year is a long time to reflect.

In making this decision, I have decided to focus on the reasons I entered politics 15 years ago: to bring communities together and to be a constructive voice on issues like education and poverty. Joining the Republican Party, by the way, has not shaken those values: it has only reminded me of how important it is to awaken them in my new party. How dare we shortchange Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining city on a hill where we bore one another’s burdens and Jack Kemp’s passion about an opportunity based society?

But campaigns can’t be about wishful thinking. I know full well that the national political climate is too polarized and ideological to make Congress the forum to achieve the values that drew me into politics in the first place. I also know that in the current environment, the process of competing for a partisan nomination wouldn’t exactly allow me to run a campaign focused on building common ground.

Frankly, I would relish an opportunity to lead on the issues I care most about, whether as a public servant or as a citizen. That time and place, however, is not Virginia’s 10th District congressional race.

Updated: December 23, 2013, 1:30 PM

Former Massachusetts Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez (R) attacked two Republican activists on Facebook saying they and their small "'Klan' are an embarrassment to our civil society."

Gomez, writing on his Facebook page, criticized GOP activist Rob Eno and Worcester, Massachusetts official Chris Pinto. In the Facebook comment, now deleted, Gomez wrote:

Text:

I thank God everyday for people like Chris Pinto and Rob Eno because they serve as perfect examples for my kids of who and what not to be when they grow up…the level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small "Klan" are an embarrassment to our civil society. Merry Christmas.

Read More →

A 10-year-old girl died Monday morning from gunshot wounds she suffered after an accidental shooting the day before, according to West Virginia's Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Officials initially said that the girl and a 9-year-old boy were doing target practice with a 410 shotgun in Quick Virginia when the shooting occurred, according to West Virginia's MetroNews.

Police said the girl suffered wounds to her chest and arm. The Charleston Gazette reported that an investigation is under way.

Correction: The headline for this post originally said the girl's age was 9-years old. She was actually 10.

The congressional candidate who compared 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson to Rosa Parks for ranting about non-Christian cultures and arguing that blacks weren't mistreated in the Jim Crow era of the United States is standing by his defense.

"To me, not knowing him, it is clear that he wanted to expose the, what I call, persecution of people who are open Christians. What better way to do it than in an open interview not on your television show so A&E can't argue some breach of contract," Republican Ian Bayne told TPM in a phone interview Friday.

"So having seen that I believe and I thought it was complimentary to Rosa Parks because I see Rosa Parks as a courageous person that stood up in the face of a system that was bad and said hey, enough is enough," Bayne said.

In a fundraising email, Bayne, who is running in the Republican primary to defeat Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), had called Robertson the "Rosa Parks of our generation."

Read More →

President Barack Obama strongly reiterated Friday his vow not to negotiate on whether to raise the debt ceiling.

During a White House press conference CNN's Brianna Keilar asked the president if he was open to negotiating with House Republicans over raising the debt ceiling next time the country reaches its borrowing limit.

Read More →


President Barack Obama criticized Congress, and specifically Congressional Republicans, for going home for the holidays without coming to an agreement with Democrats on extending unemployment insurance.

Obama, speaking at a press conference Friday, first praised both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for coming to an agreement on the Murray-Ryan budget framework. But Obama then said that Republican lawmakers should have also come to an agreement with Democrats on extending unemployment benefits that cover roughly 1.3 million Americans who are seeking work.

Read More →

A Republican congressional candidate in Illinois puts 'Duck Dynasty' patriarch Phil Robertson on par with Rosa Parks.

In a fundraising email to supporters, Ian Bayne, who is running in the Republican primary to challenge Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) in the 11th District, compared Robertson to Rosa Parks. The fundraising email began: "Today, Ian Bayne called Phil Robertson, star of the A&E series "Duck Dynasty," the 'Rosa Parks' of our generation." 

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