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. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, supports a resolution that would authorize force in Syria in response to a reported chemical weapons attack last month.

Read Schumer's statement below:

The Syrian situation poses two conflicting goals: to allow the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government to go unanswered would encourage the Assad regime, and other rogue governments, to use them again, but the last thing America needs or wants is a protracted conflict in the Middle East when our primary focus must be on jobs, the economy and the middle class. The Foreign Relations Committee resolution is clear, limited and specific. It prohibits any boots on the ground and puts strict time limits on American involvement in Syria while still allowing an appropriate response to the use of weapons of mass destruction, and I will support it.

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announced that her father, Jerry Russell, passed away early Thursday morning. He was 77.

"It is with great sadness that I share that Jerry Russell, my dearly loved father, died early yesterday morning surrounded in love and prayer by our extended family and so many who share our love for Dad," Davis said in a statement on Friday. "My family would like to welcome members of the theatre, Fort Worth, and greater community to join us for a tribute in Jerry’s honor on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center located at 1300 Gendy Street in Fort Worth."

Russell had been in critical care in Fort Worth for complications that form undergoing abdominal surgery. Russell was a well-known director and actor in North Texas for his work at the Stage West nonprofit theatre company.

"In his honor the family has established the Jerry Russell Endowment Fund at Stage West to ensure that the quality programs Jerry set out to produce when founding Stage West over 33 years ago will continue long after his death," Davis continued in the statement. "In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Jerry Russell Endowment Fund at Stage West."

Davis, who has been mulling whether to run for governor or run for reelection, postponed announcing her plans in August because of Russell's declining health.

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), shrugged off Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) support for his opponent.

Paul endorsed McConnell in March. 

"Politics make for strange bedfellows. I think Rand aspires to potentially other things on the political spectrum," Bevin said in an interview with ABC's Jeff Zeleny posted Friday. "There is nobody in Kentucky that is fooled by this Mitch-Rand love narrative. The people who have ultimately coalesced behind Rand Paul are people who have from the beginning been with me in large measure and are continuing to come to my side of the equation."

Those people, Bevin continued, are looking for an alternative to McConnell.

In August, a recording of McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, quoted him saying that he was "sorta holding my nose for two years," with McConnell "cause what we're doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in '16." Benton ran Paul's campaign for Senate in 2010.

After the recording surfaced, Benton stressed his support had nothing to do with possibly helping Paul down the road.

"I believe in Senator McConnell and am 100 percent committed to his re-election," Benton said in a statement.

The Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa have sued Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) over a rule that aims to remove names from voter rolls if a federal immigration database suggests they are not authorized to vote.

The ACLU and the LULAC filed a legal motion in Iowa's Polk County on Wednesday asking the judge to issue a ruling in the lawsuit, originally filed last year, and permanently block Schultz's rule. Schultz was given tentative permission to use the rule Aug. 14. If the judge approves the request, the activists will have successfully stopped the proposed voter roll purge.

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Add Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin to the list of politicians criticizing a National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman for calling Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes an "empty dress."

"I find it offensive – highly offensive," Bevin, who is mounting a primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Kentucky's Courier-Journal and USA Today in an interview published Thursday.

"I am married and I have six daughters," Bevin said, before adding that the comments were "insulting and rude."

The remark was published in an article in The Hill on Wednesday. Democrats were quick to try and tie the comments to McConnell even though the NRSC spokesman, Brad Dayspring, does not report directly to McConnell. Bevin also linked the comments to McConnell. He said that "the NRSC and McConnell [campaign] are one in the same."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will dine with five former Senate majority leaders Friday night, Reid's office announced Thursday.

Reid will meet with former Majority Leaders Bill Frist (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Trent Lott (R-MS), Bob Dole (R-KS) and George Mitchell (D-ME) in the Lyndon Baines Johnson room at the U.S. Capitol. 

According to the Office of the Senate Historian the dinner is the biggest gathering of Senate majority leaders in history.

"I am honored to be able to host this group representing two decades of bipartisan leadership in the Senate," Reid said in a statement. 

In an email sent by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a comment made by National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brad Dayspring in which he called McConnell's challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes an "empty dress."

"How ironic that Mitch McConnell talks about the importance of women voters to his campaign, and a few days later his spokesman uses a sexist smear against a strong, smart and capable woman," McCaskill said in a statement sent out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday. "I don't understand these men in the Republican Party. It seems almost impossible for them to open their mouths without insulting women."

Dayspring's comments were first reported by The Hill on Wednesday. Democrats were quick to tie Dayspring's comments to McConnell, even though Dayspring does not directly work for the top Senate Republican.

McCaskill won reelection in 2012 after facing Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). Akin took a substantial hit in the polls after he suggested that the female body had ways of naturally ending pregnancies that are the result of "legitimate rape."

Ed. note: The headline originally said McCaskill called the "empty dress" comment "misogynistic," but that was the DSCC. We regret the error.

The Senate Conservatives Fund just spent $340,000 on a new ad-buy campaign urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) to take the lead in a push to defund Obamacare.

"McConnell is the Senate Republican leader but he refuses to lead on defunding Obamacare," the voiceover in the new ad says.

The ad, which was unveiled on Thursday, will air from Friday through September 17, according to National Journal. 

The Senate Conservatives Fund has targeted a number of lawmakers urging them to demonstrate stronger opposition to opposing the Obama administration's healthcare reform law. In August the Senate Conservatives Fund, which was previously associated with former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), launched a statewide campaign in Kentucky meant to make McConnell "feel the heat" on defunding Obamacare.

Watch the new ad below:

A Michigan lawyer who chairs a major Republican fundraising dinner in the state announced his candidacy for Rep. Kerry Bentivolio's (R-MI) congressional seat.

Bentivolio recently caught national attention for saying it would be a "dream come true" to impeach President Barack Obama.

The lawyer, David Trott, announced his candidacy for Bentivolio's seat on Wednesday. Trott is the chairman of the Oakland County Lincoln Day Dinner which is a high profile fundraising event in the state. Trott also previously was on the finance team for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, according to the Detroit Free Press.

According to Crain's Detroit Business, Trott's name will probably appear on the August 5, 2014 ballot for the Republican primary because Bentivolio was defeated in a partial term election against Democrat David Curson.



Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins (D) didn't mince words on whether he feels frustrated about other clerks in New Mexico who haven't joined him in quickly issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"Let me put it this way, some people have balls, some people don't, alright? Some of them truly believe that they need direction from on high and they're not willing to do a constitutional analysis," Ellins told TPM in an interview on Wednesday. "Some of them are philosophically opposed so they wouldn't do it unless they were brought to the shed and whacked."

But Ellins said he doesn't blame other county clerks who haven't yet followed his lead.

"We all strive for uniformity whether it's recording documents, whether it's election law," Ellins said of his fellow clerks. "Many of them feel that until they get a direct answer from the [New Mexico] Supreme Court we have to wait."

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