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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

Supporters of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) have formed a new super PAC to aid his re-election campaign against Republican Senate candidate Liz Cheney.

Political strategist Bill Cubin and Wyoming Business Council co-chairman Dick Bratton have are behind the new super PAC, called "Wyoming's Own," a clear dig at Cheney who until recently was living in Virginia.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune on Tuesday, Wyoming's Own plans to release newspaper, T.V. and radio ads as well as print and online ads.

"Our purpose isn't to throw muck," Cubin told the Wyoming newspaper. "Enzi is a humble, soft-spoken, hard-working public servant for Wyoming. He, along with Sen. (John) Barrasso and Rep. (Cynthia) Lummis are really one of the strongest delegations in Congress. We want to protect that delegation."

The chairman of Congressional Democrats' campaign arm said Syria would not be a "referendum" on the 2014 election cycle.

"It does not complicate the cycle at all. 2014 is not going to be a referendum on Syria. 2014 is going to be a referendum on solutions," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel (NY) said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Tuesday morning.

Israel's comments came the same morning that Syria reportedly agreed to hand its chemical weapons over to the international community for dismantling, a deal brokered by Russia. The White House had previously been pushing lawmakers to back military action against Syria in response to reported use of chemical weapons there, but the White House says the deal comes as the result of a threat of possible U.S. military action.

This deal came after significant hesitation and outright opposition among both Democrats and Republicans to taking military action, suggesting that President Barack Obama might not be able to get congressional approval for a missile strike on Syria.

Israel stressed that Syria would not be a major campaign topic in 2014.

"2014 is going to be a referendum on who is willing to get things done and who clung to partisanship and extremism," Israel continued. "2014 will be a referendum on who is willing to get things done and who clung to partisanship and extremism. 2014 will be a referendum on who's ideas are helping the middle class versus Republican ideas that are undermining the middle class. Syria will not be the subject of a referendum in 2014."

Israel slammed Republicans' opposition to Obama's call to take military action in Syria.

"Does anybody truly believe that Mitt Romney had been elected president and asked the House Republicans for exactly what President Obama is asking the House Republicans would oppose it to the extent that they're opposing what Obama wants? The level of hypocrisy is what amazes me," Israel said. 

There's a deep irony about a joint lawsuit Republican state officials in Arizona and Kansas have filed against the Obama administration in order to require voters to present proof of citizenship in order to register to vote: Republicans' own national obstructionism on voting rights is a key blockade for the state-level restrictions to go through.

The lawsuit, filed by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and following Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's guidance issued in the Supreme Court case this July, claims that the Obama administration is illegally blocking Arizona and Kansas' efforts to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote. The suit argues that failing to staff the vacant Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is charged with overseeing voter registration guidelines related to the national voter registration form, is blocking these states' ability to change their voter registration processes.

"The lack of quorum unconstitutionally prevents Plaintiffs, in violation of the Tenth Amendment, from exercising their constitutional right, power, and privilege of establishing and enforcing voting qualifications, including voter registration requirements," the states said in their complaint.

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A county judge in Indiana ruled that the state's right-to-work law violates a provision in the Indiana constitution that bars providing services "without compensation," according to the Associated Press.

Judge John Sedia of the Lake Superior Court said that the right-to-work law illegally requires unions to represent workers even if the workers do not pay union dues. On Thursday Sedia said the prohibition and penalties for collecting union dues was unconstitutional.

Sedia's ruling is the latest development in the battle of right-to-work laws in the state. Union lawyers have repeatedly tried to overturn the law since it was passed.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller's (R) office said the attorney general plans to appeal the ruling straight to the Indiana Supreme Court.

If pro-gun activists are successful Tuesday in recalling Colorado's Senate president and another Democratic senator, it could have an unintended consequence for the right: the state's Senate leadership may move to the left.

Senate President John Morse (D) and Sen. Angela Giron (D) are both up for recall after helping to narrowly pass a bill that expanded background checks on gun purchases and limited the size of ammunition magazines.

The recalls have largely been framed as a test for which side has the upper hand nationally on gun control. Outside groups, that either support or oppose tighter gun restrictions have poured millions of dollars into Colorado to try to tilt the fates of the two state politicians. That includes the nation's most prominent gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, which has spent a six-figure sum in the state, according to the Denver Post.

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Republican Matt Bevin, the primary challenger running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) in the 2014 Senate race, is urging him to announce his position on whether to take military action in Syria. 

"It's too late for Mitch McConnell to lead on the issue of Syria, but he needs to let Kentucky and the rest of America know where he stands," Bevin said in a statement on Monday. "We deserve better than a senator who ducks important debates like amnesty, defunding Obamacare, and now strikes in Syria. Like a true career politician, he waits to see the poll numbers so he can weigh how it will affect his own re-election instead of making decisions based on principles."

Bevin opposes taking military action. 

McConnell has withheld publicly taking a stance on Syria, making him the only top congressional leader who has not yet said whether the United States should conduct a missile strike. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all support President Barack Obama's call to take military action in Syria in response to reported use of chemical weapons there.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a new ad attacking Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY) as a lockstep supporter of Obamacare in the upcoming 2014 election. While the ad's attacks are directed at Grimes, the aim is clearly meant to also insulate McConnell from recent conservative charges that he is an insufficient opponent of Obamacare.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes supports Obamacare," the voiceover in the ad says. "Mitch McConnell has been the number one opponent of Obamacare from the start. McConnell supports bills to defund and repeal Obamacare."

The ad then goes on to quote McConnell saying "Obamcare should be repealed root and branch."

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The New Mexico Supreme Court said it will hold a hearing on whether same-sex marriage should be legal throughout the entire state next month.

The state's highest court will hold the hearing on Oct. 23, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The decision, handed down on Friday, comes after all 33 New Mexico county clerks took legal action to push the Supreme Court to weigh in on the legality of gay marriage.

All five of the Supreme Court judges concurred that there should be a review of the state's marriage laws, according to Reuters

Since August, a few clerks have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples under the state's ambiguous language on marriage. Some clerks have issued the marriage licenses only after a judge ordered them to. The decision to issue marriage licenses has prompted calls for the New Mexico Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all. The high court has previously refused requests to take up same-sex marriage lawsuits.

Seven New Mexico counties have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples over the last few weeks. An eighth county, Grant County, is expected to begin issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples this week.

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.

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