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

Republican Senate Wyoming candidate Liz Cheney released a statement Friday saying she does not support same-sex marriage, even though Cheney's sister is married to her longtime partner.

"I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage," Cheney said in the statement according to CNN. "I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves."

Cheney's campaign said the statement on Friday is in response to a "push poll" of Wyoming voters asking whether they are aware that she "supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage."

Cheney is running in the 2014 Republican primary for Sen. Mike Enzi's seat. Cheney's sister, Mary, is married to Heather Poe, Mary's longtime partner. Mary Cheney first publicly announced her sexuality in 2000, when Dick Cheney was then-Gov. George W. Bush's nominee for vice president.

Thirty-one county clerks in New Mexico have joined a lawsuit asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to clarify whether same-sex marriage licenses are legal under the state's constitution.

The clerks are signing on to a lawsuit filed by a group of same-sex couples against a New Mexico count clerk as interveners. The two other clerks of the state's total 33 clerks are already involved in the case.

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A New Mexico judge has ordered a Republican county clerk on Thursday to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples or appear in court next week.

The Los Alamos County clerk, Sharon Stover, told TPM Friday she will review the ruling with her attorneys before deciding whether to begin issuing marriage licenses.

The ruling comes as six New Mexico county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples over the last week or so. Some of the clerks began issuing licenses after judges presiding over same-sex marriage lawsuits ordered them to do so. The counties that have begun offering licenses are Taos, Doña Ana, Santa Fe, Valencia, San Miguel and Bernalillo.

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) reported raising $1.2 million in a six week period.

Davis, the state senator that gained national prominence after waging a more than 11-hour filibuster against a 20-week abortion ban bill in the state's legislature, raised roughly 40 percent of the haul from donors outside Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

From June 25 to July 30, Davis raised $793,800 inside Texas and about $470,000 from outside here state according to her finance report. The states with the biggest donations were California, where Davis raised $103,694, New York where she raised $68,764 and the Washington D.C. region where she raised $59,000.

The donations were mostly small contributions. The biggest donations came from Planned Parenthood and labor unions.

Davis is currently mulling whether to run for reelection or run for governor. She plans to announce her decision in September.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said he plans to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential race but probably not as a presidential candidate.

"I am not an active candidate for president of the United States," King told The Des Moines Register on Thursday. "I am laying plans to try to move the country in the right direction."

King had recently visited early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire prompting speculation that he had begun planning to run for president in 2016. King has not totally shot down the prospect but he said his goal, right now, is to serve as a "guardrail of constitutional conservatism."

The Iowa Republican also said he plans to host Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a pheasant hunt in Iowa in October. King said he's impressed with Cruz, who has also been mentioned a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

"I think he has a very good, deep and sound constitutional understanding and he has a good feel for the direction and the culture and the character of Americans," King said. "We wanted to bring him here to Iowa and help him get introduced."

During the 2012 Iowa caucus campaign in 2012 King hosted Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) at pheasant hunts.

The Register was unable to confirm the Cruz pheasant hunt with the senator's office. A spokeswoman said Cruz's scheduling staff was not available when the Register reached out to the senator's office Thursday night.

In July, King raised eyebrows and made national headlines for saying that for every illegal immigrant "who's a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

Tea Party groups have begun directing their fire in recent weeks at a counterintuitive target: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

On paper, the Republican minority whip is an unusual target for Tea Party guns. Cornyn has been one of the most conservative members of the Senate since he was first elected to the chamber in 2002. National Journal ranks Cornyn the second most conservative member of the Senate. He has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, has won multiple awards from the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, has a 0 percent rating from the pro-choice NARAL and a 100 percent rating from the National Right To Life Committee.

That's not good enough for some Tea Partiers now.

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said members of Congress should be part of the "discussion" on military action in Syria.

"Congress needs to be involved in this process," Rogers said Thursday during an interview on MSNBC.

President Barack Obama has a legal and political obligation to involve Congress in considering military action in Syria, Rogers said. But Rogers added that there does not necessarily need to be a vote in Congress for Obama to take action.

"Under the Wars Powers Act, I don't believe there has to be a vote," Rogers said. 

A number of congressional lawmakers have urged Obama to confer with Congress before taking any military action in Syria in response to chemical weapons use. On Wednesday, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) collected over 50 signatures urging President Obama to first go to Congress before taking military action.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is endorsing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the 2014 Republican primary against businessman Matt Bevin, according to a report.

Huckabee will endorse McConnell in an email to his supporters on Thursday, according to The Weekly Standard.

"I’m proud to endorse Mitch today and stand next to him for the next fifteen months until he is re-elected in Kentucky and then elected the next Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate," Huckabee will say in the email. A draft of the email was obtained by The Weekly Standard. "Mitch has a 100% Right to Life score, an 'A' from the NRA, a perfect 100% from the American Conservative Union, and he’s the one man primarily responsible for uniting Senate Republicans against Obamacare."

Meanwhile Bevin's campaign announced Thursday that it had won the endorsement of Louisville Tea Party Founder and President Wendy Caswell. The Bevin campaign's announcement of Caswell's endorsement describes the Louisville Tea Party as "one of Kentucky's largest Tea Party groups."


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Barack Obama to explain his reasoning and legal authority for taking military action against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons there. 

"I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy," Boehner wrote in the letter to Obama sent Wednesday afternoon. "In addition, it is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution."

Boehner goes on to list a series of questions that should first be answered including:

What standard did the Administration use to determine that this scope of chemical weapons use warrants potential military action? 

Does the Administration consider such a response to be precedent-setting, should further humanitarian atrocities occur?

What result is the Administration seeking from its response?

What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?

Boehner's letter comes as a number of lawmakers urge Obama to first get congressional permission before taking  military action in Syria. The lawmakers are urging Obama in a letter circulated by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA.). Rigell plans to deliver the letter Wednesday evening. He had planned to deliver the letter earlier in the day but then pushed back the deadline. 

Read Boehner's full letter here



Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) urged the Obama administration to first acquire more information about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and then seek congressional approval before taking any possible military action. 

"The United States should condemn the use of chemical weapons. We should ascertain who used the weapons and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement," Paul said in a statement on Wednesday. "The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress not the President.

"The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring in to power people friendly to the United States," he added.

A number of House lawmakers have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Syria. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) plans to deliver the letter Wednesday evening. He had been planning to send the letter to the White House earlier in the day but later extended the deadline for signatures.