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 email@example.com.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is appearing at a fundraiser alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Saturday and it's starting to get a little more complicated than it probably should be.
Cruz and Cuccinelli are both scheduled to appear at a gala event hosted by the Family Foundation on Saturday night in Richmond. Cruz is the keynote speaker and Cuccinelli is slated to deliver special remarks.
Though the event has been scheduled for some time, Cruz's rising-star status and focal point as the leader in the government shutdown debate makes the timing of the event awkward for Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in an increasingly blue state. Cuccinelli has to make sure he doesn't alienate Virginia conservatives distancing himself from the darling of the right, but he also can't get too closely associated with the Republican who Democrats have been gleefully attacking as the biggest advocate of a government shutdown. So, in the case of the Family Foundation event, the Cuccinelli campaign is saying that it's not a campaign event, just an appearance of two prominent Republicans.
"No, it is not a campaign event," Cuccinelli spokesman Richard Cullen told TPM on Friday.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and husband Mark Kelly, on Thursday waded into the Virginia governor's race.
In an email to supporters, the group attacked the Republican candidate, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, saying he has "spent a career making it easier for criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get their hands on weapons." The group noted that the National Rifle Association recently spent $500,000 on television advertising in the race.
State Sen. Wendy Davis's (D) official entrance into the Texas gubernatorial race on Thursday afternoon pits her against a tough Republican opponent: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Abbott has thus far received less national attention than Davis, who drew headlines with her 11-hour filibuster to temporarily block anti-abortion legislation in June. If Democrats had a shot at capturing the statehouse, analysts proclaimed, Davis would be their best shot. But make no mistake, Abbott is the favored candidate in this race.
Abbott, who merely has to shrug off primary opponent Tom Pauken, has been called the "heir apparent" to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) since Perry announced he would not run for re-election. He has a sizable war chest of at least $20 million and strong support among the state's conservatives. It's expected that Davis will have to raise as much as $40 million to be competitive in the race.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) got into a heated exchange with a National Park Service Ranger at the World War II Memorial over the closure of the park because of the government shutdown.
Neugebauer, one of a number of Republicans who have tried to use the closed memorial to bash the Obama administration and Democrats on the shutdown, confronted the ranger while surrounded by a crowd of onlookers.
Neugebauer asked the Ranger how she could turn World War II veterans away.
"How do you look at them and…deny them access?" the congressman asked.
"It's difficult," she responded.
"Well, it should be difficult," Neugebauer snapped.
"It is difficult," the Ranger said. "I'm sorry sir."
"The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," Neugebauer said.
"I'm not ashamed," the Ranger said.
Members of the crowd then chimed in. One person shouted "This woman is doing her job, just like me."
"I'm a 30-year federal veteran -- I'm out of work," the man continued.
"Well, the reason you are is because [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid decided to shutdown the government," Neugebauer said.
"No, it's because the government won't do its job and pass a budget," the man responded.
Republican Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN) walked back remarks saying that Republicans "have to get something" out of the government shutdown impasse even though they "don't know what that even is."
On Thursday, Stutzman released a statement saying he misspoke.
"Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker Boehner’s work on behalf of the American people," Stutzman said in a statement. "Despite my remarks it’s clear that the American people want both parties to come to the table to reopen the government, tackle this nation’s debt crisis, and stop ObamaCare’s pain."
A day earlier, the Washington Examiner reported Stutzman saying "We're not going to be disrespected."
"We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is," Stutzman said.
President Barack Obama repeatedly called out Stutzman's remarks at a speech in Maryland on Thursday.
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) received a healthcare policy grilling from MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Obamacare during an interview on Thursday morning.
In the exchange the congressman from Arkansas said Obamacare was passed just "with Democratic votes."
"No, actually it was a Chuck Grassley Republican amendment," Todd quickly shot back, referring to Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) amendment that essentially requires members of Congress and their staffs to use the Obamacare exchanges to get health insurance.
"It was drafted by Harry Reid's staff," Cotton said in response. "It was designed to ensure Congress had to eat their own cookie and understand what it was like. They have to go in and they realize that the websites are not ready and there is no privacy protections and they have less access to doctors. Democrats are refusing to take back the exemption that the Obamacare gave them. They had a simple choice. They can keep the government open and keep the special deal. That's not right, Chuck."
Todd bristled at that too.
"You keep describing it as a special deal," Todd then said. Cotton has argued that the Obamacare provision that offers healthcare subsidies to members of Congress is against the law.
"It's a special deal if you did it your way," Todd continued. "You would be taking away something else that people have, but if you work for the federal government because you work for a politician, you can't have that deal."
In response, Cotton said Congress should be able to go into the exchanges like everyone else.
"Chuck, the Obamacare law was clear," Cotton said. "Congress should go into the exchanges to experience what it's like to live in the exchanges. If the special deal goes forward, Congress will be the only people in America come January one who have an employer contribution to the health insurance. The staffers have access any way. Do they make less than 400 percent of the poverty line? If they make more than that, they have to bear the full cost of healing insurance."
Todd was puzzled at that response as well.
"You think think the federal government should dump everyone into exchanges? That's what you are saying. They have employer-based healthcare systems," Todd said in response "They have an employer-based benefit. The point is for people that did not have health care benefits."