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

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said on Twitter that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has made Washington worse since he arrived.

Castro's tweet came the same day that Cruz conducted an extended speech on his opposition to Obamacare.

A number of top Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), criticized the plan by Cruz and others to filibuster a continuing resolution bill that already passed the House which also defunds Obamacare. The Senate is likely to strip the defunding provision from the continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.

The Senate Conservatives Fund called opposition by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to a continuing resolution measure that also defunds Obamacare "the ultimate betrayal."

On Tuesday the fund sent out an email targeting Cornyn and McConnell, the two highest ranking Republicans in the Senate.

"We knew Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn weren't with us when they voted to fund Obamacare earlier this year," Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote in the email. "But then, under pressure from grassroots, they said they supported the effort to defund it. They even ran political ads in their home states to make voters think they were on their side.

"But now, faced with the prospect of having to fight for the things they claim to believe, these Senate leaders have surrendered," Hoskins continued.

"Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn have surrendered to Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and the Democrats. More importantly, they have surrendered to Obamacare -- the biggest job killer in America," Hoskins concluded in the email.

The Senate Conservatives Fund has long been critical of McConnell and Cornyn for, in the group's opinion, insufficient support for defunding Obamacare. On Monday McConnell and Cornyn both announced they would not engage in an effort to block the Senate from moving forward with a continuing resolution bill that defunds Obamacare. That decision gives Senate Democrats a wide opening to pass the measure and then remove the defunding provision.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) leads Secretary of State Natalie Tennant by double digits in the Senate race for outgoing Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) seat, according to a new poll.

The Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found Capito leading Tennant 50 percent to 36 percent among West Virginia voters.

Broken down by party affiliation, Capito takes over half of independent voters and also a third of Democratic voters, the poll found.

Even better for Capito, the poll found a plurality of voters have a favorable view of Capito while only 36 percent have an unfavorable view of her. Meanwhile roughly a third of voters view the secretary of state favorably and a third also view her unfavorably.

The poll's finding's come less than two weeks after Tennant, who Democrats see as a strong candidate for the seat, formally jumped into the Senate race.

The poll, conducted among 1,110 West Virginia voters between Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points

Kentucky Republican Senate Candidate Matt Bevin accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of caving to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) after McConnell announced that he would not filibuster legislation that currently contains a defund-Obamacare provision. The Senate plans to strip the defunding aspect of the measure once it advances procedurally. 

"Like so many other crucial fights, Mitch McConnell has caved to Harry Reid on Obamacare and is refusing to fight to defund this disastrous legislation," Bevin said a statement Tuesday morning.

The statement by Bevin, who is running against McConnell in the Republican primary, comes a day after McConnell's announcement. McConnell's decision effectively gives Reid and Senate Democrats an opening to pass a continuing resolution that does not defund the health care law. 

Bevin said McConnell's decision shows there's no significant legislative light between McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is also running for McConnell's Senate seat.

"There is really no difference between Mitch McConnell and Alison Grimes - both would vote on the side of Harry Reid," Bevin continued in his statement. "I am proud to support conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz in his fight to defund Obamacare, and I promise the people of Kentucky: I will never cave to Harry Reid."

The A&E network is set to debut a new reality show fueled by the personal life of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D), one of the more infamous political figures in Louisiana history. After all, how many other Louisiana pols -- or politicians anywhere else for that matter -- went to jail on 17 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, racketeering and mail and wire fraud?

The show "The Governor's Wife" stars Trina Edwards, the former governor's wife, and their family, including the children from the governors' and his wife's previous marriages. A&E has been stalling on the premiere of the show over the last few months. It was set for Feb. 8 then pushed back to Feb. 27 and then March 13. Currently it's set to debut for Oct. 17. The show is quick to mention that Edwards is a convicted felon. Here's the latest advertisement, released on Friday:

A&E: The Governors Wife from StunCreative on Vimeo.

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The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's two Federal Election Commission nominees on Monday.

Republican Lee Goodman and Democrat Ann Ravel were confirmed by voice vote on Monday. The two fill the vacancies left by former Democratic commissioner Cynthia Bauerly and Republican Donald McGahn.

Goodman works at a Washington law firm and Ravel is the chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, according to the Associated Press.

The two join a six-member panel charged with regulating spending on elections and campaigns. The confirmations also mean there are no vacancies on the panel (four are serving on terms that have expired though).

Obama nominated Goodman and Ravel in June. They were confirmed a week after the Senate Rules Committee approved their nomination.

E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, criticized Pope Francis for suggesting the Catholic Church is "obsessed" with opposing certain issues like gay marriage.

Jackson's comments came a few days after Pope Francis criticized the Catholic Church for being unnecessarily "obsessed" with gay marriage. Francis subsequently seemed to offer a partial walk back a few days later, saying that doctors should refuse to conduct abortions, which he called a part of "throw-away culture." 

"I know even the pope has said when we talk about these things, we imply a kind of intolerance. That is not the point at all," Jackson said Sunday during an event at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, Virginia according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "The point is to be true to the word of God. The point is to stand up and tell the truth. There is no better way found, ever, to raise children than with a mother and a father in the home. Even sociologically, you can make the argument."

On Thursday the Pope offered a pointed crititque of his church, saying that the "church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel," Francis said. 

The comments were seen as a pointed response to critical bishops who have said Francis has not sufficiently expressed opposition to topics like homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

Jackson has been even more direct in his criticism of gay marriage. He has previously referred to gay people as "sick and perverted."

After strongly suggesting that he planned to jump into the Senate race for Sen. Kay Hagan's (D-NC) seat, North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) announced Monday that he is simply seeking re-election.

"Over the past several months, I've heard from numerous people across North Carolina asking me to declare my candidacy for the United States Senate. I am humbled and grateful for the kind words of encouragement," Berger said in a statement released on Monday. "Like many, I understand that one of the most important political tasks before us is to replace Kay Hagan as North Carolina's junior United States Senator.

"Senator Hagan's tenure in Washington has been a disappointment in countless ways," Berger continued. "Her record does not reflect the conservative values of most North Carolinians or the strong leadership we deserve from our elected representatives. I understand that winning this seat has tremendous implications not only for control of the U.S. Senate in the final two years of the Obama presidency, but also for the direction of our nation."

"However, after careful consideration and consultation with family, friends and supporters, I have decided now is not the time for me to undertake such a campaign."

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Democrat Sean Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder and editor-in-chief and publisher of the New Republic Chris Hughes, announced on Sunday night that he is running for Congress.

Eldridge announced that he was running for New York's 19th district in a web video posted on his campaign website. 

"Right now the voices of every day New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics, causing gridlock in Washington. We need an independent voice who will fight for us," Eldridge said in the video.

Expect the race to be competitive against Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY). According to the Albany Times-Union, Eldridge has already invested $215,000 in his campaign.

In the video, Eldridge vows to fight budget cuts to Medicare and Social Security. He also touted businesses that his investment fund, Hudson River Ventures, loaned money to. 

"We all know that we need to grow our economy and I know first hand what it takes to support small businesses and create good jobs," Eldridge said. 

Eldridge's announcement has been expected. He has been suggesting a run for some time now and Republicans had already begun attacking him in anticipation of Eldridge formally entering the race. Also, earlier in the year Hughes and Eldridge bought a home in the district.

"I'm running for Congress because I know that we can do better. I hope that you'll join me," Eldridge concludes in the web video. 

Louisiana State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R) is urging conservatives to boycott Starbucks and instead go to coffee shops that have "gun friendly" owners.

Thompson's call, made Friday on the Defend Louisiana website, is in response to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asking customers to not "bring fire arms" into Starbucks coffee shops. Defend Louisiana is a campaign Thompson founded in opposition to new gun laws.

"The home of the most expensive cup of coffee is apparently now the home of one of the most dangerous as well," Thompson said in the statement.

Thompson plans to host "Guns & Coffee" events in the next few weeks where he will buy supporters a cup of coffee and discuss the current debate over gun laws.

"I hope residents in Bossier and across Louisiana come out for a free cup of coffee," Thompson continued in the statement. "You won’t find me in Starbucks… not when I know they openly try to make villains out of law abiding citizens who own guns. I choose to support small business owners who share a love of our Louisiana heritage, the great outdoors and join in my efforts to defend our right to protect our families."

"Not only will I buy you a cup of coffee,” Thompson added. “You will also have the opportunity to register for a giveaway of a limited edition, engraved 200 years of Louisiana statehood commemorative 12 gauge Browning shotgun."