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

White House press secretary Jay Carney was quick to denounce former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) comments that the government shouldn't provide co-pay-free birth control because women can't control their reproductive system or "libido."

"I haven't seen that report, but whoever said it sounds offensive to me and to women," Carney said Thursday.

Carney's response came very shortly after Huckabee, speaking at the annual winter meeting of the Republican National Committee, said that Democrats want women to believe they are "helpless."

"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be," Huckabee said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said that the government shouldn't help women who can't control their "libido or their reproductive system" by providing co-pay-free birth control and that Democrats are encouraging women to be "victims of their gender."

Huckabee made the comments during a speech at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting on Thursday.

"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be," Huckabee said.

Huckabee argued that Democrats "think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication."

Huckabee also argued that his party is not waging a war on women.

"The fact is the Republicans don't have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender," Huckabee said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about Huckabee's comments shortly after he made them.

"I haven't seen that report, but whoever said it sounds offensive to me and to women," Carney said.

Slate political reporter Dave Weigel pointed out that Huckabee had actually made similar comments recently.

"The ridiculous claim that a pro-life position is a "war on women" is an insult to the millions of women who make extraordinary sacrifices for their children," Huckabee said on the most recent episode of his Sunday show. "For Democrats to reduce women to beggars for cheap government funded birth control is demeaning to the women that I know who are far more complicated than their libido and the management of their reproductive system."

Huckabee has made other, similar comments in the past. He's argued that "wives graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership" and supported then-Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) "legitimate rape" comments.

It's been a banner week for former Republican governors. A few days earlier former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) defended himself against criticism for referring to Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) as a "lady mayor" in responding to accusations of intimidation by Zimmer toward New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration.

This post was updated.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) holds a commanding 14-point lead over Republican opponent Ed Gillespie in the Virginia Senate race according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday.

The poll found Warner with 51 percent support to the former RNC Chair and Bush adviser's 37 percent among likely Virginia voters. Two percent of those surveyed picked another candidate in the race and 9 percent said they were undecided.

A separate poll of Virginia voters by the Watson Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University also found Warner with a comfortable lead. That poll found Warner leading Gillespie 50 percent to 30 percent among Virginia voters.

The Rasmussen and Watson Center findings come just two days after another poll, this one by Roanoke College, found Warner with a wide lead over Gillespie in the Senate race. That poll found Warner with 50 percent support to Gillespie's 21 percent support.

Republicans have seen a pickup of Warner's seat as a long shot but still indicated that Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is likely the best candidate to try and defeat Warner.

Tea party candidate and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) reported raising $500,000 in the ten weeks since he entered the race to defeat Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

In a state like Mississippi a $500,000 haul can go a long way. McDaniel has $350,000 cash on hand in the race, according to The Hill.

Cochran has not released his fundraising numbers yet but through the end of September, he had reportedly raised $800,000 in his campaign funds. Mississippi's Clarion Ledger reported that Cochran raised $300,000 at a fundraiser earlier in the week.

McDaniel has made national headlines when it was reported that he attended at least one Neo-Confederate event in his state. TPM has also reported that McDaniel has blamed gun violence in the country on hip-hop and argued that there are not enough Muslim villains in movies.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins signaled he was open to running for Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) Senate seat.

Vitter, earlier in the week, formally announced his candidacy for governor in 2015. Because he's not up for reelection until 2016 Vitter can run for governor without giving up his Senate seat.

Perkins suggested to The Hill on Wednesday that he would run for Vitter's Senate seat if the current senator was elected governor.

"I never say never anymore," Perkins told The Hill.

Perkins has hinted at possibly running either for Congress or Senate before. In the same interview with The Hill Perkins also jabbed at Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who's running in the Senate race against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

"I think his problem is his record. He's been pretty weak on the issues. If the Republicans want to win, they actually need to find a stronger candidate," Perkins said.

Cassidy is running against two other Republicans in the primary: Air Force Colonel Rob Maness and state Rep. Paul Hollis. A number of conservative outside groups have backed Maness over Cassidy. Perkins was asked if any of the candidates in that race appealed to him. He responded "not that has come to the forefront yet." Asked if he would consider running against Landrieu, Perkins said he "rather somebody else" do it.

Perkins, TPM readers may recall, isn't new to criticizing other Republicans. When then-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) urged then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) to drop out of the Missouri Senate race Perkins warned Brown to be "careful."

Where is Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)?

Since he started his insurgent campaign against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in December, the tea party candidate has been in the public eye less and less despite a bevy of headlines about aspects of his campaign.

The Daily Beast noted that not only has Stockman not shown up in Congress for votes since the beginning of January, he has randomly appeared in North Dallas and, of all places, Cairo, Egypt a few days later. In between Dallas and Cairo Stockman managed to miss voting on an omnibus bill despite very clearly vowing to cast his vote as "nay."

The Daily Beast and TPM have reached out to Stockman's spokesman for comment but so far have not gotten a response.

Stockman's campaign, however, has continued to try and keep the candidate relevant with a hastily put together website tying Cornyn to Obamacare: cornynlovesobamacare.com. That website featured a picture of President Barack Obama with a photoshopped image of Cornyn, which the campaign later pulled from the website. (There are, actually, other, real photos out there of Obama and Cornyn together.)

Polling of the race has shown Stockman with a serious deficit against Cornyn.

(Photo illustration by Christopher O'Driscoll)

Something strange seemed to have happened with Michigan Democratic candidate Jerry Cannon's campaign last week.

Cannon, the Democrat challenging Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI), was interviewed by the most experienced reporter for Michigan's Daily Mining Gazette on Wednesday.

As recounted by National Review, the reporter, Garrett Neese, called up Cannon after the interview for a follow-up question. Neese wanted to get Cannon's stance on Obamacare and a proposal on extending unemployment insurance. Here's where things got weird. When Neese called the number on Cannon's card he heard a voice that sounded the same as the one from the interview.

"I don't like Obamacare. It's been a disaster for me. I want to go back to the way it was before," the voice on the phone said.

That, by itself, as National Review notes, was strange given that Cannon earlier in the week said the "worst thing that could be done" to Obamacare is to "throw it all away."

Neese's paper published the new, anti-Obamacare quote on Thursday.

Cannon's campaign manager, Ted Dick, then reportedly called the Mining Gazette to strongly push back on the quote. The Gazette then retracted the entire story and the next day published a new story quoting Cannon taking a position on Obamacare that was different than what was relayed in the interview on Wednesday. That new story included a paragraph that said "Campaign manager Ted Dick said Cannon had not been the person speaking in the call, and that the phone with the number provided to the Gazettte had been turned off during the call."

Cannon's campaign manager, Ted Dick, said the first comment that was critical of Obamacare did not come from Cannon.

"We appreciate the newspaper pulled the original version that included a comment that wasn’t what General Cannon said when contacted and posted a quote consistent with General Cannon’s interview the prior day to the Daily Press that General Cannon believes we should not repeal the consumer protections in the bill and that he will work with both parties to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act," Dick said in a statement to TPM on Wednesday.

This story was updated.

Photo from Kurhan/ Shutterstock

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) leads Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the Florida governors race by just 2 percentage points, according to a new poll on Wednesday.

That Public Policy Polling survey found Crist leading Scott 43 percent to 41 percent. Fifteen percent said they weren't sure who they would match in a head-to-head matchup. The poll's finding is a significant decline from an October poll that found Crist leading Scott by a 12-point margin.

The poll also found that neither candidate has high favorable ratings among Florida voters. Just 36 percent of those surveyed said they have a favorable view of Crist while 34 percent said they approve of the job Scott is doing as governor. By contrast 46 percent said they have an unfavorable view of Crist and 51 percent said they disapprove of the job Scott is doing.

The poll's findings will likely be a slight letdown for Democrats who are eager to retake the Florida governorship. Dems even hoped Chris Christie would become radioactive as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and any decline in popularity he suffered would rub off on Scott, for whom Christie recently traveled to Florida to fundraise.

The PPP poll was conducted between January 16 and January 21 among a survey of 591 Florida voters.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis accused her conservative critics of sinking to a new low by attacking her on her personal story and family.

Davis, in a fundraising email released Tuesday, wrote that Republican opponents have "stooped to a new low by attacking my family, my education, and my personal story – playing politics with the journey that has been my life."

The argument comes in response to conservatives attacking Davis for fudging details about her personal story, which she has repeatedly highlighted throughout her campaign for governor. That criticism was sparked Dallas Morning News report which noted that Davis divorced her first husband at 21, not 19 as she had previously said. The Morning News report also highlighted other inconsistent aspects of how Davis described her background as well.

Davis herself has admitted that she should have done a better job of describing particular details of her story.

Davis's campaign has tried to get a better handle on the episode by accusing Attorney General Greg Abbott, her Republican opponent in the race, of fueling the criticism of her based on her bio.

Read Davis's fundraising email below:

Dear Daniel,

As our campaign has gained momentum, our opponents have gotten more and more desperate. But now they’ve stooped to a new low by attacking my family, my education, and my personal story – playing politics with the journey that has been my life.

Mine is a story about a teenage single mother who struggled to keep her young family afloat. It’s a story about a young woman who was given a precious opportunity to work her way up in the world. It’s a story about resiliency, and sacrifice, and perseverance.

And you’re damn right it’s a true story.

Throughout this campaign, I’ve shared that story – not because it’s unique, but because it isn’t.

The story of my life is also the story of millions of single mothers who feel alone in the world, millions of young dreamers searching for their chance to become something more than what they were born into, millions of families all across Texas who would sacrifice everything to give their children a better future.

It’s those stories – your stories – that drive my campaign. But Greg Abbott and his allies don’t want to hear them. They don’t have anything to offer Texans who find themselves in the same difficult situation I was in when I was young. They would slam the doors I walked through and pull up the ladders I was lucky to be able to climb.

And now, instead of offering real ideas to improve your life, they’re attacking mine.

It won’t work. The only thing Greg Abbott and his allies have proved with these desperate attacks is that they don’t understand what it means to live a life like mine – a life like that of so many people all across our state.

They don’t know me – and, what’s more important, they don’t know you.

I’m not surprised that the Abbott campaign would resort to attacking the story of a single mother who worked hard to get ahead.

And I’m not afraid of their false attacks – I developed thick skin long before anyone knew my name.

What I am is deeply proud of the life I’ve built and the daughters I’ve raised – and deeply grateful to the many, many people who have shared their stories and offered their support as I’ve traveled our state.

No false attack can take away my story. And no sleazy political trick will stop me from giving voice to yours.

Your stories are why I’m running for Governor. And together, I know we’ll make sure that the Texas we leave to our children is a place where every young mother can build a better life for her child. . . where every family can work their way up the economic ladder. . . where every Texan can achieve their dreams and live out their own success story.

If you’re with me, click here and add your name to my letter as a sign of support. Together, we’ll break through these attacks, win this election, and make Texas even greater.


The Dallas Morning News praised Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis for taking responsibility for fudging parts of her lifestory.

In an editorial published late Tuesday night the Texas newspaper, which first broke the story said it was "good to see Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, take responsibility for the need to be "more focused on the detail of her story.""

Davis, in recent days, has tried to pivot to the offensive in response to the Morning News's report that Davis had incorrectly said she was divorced at 19 instead of 21 and that other aspects of her life story were not as she had been saying.

The editorial, though, was not straight praise for Davis. It also said it was "disappointing" that Davis messed up the details in the first place, particularly since her campaign "has been the source of chronological error and allowed misperceptions to jell as a fact."

The editorial also criticized her campaign's attempt to try and pivot the episode about her background to an attack on Attorney General Greg Abbott, Davis's Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race. Davis has accused Abbott of fueling the entire story about her background.

"No, that's not what Abbott did," the editorial said. "No one is disputing that Davis worked hard for years and overcame obstacles that few people manage to overcome — singe mothers especially. Davis deserves credit for that. And she's right that a single mother's story of struggle is one that millions of women can identify with."

The editorial also cautions the importance of Davis messing up some of the details. It argues at one point that "the fuller picture is far more complicated and less useful as a political narrative."


Obama Prepares For DHS Shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama convened a meeting with key administration officials on Friday…