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

A man in Florida aiming to shoot a snake with a semiautomatic rifle mistakenly shot his friend instead.

Brandon Rapé and his friends stopped their pickup truck on Thursday so one of them could use the bathroom. The friends spotted a snake on the road and Jared Hemphill tried to shoot it with a semiautomatic rifle, according to the Orlando Sentinel. But Hemphill ended up shooting Rapé in the left thigh instead.

Hemphill immediately dropped the rifle, put Rapé and friend Dustin Downer in the truck. Hemphill drove to the hospital and called 911 according to the police report of the shooting.


Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) detailed his side of the story of a confrontation with Lynne Cheney, mother of Republican Liz Cheney, over Simpson's ongoing support of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Liz Cheney is running for Enzi's Senate seat. 

In a letter to the Cody Enterprise of Wyoming, Simpson describes how Lynne Cheney repeatedly told him to "shut up" about his support for Enzi instead of Liz Cheney. 

"All during those intervening years we counseled together, visited, enjoyed each other, collaborated, all hopefully for the benefit of the state and the country." And then Lynne Cheney said, "Oh, I’ve heard enough of that and I don’t want to hear anymore. I just want to tell you something, "Shut up – just shut up – shut up." Three times,"" Simpson writes. "I wandered off – stunned. I went back to my table, told my family (who were my guests) what had occurred. They were also shocked." 

The account is the latest development in an ongoing and increasingly public feud between the Cheneys and Simpson, an influential figure in Wyoming, over his support of Enzi. Simpson and former Vice President Dick Cheney are longtime friends.  

After a report in the Casper Star-Tribune said that Lynne Cheney told Simpson to shut up, Liz Cheney's campaign said the account was false. 

"That simply did not happen," the Cheney campaign said of the interaction in a statement. 

"And that twisted comment is one damn bald-faced lie and I have had a belly full of it! I have never been called a liar before and it sure as hell won’t work this time," Simpson also wrote in the letter. 

Read Simpson's entire letter in the Enterprise below:

Then (Lynne Cheney) said, “How could you forget the little eight-year-old girl (Liz) who campaigned with us and for you in 1978? How could you not support her?” I said, “You don’t understand. I’ve known Mike Enzi for over 35 years ...


... And then Lynne Cheney said, “Oh, I’ve heard enough of that and I don’t want to hear anymore. I just want to tell you something, ‘Shut up – just shut up – shut up.’” Three times. I wandered off – stunned.


Statement to the Cody Enterprise from Al Simpson, former U.S. Senator, Wyo. (Retired) and wife Ann.


“The time has come” the walrus said, “to speak of many things” – that is a great line from Alice in Wonderland, and it sure fits here because we are just as puzzled and confounded as Alice would have been at the maelstrom of babble we have heard recently.


First, this is not about Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney and I have known each other for over 45 years. He is a dear and loyal friend who I would protect and be loyal to the end of my days. I have proved that trait many a time for him, and he has done the same for me. We have campaigned for each other each and every time we ran – and neither of us ever lost an election! We have been in the trenches, we’ve been carpet bombed, shot at and missed, shot at and hit, abused, trampled, been both victims and victorious, and I would lay my life down for him. So indeed, it is not about Dick. It is about Lynne and Liz Cheney. So hang on tight because you are going to get some clear and true facts without rumor and innuendo, or any accompanying B.S. and mush.


When somebody tells me to “Shut up” then it’s time for me to say to them, “Put up!” Let’s run the projector back a few days. You may recall my remarks in the New York Times before Liz Cheney announced. I meant them. And before her formal announcement, she called me saying in effect, “I hope you won’t say the same things when I announce that you said before.” And I said, “Oh? Why not?” She said, “I didn’t like it and I hope you’ll say something different.” I said, “Like what?” And she said, “Just say, ‘It’s going to be a spirited race.’” I said “I don’t think I’ll say that.” But she continued to cajole and work on me for me to say something else that she wanted. I was rather appalled at that but we had a cordial conversation and she asked me to tell her what I had heard about her, and I told her, much to her irritation – at least as to one aspect – and I told her what negatives people have said about me, and she said, “I agree. I have heard that.” It ended on a cordial note. I said, “I think you’re headed into a really tough race. The people who care for you now do that because of the admiration for your parents and the high regard in which they, and your whole family, are held in Wyoming – but when you get into the real fray, it will be a whole different ballgame. Believe it.”


And so when Mike and Liz did their nearly simultaneous announcements I was besieged to comment and I said simply, “I care deeply about them both and I have nothing more to say.” That seemed to last until the evening of Sept. 13 at the University of Wyoming. At a previous Art Museum Gala at the University of Wyoming, Ann and I had offered an auction item of “Dinner with Al & Ann Simpson at U.W.” FMC Corporation purchased that auction item and decided to have the occasion on Sept. 13 in the Wildcatter Suites at War Memorial Stadium. FMC also chose to honor a remarkably courageous woman named Margaret Parry who is a cancer survivor – as Al is – for her work with Cowboys Against Cancer. I understand that Margaret wished to invite certain guests of her own. One of those guests was Liz Cheney and her dear daughter Elizabeth whom we have known since she entered upon the earth. Know that Margaret Parry serves as the State Finance Chairwoman of Liz Cheney’s U.S. Senate campaign. Liz and her daughter were in the elevator with us headed to the event and Liz said, “I have a celebrity football and would hope you would sign it.” I said, “What’s it for?” There was no response. I signed it.


Several FMC people came up to me and said, “We are terribly embarrassed. We didn’t realize this might be seen as a political event – and many of us are supporting Mike Enzi.” I said, “That happens.” (There were other dignitaries in the room and I noted that they did not sign the football.) And then I thought to myself, “What also happens is that on more than a few occasions in my political life I have signed a basketball or a football or a baseball and later found it ended up at auction somewhere, maybe with a charity or a group that I didn’t agree with.” I said to Ann, “I think I’ll go over and take my name off that ball.” Ann said, “Let me go do that. You visit.” She went over and said to Elizabeth (Liz’s daughter), “I need to remove our names from that football. We are supporting Enzi and if this should ever be an auction item that would not be good.” Liz then arrived and said, “This is not going to be auctioned.” And Ann said, “We know that these things are often used as auction items and we don’t want that done. And I would wish Al’s name be removed because we are supporting Mike Enzi.” This was the first inkling to her that Ann and I were supporting Mike Enzi. It did not go well then. Margaret Parry then came over and said, “What’s going on here?” And I said, “I want to take my name off the ball for it might be misused, for we’re supporting Mike Enzi. This may well go for some kind of political event.” Margaret said, “Well it won’t,” and said, “Well it has that appearance.”


Neither Ann nor I were in any way “rude” or crude to Liz’s daughter, yet I certainly was specific about removing my name from the ball. Ann then sat next to Margaret Parry a few minutes later and told her how many times we had done such a thing as signing any kind of a possible auction item, only to find that the same object sometimes came back to embarrass or concern us. Margaret said, “I hadn’t realized that. I now do understand.” She and Ann understood each other perfectly and Margaret came to me to say she was sorry it all happened. I said, “Thanks for hearing us.”


I then spoke at the event and praised Margaret for her extraordinary work in the creation of Cowboys Against Cancer and told her that I too was a cancer survivor and how much that meant to many of us and how I admired her for the hundreds of thousands of dollars she had raised over the years. I also stated in my remarks that one of my greatest pleasures in political life was serving with Dick Cheney and Malcolm Wallop as we worked with and collaborated with Democratic Governors Ed Herschler and Mike Sullivan for the betterment of Wyoming without thinking of partisan politics or “hard line” things. So now please close that chapter.


The next chapter: Now fast forward the projector to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Patrons Ball on the night of Sept. 21. While I was standing at the edge of the reception area prior to the dinner, Lynne Cheney came forward to me with a drink in hand and said, “I can’t believe how you embarrassed my granddaughter and Liz at that event in Laramie.” I said, “That was not my intent. My intent was to remove my name from a football. I had no idea for what purpose it might be used to raise money. I didn’t want it to be a political event.” She then said something to the effect, “You know that that wouldn’t have happened. That wasn’t true.” And I said, “Well it sure has happened to me before.”


Then she said, “How could you forget the little eight-year-old girl (Liz) who campaigned with us and for you in 1978? How could you not support her?” I said, “You don’t understand. I’ve known Mike Enzi for over 35 years. Ann and I heard him speak at a Wyoming Jaycees’ convention in Cody while he was president of that organization. It was an inspirational speech and when he returned to our table I said, “Have you ever thought of running for political office?” And he said, “No.” I said, “I don’t even know what party you’re in but you ought to get in the game. Anybody with a thoughtful and articulate message like yours should be more involved in our state.” He certainly went on to do just that. He became Mayor of Gillette and helped them through their most troubling times of growth, then he was a member of the Wyoming Legislature and when I retired in 1996 he ran for my seat along with eight other persons and he was the one nominated to succeed me.


All during those intervening years we counseled together, visited, enjoyed each other, collaborated, all hopefully for the benefit of the state and the country.” And then Lynne Cheney said, “Oh, I’ve heard enough of that and I don’t want to hear anymore. I just want to tell you something, “Shut up – just shut up – shut up.”” Three times. I wandered off – stunned. I went back to my table, told my family (who were my guests) what had occurred. They were also shocked.


In the course of the dinner, Phil Perry (Liz’s husband) came over to me and said, “Al, I understand what happened there. I am very sorry about that and we will work all that out.” And I said, “I surely hope so. It was a very unpleasant time.” He said, “Just know that we will work all that out.” A few minutes later Dick Scarlett came to our table. He is Liz’s statewide campaign chairman and I said, “The candidate’s mother really laid it on me a minute ago. She told me to “Shut up.” Dick said, “Oh no,” and grimaced. I said, “Well it happened.” He said, “Well, we’ll get all that straightened out.” Then across the room I saw Dick Cheney come in, just back from the One-Shot Antelope Hunt and I said, “Ann let’s go over and see him.” We went over, had the usual hugs and he was telling me about the One-Shot Hunt and his participation and I said, “Maybe you’ve heard what’s happened this evening. I don’t want that to interfere in any way with our relationship.” He said, “I hear that.” We talked cordially about the fun of the hunt because we are both Past Shooters of that event. That’s the last of my experiences and feelings of the evening except the ones that are still left hard in my gut.


In public life I have been called everything – and that goes with the territory. It’s a contact sport. I’ve been called fool, idiot, boob, bonehead, dink, slob, greenie, soot-covered slob, all the rest – and that is “fair,” believe it or not, in politics. But what is not “fair” in my mind – and never has been – is when someone tries to distort who I am – as a person – and that was done on that evening of Sept. 21. In all of my 35-40 years of public life in Wyoming, I’ve never been called one particularly offensive name – and that is, a liar. And this is what Lynne Cheney said in her statement about this sad evening, and I quote her: “As to the story posted on Facebook I have to admit I am at a bit of a loss. That simply did not happen.” And that twisted comment is one damn bald-faced lie and I have had a belly full of it! I have never been called a liar before and it sure as hell won’t work this time. Now I know folks can go into the old pitch of “he said, she said” and so I’ll just leave it to the good people of Wyoming to know who is telling the truth here. I lay my reputation flat on the line before my fellow Wyomingites who know Ann and me, but I sure don’t have to take that guff from anyone – whenever – whoever – ever!


And if other folks want to keep this ping pong ball bouncing back and forth in the air, have a go at it, but this is where I’m coming from, and now I’ll get back to work on much more important “stuff” and that is, working with Democrat Erskine Bowles to see how the hell we can get Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate to drop their harsh and nasty partisanship and work together as citizens of the United States instead of slapping each other around simply for Party advantage. Let them pull together, not pull apart – and realize that they are not just members of a singular political party but Americans first – and always!



When Al ran for the U.S. Senate I knew he could take care of himself. He would get into some pretty tense situations and bat things around and I would just stay out of it. But when our son Colin ran for a statewide race and he would be criticized it did upset me. I can understand fully how Lynne would come to the side of her daughter Liz in this situation. That’s how a mother feels. We are a little different than men who choose to get into this combat zone.

If Mike weren’t in this one, we would be behind Liz 100%. We know her as a wonderful, bright, capable and organized daughter, wife and mother. I admire her for her care of her children while she has succeeded in so many ways. She had a great example in her own mother.

House Republican leadership detailed the government funding bill the chamber plans to vote on Saturday.

In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner (OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA) and Republican Conference Party Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) explained that the House planned to vote on a continuing resolution bill that includes a one-year full delay of Obamacare and repeal of the medical device tax. The CR package also aims to ensure that continues to fund U.S. military personnel "no matter what."

"The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare," the four leaders said in a statement released Saturday. "That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible.

"The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas.

"Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th. We will also vote on a measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what.

"We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown."

The House of Representatives plans to vote on a government funding bill that includes a full one-year delay of Obamacare and also repeals the medical device tax, a Republican leadership aide confirmed to TPM on Saturday.

It's the latest in the legislative ping-pong the Senate and House has been playing while the time before a government shutdown shrinks to just a few days. The House vote comes just a few days before a government shutdown goes into effect and after the Senate passed a continuing resolution bill sent over from the House without a provision that defunded Obamacare.

On Friday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to quickly pass a funding measure to avert a government shutdown. He said that Republican lawmakers' refusal to quickly pass a government funding measure threatened the country's credit and also set a perilous precedent for later administrations.

A judge in Illinois's Cook County ruled Friday that a lawsuit against the state's same-sex marriage ban can proceed.

Cook County Judge Sophia Hall, the judge presiding over the case, denied two of five counts of a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The ruling is the latest development in the state's ongoing struggle over same-sex marriage.

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The White House released a photo of President Barack Obama's phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday.

The image, taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, shows Obama on the phone in the oval office.

The photo follows the White House announcing that the two leaders spoke on Friday. According to the Associated Press, the phone call was the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian president in three decades.

After the phone call Obama said it he could see the United States and Iran coming to an agreement concerning Iran's nuclear program.

Shortly after the Senate passed a government funding bill that does not include a provision defunding Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he hoped his lawmakers in his chamber would change their mind after the legislation went through the House of Representatives again.

"I very much hope that when the House bill comes back all 46 Republicans stand together, stand united against Obamacare," Cruz said at a press availability while he was flanked by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). "And I hope at the same time that some of the Democrats who decided today not to listen to their constituents hear the voices of the millions of Americans who are hurting and do the right thing and stand up and stop this train wreck, this nightmare of a law that is Obamacare."

Cruz said while Senate Republicans were not united, House Republicans have been. He added that he hoped that opposition would spillover into the Senate soon.

"The House was always in a position where it was going to lead," Cruz said. "And I know from my perspective and Sen. Lee's perspective we look forward to helping and supporting the House, standing up and doing the right thing for the American people."

Even after the Senate passed legislation that continues to fund the federal government (but not defund Obamacare), the legislative back-and-forth is likely to continue. House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) said he did not think the House would embrace the Senate's bill. 

"I don't see that happening," Boehner said Thursday. 

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin's campaign was quick to criticize Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for voting aye on cloture on a government funding bill on Friday.

The vote preceded another vote that would remove a provision of the bill that also defunds Obamacare, one that McConnnell voted against. McConnell also voted against final passage of the bill. 

"Conservatives like Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have clearly illustrated that a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare," Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand told TPM in an email. "Once again, McConnell has broken his promises about fighting Obamacare, and instead voted to fund it. Voters in Kentucky will not forgive or forget that in this crucial moment in American history, McConnell sided with Barack Obama and Harry Reid, and against Kentucky."

The cloture vote passed 79-19 with only Republicans voting against it. 

In less than a week, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is expected to formally jump into the Texas gubernatorial race.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported two individuals close to Davis confirmed that she would be running. Though her campaign has been mum on the subject, she's widely expected to announce on Oct. 3 that she's running for governor.

Davis, a rising star in the Democratic Party, has been eying the governor's race since her filibuster of a Republican-backed abortion bill in the state legislature. That filibuster helped raise her profile and now Democrats see her as a possible vanguard for turning the Lone Star state blue. But Davis's path to the Texas governor's mansion is a steep one. Here are five things Davis will need to do to actually clinch that governorship in Texas.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is sending out attack emails targeting more than five dozen House Republicans for creating a "manufactured crisis" by voting for legislation that funds the government only if Obamacare is defunded.  

The emails, which the House Democrats' campaign arm is sending out Thursday, are something of a counter to the GOP's attempts to label a vote against the continuing resolution legislation as essentially a vote to shutdown the government. 

Here's one email, targeting Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): 

4 Days Until Congressman Tom Reed’s Government Shutdown – But House Republicans Are Offering Only Chaos

With just four days until Congressman Tom Reed’s government shutdown, he and his Republican Congress have no solution to their manufactured crisis – but continue to jeopardize the entire economy just to give insurance companies free rein to charge the people of New York more for their health care. 


According to The Hill newspaper: “GOP leaders have not put forward any clear plan for a spending measure, and some Republicans said they wanted to see what the leadership hoped to do.”  

And while Congressman Reed will get a paycheck for his failure and chaos, hardworking families around the country will pay the price:

  • If  Congressman Reed gets his government shutdown, he will still get paid, but millions of middle class workers whose jobs depend on the government operating could not get paid for as long as the shutdown lasts.
  • If Congressman Reed succeeds in defunding the Affordable Care Act, the deficit would increase by $109 billion over 10 years.

“While Congressman Tom Reed plays political games in Washington, the clock is ticking for thousands of New York jobs – which he is risking all so that insurance companies can have free rein again,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Reed’s priorities are completely out-of-touch with the people of New York because he is willing to risk the livelihoods and financial stability of hardworking families, all to pad insurance companies’ profits.”