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

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has won the ire of Star Trek actor George Takei in response to the governor's efforts to fight a ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Takei is most famous for playing Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series.

"Why is your Governor Gary Herbert so mean?" Takei said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. Takei got married to his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008. "Your governor seems to believe in governing by hysteria."

Most recently Herbert told state agencies that Utah's recognition of same-sex marriages were on hold until the Supreme Court issued a final ruling on the matter. Herbert's resistance started after after a federal judge in the state struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban.

"Your Governor Herbert is consciously bringing harm to 2,600 citizens of Utah," Takei said. "That's mean-spirited. He didn't have to do that. Your governor is trying to put toothpaste back in the tube."

(H/t: Huffington Post)

Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) decision to retire at the end of the current Congress sets up a potentially bloody Republican primary that could result in a new Oklahoma senator that's even more conservative and far louder than the already outspoken Coburn.

Coburn announced his decision to retire on Thursday after it became public that the he was once again battling prostate cancer. His retirement sets into motion a special election, since Coburn will be retiring two years before his term is up. Oklahoma state law does not give Gov. Mary Fallin (R) the power to appoint a replacement senator. Instead, she will pick a special election date within a 30-day window from when Coburn formally resigns, which can be sometime after that window.

The names most often mentioned by Republican strategists and GOP officials are Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Tom Cole, James Lankford and Attorney General Scott Pruitt. A field like that touches essentially every corner of the Republican Party.

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Mitt Romney's former finance chairman definitely isn't attending an upcoming fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

"The guy, as a person, is horrific," Brian Ballard, a lobbyist and former finance chairman for Mitt Romney said, according to the Miami Herald.

Ballard, a major Republican fundraiser in Florida, "resents" the New Jersey governor for effusively thanking President Barack Obama for coming to his state's aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to the Herald. Ballard said former Gov. Charlie Crist has received a fair amount of criticism for being close to Obama but that doesn't compare to Christie's praise for the president after the hurricane.

"Charlie Crist got a lot of grief for what was called a hug of Obama. But what Christie did to Obama isn't suitable to say in a family newspaper," Ballard said. "I firmly believe he helped swing that election in Obama's favor just to help himself. I busted my ass for two years raising money and supporting Romney and this guy Christie just wiped his hands of us when we were no longer useful to him."

Ballard's comments come ahead of a fundraising swing Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is set to make in Florida. He's set to appear alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

President Barack Obama said he would be sad to see Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) retire from the Senate.

The president released a statement Friday highlighting his friendship with the outgoing Oklahoma senator, who announced he would retire at the end of the current Congress. Coburn and Obama have been friends since Obama first came to Capitol Hill as a senator.

Read the president's statement below:

Those of us who have had the privilege of serving with Tom Coburn will be sad to lose him as a colleague here in Washington. Tom and I entered the Senate at the same time, becoming friends after our wives struck up a conversation at an orientation dinner. And even though we haven’t always agreed politically, we’ve found ways to work together – to make government more transparent, cut down on earmarks, and fight to reduce wasteful spending and make our tax system fairer. The people of Oklahoma have been well-served by this “country doctor from Muskogee” over the past nine years, and I’m confident that Tom’s strength and optimism will carry him through the battles to come. Michelle and I will always be grateful to Tom and Carolyn for their friendship, and we wish them all the best in all the years ahead.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) isn't getting too close to Virginia Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.

"I like Ed Gillespie, he is a friend of mine, he's a good man," Cruz told The Hill in a recent interview. But Cruz stopped short of an endorsement. "That's ultimately a decision for the voters of Virginia."

When asked, Cruz refused to say whether Gillespie's candidacy could unite the Virginia GOP. Instead the junior senator from Texas started criticizing Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who Gillespie is challenging.

"I can tell you Mark Warner is not listening to millions of Virginians who are hurting under the Obama economic agenda," Cruz said. "Mark Warner is not listening to millions of Virginians who lost their job, lost their health insurance, have been forced into part-time work."

Gillespie jumped into the Virginia Senate race on Thursday.

Cruz has publicly said he plans to stay out of Republican primary fights but he has on occasion given something of a nod to certain conservative candidates. Recently he described the tea party challenger to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) "utterly fearless," a description he tends to use on allies.

A multi-millionaire Georgia Republican Senate candidate wanted to be clear at a recent campaign event: He's against the autoworker bailout but is for the Wall Street bailout.

During an appearance at the Fayette County GOP in Georgia early in January, David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General who is now running for outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), was asked by a woman in the audience about "corporate welfare." The woman asked about Delta Airlines terminating pensions for employees before going on to merge with Northwest Airlines. In response, Perdue argued that some bailouts can be good, like the Wall Street bailout, while others are a bad idea, like the bailout of the Detroit autoworkers.

"I believe in capitalism. I believe when companies fail, there are bankruptcy laws to deal with that. I do not support the bailout of Detroit." Perdue said.

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A Nebraska Republican Senate candidate a trillion omnibus bill to a "short bus to nowhere."

In a tweet a day before the Senate voted on a House-passed $1.102 trillion omnibus bill former state treasurer Shane Osborn, one of a few candidates running in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary wrote that voting for the bill was a "short bus to nowhere."

Osborn deleted the tweet but TPM was able to obtain a screenshot.

The bill, it should be noted, passed the chamber Osborn wants to join 84-14 meaning even most Republicans voted for the bill.

On Friday Osborn said he regretted sending the tweet.

"My Mother is a nurse who takes care of special needs children and we consider them part of our family," Osborn said in a statement to TPM. "I quickly realized the tweet sent the wrong message and deleted it immediately."

This post was updated.

President Barack Obama should have met sooner with Congressional lawmakers to discuss Iran sanctions, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued Friday.

Gates made his case at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Friday morning. His comments came a few days after Obama called on Democratic senators to hold off on moving to impose new sanctions on Iran. Obama, in making that case, argued that doing so could imperil nuclear talks with Iran.

"My view is that should have started January 21st, 2009," Gates said.

Obama made the call during a Tuesday closed-door session with Senate Democrats. Democrats coming out of the meeting stressed that though that Obama indicated that he would sign new sanctions if a nuclear deal fell through.

"If Iran isn't in the end to make the decisions that are necessary to make it work, he'll be ready to sign the bill to tighten those sanctions. But we've got to give this six months," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said after the meeting.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lamented the retirements of what he calls "bridge-builder" lawmakers in office that were successful at working across the aisle.

Gates, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Friday, listed former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sam Nunn (D-GA), and other lawmakers who were known for moderation and sometimes working with members of the opposing party.

"What has bothered me a great deal over the last 25 years or so is [these] people have nearly all quit," Gates said.

Gates also cited House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), who announced his plans to retire earlier in the week.

"And then you have guys like Buck McKeon," Gates said. "It's those people that have gotten things done and it's the way they treat people that makes a difference."