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

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."

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin appears to be shying away from supporting a government shutdown after full-throated support last October.

In a new interview with National Review published on Thursday, Bevin expressed strong opposition to a government shutdown under any circumstance. The conservative magazine posted a video of Bevin, who's running in the GOP primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, responding to a question about government shutdowns.

Bevin argues that government shutdowns are a terrible idea:

Read More →

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will retire at the end of the current session of Congress.

Coburn, who has been in Congress for a total of 15 years, announced his decision on Thursday evening.

"I've had a lot of changes in my life," Coburn said in an interview with The Oklahoman, which first reported the news. "This is another one."

Coburn's office confirmed the statement to TPM shortly after.

Coburn's decision means he's ending his time in Congress two years before his term ends.

His decision came a few months after he announced that he would undergo treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer.

Read Coburn's full statement below:

Read More →

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is attacking President Barack Obama for plotting politics, martini in hand, with his fellow Democrats.

"So what's the President's big idea for helping the economy getting back on track? Well, last night, according to published news reports, he was drinking martinis and plotting his 2014 political strategy with his fellow Democrat party members," Cornyn said in a Thursday email to supporters.

The senior senator from the Lone Star state seized on a report in Politico detailing a Wednesday night meeting in the East Room of the White House where Obama was seen sipping a martini. According to the report, Obama invited the Senate Democrats to trade ideas on their agenda for the year.

Cornyn added that Obama is ignoring a chance to take a bipartisan approach with Republicans by drinking with Democrats.

"So rather than talking to Republicans in bipartisan discussion about how we could come together on real solutions to the problems that face our economy and people out of work, the President instead has defaulted in favor of poll-tested ideas and political gimmicks leading into the run-up to the 2014 election," Cornyn continued. "Now, sipping martinis and plotting politics while millions of Americans are out of work shows just how out of touch the President has become."

Obama has repeatedly been criticized for not making enough of an effort to reach out to members of Congress, including ones in his own party. But in 2013 Obama did hold a series of closed dinners with House and Senate Democrats as well as most Senate Republicans.

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has a new campaign video that's hard to miss.

In the video, Donnelly stands alongside actress Maria Conchita Alonso and calls for a "gun in every California's gun safe," and the restoration of the "film industry back to where she belongs, Hollywood."

"He has big ones…and he is angry…" Alonso interjects in Spanish, which is subtitled in the video.

At one point in the roughly three-minute spot Donnelly makes a short, seemingly expletive filled rant (the words are bleeped out) on how frustrated he is about taxes and regulation.

"It makes me want to…[the next few words are bleeped out]…everytime I hear that high taxes and regulations have driven another business out of our state," Donnelly continued. "Right now in North Dakota McDonald's is paying workers $15 an hour plus a signing bonus!"

Donnelly also attacks California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on his lead ammunition ban as a "cowardly act" that is the "first step to banning hunting in our state." Alonso cuts him off then and argues, in Spanish, that animals suffer because of hunting.

Donnelly just looks puzzled in response.

"If you honor me with your support, I will lead California back to prosperity, so help me God," Donnelly concludes.

(Photo credit: Youtube)

Watch the video below:

Ed Gillespie formally jumped into the Republican primary to defeat Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Thursday, unveiling his candidacy with a new campaign website and video.

In the video, the former Republican National Committee Chairman touts his family's history immigrating to the United States from Ireland. Prior to announcing his run, Gillespie's old consulting website was interestingly scrubbed of clips featuring his support for comprehensive immigration reform.

"My father came to this country from Ireland because his father found work as a janitor here," Gillespie said in the video. "My parents never went to college but they were two of the smartest people I've ever known and the hardest working."

"I'm running for Senate because the American dream is being undermined by policies that move us away from constitutional principles of limited government and personal liberty," he added.

He goes on to say that he and his wife "have raised our family near historic Mt. Vernon. And if our nation doesn't change our course our children, yours, and theirs will not enjoy the prosperity of previous generations."

Gillespie adds that his platform will focus on policies "that will grow the middle class" and allow people to lift themselves out of poverty.

You can watch the whole video below:

Read More →

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) strongly opposed Congress passing a $1.102 trillion spending bill but when it came time to vote, he didn't follow through.

Ahead of the vote Stockman, who is running to unseat Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), made clear how he would vote on the bill.

But when it came time to vote, Stockman didn't. The Texas congressman is in the congressional record as one of seven lawmakers who didn't vote.

As the Austin American-Statesman notes, this is becoming a regular occurrence for him. For almost a week now Stockman has missed every vote in his chamber, starting on January 10.

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) hasn't announced he's running for Senate in New Hampshire but he has revamped his old campaign website and promises "ScottBrown.com coming soon."

The retooled website is a single page with the former senator's name and photo, the tagline "Giving Power Back To The People" and a "Contact Scott" button.

It's the latest tell by the former senator that he's gearing up to challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Brown recently bought a house in the state and has been appearing at multiple New Hampshire Republican party fundraising events. He's also attacked Shaheen in a New Hampshire GOP fundraising pitch.

Still, Brown has not said that he's running for Senate and said his move to the state is personal. National Democrats have already attacked Brown as if he's running and local Republicans have encouraged Brown to run. It appears he's planning on it.

(Photo credit: ScottBrown.com)