Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Can Hillary Clinton's presumed 2016 frontrunner status be reduced to her chromosomes? That view seems to have penetrated the D.C. punditocracy, as relayed by NBC's newly christened "Meet The Press" moderator Chuck Todd on Monday.

Todd said in an interview on the Charlie Rose Show that the former secretary of state and U.S. senator would not be the prohibitive favorite "if she were running to be the second woman president."

"If she were running to be the second woman president, I think she would not even be considered a frontrunner," he said, according to a transcript provided to TPM. "She'd be just considered another candidate."

Rose and Todd referenced the "historical narrative" that Clinton would have in 2016 -- one that wasn't as prevalent in 2008, when she was running against another historical candidate in Barack Obama. "This time hers seems that kind of powerful," Todd said. "It does feel that powerful."

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A spokesman for the family of murdered U.S. journalist Steven Joel Sotloff said Monday that the relationship between the family and the Obama administration was "very strained" while criticizing the administration for its treatment of the family during the ordeal.

Sotloff, who was beheaded by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, had been missing since August 2013. Barak Barfi, a family spokesman and a research fellow at the New America Foundation, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that the Sotloff's family contact with the administration had largely been limited to two FBI agents.

"The administration could have done more. They could have helped us. They could have seen them through," he said. "These are people of modest means. They are not cosmopolitan. They don't have college educations. They don't understand the larger ramifications in foreign policy and we just cannot believe that they were afforded the opportunities and the respect that they should have by this administration."

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After a monumental shake-up last week in which the Democratic nominee attempted to drop out of the Kansas Senate race, incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) trails independent candidate Greg Orman by 1 percentage point, according to a poll released Monday.

The KSN News/Survey USA poll found Orman narrowly edging Roberts, 37 percent to 36 percent, though that is well within the margin of error.

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The GOP opponent of Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is criticizing him for using the names of the two U.S. journalists beheaded by Islamic militants during a Saturday debate. Udall invoked James Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff while arguing against an "impulsive" response to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the atrocities it has committed.

“I can tell you, Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, 'Don’t be impulsive,'" Udall said, in a brief clip published by National Review Online. "Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive. Come up with a plan to knock (ISIS) back.”

Udall's comments came during his debate with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the Republican nominee, while discussing how to respond to ISIS.

Gardner rebuked Udall in a Monday statement.

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Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) effectively started his Senate campaign in March by backtracking on his past support for "personhood" -- the anti-abortion position that defines life's beginning as the moment of conception. But liberal groups aren't letting the issue go.

MoveOn.org and NARAL Pro-Choice America released Monday a new TV ad slamming Gardner for his support for "personhood" initiatives. It plays on a recent Gardner TV ad that touted his support for making birth control pills available over the counter.

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Cornell University professor Ed Baptist told TPM last week that the criticism lobbed (and subsequently retracted) at his new book on slavery by a reviewer at The Economist magazine -- that the book portrayed all blacks as victims and all whites as villains -- was nothing new. He had heard it for a long time in history circles.

Well, here is another bit of evidence of the pervasiveness of The Economist's line of thinking. Slate's Dave Weigel turned up Monday (thanks to historian Rick Perlstein) a 1977 quote from soon-to-be-President Ronald Reagan discussing the television miniseries "Roots."

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After Virginia Republicans blocked Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in June, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe was defiant. He pledged to return in the fall with an alternative plan that would unilaterally help cover low-income Virginians. "We're moving forward," he said.

But the plan McAuliffe announced Monday falls far short of pushing through the Medicaid expansion his state's Republicans have fought so hard.

McAuliffe's plan, formulated after extensive discussions between state and federal officials, will directly cover only about 25,000 Virginians -- a fraction of the 400,000 low-income residents who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. So for now, it seems, the GOP has won in its showdown with the governor over this key provision of Obamacare.

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Scott Brown's campaign has threatened Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, whose MayDay PAC is supporting one of Brown's opponents in the New Hampshire Senate GOP primary, with legal action for calling him a "lobbyist."

Lessig posted Sunday on his blog a cease-and-desist letter that he said he received from the Brown campaign. The letter referred to a direct-mail piece being sent by MayDay PAC, which advocates for campaign finance reform and is supporting Jim Rubens in the Republican primary, that called Brown "a Washington lobbyist."

The letter from the Brown campaign demanded that Lessig stop sending the mailer and retract the statement in a media appearance. "If you fail to immediately cease the mailer in question, we are leaving all our legal options on the table," Colin Reed, Brown's campaign manager, wrote to conclude the letter.

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Obamacare's premiums are going down on average in 2015, according to a report released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and that's good news overall and particularly good news for the federal government that helps pay the premiums for more than 80 percent of enrollees.

But, as always, there is a bit of a catch. Premiums are changing in a way that consumers need to be aware of. The benchmark being used to determine their subsidies under the law is changing in some places -- meaning some people will need to switch to a new plan to keep paying the same premium or they might have to pay more to keep the plan they currently have.

After the keep-your-plan fiasco of last fall, the Obama administration has set up an auto-renew feature for Obamacare enrollees in 2015. The administration has also issued guidance that insurance companies should notify customers that they can shop on the insurance marketplaces for other deals. But the big unknown is: Will they? If enrollees go the auto-renew route without exploring the market, they could be stuck paying more for their coverage.

While this all could create some hiccups during the upcoming enrollment period, it's not a bug. It's part of the law's structure. The government needed some baseline for its subsidies. And that does put a bit of the onus on consumers to make sure they aren't left with a bigger bill. Here's how it works:

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When Cornell University professor Ed Baptist read The Economist review of his book on slavery, he knew that it would be a big deal. The review dismissed his work as "advocacy" because "all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains."

That characterization of his work, which attracted the most backlash from journalists and academics, was not entirely a surprise to Baptist, he told TPM on Friday. It is something he has heard in history circles before the reaction to his new book, "The Half Has Never Been Told."

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