First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter
Seven issue positions Hillary sketched out in Iowa
Lost in the “Where’s Waldo?”/“Chipotle” coverage of Hillary Clinton was that she staked out at least seven positions on the issues during her two days in Iowa. Yes, they weren’t detailed; they sounded focus-group tested; and they weren’t different from the language you’ll hear from 90% of Democratic downballot candidates. But they do give you a glimpse of the issues she’ll run on over the next 19 months. And do remember, today is just the fifth day of her campaign. Here’s the list of the seven issues, per NBC’s Emily Gold:
- Campaign finance: “[We need to] get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment.”
- Free community college for qualified students: “I fully support President Obama's plan to make community college free."
- Expand pre-K programs to more children: “I think we have to start that in pre-kindergarten. I think we have to give more kids the chance to get ready.”
- Paid family leave: We are the last developed country in the world that has no national paid leave for parenting or illness.”
- Building on Obamacare: Health care: “I am committed to trying to, you know, build on what works in the Affordable Care Act... Part of what I’ll be doing during the campaign is looking for ways that we keep what works and what’s lowering costs.”
- Immigration reform: “We are really missing out on economic opportunity because we haven’t been able to agree on comprehensive immigration reform... We are saying to all these other people who want the same dreams and the same aspiration and the same willingness to work hard just like our families did that, ‘No, we’re not going to … make it legal for you.’”
- Make equal pay more enforceable: “Were going to, I hope, continue to push legislation that would make equal pay more enforceable."
Where she will and won’t deviate from Obama
This is all a reminder that Hillary isn’t going to deviate much from President Obama’s agenda -- in fact, it sounds a lot like a rehash of the president’s State of the Union address this year. But there are two places where you will PROBABLY see her deviate from Obama: 1) foreign policy and 2) making Washington work. As Bloomberg’s Josh Green wrote, Hillary can make a convincing case to Democratic voters, and some independents as well, that she has proved she can thrive in times when Republicans control Congress. Then again, that argument does emphasize how long she’s been in Washington.
Christie on whether his moment has passed
“I don’t know”: In an interviewed conducted yesterday, NBC’s Matt Lauer asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if his political moment has passed – given the Bridge-gate scandal and Christie’s poor poll numbers among Republicans. Christie’s answer: “I don't know. And neither do you. We'll see. But I'll tell ya this much: I've been the frontrunner before.” Christie on the GOP field: “I think a governor is gonna be the nominee, a governor or a former governor-- because I believe that our party and our country need someone who's actually run something.” On Jeb: “It seems to me that that train has slowed down pretty significantly from what I've seen out and around the country.” On Hillary: “Mrs. Clinton's gonna have to perform. She's gonna have to earn the nomination. Nobody is handed these things.”
A reminder of Christie’s potential
On paper, Chris Christie should already be out of the 2016 presidential race -- our March NBC/WSJ poll found 57% of Republican voters saying they could NOT see themselves supporting him. But the one reason he’s not out of the race is because, to borrow a term from Pat Buchanan, he’s a good political athlete. Christie excels on the stump and in interviews -- like in his sitdown with NBC’s Matt Lauer.
All-but-assured passage of Corker bill lowers temperature on the Iran negotiations
Turning away from the 2016 race and to the Washington battle over the Iran deal, it is worth noting how the all-but-assured passage of the Corker bill has lowered the DC temperature over the Iran negotiations. Congress is going to get a win over Obama and will have a “say” over the final-final deal. But as we wrote yesterday, it’s UNLIKELY to thwart the deal from happening. The Obama White House probably didn’t intend for this to happen, but the clear congressional “victory” appears to have calmed things down on Capitol Hill. For now at least.
Another Florida Republican declines to run for open Senate seat
Another day, another Florida Republican who has turned down the opportunity to run for Marco Rubio’s open Senate seat. The latest to do so: former state House Speaker Will Weatherford. As Adam Smith from the Tampa Bay Times mused yesterday, “Always talking about the great bench of candidates for Fla GOP, and yet they can't seem to find top tier US Sen cand.” This is a problem for Republicans and the NRSC. There is about a 70% chance that a Floridian is going to be on the 2016 presidential ticket, and the 2018 gubernatorial field is going to be crowded, but top-tier folks are declining to run for the Senate seat? Does this say something about the desirability of serving in today’s U.S. Senate?
O’Malley speaks at Harvard
Today, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is delivering an economic speech at Harvard University, and his team has issued this memo in advance of his remarks: “As he’s traveled across the country, Gov. O’Malley has heard from Democrats that they are looking for leaders who offer strong progressive values, new ideas, and the experience of getting real results. That’s why he has spent the last few weeks getting specific and laying out some of his ideas for how we fix our economy. Already, he’s talked about the need to raise wages, rein in Wall Street, expand Social Security, address the student loan debt crisis, make investments in critical priorities like education, and finally implement commonsense immigration reforms. While some of these ideas might not be popular, he’s more interested in showing leadership than poll testing incremental economic reforms. His record in Maryland is one of real results, and demonstrates that he will not back down from making tough choices.”
On the trail
Elsewhere today, Jeb Bush is in Concord, NH; Carly Fiorina attends the Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Rick Perry has a trio of events in New Hampshire; and Joe Biden makes remarks at the National Fire and Emergency Services dinner.
Introducing @MTP: Finally, our daily First Read Minute video has a new look -- as well as a new name, @MTP. Follow it on Twitter and check out yesterday’s video.