What the food-stamp vote tells us about the shutdown debate… How the legislative game of ping pong might play out… Republicans pile on Cruz… Obama to speak on the economy in Kansas City at 1:50 pm ET… How the potential 2016ers are positioning themselves… In particular, a look at Rick Perry’s insurgent (or trolling) campaign… Miami Herald on how an attendee at a Hillary speech had his smartphone seized… Rand Paul quotes Charlie Sheen… And LaPierre to appear on “Meet the Press.”
*** What the food-stamp vote tells us about the shutdown debate: With the House set to vote around 11:00 am ET on the continuing resolution to keep the government open after Oct. 1 -- attached with a provision defunding the president’s health-care law -- last night’s food-stamp vote is instructive about how this shutdown debate might play out. House Republicans went out on a limb to cut food-stamp funding and institute plenty of reforms. They received nothing but bad press (“House Republicans pass deep cuts in food stamps,” per the New York Times’ headline; “House passes GOP plan to slash food stamp funding,” says the Washington Post; “Hundreds of thousands of Texans would lose food stamps under House bill, advocates say,” goes the Dallas Morning News ). They only reinforced the party’s negative stereotype that it isn’t compassionate in dealing with the nation’s poor. And they face the prospect of getting NOTHING in return; after all, the Senate will most likely restore the food-stamp cuts. But here’s what Republicans did get: They got the legislation out of the House, setting up the chance for a conference bill on the farm bill/food stamp legislation. But as NBC’s Frank Thorp notes, the legislation barely passed by a 217-210 vote (with all Democrats voting against, as well as 15 Republicans). So this is a window into how Republicans are proceeding on the C.R. that defunds Obamacare. It’s messy, and it’s hurting the party’s brand. But it’s the way how Speaker John Boehner can move the legislation out of the House. The question is if House Republicans can get something in return for it.
*** Shall we play a game -- of ping pong? House Republicans are hoping they can. National Journal reports they want to extract policy concessions once the Senate passes back a continuing resolution that strips the defund-Obamacare language. They’re also hoping to keep the defund-Obamacare effort alive by attaching it to the next debate over the debt ceiling. The Washington Post has more about what could happen in the legislative ping pong after the House -- as expected -- passes today’s continuing resolution. “Boehner and his team were hatching a plan to rework whatever comes back from the Senate, push a new bill through the House and demand that the Senate vote again — a strategy that would increase the odds of a shutdown on Oct. 1. Among the ideas under consideration: Tack on an amendment that would take away benefits for members of Congress who participate in the health-care law’s insurance exchanges. The hope is that lawmakers in both parties would rather lose those individual subsidies — worth about $5,000 to $11,000 annually — than let the government shut down. But it’s unclear how that largely symbolic gesture would further the cause of undermining the health-care law.”
*** Republicans pile on Cruz: Ted Cruz has had a, well, interesting week. The good news for him is that he got House Republican leaders to join his effort to tie the budget debate to defunding Obamacare, and he’s racked up a ton of attention in this debate. The bad news is that Republicans -- from all stripes -- have piled on him. Per NBC’s Sarah Blackwill, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has argued that Cruz has been “carrying out a fraud with the people.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “Cruz can do whatever he wants to with the rules of the Senate….I can tell you, in the United States Senate we will not repeal or defund Obamacare, and to think we can is not rational. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tweeted, “I didn't go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count -- the defunding box canyon is a tactic that will fail and weaken our position.” And those are the ON-THE-RECORD comments. Here are the GOP blind quotes out there: "He's a joke, plain and simple," "Nancy Pelosi is more well-liked around here," and "It is disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz." Just wow…
*** Obama heads to Kansas City: As for President Obama, he goes to Kansas City today, where he will deliver remarks on the economy at 1:50 pm ET. Per the White House, the president “will travel to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, MO, where he will continue to highlight the progress we have made since the beginning of the financial crisis five years ago and the work that lies ahead.” Our former colleague Garrett Haake, who works for NBC’s Kansas City affiliate, previews the presidential visit. “Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker told 41 Action News on Thursday that the president’s selection of Liberty’s new Ford plant for Friday’s remarks reflects the administration’s pride in an industry stabilized in no small part by federal intervention during the depths of the recession.
*** Positioning for 2016: In our weekly Friday look at the emerging 2016 race, we're examining all the different ways the 2016ers are positioning themselves. Some (like Rand Paul) are trying to change the party in his image; some (like Chris Christie) are trying to win re-election -- by a landslide -- in a blue state, as well as align themselves with the hawkish foreign-policy wing of the party; some (like Ted Cruz) have seized onto one particular issue; others (like Hillary Clinton) are keeping their head down, for the most part; and others still (like Joe Biden) are doing everything possible to suggest they could run. But one potential 2016 candidate is doing something completely different: Rick Perry.
*** Perry’s insurgent (or trolling) campaign in blue states: Over the last several months, Perry has targeted Democratic-leaning states (like California and Maryland) to convince their businesses to move to Texas. He’s used billboards, radio ads, and has even traveled to these states -- like he did earlier this week when he went to Maryland to visit a well-known gun manufacturer (just two days after a deadly mass shooting just miles away in DC). This mini-insurgent campaigning -- others might liken it to trolling over the Internet -- gives him an ability to rehabilitate his image after his disastrous 2012 presidential run. (Oops.) Perry gets plenty of press; he picks fights with Democratic governors; and he gets to hobnob with deep-pocketed folks in the business community. The question is whether these efforts are just sugar-high PR stunts, or if they’re really allowing him to build a grassroots network. The other question is if Republican primary voters are willing to give him a second look after what happened a year and a half ago. But bottom line: It’s a unique and different way to build a national network, and it’s worth keeping an eye on.
*** Don’t take my Galaxy Note II phone! Speaking of 2016, this isn’t a good story for Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton quietly slipped into Miami on Thursday to address a travel agents convention in a speech where the former secretary of state said little about troubles abroad or the future ambitions of the likely presidential-race frontrunner,” the Miami Herald reported. But: “At one point, a member of the audience, Andrew Rothberg, had his Galaxy Note II smartphone taken from him by security, which removed his picture of Clinton onstage and then gave his device back in front of a Miami Herald reporter in the auditorium stands.” The good news here for Clinton and her team is that they have plenty of time to work out some of these kinks, if a 2016 run is in the cards. But the story is also a troubling sign if you’re a Democrat and you’re hoping that the Clintons learned something after ’08.
*** Rand Paul quotes Charlie Sheen. “Winning!” And here’s a question: Is it a positive -- in any situation -- when a politician quotes Charlie Sheen? Here’s Rand Paul last night, per NBC’s Andrew Rafferty. "Does anybody remember Charlie Sheen when he was kind of going crazy... And he was going around, jumping around saying 'Winning, winning, we're winning. Well I kind of feel like that, we are winning. And I'm not on any drugs."
*** LaPierre to appear on “Meet”: Finally, NBC’s David Gregory will interview the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre on “Meet the Press” this Sunday.
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First published September 20 2013, 6:36 AM