Off to the races: Ryan’s turning point?

Susan Davis looks at the possible career turning point this budget deal is for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Beth Reinhard looks at the potential 2016 problems Ryan could have now if he runs, including the fact that not only conservative groups, but potential 2016 rivals universally panned the agreement.

New York Times: "With a modest, bipartisan blueprint on taxes and spending, Mr. Ryan is taking a risk he has previously shied away from, putting what party leaders see as a crucial need — ending the debilitating budget wars in Washington that have crippled the Republican brand — over his own self-interests with the conservative activists that dominate the early Republican presidential primaries. For the first time, the conservative wunderkind and former vice-presidential nominee is taking withering fire from movement conservatives who see the deal as a betrayal by a former ally. Potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 immediately went on the attack, blasting the deal and challenging Mr. Ryan’s status as the thinking man’s conservative."

“For most of this year, House Republicans pursued a simple agenda for Obamacare: Repeal it. Recently, party members have focused more on how they might fix it—and Democrats are seizing on some of their comments as proof that the GOP fears the political consequences of a repeal-only strategy,” National Journal writes. “In a memo to be released on Thursday obtained by National Journal Daily, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward highlights recent moves by Republicans that go beyond the strategy that led the House GOP to hold almost 50 votes to repeal Obamacare this year.”

Despite Ron Johnson’s interview with National Review, for example, in which he does not call for all-out repeal, NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato disputes that: "This is just wishful thinking on the part of Washington Democrats. President Obama and House Democrats might be committed to protecting Obamacare at all lengths, but our polling in congressional districts coast to coast shows that voters want to get rid of Obamacare altogether and start over."

Ted Cruz still doesn’t like Obamacare and says so in a USA Today op-ed. And he uses the “R” word: “We need to repeal it entirely, and instead reform federal law to expand choices and make health plans personal, portable and affordable.”

Quote of the day: “It's too bad the election isn't today.” – Ann Romney on CNN. 

CALIFORNIA: The Hill: "California House candidate Carl DeMaio wants to be known as a GOP problem solver, not as one of two openly gay Republicans running for Congress this year....In an interview at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s offices, he expressed frustration with his party’s focus on gay marriage, abortion and other social issues, and argued it was costing the GOP votes."

FLORIDA: Come on down! Bob Barker is endorsing in the FL-13 special… Abby Livingston: “Former game show host Bob Barker will endorse GOP lobbyist David Jolly in a television ad on Thursday that will air during a special episode of ‘The Price is Right.’ ‘Because with Jolly, the choice is right,’ says Barker in the spot.” The primary is Jan. 14. 

NEW HAMPSHIRE: “Scott Brown has yet to become a candidate in New Hampshire, but he’s under attack from the right and the left leading up to his top billing appearance at a state Republican fundraiser in Nashua next week,” The Nashua Telegraph reports. “The Telegraph has confirmed the conservative New Hampshire Firearms Coalition has issued a call to arms of its membership to picket Brown’s remarks at the Hunt Memorial Building for a holiday fundraiser benefiting the Republican State Committee.”

NORTH CAROLINA: Manu Raju goes to North Carolina to preview the 2014 Senate race with incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan running for reelection in a state that has seen a turnabout in the last few years. “It would be tough to find another state where the political terrain has shifted as dramatically as it has here — from kindling hopes of a Democratic revival in the South just a few years ago, to becoming a conservative hotbed that banned gay marriage, tightened restrictions on abortion clinics and enacted a sweeping voter ID law,” he writes

SOUTH DAKOTA: The Hill: "Rick Weiland doesn’t yet have the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but he is confident that will happen soon enough. Reid and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet (Colo.) have been skeptical of Weiland’s candidacy to replace retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). They have been looking in vain for another candidate, and the filing deadline is just a few months away."