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Obama to defend economic legacy

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • Two Obama administration cabinet officials step down within a week of each other
  • Down to three to replace Attorney General Holder?
  • Obama to defend his economic legacy

Obama to defend economic legacy: President Obama has been saddled with approval ratings near or at the lowest of his presidency. Of late, he has been focused on foreign policy issues, yet today he tries to shift the narrative to talk about the economy in Chicago. His speech at 2:15 p.m. EDT will be, in part, a defense of his legacy and some of the points will sound like a bullet-points list of post-presidency legacy accomplishments. The president will make a “forceful case for American strength and leadership at home,” a White House official told Morning Line, adding, “Six years after the Great Recession, thanks to the hard work of the American people and the policies the President has pursued, our economy has come back further and faster than any other nation on Earth. You’ll hear the President talk about this progress, while acknowledging that too many Americans still don’t feel enough of the benefits of our recovery in their everyday lives. To make sure these gains are felt more broadly, he’ll lay out the commonsense steps our country should take to raise wages for hardworking Americans, continue to create jobs and grow our economy.”

Obama on the campaign trail: Before the speech, the president makes a campaign stop for embattled Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., at 11:50 a.m. EDT. Quinn is one of the most vulnerable governors in the country. It’s notable that Obama has been largely absent from the campaign trail, but Illinois (and Hawaii) is one place he still has some political capital. Notice that it’s Bill Clinton, who appears in an ad for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky today — not the president. Democrats are happy to have the president fundraise for them through committees, but there just have not been a whole lot of places, where the president is advantageous to Democratic candidates on the trail.

Administration shuffle: It’s not often that two high-ranking administration officials resign within a week of each other. But that’s what’s happened in the past seven days. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder stepped down after being one of the longest-serving members of the administration. Yesterday, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned after a string of security lapses. The piece of information that seemed to be the catalyst for her dismissal was not telling the president earlier about an incident in which an armed contractor with a criminal record was allowed to ride on an elevator with Mr. Obama. The New York Times’ Michael Shear and Michael Schmidt report: “Ms. Pierson’s support in the West Wing began crumbling late Tuesday, in large part because she did not tell the White House …
Despite meeting with the president last week, Ms. Pierson informed him about the incident only minutes before it was reported in the news media on Tuesday evening, officials said.”

Down to three? Politico reports the field of candidates to replace the former Attorney General is down to three. “[I]nternal speculation at the White House and Justice Department around his replacement has already narrowed to three names: former White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.” Ruemmler represents someone “who’d lead administration efforts to complete what President Barack Obama and Holder have long identified as top items of unfinished business.” Perez is the most dynamic of the three and his pick “would be a message the president is putting even more emphasis on the civil rights enforcement.” And Verrilli is described as someone who would be “steady leadership, offering a solid, if somewhat unexciting, hand at the helm” for the president’s last two years. It’s still expected that Obama would try and get an attorney general confirmed during the lame-duck session of Congress after the elections.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Who helped Wilson carry out his presidential duties until the end of his second term in 1921? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Lee Clausen ‏(@LeeClausen) for guessing Wednesday’s trivia: Where was Jimmy Carter born? The answer was: Plains, Georgia.


  • With the resignation of Julia Pierson, the former head of the presidential protection division, Joseph Clancy, has been appointed as interim director of the Secret Service.

  • This Wall Street Journal op-ed by former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett is worth the read.

  • Tonight the president will attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual awards gala at 8:25 p.m. EDT.

  • An annual report from the Office of Immigration Statistics showed that deportations in 2013 increased dramatically from previous years. Now, more than 2 million people have been deported since President Obama took office in 2009.

  • The president’s decision to delay executive action on immigration reform seems to be hurting Democrats. Activists report difficulty registering would-be Latino voters, whose support they need this fall.

  • President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Wednesday. “We meet at a challenging time,” Obama said before the meeting. “This gives us an opportunity, once again, to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.”

  • The grand jury hearing the case against the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri is now being investigated for misconduct by the St. Louis County prosecutor.

  • A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that North Carolina must restore two voting provisions that had been done away with by the Republican-run legislature. North Carolina voters will again be allowed to use “same-day registration.”

  • The Labor Department finalized a $10.10 an hour minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, which will take effect Jan. 1.

  • A new Fox News poll found that, if airstrikes weren’t enough, 53 percent of registered voters favor adding U.S. ground troops to the fight against ISIS, while 41 percent are against ground troops.

  • For you data geeks, there’s a fight brewing between election modeling forecasters Nate Silver and Princeton’s Sam Wang.

  • One of the men accused of illicitly photographing Rose Cochran, wife of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was indicted Wednesday on burglary charges, which the district attorney said is related to the picture taking incident.

  • A Kansas court ruled Wednesday that the Democrats do not have to field a candidate in the upcoming Senate election. That leaves Sen. Pat Roberts and his independent opponent Greg Orman, who is leading the incumbent 46-41 percent among likely voters in a new USA Today/Suffolk University Poll.

  • The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake lays out why Roberts is down, but not out.

  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads Mary Burke 50-45 percent in the latest Marquette University poll. Walker and Burke have been statistically tied in the polls since mid-May.

  • North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan hits State House Speaker Thom Tillis on education again in her latest ad.

  • A National Journal analysis suggests that the “gender gap” — the difference between Republicans’ usual margin of victory among men and Democrats’ usual margin of victory among women — is wider than ever before in this cycle’s battleground states.

  • According to the College Republican National Committee, female millennial voters care a whole lot about wedding dresses.

  • GOP strategists in the House and Senate are split over how to advance tax reform.

  • PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff spoke with one of the players in that tax debate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan about his new book “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea”.

  • With only a few months left in Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann is working on her “anti-Hillary” look. The Minnesota congresswoman is pursuing speaking engagements around the country to help amp up her foreign policy cred.

  • Roll Call releases their list of the most vulnerable House members, and again this month they’re mostly Democrats.

  • Martha Coakley is in need of a cash infusion. Her campaign has asked all 11 members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation for at least $25,000 each.

  • Restricted voting and access to polls continue to be issues across the country as the November elections near, but in Georgia they appear to be successfully expanding access to voting through online voter registration and mobile apps.

  • Advocates in at least six states are already pushing for marijuana legalization to appear on the ballot in 2016.

  • NewsHour political editor Domenico Montanaro caught up with Providence mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci, who, despite having served in prison, is running for his old job — for the third time.

  • The Washington Post’s Philip Bump identifies five dead men who have won elections, including Alaska Sen. Mark Begich’s father, who went missing after a plane crash just weeks before Election Day.

  • Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., tried to do his best Bruce Lee impression in a Vine video, recorded at his Seattle office.

  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.


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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter:

Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: