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President Obama hits the road to tout economy, raise money

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • President Obama embarks on three-day trip
  • The president’s conflicting messages on border crisis
  • 2014 watch: Braley’s “farmer” comment & new Pryor, Grimes ads
  • RNC set to name 2016 convention site

Economy, fundraising are focus of Obama trip: President Barack Obama kicks off a three-day trip of economic speeches and party fundraising to Colorado and Texas, flying into Denver Tuesday night. He delivers a speech in Denver on the economy at 12:15 p.m. ET Wednesday. Like he did in Minneapolis, the president will again meet with working mothers who wrote to him. He will again lean into executive actions he’s taken and likely hit Republicans, if this White House blog post by White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer is any indication. The speech in Denver, however, will also be notable for who won’t be there — the three top Democrats running for election, including Sen. Mark Udall, in a tough race for re-election. Ironically, Mr. Obama will be raising money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee while there. *Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the day of the president’s speech in Denver. The president will arrive in Denver Tuesday night, but not speak until Wednesday.

Immigration, border crisis to get attention as well: While in Dallas and Austin Wednesday and Thursday, expect the president to address the unaccompanied minors border crisis, but he won’t be visiting the border this time. On Monday, the White House said that “most” of the children will be deported. And the New York Times reports on a child-trafficking law signed in 2008 under former President George W. Bush that is hamstringing administration efforts to deport the children more quickly. “Originally pushed by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers as well as by evangelical groups to combat sex trafficking, the bill gave substantial new protections to children entering the country alone who were not from Mexico or Canada by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin,” the Times writes. Yet, the AP reports that it’s unlikely the White House will ask for authority to change the law, noting that the president “is holding off for now on seeking new legal authority to send unaccompanied migrant kids back home faster. The approach is a change from what the White House has signaled and follows criticism from immigration advocates who said the administration’s planned approach was too harsh.” It all sends conflicting messages on how Mr. Obama wants to deal with the crisis and highlights the political box he’s in — deport more, and he upsets the left. Show wiggle room and flexibility and wind up deporting fewer, and he’s labeled soft and untrustworthy by the right.

2014 watch – Braley says he’s a farmer?: Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley is having to answer for another online video involving comments about farmers. After being caught on tape earlier this year calling veteran Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” Braley appeared to claim to be a farmer himself during a Fourth of July parade last week. The Des Moines Register reports that Braley, a former trial lawyer and current member of the U.S. House, “doesn’t own farm land and doesn’t earn any farm income.” In the video, which was posted online by the Republican tracking outfit America Rising, a parade attendee tells Braley, “We’re farmers,” to which he responds, “So am I.” A campaign spokesman said Braley thought the woman said, “We’re for farmers.” GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who has highlighted her experience castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, seized on the video. “The fact is Braley is just another trial-lawyer turned Washington politician and any efforts to claim he is also an Iowa farmer is a flat out lie,” Ernst campaign spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said. Even if Braley’s stumble is genuinely the result of a noisy parade celebration, the trouble is the episode fits into a storyline that he is not as polished a candidate as Democrats would hope. And while the state appears to slightly favor Democrats, with President Obama winning it twice, if Braley continues to have missteps, it only helps Ernst.

2014 watch – Pryor, Grimes release new ads: Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor is pushing back on comments from Republican Tom Cotton questioning the sincerity of his faith. Pryor’s campaign released a new television ad Tuesday that highlights how his faith guides him, which reuses portions of a spot the Democrat unveiled late last year along with news clips detailing Cotton’s recent attacks. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case last week, Cotton charged in a radio interview that Pryor thinks “that faith is something that only happens at 11 o’clock on Sunday mornings.” In Kentucky, meanwhile, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is up with a new ad that features a retired coal miner and hits Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Medicare. With red state Democrats on the defensive over the Obama administration’s new EPA regulations to cut power plant emissions, the ad is an attempt both to signal support from miners but also to go after McConnell on an issue where Democrats feel they have the upper hand. McConnell’s campaign responded to the ad, saying it showed that Grimes has “already hit the panic button by resorting to the oldest, most cynical attack in the Obama playbook to scare Kentucky seniors.” We’re now past the July 4th holiday. The campaign season is about to begin in earnest.

The Clinton scrutiny: Hillary Clinton defended her defense of a man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in a 1975 case in an interview with a British parenting site. “I asked to be relieved of that responsibility, but I was not, and I had a professional duty to represent my client to the best of my ability, which I did,” Clinton said of the case she fought when she was 27. But expect this one not to go away, as something else conservatives use to fire up the base. The victim, now 52, is already out there saying Clinton “took me through hell.” Again, it’s only 2014. This is the kind of campaign this is going to be. Swiftboat is going to look tame by comparison. Of course, it will be up to Clinton and her team to show they can handle it all.

Not quite the LeBron decision, but…: The Republican National Committee is expected to decide Tuesday morning between holding its 2016 presidential convention in Cleveland or Dallas. There is an 11 a.m. ET call with the convention site select committee, where a decision is expected to be reached and announced shortly afterward. First, LeBron is considering Cleveland again, and now, the RNC? Or maybe both go to Dallas? Dallas has more resources and more hotels, but Cleveland’s in a critical swing state, where the party, like LeBron, needs to build back support among the rank and file.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1919, President Wilson returned from the Paris Peace Conference. What intergovernmental organization that Wilson helped establish at the conference did the U.S. decline to join? Be the first to Tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Yvonne Gibney (@Lillyvonne228) for guessing Monday’s trivia: How many female Supreme Court justices have there been? The answer was: 4 — O’Connor, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. No one guessed the July 4th Bonus Trivia: Which presidents died on the 4th of July? The answer was: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.


  • Congress is back. So what can get done? Some things have to get done or there will be consequences, as we reported Wednesday. The Washington Post’s Paul Kane reports that the fiscal wars are on.
  • President Obama will host NATO Secretary General Rasmussen at the White House Tuesday to discuss the agenda for the Wales NATO Summit in September.
  • Four Veterans’ Affairs whistleblowers will testify before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Tuesday about the agency’s retaliation against employees who exposed major issues.
  • Wall Street has high hopes for Hillary Clinton, but her cozy relationship with the industry may put her at odds with the populist message running through both parties.
  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., wants the Department of Justice to investigate CIA intelligence that Cuban agents attempted to plant stories in the American and Latin American media about him having relations with underage prostitutes during his 2012 re-election.
  • Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, has been running to the right, Politico’s Manu Raju writes, out of fear that, as Roberts told Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker after Eric Cantor’s surprise defeat, “I might be next.”
  • While Clinton dominates the Democratic field in a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday, there is still no clear GOP frontrunner.
  • Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s attorney says the only way to get a fair result from the June runoff against Sen. Thad Cochran is to hold a new election.
  • In Montana, Democratic Sen. John Walsh and GOP Rep. Steve Daines are airing new TV ads featuring women talking about their dependence on Medicare.
  • With no general election battle to look forward to, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., now has to shut down his campaign and he’s going to have to raise upwards of $150,000 to do so.
  • Dr. Bill Cassidy, a Republican running against Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is out with a new ad criticizing the Affordable Care Act and its exemption for members of Congress and their staff.
  • Republican Senate candidate for Minnesota and youth coach Mike McFadden released an ad Tuesday littered with football metaphors.
  • The National Park Service has banned the launching, landing and operation of drones from all national parks.
  • In Lancaster, N.H., the libertarian attendees of the annual Porcupine Freedom Festival skip the U.S. dollar and instead pay for coffee, food and other wares with bitcoin.
  • Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., have teamed up on legislation overhauling the criminal justice system.
  • A new model of presidential voting estimates how generations would have voted over time, suggesting that events between ages 14 and 24 are the most formative for shaping partisan identity.
  • 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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