Hillary’s Ties to Obama Could Cost Her

National Journal

IN THE NEWS: U.S. opens criminal probe of IRS … Holder recused self on AP phone search … E-mail leak on Benghazi led to erroneous reporting … Russia accuses U.S. diplomat of spying … Pentagon announces furloughs for 680K ... Can loneliness kill you?

THE TAKE

Hillary’s Ties to Obama Could Cost Her

Some Republicans believe revelations about Benghazi could raise questions about Hillary Clinton’s stewardship at the State Department.  But for Clinton, the general tenor of scandal that has suffused the administration could cost her more.

If the media focus shifts from Obama’s second-term legacy to second-term scandals, it could cast a pall over those looking to capitalize on his coattails.

Clinton knows all too well about the public’s desire for change, both from her own presidential race and the conclusion of her husband’s second term. Public dissatisfaction with George W. Bush sent Democratic voters looking for someone with less time in Washington and disconnected from the war in Iraq. Nearly a decade earlier, then-Vice President Al Gore awkwardly tried to distance himself from his former boss after Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, despite voters’ widespread approval of Clinton’s policies.

By connecting herself to Obama so closely—most recently with a joint sitdown on 60 Minutes—Clinton hoped to benefit from Obama’s strong popularity among Democrats. Now there’s a very real chance that the rewards of that loyalty could dissipate.

Josh Kraushaar
jkraushaar@nationaljournal.com

TOP NEWS

IRS TARGETING NOT RESTRICTED TO FIELD OFFICE. The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status extended beyond the Cincinnati field office and included officials in Washington, The Washington Post reports. IRS officials in Washington contacted conservative groups to advise them of the additional scrutiny, and then-Commissioner Douglas Shulman was briefed in May 2012 about the activities of the Cincinnati field office. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, then serving as deputy commissioner, was notified later the same month. On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said a criminal probe had been opened regarding the IRS’s actions. Read more

REPORT: E-MAIL LEAK LED TO ERRONEOUS REPORTING ON BENGHAZI TALKING POINTS. An email sent in 2012 by a top Obama national security advisor just three days after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya appears to contradict previous characterizations, CNN’s Jake Tapper reports. While others have written that the adviser, Ben Rhodes, specifically addressed the concerns of the State Department, the original e-mail says: “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.” According to Tapper, “whoever leaked the inaccurate information earlier this month did so in a way that made it appear that the White House—specifically Rhodes—was more interested in the State Department’s concerns, and more focused on the talking points, than the e-mail actually stated.” Read more

  • National Journal’s Ron Fournier writes that a staff shakeup may be in order for the Obama administration

HOLDER RECUSED SELF IN SEARCH OF AP PHONE RECORDS. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that he had recused himself in a case involving the secret search of the Associated Press’s phone records, CNN reports. Holder, speaking at a press conference, said that the case, which involved the leaking of information to the AP regarding a foiled terrorism plot, “put the American people at risk. And that is not hyperbole.” Holder tapped Deputy Attorney General James Cole to handle the AP matter. Read more

  • Which congressional committee is probing what when it comes to the Obama administration? National Journal has a roundup.

SENATORS CLASH ON HIGH-SKILLED WORKER VISAS. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee disagreed on provisions in an immigration bill that would make companies adhere to additional requirements in the hiring of high-skilled foreign workers, The Hill reports. At issue were a set of amendments offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, aimed at easing tech-industry concerns over new rules and regulations dealing with H-1B visas. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he may not be able to support the amendments. Read more

DOD: 680K CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES FACE 11-DAY FURLOUGH. The Pentagon announced plans Tuesday to furlough 680,000 civilian employees for 11 days due to budget constraints imposed by sequestration, the Associated Press reports. Initial plans called for 22-day furloughs for the majority of the department’s 800,000 civilian employees; this was reduced to 14 days following the passage of congressional legislation granting greater budgetary flexibility. The furlough order will exempt civilian employees at U.S. Navy shipyards and some intelligence, as well as civilians in war zones.  Read more

RUSSIA DETAINS U.S. DIPLOMAT, ACCUSES HIM OF SPYING. Russia announced Tuesday that its agents had detained an American diplomat after he allegedly attempted to recruit a Russian counterterrorism agent, the Associated Press reports. According to Russian officials, Ryan Fogle, an “entry level” State Department employee at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was turned over to U.S. Embassy officials and ordered expelled from the country. Fogle, who possesses diplomatic immunity, was declared persona non grata by the Russians. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to respond to the allegations on Wednesday. Read more

WIND FARMS KILLING PROTECTED BIRDS, BUT ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT PROSECUTE. More than 573,000 birds are killed annually by the nation’s wind farms, according to some estimates, but while the Obama administration has pursued criminal charges against oil and electric companies over wildlife deaths, it “has never fined or prosecuted a wind-energy company,” the Associated Press reports. “It is the rationale that we have to get off of carbon, we have to get off of fossil fuels, that allows them to justify this,” said retired National Wildlife Federation western division staff director Tom Dougherty. “But at what cost? In this case, the cost is too high.” Read more

  • "What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK.”-- Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent Tim Eicher

KERRY: OBAMA TO ADDRESS MILITARY WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN ‘VERY SHORTLY.’ Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that President Obama will announce in the coming weeks the number of U.S. combat troops who will depart Afghanistan by the 2014 withdrawal deadline, Reuters reports. “Very shortly, not too long from now, the president does intend to make public what his plans are for post-2014,” Kerry said. While he did not address the size of the U.S. force that would remain, Kerry said, “He (Obama) is committed to supporting the Afghan military beyond 2014.” Read more

HOW GOP CAN WIN OVER YOUNG VOTERS: GO FOR THEIR GUTS. Some Republicans argue that there’s a way to stick to their core values and still make inroads with a younger generation of voters—a group that overwhelmingly went for Obama in 2012, National Journal’s Ben Terris reports. The secret could lie with food trucks and Washington’s attempts to further regulate the popular lunchtime option. Read more

TOMORROW

HOUSE TO MARK UP FARM BILL. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its farm bill Tuesday; on Wednesday The House Agriculture Committee will consider its version of a farm bill on Wednesday.  Lawmakers hope to enact a new five-year authorization ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline, but the two chambers are far apart on the numbers.

OBAMA TO HONOR FALLEN OFFICERS. On Wednesday, President Obama will deliver remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring those in law enforcement killed in the line of duty in the previous year.

QUOTABLE 

“If he were a woman, they'd be calling him the weakest speaker in history." -- Nancy Pelosi, on House Speaker John Boehner (Huffington Post)

BEDTIME READING

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER?’ MAYBE NOT. Loneliness can increase your likelihood of sickness and even death, The New Republic reports. Loneliness is not being frequently alone nor does it mean someone who has few friends is lonely. Loneliness is a “want of intimacy” and an “interior” experience. The cause of loneliness is combination of genes and environment. “Although genes may predispose children toward loneliness, they do not account for everything that makes them grow up lonely. Fifty-two percent of that comes from the world.”Some have pushed back against the idea that the feeling of loneliness can cause health problems, arguing rather that it’s the symptoms of loneliness. For example, lonely people lack a support network, or someone who will look out for them, and therefore get sick more often. Read more

TODAY’S PHOTO GALLERY

PRINCE HARRY IN THE U.S. Prince Harry is in the U.S., visiting Washington, Colorado, and New Jersey, among other places. See New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie giving the prince a fleece while touring hurricane damage on the Jersey Shore, and see the third-in-line at the bottom of a human pyramid at the Air Force Academy. Also not to be missed: playing sitting volleyball with soldiers. See it here

PROFILE AT A GLANCE: STEVEN MILLER

  • Why he is in the news: Scheduled to appear before Congress on IRS controversy
  • Current job: Acting commissioner of internal revenue and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, Internal Revenue Service
  • Education: B.A., University of Maryland; J.D., George Washington University; L.L.M. in taxation, Georgetown University Law School. (IRS)

Career Highlights

  • 25-year veteran of IRS
  • Named acting commissioner in Oct. 2012 (IRS)
  • Served as Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (IRS)
  • Worked for the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (IRS)

Of Interest

  • Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have asked him to resign (The Hill)
  • Was not head of IRS at time of alleged improprieties, but in 2012 withheld from Congress knowledge of matter (Associated Press)
  • Addressed the targeting of conservative groups in an op-ed in USA Today

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