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- 42nd president of the United States
- 44th president of the United States
The Edge is National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.
More Than Just a Famous Face
People with long memories may recall that Bill Clinton kicked off his first presidential campaign with three Georgetown University speeches about what he called "the New Covenant." Now Hillary Rodham Clinton, rejoining the national political conversation after a four-year absence as secretary of State, has launched her own trio of speeches.
The first, delivered Monday to the American Bar Association, was a forceful call to protect and expand voting rights, especially for minorities. In this, Clinton is on the same page as President Obama, his Justice Department, and the Democratic Party.
But will she stake out her own ground on national security and transparency, the subject of an address she'll give next month at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia? And in her third speech about America's role in the world, will she defend the approach she and Obama took, or will she lay out a new one that would define a Clinton administration?
Whatever she says, it's clear that if Clinton decides to run for president, she'll have a message that goes well beyond simply being Hillary and being a woman.
MIDEAST PEACE TALKS TO RESUME AS ISRAELI SETTLEMENT BUILDING CONTINUES. Israeli-Palestinianpeace talks are set to resume Wednesday as Israel's housing construction in the disputed West Bank territory continues unabated not far from the site of negotiations, Reuters reports. Israel announced this week plans to expand Jewish settlements on the land Palestinians desire even while agreeing to release 104 Palestinian prisoners. The construction raises doubts that a two-state solution can be reached during the talks, but Secretary of State John Kerry believes there is still time to resolve the issues. "What this underscores is the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly," he said Monday. Read more
Al Jazeera has created an interactive timeline of major events that have transpired since Kerry announced the new round of negotiations on July 19. See more
DOJ, SIX STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL FILE TO BLOCK AIRLINE MERGER. Calling it an "unexpected blow to a yearlong effort to create the world's biggest airline,"The New York Times reports that the Justice Department and attorneys general from six states filed a lawsuit today looking to block the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Citing "substantial harm to consumers" due to expected increases in fares and fees, the Justice Department filed a broad suit in a federal court in Washington, D.C. Shares of both airlines were hit hard following the news this morning. Antitrust regulators have allowed three other major airline mergers within the past five years. Read more
The proposed merger is widely expected to lead to pricier flights, but fewer seats don't always result in more expensive tickets, The Wall Street Journal's Jack Nicas and Susan Carey report. Read more
BOOKER POISED FOR LANDSLIDE PRIMARY WIN. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is expected to win a huge victory today in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, with polls putting him 37 points ahead of his nearest Democratic challenger, Reuters reports. The media darling and Twitter junkie is well-funded, having received $10,000 each from the political action committees of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Booker has also garnered support from high-profile celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Matt Damon. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, called the special primary election shortly after Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., passed away in June at the age of 89. Read more
With October's special general election also expected to be a landslide for Booker, today's primary election—held in the dead of August—should draw low voter turnout, The Star-Ledger's MaryAnn Spoto and Bill Wichert write. Read more
KING OFFERS MORE HEATED RHETORIC AT ANTI-IMMIGRATION RALLY. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, reiterated his opposition to immigration reform Monday night at a "Stop Amnesty Tour" event in Richmond, Va., before a crowd of about 50, Bloomberg reports. The conservative anti-immigration crusader, apparently unfazed by the criticism he has faced within his own party, talked for nearly 30 minutes, claiming that societies are more violent the deeper south one travels inLatin America. "Now think what that is," King said. "If you bring people from a violent civilization into a less violent civilization, you're going to have more violence right? It's like pouring hot water into cold water; does it raise the temperature or not?" Read more
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is warning fellow Republicans that if Congress fails to pass immigration reform, President Obama could be "tempted" to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants by executive order, Politico reports.Read more
EGYPT REMAINS MIRED IN CONFLICT AS RESOLUTION PLAN EMERGES. The conflict between supporters and opponents of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi escalated today, as both sides engaged in violence in the streets, even as an attempt at reconciliation by the religious authority Al-Azhar appeared to be gaining some traction, Reuters reports. Two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo continued as Egypt's interim government again weighed options for how to end the drawn-out conflict that has besieged the country since the military ousted Morsi on July 3. Despite repeated threats, a police crackdown on the protest camps did not appear imminent, but violence erupted in central Cairo when thousands of Morsi demonstrators marched on the Interior Ministry. Read more
SEVEN BILLS THAT COULD ACTUALLY PASS. The pronouncements that this Congress is one of the least productive in history have reached a crescendo, National Journal's Billy House reports. Of the 25 bills that have been signed into law so far, even the most rudimentary took a tortured route to passage. But just as there are signs that parties and chambers can work together to get things done—witness the bill signed last week that lowers student-loan rates—some bills stand a solid chance of navigating the legislative maze to passage, according to interviews with lawmakers and staff. Like much of the business of government, many of these bills are not sexy, but they contain solid legislative work that affects the everyday lives of millions of Americans. Read more
CONSUMER-PROTECTION SECTION OF ACA DELAYED UNTIL 2015. A portion of the Affordable Care Act that puts a cap on overall out-of-pocket costs for an individual or a family is being delayed until 2015, The New York Times reports. Federal officials granted a one-year grace period to some insurance companies earlier in the year, and, as a result, those insurers can either set higher limits or do away with limits on some costs. Additionally, many group health plans will now be able to separate limits for benefits, meaning out-of-pocket costs don't add up but instead only apply to a given service (i.e. medication or hospital care). Federal officials said the delay is needed because many insurers and employers need more time to comply. Read more
IS LAURA POITRAS THE 'MASTERMIND' BEHIND SNOWDEN'S LEAKS? How did former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leak top-secret documents about the NSA's surveillance programs and (so far) get away with it? By reaching out—first through encrypted e-mail, then with a meeting in Hong Kong—to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, Peter Maass reports in a lengthy profile in The New York Times. Along with The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, Poitras, who has for years been investigating—evading—the U.S. surveillance system, assisted Snowden in protecting his information and encrypting his communications, which aided Snowden's gradual disclosures of classified programs. "I keep calling [Poitras] the Keyser Soze of the story, because she's at once completely invisible and yet ubiquitous," Greenwald said. Read more
Maass also conducted (through Poitras) a question-and-answer session with Snowden, during which the fugitive says journalists "abdicated their role as a check to power" after Sept. 11, 2001—for which The Times published a full transcript. Read more
YELLEN'S POSITION ON BANKS HAS HARDENED OVER TIME. Janet Yellen, a leading candidate dueling with former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, has evolved from a more "docile" bank regulator into a hard-liner pushing for rules to lessen bank-industry risk-taking, The Wall Street Journal reports. Yellen, the central bank's vice chairwoman, began changing her views during her time as president of the Fed Bank of San Francisco—a post she held through 2010—during which she witnessed the failure of a number of banks. "The San Francisco Fed district, which includes Nevada and Arizona, was ground zero for the housing crisis," said Mark Calabria of the Cato Institute. Read more
Six years after the bottom fell out of the subprime-mortgage market, and despite the recovery of many financial institutions, hundreds of thousands of borrowers are still hurting, The New York Times's Peter Eavis writes. Read more
U.N. NEGOTIATING WITH SYRIA OVER CHEMICAL-WEAPONS INSPECTION TEAM. The Syrian government and the United Nations have yet to reach an agreement on safety assurances for the team of U.N. chemical-weapons investigators set to visit the war-torn nation, Reuters reports. "Once the government of Syria confirms its acceptance of the modalities, the mission will depart without delay," said the U.N. in a statement released today. The U.N. announced almost two weeks ago that the Syrian government had agreed to let the team examine three sites where suspected chemical weapons strikes took place. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey is touring the Middle East and spoke candidly about collaborative efforts to monitor Syria's chemical-weapons stockpile between the U.S., Israel and Jordan. Read more
"I asked if they'd had seminars or workshops. 'No,' he said, 'we've been watching the West Wing.' You never know." -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, describing a meeting with Burmese generals who were trying to discern how to run a parliament, during her American Bar Association speech Monday (CBS News)
LACKING CITIZENSHIP, SOME VETERANS DEPORTED AFTER COMMITTING CRIMES. Milton Tepeyac lives in Mexico, making $3 an hour in the northern city of Hermosillo, The Washington Post's Kevin Sullivan reports. Tepeyac, who came to the United States at age 3, is part of a group of veterans who were legal U.S. residents, but not citizens, and were deported after committing serious crimes. No one knows how many there are—though some immigration lawyers and Banished Veterans, a group created to help deported veterans, estimate hundreds, if not thousands. Previous congressional efforts to help the veterans have proven unsuccessful. Former Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bush from 2001 to 2005, said the decision to deport veterans is "not fair, and it's not appropriate for who we are as a people." Read more
MASTERS OF THE TWITTERVERSE.Foreign Policy has compiled a list of 100 figures to follow on Twitter to "make sense of global events." In addition to the usual suspects, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., FP recommends a number of academics and foreign correspondents. See it here
CAN BOOKS PROVE URBANITES ARE SELFISH? It's no secret that environmental factors such as family and friends can play a role in shaping one's psychology, but the wealth and personal choices that typically come with city living can also fundamentally affect the degree to which a person's behavior is individualized, according to UCLA researcher Patricia Greenfield. In a study published in Psychological Science, Greenfield used the Google Books Ngram Viewer to analyze word data in literature published between 1800 and 2000, charting a change over time in written vocabulary that she says reveals a growth of individualist thinking coinciding with population shifts from rural to urban areas. But do cities inherently make people egocentric? "It's really not just urbanization," Greenfield says. "It's all the things that go with urbanization, too." Read more