The Donald's sales pitch includes a private jet tour

The Inside Politics Forecast
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Story highlights

  • With TV ad wars already underway in Iowa, which candidates are dropping money first?
  • As the Keystone Pipeline decision nears, Obama's decision will affect his legacy
  • "Follow the money" takes on more meaning with 2016 super PACs

Washington (CNN)The new Iowa "jet set," early TV ad and fund-raising calculations, a key Obama legacy, and grumblings about what Republicans call the "Koch primary" -- those stories filled our July Fourth weekend trip around the "Inside Politics" table.

The Donald's sales pitch includes a private jet tour

Donald Trump views his wealth as a big campaign asset, arguing he can't be bought. And as he travels in a private jumbo jet, he is also trying to turn his ride into an attraction.
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    Robert Costa of The Washington Post says the Trump campaign is offering tours of the jet to influential Iowa Republicans, hoping a little VIP treatment will translate into political support.
    "Donald Trump is taking his private plane around Iowa and plans to do so more in the month of July and August. And he uses it as an office," explained Costa.
    "And Chuck Laudner (Trump's chief strategist in Iowa) says people want to see the full Donald Trump. And (Trump's camp) love these Iowa power brokers, the Republicans, that come on the plane, spend an hour with Trump. And it's winning over some people."

    The TV ad wars are underway

    The first votes are months away, but TV ad wars are already heating up.
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    In some cases, like Iowa, it already means actual TV ads. Rick Perry's super PAC is already spending in the Hawkeye State. And CNN's Sara Murray shares reporting on how other campaigns and organizations are doing the planning, and rate shopping, to get ready for their own advertising launches.
    "(Rick Perry's camp is) making the case that being there early helps them get more buck for their -- or better, you know, bang for their buck," said Murray.
    "You also have Bobby Jindal's super PAC already going up on the air in Iowa. And Marco Rubio, his campaign tried to do the shrewd thing where they prebuy $10 million in advertising. ... A bunch of television stations said 'No, sorry, you can't buy this early, because we don't know how much demand there is going to be and how much inventory we will have to sell.'"

    Keystone decision nears, and an Obama legacy debate heats up

    President Obama has had big wins on trade and health care in recent days. And soon comes a major decision on energy that could become another part of his legacy.
    The long-awaited executive decision on the key phase of the Keystone XL Pipeline could come this month, and there is a big debate in the lead-up over whether Obama will anger or please the environmentalists in his political base.
    Julie Pace of The Associated Press describes the jockeying as rather intense.
    "People who are pro-pipeline think he may now feel emboldened to take a decision that angers Democrats and a lot of his supporters," said Pace.
    "But people who are against this pipeline -- environmentalists -- see this as an opportunity for Obama to really pad his legacy on climate and environmental issues."

    Follow the money takes on more meaning

    It is fund-raising reporting time for candidates and political committees, and the calculations about how fast to roll out the numbers often have to do with how strong or weak they are.
    It's a more crowded process now: Candidates file for their official campaign committees, but quarterly reports also are due from the growing list of super PACs looking to influence the 2016 campaign.
    Jonathan Martin of The New York Times explained some of the inside debates over when to release the numbers to the news media.
    "Now, it's always this sort of fascinating dance, because some of the campaigns will want to put their number out early when there's nothing to compare it to. Others will hold it back to wait for the others to put theirs out, so that they can show just how impressive their haul was compared to everybody else." explained Martin.
    "My understanding is that what we're looking closely at is some of these super PACs, which have no limits on contributions, are going to hold back until their (respective) campaigns are going to release their figure. Then the super PACs will come in and put out their number, so you have a sort of back-to-back showing to have the full impact of what Candidate X and Candidate Y are going to have on hand."

    The 'Koch primary' excludes some candidates

    The billionaire Koch brothers are famous in politics for their deep-pocketed support of Republican candidates and conservative causes.
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    So it should come as no surprise that most of the 2016 GOP presidential contenders are eager to curry favor with the Kochs and their allies, frequently attending conferences sponsored by Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners.
    The brothers promise to be active in 2016 but have not settled on one candidate, at least not yet. But they clearly view some candidates as preferable to others.
    This past week, GOP activists reported grumbling from top advisers to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that their candidate was not welcome at Koch gatherings. That would make Team Jindal the latest to complain that the rules of what Republicans call the "Koch primary" aren't fair.