Portman eyed by GOP establishment to reshape the marriage platform

The Inside Politics Forecast
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Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton invites over some small-dollar donors
  • Why water might become a 2016 campaign issue
  • Lindsey Graham's favorite-son prospects in South Carolina

Washington (CNN) A potential favorite son, two emerging 2016 issues, fund-raising quotas and a twist in the Republican Party's same-sex marriage debate -- those stories filled our Sunday trip around the "Inside Politics" table.

1. 2016: Immigration, taxes, war & peace and -- water?

What for now is largely a state issue -- water shortages caused by drought in California and other Western states -- could become a topic in the presidential race.
    NPR's Steve Inskeep noted Colorado, a big presidential swing state, is among the jurisdictions debating what to do. And other states in that neighborhood, including Nevada and New Mexico, factor big in both the water debate and in presidential politics.
    "This is something that gets really political and gets to your ideas of how intrusive the government should be in your lives, how much the government should regulate you," said Inskeep. "And it is a lot more tactile. You can touch it in a way that you can't really touch climate change, necessarily."

    .2. Hillary Clinton invites some $$$ friends -- if they meet a quota

    Want a special tour of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign headquarters? A little face time with the candidate?
    Well, do you have $2,700 and nine friends willing to match that number?
    CNN's Jeff Zeleny shared details of a planned Clinton campaign event to thank a select group of fund-raisers.
    "As an incentive -- the enthusiasm apparently was not quite as high -- she is going to be there to speak to them, as well, and they can have a look inside the Brooklyn headquarters," said Zeleny.
    "So on Thursday in New York City, the Clinton donors, the small ones, will be there."

    3. Lindsey Graham leans in, and could be a favorite son

    Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina isn't given much of a prayer to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. But two things could magnify his impact: He has a second career as a military lawyer, which helps his debating skills, and his home state votes third in the nominating contest.
    CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson told us Graham isn't 100% in, but about as close to that as one can get.
    "I believe John McCain has already endorsed him several times, probably on our air," said Henderson. "He might actually pick up some of that John McCain infrastructure, as well, in South Carolina."
    "And there was a recent poll that showed Republican primary voters, something like 20%, felt like they were much more likely to vote for Lindsey Graham in that South Carolina primary when he gets in this thing."

    4. 'Religious left' trying to get candidates to put income, poverty issues in the spotlight

    We talk often of conservative evangelicals and their big influence in presidential politics, particularly the GOP nominating contest.
    Religious left and 2016
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    Now, another faith-based group -- this one on the left of the political spectrum -- is looking to make sure poverty and income inequality get more attention.
    The organization Circle of Protection did persuade both President Obama and Mitt Romney to lay out their ideas back in 2012.
    Now, the group hopes to get a wider debate going, by asking every candidate, from both parties, to record a three-minute video outlining ideas to help the poor.
    Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast offered some reporting on the plans.
    "This time, they want to get involved in the primary," said Kucinich. "And the benefit, they say, for the candidates is that they play this for their congregations, and they're very large and they're in swing states, they're in all the states."
    "So they haven't gotten any takers yet, but I would bet that they will as the cycle goes on."

    5. Portman eyed by GOP establishment to reshape the marriage platform

    Whatever the Supreme Court decides, social conservatives active in the Republican Party are vowing to leave tough language opposing same-sex marriage in the GOP's 2016 platform.
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    But a group of establishment GOP leaders wants to drop the language, believing it hurts the party with young people and some other voters.
    And CNN is told they hope Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio will take a lead role in reshaping the platform.
    Why Portman?
    Well, for starters the platform will be debated and adopted in his home state of Ohio. The Republican convention is in Cleveland.
    More significant, though, is the senator's personal journey on the issue. Portman switched to become a supporter of same-sex marriage in 2013. He said at the time he was swayed by his son, Will, who told his parents in 2011 that he is gay.
    Taking a lead role in such a platform battle would be a huge challenge for Portman, who is also up for re-election in 2016.