A new immigration TV ad campaign, shifting dynamics for the Democratic and Republican presidential debates and a sneak peak into the big fall budget battle between President Barack Obama and the GOP Congress filled our final Sunday trip around the Inside Politics table.
1. Ronald Reagan and the 2016 immigration debate
A new TV ad campaign began Sunday contrasting Ronald Reagan’s tone on immigrants with several of the 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls – and the sponsors are an interesting bunch.
Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post was first to report on efforts by two organizations, and he shared some details on the backers and their hopes for the campaigns.
“The National Immigration Forum Action Fund, a group of business, religious, labor, political leaders,” are buying up these TV ads, explained O’Keefe. The other advocacy group, The Latino Victory fund, is backed by Democratic donors and is currently airing ads in Colorado and Nevada.
Why, you ask?
According to O’Keefe, these immigration advocacy groups are upset by recent comments made by GOP presidential candidates and are taking matters into their own hands by trying to draw more attention to these issues.
“The juxtaposition obvious that the Republican candidates of today don’t match up with the revered GOP figure of the past,” added O’Keefe.
2. Some déjà vu as fall spending fight looms
It is becoming as inevitable as death and taxes – a September spending showdown between President Obama and the GOP-led Congress.
There’s some talk of a possible government shutdown, and the 2016 campaign looms as a factor in this year’s negotiations, too. CNN’s Manu Raju is a veteran of these confrontations and talked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in recent days as he tried to get a sense of the mood heading into this year’s negotiations.
“They’ll going to fund the government, probably for two or three months [and] get around this Planned Parenthood fight,” Raju said, who added that McConnell called the defund effort an “exercise in futility.”
It will likely anger his party, added Raju, but McConnell has other problems to worry about.
“The interesting thing that McConnell said is that ‘Me, House Speaker John Boehner and the President will have to negotiate a large-scale fiscal deal, probably in the fall, with the debt ceiling increase ahead and a long-term spending through the end of the next year.”
3. More Democratic debates?
There is an influential Democratic woman who is reluctant to add more presidential debates to the calendar. But guess again – it isn’t Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, in fact, has said she is fine with more debates, and some on her campaign team think adding a couple could actually help her.
But the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee – Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – is opposed to changing the plan. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny took us inside the internal Democratic debate over debates.
“Initially, [it] was designed to protect Hillary Clinton,” said Zeleny, adding that now a lot of Democrats are worried it might not be such a good idea.
“The only way for her to get beyond some of these controversies is to show that she’s presidential,” Zelenty continued, suggesting that one way for a candidate to appear presidential is to perform well in multiple debates.
4. Chris Christie needs a good debate
Chris Christie will be at the far end of the stage when 11 Republicans who want be president debate Wednesday, and that tells you a lot about his position in the GOP race.
Sure, it’s four months until we are actually close to the first votes being cast, but the New Jersey governor has a lot at stake in the second debate.
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball shared reporting on Christie’s strategy, including a desire to be more involved than he was in the first debate.
“He said a couple of weeks ago that if he doesn’t get as many questions as he wants, he’s going to go nuclear,” explained Ball.
“Christie tried to get into it last time with Rand Paul and it didn’t do anything for his numbers, so the question is going to be, ‘How does he approach this, how does he try to get himself out of this ditch?’ ”
5. Rubio looks for a boost with a Trumpian twist
Marco Rubio made the most of his first debate opportunities, and he hopes for another solid performance in Round Two this Wednesday.
Listen closely, and something is likely to sound a little different: Team Rubio in recent days has been adding an anti-establishment tone to its message in hope of gaining a bit more traction in a season so far dominated by outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
Evident in the Fox News interview the other day, for example, was Rubio making note of how he was not the establishment favorite when he ran for Senate in Florida. Rubio in that same interview went after the Senate Republican leadership, suggesting it could have better handled the debate over President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.
Look for that tone to carry over to the debate, and look for Rubio to take to the airwaves in the relatively near future as well. Several people involved in campaign strategy and fundraising conversations tell CNN there is consensus that it will take some TV ad spending to nudge up Rubio’s sluggish poll numbers in early states.
Just when to launch that spending? That’s still under discussion, and the climate after the dust settles on the second debate will have an impact on that decision.