CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Obama's climate push another headache for Dems

President Obama’s new push to secure an international climate change accord is another headache Democrats don’t need this fall.

Several vulnerable House and Senate Democrats kept quiet on the administration’s talks with the United Nations over a deal to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The effort could offer Republicans another opportunity not only to hammer red-state Democrats for what they’ve deemed are Obama’s job-killing energy policies but also to attack Obama for a pattern of “lawlessness,” if he seeks to go around Congress to secure the pact.

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But Democrats are, at this point, almost used to doing damage control after a new controversial administration policy crops up. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), one of his party’s most vulnerable incumbents, wasted no time in heartily attacking the president.

“This administration’s go it alone strategy is surely less about dysfunction in Congress than about the president’s own unwillingness to listen to our coal miners, steelworkers, farmers and working families,” he said in a statement.

And some vulnerable Democrats may get a boost from it. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), who leads a House climate task force, said he agreed with the move in principle.

“I don't think it's very surprising, and under the circumstances it's the right thing to do,” he told The Hill.



SENATE SHOWDOWN

GOP MUM: Republican Senate candidates are staying silent on President Obama's latest changes to the birth control coverage mandate, even as the policy catches flak from the religious right. Top GOP hopefuls haven’t weighed in on the issue since Friday, when the administration announced new measures meant to accommodate religious groups and businesses owners who object to their insurance policies covering birth control.

COTTON/GARDNER/ERNST: Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) attended a lavish June conference sponsored by the Koch brothers. Cotton and Ernst both credited the brothers' political activities for enabling their campaigns, The Huffington Post reported early Wednesday, citing audio from the event. Participation by Cotton and Gardner had been previously reported. Ernst's attendance had not been known publicly before Wednesday.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is taking heavy fire from Democrats for comments he made during a private strategy conference hosted by billionaires Charles and David Koch, outlining his strategy to oppose Democratic pet proposals if Republicans take the Senate.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): A new survey conducted by SurveyUSA for KSN News is the third out this month to give Sen. Pat Roberts (R) just a single-digit lead over his Democratic opponent, Chad Taylor. Roberts takes 37 percent of likely voters, while Taylor takes 32 percent and independent Greg Orman draws 20 percent support. 

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): In a new ad, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) accuses Republican Scott Brown of protecting tax breaks for oil companies and reaping campaign contributions in return. Meanwhile, an ad launched this week by GOP group Ending Spending Action Fund was pulled off air for making the erroneous claim that Shaheen’s personal wealth “surged” while she’s been in public office; records show it’s actually declined.

IA-SEN (OPEN): A second poll in as many days is showing the Iowa Senate race to be a dead heat, with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst tied. The USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll gives each of the candidates 40 percent support among likely voters. It's nearly identical to one put out Tuesday by Democratic firm Public Policy polling that put Braley ahead in a 41-40 percent split. The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a new minute-long ad featuring a local farmer decrying Braley’s comments implicitly dismissing Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) as a “farmer from Iowa.”

GA-SEN (OPEN): The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a new ad that labels Democrat Michelle Nunn a rubber-stamp for the president, featuring clips of her expressing support for him.

ME-SEN (COLLINS): Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group, launched a $300,000 ad buy Wednesday with two ads saying Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) supported tax cuts for billionaires while voting against equal pay for women and increasing the minimum wage. In one of the ads the group supports Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows. Collins is heavily favored to retain her seat.

MI-SEN (OPEN): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a new ad hitting Republican Terri Lynn Land that features women watching Land’s recent ad, in which she made her pitch directly to female voters, and responding skeptically. “Terri Lynn Land knows nothing about the Michigan women I know,” a woman says in the ad. The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched an attack ad of its own, aiming to paint Rep. Gary Peters (D) as out of touch for comments he’s made about the recession’s impact on his financial circumstances.

VA-SEN (WARNER): Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie will talk technology as they both take part, albeit appearing separately, in a town-hall forum at Microsoft’s offices in Reston, Va., on Sept. 8 to handle questions from technology business leaders and the audience.

CO-SEN (UDALL): The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a new Spanish-language ad hitting Sen. Mark Udall (D). “For the hardworking families of Colorado, each time is more difficult to pay bills for food, gas and give our children the opportunities they deserve. Senator Mark Udall isn't helping us,” the ad says. “The energy policies of Senator Udall harm the jobs that pay well and that we need. He voted against the Keystone pipeline. It's a vote against the jobs and families of Colorado.”



BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE


NH-01 (Shea-Porter): Republican Frank Guinta pledges to support a balanced-budget amendment and repeal ObamaCare in his first ad, a positive spot that highlights experience as mayor of Manchester but makes no mention of his time in Congress and criticizes “some politicians” who “always think bigger government is the answer.”

IL-13 (DAVIS): Democrat Ann Callis decries “perks for politicians and tax breaks for CEOs” in Washington and pledges to “look out for the good guys” if elected in her first ad of her campaign against Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).

AZ-02 (BARBER): One of Democrats’ most endangered incumbents, Rep. Ron Barber, touts his work to secure the border and tackle the border crisis in a new ad.

FL-18 (MURPHY): In his first general election ad, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) emphasizes his assertion that “ever since I was elected, I haven’t stopped moving” by walking around his district, touting his work on veterans’ issues, fair pay and a local environmental project.

CO-06 (COFFMAN): Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will campaign for Rep. Mike Coffman (R) in Denver next week, appearing at a fundraiser for the embattled Republican where tickets range from $2,500 to $250.

NH-2 (KUSTER): Republican Marilinda Garcia narrates her newest ad, calling for “a new generation of conservative leaders to challenge the status quo.” Meanwhile, Rep. Annie Kuster (D) launched an ad that features a female Republican veteran touting Kuster’s work to help secure her healthcare while she was pregnant.

WV-03 (RAHALL): Republican Evan Jenkins hammers Rep. Nick Rahall (D) on the loss of coal jobs and migration out of the state since the incumbent came to Congress in his newest ad, against the backdrop of a parking garage named after the congressman.

AZ-01 (KIRKPATRICK): Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (D) campaign announced Wednesday it's reserved $1.75 million in broadcast and cable advertising for the fall, an indication it's gearing up for a serious fight even though the winner of the Republican primary has not yet been decided.



2016 WATCH


ROMNEY: Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would crush his theoretical GOP rivals in the early caucus state of Iowa, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.

Quelling continuing rumors of a third presidential run himself, the former Massachusetts governor told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that "someone new that is not defined yet, someone who perhaps is from the next generation, will be able to catch fire, potentially, build a movement and be able to beat Hillary Clinton." Still, he said, “circumstances can change.”

JINDAL: Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is bringing a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its implementation of the Common Core education standards. Jindal, a possible 2016 contender, said the administration has unconstitutionally forced states to adopt Common Core and is asking courts to block the program.

WARREN: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will make her debut on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Sept. 3.



QUOTE OF THE DAY


"Good thing you're working out, because you wouldn't want to get porky!"

—In an excerpt for People magazine promoting her book Off the Sidelines, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recalls a remark from an older male colleague in the congressional gym after she got pregnant. Her response? “Thanks, a--hole.” 

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