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The top 5 most disastrous campaigns of 2014 — so far

Happy Labor Day weekend! In politics, this marks the final period of calm before a whirlwind nine weeks leading up to Election Day.

It's also a good time to reflect on the 2014 election cycle so far -- full of dramatic twists, turns, unexpected triumphs and bitter disappointments. Sometimes all in the same day.

There have also been a handful of unmitigated disasters. We're talking about the campaigns that failed miserably, after kicking off full of promise, in most cases.

Today, we take a look at the five most disastrous campaigns so far -- although there's no doubt that between now and Nov. 4, we'll find a few more to add to this list -- in alphabetical order. Who did we miss? The comments section awaits your input!


Rubio's new tune on immigration

By Peter Sullivan

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is singing a new tune on immigration as he eyes a possible 2016 presidential run, but it may not be enough to win over disaffected conservatives just yet.

Rubio was a leading champion of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last year. But in a letter to President Obama and a series of four media interviews this week, he made clear that he now favors additional measures to secure the border before there is even talk of a pathway to legal status for those in the country illegally.

Even in the spring of 2013, when the Senate bill was moving forward, supporting the measure was a risky move for the rising star. Conservative National Review ran a cover showing Rubio laughing and standing next to liberal Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), behind the headline “Rubio’s Folly.”

After the bill passed in June of that year, Rubio plummeted in early presidential primary polls he once led and has remained in single digits. He was the runner-up in the 2013 straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, but fell to 7th place with just 6 percent this year.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/216311-rubios-new-tune-on-immigration#ixzz3BzRo1Lok
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie Blames Gay Marriage For Stunning Primary Loss

By CATHERINE THOMPSON Published AUGUST 30, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) blamed his historic primary loss on his decision to call a special session to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in his office, Abercrombie said Republicans, who are allowed to vote in the state's open primary, crossed over to vote against him because of his maneuver to legalize gay marriage. He also claimed that religious leaders urged voters to choose his opponent.

"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," he said, as quoted by the AP. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it."

State Sen. David Ige bested Abercrombie by 35 percentage points in the primary election earlier this month. It was the first time a Democratic governor was unseated in a Hawaii primary.


Top Dem: Obama 'Too Cautious' In Confronting ISIS

Source: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/feinstein-ob

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published AUGUST 31, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Sunday said that President Obama has not been aggressive enough in his approach to ISIS, which is gaining power in Iraq and Syria.

"I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious— maybe in this instance too cautious," Feinstein said during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the ISIS threat to the U.S. is "potentially very serious."

“This is a vicious, vicious movement, and it has to be confronted," she said. According to Feinstein, ISIS could pose a direct threat to Americans.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/feinstein-obama-isis-too-cautious

Video at link, above

White House: Obama Will Continue To Take His Time With ISIS Strategy

Source: TPM

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published AUGUST 31, 2014, 10:20 AM EDT

After President Obama was criticized for his comment that the U.S. doesn't have a strategy yet for combating ISIS, the White House said that Obama will not be rushed in his decision on how to confront the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.

“There’s no timetable for solving these problems that’s going to meet the cable news cycle speed,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told the Washington Post. “It’s not a tenable thing. We’d much rather do this right than do it quickly. We tried the opposite [during the Bush years] and it worked out very poorly.”

The administration has continued to authorize targeted airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, but it has not yet responded to the organizations advances in Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry wrote an op-ed for the Saturday New York Times calling for a global coalition to responded to the ISIS threat.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/dan-pfeiffer-no-timetable-isis-obama

Obama to raise federal, military pay by 1 percent


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is offering civilian federal workers and members of the military a 1 percent pay increase in 2015, the same raise he offered last year citing efforts to keep government costs down during the economic recovery.

The new pay raises reflect what Obama proposed in his 2015 budget earlier this year.

Obama sent a letter Friday describing the raises to the House and Senate. The figure is lower than private sector pay increase and lower than what a government formula for raises would have provided. Obama can bypass that formula by informing Congress of his alternative plan by the end of August.

Federal employees operated under a pay freeze until January of this year when the current 1 percent pay increase took effect.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/29/obama_to_raise_federal_military_pay_by_1_percent/

Marathon bombing suspect: Delay trial until 2015


BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzohkhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) are asking to delay his trial until at least September 2015.

In a court filing Friday, the attorneys said his Nov. 3 trial date would give them about half the preparation time federal courts have allowed other defendants facing a death sentence over the past decade. Tsarnaev is charged in the April 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including terrorism.

The lawyers said they need more time to evaluate the “massive amount” of evidence, and to explore mitigating factors that could lesson his sentence if convicted.

The attorneys said at a hearing earlier this month they likely could not be ready for a November trial.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/29/marathon_bombing_suspect_delay_trial_until_2015/

Homeland Security: Islamic State poses no specific threat within the United States

Source: Reuters

The United States is not aware of any specific threat to the U.S. homeland from Islamic State militants, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday after Britain raised its international terrorism threat level.

Islamic State militants and their supporters, however, “have demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. He noted DHS has taken steps over the summer to strengthen security at overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.

Johnson said he has spoken to UK Home Secretary Theresa May about Britain’s decision to raise its terrorism alert to the second-highest level. It is the first time since mid-2011 that Britain has been placed on this high of an alert level.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was no plan to raise the U.S. threat assessment level.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/29/homeland-security-islamic-state-poses-no-specific-threat-within-the-united-states/

Texas GOP candidate Greg Abbott backs out of only televised debate against Wendy Davis

Source: Reuters

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – The frontrunner for the Texas race for governor, Republican Greg Abbott, has pulled out of the sole statewide televised debate, the debate’s broadcaster, WFAA-TV, said on Friday.

“Due to our inability to agree on specific details of the format, Attorney General Greg Abbott will regretfully not be participating in the WFAA debate,” Robert Black, a senior campaign adviser, was quoted as saying by WFAA on Friday.

The move comes as Abbott, the current attorney general, has seen once double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger, state Senator Wendy Davis, turn to single digits in polls among potential voters in the November election.

Republicans have won every statewide election in Texas since 1994, helping turn the state with a $1.4 trillion annual economy into an incubator for conservative policies that are often copied by other states.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/29/texas-gop-candidate-greg-abbott-backs-out-of-only-televised-debate-against-wendy-davis/

Head of powerful conservative think tank brought down by office romance gone wrong

The CEO of one of the most powerful conservative think tanks in the country has been ousted from his position after a series of revelations concerning a romance with a subordinate that went badly wrong.

According to Dallas’ D Magazine, John Goodman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) was ousted by the group’s board of directors in June for “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty.”

Goodman, 68, founded the center more than 31 years ago and has long served as its president and CEO. He has advised Republican politicians like former President George W. Bush as well as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA). Goodman is known to many as “the father of health savings accounts,” an anti-Obamacare proposal that the GOP floated as a possible alternative to the current health care system.

Now, the think tank’s board has shrunken from more than a dozen directors to five with the organization’s future uncertain.

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