Morning Must Reads: May 22

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Washington. The New Hampshire primary is gaining influence at the expense of the Iowa caucuses—a win for more moderate candidates like Jeb Bush. The Pentagon’s tongue-twisting on the fall of Ramadi comes at a cost. And Obama dreams of Cuba as he works to soothe Jewish concerns over the emerging Iran deal. Here are your Friday must reads:

Must Reads

Why New Hampshire Will Be the First Real Test for Republicans
Iowa’s importance is waning, and that’s only good for the first-in-the-nation primary, TIME’s Philip Elliott writes

Rove’s Crossroads PAC Is No Longer G.O.P.’s ‘Big Dog’
The former Bush adviser’s political groups are being supplanted in the early days of the 2016 race (New York Times)

Clinton Foundation Reveals Millions in Previously Undisclosed Speaker Payments
The foundations plays it loose on its transparency pledge (Washington Post)

Obama Seeks to Boost Ties With Jewish Americans Amid Iran Talks
The president steps up his outreach effort as negotiations continue (Wall Street Journal)

Jeb Bush: George W. Spent Too Much Money
The former Florida Gov. finds another breaking point with his brother (Politico)

Student Debt Is Hot Topic for 2016 Field
Democrats call for more aid, while Republicans stress cost controls (Wall Street Journal)

Pentagon Rhetoric About Ramadi’s Fall Risks U.S. Credibility
TIME’s Mark Thompson looks beyond the Pentagon spin

Sound Off

“Let me tell you something that was even sadder, was just how many Republicans ran for the hills. I’ll point out some of the Republicans running in 2016 were nowhere to be found when Indiana was being fought. I will tell you this—I will always, always, always stand and fight for religious liberty of every American.” — Sen Ted. Cruz showing off his conservative credentials to a group of pastors in Washington Thursday

“I know there’s one person particularly that hopes President Obama will be in Havana at some point in the — at some point in the relatively recent future, and that’s President Obama himself.” —White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest teasing the potential for Obama to be the first sitting president to visit Cuba in more than 50 years

Bits and Bites

A whole new world of campaign tech (Boston Globe)

Rick Santorum rips Fox News over ‘arbitrary’ debate rules (National Journal)

Chris Christie teases New Jersey news media with profanity, jokes (for charity) (New York Times)

Senators offer compromise on domestic surveillance changes (Associated Press)

Ron Paul ads warn of financial crisis (Wall Street Journal)

Test your campaign gimmicks knowledge (Boston Globe)


Morning Must Reads: May 21

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good Thursday morning from Washington. Fox and CNN have set the criteria for the first Republican presidential debates, causing heartburn for candidates polling within the margin of error of zero. Sen. Rand Paul spoke for 10.5 hours on the Senate floor, while his campaign tried to build momentum online. And Pope Francis is coming to Washington in four months and that has Democrats celebrating and many Republicans nervous, or worse. Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Good Thursday morning from Washington. Fox and CNN have set the criteria for the first Republican presidential debates, causing heartburn for candidates polling within the margin of error of zero. Sen. Rand Paul spoke for 10.5 hours on the Senate floor, while his campaign tried to build momentum online. And Pope Francis is coming to Washington in four months and that has Democrats celebrating and many Republicans nervous, or worse. Here are your must reads:

Sound Off

Why This Red State is Poised to End the Death Penalty
It would be the first to do so since 1973, TIME’s Alex Altman explains

Pope Francis Goes to Washington
TIME’s Elizabeth Dias on the politics of the pontiff’s upcoming U.S. visit

Rand Paul Bets the Campaign on ‘Filibuster’
The 10-hour show was accompanied by a major organizing and fundraising push from his presidential campaign (Politico)

Super PAC Backing Hillary Clinton is Struggling to Raise Money
The candidate has promised to fight against unlimited money in politics, but she needs it too (Wall Street Journal)

The Clintons And the Ponzi Schemers
Questionable associations highlight Clinton access woes (BuzzFeed)

Fox News Just Made the Republican Primary More Exciting
Limiting the field to 10 candidates will narrow the field (Politico)

NSA May Need to Begin Winding Down Surveillance Program
A controversial spying program is likely to lose its congressional authorization (Washington Post)

Bits and Bites

“I’m not going to be in a witness protection program. I’m a Bush. I’m proud of it.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on not fleeing from his liability of a last name

“I’m reminded of the movie The Blues Brothers: ‘Jake, we’ve got to get the band back together again.’” — Sen. Ted Cruz loosely quoting the comedy classic as he backs up 2016 rival Rand Paul’s really long speech


Morning Must Reads: May 20

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Washington. Hillary Clinton took (a few) questions from the press after a month-long gap, but that isn’t the only strain on her go-small campaign. Congress is tackling the important issues, like bringing sledding back to the Capitol. And Herman Cain’s (remember him?) former campaign email list is preparing you for the end times.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Hillary Clinton Faces the Limits of the Controlled Campaign
TIME’ Sam Frizell reports from Iowa on the Clinton message machine

A 2016 Theme Emerges: Money, Money, Money
It’s tripping up candidates left and right (Washington Post)

Half of Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Fees Came From Groups Also Lobbying Congress
TIME’s Philip Elliott explores the intersection of Clinton’s personal and professional ambitions

Conservatives Declare Victory in Battle Against Government Bank
Opponents see momentum against the Export Import Bank reauthorization (Politico)

Why Young People Don’t Want to Run For Office
TIME’s Katy Steinmetz talks with the authors of a new book

Sound Off

“I’m probably the most scrutinized politician in America.” — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to CNN on Tuesday on Capitol Hill where he was meeting with lawmakers

‘The president’s request for an Authorization of Use of Military Force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible … This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the Authorization of Use of Military Force and start over.” — Speaker John Boehner, calling on President Obama to submit a new request for authority to attack ISIS

Bits and Bites

Herman Cain fans hear about the apocalpyse (TIME)

White House threatens trade bill veto (TIME)

Obama links climate change to national security (Washington Post)

Congress wants to bring sledding back to Capitol Hill (Washington Post)

Fundraiser puts spotlight on Clinton Foundation finances (Politico)


Morning Must Reads: May 19

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Washington. The State Department says the full release of Hillary Clinton’s emails won’t come until weeks before the Iowa Caucuses, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t causing trouble now. Obama joins Twitter and Chris Christie has an … interesting … explanation for why his poll numbers are dropping in New Jersey.

Must Reads

Why Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Isn’t the Most Liberal Ever (TIME)

The public has shifted

Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business (NYT)
A Clinton loyalist’s efforts reveal potential conflicts

State Department Plans to Release Hillary Clinton’s Emails in January 2016 (Politico)
Release delayed by months

At Same-Sex Wedding, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Emphasizes the Word ‘Constitution’ (NYT)
Reading the SCOTUS tea leaves

2016 Hopefuls Look for Love in a Very Wrong Place (Politico)
The race for support from D.C.

Sound Off

“They want me to stay.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie explaining to Fox News why his poll numbers are dropping in his home state as he eyes a White House run

“I can share around if you like, but it seems like a thin conspiracy theory.” — Top Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan to the then-Secretary of State in a newly reveals batch of emails detailing Clinton’s correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal over Libya

Bits and Bites

Obama joins Twitter, again

Nothing cartoonish about Jeb Bush’s Iowa trip

Rick Santorum claims that he’s responsible for the ‘crushing sanctions’ on Iran

More Clinton fees to be disclosed

Another day, another press dodge for Clinton



Morning Must Reads: May 18

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Washington. President Obama will travel to Camden, N.J., this afternoon to tour a police operations center and visit with local youth, in his latest effort to raise awareness about police-community relations following turmoil in Ferguson and Baltimore. Obama will also unveil the results of a report he ordered on the transfer of military-style equipment to police forces, instituting new approval requirements and banning many transfers of camouflage uniforms and grenade launchers that the Administration says are more militaristic in nature.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will skip Obama’s visit to his state in order to deliver remarks on foreign policy in New Hampshire in the latest effort to resurrect his presidential hopes. Breaking with civil libertarians in both parties, Christie will deliver a strong defense of the National Security Agency’s spying programs, calling most privacy fears “baloney.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is returning to Iowa today where she will attend a grassroots organizing event in Mason City.

Must Reads

Republican Candidates Dodge Immigration Questions (TIME)
It’s not their favorite topic

Obama to Limit Military-Style Equipment for Police Forces (NYT)
After Ferguson, Baltimore, White House to order changes

Energized Republicans Put On a Campaign Show in Iowa (TIME)
Joe Klein assesses the GOP field

Sensing a voter shift, Clinton tacks to the left (WP)
Hillary Clinton is running as the most liberal presidential front-runner in decades

Christie to Call For Larger Military, Defend Intelligence Collection (TIME)
Caters to GOP’s hawkish wing

Sound Off

“I don’t understand the question you’re asking,” — Sen. Marco Rubio to Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace during a length back-and-forth over the invasion of Iraq

“Thousands of years of culture and history is just being changed at warp speed. It’s hard to fathom why it is this way.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the Christian Broadcasting Network Sunday, saying he does not believe the Constitution provides for a right to same-sex marriage

Bits and Bites

Pentagon faulted in assault cases

GOP: Business lobby blowing it on trade

Defense bills cause transparency jitters

Ben Carson makes faulty Lincoln analogy

Sanders to introduce bill to make college tuition-free

Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez appears to disparage American Indians


Morning Must Reads: May 15

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Scottsdale, where the Republican National Committee is holding its spring meeting. Eight months away from the Iowa caucuses, the Republican Party is bracing itself for a greatly intensified primary next year, with many operatives predicting a drawn-out delegate fight to the nomination. The key cause: a crowded and unusually talented field that is bolstered by unlimited sums from super PACs. But party efforts to condense the primary calendar after 2012 may have made the situation worse for the GOP.

On the trail: On Saturday, 11 potential and actual Republican candidates will gather for the latest cattle-call at the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, with candidates limited to 10 minutes of speaking time each—which means the 5:30 p.m. dinner will be lucky to end by 10 p.m. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has scheduled her second visits to Iowa and New Hampshire since announcing her candidacy for next week.

Must Reads

Republicans Prepare for Painstaking Nomination Fight (TIME)
Insiders expect a fight like Democrats had in 2008—just with more candidates

Republican Party to Vote In Support of Religious Freedom Laws (TIME)
Undeterred by controversy after Indiana and Arkansas RFRAs

Jeb Bush Reverses Himself: ‘I Would Not Have Gone Into Iraq’ (TIME)
But says the war was “worth it” for the families of those who died

Democrats Play Hardball on Voting Laws Ahead of 2016 (TIME)
The party steps up its efforts to expand early voting

Clinton’s Litmus Test for Supreme Court Nominees: Pledge to Overturn Citizens United (WP)
Even as she takes courts super PAC money

Benghazi Panel Wants Documents Before Hillary Clinton Testifies (NYT)
Testimony delayed

Sound Off

“I’m going to filibuster. I’m going to do everything it takes to block a short-term extension.” — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on efforts to extend the controversial PATRIOT Act, which is set to expire at the end of the month.

“Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?” — Speaker of the House John Boehner to a reporter asking about this week’s Amtrak derailment and criticism over transportation funding

Bits and Bites

House passes Iran review bill, sending it to Obama

From Rand flip-flops to Hillary bumper stickers

Why presidential candidates must answer hypotheticals

Clinton backs Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

What 2016 Republicans look like with John Bolton’s mustache


Morning Must Reads: May 14

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.


Good morning from Phoenix, where this reporter found out the hard way that Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Four GOP presidential candidates will make their pitch here this week to the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting, where party leaders are gathered to review plans for the primary debates and begin preparations for next year’s national convention. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was first last night, making a pitch to the governing body that she is best equipped to attack Hillary Clinton in the general election. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is still struggling to clean up comments about the Iraq War, will speak tonight after holding a town hall in Tempe. Back on the East Coast, President Obama is hosting Gulf leaders at Camp David for a summit on countering the Islamic State and Iran.

Must Reads

The Republicans’ Iraq Trap (TIME)
Jeb Bush isn’t the only GOPer with an Iraq problem

House Passes Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks (CNN)
Republicans lavish praise, while Clinton seizes opportunity to rally her base

No State Left Unturned for Clinton (TIME)
Inside the Democratic front-runner’s grassroots efforts

Why Democrats Overcame In-Fighting on Trade (TIME)
After a setback, Obama gets his win

Pollsters Struggle to Assess 19 GOP Contenders (Politico)
A problem for everything from media coverage to debate qualifications

House Votes to End N.S.A.’s Bulk Phone Data Collection (New York Times)
All eyes on a divided Senate

Sound Off

“His desire is peace and prosperity, he wants everyone to be better off…My interest as an elected official is the national security of the United States and embedded in that is the belief that it is not good for our people—or the people of Cuba—for an anti-American dictatorship 90 miles from our shores.” — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dismissing Pope Francis’ efforts on Cuba and Palestine after a foreign policy address Wednesday

“My only regret is the backlash,” — David Keating, the creator of the super PAC and an unabashed proponent of money in politics takes a victory lap

Bits and Bites

O’Malley plans May 30 announcement

Bush declares his candidacy by accident

Lawmakers approve Amtrak budget cut hours after deadly crash

10 members of Congress took trip secretly funded by foreign government

Rick Perry PAC claims “Momentum”


Morning Must Reads: May 13

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good morning from Washington. President Obama will host Gulf leaders at Camp David today—or at least those who showed up. The White House is struggling to manage the snub of some area leaders who have doubts about U.S. efforts to combat the Islamic State and to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In the political realm, the White House is dealing with a revolt from the president’s own party which at least temporarily blocked his free trade agenda Tuesday.

On the campaign trail, it’s now clear that both parties are testing the limits of campaign finance rules this cycle. Correct the Record, the Clinton-allied subsidiary of Democratic super PAC American Bridge, announced Tuesday it is becoming a stand-alone group to directly coordinate with the Clinton campaign. The move exploits a loophole that only prohibits coordination between campaigns and outside groups on direct expenditures—not the army of researchers the group will employ. This follows efforts by Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and others to outsource the early stages of their presidential campaigns to super PACs on the technicality that they haven’t formally announced their candidacies

Must Reads

Marco Rubio Shifts Rightward on Foreign Policy (TIME)
The birth of a hawk

Jeb Bush Will Skip the Iowa Straw Poll (Des Moines Register)
Despite reform, Bush will skip pre-caucus event that boosted father, brother

White House Baby Boom Highlights Obama Policy Agenda (TIME)
Paid family leave gets a bump

Did Senate Democrats Just Kill Obama’s Free Trade Deal? (TIME)
Obama faces embarrassing setback

How a Super PAC Plans to Coordinate Directly with the Clinton Campaign (Washington Post)
The next step in the evolution of super PACs

Sound Off

“To put all your eggs in the first two or three states doesn’t really make a lot of sense from our prospective. So we are looking at opportunities where we think we can do well.” — Former Sen. Rick Santorum, telling the Boston Globe he doesn’t intend to spend much time in New Hampshire, where he is an afterthought in the state’s first in the nation primary

“I don’t think you can honestly say that if knew then that there was no WMD that the country should have gone to war. So, my answer would be no.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on CNN Tuesday criticizing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s comments on the Iraq War this weekend

Bits and Bites

Obama Foundation walks fine line in efforts to raise $500 million

February primary election could replace Nevada presidential caucus

A tiny New Hampshire town gets its chance to vote early

How Bill Clinton’s library promotes Hillary too

Obama pressed on how he talks to the black community

Judge sets September deadline on Clinton records


Morning Must Reads: May 12

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Greetings and Good Morning Mustreaders,

TIME recently launched TIME Politics, a morning email newsletter digest of what you need to know every morning to stay on top of the 2016 campaign. Since Morning Must Reads started many years ago as a Swampland political digest, we have decided to return to our roots by posting the TIME politics digest here, instead of The Brief. But you should make sure to get both in your email. So please make sure to subscribe below, and enjoy the campaign. We’re just getting started.

Michael Scherer
DC Bureau Chief

Good morning from Washington, where poverty and inequality are on the agenda. President Obama will join Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard University, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, at Georgetown for a wide-ranging discussion. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will appear together as he unveils his “Progressive Agenda”—cast as a version of the old 1990s Contract with America for the left. The liberal icons are fighting to hold former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accountable to the Democratic base, even as she is the far-and-away front-runner for the nomination.

Across the aisle, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is out with a new tax plan, that he argues will stimulate economic growth. The issue will rear its head once more on the Senate floor, where lawmakers are voting on granting Obama Trade Promotion Authority to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Proponents and detractors of the free trade deal cast it respectively as an engine for revived economic growth and another burden on underpaid workers.

Must Reads

Obama Moves Closer to Inking Pacific Trade Deal (TIME)
Senate expected to pass trade promotion authority Tuesday

De Blasio, Warren Escalate Pressure on Clinton (Politico)
A new Contract with America

Rand Paul Campaign Takes a Licking in New Hampshire (TIME)
Campaign tracking takes a turn for the bizarre

Jeb Bush Leans on Nonprofit As He Prepares Run (Washington Post)
Frontiers of campaign finance

Pope Francis’ Poverty Agenda Draws President Obama (TIME)
An unlikely gathering

Texas Bill Would Bar Officials From Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses (Washington Post)
A last-ditch effort to tie up Supreme Court ruling

Sound Off

“Some people are generally pro-trade or anti-trade. She’s case-by-case on trade.” — Gene Sperling, director of the White House’s National Economic Council in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, on Hillary Clinton

“Why so few improvements were made at the [State Departments’ Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi, Libya], why so few State Department security officers were protecting the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, why they allowed him to travel there on the anniversary of 9/11, and why they allowed him to spend the night in Benghazi are unclear.” — Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell in an excerpt of his new book published in Politico addressing the attacks of 9/11/12

Bits and Bites

First Republican presidential debate on track for Aug. 6 in Cleveland

Obama Foundation selects Chicago to host presidential library

Chris Christie outlines his economic plan

Report by Clinton adviser proposes ‘rewriting’ decades of economic policy


Morning Must Reads: May 11

Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Texas Storm Wreaks Havoc

About two dozen people were injured and some homes were destroyed after a severe storm struck the small town of Van in northeast Texas, an emergency management official said. The storm was part of severe weather that stretched across north Texas on Sunday

Conservative Battle on the Horizon

Despite winning a majority in the British election, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives aren’t guaranteed smooth sailing

Castro Thanks Pope Francis

Cuba’s President received a warm Vatican welcome on Sunday from the Pope, who played a key role in the breakthrough between Havana and Washington

Suspects Charged in Cop Killings

Two Mississippi police officers were shot to death during an evening traffic stop that turned violent on Saturday night, marking the first deaths in the line of duty in Hattiesburg in three decades. Two of three suspects in custody are charged with capital murder

Swedish Court Rejects Assange Appeal

Sweden’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Monday by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to revoke an arrest warrant over sexual assault. The order was brought by Swedish prosecutors in 2010 following a set of allegations against Assange

South African Opposition Party Elects First Black Leader

South Africa’s main opposition group on Sunday chose its first black leader at a party congress, seeking to expand its appeal in a country whose ruling party has dominated since the first all-race elections in 1994

Saudi King to Miss Gulf Nation Summit in U.S.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister says that King Salman will not attend an upcoming summit of heads of Gulf Cooperation Council countries at Camp David. The White House had previously said Obama would meet one-on-one with Salman before Thursday’s summit

Rickie Fowler Wins Players Championship

Rickie Fowler, facing a five-shot deficit with six holes to play, produced the greatest finish in the 34-year history of the TPC Sawgrass. In a three-man playoff on three of the most visually intimidating holes in golf, he never backed down

Benedict Cumberbatch Passed Over for BAFTA Award Again

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch failed to grab a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award on Sunday for another year in a row. Cumberbatch, who did not attend the ceremony, has had his name thrown into the ring three times for Sherlock

Elizabeth Wilson, of The Graduateand Quiz Show, Dies at 94

Elizabeth Wilson, who played Dustin Hoffman’s mother in The Graduate, has died at 94. Wilson’s first role was an uncredited appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. She would later receive a proper credit for Hitchcock as Helen Carter in the 1963 thriller The Birds

Ebola Survivor Gives Powerful Commencement Speech

Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia, told graduates of the Indiana University School of Medicine on Saturday that failure isn’t the focus of being a physician: “The most important thing we do is enter into the suffering of others”

Avengers: Age of Ultron Dominates Weekend Box Office

Disney and Marvel’s film soared ahead of the pack, taking in $77 million from North American theaters, and well ahead of the debut of the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara cop comedy Hot Pursuit, which scored just $13 million

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