Obama Picks a Labor Fight With Scott Walker

Two days ago, report Edward-Isaac Dovere and Sarah Wheaton, President Obama organized a conference call for former advisers. The president informed them that securing the administration’s legacy requires electing a successor (i.e., Hillary Clinton) who will cement rather than roll back his accomplishments. “Much in the same way that the Reagan Revolution required Bush Senior” to cement the legacy of a truly transformative president, Obama reportedly said, “we’ve got to make sure that we’re laying the foundation ... less for our benefit and more to create the political climate going into the next election so the agenda that we’ve set continues.” Meanwhile, today Obama is heading to Madison, Wisconsin, to unveil his administration’s new rule to make overtime available to 5 million new Americans earning up to $50,000 a year. “The contrast between our approach on economic issues and the governor’s is emblematic of the contrast between the president and the Republican Party at large,” an aide tells Dovere.

It is possible that these two stories have nothing to do with each other. But it’s also possible they have everything to do with each other.


A Brief History of Presidential Food Controversies

Yesterday, following a radical recipe suggestion from the New York Times, there seemed to be unanimous bipartisan agreement among politicians (and the public) that peas have no business being included in guacamole. Everyone from the Texas Republican Party to Jeb Bush to the president himself weighed in against the peas. This type of political unity over food is rare, however, as can be seen below throughout the long history of politicians interacting with food and drinks.


Why Are Conservatives Defending Donald Trump?

It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would “surge” to “second place” in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump “has a point.”



On Gay Marriage, Chris Christie Says Clerks Have to Do Their Job

Following the Supreme Court's same-sex-marriage decision, Chris Christie said he believes that the issue should have been decided by the people of each state rather than the court, but he has a responsibility to uphold the law. "I want to be clear, I don't agree with the way it was done, but it's been done, and those of us who take an oath have a responsibility to abide by that oath," he explained.

As some town clerks across the country vow that they'll go to prison before they'll violate their religious beliefs by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Christie clarified that he thinks all public officials have to uphold their oath, not just governors. "I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don't," Christie told reporters on Wednesday, according to Time. "You took the job and you took the oath," he continued. "When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it."


Malcolm Smith Gets 7 Years in Prison for Trying to Buy His Way Into the 2013 Mayoral Race

Think back a few Albany scandals and you may recall the tale of Malcolm Smith, the Democratic state senator from Queens who was caught making payments to city GOP leaders in an attempt to bribe his way onto the 2013 Republican mayoral ticket. Smith, who was briefly majority leader of the New York State Senate, was convicted on federal corruption charges in February and sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday. The maximum penalty for his crimes, which include bribery, wire fraud, extortion, and conspiracy, was 20 years. U.S. District judge Kenneth Karas said he took into consideration that Smith "didn't line his pockets," he just really, really wanted to be mayor of New York City.


15 Fun Tidbits From Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Four months after we first learned about "emailgate," on Tuesday night the State Department finally released the first batch of Hillary Clinton's emails. The roughly 3,000 pages include every email Clinton sent during 2009, her first year as secretary of State ... minus all the bits redacted by the State Department ... and the thousands of emails Clinton staffers deemed personal, which were later deleted from her private server. While there are undoubtedly teams of people scouring the documents for information that will torpedo Clinton's 2016 bid, so far the most significant findings are that controversial aide Sidney Blumenthal was sending her advice soon after she became secretary of State, and top White House staffers at the time, including David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, were aware that she was using a personal email address.

Those hoping to find a smoking gun will probably have to wait for next month's dispatch, but there are still plenty of fascinating Clinton tidbits in Tuesday's release. You can search the archive yourself, or just peruse the juiciest messages below. Some people said the whole emailgate scandal was a distraction from the real issues facing our country, but we think they'll change their tune once they read Clinton's nickname for Senator Dianne Feinstein, and more of her private thoughts on home furnishings.


Chris Christie Is Running for President — and Doesn’t Care If You Think It’s a Dumb Idea

The last few years have been tough for Chris Christie, so it was perhaps fitting that he chose to announce his presidential campaign Tuesday from the high school where he served as class president for four years. “Everything started here for me,” he said to his hometown supporters, packed into his high school gym. “The confidence, the education, the friends, the family and the love that I always felt for and from this community, when I decided to make this announcement there wasn’t any choice. I had to come home.”


Chris Christie ‘Tells It Like It Is’ (When He Isn’t Dodging the Question)

When Chris Christie becomes the 14th candidate running for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, he'll be using a campaign slogan that many find ironic: "Telling It Like It Is." The New Jersey governor hopes the line will convey that he's honest and forthright to a fault, though he's been accused of being remarkably untransparent, and Tom Moran of Newark's Star-Ledger just devoted an entire column to calling him a habitual liar.

Even if you believe that the entire Bridgegate scandal is the result of Christie being cruelly betrayed by his staff, one of the claims in the governor's introduction video is still perplexing. "In a trusting relationship you don't hold anything back, and if you're going to run for president of the United States, and you're going to ask these people for their vote, that is the single most trusting thing they can do as a citizen is to give you their support," Christie says. "So you better tell them exactly what you're thinking and exactly what you're feeling." Supposedly, that is the very essence of Christie's "moral compass," and yet if there's one thing Christie's good at (aside from berating people on the Jersey Shore while brandishing an ice-cream cone), it's refusing to answer journalists' questions about what he's thinking and feeling.


Obama Plans to Extend Overtime to Millions of Workers

It appears that last week's string of victories has made President Obama go mad with power and/or the insatiable desire to help Americans before the end of his time in office. In one of the administration's most significant efforts to address income inequality, the White House plans to make salaried workers who make up to $50,400 per year eligible for overtime pay. Currently, workers only qualify for time-and-a-half if they make under $23,660, and changing the rule could make an additional 5 million workers eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week.


Jeb Bush Belatedly Admits Confederate Flag Is ‘Racist’

After resisting calls to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol following the shooting in Charleston, last week South Carolina lawmakers said the "sign of hate" should come down. Over the next few days, various retailers and state governments declared that they would ban the symbol as well, Americans tried to cover up their Confederate tattoos, and activist Bree Newsome took down South Carolina's flag herself. Then, on Monday, Jeb Bush finally decided to go out on a limb and call the flag "racist."


Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion


In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon