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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) Off The Sidelines political action committee sent out a fundraising email on Tuesday in support of Colorado state Sen. Angela Giron (D), who is facing a recall election after voting in favor of new gun restrictions earlier this year.

"When Colorado passed new gun safety laws with an 18-17 vote, Democrat Angela Giron bravely cast the deciding vote," Gillibrand wrote in the email received by TPM.

The senator from New York went on to say, "We can’t allow them to defeat Angela. It will encourage them to launch more attacks on strong women – who stand up for what’s right – in states across the country."

Giron and three other lawmakers in the state legislature have been targeted by pro-gun groups after voting to tighten the state's gun laws. The groups have been able to trigger recall elections for Giron and Colorado state Senate President John Morse (D).

(h/t: Capital New York.)

This post has been updated.

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Same-sex marriage efforts in New Mexico took another step forward Monday with yet another state judge ruling that a county clerk could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling, in a Bernalillo County case, is the second in the last week in which a state court judge has empowered a county clerk to sanction same-sex marriages. The county clerk in yet a third county began issuing licenses on his own last week.

On Monday afternoon New Mexico District Judge Alan Malott ordered Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. Malott's ruling comes a week after county clerks in Doña Ana County and Santa Fe County each began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When one of the couples in the case originally applied for a license from Oliver, they were denied, prompting the lawsuit filed by the ACLU in March. The case has been pending since then.

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A large group of Republican lawmakers in New Mexico are considering filing suit to block county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, TPM has learned.

The group of legislators was poised to file suit Friday to enjoin Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins from granting any more marriage licenses to same sex couples, something Ellins had begun doing earlier this week. But the group is now reconsidering its options after a second county clerk was orderd by a state court to begin issuing same sex licenses. That order, by District Judge Sarah Singleton to Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar, was issued on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by a gay couple seeking to get married in the state.

State Sen. Bill Sharer (R-NM) told TPM that he and roughly 30 of his colleagues in the state legislature had been planning to file an injunction to stop Ellins from continuing to issue marriage licenses. Now lawyers on behalf of Sharer are considering new legal options in response to Singleton's court order.

"Does the county clerk simply get to decide what the law says? If this county clerk gets to decide what the law is, then what's to decide some other county clerk somewhere else in the country from deciding what the law is?"  Sharer said to TPM on Friday.

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is having some fun with the attention he's getting concerning his citizenship.

Cruz appeared at a tech event at the National Instruments Co. building in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. As the press was ushered out of the room at the beginning of the event Cruz said "I promise that while y'all are out I'll try not to give any like really juicy piece of crazy news."

"I am secretly a citizen of Ethiopia," Cruz added, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Cruz released his birth certificate last week to extinguish concerns that he is not an American citizen and therefore ineligible to run for president. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother, making him a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. On Monday Cruz said he would renounce his Canadian citizenship.

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New Mexico's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a local wedding photography business in Albuquerque violated state law by refusing to photograph a lesbian couple seeking the company's services.

The state's highest court found that Elane Photography's decision to refuse to serve the couple was an act of discrimination under the state's Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. The owners of Elane Photography argued they were exercising their rights of free speech and religion in refusing to photograph the couple's ceremony.

Earlier in the week, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins received national attention for issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Ellins argued that New Mexico's ambiguous laws on gay marriage did not prohibit him from granting the licenses.

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The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will file a new lawsuit against Texas over the state's controversial voter identification law, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

"Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights. The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs."

The Justice Department had already intervened in a separate case to block Texas' redistricting map, contending that it, too, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. 

The moves from the Justice Department come in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in June to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which required certain states to get permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws, the so-called preclearance requirement. But the high court's decision left intact Section 2, which gives the federal government similar preclearance powers over jurisdictions with a history of intentional discrimination. The Justice Department is now arguing that the Texas voter ID law was adopted to deliberately disenfranchise voters and therefore violates Section 2.

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Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) is supporting Hillary Clinton for president rather than gearing up for his own 2016 presidential run —for now.

"At this point, I'm supporting Hillary Clinton," Dean told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday in Iowa. Dean was the keynote speaker at the 57th annual Iowa Federation of Labor Convention.

Clinton, like Dean, has not said whether she plans to run for president in 2016 but many consider her a strong potential candidate. Dean previously ran for president in 2004 and recently has joined a number of potential 2016 presidential hopefuls in touring early primary states. In addition to Iowa, he's also traveled to the early primary state of New Hampshire.

Dean refused to answer a followup question by the Register on another presidential run.

"Ahhgh, we're done here," Dean said when asked if he was ruling out running in 2016. "Thank you."

In June Dean indicated an interest in running for president again. He said he had "mixed feelings" about running but would consider it depending on the other 2012 presidential candidates.

"I am not driven by my own ambition," Dean said at the Netroots Nation conference according to CNN. "What I am driven by is pushing the country in a direction that it desperately needs to be pushed; pushing other politicians who aren't quite as frank as I am who need to be more candidate with the American people about what needs to happen. I am not trying to hedge, it's a hard job running. It's really tough. I am doing a lot of things I really enjoy. But you should never say never in this business."

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A group of strange bedfellows in Indiana is fighting a push by state lawmakers to tighten the already strict gay marriage ban there.

The group, Freedom Indiana, is run by a Republican operative and includes two corporate giants headquartered in Indiana: the Eli Lilly Company, the pharmaceutical concern, and Cummins, Inc., the diesel engine manufacturer.

"We've understood that embracing diverse backgrounds makes our company more competitive," Jon Mills, external communications director for Cummins, told TPM on Wednesday. "We think it just creates a stronger and more competitive work environment."

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Former Homeland Security adviser Juliette Kayyem announced Wednesday that she will run for governor of Massachusetts.

Kayyem, a Democrat, currently lectures at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Prior to her lecturing post Kayyem served as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security under Janet Napolitano. Kayyem joins four other Democrats who plan on running for governor. So far no Republicans have entered the race. The general election is scheduled for November 2014.



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Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) said Monday it would be a "dream come true" to impeach President Barack Obama.

Bentivolio's comments came in response to a question about impeaching the president during the August 2013 Birmingham Bloomfield Republican Club Meeting on Monday.  

"You know if I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true," Bentivolio said. "I feel your pain and I know. I stood 12 feet away from that guy and listened to him and I couldn't stand being there. But because he is president I have to respect the office. That's my job as a congressman. I respect the office."

Bentivolio added that he's met with lawyers about impeaching Obama.

"I went to my office and I've had lawyers come in," Bentivolio added. "These are lawyers, PhDs in history and I said 'tell me how I can impeach the President of the United States."

But, the Michigan congressman continued, there first has to be evidence to impeach the president.

"Until we have evidence, you're going to become a laughing stock if you've submitted the bill to impeach the president because number one, you've got to convince the press," Bentivolio continued. "There are some people out there no matter what Obama does he's still the greatest president they've ever had. That's what you're fighting."

The comments and video were first flagged by Buzzfeed. Watch below at the 28:00 mark:

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