FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2012 file photo, Maine independent Senate candidate Angus King speaks at a news conference in Brunswick, Maine. King's opponent, Republican Charlie Summers is getting another television boost _ the biggest yet _ in the U.S. Senate race in Maine. A National Republican Senate Committee official says $600,000 is being spent over the next two weeks. The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official tells The Associated Press that Maine is one of three states where the committee is currently engaged. AP

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Out of Opportunities

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought nearly $3 million in ads to help elect Robin Kelly, a gun-control supporter, in Illinois's 2nd District primary over former Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson on Tuesday. Now he is being hailed as a kingmaker. But the Republican mayor won't exert much influence on the current Congress, no matter how much the billionaire spends on the midterms. In 2014, nearly every vulnerable senator represents a conservative-leaning state where a gun-control campaign could backfire. (Of four targets a Bloomberg adviser named, only one, North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, is up in 2014.)

Meanwhile, in the House, few gun-friendly Democrats remain; more than half of the Blue Dog members lost or left over the past two cycles. Those still around are in conservative districts, where gun control is a nonstarter even in a primary. Likewise, only 16 House Republicans represent districts President Obama carried, and several of them already support expanded gun controls.

But all politics is still local. Bloomberg played a significant role in consolidating establishment support behind Kelly and running ads against her opponent in Chicago's South Side, where gun anxiety is especially rife. The message won't easily translate to the rural battlegrounds Democrats are defending next year.

Josh Kraushaar

The Business (Attire) of Politics

After a Republican colleague lamented some lawmakers' shabby dress, Speaker John Boehner took to the floor Tuesday for a motherly scolding. "Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor might be," Boehner said, adding sternly: "You know who you are." The rebuke was apparently prompted by this tweet by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.: "Looks like #sequester is already hitting wardrobes of members of Congress. I saw ppl wearing jeans & khakis on House floor."

Mike Magner

Murmurs

Hairy Caucus The Senate's new independent member, Angus King of Maine, is mulling a Facial Hair Caucus, with membership taken at face value — literally. It would include King and Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who have whiskers of some sort. "Maybe that can be the beginning to solving the sequestration," King joked. He said he needs to create a Twitter account for his moustache to keep up with Coburn, whose beard has more than 900 followers on the social-media site. "We can't let him getahead of us on that," King said.

Parry, Riposte It takes a lot to get a rise out of Ben Bernanke. He knows that heaving a sigh or raising an eyebrow can move markets, so he prefers a reserved mien. But when Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., suggested Tuesday that the Fed chairman had traded in his autonomy to help lift the economy, Bernanke finally lost his patience. At the Banking Committee hearing, Corker asked, "Do you concern yourself at all with the Fed being viewed as, you know, not as independent as it used to be and working so closely with many of these institutions that you regulate?" Bernanke fired back: "We're concerned of our perception, that's true, that's true. But none of the things you said are accurate."

Out of Opportunities

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought nearly $3 million in ads to help elect Robin Kelly, a gun-control supporter, in Illinois's 2nd District primary over former Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson on Tuesday. Now he is being hailed as a kingmaker. But the Republican mayor won't exert much influence on the current Congress, no matter how much the billionaire spends on the midterms. In 2014, nearly every vulnerable senator represents a conservative-leaning state where a gun-control campaign could backfire. (Of four targets a Bloomberg adviser named, only one, North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, is up in 2014.)

Meanwhile, in the House, few gun-friendly Democrats remain; more than half of the Blue Dog members lost or left over the past two cycles. Those still around are in conservative districts, where gun control is a nonstarter even in a primary. Likewise, only 16 House Republicans represent districts President Obama carried, and several of them already support expanded gun controls.

But all politics is still local. Bloomberg played a significant role in consolidating establishment support behind Kelly and running ads against her opponent in Chicago's South Side, where gun anxiety is especially rife. The message won't easily translate to the rural battlegrounds Democrats are defending next year.

Josh Kraushaar

The Business (Attire) of Politics

After a Republican colleague lamented some lawmakers' shabby dress, Speaker John Boehner took to the floor Tuesday for a motherly scolding. "Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor might be," Boehner said, adding sternly: "You know who you are." The rebuke was apparently prompted by this tweet by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.: "Looks like #sequester is already hitting wardrobes of members of Congress. I saw ppl wearing jeans & khakis on House floor."

Mike Magner

Murmurs

Hairy Caucus The Senate's new independent member, Angus King of Maine, is mulling a Facial Hair Caucus, with membership taken at face value — literally. It would include King and Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who have whiskers of some sort. "Maybe that can be the beginning to solving the sequestration," King joked. He said he needs to create a Twitter account for his moustache to keep up with Coburn, whose beard has more than 900 followers on the social-media site. "We can't let him getahead of us on that," King said.

Parry, Riposte It takes a lot to get a rise out of Ben Bernanke. He knows that heaving a sigh or raising an eyebrow can move markets, so he prefers a reserved mien. But when Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., suggested Tuesday that the Fed chairman had traded in his autonomy to help lift the economy, Bernanke finally lost his patience. At the Banking Committee hearing, Corker asked, "Do you concern yourself at all with the Fed being viewed as, you know, not as independent as it used to be and working so closely with many of these institutions that you regulate?" Bernanke fired back: "We're concerned of our perception, that's true, that's true. But none of the things you said are accurate."

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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