Bill Clinton's heading back to the trail.
As he's done the past couple of election cycles, the former President will be helping fellow Democrats. But this time around, his campaigning comes with the prospect of his wife making a second bid for the White House in 2016.
Clinton, who's arguably his party's biggest rock star on the campaign trail, will be in Louisville on Tuesday to help Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundregan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The top Senate Republican is running this year for a sixth term.
Clinton has been a tireless campaigner in recent years, and he was the highest of high-profile surrogates for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. He gave an impassioned nominating speech for the President at the party's national convention in Charlotte.
Clinton often stumps for fellow Democrats in red or purple states, such as Kentucky, where Obama is not very popular.
"President Clinton has the unique ability to travel to red states to reach Reagan Democrats that most Democratic surrogates do not," Democratic strategist Ben LaBolt told CNN.
"Kentucky has more registered Democrats than Republicans, but they often split their ticket between state and federal candidates. President Clinton could help tip the scales," added LaBolt, who worked for Obama from his Senate years through 2012 and served as national press secretary for his re-election campaign.
The Clintons have a strong track record in Kentucky. Bill Clinton carried the state in his 1992 presidential election and his 1996 re-election, and Hillary Clinton did extremely well there, winning the 2008 Kentucky Democratic primary in a landslide over Obama.
"Bill Clinton resonates here. He knows how to talk to people here, being from Arkansas, in a way that a lot of other national politicians do not," said a top Kentucky Democrat, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more openly. "I would imagine we'll see plenty of the former President here in Kentucky this year."
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A New York Times Magazine cover story about Hillary Clinton was getting reaction online even before the piece was released. But it was the cover itself that has created the buzz.
Clinton's face is set on a planet against a celestial background, surrounded by multiple circles of friends above the headline "Planet Hillary."
Amy Chozick, the New York Times political reporter who wrote the piece, discussed the provocative nature of the cover.
"I didn't pick the cover. But when they showed it to me, I definitely thought, 'Oh, this is going to receive a lot of reaction,' " Chozick said Friday on CNN's "New Day."
Most likely mindful of the reaction, the magazine explained in anonline piece Thursday evening how the cover came about. "When we created the cover of this Sunday's magazine to accompany Amy Chozick's article – to be published online tomorrow – about Hillary Rodham Clinton's influence on the various people within her political universe, the immediate idea that came to mind was Clinton's face embedded on a planet," Arem Duplessis, the magazine's design director wrote.
The provocative cover quickly trended on social networks even before the Friday morning release of the piece online. According to Topsy, a social search and analytics company, as of 8:30 a.m. ET Friday morning, "Planet Hillary" had more than 2,800 mentions on Twitter over the past day. And mentions of Hillary Clinton had topped 6,200 over the past 24 hours, the second-highest total for Clinton in the past month.
Some in the Clinton orbit say the cover is disrespectful.
"It's goofy. It's embarrassing for the magazine. Seventeen out of the last 20 years Hillary Clinton has been voted in the Gallup poll as the most admired women in the world and this is how they depict her?" said Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, a close adviser and friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton for over two decades.
The story itself looks at the universe surrounding the Clintons and the challenges in organizing that universe for a potential 2016 president bid by Hillary Clinton.
"I found that the Clintons are unlike any other political family in terms of how they have collected people, literally since Bill Clinton's kindergarten class, they have been collecting friends, advisers, donors, people who feel a stake in now, her future, and want their voices heard. In 2008 we saw a lot of cooks in the kitchen because of this vast network," Chozick told CNN. "So I think the big question is how do you make all these people feel involved and feel heard without creating that same chaos that destroyed her the last time."
The worst Congress ever.
That's the verdict from two-thirds of Americans about the track record of the 113th Congress, according to a new national poll.
And a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday also indicates that nearly three-quarters of the public say that this has been a "do-nothing" Congress, CNN's Dana Bash reports.
Two-thirds of those questioned said the current Congress is the worst in their lifetime, with 28% disagreeing.
"That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young, old – all think this year's Congress has been the worst they can remember," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Older Americans – who have lived through more congresses – hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes."
According to the survey, 73% say that this Congress has so far done nothing to address the country's problems, with one in four disagreeing.
Even though it did pass a budget agreement, fewer than 60 bills have been signed into law during the first year of the two-year long 113th Congress, according to CNN analysis and by other news organizations as well. Assuming lawmakers don't pick up the pace next year, and that's a safe bet as 2014 is an election year, this will become the least productive Congress in at least the last four decades.
The poll also indicates there's little optimism for the future.
"Negative attitudes extend to both sides of the aisle: 52% believe that the policies of the Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction; 54% say the same about the policies of congressional Republicans," Holland said.
And 54% say the same thing about President Barack Obama's policies
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker holds a double-digit lead over Republican candidate Steve Lonegan on the eve of a special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey, according to the latest polls.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning indicates Booker, the Democratic nominee, is ahead of Lonegan 54%-40% among likely voters in the Garden State, with 5% unsure. Booker's 14-point lead over Lonegan is virtually unchanged from Quinnipiac's previous poll, which was released last week.
Popular among voters, Booker has still be criticized for being away from his constituents at length.
To that Booker says, “The modern mayor is not going to be able to sit behind his desk and wait for opportunity to come.”
Meanwhile, New Jersey voters know very little about Booker’s personal life, which he gets questioned about often.
“For me at the end of the day, I just believe that we should be electing people on the content of their character, the quality of their ideas, or dedication to their cause—not on who they’re dating.”