POLITICS: PennAve

White House expects Dems to keep control of Senate

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Politics,Barack Obama,2014 Elections,2016 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Mike Lee,Jay Carney,Washington Examiner,Magazine,Terri Lynn Land

White House press secretary Jay Carney predicted that Democrats would keep control of the Senate in 2014, even as many progressives express concerns that Republicans are poised to win back the upper chamber.

“The Democratic Party is not going to lose control of the Senate, in our view,” Carney said when pressed repeatedly about how President Obama would influence congressional races this fall.

Vulnerable Democrats fear that the botched rollout of Obamacare and the economy’s slow recovery will hurt their midterm hopes — and some are keeping their distance from the president.

Republicans need a net gain of six Senate seats to take control of the upper chamber. Democrats are now also openly conceding that the House is likely to remain in GOP hands.

Carney said Obama’s main focus was on pushing his agenda in Washington, and that those efforts would boost his party’s candidates.

“I can tell you that the president is obviously going to engage and do everything he can to assist Democrats running in 2014,” said Carney.

“But he is principally focused on an agenda that's designed to expand opportunity for the American people, strengthen and expand the middle class, reward hard work and responsibility,” he added.

Michigan’s fake ID problem follows GOP Senate candidate

Republican Terri Lynn Land is neck-and-neck with Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, her likely general election opponent, in the race to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

But her tenure as Michigan’s secretary of state is drawing heat. While Land was in office, Michigan became a hotbed of identification fraud, which fell under her office's purview — and many say she didn’t grasp the scope of the problem until the federal government stepped in.

Today, Land’s campaign website touts her success “rooting out fraudulent activity," and indeed, her department ultimately took steps to make the licensing process in Michigan more thorough, with new versions of drivers’ tests and backing harsher penalties for fraud.

Late in 2004, her office also began requiring proof of residency for new driver's licenses or state ID cards — but only after the federal government urged closing that legal loophole.

Land’s actions didn’t come soon enough to prevent Michigan from becoming “one of the easiest places” to obtain a fraudulent ID, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Brian Moskowitz said at the time.

Land was re-elected in 2006, and her Department of State continued to reform Michigan's licensing procedures — to the point that, by 2008, some Democrats were calling the measures “extreme.”

Mike Lee has bigger plans than presidency

Many conservative activists want to draft Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to run for president in 2016, but he says he's got a higher priority: establishing the Tea Party as a permanent force in American politics by rewriting the GOP policy playbook.

Lee gave a detailed prescription for solving America's “inequality crisis” in the Tea Party response to President Obama's State of the Union address, exciting his supporters.

"You would not believe how many people have emailed me, texted me, contacted me saying 'Mike Lee for president,' " Amy Kremer, president of the Tea Party Express, told the Washington Examiner.

But Lee said he has “no desire” for that job.

“The Senate has enough people running for president, and I'm not," he said, adding that “the question of running for president isn't really a ‘why not’ thing; it's more of a ‘why’ thing.”

Lee said his focus was on finding a constructive agenda for the GOP.

“At some point — while we have to continue to express our disapproval of government policies that are bad — at some point we have to move on to the point where we're also embracing the kind of government we do want," said the senator.

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