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Let Me Start: June 3, 2015

Let me start with the stories the Hardball Staff is talking about today: the trade war, voter suppression lawsuit and George Pataki takes on Mike Huckabee.
President Barack Obama arrives in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 2, 2015. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP)
President Barack Obama arrives in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 2, 2015. 

Let me start with the stories the Hardball Staff is talking about this morning. 


As Politico reports, President Obama is applying a full-court press to pass the trade deal as House Speaker John Boehner put out a video to sell the deal as "more trade = more American jobs".  Not that House Republicans need much convincing.  The caucus feels optimistic, with at least 190 members planning to support the fast-track free-trade agreement.

If you're keeping score, about 27 Democrats in the House need to support the legislation and only 18 are currently on record to back it.  Among those undecided is Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, two key members of the Democratic caucus that the president could use on his side for those remaining votes.  And as Politico put it, the stakes are high with this one: a failure of the TPP "would be a major embarrassment for the United States on the world stage".


A lawyer who serves as general counsel for Hillary Clinton's campaign has filed a lawsuit accusing Wisconsin of attempting voter suppression through voter I.D. laws.  This comes as Governor Scott Walker continues trekking across the country, talking about taking steps to require identification to vote and could announce later this month whether or not he will seek the Republican presidential nomination. 

Marc Elias filed the suit  in federal court last week, citing concerns for "the most fundamental of rights guaranteed citizens in our representative democracy — the right to vote...that right has been under attack in Wisconsin since Republicans gained control of the governor’s office and both houses of the State Legislature in the 2010 election.” 

While Elias has not filed the suit on behalf of the campaign, a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton says they are "aware of it and strongly support its goal". 

Elias also filed a similar lawsuit in the critical swing state of Ohio, focusing primarily on the suppression of minority voters in the Buckeye State.


Former New York Governor George Pataki stops by "Hardball" tonight to talk about his newly minted run for the White House in 2016.  But he is making headlines this week after criticizing fellow Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for comments in regards to transgender individuals. 

Huckabee remarked earlier this year, "Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE." 

Pataki remarked that although he understands Huckabee's comments were made in jest, he should show more respect to the transgender community. 

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"If someone chooses a path that's different than mine, we should respect it as opposed to mocking it or in any way trying to prevent that," Pataki said on CNN. 

He doubled down on those comments on Twitter, referring back to the debut of Caitlyn Jenner this week as an example.