Scott Walker’s big moment: He officially kicks off his presidential bid at 6:15 pm in Wisconsin … Breaking down his strengths and weaknesses … Hillary to outline her economic vision at 10:00 am ET … Iran nuke talks hit a snag … Update on the 2016 money race: Rubio raises $12 million in the quarter, while GOP outside groups have out-raised the GOP campaigns by almost a 4-to-1 margin so far … And Rick Perry’s poor fundraising performance (just $1.07 million) comes as he’s gotten better as a candidate.
*** Scott Walker’s big moment: As Scott Walker officially kicks off his presidential bid in Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 6:15 pm ET, the Wisconsin governor starts as the Iowa front-runner and one of three overall co-front-runners (joining Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio for this honor). The question is: Can he be something more? Tonight might offer a hint of that answer, and that’s why it’s a big moment for him. Remember, the last two Republican Iowa winners — Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum — never captured the GOP presidential nomination. And this big moment for Walker comes as Donald Trump has sucked up most of the oxygen in the GOP race, and after Jeb Bush has had a very good last 30 days. So is Walker for real? We’ll get an early clue tonight.
*** Walker’s strengths: Walker has three strengths he brings to the GOP field. The first is his conservative record and his three statewide wins in four years. “We fought and we won,” he says in his announcement video. “In the Republican field, there are some who are good fighters, but they haven’t won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights. We’ve shown we can do both.” His second strength is that he touches all three legs of the Republican Party stool — social conservative, Tea Party, establishment. And his third strength is his Midwest advantage, given that Wisconsin borders Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.
*** And his weaknesses: But Walker also has two weaknesses that could prevent him from truly taking off in the Republican field. One, does the two-term governor have the foreign-policy chops to be president? In his speech tonight, he’ll invoke Ronald Reagan — again — to help answer this question. "During my lifetime, the best president on national security and foreign policy was a governor from California,” he’s expected to say, according to excerpts his campaign has released. Two, has he tried TOO HARD to be Mr. Iowa (see his flip-flop on immigration, as well as calling for a constitutional amendment to allow states to define if gay marriage should be legal) that could make him seem less electable to Republican elites and voters? After his official presidential announcement in Wisconsin, Walker heads to Las Vegas on Tuesday, South Carolina on Wednesday, New Hampshire on Thursday, and then he spends three days on a Winnebago tour through Iowa.
*** Hillary to outline her economic vision: The other big 2016 event today is Hillary Clinton’s economic speech at 10:00 amET at the New School in New York City. And maybe the best way view it is as a full-throated rebuttal to Jeb Bush’s call to grow the U.S. economy by a 4% rate. “The measure of our economic success should be how much incomes rise for middle-class households, not an arbitrary growth figure,” a Clinton campaign said in previewing Hillary’s speech. Indeed, Clinton will propose profit sharing as a way to boost middle-class incomes. "Hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they helped produce,” she will say, according to excerpts of her remarks. "So I will propose ways to encourage companies to share profits with their employees. Clinton also will call for an increase in private/public investment, and she will say that the wealthiest need to pay their fair share in taxes. Our take: Hillary’s economic vision isn’t much different than you’ll hear from President Obama. So tell us what the U.S. economy looks like a year from now, and we’ll tell you how strong her chances are in the general election.
*** Iran nuke talks hit a snag: Outside of those two 2016 stories — Walker’s presidential announcement, Hillary’s economic speech — the other major political news we’re watching today is whether negotiators will be able to announce a FINAL-FINAL nuclear deal with Iran. There’s a very good chance we’ll see an announcement in the next 24-48 hours, but the final talks have hit some snags. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Abigail Williams report that these snags include issues that were thought to have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction — such as Iran's accounting of its past suspect nuclear activity, as well as the timing of any agreement to lift a longstanding UN arms embargo on Iran, and the amount of advanced nuclear research Iran will be able to do at the end of the agreement.
*** Update on the 2016 money race: This morning, we learned that Marco Rubio raised $12 million in the second quarter, compared with a combined $31.8 million that a pro-Rubio Super PAC and pro-Rubio 501c4 have raked in. And that, in a nutshell, is your early 2016 money story: The outside groups (which can bring in unlimited amounts of money) are DRAMATICALLY out-raising the actual campaigns (which are restricted to $2,700 per donor for the primaries and another $2,700 per donor for the general election). Indeed, the GOP outside groups that have released their figures have raised a whopping $203.5 million, versus a combined $53 million from the campaigns themselves. That’s nearly a 4-to-1 ratio, folks. And that’s compared with the $60.4 million the Democratic campaigns have raised, versus $24.3 million from the Dem outside groups.
*** What the campaigns have raised so far: With the July 15 reporting deadline coming up next week, here is what the CAMPAIGNS have raised so far in the second quarter:
- Hillary Clinton campaign: $45 million
- Bernie Sanders campaign: $15 million
- Marco Rubio: $12 million
- Jeb Bush: $11.4 million
- Ben Carson: $10.5 million
- Ted Cruz campaign: $10 million
- Rand Paul: $7 million
- Carly Fiorina: $1.4 million
- Rick Perry: $1.07 million
- Lincoln Chafee: $393,000
*** What the Super PACs and 501c4s have raised so far:
- Right to Rise (Bush): $103 million
- Keep the Promise groups (Cruz): an estimated $37 million
- Rick Perry Super PACs: $16.8 million
- Conservative Solutions PAC (Rubio): $16 million
- Conservative Solutions Project 501c4 (Rubio): $15.8 million
- Priorities USA (Clinton): $15.6 million
- American Bridge (Clinton): $7.7 million
- American Bridge 501c4 (Clinton): $1 million
- CARLY for America (Fiorina): $3.4 million
- John Kasich 527s groups: $11.5 million
*** What the combined amounts (campaign + outside groups) are:
- Team Jeb: $114.4 million
- Team Hillary: $69.3 million
- Team Cruz: $51 million (that includes the $4 million his campaign raised in the 1stQ)
- Team Rubio: $43.8 million
- Team Perry: $17.9 million
- Team Carly: $4.8 million
A reminder: Because of the difference between how the organizations can raise money, plus the different ad rates they get, it’s important to compare apples to apples (the campaigns), oranges to oranges (the Super PACs), and grapefruit to grapefruit (combined amounts).
*** Perry’s poor fundraising performance comes as he’s gotten better as a candidate: A final note on these fundraising numbers: It’s bad, bad news for Rick Perry that his campaign raised just $1.07 million in the quarter -- in fact, compare that with the $17 million his 2012 campaign raked in during its first quarter. What’s striking is that poor fundraising performance from Perry comes as he’s definitely improved as a candidate (just see his speech on African Americans from a couple of weeks ago).
OBAMA AGENDA: Let’s make a deal – today?
From NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "Negotiators from six world powers are making encouraging progress with Iran on a deal over curtailing its nuclear program, but it remains unclear whether they will hit Monday's self-imposed deadline, officials told NBC News.Several sticking points remain, including Iran's demand — supported by Russia — that a U.N. embargo on conventional arms, including ballistic missiles, be dropped as part of an agreement."
Developing this morning: European leaders have reached a deal to resolve the Greek debt crisis.
More, from the AP: "The deal calls for Greeks, already reeling from harsh measures and economic decline, to cut back even further in exchange for more loans without which its financial system would surely collapse. The deal, which still needs approval from Greece's parliament, will be the country's third bailout in five years."
OFF TO THE RACES: Hillary to talk about boosting middle-class wages
The New York Times looks at how the "gig economy" is making voters anxious.
BIDEN: From The New York Times: "He has not ruled out running for president again, and some friends are nudging him to, even if the political math does not seem to favor it. But he has good days and bad days, his mind never far from his late son, Beau Biden, and his staff is not planning further than two weeks ahead."
CLINTON: Via Bloomberg: "Hillary Clinton will embrace the Democratic Party's focus on shared prosperity for all Americans in a major speech on Monday laying out policies at the core of her second White House bid, arguing that the top economic priority for the next president must be to boost middle class wages. Also on the to-do list are tighter rules on Wall Street, tax reform, more support for women and families, and a higher minimum wage, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination will say during the first economic policy speech of her campaign."
More from The Washington Post: "In her speech, aides said, Clinton will argue that tectonic forces in the global economy are conspiring against middle-class families. Among them: automation and technology, which are eliminating middle-skill jobs that once provided solid incomes; and the new “sharing economy,” epitomized by Uber, which has created efficiency but also jobs lacking benefits and protections. But she will say that the government should enact policies to shape how these forces affect Americans."
RUBIO: NBC News confirms that Marco Rubio raised $12 million in the second fundraising quarter.
SANDERS: His Senate Democratic colleagues are surprised by his ascent, POLITICO reports. MORE: "Yet many are also implicitly — and some explicitly — warning voters not to jump on the Sanders bandwagon. He’s too far out there to win a general election, a number of Democrats who’ve worked alongside him — most, or all, of them Hillary Clinton supporters — say. And they fear the stronger he gets, the more he’ll pull Clinton to the left, hurting her chances in the general election."
He said over the weekend: "I will be able to win the election, and I'll tell you why. Because we are going to bring more people into the process."
TRUMP: He drew thousands to his rally in Phoenix Saturday, where he kept up his criticism of the Mexican government.
The Hill writes that Republican strategists say that Jeb Bush has to avoid going toe-to-toe with Trump.
WALKER: He's in, making it official with a tweet this morning.
Msnbc's Benjy Sarlin lays out what we know so far about Scott Walker's run.
The AP explores how Walker is hoping to remind voters of his fights with labor unions.
The Journal Sentinel this morning: "Many politicos — including some conservatives — believe Walker's announcement of his presidential bid on Monday effectively marks the end of his tenure as state CEO. Even if he fails to win the Republican nomination or even the presidency, some say, the second-term governor is unlikely to return to the east wing of the state Capitol."
Over the weekend, his sons spoke out about their differences with their father over same-sex marriage.
And around the country ...
SOUTH CAROLINA: In an interview on "Meet the Press," Nikki Haley called the extra political attention she's received over the Confederate flag debate "painful."
NBC News' Carrie Dann contributed to this article.