WASHINGTON (CNN)-- Talk of Bill Clinton's role in the campaign stretch, where his wife hopes to make a difference, a 2016 GOP buildup and some 2014 observations from the trail made for a lively trip around the "Inside Politics" table on Sunday.
1. GOP grass roots sees a growing Illegal immigration crisis
We thought after the 2012 presidential election that Republicans would see their crisis with Latino voters and find some way to strike an immigration reform compromise with President Obama. It didn't happen, largely because of pressure from grass-roots conservatives who oppose any path to citizenship for the undocumented and consider even granting legal status tantamount to amnesty.
Well, if you believed perhaps there would be room, and motivation, for a deal after the 2014 midterms -- think again.
One striking common theme from a 1,200 -mile drive this past week across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa is the visceral reaction of conservatives when Illegal immigration comes up -- and often they are the ones to raise it early in any chat about what is driving their politics.
Perhaps it's not surprising to hear this anger at a Colorado tea party meeting, where one speaker warned that Islamist suicide bombers are deliberately infecting themselves with Ebola and coming across the U.S.-Mexican border planning to "cough and spit" on Americans "before blowing themselves up."
But talk of a wide-open border being exploited by terrorists also animated four Kansas women during a chat at a senior center in Bob Dole's hometown of Russell, and came up in conversations with voters in conservative rural Iowa.
The bottom line: There appears to be little political space for House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, who could well be majority leader in January, to negotiate any deal that would be acceptable to Obama.
And, when the President takes executive actions, as he promises to do after the election unless there is some legislative breakthrough, it is clear the conservative grass roots will demand confrontation -- leaving the issue front and center as we head into the 2016 presidential cycle.
2. Hillary Clinton's delicate Wall Street balancing act
Hillary Clinton is closing the 2014 campaign with appearances designed to both help Democratic candidates this cycle and also help her test themes for her likely White House run in 2016.
Last week it was Kentucky. This week it's Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to help two Democratic women in close gubernatorial contests.
The Rhode Island stop, in particular, has an interesting twist, as detailed by Politico's Maggie Haberman:
"That's the one to watch, because Gina Raimondo has been criticized as being too close to Wall Street herself. This has been a commentary applied to Hillary Clinton," said Haberman. "Watch and see what Hillary Clinton's words are as she is helping her up there."
3. Bill Clinton to court African-American voters in Louisiana
And while Hillary Clinton is in New England, "Big Dog" Bill Clinton will be in the Big Easy trying to help Democrats rescue a Senate seat that appears to be slipping away.
Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times added the nickname for the former president and she noted his hope of generating increased turnout among African-Americans.
"Where he can really help her is with black voters in Louisiana," said Reston. "She's going to get virtually all of them, both sides would say, but it's a matter of getting them to the polls, and Bill Clinton might be able to work his magic down there to help her do that."
Turning out the African-American vote is a top priority for Democrats there and in several other states now, and there could be a sequel if the Louisiana race ends up in a runoff.
4. Up all night on November 4?
Maybe a good time to invest in coffee futures? Or book an advance airfare to New Orleans or -- Atlanta?
Jonathan Martin of The New York Times rightly points out the likelihood of a late election night because so many Senate races are so close, including an Alaska contest that, in addition to the time zone issue, also includes many remote areas where the count could spill into Wednesday.
Even then, he points out the possibility that control of the Senate might not be clear until months after November 4.
"I talked to a lot of folks from both parties over the weekend -- increasingly certain that Georgia is in fact going to a runoff," said Martin. "And by the way, that's a January runoff."
5. Ben Carson, the "Tea-vangelical" vote, Ebola and 2016
Speaking of 2016, keep an eye on Dr. Ben Carson.
The conservative favorite is adding staff to his talk of a possible presidential run, Nia Malika Henderson of The Washington Post reports.
And supporters looking to encourage a Carson run are raising some serious money.
"He's got a virtual campaign-in-waiting, a campaign chairman, his super PAC raised $3 million in this last third quarter -- Ready for Hillary was only able to raise $2 million," said Henderson.
"Look for him to challenge Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for that key 'Tea-vangelical' vote. And this Ebola scare certainly gives him something of an opening to flex his medical knowledge during these next couple of days."
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