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Senate Democrats Talk 2014, Immigration and Guns at Retreat

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Senate Democrats opened their two-day annual retreat Tuesday with a discussion on the upcoming 2014 election cycle.

“It [was all about] the 2014 lineup, just going through it,” said Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, who noted that the discussion was led by new Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Democrats talked about lessons learned from the 2012 election cycle and some recently re-elected members told some war stories, another source said, declining to elaborate. They also discussed public relations challenges.

Udall said that the Democrats in Annapolis, Md., for the retreat will also discuss sequestration, immigration and ways to reduce gun violence before wrapping up on Wednesday.

A panel on budget issues was led by Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

All of the panels are being led by senators. The only outside speaker is Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Dow Chemical Co. and author of “Make It in America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy.” Liveris has given money to both Democrats and Republicans — he gave $4,200 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012 and $2,400 to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., in 2010.

The retreat also builds camaraderie and sets a unifying tone, Udall noted.

“This is the first real time spending significant time with new senators,” Udall said.

On Tuesday evening, the senators will dine at the Maryland governor’s mansion and get a tour of the Maryland State House.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to address Senate Democrats on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday’s agenda also includes a panel on immigration reform and another on gun violence.

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