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Wake Up To Politics - April 14, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016
5 Days Until the New York Primary
208 Days Until Election Day 2016I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    2016 Central

  • Clinton, Sanders to Debate as Democratic Race Heats Up Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet tonight for their ninth debate of the primary cycle, in what is expected to be the most contentious.
  • Now stationed in New York – a home for both Clinton (the state’s former senator) and Sanders (his birthplace) – the Democratic race has become increasingly fierce in recent days. A war of words has ensued between the two rivals, on issues including immigration, gun control, environmental policy, and their qualifications. Those battles will come to a head tonight, as Clinton and Sanders face off in primetime.
  • This is a new tenor for the Democratic primary, which began with candidates praising each other at cordial debates last year. Now is an opportunity for them to unveil their latest attacks, with Sanders hitting Clinton on her judgement and Clinton returning fire on Sanders’ inexperience.
  • The stakes for the debate are raised ahead of Tuesday’s key New York primary, which offers 247 delegates, and is being hotly contested by both sides. For Sanders, at least, this state is a must-win, with his delegate strategy running through the state. Clinton, however, can afford to lose the Empire State as long as the race is close and Sanders doesn’t catch her in pledged delegates (although a loss would certainly cost momentum).
  • New York-specific issues are expected to color the debate, from Sanders’ attacks on Wall Street and fossil fuel money to Clinton’s talking points on Sanders’ New York Daily News interview and gun control policy. This debate itself was a subject of controversy between the two candidates for a time, with a very public back-and-forth as the campaigns negotiated dates. The original Democratic debates schedule called for just six debates, lasting through February; an April debate was added as part of a February deal between the candidates, when they also agreed to a debate in May.
  • CNN and Time Warner Cable’s NY1 are co-hosting the debate, and both airing it live from 9-11pm ET. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will moderate, with questions also coming from CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and NY1 host Errol Louis. The debate will be held at the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • CNN has dominated presidential debates this cycle, hosting more than any other network (seven). This is the network’s third Democratic debate; CNN also hosted the first and highest-rated Democratic debate of the cycle in October of last year. Blitzer has moderated two Republican debates so far this cycle; Bash has participated in questioning at all six of CNN’s previous debates.
  • Troubles in Trumpworld With the campaign slipping and dropping the ball on delegate hunting, a massive shake-up is going underway at Trump Tower.
  • Last week, the Trump campaign announced an expanded role for convention manager Paul Manafort, a longtime GOP consultant (who ran the floor operation for Gerald Ford at the contested convention of 1976). On Wednesday, another new hire was unveiled: strategist Rick Wiley as the campaign’s National Political Director.
  • Wiley is well-known in Republican circles, as a top aide on George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election and Rudy Guliani’s 2008 presidential campaign, as well as a stint as RNC political director. Earlier this cycle, Wiley managed Scott Walker’s unsuccessful presidential bid, and was the figure blamed by many for Walker’s implosion. The other person widely held responsible? Donald Trump.
  • Trump announced hiring Wiley in a statement Wednesday, praising the strategist: “Rick is a seasoned political expert with a very successful career in winning elections,” Trump said. “He brings decades of experience, and his deep ties to political leaders and activists across the country will be a tremendous asset as we enter the final phase of securing the nomination.”
  • Wiley’s time at the RNC could also help unite Trump’s campaign and the national committee, as the former accuses the latter of creating primary rules that are “stacked” against him.
  • The addition of Wiley to Trump’s famously small campaign staff is seen as a power grab by Manafort, who is consolidating influence within Trumpworld as campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s position diminishes. Lewandowski, who has no experience on national campaigns, has failed to create a delegate operation for Trump, leading to Manafort’s arrival.
  • Lewandowski’s position is also worsened by his controversy with Breitbart report Michelle Fields, who has been charged by police with simple battery for grabbing Fields by the arm at a Trump press conference last month. However, Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg is expected to announce today that he will not prosecute Lewandowski after all.
  • Aronberg’s plans to not press charges, first reported by Politico, will be announced at a 2pm news conference today. Lewandowski could still be charged in a defamation suit, if Fields decides to bring a civil case. According to Fields, the prosecutor’s office had attempted to broker a deal between the two parties where Lewandowski public apologized for his actions. Fields agreed to the deal, while it is unknown whether Lewandowski has.
  • Prosecuted or not, it may be too late for Lewandowski, who is already losing power fast within Trump’s inner circle.
  • Today on the Trail The entire presidential field will be in New York today, as Democrats prep for their primetime debate and Republicans campaign.
  • Both John Kasich and Ted Cruz will participate in MSNBC town halls tonight, answering questions from voters and a moderator. Kasich will join Chis Matthews for a town hall in Jericho at 7pm ET; Cruz will join Chuck Todd for a town hall in Buffalo at 8pm ET. This is Cruz’s first town hall on MSNBC.
  • Kasich and Cruz will then be back-to-back again on sister channel NBC, with Cruz appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and Kasich appearing as lead guest on “Late Night with Seth Meyers”.
  • Finally, Donald Trump’s only announced event today is attending a fundraising reception for the Suffolk County Republican Committee in Patchogue.
  • Tonight, all three GOP candidates will cross paths at the New York State Republican Gala in New York City. Trump, Cruz, Kasich will all attend, along with special guest Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM).Capitol Hill News
  • Today in the Senate The upper chamber will return at 9:30am, and promptly resume consideration of H.R.636, the FAA reauthorization package. At 10:30am, the Senate will hold a cloture vote on advancing the measure, which will require 60 “yeas” to pass.
  • H.R.636 will fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2017; the agency’s current funding mechanism expires on July 15.
  • Also today: Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, will continue courtesy meetings with Senators on both sides of the aisle. Garland meets today with Republican Sens. Rob Portman (OH) and Jeff Flake (AZ), and Democratic Sens. Michael Bennett (CO), Eizabeth Warren (MA), and Tammy Baldwin (WI).
  • Portman is a vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2016; Flake is a member of the Judiciary Committee.
  • Today in the House The lower chamber will meet at 10am today, turning to legislative business at 12pm, and then voting from 2pm to 3pm. The House will vote on the following bills: the Border and Maritime Coordination Improvement Act (increasing coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard), the Southwest Border Security Threat Assessment Act (requiring the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report on terrorist/criminal threats posed by those attempting to illegally cross the southern border), the State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act (improving coordination between state and local governments to fund homeland security grants), the Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act (authorizing the Departments of Homeland Security and State to create software to screen travelers to the United States), and the Treating Small Airports with Fairness Act (requiring the TSA to screen travelers at any airport that serves a commercial airline, restoring screening to those that lost the service in 2013).

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Obama has just one event on his public schedule today:
  • At 11:35am, Obama welcomes the Wounded Warrior Ride to the South Lawn of the White House, to “honor and thank our veterans for their service” and “raise awareness of our nation’s heroes who battle the physical and psychological damages of war.”
  • The Wounded Warrior Ride is a cycling event bringing together veterans from organizations across the country to support former service members and their families.

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question On the 151st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination: what did John Wilkes Booth yell after shooting Lincoln, as he leaped off of the balcony and onto the stage?

Extra, Extra: Best of the Day

  • Dispatch from Raleigh “‘Bathroom law’ puts North Carolina governor in crossfire of GOP civil war” (Washington Post)
  • Illinois Senate Update “Kirk goes full RINO to save Senate seat” (Politico)
  • The People Behind #FeelTheBern “Inside Bernie Sanders’s Social Media Machine” (Fast Company)
  • Empire State Primary “Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, a snapshot of Donald Trump’s New York (Washington Post)
  • November Projections “50 State Snapshot: Trump, Cruz, Lose to Clinton, While Kasich Wins” (Morning Consult)
  • Where Are They Now? “Former Presidential Contenders Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee Might Start a Band” (ABC News)
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light