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Wake Up To Politics - August 31, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
70 Days Until Election Day 2016 (AKA my 15th birthday)
27 Days Until the First Presidential DebateI'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!!!

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Need to Know

  • Results: McCain, Rubio, Wasserman Schultz Win Renomination Voters in Arizona and Florida went to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in primaries for House and Senate, with incumbents winning in all of the top races - although one U.S. Representative fell victim to a primary challenge.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won renomination for a second term Tuesday, beating businessman Carlos Beruff in a landslide. Rubio's re-election campaign has lasted just two months: he only started running for the Senate again in June, after months of maintaining his original plan to only run for President in 2016. Beruff, who has compared himself to Donald Trump, was the only Republican primary candidate who did not withdraw after the incubment's entrance into the race. Rubio trounced Beruff, winning 72% of the vote to the latter's 18.5%.
  • Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) beat Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), 58.9% to 17.7%, for the right to face Rubio in November. While Grayson, a supporter of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, was backed by a number of progressive groups and labor unions, including People for the American Way and the Communication Workers of America (CWA), Murphy locked up the support of the Democratic establishment. Murphy was endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and a number of sitting U.S. Senators and Representatives.
  • While they ran for Senate, both Grayson and Murphy left behind House seats - two of the seven Florida lawmakers vacating their seats this cycle. State Sen. Darren Soto won the Democratic primary to fill Grayson's seat in Florida's 9th congressional district, beating the incubment's former district director Susan Randolph and his wife Dena Grayson. Soto won 36.3% of the vote; Randolph won 28.2%; Grayson won 27.8% of the vote, the second loss of the night for the Grayson family.
  • In Florida's 23rd congressional district, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who served as chair of the Democratic National Committee until resigning last month amid the leaking of emails showing her and her staff supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, won a primary challenge from a Sanders-backed rival. After outsized press attention in the race due to Wasserman Schultz's national troubles, law professor Tim Canova could not capitalize off of those troubles, losing with 43.2% of the vote to Wasserman Schultz's 56.8%.
  • One incumbent was not as lucky Tuesday: Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) lost her bid for renomination, after being indicted last week on charges that she and a top aide set up a fake nonprofit for use as a "personal slush fund." Former state Sen. Al Lawson beat the incumbent, 47.6% to 39%. Brown is only the fifth member of Congress to be defeated by a primary challenger so far this election cycle.
  • Finally, in Arizona, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) easily beat back the toughest primary challenge of his career to win renomination for a sixth term. State Sen. Kelli Ward focused much of her campaign on McCain's age (he turned 80 on Monday), calling the 2008 presidential nominee too "old" and "weak" for six more years in Washington, DC. Arizona voters rebuked this line of attack: McCain won the primary with 51.7% of the vote to Ward's 39.1%. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) won the uncontested primary to face McCain in November.
  • A number of Tuesday's losers sorely admitted defeat. In conceding the Florida Republican Senate primary, Carlos Beruff continued to take shots at his rival: "I made the miscalculation of taking Mr. Rubio at his words that he wouldn't seek re-election if he lost the presidential primary," he said. "...I guess I was silly to believe the words of a Washington politician...The directive out of Washington was for everyone to kiss the Senator's ring and bow out of the race. We did not yield tot he Washington political establishment, and even though we did not win, I make no apologies."
  • Meanwhile, Sanders-backed professor Tim Canova refused to formally admit defeat in his race against the former DNC head ("I will concede Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a corporate stooge"), while state Sen. Kelli Ward refused to endorse John McCain ("I hope the Senator can rest comfortably with his conscience.")
  • The races now sprint towards November. Both John McCain and Marco Rubio are favored to win re-election, but both faces tough general election races: recent polls show McCain leading Kirkpatrick by 8% and Rubio by 5.7%, according to the RealClearPolitics averages.
  • Trump Sets Last-Minute Meeting with Mexican President In a hastily organized trip announced last month, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will make a quick visit to Mexico today to meet with the nation's president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
  • Since Day 1 of his campaign (when he said Mexican immigrants were "rapists" who are "bringing drugs...[and] crime" into the United States), Trump has made attacking Mexico a signature of his campaign. The billionaire has promised to deport all illegal immigrants in the United States, repeatedly announced that he would force Mexico to build a wall on their shared border with the U.S., and called for renegotiation of the NAFTA trade agreement.
  • Now, Trump makes his first foreign trip as a presidential candidate to visit the country and meet with Peña Nieto, who has compared Trump to Adolf Hitler.
  • The Washington Post first reported Tuesday night that Trump was considering making a list-minute jaunt to Mexico; later, Trump tweeted that he had "accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and [looked] very much forward to meeting him tomorrow."
  • According to a tweet from the Mexican president's office, Peña Nieto has invited both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to meet with him. Aides to Clinton, who met with Peña Nieto in 2014, say she is considering the offer.
  • Trump's trip will come in between fundraisers this morning in California and a highly-anticipated speech on immigration in Phoenix, Arizona this afternoon. "What ultimately matters is what Donald Trump says to voters in Arizona, not Mexico, and whether he remains committed to the splitting up of families and deportation of millions," Clinton adviser Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement.

The Rundown

All times Eastern.

  • Campaign Trail Trump talks immigration in Arizona, Clinton addresses American Legion convention, Kaine in Pennsylvania, and Pence in Florida.
  • 10:30am Hillary Clinton will address the 98th annual American Legion national convention in Cincinnati today, continuing a longtime tradition of presidential candidates attending the annual meeting of the nation's largest nonpartisan veterans service organization. According to The American Legion: "Clinton has a comprehensive plan for military members and their families, and for national security. Clinton vows to 'maintain the best-trained, best-equipped and strongest military the world has ever known' if she is elected president in November. Clinton also promises to reform VA health care and block any initiative to privatize VA."
  • Other speakers at the 3-day convention include Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH); Cincinatti mayor John Cranley (D); and U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald. Donald Trump will address the organization, which boasts over 2.4 million members, on Thursday.
  • As with the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention, which both Trump and Clinton addressed last month, only the two major-party presidential nominess were invited to speak.
  • 1:30pm Tim Kaine continues to campaign in Pennsylvania today, holding an organizing event at Hanover Township Community Center in Bethlehem. Kaine will speak about "the stakes of November's election" and the Clinton camapign's economic plan at an organizing event today.
  • 4pm Mike Pence will hold a town hall at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida.
  • 9pm After meeting with the president of Mexico, Donald Trump will speak about his immigration plan in Phoenix, Arizona. After weeks of giving unclear answers on his policy, Trump is expected to clarify if he remains dedicated to deporting all 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally, or if some will be able to stay.
  • White House President Obama embarks on the first leg of his upcoming Asia trip today, making a stop in Nevada before going on to Honolulu, Hawaii and then three days each in Hangzhou, China and Vientiane, Loas.
  • 10:20am The President will depart the White House for Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
  • 3:30pm Obama will arrive at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
  • 5pm Obama will address the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Summit in Stateline, Nevada, a summit dedicated to Tahoe's preservation hosted annually by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. In his remarks to the summit, Obama will "hail federal and local collaboration on environmental protection while announcing modest new steps on clean energy and climate resilience," according to the Associated Press.
  • 6:30pm The President will depart Nevada for Honolulu.
  • 11:50pm He arrives in his home state of Hawaii, where he will spend the night before he continues the climate change theme in an address to the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders tomorrow.
  • Congress Both houses of Congress are currently on summer recess. The House and Senate both adjourned on July 14; the Senate will return at 3pm on September 6, while the House will next meet at 2pm on that day.
  • To ensure President Obama cannot fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a recess appointment while lawmakers return home, the Senate is still meeting in pro forma sessions every three days. No business is conducted in these short meetings, consisting of just enough senators for a quoroum to gavel in, and then promptly gavel out, a session: enough to block Obama from tapping a Supreme Court nominee, while still ensuring that most senators do not have to come to Washington over recess. The next pro forma meeting will be at 10am on September 2.
  • Supreme Court The high court is currently in between terms, having ended its session in early July. The next Term begins on the first Monday in October; the first conference of the new term will be held on Monday, September 26.

Daily Data

  • Field Offices: Clinton 291, Trump 88 According to a PBS NewsHour analysis of 15 key states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin), Hillary Clinton's ground game is trouncing Donald Trump's.
  • After "compil[ing] office data...speaking with state and national campaign officials, cross-referencing Federal Election Commission spending reports and checking local news coverage," PBS NewsHour found that Clinton had more than three times as many field offices (a local headquarters to cooridinate phone banks, volunteering, knocking on doors, and getting out the vote) in those battleground states as Trump.
  • Including joint presidential and party offices, Clinton has 291 offices in those 15 states; Trump has 88. The Republican doesn't even have field offices in three of the states: Michigan (Clinton has 23), North Carolina (Clinton has 30), and Utah (Clinton has one). The state with the most Trump offices is Wisconsin (he has 22; Clinton has 33), while Clinton has her most offices in Ohio and Pennsylvania (she has 36 offices in each state, Trump has 16 Ohio offices and two in Pennsylvania).
  • The divide between each candidates' ground games is especially noticeable in states like Florida, which often features one of the closest margins in presidential election and polls show Trump and Clinton about tied.
  • Hillary Clinton has 34 field offices in Florida; Donald Trump has one.

Smart Reads

  • Inside Debate Prep With the clock ticking to the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York on September 26 ("the most anticipated [debate] in a generation," the New York Times calls it), both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are preparing for their face-off...in their own way.
  • NYT reports: "Hillary Clinton's advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump's ghostwriter of 'The Art of the Deal,' seeking insights about Mr. Trump's deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him...Her team is also getting advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage."
  • "They are undertaking a forensic-style analysis of Mr. Trump's performances in the Republican primary debates, cataloging strengths and weaknesses as well as trigger points that caused him to lash out in less-than-presidential ways."
  • "...Mrs. Clinton, a deeply competitive debater, wants to crush Mr. Trump on live television, but not with an avalanche of policy details; she is searching for ways to bait him into making blunders. Mr. Trump, a supremely confident communicator, wants viewers to see him as a truth-telling political outsider and trusts that he can box in Mrs. Clinton on her ethics and honesty."
  • "...At their first session devoted to the debate...the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham was on hand to offer counsel and, if Mr. Trump was game, to play Mrs. Clinton...At that gathering, and another...on Sunday...Mr. Trump was joined by Roger AIles, who was ousted as Fox News chairman last month over accusations of sexual harassment."
  • "...[Clinton] met on Friday with key members of her debate team - the longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain, the Washington lawyer Karen Dunn and her senior strategist Joel Beneson..."
  • Coming Soon: FBI's Clinton Email Report CNN: "The FBI expects to publicly release in the coming days the report the bureau sent to the Justice Department in July recommending no charges in the Hillary Clinton email server investigation...Also to be released is Hillary Clinton's 302, the FBI agent notes from Clinton's voluntary interview at FBI headquarters. The report is about 30 pages, and the 302 is about a dozen pages according to the officials."
  • "Not yet being released are additional notes from interviews of Clinton aides or other investigative materials that were sent to Congress. Last month, FBI Director James Comey recommended against charges for Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, but he did describe her behavior as 'extremely careless' with classified material."
  • Clinton, Trump Transition Teams Work In Neighboring Offices Politico: "[Clinton's and Trump's] teams are closely aligned in exactly one place — in the office building a block from the White House where, by law, their advisers are cloistered behind closed doors plotting the presidential transition. In this nondescript space at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave., next to coffee shops popular with journalists and lobbyists, discretion reigns supreme among Trump and Clinton transition staffs overseeing some of the most closely held secrets about how the nominees would run the government."
  • "Both transition teams have warned members not to talk to reporters or discuss sensitive business in the elevators or corridors. The hallway bathrooms now have locks. And two sources familiar with the process said they expect both teams to conduct sensitive meetings off-site to avoid tipping people off about their work, which includes crafting internal policy documents and vetting potential candidates for thousands of government jobs."
  • "It's the first time in history that two opposing transition teams are working out of the same government-provided office building, a consequence of new laws meant to formalize preparations for the handoff of presidential power. It’s a peculiar situation, some veterans of previous presidential transitions acknowledge."
  • Obama Commutes Sentences of 100+ Federal Inmates AP: "President Barack Obama cut short on Tuesday the sentences of 111 federal inmates in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses."
  • "Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug convictions, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries."
  • "White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said the commutations underscored the president's commitment to using his clemency authority to give deserving individuals a second chance. He said that Obama has granted a total of 673 commutations, more than the previous 10 presidents combined. More than a third of the recipients were serving life sentences."
  • "...Eggleston noted that Obama also granted commutation to 214 federal inmates earlier in the month. With Tuesday's additions, Obama has granted the greatest number of commutations for a single month of any president...In 1980, the federal prison population was less than 25,000. Today, it is more than 200,000...The release dates for the inmates vary. Most are set to be released December 28."

Today's Trivia

  • Today's Question Who founded The American Legion? (hint: their father served as President of the United States)
  • To answer the question, email (gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com) or tweet (@WakeUp2Politics) me! Correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's edition of Wake Up To Politics.
  • Monday's Answer The question from Monday, the anniversary of the 1957 Civil Rights Act's passage, was: which then-Senator broke the record for longest-ever filibuster during the debate over the 1957 bill?
  • The answer...Strom Thurmond, who represented South Carolina in the U.S. Senate for 48 years. Thurmond spoke for 24 hours and 17 minutes non-stop in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, conducting the longest filibuster in Senate history by a lone member - although the measure eventually passed and became the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction.
  • To pass the time during his talk-a-thon, Thurmond eventually moved away from talking about civil rights, reading from every state's election laws, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, George Washington's Farewell address...and later, even his grandmother's biscuit recipe. Cots were brought in for senators to sleep as Thurmond droned on.
  • Thurmond would later switch parties after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, becoming a Republican. When the South Carolinian left office, Thurmond was the oldest and longest-serving member member of Congress in U.S. history and the only member of Congress to ever reach the age of 100 while in office. He remains the longest-serving member of Congress to have served only in the Senate.
  • GREAT JOB...Maddy Smith, Joe Bookman, Matt Neufeld, and Rick Isserman!!!
  • Also: honorable mention to Steve Gitnik, who answered Robert Byrd - another of Congress' oldest and longest-serving members, who was not apart of the 1957 filibuster, but did help lead the 83-day filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, personally speaking for 14 hours straight.

robert byrd - steve gitnik

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