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Tuesday, December 2, 2014
707 Days Until Election Day 2016Obama speaks on Ebola at NIH, Beyond Ferguson: the WH plan, Senate to vote on Obama bundlers turned Ambassadors, House GOP leaders sell immigration, government funding plan, Johnson goes to Hill for immigration grilling, Portman won't run for President in 2016, Gabe answers...on Buchanan's sexual orientation and Wake Up problems,and presidential election trivia: It's Monday, December 1, 2014, I'm Gabe Fleisher for this packed edition of 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 email@example.com. To learn more about WUTP or subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or read my tweets and follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/Wakeup2Politics.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 10:50 AM, President Obama will meet with a dozen tribal leaders in the Roosevelt Room, ahead of the White House Tribal Nations Conference, which will take place Wednesday.
- At11:45 AM, the President and Vice President Joe Biden will sit down with outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, possibly about his successor.
- At 2:40 PM, Obama will drop by Walter Reed National Millitary Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to visit wounded warriors there.
- At 4:20 PM, President Obama will tour the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) headquarters.
- At 5:05 PM from the NIH, the President will speak on Ebola, congratulating the NIH doctors for their promising anti-Ebola vaccine results and urging Congress to approve his emergency funding request to fight Ebola in the U.S. and around the world.
- Finally, at 6:55 PM at a residence in the D.C. area, Obama will hold a private roundtable with Democratic National Committee donors to raise money for the DNC.
- Beyond Ferguson: White House Rolls Out New Steps As President Obama sat down with civil rights activists, community leaders, and elected officials to discuss improving police-community relations Monday, the White House released the findings of a formal review on police militarization. The review, ordered by the President two weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown sparked protests in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, was conducted by agencies across the Obama Administration.
- And the review called for…another review. As the formal review was released, President Obama announced his plan to issue two executive orders, one of which will establish the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The task force, which will release a report on “how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust,” will be chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, and George Mason University professor Laurie Robinson, an ex-Justice Department official.
- The second executive order sets a timetable of 120 days for federal agencies including the Defense and Justice departments to create a list of recommendations on equipment local law enforcement agencies should be permitted to buy.
- Following his meetings Monday (timed with the review’s release), President Obama also proposed a three-year, $263 million package to increase police officers’ use of body-worn cameras. On a 50 percent match to states and localities, about $75 million will go to the purchase of about 50,000 body cameras for police officers.
- This announcement from the White House comes as a bipartisan bill is released Tuesday by Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) to restrict military equipment sold to police departments by the Defense Department.Capitol Hill News
- Senate: Status Update The U.S. Senate’s Tuesday session will begin at 10 AM today with the prayer and pledge. Afterwards, the oath of office will be administered to Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Tim Scott (R-SC), both of whom were already appointed to their Senate seats but won special elections as well last month. Following any Leader remarks, the chamber will go straight to roll calls.
- Before the Senate’s lame-duck session ends and Republicans take over the chamber, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is in a rush to confirm as many of Obama’s nominee as possible. Today’s confirmation votes will include a number of exectuvie appointees, and two ambassador nominees: Colleen Bell, producer of the TV soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and top Obama bundler, for Ambassador to Hungary; and Noah Mamet, another Obama bundler, for Ambassador to Argentina. During their confirmation hearings, both bungled questions about their countries – Bell showing cluelessness on America’s strategic interests in Hungary, and Mamet revealing he’d never been Argentina and spoke just a little Spanish.
- House: Status Update The House meets today to vote on a number of inconsequential bills (for example: the self-explanatory No Social Security for Nazis Act, which “amend[s] the Social Security Act to provide for the termination of social security benefits for individuals who participated in Nazi persecution”), with the biggest action in the chamber occurring behind closed doors.
- Speaker John Boehner will lead a meeting of the House Republican Conference in a Capitol basement Tuesday morning to discuss a strategy on responding to Obama’s immigration executive order and to keep the government open…to issues the House GOP is attempting to combine.
- Boehner will attempt to sell the rank-and-file on a bill authored by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) preventing the “executive branch of the Government to exempt, by Executive order, regulation, or any other means, categories of persons unlawfully present in the United States from removal under the immigration laws.”
- GOP leaders hope that Yoho’s bill will be enough to quell the anger of conservative congressman, convincing them to also vote for a “Cromnibus”: part “omnibus” bill, a long-term fundng proposal, and part “continuing resolution” or “CR,” a short-term funding resolution. This two-part government funding bill, envisioned by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), will keep the government funded until September 2015, but only fund immigration agencies for a short time.
- Congressional Committee Update Also Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee will grill Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on President Obama’s recent immigration executive order, which Johnson authored.Election Central
- Portman: No 2016 Presidential Run Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2016, issued a statement Tuesday morning ruling out a run for president in 2016, saying he will instead run for a second U.S. Senate term.
- “That's where I believe I can play the most constructive role," Portman’s statement read. “I don't think I can run for president and be an effective senator at the same time…While I appreciate the encouragement I have received from many to run for president, my focus will remain on Ohio and running for re-election to the Senate in 2016.”
- Portman is a popular politician from a swing state, well-liked by Republicans (was tapped as co-chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2014 cycle, a huge success for the party), with a long résumé, including service in the U.S. House and as U.S. Trade Representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
- The Ohio senator was considered a viable contender for the presidency or vice presidency in 2016, having been on the VP short list for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.Q&A with GabeI love it when readers send my questions! If you have a question on politics, history, or really anything – I will answer it in the Wake Up! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Q: Jonah Chalem asks, “I'm not getting my wake up. A big part of my morning is missing. Can you fix this?”
- A: Gabe answers, I get emails a lot from people who say the stopped receiving Wake Up To Politics, or sometimes don’t receive the Wake Up, or have a friend who fits into those categories. I can try to work my magic and re-subscribe you if your name somehow fell off of the mailing list. More commonly, however, you ARE getting Wake Ups, you just don’t see it. The best way to solve this is to go into your email’s Contacts or Address Book, and add email@example.com, which means the Wake Up will come directly to your Inbox. Otherwise, some email servers may put me in the Spam/Junk folders – so look there for old Wake Ups. Also, if you have a Gmail, it is possible the Wake Up is sent to a different Inbox tab, like Updates instead of Primary. Email me with any concerns related to this question, and I will do what I can!
- Q: Aly Abrams asks, “Is there any research that might indicate that [President James] Buchanan was gay? It's unusual at that time that a man would not be married.”
- A: Gabe answers, Great question, Aly! Yes, there are rumors dating back to Buchanan’s day that he was homosexual. Buchanan, the 15th U.S. President, died a bachelor and was rumored to have been in a relationship with William Rufus King, who served as Vice President under Buchanan’s predecessor. I was familiar with the rumors, but did not know if there was research into the truthfulness of the rumors. To find out, I emailed one of the scholars I had met at the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg: Catherine Clinton, Chair of American History at the University of Texas, and author of books on Mary Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, and others.
- Professor Clinton answered quickly and kindly, referring me to a “column that quotes from a very convincing primary source about Buchanan’s romantic associations,” she said. The column, published in Slate after Newsweek called Barack Obama “the first gay President,” a reference to his support of same-sex marriage, not his sexual orientation, is by historian James Loewen, who argues the case that Buchanan was gay. She also mentioned Jean Baker’s biography of Buchanan and the “plenty of sensational books as well which ‘reveal’ this issue”: Robert Watson’s Affairs of State: The untold story of presidential love sex and scandal, 1789-1900 and Fall From Grace: Sex, Scandal, and Corruption in Americans Politics from 1702 to the present by Shelley Ross.
- “But I think you can rely on trained historians to present a more judicious view…although some readers are skeptical, because often individuals working on an historical figure for years find it difficult to credit the “flaws” or repeat rumors that might prove unflattering or controversial. For example, I find it challenging to discuss some of the scholarship that suggests Mrs. Lincoln had syphilis, or that she might have attempted to induce an abortion, or other “scandals” because these are matters quite impossible to prove, and even more difficult to discredit once they hit the blogosphere. I am often tempted to just ignore some of these claims—I would not know if Mrs. Lincoln was bi-polar—anymore than I would know if she was “bi-sexual” and as a responsible scholar, I would not really want to make assertions about either! But we are often interrogated and it’s our duty to do our best to try and get across the ideas we have collected from our years of research,” Professor Clinton continued.
- It is not uncommon for lawmakers to share houses while they split their time between Washington and their hometowns (a famous and current example being Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. George Miller, whose shared residence is the inspiration for the Amazon television series “Alpha House,” in which John Goodman and others star as Republican senators sharing a residence), as Buchanan and King did for many years. However, the Buchanan-King relationship is said to have been more than just landlord-tenant, as proven by this letter Buchanan wrote to a confidant after King moved to Paris to become U.S. Ambassador to France. Buchanan writes, “I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”
- King wrote Buchanan during this time as well, writing, “I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation.”
- Andrew Jackson and other political opponents labeled King as Buchanan’s “better half” and called him “Aunt Fancy,” while Buchanan was called “Miss Nancy”.
- Many historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln to Eleanor Roosevelt to J. Edgar Hoover to Richard Nixon to Amelia Earhart, have been rumored to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual…but it seems James Buchanan may have really been our first gay President.
Q&A with Gabe
- Yesterday’s Answer On Monday, I asked which presidential election was decided in the U.S. House of Representatives (besides 1824)?
- The answer is…the 1800 election, between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I’m going to let subscriber Brad Chotiner explain this one: “1800 was the first campaign that featured running mates. The Jefferson/Burr ticket forgot to hold back a few votes for Burr the VP candidate. Thus tossing the election to the House, which elevated Jefferson into the top spot and Burr to the VP spot.”
- Brad is exactly right: this was the first election where political party tickets emerged, and the Democratic-Republicans planned to have all their electors vote Jefferson on the first ballot, and then all but one vote Burr on the second ballot, so Jefferson would have one more vote and become President, while Burr became Vice President. However, it didn’t work out: all the Jefferson electors also voted for Burr, Jefferson’s VP, resulting in a tie. This threw the election to the U.S. House, as dictated by the U.S. Constitution.
- GREAT JOB…Brad Chotiner, Marlee Millman, and Steve Gitnik!!!!