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Friday, December 5, 2014
705 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, December 5, 2014, I'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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White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 10:10 AM, President Obama will announce what the political world has known for days: he will nominate Ash Carter to succeed Chuck Hagel as U.S. Secretary of Defense.
- Carter served as Deputy Defense Secretary from 2011 to 2013, and has also taught at Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford universities. He is an expert on nuclear physics, as well as the entirety of the Defense Department – from the weapons, to the budget, to the department’s expansive operations.2014 Central
- Democratic Post-Midterm Task Force Appointed The 2014 election cycle is ending tomorrow (see Weekend Preview), so 2014 Central can STILL be a column! And it’s still 2014, even if it’s 2016 in the minds of political junkies.
- Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced on Thursday that she had appointed the 10 members of a task force to look into the Democratic Party’s poor 2014 midterm cycle, and how to fix that for future elections.
- The task force will talk to “stakeholders” to put together preliminary findings to be unveiled at the DNC winter meeting in February, before a report is released in mid-2015.
- This move mirrors Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Preibus’ order of a “autopsy” after the 2012 presidential election, which resulted in a 98-page report listing ways the GOP could change their image, in hopes of looking more favorable to voters and winning more elections, some of which was followed up on, but others of which were ignored (such as passing comprehensive immigration reform).
- However, the members of Wasserman Schultz’s task force show the Democrats may be serious about this party review; the 10-member group is made up of some big names. The members are: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt; Obama 2012 digital director Teddy Goff; marketing expert Maneesh Goyal; Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear; DNC finance committee vice chair Naomi Aberly; DNC vice chair Donna Brazile; former Hillary Clinton advisor and DNC communications director Maria Cardona; Colorado Democratic Party chair Rick Palacio; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees president Lee Saunders; and super-lawyer Mark Elias.
- The first step in solving a problem is recognizing you have one (or many): and it appears looking for all your party’s problems after a devastating cycle may well become a tradition around Washington.
- Saturday, December 6: Louisiana Senate Runoff The 2014 election cycle will officially close Saturday as Louisiana holds a runoff election in both Senate and House races.
- Despite the fact that Republican Bill Cassidy has basically ceased campaigning, the desertion by the DNC of Sen. Mary Landrieu for support in ads means Landrieu is doomed come Saturday. Cassidy is expected to win, handing Republicans one more Senate seat as they prepare to take control of the upper chamber of Congress next month.
- Saturday, December 6: Gridiron Club Dinner The annual dinner of the Gridiron Club, the exclusive white-tie D.C. affair open only to 65 top journalists, a Democratic and Republican politician, the U.S. Marine Band, and from time to time, the President of the United States (since the Club’s founding in 1884, every President except Grover Cleveland has attended at least one Gridiron dinner).
- Gridiron dinners are the fuzzy intersection of journalists rubbing elbows with the politicians they cover, and yet, despite the ethical questions, much like similar events such as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner…hardly anyone misses it.
- Saturday is Club’s winter dinner, and while the Republican speaker has not yet been announced, the Democratic speaker is actually two Democratic speakers – the Castro brothers. This set of identical twin brothers consists of Julian, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Joaquin, a U.S. Congressman from Texas.
- Sunday, December 7: Pearl Harbor Anniversary Sunday is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to honor those who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor attack occurred 73 years ago, on December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” as said by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in an address to Congress one day later.
- Sunday, December 7: Saban Forum Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President, Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (via satellite), Senator Lindsey Graham, and other world leaders, journalists, American politicians, and businessmen will address the Saban Forum. The Saban Forum is an annual conference on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, hosted by the Brookings Institution, and its eponymous founder Haim Saban, the entertainment mogul/political donor.
- Sunday, December 7: Kennedy Center Honors President and First Lady Obama will attend the the 37th annual awarding of the Kennedy Center Honors, at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in D.C., as Tom Hanks, Sting, Lily Tomlin, Al Green, and Patricia McBride are honored. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert will host the program, which will be proceeded by a White House gala for the honorees.