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Wake Up To Politics - December 6, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

45 Days until Inauguration Day
700 Days until Election Day 2018I'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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Transition Central

  • President-Elect's Schedule President-elect Donald Trump will meet with prospective officeholders at Trump Tower in Manhattan today, before departing for the second stop of his "thank-you tour."
  • Trump's meetings today include: Exxon Mobil president and CEO Rex Tillerson, who has been mentioned in recent media reports as a potential Secretary of State; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, the frontrunner for the post of Ambassador to China (according to Bloomberg Politics); and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who has been mentioned as a potential White House Communications Director or Press Secretary.
  • The President-elect will also meet with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for advice and will discuss issues facing the nation's capital with Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser
  • Finally, after those meetings, Trump will head to Fayetteville, North Carolina to continue his post-election tour. The President-elect's second "thank-you" rally will be held at 7pm at the Crown Coliseum. Trump's previous "thank-you" event was very similar in tone to his raucous campaign rallies; in fact, the Fayetteville event will be held at the same venue as two events Trump headlined during the campaign, in March and August.

White House Watch

  • The President's Schedule President Barack Obama will travel to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida today, to meet with uniformed leadership and active duty service members from U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command, which are both based at MacDill.
  • At the base, President Obama will deliver his final major national security speech as president, in which he will "highlight gains the U.S. has made against extremist organizations such as the Islamic State group and to promote what he sees as the most sustainable approach to fighting such groups," as well as "thank special operations forces that have played an increasingly large role in the nation's fight against al-Qaida and the Islamic State group," according to the Associated Press.
  • Obama's speech will mention many of the counterterrorism policies that President-elect Donald Trump is mulling changes to, such as the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison, a ban on torture.
  • According to CNN, "he'll argue for an approach that has relied heavily on [Special Operations] to carry out surgical missions to take out terrorists, as well as train local forces to combat ISIS...[and] plans to defend his decision to avoid large ground wars to go after ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and will again argue for diplomacy in resolving Syria's civil war."
  • Obama is also expected to run through his successes, such as killing Osama bin Laden, and address other aspects of his national security legacy, including the oft-criticized use of drones.
  • Recommended Reading "Obama Legacy: Handing Trump a Broad View of War Powers," Associated Press
  • Biden's Day Vice President Joe Biden will meet with the House Democratic Caucus today, before heading to New York City to tape an appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which will air later tonight.
  • This will be Biden's second appearance on Colbert's iteration of "The Late Show," having first guested on the show in September 2015, on Colbert's first week at the helm of the program. That interview was widely discussed at the time, as the Vice President turned emotional speaking about the death of his son Beau.
  • In the September 2015 interview, Biden also expressed doubt about a 2016 run for President. The Vice President said that no presidential candidate should run unless they can promise voters "you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion."
  • "Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 100 percent of who they are," Biden said, adding: "I'd be lying if I said that I knew I was there."
  • A potential Biden for President is expected to be a topic of conversation on the show again tonight, in light of comments made by the Vice President on Monday. After presiding over a Senate procedural vote advancing the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes his $1.4 billion Cancer Moonshot initiative, Biden was again emotional after the Senate voted to name the initiative for his son Beau.
  • After the vote, a reporter asked Biden if he was "going to run again." The Vice President, 74, responded: "Yeah, I am. I'm going to run in 2020." When asked to clarify for what he would run, Biden said: "For president. What the hell, man," according to reporters in the gaggle. A third reporter warned him that they would run with that if he didn't make clear if he was kidding. "That's okay," the Vice President told them.
  • A second reporter than asked one more time for clarification. “I’m not committing not to run. “I’m not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago fate has a strange way of intervening. Anyway, nice to see you guys," the Vice President responded before leaving the Capitol.
  • According to reporters who were present, Biden was "deadpan" the entire time and it was difficult to discern if he was joking.

Capitol Hill News

  • Today in Congress The Senate will meet at 10am today. The chamber will continue consideration of the 21st Century Cures Act, which advanced in a procedural vote Monday and is headed towards final passage Wednesday. After the Senate approves the $6.3 billion measure, it is expected to be immediately signed into law by President Obama. The bill includes $4.8 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health, $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration, and $1 billion in grants for states to combat the opioid crisis.
  • Meanwhile, the House will meet at 10am. The chamber is scheduled to vote on 21 bills today, including the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act, the Arbuckle Project Maintenance Complex and District Office Conveyance Act, and the Northern Mariana Islands Economic Expansion Act, among others.
  • In addition, the text of a continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28 is expected to be unveiled this afternoon. The government will shut down on Friday if no measure is passed; the CR is a stopgap plan to almost exactly keep the current spending levels, punting a funding battle to the first months of the Trump Administration.
  • Because the CR is expected to be one of the last bills to pass Congress before both chambers adjourn for the year, a number of provisions will be added on, including relief for floods, California's drought, cities (such as Flint, Michigan) facing drinking water crises, as well as "money for overseas military operations...[and] language to help speed a congressional waiver required next year to confirm retired Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense and temporary help to maintain health benefits for retired members of the United Mine Workers," according to the Associated Press.

Daily Data

  • Reluctant Voters A George Washington University Battleground Poll released this morning has some interesting data points as voters look ahead to the Trump Administration
  • Favorable Rating 45% of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of President-elect Donald Trump, compared to 49% with negative views of him. The GW Battleground Poll of mid-October showed 36% with a favorable rating and 61% with unfavorable.
  • GOP Control 49% of voters said they were "concerned or scared" about the upcoming Republican control of the executive and legislative branches; 47% were "excited or hopeful."
  • Trump's Policies Voters, almost exactly split in their opinions of Donald Trump and his GOP government, appeared to believe that he would enact a number of his promises.
  • 79% said it was "very" or "somewhat" likely that he would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (17% said "not very" or "not at all" likely).
  • 66% said it was "very" or "somewhat" likely that he would pass an infrastructure bill (31% said "not very" or "not at all" likely).
  • 71% said it was "very" or "somewhat" likely that he would pass tax reform (24% said "not very" or "not at all" likely).
  • There is one promise, however, that voters are skeptical that Trump will act on: 41% said it was "very" or "somewhat" likely that he would build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, while 55% said "not very" or "not at all" likely.
  • Priorities Given a lost of topics and asked which Trump and Congress should focus on in the first 100 days of his Administration, the leading issues were: division in the country (21%), the economy (15%), health care (11%), and jobs (8%).
  • Other Players The poll respondents also offered their opinions on other political players.
  • Barack Obama: 53% approval (no change from October), 42% disapproval (2% decrease)
  • Hillary Clinton: 42% favorable (3% decrease), 55% unfavorable (2% increase)
  • Bernie Sanders: 56% favorable, 30% unfavorable
  • Mike Pence: 44% favorable (no change), 37% unfavorable (6% increase)
  • Paul Ryan: 35% favorable, 36% unfavorable
  • Mitch McConnell: 17% approval, 33% disapproval
  • Donald Trump is President-elect, but nothing is official until after the Electoral College votes on December 19. A Republican elector, Christopher Suprun, announced in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that he will not vote for Donald Trump when the electors meet, opting instead for a different Republican such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
  • The announcement came as Politico reported Monday that Harvard law professor Larry Lessig and a California-based law firm will offer free counsel to Republican electors leaning towards voting against Trump, in an effort dubbed "The Electors Trust." Lessig told Politico that the Trust would allow electors to strategize on stopping Trump, working with eight Democratic electors lobbying their GOP counterparts.
  • 38 Republican electors would need to reject Trump to deny him the White House, a hugely unlikely scenario, especially given Trump's split favorability in this poll.

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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.