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Wake Up To Politics - February 17, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
3 Days Until the NV Dem Caucuses/SC GOP Primary
275 Days Until Election Day 2016 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!!!
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

  • Whiteboard Wednesday Every week, I pull out my whiteboard and display polling in the presidential race with dry-erase markers. This week is no exception, but Whiteboard Wednesday is going south for the week: down to South Carolina, where Republicans will vote on Saturday and Democrats vote on Tuesday.
  • The numbers and rankings on the whiteboard are, as always, derived from an average of polls conducted in the past week.
  • On the Democratic side, Clinton has a nearly 20-point lead over Sanders, and the margin between Clinton and Sanders – whether the latter can close the gap in the final days – will be interesting to watch. Particularly among African-American voters, the results in the Palmetto State could show how each candidate tests with different demographics going forward.
  • On the Republican side, there is also a clear frontrunner in South Carolina (Donald Trump), once again setting up a race for second place. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are within just a few points of each other, with Jeb Bush and John Kasich not too far behind. How the candidates will stack up in the final results will dictate who has momentum going into Nevada and beyond.
  • Today on the Trail Where are 2016 presidential candidates today?
  • All six Republican contenders will be fanned out across South Carolina (hitting 12 cities between them, by my count) as they campaign ahead of Saturday’s primary, with one candidate also hitting Virginia. Three of them will cross paths today, at a CNN town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper. CNN is spreading the GOP field over two nights, with Carson, Cruz, and Rubio appearing tonight. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton heads to Illinois.
  • Jeb Bush will be holding three town halls.
  • Ben Carson will hold a Veteran’s Roundtable, targeting the key veterans bloc, which makes up over 12% of the state’s population.
  • Hillary Clinton will continue to target South Carolina’s African-American votes – but from Illinois, with a Get Out the Vote event in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where she will be joined by the mother of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman found dead in a jail cell last summer.
  • Ted Cruz is holding four events across the state today, including one with conservative Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC) and another hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Conservative and evangelical voters (like ones he won in Iowa), also aplenty in South Carolina, are key to Cruz’s strategy in the state.
  • John Kasich will hold a rally in South Carolina today, before traveling to Virginia for a town hall there – as he continues his strategy of campaigning in more moderate states farther in the calendar, to keep viability through March even if he underperforms in the conservative Palmetto State.
  • Marco Rubio will host three town halls. Interestingly, the campaign’s guidance included that he plans “to share his optimistic message with South Carolina voters” at today’s events, perhaps aiming at John Kasich – who beat Rubio in New Hampshire with a more positive campaign.
  • Donald Trump will hold two rallies today.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Obama has just one event on his public schedule today: a 3:15pm Oval Office meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • This is Obama’s first day back from California since Justice Scalia’s death, so he may be spending time with staff to choose a Supreme Court nominee.

Question of the Day

  • Yesterday’s Answer Hillary Clinton was the 2016 presidential candidate who won a Grammy. Clinton received the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the audiobook version of her book It Takes a Village. If elected, Clinton will join the ranks of Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama – past Grammy winners all.
  • GREAT JOB... Gary Mueller, Joan Zucker, Christina Hartman, Bobby Frauenglas, Janice Goodman, Joe Bookman, Rick Isserman, Arthur Lieber, and Christopher Darken + @ZackBrownIA, @PigsideBriggs, and @Jermoie_Onie!!!

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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