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Friday, February 20, 2015
627 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, February 20, 2015, 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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- Democrat Kander Announces Challenge to Blunt in Missouri Senate Race Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) announced a campaign Thursday to challenge Republican Roy Blunt for his U.S. Senate seat next year.
- Kander, 33, has served as Secretary of State since 2013, previously serving four years in the state House and as a U.S. Army captain in Afghanistan. Blunt, meanwhile, more than 20 years Kander’s senior, has served in the Senate since 2011. Blunt first entered politics in 1972, having served two terms as Missouri Secretary of State, and in the U.S. House for 14 years.
- Kander’s entrance into the race sets up a conflict of youth vs. experience, with the Democrat expected to capitalize on Blunt’s decades spent in Washington – and the hunger for change felt by many.
- Missouri has trended Republican in recent years: Barack Obama lost the state by just 0.1% in 2008, but 9% in 2012. But can Kander return the state to its battleground status? The New York Times writes, “A clash of two statewide figures has the potential to propel the Missouri Senate race into the top tier.”
- As Kander hit Blunt as a “creature of Washington,” Republicans lashed back, linking him to President Obama and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
- Just hours after Kander posted his announcement video, national and local Democrats rallied around him – including Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Attorney General Chris Koster, Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Sen. Jon Tester (MT), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 11:10 AM, President Obama will address the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Winter Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Washington.
- At 11:50, he will attend a DNC fundraiser.
- At 4 PM, the President will attend another meeting of Democrats: the Democrats Governors Association (DGA) Winter Meeting on the White House complex.
- This is the Weekend of the Winter Meetings, with the DNC, National Governors Association (NGA), DGA, and Republican Governors Association (RGA), all holding their Winter Meetings in Washington.
- Psaki Returns to the White House State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki will return to the White House to fill the post of Communications Director for the last two years of the Obama Administration, the White House announced Thursday.
- Psaki will begin in her new post in April, when Jennifer Palmieri steps down to join the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as communications director.
- The White House is familiar to Psaki, who served there in the early years of Obama’s presidency, as Deputy Press Secretary and then Deputy Communications Director. Psaki also worked as press secretary for both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and was deputy press secretary of John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.
- She is well-liked by reporters, skilled at delivering both campaign attacks and foreign policy answers, and is trusted by the president and his staff.
- ---LINK: Not by the Russians, though: in Russia, “Psaki” is a household name, a common punching bag for officials there: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2015/02/19/with-states-jen-psaki-leaving-for-white-house-who-will-russian-media-have-to-kick-around/