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Tuesday, February 23, 2016
0 Days until the Nevada Caucuses (R)
5 Days Until the South Carolina Primary (D)
259 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
- Nevada Republicans to Vote in Caucuses Today The Republican presidential process chugs along, as Nevada caucusgoers cast their votes in the fourth GOP contest.
- Donald Trump is widely expected to win in Nevada, his third consecutive victory. However, there is still some uncertainty. Marching towards Super Tuesday, the exact percentages are going to matter: Trump’s margin of victory, and the second place finisher.
- Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are fiercely battling each other for the #2 spot, knowing that finishing just behind Trump will give them momentum heading into the next slew of primaries. And both hold out hope that they could take home the gold, with Nevada’s famously unpredictable turnout (expected to be a small 40,000) having the potential to render polling data unreliable.
- Rubio has targeted the same Nevadans who delivered a Mitt Romney victory in the 2012 caucuses: Mormons. The Floridian has also spoke at length about his brief time living as a Mormon in Las Vegas as a child , and deployed Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison – both Mormons – to campaign for him.
- Meanwhile, Cruz is attempting to follow Ron Paul’s strategy: uniting evangelical Christians with constitutional conservatives. If Cruz once again loses evangelicals to Trump, as he did in South Carolina, it could be fatal to the future of the Texan’s campaign.
- The most recent poll of the race in Nevada, conducted last week by Gravis Marketing, showed Trump winning the caucuses with 39%, followed by Ted Cruz’s 23% and Marco Rubio with 19%. John Kasich received 9%, and Ben Carson took 5%. A CNN/ORC poll in Nevada conducted earlier this month showed Trump in the lead by double-digits again (45%), but with Rubio in second place (19%) and Cruz (17%) following him. Carson received 7%, and Kasich took 5%.
- 30 delegates are at stake in Nevada, allocated proportionally. Currently, Donald Trump leads the delegate race with 67; Ted Cruz has 11; Marco Rubio has 10.
- For those wishing to watch along at home (although Wake Up To Politics will have you covered with results tomorrow if you don’t): caucuses begin between 5pm and 7pm Pacific Time, but results won’t come in until after they end at 9pm Pacific Time (10pm Mountain, 11pm Central, 12am Eastern).
- Rubio Picks Up Establishment Endorsements Following his second-place finish in the South Carolina primary Saturday, Marco Rubio has picked up 15 congressional endorsements, a sign of the establishment coalescing behind him following Jeb Bush’s suspension. Among the 15 were many Nevada lawmakers, including Sen. Dean Heller, and Reps. Cresent Hardy and Mark Amodei. Others included Sens. Dan Coats (IN), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Thom Tillis (NC), and former Bush backers Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo.
- In addition to those members of Congress, since Saturday, Rubio has gained the support of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, 2012 presidential candidate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 1996 presidential nominee and former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, and Republican megadonor Bobbie Kilberg.
- In an election year dominated by outsiders, will these insider endorsements help Rubio win the nomination? Maybe. Support from South Carolina’s top Republicans certainly boosted him there, and he hopes the same will happen in Nevada. But if it doesn’t, Rubio will have to start winning states in March (despite few obvious paths to victory) if he has any prayer to beat Trump for the nomination.
- Today on the Trail The balance of the Republican field will spend the day delivering their final pitches to Nevada voters. Ben Carson is holding two town halls in the state today, Ted Cruz is holing three rallies, Marco Rubio is holding a rally, and Donald Trump his holding a rally.
- Meanwhile, John Kasich is in Georgia, holding two town halls in the state – continuing his focus on Super Tuesday states.
- In addition, Marco Rubio will leave Nevada after his morning rally, to campaign in Minnesota and Michigan today (with a rally in each state). Minnesota votes on March 1 (Super Tuesday) and Michigan on March 8.
- On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is holding a rally in Virginia, while Hillary Clinton targets African-American voters with a Breaking Down Barriers forum. The forum will include five mothers who have lost their children to gun violence and police incident, including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Eric Garner.
- Sanders and Clinton will meet in the Palmetto State tonight for a CNN town hall at the University of South Carolina. The forum, moderated by Chris Cuomo, will allow voters to ask questions of the candidates. Sanders will take the stage in the first hour (8pm to 9pm Eastern Time), Clinton in the second (9pm to 10pm).
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama will spend his day fundraising and making a policy announcement:
- At 10:30am, the President will deliver a statement from the Roosevelt Room on his Administration’s long-awaited plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which will be submitted to Congress on Tuesday. The plan will include revised estimates on the cost of transferring Guantanamo detainees and will attempt to prove that closing the facility will save money.
- In submitting the plan today, the Obama Administration is following a deadline set for today by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 for the Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, and Director of National Intelligence to pen a “comprehensive strategy” to transfer detainees.
- Closing Guantanamo was a 2008 campaign promise of Obama’s, but it is likely to still go unfulfilled. The Administration plan is dead on arrival in Congress, and three Republican lawmakers began pre-butting it Monday with a joint statement.
- “This plan is expected to present the options for the relocation of Guantanamo, but regardless of whether it is Kansas, South Carolina, or Colorado, none of these options are acceptable,” Republican Sens. Pat Roberts (KS), Tim Scott (SC), and Cory Gardner (CO) wrote jointly. “Our states and our communities remain opposed to moving the world’s deadliest terrorists to U.S. soil. The terrorists at Guantanamo Bay are where they should remain — at Guantanamo Bay.”
- Without congressional approval, the detention facility will likely remain open, with Administration officials denying plans to close Guantanamo by executive action
- Also today, in a massive change of focus: at 3:05pm, Obama will attend a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) roundtable at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill News
- Senate: Today The Senate is adjourned until 10am Tuesday. After any Leader remarks, the chamber will jump right in to post-cloture debate on Robert Califf’s nomination to serve as head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A final confirmation vote today is possible.
- Califf’s nomination overcame a cloture vote Monday, advancing in a 80-6 vote, with Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Rob Portman (OH) joining Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (CT), Joe Manchin (WV), Ed Markey (MA), and Bill Nelson (FL) in opposition. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is also on record opposing Califf, but was campaigning during Monday’s vote.
- Much of their concerns are focused on the FDA’s plan to combat the opoid epidemic, with drug addiction emerging as a key issue in some states. Even if Califf is confirmed, the six opposing senators signaled that they would still force a debate over opoid and heroin addiction in the 30 hours of post-cloture debate that must come before a final vote. In this time, Markey and Manchin plan to read aloud letters from constituents impacted by addiction.
- Dr. Califf is a cardiologist by training, and has served as Deputy FDA Commissioner since January 2015. His prior experience inside the FDA is the root of some lawmakers’ worries of his inability to take the agency in a new direction on opoids.
- Following the FDA debate, from 12:30pm to 2:15pm, the Senate will recess for weekly caucus meetings. This is the first opportunity both parties have had to meet in full since Justice Antonin Scalia died, allowing each side to come up with a unified message on the confirmation process.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has struggled with keeping all 54 members of his caucus in line, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) openly bucking him Monday to call for a hearing and vote on President Obama’s forthcoming nominee.
- Meanwhile, all 46 Senate Democrats have agreed that President Obama, and not his successor, should nominate the new justice – although there is not yet unity on how far to go in pressuring McConnell to vote on a nominee. The minority party could easily block all legislation in the Senate to protest McConnell, although Republicans could tag them with the “obstructionist” label that Democrats are attempting to place on the majority. The Democratic position already lost some steam Monday with the surfacing of a 1992 floor speech by then-Sen. Joe Biden calling for then-President George Bush not to nominate a Supreme Court justice in an election year.
- There’s eleven people with the power to block a hearing for the nominee: the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and they will all be convened by chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for a separate, private meeting.
- House: Today In the chamber’s first meeting since Presidents’ Day recess, the House will consider five bills: the Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act, the Transportation Security Administration Reform and Improvement Act, the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act, the DHS Acquisition Documentation Integrity Act, and the Foreign Fighter Review Act.
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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