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Wake Up To Politics - February 9, 2016

To read today's edition of Wake Up To Politics in a PDF format, click here. Continue reading to find the text of the Wake Up in the body of the email!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
7 Days Until the New Hampshire Primary
280 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

  • Granite State Holds First-In-The-Nation Primary Voters across New Hampshire will cast ballots today in the famed “first-in-the-nation” presidential primary.
  • According to the RealClearPolitics average of New Hampshire polls conducted in the last week, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders are headed for double-digit wins in their respective primaries.
  • Sanders stands at 54% in the average, with Hillary Clinton at 41%, a 13% lead for the former. Polls included in the average show Sanders’ lead as small as 7%, and as large as 26%. To blunt the momentum Sanders will receive from his expected New Hampshire win, Clinton needs to tamp down the margin of victory as much as possible – especially after her razor-thin victory in Iowa.
  • In recent days, Clinton’s campaign has turned increasingly negative, with Bill Clinton dismissing Sanders’ political revolution and Clinton surrogates Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem criticizing young female Sanders supporters. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver responded with a statement, calling accusations leveled by the Clintons “disturbing,” “negative,” and “dishonest,” and referring to “kind of disarray that the Clinton campaign finds itself in today.”
  • Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Trump’s average support is 31%, nearly 17 points above his closest rival. The main question Monday night is who that closest rival will be, with a four-way fight for second place between Marco Rubio (at 14% in the RealClearPolitics average), John Kasich (13% average), Ted Cruz (12%), and Jeb Bush (11%). Rounding out the field, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina both average close to 5%, with Ben Carson at 3%.
  • Even as pollsters confidently predict a decisive victory for him, Trump continued to bash his rivals on the trail Monday, calling Jeb Bush an “embarrassment to his family”. Bush shot back, tweeting to Trump, “you aren’t just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner.”
  • Bush has been campaigning furiously in New Hampshire, attempting a top finish, along with Rubio, Kasich, and Cruz. Chris Christie, meanwhile, is trying to capitalize off of his successful attacks on Marco Rubio in Saturday’s debate, where Christie was able to tag Rubio as robotic, a charge which the latter tried to shake off in his final hours of campaigning.
  • For Christie and Kasich, placing well tonight is a must – as the two governors have gambled their campaigns on New Hampshire. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, does not view the Granite State as necessary to winning the nomination – although he is still looking to surprise, showing that his appeal is beyond Iowa evangelicals.
  • FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast shows a 70% chance of Trump winning, and greater than a 99% chance of a Sanders victory: meaning tonight’s winners are not expected to be a surprise. However, the raw numbers – the margins of victory, the finishing order – will greatly inform the future of this election, and set the pace for both races to the nomination in the months ahead.
  • Results: So Far While polls in nearly all New Hampshire precincts don’t open until 6am Eastern Time, cities with under 100 residents are allowed to vote at midnight – earning them the distinction of casting the first ballots in the first-in-the-nation primary.
  • Historically, three New Hampshire cities jockey for the first midnight votes: the nine voters of Dixville Notch, the 21 voters of Millsfield, and the 35 voters of Hart’s Location. With results from those three cities, the Republican primary is led by a three-way tie between Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump (nine votes each), followed by Chris Christie (three votes), Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (two votes each), and Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina (one vote each). Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic primary with 17 votes, to Hillary Clinton’s nine.
  • Bloomberg: “Looking At All The Options” for Presidential Bid Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed Monday that he is mulling an Independent presidential bid, telling The Financial Times that he is “looking at all the options”.
  • “I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voter,” Bloomberg told the newspaper.
  • According to the anonymous sources cited in a New York Times report from last month, which spurred speculation of a Bloomberg 2016 run, Bloomberg will be more likely to throw his hat in the ring if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump or Ted Cruz win the Republican nod.
  • Bloomberg himself wouldn’t go so far as to confirm that, telling FT, “I’m listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing.”
  • The billionaire septuagenarian also told FT that he will determine whether he will run by March, and will soon begin filing for ballots. The New York Times reported that he would spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on a presidential run.
  • Bloomberg served as Mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, first elected as a Republican but later as an Independent (he was also a member of the Democratic Party, before his mayorship). Bloomberg is also the 8th-wealthiest person in the world, and serves as CEO of Bloomberg L.P., his eponymous data and media company.

White House Watch

  • Obama Releasing FY 2017 Budget President Obama will submit his eighth and final budget message to Congress today, a $4 trillion-plus document with many new initiatives for FY 2017.
  • The budget request, which will be released this morning, is expected to be mostly follow of initiatives (many unlikely to pass the Republican Congress), including the “moonshot” effort to cure cancer, an increase in Pell Grants Grants, new incentives for states to expand Medicaid, and increased taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations.
  • Other planks of the president’s budgets that have already been announced include requests for $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus, a $5 billion increase in federal cybersecurity spending (with new initiatives including creation of a presidential commission on cyber and a federal cyber official), a $10-per barrel oil tax, and $250 million in cuts to the EPA clean water program (a controversial reduction in light of the Flint water crisis).
  • While it is traditional for the House and Senate Budget Committees to hold hearings hosting the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to review the president’s budget request, the chairmen of both panels announced they will not do so this year.
  • “Rather than spend time on a proposal that, if anything like this Administration’s previous budgets, will double down on the same failed policies that have led to the worst economic recovery in modern times,” House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said, “Congress should continue our work on building a budget that balances and that will foster a healthy economy.”
  • With both houses of Congress refusing hear testimony on the President’s budget, the document will not just be dead-on-arrival this year: it simply won’t be allowed to arrive.
  • The President’s Schedule At 3:35pm, President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with Democratic leadership to discuss the budget and other issues, in an attempt to rally his party in support of the progressive proposals in his budget.
  • Both Democratic Leaders will be in attendance – Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Sen. Harry Reid (NV) – as will the top message strategists in each caucus, Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Rep. Steve Israel (NY), the two Democratic Chairs of Policy & Communications.

Capitol Hill News

  • Senate: Today The upper chamber will vote on Scott Marciel’s nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to Burma. Marciel, who currently serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has worked in the State Department since 1985. Among his many postings, Marciel has served in Hong Kong, Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam, Ankara, Laos and Cambodia, Ankara, and Indonesia.
  • House: Today The lower chamber will consider twelve bills to “alter or expand the types of medical care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); reorganize the administration of several job training, readjustment benefits, transfer certain employment training and placement programs from the Department of Labor (DOL) to VA; and modify the processing of benefit claims,” according to Popvox.

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question Which President delivered his State of the Union address and budget message in the same speech?
  • Answers! It has come to my attention that there are two trivia questions from earlier this month that I never printed the answers to:
  • Which 2016 presidential candidate entered the national political stage with an address at the National Prayer Breakfast? Dr. Ben Carson, at the 2013 breakfast.
  • GREAT JOB: Marlee Millman, Joan Zucker, Jeff Melanson, Joe Bookman, and @darkenator (on Twitter)!
  • Which former President served on the U.S. Supreme Court? William Howard Taft.
  • GREAT JOB: Linda Randall, Lyle Hendricks, Ken Dukes, Bobby Frauenglas, Carol Lister, Christopher Darken, Devon Morris, Kellie Hynes, Kent Williams, Norman Gordon, Joan Zucker, Andrew Arkills, Brad Chotiner, Jeff Melanson, Shelli Netherton, Rick Isserman, Jordan Ottenstein, Gail Smith, Jim Wilbat, Arthur Lieber, and Joe Bookman.
  • That’s quite possibly the largest listof respondents to a trivia question: get your name in tomorrow’s edition of Wake Up To Politics by emailing me (wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com) with your answer to today’s question!
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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