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Wake Up To Politics - January 14, 2016

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Thursday, January 14, 2016
18 Days until the Iowa Caucuses
299 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

  • Republicans to Debate in South Carolina Tonight The sixth Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle, the first in this new year, will take place in North Charleston, South Carolina tonight.
  • Fox Business Network, which is sponsoring the debate, set strict qualifications for the primetime debate at 9pm Eastern Time: placing in the top six according to an average of the past five national polls recognized by FOX News or in the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire according to the past five FOX-recognized polls in each state.
  • Just seven candidates met these qualifications: once again Donald Trump will take center stage, flanked by runner-up Ted Cruz on his left and Marco Rubio on his right. Ben Carson will stand to Cruz’s left, with Chris Christie at Rubio’s left. Finally, Jeb Bush and John Kasich will make up the outward edges of the stage, at the far left and far right podiums, respectively.
  • Fireworks will certainly be on display at the debate stage, as the race has intensified in recent weeks: if the contest plays out like recent campaign rallies have, most candidates will go after Marco Rubio; Ted Cruz will finally attack Donald Trump, as will Jeb Bush, who will be under fire from his rivals for the establishment lane: Rubio, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.
  • The primetime debate will be moderated by Fox Business News anchors Neil Cavuto and Mario Bartiromo, with the 6pm Eastern Time undercard debate (with Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum) to be moderated by Trish Regan and Sandra Smith. Both debates will have 90-second answers and 60-second rebuttals, as well as 30-second closing statements (no opening statements).
  • This will be the smallest primetime stage of any debate yet in the 2016 cycle, with Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina pushed off the main stage. While Fiorina will take her place at the center of the undercard debate, Paul declined an invitation to the earlier event.
  • “By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top tier campaign,” a statement from the Paul campaign read. “He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.”
  • “Creating ‘tiers’ based on electoral results of real votes might make sense but creating ‘tiers’ on bad science is irresponsible,” the statement continued, citing CNN, CBS, Fox, and Marist polls showing Paul ahead of Bush, Christie, and Kasich.
  • Invisible Primary Tracking key endorsements in the presidential race:
  • Phil Robertson àCRUZ Phil Robertson, star of the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty,” announced Wednesday that he is endorsing Ted Cruz for President.
  • Robertson made the announcement in a strange ad, which features him and Cruz decked out in camouflage and their faces painted black.
  • “My qualifications for President of the United States are rather narrow,” Robertson explains in the ad. “Is he or she Godly, does he or she love us, can he or she do the job, and finally would they kill a duck and put him in a pot and make him a good duck gumbo? I've looked at the candidates, Ted Cruz is my man. He fits the bill.”
  • According to Fox News, Cruz dined and duck hunted with Robertson at the family’s West Monroe, Louisiana house.
  • “I am thrilled to have Phil’s support for our campaign,” Cruz said in a statement. “The Robertson’s are a strong family of great Christian faith and conservative values. Phil’s story of starting off with something small and working hard to achieve the American dream is inspiring…If we as conservatives come together in 2016 and fight for the values that have made this country exceptional, we will win the White House and turn this country around.”
  • While the “Duck Dynasty” endorsement may not be a good sign for a campaign, Robertson says in the video that “we're going to vote for you, all of us,” presumably referring to the other members of his family. So, that’s 25 votes in Louisiana’s March 5 primary right there.
  • In a statement from the Cruz campaign, Robertson is described as a “professional hunter, businessman, Christian minister, and reality television star”.
  • The Nation à SANDERS Bernie Sanders was endorsed by The Nation in an editorial Thursday. The magazine, which describes itself as “the flagship of the left,” has a large liberal readership.
  • “Voters can trust Sanders because he doesn’t owe his political career to the financial overlords of the status quo. Freed from these chains of special interest, he can take the bold measures that the country needs,” the magazine’s editors wrote for the February 8 edition.
  • Sanders already has widespread backing from the liberal community, including an endorsement from MoveOn.
  • This is The Nation’s third endorsement since its 1865 founding (it is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the U.S.), having back Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Obama wakes up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana today, the second and final stop of his post-State of the Union tour.
  • Once he arrives at McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, the President will hold two town halls: a traditional one at 10:05 am Central Time; and a Twitter Q&A at 11:30am, where he answers questions submitted with #AskPOTUS.
  • Both events are part of Obama’s attempt to “engage with Americans about the real progress the American people have made to move our country forward and how we can continue taking action to address the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead,” according to the White House. On Monday, he held a living room discussion in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • At 12:30pm, the President departs Louisiana from Baton Rouge Regional Airport, arriving back at the White House at 4:50pm Eastern Time.
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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