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Wake Up To Politics - January 20, 2016

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016
12 Days until the Iowa Caucuses
293 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 - SNOW DAY edition!
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.    Waking Up To Politics

  • Happily :) Judith Sheindlin, better known as reality TV star “Judge Judy,” after a American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey of 1,000 college graduates found that 10% believed that Sheindlin serves on the U.S. Supreme Court. Obviously this is impossible…if it was true, the show would be called Justice Judy!
  • Sadly :( Joseph Arpaio, better known as Arizona’s “Sheriff Joe,” after the Supreme Court declined to hear his lawsuit against President Obama. His claims, which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals called “unduly speculative,” were that he was personally harmed by Obama’s executive order blocking deportation because the illegal immigratns allowed to stay would commit crimes, forcing him to spend more money locking people up. Arpaio, who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” has long been an outspoken advocate against illegal immigration.

2016 Central

  • Whiteboard Wednesday Every week, I provide an update on 2016 polling with “Whiteboard Wednesday”. The numbers below are derived from each candidates’ average percentage in national polling conducted in the last week, and compared to that candidates’ average in polling from the week before. Here’s this weeks’ whiteboard:
  • On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton makes a large gain – jumping above 50%, with a 7-point gain.
  • Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders slides about 4 points to 35%, while Martin O’Malley stays about the same with 2%.
  • NOTE: on the Republican side, there was only one national poll conducted last week – so the numbers could be a bit exaggerated.
  • However, the poll that was taken this past week showed Donald Trump slightly falling – although keeping a commanding lead of the race.
  • The large remainder of the field sees gains, ranging from 0.3% to 4%, although the race stays mostly the same.
  • Palin Endorses Trump Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee now a conservative icon, endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential bid at a Ames, Iowa rally Tuesday.
  • Palin delivered a rambling endorsement for Trump, which at times focused more on herself than him, but was also passionate in her support for him, while she wasn’t skewering President Obama (“a weak-kneed, capitulator-in-chief”) or speaking highly of Trump’s rivals, including Rand Paul (for having “that libertarian streak in him that is healthy”).
  • “Are you ready to make America great again?” Palin asked the crowd, using Trump’s well-known campaign slogan. “We all have a part in this. We all have a responsibility. Looking around at all of you, you hard-working Iowa families. You farm families, and teachers, and teamsters, and cops, and cooks. You rockin’ rollers. And holy rollers! All of you who work so hard. You full-time moms. You with the hands that rock the cradle. You all make the world go round, and now our cause is one.”
  • Palin continued, praising Trump for his “record of success” (Which “proves he is the master of the art of the deal,” Palin said), for being “beholden to no one but we the people” (“How refreshing,” Palin exclaimed), for hailing “from the private sector, not a politician” (“Can I get a “Hallelujah!”), and for having “the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve” (“the only one”).
  • Palin also called Trump “better than anyone (“So troops, hang in there”), asking the crowd: “Ready to make America great again, are you ready to stump for Trump? I’m here to support the next president of the United States, Donald Trump."
  • A statement from the Trump campaign called Palin’s endorsement “the most sought after and influential amongst Republicans”. The campaign also announced that Palin would join Trump for rallies in Norwalk, Iowa and Tulsa, Oklahoma today.
  • “I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” Trump said in the statement. “She is a friend, and a high quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”
  • With the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away, and Trump neck-and-neck with rival Ted Cruz, Palin’s endorsement could give the business magnate enough momentum for a victory in the Hawkeye State.
  • Iowa conservatives, many of whom support Cruz, may be convinced to instead caucus of Trump now that he has Palin behind him.
  • “In a Republican primary, everyone claims to be conservative and voters are pretty cynical,” said Cruz himself, at a Politico event in 2012. “I think conservatives trust Sarah Palin that if she says this guy is a conservative, that he is a real deal.”
  • Cruz also said Palin’s support in his 2012 Senate race, where he was widely expected to lose, “had a game-changing impact”.
  • Now, in 2016: can Palin change the game once again, this time for Cruz’s rival?
  • Democratic Race Heats Up as Sanders Take Huge Lead in New Hampshire A CNN/WMUR poll released Tuesday found Bernie Sanders expanding his lead in New Hampshire to a whopping 27 points above Hillary Clinton, showing the race at 60% to 33%.
  • In the survey, 91% of likely New Hampshire Democratic voters had a favorable view of Sanders – and just 65% saying the same of Clinton. While a miniscule 2% had an unfavorable view of Sanders, 26% did of Clinton.
  • In addition, among registered Democrats, Sanders still beats Clinton, 50% to 41% - a group Clinton led 47% to 40% in the last CNN/WMUR poll, in December.
  • That December showed Sanders with 50% in New Hampshire, to Clinton’s 40%, a significantly smaller lead for Sanders than he has in the new poll.
  • Amid the New Hampshire polling results, the race between Clinton and Sanders is beginning to heat up.
  • The Clinton campaign released a joint letter Tuesday signed by 10 former diplomats questioning Sanders’ foreign policy chops.
  • “The stakes are high. And we are concerned that Sen. Sanders has not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security," the letter read. “His lack of a strategy for defeating ISIS – one of the greatest challenges we face today – is troubling. And the limited things he has said on ISIS are also troubling.”
  • Many of the signing diplomats are close to the Clintons, having served in Hillary Clinton’s State Department or Bill Clinton’s Administration. The signers included former Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the chief U.S. nuclear negotiator with Iran; former Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick; former Defense Department and CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash; Julianne Smith, former Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden; former acting Homeland Security Secretary Rand Beers; former Under Secretary of Defense James Miller; and Nicholas Burns, who served as Ambassador to Greece under Bill Clinton and as the United States’ Permanent Representative to NATO under George W. Bush.
  • The Sanders campaign responded with a statement, reading: “We certainly concede that former Secretary of State Clinton has more experience than Sen. Sanders, but his judgement on major foreign policy issues is far superior.”
  • The statement continued, noting Sanders’ opposition to the Iraq War in contrast with Clinton’s vote in favor.
  • Another Monday statement from the Clinton campaign went after “Republicans – including the RNC and GOP super PACs – aiding Senator Sanders’ campaign,” an effort by many Republican operatives to boost Sanders, seen by some as an easier general election target.
  • “While Senator Sanders tries to make a case on electability based on meaningless polls,” the statement read, “Republicans and their super PACs have made clear the candidate they’re actual afraid to face.”
  • Trail Talk Who said what on the campaign trail yesterday:
  • Rand Paul on Donald Trump: “The question for conservatives is whether Donald Trump is a real conservative or not. I think he's a fake conservative. Conservatives have to look closely at Trump's record and decide whether he's a conservative or not.” – Politico interview
  • Donald Trump on Hilary Clinton: “If she's indicted ... therefore she wouldn’t be able to run essentially. Maybe Biden, it could be a couple of other people that you and I both know.” – interview with WHO Radio’s Simon Conway
  • Michele Bachman on Hillary Clinton: “I really do have great empathy for what Mrs. Clinton is going through, because the hill that she has to climb on — appearance — it’s just a different hill than men have to climb. I’m not whining about it. It’s just reality. It is what it is.” – Huffington Post podcast
  • Chris Christie on Michelle Obama’s school lunch standards: “The first lady has no business being involved in this. She wants to give her opinions? That's fine. She can give her opinions about what people should have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner… But using the government to mandate her point of view on what people should be eating every day is none of her business.” – Iowa campaign stop
  • Jeb Bush on U.S.-China relations and Malala Yousafzai/Malia Obama: “Every meeting I had in Beijing started out for the first 10 minutes started out lambasting me about why it was, as an American, why it was that we insulted China [when First Lady Michelle Obama did not attend a U.S.-China summit]. And I’m thinking, you know what, it could be that Mrs. Obama was worried about the science project of Malala.” – Council on Foreign Relations address
  • Terry Branstad on Ted Cruz: “It would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him. And I know he's ahead in the polls but the only poll that counts is the one they take on caucus night and I think that could change between now and then.” – at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit
  • Ted Cruz on Branstad’s comments: “It is no surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode…As conservatives unite behind our campaign you’re going to see the Washington cartel firing every shot they can, every cannon they can. Because the Washington cartel lives on cronyism, it lives on making deals, it lives on picking winners and losers and supporting corporate welfare and cronyism. This is what people are so fed up with.” – to Iowa reporters

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama travels to Detroit, Michigan today to visit the 2016 North American International Auto Show to “highlight the more than 640,000 new auto industry jobs created since the auto rescue” and “experience firsthand the remarkable progress made by the City, its people and neighborhoods, and the American auto industry.”
  • Wednesday marks the beginning of Obama’s seventh year in office, leaving exactly 366 days until the 45th President of the United States is sworn into office.

Capitol Hill News

  • Senate: Today At 2:30pm, the Senate will hold a cloture vote on the House-passed American Security Against Foreign Enemies (or American SAFE) Act, a bill aimed at increasing the vetting of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
  • The legislation will require all “covered aliens” – any alien applying for U.S. refugee status who resides in, last resided in, or has recently been present in Iraq Syria – to undergo additional FBI background checks before being admitted as a refugee.
  • Such refugees will only be admitted upon certification by the FBI Director to the Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence that he/she has received an FBI background check, and unanimous concurrence among the three officials that “the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”
  • The bill also requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an annual review and monthly reports to Congress on the certifications.
  • Despite bipartisan support when the SAFE Act passed the House in November (by a veto-proof vote of 289-137, with 47 Democrats voting “yea”), the bill is unlikely to receive the necessary 60 “yeas” in today’s vote after Democrats were called on to oppose the legislation by groups advocating on behalf of immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.
  • In a Statement of Administration Policy issued last November (after the bill was introduced in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks), the White House wrote that the American SAFE Act “would introduce unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world…and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis.” Additionally citing the extensive screening process already conducted for refugees applicants (which involves a number of agencies, and includes fingerprint and biographic checks, medical screenings, and an interview –as well as additional screening for Syrian applicant) and the lack of arrests or deportations for any Syrian refugees admitted since 9/11, the White House threatened a veto of the legislation if it is passed.
  • Also, on the committee level: the Senate subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies – the Appropriations Committee subcommittee with jurisdiction over the budgets of the Departments of Commerce and Justice – will hold an oversight hearing on the Justice Department’s role in implementing President Obama’s executive actions to reduce gun violence, which he announced earlier this month.
  • The main witness at the hearing will be U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, with others testifying including Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, a close ally of subcommittee chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL); former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the 2013 Republican gubernatorial nominee and a longtime gun rights advocate; Mark Barden, father of a Newtown victim and founder of Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control group; and Joyce Lee Malcolm, a professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment at George Mason University, author of “Guns and Violence: The English Experience”.

Number of the Day

  • 1,300: the number of emails sent from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server identified as “confidential” or “secret” in a letter to lawmakers from the U.S. Intelligence Community Inspector General. The letter reviewed two emails previously labeled “top secret,” reporting that they included intelligence with an even higher classification: “special access programs” (SAPs). Clinton’s campaign previously said no emails sent on the server were classified.

Asked and Answered

  • Steve Gitnik asks, “I am familiar with the terms ‘buffoon,’ ‘demagogue’ and ‘fool,’ but what is a ‘wazzock’? It can't be complimentary!”
  • Editor-in-Chief Gabe Fleisher answers: Steve is referring to my reporting Monday on the British Parliament’s debate to ban Donald Trump from the United Kingdom, in which many MPs went on tirades against Trump, calling him all manner of things (buffoon, demagogue, fool, etc.).
  • Another one of the words Trump was called: “wazzock”. Not being familiar with the term myself, I turned to Wake Up To Politics Senior British Correspondent James “The King” Woolley, a real-life British (but possibly Welsh?) person:
  • “‘Wazzock’ is a Northern term for someone who is an idiot, or is generally annoying, and makes him/herself look even more dumb publicly. Although not particularly offensive, being called what was traditionally known as ‘The Village Idiot’ is not something to be proud of. Also more prevalent in counties such as Yorkshire, the verb ‘to waz’ means to urinate.”
  • Thanks for asking Steve, and to The King for answering!
  • If you ever have a question on politics, history, or Wake Up To Politics, please send it to me and I will answer it!
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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