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Thursday, January 22, 2015
656 Days Until Election Day 2016Lowest SOTU views of Obama Presidency, Obama in KS selling "middle class economics," Obama to be interviewed by YouTube stars, Senate votes on climate change amendments, House GOP Pulls Controversial Abortion Bill, and Hillary does Vladimir: It's Thursday, January 22, 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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White House Watch
- Lowest SOTU Views of Obama Presidency Less people tuned in for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday than for any of his other five, according to Nielson ratings.
- The total for Tuesday’s speech, 31.7 million viewers, is a combined figure from the viewership of ABC, Al Jazeera America, Azteca, CBS, CNN, Fox, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Galavision, MSNBC, MundoFox, NBC, and Univision. Digital livestreams are not included, although the White House has already announced that 1.2 million views were counted for their enhanced livestream.
- 31.7 million is the lowest figure yet for any of Obama’s State of the Union addresses, and the second-lowest of any SOTU since Nielson began recording in 1993.
- President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2009 (which some do not technically count as a State of the Union) drew 52.4 million views, and the amount has declined in his speeches since. 48 million tuned in for next address in 2010 (which some count as his first State of the Union); the most recent speech in 2014 logged 33.3 million television views.
- The President’s Schedule President Obama continues his post-State of the Union tour today in Kansas.
- At 11:25 AM Central Time, the President will speak at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. President Obama is expected to expand on the “middle class economics” that were a centerpiece of his Tuesday address.
- Obama departs Kansas at 1 PM Central Time, arriving at the White House at 4:30 PM Eastern Time.
- When he returns to the White House, the President will sit for separate interviews with three YouTube stars, as part of the White House post-State of the Union digital outreach. The creators will be at the White House to talk with the president in person, and their interviews will be broadcast live. They will ask questions sent in with the hashtag #YouTubeAsksObama, as well as questions of their own.
- The three creators will be Glozell Green, the popular star of the channel bearing her name, vlogger Bethany Mota, and Hank Green (not related to Glozell), the face (or producer) of a number of popular channels on YouTube, including the educational channels Crash Course, Sci Show, and The Brain Scoop, as well as The Lizzie Bennnett Diaries and others. He is also CEO and co-creator of VidCon, the world’s largest online video conference, and perhaps best known as one-half of the Vlogbrothers (with his brother John, author of best-sellers such as The Fault in Our Stars). An online community known as Nerdfighteria has sprung up around the Vlogbrothers videos, which works to “decrease world suck”. DFTBA! Capitol Hill News
- Senate: Climate Change is Real, But Humans Are Not Responsible As the U.S. Senate continued consideration of a controversial bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline Wednesday, Democrats attempted to turn debate to climate change by introducing a slew of amendments asking senators their opinion on the issue.
- The chamber began with a vote on an amendment introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which stated “climate change is real and not a hoax”. This amendment passed 98-1, with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) as the lone dissenter.
- Republicans won the day, however, with a surprise argument in favor of the amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe, author of a book titled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” (no joke) argued for the amendment (which affirms that global warming is NOT a hoax) by saying the hoax is not climate change, but the “arrogant” position that humans are responsible.
- Next, the Senate voted on an amendment introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) to take it a step further and affirm that “human activity contributes to climate change”. Basically, this is the change from climate change exists (Whitehouse amendment) to humans are a cause of climate change (Hoeven amendment). The measure required 60 “yeas,” and failed 59-40, one vote short. 15 Republicans joined all present Democrats in voting “yea,” including Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rob Portman (R-OH). Not on the list of “yeas”…John Hoeven, who voted against the amendment he sponsored. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted no on the Hoeven amendment (Sanders has his own, more left-leaning climate change amendment which could get a vote today).
- And then the Democrats took it a step further, with a vote on an amendment by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) stating “human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” This is the change from the climate change exists (Whitehouse amendment) to humans are a cause of climate change (Hoeven amendment) to humans are a major cause of climate change (Schatz amendment). This measure failed 50-49, 10 “yeas” short of the 60 needed. Just five Republicans joined all present Democrats to vote in favor of the Schatz amendment: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mark Kirk (R-IL).
- Other votes on amendments to the Keystone bill have included a 57-42 vote against Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)’s amendment to “require any oil that moves through the pipeline to be refined and consumed in the United States,” according to The Blaze; a 53-46 vote against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)’s amendment to require the pipeline be produced by using only U.S. iron, steel, and other goods; and a bipartisan proposal sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) promoting energy efficiency, which passed 94-5. All of these amendments required 60 votes in favor.
- One word makes a big difference on these amendments, since Republicans voting in favor of the “humans cause climate change” amendments could face tough primary fights in 2016. Every senator can still say, however, that they voted to affirm climate change is real. Every senator except Roger Wicker, that is.
- House GOP Calls Vote on Abortion Bill, But Not the One They Planned After a revolt from several female members of the GOP conference, House Republican leaders pulled a controversial abortion bill set to be voted on Thursday.
- The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, when proponents of the bill say fetuses begin to feel pain. GOP leaders planned to vote on the bill today, the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, when anti-abortion activists descend on the National Mall for the March for Life, the largest pro-life event in the world.
- Many House Republican women, however, led by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), convinced the leadership not to vote on the bill, because of a provision which “allowed for abortions in the case of rape – but only if the victim reported the incident to police. Dissenters said Republicans were wrong to introduce divisive social issues into the political debate, and many women took offense to the language that required victims report rapes,” according to Politico. Worried that a vote on the bill would alienate women voters, and women members of the House, the leadership withdrew.
- This has become a familiar script in John Boehner’s Washington. As Politico put it, “Stop reading if you’ve heard this before: House Republicans had to make late-night, last-minute changes to a piece of legislation that they thought would pass easily”. But then the rank-and-file of the Republican conference revolted, and yet again, Boehner’s little control over his conference was evident.
- Today, the House will vote instead on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015, which prohibits federal funding for abortion, a bill without the rape provision that is expected to be supported by the entire House Republican Conference.
A piece of news...that isn't really news
- At an event in Canada on Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and potential presidential candidate) did her best impression of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
- When asked if she had “decided to be leader of the States,” Clinton explained to the moderator that in America, “we have a process”. Unlike in Russia, whose system she explains while impersonating Putin here.