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Friday, January 23, 2015
655 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, January 23, 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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- Weekend Preview: 2016ers Flock to Iowa, California A number of potential presidential candidates will spend the weekend in the early primary state of Iowa, speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit hosted by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Citizens United.
- Throughout Saturday, speakers will include former Govs. Sarah Palin (R-AK), Mike Huckabee (R-AR), and Rick Perry (R-TX); Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Govs. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Scott Walker (R-WI); and former Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Jim DeMint (R-SC); as well as businessman Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, former business executive Carly Fiornia, and former UN Ambassador John Bolton --- all of whom are exploring runs for the presidency in 2016.
- But the weekend is about more than the one speech they will deliver at the Saturday summit. It is about being in Iowa and chatting up key local activists, as well as Rep. King, a conservative power broker in the state. And the summit gives the potential candidates an excuse to come to Iowa and hold other events with other activists while they are here.
- Meanwhile, after many potential 2016 presidential contenders kiss Steve King’s ring, three others will be in California this weekend for an audience with the Koch brothers…and the cycle’s first candidate forum.
- Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Marco Rubio (FL) will face off Sunday on a panel titled “American Recovery Policy Forum” at the winter meeting of Freedom Partners, the conservative group associated with top GOP donors Charles and David Koch. ABC’s Jonathan Karl will moderate the forum.
- Only three (potential) candidates will attend, so it will be nothing like the official debates (set to begin in August), but it is closer to a debate than the Iowa Freedom Summit. This is because at the Koch summit, the three will be on the same stage, side-by-side, while at the King summit, everyone is speaking at different times.
- Noticeably absent from the list of speakers at both events are former Govs. Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Mitt Romney (R-MA), both of whom have received the most 2016 coverage in the past days. The two actually met Thursday for a pow wow in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- The Bush-Romney meeting had been planned months ago; initiated by Bush (who was to fly to Romney) before the latter began expressing interest in a 2016 presidential bid as well. Suddenly, what was a meeting between a potential presidential candidate and a former nominee became a meeting of two future rivals.
- According to many reports, the meeting was cordial and did include talk of 2016.
- Steyer Won’t Run for Boxer Seat Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer announced Thursday that he will not run for the California Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer in 2016.
- “I applaud and respect those running, and am confident that Californians will choose a representative who will serve them well,” Steyer wrote for a Huffignton Post blog. “Given the imperative of electing a Democratic president — along with my passion for our state — I believe my work right now should not be in our nation’s capital but here at home in California, and in states around the country where we can make a difference.”
- After retiring as a hedge fund manager in 2012, Steyer turned his focus to climate change, founding a 501 (c)(4), NextGen Climate, as well as a super PAC. The billionaire spent over $65 million to support seven candidates in 2014, only three of whom won.
- California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) has already announced a bid for the seat; former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rep. Xavier Becerra are also seen as potential candidates for the Democratic primary.White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule The only thing on President Obama’s schedule today: speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an association of mayors from across the country who will gather in the East Room of the White House.
- #YouTubeAsksObama Many in the national media have scoffed at Thursday’s YouTube user interviews at the White House, but this reporter thinks it was great. We need more young people involved and interested in politics, and this was the kind of thing that will convince them to watch.
- You can watch all three interviews in this video (at 37:56, great question by Bethany Mota on youth involvement in politics, and great answer from President Obama)
I review books I recently read
- JFK in Ireland Ryan Tubidry writes an extensive account of the trip John F. Kennedy called “the best four days of my life”.
- The book is very interesting, taking a single presidential trip (JFK’s 1963 visit to Ireland), dissecting it, describing it, and conveying its importance to Kennedy and to the U.S.-Irish relationship. A great use of photos as well throughout the book.
- The author, while not a historian or journalist – he is a talk show host (the Dave Letterman or Jimmy Fallon of Ireland), displays an impressive grasp of both Irish and American politics, although he makes no effort to hide his opinion, sprinkling subjective comments throughout.
- Fascinating book: JFK in Ireland by Ryan Tubidry.
Q&A with Gabe
A column where I answer questions sent in to me by subscribers. To ask a question on politics, history, or anything else - email me email@example.com
- Mark Winer asks, “Good morning. Any thoughts on why Obama didn’t do his ‘the economy is getting better every day’ tour in October instead of waiting until January. It reminds me of 2 famous tag lines associated with former presidents. 1st: ‘Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?’ and 2nd: ‘It’s the economy stupid!” Which presidents were associated with those two statements? Finally---extra credit for your thoughts on Obama’s decision to wait to use his ‘bully pulpit’ until 2015 to brag on the economy.”
- Gabe answers, Thanks, Mark – great question a lot of Democrats are asking now. The truth is, though, they didn’t want him to in October. Very few Democratic candidates wanted to appear with President Obama – or for Obama to come to their states, thus placing them in the awkward position of not appearing with him – in October, which is why he couldn’t really tout his economic accomplishments.
- Now, with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, Obama is going on a pre-State of the Union tour, breaking with precedent to release some of the initiatives he will announce at the speech early. Why? All the more time to get his agenda out in front of the American people, and distract from the agenda of congressional Republicans.
- And to answer your extra credit questions: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is associated with Ronald Reagan, who asked the question to ride to victory against Jimmy Carter in 1980. “It’s the economy, stupid” was the message of Bill Clinton and his 1992 strategist James Carville.
Question of the Day
- Tuesday’s Answer As Obama made his first presidential trip to Idaho Tuesday, I asked for you to name at least one of the three states he has yet to visit as President. The answers: South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. With Idaho bumped off the list, these are the only three states out of 50 Obama has not yet visited in his six years as president.
- Each of the three states voted against Obama twice: in 2012, Obama received just 45% of the vote in South Carolina, just 40% in South Dakota, and 25% in Idaho.
- GREAT JOB…Steve Gitnik, who got all three, and Marilyn Schapiro and S. Greenberg who both got South Dakota!