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Friday, January 30, 2015
648 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, January 30, 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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- Reports: Romney Telling Supporters His 2016 Decision Friday Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) will hold a conference call Friday to loop supporters in on his decision on a third presidential bid, according to CNN and Bloomberg reports.
- Last night, an email went out to Romney supporters under is name inviting them to a Friday morning conference call for “an update” on his 2016 thinking, led by Romney himself, according to Bloomberg News, who first reported about the conference call.
- Romney will not officially announce his decision on a presidential campaign Friday, although Bloomberg reported that he has made a decision on which way he is going.
- Lindsey Graham Forms 2016 Presidential Exploratory Committee
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced Thursday he was officially forming an exploratory committee to consider a presidential run in 2016.
- Graham is not thought to be in the top tier of potential presidential candidates, believed by many to be too moderate to win a GOP primary contest.
- The South Carolinian, however, said Thursday he thinks he’s just what the GOP needs for their 2016 candidate. “My party is center right,” Graham told reporters. “There’s an element of the left and the right that I don’t think reflects both parties. For those people who believe we are not hard-ass enough on immigration – that we are losing the Hispanic vote because they think we’ve gone soft on immigration – really don’t understand what’s going on in America. A center-right candidacy can prevail in America.”
- Graham cited immigration in his remarks; the issue is just one of many where he differs with his party. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the GOP nominee for President in 2008, another moderate Republican who has angered his party on immigration, has already thrown his support to Graham. Thwe two are longtime friends and allies; in the past, McCain has called Graham his “illegitimate son”.
- On Graham’s not-yet-official presidential campaign, McCain said Thursday: “I formally endorse him. He has my all-out complete support. That’s not just friendship. It's got to do with national security and what I believe are grave threats to this nation.”
- Graham’s exploratory committee is named “Security through Strength,” and will be run by David Wilkins, a South Carolina GOP operative and U.S. ambassador to Canada under George W. Bush.
- The committee will help Graham test the waters for a presidential bid, by conducting polling as he meets with prominent members of the party before making a decision on a campaign by April.
- 2016 Shop Talk: Bush Hires Former Romney Advisor Iowa strategist David Kochel, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, has been hired as a strategist for Right to Rise, the political action committee (PAC) of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
- If Bush runs for President in 2016, as is likely, Kochel is expected to serve as campaign manager, despite the fact that Romney, his former boss, may jump in the race as well. Capitol Hill News
- Senate Passes Keystone Bill After three weeks of debate, the U.S. Senate passed a bill 62-36 to approve the Keystone XL pipeline Friday.
- Keystone was a huge priority for Republicans upon taking control of the Senate at the beginning of this month, but President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill approving the pipeline.
- Nine Democrats voted with all 53 present Republicans in favor of the bill: Sen. Michael Bennet (CO), Tom Carper (DE), Bob Casey (PA), Tom Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT), and Mark Warner (VA).
- The path forward for the Keystone measure is unclear. The House has already passed a similar bill, but will either need to pass it again (with changes by the Senate over 40 amendment votes) or go to conference talks between the two chambers.
- Even if both houses of Congress pass the bill, President Obama has still threatened to veto it. Neither the Senate nor the House passed the measure with a veto-proof majority, and overriding Obama’s veto would require at least four more votes in the Senate, and dozens more in the House. Earlier in January, 28 Democrats voted with Republicans for the bill, but dozens more votes would be needed to override the veto. Just four more Democratic votes are needed in the Senate to override a veto from the President.
- ---LINK: Learn more about the Keystone XL pipeline I’ve been talking about the past few weeks. What is it? Why the controversy? What are the arguments? All these questions and more answered by Vox here.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule President Obama only has one event today: an 11:10 AM speech on health care in the East Room of the White House.
- In his speech, the President will ask Congress to approve the “Precision Medicine Imitative,” a $215 million program “designed to help doctors tailor treatments to the individual characteristics of their parents,” according to USA Today.
- Standing with Obama during his remarks will be doctors, patients, researchers, clinicians, and government officials.
Q&A with Gabe
- Nancy Weigley asks, “Gabe, based on your comments, what do you think if Biden runs for President? Does he have what it takes? Do you think he’d run if Hilary weren’t part of the picture? Be curious as to your thoughts. Have a great day!”
- Gabe answers, One thing is clear: without Hillary in the picture, Biden would all but have announced his candidacy already. Joe Biden has a distinguished career, but like so many in Washington, he wants the crown jewel: he wants the Presidency very badly. And just by his stature as Vice President, by all rights, he should be the frontrunner. But Hillary is in the picture.
- So will he run? It’s really hard to say. Personally, I think there are candidates in the Democratic Party who could be viable challengers to Hillary Clinton (such as Elizabeth Warren and Martin O’Malley), but Joe Biden isn’t one of them anymore. I think he would lose, and it would be an unfortunate end to a long career.
- But he wants the Presidency, and to a politician who wants the Presidency, polls and numbers are irrelevant. I wouldn’t discount Biden jumping in even if Hillary runs.
Question of the Day
- Today’s Question In honor of FDR’s birthday (which would be today, if he weren’t dead): President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order designating the first National Historic Site. What was the site?