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Wake Up To Politics - May 20, 2015

To read today's edition of Wake Up To Politics in a PDF format, click here. Continue reading to find the text of the Wake Up in the body of the email!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
538 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Wednesday, May 20, 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!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP or subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or read my tweets and follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/Wakeup2Politics or read stories on Wake Up To Politics by clicking the media logos at the bottom.
White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule At 9:20 AM, President Obama will depart Washington, D.C. for New London, Connecticut, where he will arrive at 10:30 AM.
  • At 11:35 AM, the President will deliver the keynote address at the 134th Commencement Exercises of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London.
  • In his address, President Obama will focus on climate change, calling it a “serious threat” to national security. Obama will make the point that climate change could cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars, damage military buildings, and add challenges for military personnel.
  • “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security,” Prepared remarks released by the White House show Obama will say. "And, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.  And so we need to act— and we need to act now.”
  • “Obama's focus on environment is part of a continuing effort by his administration to ramp up public attention to the issue even as the president's legislative agenda on the matter is stalled by opposition from congressional Republicans,” according to the Washington Post. “Many in the GOP have expressed skepticism about the effects of global warming and called the concerns inflated.”
  • “In Miami and Charleston, streets now flood at high tide.  Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways, roads, railways and energy facilities are vulnerable,” Obama will continue. “It’s estimated that a further increase in sea level of one foot — just one foot — by the end of this century could cost our nation $200 billion.”
  • Every year the President delivers the commencement address at one of the four U.S. military academies. This will be his second time at the Coast Guard Academy: he also addressed the Class of 2011 graduates.
  • Every presidential trip has to include fundraising, apparently, so Obama will hop on his plane for a 40-minute ride to Stamford, Connecticut, where he will attend a DNC event at 4 PM.
  • At 5:50 PM, President Obama departs Connecticut to return to D.C.; he will arrive back at the White House at 7:05 PM.

Election Central

  • Kentucky Gubernatorial Primary Too Close to Call The bitter Republican primary for Kentucky governor dragged on Tuesday night, ending in a virtual tie between two candidates.
  • Early in the night, it appeared businessman Matt Bevin, the Tea Party candidate who challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last year, was going to win the GOP nomination. Then, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer pulled ahead at Western Kentucky; the night ended with Bevin leading by 83 votes, out of over 210,000 votes cast.
  • The race has been bitter and dirty: Comer has faced allegations of domestic violence, in turn, he has accused the campaign of former Louisville council member Hal Heiner in spreading the abuse rumors.
  • Comer has said he will ask the Kentucky Secretary of State for a recanvass, a review of each county’s votes set for May 28. The winner of the primary, decided at that time, will face Democratic nominee Jack Conway, the state’s Attorney General and 2010 Senate nominee.
  • Although Kentucky leans Republican in federal elections, only two Republicans have won the state’s governorship in the past 68 years. Writes the Washington Post, “The number of voters willing to vote Republican in federal races and Democratic in state races is shrinking. Ironically, the issue that will define Beshear's tenure, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will give Republicans something to run against. If they can turn Conway into an Obama Democrat, they can win; if they run against Conway the Beshear Democrat, the GOP's losing streak will continue.”
  • Most polls show Conway beating all four GOP candidates, with his lead against Comer being the smallest, and biggest against Bevin.
  • Pence Passes on Presidential Run Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) will not run for President in 2016, reports said Tuesday.
  • Pence will instead run for re-election as governor, which he could not do if he was running for President (Indiana law prohibits candidates from running for two offices on one ballot).
  • Before being elected Governor in 2012, Pence served in the U.S. House for 12 years, including stints as chair of the House Republican Conference and chair of the conservative Republican Study committee.
  • “For a time, Pence was seen as a strong 2016 contender,” according to Politico. “An evangelical governor who often touted his balanced budgets and job-creation record, he was considered by some in the party as a candidate who could bring together the establishment and social conservative wings of the party. Many of his former staffers have assumed top roles with GOP mega-donors Charles and David Koch, and the brothers’ Americans for Prosperity political group supported his efforts in office.”
  • However, Pence has been hurt by his support for the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill passed by the Indiana legislature that would allow businesses to not serve individuals based on their sexual orientation, causing an uproar in the gay rights communities.
  • Pence’s downfall was also a result of Scott Walker’s rise. Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is also a Midwestern governor, but he is rising in the polls and has emerged as a frontrunner in the crowded 2016 GOP primary.

Q&A with Gabe

  • I’ve received a lot of questions from subscribers lately, some of which I haven’t answered yet (even though they were sent weeks ago). Sorry for the delay, but here are the answers to some questions asked by Wake Up To Politics readers:
  • Q: James Woolley asks, “Do you think Bernie Sanders is a realistic candidate for the Presidency, and if he does win the election, do you think he will be able to effectively implement the policies he campaigns with?”
  • “Do you think more candidates should communicate more openly and directly with the people they wish to represent?”
  • A: Gabe answers, Hi King! Thanks for writing! No, I don’t think Sanders is a realistic candidate for the Presidency, for a number of reasons, including the fact that he is not a registered Democrat (and is running for the Democratic nomination). I do believe, however, he will greatly affect the 2016 campaign. Already, we have seen Sanders push Hillary Clinton to the left on immigration, gay marriage, income equality, race relations, campaign finance, climate change, abortion, and other issues.
  • Bernie Sanders is an unorthodox politician and senator and would definitely be an unorthodox President, and watching a Sanders Administration attempt to implement its platform would be interesting. A lot of Sanders’ ideas are a little “out there” politically, and in today’s political climate are unlikely to occur: Barack Obama, a savvy politician, ran on a similar platform and has had only marginal success implementing many of his ideas. However, this all depends on what party Congress is controlled by, as that changes how much any President can get done.
  • To answer your final question, I believe candidates owe it to the American people to get their message out and use any medium possible to engage with the people they hope will become their constituents. It certainly always helps the candidates themselves, because voters usually respond well to candidates who communicate with them. Bernie Sanders, for example, has been doing this (as you mentioned earlier in your email, he participated in a Reddit AMA Tuesday; the New York Times has also made note of Sanders’ Facebook use). This sets up a direct contrast with his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who answered media questions Tuesday for the first time in nearly a month…which does not go unnoticed.
  • Q: Steve Gitnik asks, “Who was the only foreign born first lady?  re: jeb bush's wife born in mexico from Monday’s wutp.”
  • A: Gabe answers, Thanks for asking Steve! John Quincy Adams’ wife Louisa was born in London. As I noted in Monday’s Wake Up, Jeb Bush’s wife Columba is Mexican-born. This would make her just the second foreign-born Friday Lady, after Louisa Adams.
  • Other presidential candidates have had wives not born in the US: one that comes to mind is John Kerry, whose wife Teresa was born in Mozambique.
  • Q: Brad Chotiner asks, “What was Camp David called before camp David? Thanks for all the fun with Wake up”
  • A: Gabe answers, This is a follow-up question to my trivia question from last week (Who was Camp David named for?), which came as President Barack Obama met with Gulf leaders at the presidential retreat. The answer to Brad’s question is “Shangri-La”.
  • The land in Thurmont, Maryland was originally used as a camp for federal agents, before Franklin D. Roosevelt made it the presidential retreat at the advice of his physician in 1942. FDR renamed the camp “Shangri-La” after the fictional valley from Lost Horizon, a novel Roosevelt enjoyed.
  • Thanks to everyone who sent in questions! You can always ask me a question about politics, history, the Wake Up, or more by emailing wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com and I will answer it in a later edition of Wake Up To Politics!

Today's Tidbit

  • Letterman’s Last “Late Show” Dave Letterman will host his final episode of “Late Show” tonight. The CBS late-night talk show debuted in August 1993, with Letterman as its host.
  • Between his 1,819 episodes as host of NBC’s “Late Night” (from 1982 to 1993) and 4,263 episodes at CBS, Letterman is the longest-running late-night talk show host in American history.
  • Letterman has had a star-studded sendoff the past two days, hosting Tom Hanks, Eddie Vedder, Bob Dylan, Bill Murray (his first guest ever), and others.
  • The contents of his last show, airing tonight at 11:35 PM, haven’t been announced, but is expected to include highlights from his 22-year tenure at “Late Show,” and one last Top 10 list.
  • Jimmy Kimmel, a longtime Letterman fan since he was in high school, whose show "Live! With Jimmy Kimmel” airs at the same time as “Late Show,” will air a rerun Wednesday instead of a new episode in tribute to Letterman.
  • Obama went on Letterman two weeks ago where he joked about retirement with Letterman. It was not his first time on the show – Obama also went on in 2012 and 2009 (when he became the first sitting president to appear on “Late Show”), and in 2004, 2007, and thrice in 2008.
  • While Obama is the only sitting president, Letterman has also hosted Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush either before or after their terms. Letterman’s “Late Show” has also included appearances by Barbara Bush (after she was First Lady), Al Gore (while he was Vice President), Hillary Clinton (while she was First Lady), as well as Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Former Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert will take over “Late Show” with Letterman’s retirement; Colbert’s first episode is set to air September 8.

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question A question of your opinion, not a trivia question today: Scott Walker called himself “the most scrutinized politician in America” Tuesday.
  • Do you think he is? If not, who’s really the most scrutinized American politician, current or historic?