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Wake Up To Politics - November 6, 2015

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Friday, November 6, 2015
369 Days until Election Day 2016
88 Days until the Iowa Caucuses It's Thursday, November 6, 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 and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    2016 Central

  • Democratic Candidates to Meet at South Carolina Forum All three Democratic candidates for President will speak at a MNBC forum in South Carolina today.
  • The two-hour forum will begin at 8pm ET; MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is moderating. Co-hosts of the forum include the South Carolina Democratic Party, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the DNC Southern Regional Caucus, and the Democratic Parties of twelve Southern states.
  • Why is this event a “forum” and not a “debate”? No candidate is allowed to participate in a debate not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). To avoid this restriction, tonight’s event will not be formatted like a debate. Instead, it is more like three live-audience interviews.
  • The three candidates (former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley) will not appear on stage together; they will take the stage one after another and answer questions posed by Maddow.
  • Tonight’s forum will be located at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. South Carolina is the fourth state to vote in the Democratic presidential primary process, and the site of the “first-in-the-South” primary. A Winthrop University poll released earlier this week showed Clinton leading the South Carolina primary with 71% of likely voters; 15% of the vote goes to Bernie Sanders, and just 2% to Martin O’Malley.
  • Nov. 10 Debate: Christie, Huckabee Bumped to Undercard Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, co-sponsors of the next Republican presidential debate on Nov. 10, announced the debate’s lineup Thursday.
  • Once again, the GOP field will be split into two debates, an undercard event at 7pm ET and the primetime debate at 9pm ET. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee failed to qualify for the primetime debate, meaning they will join former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at the undercard debate.
  • Both Christie and Huckabee appeared optimistic following the debate announcement. “I’m happy to debate anyone, anywhere, anytime," Huckabee said in a statement. “We are months away from actual votes being cast and neither the pundits nor the press will decide this election, the people will.”
  • Meanwhile, Christie posted a similar message on Twitter: “It doesn’t matter the stage,” he tweeted. “Give me a podium and I’ll be there to talk about real issues…”
  • The small audience the undercard candidate will receive is better, at least, than what South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore will get, having failed to qualify for either debate.
  • The cycle’s three previous debates all featured Christie and Huckabee in primetime, as well as Graham and Pataki in the undercard. Gilmore has had no debate performances since participating in the first undercard.
  • Statements from the Graham and Pataki campaigns both took issue with the decision. “Regardless of this decision tonight, Senator Graham continues to be the foremost expert on foreign policy and national security in this field of candidates, on either stage,” Graham’s campaign manager said in a statement. “In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican Presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets.”
  • Pataki struck a similar note, stating: “I am very disappointed tonight that early national polls are shaping the election choices for the American people. This new trend is a danger to our primary system, a disservice to voters everywhere - especially those in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina - and a clear boost to the worship of celebrity over accomplishment and ideas. Running for the most important leadership position in the world shouldn't be reduced to the level of ‘American Idol’ or ‘Survivor.’ The voters – not networks driven by ratings or national polls that are statistically irrelevant - should decide our next president.”
  • To appear in the primetime debate, Fox Business set a floor of 2.5% average in the past four national polls; a 1% average was needed to qualify for the undercard debate.
  • Businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will share center stage at the primetime debate, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio next to Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz next to Carson. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (next to Rubio) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina (next to Cruz) make up the next tier. Finally, on the fringes of the stage, Ohio Governor John Kasich (next to Bush) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (next to Fiorina).

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama will give a statement at 11:45am today, where he is expected to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an announcement that has been awaited by the oil industry (in favor of the pipeline) and environmental lobby (strongly opposed) for the past seven years of the Obama Administration.

Weekend Preview

  • Saturday: Trump Hosts SNL Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” tomorrow night.
  • Sunday: My birthday I turn 14 years old Sunday, meaning I will meet 2 out of 3 qualifications to run for President of the United States:
  • Natural-Born Citizen (check)
  • Live in the United States for 14 years (as of Sunday, check)
  • Be 35 years old (40% there)
  • On the whiteboard, the brown percentage shows the candidate's average polling support this week; the number next to the brown represents the change that candidate saw from their average last week (green is a gain, red is a loss). Here’s what else the whiteboard shows:
    • GOP: In the first post-debate polls, we saw about what was expected: Carson had huge gains, stealing the lead in the race from Trump, who sees just a small loss, but enough to move him down to #2. The race between the two political outsiders is still close, however: Carson's average was just 0.5% higher than Trump, a small victory - but huge in its removal of Trump from frontrunner status. Then, Rubio and Cruz both see expected gains after their well-received debate performances. Jeb Bush, who has failed to get the revival he has sought, symbolically remains stagnant, with the same average he got last week. Then, notably, the rest of the field all lost ground. This may be a sign that those at the bottom of the pack are starting to lose support to the top tier, which may cause some dropouts in the weeks to come (looking at you, Christie/Huckabee/Kasich/Paul). The biggest loss is Carly Fiorina's, whose momentum from her debate August/September debate victories seems to be fading.
    • DEM: This was the first week of polling with a three-candidate field for the Democratic race, after Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb ended their campaigns (and Joe Biden's announcement that he would not run). As a result, support that had gone to that trio seems to have been spread across the remaining candidates. Sanders has the biggest gain from the previous week, although Clinton still leads him by a staggering 23% margin. Even Martin O'Malley gains some ground, although he can't seem to break through the 3% floor. 
  • The Debates over Debates: GOP Candidates Back Out of Letter to Networks A number of Republican presidential campaigns have begun to back out of the much-discussed letter they had planned to write to TV networks to control of debate negotiations.
  • Following CNBC’s poor moderating of last week’s Republican debate, campaign managers of 12 GOP presidential candidates met Sunday to discuss a letter to sponsors of future debates. Dissatisfied with the Republican National Committee’s negotiating on their behalf, the campaigns’ sat down to write a letter and take debate negotiating into their hands.
  • But many in the top tier of the Republican field have begun to back out of the letter. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Donald Trump have all said they will not sign the letter, even as Ben Carson and other candidate push ahead with plans to send it.
  • What will such a letter look like? GOP superlawyer Ben Ginsberg sat in on the Sunday meeting, and drafted a letter for the candidates. Ginsberg’s draft included a number of questions for the networks (“What format do you envision – podiums, table, other?” “Will there be a gong/buzzer/bell when time is up?” “Will there be questions from the audience or social media? How many?”) and even more demands from the candidates, who asked for a ban on “lightening rounds” or questions where candidates had to raise their hands, asked that shots of the podiums from behind not be shown, that their microphones be off during break, among others.
  • The final demand of the Republican candidates for President? “Can you pledge that the temperature in the hall be kept below 67 degrees?”
  • 2016 Storylines A rundown of the stories developing with the 2016 candidates in the past 24 hours:
  • Jeb Bush jokingly apologized to the people of France Tuesday for making light of their work ethic at the last Republican debate. “I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Bush told the press in New Hampshire. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country—our first ally—that helped us become free as a nation! And I apologize. That did a huge disservice to France.” Bush criticized Marco Rubio at last week’s debate by asking how he couldn’t show up for Senate votes, when the chamber is in session so little, adding “What is it, like a French work week?”
  • Hillary Clinton set a specific rate of minimum wage increase she supports Tuesday. “I want to raise the federal minimum wage to $12, and encourage other communities to go even higher,” she announced at an Iowa campaign stop. Clinton’s two opponents for the Democratic nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, have both previously announced support for a $15 per hour minimum wage.
  • Marco Rubio picked up the endorsements of two Republican senators this week: Cory Gardener of New Jersey, on Monday, and Steve Daines of Montana, on Tuesday. Gardener and Daines were the first of Rubio’s Senate colleagues to back his presidential bid; they follow billionaire Paul Singer, who announced he was throwing his support (and money) to Rubio on Friday.
  • Donald Trump published a new book, “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” Tuesday. Trump’s 208-page blueprint for America, featuring a scowling Trump on the cover, includes17 pages of “About the Author”; the rest is mostly a lengthened version of the business mogul’s stump speech. However, the book also includes a number of attacks on presidential rival Carly Fiorina, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, conservative group Club for Growth, Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and others.

Capitol Hill News

  • House Republicans Choose Ryan’s Successor As Ways and Means Chairman The House Republican Steering Committee meets today to choose the new chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Paul Ryan gave up the Ways and Means gavel to become Speaker of the House last week.
  • Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Pat Tiberi (R-OH) are the two candidates for the Ways and Means chairmanship. Both are friends of Ryan, and both wield subcommittee gavels (Brady chairs the Subcommittee on Health; Tiberi, the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures).
  • Brady has more seniority in the House and the Ways and Means panel (he has served in Congress since 1991, and is the second-most senior member of the committee). Tiberi, who was first elected to the House in 2001, is No. 4 in seniority on the panel.
  • In addition to seniority, there are other considerations that could be taken into the Steering Committee’s decision. “Tiberi has spent years raising money for and dishing out funds to fellow House Republicans, but he is seen as a critical figure in Boehner's universe, which could hurt him,” Politico writes. Meanwhile, “Brady could be helped by his home-state connection to the largest House Republican delegation, or hindered by a sense that six Lone Star State committee chairmen is enough. Brady would be the seventh chairman from Texas if he’s chosen over Tiberi,” according to Roll Call.
  • Technically, today’s vote is just the first step into the selection of the next Ways and Means chairman. After the Steering Committee makes its recommendation (which it will do today, after hearing speeches from both candidates), the full Republican Conference will vote on the chairmanship. The Steering Committee vote is rarely overruled.
  • The Steering panel is made up of 32 lawmakers: the leaders of the House Republican Conference, six committee chairmen, and other appointed members. All members have one vote, except for Speaker Paul Ryan, who has five votes, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has two votes. The configuration of this committee was one of the promises Ryan made when running for Speaker, although his changes have not yet been announced.
  • There is no consensus frontrunner for the chairmanship, and the race between Brady and Tiberi could go either way.

Question of the Day

  • Monday’s Answer The trivia question Monday: who was the only President to be elected to office on his birthday?
  • The answer: Warren Harding, who was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1920 AND turned 55 years old on the same day.
  • GREAT JOB: Christa Van Herreweghe, Marlee Millman, Jeremy Cohen, Steve Gitnik!

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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