Thursday, October 13, 2016
6 Days until the Third Presidential Debate (Oct. 19)
26 Days until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthday (Nov. 8)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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I have a few days off school this week, so there will be no edition of Wake Up To Politics tomorrow. Sorry, and apologies for the late edition today! (Also, L'Shana Tova to those who were celebrating Yom Kippur yesterday - I hope you had an easy fast from food, and WUTP!)
- Women Accuse Trump of Sexual Assault as His Slide Continues At the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis last week, co-moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN questioned Republican nominee Donald Trump about the 2005 video of him bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. "Have you ever done those things?" Cooper asked Trump.
- "No, I have not," Trump responded. Later in the debate, Trump compared his "locker room talk" to the accusations of rape leveled against former President Bill Clinton, his opponent's husband. "If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action," Trump said, as Clinton's accusers watched from the debate audience. "His was what he’s done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women."
- Now there are Trump accusers as well. Within hours of each other on Wednesday, BuzzFeed News, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Palm Beach Post, CBS News, People Magazine, and NBC News all published reports of women accusing Trump of groping or kissing them without their consent, among other allegations. In total, 12 women came forward to relay stories of being inappropriately touched by Donald Trump.
- The Trump campaign responded to the allegations in The New York Times, although no firm denial was issued. "It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.
- Trump himself responded Thursday morning, tweeting: "The phoney story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION. Written by same people as last discredited story on woman. WATCH!" In a tweet eleven minutes later, Trump responded to a People Magazine reporter who claimed Trump kissed her while she interviewed him for a feature in the magazine: "Why didn't the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the 'incident' in her story. Because it did not happen!"
- According to reports citing sources within his campaign, Trump is apparently drafting a lawsuit against the Times. A lawyer representing Trump, Marc Kasowitz, sent a letter to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet on Wednesday night, demanding a retraction of the article that included interviews of two women accusing Trump. Writing that the article was "reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se" and "nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump's candidacy," Kasowitz demanded that Baquet "immediately cease any further publication of this article...and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology." Kasowitz did not threaten a lawsuit or specifically deny any of the charges leveled against Trump.
- Baquet, who has said he is willing to go to jail to publish Donald Trump's tax returns, is unlikely to be shaken by the letter, a lawsuit threat could cause other smaller newspapers to scuttle similar stories. However, Trump has a longer history of threatening lawsuits and not going forward with them - and, in this case, a lawsuit would probably not work in his favor, as it could result in more attention being paid to the allegations.
- Hillary Clinton's campaign also responded with a statement to the reports. "This disturbing story sadly fits everything we know about the way Donald Trump has treated women," said Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri. "These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape is more than just words." And, just like Trump, Clinton herself responded via Twitter. "We have to win this election," she tweeted
- Trump's campaign has been sliding in the polls in recent days, with the latest allegations against the Republican coming less than a week after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tapes. On the stump, an increasingly bitter and unscripted Trump has appeared, taking shots at politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as polling, the media, the debate commission, and the "rigged system" at large.
- Polls released Wednesday and Thursday showed Clinton gaining ground in key battleground states, with a 9-point lead in Pennsylvania (Bloomberg), 10-point (Fox 2 Detroit) and 11-point (Detroit News) leads in Michigan, a 7-point lead in Wisconsin (Marquette), and 3-point lead in Florida (Opinion Savvy). Polling released on Wednesday showed Trump holding an edge in Missouri and in Maine's 2nd congressional district.
- Trump even appears vulnerable in Utah, a deep-red state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1968. Trump opposed by Utah's Republican governor and two-thirds of the state's all-Republican congressional delegation. The GOP nominee's unpopularity among Mormons and other conservatives in the state has resulted in an opening for Independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native. McMullin, who is also Mormon, is a Republican operative who launched his presidential bid in August as an alternative for "Never Trump" conservatives. While he has failed to generate momentum nationally, a Y2 Analytics poll of Utah released Wednesday showed him at 22% - just four points (within the margin of error) behind Trump and Clinton, who were tied with 26% each.
- The possibility that the Republican nominee won't be able to count on Utah's six electoral votes (which may go either to Clinton or to McMullin) represents a major re-writing of the U.S. electoral map. This historic shift was underscored by an NBC report Thursday that Trump's campaign was pulling out of the traditional battleground state of Virginia and focusing all of his resources on four states (Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio), while the Washington Post reported that the Clinton campaign is looking to expand into traditionally Republican states like Utah, Arizona, and Georgia.
- With less than four weeks to go until Election Day, Trump's opportunity to get ahead in this race is becoming slimmer by the day.
- Today on the Trail The NBC report that Trump's effort is now a campaign to win just four states is proven by a look at the candidate's schedule. The Trump/Pence ticket hits three out of the four states today, with Trump holding events in West Palm Beach, Florida (12pm) and Cincinnati, Ohio (7:30pm) and Pence campaigning in Orefield, Pennsylvania (6pm) and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (7pm).
- While Trump's events are both large rallies being held in arenas, Pence is speaking to two groups of Republican loyalists. In Orefield, Pence will address the Lehigh County GOP, and in Bethlehem, the Northhampton County GOP: both opportunities to shore up support for the ticket among Republican rank-and-file in the key state of Pennsylvania.
- Meanwhile, neither Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine are holding public events today, although Clinton will hold two California fundraisers: one in Los Angeles, with a performance by Elton John (tickets range from $33,400 to $100,000), and another in San Francisco, with a performance by R&B musician Andra Day (tickets range from $500 to $50,000).
- Continuing a trend of recent weeks, the Clinton campaign also has a number of surrogates stumping today - while just Trump and Pence are campaigning on the GOP side. Bill Clinton continues his bus tour of Iowa, holding events in Davenport and Mount Vernon, and Chelsea Clinton campaigns with former Sen. George Mitchell in Orono, Maine. In addition, Clinton has the full lineup of White House surrogates today (see White House Watch for more).
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Barack Obama will conduct official business in Pennsylvania, before heading to Ohio to campaign for Democrats - exactly 100 days before he leaves office.
- At 10am, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.
- At 12:15pm, he will depart the White House for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he will arrive at 1:25pm.
- At 2:05pm, Obama will take a tour of projects at the White House Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
- At 3:30pm, the President will speak about the need for American innovation at the Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon University and participate in a panel discussion.
- At 6:05pm, President Obama will depart Pittsburgh for Columbus, Ohio, where he will arrive at 6:50pm.
- At 7:45pm, he will speak at an Ohio Democratic Party event in Columbus benefiting the Senate campaign of former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH).
- Later, at 8:40pm, Obama departs Columbus, Ohio for Cleveland, Ohio, where he will arrive at 9:25pm and spend the night before a Clinton fundraiser tomorrow.
- Also today: Vice President Joe Biden will hold a rally for Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas, Nevada and a fundraiser for Senate Democrats in Los Angeles; First Lady Michelle Obama will hold her sixth campaign rally for Hillary Clinton at Southern New Hampshire University.
- Write-In Searches Surge According to Google Trends, online searches for "write-in" surged by over 2,800% last week, more than at any point since 2004. The top five states with searches for "write-in": Vermont, Delaware, New Jersey, Utah, and Indiana. Google also announced that searches related to "write-in" focused heavily on Bernie Sanders and Mike Pence, whose home states are both represented in that top five list. In Utah, however, the big spike was for "Mitt Romney write in" searches.
- Trump's Wisconsin Downfall A survey of Wisconsin released by Marquette University showcases Donald Trump's slide in swing state polls since the release of the "Access Hollwyood" tapes. The poll was conducted over four days: after the first day of surveys (last Thursday), Trump was leading the state by 1%; after Friday (the day of the video release), Clinton led by 6%; by Sunday, Clinton's advantage had grown to 19%.
- Tuesday's Answer The trivia question on Tuesday was: "Who was the last Speaker of the House to run for President?"
- As pointed out by Dr. Mark Smith, that question was a bit unclear. "Are you after a sitting speaker or someone who had been speaker in their career? Do you mean ran in their primary or as the official nominee of a party?", Dr. Smith asked.
- My intent when asking the question was this: "Who was the last sitting Speaker of the House to run for President (either in a primary or general election)?" The answer to that question is John Nance Garner (TX), who served as Speaker of the House from 1931 to 1933, and ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932. Garner lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who then tapped the Speaker to be his Vice President. Garner served as VP for FDR's first two terms, from 1933 to 1941, and ran for President again in 1940 (the only sitting vice president to challenge the sitting president since the two positions began to be elected as a ticket). Fun fact: Garner is one of two Vice Presidents to have served as Speaker of the House (the other is Schuyler Colfax), and therefore one of two individuals to have presided over both houses of Congress.
- Only one person (Rabbi Tom Alpert, great job!) answered Garner - since the question ("Who was the last Speaker of the House to run for President?") did not make clear if I had a former or sitting Speaker or primary or general election candidate in mind. Here are the other answers I received, who mentioned that person in their email (some people included multiple guesses), and why they were all kind of right:
- The most common answer was Newt Gingrich (GA), who served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 and ran for President in 2012. Gingrich's unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination that year lasted 355 days, incurred $4.6 million in debt, won him two states and 138 delegates (and resulted in eight zoo visits but zero moon colonies!). He is the last former or sitting Speaker to run for President. Great job: Joe Bookman, Christa Van Herreweghe, Jakob Gibson, Rick Isserman, Mark Smith, Miles Kwiatek,and Scott Bennett!
- The next most-answered individual was James Polk (TN), who served as President from 1835 to 1839, and was elected President in 1844. To this day, Polk remains the only person to have served both as Speaker of the House and as President. Credit, therefore, also goes to: Marlee Millman, Devon Morris, Mark Smith, and Scott Bennett.
- In that 1844 election, Polk defeated another former Speaker, Henry Clay (KY), who led the U.S. House from 1811 to 1814, then from 1815 to 1820, and again from 1823 to 1825 (serving four stints in the U.S. Senate and as Secretary of State in between). Over Clay's career, he ran for President five times: in 1824, 1832, 1840, 1844, and 1848, all after serving as Speaker. Clay never won, but was the first former House Speaker to run for President (and accounts for 31% of the 16 presidential bids mounted by former or sitting Speakers). Good job to those who answered Clay: Lyle Hendricks, Mark Smith, Brad Chotiner
- Another good guess was James Blaine (ME), the last Speaker of the House to win their party's presidential nomination: Blaine served as Speaker from 1869 to 1874 and ran for President in 1876, 1880, and 1884. The last time was the only one in which he won the Republican nod (making him the last former Speaker to win a party's presidential nomination), although he lost the general election. Nice answer, Joe Bookman!
- Rick Isserman also guessed Thomas Reed (ME), who ran for President in 1896, while serving in his second stint as Speaker of the House. Fun fact: Reed lost the GOP nomination that year to William McKinley, the same man who he beat in the bitter Speakership election of 1889.
- Other guesses I received included Bob Dole (the last Senate Majority Leader to run for President) and Paul Ryan (who ran for vice president as a future Houe Speaker, but has not - yet, at least - ran for Commander-in-Chief).
- In all, according to Smart Politics, 10 former/sitting Speakers of the House have run for President (with 16 bids between them), most recently Newt Gingrich. Only two (James Polk and James Blaine) won their party's nomination, and only one (Polk) became President. Five of the ten ran for President during their Speakerships, most recently John Garner.
- So...confusing question (sorry!), but it presented an opportunity for an interesting exploration of the history of Speakers running for President!
- (If you're still interested in more reading about this topic, I recommend this post by the great Anthony Bergen of Dead Presidents on why most Speakers don't run for President, and this article from the New Republican on why they shouldn't).
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