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Wake Up To Politics - October 23, 2015

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Friday, October 23, 2015
382 Days until Election Day 2016
101 Days until the Iowa Caucuses
22 Days until the Next Democratic Debate
5 Days Until the Next Republican DebateIt's Friday, October 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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Capitol Hill News

  • Ryan: “Ready and Eager” to Be Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) formally announced his candidacy for House Speaker in a letter to colleagues Thursday, making him the likely successor to retiring Speaker John Boehner.
  • Ryan, chairman of the influential Ways & Means Committee and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, has been called to run since Boehner announced his retirement earlier this month, calls that were heightened once House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, once the frontrunner (and next in line) to follow Boehner, withdrew from the Speaker’s race.
  • After weeks of resisting, Ryan signaled openness to run Tuesday, setting a list of conditions that his Republican colleagues would have to agree to. Chief among them was party unity, and the demand that the three major caucuses of the Republican Conference (the moderate Tuesday Group, conservative Republican Study Committee, and hardliner Freedom Caucus) endorse him first.
  • While the two others have endorsed Ryan, the Freedom Caucus, however, requires 80% support from its members when deciding on group positions, a number Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), Ryan’s only competition for the Speaker’s gavel, already got weeks ago.
  • In a Wednesday vote of the ultraconservative caucus, Ryan failed to meet the 80% mark needed for a formal endorsement, although caucus leaders announced a “supermajority” of their members had supported him; Ryan apparently decided that was good enough for him, hence his announcement that he will indeed run for the post.
  • “I never thought I’d be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve – I would go all in,” Ryan wrote to his fellow House Republicans. “After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.”
  • Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the House Republican Conference will meet on October 28 to choose their nominee for Speaker, and the floor election will be held the next day. Ryan is guaranteed about 230 votes, most Republicans except 20 or so Freedom Caucus members; 218 votes is a majority.
  • Ryan met with the Freedom Caucus Thursday to shore up support there; according to reports, he made no concrete concessions but agreed, if he becomes Speaker, to look into changing the makeup of the House Republican Steering Committee, giving more power to committee chairmen, following the Hastert Rule (only putting bills on the floor that are support by a majority of House Republicans), not pursuing immigration reform for the time being, and giving the Freedom Caucus a wider seat at the table.
  • In exchange, the hardliners said they were open with dismantling the “motion to vacate,” a procedural mechanism allowing for the removal of the Speaker that conservatives have attempted against Boehner in the past.
  • With wide support from the ultraconservatives of his party, as well as the Republican Conference’s moderate and conservative factions, Ryan is a lock to become Speaker. Next, he must turn to the actual difficulty of being Speaker, and leading the same fractured Conference responsible for Boehner’s demise. The Wisconsin Republican won’t even have time for a victory lap, either: the debt limit is expected to be hit on November 3, five days after the Speaker election, and many House conservatives are opposed to raising the debt limit – meaning the United States will default on its debt.
  • “This is just the beginning of our work,” Ryan closed his letter. “There is a long road ahead. So let’s get started.”

2016 Central

  • IA Caucuses 2016: Carson Overtakes Trump, Clinton Ahead of Sanders The highly respected Des Moines Register (DMR) poll was released early Friday morning, showing a fascinating update on the race to win the 2016 Iowa caucuses, when the first Americans vote in the 2016 presidential primary election, just 101 days away.
  • On the Republican side, the poll, conducted jointly by the DMR and Bloomberg, shows Ben Carson in the lead, with 28% to Donald Trump’s 19%. Ted Cruz shoots to third place, with 10%, followed by Marco Rubio’s 9%. Jeb Bush and Rand Paul tie for fifth place, both taking 5%, with Carly Fiorina at 4%, and then Mike Huckabee at 3%. The other six candidates take 2% or less.
  • Carson overtaking Trump, and by such a large (9%) margin, is very interesting, especially considering it is just the second Iowa poll since July without Trump in the lead (the other was released Thursday by Quinnipiac, similarly showing Carson at 28%, Trump at 20%).
  • The poll represents increases for Carson (+10%), Cruz (+2%), and Rubio (+3%), but decreases for Trump (–4%), Bush (–1%), and Huckabee (–1%), since the last DMR/Bloomberg poll in late August.
  • On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton remains atop her few competitors, taking 48% to Bernie Sanders’ 41%. Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee round out the race with 1% each (Jim Webb, who has since dropped out, is also included with 2%).
  • The August poll showed the race at Clinton 37%-Sanders 30%. Why the same margin, but lower numbers for each? Joe Biden was in the last poll, drawing 14%. His support seems to be fairly evenly distributed to Clinton and Sanders, who each see increases without Biden in the race.
  • Today on the Trail All four Democratic candidates for President will address the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum National Issues Conference today, along with President Barack Obama and other Democratic luminaries.
  • The Women’s Leadership Forum is the arm of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tasked with rallying women to support Democratic candidates and causes.
  • The Democratic candidates are expected to use their addresses in different ways. For Hillary Clinton, it is part of a post-hearing victory lap. All day, Clinton will celebrate her success in not giving Republicans anything to seize on at the 11-hour Benghazi Committee hearing Thursday, with events for friendly audiences: this speech to Democratic women; then a rally in Alexandria, Virginia with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton; and finally, an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
  • Clinton’s victory lap closes off one of the best weeks of her campaign, with rising poll numbers, successful Benghazi testimony, and having pushed out two (maybe three, see below) rivals for the nomination. In Politico Magazine, Todd Purdum writes: “If in January 2017, Hillary Clinton is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, historians may well point to this month as the moment her campaign turned around.”
  • Lincoln Chafee, meanwhile, sent this tweet Thursday: “I look forward to speaking at DNC Women’s Forum tomorrow morning. I'll address my future in the campaign there,” causing speculation that he will end his presidential campaign. If he does, he is the third rival Clinton has vanquished this week, following Jim Webb and Joe Biden.
  • On the Trail: Weekend Preview The Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner is Saturday, a chance for presidential candidates to present their cases to Iowa voters, and a chance for Iowa voters to size up each presidential candidate.
  • The dinner has changed the dynamics of the Iowa caucuses many times in history; tomorrow, each candidate will be watched closely Clinton for if she brings momentum, Sanders for if he can enthuse the voters, and O’Malley for if he can breakout.
  • Before the dinner, many campaigns will huddle with and attempt to psych up their supporters; Hillary Clinton’s pre-JJ rally will feature President Bill Clinton…and Katy Perry.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule It’s DNC Day for President Obama: the only public events on his schedule is 4:15pm remarks at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum conference, and attending a 5:05pm DNC fundraiser.
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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