Tuesday, September 20, 2016
6 Days until the first Presidential Debate (Sept. 26)
10 Days until the Government Funding Deadline (Sept. 30)
49 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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NOTE: I'm home sick today :( ... so this morning's edition of Wake Up To Politics is coming a bit late and abridged. Sorry!
Need to Know
- Bush to Vote for Clinton, According to a Kennedy Three of America's top political dynasties crossed paths Monday, as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend announced in a Facebook post that former Republican President George H.W. Bush told her he will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in November.
- Townsend, a daughter of Robert Kennedy and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy, served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003, was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Maryland's governorship in 2002. In a Monday Facebook post, Townsend posted a photo with President Bush, writing: "The President told me he's voting for Hillary!!"
- George H.W. Bush is a lifelong Republican who was on four successive GOP presidential tickets as a President and Vice President, served under three Republican presidents, fathered a Republican president and two Republican governors (and was the son of a Republican senator), and served as a Republican congressman and as head of the Republican National Committee. However, GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump savaged Bush's son Jeb during the 2016 Republican primaries, hurling a number of insults, most memorably "low-energy," at the former Florida governor.
- As a result, both Presidents Bush have refused to endorse Trump in the general election, and Townsend's revelation is not surprsing considering their close relationship to the Clinton family (George H.W. Bush has likened his relationship with Bill Clinton to that of a father and son, and George W. Bush has called Bill Clinton his "brother from another mother.")
- Notably, Bush's post-presidential spokesman Jim McGrath didn't refute Townsend in response to questions by news outlets Monday. "The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days," McGrath said. "He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim."
- A number of Republicans who served in the first Bush administration have endorsed Hillary Clinton, including his former deputy chief of staff, vice presidential press secretary, U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador to Mexico, Administrator of the EPA, National Security Advisor, and Ambassador to Canada.
- While Bush's endorsement would undoubtedly help Clinton among Independents and moderate Republicans, it could cause some former supporters of Bernie Sanders to support Green Party nominee Jill Stein instead of Clinton. The Green Party tweeted this morning: "If you needed any more proof the Democratic Party is the new Republican Party, George HW Bush now says he will vote for Hillary."
- Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has made no signal that he will support Clinton but has also refused to support Trump - a move that may cost him his political future. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus told CBS on Sunday that 2016 candidates such as Bush, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz "who agreed to support the nominee, who took part in our process" may be barred from 2020 presidential campaigns.
- Besides his connections to the party, George H.W. Bush's non-endorsement of Trump also has historical significance: according to the Washington Post, almost every former president has endorsed their party's nominee at least since Harry Truman (exceptions: Richard Nixon didn't participate in presidential elections after his resignation, and likely wasn't sought after; Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan sat out their last elections due to illness; and the Bushes this year).
- A former president failing to endorse his party's nominee is rare; a former president endorsing the other party's nominee - as Townsend says Bush plans to do - is unheard of.
All times Eastern.
- Campaign 2016 Donald Trump campaigns in the battleground state of North Carolina today, holding rallies at High Point University at 12pm and at the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville at 5pm. The Tar Heel State's 15 electoral votes went for Barack Obama in 2008, but to Mitt Romney in 2012; this year, it is expected to be one of the closest states in the contest between Trump and Clinton. Two polls released this morning show the race in the state in the margin of error, with an Elon Univeristy Poll giving Trump a 1% lead and an Ispos/Reuters poll giving Clinton a 2-point advantage. A Civitas Institute poll released last week showed the race in North Carolina exactly even, with the candidates receiving 42% each.
- Meanwhile, Trump's running mate Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) holds a 7:30pm rally outside The Capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The state's colonial House of Burgesses was housed at the building from 1705 to 1779. Virginia was once a traditionally Republican state (voting for the GOP nominee in all but one election from 1952 to 2004), but become more of a batteground state in voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Clinton is currently favored in Virginia (her running mate's home state), leading today's Ispos/Reuters poll of the state by nine percentage points.
- Neither member of the Democratic ticket have any public events today, although vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is attending a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California. Tickets range from $2,700 to $27,000 for the event, which is being hosted by Jay Sures, a managing director of the United Talent Agency, a talent and literacy agency based in Beverly Hills. In July, Sures told The Holwyood Reporter that Kaine has "been a personal friend of mine for years," calling the newly-tapped VP pick "one of the most profoundly decent, honest, kind, thoughtful men you could ever meet."
- Finally, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein was scheduled to speak at the State University of New York at Albany at a 11am rally today, but will instead address the crowd via video. According to her campaign, Stein's "asthma has been in remission for many years, but was triggered about a week ago by poor air quality in a hotel stay," causing her to "withdraw from travel for at least 24 hours in order to recover." Stein will, however, return to New York - where she polls at 3%, according to a Siena poll released last week - tonight to tape a town hall with Fox Business Network's John Stossel, which airs Friday.
- Congress Both houses of Congress are in session today. The Senate meets at 10am; after Leader remarks, the chamber will resume consideration of the short-term continuing resolution set to fund the government through December 9. The Senate will recess from 12:30pm to 2:15pm for weekly caucuses meetings. Upon the chamber's return, a twice-postponed vote to advance the CR is scheduled.
- The procedural vote requires 60 "yeas," and will be held on a legislative vehicle for the CR, since no funding deal has been announced yet. The CR is expected to maintain current spending levels, although funding is expected to be set aside for fighting the Zika virus. Negotiations over the Zika aspect are ongoing: Democrats are insisting the funding be including the CR, while some Republicans are calling for cuts elsewhere to offset the cost. The sides are also divided on whether other emergencies will be addressed in the stopgap bill, including funding for the Flint water crisis, recent Louisiana flooding, and the opoid epidemic.
- The House meets at 12pm for morning hour (member speeches), turning to legislative business at 2pm. 34 bills are scheduled to be voted on by the lower chamber today, starting at 6:30pm. The measures, which are all expected to be easily approved, deal with a range of topics, from Medicaid eligibility for individuals with special needs to the authority of the Government Accountability Office to the District of Columbia judicial system to allowing federal employees to use Uber, Lyft, and bike share transportation options for official travel to tax deductions for lost or damaged citrus plants to removing complete Social Security numbers in federal mailings (to avoid identity fraud) to ending the taxation of Olympic and Paralympic medals to the naming of a number of federal buildings, among other issues.
- White House President Barack Obama is at the United Nations in New York City today. As of this writing, Obama has already delivered a 10am address to the Opening Session of the UN General Assembly and held a 11:10am meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
- Later today, the President will hold courtesy calls with Fiji's Peter Thomson, the President of this year's General Assembly and with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, attend a luncheon hosted by Moon, attend a roundtable of CEOs, participate in a Refugee Summit, and speak at a reception of foreign heads of delegations.
- This is Obama's eighth and final General Assembly as President.
- Question of the Day Mike Pence is speaking at The Capitol in Williamsburg today, where Virginia's colonial legislature met in the 18th century. Which two former Presidents were members of the Virginia House of Burgesses? Email me at email@example.com with your answer, and get your name in tomorrow's newsletter
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