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Wake Up To Politics - September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

3 Days until the Government Funding Deadline (Sept. 30)
6 Days until the Vice Presidential Debate (Oct. 3)
12 Days until the Second Presidential Debate (Oct. 9)

42 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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Need to Know

  • Clinton Dominates First Presidential Debate as Trump Forced to the Defensive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton dominated her first primetime showdown with Republican Donald Trump on Monday night, succeeding in putting Trump on the defensive as he struggled to offer answers for his failure to release tax returns, his stance on President Obama's birthplace, and other issues.
  • Clinton succeeded at the Hofstra University debate in needling Trump, quickly turning him from gracious to angry, allowing her to paint him as thin-skinned and unprepared for the presidency, without even really saying it. The debate was every bit the heated showdown many thought it might become.
  • Trump's best portion of the debate came at the beginning, when the Republican was most aggressive in going after Clinton's trade policies. He seemed to be very informed on her past statements about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, quoting Clinton as calling the trade deal, which she now opposes, the "gold standard." Trump sought to paint Clinton as changing her mind only due to his position: "You were totally in favor of it," he said. "Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, 'I can't win that debate.'"
  • In he early half of the debate, Trump also attempted to paint Clinton as a career politician, blaming her for America's economic downturn - which Trump said she did nothing to fix in three decades in Washington. "You've been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you've been doing it, and now you're just starting to think of solutions," Trump charged.
  • Clinton responded: "I have a feeling that by, the end of this evening, I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened," to which Trump shot back: "Why not?"
  • While Trump's comparison of Clinton as an establishment pol with no solutions to his outsider with fresh ideas may have been effective, it fell flat once Trump veered into less certain territory. Pressed for a plan to fight ISIS, Trump continued with the establishment charge, saying that Clinton's plan just tells "the enemy everything you want to do." He continued: "No wonder you've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life," a strange attack considering ISIS' creation well after Clinton's transition to adulthood in the 1960's.
  • In turn, as he went after her experience in politics - "bad experience," Trump called it - Clinton sought to paint Trump as wealthy and out-of-touch, as well as unprepared for the White House. "Donald was very fortunate in his life, and that's all to his benefit,” the former Secretary of State said. “He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we'll be and that everything will work out from there.” Trump responded, dismissing the million-dollar assistance from his father as "a very small loan."
  • Trump seemed unprepared for many attacks from Clinton that he could have seen coming. When Clinton ticked off potential reasons why Trump wouldn't release his tax returns - "Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is. Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be...Maybe he doesn't want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes." - Trump lost his cool, and saying that if he didn't pay federal taxes, it "makes me smart."
  • At one point, when Clinton attacked his economic policies, Trump failed to come up with a concrete answer, and just ticked off a list of responses. "Typical politician. All talk. No action. Sounds good. Doesn’t work. Never gonna happen," he responded.
  • Clinton also got to Trump when talking about the billionaire's business dealings, referring to a contractor in the debate audience who had never been paid by Trump. Clearly unarmed with an answer, Trump chose to go after the contractor: "Maybe he didn't do a good job," Trump said.
  • Later, when Clinton name-checked another individual from Trump's past, a Latina "Miss Universe" who Trump called "Miss Piggy" and "Housekeeping," Trump didn't defend himself. He merely spoke into the mic multiple times while Clinton calmly spoke. "Where did you find this?" he asked again and again.
  • Similarly, when Clinton pointed out Trump's past comment suggesting that climate change "is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," the Republican opted to just lie into the microphone, interjecting: "I do not say that, I do not say that."
  • The Democrat benefited from her preparedness for the debate: she even had an answer for his attacks that she had skipped a visit to Charlotte, North Carolina to do debate prep. "Yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for?" Clinton responded. "I prepared to be president." Clinton came into the debate hall ready to match fire with fire, and deployed a number of effective one-liners. On his contracting: "I'm certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you." On his comments about women: "This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs." On his economic plan: "I call it 'Trumped Up, Trickle Down' because that's exactly what it would be." On Trump's frequent misrepresentations of his own record: "Donald, I know you live in your own reality," Clinton said.
  • Trump, meanwhile, was so focused on defending himself that he never really went after Clinton, opting to not even hit her with the Benghazi attacks or the Clinton Foundation. Trump's brief mention of the Democrat's private email server came in the midst of a twisted answer to her demands about his tax returns, saying he would release them if she released the 30,000 deleted emails - contradicting a previous statement that he couldn't release them due to an IRS audit, which moderator Lester Holt of NBC News identified as false. This allowed Clinton to offer a direct answer on the email server. "I'm not going to make any excuses, it was a mistake," she said, in response to a question from the moderator. Trump largely left that hanging.
  • His preparation for the debate seemed to have some significant holes: in addition to his answer on tax returns, Trump also failed to defend himself on another obvious line of attack. The businessman tried to turn his questions about Obama's birthplace into a positive, taking credit as "the one that got him to produce the birth certificate," while falsely blaming the 2008 Clinton campaign for first creating "birtherism".
  • Clinton painted it a different way, also citing Justice Department lawsuits dating back to the 1970's over racial discrimination at Trump properties. "He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior," she said. "And the birther lie was a very hurtful one."
  • As he veered more and more out of control, it seemed, Trump became more and more angry - and continued to interrupt both Clinton and Holt, while attacking the former's "look" and "stamina." Clinton arrived at the debate confident, opening by saying, "Donald, it's good to be with you." Although he also began gracious ("I want you to be very happy," he said to Clinton), Trump soon changed tack. Yet, he seemed to think differently about his own behavior. "I think my strongest asset by far is my temperament,' Trump said. "I have a winning temperament." The opposite, however, seemed true.
  • Clinton may have won Monday night's debate, but does that guarantee an upswing in the polls? It's hard to know: historically, debates have not had large effects on the presidential race, although it is rare for debates to be as widely-watched as Monday's was. Trump still has two more chances to take on Clinton one-on-one, with the next debate less than two weeks away at Washington University in St. Louis, the town hall event. That is, if the Republican even shows up. While Team Clinton reportedly seemed upbeat in the Spin Room after the debate, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate/adviser, questioned if Trump should even go to the next debate - using the moderator as an excuse.
  • "If I were Donald Trump," Giuliani told reporters, "I wouldn't participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker."

Above, the view from the St. Louis Public Radio building, overlooking St. Louis' Public Media Commons, which had an awesome large screen showing the debate. Thanks to Al and Nancy Rose for inviting Wake Up To Politics to watch the debate here, and to the great Jo Mannies for allowing me to share the microphone in answering questions about the election beforehand.

Politics Planner

  • Campaign 2016 Fresh off of their first primetime debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will both attempt to shore up support in key battleground states. Trump will hold a 7pm rally at a Orlando Melbourne International Airport hangar; Clinton will hold a 11am event at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • While Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence cancelled a scheduled event in Waukesha, Wisconsin for today, Clinton has a band of surrogates campaigning today. Vice President Joe Biden will campaign for Clinton at Drexel University in Philadelphia; former President Bill Clinton holds events in Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio; vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine campaigns in Olrando, Florida; and Kaine's wife Anne Holton holds events in Detroit, Livonia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Congress Both houses of Congress are in session today. The Senate will meet at 10am; after Leader remarks, the chamber will continue consideration of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)'s short-term continuing resolution (CR) to extend government funding (which runs out Friday) through December 9. McConnell's stopgap funding solution maintains current spending levels, except for additions to address crises such as the Louisiana flooding and the Zika virus.
  • The Senate will hold a cloture vote, requiring 60 "yeas," to advance McConnell's proposal at 2:15pm. Democrats are expected to vote against the CR, thus dooming it until a compromise is reached, due to its lack of funding for the Flint, Michigan water crisis. It is unclear whether Democrats are willing to shut down the government if no money for Flint is included in a CR, but the clock is ticking: one side will have to give in soon.
  • If the government shuts down, who would receive the blame? Democrats believe the outrage may fall on the side of Republicans, who are excluding appropriations for a minority community facing lead-contaminated water. However, it is the Democrats who would be voting down a funding solution.
  • "This funding measure does not contain a single penny for Flint, Michigan," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday, insisting that was not acceptable. "The people of Flint, Michigan have been waiting for emergency assistance to clean their poisoned water for more than a year."
  • McConnell, responded, saying the only money for Flint would have to come out of disaster relief for Louisiana. "Is their solution now to remove help for flood victims?" he asked on Monday. "If their solution is to remove help for flood victims, they should say so."
  • The House also meets at 10am, with four bills scheduled to be voted on: the Treatment of Certain Payments in Eugenics Compensation Act, which would exclude state eugenics compensation payments from determination of eligibility for federal benefits; the Bottles and Breast­feed­ing Equipment Screening Act, to allow baby formula and breast mil on airlines; the Gains in Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Act, to improve the evaluation of research and development projects; and the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act, to exempt those who had coverage under a CO-OP health plan from the IRS Code of 1986 individual mandate.
  • In addition, the House will begin debate over the Water Resources Development Act, a bill to authorize a number of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects
     "to mitigate storm and hurricane damage, to improve navigation and flood management, and to restore estuaries," according to the CBO.
  • While the Senate version of the bill, passed in a 95-3 vote earlier this month, included funding for Flint, the House bill is not expected to do so. A number of amendments to the House's bill will be discussed today, although a proposal from Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) to authorize $220 million for Flint was not granted a Rules Committee greenlight to be debated.
  • White House President Barack Obama has a light day today, as he also does his part for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: the only event on his public schedule is a 4:50pm Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private residence in Washington, D.C.

Daily Data

  • CNN Poll: Clinton Wins the Debate One of the first polls released after the first presidential debate recorded Clinton as the night's winner. According to a CNN/ORC survey of voters who were watching Monday night, 62% of viewers thought Clinton was the debate winner - compared to just 27% who said so of Trump.
  • The poll also found that those who watched the debate thought Clinton did better in "addressing concerns voters might have about her potential presidency" (57% to 35%) and came of as "the stronger leader" (56% to 39%). Trump was found to be seen as "the debater who spent more time attacking their opponent," 56% to 33%, while Clinton was seen as "more sincere and authentic," 53% to 40%.
  • The real question, though: 34% of respondents said they were now more likely to vote for Clinton, while 18% said the debate made them more likely to vote Trump. 47% of respondents said the debate made no change to how they planned to vote.
  • Viewers' opinion of Trump's performance is reminiscent of the opinion of President Barack Obama's performance in the first debate of his 2012 re-election campaign. After that event, a CNN/ORC poll found 67% of viewers thought Republican nominee Mitt Romney had won, compared to 25% for Obama.
  • Despite his poor performance, however - Obama went on to win the election a month later.

Today's Trivia

  • Today's Question Today, I have no trivia question - instead something to answer for yourself. By presidential proclamation, today is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote in the November election? If not, visit www.vote.gov to register now! (if you're old enough, that is.)
  • Monday's Answer Yesterday's trivia question asked which U.S. law had to be waived before John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon could hold the first televised presidential debate in 1960. The answer...the equal-time rule, since Kennedy and Nixon were the only candidates invited to the debate.
  • Was the rule waived last night? No, but Gary Johnson and Jill Stein can calm down: before the next televised debate in 1976, a formal exception was passed for presidential debates.
  • GREAT JOB...Scott Bennett, Joan Zucker, Rashida Doctor, Steve Gitnik, Gail Smith, Thomas Alpert, and Pat Colpitts!
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.