POLITICO Playbook PM: Debate table setting

POLITICO Playbook PM: Debate table setting

By Blair Morris

September 23, 2019

THE FAA announced flight restrictions over President DONALD TRUMP’S Bedminster, N.J., golf club between Aug. 8 and Aug. 18, a sign that the president will be there for some period of time next month. The FAA notice (h/t AP’s Zeke Miller)

TRUMP commemorated the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in Virginia today. He gave a speech about the foundations of American democracy after touring Jamestown.

THERE’S THIS … TRUMP this morning: “The African American community is so thankful. They’ve called me and said, ‘Finally somebody is telling the truth.’” More from Quint Forgey

… AND THIS: The latest Quinnipiac poll released today found that 80% of black voters say Trump is racist. The poll

… AND THIS — RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH: “Va. Black Caucus announces boycott of Jamestown events over Trump’s presence,” by Mel Leonor: “Black lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly are planning to formally boycott events in the Historic Triangle this week celebrating the 400th anniversary of representative government in the Western Hemisphere, arguing that the commemoration will be ‘tarnished unduly’ by President Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance Tuesday.

“The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus announced Monday that its members would participate in alternative events to commemorate both the anniversary of the first legislative gathering and the arrival of the first captive Africans to North American shores. Both events took place in the summer of 1619.

“Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, who is part of the 20-person caucus and also is a member of the steering committee for the commemoration, said she was not consulted on the president’s invitation.

“‘If I had been asked my opinion, I certainly would have expressed that the President’s offensive and inappropriate tweets have not added value or been aligned with Democracy,’ McQuinn said in a statement. ‘I choose to stand with others who cherish democracy.’” RTD

NEW POLL … UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS TYLER Center for Opinion Research (1,414 registered voters in Texas, July 27-29) … The full poll

— BIDEN 37, TRUMP 37

— WARREN 40, TRUMP 38

— HARRIS 39, TRUMP 38

— SANDERS 39, TRUMP 37

— TRUMP 38, BUTTIGIEG 33

— O’ROURKE 49, TRUMP 37

Good Tuesday afternoon. SPOTTED walking into the Senate dining room: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He was lunching with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). (h/t Burgess Everett)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-Md.) will appear at the National Press Club on Aug. 7. Tickets

DEBATE TABLE SETTING … JOHN HARRIS: “Democrats Are Veering Left. It Might Just Work”: “Put a bunch of Democrats on the stage and they can’t help but go off the rails: They compete with each other to win the favor of liberal activists, and saddle themselves with unrealistic positions that could leave a nominee vulnerable in the general election.

“That was a prevailing Washington media and political class narrative after the first round of Democratic debates in Miami a month ago. But as Democratic contenders gather on the stage again this week, a competing analysis is gaining power: Going a bit off the rails may be an entirely reasonable track to victory.

“‘Candidates who look like they are cautious, modulating, have their foot on the brake, are missing the moment,’ said veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, who is coming out later this summer on how both parties have been refashioned in the Trump era.

“The moment, according to Greenberg’s polling and focus-group work, has left voters of all stripes clamoring for disruption. Cultural and ideological currents in society—more profound than any given day’s Trump uproars—are giving progressives a better opportunity than they have had in decades to play offense.” POLITICO Magazine

MORE PRE-DEBATE READING — ALEX THOMPSON and BURGESS EVERETT: “Warren and Bernie’s awkward truce faces its biggest test yet”: “The candidates themselves have largely kept things cordial. But signs of tension have trickled out. … CNN moderators will undoubtedly try to goad them into conflict, but both candidates have signaled they will do their best to resist. …

“Based on conversations with their advisers, it’s more likely the candidates will face off against the more moderate candidates onstage than against each other. … They both know that bludgeoning one another would hurt either’s chances of winning the nomination and potentially ease the path for a more moderate candidate to prevail. Warren and Sanders also could find themselves back in the Senate a year from now, still leaders of the progressive movement and needing to work together.” POLITICO

— GABBY ORR: “Trump sees his base growing from Democratic sparring”: “When the Democrats running for president all agreed at their first debate — via a raised hand — that public health insurance should cover undocumented immigrants, the Trump campaign saw an opening. … According to four people involved with or close to the Trump campaign, the president’s reelection team believes trumpeting these moments will help win over a certain type of voter that could help carry him to a second term. It’s the voter who might be wary of Trump, but is more alarmed by a Democratic Party they feel is drifting dangerously to the left.

“The campaign thinks blasting out these buzzy responses … will actually help Trump add key demographics to his die-hard supporters. In particular, they’re targeting working-class voters and union members who declined to support Trump in the Rust Belt states he won in 2016 — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. … The strategy will be on display Tuesday and Wednesday, when Democrats take the stage in Detroit for a second round of debates.” POLITICO

MORE 2020 — ELIZABETH WARREN rolled out a batch of new endorsements today, including Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) — who was the first member of Congress to swing for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race — Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and some home-state members.

WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 6: 38 a.m.: “Somali refugees arresed [sic] in Tucson on way to Egypt. They were in touch with an agent posing as a terrorist. One of them stated, ‘The best wake up call is Islamic State to get victory or another 9/11.’ Get smart people! #MAGA #KAG @foxandfriends” … Arizona Republic on the arrests

… at 7: 09 a.m.: “China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 – was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now – no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through. Our Economy has become MUCH larger than the Chinese Economy is last 3 years….”

… “..My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit. They should probably wait out our Election to see if we get one of the Democrat stiffs like Sleepy Joe. Then they could make a GREAT deal, like in past 30 years, and continue”

… “…to ripoff the USA, even bigger and better than ever before. The problem with them waiting, however, is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now…or no deal at all. We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!”

— WAPO HEADLINE: “Trump backpedals on China threats as trade deal shows signs of slipping away”

— AND MEANWHILE … NYT’S EDWARD WONG and ERIC SCHMITT: “Lawmakers in Congress from both political parties have accused the Trump administration of delaying an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan … either to avoid upsetting Beijing while delicate trade negotiations are underway or to use it as a bargaining chip. Any such move by the administration would ignite intense bipartisan opposition in Congress.” NYT

… at 8: 15 a.m.: “Senate is working hard on America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act. Will have BIG IMPACT on our highways and roads all across our Nation. Interest strong from Republicans and Democrats. Do I hear the beautiful word, BIPARTISAN? Get it done. I am with you!”

THE POLITICIZE-EVERYTHING PRESIDENCY … REUTERS’ CHARLES LEVINSON: “Inside a Trump-era purge of military scientists at a legendary think tank”: “They’re members of a prestigious academic panel with top-secret clearances who’ve advised the Pentagon on some of America’s most vexing national security issues since the Cold War. Over 60 years, they’ve won 11 Nobel prizes and conducted hundreds of government studies. The advisory group, known as Jason, is a team of some 60 of America’s top physicists and scientists who spend each summer in La Jolla, California, conducting studies commissioned by the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies.

“On March 28, Trump appointee Michael Griffin – the Pentagon’s chief technology officer – unexpectedly moved to terminate the group. … Jason’s supporters, backed into a corner, managed to keep the group alive, temporarily for now, for eight more months. … The efforts to kill the scientific panels show how the Trump administration’s crackdown on the role of independent science in the U.S. government is reaching into areas long thought immune from political influence.” Reuters

RATE CUT WATCH — BEN WHITE and VICTORIA GUIDA: “The Fed’s real message: Save the economy from Trump”: “Central bank officials are expected to cut interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis not because Trump demanded it. Instead, they will move in part because the president’s bruising trade policy has helped fuel a global manufacturing slowdown and injected deep uncertainty into executive suites around the world.

“Fed Chairman Jerome Powell won’t … say it directly after his meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. But the central bank will reverse course at least in part to save the Trump economy from Trump. … But with borrowing costs still very low, [a rate cut is] not likely to change underlying corporate behavior, which may only respond to a more certain policy environment.” POLITICO

WATCH THIS SPACE — “Sexual assault survivor McSally backs general accused of misconduct,” by Connor O’Brien: “The general nominated to be the nation’s No. 2 military officer got a boost at the outset of his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, as Sen. Martha McSally came to his defense and called allegations of sexual assault levied against him ‘false.’”

WHAT THEY’RE READING IN MIAMI — L.A. TIMES’ MOLLY O’TOOLE in Juárez, Mexico: “Trump condemns Cuba but closes the door to many trying to flee”: “Trump has returned to Cold War-era policies against Cuba, reversing his predecessor’s rapprochement with the government in Havana. But, in contrast with decades of bipartisan U.S. policy, administration officials not only no longer welcome Cubans to the United States, but are also pushing them out, forcing them back to Mexico and ramping up deportations to the island.” LAT

CBS’ KATE SMITH: “New Planned Parenthood president sits with CBS News for first interview as debate over abortion rages”: “Alexis McGill Johnson says she’s worried about the mounting restrictions that limit abortion access — and stands ready to fight back. …

“On July 16, Dr. Leana Wen was abruptly ousted as Planned Parenthood’s president. Her comments regarding the departure called into question the role of the organization: Is Planned Parenthood a political organization or a health care clinic? In her interview with CBS News, Johnson said that they don’t have the luxury to choose.” CBS

#METOO FILES — “Congress: U.S. Olympic Committee, FBI failed to protect athletes from Larry Nassar’s abuse,” by NBC’s Sarah Fitzpatrick, Tom Costello and Adiel Kaplan: “In an interview with NBC News, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the ranking member of the Senate subcommittee overseeing the Olympics, described the actions of the organizations as a ‘cover up.’

“The scathing report, obtained by NBC News before publication, outlines the findings of an 18-month investigation by Blumenthal and the other members of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. It is accompanied by proposed legislation to improve oversight and prevent future abuse that will be introduced Tuesday.” NBC

TOP-ED — “The White House Blocked My Report on Climate Change and National Security: Politics intruded on science and intelligence. That’s why I quit my job as an analyst for the State Department,” by Rod Schoonover in the NYT: “Congress was deprived of the full analysis, including the scientific baseline from which it was drawn. Perhaps most important, this written testimony on a critical topic was never entered into the official record …

“When a White House can shape or suppress intelligence analysis that it deems out of line with its political messaging, then the intelligence community has no true analytic independence. I believe such acts weaken our nation.” NYT

AFTERNOON READ — STEVEN LEVINGSTON in the WAPO MAGAZINE: “The Poignant But Complicated Friendship of Joe Biden and Barack Obama: Biden is running for president partly based on their relationship. What was it really like?”

MEDIAWATCH — CNN’S OLIVER DARCY: “John Heilemann, John Battelle launch new politics-focused media outlet”: “The outlet, called The Recount, will be video-driven, featuring short videos that summarize what is happening in the news. … So far, more than a dozen employees have been hired to work at the company. … The company is backed by outside investors, but a spokesperson for the organization declined to name them on Monday.” CNN The Recount beta site

— Vicky Ward is now a senior reporter at CNN. She’s a longtime magazine writer and editor who published “Kushner, Inc.” ($15.92 on Amazon) earlier this year.

OUT AND ABOUT IN DETROIT — SPOTTED at a FamousDC pre-debate cocktail party at the Shinola Hotel on Monday night: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Holly Campbell, Anna Marie DiPietro, Jackie Kucinich, Adrienne Watson, Jeannine Ginivan, Adrienne Elrod, Josh Jamerson, Matt Dornic, Xochitl Hinojosa, Jennifer Epstein, Sabrina Singh, Scott Thuman, Sarah Mucha, Laura Barrón-López, Neil Sroka, Tom Beaumont, Brad Dayspring, Emily Kuhn, Jonathan Collegio, Daniel Wessel, Katie Rosborough, Nick Pacilio, Greg Martin, Alexi McCammond, Marisa Schultz, Amos Snead, Josh Shultz and Nathan Imperiale.

— SPOTTED at a party at the Shinola Hotel hosted by Hilary Rosen, Megan Murphy and Tammy Haddad on Monday night: John Hickenlooper, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Tom Kartsotis, Kate Bolduan, Lis Smith, Jesse Rodriguez, Poppy Harlow, Brooke Baldwin, Robert Draper, Matt Dornic, Jeff Zeleny, Ron Fournier, Jeannine Ginivan, April Ryan, John Avlon, Bakari Sellers, Tom Forrest, Karen Finney, Jon Allen, Izzy Povich, Frederico Quadrani, TJ Ducklo, Brett Cannon, Cat Hill, Wendy Benjaminson, Katie Hinman and Michael Del Moro.

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