THE BIG IDEA:
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Several presidential candidates are offering to quench a thirst for generational change that, so far, has not materialized.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows the Democratic field stratifying. Joe Biden is favored by 29 percent of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, with Bernie Sanders at 19 percent and Elizabeth Warren at 18 percent. No one else comes close to breaking into double digits.
All three septuagenarians were born in the 1940s. If they win, each would break President Trump’s record as the oldest person to ever assume the presidency. Sanders celebrated his 78th birthday on Sunday with a rally at Iowa State University, where he tailored his message toward young people.
Our new national survey helps explain why: 58 percent of Democrats said it doesn’t matter if their nominee is older or younger than 70 while 40 percent say a younger candidate would have a better chance against Trump.
With the race winnowing and the third debate coming up in Houston on Thursday night, the Gen X and Y candidates are sharpening the generational contrasts and increasingly emphasizing their youthful vigor. This was on stark display here Saturday as 19 candidates spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual convention.
Pete Buttigieg, 37, riffed about how he hopes to one day tell his future children about the ways he put the country back on the right track. The mayor of South Bend, Ind., uses his stump speech to sketch out a vision for what the world should look like in 2054 when he will be the age that Trump is now.
Beto O’Rourke, 46, made his first return trip to the Granite State since the massacre in his hometown of El Paso five weeks ago. One marker of his youth has been his extensive use of brash profanity in public settings, including on television, which sometimes seems designed mainly to get attention. Asked if he plans to swear in this week’s debate, he replied: “Maybe.”
Michael Bennet, 54, stumped with Gary Hart, 82. They held an event together Saturday afternoon in a pizza place one floor below where Hart’s New Hampshire campaign headquarters had been in 1984. Hart won a huge upset in that year’s primary over Walter Mondale, who had been vice president, which led to a protracted nominating contest. Bennet, who holds Hart’s Senate seat, said that gives him confidence to keep trucking, despite failing to qualify for this week’s debate and registering at less than 1 percent in the national polls.
“Every once in a while, there’s a young senator from Colorado who has new and fresh ideas and they come to New Hampshire,” said Will Kanteres, who worked on Hart’s national campaign staff in 1984 and now lives in Manchester, as he introduced the duo.
Bennet gushed over Hart, who he described as a statesman and mentor. “Gary was unavailable to run this time,” said Bennet. “I don’t know why. I implored him!”
“Too old,” Hart interjected.
The 90 people who crammed into a back room at the pizza place laughed. “He told me earlier today that he’s on Social Security,” Bennet continued. “And I said, ‘Well, at least that’s something that’s still working!’”
Hart, elected to the Senate two years after Biden, was a dark horse in 1984 but entered the 1988 cycle as a favorite. Biden also ran that year. Both dropped out when scandal engulfed them.
-- We’ve entered the stage of the race where longshots speak more freely about their theory of the case to break into the top tier. They outline a “Field of Dreams” mentality and believe, if they build a good organization, voters will come.
Julián Castro, 44, argued on Saturday that he’s the Democrat best positioned to reassemble the coalition that got Barack Obama elected in 2008. “I believe that I can go to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania,” said the former housing secretary, “and then go get the 29 electoral votes in Florida, expand the map into Arizona, Texas and Georgia and then beat Trump.”
A reporter asked why Biden, who was on the ticket in 2008 as Obama’s running mate, wouldn’t be the best candidate to reassemble that coalition. “Well, what I hear out there is that people are ready for a new generation of leadership,” Castro said. “When the Democrats have won in the modern era of presidential politics, whether it was with John Kennedy or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama in 2008, it was with a new exciting face to the party. I believe that people are looking for that again, so I’m going out there and painting the picture.”
Cory Booker, 50, also invoked Carter, Clinton and Obama. The senator from New Jersey noted that Trump won with fewer votes in 2016 than Mitt Romney received in 2012. “The issue is us coming out,” he said. “That’s why we need a presidential candidate that … can bring enthusiasm.”
He told reporters that Obama was trailing with African American voters at this stage of the race in 2007. “We do not want to win the summer news cycle,” Booker said. “With moments like this, where people see my capacity to ignite a crowd, we know that over time we are going to emerge as the nominee of this party. Polls have never been predictive this far out.”
-- The candidates who didn’t qualify for the next debate went farther. Tim Ryan, 46, told Bloomberg News that “Biden is declining” in what he later said he thought was a fundraising call and not a media interview. “I don’t think he has the energy,” said the congressman from Ohio. “You see it almost daily. And I love the guy.”
Asked during a news conference on Saturday if he meant declining mentally or declining in the polls, Ryan declined repeatedly to answer. “I’m not backtracking from it,” Ryan replied. “It is a concern you’re hearing from a lot of people in the country, and I don’t think I need to bang everyone over the head with it. It’s out there. … It’s unclear sometimes, when he’s articulating positions, there’s a lack of clarity, and I’ll leave it at that.”
-- Biden embraces his half century in public life and touts experience as an asset. On a chilly, overcast and windy Friday afternoon that felt like autumn, Biden held a town hall on the Atlantic Ocean in New Castle.
After speaking for 15 minutes, he called on a ninth-grader named Brody to ask him a question about how he’d stop school shootings. “He’s smarter than I was when I was 19,” Biden said. “This kid’s something else! … Your generation is fundamentally changing things.”
Then Rebecca Beaulieu, 24, who graduated from college last year and now works as a paid environmental activist, pressed Biden on why he attended a fundraiser in New York the night before that was co-hosted by Andrew Goldman, who helped start a natural gas company called Western LNG. “He did found a fossil fuel company, but he’s not on the board or any of it,” Biden replied. “He does not run it at all. And by the way if you have a 401(k), do you have any investment in an oil company? Does that disqualify you to being engaged?”
Biden went on to offer an extended defense of his environmental record, citing a string of bills he authored dating all the way back to his two years as a Delaware county councilman in the early 1970s. Wearing a ballcap, he then walked over to where Beaulieu was standing in the crowd. The former vice president clasped her hand right, leaned in and locked eyes with her.
“Kiddo, I want you to just take a look, okay? You don’t have to agree. But I want you look in my eyes,” Biden said. “I guarantee you – I guarantee you! – we’re going to end fossil fuel. … Before 2050, God willing. No, it can’t be done by 2030. There’s not one single person who has argued it can be done by that. But it can be done by 2050. It may be 2045.”
The crowd applauded as Biden made the pledge, but the young woman who asked the question was unsatisfied. “I think it’s patronizing,” she told me afterwards. “I’m 24. I know I look younger than that, but I hope to be able to be at the table in discussions when climate is concerned. I’m not just like a child that’s waiting for someone else to do something. I’m actively doing something.”
Jess Elliott, on the other hand, thought Biden handled all the questions deftly. The 77-year-old was a Navy fighter pilot who flew F-4 Phantoms over Vietnam. He’s a Republican-leaning independent who voted for Trump in 2016 but came to regret his choice as the president repeatedly embarrassed himself on the world stage. Elliott lamented the moment that foreign leaders literally laughed at Trump as he spoke to the United Nations. He supports Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, because he wants America to be respected again by our allies and feared by our adversaries. “He’s straightforward as hell,” Elliott said of Biden. “He’s honest as the day is long. I believe he’s honestly trying to help our country.”
Independents like Elliott, who lives in Exeter, are why Biden leads in the early polls, which in turn bolsters the former vice president’s case that he’s the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump. Without prompting, Elliott offered: “Joe looks very good for his age.”
-- At her town halls, Warren has been running onto the stage in an apparent effort to exude that she’s high energy. Interestingly, a CBS News-YouGov poll released yesterday of 18 important states in the nominating contest found that 5 percent of Democrats said Warren is too old to serve effectively as president, compared 37 percent for Sanders and 31 percent for Biden.
Despite Warren being 70, pollster Scott Clement noticed that she fared better in The Post’s poll among those who say a candidate over age 70 would have a worse chance against Trump (22 percent) than among those who say it doesn’t matter (14 percent).
-- Eric Swalwell, 38, most forcefully made the generational argument against Biden during the first debate in June. The congressman noted that, when he was only 6 years old, Biden called for passing the torch to a new generation of leaders during a 1987 speech to the California Democratic Party. “He was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today,” said Swalwell. “If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch. If we want to end gun violence and solve student debt, pass the torch.” Biden rolled his eyes. “I'm holding onto that torch,” he said. “I want to make it clear.” Eleven days later, Swalwell became the first Democrat to drop out of the race.
-- Amy Klobuchar, 59, is trying to be the bridge candidate between young and old. The senator from Minnesota, technically a baby boomer, emphasized on Saturday that she’s “the mom of a Generation Z-slash-millennial.”
“It is true I don’t swear in public a lot – I’ll put that out there – but I think that a moderate tone … is exactly what this country wants right now,” Klobuchar said. “I’ve been asked some about having a viral moment. I remind people that that’s all those moments are. They’re moments. They might help people for fundraising, but they are not the longward trek that we need to bring people along with us.”
She offered up an American Indian proverb: “We need a leader who doesn’t just make decisions for this generation but makes them for seven generations from now, which is an Ojibway saying that I’ve learned from our tribes in Minnesota. We have a president who cannot even keep his decisions seven minutes from now.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- Additional team coverage:
- Annie Linskey and Matt Viser: “Biden and Warren, longtime frenemies, will finally meet in a debate chasing the biggest prize of all.”
- Michael Scherer: “Risk or safety? The dividing line between Joe Biden and his challengers.”
- Glenn Kessler fact checked Biden’s claim that he opposed the Iraq War from the “moment it started,” and the candidate’s staff acknowledges that he misspoke.
- Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.: “Like it or not, Thursday’s debate is about electability.”
-- Tom Steyer didn’t qualify for this week’s debate, but a CBS News-YouGov poll published yesterday put him at 2 percent in Nevada – which means he’s poised to get on stage for next month’s debate in Ohio. It also means that 11 candidates have qualified, which is expected to result in two nights of debates again. This week, there will only be one night because just 10 candidates qualified. (Dave Weigel)
-- Former South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford announced a primary challenge against Trump, the third Republican to do so. "We need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican," he said. "I think that, as a Republican Party, we have lost our way." Felicia Sonmez reports: "The South Carolina Republican said he had been intending to announce his bid at a campaign event last week but decided to cancel it because of Hurricane Dorian. Sanford campaign spokeswoman Sarah Allred said Sunday that a formal kickoff event has yet to be planned."
-- Sanford acknowledges the long odds, but he won’t even be able to vote for himself: The South Carolina Republican Party canceled its primary in 2020 so that Trump can win all of the state’s delegates without being challenged.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“The Trumps will be a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican Party into a new party,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. (Felicia Sonmez)
-- Trump’s children – particularly Ivanka and Donald Jr. – are fighting to succeed their father. From the Atlantic’s McKay Coppins: “The president and his children—who declined to be interviewed for this story—have labored to project an image of unity. But over the past several months, I spoke with dozens of people close to the Trumps, including friends, former employees, White House officials, and campaign aides. The succession battle they described is marked by old grievances, petty rivalries—and deceptively high stakes … That Donald Trump had chosen Ivanka to feature so prominently at his campaign kickoff seemed natural. He’d been grooming her for years to take over the family empire. She was the golden child—beautiful, telegenic, and in possession of that most important family trait: a compulsive image-consciousness. …Yet when Don offered to help his father’s campaign, many of the tasks he received had a whiff of condescension. Trump had always been embarrassed by his son’s hunting … But now that the candidate was wooing rural Republicans, he was happy to let Don put on that goofy orange vest and shoot at stuff for the cameras. ‘You can finally do something for me,’ Trump told Don, according to a former aide.”
WHILE YOU WERE IN YOUR MORNING MEETINGS:
-- The British Parliament is expected again today to reject Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for early elections, further narrowing the options for the new British leader. Amanda Ferguson and Griff Witte report: “John Bercow — the colorful and controversial speaker of the House of Commons, known for his enthusiastic shouting of ‘order, order’ — set the tone for a long day of debate with the announcement that he would step down on Oct. 31, if the push for an October election indeed fails. The date is significant because Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain will leave the E.U. by then, ‘do or die.’
“Johnson got little help from his Irish counterpart Monday as he sought to turn the page on a disastrous week in London and unblock the path to a British exit from the European Union on Halloween. … Johnson crossed the sea in the morning, visiting Dublin for talks with Irish leader Leo Varadkar aimed at disentangling one of the thorniest aspects of Brexit negotiations: what to do about Northern Ireland. But the chilly, overcast skies in Dublin matched the apparent mood between the leaders. While Varadkar told reporters he was hoping for ‘a good start’ to the talks, he was also clear that Johnson’s government had yet to offer a serious proposal for breaking through the deadlock. … ‘There is no such thing as a clean break,’ Varadkar said as Johnson grimaced.”
-- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. “In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, the official, Craig McLean, called the agency’s response ‘political’ and a ‘danger to public health and safety,’” Kayla Epstein, Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow report.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- “Collapse of Afghanistan peace talks spotlights internal Trump administration divisions,” by Karen DeYoung: “Plans for U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, in keeping with President Trump’s pledge to end the war there, were thrown into confusion Sunday, following Trump’s decision to call off a secret meeting he planned with Afghan and Taliban leaders to secure a peace deal. Competing versions of what led to the cancellation of the meeting and, at least temporarily, any further U.S.-Taliban negotiations, exposed internal administration tensions that have flared as a deal seemed near in recent weeks. Those tensions have pitted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose chief negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said a week ago that agreement ‘in principle’ had been reached after 10 months of talks with the militants, and Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who opposed the talks. …
“Trump was the main person pushing for the Camp David meeting, according to a senior administration official … Comparing the initiative to Trump’s personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his stated desire to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, this official said Trump thinks his personal style can persuade anyone, and that he has seen the possibility of a substantial Afghan withdrawal as a major plus for his reelection campaign. … U.S. officials said the decision to cancel the Camp David meeting, which had been in the planning stages for more than a week, was made on Thursday. The senior administration official said that Trump decided to tweet about its existence, and its cancellation, on Saturday evening to ‘control the narrative.’ …
“While many in the administration have questioned the Taliban talks, Pompeo and Bolton have been at loggerheads over this issue and others, with Bolton, a well-known hawk, charging that Pompeo was trying to ‘box him out’ of decision-making on Afghanistan. ... Bolton has not opposed reducing the current U.S. troop level to 8,600 — about the number in Afghanistan when Trump took office — but rejects any deal with the Taliban. His view is that the president can meet his campaign promise of withdrawal without a deal…
“There was little disagreement that events of the weekend will probably lead to increased violence in Afghanistan. Pompeo denied extensive reports that the Taliban had made significant battlefield gains in recent months. … The Taliban said that the decision to end the U.S.-Taliban peace process for now would ‘lead to more losses for the United States,’ spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.”
-- The Times has a tick-tock on the Camp David summit with the Taliban that wasn't: "What would have been one of the biggest headline-grabbing moments of his tenure was put together on the spur of the moment and then canceled on the spur of the moment. The usual National Security Council process was dispensed with; only a small circle of advisers was even clued in. ... On display were all of the characteristic traits of the Trump presidency — the yearning ambition for the grand prize, the endless quest to achieve what no other president has achieved, the willingness to defy convention, the volatile mood swings and the tribal infighting."
-- Conservatives on Capitol Hill were relieved that Trump didn’t meet with the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. From the No. 3 House Republican and Dick Cheney’s daughter:
Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11.— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 8, 2019
No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever.
The Taliban still harbors al Qaeda.
The President is right to end the talks.
From a Republican congressman who serves as a pilot in the Illinois National Guard:
Never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasn’t renounced 9/11 and continues in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER. Full stop. https://t.co/pagnRFuFtc— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) September 8, 2019
-- The full Ginsburg: Representing the Trump administration on all five major Sunday morning talk shows, Pompeo defended Trump’s decision to invite the Taliban to Camp David. “If you’re going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors,” the secretary of state said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I know the history, too, at Camp David, and indeed President Trump reflected on that. Some pretty bad actors have traveled through that place throughout recorded history.” Pompeo added he hopes there will not be a delay in plans for an initial drawdown of at least 5,000 U.S. troops, along with a full withdrawal tentatively planned to take place by the end of 2020. But “any reduction in our forces will be based on actual conditions,” Pompeo said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” (Sonmez and Stein; DeYoung)
-- Pompeo also continued to deflect questions about a potential Senate run in 2020. Paul Kane reports: “Pompeo, who represented the southern portion of central Kansas for six years in the House before joining Trump’s Cabinet, has been Senate Republican leaders’ top choice to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R). They believe he could clear the GOP field and easily win the general election. Pompeo, who served as Trump’s CIA director before getting confirmed as secretary of state in April 2018, reiterated Sunday that he is focused on being America’s top diplomat. But he appeared to leave open the possibility that he would run if the president wanted him to. ‘I’ve said this repeatedly, as long as President Trump wants me to be a secretary of state, I will do what I’ve been doing for the last, goodness, almost year and a half now, focus on trying to deliver security for the American people. It’s my mission every day,’ Pompeo said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’"
-- A reminder of the human lives at stake in these negotiations: A young human-rights defender from Afghanistan pledged to make his country better. He was shot dead. Siobhán O’Grady and Sharif Hassan report: “It was August in Kabul, and Abdul Samad Amiri, 28, had recently traveled the 10 hours east to the capital from his home province of Ghowr, where persistent threats from the Taliban and local militias had created an increasingly volatile environment. … Weeks later, on the same road, Amiri was found shot dead, according to Wardak province police spokesman Hekmatullah Durani. The Taliban has not yet commented publicly on the attack, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Friday the militants were responsible for his killing and that it amounted to ‘a crime against humanity.’”
-- One of our reporters offered another somber reminder that social media is, perhaps, not the best place to solve the war in Afghanistan:
At Arlington yesterday, soldiers and family from a 10th MTN battalion gathered for the 10th anniv of their tour. With them was a 10 year old boy whose dad was KIA a few months after his birth.— Greg Jaffe (@GregJaffe) September 8, 2019
Twitter is probably not the place to negotiate an end to out longest war. https://t.co/AZNm4WlpI1
-- The U.S. humanitarian response to areas devastated by Hurricane Dorian has shifted into a new phase as desperate survivors flee the worst-hit areas of the Bahamas for towns and cities that were largely spared. Carol Morello reports: “Although some remain behind, many residents of the storm-battered Abaco Islands have left for Nassau, Freeport and other areas where more assistance is available. Shelters are overflowing, and local officials have reported a surge in looting. Tens of thousands of people are believed to be homeless or in need of help. Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), took an aerial tour Sunday of the disaster zones, flying in a U.S. Navy Sea Stallion over flattened forests and communities reduced to rubble. ‘Some places it’s like nothing happened,’ he said. ‘Other places, it’s like they were hit by a nuclear bomb.’ The death toll remained at 44 on Sunday, but the government has warned that the number will be significantly higher when the extent of the damage becomes clearer.”
-- Related: In Alabama, there are no signs of Trump’s hurricane. Avi Selk reports from Mobile: “The city stands. The grocery stores are fully stocked, the Home Depot has no lack of generators, tarps and plywood, and it’s business as usual at the Waffle Houses. Boaters on the Mobile River have been urged to caution — only because a group of manatees were spotted frolicking nearby. The highway south runs past unsunk boats and unbroken masts all the way to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, where resort-town general stores report no panicked runs on supplies — not now and not a week ago, when Trump first claimed Alabama would likely be slammed by Hurricane Dorian.”
-- Asylum applications are flooding Latin American countries now that the U.S. has tightened border security. Mary Beth Sheridan reports: “Trump complains of the sharp rise in applications for asylum in the United States, which more than tripled in seven years to 254,000 in 2018, according to global statistics compiled by the U.N. refugee agency. But asylum petitions in Mexico shot up more than 3,500 percent over the same period. They could nearly triple this year alone, to around 80,000. The surge of asylum seekers in the hemisphere stems from a cascade of crises: the implosion of Venezuela, a crackdown on dissidents by the authoritarian government of Nicaragua, and agricultural disasters and gang violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras."
-- Students in Hong Kong formed human chains outside their schools in solidarity with pro-democracy protesters, as the city’s government warned the U.S. Congress to stay out of its affairs. From the AP: “Thousands of demonstrators held a peaceful march Sunday to the U.S. Consulate to seek Washington’s support, but violence erupted hours later in a business and retail district as protesters vandalized subway stations, set fires and blocked traffic, prompting police to fire tear gas. … Protesters in their Sunday march appealed to [Trump] to ‘stand with Hong Kong’ and ensure Congress passes a bill that proposes economic sanctions and penalties on Hong Kong and mainland China officials found to be suppress democracy and human rights in the city. Hong Kong’s government expressed regret over the U.S. bill, known as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. It said in a statement Monday that ‘foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs’ of Hong Kong.”
-- Apple is accused of violating worker rights in Chinese factories on the eve of the rollout of its new iPhone 11. Reed Albergotti reports: “A report released Sunday by China Labor Watch, a nonprofit advocacy group, accused Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn of a litany of labor violations, including withholding bonus payments, rolling back safety training and employing more temporary workers than China’s laws allow. The report was based on observations and documents gathered by undercover investigators working at China’s biggest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou. The group said one of the investigators was employed by Apple for four years. Apple spokeswoman Lori Lodes denied most of the allegations, but acknowledged that Apple did exceed the number of contract workers allowed by Chinese law, which caps the ratio at 10 percent. … The China Labor Watch report accused Apple of exploiting Chinese workers in part to absorb costs associated with tariffs placed on its products."
-- The tariffs are reducing the amount of trade between the U.S. and China. From the AP: “Imports of American goods tumbled 22% in August from a year earlier to $10.3 billion, customs data showed Sunday. Exports to the United States, China’s biggest market, sank 16% to $44.4 billion. Both sides have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports in the fight over complaints about Beijing’s trade surplus and technology development plans."
-- A powerful typhoon pounded Tokyo, leaving nearly one million people without power. Simon Denyer reports: “Typhoon Faxai was the strongest storm to hit the Japanese capital in years, broadcaster NHK said, and caused one death and more than 30 injuries across the region. A woman in her 50s died in Tokyo, police said, with a security camera capturing her being blown off her feet and into a wall, Kyodo news reported. A blackout left more than 900,000 people without power in two areas surrounding the capital, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co."
-- India’s space agency located its moon lander a day after losing it. Niha Masih reports: “A day after India’s bold mission to land on the moon appeared to have failed, the country’s space agency announced that the missing lander had been located, raising hopes for a turnaround ... Vikram, the lander of Chandrayaan-2, which blasted off in July, was scheduled to soft-land on the lunar south pole early Saturday. While its descent began as planned, communication with it snapped minutes before touchdown, leading to heartbreak across the nation.”
THE DOMESTIC AGENDA:
-- Congress is returning from summer recess, with a lot on its plate. Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis report: “First up is a bill to fund the government, as the current legislation runs out Sept. 30. With just over three weeks to strike a deal, leaders are already eyeing a short-term measure to buy themselves more time to negotiate. Tighter gun restrictions, a trade pact and efforts to lower prescription drugs also crowd the agenda. In some ways, the next few months represent the 116th Congress’s last chance to pass major legislation until 2021. Lawmakers in both parties agree the partisan politics of the 2020 election will kick into high gear as soon as January, making any dealmaking and compromise all the more difficult. That doesn’t leave Congress much time. The House only has 13 legislative days in September before they leave for another two-week recess — and only 45 legislative days left in the year. Senators, meanwhile, are expected to be in town 53 days.”
-- Trump will visit Baltimore on Thursday to huddle with congressional Republicans, two months after he called the city a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Bade reports: “The White House confirmed Sunday that Trump would address House Republicans at their biennial retreat ... Republican lawmakers and aides — who chose the city for their three-day gathering before Trump decried it as ‘the Worst in the USA’ — weren’t sure the president would want to attend."
-- Americans across party and demographic lines overwhelmingly support expanded background checks for gun buyers and “red flag” laws, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. From Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin: “Although the poll finds a continued partisan divide on more far-reaching gun-control proposals, public opinion is firmly behind Democrats’ push for action as Congress returns to Washington on Monday. More Americans say they trust congressional Democrats over Trump to handle the nation’s gun laws, 51 percent to 36 percent, with independents siding with Democrats by a 17-point margin — a divide that could have political ramifications for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections. … The Post-ABC poll finds 86 percent of Americans support implementing ‘red-flag’ provisions, which allow guns to be taken from people judged to be a danger to themselves or others. And 89 percent support expanding federal background checks to cover private sales and gun-show transactions. Both measures are supported by at least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households and other traditionally conservative groups.”
-- Air Force leaders ordered a probe of how the service chooses overnight accommodations on long flights after it was revealed that air crews occasionally stayed at Trump’s Scotland resort while refueling at a small airport nearby. From Politico: “The C-17 crew’s overnight stay at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland earlier this year … was not an isolated incident. In September 2018, on its way back to the U.S. from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a unit of the Maine Air National Guard landed at Prestwick Airport, the airport closest to Trump’s luxury waterfront resort. The crew and their passengers then spent the night at his hotel, according to one person who was present, an Instagram post and a voucher detailing the crew’s itinerary ... The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee launched a probe of the Scotland operations in April out of concern that the use by the military of the Trump property and the nearby airport could pose a conflict of interest for the president — and to determine whether the Pentagon is helping to boost the fortunes of the struggling Trump's Scottish golf resort.”
-- House Democrats are planning on significantly broadening their impeachment-related inquiries into Trump beyond the findings of the Russia investigation. From the Times: “Undeterred by lackluster public support for impeachment, Democratic lawmakers and aides have sketched out a robust four-month itinerary of hearings and court arguments that they hope will provide the evidence they need to credibly portray Mr. Trump as corrupt and abusing his power. Beyond the president’s efforts to impede the special counsel’s investigation, Democrats also plan to scrutinize his role in hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with him and reports that he dangled pardons to officials willing to break the law to implement his immigration policies.”
-- Nancy Pelosi will soon release a drug-pricing plan, an issue Democrats hope to keep on the front burner for the rest of the year. From Axios: “Pelosi’s proposal would direct the federal government to negotiate the price of certain expensive drugs with little or no competition — and, crucially, that would also become the price in the private market, not just the Medicare drug coverage price, according to Democratic aides and lobbyists working on the issue. That’s awfully close to what Trump has endorsed before, but Democrats aren’t eager to share the issue ahead of 2020. People following the legislative debate suspect that normal partisan politics will likely take control over this particular plan — ‘except if the president is for it. That will change everything,’ an industry lobbyist said."
-- Freshman Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) is turning the grief from her partner’s suicide into action. Rachael Bade reports: Wild “was home preparing for a week of constituent meetings, a town hall and a cookout she and her longtime partner, Kerry Acker, were hosting later that day when he returned from a stay in New York. But Wild’s plans for the weekend — and for her congressional career and life — changed the minute she answered the call from a restricted number: A police officer told her Acker had died by suicide. The next few days were a blur for Wild, one of just a few lawmakers who have lost their spouses or partners while serving in Congress."
-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was photographed smiling with far-right politician Geert Wilders, a controversial Dutch parliamentary with anti-Islam and anti-immigrant views. Paul Kane reports: “Graham and Wilders, leader of the Party of Freedom in the Netherlands, were seen smiling together Saturday night at the Ambrosetti Forum on Italy’s Lake Como. Wilders posted the picture to his Twitter account, writing, ‘Great to meet with US Senator @LindseyGrahamSC.’ The post was deleted shortly after it was published. Wilders has drawn criticism for his views toward Islam. He has advocated for a tax on women who wear a hijab, supported a ban on Muslims immigrating to the Netherlands and said he feared a future with ‘more mosques than churches’ in his country. ‘I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam,’ he once said.”
THE #METOO MOVEMENT:
-- In a new book, New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey offer their account of breaking the Harvey Weinstein story. From our book critic Carlos Lozada: “Though the Weinstein reporting is remembered in part for the Hollywood stars who suffered the mogul’s propositions and abuses — Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others — Kantor and Twohey also identified victims with far lower profiles, including young assistants and producers who worked for Weinstein and sometimes received payoffs for their silence. The similarities among their stories gave rise to what the reporters call ‘The Pattern’: Weinstein inviting women into hotel rooms for supposedly job-related meetings, pressuring them for massages, escalating his demands for sexual acts, combining professional and physical intimidation.”
The book, “She Said,” not only details meetings with courageous sources. It shares interactions with Weinstein's team of lawyers as they sought to prevent the truth from getting out: “Powerhouse attorney David Boies helped Weinstein 'conceal, spin, and silence' allegations for years, Kantor and Twohey write. The relentlessly available Washington lawyer Lanny Davis is a bumbling figure — working for Weinstein, unsure of his authority and yet confirming multiple settlements. … And attorney Lisa Bloom emerges as an especially odious character. An advocate for women in public, behind the scenes she plots to discredit them. ‘I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them,’ she writes in a memo for Weinstein, referring to Rose McGowan. ‘They start out as impressive, bold women, but the more one presses for evidence, the weaknesses and lies are revealed.’ She even proposes that the producer launch a Weinstein Foundation focused on gender equity. For real.”
-- The book also details how Bob Weinstein, the former mogul’s brother, pleaded with him to get medical treatment for what he described as many years of “misbehavior.” From the Times: “’Your reaction was once more to blame the victims, or to minimize the misbehavior in various ways. If you think nothing is wrong with your misbehavior so in this area then announce it to your wife and family,’ [Bob Weinstein wrote in a memo to Harvey Weinstein]. … One of the central figures of ‘She Said’ is a former top executive at the Weinstein Company: Irwin Reiter. Mr. Reiter, an accountant who worked for Mr. Weinstein for decades, was increasingly alarmed by his behavior toward women and had raised concerns within the company, to no avail. The book discloses that it was Mr. Reiter who provided the reporters with an explosive internal memo from an employee who described Weinstein’s routine harassment of junior female employees and actresses. Mr. Reiter also alerted Ms. Kantor and Ms. Twohey, who were investigating financial settlements for sexual harassment from decades ago, to other recent accusations against Mr. Weinstein, bringing new urgency to the investigation.”
-- Financier Jeffrey Epstein forged deep ties with some of the nation’s elite universities and their scholars by showering them with gifts and donations that academics now realize provided a veneer of credibility to a convicted sex offender. Susan Svrluga reports: “Epstein gave repeatedly to MIT and Harvard University. On Saturday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif responded to allegations in the New Yorker that Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab, and others sought to conceal the source of money Epstein had donated. Reif, in a letter to the campus, called the accusations 'deeply disturbing' and announced Ito had submitted his resignation as director of Media Lab, professor and employee. He also said an outside law firm would be hired to conduct a thorough review. … Last month, Reif apologized to Epstein’s victims in a message to campus. The school accepted about $800,000 of Epstein’s money over 20 years, Reif wrote, with gifts to the MIT Media Lab and to a mechanical engineering professor. … The largest gift to Harvard University from Epstein was $6.5 million in 2003, for the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, according to a school spokesman."
-- A Brown University fundraising director with ties to Epstein was placed on leave, per the Providence Journal.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
J.P. Morgan created an index to track the impact Trump's tweets have on the market. It's called the "Volfefe Index":
Among JPMorgan’s findings: there’s been an increase in what they call “market-moving tweets” — Trump tweets which are immediately followed by a volatility spike— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) September 8, 2019
But they’re increasingly LESS likely to be “liked” or re-tweeted.— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) September 8, 2019
.. “though a substantial fraction of this rise in activity comes from an increased propensity to retweet others.”— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) September 8, 2019
Texas's senior senator tweeted about his Uber driver:
Enjoyed talking to my Uber driver originally from Eritrea. Can’t understand why Ds are promoting socialism since that is part of what he fled. Oh, he said he likes Trump. (Ok, I am ready for incoming😎)— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 8, 2019
The president didn't like an "NBC Nightly News" segment by Lester Holt about criminal justice that featured singer John Legend:
....A man named @VanJones68, and many others, were profusely grateful (at that time!). I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did, & Republicans deserve much credit. But now that it is passed, people that had virtually nothing to do with it are taking the praise. Guys like boring.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
.....the importance or passage of Criminal Justice Reform. They only talk about the minor players, or people that had nothing to do with it...And the people that so desperately sought my help when everyone else had failed, all they talk about now is Impeaching President Trump!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, responded on Twitter:
Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody--ANYBODY--will praise you. Melania, please praise this man. He needs you.— John Legend (@johnlegend) September 9, 2019
Before lashing out on Twitter, Trump spent his Sunday at the golf course:
Meanwhile, the president's eldest daughter and adviser announced her visit to Alabama, the state Trump insisted would get hit by Hurricane Dorian:
And some "awwww" news: An Austrian photographer snapped this picture of a squirrel smelling a flower:
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
A Bahamian man explained how he and his daughter were stopped from reaching the U.S. while attempting to leave the islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian:
Hundreds like Renard Oliver and his baby now have to get off the ferry from Freeport, Bahamas to Florida. He was trying to evacuate — told he could leave with Bahamian passport and police record like normal but then ferry crew says US Goverment called and changed plan last minute pic.twitter.com/vhBkSgBlKF— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 8, 2019
A video of George W. Bush from after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan went viral after Trump revealed that he invited the Taliban to Camp David:
TALIBAN AND CAMP DAVID:— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) September 8, 2019
Bush after returning from Camp David on Oct 14, 2001, "Turn him over; turn his cohorts over; turn any hostages they hold over; destroy all the terrorist camps. There's no need to negotiate. There's no discussions. I told them exactly what they need to do" pic.twitter.com/BuArTZfGbk
Trevor Noah took a look at some of the projects Trump will defund in order to pay for the border wall:
John Oliver explained what filibusters are and why he thinks they shouldn't exist: