THE BIG IDEA: It’s never good when you have to say that your campaign is “not on life support.”

“The Workingman’s Hymn” – with the refrain “I know that we can turn it around” – blared at Jeb Bush’s event yesterday in Portsmouth, N.H., as the defiant candidate tried to reassure panicked supporters he can get off the ground and dust himself off in the wake of his disastrous debate performance.

“It’s not on life support,” the former Florida governor told reporters. “The end is not near.”

Meanwhile, showing that the Bush machine can still bring in cold hard cash, George W. Bush headlined another fundraiser for his brother in Georgetown last night. Two Bush 43 chiefs of staff, Andy Card and Josh Bolten, were listed as co-hosts of the event, which an invitation said was at the home of Paul Horvath. Bush administration alumni in the D.C. area were invited and asked to max out.

My colleagues Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and Ed O’Keefe spent yesterday surveying strategists and fundraisers throughout the Republican firmament for a what-now piece on our front page. Their interviews “underscored that there are no particularly attractive options for Bush to breathe new life into his campaign. … Bush’s loyal supporters, including some longtime friends, were aghast at the candidate they saw on the television screens. Gone, they said, was the optimistic message of economic empowerment that was to be the foundation of his campaign. Gone, too, was the confident competitor who dominated Florida politics during his two terms as governor.”

Five key quotes from the piece:  

  • A prominent Bush donor from the Midwest: “I just don’t see the fire in the belly that he needs to move through our brutal primary battles and the ultimate Deathmatch with the Clinton machine. I don’t see it!”
  • Ana Navarro on CNN: “When I see that debate, I don’t know who that man is. That’s not the guy I’ve known for 25 years.”
  • Rick Wilson, a Florida-based strategist unaffiliated with a candidate: “For weeks, the money guys were with Jeb. (After the debate), those people were telling me, ‘I’m calling Marco’ or ‘I’m done’ or ‘That was absurd’ or ‘I’m finished.’ ”
  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: “He’s going to have to up his game, or the marketplace is going to move away from him.”
  • Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for George W.’s 2004 campaign: “Jeb has no reservoir of positive support.”

— The Jeb campaign dismisses all of this as bedwetting and plans to stay the course. On a conference call with top donors and his state chairs, Bush candidly acknowledged that he had an off night Wednesday: “I could have done better.” But top officials insisted to Dan, Phil and Ed that they are not going to veer from their long-term plan because of what one called “the insanity of pundit world.”

Bush is doing “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Then he rolls out a new e-book on Monday. He’ll give a major speech in Tampa next week to coincide with the rollout. Then he’ll take a week-long trip to highlight his record in Florida. And at the end of next week, he’ll participate in a bus tour of New Hampshire.

— New Hampshire is now do-or-die for Bush. It’s his firewall. If he falls behind other establishment-aligned candidates there, his campaign is probably over. Yesterday, highlighting the Bush family’s extended network, former Sen. Judd Gregg appeared with and formally endorsed Jeb. The endorsement comes as no surprise. Judd’s dad, Hugh, led Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign in the Granite State when he challenged Gerald Ford for the nomination but then defected to George H.W. Bush in 1980, something that loyal Reaganites never forgot. The Greggs have been Bushies ever since. (Even with the Greggs’ support, Reagan crushed Bush 50 to 23 in the Granite State’s primary that year…)

— Good news for Jeb: Only 14 million watched the CNBC debate, an all-time ratings record for the cable channel but down from 24 million for Fox News’ debate and 23 million for CNN’s.

— Ted Cruz said he raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours after the debate. The campaign also said it has 77,000 volunteers on the ground, with 6,000 in the first four voting states.

— Slipping in the polls, Trump is moderating and refining his message on the stump in the wake of a debate in which he was not really a factor. As he campaigned outside Reno, Nev., yesterday afternoon, he focused on describing his professional and life experience instead of slinging insults at his opponents or talking about his poll numbers.

Indicating that he actually wants to win, Trump also softened his tone yesterday on marijuana legalization. It’s another issue on which he has shifted his position to be more in sync with the Republican base. Trump said states should be allowed to legalize marijuana if they chose to do so, per Jenna Johnson, while reaffirming that he supports making medical marijuana available to very sick patients. In the ’90s, he called for legalizing drugs altogether and using the tax money to educate the public about their danger.


— The Senate approved, 64-35, the budget deal in the wee hours of the morning, pushing pass objections by presidential candidates and GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) that forced a series of 1 a.m. votes. President Obama has until Nov. 3 to sign the deal that increases defense and domestic spending for two years and raises the nation’s borrowing limit until March 2017. Read the full report from PowerPost’s Kelsey Snell here.

— Sneak peek at Hillary Clinton’s criminal justice plan, being unveiled later today in Atlanta: The Democratic frontrunner will call for legislation to ban racial profiling by law enforcement and for an elimination of the remaining distinction between crack and powder cocaine in drug sentencing, Wesley Lowery reports. A Clinton aide said the agenda will focus on three key areas: policing, incarceration, and reentry into society.” More here.

North Korea crews are digging a new tunnel at its nuclear test site with an eye to conducting more tests of atomic devices in the future, a South Korean news report said this morning, on the eve of a meeting between the leaders of the South, Japan and China in Seoul. (Reuters)


  1. Pennsylvania state police fired more than 100 shotgun shells to deflate the wayward military surveillance blimp that broke loose in Maryland. The military is still working to gather up some 6,000 feet of tether, the blimp’s huge hull and a smaller tail piece. (AP)
  2. The U.S. economy expanded at a lackluster annual rate of 1.5 percent between July and September, less than half the pace of the previous quarter. (Ylan Mui)
  3. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier scrambled four fighter jets to intercept approaching Russian warplanes as it carried out a military exercise in the Sea of Japan. (Reuters)
  4. Iran has arrested another American holding dual citizenship, bringing to four the number of Iranian Americans imprisoned in Tehran after they came under suspicion by hard-line security forces,” Carol Morello reports.
  5. A candidate running for parliament representing Myanmar’s largest opposition party is in hospital with serious wounds after being attacked by men armed with swords last night in Yangon, per CNN.
  6. An engine on a passenger plane leaving Fort Lauderdale for Venezuela burst into flames while taxiing for takeoff, forcing passengers to use the inflatable emergency slides. (Reuters)
  7. The father of the Roanoke TV reporter fatally shot during a live broadcast last summer apologized Thursday for harsh Facebook messages that prompted a pro-gun legislator from southwest Virginia to call law enforcement authorities.” (Laura Vozzella)
  8. Those 6,000 drug offenders that are being released from federal jails will be let out today and on Monday. “Legal experts warn that the government has done too little to help many of them successfully reintegrate into society,” the Los Angeles Times’ Tim Phelps reports.
  9. The first-ever discovered skeleton of a baby Pentaceratops — a rhino-like plant-eating dinosaur that roamed the Plains some 70 million years ago — was removed from the New Mexico wilderness by Blackhawk helicopter. (BuzzFeed)
  10. The Pontiac Superdome will be torn down after the owner’s efforts to sell it failed. (Detroit Free Press)


  1. Bernie Sanders met for about an hour yesterday afternoon with Joe Biden at the Naval Observatory to discuss 2016. (John Wagner)
  2. Beth Myers, who ran vetting for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection process, has e-mailed reporters to deny a whisper campaign that red flags disqualified Marco Rubio from consideration. (Politico)
  3. A federal judge ordered Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to continue paying Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursements for the foreseeable future. (Times-Picayune)
  4. Jindal said he hasn’t decided whether to endorse David Vitter in his state’s gubernatorial runoff, and a Vitter spokesman suggested that the senator would not accept the support. These guys have long hated each other, and Vitter has been trashing his fellow Republican on the stump. (Times-Picayune)
  5. Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York whose plan for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants was the source of a stumble in a debate for Hillary Clinton in 2007, is aggressively criticizing her for that moment, calling it a ‘metaphor’ for her soft support on the issue of immigration” in an interview with the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman.
  6. Bernie Sanders said it was “inappropriate” for his campaign manager to sarcastically say that they would vet HRC to be his VP. (MSNBC)
  7. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said he had a mild heart attack but will return to work “in a few days.”
  8. The NFL, which already has a spotty history of being sensitive to violence against women, fined Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay for wearing purple cleats to show support for domestic violence awareness. (ESPN)


— “China lifts one child policy amid worries about graying population,” by Simon Denyer:  The move to allow two children per family “came after a meeting of the Communist Party leadership [and] reflected concerns about potential labor shortages and rising numbers of elderly people that would greatly strain the economy in the years ahead … China’s unpopular one-child rule was introduced in 1980 and was brutally enforced through huge fines, forced sterilizations and abortions, experts say. It empowered and enriched a huge swath of officials, with bribes often paid to skirt the rules … Calls to abandon the policy have crescendoed in the past decade, but the Communist Party moved slowly, partly relaxing the rule in 2013 before Thursday’s announcement.”

— The devastating potential of an extreme solar storm and what the White House is doing about it,” by Jason Samenow: “A principal concern is the following: At some point in our lifetimes, the sun could unleash a dangerous surge of magnetically-charged plasma that could severely damage or destroy critically important electric power systems, satellites, spacecraft and telecommunications. The White House, realizing that an extreme solar storm could jeopardize the nation’s vitality and security, released a strategy and multi-agency plan on Thursday to prepare for and coordinate responses to the space weather threat.”


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Ted Cruz’s word cloud the day after the debate shows how much his criticism of the media broke through online. 

–Pictures of the day:

Mitt and Ann Romney were at the Capitol Hill Thursday for Paul Ryan’s swearing-in to succeed John Boehner. “I got the first #SpeakerSelfie,” he tweeted Thursday:

Boehner posted this photo after the ceremony. “Congratulations @speakerryan. I know you will serve with grace & energy,” he wrote:

Ryan has appeared more than 550 times on C-SPAN (you can watch them here):

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) took this photo as Ryan was escorted into the House chamber for the election:

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) presented Ryan with a gift of Febreze to “get rid of that lingering smoke smell” that Boehner “left behind”:

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) shared a glass of water with the new speaker. “Not Holy water but perhaps #BipartisanWater?” he tweeted:

Ryan got down to business later in the morning. “Let’s do this,” he wrote:

Did you know Thursday was National Cat Day? The presidential campaigns of John Kasich and Martin O’Malley enjoyed the company of shelter kittens delivered by Uber (UberKITTENS is indeed a thing):

Lawmakers celebrated by posting photos with their feline friends. Here’s Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) with Tio:

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) with Cleo:

And Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) with Grumpy Cat. “Paw-lease,” Booker tweeted Thursday. “I thought this meeting was ‘claw-some’ but given his ‘purr-suasion’ I couldn’t change his ‘cat-atude'”:

Ten Democratic women senators held up pieces of paper saying why they support Hillary Clinton. Here’s an example from New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen. (See them all here.)

–Tweets of the day:

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck announced Ryan will compete the full Ginsburg this weekend:

Aides to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Marco Rubio indirectly traded barbs on Twitter after Reid called for Rubio to resign.

John Harwood — one of the moderators under fire from the right for the confrontational tone on Wednesday night — said the blowback is just part of the job:

After the New York Times editorial board called on Chris Christie to drop out of the presidential race, the New Jersey governor tried to burn the paper:

Conservative thought leaders mocked him on Twitter, and several noted that someone in his campaign must have a subscription since they regularly blast out Times stories and included one in their post-debate roundup.

Everyone agreed Jeb blew it on Wednesday night, except Eric Cantor:

Like Christie, Cantor got mocked by the right:

–Instagrams of the day:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) celebrated when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg inscribed a copy of her new biography. “She is so on fleek,” McCaskill wrote on Instagram:

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said his mother Ruth, pictured in the photo below, might have been among the first women to vote after the ratification of the 19th amendment. “I never heard my mother mention this historical event,” Grassley wrote:

Ben Carson, doing a favor to his “new friend Rad in Idaho,” took a picture with Flat Stanley at Wednesday night’s debate:


— New York Times, “Paul Ryan may have to set more modest goals now that he is speaker,” by David Herszenhorn: “Recent experience, including the success of President Obama and congressional Democrats in blocking all of Mr. Ryan’s big budget proposals, suggests that he will continue to harbor expansive aspirations, but will set more modest goals. He faces not merely the realities of divided government, at least for the next 14 months; he also will try to repair the deep fractures among House Republicans. Mr. Ryan acknowledged as much in his opening remarks when he declared, ‘The House is broken’ … To a large degree, the budget accord reached this week, which Mr. Ryan voted to support, will free him from any immediate need to pursue his most ambitious fiscal proposals, and should clear some room for him to focus on some of the nuts-and-bolts complaints about how the House operates that have divided Republicans.”

–Associated Press, “After Trump’s critique, Carson says Seventh Day Adventism is right for him,” by Rachel Zoll: “The retired neurosurgeon said his relationship with God was ‘the most important aspect. It’s not really denomination specific.’ Carson discussed a brief period as a college student when he questioned whether to stay in the church … he said it was a ‘huge mistake’ that the top Adventist policymaking body recently voted against ordaining women. ‘I don’t see any reason why women can’t be ordained,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of people who have a close relationship with God, and you can generally tell who they are by the way they act, the way they treat other people,’ he said.” About attacks on his religion from Donald Trump, Carson said: “Donald Trump is Donald Trump. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing that. I would only be surprised if he didn’t.”

–“The Center for Public Integrity, “Koch brothers higher-ed investments advance political goals,” by David Levinthal: “Higher education has become a top Koch priority in recent years. And funding — as well as pushback against it — is increasing. During 2013, a pair of private charitable foundations Charles Koch leads and personally bankrolls combined to spread more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax filings … The Kochs’ giving, however, has a laser-like focus on a specific, politically relevant discipline — free market economics — unmatched by other political mega-donors. Koch officials routinely cultivate relationships with professors and deans and fund specific courses of economic study pitched by them. Detractors argue the Koch brothers’ college-focused money, by helping advance a philosophy of economic liberty, is eroding a fundamental aspect of higher education: academic freedom.”

The Intercept, “Television news network lobbyists are fundraising for Hillary Clinton,” by Lee Fang: “Fundraising disclosures released this month and in July reveal that lobbyists for media companies are raising big money for establishment presidential candidates, particularly Hillary …  The top fundraisers for Clinton include lobbyists who serve the parent companies of CNN and MSNBC. The National Association of Broadcasters, a trade group that represents the television station industry, has lobbyists who are fundraising for both Clinton and Marco Rubio … CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, is represented on Capitol Hill by Steve Elmendorf, an adviser to Clinton during her 2008 campaign … Elmendorf, according to disclosures, has raised at least $141,815 for Clinton’s 2016 bid for the presidency. Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, which includes cable networks NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC, has a number of lobbyists on retainer who are working to raise cash for the Clinton campaign, including Justin Gray, Alfred Mottur, Ingrid Duran and Catherine Pino.”


Hillary on GOP debate: “You’d have been better off watching the World Series.” From TPM: “The debate was a swing and a miss,” Clinton said at her town hall in New Hampshire.


Iran to send “fleet of warships” to the Atlantic Ocean. From the Times of Israel: “Iran intends to dispatch ‘a fleet of warships’ to the Atlantic Ocean shortly, the semi-state Fars news agency reported Thursday … ‘Our warships will soon berth at ports in the Atlantic Ocean,’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari promised at a ceremony.”


–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton speaks at the Ministers Luncheon of the 16th Annual Creating Opportunity Conference in Atlanta, Ga. Jeb Bush attends a tailgate in Punta Gorda, Fla. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Manchester, Nashua and Derry, while Lindsey Graham makes stops in Concord and Manchester. Eight other candidates will be in Iowa: Marco Rubio in Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Orange City; Rick Santorum in Galva, Le Mars, Sioux Center and Orange City; Mike Huckabee in Missouri Valley, Harlan, Audubon and Carroll; Martin O’Malley in Sioux City, Denison and Des Moines; Bobby Jindal in Des Moines and Bloomfield; Chris Christie in Council Bluffs and Orange City; Rand Paul in Des Moines; and Carly Fiorina in Orange City.

–On the Hill: The House and Senate are in recess until next week.

–At the White House: President Obama and First lady Michelle Obama welcome military families to trick-or-treat at the White House for Halloween. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He reminds me of John Edwards,” Harry Reid said of Marco Rubio. “When he came to the Senate, man, he was good. … He had been called by either [Al] Gore or his people that he was going to be the [vice presidential] nominee [in 2000], or at least that’s what he thought, OK? And he called me and told me that. When Gore chose [Joe] Lieberman, he was so fixed on becoming a national figure that his Senate service was basically over. That’s what I see in Marco Rubio.” Reid clarified that he was not talking about “the personal stuff.” (Huffington Post)


– “Sunshine today may go missing by late tomorrow and then stay hidden into Sunday. We’re briefly transitioning toward cooler autumnal air today and tomorrow before warmer air comes back next week,” the Capital Weather Gang reports. And for Halloween tomorrow: “Sunshine in the morning gives way to increased clouds with time. Overcast — perhaps mainly high-level clouds — may rule the afternoon, but at least rain (sprinkle) chances are nearly zero. High temperatures are unlikely to live up to their name with mid-50s to around 60 looking likely.”

— Capital Bikeshare is coming to Fairfax. The county plans to install bike stations in Reston, with the goal of having the program up and running in late 2016 or early 2017.

— What new Nationals manager Bud Black must do to get us back in the playoffs, via Adam Kilgore:

  1. Turn a collection of strangers into a team. The Nationals’ roster will undergo an overhaul this winter. Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span and longtime leader Ian Desmond are likely to defect in free agency. Drew Storen could be traded. The Nationals will likely find a new closer. That’s a lot of new personalities in the clubhouse.
  2. Earn the veterans’ trust, namely Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.
  3. Let Bryce Harper be Bryce Harper.
  4. Define bullpen roles, but don’t be wedded to them.
  5. Get the best out of Stephen Strasburg.


President Obama praised the D.C. police officer who broke up a fight of teenagers and helped disperse the crowd by doing a dance-off to the Nae Nae “Watch Me” dance. Watch the moment here.

Watch John Boehner reflect on his path to the speakership:

Followed by his farewell speech:

Here’s the moment Pelosi handed the gavel to Ryan:

And Ryan’s address to the House:

Off Capitol Hill, at the National Press Club, U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach delivered her first public remarks since announcing she’ll retire from the sport:

Members of the women’s national soccer team recorded this video when they were at the White House earlier in the week (hint: it includes a good shot of that comment from Obama about being “bad ass”):

— See 17 images that tell the story of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast on Oct. 29, 2012. It feels like so much longer than three years ago.