THE BIG IDEA: The Clintons have had an on-and-off-again relationship with organized labor over their more than 40 years in public life.

— Hillary Clinton has been rounding up big union endorsements in her primary fight with Bernie Sanders. With the SEIU’s backing this week, the Democratic frontrunner now has the support of labor groups that represent more than 10 million workers.

— Unions were Bill Clinton’s biggest booster when he first ran for Congress in 1974. A 20-something who had recently graduated from Yale Law School, Bill rode the wave of Watergate backlash to nearly topple a well-liked Republican incumbent in northwest Arkansas. My colleague Tom Hamburger, who was a reporter in Arkansas during those years, has been back in the state going through archives and discovered documents that show Bill received more national labor PAC money through much of the campaign than any other congressional challenger in the nation. That does not even include in-kind contributions provided by steelworkers who flooded the district, or the Arkansas Education Association, which sent educators door-to-door for him.

— But, after Bill got elected governor four years later, many of his early boosters from labor felt betrayed. Specifically, the teachers unions were infuriated over the couple’s advocacy of an education reform proposal that mandated teacher testing. The National Education Association and its Arkansas affiliate worked against the Clintons after they backed the measure in 1983.

— Hillary’s first significant public role was heading an education commission for Bill, a precursor to her role as health care czar in his first term. The efforts she supported were heartily endorsed by the business community, including a dark-money nonprofit group funded by WalMart founder Sam Walton. (Tom and Matea Gold explored this in part one of their story on the Clinton money machine yesterday, which you can read here.)

— Hillary was booed by teachers when she showed up at education forums as Arkansas First Lady to pitch her proposal. “I believe the governor’s teacher testing bill has done inestimable damage to the Arkansas teaching profession and to the image of this state,” Peggy Nabors, the president of the Arkansas Education Assn, wrote in a 1983 letter to her members. She called it “a radical departure from what educators or the makers of standardized test themselves believe is appropriate or fair.” She added that the proposal “represents the final indignity” and closed by urging teachers to “make a contribution to political candidates who will support a more progressive education program.”

Tom Hamburger on how Bill and Hillary Clinton's bond as a political team formed over time, starting with his 1974 race. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Less than a decade later, Nabors backed Bill’s 1992 presidential campaign. She told the Clintons she would overlook their “one mistake.”

— Hillary assiduously courted and won the endorsement of the two big teacher unions this year: the AFT and the NEA. She’s disappointed liberals in the education reform movement by trashing charter schools, of which she used to be supportive. The Wall Street Journal editorial board last week accused her of being bought off: “Mrs. Clinton’s charter reversal suggests her Education Department would be a wholly owned union subsidiary.”

— However, some labor leaders never came around and remain wary. The now deceased head of the Arkansas AFL-CIO was a charismatic guy, J. Bill Becker, who backed Bill early and gave him one of the most important boosts in his early political life. But he never forgave the Clintons for what he perceived as a betrayal of important commitments and values. Becker was particularly disappointed in the tax system that the Clintons backed to pay for their education plan. “Bill Clinton would put his arm around you, and only later would you realize he’d been pissing down your leg,” Becker said during the 1992 presidential campaign.

— Day Two of the Tom and Matea series on the Clinton money machine dives into Bill’s first race. One particularly telling nugget: Steve Smith, perhaps Clinton’s closest friend and adviser other than Hillary in the early years, left Clinton’s first gubernatorial administration when the young governor surprised him by abandoning a pledge to protect Arkansas’s forests. Clinton did his 180 degree turn after meeting with the state’s influential timber barons… Read the whole story here.


Terror in Mali: About 10 gunmen yelling “God is great” in Arabic stormed a Radisson Blu and took 170 people hostage. At least three people are dead. We’re trying to figure out how many hostages are still in there, but special forces have moved in. The city serves as a logistics hub for French forces helping in the fight against Islamist insurgents, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Local reports say that hostages were being let out if they could recite a Muslim profession of faith. Among those released were five members of a Turkish Airlines crew. Read the latest here.

Three Americans held as prisoners by Shiite rebels in Yemen for the past two months were freed and flown to Oman. 

— Princeton administrators cave, agreeing to ask for the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus because of student concerns that the former president was a racistThe Daily Princetonian reports that a 32-hour sit-in, which involved a small percentage of the student body, wrapped last night with university President Chris Eisgruber agreeing to several demands. He said he will write the chair of the Board of Trustees “to initiate conversations on removing Wilson’s name from campus buildings.” He will also write to the head of Wilson College “to request that he consider removing Wilson’s mural from Wilcox dining hall.” The president will designate four rooms in a student center “for use by cultural groups,” and promised “a working group to discuss the viability of forming black affinity housing.” They are also going to consider requiring a “diversity” course for graduation. Meanwhile, protesters at Smith College want reporters to cover their event only if they agree to “articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color.”


  1. UnitedHealth warned it may pull out of Obamacare public exchanges in 2016, citing high costs and low enrollment that has cost the nation’s largest insurer millions of dollars. (USA Today)
  2. An American was among five killed in Jerusalem during attacks by Palestinians. (Ruth Eglash)
  3. A 10-year-old boy in Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola just one day after West Africa was called Ebola-free. (The Independent)
  4. North and South Korea agreed to low-level border talks next week to try easing tensions between the two countries. (AP)
  5. The FDA approved the first genetically engineered animal for consumption – a salmon that grows twice as fast due to a hormone. (Brady Dennis)
  6. A Los Angeles-area police officer who previously served in the Marines was fatally shot during a botched robbery attempt. (Mark Berman)
  7. House Democrats are embarking on a long-term data project dubbed “Revere” which analyzes polling and voting trends in hopes of regaining a majority in the House and securing several state legislatures. (Paul Kane)
  8. Jonathan J. Pollard, the Israeli spy who was been imprisoned for 30 years, has been released from prison, but he won’t be allowed to leave the United States. (New York Times)
  9. Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for possessing child pornography and paying minors for sex. (Sarah Larimer)
  10. Americans next year who need more pages in their passports will have to buy a new one, as the State Department will no longer allow travelers to add pages to their existing book. (Carol Morello)
  11. The Social Security Administration announced that Americans will soon be able to order new Social Security cards online. (Hayley Tsukayama)
  12. Chicago police must release a video showing a white police officer shooting a black man 16 times, seven months after the victim’s family was awarded $5 million by the city even though no lawsuit was filed. (Chicago Tribune)


  1. The House Ethics Committee will investigate Rep. Robert Pettinger on accusations that he continued to run his real-estate business while in office, a violation of the chamber’s rules. (Mike DeBonis)
  2. Lawyers representing the man charged with killing Chandra Levy requested photos and phone records related to Gary Condit, the former congressman with whom Levy had an affair. (Keith L. Alexander)
  3. NBC News President Deborah Turness upset Hispanic lawmakers when she described undocumented immigrants as “illegals” during a meeting to discuss their concerns about Trump hosting SNL. “We love the Hispanic community…Yo hablo espanol,” Turness said, lawmakers present told Politico.
  4. Ben Carson distanced himself from Armstrong Williams, his longtime business manger. (CNN)
  5. Seven House members, including six Democrats, called on President Obama to fire acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg for denouncing medical marijuana. (Christopher Ingraham)
  6. Elon Musk put out a call on Twitter last night for software engineers to work on a team that will allow the Tesla to drive on “autopilot” and eventually be fully autonomous.
  7. Thursday night’s “Scandal” stunned quite a few viewers when D.C. fixer Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) had an abortion. “The audience had no idea that Olivia, finally together with President Fitz (played by Tony Goldwyn), was pregnant,” writes Emily Yahr.
  8. Rock star Sting will headline a campaign fundraiser for Clinton. (Matea Gold and Anne Gearan)
  9. Hillary said, if she could pick an actress to portray her, she would choose Meryl Streep. (USA Today)


The House overwhelmingly passed legislation that restricts refugees from Iraq and Syria from entering the country, with 47 Democrats breaking ranks to join the GOP. The fate of the bill is uncertain because Senate Democrats vowed to block it and President Obama pledged to veto it. (Mike DeBonis)

Senate Democrats are revisiting legislation that would prevent people on the terrorist watch list from being able to buy a gun or explosives while traveling in the U.S. The lead sponsor is California’s Dianne Feinstein, writes Karoun Demirjian.


Donald Trump said yesterday that he would “absolutely” want a database of Muslims in the country and wouldn’t rule out giving them special ID cards that noted their religion.

Ben Carson compared refugees to dogs: “If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way,” the retired neurosurgeon said Thursday in Alabama. He added that ISIS is a greater threat than al-Qaeda ever was, before and after 9/11.

David A. Fahrenthold and Jose A. DelReal note that the tone is divisive compared to George W. Bush’s messaging after Sept. 11. Indeed, taking a deep breath, Jeb said yesterday the country should be “supportive” of Syrian refugees as long as the immigrants are effectively screened as he filed to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot.

The rhetoric is heated on both sides: Hillary’s top donor, Haim Saban, walked back comments he made suggesting that Muslims should be under more scrutiny in wake of recent terror threats.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “acutely aware of the consequences to Jews who were unable to flee Nazism,” posted a statement of concern: “The Museum calls on public figures and citizens to avoid condemning today’s refugees as a group. It is important to remember that many are fleeing because they have been targeted by the Assad regime and ISIS for persecution and in some cases elimination on the basis of their identity.”

Meanwhile, CNN suspended reporter Elise Labott after she tweeted that the “Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish” in response to the House passing the bill to limit Syrian refugees.

Trump was called out during the Latin Grammy Awards last night. California band Los Tigres Del Norte and Mexican rock group Mana held up a sign urging Latinos not to vote for “racists”:

The protest continued in several places on Twitter, including Mana’s account:


— Five things that could shut down the government by Dec. 11: Kelsey Snell and Mike DeBonis, looking at the state-of-play on the omnibus, hear that the biggest holdups are 1) funding for Syrian refugees; 2) Dividing up a $30 billion spending increase both sides have agreed to in principle; 3) Environmental policy riders; 4) Crop insurance subsidies; and 5) a GOP push roll back financial regulations. The full story is here.

— The Louisiana governor’s runoff is tomorrow. Vitter has used the Syrian attacks to make late gains, but he was down double digits. Tyler Bridges reports for The Post from New Orleans: “Charges and counter-charges involving thugs, terrorists, prostitutes and spies have dominated the raucous final stretch of a Louisiana governor’s race that, just three months ago, was a ho-hum affair. But now, with the election on Saturday, Sen. David Vitter (R) is making a last-ditch effort to come from behind in a race that was once his to lose. Private polls suggest that Vitter has tightened the gap to eight to 12 points in recent days behind John Bel Edwards … At stake for Vitter is not just the governor’s race but very likely his political future. A decisive loss Saturday would imperil [Vitter’s] chances of winning a third term to the Senate next year. ‘Voters might just say they’re done with him,’ said Roy Fletcher, a longtime Louisiana political consultant. ‘Maybe there will be blood in the water.” Still, few people are ready to count him out.” The full story will publish at 8 a.m. Eastern here.

Analysis of Hillary’s ISIS speech — “Looking ahead to the general election, Clinton takes hawkish stance on Syria,” by Anne Gearan and Karen Tumulty: Hillary Clinton laid out a broad agenda Thursday for confronting the Islamic State terrorist network — and sent a larger signal that she intends to be a more aggressive commander in chief than President Obama. … The front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination also portrayed the United States as the leader of a global fight to exterminate the Islamic State and other terrorist threats. She doubled down on her call for a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians. Clinton’s prescriptions — which are hawkish and more specific than either her Democratic or Republican rivals have set out — could raise discomfort in liberal circles and among Americans made wary by the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her comments suggested that she is looking past her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), and positioning herself for a general-election battle against whomever the Republican party puts forward.”

— Why it’s hard to draw a line between Snowden and the Paris attacks,” by Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller: “In a pair of public appearances this week, CIA Director John O. Brennan made clear that he blames leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden for enabling terrorists to evade detection. ‘Because of a number of unauthorized disclosures, and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists,’ Brennan said, the CIA and other agencies have lost the use of critical tools needed ‘to find these terrorists.’ Brennan’s assertion has become a refrain in the two years since Snowden exposed details about a range of U.S. surveillance programs. And former CIA director R. James Woolsey went further, saying on Sunday, ‘I think Snowden has blood on his hands from these killings in France.’ But drawing a line from Snowden to the Paris tragedy is problematic, according to some analysts, because even two years after the leaks it is difficult to discern the extent to which they prompted terrorist networks to change the way they communicate.”


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Cruz rising? Since the last GOP debate, two things are clear: enthusiasm for Ben Carson has waned, while it has increased for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Here’s a look at the non-Trump media coverage in terms of volume over the last seven days:

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Cruz’s hard line on immigration is gaining him more press coverage and attention on social media. Here’s a word cloud illustrating the most commonly used words in stories about Cruz over the last week:

–Pictures of the day:

Staffers and lawmakers captured stunning photos of dusk in D.C. last night:

–Tweets of the day:

Trump spent the evening threatening to sue John Kasich after a pro-Kasich super PAC launched an ad blitz against him in New Hampshire. It is a political gift for the Ohio governor, who moved to raise money off of it. The super PAC gleefully published the letter.

Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) son, Jeremiah, was protesting the killing of unarmed black man Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police when this photo was taken:

The image provoked a strong reaction by the congressman, who has called for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate Clark’s killing:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wished a happy 60th birthday to National Review:

Is that Ethel Kennedy in the front row? Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he had trouble concentrating on his speech because his grandmother was there:

–Instagrams of the day:

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and his family hike near Mt. Rainier (he shared the photo for Throwback Thursday):

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) gathered with guys in his office who “decided to join the Facial Hair Caucus (for November, at least)”:


— New York Times, “Bernie Sanders, confronting concerns, makes case for electability,” by Patrick Healy: “Sanders made blunt overtures to the party faithful by presenting himself as the heir to the policies and ideals of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invoking the two men several times, Mr. Sanders said that democratic socialism was reflected in Roosevelt’s priorities like Social Security and in Dr. King’s call for social and economic justice, contrasting them to ‘socialist-communist’ caricatures of his thinking put forward by Republicans to tar the Democratic field.”

— Los Angeles Times, “Why fewer Mexicans are leaving their homeland for the U.S., by Niguel Duara and Cindy Carcomo: “To its southern neighbor, the United States once represented hope, safety and prosperity. But with the effects of the Great Recession still lingering and tougher enforcement along the U.S. border, fewer Mexicans see a reason to leave their homeland. ‘There isn’t much work because the economy there is still bad,’ said Eleuterio Hernandez Hernandez, who for 26 years made frequent unauthorized trips to the U.S. from San Bartolome Quialana, a small city in the state of Oaxaca in central Mexico. Workplace raids by immigration agents, nose-diving birthrates at home and the economic slowdown north of the border have convinced 47% of Mexicans surveyed that life in their native country is as good or better than what would await them if they crossed into the U.S., according to findings released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. ‘I would not say that Mexico has more of a pull,’ said study author and Pew research associate Ana Gonzalez-Barrera. ‘But the United States isn’t as attractive.'” Read the full Pew report here.

— Politico, “What we’ve learned about Paul Ryan,” by Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan: “Ryan believes that next year — an election year — should be heavy on legislating. The speaker said he wants to set the House Republican conference up as a counterpoint to the Democrats.” When quizzed whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would agree with that view, Ryan smiled and said, “He will.”

— USA Today, “Police used apparently illegal wiretaps to make hundreds of arrests,” by Brad Heath and Bret Kelman: “Prosecutors in the Los Angeles suburb responsible for a huge share of the nation’s wiretaps almost certainly violated federal law when they authorized widespread eavesdropping that police used to make more than 300 arrests and seize millions of dollars in cash and drugs throughout the USA. The violations could undermine the legality of as many as 738 wiretaps approved in Riverside County, Calif., since the middle of 2013, an investigation based on interviews and court records, has found. Prosecutors reported that those taps, often conducted by federal drug investigators, intercepted phone calls and text messages by more than 52,000 people. Federal law bars the government from seeking court approval for a wiretap unless a top prosecutor has personally authorized the request. Congress added that restriction in the 1960s, when the FBI had secretly monitored civil rights leaders, to ensure that such intrusive surveillance would not be conducted lightly.”


Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.): Americans don’t trust refugees because of Benghazi. From TPM: “In a back-and-forth with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez, Buck argued that no one should be surprised Americans are deeply concerned about refugees considering the way Obama handled the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks.”


Sarah Palin tweet: “Jesus would fight for our Second Amendment.” 


— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton holds events in Memphis and Nashville. Donald Trump speaks at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., and is interviewed on 20/20. Bernie Sanders speaks in Charleston, S.C. Jeb Bush attends a breakfast at the Yale Club in New York. Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum attend a presidential forum in Des Moines. Carson starts the day in Concord, N.H., then holds a rally in Spencer, Iowa. Elsewhere in Iowa, Cruz attends events in Sioux City and Harlan, Huckabee stops in Humboldt, Clarion and Webster City, Santorum is in Fort Dodge, Roland and Winterset. In N.H., Chris Christie attends a houseparty in Hampton Falls, Lindsey Graham stops in Manchester and Hudson, and John Kasich holds a town hall in Hollis. 

— On the Hill: The Senate and House are now on Thanksgiving recess.

–At the White House: President Obama is in Kuala Lumpur for a pair of regional summits.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We have always thought of Politico like a political candidate. One that needs a carefully managed and consistent message…” — Kim Kingsley, Politico’s chief operating officer, explains the decision to hire Republican operative Brad Dayspring as vice president of communications. The New York Times reports that “defending the brand against attacks” will be part of the portfolio for the former NRSC strategist, who worked on Scott Walker’s super PAC this year.


— Yay for some sunshine today, but boo for the wind. “Not terrible wind but it may be sustained around 10 mph with some gusts around 20 mph, out of the northwest,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “We’ve exchanged a bit of that muggy air from yesterday with a bit of wind chill today. Grab that coat. Your body may be having a hard time acclimating to our up-and-down weather. Take some comfort in afternoon high temperatures likely in the low-to-mid 50s.”

— D.C. will pay more than $16 million to the man who spent 27 years in prison after a jury found the city framed him for rape and murder. (Spencer S. Hsu)

— A majority of D.C. residents approve of the job Muriel Bowser is doing as mayor, with her support crossing racial and geographical lines. (Aaron C. Davis and Scott Clement)

— The Dallas Stars beat the Capitals 3-2, but Alex Ovechkin became the highest Russian goal scorer in NHL history. (Isabelle Khurshudyan)

— The Nationals’ Bryce Harper unanimously won the National League MVP award. (James Wagner)


New video footage shows the carnage outside Cafe Bonne Biere in Paris after the attack last Friday (warning: contains graphic images):

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took viewers behind the scenes during President Obama’s trip to Manila:

House Republicans shared their experiences with adoption in honor of National Adoption Month:

On a lighter note, check out Bill and Hillary together in a 1976 campaign commercial from his race for Arkansas Attorney General. Watch here.