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The Daily 202: Why Vitter’s last-minute Syrian refugee gambit failed

Louisiana Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards (D) holds up an umbrella as he celebrates his victory in New Orleans on Saturday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


— Democrats felt very good about winning the Louisiana governor’s race until the Paris attacks happened on Friday the 13th.

Republican Sen. David Vitter, trailing by double digits in the polls, immediately seized on whether the United States should admit Syrian refugees. The issue let him get off the mat after weeks of attacks over his 2007 prostitution scandal. He went to Washington to give a floor speech on Syria, publicly sent a letter warning of a “missing” refugee and got on TV just a little more than 48 hours after the carnage in France with an advertisement invoking the horror.

Vitter and his Republican allies had struggled mightily to make the red-state, off-year race against Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards a referendum on President Obama. This gave them the chance.

Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of Democratic Governors Association, suddenly had flashbacks to last year’s midterm elections. Several winnable contests broke away from them at the last minute because of voter fears about the Ebola outbreak, ISIS beheadings and children pouring across the border. Particularly in Maine, the Democrat was considered the favorite but Republican Gov. Paul LePage came from behind to win by publicly chastising quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox for returning to the state.

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Last cycle, Pearson felt like Democratic candidates did not respond fast or forcefully enough. This year in Louisiana, she knew instinctively that they had to defend against the refugee attack before it popped in tracking polls as something people cared about. The DGA-backed Gumbo PAC outspent the Republican Governors Association by more than two-to-one in the final week ($815k to $297k) to try balancing Vitter’s fundraising advantage.

“Republicans have gotten very good at using fear tactics,” Pearson said in an interview last night. “Before it popped in polling, we knew it was important to address the issue. It had the capacity to change the fundamental question of what the race was about. We addressed it in a way that didn’t allow the race to deteriorate.”

Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Vitter (R) released an ad criticizing opponent John Bel Edwards for his stance on accepting more Syrian refugees. (Video: YouTube/David Vitter)

Vitter’s ad, running on Monday, opened with the sound of a bomb blast and showed panic at the Paris soccer stadium that was attacked by a suicide bomber. “Obama’s sending Syrian refugees to Louisiana,” the narrator said. “David Vitter warned Obama of the danger of Syrian refugees weeks ago, and promised as governor, no Syrian refugees will enter Louisiana. John Bel Edwards has promised to work with Obama to bring Syrian refugees to Louisiana.”

The Democratic candidate initially botched his response. A note on Edwards’ Facebook page said he’d work to “both accommodate refugees who are fleeing from religious persecution and ensure that all our people are safe.” Then he edited “accommodate” to “assist,” before putting out a statement that declared, “In light of the recent tragedy in Paris, it’s imperative for us to pause the influx of refugees flowing into our state without more information on the security measures in place.”

Gumbo PAC got its counterattack ad on the air by Wednesday. “It’s David Vitter who said he didn’t believe Syria posed a threat to the United States or our allies,” the narrator said, insisting that Edwards opposed allowing refugees in. The response ad also borrowed a page from the Republican’s 2014 playbook, attacking Vitter for missing “two-thirds of the committee hearings he was supposed to attend on Syria.”

Internal polls showed the race tightening during the final week, but Vitter wound up losing by 12 points, 56-44, when all the votes were counted. Edwards became the first Democrat to win statewide in Louisiana since 2008. He will be just one of two Democrats to hold statewide office in the Deep South. The other is Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

In his victory speech, Edwards thanked voters for not giving in to the “deep cynicism about our politics and our future.” And he proclaimed that the people had “chosen hope over scorn.” “I did not create this breeze of hope that’s blowing across our state, but I did catch it,” he said.

— Republicans involved in the race argue that their Syria hit would have closed the gap more but for Bobby Jindal’s Tuesday announcement that he was dropping out of the presidential race. That distracted the state’s political press corps, and it put the unpopular, outgoing governor back in the headlines. Jindal and Vitter have hated each other for a long time, and Vitter now blames him for costing him the race. Jindal allies note that Vitter lost because of his character defects and because he ran a lousy campaign. They also point out that the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor won by more than 10 points. See a map of how much Edwards outperformed Mary Landrieu by parish here.

— Bigger picture: Candidates matter. Political scientists love to talk about fundamentals and concoct formulas to predict how races will turn out. But a bad candidate undermines that. Vitter was a bad candidate. Massachusetts is as blue as Louisiana is red, but Democrat Martha Coakley lost a Senate race to Scott Brown in 2010 and a governor’s race to Charlie Baker in 2014 because she is a terrible retail politician. In Kentucky, Jack Conway started as the frontrunner and blew totally winnable races against Rand Paul in 2010 and Matt Bevin in 2015. In both cases, the attorney general tried to make the race about his opponent’s flaws, and it backfired.

— Vitter announced he’ll retire from the Senate in his concession speech, setting the stage for a wide-open race in 2016. Despite Edwards’ win, Republicans remain very heavy favorites to hold the seat in a presidential year. In fact, the GOP’s odds of holding Louisiana probably go up without needing to defend the wounded Vitter. And most of his colleagues in the Senate Republican conference personally dislike Vitter, who they find unpleasant and not a team player, so they’re happy to see him go.

Among the Republicans in the mix to succeed him: Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming; state Treasurer John Kennedy; and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who ran as a tea partier last year. The two Republicans who challenged Vitter in the primary, neither of whom endorsed him for the runoff, might also run: Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who was the first runner-up, and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who actually backed Edwards. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is the Democrat’s dream recruit, but he’ll likely be reluctant to run after watching his sister, Mary, get crushed last year.

— Expanding Medicaid is a top priority for the new Democratic governor. Edwards, who takes office Jan. 11, named outgoing state Sen. Ben Nevers as his transition director and chief of staff. Nevers, a populist, was known as the champion of Medicaid expansion in the legislature, the Baton Rouge Advocate notes. During the campaign, Edwards said he’d expand the program on his first day in office but at a press conference yesterday he acknowledged that won’t be possible. “We will expand Medicaid as soon as we can,” he said, per the Times-Picayune.

Edwards said he’ll call a special session in February to deal with a budget crunch. But his team stressed that, of course, it won’t happen until after Feb. 9. Why? That’s Fat Tuesday.


 Brussels remains on lockdown this morning after Belgian authorities arrested 16 people in 22 different raids across the city and its suburbs. Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam was not among those apprehended. There were also no weapons or explosives founds in the raids, either. Brussels is under the highest possible terror alert. Schools, universities and the subway system are closed today, as officials continue their quest to foil what they believe are imminent terror plots. (William Booth, Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan)

David Cameron said the United Kingdom should join France and the United States in airstrikes on Syria. He announced that he will make the case to parliament before the body votes on whether to take action. (BBC)

Sixteen people were injured in in a gunfight between two gangs at a park in New Orleans, where hundreds of people were gathered for a party and to film a music video. Separately, NOLA police named Euric Cain as a suspect for shooting a Good Samaritan in the head who was trying to stop him from allegedly dragging a woman down the street. (Video)

— Officials from ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC will meet today to decide how to respond to the Trump campaign, which threatened last week to “blacklist” reporters who left a media holding pen at campaign events. Paul Farhi reports that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski made the threat at an event last week in Worcester, Mass., to CNN embed Noah Gray, who posted the warning online. And in Spartanburg, S.C., over the weekend, reporters defied orders from the campaign not to interview voters before the event, and left the pen while Trump was working the rope line.

— Ben Carson is in over his head: On C-SPAN last night, the retired neurosurgeon praised Thomas Jefferson for his role crafting the Constitution “in a way that it would control peoples’ natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.” Jefferson, as 202 readers surely know, was our ambassador to France during the Constitutional Convention and thus not involved in formulating the Constitution. He drafted the Declaration of Independence a decade earlier.


A new Pew survey out this morning shows sweeping distrust of the government by virtually every measure, with trust in elected officials and government programs at their lowest levels in 50 years. The survey’s findings — based on 6,000 interviews between Aug. 27 and Oct. 4 — help explain the current volatile climate in the presidential contest, with voters favoring outsider candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson over those with more experience (see: Jeb Bush). Among the poll’s key revelations, 64 percent of those “angry” at the government have a favorable view of Trump, compared to 71 percent for Carson and 36 percent for Jeb (Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz score better with angry voters). It’s a damning critique of elected officials with “ordinary Americans” often scoring the same or better than them on key measures. The best of the findings:

  • Republicans and GOP leaners are not as angry at government as they were in October 2013. BUT, they are still three times more angry with it than Democrats: 32 percent of Republicans describe themselves as “angry” with government, compared to just 12 percent of Democrats. The results were more even when respondents were asked whether they trust government: 89 percent of Republicans say “sometimes or never” compared to 72 percent of Democrats.
  • A large majority of Republicans think “their side” is losing in politics: 79 percent compared to 52 percent of Democrats.
  • Only 29 percent of Americans rate elected officials as generally “honest.” A remarkable 55 percent said that “ordinary Americans” would do a better job than elected officials of “solving the country’s problems.”
  • Only 19 percent of respondents say they can trust the government “always or most of the time.” Twenty percent say government programs are well run, and 55 percent say “ordinary citizens” would do a “better job of solving national problems.” But equally stunning: fully 63 percent say they have little to no confidence in the “wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions” compared to 34 percent who have a “very great deal or good deal of confidence.”
  • 76 percent think that “money has a greater influence on politics and elected officials today than in the past.”   Roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats think that the exorbitant costs of a presidential campaign discourages good people from running.

— With the numbers above, it’s no surprise that our latest Post/ABC poll conducted last week found that Trump is not fading. He holds a 10-point lead over Ben Carson nationwide, basically unchanged from a month ago. Dan Balz and Scott Clement report that:

  • The Post-ABC poll finds four candidates — Rubio, Carson, Trump and Cruz — are cited most often (and in that order) as second choices. More Trump supporters currently favor Carson as a second choice, followed by Cruz and Rubio. Carson supporters most often cite Rubio or Trump as their second choice.
  • In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 60-34 among registered Democrats and ­Democratic-leaning independents.


  1. Hundreds of emergency personnel in New York staged a practice response to a terror attack on a subway in preparation for Thanksgiving Day festivities. (AP)
  2. Pfizer and Allergan will merge in a $150 billion deal, with the Ireland-based Allergan being the purchaser in order to skirt U.S. Treasury laws designed to hamper corporate inversions. (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Kansas University professor who said the N-word during a class discussion on race was put on administrative leave after five students filed a complaint against her. (Lawrence Journal-World)
  4. Post reporter Jason Rezaian was sentenced to a prison term in Iran for unspecified charges and for an unspecified term, something The Post strongly condemns. (Peter Holley)
  5. The continued rise of the U.S. dollar resulted in oil prices falling significantly overnight. (Reuters)
  6. Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri was elected president of Argentina. (Joshua Partlow and Irene Caselli)
  7. More than 100 were killed and many remain missing after a massive land slide at a mine in Myanmar. (BBC)
  8. Bangladesh executed two opposition leaders for war crimes during their 1971 war for independence. (AP)
  9. Voters in Nevada and Maine will decide ballot measures next year to expand background checks and close the gun show loophole. (Sacramento Bee)
  10. Ten people in San Diego overdosed after smoking the synthetic drug Spice. (Los Angeles Times)
  11. Nola, one of just four endangered northern white rhinos left in the world, died at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park from a bacterial infection and age-related health issues. After decades of poaching, there are now just three northern white rhinos left. (Union Tribune)


  1. Trump doubled down on an outrageous claim that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11. (Jenna Johnson and Mary Jordan)
  2. Ben Carson’s campaign is considering a foreign trip before the Iowa caucuses. “Asia and Africa have been mentioned in internal discussions, as has Australia, where he worked as a neurosurgeon in 1983,” per CBS News.
  3. Hillary Clinton proposed a change that would let people caring for an elderly parent or other family member qualify for a tax credit for out-of-pocket expenses. “The credit would help defray up to $1,200 in expenses, often a hidden cost of caring for an elderly relative. Caregivers could claim 20 percent of expenses up to $6,000,” per Anne Gearan. The Sanders campaign called the proposal “Republican lite.”
  4. Bernie Sanders claimed that CBS once canceled an interview with him about his opposition to the Bovine Growth Hormone because Monsanto had threatened to sue the network. (BuzzFeed)
  5. Chuck Grassley denied that a former aide, State Department Inspector General staffer Emilia DeSanto, is his “confidential source” of information regarding Huma Abedin’s tenure at the department. (New York Times)
  6. A federal judge declined to speed up releasing Clinton’s emails that are about Anwar al-Awaki, a militant who was killed in 2011 by a drone strike. (Politico)
  7. John Roberts celebrated the legacy of former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, about whom it was once said: “He looked like God and talked like God.” (Robert Barnes)
  8. Transportation Undersecretary Peter Rogoff is leaving D.C. to run the Seattle transit system. (Ashley Halsey III)


1.  Democrats attacked Marco Rubio for saying on “Fox News Sunday” that the Paris attacks were a “positive development” for Americans to refocus their attention on national security issues, saying his comments were disrespectful. (Sean Sullivan)

2. John Kasich continued to walk back his support for the creation of a federal agency to promote “Judeo-Christian values,” saying on “Meet the Press” that his proposal was not about forcing people to go to church, but rather a “Western ethic” of freedom of religion and “equality for women.” (NBC News)

3. Donald Trump said he would “absolutely” use waterboarding as a part of interrogation tactics, saying on “This Week” that “it’s peanuts compared to what they did to us.” But he is open to blocking people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns, something opposed by the NRA and Ben Carson. “If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” he said. Finally, Trump refused to rule out running as an independent candidate. (ABC News)

4. Dianne Feinstein said that President Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS “isn’t sufficient,” making the case on “Face the Nation” for the U.S. to be more aggressive. (CBS News)

5. David Axelrod said Obama “could have done more” to quell voter fears over admitting Syrian refugees. “I’m the son of a refugee, I’m proud of the position the president took,” said the president’s former chief strategist. But, he added, “before you attack the fear mongers you have to attack the fear, and he could have done more of that on the front end.” (ABC News)

6. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) said “ISIS won’t be defeated through air power.” Whatever the troop number is, “multiply it by two, don’t divide it by two,” he said on CNN.

7. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. must lead the effort against ISIS because “nobody else will.” He told NBC that we should “speed up our air strikes”: “We’re hitting some targets, but air strikes alone are not going to win here. … We’ve got to take that territory away from them. It’s been a year.” (NBC)

8. Chris Christie defended his rejection of refugees. Shown a clip of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attacking him for saying that even small children should not be allowed in, the New Jersey governor pointed to the 11 percent rise in murders in the Big Apple. “Quite frankly, given the way he’s talking, and not worried about the security and the safety of the people of New York, maybe he should be mayor of Damascus,” Christie told Jake Tapper on CNN.


NPR is graying, and public radio is worried about it,” by Paul Farhi: “NPR came of age in the 1980s, its audience matured with it. Three decades later, that is starting to look like a problem. Many of the listeners who grew up with NPR are now reaching retirement age, leaving NPR with a challenge: How can it attract younger and middle-aged audiences — whose numbers are shrinking — to replace them? … The graying of NPR, and the declines overall, are potentially perilous to the public radio ecosystem. NPR serves programs to nearly 900 ‘member’ stations, which rely in large part on financial contributions from their listeners. The stations, in turn, kick back some of their pledge-drive dollars to NPR to license such programs as ‘Car Talk,’ ‘Fresh Air’ and ‘Morning Edition’ (federal tax dollars supply only a small part of stations’ annual budgets, and virtually none of NPR’s). But as audiences drift to newer on-demand audio sources such as podcasts and streaming, the bonds with local stations — and the contributions that come with them — may be fraying.”

— Meeting about Virginia mosque exposes deep divide, by Rachel Weiner: “For 27 years, members of the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg have lived in relative peace with their neighbors on a country road in rural Spotsylvania County. At least until last week, when, during a community meeting about their plans to build a bigger mosque nearby, they found themselves defending their right to exist. The meeting was intended to address traffic concerns around the proposed religious center but instead was taken over by half a dozen angry protesters calling the Muslim residents terrorists. The outbursts of hatred came amid rising calls across the country to pause or end resettlement of Muslim refugees in the United States. Fredericksburg and the counties surrounding it have become popular places for Middle Eastern refugees lured by low housing prices and available jobs. But the fast-growing area 50 miles south of Washington retains a conservative and rural character.”

The ruins of Kobane,” by Liz Sly: “His flattened home, destroyed in an American airstrike in the landmark battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobane last year, has not been so widely seen. It is just one of thousands of buildings leveled, among hundreds of thousands more that have been obliterated in Syria during the four-year-old war. As the conflict drags into a fifth year with no end in sight, little heed is being paid to the enormity of the havoc being wreaked on the country. Some 2.1 million homes, half the country’s hospitals and more than 7,000 schools have been destroyed, according to the United Nations. The cost of the damage so far is estimated at a staggering $270 billion — and rebuilding could run to more than $300 billion, according to Abdallah al-Dardari, a former Syrian government minister who heads the National Agenda for Syria program at the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.”


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Chris Christie got buzz online this weekend. Zignal Labs tracked more than 22,000 crossmedia mentions of the New Jersey governor. Mentions of Christie were dominated by reports of some kind of incident that occurred on a United Airlines flight that Christie was on from San Francisco to Boston. His campaign firmly denied that he was threatened, but a passenger tweet went viral on social media. As with other candidates, Christie also faced questions about his position on the acceptance of Syrian refugees. Here’s a look at the New Jersey governor’s weekend word cloud:

–Pictures of the day:

First Lady Michelle Obama took a selfie with her team — as well as Jessica Alba and Jordin Sparks — at a nutrition event in Norfolk:

Jeb Bush worked a Dunkin Donuts drive-through in New Hampshire:

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) posted a photo from his college days at Arizona State University:

–Tweets of the day:

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) celebrated Edwards’ win in Louisiana:

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) marked the one-year anniversary of Tamir Rice’s shooting:

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) slept outside to bring attention to the plight of homeless youth. HUD announced last week that 564,708 people were homeless on a night in January of this year. The count found 180,760 homeless youth under age 25, including 127,787 who were under 18. About 37,000 were children without parents, the data showed.

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) was one of many members to mark the 52nd anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) remembered the late Sen. Robert Byrd:

–Instagrams of the day:

Rep. Joe Serrano (D-N.Y.) ran a 5K race in Flushing Meadows:

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) put up her aluminum Christmas tree from 1961:


— New York Times, “With Ben Carson, the doctor and the politician can vary sharply,” by Pam Belluck and Steve Eder: “When he was not in the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital, performing one of his 400 surgeries a year, Dr. Ben Carson could often be seen walking slowly through the hallways, hands behind his back, nodding, smiling and speaking softly to co-workers and students who approached. ‘When he walked around Hopkins,’ said Dr. Anthony Avellino, a former colleague, ‘he was like God.’ … One student, Dr. Jonathan Dudley, recalled that ‘Some of my friends had a big poster of him up in their dorm room.’ … As a surgeon, he was praised for his dedication, unassuming demeanor and attention to detail. As a candidate, he has sometimes seemed imprecise or ill-informed, as when he said China had intervened in Syria, and prone to odd assertions like his belief that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. … His comments doubting evolution and the medically recommended schedule of vaccines have baffled people in science and medicine.”

— Des Moines Register, “Carson: Others taking my foreign policy plans,” by Timothy Meinch: “Ben Carson voiced frustration toward perceptions about his foreign-policy knowledge at a campaign stop in Wilton Sunday afternoon. He said other people, including President Barack Obama, have used his talking points and strategy, while claiming the retired neurosurgeon lacks experience in foreign affairs. ‘They say, ‘Carson doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs,’ but yet everybody picks up on all this stuff I say, including President Obama, and start using it for themselves,’ he said during a speech in Wilton. He offered one particular example of a strategy he’s outlined ‘for multiple months.’ ‘If they take the fight to (ISIS) over there, we’re much less likely to have to fight them over here. And I find it a little frustrating I say things like that and nobody ever pays any attention,’ he said.”

— Des Moines Register, “Sanders’ spending surges in Iowa,” by Brianne Pfannenstiel and Jeffrey C. Kummer: “Bernie Sanders more than quadrupled his spending in Iowa during the third quarter, pouring almost a half-million dollars into the state. He still falls short of Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton in terms of total spending this cycle, but Sanders’ third-quarter spending represents a surge for him as he continues to challenge Clinton for front-runner status in the race for the Democratic nomination. … Clinton boasts a similar Iowa footprint in numbers of staff and offices, plus 100 part-time ‘fall fellows.’ In the second quarter (April through June), Sanders’ campaign spent just $106,448, compared with $477,115 in the most recent quarter (July through September). That’s according to a Des Moines Register analysis of itemized reports that campaigns filed with the Federal Election Commission.”

Meanwhile, Sanders spent Sunday in South Carolina speaking at two large African-American church services in North Charleston. At Mount Moriah, the most enthusiastic reaction came in response to his plan to provide free tuition at public colleges and universities. At Royal Missionary Baptist, Sanders spoke about gun control and universal health care. “We have too many guns running around South Carolina, too many guns running around Vermont,” he said, a few miles from the site this year’s shooting at another African-American church. “We need to do something to make sure that people who should not have guns do not have guns.”

— BuzzFeed, “Refugee children keep drowning while no one is watching,” by Munzer al-Awad: “As she struggled to stay afloat, her husband handed their daughter to another family escaping from Syria. ‘I was screaming and saying that I want my daughter … he told me that she is fine and he said that he would swim to the coast to find police and send them to us,’ said a woman who would never see her daughter again. … When the 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on a beach in Turkey in September, the world was horrified, his image shared around the globe. Suddenly, the world seemed to remember the war in Syria, now into its fifth year, with more than 230,000 dead and millions displaced. … A report from Save the Children released last month said 70 children had drowned since 3-year-old Kurdi. Many more have died since then. According to one people smuggler in Turkey, children were drowning every week.”

— New York Times, “Checkpoints isolate many immigrants in Texas’ Rio Grande valley,” by Manny Fernandez: “It did not matter to her that her life was confined to a narrow sliver of the country — a zone north of the Mexican border but south of traffic checkpoints that the Border Patrol operates within Texas. Everything changed in 2010 when her fourth child, Angel, was born with Down syndrome and colon and heart problems. Living in what some call ‘la jaula de oro’ — the golden cage — suddenly took on a whole new meaning. For decades, these interior checkpoints up to 100 miles north of the border have left thousands of undocumented immigrants and their families in the Rio Grande Valley in something of a twilight zone. Their isolation has only intensified as border security has tightened. And though neither side of the debate about immigration has focused on the issue so far, that may be changing.”


Federal lawyers coming to investigate Jamar Clark shooting. From the AP: “U.S. Justice Department attorneys [flew] to Minnesota on Sunday to investigate the killing of a black man that has prompted protests and calls for the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting to be prosecuted. A key issue during their visit will be whether authorities should release to the public videos of the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark a week ago. Federal and state authorities have resisted releasing the footage … because they said it doesn’t show the full incident.”


Al Sharpton gives himself a 71 percent raise, thanks to de Blasio, Obama. From the New York Post: “It pays to have friends in high places. Al Sharpton gave himself a 71 percent raise last year after his National Action Network group drew a record $6.9 million in donations — as the controversial cleric’s association with Mayor de Blasio and President Obama lent him a newfound air of legitimacy. De Blasio’s election gave Sharpton a seat at City Hall, as the mayor treated him as an adviser and presented him at a press event next to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton after the death of Eric Garner.”


— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton campaigns in Reno, while Ben Carson makes stops in Pahrump and Las Vegas, Nevada. Donald Trump rallies supporters in Columbus. Bernie Sanders rallies in Atlanta. In Iowa, Marco Rubio holds events in Carroll and Council Bluffs, while Carly Fiorina stops in Council Bluffs and Sioux City. John Kasich tours a business in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Rand Paul holds events back home in Ashland, Pikeville and Hazard, Kentucky. In New Hampshire, Martin O’Malley campaigns in Manchester, Bedford, Rindge and Exeter, while Lindsey Graham speaks to voters in Hillsborough, Keene and Rindge.

— On the Hill: The Senate and House are in recess.

— At the White House: President Obama arrived back at the White House from his Asia swing at 12:29 a.m. and has no events today. Josh Earnest briefs at 12:45 p.m. Vice President Biden participates in a discussion with ambassadors representing the counter-ISIL Coalition. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I understand social media, maybe better than anybody, ever,” Donald Trump said in South Carolina. “Somebody said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.”


— “Today feels like January but the cold air steadily releases its grip this week,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “The mercury rebounds to near 50 Tuesday and soars to 60 by Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. By Saturday, an incoming cold front offers a chance of showers and presages a drop in temperatures for Sunday.”

The Carolina Panthers remain undefeated after rolling over the Redskins 44-16. The Skins are now 4-6. (Liz Clarke)


A black protester at a Trump rally in Alabama was shoved, tackled, punched and kicked on Saturday. Asked about the incident, Trump said yesterday: “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Video via CNN’s Jeremy Diamond:

Saturday Night Live spoofed Fox & Friends, Ben Carson and Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a segment on the refugee debate:

SNL did a spoof making fun of a family talking about politics around the Thanksgiving dinner table here.

Barbara Walters interviewed Donald and Melania Trump for ABC’s 20/20:

Walters also sat down with four of Trump’s kids:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) called attention on Twitter to footage of a squirrel wreaking havoc on the field at a Packers-Vikings game:

On a lighter note: Police have asked Belgians not to tweet about the lockdown, so many people in the country – respecting the wishes of authorities – are tweeting out pictures of cute cats.

You can also watch Adele sing “Hello” on SNL here.