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The Washington Report – October 17, 2014

17 Oct 2014

The Washington Report – October 17, 2014


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This week’s Washington Report! To sign up for the direct email, click here.

 

11 QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE SENATE MAJORITY… HOW TO GET SOMETHING DONE IN D.C. … TELEVISED ‘GOOFERY’ … EBOLA CZAR … HILL’S EBOLA RESPONSE … DISEASE DETECTIVES … BUDGET DEFICIT LOWEST SINCE ’07, ANYBODY LISTENING? … WAIT, WAIT, WAIT – ‘FANGATE’ … CAR WASH FROM ‘BREAKING BAD’ AND AN AG RACE … HOW CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL IS YOUR FIRST NAME? and other news of the week.

Enjoy the weekend!

Best,

Joyce Rubenstein and the Capstone Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Steve Moffitt, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala, Kate Venne, Kathryn Wellner, Maggie Moore and Ross Willkom)

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MIDTERM ELECTIONS COUNTDOWN: 18 DAYS 5aaff7fb84211a1d75876297_120x89

“Voters Excited to Use Midterms to put Country Back on Different Wrong Track”

ONION Headline

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THE DARK SIDE “Politicians’ battle for the U.S. Senate has taken a turn toward the dark side. More than seven in 10 U.S. Senate-focused television advertisements last week attacked or criticized a political candidate either in full or in part, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis of preliminary data from Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm. Only about 28% of U.S. Senate-focused television advertisements last week contained a “positive” message meant to promote, not attack, a candidate, the data indicates. That’s even more negativity than the week before, which, percentage-wise, featured marginally more positive-sounding ads. Campaigns seemed downright cheery two months ago, when about 42% of U.S. Senate-directed ads featured a positive message during that month’s second week.”

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11 QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE SENATE MAJORITY Politico rounds up the key questions whose answers will determine whether Republicans will seize control of the Senate come November, or whether Democrats will hang on: “1) South Dakota – Are the Democrats bluffing in the Badlands? … 2) Arkansas – Can Tom Cotton reassure the doubters? … 3) Louisiana – Will the runoff determine Senate control? … 4) Alaska – Will the Natives vote? … 5) Iowa – Can Democrats turn the race into a referendum on Joni Ernst?” … “6) Kansas – Can newcomer Greg Orman handle the heat? … 7) North Carolina – Will the pizza guy play spoiler? … 8) Colorado – Can Gardner keep the gender gap to single digits? … 9) New Hampshire – Are ISIL and immigration as potent as Scott Brown thinks? … 10) Georgia – Will attacks on David Perdue’s outsourcing break through? … 11) Kentucky – Can Alison Lundergan Grimes go three more weeks without saying if she voted for Obama?”

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REPUBLICANS ARE FAVORED TO WIN THE SENATE. HOW SURE? The Fix: “Of the 12 Senate races considered competitive between the two parties, the three major election models (WaPo, New York Times and FiveThirtyEight) agree on the outcomes of 11 of them. And, all three agree that Republicans are likely to win the Senate in 18 days. MODELS DISAGREE ON CERTAINTY. The Washington Post’s Election Lab paints a GOP takeover as a near certainty at 94%. LEO, the New York Times‘ model, pegs it at a 64% probability while FiveThirtyEight is even more guarded at 58%. If every race broke the way the majority of the models believe they will, Republicans today would win eight Democratic seats (Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia) while losing one of their own (Kansas) for a net seven seat gain — one more than they need to retake the majority.”

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GOP FAVORED IN MIDTERMS WSJ: “Republicans remain in a favorable position heading into the midterm election, but the outlook is unsettled amid unusually low voter interest, high dissatisfaction with leaders in Washington and a reordering of issues on voters’ minds. Voters’ excitement about the campaign hasn’t increased as Election Day approaches, defying the trend in recent years. The share of voters who see the country on the wrong track has reached the highest level ever in a midterm-election year. And an election that once was thought to hinge on health care and other domestic issues is increasingly shadowed by international crises that weren’t on the radar just a few months ago.” Pollsters for both parties who conducted the WSJ/NBC News survey predict Republican gains in the House and Senate, as the poll found that likely voters prefer a GOP-controlled Congress over a Democratic one, 46% to 44%. But they also said the unusually volatile environment, combined with the large number of close races for control of the Senate and governors’ offices, raised the potential for unexpected results.”

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ATTENTION FANS OF GETTING THINGS DONE IN WASHINGTON D.C. – YOU MIGHT WANT TO ROOT FOR REPUBLICANS TO WIN THE SENATE MAJORITY or “Why losing the Senate could help make President Obama’s last two years more productive.” How? On Monday, the WSJ offered that there might be a “silver lining” for President Obama if Democrats lose the Senate this fall. “For Mr. Obama, in particular, full GOP control of Congress might well shift Republicans’ focus from stopping him to making things happen.” And history backs up the claim that the split might be better because “eras of evenly divided power … have turned out to be among the most productive.” That’s easy to check. Using data for the past 21 Congresses (nearly a fifth of the total!) from GovTrack, we looked at how many bills were passed by each Congress, breaking them down. The Split government category had a president of one party and a Congress of the other which occurred in nine of the 21 Congresses — and, on average, were indeed the most productive.” (The Fix)

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AWKWARD! Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the Republican authors of the Senate comprehensive immigration bill, was in Georgia campaigning for GOP Senate candidate David Perdue – who’s attacked Democrat Michelle Nunn for backing McCain’s bill. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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THE TELEVISED GOOFERY OF A CANDIDATE Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat running for the Senate from Kentucky refused to answer a newspaper editorial board’s question about whether or not she voted for Barack Obama last week. … Grimes rationalization: it’s a secret ballot and, as sitting Secretary of State in Kentucky, she wanted to reinforce the primacy of that Constitutional value. It’s a nicely retrofitted excuse, pivoting her desire not to be on tape saying “Yes, I supported Barack Obama,” into an act of principle derived from experience. AH…GOOFERY ON BOTH SIDES Grimes opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) himself was forced to respond during Monday’s debate to comments he made earlier this year suggesting that Kentucky’s successful Obamacare exchange was not connected to Obamacare. He reiterated that distinction in his response, which the Times declared “approached Ms. Grimes’s ‘ballot box secrecy’-level of absurdity.”  SOMETIMES JUST AN APOLOGY would be nice to hear.

Define ‘goofery’ – Urban Dictionary: “The property of being goofy. Alt. a collection of goofy acts usually attributed to a goof.”

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HOUSE WAVE FOR REPUBLICANS? Politico: “Republicans are taking their most aggressive steps yet to parlay a favorable national climate and growing cash advantage into a historic House majority. Aiming to stretch the political map, two prominent conservative groups, American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, today will announce a joint $3 million investment in seven House races, including contests in deep blue districts that are just now starting to be seen as realistic targets for Republicans.”

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BAD NEWS FOR DEMOCRATS:  Democratic Party hit a 30 year low with 39% of Americans holding a favorable impression of the blue team, while 51% have an unfavorable impression. BAD NEWS FOR REPUBLICANS: 33% of Americans hold a favorable impression of the red team, while 56% have an unfavorable impression. (WashPo/ABC Poll)

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DEMS ARE WINNING ON SOCIAL ISSUES – POLITICALLY, AT LEAST The Fix, WashPost/ABC News Poll shows Americans side with Dems as a party on both abortion and gay marriage – and by large margins on both. Nearly half of Americans (48%) say the Democratic Party is closer to their opinion on abortion, while 33% say it’s the GOP. That’s a 15-point gap. …It’s been clear for a while in which direction the whole gay marriage thing was heading, and the new poll shows Americans support 56-38 the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow gay marriage to move forward in several states. Abortion, by contrast, has long split the American people by pretty consistent margins with 48% saying the Democratic Party is closer to their opinion on abortion, while 33% say it’s the GOP … the  gap between the parties is actually the biggest on record.” NICE BUT NO CIGAR So for Dems, it’s nice to be ahead on stuff like this, but … these issues have their limits (see above).”

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821593303c8040331e362520_280x247WAIT…WAIT..WAIT…FANGATE In case you missed it, during a Florida gubernatorial debate between former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (now running as a Democrat) and Gov. Rick Scott (still a Republican) Scott apparently refused to participate in the debate because Crist had a tiny portable fan stashed under his lectern in order to keep cool. The fan and Crist go together; it’s Florida political lore. But Scott delayed the start of the debate for about seven minutes until the situation was resolved.That weirdness was a gimmie to Florida newspaper headline writers.”

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EBOLA CZAR Politico: “President Barack Obama has chosen Ron Klain to serve as his administration’s Ebola response coordinator. Klain was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011 and also served in the same position under Vice President Al Gore. He is currently president of Case Holdings, former AOL chairman Steve Case’s holding company, and general counsel of investment firm Revolution.”

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LAWMAKERS SLAM EBOLA RESPONSE The WSJ: “In [a] nearly three-hour hearing Thursday, which pulled lawmakers off the campaign trail, House members raised alarms … Some Democratic lawmakers also said the cases of Ebola in the U.S. were a wake-up call for the need for more funding for national health agencies. STILL HAS A JOB Politico: “… [Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Tom Frieden’s job seems to be safe – for now. Frieden came through the House hearing with some bruises but also with his ability to function as director seemingly intact. THERE ARE NO DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM WEST AFRICA TO THE U.S. Reuters: “Republican lawmakers dragged the Ebola crisis into the political arena on Thursday, ramping up their demands that President Barack Obama impose new restrictions on travel from countries ravaged by the deadly virus … The Obama administration has resisted a ban on travel from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa, where thousands have died in the Ebola outbreak that began in March.” On ‘Morning Joe’ today, Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL) who wants to ban travel from countries afflicted by the Ebola outbreak. appeared to be unaware of a key fact — that there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. Regardless of what experts say, he plans to introduce a bill doing so once Congress reconvenes in November. The nation’s top health officials maintain that instituting travel restrictions could prove to be counterproductive. They would impede aid workers, who need to move around freely to combat the crisis on the ground, and make it significantly more difficult to track travelers, who might move between countries in other ways or lie about where they’ve been. At least 40 members of Congress have gone on record seeking some sort of travel ban, and several pressed the case for one in a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill.”

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YES, THERE ARE ‘DISEASE DETECTIVES?’  Washington Post: “During the government shutdown in 2013, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told her colleagues it was time to give funding back to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was especially concerned about getting the disease detectives back to work. WHO DO YOU CALL? Many people don’t know that there are disease detectives. ‘Sometimes there is an outbreak and people get sick. People even die. They wonder what it is. They dial 911, and there is a group of people who are like a disease identification SWAT team. They work with the best and brightest at that state level, use the best technology in science from our country, and even around the world, to identify what that is.” The official name for these epidemiological spies — SPIN Magazine once called them the “CIA of health care” — is the Epidemic Intelligence Service, which you’ve surely seen sprinkled through dozens of articles about the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak. That’s not the only reason they might sound familiar. Kate Winslet played an EIS officer in Contagion. They get out a lot; the EIS calls its members “shoe leather epidemiologists” for a reason. The service brags that it can send out agents, anywhere in the world, in hours. The EIS program is a postdoctoral fellowship that lasts two years — any more contact with infectious diseases seems to be tempting fate — and is usually a launching pad to big gigs in public health and medical thought. The CDC’s current director, Tom Frieden, began his career with EIS.”

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IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…’CONTAGION’ STORYLINE Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure. Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns did extensive research into the spread of infectious diseases when he was writing the 2011 Steven Soderbergh film, and what scares him now is not the virus itself, it’s the reaction to it. “We have the science to contain this,” Burns told The Wrap this week. “There are people in the world today who have stared down Ebola successfully in very difficult places — and I am optimistic that if we support those people and give them the resources they need, this can be contained. “What scares me more than Ebola are the more mundane viruses of stupidity and fear and partisan politics.”

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EBOLA IN PERSPECTIVE Click here to see true scale.

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WE TRUST THE GOVERNMENT TO HANDLE EBOLA. KIND OF. The Fix: “Americans, as they often are when it comes to political issues, are pretty conflicted about Ebola. On the one hand, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows they are deeply dissatisfied with the effectiveness of the political system — a.k.a. all the people and processes that are in place to address things like health emergencies. The dissatisfaction is bipartisan, with 66% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans agreeing. But when it comes to Ebola, people are somehow confident that the federal government, which is (of course) part of that very same political system they deeply mistrust, has the ability to effectively respond to an outbreak. Again, that confidence is largely bipartisan, with 54% of Republicans and 76% of Democrats expressing confidence. Even as people are confident in the federal government’s ability to handle Ebola, though, that doesn’t extend to President Obama. Just 28% of Republicans approve of his personal response, along with 55% of Democrats and 40 % of independents.”

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NIH CHIEF HITS HILL FOR BUDGET CUTS The HuffPost: “Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, says researchers would have discovered a vaccine for Ebola if not for budget cuts from Congress. Collins “said that a decade of stagnant spending has ‘slowed down’ research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe. …  NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,” … It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola ‘were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”

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EBOLA HAMPERING THE WORLD’S CHOCOLATE SUPPLY “Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao … has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins.”

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GOOD NEWS…IS ANYONE LISTENING? BUDGET DEFICIT LOWEST SINCE 2007 Bloomberg: “The shortfall was $483.4 billion in the 12 months to Sept. 30, compared with $680.2 billion a year earlier … That’s about a third of the record $1.4 trillion deficit reached in 2009. Revenue jumped 8.9 percent and spending gained 1.4 percent, the figures showed.”

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36d1f8f5695d60683be4606f_120x90“FURY” WASHINGTON DC PREMIER CEO John Rogers @JCRWFB attended. Opens today across the country. Congrats to friend and director David Ayers for a powerful film on the realities of war.

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CAR WASH FROM ‘BREAKING BAD’ STARS IN NEW MEXICO CAMPAIGN AD If state auditor candidates want people to pay attention cd88cb2d0e61f7898ae3c962_120x67to their campaigns, they need to bedazzle their efforts a bit with a few artifacts of home-state pride or pop culture. If you’re a state auditor candidate in New Mexico, that means making “Breaking Bad” references. This is the formula for fame and glory devised by Democratic state Sen. Tim Keller’s campaign and ad-maker Philip de Vellis. Not that Keller seems to especially need some of that Bryan Cranston magic — he has more than $150,000 left in his campaign stash, while his opponent Robert Aragon has less than $10,000. Also, this is New Mexico.

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MOST CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL [FIRST] NAMES IN AMERICA BuzzFeed: “Crowdpac … score[d] all donors who have made two or more campaign contributions since 1980.” The most conservative: Doyle, Billy, Eldon, Buddy, Lamar, Vern, Homer, Royce, Rusty, Tommy, and Rex. The most liberal: Natasha, Kate, Deirdre, Abigail, Gabrielle, Alexandra, Erica, Meghan, Meg, and Roslyn.

Search Your Name OK, this is really cool.

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