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Washington Report: February 5, 2016

Will Stone, President
05 Feb 2016

Washington Report: February 5, 2016

BIG, BIG NEWS … William (Will) Stone has joined the Capstone Team as a partner in our Washington, D.C. office. We are so excited. READ MORE (and for a picture)!
NEW HAMPSHIRE … OBAMA-RYAN KABUKI SUMMIT … OBAMACARE VOTE ON GROUNDHOGS DAY (oh, the irony) … FLINT HEARINGS … DEM DEBATE … MEDIA BIAS? … IOWA: GOOD AND BAD NEWS FOR CRUZ … PRAGMATISM VS. IDEALISM …. and other news of the week.
Best,
Joyce Rubenstein and the Capstone Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Will Stone, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala and Kayla Baca)

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981039bd26dc02b808f153f8_280x186NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY … 3 DAYS

AIR WARS “New Hampshire Flooded By $100 Million in Political Ads,” Bloomberg “About $100 million has already been poured into broadcast and cable television ads courting voters for the Feb. 9 vote, according to estimates from Kantar Media’s CMAG and an analysis by Ken Goldstein …THINK ABOUT THIS $2 million had been spent in New Hampshire by this point in the 2012 race.”

WHAT N.H. IS READING Union Leader editorial, “Of polls, pundits, and rubes”: “[R]eliance on polls caused networks and national pundits to look silly in Iowa but they are right back at it, trying to tell Granite Staters how the race will finish here based on their wild assumptions. … Christie and John Kasich are being dismissed in New Hampshire because of their low finish in Iowa. Rarely mentioned is that neither campaign spent more than a few dollars and very little time there. Their test comes here, in the first primary.”

The Union Leader reignited its feud with Donald Trump – “Losing is what he does”
HIllary Gains Ground in NH Poll: The Hill “Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is cutting further into primary rival Bernie Sanders’s New Hampshire lead, picking up 7 net points overnight, according to a UMass Lowell/7 News tracking poll released Friday. … Now trails Sanders by only 15 points … she trailed by 31 points at the beginnng of the week.”

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JOBLESS RATE … falls to 4.9%, an 8 – year low. (Rollcall)

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OBAMA-RYAN KABUKI SUMMIT Politico: “At the White House on Tuesday, President Barack Obama resumed his own 2016 campaigning. Hosting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for their first meeting with GOP leaders in months — and the first formal meeting since Ryan took over the speakership in October — Obama and his aides spent a lot of time publicly talking about passing a legislative agenda, followed immediately and inevitably by complaining about Republicans obstructing that legislative agenda. In reality, the White House seemed most interested in the latter.”

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ONE MORE OBAMACARE VOTE Quite appropriately on Groundhog’s Day, House Republicans took one more whack at the health care law by trying to override Obama’s veto of a bill to dismantle Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. USA Today: “The 241-186 vote to override the veto fell short of the two-thirds needed, ensuring that the Affordable Care Act will remain in place at least through the final year of Obama’s term … Republican House leaders knew that they would lose the Obamacare vote, but they are hoping to use the issue to convince voters to elect a GOP president to help them overturn the 2010 heath care law in the next Congress.”

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POSTAL REFORM THIS YEAR? The Hill: “One item that might well make it to President Obama’s desk is a postal reform measure. Congress realizes the situation is dire and is coalescing around legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) URGENCY The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion last year, its ninth straight year of multi-billion-dollar losses. Since 2007, it has rung up more than $51 billion in losses and used up a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury. It delivers as many packages each year as Fed-Ex but receives half the revenues. It has cut a third of its workforce since 2010 and closed half of its 600 mail distribution centers. Volume of its most profitable product – first-class mail – is down 35 percent in a decade. Its unfunded pension liability – what it owes the fund that pays retirees – now exceeds $55 billion.” To address this, Carper, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, has introduced iPOST – the Improving Postal Operations Service and Transparency Act of 2015.”

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MARTIN SHKRELI INVOKES ATTITUDE AND THE FIFTH RollCall: “Martin Shkreli giggled and smiled his way through his testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday and at times seemed distracted. And members of the committee called him out on it. … Shkreli and other pharmaceutical companies are being being investigated for raising drug prices. Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim to $750 a tablet from $13.50. In the weeks leading up to this hearing, Shkreli tweeted about receiving his subpoenaand mocked those who issued it. Shkreli’s first tweet once he left the hearing room “Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) .. In December, Shkreli was arrested on federal securities fraud charges and freed on a $5 million bond.”

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$1BILLION ASK Huddle: “The Obama administration is asking Congress for $1.1 billion in additional funding to battle opioid abuse – one of the issues raised during Obama’s meeting with Ryan and McConnell on Tuesday.”

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e4cab8b9516266db1fc280b9_220x164FLINT CRISIS ON THE HILL: ‘FAILING AT EVERY LEVEL’ Detroit Free Press and USA Today: “Congressional interrogators on Wednesday sharply criticized state and federal regulators for failing to react to warnings of rising lead levels in Flint’s tap water, chastising Michigan officials for not taking adequate steps to protect public health and blasting the federal EPA for not forcing the state’s hand sooner … House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, directed most of his criticism at the EPA saying there have been “festering” problems there for years.” WHERE WAS RICK? Dems blasted Republicans for not calling on the GOP governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, to testify.”
STOP IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE The Hill reports that a fight flaring over the Flint water crisis is threatening the SENATE’S ENERGY BILL, with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) warning that Dems won’t allow the bill to proceed without provisions to aid Flint. Yes, a dispute over amendments could sink a bipartisan bill in the Senate.

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BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS kicks off in 2 days!

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DEFENSE BUDGET Politico: “The Pentagon’s five-year budget plan is important, but the key numbers to look at when the budget is released TUESDAY are what the Defense Department funds in fiscal 2017, since everything after that first year is always subject to change. And that’s especially true when a new president takes office next January.”
ACQUISITION REFORM Politico: “HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry plans to introduce legislation in March to enact additional reforms in how the Pentagon develops and purchases weapons. The bill will likely serve as a first draft of acquisition provisions that will be included in the upcoming defense authorization bill. “The idea is that people who deal with the acquisition system, have experience and insights, can give us feedback about how it can be improved before we actually mark up the defense authorization bill,” the Texas Republican said.
WOMEN WOULD NEED TO REGISTER FOR DRAFT “Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been highly critical of the Pentagon’s decision to open all combat positions to women, will introduce legislation this week to require women to register for the draft. Hunter told Morning D in an interview that he’s introducing the bill in an effort to force Congress to address the implications of integrating women into infantry and other combat roles.”

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TAKEAWAYS FROM DEM DEBATE Politico: “Real anger, email dismissal, and another bad Clinton answer on that Goldman money”: “Her answer on paid speeches is still lame-o. … Bernie and Hillary really don’t like each other. … She doesn’t care about her damn 93104e891656d1b3e16982b7_220x164emails. … They are both looking past New Hampshire. … Martin O’Malley was missed.”

Most-Tweeted topics during #DemDebate: “1. Sanders says ‘The business model of Wall Street is Fraud … 2. Clinton accuses Sanders of ‘artful smear’ in attacks on Wall Street record … 3. Clinton says her plans to regulate Wall Street ‘go further than’ Sanders’.”

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THE MEDIA’S BIGGEST BIAS The Fix: “If you’ve read any coverage of the Democratic presidential nominating contest since [the] near-tie in Iowa, you’ve almost certainly encountered some variation of this sentence: Hillary Clinton now appears to be in for a long, drawn-out fight with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But David Leonhardt, founding editor of the New York Times’s Upshot blog, isn’t convinced that a long fight is really coming — or that journalists predicting one really believe it’s coming, either. He seems to think the media may be exaggerating Sanders’s viability because a competitive race makes for a compelling narrative. … Above all, the media love a good story. Nothing is more fun, and nothing is better for business.

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THE GREAT GOP REALIGNMENT Bloomberg BusinessWeek: “In hindsight, the 2010 election looks like it may have set off, or at least accelerated, a shift within a Republican Party that, in the 30 years since Reagan took office, has oriented itself around free markets, a smaller safety net, foreign adventurism, and low marginal tax rates for the wealthy. As Cruz and Trump have demonstrated, a large subsection of Republican voters-possibly a majority-are no longer satisfied with this arrangement. Both of the necessary preconditions for a realignment are present.”

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‘TEA PARTY’ CLASS OF 2010 HEADING FOR THE EXITS The Fix: “After the 2010 midterm election, a whopping 84 Republican freshmen joined the House, eager to shake up the institution after the tea party wave put many of them in office. A little more than five years later, a remarkable number of them are heading for the exits.In fact, that class has now accounted for eight of the 22 announced retirements so far this year — 36 percent — according to the Roll Call Casualty List.”

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caba153b92b7e8fc73d2f5d6_280x186GOOD NEWS FOR CRUZ Politico: “Those helicopter rides for the kids at the Iowa State Fair just weren’t enough for Donald Trump. After completing the “Full Grassley,” visiting all 99 state counties in the Hawkeye State, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sling-shotted passed the billionaire businessman for the victory in Iowa. He garnered 28% to Trumps’ 24%, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) coming in just a sliver behind, at 23%. BAD NEWS FOR CRUZ: IOWA VICTORY VERY SIMILAR TO MIKE HUCKABEE’S AND RICK SANTORUM’S The Fix: “Ted Cruz’s Iowa victory was a surprise, after the final polls showed him trailing Donald Trump. But Cruz also followed a very familiar path to victory in the Hawkeye State: heavy reliance on strong conservatives and evangelical Christians — and not on first-time caucus-goers. … The concentration of evangelical Christians among Cruz backers is similar to the last two Iowa Republican victors, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Yet appealing to these groups sometimes comes with the risk of alienating middle-of-the-road conservatives and moderates who united to nominate Romney and McCain. Both Huckabee’s and Santorum’s support grew increasingly isolated among the groups that were key to their victories in Iowa — a core reason the first caucus state has not chosen the party’s eventual nominee in the past two cycles”
@burgessev: Hatch says Bush didn’t disappoint last night because no one expected him to do that well.
HILLARY EKES OUT A WIN, SANDERS ON HER HEELS (no pun intended) Talk about close: 49.9% – 49.6%. It was never supposed to be that way, from the Clinton perspective …. Some would argue of course that Sanders won in his own right… “For Bernie, the revolution has begun.” #1 WORRY ABOUT SANDERS inside the Clinton campaign is his fundraising power, which gives him LONGEVITY. He has cracked the code of low-dollar, online fundraising in a way that Hillary hasn’t (or at least hasn’t focused on). Per AP, Clinton raised $37 million in Q4 to $33 million for Sanders. Contributions of $200 or less made up 70% of his haul, to 15% for Clinton..BERNIE CRUSHED HILLARY AMONG YOUNG VOTERS The most amazing stat coming out of the Iowa Democratic caucuses is this one: Among voters between the ages of 17 and 29, Bernie Sanders won 84% – to Hillary Clinton’s 14%.

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PRAGMATISM OR IDEALISM , THAT IS THE QUESTION “The Democratic Divide. The party has thus far seemed more united than the GOP, but after Sanders’s near-victory in Iowa, the party is dealing with a split over whether to gravitate toward pragmatism or idealism.” (WSJ)

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M$NEY … M$NEY … M$NEY The Clinton campaign has raised $116 million for the cycle, to Sanders’ $75 million, according to the N.Y. Times tracker. (The top R campaign is Carson at $54 million for the cycle, followed by Cruz at $47 million, Jeb at $32 million and Rubio at $30 million.)

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AND THEN THERE WERE NINE “Rand Paul and Rick Santorum: Out. Two days after disappointing margins in the Iowa caucuses, Paul announced that he is suspending his campaign, and Santorum dropped out and endoresed Mark Rubio (CNN) AND THEN THERE WERE TWO Martin O’Malley, we hardly knew ye.

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