Obama politicizes the Oregon shootings -- and admits it… Will Obama (and others) follow through?... The gun debate carries over to the 2016 campaign trail… A not-so-strong jobs report: 142,000 jobs in September, unemployment rate remains at 5.1%... McCarthy walks it back… Make no mistake: Jeb vs. Marco is coming (if it’s not already here)… Rand Paul’s 3rdQ haul: Just $2.5 million. Ouch… And Trump on “Meet” this Sunday; Hillary Clinton to participate in “Today” town hall on Monday.
Make no mistake: Jeb vs. Marco is coming: Don’t miss this story by Politico’s Marc Caputo. “The Florida family feud between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio took a surprising turn on Thursday night when a tracker for a super PAC supporting the former governor tried to slip into an Iowa event for Rubio, whose staff quickly spotted and removed him. The incident involving the Right to Rise super PAC stripped away another veneer of civility between the two friends-turned-campaign rivals, who have been slowly escalating their criticisms of one another.” Jeb’s path to the GOP nomination right now -- or at least path to having a one-on-one race with Donald Trump (or Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina) -- looks increasingly like it goes through Marco Rubio. This could very well be the defining storyline on the GOP side the next two months.
Obama politicizes the Oregon shootings -- and admits it: Maybe the most extraordinary thing about President Obama’s remarks after yesterday’s tragic shootings in Oregon was that he immediately politicized them. And he freely admitted it. “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this,” Obama said. “[T]his is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic... We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?” He added, “This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.” More than anything else, Obama used his remarks last night to FORCE the American public to once again have a conversation about guns in America -- a conversation we might not be having as vigorously had the president refrained from speaking.
Will Obama (and others) follow through? So here’s the question we have: Will Obama follow through? Yes, he pursued gun control after the tragic Newton shootings. And, yes, he continues to speak out forcefully after other shootings. But the action and rhetoric always seemed to fade away. Is it different this time? Something worth adding: Remember, Obama didn’t pursue gun control until after his re-election -- when he’d never have to run for office again. When Democrats held the majority in the House and even a supermajority (for a while) in the Senate, gun control was never a priority.
The debate carries over to the 2016 campaign trail: The conversation that Obama forced carried over to the 2016 campaign trail. In an interview with NBC’s Boston affiliate, Hillary Clinton said, “This latest shooting in Oregon just raises the urgency of the issue of gun control for me. We have got to face up to the fact -- people are not safe. They’re not safe on college campuses, they’re not safe in church basements, they’re not safe in movie theaters. Enough is enough is enough.” Bernie Sanders added in a statement, “As a nation, we must do everything we can to put an end to this awful epidemic of senseless slaughter. We need a comprehensive approach. We need sensible gun-control legislation.” (A problem for Sanders is headlines like this one: “How the National Rifle Association helped get Bernie Sanders elected.”) On the other hand, Mike Huckabee issued a statement blasting President Obama. “With few facts, Obama is quick to admittedly politicize this tragedy to advance his liberal, anti-gun agenda. For this president to make a political pronouncement is at best premature and at worst ignorantly inflammatory.” But expect this conversation -- or debate -- to continue over the weekend.
A not-so-strong jobs report: 142,000 jobs in September, unemployment rate remains at 5.1%: “US hiring slows as employers add just 142K jobs in September; unemployment rate stays 5.1 pct,” the AP says. By the way, the next debt-ceiling deadline has been set by the Treasury Department: Nov. 5 -- just right after John Boehner steps down from being House speaker at the end of this month.
McCarthy walks it back: Likely speaker-to-be Kevin McCarthy went on Fox News yesterday to clean up his earlier comments suggesting the House Benghazi committee was all about hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. “This committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families of four dead Americans. Now I did not intend to imply in any way that that work was political. Of course it is not, look at the way they have carried themselves out,” McCarthy said, per NBC’s Alex Moe. “The point I was trying to make and I want to be very clear about this, I wasn’t saying the committee was political, that committee is solely to get the truth out.” More: “What happened with the truth, we found out about a server. This committee's sole purpose is to find truth why four Americans were killed that night.” The problem here: The NRCC, the Republican Party’s House campaign arm, was running this fundraising solicitation: “You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog. Let’s go after Obama and Hillary Clinton. Help us fight them now.” That solicitation was later deleted.
There goes McCarthy’s honeymoon: McCarthy is still in line to be the next House speaker, but what his earlier Benghazi comments did is pretty much end any honeymoon he’d have. Democrats and the Clinton campaign, of course, are doing cartwheels. But those who are maddest at McCarthy are the true believers -- the House Republicans who’ve always believed this investigation was more than politics.
Rand Paul’s 3rdQ haul: Just $2.5 million: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will report around $2.5 million in donations to his presidential campaign, a dip from his first quarter, though his campaign is emphasizing that more money started to roll in recently,” the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel writes. To put that number into perspective, Rand’s father – Ron – raised $8.2 million in the 3rd quarter of 2011. The more Rand Paul fades in this presidential race, he has to start thinking about his Senate re-election campaign next year. And if Democrat Jack Conway wins next month’s gubernatorial race, Democrats will certainly feel emboldened.
The 3rd quarter money race (so far): By the way, here are the 3rd quarters so far:
- Clinton: $28M-plus ($75M-plus for campaign)
- Sanders: $26M-plus ($41M-plus for campaign)
- Carson: $20M-plus ($30M-plus for campaign)
- Bush: B/w $12M and $20M (raised $11.4 million last quarter)
- Paul: $2.5M ($9.4M for campaign)
Keep these words of wisdom from our brother/sister publication, The Lid, in mind: “Here's what a big fundraising quarter at this stage of the political cycle DOESN'T mean: 1) That those donors will be loyal to you if you falter in the future, and 2) that you'll win your party's nomination. In fact, we went back through the last three presidential cycles' worth of Q3 reports and noticed that each one's big winner (Rick Perry in 2011, Hillary Clinton in 2007, Mitt Romney in 2007 and Howard Dean in 2003) didn't win their party's nomination.”
Trump on “Meet” this Sunday: Finally, NBC’s Chuck Todd will interview Donald Trump for this Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” Also be sure to put this on your calendar: NBC’s Savannah Guthrie will interview Hillary Clinton as part of a “Today” town hall in New Hampshire.
OFF TO THE RACES: The fundraising expectations game
The AP gives a good rundown of the fundraising expectations game -- and particularly its effect on Bush.
NBC's Elissa Nunez looked back at the history of 3rd quarter fundraising totals in primaries. A big number doesn't always mean a big win.
National Journal’s Ron Brownstein on the results from the recent NBC/WSJ poll: “Poll: GOP Candidates Culturally Out of Step with Most Americans.”
BIDEN: He said last night: "Listen, I’m not Bernie Sanders. He’s a great guy, by the way. No he really is. I’m not a populist. But I’m a realist."
From the AP: "Biden's small team of political advisers has been quietly reaching out to Democrats who could join the campaign in senior roles, including State Department official Marie Harf and former Obama campaign official Paul Tewes." MORE: "Yet younger operatives interested in working for Biden — and who would be crucial to quickly filling the campaign's ranks in early voting states— have struggled to get clarity about whether they'll be needed."
BUSH: The New York Times recalls his battles over affirmative action during his tenure as Florida governor.
CLINTON: She called for a no-fly zone in Syria, msnbc's Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
The Washington Post reports that the Clinton team has seen a political gift in Kevin McCarthy's comment on the Benghazi hearing.
She'll appear on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.
Bill Clinton's role in the campaign, to no one's surprise, is expanding. POLITICO explains.
PAUL: He'll report having raised $2.5 million.
RUBIO: His staff booted a Bush super PAC tracker from an event.
TRUMP: "I think one of the reasons I'm doing so well is that I am a Christian, I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian, and I'm a total believer," Trump told CBN News from his golf course in Southern California. "I believe in the Bible," he continued. "I believe in God and I think I will help them so much with this country.
CONGRESS: McCarthy walks it back
Kevin McCarthy on Fox: "This committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families of four dead Americans. Now I did not intend to imply in any way that that work was political."
Earlier Thursday, Jason Chaffetz said that Kevin McCarthy should apologize for his comments about the Benghazi Committee, NBC's Andrew Rafferty reports.
OBAMA AGENDA: “It is not enough”
From Obama’s comments yesterday in the wake of the Oregon shooting: ""Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough — it does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now."
In 2015, there have been 294 mass shootings.
Per NBC News: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 153,144 people were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013, the last year that data are available (that number excludes deaths by ‘legal intervention’). The Global Terrorism Database — which uses a criteria to determine terrorist attacks but also includes acts of violence that are more ambiguous in goal — estimates that 3,046 people in the U.S. died in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014.”
On Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks to the U.N., from the Washington Post: "The Israeli leader spent the bulk of his 40-minute speech to the U.N. General Assembly on the nuclear deal finalized in July. At one point, he theatrically paused for 44 seconds and glared at the half-filled hall after he excoriated the United Nations for its “deafening silence” over Iran’s threats to annihilate Israel."
"After two days of attacks directed exclusively against insurgents opposed to the Syrian government, there is little question that Russia is determined to re-establish President Bashar al-Assad as Syria’s leader," the New York Times writes.
The Boston Globe: "Secretary of State John Kerry occasionally uses a private e-mail account to conduct State Department business, a department official acknowledged Wednesday, a disclosure that comes amid heightened scrutiny over how government officials secure potentially sensitive information."