Today in the Morning Line:
- Senate Intel report prep
- Shutdown deadline closer, but hope pervades
- Gruber, Kerry testify
- Obama losing the message on immigration, budget
Intel report — Prep Sheet: For five-and-a-half years, nearly the entire Obama presidency, the U.S. has waited for a report on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee will release the (partially redacted) executive summary of that report. To help prepare, here’s what we can tell you before the release.
We expect the report out in the first half of the day, multiple Senate sources tell Morning Line. They caution that the final timing is up to Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The executive summary which we’ll see today is about 500 pages long. The full report is several thousand pages long.
Two things to watch:
1. Aside from the description of CIA techniques, but pay attention to number of incidents and number of different CIA agents described. This could indicate how widespread any issues became.
2. Individual reactions. The White House and senators on the Intelligence Committee have had more than two years to prepare their responses, including what they will chose to highlight or defend. This is a case where very close analysis of press releases is warranted.
Shutdown brinksmanship: The government is just two days away from another potential government shutdown, and “plans to quickly approve a $1.1 trillion spending package to keep most of the federal government open through the end of the fiscal year fell apart late Monday, increasing the chance lawmakers will miss a Thursday deadline,” the Washington Post reports. House Republicans need Democratic votes and there are still sticking points that need to be worked out, including on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and banking, but most believe there will be a deal before the deadline. Or at least, there will be a VERY short-term measure to buy some more time. To watch: whether Majority Leader-to-be Mitch McConnell adds campaign finance changes (fewer restrictions for political parties) to the CR, as Roll Call is reporting he wants.
Kerry, Gruber testify: There’s lots more action on the Hill today with Secretary of State John Kerry testifying at 2 p.m. EST on the Islamic State militant group before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former Obama health care adviser Jonathan Gruber appearing before the House Oversight committee at 9:30 a.m. ET.
When you’ve lost the message…: President Obama talks immigration at 3:45 p.m. EST in Nashville, Tennessee. But a Bloomberg poll shows the president has lost the message war on immigration and the budget. Despite increased deportations from a decade ago, Bloomberg writes, “By 53 percent to 29 percent, Americans believe that Obama has sent fewer undocumented immigrants home…” And despite a reduction in the deficit under President Obama, “By 73 percent to 21 percent, the public says the federal budget deficit has gotten bigger during the Obama presidency.” As Al Hunt writes, “When it comes to informing Americans about the accomplishments of his own administration … he’s not exactly the persuader-in-chief.”
Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1803, The U.S. Congress passed the 12th amendment, which directed that electors must vote for a ticket of candidates for president and vice president, rather than electing the top two vote getters regardless of party. Who was the last vice president to attain that office under the old system (pre-12th Amendment ratification)? We’ll have that answer and the answer to yesterday’s question, who was president when the Reconstruction period finally ended? tomorrow.
White House advisers say that addressing racial injustice is a priority for President Obama’s last two years in office, but many civil rights leaders don’t think he’s gone far enough and want him to make race a bigger part of his legacy.
Mr. Obama’s approval among African-Americans on race relations has dropped 16 points since August, according to a Pew poll.
In an interview on “The Colbert Report” taped in Washington Monday, Mr. Obama suggested the Keystone XL Pipeline’s contributions to climate change “could be disastrous.”
MoveOn.org is ready to spend $1 million to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren for a presidential run. They’re opening offices in Iowa and New Hampshire and debuting the website “Run Warren Run” to collect signatures.
Top GOP operatives, including strategists attached to super PACs, all of the party committees and individual candidates, gathered in private Monday to hash out their tech game for 2016.
Republicans are desperately hoping to avoid a divisive primary season, and donors are feeling the pressure to commit early to a top candidate. But as the Washington Post writes, “many top donors have committed to being noncommittal.”
Republicans’ approval rating (45 percent) has hit a five-year high after the midterm elections, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll, although their favorability is still lower than their unfavorability.
The Senate may still vote on Mr. Obama’s nominee for surgeon general before this Congress ends, but it’s not certain that Vivek Murthy can win support from moderate Democrats and Republicans wary of his remarks about guns.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will be elected Tuesday as chair of the Democratic Governors Association, to which he’s hoping “to bring a little Rocky Mountain flavor,” writes Reid Wilson.
Texas Rep. Bill Flores, the newly elected chair of the Republican Study Committee, is calling for a less antagonistic relationship between the RSC and the rest of the party. “My goal is to be the tough negotiator but … not to air differences through press releases,” he told Politico.
Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn was on the Hill last week, and that’s led to plenty of speculation about if and when she’ll run for office again.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 9, 2014
— Quorum Call (@QuorumCall) December 9, 2014
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) December 9, 2014
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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.
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