EIGHT DAYS until Election Day.
THE NEW YORKER has published the first excerpts of BARACK OBAMA’S memoir, “A Promised Land.” The story just went live at 6 a.m. Read it here
THIS EXCERPT RECOUNTS the 2009-2010 health care fight. Many of you reading this lived through this legislative brawl — as aides, lawmakers or reporters — and OBAMA’S telling of it is twitch-inducing. (JAKE was a cub reporter, covering it with his POLITICO-assigned newsroom mentor, CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN, then a White House reporter, and ANNA was at Roll Call, covering the Democratic leadership and Speaker NANCY PELOSI.)
READ THE WHOLE THING, but here are some bites we found interesting:
1) “When I think back to those early [health care] conversations, it’s hard to deny my overconfidence. I was convinced that the logic of health-care reform was so obvious that even in the face of well-organized opposition I could rally the American people’s support.”
2) “In the Senate, the landscape was different: with Teddy [Kennedy] convalescing, the main player was Max Baucus, a conservative Democrat from Montana, who chaired the powerful Finance Committee, and had a close friendship with the Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, the Finance Committee’s ranking Republican. Baucus was optimistic that he could win Grassley’s support for a bill. ‘Trust me, Mr. President,’ Baucus said.’Chuck and I have already discussed it. We’re going to have this thing done by July’ … No matter how hard we pressed, though, we couldn’t get Baucus to complete his work. As the summer wore on, his optimism that he could produce a bipartisan bill began to look delusional.”
3) “Unsurprisingly, given the atmosphere, the group of three G.O.P. senators who had been invited to participate in bipartisan talks with Baucus was now down to two: Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe, the moderate from Maine. My team and I did everything we could to help Baucus win their support. I had Grassley and Snowe over to the White House repeatedly and called them every few weeks to take their temperature.
“We signed off on scores of changes they wanted made to Baucus’s draft bill. Nancy-Ann [DeParle] became a permanent fixture in their Senate offices and took Snowe out to dinner so often that we joked that her husband was getting jealous. ‘Tell Olympia she can write the whole damn bill!’ I said to Nancy-Ann as she was leaving for one such meeting. ‘We’ll call it the Snowe plan. Tell her if she votes for the bill she can have the White House—Michelle and I will move to an apartment!’”
4) “‘Time’s up, Max,’ I told him in the Oval during a meeting in late July. ‘You’ve given it your best shot. Grassley’s gone. He just hasn’t broken the news to you yet.’ Baucus shook his head. “I respectfully disagree, Mr. President,’ he said. ‘I know Chuck. I think we’re this close to getting him.’ He held his thumb and index finger an inch apart, smiling at me like someone who’s discovered a cure for cancer and is forced to deal with foolish skeptics. ‘Let’s just give Chuck a little more time and have the vote when we get back from recess.’
“A part of me wanted to get up, grab Baucus by the shoulders, and shake him till he came to his senses. I decided that this wouldn’t work. Another part of me considered threatening to withhold my political support the next time he ran for reëlection, but since he polled higher than I did in his home state of Montana, I figured that wouldn’t work, either. Instead, I argued and cajoled for another half hour, finally agreeing to his plan to delay an immediate partyline vote and instead call the bill to a vote within the first two weeks of Congress’s reconvening in September.”
5) “I also had a grudging respect for how rapidly Tea Party leaders had mobilized a strong following and managed to dominate the news coverage, using some of the same social-media and grassroots organizing strategies we had deployed during my own campaign.”
DAVID REMNICK has a fun explainer on how this piece came to be: “The writing did not come easily. In the summer of 2019, I met with President Obama and he made it plain that the book was proving far more stubborn than he had hoped. Like many authors, he was not without help in research and fact checking, but he wrote the book himself, by hand, on yellow legal pads. Despite the familiar frustrations, the manuscript grew. At a certain point, Obama decided that, unless his publisher was willing to wait a few more years and publish a binding-busting tome, he’d be better off dividing the memoir into two volumes. ‘A Promised Land’ ends with the rise of birtherism and Donald Trump and the killing of Osama bin Laden. (The second volume will come when it comes.)”
DRIVING TODAY: THE SENATE will move to confirm AMY CONEY BARRETT this evening. (Read Marianne Levine and Andrew Desiderio) … Will VP MIKE PENCE come to the Capitol to preside over the nomination? We really hope not, since he’s been in close contact with MARC SHORT, who has tested positive for the coronavirus. Presiding over the Senate is a novelty — not a necessity.
THE SENATE IS SCHEDULED to go home until after the election after it votes on ACB’S nomination.
HAVE THEY LEARNED NOTHING? … ABC’S JOHN SANTUCCI (@santucci): “NEW – White House is working on hosting an outdoor event for a ceremonial swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court that could come late tomorrow night after her expected confirmation tomorrow by the Senate, senior administration sources tell @ABC News w/ @KFaulders.”
Good Monday morning.
SPOTTED at the Los Angeles Dodgers-Tampa Bay Rays World Series game in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday night: House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY.
BIG READ … HEATHER CAYGLE, JOHN BRESNAHAN and SARAH FERRIS: “Pelosi holds firm grip on power as Dems dream of a sweep”: “Nancy Pelosi may be the most powerful congressional leader in modern U.S. history.
“In the 22 months since she’s returned to the speaker’s chair — an enormous achievement in itself — Pelosi has centralized power in an unprecedented way. It’s due not just to her own maneuvering, but to a variety of circumstances: a chaotic president, a paralyzed Senate, and a national health emergency that’s spurred the most serious economic crisis in decades.
“For many Democrats, Pelosi is the face of the resistance to President Donald Trump. From clashes over government shutdowns to impeachment to yelling matches in the White House and publicly tearing up a copy of his State of the Union address, Pelosi has been Trump’s chief antagonist. There have been acrimonious relationships between presidents and House speakers before, but never one so public or so bitter. It’s been over a year since the two have spoken.
“‘My experience with the president is that he has, really, almost a historic lack of knowledge about the issues and the legislative process,’ Pelosi told POLITICO in an interview on Friday. ‘He has no relationship, no affiliation with fact, data, truth or evidence. And he has a very small view of the future.’”
REMEMBER: PELOSI and Washington’s Most Eager Man, Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN, have not announced a Covid relief deal.
— HEATHER sent over this from PELOSI about whether she’s worried TRUMP won’t sign a bill in the lame duck: “We’ll be working until we have something that the president will sign. I don’t see any circumstance where the House and Senate would have a bill that the president wasn’t going to sign. We really have to get a bill done. Hopefully that will be the case. But whatever it is, we’ll be ready in the new Congress to meet the needs of the American people. Hopefully those needs will be largely met, in terms of coronavirus, as soon as possible now.”
SCOOP … DAN DIAMOND: “Staffers flee HHS amid growing fears of a post-election exodus”: “At least 27 political appointees have exited the embattled Health and Human Services department since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in February, according to a POLITICO review, and senior leaders are bracing for dozens more officials to depart swiftly if President Donald Trump loses re-election.
“Such a wave of departures would leave only a shell staff shepherding the department through a uniquely challenging winter of coronavirus outbreaks and drug and vaccine authorizations until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, according to interviews with 17 current and former HHS officials, some of whom requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.”
8 DAYS OUT … DAVE WASSERMAN (@redistrict) on Twitter on Sunday night: “A few days out, the picture of this race is pretty clear: 1) Biden’s lead (52%-43%) larger & more stable than Clinton’s in ’16 2) Far fewer undecided/third party voters than ’16 3) District-level polls (which showed big problems for Clinton in ’16) back up national/state polls …
“If you’re looking for a horse race narrative right now, you’re not going to find it here. There was a time when it was easy to imagine this race going much differently. Eight days out, it’s much, much harder. I’ve seen…almost enough. Btw, virtually none of this assessment has anything to do with early turnout data, which tells us next to nothing about the vote preferences of the final electorate. It’s based on a body of polling data that’s fundamentally different from 2016’s polls.”
WSJ’S GREG IP and KEN THOMAS: “Business on Biden: Not So Bad, Given the Alternatives”: “Former Vice President Joe Biden is running for president on the sort of platform that usually makes business sweat: higher taxes on corporations and investors, aggressive action to phase out fossil fuels, stronger unions and an expanded government role in health care.
“Yet many business executives and their allies are greeting the prospect of a Biden presidency with either ambivalence or relief. Credit that not to who Mr. Biden is, but who he isn’t: Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, senators with a much more adversarial approach to business who lost to Mr. Biden in the Democratic primary, or President Trump, whose administration has been marked by economic-policy unpredictability.
“‘If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders were the nominee, we’d be having a very different conversation and thinking through our engagement in a very different way,’ said Tim Adams, president of the Institute of International Finance, which represents global banks. ‘With Biden, what you have is someone who in many ways is a throwback to a different era, who thinks about, “How do you get things done?”’”
GABBY ORR: “Trump and Pence attempt another come-from-behind act”
— “Biden flips script on Trump in campaign’s final week,” by David Siders and Christopher Cadelago: “Donald Trump is chasing every possible opening across the electoral map. Joe Biden is sitting on his lead, carefully surveying the landscape for states that might serve as insurance policies.
“It’s a jarring flip of the script for an incumbent president and his challenger eight days before Election Day. Trump, in the last gasp of his campaign, is barreling across the country, hoping large rallies and bets placed across the board will pay off for his underdog campaign. Biden is doing fewer and smaller events — and even peering past the election toward governing. ‘To say it’s a role reversal is an understatement,’ said Kelly Dietrich, a former Democratic fundraiser and founder of the National Democratic Training Committee, which trains candidates across the country.” POLITICO
WHERE THINGS STAND — “Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems’ advantage,” by AP’s Nicholas Riccardi and Angeliki Kastanis: “With eight days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year’s presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days.
“The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere has piled millions of new votes on top of the mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic. The result is a total of 58.6 million ballots cast so far, more than the 58 million that The Associated Press logged as being cast through the mail or at in-person early voting sites in 2016.”
NYT’S JONATHAN MARTIN and ALEX BURNS in Horn Lake, Miss.: “Black Senate Candidates in South Tell Democrats to ‘Meet the Moment’”: “While it has been overshadowed by the presidential race, a political shift is underway in the South that could have a lasting impact well past this election. Democrats have nominated several Black Senate candidates in a region where they’ve often preferred to elevate moderate whites, these contenders are running competitively in conservative states, and they’re doing so by talking explicitly about race.
“[Jaime] Harrison, a onetime lobbyist and state party chair; [Mike] Espy, the former agriculture secretary; and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of the storied Ebenezer Baptist Church and a Democratic Senate candidate in Georgia, are each making Republicans nervous about seats that have not been competitive in decades. In Tennessee and Louisiana, where Mayor Adrian Perkins of Shreveport entered late in the race, Black Democratic Senate candidates have also emerged.
“With two Black Republicans vying for seats, in Michigan and Rhode Island, there are a record seven major-party Black candidates running for the Senate this year. It’s a remarkable roster in a part of the country that has both the highest concentration of African-American voters and a history of hostility to Black candidates running statewide — a resistance so strong that national Democrats for decades treated Black recruits as an afterthought at best.”
— MAYA KING in Atlanta: “Georgia’s legacy of voter suppression is driving historic Black turnout”: “Almost every Black Georgia voter queuing up at the polls has a story about 2018.
“Most waited for hours in lines that wrapped around their voting locations. Some were removed from the voter rolls arbitrarily, forcing them to fill out confusing provisional ballots on Election Day. Others stayed home altogether and — after watching Democrat Stacey Abrams lose the gubernatorial race by fewer than 60,000 votes — regretted that decision.
“Now, voter enthusiasm among all races is at an all-time high in one of the most consequential battleground states in the country. So is voter anxiety. In the shadows of billboards along I-85 and I-20 encouraging Atlantans to ‘VOTE EARLY,’ barriers to that act loom large. There were reminders of this again during June’s egregious primary election: In populous, rapidly diversifying metro Atlanta counties like Fulton and Cobb, wait times extended up to six hours after polling locations were consolidated during the pandemic. The state’s new electronic voting machines also frequently malfunctioned, further slowing the ballot casting process.
“Voters interviewed by POLITICO said anger over perceived voter suppression tactics is fueling their eagerness to cast early ballots. And indeed, Georgians are voting in numbers never seen before in the state’s history. Since Oct. 12, the first day of early voting, a staggering 2.7 million voters have cast a ballot — a nearly 110 percent increase from 2016. Beyond that, Democrats are organizing caravans, volunteering as election workers and serving as poll watchers. This level of enthusiasm is also a reflection of apprehension about the election: Voters here are turning out in waves.”
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president will leave the White House at 9:15 a.m. en route to Allentown, Pa. He will arrive at Lehigh Valley International Airport at 10:40 a.m. and give a campaign speech at 11 a.m. He’ll depart at 12:35 p.m. en route to Lititz, Pa. He’ll arrive at Lancaster Airport at 1:10 p.m. and give a campaign speech at 1:30 p.m. Trump will depart at 3:05 and travel to Altoona-Blair County Airport, where he will give a campaign speech at 4:30 p.m. Afterward, he will return to Washington. Trump will arrive at the White House at 7:40 p.m.
— PENCE will leave Washington en route to Hibbing, Minn., at 12:05 p.m. He’ll arrive at 1:30 p.m. CDT and deliver a campaign speech at 1:45 p.m. He’ll depart at 3:05 p.m. and return to Washington.
ON THE TRAIL … JILL BIDEN will travel to Macon, Ga., for a “Georgia Women for Biden” early voting event. She will then travel to Savannah, Ga., for an early vote mobilization drive-in rally. DOUG EMHOFF will travel to Winston-Salem and Boone, N.C., for early voter mobilization events.
NEW … NATASHA KORECKI: “Democrats are coming after Ron Johnson in 2022. … Democrat Tom Nelson, Outagamie county executive and a former state Assembly majority leader, has officially launched his bid for the 2022 Senate race, Nelson told POLITICO. He has already filed his papers, making him the first prominent challenger nationally to declare a 2022 run in what’s sure to quickly become a high-profile Senate contest. Johnson, a two-term senator who hasn’t said whether he’ll run again, has been an adamant defender of President Donald Trump — and Democrats think that record will not play well in the perennial battleground in 2022.
“While an announcement eight days before the presidential election might rankle some in the party for sidetracking from an all-hands-on-deck attempt to oust President Donald Trump from the White House, the move gives Nelson a head start on other Democrats expected to flock to challenge Johnson in the weeks after the presidential election. The early start could allow Nelson to take advantage of sky-high Democratic enthusiasm that’s translated into fundraising records across the country, which could wane after Nov. 3, especially if Joe Biden wins.
“Other Democrats whose names are already circulating as possible candidates include Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, who also served as the Democratic National Convention host committee finance chair. Lasry, the son of billionaire hedge fund manager and Democratic bundler Marc Lasry, could quickly mount a formidable, well-funded campaign. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who took on a national role speaking for Wisconsin in the wake of police shooting of Jacob Blake and the subsequent Kenosha riots, is another name in the mix, as well as state Attorney General Josh Kaul.”
CORONAVIRUS RAGING … 8.6 MILLION Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus. … 225,230 AMERICANS have died.
— NYT: “European Nations Return to Restrictions as Virus Surges”: “In Spain on Sunday, government officials declared a state of emergency. In France, deaths were rising as hospitals struggled to keep up a rising tide of patients. And Italy, the first Western country to impose a general lockdown early in the pandemic, officials announced new restrictions they hoped would preclude the need for a second. It was a grim weekend for Europe, which once seemed to have put the virus in check after some countries imposed stringent restrictions.”
— LAT: “How San Francisco became a COVID-19 success story as other cities stumbled,” by Maura Dolan in San Francisco: “Much of San Francisco looked like a ghost town during late April. All but essential services were closed. Few roamed the streets. The mood seemed as grim as the gray skies overhead.
“Now life has returned. Restaurants and stores are open. Clad in masks, pedestrians last week clutched bags from stores where they had just shopped. Diners sat at tables outside restaurants and cafes. People strolled along the bay on the Embarcadero, and a huge Ferris wheel opened for business at Golden Gate Park.
“After cautiously approaching the pandemic for months, with a go-slow attitude toward reopening, San Francisco has become the first urban center in California to enter the least restrictive tier for reopening. Risk of infection, according to the state’s color-coded tiers, is considered minimal, even though San Francisco is the second-densest city in the country after New York.” LAT
VALLEY TALK — “Facebook Prepares Measures for Possible Election Unrest,” by WSJ’s Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman: “Facebook Inc. teams have planned for the possibility of trying to calm election-related conflict in the U.S. by deploying internal tools designed for what it calls ‘at-risk’ countries, according to people familiar with the matter.
“The emergency measures include slowing the spread of viral content and lowering the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts, the people said. Previously used in countries including Sri Lanka and Myanmar, they are part of a larger tool kit developed by Facebook to prepare for the U.S. election. Facebook executives have said they would only deploy the tools in dire circumstances, such as election-related violence, but that the company needs to be prepared for all possibilities, said the people familiar with the planning.
“The potential moves include an across-the-board slowing of the spread of posts as they start to go viral and tweaking the news feed to change what types of content users see, the people said. The company could also lower the threshold for detecting the types of content its software views as dangerous.”
— “Gig companies open the door to campaigning by app,” by Katy Murphy in Sacramento
NYT’S BEN SMITH’S MEDIA EQUATION COLUMN: “Trump Had One Last Story to Sell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn’t Buy It.”
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
IN MEMORIAM — “Omaha civic leader David Karnes, briefly a U.S. senator, dies at age 71,” by the Omaha World-Herald’s Henry Cordes
TRANSITIONS — Roma Daravi, a special assistant to the president, is now deputy director of strategic comms at the White House. She previously was director of broadcast media. … Shannon Beckham will lead comms for Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative started by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. She previously worked for Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-Colo.) Senate office and presidential campaign.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Seth Morrow, chief of staff for Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.). A trend he thinks doesn’t get enough attention: “I’m a huge fan of college sports, but I think the future is really uncertain for college athletics. The ongoing changes regarding compensating college athletes for name/image/likeness have the potential to totally upend the NCAA and college sports at every level. When you add in the significant financial uncertainty athletic departments are facing due to the coronavirus, I worry the college sports landscape may be totally different in the next few years and that these are issues that are ultimately going to have to be addressed by Congress.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Katy Tur … Hillary Clinton is 73 … Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) is 76 … Jef Pollock, president of Global Strategy Group (h/t Erin Billings) … Caroline Cunningham … Jerry Crawford is 71 (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Taffy Brodesser-Akner … Jeff Rubin, comms director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy … Tom Johnson … Nico Pitney, political director at NowThis … Phil Blando … Emily Herman of Aisle 518 Strategies is 26 … Ilia Rodriguez … Jessica Church … Glover Park Group’s Aleta Greer … Perry Apelbaum … Amanda Smith … Kim Waskowsky of Rep. Troy Balderson’s (R-Ohio) office … Betsy Hoover … Courtney McNamara, attorney with the International Trade Commission, is 47 (h/t Adele Sheehan) … Aiden O’Connell … Isabelle Bock, legislative correspondent/press assistant for Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) … Hazen Marshall …
… USA Today’s Caren Bohan … Mark Landler, NYT London bureau chief (h/ts Ben Chang) … Kristin Lynch … Bianca Brosh of NBC … Richard Yamada … Nick Gwyn … Paula Faris … Frank Lavin … Morgan Corr … Catherine Sullivan, EVP of global comms at BCW Global (h/t Bennett Richardson) … Kaylie Hanson Long … Christine Stineman … Scott Jennings, principal at RunSwitch Public Relations and a CNN contributor, is 43 … Mark Rozell … Richard Goldstone … POLITICO’s Amanda Leader … Sasha Bruce … Cotton Puryear … Dani Feldman of CoStar Group … Clément Rousseau … PAE’s Derrick McLane is 35 … Shilpa Pesaru … Craig Frucht, co-founder of Ascend Digital Strategies … Simon Boehme … Megan Lubin … Kerri Forrest … Jill Salyers … Sam Speth … Andrea Roper … Adam Klaus … Kirk Fabel … Molly Fitzgerald