Kirsten Gillibrand Reaching Out to Clinton Donors

The New York Post is reporting that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Hillary Clinton’s successor in the Senate) has been reaching out to Clinton’s donors with an implicit eye toward the 2020 presidential election.

The story also points out, “However, while Gillibrand has close ties to Clinton’s political network, the move hasn’t gone down well with some Clinton supporters. ‘Many of us are still grieving. It’s like going after the widow at a funeral.'”

In addition this could also potentially set up a battle between two New Yorkers in the 2020 Democratic primaries (the other being Governor Andrew Cuomo) to take on New Yorker Donald Trump in the general election.

Happy Thanksgiving

Not a whole lot to report today. Check out this Wall Street Journal article about the Democrats trying to figure out what to do next in the aftermath of the election. My goal is to cover a lot of the issues and subjects mentioned on this blog in the weeks, months and years ahead.

In the meantime, I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  Barring any extraordinary circumstances, regular blogging/writing/reporting will resume on Monday.

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UPDATE: CNN’s Jake Tapper makes a good observation.

Howard Dean’s Iowa Scream Revisited

Howard Dean hasn’t said or tweeted much recently since announcing his candidacy for the DNC job, but this Esquire article from earlier in the year just came to my attention, which is well worth the read: an oral history of Howard Dean’s infamous speech and scream after the 2004 Iowa caucuses.

Full disclosure: I was working at CNN during Howard Dean’s presidential run, and one of my assignments at the time was working with then-CNN producer Kate Albright-Hanna, who is interviewed in the Esquire story. Every few days, she would send a package to her office at the Washington bureau (where she and I both worked) with raw tapes that she had filmed while traveling with the Dean campaign. I would have to log the material so she could review it and could start putting together a script for what would become the CNN Presents documentary “True Believers: Life Inside the Dean Campaign.” I think the final count was something like more than 150 tapes of raw footage that was shot for this project. (According to Kate’s producer’s notebook, it was more than 400 hours of footage shot over a course of six months.) I didn’t log them all, but as I recall I easily did close to 40 or 50 tapes by myself. As I recall, the final cut of the documentary was a very fast turnaround which had to be written, edited and approved for air between the New Hampshire primary on January 27 and Super Tuesday, which was on March 2.

Until I researched and wrote my own book years later, this was the biggest project I’d ever worked on in terms of length and quantity of source material. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience for me very early on in my career, getting to see a presidential campaign from a perspective that was that close and that unvarnished. It wasn’t fun logging all those tapes, but the experience definitely helped to validate my career choice.

DNC Candidate Jaime Harrison Expresses “Concern” Over Nikki Haley’s Lack of Foreign Policy Experience

The big news early this morning is that President-elect Donald Trump has chosen South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to be his ambassador to the United Nations. This in spite of some jabs between the two of them during the primaries:

South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison – who is running for the DNC chairman job – released this statement:

UPDATE: For fairness and context, read this Associated Press story on the background and credentials of the last four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations.

UPDATE II: Some more context on the background of another U.N. ambassador, from Bush 41 biographer Jon Meacham:

DNC Candidate Ray Buckley Hints at “Very Big Changes” to Superdelegate System

If you aren’t following New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley on Twitter, you should. Here are some recent tweets from today with his views on the DNC:

Obama-Sanders Split Exposed in DNC Chairman Race

The New York Times has a good writeup on the behind-the-scenes dynamics happening in the race to lead the Democratic National Committee. Officially, the Obama administration is staying neutral in the race, but the White House is quietly looking for an alternative to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who has accumulated the most endorsements so far in the race. At issue, according to the report: “Elevating Mr. Ellison would amount to handing the party to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s primary race opponent, and his liberal followers.”

The concerns with Ellison are his inability to do the DNC job full-time as a sitting member of the House of Representatives, as well as his previous criticism of Obama and his previous praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. (Aides had agreed to make Ellison available for an interview to the NYT for this story until they were told he would be asked about Farrakhan.)

Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm and Labor Secretary Tom Perez are said to be viewed favorably as candidates by the administration. Granholm had already publicly taken herself out of the running several days ago, but it’s not clear if the administration has lobbied or spoken with her since those comments. Perez’s post-administration plans are not yet known. He may throw his hat in the ring for the DNC chairmanship or he may bide his time and run for governor of Maryland in 2018.

UPDATE: I should note that while Ellison is the presumptive frontrunner in the race right now because of the number of endorsements he has picked up and the political muscle behind them (Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, etc.), those endorsements won’t mean anything when it comes down to the actual vote. According to NBC News, “The election won’t be held until late February during a meeting in Atlanta, and the only votes that matter are those of the several hundred members of the Democratic National Committee.”

Potential DNC Chairman Candidates Withdraw from the Race

According to NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) have withdrawn from consideration for the DNC chairman election.

Two names from the Obama administration have also surfaced: Vice President Joe Biden (who, according to a spokesman, declined interest in the position) and outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Keep in mind Perez was considered as a potential running mate by Hillary Clinton earlier this year, and NBC News also points out that he may opt to bide his time and run for governor of Maryland in 2018 against incumbent Republican Larry Hogan.

As of this morning, the candidates who are in the race or have expressed interest are:

  • NH Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley
  • Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.)
  • Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
  • SC Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue

DNC Candidate Keith Ellison: “I think I bring a skill set that can help us win”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) called into the Keepin’ It 1600 podcast to discuss his candidacy for DNC chair. Here are some Ellison quotes from the episode:

  • “I don’t think we can make outreach to exist to fight Trump. Outreach has to exist to fight for the American working people: the overwhelming majority of folks who go to work every single day, hope to make enough money to be able to retire one day, hope to make enough money to put food on the table and do something good for their kids, you know? So that’s where it’s at, that seems to guide everything that we do. My take on it is we need to speak to that issue, speak to trade, outsourcing. We need to speak to minimum wage, collective bargaining. It’s about the money. A lot has been made about the white working class. I think we’d better take a look at the working class, of all colors. I’m telling you, everybody is hurting. I think the average wage in America, and I might be wrong on this, is about $16.75. We have a federal minimum wage of $7.25 and a tip wage of $2.13. It’s true that states have been doing a lot. In this last election, four states actually increased their minimum wage. The one thing that unites us all is money and economic opportunity. The money is more than the money. The money is prosperity, it’s a sense of achievement, having enough resource in the richest country in the world has something to do with your chances, your idea of who you are, what your possibilities in life are.  But the economy is not working for a lot of people.”
  • I’m going to tell you: Obama, bless his heart, all those numbers of private sector job growth, unemployment level brought way down, those things are really good. But we were digging out of such a deep, deep hole, that we are now just seeing some moderate job growth and now all of the sudden we are staring Trump straight in the face.  At the same time, corporate profitability is way up. Wall Street trading massive volumes. And then of course, the money bleeds into the politics. Because if you’ve got a lot of money, after you buy a bunch of consumer items, you can invest in the political system and make that go your way, too and people feel like the system is not working for them.”

Continue reading “DNC Candidate Keith Ellison: “I think I bring a skill set that can help us win””

Raymond Buckley Flirts with Entering DNC Chairman Race

Politico’s Daniel Strauss obtained this email New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Raymond Buckley sent out to members of the DNC:

Buckley hasn’t committed himself one way or the other (yet) as to whether or not he will get in the race, but he does list his record and position on issues important to DNC members. In other words, he is teasing a potential run, while still leaving enough wiggle room to back out if he so chooses.

Howard Dean, Keith Ellison, and Jaime Harrison have already declared themselves in the race. If Buckley gets in, that would make four candidates in the field.

Tulsi Gabbard Meets with Donald Trump

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) met with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence today, making her one of the first Democrats to do so, amid the flurry of meetings they are holding with potential cabinet and White House appointees.

Gabbard was a Bernie Sanders supporter in the Democratic primary, and is also a vocal opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an issue Trump ran against during the campaign.  McClatchy notes that, “Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, reportedly likes Gabbard because of her stance on guns, refugees and Islamic extremism along with her ability to invoke strong anti-establishment populist sentiment on the left.”

What – if anything – this means as far as a possible Gabbard role in the Trump administration is not known at the present time.

UPDATE:

From CNN’s Sara Murray:

From NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald, here is Gabbard’s statement on the meeting: