Talk Media News
Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.
Quick News

  • GOP debate: Cruz v Rubio + Trump & Cruz
  • GOP debate: Bush v Trump + chaos
  • Undercard debate: Terror + Trump
  • Ryan unwraps spending bill ho ho ho
  • Kerry OK on Russia’s view re Assad’s future?
  • LA schools to reopen: Bomb threat not credible
GOP Debate: Cruz v Rubio + Trump & Cruz (Politico, WaPo, me)
• Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla) had a good debate Tuesday, showing his foreign policy knowledge. He and Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) – both 44, Senate first-termers – clashed repeatedly, including over surveillance. Rubio hammered Cruz for his vote against a NSA phone-metadata collection program, but Cruz countered that surveillance is now stronger
• After CNN moderator Dana Bash repeatedly asked Rubio if he supported an eventual path to citizenship for immigrants currently in the U.S. – no answer – Rubio accused Cruz: “You supported legalizing people who are here illegally.” Cruz: “I understand that Marco wants to raise confusion. It is not accurate.” Back-and-forth. No real answer to Bash – bickering
• Bash asked Donald Trump about his recent comment that Cruz is a “maniac.” “He has a wonderful temper,” Trump said to laughter and applause. “Don’t worry about it.” Bash asked Cruz about comments he’d made privately about Trump’s judgment. Cruz spoke – at length- about choosing the right commander-in-chief without addressing Trump at all – wouldn’t go there
• Moderator Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if he was prepared to rule out a third-party bid. Trump: “I really am. I really am.” applause “I’ve gained great respect for the Republican leadership. … I will tell you, I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel honored to be the front-runner.” (we’ll see…)

• If you watched the first hour of the CNN GOP debate, you might think it was all about Donald Trump – as he does. If you watched the second hour, he faded into the background, as in other debates, when candidates talked actual issues – which his followers don’t care about and which he doesn’t know much about – nuclear triad, for example (me)


GOP Debate: Bush v Trump + Chaos (Politico, Politico, me)
• Former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) went after Donald Trump over his Muslim remarks. “Donald is great at the one-liners, but he’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president.” Trump promptly attacked Bush’s campaign: “He has failed in this campaign, It has been a total disaster, nobody cares and frankly I’m the most solid person up here.” – mixed reax from the crowd
• Trump tried an old game – blame CNN for baiting his rivals to attack him. Hugh Hewitt calmly said it was his personal decision, not the network’s, to ask about Trump. “This is not CNN.” Bush then broke in to mock Trump: “If you think this is tough you’re not being treated fairly …this is a tough business to run for president.” Trump then insulted Bushs’s poll numbers
• Hewitt pushed a rambling Dr Ben Carson on whether he could order airstrikes that would kill hundreds and thousands of innocent children. Carson gave a long, confusing medical metaphor as answer. Hewitt pushed him. Some audience members booed loudly. “You got it,” Carson chuckled. Hewitt: “Can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the Nazis?”
• After lots of talk by the three senators about policy votes in the Senate, Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) broke in to push his executive experience: “If your eyes are glazed over like mine, this is what it’s like to be on the floor of the U.S. Senate. I mean, endless debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin … I had to make these decisions after 9/11”


• Moderator Wolf Blitzer controlled the debate with polite firmness, refusing to be bullied. Questions were substantive by all moderators. Good job. The race is narrowing. Ben Carson is on the way out, Carly Fiorina is fading, Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky) is an afterthought. Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio) struggles (me)

Undercard Debate: Terror + Trump (Politico, me)
• “What Donald Trump was saying was nothing against Muslims. His comment was against the Obama admin that doesn’t have a policy to vet people who are coming into this country. He brings up a legitimate issue,” said former Sen Rick Santorum (R-Pa) (no, it’s not legitimate and yes of course it was against Muslims – does Rick want to be Trump’s vp now?)
• “This is a coup for them
[ISIS], and to all of our Muslim friends throughout the world, like the king of Jordan and the president of Egypt, I am sorry,” said Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “He does not represent us. If I am president, we will work together. People in the faith … all over the world destroy this radical ideology. Declaring war on their religion only helps ISIL.”
• Asked if he would honor his pledge to support the GOP nominee even if it’s Trump, Graham said he would but that, “like Bob Dole, I may sleep late that day if it was Trump.” (i’m hearing there’s a potential mini-epidemic of sleeping sickness predicted for early November 2016 if Trump becomes the nominee)

• Former Gov George Pataki (R-NY) blasted Trump as “the know-nothing candidate of the 21century and cannot be our nominee.” Former Gov Mike Huckabee (R-Ark), demoted to the kiddies debate, said: “If [Trump] becomes president, I think he’ll do a whole lot more to protect us than Hillary would.”


• Democratic 2016er Hillary Clinton laid out a five-part plan to combat the growing threat of domestic radicalization in the U.S. on Tuesday. She proposed shutting down the online recruiting and training systems used by ISIS, through stepped up intel sharing and careful scrutinizing of social media and preventing potential jihadis from traveling to the U.S. (CBS News)
Ryan Unveils Spending Bill (Politico, Hill, NYT, me)
• House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) unveiled a massive tax and spending package Tuesday night. In a closed-door GOP meeting, Ryan touted a pause in Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax,” the lifting of a longstanding oil-export ban and preservation of other policy preferences in the deal, which includes $1.149 trillion in spending and several hundred billion in tax breaks
• The bills will get a vote either Thursday or Friday. But first, Congress needs to avoid a govt shutdown tonight. Negotiators are preparing to pass a continuing resolution until 22 Dec to give everyone time to get things done. Democrats are likely to carry the spending bill, while Republicans support the tax bill (most just want it done now – but watch out for GOP hard-liners)
• Many members of both parties said Democrats won this round on federal spending. They agreed to lift the prohibition on exporting U.S. oil, but turned back efforts to tighten restrictions on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The GOP also didn’t mount a serious effort to strip funding from Planned Parenthood – even though hard-liners had demanded it
• There’s language to reform the so-called visa waiver program, which allows many foreign citizens visa-free travel in the U.S. for three months. President Obama has voiced support for that plan. He’s expected to sign the bill. House Republicans meet this morning at 9 am to further review the deal (then vote-counting will begin)

• Got time? read 2,009 pages of the omnibus $1.6 trillion spending bill posted by the House…


Kerry OK on Russia’s Demand re Assad’s Future? (AP, BBC, me)

• In Moscow Tuesday, SecState John Kerry accepted Russia’s long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people, as the U.S. and Russia edged towards putting aside years of disagreement over how to end Syria’s civil war (we’ll find out today if Kerry was off script – press briefings should give clues)

• “The U.S. and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” Kerry told reporters in Moscow after meeting President Vladimir Putin. A major international conference on Syria would take place later this week in New York, Kerry announced. World powers are expected to pass a UN resolution endorsing the Syria peace process

• Kerry said that Assad won’t be able to steer Syria out of more than four years of conflict, but Kerry said the focus is now “not on our differences about what can or cannot be done immediately about Assad.” Rather, it’s on facilitating a peace process in which “Syrians will be making decisions for the future of Syria.”

• President Obama first called on Assad to leave power in the summer of 2011, with “Assad must go” being a consistent rallying cry. Later, American officials allowed that he wouldn’t have to resign on “Day One” of a transition. Now, no one can say when Assad might step down (or if. Assad and his mother make a revoltingly formidable team)


LA Schools to Reopen: Bomb Threat Not Credible (AP, Hill, me)

• The nation’s two biggest school systems – New York and Los Angeles – received threats Tuesday of a large-scale jihadi attack. LA reacted by shutting down the entire district, while New York dismissed the warning as an amateurish hoax and held classes

• In LA, the threat came in the form of an email to a school board member. New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, who was previously police chief in LA, said that the NYC email threat looked like the sender of the threat had watched a lot of recent episodes of the Showtime terrorism drama “Homeland.”

• Officials in LA announced Tuesday evening that schools would reopen today. “We have suffered too many school shootings in America to ignore these kinds of threats,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a presser. There’s lingering unease following the terrorist attack two weeks ago in nearby San Bernardino that killed 14 people

• The threatening 360-word email sent to the NYC school superintendent warned that schools would be attacked with pressure cooker bombs, nerve agents and machine guns. It claimed the writer and “138 comrades” would carry out the attack. The person claimed to be a student who had been bullied and also to be a jihadist, but “Allah” was spelled with a lowercase “a”


• A resolution introduced by Rep Doug Lamborn (R-Colo) states that the House “strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas” and expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.” (Some Christians fear Starbucks is Satan after it unveiled plain red holiday cups – it sells an Advent calendar, BTW (Hill, me)

Victoria Jones – Editor








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