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
  • 1 killed: Car swipes pedestrians in Las Vegas
  • Democratic debate: Winners and losers
  • Democratc debate: 4 takeaways
  • Democratic debate: 4 key moments
  • Obama year-end presser: Goals met
  • Tax/spending bills: Done
  • Pentagon: Cyberattacks on ISIS?
 
1 Killed: Car Swipes Pedestrians in Las Vegas (AP, NBC News, me)
• A woman intentionally swerved her car onto a busy sidewalk two or three times Sunday night and mowed down people outside the Paris Hotel and Casino, killing one person and injuring at least 30 people (number fluctuating) who were taken to the hospital, police said (this is really weird)
 
• “We know this was not an act of terrorism,” Las Vegas Police Capt Brett Zimmerman said. ” We will comb through that
[casino surveillance] footage to get a detailed idea of what occurred. Right now from what we know, we’re looking at it being intentional.”  The Miss Universe pageant was being held nearby at the time of the crash
 
• The driver apparently drove onto the sidewalk, hitting pedestrians, then went back into the street before driving onto the sidewalk again at a different spot of Las Vegas Boulevard, hitting others, Zimmerman said. After the crash, the vehicle continued to drive east before it was found on Flamingo Road, Lt Dan McGrath said
 
• The driver of the car, a woman in her 20s, wasn’t hurt and is in custody, police said. A 3-year-old child was in the car with her but wasn’t hurt. The 1996 Oldsmobile had Oregon plates, and the driver had recently moved to the area. She’s being investigated to determine whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol (under the influence of something messed up)

 

Democratic Debate: Winners and Losers (WaPo, me)
Winner: Hillary Clinton – the only one on stage who looked like she could step into the presidency tomorrow. Significant knowledge on foreign policy. Moved the debate to GOP and Donald Trump. Showed a sense of humor. Willingness to play offense. Good debate – why does her campaign seem to want to limit debates in this primary?
 
Winner: Martha Raddatz – ABC’s chief global correspondent who moderated alongside anchor David Muir let the candidates mix it up when it made sense and injected herself into the conversation when a candidate said something she knew wasn’t right. She knows her subject matter inside and out – could fact check in real time
 
Loser: Martin O’Malley – he wanted to lump Clinton and Bernie Sanders into a heap as DC politicians – not to mention old – and be the youthful guy from outside DC. It was scripted and forced. His low point was when he said he came from a different generation – trying to call them old – the crowd got what he was doing – and booed
 
Loser: Democratic National Committee: Simply no justification for hosting a debate on a Saturday night six days before Christmas. Unless the goal is to ensure low audience so any mistakes by front-runner won’t be noticed – which is silly. Loser: ABC – Why give the impression that the debate starts at 8 pm ET? To make us watch – boring analysts droning on
 
 
• Hillary Clinton was late back to her lectern because the women’s bathroom was a minimum of 1 minute 45 seconds walk each way in a 5 minute commercial break. The men’s bathroom was much, much closer. Also, there was apparently a line. “Sorry,” she deadpanned, when she returned
 
 
Democratic Debate: 4 Takeaways (AP, Politico, me)
• Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) apologized for last week’s data breach, in which Sanders staffers improperly accessed voter data from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He hoped for an independent investigation. Clinton was for moving on. “I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie,” Clinton said. “It is important we go forward on this.” (Sanders’ campaign has fired two more people)
 
• Clinton called Donald Trump ISIS’s “best recruiter.” “They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” Clinton said. She made Donald Trump her chief adversary of the night (mega call-out of Clinton for this – yet Trump gets away with whoppers like saying she sleeps instead of campaigning)
 
• Sanders said he wants to make “secondary” the fight against Syrian leader Bashar Assad and focus exclusively on defeating ISIS. He said he worried that Clinton is “too much into regime change.” Clinton struck back, reminding Sanders that he “voted for regime change” in Libya – good exchange
 
• Former Gov Martin O’Malley (D-Md), 52, tried to play up his generational difference with Sanders, 74, and Clinton, 68. “Can I offer a different generation’s perspective on this?” O’Malley interrupted at one point, drawing shocked boos from the disapproving crowd (playing the oldies card is gross and stupid. Sanders’ supporters are largely millennials)

 

• “It’s just another Hillary lie,” said Donald Trump on NBC on Sunday about her claim that “they” are going to show videos of Trump to recruit most racial jihadists. “She lies like crazy about everything, whether it’s trips where she was being gunned down in a helicopter or an airplane, she’s a liar and everybody knows that.” (USA Today)
 
Democratic Debate: 4 Key Moments (Politico, Politico, WaPo, me)
• Former Gov Martin O’Malley (D-Md) hit Hillary Clinton and Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) over guns, saying they exemplified the “flip-flopping political approach of Washington.” They jumped in. “Whoa, whoa, let’s tell the truth here,” Sanders said, with Clinton adding, “Yeah, let’s tell the truth here.” Both said O’Malley misrepresented them. O’Malley dropped bombs for attention
 
• We found out how Sanders like to have fun when the debate got deep in the weeds on their economic plans. Clinton vowed not to raise taxes on the middle class – less than $250,000. Sanders and O’Malley wouldn’t make the same promise. The debate got deep, then Sanders quipped: “Now this is getting to be fun.” (nodding off, more like)
 
• Clinton wriggled out of a question about her ties to big business with a laugh line. When moderator David Muir asked if corporate America should “love Clinton,” she replied: “Everybody should.” The crowd laughed. “I have said I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and successful.”
 
• Clinton had the last word: “Thank you, good night, and may the Force be with you,” she said, sneaking in a reference to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – the new Star Wars movie that stole a chunk of her potential viewership Saturday night, along with shopping, parties and sports…

• Donald Trump on ABC News defended Russian President Putin on Sunday: “But nobody’s proven that he’s killed anybody, as far as I’m concerned. He hasn’t killed reporters that’s been proven … Do you know the names of reporters that he’s killed?,” he asked George Stephanopoulos. The Committee to Protect Journalists says 36 have been murdered since 1992

 

Obama Year-End Presser: Goals Met (Politico, Reuters, me)
• A confident President Obama at the WH on Friday opened his annual year-end presser by touting a list of his admin’s greatest hits: including early actions to rescue the economy, the steady implementation of Obamacare and clean energy efforts, culminating in last week’s climate agreement in Paris between 195 countries (briefing room was packed – it was a scrum)
 
• He pointed to three incredibly contested aspects of his foreign policy – from the Iranian nuclear deal to reestablishing diplomatic ties to Cuba to praising the Trans-Pacific Partnership – as examples of the U.S. leading the way. He pledged again that the U.S. will hit ISIS “harder than ever,” urging Americans to remain calm and vigilant
 
• “I do want to thank Congress for ending the year on a high note,” Obama said, hailing the $1.1 trillion spending bill as a rare example of Washington functioning as intended. He also praised lawmakers for new education and transportation legislation, as well as the reactivation of the Export-Import Bank
 
• Obama said Syrian President Assad needed to leave for civil war to cease, but declined to say whether that would happen in the next year. And he said he’ll wait until Congress has definitively said no to a plan on closing Guantanamo before he would say “anything definitive about my executive authority here.” (they were two notable dodges)
 
• Obama described a “handful of areas” like criminal justice reform and TPP where progress could be made in 2016, even though the legislative process would be “skewed” by election-year politics. “Next year, I’m going to leave it all out on the field,” Obama said. “OK, everybody, I’ve gotta get to Star Wars,” he signed off – he viewed the movie with military families

 

• Traveling to Hawaii with his family, President Obama made a stopover in San Bernardino, Calif, where he and first lady Michelle Obama met with family members of those killed in the 2 Dec shootings and many of the emergency responders. Obama said after meeting the families that their diversity was “so representative of this country.” (NYT)
 
Tax/Spending Bills: Done (Politico, Fox News, NYT, me)
• Congress on Friday approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill with a pair of overwhelming bipartisan votes, capping a frenzied final few weeks of legislation before lawmakers headed home for the holidays and gear up for the 2016 election year (those that haven’t already, that is)
 
• “We fought for as much as we could get,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said on NBC on Sunday. “We advanced our priorities and principles. Not every single one of them, but many of them.” The bipartisan vote came after an 11th hour lobbying blitz by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Obama admin officials (nail-biter on Thursday night)
 
• Democrats and especially progressives were upset the measure ends a decades-long ban on oil exports and fails to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems. In a letter to her colleagues on Friday morning, Pelosi once again repeated that Ryan had vowed to “take action” on Puerto Rico-related legislation by the end of March 2016
 
• 2016er Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky) said Sunday he voted against it. “It was over a trillion dollars, it was all lumped together, 2,242 pages, nobody read it, so frankly my biggest complaint is that I have no idea what kind of things they stuck in that bill in the middle of the night,” Paul said on “The Cats Roundtable” NY radio talk show (and he has a point)

 

• Iranian hackers infiltrated the control system of a small dam less than 20 miles from New York City two years ago, sparking concerns that reached to the WH, according to former and current officials and experts familiar with the previously undisclosed incident. America’s power grid, factories, pipelines etc sit largely unprotected on the internet (WSJ)

 

Pentagon: Cyberattacks on ISIS? (LAT, Fox News, me)
• The Pentagon is considering more aggressive cyberattacks on ISIS’s computers in an effort to decrease its propaganda on social media and prevent potential terror attacks. Military hackers at Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Md, have created malware that could be used to curb the terror group’s capabilities online, U.S. officials said
 
• But the military’s fight against ISIS’s online communications faces drawback from the FBI and other intel officials who say that constricting the internet in Syria and Iraq may shut the window into the militants’ whereabouts and intentions, LAT reports (sounds like a fun governmental inter-agency fight)
 
• The WH has directed top Pentagon officials to prepare for an increase in cyberwarfare after the investigation into the San Bernardino terror attack showed that the shooters had been inspired from extremist propaganda online. An official said that the U.S. wants to use cyberattacks as another option to “pressure” ISIS
 
• SecDef Ash Carter is expected to meet with officials at Cyber Command this week to go over possible digital options to take down ISIS’s internet capabilities. Cyber Command has targeted some networks and social media accounts, but ISIS has found workarounds such as Telegram instead of Twitter or Facebook because the messages are harder to monitor
 
 
• Awkward: Host Steve Harvey announces and crowns the wrong Miss Universe – Miss Colombia. Then: “OK folks, I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Miss Colombia.” Miss Colombia looks ready to kill and Miss Philippines realizes that she’s won. Miss Colombia is uncrowned (ouch) and Miss Philippines is crowned. “It was on the card,” Harvey apologizes (WaPo, me)

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Victoria Jones – Editor