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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
  • New Hampshire: Trump tramples opponents
  • New Hampshire: GOP losers
  • New Hampshire: Sanders clobbers Clinton
  • Democrats: Now it’s about race
  • Obama’s final budget drops
  • Obama’s final budget: DOA?
  • SCOTUS blocks Obama’s coal restrictions
  • Intel leaders warn of ISIS threat in US
 
New Hampshire: Trump Tramples Opponents (NYT, Politico, AP, me)
• Donald Trump and Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) harnessed working-class fury on Tuesday to surge to commanding victories in a New Hampshire primary that drew a huge turnout across the state. Trump benefited from a large field of candidates that split the vote. He also tapped into a deep well of anxiety among Republicans and independents in NH – exit polling data
 
• It was a nightmarish New Hampshire night for pragmatic-minded Republicans who had hoped to elevate a single contender of their own after Ted Cruz carried Iowa – and finished third Tuesday. No candidate broke out of the teens, as John Kasich finished in second, with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in fourth and fifth (details below)
 
• “I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” crowed Trump at his victory party, adding that he would “knock the hell out of ISIS.” “We are going to start winning again and we are going to win so much. You are going to be so happy.”
 
• Kasich’s surprise second-place finish was driven by voters who described themselves as moderates and independents and were charmed by his pragmatism and his upbeat campaign. Kasich spent 62 days in New Hampshire, holding 106 town hall-style events

• Interactive: 2016 primary results and calendar (NYT)

 

New Hampshire: GOP Losers
• The results don’t look good for Rubio. A poor debate performance on Saturday appears to have arrested any momentum he had from his third-place Iowa finish. “It’s on me. It’s on me,” Rubio said in his concession speech Tuesday. “I did not – I did not do well on Saturday night, so listen to this: That will never happen again.” (opposite of what he said during the day)
 
• The mood was ebullient at Bush’s rally in Manchester, where cheers went up every time results were shown with him bumping into third place. “This campaign is not dead,” Bush declared in a concession speech. “You all have reset the race.” But Trump stomped on Bush’s speech, taking the stage at the same time (and the TV cameras switched to Trump…)
 
• Trump’s performance in New Hampshire, which followed Cruz’s victory in Iowa, has left the party establishment with two leading candidates who Republican leaders believe cannot win a November general election
 
• In sixth place, the future of Chris Christie’s candidacy was in doubt. Christie announced that he’s not going to South Carolina, as previously planned, and would instead go back to New Jersey with his wife. “We’re going to take a deep breath.” Christie said that after they know the results, “that should allow us to make a decision.”
 
• Republican voters were more negative about their politicians than Democrats, with about half of GOP voters saying they felt betrayed by party officials, according to exit polls by Edison Research. Ben Carson vowed to continue on, as did Carly Fiorina, who limped into seventh place

 

• Great interactive: Republican presidential candidates trade attack ads in New Hampshire (NYT)
 
New Hampshire: Sanders Clobbers Clinton (Politico, Politico, AP, NYT, Politico, me)
• Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, an emphatic early triumph for a populist campaign long dismissed as an afterthought in the Democratic presidential primary
 
• Sanders, at his raucous victory rally, said his victory sent a message “that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the govt of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.”
 
• In a punchy early concession speech, Clinton tried to look beyond New Hampshire and pledged to fight for the needs of black, Hispanic, gay, female and young voters – members of the coalition she believes will ultimately win her the nomination. (everyone except over 65 – who she won) “I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people,” Clinton said
 
• Clinton advisers gritted their teeth as they dissected exit polls and other data. One troubling sign: Sanders was the choice, nearly unanimously, among voters who said it was most important to have a candidate who is “honest and trustworthy.” Several Clinton advisers said they were especially concerned about her shakier-than-expected support among women

 

Democrats: Now It’s About Race
• As polls closed, her campaign manager Robby Mook blasted out a memo touting Clinton’s strength with Hispanics and black voters and arguing that a Democrat cannot win the presidency without support from those constituencies
 
• The Sanders campaign understands this, which is why the first campaign stop after his victory is a breakfast meeting today with the Rev Al Sharpton in Harlem’s iconic Sylvia’s restaurant. Sanders has yet to prove he has the ability to win minority voters – a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition
 
• Meanwhile, Clinton’s message is going to be reworked – with race at the center of it. Clinton is set to campaign with the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, unarmed African Americans who died in incidents involving law enforcement officers and a neighborhood watch representative
 
• And, the campaign sources said, it is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about Clinton’s lack of an inspirational message. “The gun message went silent in New Hampshire,” remarked one ally close to the campaign (she still needs to inspire; is policy enough?)
 
Obama’s Final Budget Drops (AP, Reuters, NYT, Hill, me)
• President Obama on Tuesday sent his final annual budget – $4 trillion – proposal to a hostile Republican-led Congress, seeking $19 billion for a broad new cybersecurity initiative and rejecting the lame-duck label as he declared that his plan “is about looking forward.”
 
• The Obama plan sees the deficit rising from $438 billion last year to more than $500 billion for the 2017 budget year that starts 1 Oct. Deficits over the coming decade would total $6 trillion. The admin says annual deficits would remain below 3% of the annual gross domestic product through the decade to 2026
 
• “Together, we have brought America back,” Obama said. “We rescued our economy from the depths of the recession, revitalized our auto industry, and laid down new rules to safeguard our economy from recklessness on Wall Street. … And today, our economy is the strongest, most durable on earth.”
 
• The Republican chairs of the Senate and House Budget Committees announced days ago that they wouldn’t invite Obama’s budget director, Shaun Donovan, to testify before their panels – a break with tradition dating to 1975 and a snub that captured the hostility facing Obama’s remaining agenda

 

 
• The WH pointed to the cybersecurity initiative as a centerpiece that should garner bipartisan support. His $19 billion request reflects a 35% increase. But part of that, a $3.1 billion proposal to overhaul the federal govt’s aging computer systems, was prompted by the successful Chinese theft of security records on 22 million Americans from Office of Personnel Management
 
• Admin officials were quick to point to a number of other initiatives this year that draw support from some Republicans, especially senators vulnerable in this election year: proposed increased spending for treating people addicted to opioids and heroin, cancer research, education, criminal justice overhaul, the stepped-up fight against ISIS

• “We’ve done our part with this budget, it’s going to be up to them

[Republicans] to see whether they could live up to their promises to get back to regular order,” Donovan said to reporters
 
• The budget calls for a major new tax on crude oil that would raise the price of gasoline, currently averaging about $1.80 a gallon nationwide, by about 24 cents. All told, its tax hikes would average more than a quarter-trillion dollars a year to cover deficits made worse by a softening economic picture
 
• As in past years, Obama’s budget largely leaves alone huge benefit programs like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps, whose spiraling growth is the main driver of budget deficits that economists say could drag down the economy unless policymakers step in

&&&


 
• The budget arrived the day after Obama requested an immediate $1.8 billion infusion to combat the Zika virus, which can cause horrific birth defects and is spreading in Latin America (even that won’t happen without a fight)
 
• The budget proposes a 10-year, $400 billion initiative for “clean” transportation projects and other infrastructure; additional funding for a summertime food program for children who receive free lunches during the school year, a $4 billion plan to teach computer science and $6 billion in training funds to help young people land their first job
 
• Other tax increases include a .07% fee on larger banks that would raise about $10 billion a year; reducing the value of itemized deductions taken by wealthier taxpayers to raise a whopping $646 billion over a decade, almost doubling the approx. $1 per pack federal cigarette tax, and instituting the minimum 30% Buffett Rule for upper income earners
 
• Some of those tax increases would offset new tax cuts such as an expansion of tuition tax credits, giving the earned income tax credit for the working poor to those without children, and broadening a tax credit for child care expenses. Several proposals in the budget address the rising cost of prescription drugs
 
Obama’s Final Budget: DOA? (Politico, Politico, me)
• President Obama’s final budget proposal is a call for Democratic progressivism – a $4 trillion spending blueprint that would pour billions into clean energy, education and health care, and pay for it by raising taxes on the big banks and the wealthy. Does it stand a chance in a Republican controlled Congress? (no)
 
• Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said the blueprint “isn’t even a budget so much as it is a progressive manual for growing the federal govt at the expense of hardworking Americans,” adding that “we need to tackle our fiscal problems before they tackle us.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) was similarly dismissive
 
• Obama clearly acknowledges the importance of deficit reduction, calling for cutting it by $2.9 trillion over 10 years while keeping budget shortfalls below 3% of gross domestic product. To achieve those targets, the budget includes hundreds of billions in new taxes, including raising the top tax rate on capital gains and a new $10-a-barrel tax on oil
 
• Lawmakers and the admin will have to strike some sort of deal to keep the govt running when the current fiscal year ends on 30 Sept – most likely a continuing resolution to keep the lights on through the election and early into 2017 (right before the election, too)
 
• And in a sign that Obama isn’t looking for a knock-down spending fight this year, the president’s proposal abides by the discretionary caps for fiscal 2017 set by last year’s bipartisan budget deal. However, senior members of the hard line GOP House Freedom Caucus want lower spending limits in line with the levels established in 2011 under the sequester, so…

 

• The Ferguson City Council agreed Tuesday to most proposals in a settlement with the Justice Dept that would reform the city’s courts and policing systems but also asked for several changes, including some limiting the city’s cost. Changes were announced at a large community meeting. Several protesters chanted “No justice, no peace.” (AP)
 
SCOTUS Blocks Obama’s Coal Restrictions (Reuters, AP, NYT, me)
• The Supreme Court Tuesday in a surprise move delivered a major blow to President Obama by blocking federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the centerpiece of his admin’s strategy to combat climate change
 
• On a 5-4 vote, the court granted a request made by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the admin’s Clean Power Plan. The move means the regs will not be in effect while litigation continues over their legality. Oral arguments are 2 June in the appeals court – and with an appeal to SCOTUS, resolution is unlikely before Obama leaves office
 
• The court’s five conservatives all voted to block the rule. The order noted that the four liberals would have denied the application. The states, led by coal producer West Virginia and oil producer Texas, and several major business groups in October launched the legal challenges seeking to block the Obama admin’s plan
 
• West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey hailed the court’s decision. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.”
 
• Implementation of the rules is considered essential to the U.S. meeting emissions reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris. The Obama admin and environmental groups also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs. Opponents had to convince the justices that there was a “fair prospect” the court would strike down the law

 

• Nine years ago to the day, Barack Obama stood before the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill, and announced his run for president. Today, Obama returns to the Illinois capital, pleading once again for the type of national unity that has eluded him as president. He’ll call for making it easier to vote and embrace a “politics of hard-won hope,” the WH said (AP)
 
Intel Leaders Warn of ISIS Threat in US (AP, Guardian, Reuters, me)
• Leaders of ISIS are determined to strike targets in the U.S. this year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other officials said Tuesday, telling lawmakers that a small group of violent extremists, including “homegrown” terrorists, will attempt to mount the logistical challenges of such an attack. It was the annual assessment of top dangers
 
• Clapper also said al Qaeda, from which ISIS spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program. Pyongyang has restarted a plutonium reactor that could begin recovering material for nuclear weapons in weeks or months, Clapper said
 
• Clapper said U.S. info systems, controlled by the U.S. govt and American industry, are vulnerable to attacks from Russia and China. Moscow “is assuming a more assertive cyber posture” that’s based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure and carry out espionage ops even when those ops have been detected and under increased security, Clapper said
 
• Clapper acknowledged for the first time that U.S. agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices connected to the internet – cars, dishwashers, alarms – to increase their surveillance capabilities: “for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.” (very creepy)
 
• On Afghanistan, Clapper said the country is at “serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016.” On Syria, Marine Gen Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said he doesn’t think President Assad’s govt is likely to collapse or be defeated in the near term because of increased support from Iran and Russia – likely to regain key territory
 
• The parents of a man who tossed a live alligator through a Florida Wendy’s drive-thru window say he’s just a “prankster.” Authorities didn’t think so. Joshua James, 24, faces three charges, including assault with a deadly weapon. The alligator has been released into a nearby canal. James has been ordered to get a mental health evaluation…
 


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Victoria Jones – Editor