The Daily 202 – Fear reigns, and attention turns to the long war ahead – The fight against Islamist extremism has become more complicated than ever

The Daily 202 – Fear reigns, and attention turns to the long war ahead – The fight against Islamist extremism has become more complicated than ever

THE BIG IDEA: — Was the ringleader of the attacks hiding in plain sight? An overnight raid in a section north of Paris was aimed at the man who authorities believe was behind last Friday’s suicide bombings. Officials have not yet confirmed whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud was in the area. But two died, including a female suspect who blew […]

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Fear reigns, and attention turns to the long war ahead

Police during a raid in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, this morning (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

By James Hohmann


— Was the ringleader of the attacks hiding in plain sight? An overnight raid in a section north of Paris was aimed at the man who authorities believe was behind last Friday’s suicide bombings. Officials have not yet confirmed whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud was in the area. But two died, including a female suspect who blew herself up. More than 100 French police and army troops stormed an apartment, setting off a seven-hour siege. Several police officers were wounded. Seven suspects, including a woman, were arrested. Read the latest from Missy Ryan, Anthony Faiola and Virgile Demoustier here. And stay with our live blog all day for developments as they happen, including when those shot by police are identified.

–Fear reigns on both sides of the Atlantic:


Police in Hanover, Germany, as a soccer stadium was evacuated. (EPA/Christian Charisius)

  • Two Paris-bound Air France flights from the United States were diverted after receiving bomb threats, but no explosives were found on either aircraft after searches.
  • The main terminal at Copenhagen’s international airport was evacuated because of “a suspicious bag.”
  • A soccer match in Germany was cancelled and the stadium evacuated after authorities said there was “concrete” evidence that attackers planned to detonate a bomb inside. (Missy Ryan, Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet)
  • Schools from across the country have postponed scheduled field trips to Washington because of that ISIS-sub group video saying that Washington will be attacked. (Aaron C. Davis, Moriah Balingit and Peter Hermann)
  • Four people of Middle Eastern descent were pulled off a plane at BWI and questioned after a passenger complained of “suspicious activity.” This prompted Islamic civil rights leaders to warn about a spike in racial profiling. (Dana Hedgpeth and Frederick Kunkle)
  • A video that is being widely circulated on social media, purporting to show “Muslims around the world” celebrating the events in Paris, is fake. (Yanan Wang)
  • Israel banned a leading Islamic group, accusing it of inciting Arabs to violence. (AP)


An explosion rocks the Syrian city of Kobane during a suicide car bomb attack by ISIS last year. (Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)


— The fight against Islamist extremism has become more complicated than ever. Liz Sly, who has spent more than 15 years covering the Middle East, writes from Baghdad that “it may already be too late and too difficult … for any swift or easy solution to the tangled mess the Middle East has become…” From her dispatch on the front page:

  • “What Jordan’s King Abdullah II referred to as a ‘third world war against humanity’ has, more accurately, become a jumble of overlapping wars driven by conflicting agendas in which defeating the Islamic State is just one of a number of competing and often contradictory policy pursuits. In those four years, four Arab states — Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen — have effectively collapsed. Civil wars are raging in all of them. World powers have lined up on different sides of those wars. And the chaos has given the heirs to the legacy of Osama bin Laden the greatest gift they could have hoped for: the gift of time and space.”
  • The Brooking Institution’s Bruce Riedel says the challenge for the U.S. is vastly greater than right after 9/11: “We now face an enemy that has more sanctuaries and operating space than ever before. The battlefield is now much larger than it was before.”
  • “It seems unlikely that the Paris attacks will generate a more coherent international response,” Liz writes. “Saudi Arabia, America’s most powerful Arab ally, is preoccupied above all by the challenge posed by Iran and is expending its military energies on fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen. Iran has prioritized the projection of its regional influence through Syria and Iraq to the Mediterranean, funding and arming proxy militias to defend its interests in Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq and to quell the anti-Assad rebellion mostly in the areas around Damascus, the Syrian capital. And Turkey’s attention is focused mainly on its domestic Kurdish problem and on the perceived threat posed by the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish enclave along its border in northern Syria.”

— An excellent distillation of our challenge in 90 seconds. Thomas Gibbons-Neff flags a YouTube video, apparently from Aleppo, that shows the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army firing a U.S.-supplied anti-tank guided missile at what it is clearly a U.S.-made Humvee. “Rarely do the weapons and equipment of a conflict come together in a single video to highlight how America now fights its wars, but there it is,” he writes. Watch the video here.

— As Russia continues to intensify its airstrikes in Syria, the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, has departed from Norfolk and is steaming towards the region to support combat operations against ISIS.


A brand new poll from New Hampshire shows relatively little appetite for more American boots on the ground, even among Republicans. WBUR’s survey of likely Republican voters, conducted entirely after the Paris attacks, found that 38 percent think more troops are needed in the Middle East. But 50 percent of Republicans said the next president should stick with current troop levels or even pull back. Donald Trump leads the field with 23 percent. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson tie with 13 percent.

  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Marc Thornberry (R) called for a four-star general to lead the country’s fight against ISIS, accusing the White House of “micromanagement” in Syria military operations. (Karoun Demirjian)
  • Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) say increasing U.S. action against ISIS makes it more imperative than ever that Congress vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. (Op-ed in Time)
  • Diane Foley, the New Hampshire mom of ISIS beheading victim James Foley, was on the Hill yesterday to attack the U.S. government’s policy of not negotiating with terrorists. “I recognize that it is complex because we certainly don’t want to fund terrorists,” she told a a House subcommittee. “But is it wise to not even engage these people? … Then we don’t know what’s going on. Then we don’t know what they want. We don’t know who they are. I just think we need to be a lot shrewder.” (Story; Video)
Welcome to The Daily 202, PowerPost’s morning newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter.
With contributions from Michael Smith.
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A bomb placed by Boko Horam killed 32 people and wounded 80 others at a truck stop in Yola, Nigeria. (AP)


Jindal makes his announcement on Fox News. (bobbyjindal)

— Bobby Jindal dropped out of the presidential race. “I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time,” the Louisiana governor said last night on the Fox News Channel in an interview with Bret Baier. “We spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers. Given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there wasn’t an interest in those policy papers.” Jindal, 44, who is leaving office at the end of this year after two terms, said he has not given much thought about whom he might endorse. Among the factors cited: they didn’t have enough cash and did not want to go into debt, and they were frustrated that he could not get onto the main debate stage. (Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and David. A. Fahrenthold)

It is crushingly hard for any one, but especially someone who had as much promise as Jindal, to realize he’ll never achieve his dream of becoming president. Vivid color from Robert Costa, who was with Jindal in the green room last night: “After breaking the news on Fox, Jindal sat under the bright lights of Baier’s set for a moment, dropped his head sadly and pulled his earpiece out. He grimaced and sighed. Baier extended his hand. As the governor walked out of the studio and into a shadowy hall, he huddled with his wife, who was quiet. Her eyes welled with tears. When asked by The Post reporter if she wanted to comment, Supriya Jindal put her finger to her mouth as if she was zipping it up and shook her head no.”


1. With statutes of limitations for misdeeds related to the 2008 recession about to run out, federal prosecutors are actively pursuing criminal cases against executives from Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for allegedly selling flawed mortgage securities. (Wall Street Journal)

2. Several new countries, including India and South Korea, expressed interest in joining the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. (AP)

3. President Barack Hussein Obama said he’s looking at “a few more” executive actions on guns, and that lawyers are scrubbing them to make sure they are “as defensible as possible legally” to withstand NRA challenges. He made the comment in an interview with GQ Magazine, which named him “Man of the Year.” (Juliet Eilperin)

4. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said there is “no data” showing police have reduced their efforts in the wake of Ferguson, a rebuke of the FBI director. (Sari Horwitz)

5. The House Oversight Committee wants the Secret Service director to explain why his agency is hunting for whistleblowers so aggressively while struggling to clean up its own act. (Carol Leonnig)

6. DHS, OMB and OPM pulled out of a cybertheft briefing with the House Armed Services Committee because they didn’t want the meeting to be transcribed, even though this is standard practice. (Eric Yoder)

7. A resolution to honor the anniversary of 9/11 at the University of Minnesota was rejected by the student government after some students complained that it could foster “Islamaphobia.” (Susan Svrluga)

8. Gawker will drop its coverage of pop-culture gossip to concentrate on covering politics. (Paul Farhi)

9. Senate Republicans will move ahead with a plan to include language cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood in an Obamacare repeal package, despite concerns that the provision will damage GOP moderates up for reelection in 2016. Leadership wants to force a post-Thanksgiving Obama veto. (Kelsey Snell)




1. Obama is trying to build momentum for a big global climate deal in Paris, and he got a nice boost with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development agreeing to cut subsidies designed to help with the export of technology for coal-fired power plants. (Juliet Eilperin)

2. Robert Califf, the nominee to lead the FDA, defended his ties to pharmaceutical companies, saying their funding of his academic research did not influence his findings. (Brady Dennis)

3. Donald Trump says he has lost 15 pounds during the campaign. (People)

4. Hillary picked up the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union. (Anne Gearan)

5. Bill will headline at least 20 fundraisers across 14 states for his wife’s campaign between now and Dec. 14. (Politico)

6. Bernie Sanders said Clinton invoking 9/11 at the debate to defend her coziness with Wall Street was “a little bit absurd.” (John Wagner)

7. John Kasich’s lawyers filed a request for “equal time” on NBC, citing Trump’s appearance on “Saturday night Live.” (Letter, via Fox News’ Shannon Bream)

8. Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, endorsed Ted Cruz.

9. Former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, an Illinois state senator, jumped into the Democratic Senate primary to take on Mark Kirk. The Chicago Tribune mocks him for being stumped by foreign policy questions at his press conference.

10. Only 28 percent of white New Yorkers approve of Mayor Bill de Blasio in a New York Times/Siena College poll, down sharply. He has 57 percent approval among African-Americans and 54 percent among Hispanics.

11. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) refused to take a question from a reporter for Breitbart telling her she is not an honest reporter. In response, the conservative site began attacking Labrador as a “liar.” (Politico)



Ben Carson (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Not ready for primetime, cont. – Ben Carson’s own advisers says publicly that he’s struggling to master foreign policy. The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel on A1: “Carson’s remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject, but never more seriously than in the past week, when he wrongly asserted that China had intervened militarily in Syria and then failed, on national television, to name the countries he would call on to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State.”

The quote that everyone is talking about: “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”

Carson spokesman Doug Watts hit back against the story, saying that Clarridge has “incomplete knowledge” of Carson’s briefings and that he’s not a “top” advisor: “For the New York Times to take advantage of an elderly gentleman and use him as their foil in this story is an affront to good journalistic practices.” (Katie Zezima)

Carson himself said last night that he knows more than he did last year: “A year from now, I’ll know a lot more than I know now,” he said on PBS. “In medicine, we have something called continuing medical education. You have to get those credits in order to be recertified.”

— Donald Trump, the other guy leading in the polls, declared in Tennessee on Monday night: “In my book I predicted terrorism because I can feel it. I can feel it like I feel a good location … I really believe I have an instinct for this kind of thing.”

John Kasich, calling for immediate action to extinguish the Islamic State, suggested a new federal agency to promote “core Judeo-Christian Western values” during a speech in Washington. Philip Rucker and Robert Costa round up more GOP comments this morning. Read it here.


Jeb Bush at Wholly Smokin BBQ in Florence, South Carolina, yesterday (Reuters/Randall Hill)

— Sneak peek at Jeb Bush’s National Security Strategy, being unveiled later today during a speech at The Citadel in Charleston:

Excerpt: “As we gather today, we do so with memories fresh from the atrocities in Paris. This brutal savagery is a reminder of what is at stake in this election. We are choosing the leader of the free world. And if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we are living in serious times that require serious leadership. The last seven years under President Barack Hussein Obama have taught us that problems do not take care of themselves in the absence of American leadership. America has had enough of empty words, of declarations detached from reality of an administration with no strategy or no intention of victory.”

Via campaign officials, here is an outline of the four-point plan:

1. Restore international order: “He would increase commitment to NATO to counter a revanchist Russia, including sending an Army Special Forces Group back to European Command. He would increase our presence, restore alliances and build new partnerships in Asia. He would stand up to Iranian aggression in the Middle East, defeat ISIS and restore stability to Iraq and Syria. Finally, Governor Bush would increase partner-building exercises with foreign militaries, to lessen the load on U.S. forces.”

2. Rebuild the military: “Bush would increase the size of the Army by 40,000 soldiers and the size of the Marine Corps by 4,000 Marines. He would increase the size of the Navy and increase Virginia class submarine production. He would replace aircraft that are older that our pilots.”

3. Reform the Pentagon: “He will institute strong reforms there, fixes that treat the taxpayer dollar with more respect and get our troops equipment they need in a timely manner. He will reduce D.C. bureaucrats to free up resources for more uniformed military.”

4. Defend the Homeland: “Bush believes that this starts with securing our border. He has also laid out plans to improve our cyber security and protect critical infrastructure that links avenues of commerce, transportation, and energy.”

Jeb struggled yesterday to explain how exactly he’d give priority to Christian refugees over Muslims. “There are no Christian terrorists in the Middle East! They’re persecuted. They are religious minorities,” he said in Florence, South Carolina, per Ed O’Keefe. Asked how he would direct federal agencies to screen refugees to confirm their Christian faith, Bush said: “You’re a Christian, I mean, you can prove you’re a Christian.” When reporters pressed him on how a refugee’s Christianity could be proven, he said “I think you can prove it.”

— Crooked Hillary Clinton will give a major speech on tacking ISIS in New York tomorrow. The morning address at the 92nd St. Y will outline her “strategy for defeating ISIS, and eliminating the immediate threats it poses, as well as her plan for combatting radical jihadism more broadly.”



Obama visits a Naval station in the Philippines yesterday to announced $250 dollars in maritime security assistance for our South-East Asian allies. (EPA/STR)

— President Barack Hussein Obama blasted Republicans for saying Christian refugees from Syria should get preference over Muslims: “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric coming out in the course of this debate,” Obama said during a news conference in the Philippines. The president said that the group “seeks to exploit the idea that there’s war between Islam and the West”: “When you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting [that] Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims … that feeds the ISIL narrative.”

“He also defended the existing federal screening process for refugees, saying it takes between 18 months and two years for each applicant to be admitted, per David Nakamura and Juliet Eilperin. “He emphasized that the people fleeing Syria have been brutalized by both the ruling government led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other militant factions, including the Islamic State. ‘They are subjected to the most rigorous process conceivable,’ Obama said of those seeking asylum. ‘The intelligence community vets fully who they are.’ Standards are so stringent and cumbersome, he added, that ‘it’s very difficult to show the kind of compassion we need to these folks suffering under the bombings of Assad and the attacks of ISIL. They are victims of this terror.’”

— Reality check: Senior administration officials were warning of the challenges in screening refugees from Syria before the Paris attack. Jerry Markon highlights several quotes:

  • “I don’t, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that’s a huge concern of ours,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at a security industry conference in September.
  • FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said.


Catherine Cortez Masto (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford, File)

— More Democrats breaking with Obama — The Democratic candidate to succeed Harry Reid in Nevada: “I share the concerns of some Republicans in Congress,” said Catherine Cortez Masto, a former state attorney general. In an interview with my colleague Paul Kane in Las Vegas, she signaled a more hawkish foreign policy than Obama or her mentor, Reid, supporting a more robust arming of rebels, including the Kurds in Iraq. This nugget comes from a broader story on the state-of-play in the race to succeed Reid, which you can read here.

— Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell both called for a “pause” in the program. “This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry,” said the new House Speaker. Maryland’s Larry Hogan joined the chorus of Republican governors who do not want Syrian refugees coming into their states.

— Historical context: “Today’s 3-year-old Syrian orphan, it seems, is 1939’s German Jewish child,” writes Ishaan Tharoor, highlighting opposition to bringing in refugees from Adolph Hiter.



Paul Ryan and chief of staff David Hoppe, left (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

David Hoppe ‘leaning into the storm’ as Speaker Ryan’s top aide,” by Elise Viebeck: “The austere Wisconsinite is known for his privacy, and in the last three decades, Hoppe has become something of a cipher, eschewing media coverage and the speaking circuit, even after he left Congress for multiple stints on K Street … Hoppe has also demonstrated a remarkable capacity to listen patiently and take a political beating with poise … Ryan did not know Hoppe well before hiring him, although they are both former aides to the late New York GOP Rep. Jack Kemp. But they have much in common: both are from Wisconsin, both are Catholic and both have three children.The difference is that where Ryan, 45, is known as a policy wonk, preferring briefing books to the political circuit, Hoppe, 64, is a longtime Washington player with close ties to both conservative outside groups and the lobbying industry.”


Antonin Scalia (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

— “Scalia: ‘You either believe in a democracy or you don’t,” by Robert Barnes: ”Antonin Scalia’s address to Georgetown University law students on Monday afternoon was mostly inspiration and bonhomie: work hard, take advantage of all that is offered, become ‘learned in the law.’ But a question about whether courts have a responsibility to protect minorities that cannot win rights through the democratic process — the issue that animated the court’s landmark decision this year on same-sex marriage — brought a caustic response. ‘You either believe in a democracy or you don’t,’ Scalia said. ‘You talk about minorities — what minorities deserve protection?’ Religious minorities are protected by the First Amendment, Scalia said, and so are political minorities. But beyond that, he asked rhetorically, what empowers Supreme Court justices to expand the list. ‘It’s up to me to decide deserving minorities?’ Scalia asked. ‘What about pederasts? What about child abusers? So should I on the Supreme Court [say] this is a deserving minority. Nobody loves them.’”


Schuye LaRue was a star basketball player in college and was drafted into the WNBA. However she is mentally ill and has been living on the street for years. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

— “How one of the nation’s most promising basketball players became homeless,” by Terence McCoy: “On a summer day in 2012, a basketball superstar walked into Jimmy John’s in downtown Washington just as employees were attempting to kick out a homeless woman. Chamique Holdsclaw, who was drafted first overall in 1999 by the Washington Mystics and played in six all-star games, tried to ignore the commotion until she suddenly became part of it. ‘Chamique,’ the homeless woman begged. “Please buy me a sandwich.” Holdsclaw had nearly mistaken her for a man. She was tall — taller than Holdsclaw, a former forward who stands 6-foot-2. She was dressed in baggy, dark men’s clothing. Her long fingers clutched a cigarette. She seemed disoriented, Holdsclaw recalled, maybe even on drugs. But her voice was smooth, feminine — and familiar. Then it hit Holdsclaw. This wasn’t just another homeless person in a city full of them. It was Schuye LaRue.”


In St. Paul, Minn., Black Lives Matter protesters block traffic before an NFL football game between the Vikings and the Lions on Sunday. The local group staged a die-in on the Green Line light-rail tracks to protest what they consider excessive force by Metro Transit police officers who arrested a boy with autism. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

— “How Black Lives Matter, born on the streets, is rising to power on campus,” by Sandhya Somashekhar: “The Black Lives Matter movement was born in the working-class streets of Ferguson, Mo., but its strongest foothold may now be in a far more elite environment: the American university. College campuses have become fertile ground for the movement, a network of provocative activists who are clamoring for an overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice system and other social changes aimed at bettering the lives of African Americans. The movement’s most visible victory on campus came last week, when the president of the University of Missouri System resigned after a group called Concerned Student 1950 launched a chain of protests. But other groups with similar priorities are agitating at campuses from North Carolina to Oregon — and forcing significant changes.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ, curated with Elise Viebeck:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Jindal never got any buzz. Since February 1, our analytics partners at Zignal Labs tracked just 1.3 million mentions of the Louisiana governor across social and traditional media. To put that in some perspective, Trump received more than 36 million mentions during that same time; Rubio received more than 4.3 million and Huckabee received about 50 percent more media attention, nearly 1.9 million mentions. Below is a chart showing the six online highlights of Jindal’s presidential campaign, such as they were:


— Pictures of the day:

Charlie Hebdo, whose own office was attacked in January, released the cover for its first issue since the attacks. “They have the weapons,” it translates. “F–k them, we have the champagne.”



Senators gathered to sign the condolence book for France, including Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.):



Republicans wished Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe a happy 81st birthday:



Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) visited with former Rep. Lester Wolff (D-N.Y.). “At age 96 he’s still working & active!” Rangel wrote:



–Tweets of the day:

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) welcomed Geena Davis to the Capitol:



Ryan wished John Boehner a happy birthday with a Twitter rendition of his birthday song:



–Instagrams of the day:

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recorded his 12,000th vote:



Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) had a visitor at his district office:



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Charles Koch (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon for The Washington Post)

Politico, “The Koch ATM,” by Kenneth P. Vogel: “The Koch network stepped up funding for its own groups in 2014, but also served as something of an ATM for some of the most powerful groups on the right ― doling out millions in grants to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth and National Rifle Association, among major backers of Republicans ― according to a tax filing publicly released Tuesday morning.” Some key nuggets:

  • Freedom Partners, the umbrella group created to coordinate Koch spending, raised $162 million over the past two years.
  • Americans For Prosperity, the most “politically aggressive” Koch affiliate, got $22 million of that haul.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce got $2 million, despite clashing with the Kochs on key issues like the Export-Import bank.
  • The Club for Growth got $1 million while Heritage Action secured $150,000.
  • Freedom Partners reports having 133 staff, who received $13 million in salary, including $794,000 in salary and benefits for President Marc Short.

Meanwhile, Vogel reports this morning that the Kochs are building a “secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents.” The so-called ‘competitive intelligence’ team has a 25-person staff, including an ex-CIA operative. “It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies.”


Crooked Hillary Clinton poses for selfies with Iowans at the Story County Democratic Picnic in Aimes on Sunday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

NBC News, “Voters laud Clinton’s ‘steel’ but ask: Is she likable enough?” by Carrie Dann: “They say she’s tough. She’s got a ‘spine of steel’ and ‘balls,’ and her experience can’t be discounted. But it’s just not that easy to like Crooked Hillary Clinton. In a pair of focus groups in Columbus, Ohio, general election voters from across the political spectrum praised the former secretary of state’s toughness but complained that she can come across as humorless, stilted and coached. Even supporters worried that her practiced demeanor might obscure her strengths, and skeptics repeatedly questioned her trustworthiness. ‘I want to like her. I can be rational and look at it and say I know she’s got experience but I just can’t deny my feelings about other things,’ said Carla W. a homemaker who typically votes for Republicans. ‘The truth is there’s probably no perfect candidate, but I guess I do have this connotation about her.’”

CNN, “DNC charts path after brutal election losses,” by Eric Bradner: “The Democratic National Committee released a 19-page report laying out the party’s strategy to avoid repeat losses (of 2014 and 2010) — particularly in lower-turnout elections when a presidential candidate isn’t on the ballot. Among the fixes: A cohesive message linking local, state and national Democratic candidates; more collaboration between the DNC and state parties; and the recruitment of a ‘next generation of Democratic leaders.’”


Judy Chu (AP File Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles Times, “Backed by California Democrats, Chinese American scientists arrested on espionage charges demand answers,” by Sarah D. Wire: ”Three California House members and other members of the congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus are again pushing the Department of Justice for an independent investigation into the arrest, indictment and release of Chinese American scientists. Flanked by two scientists who experienced this, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) said at a news conference Tuesday the arrests appear to show a ‘practice and pattern of the federal government profiling Chinese American scientists as spies from China even when there is no credible evidence to support it.’ Members of the caucus are scheduled to meet with U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch on Wednesday to discuss the cases. National Weather Service employee Sherry Chen of Ohio and Temple University physics professor Xi Xiaoxing of Penn Valley, Pa., were arrested this year on suspicion of espionage. Charges in both instances were dropped with little explanation before going to court.”


Transgender issues finally gain recognition on Capitol Hill. From the Huffington Post: “House lawmakers launched a task force Tuesday dedicated to issues of transgender equality, accompanied by Congress’ first-ever forum on violence against transgender people. ‘We all celebrate the great strides we’ve made in recent years in the LGBT rights movement. But too many times, the ‘T’ in LGBT has been an afterthought,’ LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said at a press conference. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) will chair the new task force.”


Kerry gaffe: At least the Muslim extremists who attacked Charlie Hebdo had “a rationale.” From the Federalist: “In remarks at the U.S. embassy in Paris on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry rationalized the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo last January, saying terrorists at least had an understandable reason for it. Kerry’s remarks, which were transcribed and made available online by the State Department, were intended to calm and encourage embassy staff and their families … ‘There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that,’ Kerry said.” Jeb Bush quickly pounced.


— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Donald Trump rallies supporters in Worcester, Mass. Jeb Bush speaks at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., before attending a house party in Bedford, N.H. Carly Fiorina is also in N.H., campaigning in Henniker and Keene. John Kasich speaks at a forum in Virginia Beach, Va., and then files for the ballot in Richmond. In Iowa, Rick Santorum talks to voters in Independence, Manchester, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Iowa City and Dysart.

This weekend in Iowa: Marco Rubio will host several town halls across Iowa this weekend. Rand Paul will host a campaign tailgate before the Iowa Hawkeyes play football against Purdue on Saturday in Iowa City. Mike Huckabee will have visited 69 of Iowa’s 99 counties after his two-day swing at the tail end of this week.

–On the Hill: The Senate meets at 10 a.m. The House meets at 12 p.m. to consider H.R. 1737, Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, H.R. 1210, Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, and H.R. 3189, FORM Act of 2015.

–At the White House: Obama is at the APEC meeting in the Philippines. He spoke at a CEO summit, posted for a “family photos” with leaders of the TPP and is watching a cultural performance.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The president giving me a shoutout… it’s kind of surreal, bro.” — Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of the rock band Korn


“A mostly cloudy day for sure, and some patchy drizzle or a couple light showers are possible as well,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “But not a bad day temperature-wise for mid-November, with morning readings in the 50s and afternoon highs near 60 to the low 60s. Winds breeze in from the southeast around 10-15 mph.”

Winter weather is coming. Heavy snow engulfed parts of Colorado and Kansas this week:



The National Zoo announced the new panda cub will make his debut in January:



— Washington College has closed its Eastern Shore campus indefinitely as the FBI joins the search for a troubled student who is apparently armed.

— Virginia and Maryland are among the ten most educated states in the country, according to a ranking based on Census data.

— 60 homeless people who live in tents near 26th and K streets in Northwest are being ordered to move.

— Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) formally announced that he is running for governor, setting up a match-up between him and Republican Ed Gillespie.

— The Wizards crushed the Milwaukee Bucks by 29 points.

Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame stayed as the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings.


On the campaign trail, Ted Cruz did another set of Simpsons impressions:


(Katie Zezima)

One of the Cruz super PACs, meanwhile, released a brutal attack ad against Rubio over his role in the Gang of 8 on immigration.

Donald Trump asked if President Barack Hussein Obama is “insane” on the topic of refugees:



Quite a contrast: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke about the crisis on the Senate floor:


(Senator Elizabeth Warren)

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