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POLITICO Playbook: Manchin’s victory lap- POLITICO


With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) has scheduled a full Ginsburg for Sunday. If completed, Manchin will be only the 31st newsmaker to accomplish the feat since Feb. 1, 1998, when WILLIAM H. GINSBURG, the lawyer for MONICA LEWINSKY, first appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows. Since then, the full Ginsburg has generally been reserved for top government officials during extraordinary news events. The last person to run the gauntlet of all five shows was ANTHONY FAUCI in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Manchin, who is recovering from Covid, will have one major advantage over many previous members of this exclusive club: He will be conducting all five interviews via a remote hookup rather than being ferried from studio to studio in Washington.

With some help from Daniel Lippman, we reached out to a few former full Ginsburgers to offer advice to the senator and some reflections on their experiences completing this storied Washington tradition:

— MICHAEL CHERTOFF, former DHS secretary, who completed a full Ginsburg on Sept. 4, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: “Eat a good breakfast before you start the round of appearances.”

— KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, former HHS secretary, who was joined by JANET NAPOLITANO and RICHARD BESSER as part of an unusual full Ginsburg trio to discuss the swine flu on May 3, 2009: “Our toughest job was getting Dr. Rich Besser, about 6’4’’ folded into the way back of an SUV so Janet Napolitano and I could ride in the designated seats from studio to studio. We didn’t have zoom.”

— MIKE POMPEO, former secretary of State, who has completed two full Ginsburgs: “Don’t get tired of saying the same thing over and over again. And remember what you said.”

— RAJ SHAH, former head of USAID, who made the rounds on Jan. 17, 2010, after a devastating earthquake in Haiti: “I did the shows in the early aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. A loyal friend and talented leader, PHILIPPE REINES came to my home at 4:30am to make sure our morning successfully inspired the American people to believe in and join the humanitarian response. I recommend you bring along a good friend and remind Americans that in the end we are all in this together.”

— Sen. MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.), the only person in history to complete three full Ginsburgs: “These interviews are typically victory laps. Hard questions—especially from media that is quietly sympathetic with the guest—are rare. The key question, which will go unasked, is: Will Senator Manchin be back on all five shows after Biden, Pelosi and Schumer screw him over and block his permitting reform bill.”

— DAN PFEIFFER, former senior adviser to BARACK OBAMA, who completed a full Ginsburg on May 19, 2013, during a swirl of congressional investigations: “My advice would be don’t do it. Less is more.”

WHY HE’S DOING IT — Manchin has been vilified by the left for 18 months as a corporate shill unconcerned about the climate emergency and intent, in the words of Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.), on “sabotaging” President JOE BIDEN’s policies. Overnight he has become the author of the most significant carbon-reducing legislation in history and the savior of Biden’s legislative agenda.

Politically, pivoting from saboteur to savior is awful for Manchin back in West Virginia, where Biden’s approval rating is nineteen percent.

That’s why on Wednesday, when he announced the deal, Manchin said, “Build Back Better is dead,” and framed the new reconciliation bill around four issues: inflation reduction, deficit reduction, energy production and “compromise.” The full Ginsburg was scheduled to hammer home the Manchin messaging of the new bill, rather than the Pelosi-Schumer-Biden messaging of it.

“The Biden agenda is not super popular in West Virginia,” noted a source familiar with Manchin’s thinking going into tomorrow’s five-show marathon. “But he has a story he needs to tell about why this is good for America. And it’s different than the rest of the Democratic caucus.”

“He’s going to talk about permitting and why we need more of it at home. And he’s the only person who is going to be talking about this as an energy production deal. Biden’s poll numbers are in the teens in West Virginia, so anything branded as a Biden deal is not great. Fox is out there talking about how we are raising taxes on coal production, which is not true. So he needs to scream this from the mountain top, and he only has a couple of days to do it,” the source added.

Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER has promised to bring the new Manchin-approved reconciliation bill to the floor next week.

Expect Manchin to tout several major policy victories for West Virginia, including a permanent extension of the black lung disability trust fund, which lapsed in 2021; $5 billion to upgrade existing coal-powered plants, which most climate activists would rather shut down; and a special carveout that makes tax credits in the bill more valuable if they are used in coal communities.

We also expect Manchin to play down any insinuation that he was coaxed or pressured into the climate and taxes deal by other senators or outside advisers. Two good pieces today lay out what that campaign looked like:

Zack Colman, Josh Siegel and Kelsey Tamborrino report that the effort included a call from BILL GATES, advocacy from companies that wanted to build in West Virginia and testimony from conservative economists about how policies in the new package would affect inflation.

WaPo’s Tony Romm and Jeff Stein report on some of the many senators who tried to revive climate talks with Manchin, and include this exchange between Sen. CHRIS COONS (D-Del.) and Manchin:

Coons: “I can’t think of a better way for you to prove [Democratic detractors] wrong than to sign off on a bold climate deal. Prove every critic wrong.”

Manchin: “It would be like hitting a homer in the bottom of the ninth, wouldn’t it?”

THE WHITE HOUSE’S SECRET WEAPON — According to two sources with knowledge of the negotiations, after 18 months of talks that frayed relations between Manchin and several top White House officials, the one person left inside the West Wing whom Manchin trusted most was BRIAN DEESE, Biden’s director of the National Economic Council. Deese traveled on a Manchin-wooing mission to West Virginia over a long weekend in March. (He was joined at one event by Energy Secretary JENNIFER GRANHOLM and Interior Secretary DEB HAALAND.)

While in West Virginia, Deese tweeted several paeans to coal country in a thread that began, “Coal and energy communities helped make America what it is, the strongest economy in the world and the global leader of democracy. Nobody should forget that, and President Biden certainly doesn’t.”

While it’s true that many in the White House were surprised by Wednesday’s announcement of the deal, Manchin relied on Deese as his main White House point of contact as the final details were put together.

More reconciliation reads: “Climate Bill ‘Transformative’ for Auto and Energy Industries,” NYT … “U.S. Senate bill could be death blow for Biden anti-drilling pledge,” Reuters … “With Manchin’s surprise, Democrats finally feel they have robust agenda to run on,” NBC … “‘Inflation Reduction Act’ Has Little Inflation Help, UPenn Study Says,” Bloomberg

Good Saturday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

TRAGEDY IN KENTUCKY — The death toll has risen to 25 amid massive floods in eastern Kentucky. “The water rose so quickly that some people couldn’t get out of their homes,” write the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Bill Estep and Austin Horn. “Some sought shelter on upper floors or the roof, and some who tried to leave were swept away by swift water held desperately to whatever they could grab while waiting for rescue.”

IT’S OFFICIAL — The House passed an assault weapons ban Friday, as two Republicans joined all but five Democrats to try to bar the weapons for the first time in 18 years. The Biden administration announced its support for the measure, though it doesn’t have much hope in the Senate. More from Roll Call

NEW THIS AM — “Hot mic captured Gaetz assuring Stone of pardon, discussing Mueller redactions,” by WaPo’s Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett

BIDEN’S SATURDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ SATURDAY — The VP and second gentleman DOUG EMHOFF will attend a DNC event in D.C. at 2 p.m.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

9 THINGS THAT STUCK WITH US

1. KNIVES OUT FOR JOSEPH CUFFARI: The Secret Service notified the DHS IG about Secret Service agents’ vanished Jan. 6-related text messages in May 2021 — half a year earlier than was previously known and long before he told the House Jan. 6 committee about them, CNN’s Whitney Wild, Zachary Cohen, Jeremy Herb and Priscilla Alvarez revealed.

And in February, Cuffari ended an effort by his office’s staff to try to recover the missing texts, WaPo’s Maria Sacchetti and Carol Leonnig report — another move that’s likely to trigger Democratic criticism of the watchdog. Cuffari, a DONALD TRUMP nominee who previously worked for Arizona Gov. DOUG DUCEY, led “an office that faltered over how to handle the matter, even though they had highly skilled officials ready to attack the issue and federal agencies willing to cooperate.”

Meanwhile, the Secret Service is considering disabling iMessage on its agents’ phones to try to prevent a repeat of this situation, Eric Geller reports.

2. JAN. 6 INVESTIGATIONS LATEST: “The RNC ‘election integrity’ official appearing in DOJ’s Jan. 6 subpoenas,” by Betsy Woodruff Swan: “At least three witnesses in DOJ’s investigation of so-called alternate electors in the 2020 election — two in Arizona and another in Georgia — have received subpoenas demanding communications to and from Joshua Findlay, who is now the RNC’s national director for election integrity.”

3. FOX IN THE HENHOUSE: The Fox News-Trump relationship is over: The network hasn’t interviewed the former president in more than 100 days, and the “snubs are not coincidental” as RUPERT and LACHLAN MURDOCH align with Trump-skeptical forces in the GOP, NYT’s Jeremy Peters reports. “The Murdochs’ discomfort with Mr. Trump stems from his refusal to accept his election loss,” and they agree with establishment figures like Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL that more Trump could damage Republicans’ odds in the midterms. Trump allies see the shift as a betrayal. He’s told aides that even SEAN HANNITY “doesn’t seem to be paying him much attention anymore.”

4. PROMISES KEPT: The U.S. has now taken in 100,000 Ukrainians since the start of Russia’s invasion of the country, living up to Biden’s March pledge to welcome that number of people displaced by the war, CBS’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez reports. The majority have only temporary permissions to live here. Officials said the number of arrivals will continue to rise. By comparison, 6 million refugees from the war have scattered elsewhere across Europe.

5. BATTLE FOR THE SENATE: A roundup of the latest developments:

Pennsylvania: Republicans are so concerned about MEHMET OZ’s campaign that the NRSC is talking to donors about how they can recapture the Senate without Pennsylvania, Holly Otterbein and Natalie Allison report. “The viewpoint was it’s more important to reallocate money to seats that we feel we can win,” recounts one person on a donor call last week.

Arizona: Republican frontrunner BLAKE MASTERS is leaning into the conspiracy theory that Democrats want more immigration to change the country’s demographics and win elections, NYT’s Jennifer Medina reports. That stance could help him in the primary, but it may also make it harder to win over general-election voters in the heavily Hispanic state.

Wisconsin: Democrat ALEX LASRY is out of the race, but he’s nonetheless planning to use $584,000 of already purchased airtime to run ads attacking GOP incumbent RON JOHNSON, per NBC’s Natasha Korecki and Adam Edelman.

Washington:TIFFANY SMILEY, the GOP Senate candidate in Washington, a state that is now part of the party’s backup plan for taking the Senate as Pennsylvania trends away from Republicans, distanced herself from McConnell and Senate Republicans. “The decision to block the PACT Act was unnecessary partisan maneuvering,” Smiley tweeted Friday. “Congress needs to pass this before the Aug recess. Veterans deserve and have EARNED this care. I will always fight for veterans – even when it means taking on my own party!”

6. ENDORSEMENT WATCH: Trump officially backed TUDOR DIXON in the Michigan GOP gubernatorial primary, a shot in the arm for a campaign that was already starting to look like a frontrunner in the latest polling, per the Detroit Free Press. The endorsement followed a handwritten letter his former Education Secretary BETSY DEVOS sent him encouraging him to support Dixon, per NYT’s Nick Corasaniti and Reid Epstein: “I hear that some have implied that my family and I are working against you in Michigan … That is fake news. Those telling you that are doing so for their own personal gain.” DeVos’ note

7. VP FILES: “As Harris touts abortion rights, backers hope she finally hits her stride,” by WaPo’s Cleve Wootson Jr.: “The political challenge for Harris, however, is that she is hardly the only ambitious Democrat to seize on the abortion issue. … For advisers and others close to Harris, her increased time in TV studios and her ballooning travel schedule are a welcome sign after a first year that they say featured too much time in Washington during the coronavirus pandemic, and not enough time in the public eye.”

8. BLINKEN RESISTIN’: Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN is fending off entreaties from many corners (Democrats, Republicans, Ukrainians) to add Russia to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, NYT’s Michael Crowley and Edward Wong report. Such a decision “could force him to sanction U.S. allies that do business with Russia and might snuff out the remaining vestiges of diplomacy between Washington and Moscow.” But Congress may yet force Blinken to do so anyway.

Speaking of U.S.-Russia diplomacy: Russia has asked for convicted murderer VADIM KRASIKOV to be released along with convicted arms trafficker VIKTOR BOUT in a hostage swap to bring BRITTNEY GRINER and PAUL WHELAN home, CNN’s Natasha Bertrand and Frederik Pleitgen scooped.

9. IMMIGRATION FILES: The Supreme Court allowed the Biden administration to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, in a rare SCOTUS win for liberals. But Biden officials are split over whether to wind it down entirely, as some top NSC staffers worry that doing so could attract more migrants and affect negotiations with Mexico, WSJ’s Michelle Hackman reports. That pits the NSC against leaders across DHS, “who are rarely in lockstep on immigration matters” but “all view the program as too costly and time consuming.”

CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 15 keepers

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:

“Inside Mayor Slayer Naomi Seligman’s Relentless Stand Against Eric Garcetti,” by Los Angeles Magazine’s Jason McGahan: “Does Eric Garcetti’s former communications director’s story of the L.A. mayor covering up a culture of sexual battery inside City Hall hold water?”

“MBS: despot in the desert,” by Nicolas Pelham in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine: “A volatile millennial wields absolute power in Saudi Arabia. What will he do next?”

“Jim Clyburn’s Long Quest for Black Political Power,” by Time’s Molly Ball in Columbia, S.C.: “From poverty relief to funding for historically Black colleges to rural broadband, he’s the source of many significant policy achievements, but he is more often found behind the scenes than on the dais. This quality as much as anything has put him at odds with today’s left.”

“The Education of Duke’s Eric Greitens,” by Katie Jane Fernelius and Carly Stern in The Assembly: “An ambitious student from St. Louis left a mark at Duke University before becoming governor of Missouri and resigning amid scandal. As Eric Greitens attempts a comeback, people who thought they knew him wonder who he really is.”

“Eric Greitens’ lost chapter: Inside his disappearance from public life before Senate run,” by The Kansas City Star’s Daniel Desrochers: “[I]f Greitens learned any lessons in his time out of the public eye, it appears he learned just one — deny. Deny forcefully.”

“Disaster at 18,200 feet,” by Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis: “The story of what really happened when a mountaineer fell 1,000 feet while summiting North America’s tallest peak, Denali.”

“Inside McDonald’s months-long decision to sell all 853 stores in Russia—and lose a significant chunk of global revenue with them,” by Fortune’s Geoff Colvin

“Glen McCurley Strangled Carla Walker in 1974. Was She His Only Victim?” by Texas Monthly’s Skip Hollandsworth: “McCurley was living a quiet life in Fort Worth when new DNA evidence linked him to the notorious crime. Police suspect it wasn’t his first murder—or his last.”

“Yes, Social Media Really Is Undermining Democracy,” by Jonathan Haidt in The Atlantic: “Despite what Meta has to say.”

“Backlash: The Counter-Revolutions Driving Politics & Policy,” by Bruce Mehlman

Patrick Leahy is out of rehab following hip surgery and will get back to the Senate next week.

Kate Bedingfield changed her mind and decided to stay on as White House comms director.

Chris Coons encountered a giant watermelon.

Melania Trump and Tham Kannalikham’s redesign of the White House’s private quarters is finally coming into public view: “there was a whole lot of swagging, fringing and gilding going on upstairs,” per WaPo.

Jeff Sessions told Jared Kushner regarding criminal justice reform, “Jared, it’s very simple. If the boy does the crime, you’ve got to lock him up,” according to Kushner’s new book.

Alex Jones’ company filed for bankruptcy.

SPOTTED: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson at opening night of “American Prophet,” a new musical about Frederick Douglass, at Arena Stage.

NEW NOMINEES — The White House announced several new nominations, including Kathleen FitzGibbon as ambassador to Niger, Casey Arrowood as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Henry Leventis as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Kevin Ritz as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and Bill Hart as U.S. marshal for New Hampshire.

TRANSITIONS — The ACLU is adding qainat Khan as a comms strategist focusing on criminal justice and Ricardo Mimbela as a comms strategist. Khan previously was at the ACLU of Maine. Mimbela previously was global comms manager at the Guttmacher Institute.

BIRTHWEEK (was Wednesday): Seth Waugh of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

HAPPY BIRTHDAY:Arnold Schwarzenegger … WaPo’s Shane Harris … DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) … Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) … NYT’s Jim RutenbergMichael GlassnerMario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund … Rebecca KutlerMichelle Bernard … POLITICO’s Teresa Wiltz and Tyler WeyantJonathan Kanter … Education Week’s Lauraine Langreo Brad JenkinsHeidi Crebo-RedikerGlen ChambersSuzanne Nossel of PEN America … Meredith SimpsonMark Beatty of Google … Jonathan Spalter of USTelecom … Maggie CutrellBob Bissen of the National Head Start Association … Candace Randle PersonAlex Parker of Capitol Counsel … Kana Smith … MSNBC’s Isaac-Davy AronsonEmily BarsonDave Kochel Michael Short Anita Hill … former CFTC Chair Tim Massad Tony Maciulis Bill O’Leary of Heidrick & Struggles … Micah Stockett … former Reps. Quico Canseco (R-Texas), Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) and Wendell Bailey (R-Mo.) … Garry MalphrusBen Marter of API … Sintia Radu Eleanor Smeal Carolyn Freeman of Stand Up America … American Conservation Coalition’s Quill Robinson … Herald Group’s Cameron Smith

THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):

CNN “State of the Union”: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) … VA Secretary Denis McDonough … Australian PM Anthony Albanese. Panel: Karen Finney, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Abdul El-Sayed and David Urban.

FOX “Fox News Sunday,” guest-anchored by Bret Baier: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Tudor Dixon. Panel: Guy Benson, Catherine Lucey, Gillian Turner and Marie Harf.

MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Devlin Barrett … Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) … Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes … Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) … Ruth Ben-Ghiat … Nan Whaley … Joan Walsh … National Economic Council Director Brian Deese.

ABC “This Week”: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) … Arizona state House Speaker Rusty Bowers. Panel: Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), Jane Coaston, Frank Luntz and Susan Page.

CBS “Face the Nation”: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) … Neel Kashkari … Anthony Salvanto introducing the midterms battleground tracker. Panel: Robert Costa, Asma Khalid, Jonathan Martin and Ramesh Ponnuru.

NBC “Meet the Press”: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) … Vaughn Hillyard, Yamiche Alcindor and Dasha Burns … Pete Williams. Panel: Carlos Curbelo, Adrienne Elrod, Jonathan Lemire and Kristen Welker.

CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Jonathan Martin, MJ Lee, Seung Min Kim, John Bresnahan and Katelyn Polantz.

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Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] or text us at 202-556-3307. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike Zapler, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Setota Hailemariam and Bethany Irvine.

Correction: Friday’s Playbook misidentified the Colorado town where this week’s Deep Dive episode took place. It is Littleton.





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