With help from Eli Okun, Garrett Ross and Bethany Irvine
HALEY’S COMEOUT— NIKKI HALEY is officially having a moment. Magazine profiles are sprouting. Conservative opinion columnists are apologizing for underestimating her. Wealthy anti-Trump donors are circling her.
And now even Biden world, which on most days seems anxious for the devil-they-know campaign of a Biden-Trump rematch, is attacking Haley with ferocity.
On Friday, Haley stepped into the glue trap of abortion politics that she has assiduously tried to avoid.
Asked by Iowa evangelical power broker BOB VANDER PLAATS whether she would sign a six-week abortion ban if she were still governor of South Carolina, Haley said yes.
She was quick to frame her assent in terms of federalism — that states will decide the issue and it doesn’t mean she supports a federal six-week ban. Her position is that as president she would find “consensus” first before pushing national legislation.
But in South Carolina, which has one of the most conservative GOP electorates in the country, she was much further to the right. As the AP recently summarized, Haley, who “often clashed with members of her party because she labeled them insufficiently conservative” on abortion,
- “co-sponsored legislation in 2009 mandating a 24-hour waiting period between a woman’s abortion consultation and the procedure itself”
- “voted to end abortion coverage for victims of rape and incest in the state health plan for employees”
- “signed the most conservative abortion bill South Carolina Republicans were able to pass through both chambers at the time,” and the law did not include exceptions for rape and incest.
When Haley was baited into answering Vander Plaats’s hypothetical, the Biden-Harris campaign wasted no time reminding everyone of the mismatch between Haley’s views on abortion as a South Carolina politician and a presidential candidate:
“Nikki Haley is no moderate — she’s an anti-abortion MAGA extremist who wants to rip away women’s freedoms just like she did when she was South Carolina governor. Now Haley is promising to bring that same fear, anxiety, and dread she forced on South Carolina women to every woman in the country. Whether it’s DONALD TRUMP, Nikki Haley, or any other MAGA extremist – the entire field is running on a dangerous anti-freedom agenda that the American people have made clear they do not want.”
Trump is likely to be the GOP nominee. (Duh.) But there’s certainly a non-zero possibility he could falter and be defeated. As the GOP field continues to winnow, Haley’s chances are starting to seem better than the candidates she has steadily caught up with or surpassed in state polls: CHRIS CHRISTIE (his negatives are too high among Republicans), VIVEK RAMASWAMY (why back Trump’s amateur understudy when the star is available?), RON DESANTIS (he could get another look when voters finally focus in January, but he blew his debut).
The WSJ this morning says the donor class, which admittedly has a terrible record this cycle, is eyeing Haley. The Journal name checks outgoing Morgan Stanley CEO JAMES GORMAN, JPMorgan Chase’s JAMIE DIMON, BlackRock’s STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN and LARRY FINK, GOP mega donor and Citadel founder KEN GRIFFIN. “If she passes DeSantis, she’s the backup,” a “financier who supports her” told the paper, adding “it’s not completely crazy that she could ultimately win.”
THEY’RE ALL JAKE PAUL NOW — Our Alex Keeney and Krystal Campos are out with an interesting video analyzing how Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign is leading the GOP primary pack in adopting an “influencer playbook” to win over voters through online content. Ramaswamy, according to campaign CEO BEN YOHO, is “the reels president” who posts videos of his day-to-day life — including playing tennis shirtless and rapping an Eminem song onstage. It’s an attempt to find a new way to reach small-dollar donors as the power of email and text solicitations fades.
At the White House
Biden and VP KAMALA HARRIS have no events on their public schedules.
9 THINGS THAT STUCK WITH US
1. THE GREAT MESSAGING DIVIDE: Copies of two separate White House letters illustrate how Biden is crafting different messages for pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel Americans on the conflict in the Middle East, NBC News’ Jonathan Allen, Alex Seitz-Wald and Emma Barnett scoop this morning.Though the letters, which are form responses auto-signed with Biden’s signature, do not contradict one another, it’s uncommon for the White House to “craft versions of a letter on the same topic that diverge so dramatically in their emphasis.”
More details: “The form response sent to people who back Israel … invokes the Holocaust in relationship to the Oct. 7 terrorist assault by Hamas, pledges ongoing support to Israel and promises to prioritize the return of hostages. … But the mirror-image response to pro-Palestinian letter-writers makes no mention of evil, of the Holocaust or of American support for Israel. Instead, it focuses on providing aid to Palestinians.”
More messaging concerns … Eric Bazail-Eimil is up with a look at five distinct times Biden’s impromptu comments on foreign policy matters have landed him in “diplomatic hot water.”
2. SPEAKING OF HOT WATER: Latino groups and Democratic backlash continues to grow in response to Univision’s interview with Donald Trump this month. It includes an upcoming letter from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “calling on Univision executives to meet with its chair, Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif,” The Messenger’s Adrian Carrasquillo reports: “Latino leaders from some of the top national groups in the nation also signed onto a letter … [which] states that the confidence bestowed on Univision is built on the understanding that the network is committed to telling the real story about Hispanics in the U.S. while speaking truth to power, and adhering to the highest journalistic standards.”
3. WHAT’S IN A NAME: “Hunter Biden’s career of benefiting from his father’s name,” by WaPo’s Matt Viser: “Over the years, HUNTER [BIDEN’s] relationship with his own last name has been complex and even tortured. He has been proud of it, relied on it, benefited from it. But it has also invited burdens and scrutiny. And while his business life has been closely bound up with his father’s world, he has at times been protective of the Biden name and shied away from taking advantage too directly.”
4. SURVEY SAYS: As Democrats fret over the potential launch of a third party candidate from No Labels ahead of the 2024 election, the AP’s Jonathan Cooper reports that the political group has surveyed the idea of requiring a $100 donation to cast a ballot at its upcoming nominating convention: “The idea, which breaks from long standing norms, would raise a significant hurdle to participating in the democratic process — in this case No Labels’ selection of its potential candidates for president and vice president. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties charge to vote at their conventions, where delegates vote for candidates chosen by voters through primaries or caucuses.
5. ON THE DOCKET: In a ruling yesterday evening, a Colorado judge rejected an effort from a liberal watchdog group to disqualify Trump from the 2024 election ballot under a 14th amendment interpretation that he “engaged in an insurrection” on Jan. 6, Zach Montellaro, Erica Orden and Kyle Cheney report: “The ruling came in a case brought by progressive activists who sued the state, arguing that Trump was barred from returning to the office. A handful of courts in other states turned away similar challenges. …. Many legal experts say the question of Trump’s eligibility may ultimately need to be answered by the Supreme Court.”
6. RELEASE THE TAPES: House Speaker Mike Johnson has started to make public some of the footage from the Jan. 6 insurrection. In a post on X Friday, he said he was fulfilling his promise when running for Speaker to “make accessible to the American people the 44,000 hours of video,” WSJ’s Siobhan Hughes reports: The video is available on the GOP-led Committee on House Administration’s website, as well as through in-person appointments … Democrats blasted Republicans over the release, saying that the disclosures undermined the country and the safety of people working on Capitol Hill.”
7. MUSK READ: “Advertisers Flee X as Outcry Over Musk’s Endorsement of Antisemitic Post Grows,” by NYT’s Ryan Mac, Brooks Barnes and Tiffany Hsu: “The blowback over ELON MUSK’S endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X gathered steam on Friday, as several major advertisers on his social media platform cut off their spending after his comments.
Disney said it was pausing spending on X, as did Lionsgate, the entertainment and film distribution company, and Paramount Global, the media giant that owns CBS. Apple, which spends tens of millions of dollars a year on X, also suspended advertising on the platform.”
8. AI ON THE BRAIN: “ChatGPT-maker OpenAI fires CEO Sam Altman, the face of the AI boom,” by AP’s Matt O’Brien: “ChatGPT-maker Open AI said Friday it has pushed out its co-founder and CEO SAM ALTMAN after a review found he was ‘not consistently candid in his communications’ .. OpenAI declined to answer questions on what Altman’s alleged lack of candor was about. The statement said his behavior was hindering the board’s ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
9. WATCH THIS SPACE: “Multiple congressional offices hit with pro-Palestinian vandalism,” by Axios’ Andrew Solender: Three members of Congress had their district offices vandalized with pro-Palestinian graffiti in just over a week amid an uptick in threats and disruptive protests. … A staffer for Rep. DAN GOLDMAN (D-N.Y.) discovered the congressman’s New York City office had been defaced with pro-Palestinian slogans including ‘BLOOD ON UR HANDS’ on Friday morning. … The incident comes after Sen. MARTIN HEINRICH’S (D-N.M.) office was similarly defaced on Tuesday.”
CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 15 funnies
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:
— “Redefining Success in Ukraine,” by Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan for Foreign Affairs Magazine: “A new strategy must balance means and ends.”
— “The Centrists Cannot Hold,” by NY Mag’s Shawn McCreesh
— “The law that changed religious freedom forever,” by Kelsey Dallas for Deseret News: “30 years ago, Democrats, Republicans and a wide variety of religious groups banded together to boost religious freedom protections.”
— “Terror On Repeat,” By WaPo’s Silvia Foster-Frau, N. Kirkpatrick and Arelis Hernández: A rare look at the devastation caused by AR-15 shootings.”
— “How an Indian startup hacked the world,” by Reuters’ Raphael Satter, Zeba Siddiqui and Chris Bing: “Appin was a leading Indian cyberespionage firm that few people even knew existed. A Reuters investigation found that the company grew from an educational startup to a hack-for-hire powerhouse that stole secrets from executives, politicians, military officials and wealthy elites around the globe.”
— “A Coder Considers the Waning Days of the Craft,” by James Somers for The New Yorker: “Coding has always felt to me like an endlessly deep and rich domain. Now I find myself wanting to write a eulogy for it.”
— “How David Zaslav Blew Up Hollywood,” by NYT Mag’s Jonathan Mahler, James Stewart and Benjamin Mullin: “A merger put him in the driver’s seat at Warner Brothers, one of the industry’s biggest studios. It has been a wild ride.”
— “Inside the $1.5-Trillion Nuclear Weapons Program You’ve Never Heard Of,” by Abe Streep for Scientific American: “A road trip through the communities shouldering the U.S.’s nuclear missile revival.”
— “The Naturalist,” by Edward Chancellor for The New York Review: “In a new biography, Friedrich Hayek emerges as a paradoxical figure: a passionate liberal whose most enthusiastic supporters have been conservative.”
OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at Belgium Ambassador Jean -Arthur Régibeau’s King’s Day Celebration on Friday with music by Suspicious Package: Switzerland Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud, Finland Ambassador Mikko Hautala, Luxembourg Ambassador Nicole Bintner-Bakshian, Spain Ambassador Santiago Cabanas, Kosovo Ambassador Ilir Dugolli, Slovak Ambassador Radovan Javorcik, Sonata Coulter, Christina Sevilla, Tim Burger, Josh Meyer, Tom Toles, Bryan Greene, Steve Rochlin, Raquel Krähenbühl, Tim Noviello, Matt Kaminski, Bruce Kieloch and Josh Dawsey.
TRANSITIONS — Jaclyn Gelfond is now senior adviser for the U.S. ambassador to Italy. She most recently was director of advance operations at the White House. … Rayhaan Merani is now executive director of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. He most recently was associate director of presidential scheduling at the White House. … Chris Treanor is now executive director for the Partnership to Address Global Emissions. He currently is senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. … Angela Chiappetta is now director of corporate affairs at Squared Communications. She most recently was SVP for business development at Direct Impact.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) … NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg … POLITICO’s Matt Wuerker, Hailey Fuchs, Brooke Sommers and Heidi Przybyla … WaPo’s Theo Meyer … Megyn Kelly … Dan Sadlosky of RTX … NBC’s Tom Namako and Morgan Radford … Paige Hutchinson of Rep. Colin Allred’s (D-Texas) office … Brian Forest of Arboreal Communications … Drew Brandewie of Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) office … DCCC’s Robert Dougherty … Ryan Caldwell of J.A. Green & Co. … Brannon Rains of the House Energy and Commerce GOP … Carrie Matthews … former Reps. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) … Abby Tinsley … Karen Dunn … Deirdre Schifeling … Adali Hernandez of the Trevor Project (3-0), celebrating in Italy … Amber Manko … Abigail Marone
THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):
ABC “This Week”: Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog … retired Adm. Mike Mullen … Juliette Touma … London Breed. Panel: Selina Wang, Dan Balz, Juana Summers and David Sanger.
NBC “Meet the Press”: Chris Christie … Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Panel: Helene Cooper, Carlos Curbelo, Stephanie Murphy and Ryan Nobles.
CBS “Face the Nation”: Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) … Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) … Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) … Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) … Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar.
FOX “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) … Mike Pompeo. Panel: Josh Kraushaar, Karl Rove, Tiffany Smiley and Juan Williams.
CNN “State of the Union”: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Panel: Scott Jennings, Ashley Allison, Alyssa Farah Griffin and Kate Bedingfield
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