BREAKING … BLOOMBERG: “Merkel to Give Up CDU Party Leadership in Dramatic Move”
Good Monday morning from PHILADELPHIA, where we’ll sit down for a live interview with two members of the Pennsylvania delegation this morning: Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle and Republican Rep. Ryan Costello. The Keystone State is always competitive, but this year, the politics have been complicated by a mid-cycle court-forced redistricting, which stripped Republicans of their electoral advantage.
WOMEN are going to be part of the delegation for the first time since 2015. And, as WaPo’s Colby Itkowitz points out in a piece in today’s paper from Lansdale, Pa., even Republican lawmakers who have spurned President Donald Trump are in trouble. The WaPo piece about Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick … Livestream starts at 8:45 a.m. #PlaybookElections
THE BOSTON RED SOX are the 2018 World Series champions. BOSTON GLOBE FRONT PAGE: “ONE FOR THE AGES” The Globe
8 DAYS until ELECTION DAY.
THE BIG PICTURE … NYT’S PETER BAKER and MAGGIE HABERMAN: “For Trump, Dutiful Words of Grief, Then Off to the Next Fight”: “For months, Republican officials have complained privately that President Trump lacks the ability to confront moments of crisis with moral clarity, choosing to inflame the divisions that have torn the country apart rather than try to bring it together. It took the importuning of his Jewish daughter and son-in-law to craft a powerful statement of outrage at anti-Semitism after Saturday’s slaughter at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Then Mr. Trump went back into partisan mode, assailing his enemies. By the evening’s end he was tweeting about baseball, and on Sunday he went after another foe. … Inside the White House, advisers veer between resolve, resignation and resentment — struggling to get Mr. Trump to do and say what a typical president might, frustrated that he does not always heed their guidance and bitter that his critics are piling on. Sometimes they take it upon themselves to do what he will not.
“Two White House officials, Jason Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, traveled to Pittsburgh on Saturday a few hours after the shooting, and were still there on Sunday. Urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, the president made plans to travel to Pittsburgh this week.” NYT
— “Trump, hours after preaching unity, ridicules Democratic bomb target,” by Quint Forgey: “Hours after calling for a more civil national discourse in the wake of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, President Donald Trump on Sunday ridiculed one of the targets of a spate of pipe bombs sent to high-profile members of the Democratic Party last week. …
“‘Just watched Wacky Tom Steyer, who I have not seen in action before, be interviewed by @jaketapper,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘He comes off as a crazed & stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon. As bad as their field is, if he is running for President, the Dems will eat him alive!’” POLITICO
MORE FROM THE TRAGEDY IN PITTSBURGH … “The lives lost in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting” — WaPo: “They were the synagogue’s most faithful. Two brothers who’d walked to services each week since boyhood and now, in their 50s, handed out hugs and hellos at Tree of Life’s front entrance. The local doctor who helped set up Dor Hadash’s weekly meetings and led its Torah studies. An 88-year-old retired accountant known to attend New Light Congregation’s services each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When the gunman entered on Saturday, his bullets found members of each of the three congregations that shared this space in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. …
“Those slain were Tree of Life’s beating heart, as much fixtures of this synagogue as the fading pews. Rose Mallinger, 97, was said to have barely missed a service in decades, for years volunteering to prepare breakfast for her fellow congregants. Joyce Fienberg, 75, enthusiastically took turns as the front-door greeter. Irving Younger, 69, sat in the back and handed out prayer books to those sneaking in late.” WaPo
— AP: “‘I’m barely breathing’: Synagogue survivor recounts terror,” by Maryclaire Dale, Claudia Lauer and Allen Breed
— “Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Suspect Was ‘Pretty Much a Ghost,’” by NYT’s Trip Gabriel, Jack Healy and Julie Turkewitz: “Robert Bowers, the man accused of gunning down 11 congregants in a virulently anti-Semitic rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue, was an isolated, awkward man who lived alone and struggled with basic human interactions, neighbors and others who knew him said on Sunday.
“‘He was in his own little world,’ said Jim Brinsky, 46, a friend from childhood. Mr. Brinsky said he and Mr. Bowers, 46, grew up together but that he never met Mr. Bowers’s parents and got the impression that Mr. Bowers had a difficult home life. As teenagers, he said they built pipe bombs and blew up watermelons and trees as pranks. …
“‘He was pretty much a ghost,’ Mr. Brinsky said. His next-door neighbors also described him as a man who was barely there. In the shabby one-bedroom ground-floor apartment where he had lived for about a year and a half, Mr. Bowers made such an insubstantial impression on his next-door neighbor, Kerri Owens, that she forgot his name soon after he introduced himself. Mr. Bowers said he worked as a truck driver and needed the apartment primarily to store his stuff, Ms. Owens said.” NYT
— “‘I’m Here Filled With Rage in My Heart!’” by Washingtonian’s Ben Wofford: “Washington DC has grown to host the third largest population of Jews in America, including the headquarters of HIAS, the Jewish refugee organization targeted in Pittsburgh. Across Washington, synagogue congregations are grappling with how to process the worst massacre of Jews in American history. ‘I have to teach Hebrew School at 9 AM,’ Jackson Pincus told me, at a vigil in front of The White House. ‘And I have to figure out how to explain this to a bunch of sixth graders.’” Washingtonian
KNOWING BRAD PARSCALE — NYT’s MAGGIE HABERMAN, “Selling Donald Trump: A First-Time Campaign Manager Tries to Defy the Doubters”: “‘The most amazing thing I’ve done is kept everybody from attacking each other,’ said Mr. Parscale, a garrulous man who exudes nervous energy. ‘I’m the cog in the middle that makes it all turn together. And if you pull me out, a lot of other cogs start to fall.’ …
“A recent photo he posted on Twitter of himself with Eric Trump aboard a private plane, flashing a gold watch, drew widespread scorn; Mr. Parscale said he was simply having fun with a friend, and wearing a watch that he had inherited from his father.
“Several prominent Republicans and some of Mr. Parscale’s former colleagues on the 2016 race — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal — suggested that he might face strong headwinds atop the campaign, given his own inexperience and the desire among political professionals and some of his own colleagues to see him fail. … Chris Carr, the former party committee political director, will be political director for the campaign. Katrina Pierson, a longtime Trump political aide, and Andy Surabian, a former campaign aide who then worked in the White House, have been hired as advisers.
“Justin Clark, who was the 2016 deputy political director, and Bill Stepien, who was the national field director, are expected to leave the White House and join the campaign in some capacity. Mr. Clark now leads the Office of Public Liaison, and Mr. Stepien is the White House political director. …
“This time around, the resources will be structured from the start, with communications and digital operations housed at the campaign, in Arlington, Va., and the political, fund-raising and data operations at the party committee headquarters.” NYT
— PARSCALE will be on “CBS This Morning” at 8:30 this morning.
AVENATTI ON THE TRAIL … via Caitlin Emma: “‘We are the party of Davids,’ while Trump and Republicans represent Goliath, Avenatti said. ‘Davids are women, Davids are black, Davids speak Spanish,’ he said, building on his Biblical reference. ‘We cannot afford to show up to the fight without a slingshot.’” POLITICO
— NATASHA KORECKI in Los Angeles: “Avenatti quietly builds 2020 machine”
2018 WATCH — NATIONAL JOURNAL’S ALLY MUTNICK in Dallas: “Pete Sessions’s Suburban Survival Playbook”: “Sessions playbook: Convince midterm swing voters to prioritize a longstanding allegiance to the Chamber-style fiscal conservatism embodied by George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan over their uneasiness with the demeanor of the party’s current standard-bearer.
“‘I’m not on tape doing the things Donald Trump does,’ Sessions said in an interview. ‘Donald is very comfortable with who he is. I’m very comfortable with who I am. I talk about free enterprise everyday. Someone else doesn’t. I’m a Chamber Guy.’” NJ
— WAPO’S GLENN KESSLER: “These Republicans are misleading voters about our Obamacare fact checks”
FT: “Brazilians elect Jair Bolsonaro in shift to the right,” by Joe Leahy in São Paulo and Andres Schipani in Rio de Janeiro: “Brazilian former army captain Jair Bolsonaro clinched victory in epochal presidential elections on Sunday, ushering in the first far-right administration in Latin America’s largest country since its military dictatorship ended more than three decades ago.
“Mr. Bolsonaro defeated Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party, or PT, with just over 55 per cent of valid votes compared to nearly 45 per cent, sparking celebrations and fireworks by thousands of supporters on the beach outside the president-elect’s house in Rio de Janeiro.
“‘We cannot continue to flirt with socialism, with communism and with populism and with the extreme left,’ Mr. Bolsonaro said in a speech broadcast on social media, after which he held a televised prayer session with supporters at his home. The vote was a referendum on Brazil’s corrupt political establishment, particularly the PT, which presided over the country’s worst recession in history and its biggest corruption scandal during its four terms in power.
“Once confined to the margins of Congress for his nostalgia for Brazil’s former military regime and his disparaging remarks towards women, gays and blacks, Mr. Bolsonaro rose through a social media campaign promising a government combining conservative social values with economic liberalism.” FT
— THE PRESIDENT spoke to Bolsonaro yesterday.
TRUMP’S MONDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule except getting an intel briefing in the morning.
ELIANA JOHNSON and DANIEL LIPPMAN, “9 hours of ‘Executive Time’: Trump’s unstructured days define his presidency”: “President Donald Trump had about three times as much free time planned for last Tuesday as work time, according to his private schedule. The president was slated for more than nine hours of ‘Executive Time,’ a euphemism for the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television. Official meetings, policy briefings and public appearances — traditionally the daily work of being president — consumed just over three hours of his day. …
“A review of a week’s worth of the president’s private detailed schedules, from Monday Oct. 22 through Friday Oct. 26, showed that the president enjoyed more free time on Tuesday than on any other day that week, but Tuesday’s agenda was hardly atypical. … Last week’s schedules are remarkably light on policy discussions. The president spent just over two hours of his week in policy briefings, according to his schedules, and he was scheduled to receive the President’s Daily Brief on just two of the five days reviewed.” POLITICO
COMING ATTRACTIONS — VP MIKE PENCE will join us TOMORROW, one week before Election Day — for a live Playbook Interview about policy, politics and the midterm elections. Sign up for the waitlist
POLITICO JOURNALISM INSTITUTE: POLITICO is now accepting applications for its 2019 session of PJI, a 10-day journalism training program with opportunities to publish on the POLITICO site. More than a dozen students are selected each year for this all-expenses-paid program, which is offered in partnership with American University and the Maynard Institute. At the conclusion of the program, two students from each class are invited back for a full-time paid internship in the POLITICO newsroom. Apply online now
TAKE THE PLAYBOOK ELECTION CHALLENGE — See if you can correctly pick the winning candidates in some of the most competitive House, Senate and gubernatorial races in the country. Sign up today!
NYT’S KATE KELLY in Rockville: “Back at Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh Is Hailed as a Hero”: “At one point during the football game, Justice Kavanaugh prepared to pose for a picture with former classmates. First, though, he instructed everyone to put down their beers, according to a person who witnessed the exchange. (Justice Kavanaugh didn’t appear to be drinking.) … Justice Kavanaugh skipped the evening event — but his presence loomed large. Addressing the crowd, Georgetown Prep’s recently appointed president, the Rev. James R. Van Dyke, noted how the firestorm around the nomination had united the Class of 1983 and the entire school. …
“[H]is voice was drowned out by a chorus of whooping and cheering, as the crowd screamed some of those names: ‘Squi!’ ‘P.J.!’ … By 10:30 p.m., as the restaurant prepared for last call, the event’s organizers ordered a final round of drinks. Half an hour later, two attendees walked into the parking lot. ‘That,’ one of the men shouted, ‘was a great party.’” NYT
DEEP DIVE — NBC’S JOSH LEDERMAN: “Evacuated after ‘health attacks’ in Cuba and China, diplomats face new ordeals in U.S.”
HMM — “House majority leader deletes tweet saying Soros, Bloomberg, Steyer are trying to ‘buy’ election,” by CNN’s Devan Cole: “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted and later deleted a tweet last week that suggested three Jewish, billionaire Democratic donors were attempting to ‘buy’ the 2018 midterm elections. ‘We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA,’ McCarthy wrote in the tweet posted Tuesday and deleted a day later, a reference to top donors to Democratic causes George Soros and Tom Steyer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” CNN
MEDIAWATCH — “Fox condemns rhetoric used by Lou Dobbs guest as channel’s star host faces growing criticism,” by CNN’s Oliver Darcy: “On Sunday, the network’s senior vice president for programming, Gary Schreier, released a statement denouncing what many people called an anti-Semitic trope used by a guest on Dobbs’ show earlier in the week. … ‘We condemn the rhetoric by the guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ Schreier said in a short statement. …
“The comment in question was made by Chris Farrell, a board member of the right-wing organization Judicial Watch, during Thursday night’s episode of Dobbs’ show. During a segment about the caravan of migrants moving toward the U.S.’ southern border, Farrell called the State Department ‘Soros-occupied’ territory, referring to billionaire and liberal philanthropist George Soros, one of the targets of mail bombs discovered earlier this week.” CNN
— N.Y. MAGAZINE: “The Skimm Brains: Seven million people wake up to their newsletter, and their voice, every morning,” by Noreen Malone
SPOTTED: Actor Max Greenfield at Peacock Cafe in Georgetown … Nikki Haley sitting in first class on an American Airlines flight from Columbia, S.C., to DCA. She had headphones in and was looking at her phone, a tipster told us.
SPOTTED: Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey playing a game of tennis with Rod Laver and Fred Stolle during an event at his residence, White Oaks, unveiling the only grass tennis court in Washington. Also spotted: Steve Elmendorf, Steve Haro, Mick Mulvaney, Kaitlan Collins, Cliff Sims, Lamar Smith, Kathy Kemper, Toni Bush, Chris and Renee Liddell, R. David Edelman and Jo Ke Edelman and Suzanne Spaulding.
ENGAGED — Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter at the Guardian, got engaged to Ali Jafri, a senior research analyst with NSI, a government contractor. The couple met on Bumble in October 2016, and he proposed on the two-year anniversary of their first date. Instapics
WEEKEND WEDDING — Victoria Hartman, senior strategic account manager for POLITICO Pro, married Paul Blair, director for strategic initiatives at Americans for Tax Reform. The couple wed at the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Va. Pic … Pic of Team POLITICO
KASIE DC paid tribute to TYRONE GAYLE. 1:02 video
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Nelson Cunningham, president and co-founder of McLarty Associates. How he got his start in politics: “In the summer of 1984 I moved to Boston and walked into the very shabby campaign HQ for John Kerry’s Senate run and was hired as an issue staffer. Ten years later, those connections led me to Washington and to Chairman Joe Biden’s staff on Senate Judiciary, where I was general counsel.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Tony Sayegh, assistant secretary for public affairs at Treasury (hat tip: Heather Nauert) … Jim Messina is 49 … David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, is 6-0 … Bob Stevenson … New York Daily News’ Robert George … former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is 8-0 … Connie Mack III is 78 … Jamie McIntyre of the Washington Examiner … Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) is 66 … Geoff Turley … Kerry Hannon (h/ts Jon Haber) … Andy Weitz, Aon’s chief marketing officer … POLITICO’s Steve Heuser, Nick Yaeger and Safi Majid … Dirk Kempthorne, former secretary of the Interior, is 67 … CNN’s Laura Jarrett (h/t Rachel Adler) … WaPo White House editor Dave Clarke … WSJ editorial writer Kate Bachelder Odell … Isabelle James … Mike Saccone … Deloitte’s Jon Pool (h/t Ryan Walters) …
… Kate Bedingfield, VP of comms at Monumental Sports & Entertainment … Washingtonian’s Mimi Montgomery … Max Yoeli (h/t Alex Halpern Levy) … Leigh Helfenbein (hubby tip: David) … Susan Mercandetti (h/t Tammy Haddad) … Daisy Letendre, senior adviser for policy and strategic communications in the office of policy at EPA (h/ts Samantha Dravis and Kristina Baum) … Sonia Colin-Reed … Diana D’Abruzzo … Peter Albrecht, VP at DSPolitical … Gary Gould … Nick Powell … Michael Slaby … Turkey turns 95 on its Republic Day … DCCC’s Noah Dion (h/t Morgan Finkelstein) … Jeff Hillery … Yangyang Cheng … Bill Jaffee … Aaron Jacobs, comms director for Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) … WSJ’s Samantha Zeldin … Lily Caroline Dorton … Kerry Hannon … Thompson Warren … Mark Olingy … Rachel Barinbaum … Ruth Vilmain … Steve Lynch … Sophie Bauer (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)