A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- The House returned to Washington this week, while the Senate will be back in session next week. Yesterday, the House approved a bill to repeal much of “Obamacare” and defund Planned Parenthood for a year on a 240-181 vote. Three Republicans voted against the bill, while Congressman Collin Peterson (MN) was the only Democrat to vote for it. The measure passed the Senate in December, and the White House has threatened to veto it.
- On Tuesday, President Obama announced new executive actions on gun control. One of the key provisions would require any business selling a firearm to be licensed and conduct a background check. The president’s unilateral plan also calls for advancements in gun safety technology and proposes increased mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system. Critics from mental health professionals to law enforcement and civil rights advocates are concerned about the potential overreach with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) saying that the executive actions “amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”
- Two senior House Democrats announced this week that they will not be seeking reelection. Congressman Jim McDermott (WA), who has served 14 terms, and Congressman Steve Israel (NY) who has served eight terms, both announced their retirements.
- Hillary Clinton's emails are back in the news with revelations that two years before we learned President Obama's former secretary of state was using a private email and home server to exclusively conduct all official state business, the State Department gave an “inaccurate and incomplete” response about her email use when it told an outside group that it had no documents about Clinton's emails account beyond her government address. This is according to a State Department's inspector general report to be released today. The report found the incomplete statements came even though Clinton's chief of staff knew about the private email account and was aware of the inquiry. The Clinton campaign says the report found no sign Clinton's chief staffer reviewed the record response and did "absolutely nothing wrong." The IG review also found that State Department agency staffers had not searched Clinton's office for emails.
Back With Bush
Over the holidays, South Carolina Senator and David Wilkins' close bud, Lindsey Graham, dropped his bid for US president. Savvy Carolina-Canada Connections readers know that South Carolina is an early GOP primary state, and the first state to vote in the South in the presidential sweepstakes every four years, which gives the Palmetto State an outsized role in picking the US prez.
So a lot of to do was made by the media on Lindsey leaving and who he and his supporters would now be getting behind heading into the all-important South Carolina Republican Primary on February 20, 2016.
Here are some excerpts on the presidential chess playing from a December 31 Bloomberg report under the headline, "Republicans Scramble to Pick Up Graham's Supporters in South Carolina":
…“Senator Graham's departure frees up grassroots activists, political operative and donors,” said Matt Moore, the state Republican chairman. “Those people are especially important in a state like South Carolina. It's a very close-knit state where everyone knows each other.”
Now that their state's favorite-son candidate is out of the race, South Carolina's Republican establishment is scrambling to restore its “firewall” status in the Republican nominating contest.
With the Iowa caucuses typically favoring more hard-line conservatives, and New Hampshire often leaning toward more moderate, pro-business Republicans, South Carolina views itself as most representative among the early-voting states. There is an active base of evangelical voters in the northwest section of the state near Bob Jones University; pockets of wealth in the suburbs south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and along the Atlantic Coast; and an influential military presence with a swath of bases in the central and southern areas of the state.
Since 1980, when legendary Republican operative Lee Atwater helped establish South Carolina's first-in-the-south status, the winner of the state's primary went on to become the eventual nominee every time, except once. The outlier was the last contest, in 2012, when a pair of break-out debate performances just before the primary lifted Newt Gingrich to the top in South Carolina.
But South Carolina is also a hotbed of the Tea Party insurgency, a factor that could be decisive this year. Trump, for example, continues to dominate polls in the state despite repeated criticism from Graham, but about half of Republican voters in South Carolina are still persuadable, said Katon Dawson, a former state Republican chairman who hasn't chosen a candidate since former Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out.
“The race if fluid, and it will remain fluid all the way to South Carolina,” Dawson said…
Glenn McCall, South Carolina's Republican national committeeman, said Trump may be too far ahead in the state for anyone to catch…
Even so, Bush and Rubio are both planning right to make their case on the airwaves…
Bush has moved quickly to sign up Graham supporters, claiming a total of 18 of the senator's backers by Wednesday. Those include veterans of the campaigns of his brother and father, the last two Republican presidents, who never lost a primary in South Carolina…
“It's way too early to write him off,” said David Wilkins, a former South Carolina House speaker and influential fundraiser.
Wilkins, a national finance chairman of Graham's campaign, is now backing Bush, whom he first met while campaigning in 1999 for George W. Bush. “He’s got ample time to build back and come back,” Wilkins said. “I’m proud to support him, and I’m somewhat optimistic about his chances.”…
Won Not Done!
Well, well, well. We're almost there boys and girls!
After all these years of relentless bloviating about his Clemson Tigers being great and all – Wilkins' beloved football team is like, for real, ONE game away from winning the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP title.
And if they win, they'd be the first college football team ever to go 15-0 in one season. Pretty big time!
As it stands now, the Clemson Tigers are the only undefeated football team in the country with a perfect14-0 record on the season (17 wins in a row, for those of you keeping score at home) and have been ranked #1 in the country for weeks. Clemson has also won four consecutive bowl games.
That fourth win came just last week – on New Year's Eve in the Orange Bowl – when the Tigers stomped all over the heavily favored to win University of Oklahoma Sooners. (Editor's note: The final score was 37-17 and we have to say the victory was so much sweeter because everyone at doggone ESPN including the dudes who check the mics and turn on the lights were loudly and incessantly predicting that Oklahoma was going to run all over Clemson despite the fact the Tigers entered the game undefeated, ranked top in the country, and um, beat the tar out of the same team in the same bowl game last year, 40-6, just sayin'. Ah, that feels good to get that rant off our backs.)
Anyway, of course, your former US ambassador was in Miami for all the orangey-fun. And you know he hit the Sun Life Stadium field in steamy Miami as soon as the game was over to celebrate with the team, fellow Clemson officials, and an assortment of other crazed Clemson fans soaking wet in Gatorade (Coach Dabo Swinney) or just sweat (the rest of 'em!)
Clemson orange is red-hot in Miami! David Wilkins celebrates the big bowl win with Clemson President Jim Clements, Coach Dabo Swinney and other university trustees.
The National Championship game happens this Monday, January 11 against Alabama. The matchup will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Kickoff is at 8:30 pm EST on ESPN.
And yes, David and Susan Wilkins head out to Arizona on Sunday morning. Stay tuned…
They Said What?
- "...nine times during the debate, the Democrat debate, Hillary called me sexist, that I had an inclination. What does she know about me? I had an inclination. When she said that, I said, well, your husband’s now campaigning, it’s open season...So, all I did was, you know, recite history. Don’t forget, don’t forget," – GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump regarding former President Bill Clinton's record with women on MSNBC after Hillary Clinton claimed Trump demonstrates a "penchant for sexism."
- "Listen, background checks wouldn't have saved the lives of those kids in Sandy Hook, but those families are dedicated to trying to save other lives in places like Chicago or Bridgeport or New York, and this executive action if he goes through with it will lead to less slaughter in the streets of America," – Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports regarding Obama's executive actions on gun control.
- “I was affected by it, but I thought we should’ve had the same kind of reaction when James Foley was beheaded, when San Bernardino and Paris occurred. That’s the kind of reaction I had when those occurred," – US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) when asked if he was impacted by Obama's tears during his gun control news conference.
- "Well, I can tell you what I am. I am a progressive Democrat," – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews who pressed her on explaining the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat.
- "That’d mean we’re the best ever. That’s what it’d mean. Who’s gonna argue with that?" – Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney when asked this week about the National Championship game against Alabama and the prospect of the Tigers being the first 15-0 football team.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.