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Bill and Hillary creep back into public life…

Bill and Hillary creep back into public life…

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DRIVING THE DAY

SENATE SKIPS TOWN — Just before 10 p.m. Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER ditched plans to keep the Senate in town through the weekend in order to meet an MLK Day deadline to pass voting rights legislation. He cited an expected snowstorm in D.C. on Sunday/Monday. The Senate will return Tuesday to take up voting rights and a potential rules change.

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A MISERABLE WEEKEND — At least for Democrats. President JOE BIDEN’s Thursday visit to the Senate yielded no movement from the two senators who matter, JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) and KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.). If anything, the two looked more dug in afterward. (They also met with Biden at the White House in the evening.) Burgess Everett, Marianne LeVine and Laura Barrón-López have a great inside-the-room account of Biden’s meeting with Senate Dems, and his exchange with Manchin in particular.

BOOKMARK IT — Zach Montellaro has a handy explainer on what’s in and out of the Dems’ latest voting rights mega-bill (clocking in at 735 pages!).

CAN THE CLINTONS CLAW BACK TO RELEVANCE? — With the Democratic Party on course for a devastating midterm election and party elder statesmen stepping in to help, people close to BILL and HILLARY CLINTON said the former first couple sees it as an opportunity to insert themselves back into political life.

The intra-party divisions have given them a chance to flex their centrist, dealmaking brand of politics as a way to move the party forward.

Bill Clinton has relished the opportunity to whip on behalf of the White House. In addition to pressing Manchin on the filibuster, Clinton suggested that he should salvage Build Back Better by zeroing in on the few elements the West Virginia senator really wants.

“I told Joe, ‘Break it up, pick one or two [pieces] you can swallow and then run on the rest,’” Clinton recalled of their phone call, a person with knowledge of the conversation told Playbook. The idea is drawing interest among party leadership.

Clinton also spoke with Sinema recently, according to one of the people familiar with the call, and said afterward, “I don’t know her, but I like her.”

At the same time, multiple people tell me and Daniel Lippman that the Clinton Global Initiative is strongly considering bringing back its annual star-studded confab scheduled around the U.N. General Assembly. Amid questions about conflicts of interest, CGI announced in 2016 that it would be holding its last annual conference.

The following year, Bill Clinton symbolically handed off the event to MIKE BLOOMBERG, who launched the “Bloomberg Global Business Forum.” Those close to the Clintons say that CGI lost its relevance without its biggest event. Now people familiar with the Clintons’ thinking said they are close to making a final decision on whether to bring back the annual meeting in September.

Another factor that motivated Bill Clinton to get more engaged: the low ratings and muted public reaction to “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” the FX show produced by MONICA LEWINSKY, according to a long-time bundler for the couple.

“It’s a perpetual itch that will never go away,” a person close to the couple said of the draw to public life. “They know how to slowly reenter. The Clintons want to reset the board in their favor and then move the pieces.”

As for Hillary Clinton, two people from Clinton world described pollster DOUG SCHOEN’s op-ed in the WSJ this week floating a 2024 run as a “gift” to her. Even though the people said there’s no chance she runs for president again, the attention allows her to gauge public reaction as she sets her sights on reemerging in lower-profile ways, like campaigning during the midterms or taking on policy fights.

“She’s bored,” the longtime Clinton bundler said of the former secretary of State, senator and first lady, who’s now hosting a MasterClass on “the power of resilience.”

The Clintons, the bundler added, “don’t want to be pariahs anymore. It’s less about being kingmakers and more about being relevant and people seeing them as a net positive, not a net negative.”

Schoen, who last worked for the Clintons in 2000, told Playbook he hasn’t spoken to the couple in years.

SINEMA PRIMARY CHALLENGE MORE LIKELY — Rep. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-Ariz.) isn’t just firing off fighting words against Sinema from the House floor. A person close to the congressman said he’s gearing up to primary the moderate senator in 2024. As progressive groups rally behind Gallego, urging him to “Run Ruben Run,” Gallego has taken serious steps in recent months, such as hiring fundraiser TAYLOR HENNINGS (who’s worked for Virginia Sen. TIM KAINE and TERRY MCAULIFFE in the past), consulting with national donors and conducting polling.

Happy Friday, and thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

‘THE MAITRE D’ OF D.C.’ — What does it take to unify lawmakers and decision-makers in Washington? Ryan sits down with STEVE CLEMONS, editor at large of The Hill, to talk about bringing D.C. power players together and being Manchin’s confidant. Listen and subscribe to Playbook Deep Dive

WORTH YOUR TIME — Our White House editor Sam Stein has a moving story for POLITICO Magazine this morning about BRIAN WALLACH, who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 37, on the day his newborn daughter came home from the hospital. Given six months to live, he set out on a campaign to help others with the disease. It culminated on Dec. 23, when Biden signed into law the Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS Act, or ACT for ALS. Stein has spoken with Wallach off and on for three years.

BIDEN’S FRIDAY:

— 10 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.

— 12:30 p.m.: Biden will deliver remarks on infrastructure in the South Court Auditorium.

— 6 p.m.: Biden will depart the White House en route to Wilmington, Del., where he is scheduled to arrive at 6:55 p.m.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ FRIDAY — The VP will ceremonially swear in RUFUS GIFFORD to be chief of protocol at 10:20 a.m.

Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 11:45 a.m. with FEMA Administrator DEANNE CRISWELL.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

PLAYBOOK READS

THE WHITE HOUSE

ANOTHER BLOW — The Supreme Court blocked Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees, a requirement that would require employees to get vaccinated or test negative regularly and wear a mask, AP’s Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko report. “The court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority” with the mandate. In a separate ruling, the court allowed a vaccine mandate for health care workers to stand.

GIRDING FOR A BBB-LESS MIDTERM — With Biden’s Build Back Better package at a standstill in Congress, Democrats are gearing up for a midterm election without it, Christopher Cadelago reports. “Elected officials and operatives from across the president’s party are busy plotting how to run midterm campaigns without the benefit of a bill to bolster the social safety net and make generational investments to address climate change …

“It’s far from the ideal position. And party leaders and campaign strategists are holding out hope that the White House may still be able to revive nascent talks around the initiative to at least salvage some popular elements. But there is an increasing sense that political inertia may well win out and that their party will be forced to radically adapt its core pitch to voters.”

HISTORY-MAKING FED BOARD NOMS — Biden plans to nominate SARAH BLOOM RASKIN, a former top Treasury Department official, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator, along with economists LISA COOK and PHILIP JEFFERSON for board positions, WSJ’s Nick Timiraos, Andrew Ackerman and Ken Thomas report.

“If all Mr. Biden’s nominees win Senate approval, Ms. Raskin and [LAEL BRAINARD] would succeed top officials chosen by [DONALD] TRUMP. Mr. Biden’s appointees would hold five of the seven board seats. Four positions would be held by women,” they write. “The nominations of Ms. Cook and Mr. Jefferson, who are both Black, would help Mr. Biden fulfill his promise to improve diversity atop the central bank, which in its history has had only three Black board members, all of them men.”

POLICE REFORM MEETS THE PEN — As legislation on the topic has stalled in Congress, Biden is looking to “sign executive actions on police reform as early as this month,” NBC’s Carol Lee, Mike Memoli, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Peter Alexander report. “The focus on police reforms is part of what appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Biden administration to take action on some of Biden’s signature initiatives in the run-up to his State of the Union Address on March 1. … Two people familiar with the discussions said the White House could roll out the executive actions to mark the beginning of Black History Month in February.”

CONGRESS

DEMS TORPEDO CRUZ’S RUSSIA BILL — Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a GOP effort led by Sen. TED CRUZ (R-Texas) that sought to sanction a Russian natural-gas pipeline, by a largely party-line 55-44 vote “after an aggressive effort by the Biden administration to limit Democratic defections on the legislation,” Andrew Desiderio reports. “The vote and the partisan divisions surrounding it served as the coda to a week of U.S.-Russia talks in Europe that left American officials delivering increasingly dire warnings about Russia’s intentions, with one senior diplomat emphasizing on Thursday that ‘the drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill.’”

JAN. 6 AND ITS AFTERMATH

JAN. 6 COMMITTEE LATEST — The House select committee on Jan. 6 issued subpoenas to Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit on Thursday “seeking information about how their platforms were used to help spread misinformation and violent extremism in the failed bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” Reuters’ Jan Wolfe, Sarah Lynch and Elizabeth Culliford report.

— The committee is also mulling over whether to subpoena House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY after he refused to comply with the committee’s request this week. But NYT’s Luke Broadwater and Charlie Savage note that “members and investigators on the special House panel have privately agonized over how aggressive to be in pursuing sitting members of Congress, weighing their desire for information about lawmakers’ direct interactions with Trump against the potential legal difficulty and political consequences of doing so.

“Now, they are wrestling with whether to subpoena Mr. McCarthy, the man who is in line to be speaker if Republicans retake the House this November, setting in motion a process that could potentially lead to a Democratic-controlled House holding him in contempt of Congress with the midterm elections looming. Congressional investigators have rarely confronted a situation that carries such hefty stakes for their institution.”

— McCarthy stood firm in his decision not to comply with the Jan. 6 committee’s request Thursday, saying he had “nothing else to add” to the panel’s investigation, report ABC’s Mariam Khan and Libby Cathey.

ALL POLITICS

WILL DUCEY DO IT? — Speculation is growing in Arizona political circles that GOP Gov. DOUG DUCEY — who is term-limited and has become a target of Trump’s ire — may shake up the Senate race in the state with a late entry, Natalie Allison reports. “Ducey’s final State of the State address on Monday … left the Arizona State Capitol Complex abuzz after the governor used the speech to repeatedly criticize the federal government. His address included six mentions of Washington, D.C., along with sustained attacks on President Joe Biden and his administration — the kind of broadsides more likely to come from a candidate for federal office than a governor outlining his final state legislative agenda. To many Arizona Republicans, he didn’t sound like a man who believes his political career is winding down this year.”

TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week,” guest-moderated by Amna Nawaz: Devlin Barrett, Geoff Bennett, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Yasmeen Abutaleb.

SUNDAY SO FAR …

  • “Full Court Press”: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) … Annie Linskey.

  • “Fox News Sunday,” anchored by John Roberts: Ashish Jha … Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin. Panel: Josh Holmes, Marie Harf and Chad Pergram.

  • “The Sunday Show,” with a special edition on “Our Fragile Democracy”: Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) … Barbara Walter … Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam … Cora Masters Barry … Melanie Campbell … Nsé Ufot … Clarence Jones.

  • “Face the Nation”: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan … Scott Gottlieb … Betsey Stevenson … Anthony Salvanto.

  • “Inside Politics”: Jonathan Reiner. Panel: Margaret Talev, Toluse Olorunnipa, Seung Min Kim and Kaitlan Collins.

  • “This Week”: Panel: Cecilia Vega, Rachel Scott, Ian Pannell and Steve Inskeep.

  • “Meet the Press”: Panel: Matthew Continetti, Andrea Mitchell, Amna Nawaz and Eugene Robinson.

PLAYBOOKERS

Gavin Newsom defended his decision to deny parole to Sirhan Sirhan.

Rodney Davis’ staff is divided on his new beard.

Chasten Buttigieg is cheering on Amy Schneider on “Jeopardy!”

April Ryan celebrated 25 years covering the White House, including five presidents.

Kathleen Buhle, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, is writing a book addressing the couple’s separation and more.

Chuck Schumer’s campaign found a way to use the word “panoply” in a press release to announce his many union endorsements, including SEIU 1199 and CSEA.

IN MEMORIAM — Terry Teachout, a prolific New York-based biographer and essayist who wrote exuberantly about drama for The Wall Street Journal, died early Thursday at a friend’s home in Smithtown, N.Y. He was 65 years old.” Read the WSJ obit

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Meghan Mitchum is now chief of staff for FTI Cybersecurity’s global practice. She most recently was global director for identity company Proxy, and is a WeWork and Obama White House alum.

STAFFING UP — A handful of Glenn Youngkin campaign staffers are joining the incoming Virginia governor’s staff: Macaulay Porter will be press secretary after serving in the same position on the campaign, Christian Martinez will be deputy press secretary after working as rapid response director for the campaign, and Rachel Leppert will be creative director after serving as deputy digital director for the campaign.

TRANSITIONS — Corning Inc. has added Ann Patzke Henry as chief of staff for global government affairs (previously at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association), Allen Chew as senior director of federal government affairs (previously at Ford Motor Company), and Sarah Doran and Jordan Gross as managers of federal government affairs (previously at the American Beverage Association and DJI Technology, respectively). … Weston Loyd is now an account director with Brunswick Group. He most recently was a senior account executive at Edelman, and is a Trump White House alum. …

GQR is elevating Lindsey Reynolds to senior partner, making the longstanding consulting firm fully woman-owned. She previously has been COO/CFO and data protection officer. … Keara Fenzel will be director of advocacy at the Center for Technology and Civic Life. She most recently has been a program director at Impactual. … Ed Chen is retiring as federal comms director of the Natural Resources Defense Council to write a novel about climate change.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Alex Hutkin, director of government relations at Securing America’s Future Energy, and Alix Hutkin welcomed Nicolas and Chloe Hutkin on Thursday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) (6-0) and Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) … Maureen Dowd … The New Yorker’s Susan GlasserShepard Smith … NPR’s Nina TotenbergFrank Raines … League of Conservation Voters’ Gene Karpinski (7-0) … Sinead CaseyMichael Reed of the RNC … Regina SchofieldColin Milligan of the American Hospital Association … Michael Block … WaPo’s Jen Liberto and Molly GannonMarc Schloss … CAP’s Marcella BombardieriMary Kusler … NAACP’s Jonah Bryson Toby Harnden … Herald Group’s Kevin Manning and Matt BrafmanTeddy EynonBen Koltun of Beacon Policy Advisors … Eric Alterman … former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue Bill Plante Amanda Callanan of the Claremont Institute … Margaret Chadbourn

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Published at Fri, 14 Jan 2022 20:55:37 +0000