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April 18, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Chicago, where I'll moderate the first out-of-town Axios event at 3 p.m. CT. If you're local, be sure to join us: It'll be like a reunion of Midwesterners from previous campaigns and administrations. RSVP here.

1 big thing: Inside the Hillary Hindenburg

Out today ... "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, makes it clear that whatever you thought was happening in Brooklyn, it was worse. An appetizer:

  • Jon Favreau, brought in to help with the announcement speech, "thought Clinton's campaign was reminiscent of John Kerry's, where he had gotten his start in 2004 — a bunch of operatives who were smart and accomplished ... but weren't united by any common purpose larger than pushing a less-than-thrilling candidate into the White House. ... Frustrated with the process and the product, Favreau dropped out."
  • "Some of Hillary's aides longed for her to find her own David Axelrod."
  • Huma Abedin "couldn't be counted on to relay constructive criticism to Hillary without pointing a finger at the critic."
  • "Hillary's top aides were as miserable as midlevel bureaucrats in an agency with no clear plans."
  • Campaign manager Robby Mook "had the most reason to be nervous about his job. Longtime Clinton confidants outside the campaign had been agitating for months for Hillary to get rid of him."
  • Bill Clinton's chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, "mentioned to him and a small group of his aides that she was going to see the Rolling Stones in Europe. 'Mick Jagger used to give my mother-in-law wet dreams,' Bill offered."
  • Hillary to longtime confidant Minyon Moore, during the primaries: "I don't understand what's happening in the country."
  • "The one person with whom [Hillary] didn't seem particularly upset: herself."
  • "[T]he mercenaries ... feared — appropriately — that unflattering words about Hillary or the strategy would be repeated at their own expense by those who hoped to gain Hillary's favor."
  • "[S]he liked to set up rival power centers within and outside her operation."
  • President Obama thought her handling of the server scandal "amounted to political malpractice."
  • "In hallmark fashion, Hillary had set up two separate and isolated teams to write her convention speech."
  • "Worried about leaving his supersecret [debate] prep materials in an Uber, [Philippe] Reines [who played Trump] bought a heavy-duty tether so that he could lock his briefcase to his waist. He actually acquired two different versions — one of which was originally designed for bondage enthusiasts."
  • Hillary to an aide during the general: "I know I engender bad reactions from people."
  • Bill Clinton on election night: "It's like Brexit ... I guess it's real."
  • Hillary to Obama after calling Trump to concede: "Mr. President, I'm sorry."

2. What to expect at Facebook's F8 conference

In San Jose today, Facebook will kick off its annual F8 developers' conference. On the "CBS Evening News," John Blackstone pointed out from Facebook HQ in Menlo Park that with the Cleveland killer still at large, CEO Mark Zuckerberg "will be expected to address how the social network can do better."

Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva previews the best rumors about product announcements:

  • Bots for group chats: A new set of these "chat bots" that live inside Facebook Messenger group conversations and provide various info and service, according to TechCrunch. For example, one could keep a group of football fans informed on the latest game scores.
  • Camera Effects Platform: Facebook will likely introduce the ability for outsiders to design and submit filters, lenses, and other camera effects.
  • Secret hardware: Led by former DARPA director and Google exec Regina Dugan, Facebook's secretive Building 8 unit will likely unveil some of the gadgets it's been working on.
  • More augmented reality: While the pair of glasses (or contact lenses) Facebook is reportedly working on probably won't show up at the event, related technologies like camera filters will begin to lay down the groundwork.
  • Virtual reality: Last year, Facebook introduced its own 360-video camera rig, and demo'd its take on social interaction in virtual reality—so expect more VR this year. Facebook may also showcase its newest headset.

P.S. "Apple Readies iPhone Overhaul for Smartphone's 10th Anniversary," by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Min Jeong Lee: "For the redesigned phone, Apple is testing a new type of screen, curved glass and stainless steel materials, and more advanced cameras."

3. How to watch today's Georgia special election

Axios' Jonathan Swan writes that top officials in the West Wing — including President Trump and Steve Bannon — are intensely invested in today's special election in Georgia's 6th congressional district (replacing former Rep. Tom Price, now HHS Secretary):

  • Why Trump cares: Whether he likes it or not, the media will portray this election as an early verdict on his presidency [!]. The year's first special election, in Kansas' usually reliable deep-red 4th district, was way closer than it should've been. A loss in Georgia would further weaken Trump and make his legislative agenda.
  • What Nate Silver thinks will happen: "If the polls are right, then Democrat Jon Ossoff will receive by far the most votes." But Ossoff will probably finish with less than 50%, which would trigger a runoff between him and the next-highest finisher — most likely the Republican Karen Handel, but possibly one of three other Republicans (Bob Gray, Dan Moody Judson Hill), who are closely bunched behind her in polls."
  • A quirk: "[T]he combined vote for all Republican candidates will probably exceed the combined vote for Ossoff and other Democrats, although it should be close."
  • The bottom line: Even if Ossoff finishes close to 50 percent, Silver adds, that's no guarantee he'll win the runoff because the district leans red and Republicans will have a chance to regroup for the June 20 rematch."

4. "The Next Korean War"

From the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, "A Vision of Trump at War: How the President Could Stumble Into Conflict," by Philip Gordon, a CFR senior fellow who was Obama's White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013 to 2015:

It is December 2018, and North Korea has just launched a heavy artillery barrage against targets in Seoul, killing thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands ... Washington had expected some sort of a North Korean response when it preemptively struck the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States ... But few thought North Korea would go so far as to risk its own destruction by attacking South Korea.

Some of [Trump's] advisers are urging him to quickly finish the job, whereas others warn that doing so would cost the lives of too many of the 28,000 U.S. soldiers stationed on the peninsula, to say nothing of the ten million residents of Seoul. ...

How did it come to this? ... When the intelligence community picked up signs that Pyongyang was about to [test a nuclear-capable missile that could reach the United States], ... the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed the president on his options. He could try to shoot down the test missile in flight ... He could do nothing ... Or he could destroy the test missile on its launch pad with a barrage of cruise missiles ... Sources present at the meeting reported that when the president chose the third option, he said, "We have to start winning wars again."

Breaking: "UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call snap general election on 8 June." (BBC)

5. Ivanka Inc.

Shot ... "Ivanka's biz prospers as politics mixes with business" — AP/Shanghai: "On April 6, Ivanka Trump's company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world's second-largest economy. That night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago."

List: "Retailers who sell or no longer sell Ivanka Trump"

Chaser ... Wall Street Journal page A4, "Presidency Hits Growth Rate of Family Business," by Peter Grant: "While the company's revenue and income are expected to continue to rise during Mr. Trump's term in office, it will likely be at a slower rate, Eric Trump said, because of efforts to separate the Trump presidency from the family businesses. 'We would be doing 30 deals across the globe' were his father not the president, Eric Trump said in an interview."

6. If you read only one thing

A worthy idea from David Leonhardt in his New York Times column today, "Why You'd Benefit From A 'Shultz Hour'":

When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called: "My wife or the president," Shultz recalled.

Shultz, who's now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. ... And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions. ...

My goal with this column is to persuade you to add a Shultz Hour, or something like it, to your week. I've just begun to do so. I have committed to carving out an hour each week with no meetings, no phone calls, no email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no mobile alerts and no podcasts. Sometimes, I plan to spend the hour sitting down, as Shultz did, and other times taking a stroll. I keep a pen and paper with me and have set my phone to ring only if my wife calls.

7. What's killing America

Just posted ... The latest entry in our "Smarter, Faster" video series, with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic:

"The main thing that's killing America is the fact that people aren't taking care of themselves. ... If you look at the cause of premature death in the United States, 40 percent of it is related to lack of exercise, diet and smoking."

One big thing that would help: Cutting down on sugar.

8. O'Reilly "fighting for his TV life"

Paul Farhi has an ominous take, consistent with what we're hearing from inside Fox, in the lead story of the WashPost Style section, "A hard spin to maintain O'Reilly's TV career":

"All at once, [the vacationing] Bill O'Reilly is fighting for his TV life. The future of O'Reilly's long career at Fox News may hinge on a sexual-harassment accusation raised by ... Wendy Walsh, [a relationship expert and, at one time, regular O'Reilly guest] who has alleged that O'Reilly propositioned her in a Los Angeles hotel in 2013, then retaliated against her when she rebuffed him."

  • The players: "The originator of the 'No-Spin Zone' has ... left his public defense to a well-known spin doctor, Mark Fabiani, a former spokesman for president Bill Clinton."
  • Why it matters: "Walsh's allegation is potentially the most explosive of all: Fox News was apparently unaware of it until she raised it for the first time in an interview with the New York Times this month."
  • What everyone at Fox is talking about: "Her complaint has triggered an investigation at Fox by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the same firm that uncovered widespread harassment allegations against ... Roger Ailes."
  • The bottom line: "[A] negative finding by the law firm could force the hands of Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, who run Fox's parent company."

9. The green idea

First look ... A video by Michael Bloomberg, "An Optimistic Conversation ... About Climate Change: "The good news is we're going to make the COP21 [Paris Climate Conference] goals without the federal government."

Bloomberg today publishes a new book with environmentalist Carl Pope, "Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet," where the former New York mayor writes: "Washington will not have the last word on the fate of the Paris Agreement in the United States. Mayors will—together with business leaders and citizens from all over the globe." is live.

10. 1 sobering thing

We text and drive even more than you thought, Axios' Ina Fried reports:

"Zendrive studied actual device use among 3.1 million drivers over 5.6 billion miles of driving and found that in 88% of trips, drivers made at least some use of their phones. On average, drivers spent 3.5 minutes per hour on their device."

  • Why it matters: The number of traffic deaths has been increasing since 2015 after a 40-year decline, with more than 40,000 people dying on the roads last year for the first time in a decade. It is estimated that a 2-second distraction increases the risk of a collision by 20 times.