May 03, 2017

1 big thing... Scoop: Hillary's next steps

Hillary Clinton soon will launch a PAC as a way of "acting as a quiet catalyst" for organizations she cares about, and eventually will help 2018 congressional candidates — but with no intention of making it a vehicle to run for anything herself.

According to a source familiar with the planning, the initial focus will be on lifting up organizations that are the product of the energy and activism she has seen since the election, and existing groups that have been reignited and reinvigorated by that energy. She has met with some of these groups, and it's something she's become increasingly passionate about with each meeting, the source said.

  • The posture: She's not going to look for ways to comment on Trump's daily doings, but also won't shy away from it. An unwritten rule around her office has been to allow for a peaceful transition of power (evidenced by her attending inauguration), but to not stand by when POTUS is doing things she sees as counter to her core values. That has been reflected in her Twitter and public remarks.
  • Clinton also plans to return to paid speaking. The Harry Walker Agency, her speakers' bureau, has a page up inviting clients to "Book Hillary Rodham Clinton."
  • She's writing a book, coming this fall, that's organized around pieces of advice she has received throughout her career that have sustained her in hard times. She uses these truisms to revisit times she has been put to the test, including the last campaign.
  • At about the same time, she'll publish "It Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition," illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee. See the cover.

Clinton received massive coverage for remarks she made in New York yesterday, in an appearance moderated by CNN's Christiane Amanpour at the Women for Women International Luncheon:

  • On writing her book: "I wouldn't say it's therapy. I would say it is cathartic. Because, you know, it's very difficult to succeed a two-term president of your own party. ... [O]thers may not have realized it. I always knew that it was going to be a hard election."
  • "I can't be anything other than who I am, and I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward, including people who, you know, clearly didn't vote for me, to try to make sure we dealt with a lot these hard issues that are right around the corner, like robotics and artificial intelligence and things that are really going to be upending the economy for the vast majority of the Americans, to say nothing of the rest of the world.
  • "So you know, I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance." (Cheers and applause.)

2. The Jimmy Kimmel effect

An Obama White House alumnus told me last night that Jimmy Kimmel killed the Republicans' already shaky efforts to revive the House's health-care reform. (In prime time last night, CNN was running the banner: "LATEST GOP HEALTH CARE BILL ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE." The WashPost's lead story is "GOP health bill on shaky ground.")

The instant ubiquity of the late-night host tearfully discussing his baby Billy's open-heart surgery, along with a message decrying Trump's proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health ("If your baby is going to die, ... it should not matter how much money you make"), is an eye-opening case study of the stunning velocity of the new media ecosystem.

I asked Sara Fischer, Axios' media-trends reporter, if there was a way to quantify the reach of the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" monologue, beyond the 7 million views on his official YouTube page. Ninety minutes later, she sent a fascinating breakdown.

Kimmel typically reaches roughly 2 million people per night on his show. You'll never believe what happened next ...

Social:On Facebook, Kimmel's monologue clip received over 14 million views and 230,000 reactions in less than 24 hours. His posts typically don't receive more than 1 million views. On Instagram, the video post of his monologue received 122,968 views and 20,022 likes. That's about double his average Instagram post engagement. His tweet of the video received over 26,000 retweets and 79,000 likes. His tweets don't typically earn more than a couple hundred retweets.Search: Interest in "Jimmy Kimmel" on Google Search rose rapidly through the morning and spiked at midday, along with searches for "cardiac surgery" and "open-heart surgery."Weighing in:Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton tweeted their support, as well as numerous celebrities.On Capitol Hill, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), cited the speech on the House floor. Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), now a syndicated radio talk-show host, was ripped online after he tweeted: "Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care."

3. Coming attractions

Trump tweeted yesterday: "The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!"

Super Swan reads between the lines: "Trump is flagging the shutdown in September for a very good reason ... My White House sources tell me this will be the time to fight for real 'wins' — like funding the border wall. That will lead to an inevitable standoff with Democrats and possibly a government shutdown."

4. Signs of our times

USA Today lead story, "Friction between world's nuclear powers has citizens terrified that the end is near," by Rick Hampson: "In multiple interviews by USA Today, Americans expressed concern that the U.S. was edging closer to nuclear war.."

  • Thank you for that, USA Today: "The actual proximity of World War III is hard to gauge. War between great powers need not be nuclear, and even nuclear exchanges need not escalate into world war."

5. How Trump tries to play reporters

A close read of Trump's whirlwind of 100-days interviews shows that he continues to embrace one of the obsessions that helped him win the presidency: his instinctive understanding of reporters' psychology.

Axios' Jonathan Swan noticed this in Trump's off-hand asides during the interviews, which are the freshest examples of the flip side to his media hatred — he eats up the coverage because he's his own audience:

  • Here's Trump satisfying the White House reporters' most primal urge — the need to break exclusive news: "Well, I'm just telling you, I — I haven't even mentioned this to anybody. I mean, I'm giving you something first." (To Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev, when he told them he was open to raising the gas tax to fund infrastructure investment.)
  • "Breaking — we have breaking news. Is this going to be breaking news, Jennifer?" (To Bloomberg's Jacobs, as Trump reveals his willingness to meet with Kim Jong-Un. He knew this would be controversial and would generate the type of headline every reporter craves.)

More examples here.

6. Ivanka's book non-tour

Ivanka Trump doesn't plan a traditional publiclity tour for her new book, "Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success," out yesterday. Per AP's Catherine Lucey: "Trump has stressed that the book is a personal project written before her father. ... Citing federal ethics rules, she has said ... she wanted to 'avoid the appearance of using my official role to promote the book.'"

  • Ivanka Trump tweeted "on Monday and Tuesday from her personal account about the book, noting the charities that will receive grants" from book proceeds.
  • "Jamie Gorelick, an attorney for Trump, said she had received advice from the Office of Government Ethics that she could use her personal social media accounts to post about the book."

The narrative, from a New York Times front-pager: "By inserting herself into a scalding set of gender dynamics, she is becoming a proxy for dashed dreams of a female presidency and the debate about President Trump's record of conduct toward women and his views on them. Critics see her efforts as a brash feat of Trump promotion ... by a woman of extraordinary privilege who has learned that feminism makes for potent branding."

7. Kushner to release updated disclosure form

Wall Street Journal front page, "Kushner's Partners Include Goldman and Soros," by Jean Eaglesham, Juliet Chung and Lisa Schwartz: "Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, is currently in business with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaires George Soros and Peter Thiel, according to people familiar with the matter and securities filings."

  • "The previously undisclosed business relationships ... are through a real-estate tech startup called Cadre that Mr. Kushner cofounded and currently partly owns."
  • "The Cadre stake is one of many interests — and ties to large financial institutions — that Mr. Kushner didn't identify on his government financial-disclosure form, according to a Wall Street Journal review of securities and other filings..'
  • "Jamie Gorelick, a lawyer representing Mr. Kushner, said ... his stake in Cadre is housed in a company he owns, BFPS Ventures LLC. His ownership of BFPS is reported on his disclosure form."
  • "Gorelick said the Cadre stake is described in a revised version of his disclosure form that will be made public after it has been certified by ethics officials."

8. Amazing business stat of the day

Most of Aetna's revenue now comes from government programs, per Axios' Bob Herman:

"Here's a nugget that encapsulates the health insurance industry, despite all the noise surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act: In the first quarter of this year, Aetna collected more premium revenue from government programs (namely Medicare and Medicaid) than it did from commercial insurance for the first time ever."

9. Tucker Carlson's 2-book, 8 figure deal

The Fox News host and longtime conservative commentator, who turns 48 later this month, has a two-book deal with Threshold Editions, per AP National Writer Hillel Italie:

  • Carlson has become one of Fox's biggest names with the departures of Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly. Numerous publishers had expressed interest, according to his literary agency, Javelin.
  • Threshold, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster, has also released books by PresidentTrump and former Vice President Cheney.

10. 1 fun thing

Coming to Disney World on May 27, per L.A. Times' Todd Martens: Disney hopes to amplify that immersion with its most technically ambitious land to date: Pandora — the World of Avatar, situated in Animal Kingdom in the Orlando resort."

"Instead of re-creating scenes from the film or simply populating the park with characters seen in the movie, Disney's Pandora expands on the universe. Set about a generation after the conflict in the film, this Pandora is a postwar planet on the road to rehabilitation, emphasizing themes of conservation and exploration."