Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) — "the Johns," as insiders are calling them — have been making a flurry of joint appearances to talk about state-driven improvements to health care.
But Axios has learned that their duet is part of an alliance that's gaining momentum toward a possible joint independent bid for president in 2020, likely with Kasich at the top of the ticket:
Why it matters: National Dems so far haven't capitalized on Trump's record unpopularity and obsession with his base. But this is a creative coupling that'll get a ton of airtime, and maybe even traction.
The pushback: Some establishment Dems are apoplectic about the idea of Hickenlooper teaming up with a Republican. One top strategist told me: "No Dem wants Kasich anywhere near our ticket. Sounds like a No Labels fantasy, but moderate Dems would hate it."
... that President Trump is looking at an Asia swing this fall that's likely to include stops in China, Japan and South Korea.
Our source was confirming the gist of Bill Bishop's report last night in his scoopy Sinocism newsletter (subscribe free here): "Latest I heard is Trump may go to Beijing November 15."
Beginning next week, President Trump plans to spend several weeks selling the benefits of tax reform, with a flurry of speeches on the road, rallies (including the Rust Belt), and meetings at the White House.
But administration officials tell us that based on their experience with health-care reform, they plan to let Capitol Hill drive the details, rather than releasing the White House plan that once had been promised:
P.S. What the West Wing is reading ... David Ignatius column in WashPost, "Could this be a game-changer for Middle East peace?":
Latest on Hurricane Harvey (now Category 2 and gaining strength toward Category 3, heading into Saturday morning landfall), from the Weather Channel:
Drudge tweeted: "Trump facing first serious crises with Hurricane Harvey. ... It's about to get real."
Flashback ... 25 years ago today, the lead story of the N.Y. Times was landfall of Hurricane Andrew: "Hurricane Rips Through Florida and Heads Into Gulf."
"Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago," from N.Y. Times Upshot:
Tesla survives a months-long Wall Street Journal investigation, yielding this front-pager, "Tesla's Push to Build a Self-Driving Car Sparked Dissent Among Its Engineers: Elon Musk's ambitious goals for Autopilot technology have prompted safety warnings and resignations":
The swamp is clogged, per this Boston Globe front-pager by Matt Viser:
"The number of registered lobbyists has dipped to a low point, and special interests, after an initial burst in activity earlier this year, have in the past few months reported less spending than in almost any similar period in the past 10 years. There were 9,791 registered lobbyists at the end of June, the fewest since at least 2008."
"The national soul-searching over whether to take down monuments to the Confederacy's demigods has extended to other historical figures accused of wrongdoing, including Christopher Columbus (brutality toward native Americans), the man for whom Boston's Faneuil Hall is named (slave trader) and former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo (bigotry)," AP's Colleen Long writes:
P.S. In Nashville today, the Republican National Committee's Summer Meeting is expected to adopt a resolution condemning white supremacists, AP's Tom Beaumont reports: "[S]ome attending the summer meeting ... are rolling their eyes at the move."
Data viz from Spotify:
Alec Baldwin returned for a "Weekend Update" special from "Saturday Night Live," with the cold open from the Phoenix rally: