Become a Patron!

LISTEN HERE (Support this project at patreon.com/AfricanElements)

POLITICO Playbook: Civil rights leaders see a turning point for Biden

Civil rights leaders are bullish about the changes they’ve seen from the Biden administration recently. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

SPOTTED: Speaker NANCY PELOSI, Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER and wife, IRIS WEINSHALL, Sens. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minn.) and DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.) dining together at Le Diplomate on Friday night. Pic

CORRECTION: The original version of this item misidentified Iris Weinshall, the wife of Chuck Schumer, as Sonia Sotomayor. Our tipster got it wrong, but we should have double checked.

BEHIND THE SCENES — A day before President JOE BIDEN made his fiery Jan. 6 speech centering on the threat to democracy and importance of voting rights, the White House held a virtual meeting with civil rights leaders. Each side came with a goal in mind.

— The White House’s goal: Provide an update on the push for federal voting rights legislation.

— The civil rights leaders’ goal: Make clear to Biden’s aides that the president needed to get “more serious” on the issue, that what they’ve done so far wasn’t good enough, and that time is running out, according to two people who attended the meeting.

The civil rights leaders were in for a pleasant surprise.

“There was no pushback” from the administration, one person who attended the meeting told Playbook, describing the consensus view as: “We are at this place. We have no runway left. We gotta get this done.”

To attendees, it felt like an admission that the White House has entered a new phase in its advocacy of voting rights — a reality underlined by aides’ announcement that Biden and VP KAMALA HARRIS will head to Georgia next week to speak about the topic.

The civil rights leaders left the meeting cautiously optimistic, and have been bullish about the changes they’ve seen since — especially that passionate speech from the Capitol on Thursday, which House Majority Whip JIM CLYBURN (D-S.C.) heralded as a “turning point” in Biden’s presidency.

Rev. WILLIAM BARBER, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, says the White House needs to take that show on the road, and hopes “the president and the vice president will go to Georgia, then decide, ‘we need to hop this plane right over to West Virginia, right over to Alabama, right down to Texas.’”

White House aides say that Georgia was selected as a launchpad for both practical and symbolic reasons.

The practical: Biden’s team sees Georgia as ground zero for the state-level voter-restriction efforts that Dems’ federal legislation is meant to combat. It also has several marquee statewide races on a ballot this year, including Sen. RAPHAEL WARNOCK’s reelection bid and STACEY ABRAMS’ campaign against Republican Gov. BRIAN KEMP.

— The symbolic: Biden has a Senate majority right now only because Democrats prevailed in both Georgia runoff elections on Jan. 5, 2021, electing Warnock and Sen. JON OSSOFF. But deeper than that, the fight for voting rights is woven into the state’s history: It was the longtime home of former Rep. JOHN LEWIS, whose namesake voting rights legislation is moldering in the Senate.

A message from Facebook:

Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations, including Section 230

Aaron is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook.

Hear from Aaron on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internet’s most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.

Civil rights leaders expect Biden and Harris to use their Georgia speeches to mount a more sustained and public arm-twisting and cajoling for a filibuster carveout for voting rights legislation — and the intended audience for that message isn’t just on Capitol Hill.

“If you’re going to go a whole-of-government approach, if you’re going to use a bully pulpit, you cannot do that just from the White House,” said MELANIE CAMPBELL, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “You gotta get out here and go where the voter suppression is really happening.”

Biden “has to make it clear to the American people and to his political base that he’s willing to fight as hard for this as [he has for] roads, bridges and Build Back Better,” said MARC MORIAL, president and CEO of the National Urban League.

The White House bristles at that characterization.

“The president and vice president have fought for voting-rights legislation while also using executive powers to protect the constitutional right to vote from un-American attacks on it as well as on the integrity of elections,” a White House official told me Friday night. “They will continue that fight in Georgia, calling for legislation for which there is no substitute.”

MANCHIN PULLS DEAL OFF THE TABLE — Before Christmas, Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) sent the White House “a $1.8 trillion counteroffer to President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda that included substantial funds for climate, health-care and education initiatives,” reports WaPo’s Jeff Stein.

But that offer appears to no longer be on the table after negotiations broke down between the senator and the White House, Stein reports. “White House allies, including several officials in the White House itself, have in recent days expressed confusion as to how the administration could pass up on the potential for [a] $1.8 trillion deal that would amount to one of the most significant pieces of domestic policy in decades.”

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

BIDEN’S SATURDAY (Eastern times):

— 2 p.m.: The Bidens, Harris and second gentleman DOUG EMHOFF will attend former Senate Majority Leader HARRY REID’s memorial service in Las Vegas. Biden will deliver remarks. (Related reading: WaPo’s Annie Linskey has an interesting story on how Biden “has made a particular point of setting aside hours to grieve, console and mark the friendships he’s built over his roughly half-century in public office.”)

— 4:15 p.m.: The Bidens will leave Las Vegas, arriving at Joint Base Andrews at 8:05 p.m. to head to Camp David.

BECOME A GLOBAL INSIDER: The world is more connected than ever. It has never been more essential to identify, unpack and analyze important news, trends and decisions shaping our future — and we’ve got you covered! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Global Insider author Ryan Heath navigates the global news maze and connects you to power players and events changing our world. Don’t miss out on this influential global community. Subscribe now.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, reacts Friday as her son’s killers are sentenced to life in prison, two of them without the possibility of parole. | Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty Images

PLAYBOOK READS

9 THINGS WE READ THAT STUCK WITH US:

— Investigators with the House Jan. 6 committee are “seriously considering requesting a voluntary interview with former Vice President MIKE PENCE as soon as this month,” report Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu. Several members of his inner circle have already complied with the probe, including former chief of staff MARC SHORT, former comms adviser ALYSSA FARAH and former national security adviser KEITH KELLOGG.

— CDC researchers reported a concerning finding Friday: “Children who have recovered from Covid-19 appear to be at significantly increased risk of developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes,” writes NYT’s Roni Caryn Rabin.

— Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS is under fire for allowing a state stockpile of more than 1 million rapid coronavirus tests to expire. Matt Dixon reports that the news “comes as the state is rewriting its testing recommendations to ‘unwind’ what Florida Surgeon General JOSEPH LADAPO has called ‘the testing psychology.’” (Ladapo is a DeSantis appointee.)

— Cyber Ninjas is $2 million in debt and shutting down, reports WSJ’s Alexa Corse. The cybersecurity firm rocketed to notoriety after being hired by the GOP-controlled Arizona Senate to review the 2020 election results in Maricopa County. On Thursday, an Arizona judge said he would fine the company $50,000 a day if it didn’t immediately turn over public records related to the inquiry, per the AP.

— Father and son GREG and TRAVIS MCMICHAEL were sentenced to life without parole Friday for the 2020 murder of AHMAUD ARBERY. WILLIAM “RODDIE” BRYAN, their neighbor who joined in their chase of Arbery and filmed the encounter, was given a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Shaddi Abusaid

— “An Albany criminal court agreed Friday to drop a misdemeanor complaint of forcible touching against former New York Gov. ANDREW CUOMO,reports Bill Mahoney.

— This week, Virginia Gov.-elect GLENN YOUNGKIN announced that he would nominate former coal lobbyist and Trump-era EPA chief ANDREW WHEELER to helm the commonwealth’s department of natural resources. Now, Democrats — who still control the state Senate — are gearing up for something rare: a confirmation battle over his appointment. More from The Hill’s Zack Budryk and Rachel Frazin

— Former Trump White House chief of staff MARK MEADOWS, “facing a potential criminal charge for defying a Jan. 6 select committee subpoena, is pleading with the Supreme Court to expedite its consideration of a lawsuit filed by DONALD TRUMP” in hopes that they will rule that the former president can still exert executive privilege, reports Kyle Cheney. Meadows’ attorney, GEORGE TERWILLIGER III, filed a 34-page friend-of-the-court brief Friday.

— Food for thought: Is it too hard to amend the Constitution? Sarah Isgur makes the case in POLITICO Magazine.

CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 15 funnies

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:

“This Isn’t the California I Married,” by Elizabeth Well for NYT Magazine: “The honeymoon’s over for its residents now that wildfires are almost constant. Has living in this natural wonderland lost its magic?”

“The Battle for Beacon’s Beach,” by Paul Kvinta for Outside Magazine: “With increased coastal flooding and erosion, climate change is harshing California’s mellow vibes. Officials say it’s time to retreat from the shore altogether. Residents want to stay and fight. A report from the front lines of a pitched battle, where geologists and millionaires are squaring off, and friendly fire between surfers isn’t so friendly.”

“Rikers: The Obituaries,” by New York magazine’s Bliss Broyard and Lisa Riordan Seville: “Fifteen people at the jail died in 2021. These are their lives — and how they came to an end.”

“Omicron Isn’t Mild for Hospitals,” by The Atlantic’s Ed Yong: “Omicron is inundating a health-care system that was already buckling under the cumulative toll of every previous surge.”

“How does this end?” by Vox’s Zack Beauchamp: “Where the crisis in American democracy might be headed.”

“When You Want to Film in Washington, She Makes It Happen,” by WaPo Magazine’s Jessica Goldstein: “From ‘Forrest Gump’ to ‘Independence Day’ to ‘Argo,’ Peggy Pridemore gives D.C. its star turn.”

“Is Looking at Art a Path to Mental Well-Being?” by Christina Cacouris for WSJ Magazine: “With new research suggesting that viewing art might improve mental health, some doctors are prescribing museum visits. Is art really a shortcut to happiness?”

“Dubliners,” by Anne Enright for the New York Review: “Reading Ulysses is a kind of strenuous dreaming, very like writing fiction.”

STEP INSIDE THE WEST WING: What’s really happening in West Wing offices? Find out who’s up, who’s down, and who really has the president’s ear in our West Wing Playbook newsletter, the insider’s guide to the Biden White House and Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details that you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams tapped his younger brother, Bernard, to serve as a deputy NYPD commissioner, reports N.Y. Post’s Craig McCarthy. Notes David Freedlander: “Per LinkedIn, [his] current job is ‘Assistant Director for Parking’ at Virginia Commonwealth University.”

Barack Obama remembered the late Sidney Poitier for “epitomiz[ing] dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together.”

Ruben Gallego’s publisher is correcting a passage in his memoir of his time in Iraq. The book “falsely alleged that Ellen Knickmeyer, the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post at the time and now with The Associated Press, had reported his whole platoon had been lost,” reports the AP. “In ‘They Called Us Lucky,’ the authors blamed Knickmeyer for causing unneeded hardship back home.” In reality, her story was accurate.

IN MEMORIAM — “Lani Guinier, civil rights champion and Harvard law professor, dies at 71,” by The Boston Globe’s Bryan Marquard: “A leading voice for voting rights long before her nomination to lead the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division made her nationally known, Lani Guinier died Friday.”

OUT AND ABOUT — Dozens of Harry Reid alumni gathered at the Bellagio on Friday night, before his memorial services, including Paul DiNino, Jake Perry, Jimmy Ryan, Kristen Orthman, Brian and Katie Fallon, Mike Spahn, Rich Verma, Darrel Thompson, Mari Urbina, Zac Petkanas, Wendy Helgemo, Brandon Hall, Caren Street and Ari Rabin-Havt.

STAFFING UP — The White House announced Biden will nominate Alice Hill as deputy FEMA administrator for resilience.

MEDIA MOVE — Dartunorro Clark will be an editor at Insider. He previously was a national politics reporter at NBC News.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SKDK’s Anita DunnJohn Podesta … White House’s Andrew Bates Heather Podesta Adam HechavarriaMaría Peña of the Library of Congress … Elizabeth López-Sandoval of Rep. Veronica Escobar’s (D-Texas) office … David Chavern of the News Media Alliance … E&E News’ Joel KirklandNirvi Shah … Fox News’ Casey StegallJane Lucas … former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … former Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) (7-0) and Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) … Avra Siegel … R Street’s Andy SmarickAmy McWethyKevin WynoskyJames ReedAngelo MathayScott FairchildJames Quinn … former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (8-0) … Nicole TiemanDeborah Mazol … WaPo’s Emma BrownTed LeonsisDavid P. White (5-0)

“State of the Union”: Secretary of State Antony Blinken … New York City Mayor Eric Adams … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“Full Court Press”: Joseph Kanter … Mikael Dolsten.

“Inside Politics”: Panel: Jonathan Martin, Catherine Lucey, Eva McKend, Paul Kane and Ashish Jha.

Did someone forward this email to you? Sign up here.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected]. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike Zapler, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Allie Bice, Eli Okun and Garrett Ross.

A message from Facebook:

Working to stop harmful content and improve our platforms every day

We’re committed to stopping illicit content and keeping you safe on Facebook. That’s why we’ve quadrupled our safety and security teams to more than 40,000 over the last five years.

Subscribe to the POLITICO Playbook family

CORRECTION: The original version of this item misidentified Sonia Sotomayor for Iris Weinshall, the majority leader’s wife. Our tipster got it wrong, but we should have double checked. As many people have pointed out online, Sotomayor joined Friday’s oral arguments remotely from her chambers out of an abundance of caution amid the Omicron surge.

About The Author : Eugene Daniels

Eugene DanielsEugene Daniels is a Playbook author and White House correspondent, with a focus on Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, the Second Gentleman and emerging power players in Washington. Since joining POLITICO in 2018, he’s covered the midterms, the Democratic presidential primary and general election through print, video journalism and podcasts. Eugene will continue to leverage POLITICO’s many platforms as part of the Playbook team. During the country’s reckoning with race in 2020, Eugene moderated POLITICO’s Confronting Inequality Town Hall series that examined how inequities in policing, housing, healthcare, education and employment permeate and plague the United States. Prior to POLITICO, Eugene covered the 2016 primary, general election and national politics as a political reporter at Newsy. He began his career in local television in Colorado Springs and graduated from Colorado State University in 2012.

This content was originally published here.

Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: