Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Election Day Preview | Zivotofsky v. Kerry Recap | Obama v. Kerry & Blinken v. Sherman Over State Appointment

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PALACE INTRIGUE: Obama v. Kerry; Blinken v. Sherman — “Obama Favors Top White House Aide for No. 2 Job at State” by John Hudson: “After months of intensive negotiations between the White House and the State Department, multiple sources familiar with the discussions say President Barack Obama now favors the nomination of Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken for deputy secretary of state, the No. 2 position in Foggy Bottom. The president came to that view despite a strong push by his own secretary of state, John Kerry, who advocated for the nomination of Wendy Sherman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs and chief U.S. negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks. The dispute between Kerry and Obama over the post hasn’t previously been reported.” [TheCable] • Wendy Sherman named acting deputy secretary following the retirement of Bill Burns [Reuters]

HEARD YESTERDAY: Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough speaking via video conference on JerryTron at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to attendees of the AIPAC National Summit. Blinken told the group that it’s the President’s prerogative tosuspend Iran sanctions but that he will not permanently lift them without Congress.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING TODAY — ELECTION DAY 2014: In Georgia, Jimmy Carter’s grandson and Democratic candidate for Governor Jason Carter seeks to distance himself from his grandfather’s Middle East Foreign Policy views and defeat incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal. Democratic Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn pushes back against David Purdue‘s claims that, as head of the Bush family’s Points of Light Foundation, she may have helped fund Islamic Relief Worldwide which in turn donated some funds to Hamas… In New York, we’ll be watching the Jewish vote as incumbent Gov.Andrew Cuomo seeks re-election against country executive Rob Astorino both of whom heavily courted the Jewish vote… In Florida, former Gov. and Democratic hopeful Charlie Crist, with Jewish running mate Annette Taddeo, is in a dead heat with incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker faces a formidable challenger in Mary Burke. RJC Board Member and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer calls this the “most consequential race. If Walker wins, he probably runs for POTUS. If he loses, probably not.”… In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, moderate Republicans Charlie Baker and Scott Brown look to pull of upsets against Martha Coakleyand Jeanne Shaheen in their Gubernatorial and Senatorial races respectively… In Kansas, many in the pro-Israel community are rooting for their incumbent friends Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts who both face tough races against Paul Davis and independent Greg Orman… In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looks to stave off challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes while keeping an eye on the national map to see if he can fulfill a life long dream by adding “majority” to his title.

JEWISH DEMOCRATS: In Illinois 10th, Brad Schneider faces Robert Dold — the Chicago Sun Times dubbed these two candidates as “being cut from the same challah on Israel.”… In Hawaii, Jewish Senator Brian Schatz is expected to easily defeat Cam Cavasso… Honorary Jewish Senator Cory Booker looks to cruise to victory against Jeff Bell in New Jersey… Also in New Jersey, Marc Dunec tries to upset incumbent Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.

JEWISH REPUBLICANS: In Ohio, State Treasurer and Israel Bonds fan Josh Mandel hopes to defeat Democrat Connie Pillich… In California’s 33rd, Elan Carr looks to keep the Henry Waxman’s seat in the tribe as he faces Ted Lieu… In New York’s 1st, State Sen. Lee Zeldin looks to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop… In New York’s 4th, Bruce Blakeman spars with Democrat Kathleen Rice in a race that was heavy on Israel and courting the Jewish Long Island vote… In Virginia’s 8th, Micah Edmond faces Don Beyer. Micah was recently profiled in the Washington Post – “When Edmond was a senior in high school, his mother left. He went to live with the family of his friend Justin Smith. Their Jewish faith became a major influence. “I liked the value system and doing things for other people,” Edmond said. At age 17, he decided to convert.”

TALMUDIC DEBATE: “Long Before Politicians Backed Wage Increases, Talmudic Sages Argued the Cause: On election day, voters will weigh in on minimum-wage hikes. It’s a fight that reaches back to the Talmud.” by Jonathan Brandow in Tablet: “The rabbis expected that employers would naturally attempt to minimize their labor costs. The Talmudic commentator Rava might be interpreted to argue rhetorically against a wage floor itself when he asks, “Has it ever been forbidden to reduce one’s hire to the lowest level?”… Yet in the context of his other commentaries, it’s obvious that Rava is actually sympathetic to the hardship that low wages cause. He notes that the livelihood of low-income workers must be protected, even for those who break serious laws: “In the case of a laborer whose wage is small the rabbis did not impose a penalty.” Another commentator, Rav Yehoshua, holds that a new worker should be paid no less than the lowest existing wage.” [Tablet]

IF YOU READ HAARETZ, YOU’D THINK BIBI WAS MCCONNELL FOR ELECTION DAY: “White House may view inaugural Israeli-American convention as anti-Obama victory party” by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz: “If Democrats are crushed [to]day, it would be inhuman to expect Mitt Romney to refrain from some gloating and Schadenfreude at groundbreaking meeting of expat Israelis.” [Haaretz]

NOT A GIVEN: “US veto at Security Council may no longer be a given” by Raphael Ahren:“The outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections could be crucial. Should Democrats pull off a surprise win, they could be emboldened to shun Israel at Turtle Bay. But if the Democrats are defeated, they will immediately start to plan for the 2016 presidential elections and therefore refrain from anything that would anger the pro-Israel community, he predicted.” [ToI]

WELCOME TO TWITTER: @PresidentRuvi – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

IRAN TALKS — Kerry, Zarif to meet in Oman ahead of final push for Iran deal: “European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet political directors from the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — in Vienna on Nov. 7. Then Ashton, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will hold two days of trilateral meetings in Muscat, Oman, on Nov. 9-10.” [AL Monitor] • David Sanger: “Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost”: “Iran has tentatively agreed to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia if it reaches a broader nuclear deal with the West, according to officials and diplomats involved in the negotiations, potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.” [NY Times] • “Israel Must Prepare for ‘Day After’ Iran Deal, Researcher Says”[Bloomberg]

SCOTUS RECAP: Zivotofsky v. Kerry: “All of the members of the Court (except Justice Clarence Thomas, who usually says nothing in oral argument) were energetically engaged in exploring the question of whether Congress acted unconstitutionally a decade ago in ordering the State Department to let U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem list Israel as their place of birth on their U.S. passports, if that was their desire… Justice Kennedy was the first to ask a question, moving in within a minute or so after Washington attorney Alyza Lewin began. Lewin had opened with the argument that granting the boy’s wish would not “announce formal recognition of that location’s sovereign status,” Kennedy wondered if that could be made explicit in a public declaration by the president and secretary of State. Could they say, in issuing a passport, he asked, that noting Israel as the place of birth “is not an acknowledgment that Jerusalem” is within Israel’s sovereign claim?

Lewin readily agreed. That exchange caused Justice Elena Kagan (who would emerge as a strong defender of presidential prerogative) to wonder if Congress had the power to order the government to do just the contrary — that is, not make any such disclaimer on a passport.  Lewin agreed that the lawmakers could do that, because that, too, would not a grant of recognition to Jerusalem as part of Israel… It soon became clear that, along with Kagan, Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor were leaning noticeably (with Breyer most definitely) in favor of the executive branch’s power to decide the question, but that those four might not be able to easily garner a fifth vote to make a majority… In the end of his argument, though, Verrilli suggested that, if the Court were to uphold the law, the government would do what it could to enforce it, but at the same time take every step it could to try to mitigate the potential effect in the Middle East.  The remark seemed to indicate that the Solicitor General had sensed that he may not have made his case. [ScotusBlogTranscriptAPWSJ]

HAPPENING TODAY: Take a break from election coverate at 8:00 PM to explore Jewish heritage with Carole King, Tony Kushner & Alan Dershowitz on PBS’ ‘Finding Your Roots.’ [h/t Henry Louis Gates]
**Good Tuesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

ON THIS DATE IN… (Via the AP): 1979 – “The Iranian hostage crisis began as militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.” 1995 – “Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist after speaking at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.” 2008 – “Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.” [AP]

IRANIANS MARK ANNIVERSARY OF US EMBASSY TAKEOVER: “Thousands of Iranians chanted “Down with America” at a major anti-U.S. rally on Tuesday marking the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, just days ahead of a key meeting between the two nations’ top diplomats over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.” [AP]

AP SCOOP: “Egypt, Gulf Arab Allies Eye Anti-Militant Alliance” by Hamza Hendawi: “The alliance would also serve as a show of strength to counterbalance their traditional rival, Shiite-dominated, Iran. Two countries are seen as potential theaters for the alliance to act, senior Egyptian military officials said: Libya, where Islamic militants have taken over several cities, and Yemen, where Shiite rebels suspected of links to Iran have seized control of the capital.” [AP] • Rivals Tehran, Riyadh pledge billions to Lebanon’s army [WashPost] • Doron Peskin – “The Israeli-Saudi date war” [AlMonitor]

JERUSALEM TENSIONS: “For a Packed Part of Jerusalem, Expansion Plans Have Built Mostly Outrage” by Jodi Rudoren: “Built two decades ago on land captured from Jordan by Israel in the 1967 war, Ramat Shlomo has become a prime symbol of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and, especially, its diplomatic confrontations with Washington and the rest of the world. On Monday, after an Israeli committee approved about 500 new apartments in Ramat Shlomo, the Obama administration condemned the measure — for at least the sixth time since expansion plans were unveiled during a 2010 visit to Jerusalem by Vice President Biden.” [NYTimes] • J Street condemns Abbas condolence letter to terrorist’s family [JStreet]

STARTUP NATION: Teva Earnings Jump A Better-Than-Seen 23% [WSJ] • For Israeli Marijuana Inhaler That Won’t Get You High, Regulation Could Be a Bad Trip [Bloomberg] • “Start Up Nation Encourages Arab Employment as it Seeks Engineers” [Businessweek]

NATHAN LOW EMAILS… Could an Israeli-created innovation end world hunger?: “Produce of all kinds is “lost” to spoilage and disease, due mostly to transportation, storage, and other logistics issues. As a result, hundreds of millions of people still go hungry – but they don’t have to, thanks to an invention by Israel’s Pimi Agro. By applying a formula based on hydrogen peroxide — “with a few key additions,” said Nimrod Ben-Yehuda, CTO and co-founder of Pimi – fruits and vegetables remain fresh and viable for up to 10 weeks, significantly cutting losses due to rot and deterioration during the transportation process… [TOI]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel Bonds Win U.S. Hearts in War as Funds Seize Return [Bloomberg] • Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s A-Grade Investments back Rover [PE Hub]

TOP-OPS: Bret Stephens – “Relearning Republican Foreign Policy” [WSJ] • David Frum – “Bill Maher’s Critics Want Power, Not a More Sensitive Campus: Those who wanted to keep the comic from speaking at Berkeley have lost, but the danger they pose can’t be ignored.” [TheAtlantic] • Mira Sucharov: “Something is rotten in Diaspora discourse on Israel” [Haaretz] • Noah Feldman: “Supreme Court Should Steer Clear of Mideast Politics” [BV]

FORBES: “Raising Money For A Jewish Legacy, American Style” by Piotr Karnaszewski of Forbes Poland: “New York-based Jewish philanthropist and Holocaust survivor Sigmund Rolat has made a name for himself promoting Jewish culture in his native Poland. “We build bridges to connect Poles and Jews,” he says. Together with two other American businessmen, Tad Taube and Victor Markowicz, Rolat is one of the main private donors of the newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland.” [Forbes]

DESSERT — In Conversation with Jon Stewart: “‘Speaking of Iran: You learned a great deal about its politics and culture writing and directing Rosewater. Did you make the movie because you felt guilty about contributing to Bahari’s jailing?’ ‘Listen, Jews do a lot of things out of guilt. Generally it has to do with visiting people, not making movies.’ ” [NY Mag]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**

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