Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Dispatch from New Hampshire | Sheldon Adelson’s Jewish Media Secret | Trump uses crude Yiddish term to deride Hillary Clinton

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Heard On The Trail — by Jacob Kornbluh in New Hampshire: John Kasich, describing his ability to work across the aisle, “I was on the phone yesterday with Joe Lieberman, he’s a Democrat.”… Overheard Kasich telling a voter: “Bibi is my hero.”… Kasich on Rubio’s vow to rip up the Iran deal on day one: “I think it’s a little premature to be telegraphing what you might want to do fourteen months from now… If we see any violations, not only should we reimpose sanctions but so should our allies.” [JewishInsider]

“Oh, Happy Hanukkah! I’m also Jewish,” a Rubio campaign staffer greeted this reporter at the Governor’s Inn and Restaurant in Rochester, NH. A Jewish woman from Portsmouth asked Rubio: “How will a President Rubio address the Iran deal and the money flow to Hezbollah and Hamas which is an existential threat to Israel?”

Rubio answered her: “If I’m elected president, we are going to cancel the Iran deal on our first day in office. And I’m going to turn to Iran and the world and say this: ‘You don’t need nuclear energy. You’re an oil-rich country. If you want nuclear energy, you can have it the same way South Korea and other countries do it, and that is, you can import the enriched uranium. You don’t have to enrich it yourself. If you try to build a weapon, we will destroy your weapons system. And as long as you do not agree to these terms, we will cripple your economy with sanctions.’”

Rubio insisted that the Iranians will acquire nuclear weapons under the current terms of the deal“Guys, they are going to get a nuclear weapon. They’re either going to buy it from North Korea, which will easily sell it to them, or they are going to build one of their own. It’s not that hard anymore, and the $150 billion are going to make it even faster.” [JewishInsider]

Chris Christie in Peterborough, NH: “We will not have an agreement, a handshake or meet with anyone of the Iranian government until they recognize the right of Israel to exist.” The crowd erupted in loud applause. [JewishInsider]

Christie on Rubio: “If you spend most of your time at restaurants in New York City, that’s not real campaigning.” [FirstDraft]

At a Jeb Bush event, a woman thanked Jeb for saying “Merry Christmas” because “if you were a radical Muslim, you would not say that.” Jeb replied: “It shouldn’t be offensive to people to celebrate the celebration of one’s faith – it’s not being disrespectful. I lit the Hanukkah candles in celebration of Hanukkah, and I said, ‘Happy Hanukkah.’”

Jeb recalled receiving a gun from Charlton Heston at an NRA event: “Man, Moses gave me an award in front of 20,000 people.”… Later, “the only place in the Middle East where it’s now safe to be Christian, maybe Jordan, Egypt — and Israel – that’s the safest place, probably, for a Christian.”

Ben Carson, who recently canceled a scheduled trip to Israel: “We’ve turned our backs on Israel. If we turn our backs on our best friend, how would anyone trust us?” Adding, the Arab states in the Middle East are sitting on the fence as the U.S. is trying to put together a coalition in its war on ISIS “because they don’t know when we are going to turn our backs on them.”

Before Carson’s town hall meeting at Keene State College on Sunday, a young man approached this reporter saying there’s a group of Jewish students going from one campaign event to another asking the candidates about their positions on issues that ‘matter’ and, based on the answers, they intend to ‘endorse’. But he wasn’t willing to identify himself since “we are not talking to the press.” The question the student posed later was on healthcare.

NH Tweet: “Yamh ah kah” replies a man when his young son asks “what is that called again.” [Twitter]

2016 WATCH: “Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton was ‘schlonged’ in 2008 loss to Barack Obama” by Ben Jacobs: “Trump used the insult during a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and also denigrated for Clinton for taking too long to return from a commercial break during Saturday night’s Democratic debate… The Michigan event did not mark the first time that Trump used the phrase “schlonged”. In a 2011 interview with the Washington Post, Trump blamed Paul Ryan – who is now the Republican Speaker of the House – for the party losing a special election and used the vulgarity.” [TheGuardian] • “Donald Trump’s ‘schlonged’: A linguistic investigation” [WashPost]

Ben Jacobs tweet: “Has any candidate for Borough President, let alone President of the United States ever used “schlonged” in public before?” [Twitter]

“Let’s Elect Hillary Now” by Bret Stephens: “Let’s stop pretending we want to be governed by someone we agree with much of the time, when we can have the easy and total satisfaction of a president we can loathe and revile all the time. We want four—and probably eight—more years of cable-news neuralgia. We want to drive ourselves to work as Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham scratch our ideological itches until they bleed a little.” [WSJ]

EXIT: “Lindsey Graham drops out of presidential race” by Katie Glueck: “South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday bowed out of the presidential race after failing to attract any significant support, despite his memorable zingers and passionate commitment to pushing a hawkish foreign policy agenda.” [Politico• “Lindsey Graham’s best one-liners” [Politico]

Robert Rechnitz, a National Co-Chair for Graham’s campaign, told us yesterday: “I was with Sen. Graham last week in L.A., and as he’s said from the beginning of the campaign, he was hoping to stay in for the first two or three primaries. If he didn’t come out on top he would not be investing more of his time or people’s financial support and he would throw his weight behind the best candidate. True to his word, as he always has been, he pulled out of the contest on a high after his resounding performance at the debates in Las Vegas. I believe that the voters who were polled seem to prefer the reality TV type entertainment over serious candidates at this point in the race.”

“The country owes him a great debt of gratitude for his service. He didn’t always follow the party line, he follows his conscience, common sense, and true values. I believe that had he won the nomination, there would have been a lot of ‘Graham Democrats’ — something we haven’t had since Reagan. Graham knows the system, because he was part of it… his life story taught him about the need for social security, medical insurance, service to your country through the Air Force, and understanding the plight of the American citizen. He has the respect of the entire Senate and I’m sure he’ll continue to be a strong supporter of Israel — as he was with passing the second tranche of $235 million for the Iron Dome legislation which would not have been approved otherwise before the summer break in 2013…”

“He goes back to the Senate as the senior man on foreign policy and also as the Senator who is in charge of funding to the United Nations. His influence will continue to be felt for many years to come and our country in good hands because of him whether the next president is a Democrat or a Republican. I have no question that he took this Republican presidential race to a higher standard and certainly brought the issue of foreign policy to the forefront of the conversation.”

Matt K. Lewis: “There are many reasons why politicians who know they cannot win get into presidential races — some more noble than others. Some opportunistic candidates lamely and cynically hope to raise their status and land speaking gigs or a cable TV show. But others run because they have something to say, and nobody else is saying it. Lindsey Graham was such a presidential candidate.” [TheWeek]

“Ted Cruz: Close Palestinian group’s DC office” by Jordain Carney: “Cruz and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent a letter, signed by 30 other Republican lawmakers, to Secretary of State John Kerry saying that Israel has “seen a dramatic increase in deadly attacks carried out by Palestinians sympathetic to the message of hatred and intolerance proclaimed by leaders” within the PLO.” [TheHillLetter]

“Why is the U.S. subsidizing Israeli settlements?” by Uri Blau: “The American donors to these groups are entitled to tax breaks on the money they give, and so this flow of funds means U.S. taxpayers are indirectly supporting a policy of settlement expansion opposed by the current administration and every other administration — Democratic and Republican — since Richard Nixon.” [WashPost]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 10:30am, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy hosts a roundtable on “Preserving a Path to a Two-State Solution” with Einat Wilf and Ghaith al-Omari. [Webcast]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran Nuclear Deal Restricts U.S. More Than Congress Knew” by Eli Lake and Josh Rogin: “If the United States Congress cannot implement a more secure visa procedure for those who travel to state sponsors of terrorism like Iran, then the Iran deal ties the hands of lawmakers to a greater extent than even deal critics feared,” Mark Dubowitz told us.” [BloombergView]

REPORT: “As the United States negotiated this year’s nuclear pact with Iran, the State Department quietly agreed to spare the Gulf sultanate of Oman from an embarrassing public rebuke over its human rights record, rewarding a close Arab ally that helped broker the historic deal.” [Reuters]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Hospitality and Gambling Interests Delay Closing of Billion-Dollar Tax Loophole” [NYT• “SEC has a new plan to go after ex-hedge fund boss Steve Cohen” [NYPostWSJ] • “As a New High Society Climbs in Manhattan, It’s a Race to the Top” [NYTimes] • “East Village Condos in a Synagogue” [NYTimes] • “Google Has Lost Its Mind, Says Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman” [ReCode]

STARTUP NATION: “CellSavers, An On-Demand Smartphone Repair Startup, Raises $3M” by Matthew Lynley: “CellSavers co-founder Itai Hirsch was not a fan of driving to a local repair shop after he’d broken many of his phones and tablets. So he decided to take a run at building CellSavers, an on-demand repair service that’s like an Uber for smartphone repairs. To do that, CellSavers has raised $3 million in seed funding from Sequoia Israel. CellSavers connects users with technicians that will come to them and repair a broken battery or a cracked screen. A cracked iPhone 6 screen repair, for example, costs $99.” [TechCrunch]

MEDIA WATCH: “Sheldon Adelson’s Jewish Media Secret Revealed” by Josh Nathan-Kazis:“The Forward has learned that Adelson’s family foundation is the largest single funder behind JNS.org, a Jewish news service that serves a growing number of American Jewish news organizations. Newspapers that subscribed to the service told the Forward that they had not known its prime backer’s identity — until now.” [Forward]

DESSERT: “Behind the wheel of the Obama episode of Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars’” by Dan Zak: “After Obama cited Seinfeld as one of his favorite comedians on Maron’s podcast, Seinfeld jokingly suggested that his production team should reach out to the White House. The executive producer of “Comedians in Cars” did just that… Obama drove the Stingray on the White House grounds. The pair chatted in a basement dining room, and Seinfeld asked about presidential bathroom routines, and the difference between presidential garbage and non-presidential garbage.” [WashPost]

Howard Wolfson sends us “My Favorite Albums of 2015” in the Daily Beast: “In 2015 one New Yorker dominates the national stage by promising to wall America off from Spanish-speaking migrants. At the same time, another New Yorker, the son of Spanish-speaking migrants, commands the Broadway stage by singing the praises of our nation’s earliest newcomers. Who does America belong to, and who is an American? Donald Trump and Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015’s most compelling showmen, provide wildly different answers to standing-room audiences on a nightly basis.” [DailyBeast]

BIRTHDAYS: Simone Friedman, head of philanthropy at Emanuel J. Philanthropies… Paul Wolfowitz, former President of the World Bank, turns 72… Strategist Hank Sheinkopf turns 66… David Novak… Rabbi Kerry Olitzky turns 61…

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