Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
Dig into our Carly Fiorina coverage, if you haven’t already, and you’ll come away with an understanding of why the Republican presidential candidate’s performance running Hewlett-Packard remains so contentious a decade later. Her opponent in her first run for office, incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), used Fiorina’s record there to devastating effect in what amounted to a kill shot of a TV ad five years ago. Rival GOP campaigns are surely studying it, along with the finer points of the history itself, after Fiorina’s breakout turn Wednesday on the main stage of the CNN debate. Vault into serious contention, invite serious scrutiny.
Fiorina knows this. Her ready reply to an attack she anticipated in the debate — invoking as defenders the late Steve Jobs and Tom Perkins, who’d voted to fire her — testified to the work she’s done since her first political foray to shore up her defense. But she also needs to attend to some more earthly concerns if she hopes to scale up her presidential bid, namely, immediately, money. In her most recent disclosure this summer, Fiorina reported raising a relatively meager $1.7 million for her official account. The super PAC supporting her effort didn’t do much better, pulling in $3.5 million.
The former tech honcho can expect to redeem new national exposure for campaign donations. But in one regard, the task points back to her bigger challenge: While Silicon Valley might seem like her first and most obvious source of cash, it likely won’t yield much. “She’s never going to be the tech candidate,” says Boris Feldman, who served as Fiorina’s lawyer at HP and has remained a close friend since. “They view her as an outsider… The rank-and-file at HP didn’t like her. She was a disruptor.” Of course, it’s possible to frame that as a virtue, as Fiorina surfs the wave of antiestablishment fervor convulsing the party. The other way of seeing it is that many who saw her work up close don’t want to invest in giving her a far graver responsibility.
• Shutdown deja vu: Conservatives threaten to shutter federal government over Planned Parenthood dustup
With less than two weeks until the federal government runs out of the funding it needs to keep operating, Congressional Republican leaders are struggling to devise a plan to defuse a new insurrection among conservatives over Planned Parenthood. Right-wingers have demanded their party strip federal support for the organization in the wake of video revelations about its support for research using fetal tissue. But with Democrats adamantly opposed and Republicans divided on the question, GOP leaders have no strategy for moving past the debate without shutting the government down, an increasingly likely outcome. Politico
• Carried interest debate in Republican primary spooks industry
Whatever else Donald Trump’s convention-busting presidential bid may bring, it’s already had one impact on the public policy debate. Republicans who once lined up in near-uniform defense of the carried interest tax provision favored by investment managers now feel compelled to toe Trump’s populist line against the break. The industry itself is taking the shift seriously enough to relaunch an “education” campaign by its lobbyists and affiliated outside groups in Washington aimed at assuaging historically friendly policymakers. For now, senior tax-writing Republicans on Capitol Hill seem inclined to hold the line. New York Times
• Obama’s push to liberalize relations with Cuba presses ahead
The Obama administration is moving forward with its project of removing restrictions on America trade, travel and investment in Cuba. The 53-year embargo of the island nation persists, with only Congress able to lift it, an unlikely step in the near term. But the president is doing what he can through executive order to move ahead anyway. U.S. businesses are so far reacting with caution. Reuters
Around the Water Cooler
• Trump is out for Bush blood
Here’s a report to check whatever mix of relief and encouragement that Jeb Bush and his supporters have enjoyed from his good-enough performance in the last presidential debate, particularly with regards to his prime tormentor, Donald Trump. The billionaire real-estate mogul who’s held a surprisingly durable lead in the polls may be motivated primarily out of spite toward Bush and hellbent on ensuring he never reaches the Oval Office. New York magazine reports that Trump blames Bush for prevailing on Mexican billionaire and Univision owner Carlos Slim to cancel a $13.5 million contract with Trump for the broadcast rights to his Miss America Pageant. And now, Trump is claiming privately that if he starts losing altitude, “then Bush is going down with me.” It’s difficult to know what percentage of Trump’s claims survive their utterance. But there does appear to be genuine mutual contempt between the candidates, enough that Trump has pledged to answer any Bush ad buy with “whatever it takes.” New York
• It’s not the economy, stupid
Republican presidential candidates managed to spend three hours on Wednesday night debating just about everything other than the economy. They may not have minded. The improving economy, a bright spot in the world, presents plenty of perils for those vying to replace Barack Obama. How to attack an improving economy without looking opportunistic? And what is there to say that would ever owe to the tinkering of policymakers? There are no easy answers, which may be why some Republicans keep steering the conversation back to immigration. Washington Post
• Where in the world have the Republican candidates been? The answer, in 11 maps
Carly Fiorina, in the CNN debate performance now juicing her presidential bid, made a subtle reference to the miles she’s racked up globetrotting, even as she downplayed the significance of that travel in a nod to humility. But just how much of the world have the top Republican candidates seen firsthand? Fortune teamed with travel app Hitlist to find some answers, and they are potentially revelatory. Jeb Bush, for example, laps the field, having spent time in 40 nations. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, by contrast, confirms that he’s never been to Europe. Fortune