Sunday Politics: Obama Campaigns, The Op-Ed


The unofficial end of summer has come and gone, but it was still plenty hot in Washington this past week. There’s the anonymous op-ed that’s burning up the Beltway and President Trump. Brett Kavanaugh got grilled in his Senate confirmation hearings. And in Chicago, President Obama brought the heat with a fiery speech calling out Trump by name. Joining me now to talk about it all is NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Let’s start with this anonymous op-ed that is still getting so much attention. President Trump has called on the Justice Department to help find the writer.

LIASSON: That’s right. Once again, President Trump seems to confuse rule of law with rule of man when he’s asking the Department of Justice to find this writer. There actually is no law against criticizing your boss anonymously in the newspaper. But the other effect of Trump talking about this so much is to take attention away from that good economic news that we heard last week, with wage growth finally ticking up. President Trump seemed to step over – all over that story by keeping the hunt for Deep State Throat alive. On the other hand, he might understand that economic issues like tax cuts don’t really work with his base. It’s better to focus on culture war issues like attacks on the press, attacks on the deep state, attacks on immigrants or kneeling athletes. Those things, he thinks, will work better with his base in this election.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, what are we seeing? Is President Trump’s sort of relentless focus on his base working?

LIASSON: Right now the polls, at least for now, show the outlook for the House elections bad for Republicans, good for Democrats. They could change. In the Senate,…

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