The Note: The Donald Is In The Details

ByMichael Falcone
September 28, 2015, 8:47 AM


--DONALD TRUMP IS GETTING DETAILED ABOUT TAXES: We're slated to watch the Republican frontrunner unveil his tax plan at 11 a.m. in New York City, ABC's RYAN STRUYK notes. It's his third detailed issue plan the real estate mogul is releasing so far -- after immigration and gun rights -- but the first time he's using a press conference to unveil it. "I am very excited about this plan," Trump said in a statement. "It is one of many steps necessary to help Make America Great Again." Later in the day, Trump will meet with evangelical leaders in the afternoon.

--BY THE NUMBERS: Donald Trump and Ben Carson are neck and neck in the Republican presidential race, and Hillary Clinton's lead in the Democratic field is continuing to dwindle, according to a new national poll released yesterday. In the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Trump was at 21 percent, while neurosurgeon Carson was at 20 percent. That means Carson has jumped 10 points since the latest NBC/WSJ poll in July, according to ABC's CORINNE CATHCART. After Carson, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio each came in at 11 percent, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 7 percent, down 7 points since the July NBC/WSJ poll.

--ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE: Clinton's lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has slimmed. Clinton's support was at 42 percent, while Sanders was at 35 percent, his highest number in any airworthy national poll over the course of this election cycle. Back in July, Clinton had a 34-point lead over Sanders. Vice President Joe Biden, who is still considering joining the race, came in third at 17 percent.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: John Boehner was torn down by the same forces that empowered him five years ago. He's led a group that did not want to be led; he's been speaker of a House that's wanted action for its own sake. His exit may calm congressional waters in the short term. But it roils the presidential race, in splits made evident by Republican candidates who are either praising Boehner's service or calling for his colleagues in leadership to topple along with him. Tea party voters have been Republican voters, but this has been an uneasy marriage from the moment they started to elect individuals to serve in a Washington they profess to hate. Channeling those energies is critical to GOP math these days. Yet these are voters (and interest groups, of course) that don't respond to top-down leadership decisions. How they respond to a fluid presidential race -- with Donald Trump still the frontrunner, outsiders dominant, and some establishment candidates potentially resurgent -- could determine the nomination, and perhaps the general election. Boehner's fate is a lesson, though not a particularly useful one inside a party that's still at war with itself.

TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's RYAN STRUYK: Ben Carson, who is nipping at Trump's heels in the polls, has a photo op scheduled in North Carolina. Marco Rubio, also rising in the polls, is in his home state of Florida for a meet and greet. Meanwhile, Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal continue to try to gain momentum campaigning in Iowa. Lindsey Graham is in South Carolina doing a town hall with Sen. Tim Scott and Jeb Bush fundraises in Missouri. Rand Paul speaks to the New York GOP, and Rick Santorum speaks in Ohio. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has no events scheduled, but the second half of his Meet the Press interview is scheduled to air at 5 p.m. Her husband former President Bill Clinton will be in New York for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual meeting. Her stiffest competition so far, Bernie Sanders, will be speaking at the University of Chicago.

--POPE WEEK COMES TO A CLOSE. Last week The Note set aside a special place for daily insight and analysis of the Holy Father's trip to the United States. With Pope Francis now back at the Vatican after a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, Father Michael A. Russo, an expert on the papacy who served as a media consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers his wrap-up take on the visit:

--FR. RUSSO: Yesterday in his speech to the American bishops seated at Saint Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, Pope Francis admitted: "A Christianity which does little in practice, while incessantly explaining its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced." He added: "Christians are not immune to the changes of their time. This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe, and proclaim." Pope Francis's understanding of "culture as a medium" of faith stands in contrast to those who hold Christianity to be "counter cultural." Perhaps, this point of theological conflict will define a way of seeing his papacy and help us to better understand how we must adapt to better carry out our mission. Here the pope reminds me of the words of his fellow Jesuit, the philosopher Teilhard de Chardin: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

As Pope Francis departed Philadelphia last night, he spoke with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden. The theme of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia was "The Family Fully Alive," this sentiment has special resonance for the Vice President's family, and all families of our nation and world. Mostly this week, Catholics and Americans alike witnessed Pope Francis's capacity for "adaptive leadership." This is a rare an example of "grass roots" leadership as the Church has ever experienced. To gauge Pope Francis, and this particular kind of "pastoral pope," historians may have to go back to Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604AD). Gregory's inventive leadership, and mostly his service to the poor of Rome are still celebrated.

Harvard's Joseph Nye would classify Francis's style as that of an "adaptive leader," the leader who addresses the genuine needs of people, or constituents. After careful listening, he works within a process or method to permit hearing disparate voices, discerning or deliberating over issues or conflicts, making judgments, and then taking action. This style of pastoral leadership appears disruptive to the Vatican's way of doing things. These management tools of his were on full display in his sermons and speeches, but mostly in his personal, intimate gestures yesterday among the inmates and staff of the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility. This is a man that is more immediate and improvisational, and not willing to be packaged for theological journals or media/press releases. Francis calls for "apostolic courage" or parrhesia among his bishops, priests and church. To those still bewildered by his style of leadership, Francis replies: "Don't worry, Peter is here!" In other words, "I am the pope, remember?" Indeed, Pope Francis was here and we are better for his all too brief journey among us. Read more from Father Russo (@frmikerusso), at his blog,

IN THE NOTE'S INBOX: KEVIN MCCARTHY TEAMS UP WITH JOHN HAY INITIATIVE. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be the keynote speaker at the John Hay Initiative's launch party of its new book, Choosing to Lead: American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World. The book launch will be held today at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., at 1:30pm. McCarthy's address will be followed by two panels with the book's authors. Formed in 2012 by Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and Brian Hook, The John Hay Initiative is a volunteer network of over 250 foreign policy, defense, and intelligence experts assembled to advise elected officials and candidates for public office.



HILLARY CLINTON EXPLAINS DISCREPANCY IN WHEN SHE BEGAN USING PRIVATE EMAIL SERVER. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that newly released emails dated before she had said her private server was operational were from a "transition period." There "was about a month" when all of her emails weren't on the server that was later turned over to the State Department because her account needed to be added, she said in an interview on NBC "Meet the Press," ABC's LIZ KREUTZ notes. "There was about a month where I didn't have everything already on the server, and we went back, tried to recover whatever we could recover," she said. "I think it's also fair to say that there are some things about this that I just can't control. I can't control the technical aspects of it. "There was a transition period," she continued. "I wasn't that focused on my email account to be clear here."

BEN CARSON 'CERTAINLY WILLING' TO GIVE KANYE WEST A CHANCE AS PRESIDENT. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he would be willing to give Kanye West a chance as president of the United States. The rapper announced last month at the MTV's Video Music Awards his intent to run for president in 2020 despite saying he hates politics, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS. Carson said he recently spoke with West and was impressed by his business savvy. "Well, I am certainly willing to give him a chance," Carson said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "He'll be able to explain things and see if he resonates with the people." "I did have an opportunity to talk with him. I was extremely impressed with his business acumen. He knows a lot about business," Carson continued.

NOTED: CARSON KEEPS COOL, CALM AND COLLECTED. At his first campaign event since the news that a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed him second in the running for the 2016 GOP presidential race, nipping at Trump's heels, trailing by just one point, Carson maintained his cool, calm and collected temperament, showing the crowd of about 1,600 enthusiastic supporters packed inside the athletic facility at Park View High School in Sterling, Virginia, that his slow-and-steady-wins-the race mentality hasn't changed with his new status in the 2016 race for president. ABC's ALI DUKAKIS has more.

CURTAIN COLLAPSES WHILE CARLY FIORINA SPEAKS ON STAGE IN TEXAS. A curtain behind a Texas stage where Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina was addressing a conference of women entrepreneurs tonight collapsed mid-way through Fiorina's remarks. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was interrupted when the heavy blue curtain behind her began to waver -- sending a rumbling noise through the conference room --- and women in attendance began to scream. Fiorina and two women on stage with her huddled together and shielded their heads as the curtain fell along with the metal rods that held the curtain erect. The curtain fell to the floor in the opposite direction of the stage. No one was harmed in the incident, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS reports.

BOEHNER PROMISES NO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN OVER PLANNED PARENTHOOD. House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday there will be "no" government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, confirming plans to pass the Senate's short-term government funding bill with Democratic help, according to ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL. "I expect my Democratic colleagues want to keep the government open as much as I do," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." Before he announced his resignation plans, Boehner was under pressure from House conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood in a bill to keep the government open, which would have all but guaranteed a government shutdown.


5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK. All it took was a papal visit to get Washington moving again -- and moving, and moving. Fast enough to get another 2016er out of the race, force the Democratic frontrunner to come up with a position on the Keystone Pipeline, and even hasten the end of a speakership. It's a time of sweat and insecurity, empty rooms, reappearing emails, and -- cue the pope's influence again -- just a little less Donald Trump. ABC's RICK KLEIN highlights five stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead.


@llerer: With HRC facing falling numbers, expect to start seeing more of Bill Clinton

@wpjenna: Jeb Bush's top donors warn he needs to quickly gain ground in early polls -- or risk defections.

@ZekeJMiller: New Kasich super PAC ad on foreign policy ...

@DavidMDrucker: Looking for a break from Washington political dysfunction? Don't go to a Nationals game, apparently...

@markknoller: At the @UN today, Pres Obama addresses the General Assembly (10A), has separate meetings with India's Modi (11A) and Russia's Putin (5pm).

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