The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Take Trumpism and combine it with the potency of traditional Republicanism and a powerful force emerges – perhaps strong enough to deliver a sweeping tax cut, and a long-absent victory for the GOP.
But while this week could still bring a very big win for President Donald Trump and his party, it also reveals the mammoth leaps of faith they are collectively taking.
Start with the tax bill. We know it will worsen the deficit outlook, boost the fortunes of the wealthy, and provide questionable benefits to only some middle-income taxpayers – all in the hopes of giving the economy "rocket fuel" it may or may not need.
As for the politics, this a widely unpopular bill that's being crafted on the fly and moving along on party lines. It's telling that Democrats aren't even tempted to vote for it – and that House Republicans from the northeast and California are on record in opposition.
Then turn to the president himself. This week saw the president's tweets and public statements veer far off course into conspiracy theories, news bashing, and anti-Muslim sentiments.
Few elected Republicans said a word about the president's words. Party unity held, for the moment, in the interest of passing something big this year.
It figures to make for a more pleasant December than Republicans otherwise would have had. But they may be trading a happy conclusion to 2017 for what might be a difficult road in 2018.
The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek
The intersection of pop culture and politics seems to pass right through the state of Alabama right now.
Embattled GOP senate candidate Roy Moore is in the thick of his campaign's "church door to church door" strategy, stopping at a Baptist church outside of Birmingham last night. But Moore seems to have made the most waves on Twitter in recent days.
After late night host Jimmy Kimmel sent a comedian to Moore's speech Wednesday night outside of Mobile, Moore tweeted at Kimmel, ".@jimmykimmel If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man." After some back and forth, Kimmel went right at the heart of the accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore, tweeting, "Ok Roy, but I'm leaving my daughters at home! P.S. - wear that cute little leather vest."
OK Roy, but I'm leaving my daughters at home! P.S. - wear that cute little leather vest https://t.co/scweglm2Fg— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) November 30, 2017
Kimmel also went after Moore in his opening monologue last night, saying he's more than willing to head down to Alabama to interview Moore — with a group of high school cheerleaders. He also said Moore isn't even "man enough" to debate his Democratic opponent Doug Jones.
It may seem odd that a major party's candidate for U.S. Senate is getting in Twitter battles with late night hosts, but it seems Moore is again following after the man who arguably has breathed the most life into his campaign in the last week — Donald Trump.
Moore's campaign also came out with a new ad featuring President Trump's comments bashing Jones.
There are 12 days left until the nation sees whether or not that push was enough for Moore to survive the political fight of his life.
The TIP with Cheyenne Haslett
Politicians say conflicting things all the time -- and during elections, words often flow freer – but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took banter a step further Thursday morning on CNN. As ABC News' Chris Donovan points out, almost word-for-word, the senator fully contradicted a statement he'd made back in February 2016 about the president.
Graham was asked about reports of Trump still talking about "birtherism." Graham, growing frustrated, criticized CNN and MSNBC for their coverage of the president. It's okay to disagree with Trump, as Graham does on different viewpoints, but he's concerned that the media is endlessly trying to label Trump a "kook not fit to be president," Graham said.
One problem. That phrase is the exact same phrase Graham used to label Trump earlier this year. Read excerpts from both transcripts below.
Sen. Lindsey Graham on CNN, Nov. 30, 2017: "You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president. He did win, by the way.
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox News, February 17, 2016: "I'm not going to get into the mind of Donald Trump because I don't think there's a lot of space there. I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office...He's not fit to be president of the United States.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He's here. Rex is here," President Donald Trump said amid rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the way out.
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