Hillary Clinton is meeting with some Republicans to talk post-election
Trump is rethinking his rally strategy as his campaign changes
The GOP is very much in need of a closer after facing Clinton's surrogate crew
Some surprise outreach from Hillary Clinton, a Paul Ryan survival guide, Donald Trump’s new rally strategy and the GOP’s search for bullpen help.
It’s all part of CNN’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get next week’s headlines today.
1) Shhh ….. Clinton quietly reaches out to Republicans
Hillary Clinton insists she takes nothing for granted and will campaign to the end as if she were the underdog.
But there are increasing signs of her confidence, including devoting more time in her speeches to trying to help Democratic candidates for Senate and other offices.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny shares his reporting on her quiet, private outreach to Senate Republicans as Clinton allows herself to look ahead at the prospect of trying to govern.
“I’m told she’s been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern. On the campaign trail she clings very closely to President Obama. She needs him to win the election,” Zeleny says. “But she also is signaling she will be a different kind of president. She will work with (Republicans). She wants to have an open-door policy.”
2) Would Clinton keep Obama’s Supreme Court pick?
It may be a moot point if the Senate surprises us and acts on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the post-election lame duck session.
But if not, and if Clinton wins the presidency, would she re-nominate Garland or make a new pick?
She hasn’t answered that question. But Julie Pace of The Associated Press shared her reporting on the intense pressure Clinton faces from Democratic interest groups who don’t view Garland as sufficiently liberal.
“If Clinton wins she will be constantly watching the left flank of her party and there are a lot of people in that part of the Democratic party who would like to see her move on a more liberal justice, particularly if Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Pace says.
3) Trump likes his big rallies – win or lose
As campaign optics go, it would have been HUGE: Donald Trump’s campaign charter landing in the shadow of a NASA launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.
But those plans have been scrapped for now, and the Trump campaign is making different rally plans in Florida. Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg Politics says his campaign must balance strategy and scheduling in the final two weeks with Trump’s preference for big rallies.
“As this gets bleaker, they are getting more creative,” Jacobs says. “They’ve been doing these big hangar rallies. They were supposed to have him land on the space shuttle runway, which would have really thrilled the ‘Make America Great’ types. Florida newspapers report that (plan) apparently has been scrubbed. So what that says is maybe that’s a new symbol for his campaign.”
4) Paul Ryan faces survival questions
Four years ago, Paul Ryan spent the final weeks of the presidential campaign extolling the virtues of the Republican nominee for president. This cycle, Ryan tries to not even mention the Republican nominee for president.
Of course four years ago Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate. This cycle, he is the House Speaker, trying to navigate an environment in which some House Republicans are enthusiastic about Trump while others view him as toxic.
The question for Ryan is one of survival: He has already faced dissent from some of the most conservative members of the House GOP. CNN’s Manu Raju shares his reporting on potential new efforts to force a leadership change.
“Paul Ryan has his hands full after the elections from the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives who led that charge against John Boehner several years ago,” Raju says. “The caucus is demanding to delay leadership elections scheduled to take place. They want to have them later in the lame-duck session in order to see how Ryan deals with spending bill negotiations.”
5) GOP envies Democrats’ bullpen – and wants a closer
In baseball, the best bullpen often makes the difference as we get into late October. Can the same be said for presidential campaigns?
A lot of Republicans worry the answer is yes. The GOP is watching with envy as the Clinton campaign deploys the Obamas, Vice President Biden, Bill Clinton and Senate stars like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to help campaign in battleground states.
So where is the GOP bullpen? Or even just one closer?
Maybe, in at least one race, the call will go out for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Remember Kasich ran second to Donald Trump in the New Hampshire presidential primary – and he has refused to endorse Trump.
GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte is in a tough re-election race, and she now says she can no longer support Trump.
New Hampshire polling shows a good chunk of Kasich primary voters are not supporting Trump, but many also are not supporting Ayotte.
So some New Hampshire Republicans are hoping Kasich will come out of the bullpen – or at least out of Columbus – and return to New Hampshire to help Ayotte in the campaign’s final days. There are also discussions about whether a Kasich testimonial ad would help.