PETE WILLIAMS: Hello.
I'm Pete Williams, in for Gwen Ifill.
And this is the
Washington Week Extra.
Phil, I want to start you with something that we didn't get
to during the broadcast, a name that we haven't heard much in this campaign
nationally, Evan McMullin.
Who is he?
And why might he make a difference?
PHILIP RUCKER: Well, he's an independent candidate for president.
He's actually a Republican.
He's 40 years old, former CIA-operative and congressional
Nobody really knows who he is, but he's from Utah, born there.
And he's really trying to win that state, that single state.
It's a state where Donald Trump is struggling mightily.
Mitt Romney won it 73 percent to 25 percent in 2012.
And yet, Trump is either tied or losing right now in the polls.
McMullin thinks if he can win in Utah, somehow deny either Hillary Clinton or Donald
Trump the majority in the Electoral College vote, through the 12th Amendment he can kick
the results over to the Congress and maybe he could get elected president that way.
PETE WILLIAMS: The 12th Amendment, as loyal viewers of this show would know, is the one
that says if there's no - if nobody has a majority in the Electoral College, then the
House decides who the president is.
That's the one you're talking about?
PHILIP RUCKER: That's exactly right.
PETE WILLIAMS: But why is he so popular in Utah?
Or, perhaps, the inverse is why is Trump so unpopular in Utah?
PHILIP RUCKER: Well, McMullin is popular in Utah because his name is not Donald Trump.
I mean, he's somebody different.
He's a conservative.
He gives Republicans in Utah, who are very uneasy with Trump - especially Mormons there
who just cannot handle some of the vulgarity that comes from Trump's campaign - gives
them an option, somebody other than Hillary Clinton to vote for.
McMullin really came
out of the Never Trump movement.
He's funded by a lot of Never Trump donors.
Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, who's been a critic of Trump's, has
really recruited him and groomed him as a candidate.
PETE WILLIAMS: Could he win Utah, Jeanne?
And could he win any other state?
JEANNE CUMMINGS: No.
He can't win any other state, but he can win Utah.
I mean, he is a Mormon.
He went to Brigham Young University.
He reflects the values.
I think that the level of Mormon participation or voter registration in the state is,
like, in the 70s - low 70s.
So he's one of them.
He reflects their values.
Their values matter to them.
Utah is the state with the highest percentage of people
who go to church every week.
So he's tailor-made for them.
And many of those voters, they can't do Trump, and they just can't do Hillary either,
although Hillary - her campaign's trying.
They do have a little rump group up there
trying to stir up some support for her, and maybe steal one.
But I think that this
And that would be the first time a third-party candidate won a state since 1968.
PETE WILLIAMS: How many electoral votes?
JEANNE CUMMINGS: Six.
It's two more than New Hampshire.
JEFF ZELENY: Someone described it to me as a civilized protest vote.
JEANNE CUMMINGS: Mmm hmm, that's a good - that's beautiful.
PETE WILLIAMS: Jeff, I want to ask you about Bloomberg, that's out with an interesting
new poll of likely Republican voters, about who they see as the future of the party.
They were asked: Who do you want to be the face of the party nationally?
percent said Mike Pence.
Trump was at 24, followed by Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and John
So if Trump doesn't win the election what does this say about his future in
the Republican Party?
Is there one?
JEFF ZELENY: I think very, very limited future in the Republican Party.
basically there will be a free-for-all after the election on November 9th, the morning
after, inside the Republican Party.
The divisions will exist until someone heals them.
Mike Pence is at the top of the list here at 27 percent in the Bloomberg poll.
He has had this high-wire act, really, for the last several months to, you know, be a
loyal vice presidential candidate, but not stray from his principles as a potential 2020
And I think overall, he's done better than most people in his
position would be able to.
He's had a few places where, you know, he's cleaned up and
he's had to, you know, sort of change his answer to fit what Donald Trump said.
But, look, I think that Mike Pence will emerge as the, you know, heir apparent, I guess,
with the - be a leader of the national party for a moment.
But, boy, once the
congressional session begins again in January, Paul Ryan will be very visible - Speaker Ryan.
Now, he has potential trouble on his right flank here because some conservatives in the
House, a rabble-rousing group to be sure, say that they will challenge him for his
Mark Meadows, the congressman who gave John Boehner a hard time, is
saying he'll challenge him.
But what this shows is the Republican Party will be
Mike Pence will be the leader, but not standing very tall.
PETE WILLIAMS: And of course, who knows what Donald Trump wants to do.
JEFF ZELENY: Right.
PETE WILLIAMS: We said during the broadcast that Donald Trump had a lot of people
watching the debate.
And we noticed this week that 8 million people were watching
the debate on a Donald Trump Facebook page.
So, could his future be on some kind of
television channel, do you think?
Is that maybe something he's thinking about?
JEANNE CUMMINGS: It is something that they are thinking about.
His son-in-law met recently with one of the biggest investors in these kinds of startup
new channel television networks.
So we know it's an option that they've kicked around
inside when they've thought about the future.
It makes a lot of sense.
His good friend Roger Ailes from Fox - recently departed from Fox News with, no doubt, a
grudge, wouldn't mind, probably, starting up another channel.
PETE WILLIAMS: He's still on Rupert Murdoch's payroll though, isn't he?
JEANNE CUMMINGS: Well, that doesn't mean over, you know, a ham sandwich in Mar-a-Lago
there can't be conversations between friends.
And Roger Ailes has
successfully done this before.
So, you know, it seems a natural fit.
It's funny, when he got in the campaign last August, alls he talked about was ratings.
That's all he talked about for, like a month and a half.
And at that time, I thought, maybe he just is after a career course correction, because
he's done with The Apprentice, and but alls he talks about is ratings.
Maybe he wants
You know, maybe he wants, like, a show on Fox.
Or, what I was thinking at the
time, not an independent network.
But it would be a natural play for him.
PHILIP RUCKER: He has really built his empire by leveraging his brand to make profit.
better way to leverage the presidential race after he loses, if he loses, than to create a network.
PETE WILLIAMS: Well, during the broadcast we noted that the speeches at the Al Smith Dinner
were unusually stinging this year.
But there were some lines, to be fair, that got big laughs.
DONALD TRUMP: (From video.)
The media is even more biased this year than ever before,
Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it.
My wife Melania gives the exact same speech - (laughter) - and people get on her case.
HILLARY CLINTON: (From video.)
People say - and I hear them.
They say I'm boring compared to Donald.
But I'm not boring at all.
In fact, I'm the life of every party I attend.
And I've been to three.
PETE WILLIAMS: So, Jeanne, did either of them show that they have what it takes to be
the comedian in chief for those times when we call upon the president to make us laugh?
JEANNE CUMMINGS: Well, I think tone is important and knowing your audience is important.
And I don't think Donald met that - those standards very well.
I was a little surprised
that Hillary Clinton showed a little sense of timing.
She seemed pretty relaxed.
She is uptight, and that's just her way.
She does sweat the details, as she says.
So I think, you know, she did arguably better for the night.
But I don't think that's what many voters will base their vote on, so.
JEFF ZELENY: I went back to look at some of the reels of the previous speeches to do a
story for the broadcast last night, and was struck by how funny George W.
Bush was and Al Gore was.
And they talked at one another -
PETE WILLIAMS: And Mitt Romney.
JEFF ZELENY: And Mitt Romney, certainly, in 2012, without question.
John McCain, very
funny - and self-deprecating.
I think that's one thing that was really missing from last
Not much self-deprecation at all really from either side, but certainly from Donald Trump's
And making fun of Melania there, making her the butt of the joke, I don't know, that's -
JEANNE CUMMINGS: Yeah.
Well, Hillary Clinton had the funny line about how grateful
they should all be because normally she charges a lot of money to give speeches like this.
JEFF ZELENY: Everybody knew that was true.
PETE WILLIAMS: Well, thank you all.
When you're online, check out the Washington Week
Week-ly News Quiz, to check your knowledge of current events in the news.
course, at PBS.org/WashingtonWeek.
I'm Pete Williams.
For all of us here, good night.