GWEN IFILL: Hello, and welcome to the Washington Week Extra.
I'm Gwen Ifill.
Congress is not shutting down, at least not before December 9th.
While you were paying attention to the election, lawmakers were also trying to figure out
how to provide emergency aid for Zika and for Flint, Michigan, and it looks like they got
How did that happen, Ailsa?
AILSA CHANG: (Laughs.)
It took weeks to pass a two-month deal.
Ashley, you should
recall - she covered the Hill with me, and don't you miss covering these sexy battles?
ASHLEY PARKER: Definitely.
AILSA CHANG: (Laughs.)
First, the obstacle was should the Zika aid package contain
language that would affect whether that funding goes to health providers affiliated with
Planned Parenthood in Puerto Rico.
Democrats wanted that language out because it would
restrict funding to Planned Parenthood.
Republicans wanted that in.
They finally agreed that that language would come out.
We thought, oh, that was the hard part, now they're going to pass this bill.
even talk two to three weeks ago about the Senate actually leaving for break early.
And then the whole issue was, ooh, is the Senate going to jam the House and the House
will just have to swallow whatever spending bill the Senate passes?
Turns out, no, the Senate did not finish early, and they were there for, you know, a
couple weeks more, because the next hurdle was if there's going to be aid for flood
victims in Louisiana and other states.
Democrats said then you have to have aid for Flint, Michigan.
And not to get too in the weeds, but Republicans said no, this continuing resolution or
government spending bill is not the right place to put Flint aid; that goes in a water
So this whole fight was which bill should the Flint aid land in.
GWEN IFILL: They all agreed they couldn't go home without these two key things taken
care of, addressed in some way.
AILSA CHANG: Exactly, exactly, just like figuring out what bucket to put it in.
And on Tuesday, late Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
agreed that, yes, Flint money would go in the water infrastructure bill, and that opened
the pathway for a compromise across both chambers on the government spending bill.
And that was the big drama.
After the veto override it took - you know, all they had
to do all month on the Hill was to pass a government spending bill.
Everything came together in one day, on Wednesday.
GWEN IFILL: Boy, that never happens, that they wait till the last minute to get things
done on Capitol Hill.
But at least they got it done, which is - which is saying something.
AILSA CHANG: Yes, that's true, and I'm not on Capitol Hill tonight waiting for a
government spending bill to drop.
GWEN IFILL: Exactly, not like that's ever happened.
Well, since we're - since we're online, let's talk about something that you wrote online
this week, Ashley, about the two Donald Trumps, which I'm really curious.
I want to
share that with our - with our streaming viewers.
Tell me what you mean by that.
ASHLEY PARKER: Sure.
So right when I started covering Donald Trump, he held this press
conference in Mar-a-Lago where he sort of said, you know, I think there's two Donald
Trumps, and then moments later the second Donald Trump said there's only one
I mean, that actually happened.
But for those of us who have covered him, as I wrote in this piece, there's actually sort
of like a Rubik's Cube worth of Donald Trumps, and we see all these different
personalities of him on display.
And he can be - you know, as you've seen, he can be
a bully, he can be cruel, he can be dismissive, he can be cutting.
He can also be very charismatic; he can be compassionate.
And so I wrote this piece
kind of watching to see which Donald Trump would show up at the debate.
And it was one we rarely see which was - you know, as we were talking about in the show
- for the first 20 minutes he was actually sort of teleprompter Trump.
He was kind of subdued and even a little bit disciplined.
And then what was interesting, as the debate wore on you sort of got to see the more true
Donald Trump, the one who talked over Hillary Clinton and the moderator, and interrupted.
But he sort of didn't do with all of the trademark relish he does on the campaign trail.
So sort of the worst of both worlds for him, was all of the things that many voters find
negative but without the kind of relish and pure id that makes voters say, well, we love
that he tells it like it is.
GWEN IFILL: And that he enjoys the most, clearly.
ASHLEY PARKER: Clearly.
GWEN IFILL: In fact, it seemed to me during the debate a couple times he was waiting for
applause that didn't come, because that's not the kind of debate this was.
ASHLEY PARKER: Yes.
And that's the other thing you learn covering Donald Trump, is
that he very much - more so than other candidates - feeds off of his crowds, feeds off
of the energy.
And those crowds, they come primed.
They know when to shout, you know, Mexico in response to who's going to build the wall.
And they sort of know all these lines and they can mouth them.
And there's a real interplay between him and his crowds.
And I think you're exactly right, in the debate where the audience had been admonished,
don't applaud, be quiet, he almost seemed sort of lost without that instant gratification
And the first time he seemed to really hit his stride was when the
audience broke decorum and clapped briefly for him.
GWEN IFILL: Exactly.
Actually, you know, I was looking at clips today.
And the audience also broke decorum during the debate with Lloyd Bentsen where he said:
You're no Jack Kennedy.
I know Jack Kennedy.
They burst out laughing during that one as
So sometimes they break decorum, even when they're supposed to.
I want to talk to you about another interesting that unfolded this week, Karen, which is
endorsements and a new word that USA Today coined, a dis-endorsement.
All of a sudden, a lot of newspapers who have never endorsed a Democrat
before suddenly endorse Hillary Clinton, saying Donald Trump was a bad idea.
And then the USA Today said they weren't going to endorse Hillary Clinton, but they
really thought Donald Trump was a really, really bad idea.
And they called it a dis-endorsement.
KAREN TUMULTY: Yeah, I thought it was more of a non-dorsement, but - (laughter) -
GWEN IFILL: If we're coining the terms.
KAREN TUMULTY: And basically what they said was that Donald Trump is unfit to be
So that is - but why they wouldn't go then all the way over and say, then
vote for Hillary Clinton, I don't know, because it's like there are, of course a
couple of - Jill Stein, there's Gary Johnson.
But the fact is, what they are saying is
vote for Hillary Clinton.
And so I wondered what kind of conversation went on in this
editorial board to sort of leave themselves hanging half out there.
But overall - and you have seen papers like the Dallas Morning News, very, very
conservative newspapers have endorsed Hillary Clinton.
GWEN IFILL: The Arizona Republic, the Houston Chronicle, I think.
KAREN TUMULTY: And so you're seeing - you know, and they're seeing subscriptions
cancelled as a result of this.
You know, for these newspaper editorial boards this is
a very brave thing to be doing.
My question is what difference it'll make, because -
GWEN IFILL: Yeah, that was my question too.
KAREN TUMULTY: - because I think we have now entered an era - these two candidates,
there is really not a lot more to learn about them.
And I would love to find some of
these truly undecided voters and what in the world more do you need to know about these
But I think newspaper endorsements are more important in things like local
races, where people don't really understand, you know, who's running for what on the school
I think these were more about these newspapers - it was almost like an assertion of -
GWEN IFILL: For the historical record, they want it to be said.
Well, let's talk
about who these tiny little slivers of voters are who they're going after this week.
It got lost in all of the Miss Universe stuff, but we saw Hillary Clinton in particular
going after Millennials, going - she sent Michelle Obama out on her behalf, Bernie
She went to the University of New Hampshire, and trying to snatch them back
from third party candidates, to the extent that they're considering Gary Johnson or
Is that really - is there any progress being made in that?
LISA LERER: Well, look, this is a real problem for Hillary Clinton.
It's not that she's not winning young voters.
But she's not winning them by
the kind of decisive, sweeping margin that President Barack Obama won them.
I think there was a sense that Democrats had, and even some in the White House had, that
these voters would just automatically go to Clinton, that Trump would be unpalatable to
And they're right about half of that.
They don't like Trump.
But these aren't the Obama young voters.
Those voters are now not young.
These are their younger siblings, the Millennials.
And the Millennials came of age in
a really different time, right, of political partisanship, of a slow economy.
really not into political parties.
They haven't seen political parties get a lot done.
They don't - they have a lot of questions about Hillary Clinton.
And so a lot of them are turning to Jill Stein, to Gary Johnson.
That's why you see
those two candidates, in part, hitting around 20 percent total in some of the polls.
And that's a sizable margin.
So Clinton's campaign needs to find a way to get them back.
They're hoping Bernie Sanders can get the job done - (laughter) - along with President
Obama, Michelle Obama.
GWEN IFILL: Even though, it should be said, at the conventions Bernie Sanders couldn't
exactly deliver his voters to anybody.
LISA LERER: And it's also such a weird situation, because you have the country's most
prominent independent trashing third parties and telling people not to vote for third
GWEN IFILL: It's true.
LISA LERER: I mean, this is Donald Trump's political world, right, where up is down and
left is right, you know?
So it's really -
GWEN IFILL: Uh-oh, you're taking me back to Al Gore.
LISA LERER: Yeah, sorry, sorry.
So it's a weird - it's a weird - it's definitely a
And we'll see if she has success.
Certainly things like the Miss Universe thing that happened this week help her.
I mean, not only is that seen as sexist, but Millennials don't like the fat shaming and
what, you know, they see as the slut shaming.
Those are big sort of buzzwords in their universe.
So this could help.
GWEN IFILL: I'm so sad we didn't get the use fat shaming or slut shaming on the regular
But that's all right.
We're online, and that's what Millennials
are watching, right?
Lisa Lerer, Ashley Parker, Karen Tumulty and Ailsa Chang,
thank you all.
We'll see you again on the next Washington Week Extra.