Morning Must Reads for Friday, September 16, 2016

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 260th day of the year. There are 106 days left in 2016.

Utahns are less likely to vote for candidates who support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Gov. Gary Herbert agrees to debate Michael Weinholtz. Donald Trump brings the false controversy over President Obama’s birthplace back into the presidential race.

The clock:

  • 10 days to the first presidential debate at Hofstra University (9/26/2016)
  • 18 days to the vice presidential debate at Longwood University (10/4/2016)
  • 23 days to the second presidential debate at Washington University (10/9/2016)
  • 33 days to the third presidential debate at UNLV (10/19/2016)
  • 53 days until the 2016 presidential election – (11/8/2016)
  • 129 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature – (1/23/2017)
  • 174 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature – (3/9/2017)

Ten talking points for Friday:

  1. 2/3rds of Utahns say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Hillary Clinton while 45% say they would be reluctant to cast a ballot for a candidate who supports Donald Trump [Utah Policy].
  2. Gov. Gary Herbert relents and agrees to debate Michael Weinholtz on Friday, just hours before he holds a big fundraiser [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  3. Donald Trump‘s embrace of “birtherism” is a thing again. Trump refuses to say whether he believes President Obama was born in Hawaii [Washington Post]. After that, Trump’s campaign released a statement saying he believes that President Obama was born in the United States [NBC News].
  4. Phrasing! In an interview with a Philadelphia radio station, Donald Trump, Jr. (who is coming to Utah for a fundraiser next week) makes what some are saying is an insensitive Holocaust joke about the media’s coverage of Hillary Clinton versus coverage of his father [Politico]. Trump, Jr. also says his father won’t release his tax returns because it would “detract from (his father’s) message [CNN]. Trump, Jr. also hits the daily trifecta of news as he abruptly walks out of an interview when a reporter questioned him about some iffy spending by the Trump Foundation [Mediaite].
  5. Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch introduce legislation to exempt Utah from the creation of new national monuments, which is obviously an attempt to keep President Obama from declaring a Bears Ears national monument before he leaves office in January [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  6. Grades for public schools across Utah drop after lawmakers make the grading scale tougher this year [Tribune].
  7. A U.S House committee released a report slamming whistleblower Edward Snowden, saying he did “tremendous damage” to U.S. national security [Reuters]. Rep. Chris Stewart says the report shows that Snowden is not a “whistleblower” and that he’s a “destructive traitor” [Deseret News].
  8. Sen. Harry Reid slams Donald Trump, calling the GOP nominee a “con artist” and someone who “rips off working people.” The comments from Reid came after Trump mocked his injury that left him sightless in one eye [Politico].
  9. Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he expects a computer specialist who refused to testify about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to comply with a subpoena and appear before his committee [Fox News].
  10. Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, likens the homeless situation in downtown Salt Lake City to Syria, calling the situation “lawless chaos” [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1620 – The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers, bound for America.
  • 1630 – The Massachusetts village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston.
  • 1974 – President Gerald Ford offered conditional amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders. He said they could return to the United States if they performed up to two years of public service.
  • 2008 – The federal government announced an emergency $85 billion loan to rescue AIG, the world’s largest insurance company.