10 Things in Politics: Rise of media-savvy congressman backing Biden

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Here's what we're talking about:

With Phil Rosen.


Auchincloss

​​1. INSIDER PROFILE: Rep. Jake Auchincloss' ascent is a story about a media-savvy millennial politician with media-savvy handlers. The Massachusetts Democrat, a Marine veteran, racked up more than 30 TV appearances in August going to the mat for President Joe Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal.

Here's a deeper look at his strategy and how the White House has responded:

Auchincloss and his staffers knew there were rare moments to break through: His communications staffers have learned from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg's go-everywhere strategy. (Matt Corridoni, Auchincloss' communications director, is a former Buttigieg political aide.)

  • The freshman congressman says his background is key: "I'm a veteran of the war in Afghanistan," Auchincloss told Insider. "I am a millennial. I felt like I could speak to this issue not just as somebody who had fought in the war but also as somebody who had a special responsibility to learn its lessons and to internalize them for the next generation of policymakers."

Defending the president has its perks: Auchincloss was looped into policy issues and spoke with the White House's legislative affairs and national security teams, key access for someone just starting out his career in Washington. Also, Doug Emhoff was recently dispatched to Auchincloss' district.

  • While he defended the administration's policy, Auchincloss has questions too: "I think the special focus should be paid to the decision to hand over Bagram air base to Afghans — and the consequences that that might have for counterterrorism," he said. Republicans have hammered the White House and the Pentagon over the decision to turn over what was once the core of the US presence in Afghanistan.

Read more about how this freshman congressman is winning friends and influencing enemies in Biden's Washington.


2. Democrats continue to tussle over Biden's agenda: Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington made clear Sunday that progressive lawmakers found Sen. Joe Manchin's offer of $1.5 trillion for a social-spending and climate bill unacceptable, The New York Times noted. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema too blasted her party's leadership over the weekend, saying the decision to delay a vote on the separate bipartisan infrastructure plan (a move Biden supports) "betrays the trust" of Americans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to move forward on both bills this month. Lawmakers are forced with difficult choices on how they might shrink the $3.5 trillion social-spending plan.


3. Documents show how billionaires hide their wealth: Dozens of current and former world leaders, billionaires, rock stars, and government officials have stashed large amounts of money in secret offshore accounts, according to a massive journalism investigation known as the Pandora Papers that is even larger the Panama Papers exposé. Among the world leaders, King Abdullah II of Jordan spent $100 million on luxury homes in Malibu, California. The leaked documents also link Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco connected to a woman believed to be in a relationship with Putin. More on some of the biggest findings thus far.


4. Supreme Court term kicks off: Justices today begin what by the end of next summer could be a term full of consequential and controversial decisions as they tackle abortion, guns, and the religious right, The Washington Post reports. There's also the possibility that Justice Stephen Breyer could retire in the face of intense pressure ahead of the midterms. And if that weren't enough, Biden's presidential commission on the Supreme Court is set to file its report next month. Here's what to expect from the nation's highest court from now until next summer.


southern california oil spill

5. Oil spill hits Orange County beaches: Crews are trying to limit the damage from what one official warns could become "a major environmental disaster"; 125,000 gallons of crude oil have already leaked from a California pipeline. Officials said the leak appeared to have stopped, per the Los Angeles Times. It's still unclear what caused the spill.


6. Japan has a new prime minister: Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was elected in a parliamentary vote. "With his party and its coalition partner holding a majority in both houses, Kishida won by a comfortable margin," the Associated Press reports. Kishida is expected to move quickly to expand his party's power.


7. Whistleblower says Facebook believes it's harming people: The former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen revealed on "60 Minutes" that she's the source who gave The Wall Street Journal thousands of pages of internal documents illustrating the company's knowledge that its platforms could lead to harm for both its users and society at large. Haugen said Facebook addressed only 5% of hate on its platform. Among her other bombshell claims was that an internal study found Instagram contributed to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts in teenage girls. Facebook denies the research found Instagram was toxic for teenage girls.

  • Key quote: "I have a lot of empathy for Mark, and Mark has never set out to make a hateful platform," Haugen told CBS' Scott Pelley of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "But he has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful, polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach."

8. Fauci says it's "too soon to tell" whether holiday gatherings will be OK: Dr. Anthony Fauci said on "Face the Nation" that the acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the US was slowing but it's unclear whether it'd be safe for loved ones to gather during the holiday season. In the months leading up to the holidays, Fauci warned the US against becoming "complacent" given the history of surges throughout the pandemic. More on his comments.


9. Eight things that stand out from the Pete Buttigieg documentary: In one of the final scenes of the new Amazon original film "Mayor Pete," which is scheduled to premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14, Buttigieg makes clear he hasn't given up on his dream of becoming president. Amazon is set to release it worldwide on November 12. Insider's Adam Wren, who has covered Buttigieg for years, says the documentary surprised even him. Here's what stood out, including behind-the-scenes shots as Buttigieg wrestled with ending his campaign and the blunt way aides would challenge him to get better.


james austin johnson as joe biden on snl season 47

10. Here's the deal: "SNL" has a new Biden: The new cast member James Austin Johnson made his "Saturday Night Live" debut as Biden in the season-47 cold open. The sketch parodied Biden's effort to unite Democrats on his infrastructure bill and social agenda. Watch the full sketch.


Today's trivia question: Speaking of the Supreme Court, who was the first justice to serve on the high court with someone for whom they'd previously clerked? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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