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POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing


POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.


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POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.




September 20, 2023: The White House isn’t saving Kevin McCarthy

As the clock ticks closer to a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to pass a bill that would keep the government open, and the White House is not going to come to his rescue, reporter Jennifer Haberkorn tells Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels. Plus, a preview of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments to the House Judiciary Committee. That, and all of the news you need to know today.


September 19, 2023: What we’re watching at UNGA

With a number of other world leaders skipping the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, President Joe Biden has the opportunity to take the spotlight. He is expected to push a message of democracy and encourage more funding for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. But, as senior foreign correspondent Nahal Toosi tells Playbook co-author Rachael Bade, there is plenty more to keep an eye on at UNGA. Plus, all the latest on the spending showdown tearing House Republicans apart. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade interviews Senior Foreign Correspondent Nahal Toosi.


September 18, 2023: A slim chance for shutdown stopgap bill

House Republicans spent the weekend trying to find common ground on a stopgap spending bill that could unite them against Democrats ahead of a potential government shutdown on Oct. 1. But with multiple Republican lawmakers already voicing their opposition, its chances of passing the House are already fading. Plus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Capitol Hill.


September 15, 2023: The UAW is on strike. Here’s why it matters.

At midnight, the UAW’s roughly 150,000 members went on strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — the first time ever that the union has targeted all three companies simultaneously in a labor action that threatens to rattle national politics. Though the more immediate issues at play are higher wages wages and better benefits, the broader implications for President Joe Biden — who has yet to win the UAW’s endorsement — and for the 2024 electoral map are undeniable. Playbook deputy editor Zack Stanton sits down with E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman for the whole story. That, and the latest from Capitol Hill and Hunter Biden’s legal saga, on this morning’s Playbook Daily Briefing. Playbook Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman.


September 14, 2023: What Musk, Gates and Zuck told senators behind closed doors

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg and other of heavy hitters from the tech world joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last night for a closed-door meeting about the future of artificial intelligence — and what the government should do about it. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with Politico Tech host Steven Overly. All that, and the rest of the news you need to know today. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews Politico Tech host Steven Overly.


September 13, 2023: Inside McCarthy's impeachment inquiry

Mere hours into the first day members of the House convened after August recess, Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he would be opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. At the center of the investigation are claims that the overseas business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter influenced his political agenda. But, as Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, McCarthy must accomplish a few key tasks before take-off; namely, he must rally his party for enough votes to make it happen.


September 12, 2023: What’s at stake amid House Republican infighting

House Republicans are supposed to be taking up (and are expected to pass) a right-wing defense funding bill this week. But, head butting within the party over spending may throw a wrench in that plan. As Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, the vitriol is starting to get messy and spill over onto social media


September 11, 2023: McCarthy faces tumult as the House returns

When the House reconvenes after August recess tomorrow, Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be greeted in the Capitol by unhappy people, many of whom are members of his own party. McCarthy must navigate conservatives who feel the he has not delivered on promises the Speaker made when seeking the gavel back in January. Playbook editor Mike DeBonis talks with Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.


September 8, 2023: The McConnell-McCarthy relationship faces a key test

As the House returns next week, the relationship between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could face its greatest test yet. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade joins deputy editor Zack Stanton to talk through the road ahead, the unique pressures McCarthy faces, and the battery of issues that threaten to put the House and Senate GOP on very different pages. Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.


September 7, 2023: Biden’s big sales pitch to edge out China

Today, President Joe Biden heads to New Delhi for the G-20 summit. The subtext of the trip? Convince countries that the U.S. is a better bet than China. That’s a complicates sales pitch, but could be coming at exactly the right time. National security reporter Alex Ward joins Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to discuss the potential for a historic breakthrough at the meeting — and what success looks like from the White House’s perspective. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews national security reporter Alex Ward.


September 6, 2023: As Senate returns, McConnell tries to silence doubt

Mitch McConnell is moving as fast as he can to get beyond questions about whether his health will hurt his ability to lead Senate Republicans. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with Senate reporter Ursula Perano. Plus, Jim Messina on why Democrats need to take a third-party threat seriously and what songs the 2024 Republican presidential candidates are listening to.


September 5, 2023: What we learned from a new book on Biden

A new book dropping today offers a rare inside look at Biden’s first two years in office. Franklin Foer’s “The Last Politician” offers in-depth insights into topics such as the president’s approaches to foreign policy and opinion of reproductive rights. Plus, fresh off the holiday weekend, a fight is brewing over fentanyl; and some Republicans are still pushing for an impeachment inquiry. Ryan Lizza breaks down the news you need to know today.


August 25, 2023: Trump? Booked. Debate? Over. Has anything changed?

Playbook deputy editor Zack Stanton talks with senior columnist and politics bureau chief Jonathan Martin about this week in politics and his new column on why you should be paying attention to Virginia, where Sen. Mark Warner is sounding the alarm about the Virginia legislative elections — which Gov. Glenn Youngkin hopes to use to catapult himself into the national conversation. Playbook Deputy Editor Zack Stanton talks with Senior Columnist and Politics Bureau Chief Jonathan Martin.


August 24, 2023: Inside Playbook’s post-debate group chat

One story looms above all others today: the first Republican debate. (Although a close second is Donald Trump, who is expected to surrender to law enforcement in Georgia later today, after giving a bizarre interview to Tucker Carlson that aired last night.) The Playbook team got together for a post-debate call to talk it all through.


August 23, 2023: What Ronna McDaniel told us about tonight’s debate

We’re just a few hours away from the start of the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle, and the event is already mired in controversy. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade walks through everything you need to know about the main event, and then sits down with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to talk about the sideshows.


August 22, 2023: The debate stage is set. The mayhem is just beginning.

The debate stage is set. Late last night, the RNC announced that eight candidates will be participating in the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the debate’s most notably absent figure — Donald Trump — announces when he will surrender to an Atlanta court on Thursday. Reporter Zach Montellaro walks Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels through the debate maneuvering in the GOP and the opaque process that frustrated a number of Republican hopefuls. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with reporter Zach Montellaro.


August 21, 2023: What Kamala Harris told us

Vice President Kamala Harris’ political future — and quite possibly the success of the Democratic ticket in 2024 — hinges on a simple question: In modern-day D.C., is it possible to make a second impression? She recently sat down with Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to discuss how her job has changed, what people get wrong about her public profile, and what many insiders see as a major shift in her comfort in recent months. That, plus, a look ahead to a busy week for Donald Trump — and for the GOP presidential candidates he won’t be joining on the debate stage.


August 18, 2023: 2024 hopefuls prep for GOP debate, Newsom wades into debates in S.F.

As Republicans gear up for the big debate in Milwaukee, further west, California Gov. Gavin Newsom injects himself into the debates raging in San Francisco. The city’s myriad challenges — from culture war topics to substance abuse to unaffordable housing to rampant crime — not only pose governing problems, but political ones as the city reemerges as a Republican punching bag. Deputy editor Zack Stanton talks with California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago on how Newsom plans to navigate it. All that and the news you need to know today. Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago.


August 17, 2023: Can Nikki Haley engineer a breakout moment?

Six months into her presidential campaign, Nikki Haley is mired in the single digits and needs a breakout moment. Could next week’s presidential debate offer it? Playbook co-author Rachael Bade joined the former South Carolina governor at the Iowa State Fair to talk through the benefits and drawbacks of being the sole woman in the crowded GOP primary race, what she thinks of her campaign’s trajectory — and Haley cleared the air about the assumptions others make about her candidacy.


August 16, 2023: Why Biden's bully pulpit isn't targeting Trump

Thus far, President Joe Biden’s administration has not used Donald Trump’s multiple indictments as fodder for insult. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels and White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire explore what it will take for the White House to change their approach. Plus, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is unhappy with the situation at the Southern border, and Mark Meadows wants his trial out of Georgia. All that, and the news you need to know today. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire.