A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- The first votes of the 2016 presidential contest were cast Monday night in Iowa and of course, there are winners and losers. Texas Senator Ted Cruz emerged the clear winner on the Republican side, but the big news was the blow landed on Donald Trump who came in second, and the heightened attention now on Florida Senator Marco Rubio who finished a very close third. On the Democratic side, while Hillary Clinton was declared the winner, Vermont Senator and avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders had an extremely strong showing – two-tenths of one percent separate Clinton's Iowa win from Sanders’ and the state's most influential newspaper is calling for an audit of the results. The candidates are all in New Hampshire now in advance of Tuesday's primary vote. Sanders has a double-digit lead over Clinton in the Granite State and Cruz can't count on the evangelical vote there like he could in Iowa…so stay tuned. Meanwhile, the Hawkeye State was the end of the road for the campaigns of Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley, as well as for Republicans including Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Senator Rick Santorum all of whom suspended their presidential bids in the wake of Monday's poor vote results.
- On Tuesday, the House failed to override a presidential veto of legislation that would have repealed much of Obamacare and defunded abortion provider Planned Parenthood. One Democrat, Congressman Collin Peterson (MN) broke with his party and voted in favor of overriding the veto, while three Republicans – Congressmen Bob Dold (IL), John Katko (NY) and Richard Hanna (NY) – voted against the veto override. The House also passed a bill to restrict President Obama’s ability to lift sanctions on Iran. The bill had been previously passed by the House last month, but the vote was voided due to Members arriving too late to vote. Three Democrats joined all 243 voting Republicans in passing the bill though it is unlikely to become law. Also this week, Congressmen Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Stephen Fincher (R-TN) announced they will not be seeking reelection.
Flying and Signing!
As usual, David Wilkins spent this week winging it hither and yonder and driving here and there.
The week began in Naples, Florida and a board meeting of Mattamy Homes.
He rushed home to make it back to his beloved Clemson University Wednesday morning for "National Signing Day" 2016. For our friends up north who may not be familiar with what college football fanatics like Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney dub the "Christmas Day" of college football – National Signing Day is when the top high school football players across the US officially commit to their universities of choice.
Clemson landed a top 10 recruiting class with the addition of fierce standouts like the number two get in the country – cornerback Trayvon Mullin. Of course, CCC readers know that Clemson and its football program are pretty desirable to these players after an undefeated 2015 season, weeks on top as the number one ranked team in the country, and only weeks ago playing for the National Championship title and losing in a heartbreaker against powerhouse Alabama.
At any rate, here's Susan Wilkins and David celebrating all that good news last night with the Clemson Tiger.
Susan and David Wilkins are already geared up and ready to go for next football season!
(Editor's note: Yep, we know we told you we were done talkin' about Clemson football in your Carolina-Canada Connections till the spring. What can we say? You can't NOT report on National Signing Day!)
Welcome to the World, Woods!
Our own Ashley Martin Aldebol predicted that if an ice or snow storm cometh so too would her baby – whether or not he or she was quite due. Well, that's exactly what happened, when, on January 22, 2016, in the midst of the first wicked storm of the season, Ashley gave birth to Woodrow Cooper Aldebol in Greenville, South Carolina.
Lil "Woods" as he's called, made his grand appearance a coupla weeks early weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. (In fact, if memory serves your editors correctly, Woods was due this week!) The proud parents, Ash and Jared Aldebol are doing well.
By the way, Ash is obviously officially on maternity leave for a few months. So if the trains seem slightly (read: wildly!) off the tracks in and around Team Wilkins, well now you know why!
A Scrum of Sorts
Last Friday, in a change of pace he very much enjoyed, it was your former US ambassador to Canada asking the questions and putting other pols on the hot seat! That's because David Wilkins got to serve as master of ceremony at the Greenville, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he questioned the two key guests – South Carolina Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney.
While it didn't come close to some of the intense scrums Wilkins faced in Ottawa (Editor's note: calling David Akin!) Wilkins did have a few good natured questions for his very good friends on their takes regarding this red hot, unpredictable election year, and America's seeming discontent with Washington politics.
The lunch was held at Greenville's Embassy Suites only two days before the Iowa Caucuses and in advance of South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary coming up this month.
Here's some of what the Greenville News had to say about the event under the headline, Gowdy, Mulvaney on Iowa caucuses:
U.S. Reps. Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg and Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land agree on a lot of things.
But Friday, they differed on who they think will win the Iowa caucuses.
Iowans cast the first votes Monday in the contest to decide the Republican nominee for president…
South Carolina Republicans weigh in third, on Feb. 20, following New Hampshire on Feb. 9…
The conservative Republicans were asked about the Iowa caucuses during a Greenville Chamber luncheon Friday at the Embassy Suites hotel, where they talked on stage about the presidential race with Greenville lawyer David Wilkins, a former U.S. Ambassador to Canada…
Mulvaney, who represents South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, which straddles Interstate 77 between Columbia and Charlotte, said he sees a “huge role” for South Carolina to play during its first-in-the-South presidential primary Feb. 20.
“Because what I think you’re going to end up seeing is that different people will win Iowa than they will New Hampshire,” he said.
Then “South Carolina is sort of that very last test before you go into that SEC primary,” Mulvaney said, referring to eight Southern states that vote together March 1. “So I think again this year we’ll be right in the forefront.”…
Wilkins surprised the Upstate South Carolina business crowd when he announced that Congressman Gowdy was going to break news that day! Alas, Wilkins was only joking but Gowdy did give an update on his committee's work.
CCC readers know Gowdy, an attorney and former prosecutor, heads the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks and murders by Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists at the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that left four Americans including a US ambassador dead. The Obama administration publicly blamed the brutal attacks on crowd reaction to an obscure You Tube video. The horrific ordeal is now the subject of a major motion picture, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
They Said What?
- "I'm going to call out B.S. if I hear B.S. And that was B.S.," – CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin correcting the record as she sees it after GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz blamed CNN – and not his campaign – for stirring up rumors in Iowa that Dr. Ben Carson was getting out of the race. (Editor's note: The Carson campaign blames those rumors – and the Cruz campaign for spreading them – on his poor showing in Iowa where he was counting on the evangelical vote.)
- "The State Department has confirmed that Clinton’s successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, sent her a message, now deemed secret, from his personal email account. At the time (May 2011), Kerry chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with access to top-level secrets. But since Kerry sent the message, he presumably knew Hillary also wasn’t using a government email address. Same for President Obama: He claims he first learned about Clinton’s private email address from news accounts — but it turns out he and Hillary exchanged at least 18 emails, which State refuses to make public. Uh-oh: What did the president know, and when did he know it?" – New York Post editorial in yesterday's edition regarding the latest revelations coming out on the highly classified material found on Hillary Clinton's homebrew email system for the years she served as Obama's top diplomat.
- "This is very much like Benghazi, George. The Republicans will continue to use it. Beat up on me. I understand that. That's the way they are," – Hillary Clinton's response to ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos regarding the ongoing questions and newest revelations regarding her homebrew email account.
- "Barack Obama is not Bernie Sanders. Don't play cheap games here," – former President Bill Clinton to NBC's Andrea Mitchell after Mitchell compared Obama to Sanders in an interview with (Bill) Clinton during a (Hillary) Clinton campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire Tuesday night.
- "It's interesting that Marco came in third place and they said it's one of the great victories in the history of politics. And I said, well, how come if he came in third place and I came in substantially better at second place, why isn't mine one of the great victories in the history of politics? And they said no, no, his is, but yours isn't. And I said, oh, that's wonderful, I didn't understand that," – GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on MSNBC regarding his second place finish in Iowa and the media's intense focus on the third place winner, Senator Marco Rubio.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.