Joe Biden isn’t joining the race, next week’s GOP debate lineup is virtually the same as the last one, and the Chicago Cubs are out of the playoffs. This is shaping up to be the least interesting final week of October in recorded history. It could always be worse, though — we could be stuck trying to unload a bunch of Joe Biden 2016 merchandise.
SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE
It’s a tale best told with new iPhone emojis: Joe Biden finally has moved on from Thinking Face to Thumbs Down, announcing yesterday that he wouldn’t jump in to the race for president. Over at Hillary Clinton HQ, they presumably were going full-on Bottle with Popping Cork, based on the belief that a Biden candidacy would eat away at Clinton’s supporters far more than Bernie Sanders’. Sanders and Jeb Bush, among others, offered up Hugging Face to Biden, while Donald Trump came through as expected with Middle Finger. To be honest, we’re just disappointed the Waving White Flag emoji wasn’t ready in time for either Scott Walker or Jim Webb. Jill Lawrence’s op-ed in USA TODAY says Biden made the right call.
BUT SERIOUSLY, JOE, YOU DON’T WANT TO WAIT UNTIL FRIDAY?
In news that actually isn’t related to the presidential campaign (although depending on who you talk to, it definitely is), Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi today. It started out as an investigation into a 2012 incident where terrorists attacked a diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans; it evolved into a larger attack on Clinton’s foreign policy judgment and the belief that she was hiding Benghazi-related emails on her own private email server. For weeks, it looked like Clinton’s testimony could damage her campaign until key players on the committee began to imply that they were only out to damage Clinton’s campaign — rather than uncovering information to keep future diplomatic missions safer, the presumed intent of the committee. Still, political junkies will be watching to see how Clinton’s testimony goes over (theoretically, any significantly damaging exchanges would have opened the door for Biden.) USA TODAY’s Mary Troyan breaks down what you need to know about the investigation.
GOP DEBATE, PART III: 10 FAST 10 FURIOUS
The lineup is set for next week’s GOP presidential debate, the third in a series of 12 sanctioned by the Republican National Committee. And hey, it’s the same folks as last time — minus Scott Walker, who withdrew after the last debate. We’re seriously going to pay attention to this one, not only because we won’t be distracted by Walker’s bald spot, but also because the debate will be limited to two hours, instead of three like last time. Still, there’s something to be said for a longer debate. After all, the Democrats just held their own two-hour debate — but with half as many candidates fighting for camera time.
Also of note: The pre-debate debate lives on, featuring the four candidates with between 1 and 3 percent support in the polls: Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Rick Santorum. The debate airs on CNBC on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. EDT, giving us just enough time to figure out if we get CNBC or not.
MORE FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
TELL US, FUTURE BOY, WHO’S PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. IN 30 PLUS 5 YEARS?
Martin O’Malley got into the spirit of Back to the Future day, but he made us do math. We need Trump to dumb this down for us.
— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) October 21, 2015