Pre-Debate News Wrap-Up: This Week’s Big Stories

She's looking pretty good right about now.

She's looking pretty good right about now.

Hillary Clinton Wins The Hearing

It is a rare day when a Congressional committee garners tabloid-like coverage, but Thursday was one of those days. The Benghazi committee, led by Republican Trey Gowdy, questioned Secretary Clinton for 11 hours, and to her credit, Clinton remained composed throughout her marathon testimony.

However, the controversy over why four American civil servants were killed in Libya is unlikely to go away. Particularly because it was this same investigation that unearthed Clinton’s use of a private email address and server during her tenure as President Obama’s Secretary of State, expect to hear more on Benghazi going forward.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes up during Wednesday’s Republican debate on CNBC.

Russia Is Becoming A Real Pain In The Ass

Don’t let Donald Trump’s shallow foreign policy fool you: Russia’s decision to involve itself in the civil war currently raging throughout Syria is good news for Syrian president Bashar Assad, and no one else. Russia’s first bombing target? The moderate rebels who have been fighting off Assad and ISIS, made up mostly of average citizens who would rather not live under a dictator (Assad) who unleashes chemical weapons on them. They’d also like to eradicate the radical terrorist organization (ISIS) endeavoring to bring about the apocalypse via a “theology of rape,” beheadings, and the crucifixion of children.

But Russian president Vladimir Putin isn’t after ISIS so much as he is after propping up Assad, his thuggish Middle Eastern bro. Because they share a certain — how do I say this? — ambivalence about killing “collateral damage,” like women and children.

Oh, and this: Russian submarines have recently been spotted hovering around the vital undersea Internet cables that allow instant overseas connectivity. American military officials are rightfully freaked. Add to that continued Russian interference in the independent country of Ukraine, and you have a serious geopolitical problem.

I’d expect the question of how Republican candidates plan on handling Putin’s Russia to be in the CNBC debate as well.

Paul Ryan Saves House Republicans From Another Embarrassment

I’m gonna keep this brief, because chatting up the inner workings of congressional intrigue is fascinating for DC nerds (read: me), the politicians involved, and no one else.

But Representative Paul Ryan, of Vice Presidential running mate to Mitt Romney fame, has decided to run for Speaker of the House, in a move that saves Republicans from yet one more media humiliation.

Depending on how CNBC has decided to conduct itself for this debate, a moderator may try to ignite candidate infighting over the question of Ryan’s “conservative credentials.” In certain far-right circles, Ryan’s willingness to work with Democrats is seen as treacherous.

Jeb Bush Loses His “Low Energy” Cool

That Bush’s recent eruption over Donald Trump will come up during the debate is almost guaranteed. The famously mild-mannered Bush sputtered during a speech in Daniel Island, SC, saying, “I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to other people demonize me and feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”

This writer sympathizes with Bush’s desire to get back to some civility in political contests, as so vividly witnessed in the huge difference between the first Democratic debate and the Republican standoffs. But Bush’s remarks will do little except further entrench Trump supporters, while giving pause to Bush supporters. Can this guy stay calm, detach personally, and present his ideas in a winning way? Hmm…Doesn’t look promising at the moment. Plus, there was his creepy comment on Super Girl’s hotness. Emphasis on the girl.

Climate Change

Republicans are famously skeptical of climate change in general. But that doesn’t mean CNBC will skip the topic, especially with recent storm Patricia threatening harm and destruction to millions of residents and travellers in Puerto Vallarta. Thankfully, Patricia weakened tremendously, but not before epic flooding hit Texas.

There won’t be much difference of opinion. Climate change is not a Republican base issue, and these are politicians: they’re talking to the voters right now, not the general public.

But who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and hear something we haven’t heard before.

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!