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UAW strike, first cases from Jan. 6 reach SCOTUS, Biden on economy: 5 Things podcast

On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: The United Auto Workers strike continues. The Supreme Court weighs its first cases about the Jan. 6 attack. USA TODAY White House Correspondent Joey Garrison breaks down President Joe Biden's recent messaging on the economy. USA TODAY National Political Correspondent David Jackson looks at why Trump backers stick by him. There's a grave situation at cemeteries amid climate change.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I'm Taylor Wilson. And this is Five Things you need to know, Monday, the 18th of September 2023.

Today, the latest from the UAW Strike, plus the Supreme Court may get involved over January 6th. And we look at some of the latest messaging from President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

After a weekend on the picket lines, there's still no deal between United Auto Workers and Detroit's Big Three car makers. But according to some industry insiders, both sides could get closer to an agreement sooner than it appears if both sides focus on a few key job provisions. Some experts feel that one issue the union may have to accept is that it will not win a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay. But there are other demands the UAW needs to win if the car makers want a quick end to the strike and ratification of a tentative agreement according to one person familiar with ongoing contract talks. The person who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks said that the union will not accept any agreement without COLA, that's short for cost of living adjustment. You can hear more about that, if you haven't already, in Saturday's episode of Five Things with Detroit Free Press and USA Today Automotive Reporter Jamie Jamie LaReau.

Meanwhile, UAW President Shawn Fein said his union's endorsement of President Joe Biden has to be earned by the president. Biden has often described himself as the most pro-union president in history, he's defended the workers' right to strike and urged companies to share profits with their workers.

Three men involved in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol are asking the Supreme Court to wipe out part of their indictment and potentially an extra 20 years in prison. Edward Lang, Joseph Fischer, and Garrett Miller claimed that prosecutors overstepped their authority by charging them with a federal prohibition on obstructing official proceedings. If justices agree to hear the appeals, the decisions could ultimately affect part of a federal indictment lodged against former President Donald Trump for his effort to overturn the 2020 election as well as for hundreds of others charged in the deadly riot. They've been charged with violating that same obstruction law.

The Supreme Court has dipped into some legal questions surrounding January 6th. Last year, the justices refused to block a House Committee investigating the attack from obtaining Trump administration documents. Months later, the court turned away an emergency appeal from the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, Kelli Ward, who was fighting a subpoena for phone records from that committee. But these new cases are the first involving defendants fighting criminal charges. You can read more with a link in today's show notes.

As the 2024 presidential election heats up, we're taking a look at campaigning success for the two party front-runners, incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. First up, USA Today White House Correspondent Joey Garrison breaks down recent messaging from Biden, particularly when it comes to the economy.

Joey, welcome back to Five Things.

Joey Garrison:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Taylor Wilson:

Amidst some troubling polling data, how is President Joe Biden trying to tout what his administration has done for the economy?

Joey Garrison:

To put it bluntly, President Biden is losing his argument on the economy. I mean, for months he's been touting Bidenomics. And what we've seen in polling numbers is 70% of the country, according to a USA Today poll last week, believes the economy's going in the wrong direction compared to only 22% who believe is going in the right direction.

And so what they've done is they've put a new attack line out there they call MAGAnomics. And so obviously, that's a playoff MAGA, Make America Great Again, the movement of former President Trump and they're using that catchphrase as a kind of all encompassing word to refer to trickle-down economics, Republicans opposing tax increases on the corporations and the wealthy accusing Republicans of wanting to gut Social security and Medicare and cut social programs so severely that it would deplete research on Alzheimer's and cancer for example. And so the president is saying, and what he did last week at a speech in Largo, Maryland was saying, "Hey, this is what Bidenomics stands for. It stands for investing in America. It stands for trying to lower prescription drug prices. This is what Republicans vision of the economy is." That's what President Biden's trying to do right now.

Taylor Wilson:

As you mentioned in the piece and we've talked about for the past few days here on the show, Biden's rosy economic messages do not add up with how Americans feel about the economy. Joey, just how startling were these poll numbers out this week? And is there any sense that they might influence new economic policy from the Biden administration for the months ahead along with the messaging?

Joey Garrison:

It's very troubling numbers for the president to be at one year for about 14 months out of the 24 election. And when you look at that head-to-head versus Trump, we've seen that they're polling about evenly as far as who do you support. Now asking specifically about who do you trust on the economy, Trump had a 47% to 36% advantage. That's a sizable advantage. So they have got to try to chip away at that and make the public feel more comfortable about President Biden's vision.

You mentioned the metrics, and they think that the economy is truly turning around. There's 50 year low unemployment. The jobs market is robust under President Biden. Coming out of the pandemic, there's been 13.5 million new jobs. Wages are outpacing inflation, all those things. So they're on their side, but It's not connecting with many Americans. And the main reason it's not is because inflation, although down from a year ago, still remains up. And it's ticked up a little bit the last two months. Gas prices, they're higher right now than they were a year ago. Food and grocery prices have increased. As long as that inflation issue is out there, it's going to be hard for Biden, hard for the White House to start winning this economic message.

Taylor Wilson:

Biden's name has been in the news in recent days for other reasons too. His son Hunter has been indicted on federal gun charges. House Republicans have opened an impeachment inquiry into him as well. Is Biden addressing any of this, Joey? And how does he plan to address it going forward?

Joey Garrison:

No, he's not. I mean, really, he did bring up at a private fundraiser last week, the impeachment inquiry that the Republicans have started saying, "Hey, I'm just focused on my job here." Really not addressing it beyond that. And I think that's another reason why he's out there again pushing the economic argument. The White House wants to argue, "While Republicans are focused on this sideshow circus, baseless impeachment inquiry, we're focused on your pocketbooks. We're focused on American's concerns." And so I think that was another reason why you saw him go out there with this speech.

He also said, "They want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government," and that's alluding of course to the standoff that we're in the middle of, if Congress cannot pass a continuing resolution by the end of September 30th, end of this month, in order to keep the government open. So he's sort of trying to use that impeachment inquiry with a little leverage politically saying they're more interested than that. President Biden has not weighed in specifically on his son Hunter's indictment. Karine Jean-Pierre was again asked like, "Is Biden ruling out pardoning him?", and she said that he would not pardon.

Taylor Wilson:

Joey Garrison covers the White House for USA Today. Thank you, Joey.

Joey Garrison:

Hey, thanks a lot.

Taylor Wilson:

And turning to the GOP front-runner, despite indictments in four separate criminal cases, Donald Trump has only increased his lead in the GOP presidential race. I spoke with USA Today National Political Correspondent David Jackson about the Trump backers standing by him.

Thanks for making the time, David.

David Jackson:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Taylor Wilson:

So how does former President Donald Trump cast investigations into his own behavior as attacks on his supporters themselves?

David Jackson:

He says that they're designed to stop him and his political movement and in his presidential campaign. So ergo, he tries to describe it as an attack on his people as well as him. He's been quite effective at doing it because the fact of the matter is ever since these four indictments, his political ratings among Republican voters have gone up.

Taylor Wilson:

And what are some of his supporters who you spoke with say about that line of thinking?

David Jackson:

They basically agree with it. When Trump argues that the federal government is simply out to get him and using the legal system to do it, he's pushing against an open door because a lot of his supporters have been long time conservative. Many of them, some of the older ones of course, remember Newt Gingrich and his contract with America, which was basically a very anti-government kind of campaign, they've always been suspicious of the government. They've been suspicious of its motives and the people who serve in it. And so, Trump comes along and stokes those concerns, and like I say, it's been very effective for him.

Taylor Wilson:

What did Trump's Republican rivals say about this framing at this point?

David Jackson:

So far, a lot of them aren't saying anything because they want the same kind of voters that Trump is appealing to. But there are a few, notably Chris Christie, and in more recent days we've heard the same from Mike Pence who are saying that Trump supporters are kind of being fooled, that the former president's just using them to help with his legal defense and that he really has no interest in them, he's only interested in protecting himself. For the most part, you're hearing silence from his Republican opponents. But I think that's going to change. I think you're going to hear more and more people echo Christie and Pence in saying, "Hey, populism's great, but you're using it to defend the guy who's got in trouble all by himself."

Taylor Wilson:

Some of this is nothing new for Trump. How has he always gone after government institutions on the whole as a way to drum up support?

David Jackson:

He's always been in that ilk of being anti-government. Back when he was a businessman, it was anti-government regulation. And also he criticized the US over trade policies. I mean, he was complaining about our trade policies with Japan as far back as the 1990s. So when he was a businessman and a television personality, he often criticized the government and criticized our leaders as being stupid. And that's the same thing he applied when he began running for president. We use a quote from his announcement speech back in 2015 when he went through a litany of problems and he said, "We're abetted by the nation's leaders." And he said, "How stupid are our leaders?" And a lot of people seem to agree with him that they are very stupid and that's the reason they support him.

Taylor Wilson:

Trump of course, for years, has also used the news media as a point of division.

David Jackson:

Right.

Taylor Wilson:

How's he going after the media, David, in the wake of all these indictments? And do his supporters buy into that message?

David Jackson:

This is another mainstay of Trump and a lot of Republicans in general, is that they attacked the so-called liberal media. In the beginning of his political campaign, Trump did attack the media because it was kind of a prophylactic against what he anticipated to be a lot of criticism from the media because of all his past dealings and business dealings. So he basically tried to cut us off at the past by saying, "The media is supplying fake news. Don't believe in anything you read or see." And he's really hyped us up since the indictments. It's just yet another part of his effort to try to persuade people that these indictments are no big thing, it's all a political effort to get him. And he does it by hitting the media coverage of them.

Taylor Wilson:

And David, I feel like I throw this question your way every time you're on, but what do experts say at this point about whether this strategy would translate to a general election should Trump get the Republican nomination?

David Jackson:

Well, most of them feel like it will do poorly in the general election and they cite internal polling numbers that show that independent voters have never been crazy about Trump and are even more turned off in the wake of these criminal allegations. But Trump people can show you some polls where he's also rising against Joe Biden. And in fact, there are several polls where he's ahead of Joe Biden. So the general theory is that these indictments will help him in a Republican primary but hurt him in a general election, but the Trump people can start producing numbers that dispute that. So it really remains to be seen. And It's going to be the central question of the 2024 elections, is, can Donald Trump surmount all of his legal problems to get reelected?

Taylor Wilson:

All right. USA Today National Political Correspondent David Jackson. Great insight as always. Thank you, David.

David Jackson:

Thank you, sir.

Taylor Wilson:

Climate change isn't just wreaking havoc for the living. It's coming for the dead. Massive rainstorms are submerging graves. Quick floods are setting vaults afloat. Slopes are eroding hillside cemeteries. And seaside, higher seas, and storm surges swamp cemeteries and sweep sand away. For centuries, people have buried their dead in peaceful scenic spots meant to comfort the living and the spirits of the dead. Today, many of those burial grounds rest in precarious positions, subject to a slew of natural disasters made worse by a warming climate. State and local governments, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and cemetery associations are already spending millions to preserve cemeteries and build sea walls along with relocating or reburying remains. And historic African-American cemeteries and the burial grounds of indigenous people are often more at risk than others, according to Jennifer Blanks, a doctoral student who studies cemeteries. You can learn more about just how big a problem this is and what preservation efforts look like with a link in today's show notes.

And Happy National Cheeseburger Day. Lots claim to have invented one of America's most popular foods. But according to folks in Pasadena, California, a teenage short-order cook made it nearly a century ago. To celebrate, head to your fast food restaurant of choice. They may have deals and discounts throughout the day.

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. And if you have any comments, you can email us at [email protected]. I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: UAW strike, Supreme Court to weigh Jan 6 cases: 5 Things podcast

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