Fox News’s GOP debate last month generated blockbuster ratings — 24 million viewers saw Donald Trump and the other top Republican presidential contenders mix it up, making it the most-watched non-sports cable show ever. Now Fox News rival CNN is poised to cash in on that success.
The news network is asking advertisers to pay 40 times its usual rate, or as much as $200,000 for a 30-second commercial, during the second GOP debate, which it is scheduled to host on Sept. 16, according to Ad Age. CNN is also charging $50,000 to $60,000 for commercials airing that day in the earlier debate between second-tier candidates.
Ad Age says CNN isn’t expected to pull in quite the same level of viewership as Fox News did, but even if the next primetime debate fails to match the earlier numbers, it is still likely to be the most-watched debate CNN has ever aired. The network can thank Trump for that, just as it could thank another outspoken and unpredictable GOP phenomenon for helping to set its previous debate record: In 2008, almost 11 million viewers tuned in to the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and — you betcha! — Sarah Palin.
If the Palin example holds, news networks aren’t going to be the only ones to benefit from the Trump surge. “Saturday Night Live” saw its viewership and buzz soar in 2008 as Tina Fey’s impersonation of Palin became a sensation in its own right. And when the former Alaska governor appeared on SNL in October 2008, the show drew its highest ratings in 14 years.
The new season of SNL starts Oct. 3, so it’s probably a safe bet that Lorne Michaels — and other executives at NBC, even after the network dumped Trump from The Celebrity Apprentice in the wake of his comments about Mexican immigrants — are rooting for Trump mania to keep going for another month, at least. In the meantime, NBC announced Tuesday that Trump will appear on “The Tonight Show” next week.
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The Republican tax cuts won’t do much for economic growth, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan told CNBC Wednesday, but they will damage the country’s fiscal situation while creating the threat of stagflation. "This is a terrible fiscal situation we've got ourselves into," Greenspan said. "The administration is doing tax cuts and a spending decrease, but he's doing them in the wrong order. What we need right now is to focus totally on reducing the debt."
“The U.S. economy is running at its full potential for the first time in a decade, a new milestone for an expansion now in its ninth year,” The Wall Street Journal reports. But the milestone was reached, in part, because the Congressional Budget Office has, over the last 10 years, downgraded its estimate of the economy’s potential output. “Some economists think more slack remains in the job market than October’s 4.1% unemployment rate would suggest. Also, economic output is still well below its potential level based on estimates produced a decade ago by the CBO.”
The New York Times editorial board took to Twitter Wednesday “to urge the Senate to reject a tax bill that hurts the middle class & the nation's fiscal health.”
Using the hashtag #thetaxbillshurts, the NYT Opinion account posted phone numbers for Sens. Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, James Lankford, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Jerry Moran. It urged readers to call the senators and encourage them to oppose the bill.
In an editorial published Tuesday night, the Times wrote that “Republican senators have a choice. They can follow the will of their donors and vote to take money from the middle class and give it to the wealthiest people in the world. Or they can vote no, to protect the public and the financial health of the government.”
President Trump met with members of the Senate Finance Committee Monday and is scheduled to attend Senate Republicans’ weekly policy lunch and make a personal push for the tax plan on Tuesday. Will he be a more effective salesman than surrogates in his administration?
Politico’s Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson report that both Democrats and Republicans say Mnuchin and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn have repeatedly botched their tax pitches, “in part due to their own backgrounds” as wealthy Goldman Sachs alums. “House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this month asked the White House not to send Mnuchin to the Hill to talk with Republican lawmakers about the bill, according to two people familiar with the discussions — though Ryan has praised the Treasury secretary’s ability to improve the legislation itself,” Karni and Johnson write.
President Trump repeated his call Monday to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as part of the tax bill. In a tweet — geotagged from Pennsylvania, not the Philippines , where Trump currently is — Trump added that the billions in savings from ending the mandate should be used to cut the top marginal rate to 35 percent and the rest on cuts for the middle class.
The Congressional Budget Office said last week that eliminating the mandate would save $338 billion over the next decade.
The current version of the House tax bill keeps the top individual income tax rate at 39.6 percent, while the Senate bill lowers it to 38.5 percent. However, mandate repeal is not currently part of either tax bill, and, as The New York Times notes, “repeal of the individual mandate was not on the list of 355 amendments that the [Senate Finance Committee] released on Sunday night.”