Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Comes to an End

It's the last day of March.

I guess now would be a good time to point out that March 2015 will be the last month in the history of the world in which Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't either a candidate for President of the United States, a President-elect of the United States, a current President of the United States, or a former President of the United States.

Think about it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women

Watch the recent BBC special Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women here:

It's a fascinating examination of the evolution of women's rights in the twenty years since Clinton's historic speech in Beijing, containing interviews with her, other former Secretaries of State (hence the screenshot of Ms. Rice) as well as other courageous female leaders and activists from around the world.

I was looking for an "official" way to watch this online, but there still doesn't seem to be one in the U.S. For now, because it's such an important story to tell, I've posted this user-uploaded version from YouTube that may not be online forever. If this video gets taken down, there is some other issue with it, or if an official BBC video appears please leave a comment below or contact me with the form on the left side of this page and it will be resolved in short order.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hillary Clinton Won't Weaken Dodd-Frank as President (and Frank Agrees)

The number one complaint against Hillary Clinton among many on the left is that she's "too cozy with Wall Street". If that's true, then you might expect that she would support changes to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that would benefit the big banks.

However, she's already made clear that such an assumption would be mistaken.

On January 16th, after six weeks of Twitter silence, she emerged with this message as Republicans in Congress were attempting to weaken Dodd-Frank.
Just a tweet, you might dismissively say? Not according to the latter half of Dodd-Frank, who asserted last Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher that while Republicans will always try to weaken it, Hillary Clinton has "made very clear that she's for keeping it as it is".

Still not enough? Then how about Hillary's most recent tweet, which supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposal to crack down on payday lending practices:
We'll learn more about Clinton's stance on financial reform, as well as any proposed changes, once her campaign officially begins. Her recent consultations with Elizabeth Warren might even hint at some proposals that progressives such as myself will celebrate.

But one thing we can expect, because she's already made it clear: Wall Street reforms and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be safe under President Hillary Clinton.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Where Should Hillary Kick Off Her Campaign? Here's an Idea.

The announcement is coming in a matter of days, and Politico is giving us some idea of what the launch of Hillary 2016 might look like.
Clinton, according to several people familiar with the still-in-flux planning process, will embark on a short tour that will almost certainly include Iowa — and perhaps other states — to interact with voters in a series of events, most of them in low-key settings...
“They know that they need to reintroduce Hillary to America,” said one Democratic insider familiar with the Clinton team’s thinking. “They know it makes no sense to think of this as, ‘Let’s start where she left off on the national stage.’ This is not a continuation of the Hillary we knew as secretary of state. That’s the focus of their energy.”
Clinton aides want to reintroduce her with “humility,” the source added. “They are making sure she understands there are no guarantees, and I think we’re going to see that in her posture and her words. I don’t think people are expecting that.”
Regular Q&A events with smaller crowds are indeed a good idea, especially with the possibility of no Democratic debates, but let's not dismiss the incredible visual appeal of massive rallies either. And make no mistake about it: Democrats everywhere are stoked about Hillary's campaign and will undoubtedly come out in droves to see her.

According to the article, there is also some debate among political operatives about whether or not Bill Clinton should be at the announcement. Seriously? Of course he should be there...along with their daughter, son-in-law, precious infant granddaughter and any other family or close friends who would like to attend. They don't all have to be on stage with her when her announcement is made, but to specifically disinvite her husband would be an insane example of mistaken strategic overthinking.
Clinton staffers say the kickoff announcement is likely to be made during the first few weeks in April but stressed that no firm date has been chosen yet. Most expect that Clinton’s initial announcement will come via social media or by mass email, followed by events. The location of her first in-person event has yet to be chosen, they say.
I have zero inside information about any of this, but I have my own guess/recommendation about the location of her official announcement.

If humility is what her campaign wants, then why not return to the place where the Clinton political story began almost 40 years ago? It's also a city right in the middle of a Southern state, which would send a message that Democrats will not overlook this part of the country in 2016. There also happens to be a local presidential library and airport with the Clinton name on them.

That's right...Little Rock, Arkansas.

There's still a vast reservoir of goodwill for the Clintons in that state, so they could undoubtedly amass an impressively huge and enthusiastic crowd. It would also be the ideal place to spotlight her lifelong record of public service, which started long before she was a household name in the 1990s.

Essentially, Little Rock would represent a sentimental reminder of the Clintons' roots and past triumphs in the heartland of America...an ideal backdrop for Hillary's historic speech that will set our collective gaze on the promise and possibility of the future.

There are political considerations as well: a huge event such as this could put Arkansas firmly into play for 2016. The most recent poll of the state found that Hillary was only 1 to 4 points behind several potential GOP candidates there. The only person running well ahead of Clinton is Mike Huckabee, who still seems to be a long shot for the nomination at this time. You can imagine that Bill especially would just love to win Arkansas again in 2016, and he'll do whatever he can to make it happen. Kicking off Hillary's campaign there would certainly be one hell of a way to get the ball rolling.

So, what about Iowa? Spending a few quality days in that state immediately after would be quite advisable. Luckily, it's only one state away from Arkansas...and they can either leapfrog over Missouri or put a further scare into Republicans by making a quick stop or two in that swing state as well. Who would see that coming?

...other than readers of Hillary HQ, of course.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Release the Clinton!

President Bill Clinton in Killeen TX, February 2008
A couple of months ago in a piece entitled "Will Hillary's Country Inroads Take Us Home?", I noted that Hillary Clinton's numbers continue to be stronger than you might expect from a Democrat in rural areas, while roughly maintaining President Obama's popularity in the big cities. I say "continue" because it was largely her popularity in rural areas that allowed her to pull off some victories that shocked the pundits and helped her keep pace with Obama through the final months of her 2008 campaign.

I remember quite well the run-up to the Texas Democratic primary in March 2008, in which Bill Clinton crisscrossed our huge state seemingly nonstop. The strategy was smart: Hillary could headline bigger events and remain the public face of the national campaign while he "quietly" (lesson learned from South Carolina) focused on winning votes in small to mid-sized cities that don't normally come close to seeing a national candidate...much less a former president...in person.

Shaking every hand that wanted a shake
At the rally I attended in Killeen (about an hour north of Austin and not known for its liberal politics), the crowd was large, festive and enthusiastic. Not only did he give a typically convincing speech, but afterwards he shook every hand on the rope line and signed every item he was given. After shaking his hand, I shouted to him that his first presidential campaign instantly switched me from Republican to Democrat when I was a teenager. He then stopped, came back, shook my hand again and said a simple "thank you" in return. It was a small gesture but it sure meant a lot to me.

I couldn't have been the only voter who left that event very impressed with the guy.

Signing my vintage '92 campaign sticker...and everything else
The pundits largely dismissed Hillary's chances in Texas at the time, but she ended up winning that primary anyway. And along with Ohio and Rhode Island, the Texas victory was crucially important to her campaign's historic and inspiring resurrection.

Texas might be largely off the national radar in 2016 (we shall see), but don't be surprised if a similarly relentless Bill-centric strategy reemerges to lock in votes well outside of the major metropolitan areas in states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina and Colorado.

Town by town and handshake by handshake, it can all add up to make a big difference in a national campaign...especially when it involves one of the greatest political minds of our time and the most admired president of the last 25 years.

Luckily, we probably won't be able to keep him away even if we tried.

Throwback Thursday: "Ready For Change" (2008)

Here's a solid ad from the 2008 campaign in New Hampshire. Some of the issues may be different now, but the Hillary 2016 ads we'll be seeing soon might look a little bit like this one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Did You Know There's Already a Hillary Action Figure?

Well there is, and you can get your own right here for $15.

Rest assured that Hillary HQ has already bought ours.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Florida, Clinton Leads All Republicans in New PPP Poll

Florida remains Clinton Country in the new PPP poll of the state.
Hillary Clinton has leads of 2-8 points over all of the potential GOP contenders in the state. Rubio comes the closest at just a 48/46 deficit and Bush is down by a similar margin at 47/44. Rand Paul trails by 4 at 46/42, Mike Huckabee's down 5 at 49/44, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz each trail by 7 at 48/41 and 49/42 respectively, and Ben Carson (49/41), Rick Perry (50/42), and Scott Walker (49/41) all lag Clinton by 8 points.
The Democratic numbers for Clinton are also as strong as ever.
On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton remains dominant with 58% to 14% for Joe Biden, 10% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Bernie Sanders, 2% for Martin O'Malley, and 1% for Jim Webb. Clinton is polling over 50% with liberals, moderates, men, women, whites, African Americans, and voters within every age group.
Additionally, this poll is full of more awful news for Jeb. Not only is he down a few points to Hillary (and if he can't secure his home state, why is he even in the race?) but he's not even running away with the lead on the Republican side. A full 3/4th of primary voters support someone else, and he's only 8% ahead of Walker. It's pretty clear that Florida knows Jeb Bush...and they're just not that into him.

With encouraging numbers like these, it seems likely that both Clintons are going to hit Florida hard right away to lock up those precious 29 electoral votes while the Republicans are busy arguing themselves to death through next spring.

...and it's game over before they even know what hit them.

Clinton Jokes About Email at Event Honoring Political Journalism

In one of her very last public events before presumably entering the race for the presidency, Clinton was in good spirits speaking at an awards ceremony honoring political journalism.
Hillary Clinton made an unusual appearance Monday evening - she keynoted an awards ceremony to honor political journalists.
"I am well aware that some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight," she said to the room of about 300 people, many of them journalists. "You know my relationship with the press has been at times, shall we say, complicated."
She made some fun jokes about email and non-disclosure agreements (see video), but also had some important advice that's hard to argue with.
"You are facing fundamental questions that may not fit into 140 characters but are nonetheless vital to our democracy. I think the stakes are really high," Clinton said. "Too many of our most important debates occur in what I call an evidence-free zone, ideology trumping facts, made-for-cable shout-fests, twitter storms, drowning out substantive dialogue and reporting that too often leads to shallower, more contentious politics and either no, or not the best, public policy."
Let's hope they were listening.

Check out the rest of the speech in the link in the comments, which includes a discussion of the Affordable Care Act.

Hillary Embraces the Affordable Care Act

19 more months of talk like this and Obamacare will be more popular than ever.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The New York Times Obsession With Email is Getting Sad

Thought the New York Times discredited "reporting" on eGhazi by Michael S. Schmidt was old news and couldn't get any more lame? Think again.

Here's a quick summary of his latest salvo: Some emails were sent back and forth about Benghazi just after the attack. In those emails, there is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton or anyone else did anything wrong. A small number of emails having something to do with the State Department (but not necessarily Benghazi) were sent and received on personal email accounts, but they were still preserved in accordance with the law.

That's it.

The rest of the piece is just more stretched-out rehash and "narrative". House Republicans, and complicit media such as the New York Times, have turned into a snake eating its own tail in an infinite loop because it's just too hungry to help itself.

Schmidt also continues to be the master of vague insinuation, making it seem at first glance as though several specific examples of email correspondence occurred solely on personal email accounts. However, this does not appear to be the case. How do we know? Because if they were, he would have specifically said so and that revelation would be the blaring headline instead of more rubbish about "concerns".

Here are some highlights:
The emails have not been made public, and The New York Times was not permitted to review them. But four senior government officials offered descriptions of some of the key messages, on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to secret information.
So let me get this straight: Four Republican congressmen on the Benghazi committee...sorry, four "senior government officials"...didn't let Schmidt see any emails, but gave him second-hand descriptions of a few so they wouldn't get in trouble. This is now the basis for modern serious journalism?
They provided no evidence that Mrs. Clinton, as the most incendiary Republican attacks have suggested, issued a “stand down” order to halt American forces responding to the violence in Benghazi, or took part in a broad cover-up of the administration’s response, according to senior American officials.
Great news! The insane Republican conspiracy theories regarding Benghazi are totally unfounded. So why isn't this the headline? And why are we still talking about this zombie non-scandal? Could it possibly be because it's nothing but a transparent partisan witch-hunt?
Strikingly, given that she has set off an uproar over her emails, Mrs. Clinton is not a verbose correspondent. 
Dude, you set off the uproar with your misleading original piece which your paper eventually had to walk back!

There's plenty more where that came from, but since you and everyone else is bored silly by this ongoing journalistic disaster, I'll skip to the punchline in the very last paragraph:
Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat and ranking member on the committee, said in a statement that “instead of having emails leaked piecemeal — and mischaracterized,” the committee’s chairman, Mr. Gowdy, “should release all of them — as Secretary Clinton has asked — so the American people can read them for themselves.”
Hah! So the responsible advice from Rep. Cummings is completely ignored for the entirety of the piece, only to be tacked on at the end in a successful attempt to make themselves look bad.

Seriously, New York Times...what are you doing?

It Begins

Some people think Ted Cruz is just a punchline.

And mostly...he is.

But here's what's not funny: This guy was able to beat the odds to defeat longtime Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012, eventually beating Democrat Paul Sadler in a landslide in the general election. Defeating a Democrat in Texas may not seem like a big deal, but overcoming such a well-known establishment candidate for the nomination certainly was.

The Ted Cruz coloring book. It's real.
The circumstances and odds for Cruz are different now, but no one should completely dismiss his chances. The Washington establishment might hate him, but the two so-called frontrunners (Bush & Walker) top out at around 15-18 points each and are quite vulnerable in their own ways. Cruz will need to overtake Huckabee and Carson to become the go-to candidate of the Christian conservative wing. If he does that, and if Republicans vote with their hearts instead of their brains, he's got an outside shot. It's not very likely, but anything is possible considering this Republican field.

Jumping into the 2016 race before anyone else doesn't hurt either.

But luckily for us, that will only get him halfway there...which won't be nearly enough: Hillary Clinton would annihilate Ted Cruz by around 15 points and 400+ electoral votes.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gallup: Hillary is the Only Candidate That American Women Actually Like

There's no other way to look at it: American women are Hillary fans and no one else comes close.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s standing with women will give her a “decided advantage” in the 2016 presidential race, according to a new Gallup Poll.
Nearly 6 in 10 women, or 56%, have a favorable opinion of Clinton — the highest for any Democrat or Republican considering a White House bid. That compares to 44% of men who rate her favorably.
Vice President Biden runs a distant second (41%) among women, while Jeb Bush is 24 percentage points behind Clinton.
Check out this chart via Gallup.com:

Friday, March 20, 2015

At Camp Conference, Hillary Addresses 'Fun Deficit'

Check out the entirety of yesterday's speech and Q&A above...and you'll most likely agree with this glowing recap from U.S. News & World Report:
In what was expected to be her final paid speech before the launch of her 2016 presidential campaign next month, Clinton spoke to thousands of camp counselors and workers in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
She was relaxed, warm, funny and relatable. Perhaps it was because camp is intrinsically focused on children – one of the causes closest to her heart. Or maybe it was because of the friendly moderator who didn’t go near the email controversy or any of the other touchier subjects surrounding her public and political life. But Clinton was on her game, genuinely exuding the unique attributes a female could bring to the Oval Office.
It was the stories about her mother that were perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this appearance, particularly when she was told as young child that "there's no room for cowards in this house."

The same holds true for the White House and she knows it.
Given all Clinton has been through – and all that’s to come – there’s a persistent curiosity about why she continues to fight in the public square at such a high cost.
She shed some light on that, crediting her mother with an enduring piece of advice that keeps her poised. 
“She said, ‘You know, you have a choice to make every day. You can be the lead actor in your own life. Or you can be a bit player reacting to other people,’” Clinton recalled.
Last week at the U.N., Clinton looked more like a bit player reacting to other people. But her command performance Thursday demonstrated her potential to become that lead actor she’s been striving to be since her mom first taught her the virtues of courage at her own front door.    
When she received a Camp David sweatshirt at the conclusion of the event, it got a huge laugh...but no one thought it was a joke.

Because there's only one word that comes to mind after watching this: Unbeatable. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: '20/20' Interview with Barbara Walters (1996)

As you can see, Hillary has been calmly dealing with phony accusations for a very long time.

But they didn't stop her then...and they definitely won't stop her now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Let Us Bask in the Glow of These New Poll Numbers

Chart via RealClearPolitics.com

Just for a moment, let us bask in the glow of today's brand new, post-eGhazi poll numbers from CNN/ORC...because we've earned it.

This poll was taken at the tail end of nearly two weeks of negative headlines, and it demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that Paul Begala was right on the money with this hilarious quote:
"Voters do not give a shit about what email Hillary used. They don't even give a fart."
Seriously. Clinton's numbers remain every bit as phenomenal as before, which should strike absolute terror into the hearts of Republicans everywhere.

Yes, we've got 20 months to go. And of course it won't always be easy.

But this sure is one hell of place to start, isn't it?

The Saint Patrick's Night Tweet-a-thon

In the span of just two minutes, we got some big hints about the next two years and beyond...

RE: Hey Hey, My My...eGhazi Can Never Die

Dear Mr. Priebus,

Thank you for your recent follow-up on eGhazi regarding bureaucratic form OF-10, or the so-called "exit document" from the State Department.

While we appreciate your new concerns, we have carefully looked into this further and have determined that it's simply another failed "gotcha" attempt in a fading "scandal" that we never cared much about anyway.

See attached memo from U.S. News & World Report:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Tuesday it had no record showing that Hillary Rodham Clinton signed any official statement attesting that she had turned over all unclassified documents related to official business when she left her post as secretary of state in 2013.
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Clinton's two immediate predecessors, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, had not signed such a statement either.
Psaki said there was no sign of such a statement in department files.
"We're fairly certain she didn't sign one," Psaki told reporters. Psaki said that even though it was "not clear" that such statements were used throughout the federal government or even inside the State Department, she said that department officials were still trying to assess whether Clinton and former secretaries of State should have signed the documents.
The State Department requires employees leaving the diplomatic service to fill out an official statement — known as form OF-109 — acknowledging that they have turned over all classified and unclassified records of government business to "responsible officials." But Psaki said that different bureaus within the department had varying rules relating to such statements, effectively making it optional for some employees to fill them out and turn them in.
Furthermore, Mrs. Clinton has already informed us that all her work-related emails were immediately preserved within the Department system anyway while serving as Secretary of State (because all senders or recipients had .gov email addresses) and there is no reason to believe otherwise. Also, the upcoming public release of all work-related emails from her time at State is an additional act of transparency that we find most welcome.

While we understand the desperation of your current electoral situation, we cannot sympathize or give you any mercy votes at this time. To change things in the future, we recommend that you get better candidates, evolve past the 19th century on the issues we care about, and teach your party basic governing skills in Congress.

One last time: You tried your best on eGhazi and it didn't work. It's time to move on.

The American People

P.S.: Sorry to break this to you...but we're still totally ready for Hillary.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CNN Poll: President Hillary Clinton Would Make Americans Proud

You can keep on trying to tear her down...but she will only get stronger in the end.

A new CNN/ORC poll taken over the weekend shows that despite absorbing nearly two weeks of negative headlines over a now-dismantled non-scandal, her approval rating remains well in positive territory at 53% (a number that any GOP candidate would kill for) and 52% of respondents don't even think this email business is relevant.

Her overall numbers may have been dented a little bit in the past couple of weeks, but here's the most interesting result in the poll: When asked if they would be proud to have Hillary Clinton as president, 57% said yes...which is actually 7% higher than when the same question was asked a year ago. It's almost as if nearly two weeks of piling on with negative coverage has actually made people support her more, despite the current (and temporary) dip in her approval rating.

Backlash, anyone?

Make no mistake, there will be good weeks and not-so-good weeks in the next 20 months, but one thing will remain a constant through it all:

The American people are ready for President Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hillary Inducted Into the Irish America Hall of Fame

Anyway, back to important things like helping to craft long-lasting peace around the globe.
Bill Clinton once called his visit to Northern Ireland 20 years ago “the best two days of my presidency.” And an event honoring his wife’s role in the region’s peace process Monday may have made the day the best for Hillary Clinton in some time.
At a ceremony inducting the former secretary of state into the Irish America Hall of Fame in New York City, the all-but-declared presidential candidate enjoyed the welcome respite after two difficult weeks weathering allegations that she flouted record keeping rules by using a private email server as secretary of state.
“It is such a personal pleasure and delight for me to be here,” Clinton said at what is likely to be one of her last public appearances a private citizen before an approaching campaign launch. “It’s a wonderful feeling being here, it’s kind of like a family reunion.”
Wearing green and a big smile on St. Patrick’s Day eve, Clinton entered an ornate hotel ballroom to bagpipes as guests raised pints of Guinness. There were no mentions of her emails, and the only reminder of Clinton’s presidential ambitions came from the “Irish Americans for Hillary” buttons Stella O’Leary passed out to attendees and jokes about the large number of people in the room who wanted to be Clinton’s ambassador to Dublin.
Clinton, who is not Irish, was inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame for her work to bring women in to peace process that ended the decades-long conflict between Catholic and Protestants in Ireland known as The Troubles.
For more background on her efforts, read this from Rep. Joe Crowley.

Hillary's entire speech can be seen at the MSNBC link above. However, you'll have to skip ahead about an hour, past several other speeches and...oddly...a 25-minute unedited closeup feed of her eating lunch, where she can be seen talking with her mouth full, picking food out of her teeth with her tongue, and putting on lipstick. It's humanizing, and she's a class act through it all, but it's unnecessary invasive.

So let us resolve here and now that every candidate - no matter the party - has the right to a few minutes to eat their meal in relative peace without a camera shoved in their face.

For crying out loud.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Emailgate: It's Dead, Jim

Three events on Friday, March 13 heralded the official end of 'Emailgate' or 'eGhazi' (or whatever you choose to call it) as anything resembling an actual scandal.

First, early that morning, the New York Times (who started all this) ran a story admitting that email rules in federal agencies have actually been quite vague until very recently.
Mr. Obama signed legislation late last year requiring government officials who use personal email addresses for official business to bring those records into the government within 20 days. Before that, the National Archives and Records Administration simply required those messages at some point to be provided to the government.
“The wiggle room for Mrs. Clinton is that those policies didn't come into play until after she was gone” from the State Department in early 2013, said Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, an independent, nongovernmental organization focused on transparency.
Wiggle room! In other words "Remember when we said she "may" have violated the law? Well, um, she didn't. At all. Our bad."

The second hit occurred that evening when the Times partially made up for their botched story by sticking it to Jeb Bush for actually violating Florida law for failing to turn over his emails properly. And thus the news media must have collectively realized that if this entire campaign is going to be about each candidate's email usage, it's going to be a long, boring 20 months indeed. Next!

Finally, right around that same time, Bill Maher (who's not known for being a huge Clinton fan) came out swinging in some must-see video from HBO's Real Time....tearing the news media a new one for the stupidity of this story and admiring Hillary's performance at her press conference more than anyone else I've seen all week (including Democrats). The crowd went wild here, as well as when he pointed out that she's still crushing all Republicans. I disagree with Maher on some things, but his show is undeniably influential...and his unabashed support for her was striking.

So there you have it: I'm calling last Friday as the end of this phony scandal.

I know what you're saying.

Of course, some are going to try to keep this going for as long as possible. In fact, I have every expectation that John Boehner will follow through on his threat of a new House investigation. And what else is Fox News supposed to talk about...the reality of man-made climate change? It might as well be emails.

But going forward, this is officially a zombie scandal. It's dead, but still it walks...and there will be victims.

It won't be the Clintons, though. They'll get through this just fine. The American people are in their corner, don't care about this, and are generally pretty good about seeing through politically-fueled nonsense.

The victims will be the electability of Republicans in Congress who will continue to waste their time and our taxpayer dollars on partisan crapola instead of any actual governance...and the credibility of complicit news media who echo their talking points every step of the way.

'Emailgate' has now been definitively exposed as a big pile of nothing, and if they choose to keep pursuing this...the backlash will only keep growing.

Therefore, in the immortal words of our current president: please proceed.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hahaha: NYT Busts Jeb Bush For Violating Florida Email Law


Oh man, this is such a great way to start the weekend: The New York Times has just busted Jeb Bush for not turning over the emails from his private account immediately after leaving office... but instead waiting a very, very long time to do so.

It was so long, in fact, that he was clearly in violation of Florida law!
Jeb Bush has rebuked Hillary Rodham Clinton for her use of a private email account as secretary of state, holding up his own conduct as an example of transparency in government.
But it took Mr. Bush seven years after leaving office to comply fully with a Florida public records statute requiring him to turn over emails he sent and received as governor, according to records released Friday.
Damn. And the media was just criticizing Hillary for taking four months to turn over all her emails after the State Department's request!
Mr. Bush delivered the latest batch of 25,000 emails in May 2014, seven and a half years after leaving the Statehouse and just as he started to contemplate a potential run for the White House, according to a newly disclosed letter written by his lawyer.
A Florida statute governing the preservation of public records requires elected officials, including the governor, to turn over records pertaining to official business “at the expiration of his or her term of office.”
“If they’ve been adding to it, it’s a technical violation of the law,” said Barbara A. Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group in Florida that advocates access to government information.
She added, “The law clearly says you’re supposed to turn everything over at the end of your term in office.”
Okay news media...we've put up with your breathless, trumped-up, innuendo-filled "reporting" about Hillary Clinton's private email account since March 2nd, so it's only fair that Jeb Bush gets the exact same week-and-a-half treatment for his clear violation of Florida law. I mean, this guy was the executive of one of the biggest states in the union for eight years, including that one time when his brother "won" the state in 2000 to become the worst president in American history.

In the parlance of the New York Times: It raises many new concerns.

For instance, how did Jeb determine which emails were private and which pertained to his government work? Are his private emails recoverable? Why did it take him so very long to comply with the law? Was his email server secure? How many devices did he use then and how many does he use now? Did he ever email his wife while in office...and does she even use email?

But I'm going to take a wild guess that instead of getting such pleasurable extended coverage, these revelations about Jeb's email will simply make 'Emailgate' disappear even faster than it already was.

And that's fine. In fact, if we can finally start talking about actual issues effecting the American people...like the economy, the environment and dramatic ongoing events in the Middle East...that would be terrific.

It's becoming obvious that 'Emailgate' or 'Email-ghazi' or whatever is not actually the first scandal of the 2016 election cycle...but rather the first big media embarrassment.

Also posted at Daily Kos

Friday, March 13, 2015

Clinton News Roundup: Ridin' the Storm Out

Wait...why was Hillary at the United Nations?
This now-famous photo says it all: Hillary Clinton at the UN on Tuesday holding a press conference, surrounded by several gaggles of reporters, answering questions about something that had nothing to do with the reason she was actually there. In fact, she had just given a well-received speech celebrating twenty years since her historic and influential declaration in Beijing that "women's rights are human rights". Unfortunately, hardly anyone has seen this newsworthy speech.

Luckily, this is one of the key reasons that Hillary HQ was created in the first place: cutting through the noise to bring you the stuff that matters. Watch the full speech below.

Hello Brooklyn!
The rumors seem to be true.
As Hillary Clinton's expected April presidential launch nears, her already sizable campaign apparatus is moving into place and getting close to signing a lease for office space in Brooklyn.
Clinton and her team have recently coalesced around the New York borough, according to multiple sources, and are nearing a deal for office space at the MetroTech complex in Brooklyn.
A lease has not been signed yet, according to a source with knowledge, but very serious negotiations are ongoing and the Clinton team settled on Brooklyn after eying other locations around New York City.

New Hampshire Revs Up
Some big guns are going to secure New Hampshire.
In a direct step toward a run for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton is hiring political staff to guide her Democratic primary efforts in the early voting state of New Hampshire.

The team-in-waiting is made up of senior operatives in Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's successful re-election bid in 2014, when she survived a Republican wave that knocked out many other Democrats. Mike Vlacich, Shaheen's campaign manager, will serve as Clinton's state director, said a New Hampshire Democrat with knowledge of the move... 
In addition to Vlacich, Clinton is turning to Kari Thurman, Shaheen's political director, and Harrell Kirstein, Shaheen's campaign communications director, to serve in the same functions for her, the source said. Shaheen on Friday wished the three of them well "in their next venture," praised their service to her and described Vlacich as "a dedicated public servant and a brilliant political strategist." 
Hillary's numbers already look really good there, and the state has been trending blue for a couple of decades anyway...but these hires, like the recent ones in Iowa, are an excellent indication that she's not taking anything for granted this time around. Even if she runs unopposed for the nomination, such local talent will still go a long way towards securing these states in the general election.

Ridin' the Storm Out
It's looking more and more likely that hardly anyone cares about a phony scandal about email, and that Hillary's numbers haven't taken a hit at all. Be sure and check out this week's posts on two brand new state polls which suggest the same thing...or possibly even a slight backlash in her favor.

Hillary HQ will have a bit more on the 'Email-ghazi' hangover next week, and you won't want to miss it.

For now, let's rest a bit this weekend because we've all earned it. Plus, in just a few weeks...things are going to get really crazy.

As always, stay tuned to us at Facebook and Twitter for any breaking news, and feel free to chat it up in the comments with your fellow Clintonistas!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Connecticut Poll Again Shows Zero Impact of 'Emailgate'

Not news: A brand new Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary Clinton beating all potential GOP challengers by 18-22 points in solid-blue Connecticut, and absolutely dominating the potential Democratic field as much as ever.

Here's what is interesting:
Despite the current e-mail controversy surrounding Clinton, she is well-liked in Connecticut while the Republican contenders get either mixed evaluations or negative ones from voters.
In fact, she gets her highest approval rating ever measured by Quinnipiac in the state (56%-38%)...a stark contrast to the underwater numbers of Jeb & the gang. Her numbers are strong in all age subsets, but interestingly, it's the millennials (18-34) who are most enthusiastic about her...approving by a whopping 69%-24%.

Among the Republican field, Bush and Walker are all knotted up at 18% each with Don't Know, Don't Care, and Yawn running behind at 11%-12%.

(In non-presidential news, Senator Richard Blumenthal looks to be in strong shape for reelection next year.)

Well done, GOP and hapless journalists: You've managed to blow your first "big" Hillary Clinton "scandal" on a big pile of nothing that no one cares about but you...and might even be producing a backlash that is helping her. This is not the only poll to show zero impact of this phony scandal, only the latest.

So by all means...please proceed.

Throwback Thursday: Bill Clinton Announces Candidacy (1991)

Greetings fellow Clintonistas!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Throwback Thursday, a new weekly feature at Hillary HQ.

This will be a fun opportunity for Clinton fans to regularly take a step back from the constant flow of current events and relive some good memories.

And so as we await Hillary's historic announcement (which may only be two or three weeks away!) it seems appropriate to begin with the very first Clinton presidential announcement, which took place on October 3, 1991. For many of us...this is really the speech that started it all.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New York Times Once Again Raises Concerns About Misleading Journalism

Another day, another misleading (or worse) piece from the esteemed Gray Lady.

This time our old friend Michael S. Schmidt, author of the original botched story on the Clinton emails, has joined forces with Amy Chozick, who made some waves of her own recently with an attempted smear of Hillary's incredible lifelong record as a women's rights advocate.

There's plenty to dismantle in their latest salvo regarding this non-scandal (so bear with me) but I'm not going to bury the lede because it's too important: They have just printed something that's gone beyond their usual misleading and into the realm of outright falsehood.

 It's near the very end, but it's there:
After the news conference, Mrs. Clinton’s office provided several new details about the email account and what she has provided to the State Department. More than 100 government officials knew about Mrs. Clinton’s use of private email, her office said. 
(The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said Monday that President Obama exchanged emails with Mrs. Clinton, saw that she was using a personal account, but did not understand that her messages were not being made available to the government in some form.)
And here is the actual quote from Josh Earnest on Monday:
And the point that the President was making is not that he didn’t know Secretary Clinton’s email address -- he did -- but he was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up or how Secretary Clinton and her team were planning to comply with the Federal Records Act... 
But what is clear is that, as the President said in his interview, the emails that he sends are properly maintained, consistent with the Presidential Records Act -- and that, by the way, would be true of any emails that he received from his Secretary of State. And the reason I raise that is because Secretary Clinton’s team has pointed out, rightfully so, that a large number of the emails that they provided to the State Department in response to a request from her personal email system were already maintained on the State Department agency system. And the reason for that is she was emailing...State Department employees with state.gov email addresses, which meant that those email communications had been properly preserved and maintained.
Read it again: The Times is stating that "(President Obama) did not understand that her messages were not being made available to the government in some form."

This is demonstrably false, as we can see that Earnest said nothing of the sort. Therefore, this deserves an immediate correction.

Obviously, in keeping with recent tradition at the Times, there is more bad reporting to be found elsewhere.
Her confirmation that she and her aides had chosen which emails to make available to the State Department raised new concerns about Mrs. Clinton’s power to decide which records of her tenure as secretary would be available to congressional investigators, to journalists filing Freedom of Information Act requests, and to history.
First, these are not "new concerns" as this was brought up by Schmidt in his original piece over a week ago. However:
She said she had taken an “unprecedented” action in providing the State Department roughly 55,000 printed pages of emails, and pointed to other elected officials who use official and private emails, deciding themselves which belong on which account. 
“For any government employee, it is that government employee’s responsibility to determine what’s personal and what’s work related,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters. “I went above and beyond what I was requested to do.”
This seems like a pretty good explanation and the Times doesn't argue that Clinton is wrong here. In fact:
Indeed, nothing prohibited federal employees from using private accounts for work when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, although the practice was discouraged. But beginning in October 2009, 10 months after she took office, new regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration said agencies where employees were free to use private email systems “must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” 
Mrs. Clinton’s emails were backed up on her personal server — not on a government one. But she argued that, because she had sent emails to “government officials on their State or other .gov accounts so that the emails were immediately captured and preserved,” she had complied with the rule. Mrs. Clinton did not address how emails she had sent to people outside the government had been preserved.
Emails to people outside the government? You mean to her family, friends and yoga instructor? Those would be the personal emails that had nothing to do with her job. Is the Times suggesting that these needed to be preserved as well? If so, they should explain why.

Also, if they are now hanging their case on whether using private email was simply "discouraged" or not...good luck with that.

Next, we get to a couple of required bits of meaningless innuendo, which I will respond to in a sarcastic manner that the New York Times might understand.
Mrs. Clinton’s explanation that it was more convenient to carry only one device seemed at odds with her remark last month, at a technology conference in Silicon Valley, that she uses multiple devices, including two kinds of iPads, an iPhone and a BlackBerry. She said then: “I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder.”
The revelation that she might have bought an iPhone sometime in the past two years raises new concerns about her longtime allegiance to Blackberry. Additionally, her refusal to fully give up her longtime communication device (made famous in the Texts From Hillary meme) raises new concerns that she may actually be less than two steps from being a hoarder - perhaps only a step and a half - which may also raise future concerns among White House cleaning staff. 

At one point on Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton said the emails she had deleted contained “personal communications from my husband and me.” But on Sunday, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton told reporters that the former president had “sent two emails in his life.”
This actually raises two more new concerns: Either Mr. and Mrs. Clinton never once exchanged emails during her entire tenure as Secretary of State and she's lying about a minor point for some unknown reason, or the former President has a self-proclaimed hands-off approach to technology and instead has an aide read and type emails on his behalf. 

You can see where this stupidity is going: Nowhere.

But that doesn't keep the Times from ending their latest smear like so:
In 2007, Mrs. Clinton, then a senator from New York and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, accused the George W. Bush administration of using “secret White House email accounts” along with secret wiretaps and military tribunals. “ 
You know, our Constitution is being shredded,” she said at the time.
Is co-author Schmidt implying that Hillary Clinton is now the one shredding the Constitution because of the phony scandal that he himself kicked off last week? If so, I would point him to this definitive statement from...earlier in the same article:
"Indeed, nothing prohibited federal employees from using private accounts for work when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state..."
Oy vey.

Good work staying on the trail of your own damned tail, New York Times.

You Know It's Coming...

Mike Luckovich/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hillary Discusses Women's Rights, Iran and the Other Thing

How do you think she did? Leave your comments below and let's discuss it!

PPP Poll: Clinton Stomping Walker 52-43% in Wisconsin

And to answer your first question, this poll was taken entirely after the email story broke. If Wisconsin is any indication, Paul Begala was right and this phony scandal is a big fat nothing as far as voters are concerned.
PPP's newest Wisconsin poll finds that Scott Walker's recent actions have significantly increased enthusiasm among Republicans in the state for his White House bid- but also left him well behind Hillary Clinton in a potential general election match up... 
Walker trails Hillary Clinton 52/43 in a hypothetical contest. When we tested the same match up in September of 2013, he was only down 49/44. It's not just Clinton that Walker trails though- he would also be down 48/45 when matched against Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren. For the most part this year we've been finding Biden and Warren trailing even in places where Clinton's leading, but against Walker in Wisconsin they all have an advantage...
Clinton is strong against the entire Republican field in Wisconsin. There's not much evidence from anything in this poll that she's facing any real backlash over the controversy related to her e-mails.
Hillary's numbers versus other Democrats are also untouched: She holds a 40+ point lead over all potential challengers.

While Clinton has held steady or even improved since their last poll, Scott Walker's stock has gone down in the state. His approval is now underwater at 43/52, and PPP largely attributes this to the new and unpopular right to work law. On top of this, 58% of Wisconsinites don't even want him to run for president.

With Scott Walker not even coming close to winning his home state...the idea of him being the nominee seems more appealing by the second. This could end up being a Democratic landslide the likes of which we haven't seen since...hmm...LBJ '64?

There's lots of other good stuff in the poll, so check it out!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Busted: NYT Parsed Language in Clinton Email Story to Falsely Insinuate Violation of the Law

The Hillary Clinton email story might finally be fading from the headlines (and rightly so) but that doesn't mean that the New York Times is off the hook.

No...not just yet.

Here's why: The Times knew that Clinton didn't violate the Federal Records Act when their piece was written, but went ahead and made it seem like she did anyway. This was noted in my original post, but a week's worth of coverage has made their act of journalistic malpractice even more disturbingly clear.

Here is the entire second paragraph of Michael S. Schmidt's piece from last Monday, which suggested that Clinton violated the Federal Records Act, a very serious charge:
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
And here is another section, more towards the middle, which deals with different regulations in a different department.
Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records. 
But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.
Again, the latter sentence would seem to be incorrect. Interagency emails received from Clinton were preserved on the Department system at the time, and she has preserved and already turned over 55,000 pages of her own emails to the Department.

But that's another issue. Right now, what sticks out is the phrase "at the time". Did you notice where that phrase is in both of these sections? It's a very subtle parsing of language, but it's so important that it makes the most explosive charge in the Times' story entirely irrelevant.

Once again:
Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
Catch that? This proves that the Times knew that she did not violate the Federal Records Act. The change to the law occurred in 2014, well after she left the State Department. Nevertheless, they are insinuating wrongdoing by careful placement of that three-word phrase.

In other words, she was in compliance with a certain law at the time she was Secretary of State. A couple of years after she left the position, this law changed. Therefore...what?

This sentence, while technically true, is blatantly misleading and should have never been included in the story to begin with. It prominently insinuated a violation of the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 even though they knew this wasn't the case.

How do we know this? Look at the second section again:
Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.
These are the 2009 regulations that took effect while Clinton was already in office, making this an accurate statement. It also demonstrates that the Times does know how to properly place "at the time" in a sentence when they aren't trying to mislead the public.

However, since these regulations were apparently too weak to hang their whole story on, they included them somewhere in the middle and invoked the Federal Records Act near the beginning...even though they knew Hillary Clinton was in the clear.

Has anyone in the mainstream news media called them out on this obvious piece of journalistic malpractice yet? If not, now's the time....because this misleading smear from the New York Times could set a dangerous precedent for election coverage in 2016 and beyond.

We can't let them get away with it.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lanny Davis vs. Chris Wallace

A tough battle to be sure, with everything from Watergate to Lewinsky thrown into the mix...but be sure to watch until the very end.

Lanny Davis is terrific.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

NYT Public Editor: Clinton Email Story Wasn't Up to Scratch

With a healthy combination of defensiveness and criticism, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan today addressed some of the recent criticisms levied upon the paper for their original story on Hillary Clinton's emails. While Sullivan sticks up for the reporting and takes some digs at the great David Brock at Media Matters for America in the process, she also makes a key admission:
However, it was not without fault...The story should have been much clearer about precisely what regulations might have been violated, and when they took effect. The references are too vague..."
Also, regarding which specific regulation Secretary Clinton may have violated:
As The Times noted to (David) Brock, those regulations did exist well before 2014, when the National Records Act was amended; they were included in the National Archives and Records Administration 2009 regulations. 
She admits, however:
A paragraph that gave chapter and verse on that should have been in the story.
I have several guesses about why the 2009 regulations were not included in Schmidt's original piece: The change occurred while Clinton was already serving at State, it's buried in bureaucratic regulations from a different department (see page 51050, section 1236.22b), and it even appears to be vague enough to allow for Clinton's private email account anyway (it's "sent or received" not "sent and received"...not to get technical or anything). As you can see, we're deep into the weeds here.

Obviously, it was far easier and more salacious for the Times to simply insinuate that she "possibly" broke some unreported rules so that their self-proclaimed "revelation" could make as big a splash as possible. They could worry about cleaning up the mess later.

Unsurprisingly, Ms. Sullivan reached out to those responsible for the original story and got complete obliviousness. 
I talked to Mr. Schmidt and to the Washington bureau chief, Carolyn Ryan, about the reaction. Mr. Schmidt, who turned up the email story as he covered a Congressional committee on Benghazi, said negative reaction didn’t concern him: “The pushback is to be expected. I’m surprised there wasn’t more.”
He said he thought the story’s detail was specific enough, and he dismissed any concerns about vagueness. “I thought it was pretty clear.”
Ms. Ryan, who is in charge of The Times’s political coverage, edited the story Monday night. She, too, rejected the idea that it should have been more specific, describing it as “incredibly solid.”
And as we saw after the initial story broke, such criticism indeed did not make much difference to them, as Schmidt later attempted to link the whole thing to Benghazi without any solid evidence. We'll need to keep an eye on this guy, but obviously he's not the only one.

To her credit, the Times public editor ends with some advice that her paper would be highly advised to heed.
There are lessons to be learned from this episode. 
As The Times continues to cover Mrs. Clinton into 2016, it will be dealing with dozens of dust-ups like this one. It’s going to be a long campaign, and Clinton coverage inevitably will be microscopically examined and fraught with conflicting reaction. 
Attacks on the reporting will come no matter what. But The Times can do itself — and its readers — a lot of good by making sure that every story is airtight: solidly sourced, written with particular clarity and impartiality, and edited with a prosecutorial eye.
That's really all we ask. Thank you, Ms. Sullivan.

Friday, March 6, 2015

New York Times Reporter Admits on Twitter: It's About Benghazi

Michael S. Schmidt, the New York Times reporter who broke the original Hillary Clinton email story on Monday evening (yes, the one that's already been dismantled) followed it up on Thursday with a piece entitled "Hillary Clinton Asks State Department to Vet Emails for Release". 

While you might get the impression from the mellow headline that there's not much to see here, the author made it clear on Twitter that this is not the case: 

And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth...it's all about Benghazi.

Thank you for clearing that up, Michael.

Here's the thing though: There's nothing in his latest piece that factually establishes that the real, secret reason for the State Department's request for Hillary's emails was due to the tragedy that occurred in September 2012. He merely insinuates it with little evidence, which is something he was already good at.

The closest he gets to something firm is this paragraph:
But it was the review of Benghazi-related documents last summer that, within the State Department, set off the chain of events leading to the public disclosure this week of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email account, according to the current and former department officials.
And what is the Benghazi-related "chain of events" that Schmidt presents? This:

-State Department officials, including Secretary Kerry's chief of staff, sign off on the request for Hillary Clinton's emails.
-Starting last August, the State Department begins talking with Clinton's people about releasing her emails.
-In October, the Department asks all previous Secretaries since Madeleine Albright to turn over their government-related emails.
-In December, boxes containing around 50,000 printed pages of Clinton's emails are turned over.
-Department lawyers eventually determine that about 900 of these emails pertained to Benghazi and turn them over to the House Select Committee.

Did you notice that one of these things is not like the others? If so, you may be wondering what Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice have to do with Benghazi. The answer, obviously, is nothing.

Schmidt's reasoning for lumping in this event with Benghazi seems to be based on timing and nothing else. And while the timing might be interesting, do you know what else was happening right then? That would be the passage of the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, a bill introduced in early 2013, passed by the Senate in September 2014, and signed into law two months later by President Obama. It includes such sections as:
(Sec. 3) Provides that the transfer to the Archivist of records by a federal agency that have historical significance shall take place as soon as practicable but not later than 30 years after the creation or receipt of such records by an agency. Expands the authority of the Archivist with respect to the creation and preservation of audio and visual records.
(Sec. 9) Transfers responsibility for records management from the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Archivist. Requires the transfer of records from federal agencies to the National Archives in digital or electronic form to the greatest extent possible.
While it's unclear if this updated law is the exact reason for the State Department's request for emails going back to the late 1990s...it's certainly a more logical explanation than Benghazi. It also happens to be a law at the heart of this whole story in more ways than one, but it's not mentioned here...just as it was absent in Schmidt's piece from Monday that kicked this whole thing off. Convenient, eh?

But the most damaging evidence against Schmidt's shoddy insinuation of a Benghazi/State Department conspiracy comes from an unlikely source: the conclusion of his very own piece.
Since the disclosure that Mrs. Clinton used the private account, a spokeswoman for the State Department has described the request from Mrs. Clinton as part of the department’s larger efforts to improve its record-keeping. The spokeswoman, Marie Harf, was asked on Tuesday whether there was any connection between the requests from Congress and the decision to ask the former secretaries of state for emails from their personal accounts. 
“The letter actually went before we got the request from the select committee,” Ms. Harf said of the request to the former secretaries. “It went in October of 2014 — that was before we had gotten a request from the committee — as part of our records-maintenance upgrading and the process we go through.” 
Ms. Harf said that Mrs. Clinton was the only secretary of state who had sent back copies of emails.

In the end, not only does the "Benghazi chain of events" timeline fall apart, but it also turns out that Hillary Clinton is the only Secretary of State so far who's delivered on the Department's request...which sounds like something that should be applauded.

To his credit, Schmidt also includes a quote from a senior State Department official that flies directly in the face of his nonfactual assertion that it's about Benghazi:
"It would be oversimplified and inaccurate to draw the conclusion that the preservation of her records was done for one purpose.” 
But Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times just did it anyway.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meanwhile, Clinton Leads Walker by 9 Points in New Quinnipiac Poll

A new national poll by Quinnipiac has some bad news for the GOP's flavor of the month Scott Walker: Despite his narrow lead in the Republican field, Hillary Clinton is crushing him by nine points.

Chart via RealClearPolitics.com
A few things stand out here.

Despite Walker having a slight lead in the Republican field, he's actually doing just about the worst against Clinton at -9 points (slightly beating Cruz)...and that's because she's dominating the Independents 51-34%. If Walker is the nominee and these numbers hold even somewhat until Election Day, it will be a landslide of epic proportions.

On the flipside, this is Jeb's best result in a long time. He's almost neck-and-neck with Walker among Republicans and only down by 2 points with the Indys against Clinton. This is a striking contrast to last week's PPP poll which had Bush doing the worst against Clinton (50-40%). Rubio is also doing surprisingly well in this poll, which makes me wonder if this might be a Florida-heavy sample.

Also, the sample is +3 R, which is a deviation of 9 points from the most recent presidential election...and according to the methodological details, only demographic weighting was applied. Feel free to do your own math about what the poll would look like if the sample was +6 D. What we can say with certainty is that Hillary is again getting a healthy amount of Republican crossover votes, which is in line with other recent polls.

Please note that this poll was conducted right before the Hillary email story broke, so it's unclear whether her numbers have been dinged in any way. We'll find out soon enough...but the Hillary haters probably shouldn't get their hopes up too much.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Tweet is Mightier Than the Sword

Nuff said.

NYT Follows Up: Blockbuster Clinton Email Story Isn't Really Much of Anything

As we all know by now, the New York Times published a wanna-be scoop on Monday evening regarding Hillary's private email account at the State Department. After the supposed revelation erupted on Twitter, it became headline news at every other news outlet and was even declared a possibly deadly blow to a candidacy that hadn't even started yet...before soon being dismantled as sloppy, vague and misleading. I was more than happy to help.

And lo and behold, today it seems the tone of the coverage might be changing. For example, there's a perceptive new piece out today that dismisses the whole thing as being irrelevant for 2016 from...uhh, the New York Times?

Yep: Voters Unlikely to Care Much About the Hillary Clinton Email Furor
The actual public response to the controversy is likely to be a combination of apathy and partisanship. Few Americans are paying attention to any aspect of the campaign at this point. Those who do notice will most likely divide largely along partisan lines, with Democrats interpreting her actions more charitably, especially once they see Republicans attacking Mrs. Clinton on the issue.
It hardly matters now.
It is hard to believe that a lack of transparency in Mrs. Clinton’s use of email will have a significant effect on a general election that will be held some 20 months from now. As the political scientist John Sides wrote on Twitter, “In October 2016, no persuadable voter will be thinking about Hillary Clinton’s email account.” It’s equally implausible that this revelation will draw a second top-tier candidate into the race for the Democratic nomination given the advantages Mrs. Clinton retains over possible rivals like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.
And it's not ever going to change anything, really.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from past presidential campaigns, it’s that most supposed game-changers like this quickly fade from the memory of the political class, having never been noticed by most Americans in the first place.
So nevermind.

“Don’t you someday want to see a woman President of the United States?”

If you'd like to get the best hints so far regarding an upcoming historic candidacy, watch this terrific speech.
Hillary Clinton got a warm welcome at the 30th anniversary Emily’s List gala Tuesday night, calling for equal pay and paid leave before a crowd that’s worked to elect pro-choice Democratic women for decades. 
Accepting the fundraising group’s “We Are Emily” award, the former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential front runner gave a taste of the “middle-class economics” she’ll likely campaign on, calling for greater protection of labor unions and taking digs at Republicans’ “old trickle-down economics.” 
“We’re fighting for an economy that includes everyone and works for everyone,” Clinton said. 
A progressive, populist fighter is about to emerge on behalf of the American people...and the Republicans aren't going to know what hit them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The New York Times Blows It With Misleading Hit Job on Clinton Emails

Late last night, Twitter suddenly erupted over what seemed to be the dramatic debut scandal of the 2016 presidential race, as scooped by Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times:
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Hillary may have violated what? Don't leave us hanging!
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
Okay, this is sounding more serious.

But after reading the rest of the Times piece with a fine-tooth comb, I found no mention of any specific regulation that was actually violated. And that's because there wasn't one: The regulation to which they seem to be referring was signed into law nearly two years after she left the State Department, as USA Today later clarified in an amazing feat of actual journalism:
The laws and regulations regarding the handling of electronic communications among federal agencies has undergone several changes in recent years, including an amendment to the Federal Records Act that President Obama signed into law in November, 2014. The bill requires that e-mails dealing with official matters that are sent from a personal account must be forwarded to an official account within 20 days. 
A September 2013 bulletin from NARA suggests federal employees "should not generally use personal email accounts to conduct official agency business." The bulletin suggests exceptions could be "emergency situations" or on occasions where the employee is contacted through their personal e-mail account. 
Both the Federal Records Act amendment and NARA bulletin took effect after Clinton left the State Department in February, 2013.
Now that you know this, carefully read that second section from the original Times piece again and take note of the journalistic sleight of hand: "Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act."

Catch that? To actually be damning, the words "at the time" would have to be at the end of the sentence: "Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers, as required by the Federal Records Act at the time."

Obviously, had the Times written that, they would have been lying instead of merely insinuating.

But it doesn't stop there.
Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.
But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.
Again, the Times does not clarify which exact regulations may or may not have been followed. If they are again referring to the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, this statement is misleading at best. But even if similar regulations were in place during Secretary Clinton's tenure, the emails from her personal account are still retained because they were received on a Department account. As later noted by The Hill, this conforms to the letter of the law:
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton is defending the former secretary of State’s use of a private email account for official business, arguing her actions are not unique. 
"Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained," Nick Merrill said in an email. 
"When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said 'yes.' " 
"Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved," he said. 
"As a result of State’s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities.
The Times continues to confuse elsewhere:
Before the current regulations went into effect, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005, used personal email to communicate with American officials and ambassadors and foreign leaders.
Again, are they referring to the new 2014 regulations? If so, why did they make it clear that Colin Powell was off the hook, but not Hillary Clinton? And why didn't they point out this very relevant tidbit, as NPR does?
The department says it is updating its records preservation policies, taking steps that include regularly archiving all of Secretary John Kerry's emails. 
"For some historical context," says Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, "Secretary Kerry is the first Secretary of State to rely primarily on a state.gov email account."
So, now that we know that Secretary Clinton's ominous "secret" emails have been preserved after all, there's simply the matter of getting them. Except that they have already been gotten...making this particular Times piece even more worthless than it already was.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
55,000 pages of emails? That comes out to an average of over forty pages of emails a day over the course of her four years as Secretary of State...all handed over in what must be an unparalleled level of transparency. But this still isn't good enough for the New York Times, who just can't help itself:
The revelation about the private email account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.
Oh does it now? I'd actually say that this so-called "revelation" sounds like the exact opposite of secrecy. But thanks for placing your non-story in a tidy right-wing smear machine context. 

I'm sure Fox News can take it from here.