Friday, July 31, 2015

National Poll Shows Little (If Any) Fallout From the NYT Fiasco

McClatchy-Marist released a national poll today with Hillary pitted against a variety of potential Republican challengers, and the results are right in line with many other recent polls. In short, Clinton is leading everyone by 5-10 points and Trump by more than that. And once again we see that a Clinton-Bush-Trump election would be 1992 all over again...only better. Please oh please make it so!

An interesting thing to point out here though is that the poll was conducted from July 22-28, and five of those seven days occurred during the New York Times fiasco and its messy aftermath. Looking at the crosstabs, Hillary remains as solid as ever among Democrats and also has a slight edge with Independents. So if this incident has had any impact on the electorate...it's really hard to see it in this poll.

Check out the goodness below and have a great weekend!

Chart via RealClearPolitics.com

Clinton Calls For an End to the Cuba Embargo


The Clinton campaign is clearly betting that this will be a winning issue in Florida next year...and it also happens to be the right thing to do.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba on Friday, setting up a clear contrast with her Republican rivals on an important issue that divides Florida.
"The Cuba embargo needs to go once and for all," the former secretary of state declared during a speech at Florida International University.
"Engagement is not a gift to the Castros," Clinton said, referring to Fidel and Raul Castro, the former and current leaders of Cuba. "It is a threat to the Castros."
"Lifting the embargo doesn't set back the advance of freedom," she asserted, "it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed."

Hillary News & Views 7.31: Minimum Wage, Marriage Equality, and a Democratic Senate Majority


The week (and month!) comes to an end with a Hillary News & Views entry that focuses on her implicit endorsement of a $12 minimum wage, a lengthy discussion of how she came to support marriage equality as a national goal, and her firm commitment to reclaiming the Senate in 2016.

H N&V will return Monday, but over the weekend, I will post two more editions of Unfiltered Hillary - complete, unedited transcripts of her public appearances.  One will be from her Town Hall in New Hampshire earlier this week, and the other will be today's speech in Florida, which promises to reveal some new policy initiatives.

Starting off with the minimum wage, the Hill has a rundown of Clinton's extended comments on setting a national minimum that is tied to automatic increases over time:
"Patty Murray is one of the most effective legislators in the Senate bar none, and whatever she advocates I pay a lot of attention to because she knows how to get it through the Congress," Clinton told reporters. "Let’s not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there, but let’s actually get behind a proposal that has a chance of succeeding. And I have seen Patty over the years be able to do just that."...

"It’s going to be important that we set a national minimum, but then we get out of the way of cities and states that believe that they can and should go higher,"
she said.
 
"I’ve said before that the cost of living is different in various parts of the country. I supported what New York did, what L.A. did, what other cities are doing. And I think they should be experimenting with what that will do to raise incomes and create more opportunity for people.
"But there should be a higher federal level," she added, "so I’m going to be supporting the effort to do that in Congress."
Speaking of supporting Congress, the Washington Post reports that should Clinton get the nomination, electing a Democratic Senate will be a central priority:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has left no doubt about the type of campaign she expects to run with fellow Democrats in 2016.
“I want to be onstage with you, and I want you onstage with me,” the Democratic presidential front-runner told senators during a recent visit to the Capitol.
The former secretary of state conveyed that she intends to run a highly coordinated campaign with congressional Democrats, particularly in seven states with key Senate races that are also battlegrounds in the presidential campaign...
“She is very bought into getting a Democratic majority in the Senate, because she came out of the Senate — much more even than President Obama,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “I firmly believe in her heart she would like to see that to happen.” ...
This collaboration goes beyond campaigning, and includes shaping of policy and personal outreach as well:
Democrats have come away pleased by Clinton’s early courtship on the political, policy and personal front.
Stabenow, the co-author of the 2014 farm bill, said she has been repeatedly consulted by Clinton campaign officials about agriculture issues to help the candidate craft her farm agenda. “She’s incredibly detailed,” Stabenow said. “She’s a real policy wonk, way down in the weeds.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Clinton appeared familiar with specific policy issues that rank-and-file senators were working on that are not in the spotlight. “As usual, she had done her homework and it was amazing,” Klobuchar said.
In May 2014, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter’s husband of 57 years died. “The first person who called me when my husband died was Hillary,” the New York Democrat said. “That really is remarkable.”
In an interview with Channel 13 News in Iowa, Clinton talks about how she came to support marriage equality:
When asked why she didn’t back same-sex marriage in the 2008 campaign, as she does now during her 2016 campaign, Clinton told Channel 13 News, “I think we were all pretty much in the same position, certainly, then-candidate Obama and others.”...
“I do think it took a while for someone of my age and someone with my experience, despite my great group of friends, to really, as we say, ‘evolve,’ ” Clinton said, “Say… ‘you know what? This is not just a state-by-state decision.'”
Clinton backed state-sanctioned civil unions back then. “I did support what states were doing, ” Clinton said, “Marriage had traditionally been an authority exercised by the states. And so I believed the states were proceeding. We should support that. Iowa being among the very first.”
Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, following a state supreme court decision.
Clinton continued, “But the more I thought about. And the more I realized that this should be viewed as a right, not to be given or taken away by states, as soon as I was free to do so, leaving the State Department, and getting back into domestic politics–which as Secretary of State, I was not–I said this should be a right, and I was very pleased when the Supreme Court decided it was.”
Finally, Clinton has picked up some important local endorsements in South Carolina. The State reports:
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsements Wednesday of two top Columbia leaders.
Mayor Steve Benjamin and former Mayor Bob Coble were among nine S.C. mayors backing Clinton in February’s Democratic presidential primary.
“Hillary acts like a good mayor – she innovates, improvises and solves problems,” said Benjamin, president of the African American Mayors Association.
Coble, who made his first public appearance since suffering a heart attack at a Clinton event last week, said Clinton will bring a “laser focus on jobs, small business and economic development.”
For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…    

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform

Part 2: Immigration Reform

Part 3: Voting Rights

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A

July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner

April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Clinton Campaign Releases Epic Letter Dismantling the New York Times

The Clinton campaign has just released a letter written by Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to the New York Times' Executive Editor Dean Baquet. It was sent on Tuesday, and because the NYT has refused to publish it...the campaign has released it to the public on HillaryClinton.com.

Stop what you're doing and read the whole thing right now. It is an epic, much-deserved and possibly unprecedented smackdown of a major press outlet by a major presidential campaign. Every bit of it is a must-read, but this particularly "egregious" chain of events is an all-new revelation that simply boggles the mind:
The Times' readers rightfully expect the paper to adhere to the most rigorous journalistic standards. To state the obvious, it is hard to imagine a situation more fitting for those standards to be applied than when a newspaper is preparing to allege that a major party candidate for President of the United States is the target of a criminal referral received by federal law enforcement.
This allegation, however, was reported hastily and without affording the campaign adequate opportunity to respond. It was not even mentioned by your reporter when our campaign was first contacted late Thursday afternoon. Initially, it was stated as reporting only on a memo – provided to Congress by the Inspectors General from the State Department and Intelligence Community – that raised the possibility of classified material traversing Secretary Clinton's email system. This memo — which was subsequently released publicly — did not reference a criminal referral at all. It was not until late Thursday night – at 8:36 pm – that your paper hurriedly followed up with our staff to explain that it had received a separate tip that the Inspectors General had additionally made a criminal referral to the Justice Department concerning Clinton's email use. Our staff indicated that we had no knowledge of any such referral – understandably, of course, since none actually existed – and further indicated that, for a variety of reasons, the reporter's allegation seemed implausible. Our campaign declined any immediate comment, but asked for additional time to attempt to investigate the allegation raised. In response, it was indicated that the campaign "had time," suggesting the publication of the report was not imminent.
Despite the late hour, our campaign quickly conferred and confirmed that we had no knowledge whatsoever of any criminal referral involving the Secretary. At 10:36 pm, our staff attempted to reach your reporters on the phone to reiterate this fact and ensure the paper would not be going forward with any such report. There was no answer. At 10:54 pm, our staff again attempted calling. Again, no answer. Minutes later, we received a call back. We sought to confirm that no story was imminent and were shocked at the reply: the story had just published on the Times' website.
This was, to put it mildly, an egregious breach of the process that should occur when a major newspaper like the Times is pursuing a story of this magnitude. Not only did the Times fail to engage in a proper discussion with the campaign ahead of publication; given the exceedingly short window of time between when the Times received the tip and rushed to publish, it hardly seems possible that the Times conducted sufficient deliberations within its own ranks before going ahead with the story.
Clearly, the New York Times picked the wrong candidate (and campaign) to mess with.

Hillary's Remarkably Consistent Lead Among Democrats Continues

In Quinnipiac's latest national poll, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 55% to 17%, with Joe Biden third at 13%. If these numbers seem boringly consistent, you're onto something. Check out the last month or so of polls leading up to today:

Chart and graph via Huffington Post
As you can see, the new poll numbers are entirely in line with the last twelve. And with the exception of New Hampshire, Bernie's neighboring state, every other recent state poll verifies the trend. (Check out Iowa, Virginia and Illinois.)

But if we go back to the beginning of the year with a line graph, we can start to see a trend:

(Clinton=blue / Sanders=green / Biden=purple)
In January, the average was:
Clinton 60%
Biden 10%
Sanders 3%

And at the end of July its:
Clinton 57%
Biden 12%
Sanders 19%

Don't let the pundits fool you. Over the course of seven months, after all the phony scandals and Republican incoming fire, Hillary has only shed 3% of her support!

The story of the Sanders surge is a positive one for the entire Democratic Party: People like him and are responding to his important message, but he's not effectively changing the minds of Clinton supporters. This trajectory will be tough to dramatically change in the six months before the Iowa Caucuses.

However, there is a definite change in the dynamics on its way and it could occur at any moment.

What are your plans, Mr. Vice President?

Hillary News & Views 7.30: Planned Parenthood, Sexism, and Ending the Cuban Embargo




Leading off today with Clinton's latest comments regarding Planned Parenthood, which continues to be under attack.

New Hampshire Union Leader ran a one-on-one interview with Clinton that covered several issues.
First, Planned Parenthood:
“Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. I think there are two points to make,” Clinton said. “One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services. And this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”
“And if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one part of it,” she said.
Clinton went on to note that the current attack on Planned Parenthood is part of a larger, ongoing effort to defund and discredit the organization:
"Well, there is no funding that, you know, would be any more at risk than it already has been for years because this has been an ongoing dispute, and I’m well aware that passions are very high. I have said for more than 22 years that abortion should be legal, safe and rare. And as First Lady, I led an effort to try to lower the number of teen-age pregnancies and we succeeded, and as President I will continue to work toward that so that women are fully empowered, they can afford to make responsible decisions, and I hope that we will be successful with that.”
More highlights from this in-depth interview and other News & Views after the jump!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seriously, New York Times...Stop It!

The New York Times isn't just lying about the big things when it comes to Hillary. Nope, it's the small things too...and they add up.

Hillary's response to a question about Keystone XL yesterday in New Hampshire was written up by the Times's Amy Chozick under the headline "Hillary Clinton Is Stumped on Question of Keystone Pipeline". And there's the first problem, as she was not stumped at all...in fact, she gave the same answer she's given for months.

The exchange is described thus:
A voter at a Nashua town hall, Bruce Blodgett, a software engineer in Amherst, asked Mrs. Clinton to give a “yes or no” answer to whether she would support the pipeline, which liberals and environmentalists abhor. Mrs. Clinton demurred.
“This is President Obama’s decision and I’m not going to second-guess him,” she said. “If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”
As pointed out by Lysis, this terse quote is not even close to being her full answer describing why a flat "yes" or "no" is not appropriate at this time. But that's just the set-up for an outright falsehood:
The response left a silence in the un-air-conditioned gymnasium of the Amherst Street Elementary School, where 450 people wiped sweat and sipped bottles of lukewarm water to get a chance to ask Mrs. Clinton a question. At her last town hall event in New Hampshire, climate change protesters heckled Mrs. Clinton about her stance on the environment.
There was no silence following her answer. The "when I become president" line was actually delivered jokingly with a laugh, and was followed by applause from the audience. Don't believe me? Watch the full exchange here at the 28 minute mark:



Also, doesn't Ms. Chozick make these events seem like the most miserable experience on the face of the planet? If Hillary isn't being heckled, she's busy making everyone sweat their butts off with only lukewarm water as minor relief! Who in their right mind would enjoy attending something like that?

If my own lying eyes and ears are to be believed, everyone in that room seemed to be in pretty good spirits to me. Hillary included.

This may seem like a minor journalistic infraction, but it's nonetheless worth pointing out and once again asking "WTF NYT?"

Hillary Leads Big in Illinois (PPP Poll)


This might not come as a shock, but it's looking like a certain Chicago-born candidate should have no trouble in Illinois.
(Hillary Clinton) is up by anywhere from 9 to 18 points against the GOP hopefuls. The Republicans who come closest to Clinton are Jeb Bush who trails by 9 at 48/39, Rand Paul who trails by 10 at 47/37, and Scott Walker who trails by 11 at 50/39. The GOPers who do the worst against Clinton are Donald Trump who's down 18 at 51/33, and Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee who each trail by identical 16 point margins at 51/35. In between are Ben Carson and Marco Rubio who each trail by 12 points at 49/37, Chris Christie who's down 14 at 49/35, and Carly Fiorina who trails by 15 at 49/34.
PPP also notes that Democrat Tammy Duckworth is shaping up to be a very strong challenger to Republican Senator Mark Kirk. I'm sure that I speak for a lot of Democrats when I say that if disabled Iraq War hero Duckworth wins President Obama's former Senate seat next year, it would a sweet and sentimental victory for our country.

Since Illinois will be solidly blue once again next year, the more important result for Hillary at this moment is her rock-solid, consistent lead across the board over Bernie Sanders in the primary.
On the Democratic side Clinton is dominant. She gets 60% to 23% for Sanders, with Martin O'Malley at 4%, Jim Webb at 3%, and Lincoln Chafee at 1% rounding out the field. Clinton gets at least 54% within every group we track by ideology, gender, race, and age with her support peaking among African Americans with whom she gets 76% and Hispanics with whom she gets 72%.
Time is running out for Sanders to make a significant dent in Clinton's prohibitive lead across the country...and I don't envy his position.

Also, as expected, the Republican field continues to be a disaster area with neighboring governor Walker at 23% to Trump's 18% and Bush's 11%...and everyone in the single digits. I don't envy any of their positions either.

Hillary News & Views 7.29: Keystone, Campaign Finance Reform, Student Debt, and More


Today's edition of Hillary News & Views includes Clinton's latest statements on a wide variety of issues, most of which comes from her town hall events earlier this week.  I'm working on a transcript of her New Hampshire town hall, which should go live later this week.

Clinton's Keystone Pipeline answer has been all over the news, and was diaried very well by Scan.
The Boston Globe reports:
Clinton sidestepped the question, saying: “This is President Obama’s decision. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”
She kept to that stance after the event while speaking with the media, saying it “would not be appropriate or fair” for her to publicly comment on something that her former boss and predecessor has yet to decide on.
“I’m in a different position than any other candidate,” Clinton said. “I was there. I know what the president’s standard is to make sure it does not increase greenhouse gas admission. [But] there has been additional research and investigation done since I’ve left that I’m not privy too. And that’s where I’m leaving it.”
More from CNN:
"I've been very clear: I will not express an opinion until they (President Barack Obama and John Kerry) have made a decision, and then I will do so," she said. "If this is the number one issue on people's minds, then they're going to have to wait to see what Secretary Kerry and President Obama decide to do about it."
And even more from the New York Times:
“This is President Obama’s decision and I’m not going to second-guess him,” she said...
“I will not do it,” she said when a CNN reporter pressed her on the pipeline. “I am sorry if people want me to.”... 
“I think to signal that there is only one overriding threat really doesn’t take into account the seriousness of a whole range of issues?” Mrs. Clinton said. She noted China, for instance, and its coal-fired plants, suggesting people not forget about those...
“We’ve had dozens of pipelines already crossing our border from Canada, so we have to look at all of this,” Mrs. Clinton said. “That’s why I’m coming out with a comprehensive clean energy plan.”
She went on to draw a connection between TPP and Keystone XL:
“I’m in a different position than any other presidential candidate — I served in this administration for four years,” Mrs. Clinton said, adding that the negotiations over the trade deal and the Canadian pipeline were continuing, and that she had been involved in those discussions as secretary of state.
“If you look at both the trade deal and the Keystone decision,” Mrs. Clinton said, “I will certainly express my opinion when there is something to express an opinion on.”
In the meantime, she repeated, “I do not think it’s appropriate for me to comment on something I had official responsibilities for until it is completed and that I might have official responsibilities for again.”
Wouldn't it be great if we could get one news outlet to report an entire quote?

Anyway...more News & Views after the jump!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Snapshot of Early State Midsummer Rallies

Wondering what it's like at the midsummer Hillary Clinton rallies in the early states? Don't worry...we got you covered. The first clip is from Ames, Iowa on Sunday (7/26) and the second is from Nashua, New Hampshire today (7/28).

You'll notice that both of stump speeches are essentially the same, but things get unpredictable when she starts taking questions. And it's also when she tends to make news!

A heartwarming highlight occurs at the very end of the second clip when a little girl nervously asks if she could shake the hand of the first woman President of the United States. She was invited to the center of the room and treated to a long hug instead.

Why Won't Hillary Pipe Up on Keystone XL?

Clinton dodges Keystone...again!

It's the news that isn't really news, as she's been saying the same thing on this issue for quite a while now. But whether you agree with it or not, she did offer a logical explanation in Des Moines on Sunday:
“No other presidential candidate was Secretary of State when this process started, and I put together a very thorough deliberative evidence-based process to evaluate the environmental impact and other considerations of Keystone,” Clinton said.
“As such, I know there is a very careful evaluation continuing and that the final decision is pending to be made by Secretary Kerry and President Obama. Very simply, the evaluation determines whether this pipeline is in our nation’s interest and I’m confident that the pipeline impacts on global greenhouse gas emissions will be a major factor in that decisions, as the president has said. So I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and I think we have to let it run its course,” she said.
Again, this is not news. Last October, Clinton made clear that this is about not undermining her successor:
"I can't really talk about it because I was in the office that has primary responsibility for making the decision. I don't want to inject myself into what is a continuing process or to in any way undermine my successor as he tries to make this decision."
So the answer is right there: It's all about letting John Kerry do his job, and keeping as much politics as possible out of this until the State Department's recommendation finally comes down. Considering the enormous environmental and political ramifications, it's understandable that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton would like to have as much non-partisan legitimacy as they can get.

As for what that forthcoming decision might be, Kerry seemed to give some hints about it during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima last December:
Kerry must make the final recommendation to Obama about whether the $8 billion pipeline that has been delayed more than five years is in the national interest and whether he should approve it.
Neither Obama nor Kerry have said publicly whether they favor approving the pipeline but said they will wait for the Nebraska court ruling.
Environmental activists in Lima said if Kerry approves the project, he would be going against the spirit of his speech.
“Secretary Kerry sure sounded like someone who was gearing up for rejection," said Jamie Henn of green group 350.org. "(He) has left himself no logical option except to recommend President Obama say no to Keystone XL."
So, what's the upside for the president or the former Secretary of State taking a hard stand on Keystone XL before the final recommendation from Kerry is made? A years-in-the-making, non-partisan, science-based State Department report could be a crucial springboard to a wise decision on what will likely be a major 2016 wedge issue. Jumping the gun might turn Clinton and Kerry's years of hard work into merely a partisan afterthought.

It's also quite possible that there is some messaging coordination with the White House going on. You'll recall that President Obama also "dodged" Keystone XL in his well-received State of the Union address in January, with his lofty but ambiguous request to "set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline."

But perhaps his was the more artful dodge. Plus, he's not running for anything anymore.

I have no idea what stance Hillary Clinton will eventually have on Keystone XL, but for some hints about that as well as what kind of environmental president she will be, check out this handy list as well as her 82% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters...which is actually 10% higher than the score of our current president.

Hillary News & Views 7.28: Huckabee, Black Lives Matter, and the Renewable Energy President


Today's edition of Hillary News & Views covers Clinton decimating Mike Huckabee, her campaign reaching out to #Black Lives Matter, and more on her proposals on climate change.

Let's kick things off with Clinton's extensive comments regarding Mike Huckabee's abhorrent use of the Holocaust to illustrate his opposition to the Iran deal.

Clinton does not heart Huckabee, as reported by Politico:
"I am disappointed and I am really offended personally,” Clinton said after touring a transit station in Des Moines. “I know Governor Huckabee. I have a cordial relationship with him. He served as governor of Arkansas. But I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable.”
“One can disagree with the particulars of the agreement to put a lid on the nuclear weapon’s program of Iran, and that is fair game. But this steps over the line and it should be repudiated by every person of good faith and concern about the necessity to keep our political dialogue on the facts and within suitable boundaries,” Clinton added on Monday.
CNN reported further comments from Clinton:
"Comments like this are offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue," Clinton said during a press availability in Iowa.

"It should be repudiated by every person of good faith and concern about the necessity to keep our political dialogue about the facts and within suitable boundaries,"
Clinton added.

Monday, July 27, 2015

NYT Public Editor: Falsehoods Are Bad but Misleading Innuendo is Just Fine

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has once again been forced to clean up the mess left by her overzealous colleagues over another botched anti-Hillary smear. It's a tough job, and I don't envy it.

To her credit, she seems to understand how bad it is:
The most recent story is both a messy and a regrettable chapter. It brings up important issues that demand to be thought about and discussed internally with an eye to prevention in the future....
When you add together the lack of accountability that comes with anonymous sources, along with no ability to examine the referral itself, and then mix in the ever-faster pace of competitive reporting for the web, you’ve got a mistake waiting to happen. Or, in this case, several mistakes...
Losing the story to another news outlet would have been a far, far better outcome than publishing an unfair story and damaging The Times’s reputation for accuracy.
What’s more, when mistakes inevitably happen, The Times needs to be much more transparent with readers about what is going on. Just revising the story, and figuring out the corrections later, doesn’t cut it.
This is right on the money. But is her paper even listening?

I have to ask because NYT executive editor Dean Baquet doesn't fault the reporters or the editors for what went wrong:
“You had the government confirming that it was a criminal referral...I’m not sure what they could have done differently on that.”
You're not sure what could have been done differently? How about an official, on-the-record, unanonymous statement from the Justice Department? Or better yet, how about asking the inspectors general themselves instead of forcing them to come out the next day to refute what you wrote about them? Or maybe it's time to finally stop printing leaks from Trey Gowdy's Benghazi committee, eh?

Infuriating.

And when Ms. Sullivan gets defensive, even her argument falls apart:
None of this should be used to deny the importance of The Times’s reporting on the subject of Mrs. Clinton’s email practices at the State Department, a story Mr. Schmidt broke in March. 
Oh yeah? Let's take a quick look (again) at the second paragraph of Michael S. Schmidt's initial piece, which contains the most damaging accusation:
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.
Hillary violated the Federal Records Act? No, she did not. Relevant changes to the Act occurred after she served as Secretary of State. And much like their latest fiasco, this was also cleared up the very next day.

In other words, Schmidt knew Clinton was in compliance with the law while she was in office, but his expert diabolical phrasing sure made it seem like she wasn't...and I'd have to say that his mission was accomplished because we're about to get into, what, month six of this baloney?

What's worse: Getting some crucial facts flat-out wrong...or very carefully phrasing a story to make it seem like there is unlawful wrongdoing when there actually isn't any?

Both are examples of awful journalism which further a chosen partisan narrative, but only one of them might (eventually, after much criticism) force a correction. But the New York Times public editor continues to stand by her paper's "important" earlier reporting on Emailgate, despite it being based on demonstrably misleading innuendo.

In the future, the Times will probably be more careful about printing the sort of outright falsehoods about Hillary Clinton that led to the current full-blown journalistic disaster. For their own sake, that's good.

However, no one should expect their bad behavior to change...because they're still pretty damned proud of it.

CNN & NBC Polls: Clinton Keeps On Leading

A few national and state polls came out yesterday and they all had good-to-great news for Hillary.

First off, a national CNN/ORC poll has Clinton up on Sanders by 37 points (56%-19%) and leading the Republican competition by anywhere from 5-16 points:

Graphs via 270toWin.com
One interesting thing about this poll is that it seems to be the first one that shows Sanders being competitive with the GOP. In fact, though he's essentially tied with Bush, he's actually beating Walker by 5 and Trump by 21 (more than Hillary)! Because it's so unusual, it will be interesting to see if these results for Bernie are an outlier or a trend...but for now, good for him and the liberal brand!

Right around the same time, NBC/Marist also came out with Iowa and New Hampshire polls. Bernie continues to show strength in his neighboring state (earning 34% to Hillary's 47%), but the most important result is from Iowa, where Hillary retains a strong 55%-26% lead. If Iowa goes Clinton's way on February 1st...the rest of the dominoes will likely fall in short order and she'll be the nominee in no time flat. (Note: NBC tested the Democratic field with and without Biden - and as he is unlikely to jump in, the numbers without him are presented here.)

By the way, the Iowa caucuses are now only six months away. Historic times are fast approaching.

On the Republican side the story is still Trump, who leads nationally and in New Hampshire while lingering just behind Walker in Iowa.

And it's still unbelievable and hilarious.

Hillary News & Views 7.27: Climate Change, Upping the Capital Gains Tax, and Having Obama's Back


Hope everybody had a wonderful weekend!

Today's edition of Hillary News & Views covers a preview of Clinton's upcoming proposals to tackle climate change, some news and analysis about her capital gains tax reform proposals, and other bits and pieces from the campaign trail over the weekend.

As always, Clinton's direct quotes are in bold.

Clinton previewed her climate change proposals in Iowa on Sunday. As reported by the New York Times:
She praised Iowa for generating 40 percent of its energy from wind and said the nation needed to build “a clean energy economy” with the help of tax incentives. 
“People who argue against this are just not paying attention,” Mrs. Clinton said.
“Those people on the other side, they will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘I’m not a scientist,’” she continued. “Well I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.”
In one notable specific, Mrs. Clinton promised to help workers in coal country find new jobs. The region has been hostile to President Obama for what officials like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, call a “war on coal,” most recently the administration plan to sharply reduce carbon emissions from coal plants, which many in the industry say will result in closures and lost jobs.
“I will be very clear, I want to do more to help in coal country,” Mrs. Clinton said. She expressed gratitude to men “who mined the coal that created the industrial revolution, that turned on the lights that fueled the factories,” the men, she continued, “who lost their lives, who were grievously injured, who developed black lung disease.”
More on climate change and other issues after the jump!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The New York Times Can't Even Write Corrections Correctly

The slow motion collapse of the New York Times' journalistic integrity continues.
The headline still blares: Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account
And the article now includes this at the bottom:
Correction: July 24, 2015 An earlier version of this article and an earlier headline, using information from senior government officials, misstated the nature of the referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state. The referral addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that personal email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Yep, no further headline change and no acknowledgement that there is no criminal inquiry whatsoever.

To deal with that problem, the same writers (Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo) wrote a second piece saying that "It's not our fault, and who knows...maybe there will be a criminal investigation in the future! We need to keep an eye on this because Hillary Clinton is really popular among Democrats." 

I'm not even kidding. Quote:
On Thursday night and again Friday morning, the Justice Department referred to the matter as a “criminal referral” but later on Friday dropped the word “criminal.”
Regardless of the terminology, the referral raises the possibility of a Justice Department criminal investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails as she campaigns for president. Polls show she is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination by a wide margin.
So...what's the "scandal" here? What, exactly, is left for them to hang their hat on? This:
Government investigators have discovered four emails containing what they say is classified information on the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, the investigators said in a letter to Congress released on Friday...
The government investigators discovered the four emails while reviewing a sampling of 40 emails from Ms. Clinton’s account. Of those, four contained information that should have been marked classified and should have been sent and stored on a secure computer system, I. Charles McCullough III, theinspector (sic) general of the intelligence community, the internal watchdog for the nation’s intelligence agencies, said in the letter to Congress...
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign released a brief statement on Twitter, saying, “Any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”
In summation: While using a legal and authorized email account, Hillary Clinton received and possibly sent information that was not deemed classified at the time of transmission. If this is a scandal, it is a profoundly boring bureaucratic one that involves zero wrongdoing by Hillary.

However, there is a real scandal here and it's actually far more troubling. To discover it, the New York Times simply needs to investigate a mirror.

For more on this continuing fiasco, absolutely do not miss this epic taketown of the Times by Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek.

UPDATE:

Before the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, the New York Times quietly changed their original article, finally removing all references to the word "criminal" and including an updated correction. But their journalistic crime lives on forever in this screenshot:


Also, Kurt Eichenwald, the author of the devastating Newsweek takedown of the NYT, has released a video version that's just as good!


On Clinton Emails, NYT Blows It Again...and No One Should Be Surprised

Ahh, Emailgate AKA eGhazi...I was starting to think that fiasco was all just a strange late-winter dream. After all, dreams may seem real at the time but fade quickly with open eyes in the bright morning sunlight. (As a side note, sunlight is not literally the best disinfectant, though that's still an excellent metaphor.)

But I digress. 

Last night, the New York Times, and specifically our old friend Michael S. Schmidt, once again blew it with another faulty, innuendo-filled smear job on the Clinton emails. 

And you've got to hand it to Politico...they were totally on this before the sun even came up this morning:
The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive report about a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes.
The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation "into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state."
That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry "into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state."
The Times also changed the headline of the story, from "Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email" to "Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account," reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton's possible role. The article's URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.
As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.
This is some truly awful journalism from the New York Times. Perhaps Schmidt was hoping for a reaction similar to one that his first piece on Emailgate received, but this was not to be for a couple of reasons.

Most importantly, there is now an expert campaign response team that pushed back on this immediately and forced the Times to make changes to the piece a mere hour or so after it first appeared. No such instant coordinated campaign response occurred in early March because there was no campaign yet, and it was basically up to Media Matters for America, Lanny Davis and a few blogs to clean up the mess.

But now we see quick, calm responses like this from a Clinton spokesman:
Another difference between now and March is that the New York Times' incompetent scandalmongering was exposed four months ago and no one is surprised that it hasn't stopped. For instance, the front page writers at Daily Kos had very little to say about Emailgate when it first appeared, but their vigilance in pieces from last night and this morning on the latest Times flop has been gratifying to see.

In March, my series on Emailgate was crossposted at Daily Kos and several of the posts were shared widely on social media. I have no idea what kind of effect they actually had, but I am certainly happy to have been a part of the pushback against this phony "scandal".

And rest assured that when the next one comes along...I'll be there.

On that note, for your repeated amusement or in case you missed them the first time, here is the complete Hillary HQ Emailgate series from March. Let us never forget how bad it was...and that we have to fight back on this stuff right up to the day that Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected President of the United States.


Hillary News & Views 7.24: Solidarity.


Today's edition of Hillary News & Views will primarily focus on Clinton's vocal declarations of solidarity during her public campaign appearance in South Carolina yesterday.

She spoke out forcefully about systemic racism, in defense of Planned Parenthood, and gave a full endorsement of the Equality Act, new legislation that seeks to codify equal treatment under the law for LGBT Americans.

It was a day of solidarity.

As always, Clinton's direct quotes are in bold.

First, as New York Daily News reports, she spoke explicitly and extensively about systemic racism and white privilege:
Hillary Clinton declared that "black lives matter" in South Carolina Thursday, as she repeatedly stressed that endemic racism must be tackled by government.
"This is not just a slogan, this should be a guiding principle," she told a gathering of 400 local Democrats, many of them mayors and many of them African-American.
"We have to also acknowledge we have some serious problems with race and justice and systemic racism which unfortunately is all too often present."
She drew an explicit connection between income inequality and racism:
"Anyone who says we don't have to make any more progress is blind to what we need to do to deal with race and justice questions," she declared to cheers. 
"I also believe that economic inequality is a symptom of racism, it is not the only reason for racism. Racism is much deeper."
She then share some compelling examples of how racism goes far beyond economic inequality:
"The challenge of systemic racism is far from finished. Every day you see schools and neighborhoods that are segregated," she said, pointing out disparities in education, housing access, infant mortality rates and a "far from balanced" criminal justice system.
More reporting from CNN:
Clinton called for more training for police officers and said law enforcement should wear body cameras. But her best-received remarks were her broad acknowledgment of racial disparities.
"All of us want a safe community, so we should be smart enough how we can provide that safety without intentionally or unintentionally targeting a particular group of Americans," Clinton said.
"And what is so, really, troubling, is that if you compare statistics between white men and African American men, if they are stopped, if they are arrested, if they are charged, if they are convicted, if they are sentenced, there are clear undeniable racial disparities. I think we have to admit this. We shouldn't try to gloss it over or it would go away."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

...and Some Polls Are Sillier Than Others

There's a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that matches up Hillary against several potential "dream candidates" for the Democratic nomination, including her husband, the current First Lady, and Oprah.

She crushes them all, but to my mind there's only one truly interesting and non-silly potential candidate that they tested who seems like even a remote possibility: Al Gore. But as much as I respect the former Vice President and would love to see him belatedly in the Oval Office, 2016 is the year of Hillary. And Democrats know it.

Besides, even Jon Stewart gets more support!

Charts via Ipsos/Reuters

Throwback Thursday: First Lady of Arkansas, 1983

Hillary News & Views 7.23: Sandra Bland, Black Lives Matter, and Earning Every Vote

Today's edition of Hillary News & Views focuses only on the issues being addressed by the activists of Black Lives Matter, which is arguably the most significant and urgent progressive movement in politics today.

The first piece of news surrounds the suspicious arrest and death of Sandra Bland.

For those who are unaware, Bland herself was an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement. Witness her powerful words speaking out against white privilege and calling whites out on what they need to do to support the movement:



 As CNN reports, Clinton has released a statement regarding this tragedy:
"My heart breaks at seeing another young African American life lost too soon," Clinton said in a statement on Wednesday. "Sandra Bland had a bright future ahead of her and it is particularly tragic that she lost her life just as she was to start her new career."
Clinton added, "From what I've seen, the circumstances of this case are incredibly disturbing. I hope and expect that there will be a full investigation into this situation. It is also a tragic reminder of the ongoing systemic issues of race and justice in America that we must address with urgency, and we have to do more than talk—we have to take action."
We have some revelations from Clinton's meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus earlier this month, where she committed to fighting for specific legislative priorities of that caucus, as reported by The Independent:
Last week, Ms Clinton met with minority lawmakers of the Black Caucus on Capitol Hill to discuss the issues, seemingly the best way to engage black voters — a key constituency to winning the White House in 2016.
Caucus chairman G. K. Butterfield told The Independent that policy meeting with Ms Clinton was a productive beginning to the campaign, addressing issues that were important to the policymakers including gun control, poverty and criminal justice reform.
The Democratic congressman said that if Ms Clinton is elected, she promised to back the group’s 10|20|30 Amendment. The recovery act would send 10 percent of Rural Development funds are spent on communities where 20 percent or more of the population had lived below the poverty line over the past 30 years. The bill, currently in draft form, would authorize $50 billion over 10 years to counties with persistent poverty.
The article also included lengthy commentary by Samuel Sinyangwe, the policy analyst for WeTheProtesters, who shared specific directives that Clinton should emphasize in her campaign and, ultimately, as president:
Mr Sinyangwe said that meaningful action on a myriad of issues would be needed from the next president in order for blacks to continue making progress in America. He said that police violence would need curbed, which reportedly took the lives of more than 300 blacks in 2014.
“Hillary should stop the federal government from providing military weapons to local police departments, and lower the standard of proof needed for Department of Justice investigations to convict police officers who brutalize our people.”
Singyangwe went on with further suggestions and commentary:
“Twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists as foreign terrorists over the past 14 years. Yet, there has been no comparable call for us to invest trillions of dollars in protecting black people from these attacks.
“We don’t need more wars on other poor nations. It’s time to focus our resources on combating the racism and racial inequities that threaten too many lives and undermine our nation’s moral and economic potential,“ he said.
Mr Sinyangwe maintained that Ms Clinton should use the power of her platform to tell the truth about racism in the country: “Throughout our history, ‘all’ has never included us. ‘All men are created equal’ was written in the context of slavery. We remember her saying ‘all lives matter’ in Ferguson. We hope that she’ll join us in acknowledging that black lives matter too.”
The Washington Post has a good rundown on why all of the Democratic candidates, including Clinton, have been struggling to address the issues being raised by the #BlackLivesMatter movement:
Clinton’s team appears to be closely following Black Lives Matter, activists said.
But, citing her “all lives matter” comment last month, some activists say that she, too, appeared slow to catch on to the rhetoric of the movement. She made the statement during a speech that included remarks relating the early struggles of her mother to the challenges many people face today.
“What kept you going?” Clinton said she asked her mother. “Her answer was very simple: kindness along the way from someone who believed she mattered.” Then Clinton added: “All lives matter.”
Some attendees said the remark made sense in context, but others were offended. One attendee told NPR that the comment “blew a lot of support” that Clinton had been building.
In an interview with The New Republic, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors talks about what Clinton still needs to address:
I think we've heard Hillary say mass incarceration, we've heard these candidates use words that in the past haven't been used, and once again that's important, that's valuable, that means we're winning the debate, but we're not hearing candidates actually talk about police unions, and the role that they play, and [having] some of the biggest, having the most power in the lobby. We're not hearing candidates talk about a divestment from law enforcement and policing and incarceration and a reinvestment and a radical reinvestment into healthcare, into access for healthy food, into access for employment for all people. We're not hearing candidates talk about voter reform. We're not actually hearing candidates talk about the issues that mostly impact poor communities and poor black communities in particular.
Jamelle Bouie at Slate has some more concrete advice for Clinton:
Even with her speeches on criminal justice and voting rights, she still has work to do. Indeed, this might be a more acute area of concern for the former Secretary of State, who stands the best chance at winning the Democratic nomination but needs to rally black Americans to her side if she plans to win a general election. It would be in her interest, and to her advantage, to craft a detailed agenda on police, prison, and criminal justice reform, as well as plans to reduce racial gaps in wealth and unemployment and further enforce anti-discrimination laws.
Bustle reports on how Clinton is "at least trying to get it" by sharing seven key quotes on race from her so far.  Here is one of the quotes that hasn't gotten much attention, where she challenged her primarily white audience in the aftermath of Ferguson:
Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers instead of the other way around. If white offenders received prison sentences ten percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes. If a third of all white men — just look at this room and take one-third — went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that. That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans in so many of the communities in which they live.
In closing, I want to share some key tweets from Twitter, where much of the Black Lives Matter movement - and black activism in general - is centered.  I share these as a reminder that no vote should be taken for granted and that every vote must be earned.

For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out… 
   
The Hillary 2016 Platform Series  

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform  

Part 2: Immigration Reform

Part 3: Voting Rights

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A

July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner

April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yep, If You Don't Like a Poll...Just Wait a Few Minutes

I mean literally...a few minutes. Or even seconds.

This evening, as I was finishing up the piece on the horrendous Quinnipiac numbers, PPP released a brand-new national poll that has Hillary dominating the Democrats and Trump hanging on to a slight lead with the Republicans.

And the general election numbers?

I'll let the tweets tell the tale:



Quinnipiac is Back and Worse Than Ever

From the pollsters that brought you the miraculous 20-point Rand Paul Pennsylvania swing of Spring 2015...

From the writers of the press release gleefully stating that Hillary Clinton was "wilting" in Virginia while their own poll simultaneously showed her surging into a solid lead...

From the guys who are somehow making Gravis Marketing look amazingly reliable right now...

...comes the first real Republican swing state blood bath poll of the 2016 campaign. Make sure you're sitting down, or ready to laugh (like I did) and check it out.

There are so many strange things that could be pointed out here, such as:
-Hillary has led Jeb in every single (non-Fox News) national poll for months, often by double digits. If all those results are accurate, this poll must have been taken in an alternate universe.
-The party IDs in the samples are 2 to 8% more Republican than we saw in the last presidential election.
-Hillary's favorability in Iowa (33%) is so ridiculously dismal that even Rick Perry is doing better (36%).
-In the span of three months - for no apparent reason - Hillary's support among women in Virginia dropped by a whopping 16 points.
These are just a few of the headscratchers. For more, check out this excellent post by Steve Singiser at Daily Kos.

In the six months that Hillary HQ has been in existence, I've noticed something: Polls are coming out constantly and it can be hard to keep track of all of them, much less analyze them. To be perfectly honest, it can be exhausting. The good news is that the vast majority of these polls have ranged from decent to spectacular for our candidate, and even if there is an occasionally lousy poll, you usually only need to wait a day or two before there's another one that cheers you up.

So I'm going to let that happen and not lose any sleep over this one.

Well. Almost.

Take a look at one last thing from this new poll: The crosstabs of the Clinton vs Walker matchup in Virginia, where Walker leads by 3. You'll notice that Hillary is doing a little better with her party's faithful than Walker is doing with his, and the Indies are almost exactly split. Considering that the party ID is +1% Democrat (28% D - 27% R - 35% I), how in the world is Walker up by 3 points here? Even with the most generous of decimal rounding, it does not seem possible to this blogger who got a B in college business math.


So...calling all math nerds out there: If you can somehow get these Quinnipiac crosstabs to add up to a 3-point Walker win, please lay it out in the comments below. The Bush & Rubio numbers from Virginia also make about as much sense, if you'd like to see more.

Rest assured that I am more than willing to concede that I'm out of my league on this one if presented with enough evidence.

Hillary News & Views 7.22: Detroit, Diversity, and a Deck Full of Jokers



Today's edition of Hillary News & Views finds presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visiting Detroit and playing the gender card, while the diversity of her campaign staff and her capital gains tax reforms are analyzed in depth.  As always, direct quotes from Clinton are in bold.

Let's start with that trip to Detroit, which went beyond just enjoying dessert and a conversation with the local residents.

As USA Today reports, Clinton used the visit to Sweet Potato Sensations to highlight how a successful small business startup by a hometown couple can help to revitalize the local economy:
"I want to be the small-business president," Clinton told reporters during her visit to Sweet Potato Sensations in the Old Redford neighborhood on Detroit's west side.
"I'm making a real point of identifying and visiting small businesses that are successful — sometimes against the odds — but are providing a service or product that people in their communities are buying up, and giving a good base for growth. And that's what we need to do more of."...
Clinton spent time talking to owners Jeffrey and Cassandra Thomas, who were thrilled that she decided to eat there. Clinton also glad-handed patrons, many of whom were eager to see her. Some even came back to the restaurant when they were told she would be arriving later.
"She's trying to help small businesses because that's what fuels the economy," Jeffrey Thomas said. "I was very impressed."...
She also promised to pay more attention to "moving obstacles and barriers so that more people can have the kind of success we've seen here," and added that "the more we can bring people back into working on behalf of their own futures and the neighborhoods they live in and the communities they're a part of, that's what's going to bring back cities like Detroit."
The Detroit News has posted a video interview from the campaign stop, where Clinton talked about efforts to revitalize Detroit, including Blight Busters, and reiterated her hopes and concerns about the TPP trade deal:
Where do you see Michigan in this race?
Michigan's always important. To me, personally, and I think to the country. And I've seen a lot of the efforts - I was talking to the Blight Busters, a man back there - I've seen a lot of community efforts, the coordinated commitment from government to business and civic groups and individuals, homeowners, philanthropy - to really make a big commitment to Detroit.
And that catches my attention because the more we can bring people back into working on behalf of their own futures and the neighborhoods they live in and the communities they're a part of, that's what's gonna bring back cities like Detroit.
And I'm really encouraged by what I see happening in Detroit. I have followed it as closely as I could.  And there's a real opportunity here, so I'm happy to be back.
There's a lot of concern about the Trans Pacific Partnership and its effect on Detroit workers.  Could you speak to that with regard to the Big Three?
Well, first of all, I'm gonna wait to see what's in it. I've said that.  And I'm gonna judge as to whether or not it creates good jobs, whether it protects the jobs we have, and whether it's good for our national security. And I've made clear some of the specifics that need to be in there.
When I was Secretary of State, we worked with both the auto companies and the UAW to make some changes in the South Korean trade deal.  And the jury is still out, but we listened and we responded because we inherited a deal that neither the companies nor the workers were particularly excited about.
So I saw firsthand how we can bring people together and try to improve the opportunity for American companies and American unions and American workers to get a better deal. So I'm hoping that's what we get out of this next effort, too.
[Note: Transcript was prepared by me and I am responsible for any errors.]
More News & Views after the jump!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Win or Lose, Trump is the GOP's Worst Nightmare

An actual possibility for Election Day 2016
The new ABC News/Washington Post poll has some terrific news for Hillary Clinton, who leads her nearest Democratic competitor by about 50 points nationally:
In the contest for the Democratic nomination, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains a wide lead, with 68 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they would vote for her today in a caucus or primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is drawing big and enthusiastic crowds in many states, is in second, at 16 percent...
When Vice President Biden is included as a choice, Clinton is at 63 percent, Sanders at 14 percent and Biden is at 12 percent. Biden is not a declared candidate but has not said definitively that he will not run.
Clinton, who has highlighted the possibility of becoming the first female president in U.S. history, is far more popular among Democratic women than men, by almost 20 points. About 9 in 10 of her supporters say they are enthusiastic about her candidacy.
Whether Biden jumps into the race or not makes little difference: Democrats want Hillary to be the nominee and it's going to be very hard to change that.

As far as the Republicans...who the hell knows what's going on? Donald Trump has a nice 11-point lead in this poll, but his boneheaded and offensive comments about John McCain might end up costing him in the days ahead. But don't be surprised if Republican voters like Trump enough for this to only be recoverable speed bump for the time being. Which is pretty amazing.

Where things get more interesting is in the general election matchups. Clinton has a nice 6-point lead over Bush in a two-way matchup, but look what happens if Trump becomes a third party option:
How does an epic 16-point, 400+ electoral vote, Congress-flipping win for Hillary sound? Crazy? Too good to be true?

Nope. Trump is all about Trump and is not ruling out an independent run if he's not the Republican nominee, as you can see in the video below. So even if Republican voters choose a less embarrassing option at their convention, there's still a very real risk of him completely dooming the GOP as a whole in 2016 anyway.

So the big question becomes, does The Donald really have a fat enough ego and wallet to actually make a full-blown, self-funded independent run for President of the United States?

Do we really have to ask?

Hillary News & Views 7.21: Playing the Gender Card, "Too Big to Jail," and Bonding with Amy Schumer


Today's edition of Hillary News & Views kicks off with some of the news she made during her Facebook Q&A yesterday afternoon.

There has already been widespread coverage of her Black Lives Matter statement, but she also addressed gender issues and gave more details about Wall Street reform.

We'll start off with the former issue, which found Clinton responding to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's observation that "the gender card alone isn't enough" to earn Clinton a presidential victory in 2016.

Here's her Facebook response:
Wow. If that’s what he said, Mitch McConnell really doesn’t get it. There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception. These aren’t just women’s issues, they are economic issues that drive growth and affect all Americans. Anyone who doesn’t get that doesn’t understand what our lives are like. -H
Clinton followed up on Twitter by calling out Scott Walker's latest anti-choice legislation...
...and then by actually playing the gender card!

Vox has an excellent summary of some of the financial reforms Clinton proposed in the Facebook chat:
"Too often it seems like the people responsible get off with limited consequences (or none at all). Even when they’ve already pocketed the gains," Clinton said. "That's wrong and it has to change."
She laid out a three-part plan to do that.
   1) Appoint and empower tough, independent-minded regulators and give them the resources they need to do their jobs.
    2) Make sure that good people have real incentives to come forward and report illegal activity by raising the whistleblower caps so they're actually effective.
    3) Make sure that when corporations pay fines to the government for wrongdoing, those fines cut into the bonuses of the executives who should have been accountable or should have caught the problem.
Reuters expanded on the thought process behind raising the cap on whistleblower rewards:
Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, said she would increase the maximum amount of money a whistleblower can be rewarded so such incentives "are actually effective." 
Whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act cannot be rewarded more than $1.6 million, an amount Clinton should be "sharply increased," her campaign staff said soon after in an email to reporters.
"While this represents a large sum in real dollars, it pales in comparison to pay levels within the financial sector," the campaign's statement said, and so the cap was not a big enough incentive for finance workers to risk lucrative careers by reporting wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers in sectors governed by other laws can potentially receive much larger rewards, measured as a percentage of a settlement or an amount recovered, and Clinton said this disparity needs to be resolved.
Clinton also reaffirmed her commitment to both upholding Dodd-Frank and expanding upon it, and made clear that individuals must be held responsible for wrongdoing, because nobody is "too big to jail":
Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of Dodd-Frank - the law passed to deal with the problems on Wall Street that led to the financial crisis. It's been under constant attack from Republicans in Congress ever since.
As president, I'll defend Dodd-Frank - and I'll go beyond. You're right - we have work to do to enhance accountability. We've all heard the shocking stories of misconduct by individuals and institutions in the financial industry.
And even though some institutions have paid fines and even admitted guilt, too often it seems like the people responsible get off with limited consequences (or none at all). Even when they’ve already pocketed the gains. That's wrong and it has to change.
Last week, I pledged to prosecute individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing - because no one is "too big to jail."
I’ll be laying out my Wall Street agenda in more detail soon.
The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll continues its trend of coming in on the higher end of Clinton's polling numbers:
In the contest for the Democratic nomination, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains a wide lead, with 68 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they would vote for her today in a caucus or primary...
Clinton, who has highlighted the possibility of becoming the first female president in U.S. history, is far more popular among Democratic women than men, by almost 20 points. About 9 in 10 of her supporters say they are enthusiastic about her candidacy.
Part of Clinton’s strength is that she is considered ideologically acceptable to a broad swath of the Democratic Party. Nearly 7 in 10 say she is “about right” ideologically.
Though not mentioned in the article, Clinton's overall numbers are just as strong with voters of color (71%) as they are with women (71%). Speaking of women, Clinton has a fan in feminist comic Amy Schumer, who recalled a conversation the women had recently in an  interview with GQ:
You met Hillary Clinton recently, right?
A couple of months ago, Glamour Women of the Year, but I've always been a fan. It was very cool. She was a good audience member—she commented on a couple of the jokes I told. I said that in L.A. my arms register as legs, and she really liked that. She was, "I can relate."
And one of the acts that had gone up before me did some stuff that was very disrespectful to her, and I definitely didn't think it was funny, and I said to her, like, "What the f--- was that?" She just goes, "Par for the course.... I'm so used to it."
For more on Clinton, check out…

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series  

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform

Part 2: Immigration Reform

Part 3: Voting Rights

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner

April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit