Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hillary News & Views 3.8: A Town Hall, A More Honest Campaign, More Debate Analysis


Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of yesterday’s Town Hall, hosted by Fox News, of all outlets.

Fox News  has the transcript. Here are some of Clinton's responses.

On Libya:
Well, Bret, let's talk about it in context, and let's remember what was going on at the time.  It was during the so-called Arab Spring.  People in Libya who had been living under the dictatorship of Gadhafi for 42 years were rising up. And he, as we all can remember, was a ruthless dictator with American blood on his hands. 
Ronald Reagan, as you recall, tried to take him out because of the danger he posed. And once it became clear to him that the people of Libya were trying to get more freedom and hopefully a better future, he basically said he was going to hunt them down like cockroaches. 
The Europeans who had a lot more of a connection with Libya, going back many decades, were absolutely intent upon working with us with NATO.  For the first time, Arab countries stepped up and said, we will work with NATO, because this man has paid for efforts to undermine us, assassinate our leaders, all around bad character. 
So we did join with our European and Arab partners.  He was overthrown. 
And let's also remember that the Libyan people have voted twice in free and fair elections for moderate leaders, trying to get themselves to a better future.  Now what has happened is deeply regrettable.  There have been forces coming from the outside, internal squabbles that have led to the instability that has given terrorist groups, including ISIS, a foothold in some parts of Libya. 
I think it's fair to say, however, if there had not been that intervention to go after Gadhafi, we would be looking at something much more resembling Syria now, than what we faced in Libya. 
On U.S. Ground Troops:
Would you put U.S. troops on the ground in Libya? 
No. no. Not U.S. combat troops.  We already are,  as you know, from the headlines and the stories, using special forces, using air strikes to go after ISIS leaders.

But I want to just stress the point I was making -- leaving a dictator in place, like the Iranians and Russians have done with Assad, where we have at least 250,000 people killed, Libya, the numbers are minuscule in comparison, about 1,500 last year. There is a concerted effort.  The U.N.  and others are really working hard to try to unify the different elements within the country. 
So it's been a couple of years.  They haven't been as successful as their neighbor Tunisia, but they are attempting to move forward. 
We ought to be supporting them, not only with special forces and air strikes against terrorists, but helping them secure their borders and deal with some of the internal challenges they face. 
On abortion rights:
Well, again, let me put this in context, because it's an important question.
Right now the Supreme Court is considering a decision that would shut down a lot of the options for women in Texas, and there have been other legislatures that have taken similar steps to try to restrict a woman's right to obtain an abortion. 
Under Roe v. Wade, which is rooted in the Constitution, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family in accordance with their faith, with their doctor. 
It's not much of a right if it is totally limited and constrained. 
So I think we have to continue to stand up for a woman's right to make these decisions, and to defend Planned Parenthood, which does an enormous amount of good work across our country. 
I have been on record in favor of a late pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother. 
I object to the recent effort in Congress to pass a law saying after 20 weeks, you know, no such exceptions, because although these are rare, Bret, they sometimes arise in the most complex, difficult medical situation. 
And so I think it is -- under Roe v. Wade, it is appropriate to say, in these circumstances, so long as there's an exception for the life and health of the mother. 
On bipartisanship in Washington:
I will tell you what I have done and what I intend to do. 
When I was first lady, senator, secretary of state, I worked closely with Republicans, some of the most partisan Republicans.  You know, after we failed to get health care done back in '93-'94, I turned around and started working with Democrats and Republicans to pass the Children's Health Insurance Plan, which has 8 million kids insured.  I also worked, because I care deeply about foster care and adoption, with one of the most partisan Republicans then in the Congress, Tom DeLay. 
But he cared about foster kids, I knew that.  I called him up.  I said, Congressman, would you work with me to reform the adoption and foster care system?  He said, what do you want to do?  I said, come to the White House, let's have a meeting.  We were able to find common ground on that issue. 
When I got to the Senate, I started working with people who had been some of the biggest critics and opponents of my husband's presidency.  And we found common ground.  I worked with, I think, nearly all, if not all, of the Republicans that I served with.  And when I became secretary of state, I did the same. 
Now, I'm not saying this is easy, but as my good friend Debbie Dingell knows, you have to work at it every single day. You have to get up.  You have to try to find the relationships. You have to build on it.  You have to find common ground.  And that is what I will do. 
Now, the other thing I will say, which is a little bit kind of funny, is when I'm not running for something, the Republicans say really nice things about me. 
And I have like a whole archive of those comments because I did work with them, and I will work with them.  I'll go anywhere to meet with anyone, any time, to find common ground.  I will also stand my ground, because I will disagree with some of the things that they want to do. 
But I think your point is so important.  Our founders created a where they made clear no human being has all the answers.  You have to work together.  They had some really intense disagreements, but they kept working until they could come to some compromise.  Compromise is not a dirty word.  It is the way democracy has to work.  And that's what I will do. 
You know, I've worked with so many of them.  And the women in the Senate became good friends, both Democrats and Republicans.  And we worked a lot of issues, Susan Collins from Maine, for example.  But I also worked with John McCain.  He and I joined together to raise money for the rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio, for returning veterans. 
And we also joined with others to work on some important issues. So I have good relations with a lot of Republicans.  I hesitate to mention any more names, it will probably hurt them and I do want to work with them. 
On the 1994 Crime Bill and Education:
Well, I think that, you know, as we said last night, both Senator Sanders and I supported it.  I didn't have a vote, but I did support it.  He voted for it.  Why did we do that?  Because there was a very serious crime challenge, even an epidemic in a lot of communities in our country at that time. 
So there were some positive things that were in the crime bill to try to deal with the threat of crime that really had so many serious consequences for people across our country.  But as my husband said last summer at the NAACP, there were problems that were solved but there were mistakes made in that bill. 
And one of them was, although it was just about the federal system, it set off a chain reaction where more and more people ended up being incarcerated who, in my opinion, should not have been: low- level offenders, non-violent offenders.  We have to rip away the school-to-prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline.  And in order to do that... 
We need a comprehensive approach.  So, yes, we have to improve the criminal justice system, we have to divert people from jail and prison.  But we also have to provide educational opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged kids from the earliest ages, which is why I support quality early childhood education, universal pre-kindergarten education. 
We have to work to reverse terrible situations like what you have right now in the Detroit public school.  And I know this is something the mayor cares deeply about.  You've got little children in classrooms infested with mold and rodents. That is unacceptable.  It is indefensible.  I'm calling on the governor to return control of the Detroit public schools to the people of Detroit. 
So I want to finish with just one additional comment, because you alluded to it. 
It is absolutely imperative that we make college affordable.  I have a plan to do that, debt-free tuition, more help for non-tuition costs so more young people can actually start college and complete college. 
I call it the New College Compact because everybody is going to have to do their part. I want debt-free tuition. You will never have to borrow money to attend a public college or university. The money that you will need will be provided if you cannot afford to go to college. And, right now, given the costs, that covers most people except wealthy people.
Tuition has gone up 42 percent over the last 10 years. I don't understand how that can be justified. So, when Senator Sanders says ``free college'' with no pressure on the universities and college and the universities to lower their costs, I think that will only make it more expensive. So, I'm requiring that colleges and universities take a hard look at what they're charging, and if it's not related to a young person getting a degree that will lead to a job, don't charge the student. You will not be able to do that. 
Secondly, I expect states to start reinvesting in higher education. We have enough prisons, they don't need to be building more prisons, they need to be investing in colleges and universities. So, they will do their part. 
And, I have the funding worked out so that we're able to do this. Senator Sander relies, in order to get what he called free education, on Republican as well as Democratic governors putting in $23 billion dollars a year. Frankly I'm skeptical of that. 
So, I think we can get to where we need to get to, plus, reduce student debt. 
Not only have you refinance your student debt, but also make it possible for you to pay it back as a percentage of your income, which is what I got to do because I borrowed money to go to law school. 
And, I wasn't stuck with the high interest rates that too many people have today.


Forward Progressive makes the case that Clinton is the candidate being most honest with voters:
What I mean when I say Clinton is being more honest with voters than Sanders is that, for maybe the first time, we’re seeing a leading candidate of a major political party essentially telling voters: Look, I know what my opponent is telling you sounds great, but based on the realities of how government works, what he’s promising he’s going to do isn’t remotely feasible or realistic. 
For as much flack as Clinton gets from many Sanders supporters for supposedly saying whatever she feels will benefit her most politically, the truth is, she could have simply gone all-in on single-payer health care, free public college and a $15 an hour minimum wage to leave very little gap between her and Sanders. Politically speaking, especially as it relates to the primaries, that would have probably been the easier thing to do. 
However, the political realities of an election are as such that you can either run on ideological purity or you can run on realistic ideas. Sure, many of the policies on which Sanders has largely built his campaign are more liberal than several of Clinton’s policies. He wants single-payer, she wants to improve and expand the Affordable Care Act. He wants free public college, she wants debt-free public college. He wants a $15 minimum wage, she wants $12. The problem with what Sanders wants to do is that his big plans stand absolutely zero chance at ever getting through Congress. 
We have two candidates running very similar, yet still very different campaigns. On one side we have Bernie Sanders, who’s giving many on the far left exactly what they’ve wanted to hear for years. He’s making a lot of huge promises that play right into the hopes and dreams of far-left liberals. And on the other side we have Hillary Clinton, who’s still very liberal on a lot of these issues, telling voters the truth about the realities of government and what sort of progressive goals are realistically achievable based upon those realities. Even though by doing so she’s alienated some of the liberal base.
Clinton is making a connection between Sanders ‘16 and Clinton ‘08.

CNN reports:
During a question and answer session at a custom software company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Clinton was asked how she plans to win over Sanders' ardent and vocal supporters.
"I'm very hopeful that I will be the Democratic nominee -- and I've said this publicly -- (I hope) to work with him ... to make sure that we are No. 1 in keeping those issues (important to him) front and center on the top of the nation's priorities," Clinton said, before pivoting to her comparison.
Clinton said she wanted to work with Sanders "the way I supported President Obama after I dropped out back in 2008."
"We ran a really tough primary. At the end of it he won, I lost," Clinton said. "I had a lot of passionate supporters who did not feel like they wanted to support then-Sen. Obama, so from the time I dropped out to the day before that election in November I worked as hard as I could, I nominated him at the convention."
Clinton added: "I would hope to be able to enlist Bernie in helping me reach out to his supporters if I am fortunate enough to be the nominee."
Some more debate analysis.

The Washington Post reports:
Hillary Clinton is building her delegate lead, and Bernie Sanders is getting angry.
The Vermont senator needed a good night in Michigan to change the dynamic of a nominating contest that has been slipping away from him. He didn’t get it.
While many pundits are calling the CNN debate a draw, after reading the clips and monitoring cable chatter this morning, we are convinced it was a clear loss. Here are five main reasons why:
1. Clinton caught Sanders off guard with her attacks on his vote against the auto industry bailout.
2. Sanders seemed condescending when he cut off Clinton.
3. Sanders once again seemed oblivious on racial issues.
4. Sanders sounded like a protest candidate who is running to make a point.
5. Sanders failed to change the underlying dynamic of the race.
Click through for expanded reasons supporting each of those five assertions.

The Daily Beast reports:
It was never clearer than at Sunday night’s debate, especially during the opening discussion about the Flint water crisis, what the real difference is between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
There are two kinds of political people in this world. First, there are those who see injustice and who hunger chiefly to see the malefactors punished. And second, there are those who hunger mainly to see the injustice corrected. Now obviously, those in the former group want to see the wrongs righted, and those in the latter group wish to see the perpetrators brought to heel. But when you strip away all the layers of the onion and get to the core emotional motivation, most people are first concerned with one or the other.
Sanders is a punish-the-malefactors type, and Clinton is a fix-the-problem type.
Sanders doesn’t care much about solutions. His prescriptions for Flint, based on his public pronouncements on the matter, more or less amount to: The governor must resign, and then, well, something will happen. I’m not sure what, exactly, given that Snyder would be replaced by another pretty conservative Republican, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. When Sanders visited Flint in late February, a Politico reporter quoted lots of Sanders moral thunder but then observed, “At one point, when an audience member asked him what he would do as president to help, he demurred and asked what the locals wanted from him.”
Now, to Clinton. What she offers are solutions. She started talking about Flint long before Sanders did, and instead of focusing on Snyder, she put forward solutions and proposals. What she isn’t good at is moral thunder. It’s not her nature, never has been. At Wellesley, she supported permitting antiwar activities on campus and rescinding the skirt rule; but her involvement was less about marching than about sitting down with administrators to work out the details.
In this respect, the media abet Sanders, because news tends to be defined as that one grabby new thing. So on NPR Monday morning—yes, even “smart” NPR—the reports on the debate led with the fact that Clinton joined Sanders’s call for Snyder’s head, which is “news.” I get it, but it is hardly the most meaningful thing that happened and is irrelevant to the health of the people of Flint.
The perfect candidate would be a cross between the two. But human beings aren’t usually good at two opposing things. I can see why people are drawn to the moral-thunder candidate, but they in turn ought to be able to see why some other people—people who are shaping up to be the majority, as it happens—are drawn to the let’s-figure-this-out candidate. It’s less about ideology and more about temperament than most people would prefer to admit. And one thing’s for sure: Outrage certainly isn’t morally superior to rolling up one’s sleeves. If anything, the opposite is true.
Salon reports:
For weeks now, Clinton has been portraying Sanders as a “single issue” candidate, someone who is so caught up in his war on Wall Street that he neglects issues that are more important to everyday people. Sanders ended up proving that point for her during the debate, when the auto bailout came up. After Clinton correctly pointed out that Sanders voted against the auto bailout — even though the bailout saved jobs and the car manufacturers paid all the money back — Sanders tried to change the subject to how many donations that Clinton has gotten from Wall Street bankers.
The entire exchange left viewers with the distinct impression that Sanders is so single-mindedly focused on punishing wealthy corporate executives that he’d be willing to sacrifice the well-being of millions of ordinary Americans in order to hurt some rich people. And after baiting Sanders into looking like he’s more worried about punishing fat cats than protecting jobs, Clinton rolled out her lengthy record in pushing for more regulation on the financial industry to protect consumers, noting that she called for “a moratorium on foreclosures” and for “for closing loopholes including the carried interest loophole.” All in all, she was able to portray herself as someone who wants to balance reining in corporate interests with an understanding that these organizations still employ millions of Americans.
All of which made it even more devastating when Anderson Cooper pointed out that a bill that Sanders voted for, which shields gun manufacturers from liability, is likely to prevent the Sandy Hook families from suing Remington, which made the gun that was used to kill all those elementary school children.
Clinton was able, at this point, to jump in and argue that the threat of lawsuits could help “make guns safer and force sellers to be much more responsible,” and that “No other industry in America has absolute immunity” from being sued if they sell a product that causes harm.
It seems very much like Sanders’s anti-corporatism has one massive exception, which is the gun industry. While he did reasonably point that he’s supported other gun control regulation, this unwillingness to hold manufacturers responsible for profiting off the death of school children is, at best, puzzling. (And profit they do. The Sandy Hook shooting ended up being a free marketing blitz for the gun industry, with Remington in particular making a mint after Adam Lanza helpfully demonstrated the stopping power of their guns by mowing down a roomful of first graders.) This made Sanders look hypocritical on top of impractical. He came across as someone who is willing to kill jobs in Michigan to make an anti-corporate point, but unwilling to hit the gun industry’s profits if doing so makes it harder for his own constituents to get guns.
The Washington Post reports:
It was CNN’s Don Lemon’s question about racial blind spots that magnified the gulf between the two candidates.
Sanders’s key quote:
“So to answer your question, I would say, and I think it’s similar to what the secretary said, when you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.”
When Sanders said that, I tweeted, “He knows that all Black people don’t live in ghettos, right?” His answer so threw me that I didn’t even hear him say that white people “don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Sanders’s cab story might be true, but it also struck me as rhetorical grasping at straws. And for it to be an illumination to Sanders that he doesn’t “understand what police do in certain black communities” is more damning than you think. For in this one exchange, you see Clinton’s fluency in and understanding of the language of race and Sanders’s glaring ignorance.
You also see who the true Democrat is. It’s not Sanders.
Democrats, especially those with national ambitions, know how to talk to people of color, especially African-Americans. They are the base of the Democratic Party. You learn the nuances of their concerns and the issues important to them. You take them to heart. Fail to do that and watch your political career perish. As a former first lady of Arkansas, former first lady of the United States and former Senator from New York, Clinton can speak to Blacks with a fluency that lets African Americans know she gets it and gets them.
There is a strong correlation between supporting President Obama and supporting Secretary Clinton.

FiveThirtyEight reports:
Clinton has inherited the coalition that vaulted Obama to the presidency. While black voters were a crucial source of support for Obama in 2008, they’re rallying behind Clinton this year in similarly impressive numbers. Geographically, Clinton’s 2016 support looks like the inverse of her 2008 performance. In 2008, she won New Hampshire and Oklahoma while losing Iowa, South Carolina, Virginia and much of the South; in 2016, she has done the precise opposite.
Even back in the aftermath of Obama’s 2012 victory, those who would become Clinton supporters in 2016 rated Obama at 0.82 on the 0-1 scale, as opposed to just 0.72 for those who would become Sanders supporters. That difference remains sizable even when looking only at non-black respondents. In recent debates with Sanders, Clinton’s embrace of Obama has been striking. But more than a tactical play for black voters, that embrace may reflect deeper differences in the two candidates’ bases of support.
Civil rights legend Myrlie Evers-Williams has endorsed Clinton.

USA Today reports:
Myrlie Evers-Williams, wife of the slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, is calling on young Americans and those apathetic about voting to “take sides” in the 2016 election to stop a racist tide that’s “raising its ugly face in America.”
And she’s announcing she's on Hillary Clinton's side.
“I’ve lived long enough to see the ugliest of it all,” Evers-Williams said in an interview with USA TODAY in which she endorsed the former first lady.
“It’s time to call out and say, take sides. You cannot sit back and observe. Become involved and do what you feel is best. Do not allow evil to overtake this America of ours,” said Evers-Williams, approaching her 83rd birthday.
“I don’t know whether, at this point, to become so angry or to dissolve in tears and sadness over where we are today,” she said. “I see us sliding backward and it hurts terribly, because I and so many others, and women in particular, have fought battles many young people don’t know about,” she said.
Evers-Williams wanted the emphasis to be on her support for Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the most important role Clinton would fulfill as president, she said, is naming Supreme Court justices who will defend the rights of all Americans.
Throughout the interview, Evers-Williams stressed that the entire Medgar Evers family, including all of his children, are behind Clinton.
Evers-Williams said the rights of a number of groups in the U.S. are at risk, and it’s being driven by economic anxieties and demagoguery.
In a swipe at Trump, she cited “a category of person who is self-centered, who will be representative of only a select group of people, whose morals I question.” She added: “I find the debates that have been taking place on the Republican side to be disgusting.”
“Perhaps it’s just the human psyche that says, when we make a few steps forward, there’s always someone there who attempts to move us backwards” said Evers-Williams.
Watching the current election, she said, “is almost more than I can take.”

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