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Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of the upcoming New York primary, which has been dominated in the past 48 hours by the ludicrous assertions of Bernie Sanders and his campaign team that Secretary Clinton — the woman that New Yorkers like me sent to the Senate twice by wide margins — is unqualified for office.
My goodness, where to begin with this self-inflicted disaster by the Senator from Vermont?
Let’s start with Clinton’s response, because I’m certainly not going to regurgitate his mouth droppings on a beautiful Friday morning.
Hillary Clinton on Thursday morning brushed off a Wednesday night comment made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that the former secretary of state is not qualified to be president.
"It’s kind of a silly thing to say, but I'm going to trust the voters of New York, who know me, and have voted for me three times — twice for senate, once in the presidential primary," Clinton told reporters outside of a campaign event at Yankee Stadium in New York. "I don't know why he is saying that, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time."
So, high road as usual for Hillary, who has been called far worse names by far lesser men during her decades in public life. That doesn’t mean she can’t have a little fun, though:"So, let's keep our eye on what's really at stake in this election. We have Republicans whose values are so antithetical to what's right for New York or right for America," she added.
Clinton campaign Instagrams a photo of last night's Pittsburgh rally. Caption: "It was an unqualified delight." pic.twitter.com/Ikx7YbtRYX— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) April 7, 2016
And you can also get this free bumper sticker by clicking here:
Many have weighed in on Sanders’ remarks. Let’s start at the top.
Talking Points Memo reports:
White House spokesman Eric Schultz on Thursday addressed the ongoing back-and-forth between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), saying that the former secretary of state had more than enough experience to run the White House.
Asked about Sanders' claim that Clinton was "unqualified" for the presidency, Schultz said Clinton "comes to the race with more experience than any non Vice President" in recent campaign history, according to a White House pool report.
He added that President Barack Obama was "fortunate" to have Clinton serve as his secretary of state and was "proud of that service," according to the pool report.
President Obama is joined in disbelief by Senator Barbara Boxer.
An open letter from her Facebook page:
Dear Senator Sanders,
I have looked on with pride as you and Secretary Clinton have engaged in a contest of ideas in the Democratic Presidential Primary. That’s why I was so dismayed to hear you say that Hillary is "not qualified" to be President.
As an attorney who fought for civil rights and then for our kids at the Children’s Defense Fund, as a First Lady who fought for middle class families, as a Senator who fought for 9/11 first responders and all New Yorkers, and as a Secretary of State who fought for human rights and transformed U.S. diplomacy, Hillary Clinton has served the American people superbly and is qualified to be our next President and Commander-in-Chief.
I ask you to immediately retract your comments and return to the positive issues-oriented campaign that you promised.
Senator Barbara Boxer is joined in disbelief by Representative Charlie Rangel.
Yahoo! News reports:
On Sanders saying that Clinton isn’t qualified to be president, Rangel, who supports Clinton, said, “Who the hell is Bernie Sanders to say somebody is not qualified to run for president of the United States?”
Rangel told Golodryga that in all of his years in Congress, he’s “never had a conversation with Sen. Sanders.” He said, “He’s the type of person that is so proud that he’s not a Republican and he’s not a Democrat that he feels compelled not to converse with you, but to give a lecture to you so that you would know how much he knows about whatever he’s talking about.” He continued, “I don’t know any bill that I associate with him.”
He did note that Sanders’ presidential campaign was underestimated — “until he announced for president and some of us were unfortunately naïve enough to laugh and say, ‘Bernie’s running for president? So what?’”
Rangel said he is confident that Clinton will win his home state’s primary “by a landslide.”
Representative Charlie Rangel is joined in disbelief by Mayor Bill De Blasio.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders claim that Hillary Clinton isn't qualified to be president "is not the right way to go."
"As his fellow progressive, this is not the right way to go. Hillary Clinton is eminently qualified to be president of the United States. By the way, Bernie Sanders is qualified to be president of the United States, too," De Blasio said on CNN's "At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan."
"Hillary never said he was not qualified. She said very squarely today that either one of them would be better than the Republican candidates," said De Blasio, who has endorsed Clinton. "They're clearly both qualified."
It’s bizarre that of all things to attack Clinton for, Sanders has chosen qualifications, which shifts the debate to Clinton-friendly territory.
The People’s View reports:
Until Bernie Sanders' universally panned interview with the New York Daily News exposed critical gaps in the Senator's understanding of his key campaign issues and raised serious questions about his ability - or even willingness - to address specific policy agenda. Corners of the national media began to question Bernie Sanders' qualification to be president, given his shallow, stump-speech only understanding of many critical issues.
This isn't the first time Bernie Sanders' qualification and experience has been questioned in the race for presidency. Sometimes directly, but more often indirectly, many have raised the point that even though Bernie's message of the whole progressive wishlist was attractive, Hillary Clinton was better qualified to get things done from the Oval Office.
Not much was different this time. Except one thing.
This time, Bernie Sanders bit. With the press finally beginning to pick up on the dangerous lack of depth and Newtown plaintiffs repudiating his close association with the gun lobby, Bernie Sanders finally felt the need to establish himself as qualified.
He jumped into that debate rather bizarrely. He claimed that it was Hillary Clinton who was not qualified to be president.
Hillary Clinton has never said Bernie Sanders is not qualified to be president, and legally, Hillary Clinton has no more control over any super PAC supporting her than Bernie Sanders has over right wing super PACs spending ad money on his behalf.
But don't get bogged down into those details. That's just gravy on top of this very substantive gift the Sen. Sanders has now given Sec. Clinton. And that gift is that Bernie Sanders has left behind his own message frame and entered hers: the debate over qualifications.
Qualifications are what Hillary Clinton is running on. Even in states Hillary Clinton has lost in the primary, the Democratic electorate by and large believe that she is the qualified, experienced, "resume" candidate.
In other words, qualifications is Hillary Clinton's turf. It is her argument to voters - an argument voters nationwide have pretty well bought into. It has stuck because it's true. Adding up her experience in formulating policy as First Lady, her tenure as a US Senator, and her work as Secretary of State for President Obama, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified, experienced candidate to run for president perhaps ever, and there is no way to make an attack on her there. In fact, some would claim that the same resume has been hampering her a little, as Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and Donald Trump for the Republicans have painted her as an establishment, insider candidate, even if in reality, Bernie Sanders is the ultimate insider politician.
Bernie Sanders is now gearing up for a fight he cannot win, and he's using equipment he's never been good at operating. Bernie Sanders cannot win the qualifications debate against Hillary Clinton. Trying to argue that point makes him look desperate, ludicrous and plain silly. But more importantly, it knocks him out of the frame he has been trying to establish, with at least some success.
As Sanders further sullies himself, it’s worth noting that despite the sudden attention to his nastiness, courtesy of the New York media, he’s been at it for months, and so have his supporters.
Melissa McEwan writes for Blue Nation Review:
Bernie long ago promised not to run a negative campaign, but every last shred of that pretense went up in smoke when he called Hillary unqualified for the presidency. His escalating attacks and those of his aides and surrogates are finally attracting attention, but the negativity is nothing new. By his own standards, Bernie has insidiously set the toxic tone for months.
Throughout this election cycle, a segment of Bernie’s fans have been engaging in bullying behavior and making abusive attacks on Hillary and her supporters. In February, after the growing outcry against these intimidation tactics became a liability, Bernie was finally obliged to address them, saying: “We don’t want that crap” and “Anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things—we don’t want them.”
That is the one and only time Bernie has publicly commented on the relentless nastiness, even as it has continued to escalate. And, abetted by the media, he has managed to somehow maintain the pretense that he is above this toxicity, that he is outside of it.
Bernie had thus far been content to rely on innuendo and dog whistles to attack Hillary and to leave the harsher attacks to his aides and surrogates. Down the chain, the vicious personal insults and lies have been the province of his most unscrupulous supporters, some of whom live and breathe online with the sole purpose, it seems, of bashing Hillary and intimidating her supporters.
Now, Bernie’s claims to personal innocence have collapsed. He made a demonstrably false claim that Hillary called him unqualified, and used it to excuse his reckless assertion that one of the most qualified presidential candidate in the nation’s history, and the first woman with a legitimate shot at the presidency, is unqualified.
Far from backing down, Bernie’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver defended this naked character attack, saying Bernie’s campaign had not gone too far, because Hillary “is funded by millions and millions of dollars from Wall Street and other special interests. She’s made a deal with the devil.”
Bernie’s campaign is steeped in a culture of attack, embodied in his campaign manager. And now the candidate has made it clear that it comes straight from the top. He can no longer distance himself.
Of course, that there was ever any distance was always a fallacy. Just yesterday, before the rally, he was asked about a criticism of one of his positions and responded in the same way that has been a hallmark of his most bullying supporters: Deflect even the most minor criticism by going on the attack against Hillary. Addressing Sandy Hook families, he launched into this tirade:
“I would say that I think we all are aware of what happened, and Sandy Hook is a tragedy beyond comprehension. But maybe Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the families who lost their loved ones in Iraq or Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the millions of workers in this country who lost their jobs because of the disastrous trade agreements that she supported.”
His supporters—not all of them, but an awful lot of them—harass Hillary supporters, spread disinformation about her, make ugly (and patently false) allegations. They troll blogs and derail threads and hijack hashtags, inserting themselves over and over even when they’re asked to stop. Last night, a #HillarySoQualified hashtag was almost immediately hijacked by Bernie supporters, using it as a vehicle to harass her supporters.
And it is no wonder that they engage in this noxious behavior. This is the message they get from the leader of the movement and his lieutenants: Attacking Hillary is the winning strategy.
But it isn’t. The escalating attacks on Hillary are only steeling the resolve of her supporters. (And further, alienating people who formerly supported Bernie.)
It’s a winning strategy only insomuch as it will help Hillary win. Just ask Rick Lazio.
And the underlying sexism of those attacks are not going unnoticed.
New York Magazine reports:
When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him about the increasingly aggressive rhetoric between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Weaver averred that his campaign was prepared to play hardball. He then sounded a warning to the former secretary of State and her supporters, suggesting that they not get too critical of Sanders or his supporters. “Don’t destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary’s ambitions to become president of the United States,” Weaver said.
It was a small comment, in every sense. A throwaway bit of nastiness coming from a campaign manager in the late stages of a long and hotly contested primary battle. But the line, which overtly cast Clinton’s political ambition as a destructive force and framed her famous drive and tenacity as unappealing, malevolent traits, played on long-standing assumptions about how ambition — a quality that is required for powerful men and admired in them — looks far less attractive on their female counterparts, and especially on their female competitors.
Weaver’s language made explicit a message that has, in more inchoate form, been churning through the Sanders campaign’s messaging in recent weeks. As Sanders’s staffers spin the story of how they got to this point in the race — with a candidate whose success has been unexpected and thrilling, especially with young Democrats and independents, but who has failed to win over voters of color and older voters, and remains badly behind his tough opponent by nearly every metric — they seem to have been working on a new framing of Hillary, one that relies on old biases about how we prefer women to conduct themselves and how little we like those who flout those preferences.
Weaver’s glib association of Clinton’s ambition to win the nomination with a force destructive enough to ruin her party didn’t feel like a flub. It felt like he was the guy who gave away the bigger game.
As voters in big states, including New York, Pennsylvania, and California, get ready to cast their votes, the men managing Sanders’s campaign (though notably, so far, not Sanders himself) are offering up a vision of their formidable opponent — the one who’s so far won more states, more delegates, and 2 million more votes than their boss — that reads, seriously, like an old Onion article. You may remember it. It’s the one that’s headlined “Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious to Be the First Female President” and includes critiques like “She spends almost all her time these days going to fundraising events dedicated to raising money for—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton,” and “it just wouldn’t feel right to see someone who is so politically calculating win those precious 270 electoral votes in the next election,” and, of course, “she’s stayed in the race, blatantly ignoring the wishes of some people.”
It’s too bad this is where Sanders’s invigorating campaign, one that is passionately supported by many ambitious feminist women, may be turning in the final stretch: to a depiction of a female rival that is reliant on some of the very double standards that have helped to ensure that there have been too few female rivals — and no female victors — in presidential politics to date.
Aphra Behn writes for Shakesville:
This just in:according to Sanders campaign manager (and definite political genius) Jeff Weaver, Hillary Clinton is a witch!
Uhhh... whoops, no. She's not a witch! She's just "done a deal with the devil." Okay!
And she is most definitely responsible for everything that's wrong with international trade, the Middle East, and probably your great-uncle Wilbur's gout!
Hahaha! I was just kidding about the gout. She is definitely responsible for ISIS, though!
Via Mediaite, which has a clip from Weaver's interview with CNN's Carol Costello:
“I think if you look at her record and campaign, her campaign is funded by millions and millions of dollars from Wall Street and other special interests. She’s made a deal with the devil, and we all know the devil wants his money in the end. So that’s the kind of campaign she’s running. She supported the terrible trade deals which have devastated American manufacturing in the country. She supported the war in Iraq. She continues to have a very, very hawkish foreign policy that has led to the rise and expansion of ISIS throughout the Middle East.”
Cool story, Jeff! Oh, by the way: receipts or GTFO.
Because you just accused the former Secretary of State of pursuing war in order to fulfill some shady Wall Street deal.
Now, this is the part where I take my red teacher pen and circle Jeff Weaver's head and write in my genteel lady professor handwriting across his conspiracy theory word salad:
"CITATION FUCKING NEEDED."
Because, generally speaking, Jeff, most people lay the mess in the Middle East, including the rise of IS, at the feet of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the Neocon Gang. Hell, Jeff, even the Republicans blame George Bush.
Or did, until you gave them a nice little clip to play in the ads during the General Election.
Melissa McEwan writes for Shakesville:
When I heard you say that Clinton is unqualified, repeating it over and over, and citing reasons that did not render President Barack Obama and former nominee John Kerry undeserving of your support, I heard the voice of every man who's ever told me, in spite of my eminent qualifications, that I am unqualified. That I am not good enough. That I am less than.
And I heard the voice of every woman who's ever told me, in spite of her eminent qualifications, that she's been told she's unqualified. Told explicitly. Told obliquely, by getting passed over for jobs and promotions; by being paid less; by being discouraged from reaching for more; by being told she still has to do more, always more, to earn it.
By being denied access, autonomy, space, safety, equality, justice.
Women who are told we aren't qualified because we don't have the right training, even if "the right training" was denied to us. Possibly because we supposedly weren't qualified for that, either.
Women who are told we aren't qualified to speak on Important Subjects; who are told we are only qualified to speak about women's issues, or who are told we aren't qualified to speak about women's issues because we can't be objective.
Women who are told we aren't qualified to be authorities on our own lived experiences; who aren't even allowed to be experts on our own lives.
Women who are told we aren't qualified to make decisions about our own bodies; who aren't qualified to have agency over ourselves.
Women who are told we aren't qualified to be reliable witnesses to the harm done to us.
Women who are told we don't qualify for entry into spaces for which the requirements to enter are designed to keep us out.
Women who are told we are unqualified, because we have failed to live up to unreasonable standards of perfection.
Women who are told we are unqualified because of our bodies. Their size, their shape, their color, their gender, their ability, their deviance from an impossible beauty standard, their transgressiveness and difference.
Women who are told we are unqualified for no other goddamn reason than because some man doesn't want to compete with us on an equal playing field.
Senator Sanders, you did not call Secretary Clinton "unqualified" in a vacuum. You called her "unqualified" in a culture steeped in misogyny, the injustice of which is frequently transmitted through marking women as unqualified.
You said it about a woman who, if she isn't qualified, literally no other woman could be.
And you justified it by telling the lie that she called you unqualified first. She did not. And, further, your assertion that she did, and its implication you had to respond by doing the same (which you did not, even if she had), deflects the blame onto her. She brought it on herself.
I heard that.
I heard a man telling a woman that she was to blame for his misogyny directed at her. And that is very personal to me, because I have lived that refrain over and over for four decades.
Senator, you may argue that it's just politics. And maybe it is to you. But it isn't just politics to me.
It’s a shame that Sanders and his campaign are going out in such an ugly manner, as they realize that their only path to the nomination is for Democratic superdelegates to overturn the will of the people and coronate him at the convention.
CBS News reports:
Bernie Sanders' campaign is preparing for a possible contested convention this July, his campaign manager Jeff Weaver said Wednesday.
"We have begun some discussions internally on how that will be handled," Weaver said in an interview with USA Today, a day after the Vermont independent won Wisconsin's Democratic primary.
A contested convention is a real possibility on the Republican side, but for the Democrats, it seems highly unlikely, although Sanders has won several recent contests. Not only is Hillary Clinton leading Sanders among regular delegates, but she also has a significant number of superdelegates who have pledged to support her at the convention in Philadelphia this summer.
In a post on Medium Monday, Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook said that Sanders is trying to overturn the will of the votersand that the former secretary of state has a "nearly insurmountable lead among both delegates and actual voters."
In order to catch up to Clinton, Mook said Sanders would have to win the primaries in New York, California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he said, with 60 percent of the vote. Mook said Sanders has only done that well in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Associated Press does the math:
HOW IT WORKS
One word: Delegates.
Not states won, not debate triumphs, not cash raised. Certainly not what the Sanders campaign calls "momentum."
The nominating contest is about winning 2,383 delegates, and the delegate math says Clinton is decidedly ahead of Sanders.
The basics: All Democratic contests award delegates in proportion to the share of the vote - so even the loser gets some.
That makes it hard for a front-runner to collect delegates and clinch the nomination as quickly as when the winner takes all. But the proportional system also makes it difficult for a trailing candidate to catch up if he or she falls behind by a large number.
Clinton was able to amass a big delegate lead - at one point more than 300 delegates - by winning by large margins in the South, where there are large minority populations that largely back her over Sanders.
In contrast, Sanders has mostly won smaller states that hold caucuses or won narrowly in larger states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, which has limited the number of delegates he's netted in his effort to catch up to Clinton.
To date, Sanders trails Clinton by close to 2.4 million total votes cast and by more than 200 delegates. In 2008, when Clinton trailed Barack Obama by more than 100 delegates, she was never able to catch up to him.
The current count: Clinton has 1,280 delegates won in primaries and caucuses to Sanders' 1,030.
WHAT ABOUT SUPERDELEGATES?
Another factor: 15 percent of the delegates who get a vote at the Democratic National Convention are superdelegates, or elected officials and party leaders who can back any candidate they wish.
They are the party establishment. And they overwhelmingly support Clinton.
The Associated Press surveys those superdelegates and adds them to the tally if they say publicly whom they plan to vote for at the convention. The AP doesn't count those who say they've decided, but aren't willing to say so "on the record."
Clinton's strong support among superdelegates widens her lead even more - 1,749 to Sanders' 1,061.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s still talking policy, this time focused on how people with disabilities are often paid below minimum wage.
Here’s the latest from her policy shop:
During an event in Madison, Wisconsin, a young lawyer asked Hillary Clinton about an issue that doesn’t get enough attention.
The woman wanted to know how we can stop companies from exploiting workers with disabilities and increase opportunities for people living with disabilities in America.
Workers with disabilities are sometimes paid what’s known as a subminimum wage—a wage that’s legally allowed to be lower than the federal minimum wage.
Under a loophole in our current law, employers can apply for special wage certificates, which allows companies to decide the wages of workers with disabilities through a comparison system.
This leads to many companies paying workers with disabilities wages that are far below the federal minimum wage: The average subminimum wage is an estimated $2.50 per hour, and companies have been found paying workers with disabilities as little as 6 cents per hour.
More than 200,000 workers with disabilities are currently earning subminimum wages.
“ When people talk about raising the minimum wage, they don't always talk about the legal loopholes that we have in it. ... I want to get rid of those, and I want to get rid of that for people with disabilities, too.” — Hillary
Hillary will stop companies from taking advantage of workers with disabilities, because taking on the subminimum wage is more than an economic issue—it’s a human rights issue.
Clinton also released this statement about the Disability Integration Act:
As a young lawyer working for the Children's Defense Fund, I started my career fighting for the inclusion of children with disabilities in our schools. And I've never stopped fighting to break down the barriers that hold people with disabilities back. In this campaign, I have committed to improving opportunities for people with disabilities to live in integrated community settings, consistent with the full promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s historic Olmstead decision. As President, I am committed to ensuring that these promises are fulfilled. That is why I support the Disability Integration Act, sponsored by Senator Schumer and co-sponsored by Senators Gillibrand, Casey, Bennet, and Leahy. The bill ensures that states and insurance providers offer home- and community-based services to anybody who needs long-term services and support and is eligible for institutional care, thereby ensuring that people who need support have a choice in how those services are delivered. I am proud to affirm my support for this bill and hope all members of Congress will do so.
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