10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2016

Joe Raedle/Getty Images


1. Trump dismisses ‘phony’ polls, insists he’s winning
Donald Trump shrugged off polls showing his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, expanding her lead with just two weeks until Election Day, telling supporters in Florida that most of the surveys are “phony.” Trump said “phony, disgusting, dishonest” newspapers are touting biased polls to undermine his campaign. An ABC News tracking poll released Sunday showed Clinton up by 12 percentage points, while a CNN/ORC poll released on Monday gave Clinton just a 5-point lead. “I believe we’re actually winning,” the Republican nominee said. Trump campaigned in the battleground state of Florida as his campaign conceded that another key potential swing state, Pennsylvania, was slipping away.

Source: The Associated Press, CNN

2. Elizabeth Warren criticizes Trump at Clinton rally
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leader of progressive Democrats, campaigned with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire on Monday, hammering Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump, but also focusing on the state’s Republican incumbent senator, Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte is in a tight race for reelection against Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat. Warren said Ayotte put up with offensive statements by Trump about immigrants, women, and others, then started running from him only when his poll numbers dropped. “Donald Trump is right. Kelly is weak,” Warren said. Her remarks came as Clinton and her allies step up efforts to turn Trump’s troubles against vulnerable down-ballot Republicans to help Democrats regain control of the Senate.

Source: NBC News

3. Trump campaign launches Facebook Live program
Donald Trump’s campaign launched a nightly Facebook Live programcalled Trump Tower Live on Monday night, fueling speculation that Trump is gearing up to launch a media channel if he loses the November presidential election. In an email to supporters, the Republican nominee’s campaign said the show would provide “nightly campaign coverage from Trump Tower.” The inaugural program featured Trump campaign advisers Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, and Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer. Epshteyn said that the program “has nothing to do with Trump TV. It has everything to do with making sure our supporters get out to vote.”

Source: Bloomberg

4. ISIS resistance increases as Iraqi forces close in on Mosul
After advancing quickly toward Mosul, U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces have hit “heavy resistance” from Islamic State fighters outside the Iraqi city, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday. “It’s going to get heavier” as anti-ISIS forces enter the city, he said. ISIS, badly outnumbered, continued launching assaults on towns elsewhere in northern Iraq to divert the coalition’s resources. On Monday, ISISseized control of Rutba, a town of 20,000 people hundreds of miles away from Mosul in Iraq’s western province of Al Anbar, near Iraq’s Jordanian and Syrian borders.

Source: Fox News, Al Jazeera

5. Former Pennsylvania attorney general sentenced to prison for perjury
A judge on Monday sentenced former Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen G. Kane, once a rising Democratic star in the state, to 10 to 23 months in prison for perjury and abuse of her office. Kane, 50, was elected less than four years ago. An outsider and political newcomer, she vowed to shake up a male-dominated and corruption-scarred political establishment she called “the Harrisburg old boys.” In August, however, a jury found her guilty of leaking grand jury records to discredit a critic, and lying about it to another grand jury.

Source: The New York Times

6. 59 dead in attack on Pakistan police training college
At least 59 people were killed when several gunmen wearing explosive suicide vests stormed a dormitory at a police training college near Quetta, Pakistan, on Monday. “They just barged in and started firing point blank,” a cadet said. Security forces exchanged gunfire with the attackers, killing one. Two others blew themselves up, according to the chief minister of the Balochistan Province, of which Quetta is the capital city. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, although intercepted calls involving the attackers suggested they belonged to the sectarian Sunni militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Source: BBC News, The New York Times

7. ObamaCare premiums to rise by double digits in 2017
The Obama administration announced Monday that ObamaCare premiums would rise by double digits in 2017. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services forecast an average 25 percent rise for midlevel benchmark plans across the 39 states served by the federally run insurance marketplace. Major national insurance carriers have also scaled back their participation in the ObamaCare exchange, which could leave about 20 percent of consumers with only one option of insurer. The Obama administration is emphasizing that taxpayer-provided subsidies should offset the increases for most consumers, but “headline rates are generally rising faster than in previous years,” a DHHS spokesman acknowledged.

Source: The Associated Press

8. Politicians slam Pentagon for making veterans repay bonuses
Several California lawmakers harshly criticized the Pentagon on Monday over reports that it had forced nearly 10,000 California National Guard members and veterans to pay back enlistment bonuses they received in error. The Pentagon used the hefty bonuses, many around $15,000, to get soldiers to reenlist about a decade ago. “We were in the Iraq and Afghanistan war at the time,” said one of the veterans, Christopher Van Meter, who had served in the Army 15 years and planned to retire until he heard about the bonuses. “And they wanted to keep soldiers in the military.” Bonuses were intended for soldiers in certain roles, but investigators found that many ineligible service members got them from California Guard officials trying to meet enlistment targets.

Source: Military.com, CNN

9. Buick becomes first U.S. brand in Consumer Reports top 3 in decades
Buick on Monday became the first U.S. auto brand in three decades to place in the top three of Consumer Reports’ annual ranking of the most reliable automobiles. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, placed first, followed by Toyota at No. 2, and Buick, General Motors’ upscale line, at No. 3, based on a survey of more than a half-million car owners. Audi came in fourth, followed by Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti, BMW, and Honda. Fiat Chrysler brands Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram took the bottom four positions among the 29 brands included in the survey.

Source: USA Today

10. 4 killed in Australia theme park ride accident
Four people were killed at an Australian theme park when a ride malfunctioned on Tuesday. Two of the victims were ejected from the Thunder River Rapids Ride at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland, Australia, and two were pinned underneath a seating compartment on a conveyor belt. The victims included two women aged 32 and 42, and two men aged 35 and 38. A park visitor said the same ride had broken down earlier in the day. Dreamworld administrators said the park was being closed as authorities investigated the incident.

Source: CNN, Brisbane Times

10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2016

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


1. Clinton surges to 12-point lead in ABC News poll
Hillary Clinton expanded her lead over Donald Trump to double digits in the inaugural ABC News 2016 election tracking poll, which was released Sunday. Clinton led Trump among likely voters nationally 50 percent to 38 percent in a four-way race including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Polls on average put Clinton’s lead at just under 6 percentage points. A flurry of accusations of sexual misconduct hurt Trump, with 69 percent disapproving of his responses to questions about his treatment of women. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway acknowledged Sunday that the Republican presidential nominee has lost ground against Clinton, with the election just over two weeks away. “We are behind,” Conway said, but “the race is not over.”

Source: ABC News, The Associate Press

2. 13 killed in California tour bus crash
Thirteen people were killed on Sunday when a tour bus collided with a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, California. The driver of the bus was among the dead. Thirty-one passengers were injured and rushed to three local hospitals. Early videos showed dozens of firefighters using ladders to get into the bus to reach victims. The California Highway Patrol said the bus was operated by USA Holiday, a Los Angeles company. The 1996 MCI bus was returning to Los Angeles with 44 passengers from the Red Earth Casino near the Salton Sea.

Source: Los Angeles Times

3. Kurdish forces advance to within 5 miles of Mosul
Kurdish Peshmerga forces pushed to within five miles of Mosul, Iraq,on Sunday as Iraqi government forces and their allies continued to make swift gains in their effort to drive the Islamic State out of the northern Iraq city. A coalition of 100,000 troops is closing in on Mosul, where ISIS forces number an estimated 5,000 to 6,000. Iraqi officials expect ISIS militants to dig in and fight to defend Mosul, which has become the de facto cultural capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate, or Islamic state.

Source: CNN

4. France begins clearing ‘Jungle’ migrant camp
French authorities began clearing the refugee camp known as the “Jungle” outside the port city of Calais on Monday, starting a long-awaited final push to close the sprawling tent city. Thousands of migrants stood in a mile-long line waiting to be processed and moved out in buses. Between 6,000 and 10,000 migrants and refugees have lived in the camp, some for years, hoping to cross the English Channel and settle in the U.K. France plans to dismantle the controversial camp, which has become a symbol of Europe’s struggle to keep up with a massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, and has told its residents they must move to accommodations in another part of France or return to their home countries.

Source: The New York Times

5. Trump gets lift from newspaper endorsement
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has slipped in the polls, but he got a boost on Sunday with an endorsement from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper, Nevada’s largest, was just the first major newspaper to back the billionaire real estate mogul. TheReview-Journal was bought late last year by the billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Trump supporter. The paper’s editorial said that “Trump’s impulsiveness and overheated rhetoric alienate many voters,” but he “represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave.” The paper added that Trump “promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites” who put their own interests over the nation’s.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, The New York Times

6. Venezuelan opposition calls for putting Maduro on trial
Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly on Sunday declared that the socialist government had staged a coup after a court blocked an attempt to recall President Nicolas Maduro. Lawmakers called for putting Maduro on trial, although his government and the Supreme Court were expected to shield him. Ruling party officials say the opposition collected fraudulent signatures on a petition aiming to force a referendum, hoping to force out Maduro to gain control of the South American country’s vast oil wealth. Maduro’s popularity has plummeted as inflation has soared. Polls suggest that as many as 80 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro out of office.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

7. Spain’s Socialists clear path for Rajoy to form minority government
Lawmakers from Spain’s Socialist Party on Sunday abstained in a second vote to let acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy take office for a second term, ending a 10-month political impasse. Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party can now form a minority government following elections in December and June that left no one party or coalition with majority control of parliament. In the latest vote, Rajoy’s party won a plurality, and the Socialists, the second most powerful party, lost five seats, leaving them with 85 and fearing further losses if a third general election had been necessary.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

8. Haiti searches for more than 170 inmates after jailbreak
Haitian police recaptured at least 12 out of more than 170 inmates who overpowered guards and escaped from a prison in the coastal city of Arcahaie, about 30 miles north of the capital, Port-au-Prince. One guard was killed, and an inmate died after falling while scaling a prison wall. Police officers searched cars and boats trying to find the rest of the escapees. Justice Minister Camille Edward Junior said one of the men recaptured was the alleged escape mastermind, convicted kidnapper Yvener Carelus. “He planned the escape from the inside with a few accomplices,” the minister told a local newspaper.

Source: The Associated Press

9. Political activist Tom Hayden dies at 76
Tom Hayden, a 1960s antiwar and civil rights advocate who later championed liberal causes as a California state legislator, died Sundayin Santa Monica after a long illness. He was 76. Hayden burst into national politics in 1962 as lead author of a student manifesto and a founder of Students for a Democratic Society. He was a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial after riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and twice went to Hanoi as a peace activist. He married actress Jane Fonda, a fellow activist, in 1973 and formed the Campaign for Economic Democracy, which supported liberal candidates and initiatives. He was elected to the California Assembly in 1982, and served 18 years in the Assembly and state Senate.

Source: Los Angeles Times, The New York Times

10. Bill Murray awarded Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize
Bill Murray accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American HumorSunday at the Kennedy Center. He was the latest in a string of SaturdayNight Live alums, including Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, and Eddie Murphy, to receive the award. Murray shot to stardom on SNL and was nominated for an Oscar for Lost in Translation, but is also known for his habit of showing up out of nowhere at wedding receptions, parties, and intramural games. Murray, 66, sat through tributes from colleagues, including David Letterman, who had Murray as a guest on his late-night show 44 times. “It’s really hard to listen to all those people be nice to you for two days,” Murray said. “You just get real suspicious.” The ceremony will air Friday on PBS.

Source: The Associated Press

Election Update: Trump May Depress Republican Turnout, Spelling Disaster For The GOP



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Instead of a poll, let’s start today’s Election Update with some actual votes. According to the estimable Nevada journalist Jon Ralston, Democrats have a20-percentage-point turnout edge so far based on early and absentee voting in Clark County (home to Las Vegas), Nevada. And they have a 10-point edge in Washoe County (home to Reno).

Nevada is one of a number of states where Democrats usually do better in early voting than in the vote overall, so this shouldn’t be taken to mean that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, are going to win their races by double digits. ButNevada is an interesting state, insofar as both Clinton and Donald Trump can find things to like about its demographic makeup: In Clinton’s case, the growing number of Hispanic and Asian-American voters bodes well for her; in Trump’s case, there’s the fact that only about one-third of Nevada’s white voters have college degrees, according to FiveThirtyEight’s estimates. Furthermore, Nevada has shown tight polling all year, with Clinton having only pulled ahead since the debates — surprising given that President Obama won Nevada by 7 percentage points in 2012 and that Clinton isbeating Obama’s numbers in other Western states.

Those early-voting numbers, though, don’t look good for Trump. Democrats are matching their 2012 pace in Clark County, according to Ralston. And they’re beating it in Washoe County, a place where the demographics ought to be relatively Trump-friendly. If Clinton is pulling in her marginal voters and Trump isn’t getting his, things could go from bad to worse for the GOP.

One needs to be careful about drawing too many inferences from early-voting data. There are a lot of states to look at and a lot of ways to run the numbers, and we’ve seen smart analysts trick themselves into drawing conclusions that didn’t necessarily hold up well by Election Day. But it seems fair to say the data is mostly in line with the polls. Democrats are seeing very strong early-voting numbers in Virginia and reasonably encouraging ones in North Carolina, two states where Clinton has consistently outperformed Obama in polls. They also seem set to make gains in Arizona and Colorado, where the same is true. But Democratic numbers aren’t all that good in Iowa or Ohio, where Clinton has underperformed Obama in polls.

The problem for Trump is that taken as a whole, his polls aren’t very good — and, in fact, they may still be getting worse. An ABC News national pollreleased on Sunday morning — the first live-caller poll conducted fully after the final presidential debate — showed Clinton leading Trump 50 percent to 38 percent. Clinton’s 12-point lead in that poll is toward the high end of a broad range of results from recent national polls, with surveys showing everything from a 15-point Clinton lead to a 2-point Trump edge. But the ABC News poll is interesting given its recency and given why Clinton has pulled so far ahead in it — Republicans aren’t very happy with their candidate and may not turn out to vote:

The previous ABC/Post poll found a sharp 12-point decline in enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters, almost exclusively among those who’d preferred a different GOP nominee. Intended participation now has followed: The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.

I’d urge a little bit of caution here, given that swings in enthusiasm can be transient and can sometimes exaggerate the underlying change in voter sentiment. Our polls-only forecast has Clinton up by about 7 percentage points instead of by double digits — and our polls-plus forecast would still bet on the race tightening slightly.

But you can easily see how the worst-case scenario is firmly on the table for Trump and Republican down-ballot candidates, where the bottom falls out from GOP turnout. Consider:

  • Trump is getting only about 80 percent of the Republican vote, whereas candidates typically finish at about 90 percent of their party’s vote or above.
  • Furthermore, the Republicans missing from Trump’s column tend to be high-education, high-income voters, who typically also have a high propensity to vote.
  • Voters are increasingly convinced that Clinton will win the election, and turnout can be lower in lopsided elections. (Although, this presents risks to both candidates: complacency on the part of Democrats, despondency on the part of Republicans.)
  • Republicans and Trump have a substantial ground game deficit, with Clinton and Democrats holding a nearly 4-1 advantage in paid staffers.
  • Trump’s rhetoric that the election is rigged could discourage turnout among his own voters.
  • Trump’s base is relatively small, especially if he underperforms among college-educated Republicans.

The nightmare scenario for the GOP is that high-information Republican voters, seeing Trump imploding and not necessarily having been happy with him as their nominee in the first place, feel free to cast a protest vote at the top of the ticket. Meanwhile, lower-information Republican voters don’t turn out at all, given that Trump’s rigging rhetoric could suppress their vote and that Republicans don’t have the field operation to pull them back in. That’s how you could get a Clinton landslide like the one the ABC News poll describes, along with a Democratic Senate and possibly even — although it’s a reach — a Democratic House.

That isn’t the only scenario in play, but it’s an increasing possibility. Overall, Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency are 87 percent according to our polls-only model and 85 percent according to polls-plus.


Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

A Major Clinton Endorsement Includes A Stark Warning About Trump

A Major Clinton Endorsement Includes A Stark Warning About Trump

Hillary R. Clinton


*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

In a normal American election when a newspaper’s editorial board endorses a candidate they typically cite whatever flaws they deem valid targets and then spend the remaining space touting the candidate’s policy positions, achievements and qualifications for office. However, as one or two Americans have likely concluded by now, this is no more of a “normal” presidential election than Donald Trump is a normal American.

Because this is not a typical presidential election, when the Miami Herald endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, they included a very prescient reason for supporting the former Secretary of State; a reason that this author never imagined hearing from a newspaper’s editorial board. And no, it was not the Herald’s brutally harsh condemnation of Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump; although this Clinton endorsement certainly invested a fair number of words assailing the television celebrity as the epitome of incompetence, greed, hate, fascism and a clear threat to America, its Constitution, and “democracy itself.”

Typically, the Miami Herald’s endorsement hit all the regular talking points one expects in a presidential endorsement, and like the New York Times and Washington Post pieces, this one from the Miami Herald is well worth a three-minute read. It delineated Clinton’s service and achievements as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and private citizen as well as point out what it regarded as her flaws.

Like every other newspaper’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Herald’s Ed-board began thus:

Let’s make clear what the 2016 presidential election isn’t about:

It is not about choosing between a bad candidate and a worse one. The narrative that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils is patently wrong. Ms. Clinton is a pragmatic, tough-minded woman of accomplishment and political conviction with a demonstrated mastery of policy.

Clinton has used her insider status to work aggressively on behalf of the disenfranchised, here and around the world. She has not won every battle, but she fights the good fight, and she fights the right ones in the name of equality and democracy.

The editorial board’s endorsement of Ms. Clinton may have been the first to note what it believes is one of the most important things for Americans to understand; what this election is really about:

Our values, our national identity and even the enduring power of the Constitution are in question — and at stake. And Hillary Clinton is by far the best person in this race to lead us to a definition of which we can be proud. She will protect the best interests of this nation, its standing on the world stage and even democracy itself.

Now, it is beyond belief that an editorial board’s endorsement would ever claim that the Constitution and “even democracy itself” are in jeopardy unless they saw it as a clear and present danger. Many pundits and political commenters, including this author, have noted often that America’s greatest threat is not from outside forces or radical regimes, it is from uber-conservatives and libertarians who would abolish most of the Constitution if they had a chance. Donald Trump has actually intimated he will do exactly that if he is elected. It is a horrifying possibility that wasn’t lost on the Herald’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

The editors noted that Donald Trump does represent a threat to constitutional freedoms and that “In normal times, the Constitution is not at stake in a presidential election, but this year is a frightening aberration.” It was odd for an endorsement, but the Herald cited:

Mr. Trump…has barred some reporters from his campaign because he dislikes what they’ve written, has threatened to change libel laws to punish [his] critics. He vowed to put his opponent, Ms. Clinton, in prison. Only a candidate who’s a dictator at heart could see such a threat as a campaign talking point.

Religious freedoms are also under siege. He has repeatedly targeted Muslims; last month, he joked about excluding people who aren’t ‘conservative Christians’ from one of his rallies. But to anyone who reveres what this country truly stands for, it was no joke.”

The editorial board concluded saying something that should put to rest this idea that Clinton is hiding something from the media and the people and thus corrupt. It is an idea, frankly, that is getting old and informs an individual of extremely low-information and void of any independent thinking abilities whatsoever.

Ms. Clinton is often accused of being secretive, which is true up to a point. Yet most of her adult life has been lived in the glare of the public spotlight. She has the scars and headlines to prove it. She may be the most scrutinized individual in public life. Her flaws have been chewed over for years. And yet she’s still standing, an accomplishment in itself.”

The reason Hillary Clinton is still standing is because despite hyper-scrutiny over the past quarter century, even her harshest critics found nothing untoward and certainly nothing “corrupt.” In the sense, the editorial board wrote:

The priority of every voter who cares about standards of honesty and decency, not to mention the future and direction of this country, is to reject what Donald Trump represents. America does not need an arrogant, self-absorbed charlatan in the Oval Office. It needs a steady hand in perilous times, a voice of compassion in pursuing policies that help, not hurt, the disenfranchised; a leader capable of narrowing, if not healing, this nation’s divisions.”

One would reiterate that besides helping Americans by pursuing policies that work for all the people, Hillary Clinton will preserve “our values, our national identity, the enduring power of the Constitution and democracy itself.” It is something that should never have to be mentioned in an endorsement during an American presidential election, and it is too bad because it is a distraction from the real reason the Herald endorsed Ms. Clinton; she is the most qualified person in the nation to be president.

Sign marking site of civil rights icon Emmett Till’s death shot 40 times

This news was reported a few days ago.  

It took me this long to publish this story because  it brought back troubling memories of the crude awakening of a third grade Black child’s introduction to the reality of RACISM.

 Emmett Till‘s name will be forever etched in my brain as my initiation into the insidious concept and lingering absurdity of RACISM.  Although I was born and raised in New York City where racism was a bit more subtle, I was not cognizant of that fact.  


A sign marking the spot in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, where 14-year-old black teenager Emmett Till’s body was pulled from the river following his 1955 murder has been desecrated.

CNN affiliate WJTV reports an unknown person placed at least 40 shotsthrough the sign recently, resulting in significant damage.

Kevin Wilson Jr., who is working on a film about Till, posted a photo of the sign to Facebook, writing “I’m at the exact site where Emmett Till’s body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River 61 years ago. The site marker is filled with bullet holes. Clear evidence that we’ve still got a long way to go.”


Till, who was from Chicago, Illinois, was briefly visiting Money, Mississippi, in 1955 when he crossed white shopkeeper Rob Bryant by allegedly flirting with his wife. Bryant and another man, J. W. Milam, were never convicted for Till’s torture and murder, but they later confessed to the crime in a Look magazine interview.

Racism “is alive in Mississippi always was and always will be,” one commenter wrote below. “They are still punishing Emmett Till all these [years] later.”

“This isn’t the first time it has been vandalized,” wrote another. “It has been vandalized continuously and only people this obsessed with racial hatred will continuously try to destroy a memorial in turn not only killing the child but also trying to kill his memory.”

Video Clip (May not work) so click on the reference source link  —> (IDENTITIES.MIC) to see video.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit which tracks hate groups across the U.S., reported a rise in extremist groups and attacks in 2015, with “armed violence … accompanied by rabid and often racist denunciations of Muslims,LGBT activists and others — incendiary rhetoric led by a number of mainstream political figures and amplified by a lowing herd of their enablers in the right-wing media.”

Weeks ago, a historic black schoolhouse undergoing renovations in Ashburn, Virginia, was vandalized with graffiti including swastikas and “white power” slogans.

Tom McKay


Trump sets his sights on a new target: Michelle Obama

CREDIT: Screengrab


During a rally on Friday, Donald Trump unloaded on Michelle and Barack Obama, calling them “babies” and “losers” and accusing them of spending too much time campaigning.

“We have a president, all he wants to do is campaign. His wife, all she wants to do is campaign,” Trump said. “And I see how much his wife likes Hillary. But wasn’t she [Michelle Obama] the one that originally started the statement, ‘If you can’t take care of your home, you can’t take care of the White House or country?’”

Trump was referring to comments Michelle made in August 2007 during the primary race between her husband and Hillary Clinton. At an event in Chicago, Michelle said, “One of the things, the important aspects of this race, is role modeling what good families should look like. And my view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House. Can’t do it.”


Some interpreted Michelle’s remarks as taking a shot at Hillary’s marriage. But other speeches Michelle gave around the same time suggested she was actually just talking about how she and Barack raised their daughters. Barack denied that Michelle’s comment was directed at the Clintons, and Michelle’s spokesperson said, “The only family Mrs. Obama was talking about was the Obama family.”

Trump used Michelle’s 2007 comments to attack Clinton during the second presidential debate, saying, “I’ve gotten to see the commercials that they did on you. And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary.”

But as Politifact’s Louis Jacobson wrote, “Trump is wrong to imply that Michelle Obama’s criticism came in an ad her husband ran against Hillary Clinton. Instead, it came from an ad made by a pro-Trump super PAC. And the comments from Michelle Obama are somewhat oblique.” Jacobson concluded that Trump’s comment was false.

Michelle Obama has emerged as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective surrogates. Last week, she delivered a powerful indictment of Trump’s misogyny, and earlier this month, she ridiculed Trump for whining about his “defective” mic during the first presidential debate.

Trump has generally steered clear of attacking Michelle. He actually praised her Democratic National Convention speech, calling it “excellent” and saying he thought “she did a very good job,” even though she spent much of it criticizing him.

Trump’s reluctance to go after Michelle might stem from her popularity. In August, a Gallup poll pegged her favorability at 64 percent, which is about 10 points higher than her husband’s. But by unloading on her on Friday, Trump indicated no attack will be off limits during the final weeks of the campaign.

Donald Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway’s Super-Sad Sunday

NBC Screencap


Trump campaign spin master Kellyanne Conway completed another Sunday of acrobatic twists and turns defending her candidate, but something about this weekend’s edition came across as depressing for all involved.

To hear Kellyanne Conway tell it, the Trump campaign is doing just fine. 

The growing list of women who claim Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them are a non-issue. His decision to publicly say he might not accept the results of the election is no big deal. And his standing in the polls––5.9 points behind Hillary Clinton, according to the Real Clear Politics average––is nothing to worry about, because, as she says, “the race is not over.” 

Really, things are going great, if only the media would stop being so hard on her candidate.

On Sunday morning, Conway, who has served as Trump’s campaign managersince August, made the rounds on the political talk shows sporting a toothy smile and red blouse. Her demeanor was as sunny as ever, and she did her best to convince viewers that despite all evidence to the contrary, Donald J. Trump will prevail. 

On CNN’s State of the Union, Conway deflected from the first question, about Trump’s 15-minute tirade against his accusers distracting from the rest of hisspeech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by talking about his plan to “create 25 million jobs.” Conway blamed the media for not focusing on that, rather than Trump’s stated plan to sue the women accusing him of wrongdoing after the election is over. 

“Every woman lied,” Trump said at the rally on Saturday. “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over,” he promised the crowd.

Asked if she knew ahead of time that Trump planned to devote so much time to campaigning against the various women who claim they were groped, kissed, or otherwise improperly treated by him, Conway said, smiling, “Well, he delivers his own speeches. This is his candidacy. He’s the guy who’s running for the White House.” 

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Conway admitted “we are behind” but said it was because Clinton has “tremendous advantages,” like her surrogates, former president Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama, who she said are, “much more popular than she can hope to be.” In other words, Trump’s problems, and even potentially his eventual loss on Election Day, can be blamed on Clinton rather than his own behavior.

“Our advantage going in,” Conway said, “is that Donald Trump is just going to continue to take the case directly to the people.”

Conway then said Trump threatening to sue his accusers (which seems unlikely since it would require him to be subjected to a discovery process) is just “a way to defend himself.” 

She also said that the real-estate mogul won’t sue the women immediately because, “We’re busy winning the presidency. We’re a little bit busy over here doing that…He’s just putting people on notice.”

Recently, Conway has mystified her Twitter followers and the press by retweeting statements that were complimentary to her, but reflected negatively on Trump. When BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins tweeted a supporter had yelled at Trump to “stay on the issues,” Conway remarked, “That was me! I was there…” And during the presidential debate on Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted, “‘Bad Hombres’ = Trump being Trump. Trump’s other answers = Conway-esque.” Conway retweeted the comment with an added, “— >.” 

When host Chuck Todd asked Conway about her social-media behavior, she responded, “Just on those tweets, because I actually have a sense of humor that maybe some are lacking…as does my client here, Donald Trump, [who said], ‘That’s all good, we’re having a great time here.'”


That same morning on Fox News Sunday, when host Chris Wallace asked Conway how she planned to fix Trump’s collapse with only two weeks left before Election Day, she again stated that Trump was “taking the case directly to the voters,” something the campaign believes sets them apart from Clinton, because her events are smaller than his rallies, and she holds them with less frequency. 

Asked if Trump’s plans to sue his accusers “step on his serious agenda,” Conway said, “He’s just trying to defend himself against, uh, false accusers, as he says.”

Conway is the quintessential happy warrior, a much more reliable and eloquent spokesperson for Trump than the other talking heads who work on his behalf. Still, the alternate reality she presents on television is hard to reconcile with what Trump says himself, onstage at his rallies, and the apparent negative effect that has on his precious poll numbers.

“If you see me sitting here as a campaign manager, then that’s where my heart and my head are,” Conway assured Wallace.

Oh, Kellyanne



Obama in Nevada: ‘Heck no’ to Trump, Joe Heck

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President Barack Obama campaigned on behalf of Hillary Clinton in Nevada on Sunday, also pushing those gathered to vote for Democrats running down ballot.

After thanking the state for helping to elect him, praising retiring Sen. Harry Reid and touting the process made during his eight years in office, Obama launched into an attack on GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“You’ve got a guy who proves himself unfit for this office every single day in every single way,” he said.

He also criticized Trump for claiming the election process is rigged, saying: “If this was rigged, boy it would be a really big conspiracy.

“The Republican governor is not going to rig an election for Hillary Clinton or rig an election for Catherine [Cortez Masto],” he added, referring to the Democrat running for Reid’s seat.

“We’ve got to have a Congress that is willing to make progress on the issues Americans care about,” he said, before launching an extended attack on Rep. Joe Heck, the Republican facing off against Masto.

He said Heck supported Trump when it was “politically convenient” and asked “What the heck took you so long?” to denounce the nominee. Heck dropped his support for Trump earlier this month, after the now infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump bragging about assaulting women.

“Too late!” Obama said. “You don’t get credit for that!”

As he criticized Heck, he asked “Nevada, what the heck?” and then led the crowd in chants of “Heck no!”

Polls show a tight race between Heck and Cortez Masto, the former Nevada attorney general in a race that Heck had been narrowly leading for months.

Clinton is ahead of Trump by nearly 5 points in the RealClearPolitics average, and the latestaverage for the Senate race shows Cortez Masto up by 2 points.

Heck revoking his support of Trump has set off a backlash against from Trump supporters and he’s privately acknowledged he’s in a “very difficult situation” for no longer supporting his party’s standard-bearer.

By The Hill staff


10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2016

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1. Trump proposes lengthy list of policies in Gettysburg speech
Republican Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday outlining his plans for his first 100 days in office if elected president. Touted by his staff in advance of the event as a “very specific, detailed vision” for “economic and physical security,” the speech largely took a list format as Trump outlined legislation and executive policies he intends to implement. Among other points, he offered six proposals for cleaning up Washington corruption, seven ways to protect American workers, and five actions to restore rule of law. Trump promised to end outsourcing with tariffs and other “consequences” to ensure “our companies will stop leaving the United States and going to other countries.” He reiterated his intention to build a border wall at Mexico’s expense, and described legislation to reduce violent crime, eliminate the defense sequester, expand military spending, increase health care options for veterans, and screen would-be immigrants and refugees because “we want people that can love us.”

Source: Youtube, The Week

2. AT&T reaches $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner
AT&T Inc. announced Saturday evening it has agreed to buy Time Warner Inc. for $84.5 billion, a price point of $107.50 a share, split equally between cash and stock. The merger is expected to be complete by the end of next year, and the combined company will be headed by current AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson. “It’s a great fit, and it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders,” Stephenson said — but it still has to get approval from Washington, which in a populist political climate may make the process difficult or shut it down entirely. Republican Donald Trump has already said his administration would not permit the deal.

Source: NBC News, The Wall Street Journal

3. Chicago celebrates Cubs’ first National League Championship since 1945
For the first time in 71 years, the Chicago Cubs won the National League Championship and are headed to the World Series. The team beat the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday in a 5-0 game, giving them a 4-2 Championship Series win. As Chicago celebrated Saturday night, the team thanked fans for their support throughout years of drought and an “unbelievable” season alike. “There’s a favorite saying in Chicago,” saidCubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams. “‘I hope they do it in my lifetime.’ So everybody who’s living today got to witness this.”

Source: Chicago Tribune, ESPN

4. New Trump accuser comes forward as Trump threatens to sue
An 11th woman accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct Saturdayjust hours after he said in his “first 100 days” speech in Pennsylvania that he will sue his accusers following Election Day. The accuser, an adult film star named Jessica Drake, says when she met Trump with several friends, “He grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.” Drake also says Trump later called her and offered $10,000 and a plane ride for sex, which she refused. For his part, Trump on Saturday reiterated his position that all the accusers are politically-motivated liars who will “be sued after the election is over.”

Source: CNN, Politico

5. Iraqi Kurdish forces seize several small towns near Mosul
Iraqi Kurdish forces reported Sunday they have freed several small towns from Islamic State control as part of their advance on the city of Mosul, Iraq. Bashiqa and two other liberated villages are at this point mostly uninhabited and and badly damaged thanks to years of fighting in the area. However, unconfirmed reports at CNN indicate the liberated towns and their remaining populations will not stay safe from returning ISIS militants unless Iraqi forces begin leaving behind a small contingent for protection. In one town on the south side of Mosul, ISIS reportedly returned Saturday and executed 40 unguarded villagers celebrating their freedom.

Source: Reuters, Associated Press

6. Airstrikes resume in Aleppo and Yemen as cease-fires end
Fighting in Aleppo, Syria, intensified Sunday after three days of cease-fire provided the desperate city a moment of relief. The unilateral cease-fire announced by Russia, which is supporting Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, was not accepted by the rebels who control Aleppo and thus was swiftly broken. Likewise, in Yemen, a three-day cease-fire endedSunday and the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led coalition intervening in the Gulf nation’s civil war promptly resumed airstrikes. The brief truce did allow some humanitarian aid to enter the starving country.

Source: Reuters, Reuters

7. Tom Hanks joins SNL to spoof the final presidential debate
Tom Hanks joined Saturday Night Live as moderator Chris Wallace for the last presidential debate cold open sketch. “Welcome to the third and final presidential debate,” he began. “Tonight, it’s going to be a lot like the third Lord of the Rings movie: You don’t really want to watch, but, hey, you’ve come this far.” Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump mostly took it from there, with McKinnon playing a private game of Bingo based on Trump’s outrageous comments while flat-out refusing to address the content of campaign emails published by WikiLeaks. As for “Trump,” he went meta, celebrating his support from “the best Baldwin brother, Stephen Baldwin.”

Source: The Hill, NBC

8. Libyan forces free 13 foreign ISIS captives in Sirte
Libyan fighters announced Saturday they have freed 13 foreign captives held by the Islamic State — 11 from Eritrea and one each from Turkey and Egypt — in the seaside city of Sirte, which has long been the center of ISIS activity in Libya. The pro-government Libyan forces have been fighting to take Sirte for six months with the assistance of American airstrikes. Libya’s fate will not be determined even if ISIS is eradicated in the North African country, as a diversity of rival factions will still compete for power in the vacuum left by the removal of strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Source: Reuters

9. Japanese veteran kills himself in explosion at public park
A 72-year-old retired soldier in Japan killed himself with an explosion at a city park Sunday morning, injuring three other people in the process. Located in the city of Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo, the blast exploded one car and burnt two others. The man’s home also burned in a separate fire several miles away, and a suicide note written by the elderly veteran was discovered by local police. Japanese suicide rates are among the highest in the world, with some 30,000 people taking their own lives each year.

Source: Sky News, Reuters

10. First woman to summit Everest, Junko Tabei, dead at 77
Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest, died Thursday at a hospital near Tokyo, her family announced Sunday. She was 77 years old. Tabei reached Everest’s summit in 1975 and climbed the world’s seven highest peaks — Kilimanjaro, Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, and Vinson as well as Everest — by 1992. She was proud of her reputation as a trailblazer for women, remarking in 2012 that “in 1970s Japan, it was still widely considered that men were the ones to work outside and women would stay at home.” She continued climbing until 2011.

Source: BBC News, CNN

Could President Hillary heal a divided nation?



If she wins the White House, Hillary Clinton will face the daunting task of healing the national divisions exposed by a vicious campaign season.

Whether Clinton could knit the nation back together is an open question. Her supporters say she will do what she can, but that the GOP will have to play its part. Opponents argue that she is uniquely ill equipped for the task.

The former secretary of State has been a polarizing figure for decades. She is the most unpopular nominee of modern times, with the sole exception of her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump. To many conservatives, she represents everything that is wrong with liberal politics.

Yet Clinton has sought to make overt appeals to Republican voters. Invited to deliver a closing statement at the third and final presidential debate last week, she said that she was “reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be.”

If Clinton wins, said former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), “for the first time in our history, we will have a president who more than half the people don’t trust and don’t like. That means that, rather than having the historic honeymoon period — being given the benefit of the doubt for a time — she won’t have that, unless she creates it.”

Gregg, who is also a columnist for The Hill, served in the Senate at the same time as Clinton. He acknowledged that during her time representing New York “she aggressively crossed the aisle,” going out of her way to seek areas where bipartisan progress was possible.

But, he added, “since she left the Senate her positions have hardened, and she has moved very far left” — in part to rebut the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during this year’s Democratic primary.

Many liberals, however, either don’t believe Clinton has moved to the left or doubt her sincerity in doing so. While all politicians are subject to pressures from both left and right, Clinton may have an unusually small amount of leeway.

Tad Devine, who served as a senior advisor to Sanders during the primary, said that he believed some progressives “will wait to see what her agenda is. If she pursues the agenda that was outlined in the Democratic platform, she will convert them into supporters. And, if she doesn’t, she will have to deal with a less-than-unified party, like President Carter in 1980.”

The parallel with Carter is ominous for Clinton. Democratic discontent with Carter fueled a primary challenge at the end of his first term from then-Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Although Kennedy’s bid had its share of missteps and ultimately fizzled, his candidacy weakened Carter before his eventual defeat by Ronald Reagan in the general election that fall.

Gregg suggested one possible way of threading the needle between competing political pressures.

A President-elect Clinton could convene a meeting with the leaders of the Senate and House before even taking office, he said, and outline issues on which bipartisan agreement ought to be possible: infrastructure and reform of the Veterans Administration being two examples. This would not require Clinton to forsake her campaign pledges, he said. Instead, she could simply run them along “a parallel track.”

But others are dubious that such an approach would work, especially with a Republican Party that may still be shell-shocked from the turbulent Trump candidacy.

While some Republican leaders in Washington, including Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), have made no secret of their differences with Trump, they have to be mindful of the power his supporters wield within the party.

A new poll from Bloomberg last week asked Republican voters whether Trump or Ryan better represented their own views. Fifty-one percent chose Trump, while only 33 percent favored Ryan.

It seems inconceivable that the Trumpian forces would accept GOP leaders cutting deals with Clinton on any issue of significance.

“I don’t think his people are going anywhere,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who was the campaign manager of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

“Whether he gets 38 percent, 40 percent, or whatever, that is a pretty rock-solid group of people. If he loses, they are not going to decide it’s time to stay home and not be involved with politics. How does their party deal with all that? How it comes back together is more important than anything Hillary tries.”

There are some things Clinton can do right now to ameliorate these problems. Even in the closing days of the campaign, a more positive tone in her advertising could give voters a better sense of what she stands for, experts say. Clinton’s most memorable ads so far have been attacks on Trump.

Clinton could also focus on running up the score on Nov. 8. A thumping win could give her greater leverage in any negotiations with Capitol Hill Republicans — especially if she brought a significant number of Democrats into Congress on her coattails.

Even so, however, she will almost inevitably face critics who say her victory was a national repudiation of Trump, rather than a positive endorsement of her.

“There’s where the non-Trump Republicans will be: ‘We made a mistake, the media was too light on him,’ ” Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer predicted.

“It won’t be because she is a great candidate or there is some mandate for what she stands for. And many people — not just Republicans — will believe that argument, given how explosive Trump has been. It’s a plausible argument to many people.”

The political polarization of the United States had been underway for years before battle was joined between Clinton and Trump, fueled by forces like talk radio and the growth of social media.

The widening fissures have begun to affect the basic geography of American life.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center report, a full 50 percent of people with “consistently conservative” beliefs said it was important for them “to live in a place where most people share my political views.” Thirty-five percent of people with “consistently liberal” views said the same thing.

Another Pew report this summer found that the number of partisans who hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the opposing party continues to rise. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats now feel that way — figures roughly three times as high as they were in 1994.

Findings like that underline the sheer scale of the challenges Clinton will face, even if she storms to victory on Election Day.

“The country is really at war many ways, rhetorically at least,” Devine said.

Niall Stanage