Tag Archives: nomination

Tonight at the DNC: Hillary Clinton’s fight song and more

The final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia will bring Hillary Clinton to the stage to accept the nomination for president, make history and officially launch the general election campaign.

Chelsea Clinton will introduce her mother.

Before Clinton’s speech, delegates will hear from a number of speakers, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore from Wisconsin.

Featured performers will include Star Swain, Carole King, Sheila E + Family and Katy Perry.


Onstage at the DNC on July 28

The program for the fourth night at the Wells Fargo Center, as provided by the DNCC, follows:

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (EDT) 

Call to Order
U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Archbishop from Greek Orthodox Church, Reverend Bernice King, Native American Gov. Eddie Torres, Sr. Mary Scullion

Pledge of Allegiance

National Anthem
Star Swain

President of the League of Conservation Voters Gene Karpinski

Minnesota State Representative Peggy Flanagan

U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (Florida)

Former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa

Former South Carolina State Representative Bakari Sellers

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (California)


President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin

U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (Louisiana)

Colorado House Majority Leader State Representative Crisanta DuranRemarks
U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (Wisconsin)

Tennessee State Representative Raumesh Akbari

Nevada State Senator Ruben J. Kihuen

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (Missouri)

Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (New York) and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride

Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta

U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty (Ohio)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty (Pennsylvania)

U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (Illinois)

6:00 – 10:00 PM (EDT)Musical Performance
Carole King

U.S. Representative James Clyburn (South Carolina)

Hillary for America Director of States and Political Engagement Marlon Marshall

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski and the Democratic Women of the Senate

Hillary for America Latino Vote Director Lorella Praeli

U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Musical Performance
Sheila E + Family

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

On the economy

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (Ohio)

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Introduction of Speakers
Ted Danson & Mary Steenburgen

Henrietta Ivey
She is a home care worker Hillary Clinton met while campaigning in Michigan who is helping to lead the Fight for $15.

Dave Wills
He is an 8th grade social studies teacher in Guilford County, NC and has over $35,000 in student debt.

Beth Mathias
She works two jobs and her husband works the nightshift at a factory in Ohio. Hillary Clinton met her at a roundtable in Marion.

Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed
She was fired from her job at a pizza restaurant for asking her boss why she was paid 25 cents less than her male co-worker and friend, Jake. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

“Americans for Hillary”

Doug Elmets
Former Reagan Administration official

Jennifer Pierotti Lim
Director of Health Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Co-Founder of Republican Women for Hillary

Tribute to Fallen Law Enforcement Officers

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez

Jennifer Loudon, Wayne Walker, Wayne Owens, Barbara Owens
Family members of fallen law enforcement officers

“An Inclusive America”Remarks
Reverend William Barber

Introduction of Film
Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

Khizr Khan
Khizr Khan’s son, Humayun S. M. Khan, was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Military supportRemarks
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (California)

General John Allen (ret. USMC), former Commander, International Security Assistance Forces, and Commander, United States Forces – Afghanistan

Florent Groberg
Retired U.S. Army Captain Florent “Flo” Groberg was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s top award for valor in combat, by President Barack Obama after serving in Afghanistan.

Chloe Grace Moretz

U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (California)

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

Musical Performance
Katy Perry

10:00 – 11:00 PM (EDT)

Introduction of Hillary Clinton
Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Reverend Bill Shillady

Trump’s credo: Americanism not globalism

Donald Trump accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” as U.S. secretary of state and vowed to be tough on crime and illegal immigrants in a speech on Thursday accepting the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump’s speech, clocked at 75 minutes, was designed to set the tone for the general election campaign against Clinton.

As the crowd chanted, “Lock her up,” Trump waved them off and said, “Let’s defeat her in November.”

When it was over, Trump was joined on stage by family members as balloons cascaded from above and confetti blew around the arena.

A CNN snap poll of viewers of the speech said 57 percent had a “very positive reaction” to the address and 18 percent a somewhat positive reaction and 24 percent said it had a negative effect.

Social media sentiment toward Trump based on tweets that mentioned his name was slightly more negative than positive shortly after his speech.

The acceptance speech by Trump, 70, closed out a four-day convention that underscored his struggle to heal fissures in the Republican Party over his anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric and concerns about his temperament.

The event was boycotted by many big-name establishment Republicans, such as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and members of the Bush family that gave the party its last two presidents.

Trump presented a bleak view of America under siege from illegal immigrants, threatened by Islamic State militants, hindered by crumbling infrastructure and weakened by unfair trade deals and race-related violence.

Accusing undocumented immigrants of taking jobs from U.S. citizens and committing crimes, Trump vowed to build a “great border wall” against the border-crossers.

“We will stop it,” Trump said.

Trump took positions in conflict with traditional Republican policies. He said he would avoid multinational trade deals but instead pursue agreements with individual countries. He would renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord linking the United States, Canada and Mexico. He would penalize companies that outsource jobs and then export their foreign-made products back into the United States.

“We will never sign bad trade deals,” Trump thundered. “America first!”

The New York billionaire, who has never held elected office, filled his speech with some of the bravado he used to win the Republican nomination over 16 rivals, punctuating his rhetorical points by waving an index finger.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” Trump said. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

In his speech, Trump portrayed himself as a fresh alternative to traditional politicians, willing to consider new approaches to vexing problems and help working-class people who may feel abandoned.

Laying out his case against Clinton, he denounced nation-building policies that were actually put in place to some extent by George W. Bush, without mentioning by name the Republican president who launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“‘Americanism, not globalism’ will be our credo,” Trump said.  “As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect — the respect that we deserve.”

Trump said policies pursued by Clinton in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria had made a bad situation worse. He blamed her for the rise of Islamic State militants and blasted her willingness to accept thousands of Syrian refugees.

“After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before. This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” Trump said.

Clinton senior adviser John Podesta dismissed the speech as painting “a dark picture of an America in decline” and called it a reminder that Trump “is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be president of the United States.”

John Weaver, a senior adviser to Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival to Trump, said in a tweet that Trump had delivered the “saddest, darkest, most depressing acceptance speech in modern history.”


Trump needed a strong performance on Thursday night to improve his chances of getting a boost in opinion polls as Democrats prepare for their own, more scripted convention next week in Philadelphia.

In a contest that pits two politicians viewed as unfavorable by large segments of the American people, Trump accused Clinton, 68, of being the puppet of big business, elite media and major donors who want to preserve the current political system.

“That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change – and they have to change right now,” Trump said.

Trump said he would speedily address the violence that has dominated headlines, such as the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers earlier this month. He vowed to defeat “the barbarians of ISIS,” the acronym for Islamic State.

“I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on Jan. 20, 2017, safety will be restored,” Trump said. The next president takes office on Jan. 20.


The prevailing narrative at the Cleveland convention has not been about Trump’s positions, but dominated instead by the failure of he party’s various factions to unite behind Trump.

A series of distractions at the convention largely thwarted a bid by the Trump campaign to show him as a caring father and magnanimous business leader who would bring greater prosperity and safety to the United States.

But in the end, many of these points were made when Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, introduced her father.

“I have seen him fight for his family. I have seen him fight for his employees. I have seen him fight for his company and now I am seeing him fight for our country,” she said.

Trump’s text of his speech, released by his campaign, included extensive footnotes to show where the material originated.

That was perhaps in reaction to the speech given on Monday night by Trump’s wife Melania, who was accused of plagiarism when she repeated lines from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, Obama’s wife.

A staff writer for the Trump Organization later took responsibility for the misstep.

(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson, Angela Moon, Michelle Conlin and David Alexander; Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Howard Goller and Peter Cooney)

Day 4 at the RNC: Donald Trump at the podium

The 2016 Republican National Convention concludes on July 21 with a program of speeches and events on the theme “Make America One Again.” The prime-time program concludes with Donald Trump accepting the Republican Party nomination for president and the dropping of 120,000 balloons.

At the podium

A look at the list of prime-time speakers …

Brock Mealer, motivational speaker.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Dr. Lisa Shin, member of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.

Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman and from Wisconsin.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University.

Peter Thiel, venture capitalist.

Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital.

Ivanka Trump, executive vice president at The Trump Organization.

Donald J. Trump, Republican nominee for president of the United States.

Ready to watch? Our guide to the GOP convention

The Republican Party consummates its love-hate relationship with Donald Trump at its national convention this week in Cleveland.

Don’t expect the typical four-day love fest.

The presumptive nominee is unpredictable and prone to veer off-message. Plenty of party faithful arrive carrying reservations about the nominee along with their luggage. There are #NeverTrump-ers still hoping to alter the course of history. Protesters may be out in force. And a large swath of GOP regulars will simply sit this one out.


What to watch for …


House Speaker Paul Ryan, the convention chairman, has run hot, cold and lukewarm on Trump.

He endorsed the GOP’s presumptive nominee belatedly and subsequently denounced Trump for “racist” comments.

Ryan will be on difficult terrain at the convention, trying to unify the fractured party while holding himself at arm’s distance from its combative nominee.

He’ll be shooting for a Goldilocks moment — not too hot, not too cold — with his policy-focused speech Tuesday night. Plenty of other GOP legislators will be trying to navigate similarly difficult pathways.



Remember when all eyes were on the likes of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz as top contenders to win the Republican presidential nomination?

While Bush, John Kasich and some other vanquished hopefuls will avoid the convention hall, those who do show up will face the somewhat awkward task of completing their transformation from anti-Trumps to cheerleaders.

Cruz, Walker, Chris Christie, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee all are in the Cleveland speaker’s lineup.

You can bet Trump critics will dredge up all the nasty things they said about Trump during the primaries.

And what Trump said about them. Does Trump say “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” doesn’t not lie anymore?



Expect to hear many variations on Donald Trump’s central campaign theme of “Make America Great Again.”

Here’s the themes for each day of the convention:

Monday: Make America Safe Again, with words from Melania Trump, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Jason Beardsley and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana.

Tuesday: Make America Work Again, with words from Tiffany Trump, Kerry Woolard, Donald Trump Jr., U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Ben Carson and Kimberlin Brown.

Wednesday: Make America First Again, with words from Lynne Patton. Eric Trump, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Thursday: Make America One Again, with words from Peter Thiel, Tom Barrack, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump.



The opening day of the convention’s focus is said to focus on national security strategy (that would be the wall along the Southern border) and foreign policy (that would be Trump’s take on what happened in Benghazi in September 2012).

The “Prime Time” lineup includes former a number of people identified as immigration reform advocates, as well as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” Scott Baio of “Charles in Charge” and “Happy Days,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Melania Trump, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin and also Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who claims to be a Democrat.



Given the GOP’s conflicted relationship with its nominee, the list of convention no-shows could be as notable as the lineup of speakers and attendees.

Check out the explanations offered by those steering clear of Cleveland.

Some will be up-front about wanting to keep their distance from Trump; others will deliver dog-ate-my-homework excuses to be elsewhere.



A conservative cabal hoping to derail Trump’s nomination is on life support.

There were jokes that the convention’s rules committee had employed chains, whips and muzzles last week as it crushed an effort to let delegates back the candidate of their choice.

The dissidents may make a last-ditch effort to get the full convention to revisit that idea. And there is sure to be an extra element of drama to the roll call of the states meant to deliver the nomination to Trump.

All sides will be watching for lingering evidence of dissent.

And there’s always the possibility that protesters will try to do something disruptive inside the convention hall.



The convention will be a coming-out of sorts for Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The former congressman is well known to GOP insiders as an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-immigrant conservative — and yet he’s far from a household name to the American public at large.

In a recent CBS News poll, 86 percent of respondents said they didn’t know enough about Pence to have an opinion.

Pence, who once described his style as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” is expected to offer a calming contrast to Trump but can be hard-hitting when he wants.

Watch what role he chooses to play in his Wednesday night speech at the convention: Democratic attack-dog? Christian standard-bearer? Congressional wheeler-dealer? All of the above?

And keep an eye on what the chemistry — if any — looks like between Pence and Trump. They barely know each other.



For months, say-anything Trump has been promising to be more presidential when the time is right. His speech to the convention Thursday night is the moment to prove he can do it.

But Trump’s had mixed success with past efforts to rein in his run-on mouth. He’s not a natural with a teleprompter and can come across as rather flat when he’s reading from a script.

Watch to see if he can find a comfortable middle ground — maintaining the tell-it-like-it-is style that has endeared him to some voters while toning down the excesses that have turned off others.



Don’t get your hopes up. Republicans always have a harder time recruiting Hollywood A-listers than do Democrats, and Trump is an even tougher draw than usual.

The best of the low-wattage stars in the lineup so far include actor and former underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr. and pro golfer Natalie Gulbis.



Conventions always draw protesters.

Trump’s polarizing campaign is attracting more than usual. Authorities are prepared for spontaneous gatherings and the potential for violence.

Among the groups that applied for permits or announced protest plans: Black Lives Matter and Stand Together Against Trump, a group that opposes the GOP presumptive nominee’s proposal to freeze entry into the U.S. of people from places with a history of terrorism. Pro-Trump groups will be gathering outside the convention hall, too: including Bikers for Trump, Tea Partiers for Trump and Truckers for Trump.



A global security firm that trains the news media and nonprofit organizations to deal with crisis situations has advised journalists covering the convention in Cleveland to wear body armor.

The firm noted that Ohio is a state where people can carry guns in the open and also conceal their weapons — and those weapons will be allowed in the 1.7 mile event zone at the convention center.


Onstage at the RNC: Scott Baio, Scott Walker, lots of Trumps

Former presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio — the latter by video link — are among those set to speak at the RNC in Cleveland.

Military leaders, members of Congress, actors, faith leaders and family members of presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump are also set to speak in what the Republican National Committee calls “an unconventional lineup” that will challenge the status quo and press for Trump’s agenda.

Speaker highlights at the four-day convention, which begins Monday at the Quicken Loans Arena.


Theme: Make America Safe Again

Headliners: Trump’s wife, Melania; Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, U.S. Army; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

Others: Willie Robertson, star of “Duck Dynasty”; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Marcus Luttrell, retired U.S. Navy SEAL; Scott Baio, actor; Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya; Mark “Oz” Geist, member of a security team that fought in Benghazi; John Tiegen, member of Benghazi security team and co-author of the book “13 Hours,” an account of the attacks; Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, siblings of Brian Terry, a Border Patrol agent whose shooting death revealed the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation; Antonio Sabato Jr., actor; Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw, immigration reform advocates; Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas; David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wis.; Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.; Rachel Campos Duffy, LIBRE Initiative for Hispanic economic empowerment; Darryl Glenn, Senate candidate in Colorado; Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Karen Vaughn, mother of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and Jason Beardsley of Concerned Veterans for America.


Theme: Make America Work Again

Headliners: Tiffany Trump, candidate’s daughter; Kerry Woolard, general manager, Trump Winery in Virginia; Donald Trump Jr.; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson; and actress Kimberlin Brown.

Others: Sharon Day, co-chairwoman of Republican National Committee; Dana White, president, Ultimate Fighting Championship; Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge; former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Andy Wist, founder of Standard Waterproofing Co.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Chris Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action; golfer Natalie Gulbis; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


Theme: Make America First Again

Headliners: Former presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Eric Trump, son of the candidate; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s pick to be vice president.

Others: radio host Laura Ingraham; Phil Ruffin, businessman with interests in real estate, lodging, manufacturing and energy; Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; retired astronaut Eileen Collins; Michelle Van Etten, small business owner; Kentucky state Sen. Ralph Alvarado Jr.; Darrell Scott, senior pastor and co-founder of New Spirit Revival Center Ministries, Cleveland; Harold Hamm, oil executive; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Lynne Patton, vice president, Eric Trump Foundation; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (by video); Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Callista Gingrich, wife of Newt Gingrich.


Theme: Make America One Again

Headliners: Peter Thiel, co-founder PayPal; Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital; Ivanka Trump, daughter of the candidate; and Donald Trump, GOP nominee for president.

Others: Brock Mealer, motivational speaker; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Dr. Lisa Shin, owner of Los Alamos Family Eyecare in New Mexico; RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and evangelical leader.

Libertarian Party picks ex-New Mexico Gov. Johnson for president

The Libertarian Party again nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as its presidential candidate, believing he can challenge presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton because of their poor showing in popularity polls.

Johnson, 63, won the nomination on the second ballot at the party’s convention in Orlando, Florida, defeating Austin Petersen, the founder of The Libertarian Republic magazine; and anti-computer virus company founder John McAfee.

The delegates selected former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld to be the vice presidential running mate.

Johnson, the party’s nominee in 2012, told the delegates during his acceptance speech that his job will be to get the Libertarian platform before the voters at a level the party has not seen.

“I am fiscally conservative in spades and I am socially liberal in spades,” Johnson told The Associated Press. “I would cut back on military interventions that have the unintended consequence of making us less safe in the world.”

On fiscal matters, Libertarians push for reduced spending and taxes, saying the federal government has gotten too big across the board. Johnson proposes eliminating federal income and corporate taxes and replacing those with a national sales tax.

He would reduce domestic spending by eliminating the Internal Revenue Service, the Commerce and Education departments, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

On social issues, Libertarians generally support abortion rights, gun rights, same-sex marriage and drug legalization, saying people should be allowed to do anything that doesn’t hurt others.

Johnson served as New Mexico’s governor from 1995 to 2003 as a Republican after a career as the owner of one of that state’s largest construction companies.

After failing to gain traction in the GOP’s 2012 primaries, he changed his registration to Libertarian shortly before running for that party’s nomination that year. He won the nomination and got just short of 1 percent of the general election vote against President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

For Johnson to make a serious run this year, he needs to qualify for the presidential debates. To do that, he must average 15 percent in five recognized polls.

He hopes that is doable because Trump and Clinton are both seen unfavorably by a majority of voters, according to recent polls.

Johnson will also need to overcome a huge financial disadvantage and history.

In 2012, Obama and Romney spent over a billion dollars each, a figure Trump and Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, are expected to also reach. Johnson spent $2.5 million in 2012, about one dollar for every 400 Obama and Romney each spent. Johnson hopes to raise “tens of millions of dollars” this time.

“Then we can leverage that to a level where we could wage political war” by hiring staff and running TV and radio commercials, Johnson said. He said Weld will help in this effort, having raised about $250 million during his political career compared to Johnson’s $8 million. Weld, 70, was Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997, also as a Republican.

The Libertarian Party has been running presidential tickets since 1972, but has never been a major factor. The party’s best showing was 1980, when candidate Ed Clark got slightly more than 1 percent of the vote. The only electoral vote the party has received was in 1972, when a renegade Virginia elector pledged to President Richard Nixon cast his ballot for Libertarian John Hospers instead.

Third parties have never won a U.S. presidential election. Former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, running on the Bull Moose Party ticket, got 27 percent of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes in 1912. He finished second to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, the only time a third party candidate has finished that well.

Other notable third-party runs include former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who got 13 percent of the popular vote in 1968, winning 45 electoral votes; and billionaire businessman Ross Perot, who got 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 but no electoral votes.

Sen. Reid to Democrats: ‘lay off’ Sanders

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said this week that people should “lay off” Bernie Sanders, sending a message to restive Democrats increasingly anxious to see the party unite behind Hillary Clinton.

Reid is personally close with the Vermont independent senator and presidential hopeful. Last week he disclosed that he’d spoken with Sanders to voice concerns about unruly protests by Sanders supporters at the Nevada state Democratic convention, and subsequently voiced his disappointment over a defiant statement Sanders issued in response.

On Tuesday Reid had a different message, signaling to fellow Democrats that pressuring Sanders is not the way to go.

“I’ve had conversations with Bernie, he’s a good person, he’s doing his best to effectuate what he believes in, and I have no criticism of Bernie at this stage,” Reid said.

“I think we should just kinda lay off Bernie Sanders a little bit, OK?”

Reid’s comment comes as Democrats, including in the Senate, grow increasingly vocal with their impatience over Sanders’ continued presidential candidacy. Sanders is showing no signs of quitting despite nearly impossible odds of overtaking Clinton, who is eager to turn her attention to Republican Donald Trump and the general election in November.

Instead Sanders’ is warning of a potentially “messy” Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in July while criticizing Clinton and the Democratic Party for their dependence on big money. Many Democrats find such criticism is wearing thin and poses threats to the party, but there’s debate over how best to respond. Reid seems determined for now to try to keep Sanders in the fold without alienating him and his backers.

Support for Feingold

Reid also told reporters that he’d spoken with Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who is running for Senate, and “I’m very happy that Sen. Sanders is supporting him bigtime.”

Although it’s not surprising that Sanders would back Feingold since they share similar outlooks, Sanders has not thus far gotten involved in endorsing or campaigning for Senate Democratic candidates. Backing Feingold could reassure other Democrats about his intentions and party loyalty.

For now, Paul Ryan says no to a Trump nomination

Donald Trump is struggling in his efforts to unite the GOP behind his campaign, the difficulty underscored by a startling exchange of comments with Paul Ryan.

Although Trump is now the party’s presumptive nominee, Ryan said Thursday: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” Still, he added: “I hope to. And I want to,” in comments on CNN’s “The Lead.”

Trump responded, in a statement released by his campaign, that he was “not ready to support” Ryan’s agenda as the party’s leader in the U.S. House. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people,” he said.

Two days after the Indiana primary all but sealed Trump’s victory as the man who will lead the GOP ticket in November, he is appealing to big-money donors he blasted during the primaries as he takes his first steps toward raising the massive amounts of cash he’ll need for the general election campaign.

That effort was hardly helped by the rejection _ for now _ by Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. In addition, Romney and former President George W. Bush said they do not plan to attend the party’s national convention in July.

Trump is aiming to broaden his primary insurgency into a full-fledged general election campaign, reaching out to party heavyweights and trying to repair his sometimes strained relationships with the Republican National Committee.

Upbeat still, Trump said in a brief interview with The Associated Press that his message has made the GOP “the hottest party around.”

His campaign is trying to convert that energy into dollars.

On Thursday, Trump named a finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, a private investor with ties to New York and Hollywood. Mnuchin “brings unprecedented experience and expertise” to the fundraising operation, the campaign said.

And Trump is taking pains to reassure party leaders that he wants to help Republican Senate and House candidates, some of whom are openly worried that Trump at the top of the GOP ticket will be a drag on their own campaigns.

Earlier this week, Trump’s final GOP foes, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, dropped out, clearing his path. Still, many party leaders, including Ryan, Bush and Romney, are keeping Trump at arm’s length.

Their reluctance to embrace him sends an unmistakable signal to their fundraising networks, which include most of the GOP’s best-connected donors.

“You might have a lot of these donors sit on the sidelines,” said Spencer Zwick, who led Romney’s fundraising efforts and now serves as Ryan’s national finance chairman.

Trump, a billionaire who paid for most of his primary campaign by himself, acknowledges he would have to sell some of his holdings to muster the hundreds of millions of dollars for a general election bid, something he says he doesn’t necessarily want to do.

He said Thursday he would be “putting up substantial money toward the general election,” following the $36 million in loans he previously made.

Yet he’s also beginning to take a more traditional route for his likely battle with Hillary Clinton, a Democratic fundraising powerhouse.

Mnuchin, who has never led a major political fundraising team, faces a gargantuan task.

Many major GOP donors have never heard of him _ or even know how to pronounce his name (muh-NOO-chihn). Like his new boss Trump, Mnuchin has a record of giving both to Republicans and Democrats _ including Clinton during her 2008 presidential run.

Anthony Scaramucci, a New York investor and Republican donor, said Mnuchin, a friend with homes in New York and California, has Wall Street and Hollywood ties and “is a great team-builder.” Scaramucci, who earlier raised money for failed GOP candidates Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, said he plans to be part of that team.

Trump also hopes to tap into the RNC’s existing fundraising network, but faces hurdles.

“High-dollar donors need to be convinced that Trump is going to be a serious candidate and won’t embarrass them,” said Charlie Spies, a veteran Republican operative with deep ties to party fundraisers.

This is all new to Trump. Through the end of March, he had raised $12 million, mostly from fans who clicked the “donate” button on his website or bought wares such as the ubiquitous red ballcap emblazoned with his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” campaign finance documents show.

That contrasts with Clinton, who has raised some $187 million so far and back in November began her general election fundraising effort, which can solicit huge checks for her campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

Trump’s lean campaign team will likely depend heavily on the Republican National Committee as he shifts to the 50-state task ahead. The RNC is counting on him to reciprocate by helping fund its nationwide data operation and staffing expansion.

Trump will also name a transition team and a vice presidential search committee. He told the AP he will announce his running mate choice at the July convention.

To be the nominee: A loophole here, a loophole there

So, it turns out you don’t have to be nominated to become the Republican presidential nominee.


At least for now.

That’s one rules oddity that became clear as the 168 members of the Republican National Committee and top party functionaries met in beachside splendor to discuss the GOP’s messy search for a consensus presidential candidate. Three months from now, the 2,472 delegates to the party’s nominating convention in Cleveland will have to decide whether to recast that or other bylaws that will help decide who becomes GOP standard-bearer in the November elections.

Some impressions from the recent RNC meetings in Florida:


In a background briefing for reporters, GOP officials shed light on a curious anomaly.

Under current rules, the party conducts an initial roll call to formally place in nomination those vying to become the GOP presidential candidate. But you don’t have to be among the competitors nominated to receive delegates’ votes when the convention holds its next ballot — or ballots — to choose the party’s actual nominee.

Of the GOP’s existing 42 rules, the most discussed is 40(b). It says that to be among those nominated, candidates must submit certificates showing support by a majority of delegates from at least eight states.

Yet the aides also noted that there’s another rule — 16(a)(2). It says that during voting to select a final nominee, the votes of delegates required by their states to support a specific candidate must be tallied for that person. GOP officials said that is true even if that candidate failed to be formally nominated in the initial roll call.

“Unbound” delegates — 150 to 200 in the first ballot, many more in later ballots — can also vote for whoever they want, whether that contender has been formally nominated or not.

Does this open the door for an outsider candidate elbowing aside frontrunners Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and capturing the nomination? Perhaps.

Why does the GOP have rule 40(b) at all?

It was approved at the 2012 convention, controlled by that year’s candidate, Mitt Romney. The rule was aimed at preventing supporters of rival Ron Paul from sapping up valuable television time with a raucous nominating speech, a potential embarrassment to the front-runner.


Yes, and reshaping those conflicting nominating rules is one likely example.

The RNC will recommend rules changes just before the summer convention begins, but those are only suggestions. The rules in Cleveland will be whatever the delegates vote to approve.

Since most delegates will be committed to Trump and Cruz, those men will also have a major say in shaping the convention bylaws as their campaigns and others jockey for advantage.

Trump has repeatedly accused RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other party leaders of running a nominating process with “rigged” rules. Since many party leaders consider Trump and Cruz likely losers in November, many grassroots Republicans — as well as backers of Trump and Cruz — suspect that leaders hope to allow a “white knight” candidate to ride away with the nomination.

For that scenario, a chief object of suspicion remains House Speaker Paul Ryan, a longtime friend of fellow Wisconsinite Priebus, despite Ryan’s assertion that he won’t accept the nomination.

Sensitive to that skepticism, party officials have repeatedly said they won’t recommend any changes that would expose them to charges that they favor somebody. But at the same time, they admit changes are coming.

As Sean Cairncross, the party’s chief operating officer, said in a video shown Friday to RNC members, “There’s no reason why the rules that governed Romney’s delegates should be used to govern you.”


If you were Trump or Cruz, you might love new rules that prevent the “white knight” scenario by making fresh nominations impossible. You might also want to free up delegates for former candidates like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson to support you, instead of sticking with the candidate that state laws or party rules “bind” them to support.

Republicans say operatives for Trump, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another hopeful, are working at state conventions to win allies on the national convention’s rules committee. That committee has 112 members, two delegates from each state and territory chosen by each state’s delegation.

“They just want friendly voices” on that committee, said Steve Duprey, an RNC member from New Hampshire.

But there’s a danger in pushing too hard and alienating GOP voters.

“You’ve got to play by the rules or it’s going to be all-out war,” said Dave Agema, the RNC committeeman from Michigan. “If they try anything, the perception will be, ‘You’re trying to change something for someone.’”

With conservatives like Agema up in arms over potential rules changes by the GOP establishment, that puts the presidential campaigns in an awkward position when it comes to speaking openly about any rules changes they might want.

Hence, cautious statements.

“We trust the delegates,” Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, told a reporter last week when asked about the rules changes he’d like.

Progressive coalition to Senate: Do Your Job

In Do Your Job actions across the country, thousands on March 21 are urging Senate Republicans to uphold their constitutional obligation to consider a presidential appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At events outside local congressional offices, including in Milwaukee, constituents are offering to enroll Senate Republicans in “Civics 101 Refresher” and to pay the costs of a basic government course at a local college.

More than three dozen national organizations are coordinating the nationwide day of action, including MoveOn.org Civic Action, CREDO Action, Democracy for America, Organizing for Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin voters are rallying outside Sen. Ron Johnson’s offices at 200 E. Wells Street at 11 a.m.  Overhead, a plane will fly a banner reading “Sen. Johnson do your job! #FillTheSeat.”

Other Do Your Job actions

  • In Des Moines, Iowa voters will rally outside Senator Chuck Grassley’s office at 210 Walnut Street at 12pm local time.  Coinciding the action, a plane will fly a banner over the rally reading “Sen. Grassley do your job! #FillTheSeat.”

  • In Cleveland, Ohio voters will rally outside Senator Rob Portman’s office at 1240 E 9th Street at 1:30pm local time.  Coinciding the action, a plane will fly a banner over the rally reading “Sen. Portman do your job! #FillTheSeat.”

  • In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania voters in an action outside Senator Pat Toomey’s office at 228 Walnut Street at 12pm local time. Coinciding the action, a plane will fly a banner over the rally reading “Sen. Toomey do your job! #FillTheSeat.”

  • In Austin, Texas voters outside Senator John Cornyn’s office at 221 West 6th Street at 12pm local time. Coinciding the action, a plane will fly a banner over the rally reading “Sen. Cornyn do your job! #FillTheSeat.”

Additionally, voters will gather outside offices of Senate Democrats to thank them for standing with President Barack Obama.

“In President Obama’s final year, Republicans want to do everything they can to obstruct and undermine his presidency, including saying they won’t consider any nominee President Obama puts forward to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Jo Comerford, MoveOn.org Civic Action campaign director. “MoveOn members and allies across the country are calling on members of Congress to do their jobs and consider a nominee. The stakes are simply too high to allow a partisan shutdown of a constitutionally-mandated process.”

“Senate Republicans don’t get to subvert the Constitution and refuse to do their jobs just because they don’t like President Obama,” said CREDO Action political director Murshed Zaheed. “When the American people elected and re-elected President Obama by huge margins they did so knowing he would have the opportunity to fill any Supreme Court vacancies that came up during his term in office, obstructing President Obama’s nominee is a radical, anti-democratic power grab — and the American people aren’t buying it.”

“The Republican obstructionism of the Supreme Court nomination is a slap in the face to democracy and our constitution. It’s outrageous, and the American people are disgusted with it,” said Eddie Kurtz, executive director of Courage Campaign. “The American people are already sick and tired of Washington dysfunction, and we’re giving Republicans two choices: Either do your job and give Chief Judge Garland a fair hearing, or pay for it in November.”

 At the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin said, “Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing. There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate, and the Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to give him swift and fair consideration. The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold the rights of all citizens, and we must hold accountable any politicians who tamper with our nation’s highest court for their own gain.”

 “This year, monumental cases will be decided by the Court on abortion access specifically and reproductive rights generally,” added Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a single hearing on any Supreme Court nominee, no matter how qualified, denies all of us our right to know where this nominee stands on core constitutional questions of women’s privacy, dignity, and equality.  With seven in ten Americans supporting legal access to abortion, we have a right to know where our justices stand on this important issue. It’s time for Republicans to stop putting their party’s interests ahead of our nation’s.”

Organizations supporting the national day of action include: 350.org, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Justice, Americans for Democratic Action, Americans United For Change, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – AFL-CIO, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Color of Change, Common Cause, Constitutional Accountability Center, Courage Campaign, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Democracy For America, Democratic Action Iowa/Americans for Democratic Action, Earthjustice, End Citizens United, Human Right Campaign, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Laotian American National Alliance, League of Conservation Voters, MomsRising, MoveOn.org, NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Abortion Federation, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women’s Law Center, National Education Association, NOW (National Organization for Women), Organizing For America, People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Congress, Progressive Democrats of America, SEIU, Sierra Club, The Voter Participation Center/ Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, UAW, UFCW, UltraViolet and United Farm Workers.