Tag Archives: candidate

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.

Covering Hillary, then and now: ‘Girls in the Van’ excerpt

I looked up from my breakfast. We were sitting in a diner in August of 2000, on the second day of U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton’s three-day tour of Long Island, and I was feeling slightly bummed out. I had planned to finish three stories while she was out here, the first a straightforward piece about her campaigning on Republican opponent Rick Lazio’s home turf, the second a feature story about the political instincts of her daughter, Chelsea, who was campaigning with her, and the third, a fun, light feature story about the candidates’ “favorites”—favorite junk food, favorite color, favorite book.

The first story wrote itself with no trouble yesterday, but here it was, not even 9 o’clock in the morning a day later, and my prospects for finishing the other two stories were already looking bleak. Yesterday Chelsea had come off like a totally political animal, thriving on the attention of the public and the press, but today she seemed bored and unenthusiastic. And Karen Finney, Hillary’s press aide, who had promised yesterday to help me get the answers from Hillary for my favorites list, which I had requested a month earlier, had just informed me that she didn’t have a chance to do anything on it yet.

I was on one side of the dining room at a big round table with a few other reporters and campaign workers, while Hillary, Chelsea, and some of the locals ate and chatted at a different table on the other side of the room. The first lady and her daughter were eating fruit, but most of the reporters had ordered the most unhealthy breakfasts possible: runny eggs, white toast, sausage, bacon, and of course, lots of coffee, since we all got up at dawn to watch Hillary greet early-morning commuters at a Long Island Rail Road station. …

As we followed Hillary and Chelsea out of the restaurant to the waiting vans, I checked out their dirty plates. I’d been slightly dubious of Finney’s report that they were eating fruit, especially when we were all feasting on cholesterol and fat, but there were indeed leftover blueberries in bowls where they’d been sitting. We were forever writing details like this down in our notebooks, but at the end of the day there was hardly ever any room for it in our copy.

“By the way,” said Finney with a smile, “in case you’re wondering, yes, Hillary paid for their breakfast, and, yes, she left a tip.” Hillary’s tips had been an issue ever since the Washington Times made a headline out of her staff’s failure to leave one for a waitress in an upstate restaurant where the first lady had been given a complimentary meal. The embarrassed campaign later mailed a savings bond to the waitress, a single mother.

Next stop after the diner was a day camp. Chelsea sat at a wood sculpture table with a bunch of little girls and absentmindedly made a tall pile of wood shapes. Then she wandered over to the pool where her mother was watching a relay race. But when Liz Moore of Newsday good-naturedly asked her if she thought the kids would vote for her mother, Chelsea stared straight ahead and walked away as if some terrible line had been crossed.

Chelsea had been friendlier a few weeks earlier when she’d accompanied her mother to a press conference on the steps of City Hall, her first appearance on the campaign trail in nearly a year. I’d asked Hillary during the Q-and-A if Chelsea was going to be showing up regularly from now on, and she’d said that was entirely up to Chelsea. When the event was over, we all ran over to where Chelsea was standing to see if she’d elaborate. Finney introduced us and we shook hands, but when I started to ask Chelsea whether we’d be seeing a lot of her in the future, Finney physically inserted herself between us, saying firmly, “Now, Beth, I think her mother answered that already.”

“Hey, I’m a mom, I understand these things, and I think I heard her mother say that what Chelsea does is up to her,” I said.

Chelsea perked up immediately. “You have children? How old are they?”

“Seven and two, and they know all about your mother,” I said with a smile. “They can pick her picture out of a photograph with a hundred other people in it.”

“They’re smarties,” Chelsea said sweetly, then turned to head off with her mother’s entourage.

Suddenly I felt like a dope. I’d wasted the two-minute window I’d had with Chelsea by talking about me. I’d rather talk about my kids than just about anything else, and Chelsea had been savvy enough to figure that out. One of the most basic rules of journalism is that when your source starts asking about you, you have to turn the conversation back to them. I hadn’t done that, and now it was too late.

“Sorry about that, Beth,” said Karen. “I just didn’t want it to degenerate into a whole avail.”

“Yeah, yeah. You do your job, I’ll do mine,” I said, feeling that I hadn’t done it very well at all. The whole notion that Chelsea could come to a press conference and not take questions was infuriating enough. If she wanted to be private, fine, but don’t stand 5 feet away from a pack of reporters and then let a campaign staffer protect you from the media.

Soon after that, the White House announced that Chelsea planned to take off the fall semester of her senior year at Stanford to campaign with her mother and spend time with her father during his last months in office. I took Hillary at her word that this was Chelsea’s decision, but it certainly didn’t hurt the first lady to have her daughter along.

And it didn’t hurt Hillary’s presidential campaign, 15 years later, when Chelsea had a child of her own, for Hillary to mention repeatedly that she was now a grandmother. Chelsea announced her second pregnancy during the 2016 campaign as well.

But back in 2000, we assumed that part of what brought Chelsea into the campaign was Lazio’s two adorable little girls. “Vote for my dad!” they’d shout as the photographers snapped away. One day, when Lazio was being interviewed on ABC’s “This Week,” I sat in a TV studio with his wife, Pat, and the girls, waiting for his segment to start. Molly and Kelsey were like two little kittens, tumbling over each other in the hallway, using a rubber band they had found to play cat’s cradle, hiding under the buffet, nibbling at the food, and then handing their dad a handful of crumbs when he came in the room. And Pat seemed like such a nice, normal person. I was shocked at being allowed to sit in a room with her and her kids. I couldn’t imagine anything like this happening on the Hillary campaign.

Sit in a room with Chelsea and watch her mother on TV? Have a normal conversation with someone who’s related to Hillary? Not have your bags searched and your movements restricted when you walk in the door? No way.

It also occurred to me that Chelsea could never be in her own little world the way the Lazio girls were, oblivious to all the busy grown-ups around them. Chelsea was always on when she was out with her parents, on display as the only child of important people, and instead of having a sibling to giggle with, her confidants were the people who’d been hired to protect her and make sure her needs were met. It was more like watching a princess venturing out among the common people than Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

Which isn’t to say Chelsea didn’t act as though she loved it. On the first day of the Long Island tour, at an outdoor rally in Great Neck, the 20-year-old first daughter really did seem enthusiastic and had displayed an impressive ability to work the crowd. She waded into her own section of the reception line, posing for photographs, shaking hands, signing autographs, leaning down to greet old ladies in wheelchairs and babies in strollers. She had the perfect posture, clasped hands, and ever-present smile of someone who was accustomed to being stared at, and she seemed comfortable accepting the adulation of dozens of gawking strangers who jostled to meet her.

I’d put some of the Chelsea material into a spot story about Hillary starting the three-day visit to Long Island, and I’d hoped to get even better stuff for a feature. My brain was bouncing around phrases like “in her father’s footsteps … like father, like daughter … the Clinton gene for pleasing the crowd,” and I’d asked the photographer who was working with me to save whatever he didn’t transmit yesterday to go with the story today.

The only problem was Chelsea. She simply wasn’t cooperating with the story that I was writing in my mind. The day before she’d taken the initiative to work the crowd, approaching bystanders with her arm extended. But now, at the train station, while her mother positioned herself so she could catch commuters on their way to the platform, Chelsea had hung back, standing 15 feet away with a couple of aides, saying hi only when one of the people rushing by happened to notice her. She was perfectly polite and friendly when approached and even borrowed my pen to sign a couple of autographs. But it was clear that her heart wasn’t in it.

Then at the next stops, a restaurant and day camp, she’d made it clear that she was also off-limits to all of us. The real Chelsea had obliterated the Chelsea I’d profiled in my head, and my story was nowhere. And naturally, although we requested a Q-and-A with Chelsea, we didn’t get one. While I could see why they didn’t want to have Chelsea answering our questions, it also seemed unfair that they could trot her out as a big campaign prop but then deny us the right to get a few quotes.

I didn’t know then that the day she’d spent working the line, chatting with everybody, would be one of the few days that she didn’t seem like a robot. In October, she and her mother went to a senior citizens residence in Queens, and the lady who was emceeing the event sweetly asked Chelsea, who was doing her usual plastered-on smile and robotic-clap routine, if the audience could just hear the sound of her voice. The first daughter stepped up to the microphone and, sounding more like Ginger on “Gilligan’s Island” than a senior at Stanford, uttered a breathy “Heh-low,” then stepped away.

The audience was silent for a moment, expecting the oddly orphaned greeting to be followed by some conventional phrase like “It’s so nice to be here” or “Thank you for your support for my mother.” But that was it. Just “Heh-low” and nothing else. For the rest of the campaign, you could hear reporters covering Hillary muttering “Heh-low” to themselves at all hours of the day and night. On a long, boring string of meaningless events, even the grumpiest, hungriest, most exhausted journalist could manage a smile in response to that little “Heh-low.”

Whether it was stage fright, indifference or something else that kept Chelsea from embracing her moment in the spotlight, I thought about Chelsea’s odd “heh-low” years later when she was hired by NBC as a reporter. Politico reported that she was paid $600,000 a year by the network, even though she only did a couple of stories and didn’t seem to have much chemistry with the camera. After three years on the job and mixed reviews, she left shortly before her daughter was born. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that she’d been hired partly because it would ensure the network access to her famous parents — but then the same could be said of Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of George W. Bush, who was also hired by NBC.

Back in the van with the Hillary crew, headed to our next stop, a news conference where Hillary was to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood (another moment from the 2000 campaign that seems unthinkable in the 21st century climate of controversy and violence surrounding Planned Parenthood), I whined to Bob Hardt of the Post: “What’s the lead?”

“There is no lead,” he responded matter-of-factly. “We’re in a news-free zone.”

Later I gave Frank Eltman, the AP reporter covering Lazio, the bad news that Karen Finney had made no progress helping me to complete the “favorites” story. This was of particular interest to Frank because he’d had no trouble getting Lazio’s staff to help him finish his list a month earlier.

The idea for the story was not particularly original, but it had grown out of a meeting we’d had with AP staff from upstate who’d told us that a lot of the local papers were becoming bored with the daily campaign stories. The story that got more play than just about anything else we’d done in recent times was Frank’s account of Lazio falling in a Memorial Day parade and splitting his lip. At least it was a story about something real happening, instead of just another talking head. We brainstormed a little and somebody said it was too bad we couldn’t ask Hillary the famous “boxers or briefs” question that a 17-year-old girl had asked Bill Clinton on MTV. The closest we could come to that, someone else had mused, was to ask her if she wore “cotton or nylon.”

I knew I’d never have the nerve to ask Hillary what kind of underwear she wore. So in the end Frank and I came up with the list of uncontroversial favorites to ask the candidates. Frank got his answers right away: Lazio’s staff took his tape recorder and had Lazio answer all the questions while the cassette was running, then gave the tape back to Frank. I thought I’d get through my list a short time later, when I and another AP staffer were granted a sit-down interview with Hillary in upstate Corning.

After we got through the serious questions, I explained the “favorites” idea to her. She laughed and seemed amenable, so I started with the list, expecting a one- or two-word answer to everything. Instead I got a long story with everything.

Most people have a quick answer to “How do you take your coffee?” Not Hillary. Sometimes she takes her coffee black, she explained, other times with lots of cream, sometimes she likes espresso, sometimes cappuccino. You just couldn’t pin Hillary down, not even on her coffee.

Then there was the question about the worst job she’d ever had. Lazio had given a two-word answer: “Mosquito control.”

But Hillary’s worst-job story was a virtual parable of youthful righteousness. She’d been traveling with a friend around the country after college and had ended up in Alaska, where she got a job on a floating dock processing salmon. She was issued a raincoat, rubber boots, and a spoon and was instructed to scoop the guts out of the fish. But she decided the fish didn’t look all that healthy, and she sought out the manager to pass on her concerns.

Her complaints apparently spooked the owners, or maybe they really did have something to hide, because when she returned for her next shift, the whole fish-processing operation had disappeared without a trace. Strike one for Hillary the Moral Crusader!

It was a good story, and oh-so-Hillary, but it took so long for her to tell it that by the time she was finished, Howard Wolfson told us the interview was over. That left me with seven or eight questions I hadn’t had a chance to ask.

So Frank had his list done in an afternoon without even being in the candidate’s presence. I’d had a coveted private sit-down with Hillary and hadn’t gotten through half of it. I sent Howard an email asking for help in completing it. No response. A few days later, I sent him another email with the same non-result. When I found out about the Long Island trip, it seemed as if it might be the perfect opportunity to get someone on Hillary’s staff to help me out the way Lazio’s staff had assisted Frank.

I felt kind of silly about it, of course; it seemed ridiculous to go to all this trouble to find out Hillary’s favorite color. On the other hand, it was infuriating to me that it had become such a big deal when the questions were so short and straightforward and the Lazio list was long done. I was thrilled when Karen Finney later agreed to help me. But when she told me a day later that she hadn’t had a chance to pursue it, I started obsessing and even getting paranoid about it.

Such a simple problem, yet I was so powerless to fix it. I began fantasizing that I would have to ask the questions one at a time at Hillary’s press conferences. Everyone else would be asking about education policy or her stand on Israel, and I would be shouting out something about her favorite movie. Or maybe I would have to ask her on one of those rare occasions when she strolled over to say good morning before an event formally began. “Good morning, Mrs. Clinton,” I imagined myself responding. “As long as you’re standing here, do you mind if I ask you what your favorite junk food is?”

Interestingly, though, in the 2016 presidential campaign, her staff seemed to welcome these types of questions as a way to humanize her. She still fights the public perception that she’s an ice queen, an iron lady and every other stereotype of the stiff, humorless, ball-busting female boss that has dogged her since first lady days.

Part of why it’s persisted is that she’s not naturally warm and fuzzy. Some candidates come across as authentic without even trying… Hillary grew up in a normal, middle-class family, but her years as a member of the elite have given her a tin ear, like when she said in 2014 that she and Bill came out of the White House “dead broke” — never mind their speaking fees and million-dollar book contracts.

So as she powered through a series of talk-show interviews in the 2015 run-up to the presidential race—dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, performing in a skit with Jimmy Fallon about Donald Trump, and telling Stephen Colbert about binge-watching favorite shows like “The Good Wife” and “Madam Secretary”—I naturally thought back to that elusive list of favorites and how hard it was to get her staff to help me get her answers.

Finally, though, it happened. One of her staff got the list completed and my story was done. Her favorite snack foods were chocolate and fruit, and her favorite color, she said, was yellow.

Editor’s note

 This is an excerpt from the book ‘The Girls in the Van,” by AP Writer Beth J. Harpaz, about being part of the press corps covering Hillary Clinton’s run for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2000. It has been updated with details from Clinton’s current race for the White House.   

 

Sanders in Congress: He arrived in Washington an activist

Bernie Sanders arrived in Washington as an activist, not a legislator.

The Democratic presidential candidate has preferred rabble-rousing to the schmoozing required to get bills passed. So it’s not surprising that his 25-year congressional career is defined by what he’s opposed — big banks, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, tax cuts for the wealthy — rather than what he’s accomplished.

But Sanders has chalked up his share of victories as a congressman and senator. His successes in shepherding legislation into law involve less sexy stuff such as emergency funding for veterans’ health care, help for dairy farmers and securing money for community health centers after giving up on his “single payer” health care plan.

A Vermont Independent who says he’s a democratic socialist, Sanders often has found himself on the outside looking in. Republicans controlling the House set the agenda for 12 of his 16 years there. He did, however, display a knack for prevailing, albeit temporarily, on floor votes despite the odds.

Sanders has had a greater impact in the Senate, where Democrats were in control for eight of his nine years.

A look at his legislative record:

VETERANS

Probably Sanders’ biggest accomplishment in Congress came in 2014 while chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He worked with his House counterpart, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., on legislation to improve a veterans’ health care system scandalized by long wait times for patients and by falsified records that covered up those delays.

Sanders, Miller and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., hammered out a $16 billion agreement after weeks of sometimes testy talks. At one point, Sanders and other senators refused to attend a public bargaining session called by Miller.

Eventually, the mismatched pair of Sanders and Miller, who represents Florida’s GOP-leaning Panhandle, agreed on a compromise that required the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who could not get prompt appointments at VA facilities, or who lived far from those centers.

Sanders and Miller had their disagreements, but they had little choice but to find common ground. The VA crisis was generating headlines in every congressional district as problems emerged at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide. In an election year, doing nothing was not an option.

Both men acknowledged that the bill was not what each would have written on his own. Miller wanted the VA to be able to fire senior executives without an appeal to ensure greater accountability. Sanders was wary of allowing private doctors to treat veterans, fearing it could be the first step to privatizing the VA.

Republicans say their concerns about the appeals process negotiated by Sanders have come true with the reversal of several high-profile firings and demotions by VA leaders.

The Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent agency that handles appeals by federal workers, reversed demotions of two VA executives accused of gaming the department’s hiring system for personal gain and the firing of an Albany, New York, medical director over patient safety concerns.

HEALTH CARE

Sanders was, and still is, a proponent of a government-run, single-payer health care system patterned after Medicare. He proposed the idea in 2009 as an alternative to the health care measure developed by President Barack Obama with Democratic leaders.

Sanders was forced to abandon the effort for lack of support. He regularly complained during the writing of the president’s health overhaul that it wasn’t progressive enough.

Instead, with his support needed to pass the measure, Sanders turned his sights upon procuring money for community health centers that provide primary care to millions of people for free or at a reduced cost. In the end, he played a major role in getting more than $12 billion for community health centers, particularly in rural areas.

DAIRY FARMERS

Sanders was instrumental in the 2009 fight to deliver money to dairy farmers struggling because of low milk prices. As the Senate considered a routine agriculture spending bill, Sanders offered an amendment to provide $350 million in emergency aid. He won a surprising 60-37 vote with help from four Republicans. Other dairy state Democrats embraced the proposal and Obama signed the measure into law.

AMENDMENTS

In the House, despite a GOP stranglehold, Sanders displayed skill in winning votes on amendments to legislation, often spending bills. These included increased funds for low-income heating assistance, weatherization help for the poor and funds for rural schools.

In most instances, however, they were temporary victories; GOP leaders reversed the outcome later in the legislative process. One exception was an amendment Sanders authored with Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., to prohibit the Pentagon from reimbursing defense contractors for costs and job cuts associated with mergers. The proposal was accepted and signed into law as part of a Pentagon spending bill.

“At a time when people are scared to death about whether or not they are going to have their decent paying jobs, they do not want to see their tax dollars going to large multibillion-dollar corporations so that these companies can then merge and lay off American workers,” Sanders said. 

Bradley footage winds up in an outside group’s political ad

AP reports

Outside groups have started pumping money into Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race.

The conservative Wisconsin Alliance for Reform has spent at least $234,660 on a statewide ad buy supporting Justice Rebecca Bradley, according to research released by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.

The group’s ad for Bradley raises questions about whether she broke her pledge not to coordinate with such groups, even though it’s legal. The ad used footage identical to that featured by Bradley on her YouTube channel on Jan. 21.

The ad makes no mention of her opponents, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald and 4th District Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg. It doesn’t press for viewers to vote for or against Bradley, instead calling her fair and measured. The upload, entitled “Rebecca Bradley: A Day in the Life,” has no dialogue.

Since the ad doesn’t specifically call for anyone’s election or defeat, it qualifies as issue advocacy. The state Supreme Court ruled last summer — weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointed Bradley to the court — that candidates can coordinate with outside groups on such communications. But Bradley pledged in October she wouldn’t coordinate with independent groups, although she added that she wouldn’t ask them to stay out of her race.

Luke Martz, Bradley’s campaign manager, said in an email that the footage the campaign uploaded to YouTube is in the public domain and the campaign has no problem with any independent group using it to “continue to showcase a positive message.”

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform spokesman Chris Martin said in a telephone interview that the group used publicly available footage. No one told the group the footage was out there, he added.

A supporter and donor of Walker, Bradley is a former president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, a far-right libertarian lawyers group. She’s also belonged to the Thomas Moore Society, a conservative Catholic legal group, and the Republican National Lawyers Association.

She began her legal career protecting corporations from liability lawsuits and doctors from malpractice suits.

The liberal group One Wisconsin Now said its research shows Wisconsin Alliance for Reform has spent closer to $400,000 on ads. OWN deputy director Mike Browne said the group queried every Wisconsin television station and cable system. He said OWN didn’t search for groups supporting Bradley’s opponents.

Justice at Stake spokeswoman Laurie Kinney said outside spending in state Supreme Court races sullies perceptions about justices’ impartiality and makes them seem beholden to groups that support them.

“If you have a justice who arrives on the bench courtesy of millions of dollars of spending by an outside interest group, what is the effect going to be on that person’s professional performance?” Kinney said. “It’s deleterious to the administration of justice.”

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform describes itself on its website as a “coalition of concerned citizens and community leaders committed to creating greater economic opportunities for Wisconsin families.”

Asked why the group had chosen to back Bradley, spokesman Martin said by email that she embodies the leadership and courage the group expects from justices.

Walker appointed Bradley, who has only about four years of experience on the bench, to every judicial position that she’s held.

Despite a lack of experience, Bradley was so certain Walker would appoint her to the high court that she registered a website as a justice before the applications were even due. That suggests a crony-style inside track on the job rather than anything resembling leadership and courage. 

“The Bradley campaign and the Republican Party are essentially one and the same,” said a statement from Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald’s campaign manager, Andy Suchorski, at the time of Bradley’s appointment.

More outside spending looks to be on the way.

Scott Manley, a lobbyist for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business group and a staunch Republican ally, told the Wisconsin State Journal in March that the group planned to get involved in the race. The group spent nearly $2 million on ads supporting conservatives David Prosser and Patience Roggensack, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The group spent nothing to help Daley.

As many candidates have, Bradley has benefited from outside spending in the past. The conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth spent $167,000 in Bradley’s race to retain her appointed seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2013. 

On the Web

Responses to questionnaires sent to the three candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice are online at the League of Women Voters’ national voter guide website — www.vote411.org. The candidates’ responses, along with local primary race information, also can be found on the League of Women Voters of Dane County site at lwvdanecounty.org.

Clinton wants every home powered by renewable source by 2027

Hillary Rodham Clinton is detailing new energy proposals in Iowa to address climate change. She calls global warming one of the “most urgent threats of our time.”

But she’s still not taking a position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Democratic presidential contender is proposing that every home in the United States be powered by renewable sources by 2027. Her plan calls for installation of 500 million solar panels over four years.

Clinton laid out clean-energy ideas during a tour of a regional bus station in Des Moines, Iowa.

When asked about the Keystone XL oil pipeline opposed by environmental activists, she would not comment except to say she wants a State Department review of the project to run its course.

Addressing the energy issue, Clinton has touted a program that would combat climate change at least in part by changing the tax code to promote renewable energy.

“This is not complicated folks,” the former secretary of state told more than 200 people at Iowa State University. “I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain. And I know we’re facing huge problem.”

Climate change has become a key issue in the Democratic presidential primary, where Clinton is the heavy favorite.

Billionaire Tom Steyer has led an effort to promote the issue. The California-based Steyer hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in May.

Clinton proposes, through tax incentives, to increase the amount of power derived from renewable sources to support every home in the United States within 10 years.

For instance, Clinton said she supports renewing the wind energy tax credit as part of over time shifting the U.S. energy system from one based on fossil fuels.

“We need to get the incentives fixed in our tax system which as you know are too heavily weighted toward fossil fuels,” Clinton said during a day of campaigning in central Iowa.

Clinton also hinted that her plans would impose changes on the coal industry, though she also pledged the government’s help for workers to make the transition.

“We can make a transition over time from a fossil fuel economy, predominantly, to a clean renewable energy economy, predominantly,” Clinton said later during an event at a central Iowa rural home.

Weaning the country off of coal is a tricky political position in key places on the political battleground map. Southeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania are regions of states that have been pivotal in recent elections. And they remain the home of key coal-producing areas.

Crediting coal-miners for having “created an industrial revolution,” Clinton said “it is important that we help them transition to a new economy.”

Clinton’s plan also includes the goal of installing 500 million solar panels within four years.

It would also increase capacity to the nation’s power grid with a combination of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal.

The plan’s estimated cost is about $60 billion over 10 years, and would be paid for by eliminating tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, also seeking the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, noted that he unveiled a climate change plan in Iowa that addresses not just consumer energy use, but industrial and transportation, as well.

As governor, O’Malley doubled Maryland’s renewable fuel production, and reduced greenhouse gases in the state by 10 percent during his two terms.

Trump accuses Mexico of sending criminals across border

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this week criticized U.S. immigration and trade policies on in speeches that veered from accusing Mexico of deliberately sending criminals across the border to professing respect for the Mexican government and love for its people.

Speaking to a gathering of Libertarians in Las Vegas before headlining an event in Phoenix, Trump repeated his charge that Mexico was sending violent offenders to the U.S. to harm Americans and that U.S. officials were being “dumb” in dealing with immigrants in the country illegally.

“These people wreak havoc on our population,” he told a few thousand people attending the Libertarian gathering FreedomFest inside a Planet Hollywood ballroom on the Las Vegas Strip.

In the 4,200-capacity Phoenix convention center packed with flag-waving supporters, Trump took a different view — for a moment — and said: “I love the Mexican people. I love `em. Many, many people from Mexico are legal. They came in the old-fashioned way. Legally.”

He quickly returned to the sharp tone that has brought him scorn as well as praise. “I respect Mexico greatly as a country. But the problem we have is their leaders are much sharper than ours, and they’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on trade.”

His speeches in both venues were long on insults aimed at critics and short on solutions to the problems he cited. When he called for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the audience in Las Vegas groaned.

In a break from the immigration rhetoric that has garnered him condemnation and praise, Trump asserted that he would have more positive results in dealing with China and Russia if he were president and said he could be pals with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Asked by an audience member in Las Vegas about U.S.-Russia relations, Trump said the problem is that Putin doesn’t respect Obama.

“I think we would get along very, very well,” he said.

Trump’s speeches were filled with tangents and insults leveled at business partners such as Univision and NBC that have dropped him in the wake of his comments that Mexican immigrants bring drugs and crime to the U.S. and are rapists. He also directed familiar barbs at other presidential contenders, including Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton (“the worst secretary of state in the history of the country”), news media figures (“lyin’ Brian Williams”) and President Barack Obama (“such a divisive person”). He called journalists “terrible people.”

As Trump lambasted Univision for cancelling its broadcast of the Miss USA pageant, one of his many business enterprises, a group of young Latinos unfurled a banner pointed toward the stage and began chanting insults. They were quickly drowned out by the crowd, and nearby Trump supporters began to grab at them, tearing at the banner and pulling and pushing at the protesters. Security staff managed to get to the group and escorted them out as Trump resumed speaking.

“I wonder if the Mexican government sent them over here,” he said. “I think so.”

Arizona’s tough-on-immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduced Trump in Phoenix after outlining the things he and the candidate have in common, including skepticism that Obama was born in the United States. He went on to criticize the federal government for what he called a revolving door for immigrants, saying many of them end up in his jails.

“He’s been getting a lot of heat, but you know, there’s a silent majority out here,” Arpaio said, borrowing from a phrase Richard Nixon popularized during his presidency in a speech about the Vietnam War.

A single protester standing outside the room where Trump spoke in Las Vegas was more concerned about the businessman being tied to the Libertarian Party.

“I’ve been a Libertarian for 43 years and Trump ain’t no Libertarian,” said Linda Rawles, who asserted that including Trump in FreedomFest set back the party’s movement.

Clinton to release new domestic policy proposal every week this summer

Earlier this year, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign lost count of its experts.

In the months before she began her second run for the White House, Clinton spent hours quizzing economists, lawyers, educators and activists about everything from executive compensation to the latest research on lead paint.

By last fall, the number of experts she had interviewed hit two hundred and her team stopped keeping track.

“It was like I hadn’t left Harvard,” Roland Fryer, an economist at the university, said of his meeting with Clinton to discuss successful charter school practices. “It was like talking to a colleague and debating over a cup of coffee.”

The Democrat isn’t an incumbent, and even with competition that’s resolute but still far from offering a serious primary challenge, Clinton has a luxury few candidates enjoy: time to hit the books. The results have started to emerge, and Clinton plans to add to them by releasing a new domestic policy proposal nearly every week this summer.

To be sure, politics are at play as Clinton shapes her agenda. She is sidestepping foreign affairs, which has consumed much of the early debate among Republican White House hopefuls eager to paint the former secretary of state with President Barack Obama’s record on the world stage.

She is not yet offering specifics on subjects where consensus among Democrats and independent voters will be harder to find: trade, limits on executive pay, regulating the country’s finance industry, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

What Clinton debuts in the coming weeks will form the core platform of her campaign and, should she win the nomination and the presidency, her administration. It’s an agenda Clinton describes as that of a “pragmatic progressive,” centered on families and focused on economic growth, innovation and income inequality.

Already introduced: proposals for paid family leave, free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, lowering student debt and job retraining. Still to come: ideas about taxes, climate change, education, wages, Wall Street and business regulations, which she’s given the more politically palatable name of “corporate responsibility.”

“There is genuine curiosity and interest in exploring all of this from Clinton and her team,” said Felicia Wong, head of the liberal Roosevelt Institute, who has urged Clinton to aggressively counter income inequality. “But the details will matter a lot.”

Most especially to those who wanted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to get into the race and are now packing town halls held by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent running for the Democratic nomination from Clinton’s left.

Clinton’s challenge is to craft positions that will satisfy that grassroots segment of her party, but won’t also vilify the wealthy _ particularly the donors she’ll need to pay for a campaign expected to cost $1 billion.

So while Clinton consulted progressive champions, including Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz and New School labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci, she’s also talked with Democrats with close ties to Wall Street, such as former Treasury chiefs Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

It’s a reach-deep approach aimed in part at correcting mistakes made during Clinton’s 2008 campaign, which was criticized by some Democrats for being too insular.

“In 2008, when we saw each other, she would ask me questions,” said Miami Dade College President Eduardo Patron, an education expert who first met the Clinton in 1980. “This time is more methodical, and that’s very intentional.”

Aides began pulling together briefing books last year. Her campaign says work by Harvard University sociologist Robert Putnam, the author of a book on childhood poverty and the “opportunity gap,” and Brookings Institution fellow Isabel Sawhill, who studies the decline of marriage and income inequality, particularly influenced Clinton’s early thinking.

Since then, Clinton’s research has continued in meetings, phone calls and emails with individual and larger groups of unpaid, informal advisers. Some have known the Clintons for decades, while others who are newer to the circle.

Harvard Professor Raj Chetty, an expert on social mobility, guided Clinton through slides on research into how children in certain areas of the country are more likely than others to get ahead. Heather Boushey, president of the liberal Center for Equitable Growth, provided data on the economic impact of the growing number of female breadwinners.

Those who have met with Clinton say she often questioned whether their policy ideas can be “scaled up” to a national level and also used the gatherings to run her own ideas past outside experts.

“It was made clear that we weren’t just going to sit down for an hour,” said Katie Porter, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and expert in consumer bankruptcy. “We were going to think, refine our ideas and have more conversations.”

The results of the research are evident in the campaign.

While talking about race relations during a visit to an African-American church in Missouri last month, Clinton detailed the impact of lead paint poisoning on young children. A speech to a Latino organization in Las Vegas earlier this month featured data on how many words children hear by the age of three.

At stops in New Hampshire, Clinton frequently mentions the average debt burden for students in the state.

“She can wonk-out for hours,” said Neera Tanden, a former adviser who’s now helping craft campaign policy as president of the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. “She’s one of the few people who talking about policy can get her into the greatest of moods.”

Clinton’s announcement energizes left, right

An unsurprising announcement on April 10 from Hillary Rodham Clinton delighted many, regardless of party.

Republicans said good, the chief adversary has arrived.

And Democrats said good, let’s get going.

Clinton formally announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination in an online video featuring voters talking about their lives and their plans, including Jared Milrad and Nathan Johnson, who spoke about planning their summer wedding. Clinton didn’t appear until the end of the video, when she said, “I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

The announcement ended what little speculation there was that Clinton — former first lady, senator and secretary of state — would wage a second campaign for the White House.

And, the next day, Clinton hit the road to earn votes. She and her campaign staff set out in a van — nicknamed “Scooby” — and traveled 1,000 miles from New York to Iowa, site of the first caucuses of the 2016 race for the presidential nomination. In Iowa, Clinton met with voters in a series of intimate gatherings and pledged a campaign about strengthening families, building “the economy of tomorrow” and fixing government dysfunction.

At a diner in Council Bluffs, she talked with voters, including supporter Mike Yowell. He told Clinton, “I was thrilled when you recently urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality. I was like ‘That’s our gal.’”

Elsewhere on the “It Starts Here” trip, she discussed the economy with voters over espressos, got congrats from supporters who signed “commit to caucus” cards, smiled in twofies and signed copies of her autobiography.

“She’s good people and she’s a great candidate,” said Jennifer Granden of Council Bluffs. “She had my vote in 2008. And there was never any question for me that she’d get it again.”

A week later, Clinton traveled to New Hampshire, another early voting state, for another series of intimate gatherings with voters.

Polls show Clinton with strong appeal among voters.

A Marquette University Law School poll released on April 16 showed Clinton would defeat Scott Walker in a general election contest 52 percent to 40 percent.

Nationally, Pew Research Center said its polling shows Democratic support for Clinton at least 15 points higher than in 2007. Looking at a general election contest, Pew said a third of voters say there’s a good chance they would vote for Clinton and 52 percent say there is at least some chance. In contrast, just 12 percent say there is a good chance they’d vote for any of the possible Republican candidates.

Still, campaign aides said the candidate will not take for granted a favorite status or that she’s the inevitable nominee. That’s one lesson learned from 2008, when Clinton placed third in the Iowa caucuses and, after a bruising primary season, lost the party nomination to Barack Obama. 

Republicans, however, assume the nomination is Clinton’s to have and unleashed a volley of searing attacks. About two dozen Republicans are preparing for the primaries and they all appear to be running against Clinton. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, addressing the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, denounced the “liberal, progressive worldview of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, and all of the other people who want to take the guns out of the hands of the good guys.” Later, Bush, whose father led the country into one war in the Middle East and whose brother led the nation into two wars, issued an online video saying the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team wrecked relations with allies and “emboldened enemies.” He also issued an appeal for money to block Clinton’s “liberal agenda.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who announced his candidacy on April 11 to a gathering of top donors, said, “Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over — and we’re never going back.”

The first TV ad from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign debuted just after Clinton’s announcement — it was titled, “Liberty, not Hillary.” On the campaign site, Paul was selling “Hillary’s Hard Drive” — a reference to the email server she maintained while Secretary of State.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, at the NRA convention, said, “People like Hillary Clinton seem to think you measure success in government by how many people are dependent on the government. I think we measure success by just the opposite: by how many people are no longer dependent on the government.”

Later, Walker tweeted, “@HillaryClinton has the same Washington-knows-best mentality people around the country are looking to move beyond. – SKW.”

Clinton’s announcement provided momentum for political groups raising money to either help elect her to the White House or to defeat her bid — at least 10 PACS exist to oppose her candidacy.

However, her official campaign is focused on building a grassroots base with small donations — collecting $10, $25, $100 contributions on the Internet.

Clinton also said she intended to make campaign finance a priority in her campaign and reaffirmed her support for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for unlimited cash to pour into politics.

“She’s tapping into a deep-seated belief among people of all political stripes that we have to reclaim our democracy from corporations and billionaires,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People for the American Way, a social justice group. “Americans are ready for a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United, and ready for leaders who are going to make it a priority.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Clinton to announce presidential campaign on April 12

Hillary Rodham Clinton will end months of speculation about her political future and launch her long-awaited 2016 presidential campaign on April 12.

The first official word that Clinton will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination will come via an online video posted on social media.

Then Clinton will make stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and possibly other early voting states.

The AP reported that one Democrat familiar with campaign rollout said Clinton’s stops would include visits to people’s homes in those states.

The people familiar with Clinton’s plans spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

The former secretary of state will be making her second bid for president and will enter the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 Democratic primary, President Barack Obama. Clinton appears unlikely to face a stiff primary opponent, though a handful of lower-profile Democrats have said they are considering their own campaigns.

Should she win the nomination, Clinton would face the winner of a Republican primary season that could feature as many as two dozen candidates. Among them, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Clinton will return to politics following a two-year leave from government. If elected, the former first lady would be the nation’s first female president.

Republicans have been preparing for a second Clinton campaign since she left Obama’s administration in early 2013.

By campaigning heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton hopes to avoid making the same stumbles against Obama as she did in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, which he won in an upset. Democrats echoed hopes that she would seek personal connections this time.

Clinton sees such campaigning as a way not take for granted her formidable position in the Democratic field.

Among the Democrats who could challenge Clinton in the primary are O’Malley, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vice President Joe Biden.

Clinton’s race is expected to cost more than the $1 billion Obama raised for his 2012 re-election and aides have said she is expected to focus heavily on online fundraising. Her campaign will be required to release its first fundraising report in July and it will be closely examined to measure the strength of her support.

Study: Potent new drug candidate blocks HIV strains

U.S. scientists say they have created a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine and could be used in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The research, which involved scientists from more than a dozen research institutions, was published February 18 online ahead of print by the prestigious journal Nature.

The study shows that the new drug candidate blocks every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) that has been isolated from humans or rhesus macaques, including the hardest-to-stop variants. It also protects against much-higher doses of virus than occur in most human transmission and does so for at least eight months after injection.

“Our compound is the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described so far,” said Michael Farzan, a TSRI professor who led the effort announced on Feb. 18 by The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida. “Unlike antibodies, which fail to neutralize a large fraction of HIV-1 strains, our protein has been effective against all strains tested, raising the possibility it could offer an effective HIV vaccine alternative.”

Blocking a Second Site

When HIV infects a cell, it targets the CD4 lymphocyte, an integral part of the body’s immune system. HIV fuses with the cell and inserts its own genetic material — in this case, single-stranded RNA — and transforms the host cell into an HIV manufacturing site.

The new study builds on previous discoveries by the Farzan laboratory, which show that a co-receptor called CCR5 contains unusual modifications in its critical HIV-binding region and that proteins based on this region can be used to prevent infection.

With this knowledge, Farzan and his team developed the new drug candidate so that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell.

“When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease,” said TSRI research associate Matthew Gardner, the first author of the study with Lisa M. Kattenhorn of Harvard Medical School. “We’ve developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.”

The team also leveraged preexisting technology in designing a delivery vehicle — an engineered adeno-associated virus, a small, relatively innocuous virus that causes no disease. Once injected into muscle tissue, like HIV itself, the vehicle turns those cells into “factories” that could produce enough of the new protective protein to last for years, perhaps decades, Farzan said.

Data from the new study showed the drug candidate binds to the envelope of HIV-1 more potently than the best broadly neutralizing antibodies against the virus. Also, when macaque models were inoculated with the drug candidate, they were protected from multiple challenges by SIV.

“This is the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of work on the biochemistry of how HIV enters cells,” Farzan said. “When we did our original work on CCR5, people thought it was interesting, but no one saw the therapeutic potential. That potential is starting to be realized.”

In addition to Farzan, Gardner and Kattenhorn, authors of the study, “AAV-expressed eCD4-Ig provides durable protection from multiple SHIV challenges,” include Hema R. Kondur, Tatyana Dorfman, Charles C. Bailey, Christoph H. Fellinger, Vinita R. Josh, Brian D. Quinlan, Pascal Poignard and Dennis R. Burton of TSRI; Jessica J. Chiang, Michael D. Alpert, Annie Y. Yao and Ronald C. Desrosiers of Harvard Medical School; Kevin G. Haworth and Paula M. Cannon of the University of Southern California; Julie M. Decker and Beatrice H. Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania; Sebastian P. Fuchs and Jose M. Martinez-Navio of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Hugo Mouquet and Michel C. Nussenzweig of The Rockefeller University; Jason Gorman, Baoshan Zhang and Peter D. Kwong of the National Institutes of Health; Michael Piatak Jr. and Jeffrey D. Lifson of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research; Guangping Gao of the University of Massachusetts Medical School; David T. Evans of the University of Wisconsin; and Michael S. Seaman of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health through multiple grants.