Friday, August 19, 2016
81 Days Until Election Day 2016
38 Days Until the First Presidential Debate
I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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- Trump Unveils New Message of Regret as Controversial Campaign Chairman Resigns In a stunning and unexpected reversal of his message in the last fourteen months, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump admitted Thursday there were moments of his campaign rhetoric he regretted, a first for the candidate.
- “Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” Trump said at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday night. “I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it – and I do regret it – particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”
- Trump’s reversal of message came just one day after installing new campaign leadership, including pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager, who was criticized Trump’s rhetoric in the past and is widely credited with steering him towards his new message. Just hours after the speech, Trump announced in a Friday morning statement that campaign chairman Paul Manafort had resigned.
- Manafort was first hired in March to professionalize Trump’s campaign, bringing his decades of political experience as the campaign’s Delegate Process and Convention Manager. He quickly rose up the campaign ladder, posing a challenge to then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. By April, his role had been expanded to heading the Washington, D.C. office. By May, Manafort was promoted to the role of campaign chairman and chief strategist. In June, his battle with Lewandowski was won when the campaign manager was fired. But Manafort’s efforts to turn Trump into a serious candidate, and turn to a message similar to the one Conway achieved in a day, repeatedly failed. After days of reports on his secretive work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, and after he was layered over in the campaign overhaul Wednesday, Manafort finally called it quits.
- “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” Trump said in a statement Friday morning. “I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
- With his staff overhaul now seemingly complete, Trump will reveal in the coming days whether his message overhaul is permanent as well. From start to finish, Trump’s remarks in Charlotte – titled “Building a New American Future” – diverged from his normal stump speech. The nominee began by talking about the “heartbreak and devastation in Louisiana, a state that is very special to me.”
- Using language he has never deployed on the campaign trail, Trump offered his prayers and condolences to the families of the flooding victims. “We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working, building, restoring together,” Trump said.
- He continued: “Though words cannot express the sadness one feels at times like this, I hope everyone in Louisiana knows that our country is praying for them and standing with them to help them in these difficult hours.
- Trump then pivoted to the “New American Future we are going to create together,” addressing:
- Law Enforcement “If I am elected President, this chaos and violence will end – and it will end very quickly. Every single citizen in our land has a right to live in safety.”
- Equal Opportunity “We cannot make America Great Again if we leave any community behind…I will not rest until children of every color in this country are fully included in the American Dream. Jobs, safety, opportunity. Fair and equal representation. This is what I promise to African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and all Americans.”
- The American Dream “I refuse to let another generation of American children be excluded from the American Dream… Let our children be dreamers too. Our whole country loses every time a kid doesn’t graduate from high school, or fails to enter the workforce or, worse still, is lost to the dreadful world of drugs and crime. When I look at the failing schools, the terrible trade deals, and the infrastructure crumbling in our inner cities, I know all of this can be fixed - and it can be fixed very quickly.”
- Education “[W]e are going to give students choice, and allow charter schools to thrive. We are going to end tenure policies that reward bad teachers and hurt good ones.”
- Health Care “[W]e are going to repeal and replace Obamacare…We are going to replace this disaster with reforms that give you choice and freedom and control in healthcare – at a much lower cost.”
- Trump also presented a broader message Thursday, answering the question of why he ran for president in a new way. “That’s why I am running: to end the decades of bitter failure and to offer the American people a new future of honesty, justice and opportunity,” he said. “A future where America, and its people, always – and I mean always – come first.”
- After expressing regret for some of his past word choices, Trump promised to “always…speak the truth for all of you, and for everyone in this country who doesn’t have voice,” specifically mentioning factory workers, veterans, and families living near the border. Trump hoped to present a contrast with his opponent, saying: “While sometimes I can be too honest, Hillary Clinton is the exact opposite: She never tells the truth. One lie after another, and getting worse each passing day. The American people are still waiting for Hillary Clinton to apologize for all of the many lies she’s told to them, and the many times she’s betrayed them.”
- “Our campaign is about representing the great majority of Americans – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservatives and liberals – who read the newspaper, or turn on the TV, and don’t hear anyone speaking for them,” Trump continued. “All they hear are insiders fighting for insiders…I am fighting for those for these forgotten Americans.”
- Trump closed with a reprise of familiar slogans: “It is time to vote for a New American Future. Together, we will Make America Strong Again. We will Make American Proud Again. We will Make America Safe Again. Friends and fellow citizens: Come November, We Will Make America Great Again.”
- Thursday’s address – like two other speeches this week – was given over teleprompter, a successful attempt by aides to rein in Trump’s frequent, controversial ad-libbing after over a year of refusing to follow prepared remarks.
- Hillary Clinton’s campaign responded to Trump’s remarks Thursday, seeking to ensure nobody forgets about the past – presenting the Old Trump as the real man and the New Trump as a creation of speechwriters. “Donald Trump literally started his campaign by insulting people. He has continued to do so through each of the 428 days from then until now, without shame or regret,” Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement. “We learned tonight that his speechwriter and teleprompter knows he has much for which he should apologize.”
- Clinton herself also went after Trump on Thursday: “There is no new Donald Trump. I think it's fair to say that Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He can hire and fire anyone he wants from his campaign,” she said at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. “They can make him read new words from a teleprompter but he’s still the same man who insults Gold Star families, demeans women, mocks people with disabilities and thinks he knows more about ISIS than our generals. There is no new Donald Trump. This is it.”
- Clinton’s campaign also pointed to Trump’s new ad as proof of his reverting to old ways. Trump’s first general election TV ad begins airing Friday in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina . The 30-second ad, titled Two Americas, focuses on immigration. The ad opens with a picture of Hillary Clinton, and dark scenes of America. “In Hillary Clinton’s America,” a narrator says, “the system stays rigged against Americans, Syrian refugees flood in, illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay, collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line. Our border open. It’s more of the same, but worse.”
- “Donald Trump’s America is secure,” the narrator continues, as the music turns upbeat and the pictures positive. “Terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out, the border secured, our families safe. Change that makes America safe again.”
- Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted in response: “In case you thought for a split-second Trump was genuine about feeling regret, he is back to demonizing immigrants again in his new ad today.”
- What happens next? The only thing we can do is watch. In a spontaneous campaign like Trump’s – where one day he is offering a brand-new message, and the next he is overshadowing it by announcing the resignation of his campaign chairman – anything can happen. The main questions that will be answered in the coming days:
- Can Trump stay on script? This is far from the first time Trump’s aides have sought to claim he is “pivoting” away from past comments to a new message, only to watch as the candidate makes a controversial remark the next day. Time will reveal if Trump is dedicated to his new approach.
- Will he specify his regrets? Newly-promoted Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway noted Thursday that his apology tour will continue, and that direct apologies for specific comments may be made – as opposed to a broad statement of regrets.
- Can he keep his base? Trump has some of the most enthusiastic supporters in American politics, but his toned-down message could decrease the energy of his base. Trump fans may not come to his rallies with the same passion if he doesn’t give them the bombastic speech they are used to and bores them instead.
- Can he convert detractors and make them forget? The new approach will only work if enough undecided Republicans and Independents choose to forget his past comments and instead sign up for his more inspirational message of late.
- Twitter Responds How political reporters and pundits responded to Trump’s Charlotte address:
- The Washington Post reporter Jose DelReal: “The Clinton campaign should be very nervous of this Trump, but his lack of messaging discipline could render speeches like this a total wash.”
- Los Angeles Times columnist Cathleen Decker: “Problem for "new" Trump: Teleprompter speeches have better words/discipline, but he so looks like he’s reading someone else’s thoughts.”
- US News & World Report political writer David Catanese: “This is the best Trump speech of the summer.”
- The Washington Post senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg: “If Trump is like this until [November] it will be a great test of when voters decide and when campaigns are won and lost.”
- NBC News reporter Ali Vitali: “One of the most compelling, succinct messages I've heard from him.”
- Clinton Foundation to Halt Foreign, Corporate Donations if Hillary Clinton is Elected Trump was not the only candidate who embarked on a turnaround Thursday, as the Clinton family moved to tamp down concerns over their family foundation. Just as Trump expressed regrets for the first time, in their announcement Thursday, the Clintons recognized for the first time that many voters view the Clinton Foundation as corrupt.
- In a staff meeting of the Clinton Foundation on Thursday, former President Bill Clinton announced Thursday that the charity will not accept foreign or corporate donations if his wife is elected President. President Clinton, who celebrates his 70th birthday on Friday, founded the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2001, after his White House term ended. The charity focuses on an array of issues, including “improving global health, increasing opportunity for girls and women, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, [and] helping communities address the effects of climate change,” according to its website.
- The foundation – renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation in 2013 – has come under scrutiny recently for its acceptance of donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and the possibility that foreign entities curried favor with Secretary Clinton by donating to her husband’s charity.
- Along with her use of a private email server, questions over the Clinton Foundation have added to voters’ distrust of Hillary Clinton, an issue that has plagued her presidential run from its outset.
- Pence Files Financial Disclosure, Tax Returns to Follow Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, filed his federally-mandated financial disclosure form Thursday, providing a glimpse into finances that differ from his running mate’s.
- Where Trump has become famous from his grand, wealthy lifestyle, the financial disclosure form showed a more modest Pence family. Pence’s $173,860 gubernatorial salary provides most of the family’s income, with his wife Karen listing two sources of income (a craft business and her paintings), each valued at less than $1,001.
- The Pences also their liabilities: the family owes between $95,007 and $280,000 in student loan debt.
- Pence’s 10-page disclosure report was much shorter than Trump’s: the real estate magnate released a 92-page report in July 2015, as well as a 104-page report in May of this year. The latter document, which Trump claimed to be the “largest in the history of the FEC,” is not yet available to the public. Trump’s 2015 filing “reported assets of at least $1.4 billion in real estate and other holdings, income of at least $431 million over the past 18 months from a huge number of sources, and liabilities of at least $265 million, including several mortgages for different Trump properties,” according to Politico.
- “Our family has been honored to serve our state and nation. Like many American families, we have been fortunate and blessed to raise three wonderful children and put them through college while doing work that we love,” an accompanying statement from Pence read.
- His spokesman Marc Lotter, meanwhile, released his own statement attacking their opponent: “As Americans can clearly see, the Pence family has not enriched themselves from their public service, which stands in stark contrast to Bill and Hillary Clinton who traded their public service for tens of millions of dollars in paid speeches, pay-to-play activities, and schemes involving their foundation that led to calls by the FBI for an investigation.”
- Hillary Clinton filed her personal financial disclosure form in May 2015, revealing an income of at least $30 million in the previous 16 months: $25 million in speaking fees for her and her husband, as well as over $5 million in book sales for her memoir “Hard Choices”.
- Presidential and vice presidential candidates are legally required to submit personal financial disclosure forms to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Releasing tax returns, however, is not mandated; although every major-party nominee since 1980 – until Donald Trump – has done so. In another departure from his running mate, Pence’s statement Thursday promised release of his tax returns soon.
- Polling Roundup What are the latest polls saying?
- Three national polls were released Thursday, both showing Hillary Clinton leading her opponents – but by a much smaller margin than in recent days.
- Pew Research: Clinton – 41%, Trump – 37%, Johnson – 10%, Stein – 4% (Clinton +4)
- Rasmussen Reports: Clinton – 41%, Trump – 39%, Johnson – 9%, Stein – 3% (Clinton +2)
- Reuters/Ispos: Clinton – 39%, Trump – 35%, Johnson – 7%, Stein – 2% (Clinton +4)
- Today on the Trail Where are the 2016 candidates today?
- Donald Trump and Mike Pence will tour the damage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana today, to examine the flooding that damaged over 40,000 homes and killed at least 13 people. Trump’s visit is the next step in his effort to appear “presidential” – especially in face of President Obama’s decision not to visit the area, despite calls from Republicans and The Advocate, Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper.
- Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) said Thursday that the President “is welcome to visit,” although he’d prefer a presidential trip occur “a week or 10 days, 14 days from now,” since it would require “hundreds of local first responders, police officers, sheriffs, deputies, and state troopers to provide security for that type of visit.” Edwards’ office also responded to reports of Trump’s visit. “Donald Trump hasn’t called the governor to inform him of his visit,” the statement read. “We welcome him to [Louisiana], but not for a photo-pp. Instead we hope he’ll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of this storm.”
- Later tonight, Trump will address a rally in Dimondale, Michigan – traveling to a state that is normally a battleground, although polls show Clinton leading by double-digits – giving him a chance to show whether he will continue his scripted pivot or revert back to normal.
- Neither Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine have public events planned for today, although Kaine will attend a fundraiser in Portland, Oregon (ticket costs range from $1,000 to $27,000).
- Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld will hold a town hall-style event at Florida International University in Miami today. According to a release from his campaign, Johnson has raised over $2.9 million online in August so far, a big fundraising boost for their campaign.
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