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Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:57:07 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2008

Down-Ballot Pain; Arizona Races; Keepin' It RealClear; Doughboys & Destruction

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:56:36 -0500

Good morning. It’s Friday, October 21, 2016. Ninety-nine years ago today, the first U.S. troops saw combat in World War I. Europe had been at war for more than three years by then, the fighting so gruesome that many generations later folk singer Eric Bogle would write of a whole generation of European men “who were butchered and damned.” In France, a nation linked to America since the days of the Revolutionary War, the war-numbed public was euphoric when Gen. John J. Pershing and his “doughboys” marched through Paris on July 4, 1917, regimental bands playing and...

Trump's Troubles Inflict Pain Down Ballot385138

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:10:33 -0500

It’s a scenario weary Republican senators have grown accustomed to: On a given day, their 2016 presidential nominee stirs controversy, forcing them to interrupt their campaign schedules to respond. Donald Trump’s refusal on Wednesday night’s debate stage to say he would accept the results of the election presented yet another challenge to embattled incumbents focused on surviving the final three weeks of the campaign. Many GOP Senate candidates have so far held steady against the weight of Trump. But their campaigns enter a new and difficult phase now that the final debate...

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Trump's Disqualifying Defiance of Democracy385007

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:34:19 -0500

It is tempting to laugh at Donald Trump's eruptions and outrages because he is such a cartoonish buffoon. But he gave chilling evidence Wednesday night of why he poses a grave and urgent threat to our democracy -- and why he must be defeated. There have been many bitterly contested elections in our nation's 240-year history, but never has the loser refused to accept the outcome and claimed the presidency was stolen by fraud. Trump threatened, in advance, to do just that. "I will keep you in suspense," he said, proving once again that he cares more about protecting his fragile ego than serving...

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An Establishment in Panic385007

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:23:38 -0500

Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace as to whether he would accept defeat should Hillary Clinton win the election, Donald Trump replied, "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense." "That's horrifying," said Clinton, setting off a chain reaction on the post-debate panels with talking heads falling all over one another in purple-faced anger, outrage and disbelief. "Disqualifying!" was the cry on Clinton cable. "Trump Won't Say If He Will Accept Election Results," wailed The New York Times. "Trump Won't Vow to Honor Results," ran the banner in The Washington Post. But what do these...

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Hillary Clinton's Dishonesty Was on Display in Final Debate384899

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:11:33 -0500

The third and mercifully final presidential debate also turned out to be the most conventional. Fox News' Chris Wallace did a solid job pressing the candidates on issues in Las Vegas, giving them space to spar but not enough space to get out of control. Of course, not even a strong moderator will deter candidates from misleading, lying and prevaricating all night. And since we know Trump's performance will be comprehensively fact-checked by the entire media, let's talk about three of Clinton's biggest whoppers. First, was there anything more ridiculous in the debate than Clinton's answer on...

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At Last, the Final Presidential Debate384875

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:10:19 -0500

The 27th law in Robert Greene's "The 48 Laws of Power" is "to create a cultlike following." Toward that end, Greene suggests that the modern day prince "use words of great resonance but cloudy meaning, words full of heat and enthusiasm." You wonder if Donald Trump read the book when you consider such pronouncements from the final presidential debate as this: "NAFTA, it's a disaster." Trump also promised amazing economic growth -- "I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent." "Most people want to hear that a simple solution will cure their problems," Greene explains. "Instead of the...

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Undermining Our System383828

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:10:09 -0500

Because of what came later -- Donald Trump's refusal to say whether he'd accept the results of the election -- Hillary Clinton's similar, if somewhat less incendiary, remark about our system's legitimacy went nearly unnoticed. Right out of the box, responding to a query from Chris Wallace about the Supreme Court (and let me add my voice to the general hosannas for his mature and professional conduct), Clinton implied that a Supreme Court decision she disliked, Citizens United v. FEC, "undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come...

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The Inevitable Outcome of Rage385071

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:04:06 -0500

Five years ago, after buying our new home, my wife bought two tall chairs for our children to sit at our kitchen counter. The kids never pushed the chairs under the counter. They were always across the room where, inevitably, the youngest would crawl up into the cabinets to sneak treats. On one particular day I came in through the garage carrying a heavy load, the chairs were again where they were not supposed to be, and I tripped and fell. I dropped everything I was carrying, had a scrape on my leg, and immediately lost my temper. For the second or so that the streak of robin's egg blue...

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Trump Reveals Fragility at the Heart of American Democracy384002

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:02:20 -0500

It is the nature of extreme partisanship to turn honest disagreements into alternative realities. The representatives of our own ideological team must always be good and beautiful, strong and surging. Admission of facts inconsistent with this premise is taken as disloyalty. The third presidential debate was a perfect test of this tendency. Republicans who contend that Trump was the winner are on their fourth Kool-Aid martini. For the first half hour, Trump -- appearing alternately sedate and sedated -- managed (briefly) to sound like a Republican by asserting basic conservative policies and...

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Despite Trump, Demotic Protest Politics Doesn't Always Fail367912

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:00:25 -0500

2016 has been a big year for protest politics -- not just in the United States, what with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting over 40 percent of primary votes, but also all over Europe and Latin America, where voters have been rejecting the advice of their nations' political, financial and media establishments. Two prime examples were in referendums. On June 23, 52 percent of British voters rejected the advice of Prime Minister David Cameron and other parties' leaders and chose to leave rather than remain in the European Union. On Oct. 2, 50.2 percent of voters in Colombia voted to reject...

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Arizona Battleground: Clinton, McCain Leading385116

2016/10Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:59:22 -0500

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is pushing new money and top surrogates into Arizona in an effort to win the reliably red state, but Republicans are confident that Donald Trump’s struggles there won’t sink incumbent GOP Sen. John McCain’s re-election. The Clinton campaign, hoping to expand the electoral map as her poll lead over Donald Trump increases nationally, announced a $2 million investment in Arizona earlier this week. Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton and Michelle Obama have stumped there in the days since to gin up excitement in a state now considered a 2016...

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Hillary Clinton and the Battered Black Voter Syndrome385166

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:15:29 -0500

What will it take for Democrats to lose the 95 percent black vote? Hacked email to and from staffers at the Democratic National Committee and to and from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, shows she cares far more about the black vote than black voters. Concern for lack of diversity: One email, three months before she announced her presidential candidacy, shows Clinton's future campaign staff mocking the criticism that it lacks racial diversity. Her then-spokesperson and future traveling press secretary Nick Merrill dismissively joked that former Bill Clinton chief of staff...

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Luntz: Trump Has No One to Blame But Himself385017

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:34:29 -0500

GOP pollster Frank Luntz said Wednesday the election is not rigged, but that Donald Trump need only look in the mirror if he loses to Hillary Clinton. Luntz, speaking at an event hosted by RealClearPolitics in Las Vegas prior to the final presidential debate, said that Trump’s own actions, not the electoral system, are responsible for his polling deficit to the Democratic nominee with fewer than three weeks before the election. “This election isn’t rigged. Donald Trump should have beaten Hillary Clinton,” Luntz said. “His performance in the first debate was...

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Unable to Control Himself, Trump Confirms Everyone's Worst Fears

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:51:32 -0500

AKRON, Ohio -- It was a two-track debate. At times, it was the setting for a detailed argument over serious issues in which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offered voters a relatively straightforward clash of progressive and conservative perspectives. But this is 2016, and eventually the third and final debate on Wednesday reached the fundamental issue of the campaign: whether Trump is fit to be president. Despite her substantial lead in the polls, Clinton did not hang back, as many predicted she would. Instead, she pressed Trump sharply on the entire catalogue of his shortcomings,...

Final Debate; Battleground Nevada; Keep the "Cadillac"; Over the Falls

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 07:32:52 -0500

Good morning from Las Vegas. It’s Thursday, October 20, 2016. The debates are done, thankfully. Now we only must endure 19 more days of attack ads, and we’ll have a new president. Hallelujah! Thirteen years ago today, a 40-year-old daredevil from Canton, Mich., leapt into the Niagara River with nothing protecting him but his clothes and a serene look on his face. The man’s name was Kirk Jones, and his apparent tranquility made the scene all the more disquieting to those who watched him float toward the famous falls. “It was really freaky, actually,” bystander...

Trump Says He May Reject Election Results384971

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 06:36:17 -0500

LAS VEGAS — At the final debate of a historic presidential campaign, Donald Trump on Wednesday held fast to an unprecedented break with U.S. political tradition, casting doubt on whether he would concede the election should he lose. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump said, even as moderator Chris Wallace stressed the vaunted place of the peaceful transfer of power in American democracy. But the election process itself has in recent weeks become a central theme of Trump’s campaign. He has repeatedly asserted, without citing specifics, that the election could be...

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Clinton's Wall Street Speeches Were Actually Brilliant383952

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:57:46 -0500

I've dismissed talk of Hillary Clinton's "secrecy problem" as mere babble in an election year. I thought, for example, that Clinton had no obligation to disclose her mild pneumonia, a temporary ailment she was over in a few days. Thus, I assumed there was something politically damaging in her discussions with Wall Street bigwigs, for which Goldman Sachs paid $225,000 a shot. Why else would she deem it safer to let our imaginations run wild about their contents than to release the transcripts and let the chips fall where they may? Now we have the three transcripts. Everyone can read them, and...

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Trump and the Lying Media384158

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:56:09 -0500

A couple of months ago, I had a nasty chore that I have to perform every so often. I had misquoted what a politician said in 1992, and a co-worker noticed the discrepancy. I wrote a correction, which my employer, the Chicago Tribune, promptly published. Does making a mistake like that cause me pain? Well, yes, sort of like the pain I'd get from being bitten by a wolverine and then dousing the wound with Tabasco. But sometimes mistakes happen, and when they do, the Tribune makes a point of letting our readers know. It's not hard to get a correction when a reputable newspaper gets something...

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This Election Year Features More Than One Presidential Race384777

2016/10Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:18:12 -0500

A presidential campaign is figuratively called a "race." Two runners sprint toward the Election Day finish line for the prize of the presidency. But the 2016 presidential campaign has spawned lots of weird races. The first sprint is one between embarrassments and scandals. Will another WikiLeaks disclosure confirm that Hillary Clinton is a dishonest and conniving hypocrite? Or will yet another open-mic tape, disgruntled beauty queen or old Howard Stern interview remind us that Donald Trump's private life was -- and perhaps still is -- uncouth? The winner will be the candidate leaked about the...

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Trump and Giuliani--Two Happy Warriors384874

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:49:20 -0500

Rudy Giuliani is campaigning more fiercely and ubiquitously for Donald Trump than he has for any recent Republican nominee. People wonder why, but as a former privatization advisor to the mayor and current economic advisor to the nominee, I see many reasons why their alliance was inevitable. Both are outspoken, highly competitive, larger-than-life figures. More importantly, both are spiritual godchildren of Ronald Reagan. Trump’s plans for deregulating the overbearing federal government and breathing life into our moribund economy are strikingly similar to ideas Rudy introduced as...

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Debate Depressive Disorder383372

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:54:26 -0500

How many more broadcast bust-ups will it take before America finally decides to make its presidential election debates tolerable again? I can't take it anymore. Can you? For the past three cycles -- 2008, 2012, and 2016 -- I've chronicled the depressing, systemic bias of left-leaning partisans whom the Commission on Presidential Debates routinely installs as "moderators." It would be one thing if these activists posing as journalists were upfront about their political preferences. But they continue to star in phony debate theater wearing their dime-store costumes of objectivity. The even...

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Labor Revs Its Ground Game in Elections Countdown384801

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:29:39 -0500

PHILADELPHIA – About an hour into door-to-door election canvassing Saturday, letter carrier Charlie Holesworth, a volunteer with the AFL-CIO, met a young married couple who confided to being at loggerheads about their presidential choices. “We try not to talk about it too much because it gets ugly,” Bernadette Cannon told Holesworth, explaining her support for Hillary Clinton while standing in the driveway of her duplex. “I’m hoping she wins in a landslide,” she said. “I’m undecided,” her husband, Jeremy, added while herding their two...

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Bayh, Young Keep Up Biting Attacks During Senate Debate384816

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:48:23 -0500

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Democrats this campaign season have gleefully attacked as their Republican opponents awkwardly try to distance themselves from Donald Trump, the party's provocative presidential nominee. In Indiana, a reliably red state, the opposite was true Tuesday during a U.S. Senate debate between former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh and GOP Congressman Todd Young. In fact, Trump's name wasn't mentioned once. Meanwhile Bayh name-checked Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, while going to great lengths to point out his differences with Democratic presidential candidate and...

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Ugly Race Hits Final Three Weeks384815

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:45:46 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's ugly and acrimonious battle for the White House is barreling toward the end, with the candidates taking the debate stage Wednesday night for one final primetime showdown. For Trump, the debate is perhaps his last opportunity to turn around a race that appears to be slipping away from him. His predatory comments about women and a flood of sexual assault accusations have deepened his unpopularity with women and limited his pathways to victory. His supporters remain intensely loyal, but there are few signs he's attracting the new backers he...

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Labor's Uphill Climb; Fueling the Economy; Trump-Perot Nexus; Agnew's Words

2016/10Wed, 19 Oct 2016 06:49:29 -0500

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Tonight, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump mercifully hold their final debate. Neither candidate has spent much time in the two previous encounters explaining how electing him or her would tangibly improve Americans’ lives. Last time, Hillary called her opponent a racist and a liar (while one of the moderators said he’d committed sex crimes). The Donald responded in kind, suggesting that Clinton would spend a Trump presidency in a federal penitentiary. It’s safe to say that my colleagues in the Fourth Estate are disgusted...