Thursday, August 27, 2015

Good morning.

Today, the latest in the Virginia shooting. Also joining the table are Bobby Jindal and Owen Wilson. Get ready to join the conversation!

TV station balances grief, journalism after on-air shooting. Alison Parker and Adam Ward's colleagues at TV station WDBJ saved their tears for off the air. The news became personal for the CBS affiliate in Virginia when reporter Parker and cameraman Ward were fatally shot during a live broadcast Wednesday morning, forcing co-workers to balance the stunning tragedy with professionalism.
Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Their grief was evident during the newscasts that followed, but so was their restraint.
"This is a hard day for all of us here at WDBJ7. We are mourning Alison and Adam, but it is our job to find the facts," anchorwoman Melissa Ganoa said during the 5 p.m. EDT newscast, less than 12 hours after the shooting by a fired station employee, Vester Flanagan, who died later of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

What unfolded was familiar to any TV viewer: A recounting of the crime; news conferences with updates from authorities and reaction from those who knew the victims. A third person, a local chamber of commerce executive who was being interviewed by Parker, was shot and wounded.

The station in Virginia's Roanoke-Lynchburg media market, however, left it to other outlets to dwell on the footage from WDBJ's unwitting broadcast of the shooting and, in a bleakly modern twist, apparent "selfie" video posted online by the gunman.
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, in Roanoke, Va., shows station reporter Alison Parker, left, … An estimated 40,000 viewers saw it unfold live, untold numbers watched it afterward. The station received calls for interview requests from media outlets in Russia and Australia, among others.

"We are choosing not to run the video of that (the shooting) right now because, frankly, we don't need to see it again. And our staff doesn't need to see it again," Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ's president and general manager, said on air soon afterward. "But we will do full reporting on it later. Our teams are working on it right now, through the tears."

In sometimes shaky voices, Marks, reporters and anchors shared tender memories of Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, as kind friends and dedicated colleagues. They also provided sketchy details of the shooting. Then Marks, his hair disheveled but his emotions in check, put a stop to it, at least in those early, freshly painful moments.

"We should probably go back to regular programming now, rather than prolonging this. But rest assured, we'll come back on the air as more information becomes available," he said.

In an age when video of crashes, shootings, fires and other tragedies is readily available and endlessly replayed, it was a decision — albeit it one influenced by personal loss — that other outlets often fail to make and for which they are roundly criticized. WDBJ news director Kelly Zuber was asked in an interview whether the station planned to air the selfie video. In it, a hand holding a gun is seen behind Ward for several seconds and then squeezes off shots at Parker.

"At this point we don't," she said Wednesday evening. "We'll review that as we go. It's pretty raw right now in our newsroom. And we will continue to process the journalism, and if that piece of video is important to what we do, we'll include it. But for right now, no. No."

Lee Wolverton, managing editor of The Roanoke Times, expressed the newspaper's sympathy for the victims and its intention to provide complete coverage. The paper's website Wednesday night included a screen grab of WDBJ's broadcast of the attack, labeled with a viewer warning, but not the selfie video.

"We recognize how important this story is in the life of our community and have strived to deliver the same kind of fullness and context we seek in every story," Wolverton said in an emailed response, adding that the Times' reporting would be thorough and presented in "a manner appropriate for the circumstances." Elber wrote from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer John Raby contributed to this report from Roanoke, Virginia.

Virginia TV journalists killed by suspect with 'powder keg' of anger. Two television journalists were shot to death during a live broadcast in Virginia on Wednesday, slain by a former employee of the TV station and who called himself a "powder keg" of anger over what he saw as racial discrimination at work and elsewhere in the United States.

The suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway hours after the shooting. Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said.

The journalists who were killed were reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. Both journalists were white, as is a woman who they were interviewing. The woman was wounded and was in stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Social media postings by a person who appeared to be Flanagan indicated the suspect had grievances against the station, CBS affiliate WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia, which let him go two years ago. The person also posted video that appeared to show the attack filmed from the gunman's vantage point.

Flanagan sent ABC News a 23-page fax about two hours after the shooting, saying his attack was triggered by the June 17 mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the network said. Nine people were killed, and a white man has been charged in that rampage. The network cited Flanagan as saying he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work. He had been attacked by black men and white women, and for being a gay black man, he said.

"The church shooting was the tipping point ... but my anger has been building steadily," ABC News cited the fax as saying. "I've been a human powder keg for a while ... just waiting to go BOOM!"

The on-air shooting occurred at about 6:45 a.m. EDT at Bridgewater Plaza, a Smith Mountain Lake recreation site about 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Washington.

The broadcast was abruptly interrupted by the sound of gunshots as Parker and the woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, screamed and ducked for cover.

Hours after the shooting, someone claiming to have filmed it posted video online. The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook by a man identifying himself as Bryce Williams, which was Flanagan's on-air name. The videos were removed shortly afterward. In one video, a handgun was clearly visible as the person filming approached the female reporter.

The person purporting to be Williams also posted, "I filmed the shooting see Facebook" as well as saying one of the victims had "made racist comments."

In the fax to ABC News, Flanagan praised shooters who had carried out mass killings at Virginia Tech University in 2007 and at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999.

ABC News said Flanagan called the network shortly after 10 a.m. Flanagan said he had shot two people and that police were after him, and then hung up. ABC News then contacted authorities and turned over the fax, which had arrived about 90 minutes earlier, the network said. Flanagan shot himself as Virginia State Police were closing in on a rental car on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County, WDBJ7 said. State police said the suspect refused to stop when spotted by troopers and sped away.

Minutes later, the suspect's vehicle ran off the road and crashed, police said in a statement, adding that troopers approached the vehicle to find the driver with a gunshot wound. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital near Washington, where he died.

"It's obvious that this gentleman was disturbed in some way at the way things had transpired at some part of his life," Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton told a news conference.

"It appears things were spiraling out of control, but we’re still looking into that," he said. "We still have a lengthy investigation to conduct and that's our focus as we move forward."

Flanagan had sued another station where he worked in Florida for alleged racial discrimination. Flanagan said he was called a "monkey" by a producer in the lawsuit filed in federal court against Tallahassee station WTWC in 2000. He also said a supervisor at the station called black people lazy. The Florida case was settled and dismissed the next year, court records show.

WDBJ7 President and General Manager Jeff Marks said he knew of no particular connection between Flanagan and the two slain journalists.

Speaking to CNN about Flanagan, he added, "Do you imagine that everyone who leaves your company under difficult circumstances is going to take aim?"

"Why were they (Parker and Ward) the targets, and not I or somebody else in management?" he said.

The station's early morning broadcast showed Parker interviewing Gardner about the lake and tourism development in the area. Gunshots erupted, and as Ward fell his camera hit the ground but kept running. An image caught on camera showed what appeared to be a man in dark clothing facing the camera with a weapon in his right hand. The station described the two dead journalists as an ambitious reporter-and-cameraman team who often produced light and breezy feature stories for the morning program.

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved," Marks said.

They were both engaged to be married to other people at the station.

"My heart goes out to the families affected," President Barack Obama said in a television interview in New Orleans, adding that such gun violence occurs "all too often in this country."

He said the United States needs to do "a better job of making sure that people who have problems, people who shouldn't have guns, don't have them."

Roanoke-area residents brought flowers and food to the WDBJ7 studio late on Wednesday, and parishioners at the Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Moneta, near the scene of the shooting, held a prayer vigil for Gardner.

On-air WDBJ7 personalities, who earlier acknowledged holding back tears as they reported on the deaths of their colleagues, said local ministers had reached out offering support.

According to his social media sites, Flanagan attended San Francisco State University. A university spokesman said he graduated in 1995 with a degree in radio and television. (Reporting by Emily Flitter, Laila Kearney and Barbara Goldberg in New York and Ian Simpson in Washington; Writing by Frances Kerry and Steve Gorman; Editing by Scott Malone, Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Shumaker).

In the WAPO today, a report states that Possible Biden run puts Obama fundraising network on high alert.
The possibility that Vice President Biden may jump into the 2016 presidential campaign is convulsing the network of wealthy Democrats that financed President Obama’s two White House bids, galvanizing fundraisers who are underwhelmed by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s performance.

A wide swath of party financiers is convinced that Biden will make a late entry into the race, and a sizable number are contemplating backing him, including some who have signed on with Clinton, according to more than a dozen top Democratic fundraisers nationwide.

Their potential support — driven in part by a desire to recapture the passion they felt in Obama’s campaigns — could play a key role in helping the vice president decide whether to make a third White House bid. The chatter among a cadre of well-connected party fundraisers suggests that he could benefit from an early jolt of money should he run.

Clinton maintains a broad and loyal donor base, and her financial dominance would present a huge challenge for Biden if he entered the campaign this fall. The former secretary of state amassed a record $47 million during her first quarter as a candidate and is flanked by an array of super PACs and other independent allies socking away millions for her.

Biden would face a tight scramble to raise money this far along on the calendar. Because donors can give a campaign only up to $2,700, he probably would have to lean heavily on a super PAC, which could accept unlimited sums, a move that would be distasteful to many liberal voters. White House press secretary Josh Earnest would not say whether President Obama wanted Vice President Biden to enter the 2016 presidential race and left open the possibility that he might eventually make an endorsement. Although Biden has not built his own fundraising network, he developed relationships with donors around the country as Obama’s running mate. And there is growing unease among some of Obama’s biggest financial backers about the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

Many of the president’s fundraisers are still up for grabs. Of the 770 people who collected checks for Obama’s 2012 reelection bid, just 52 have signed on as a “Hillblazer” bundler for Clinton or have held a fundraiser for her, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Top Democratic money players — many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations — said discussions among senior Obama fundraisers about Biden’s possible bid have taken a serious turn in the past few days. The news that former Obama administration officials Anita Dunn and Bob Bauer met privately with the vice president Monday night further accelerated a sense of movement toward Biden. Dunn and Bauer declined to comment.

“I think you are going to see a groundswell,” said one prominent party funder, who said that top political aides and fundraisers who backed Obama in 2008 and 2012 are considering helping the vice president. “There is a lot of enthusiasm on the wires. This feels real.”

[Family issues weigh heaviest on Biden as he considers a 2016 campaign]

Kirk Dornbush, a San Francisco biotechnology executive who helped lead Obama’s fundraising in the South and has not signed on with the Clinton campaign, said Biden would find a receptive audience among the president’s bundlers.

“Obama donors, the whole Obama world just loves Joe Biden — just loves Joe Biden,” said Dornbush, whose father served as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the Netherlands. And so they would be very open to sitting down with him and having the conversation, if not writing him a check.”

He added, “That having been said, people will want to look him in the eye and see that in fact he has the fire in the belly, because that was just crystal clear when we all had that conversation with then-Senator Obama, and I think people want to have that same sense with Joe.”

Jon Cooper, who was an Obama bundler and is now the national finance chairman for the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC, said he is fielding increasing interest from fundraisers he worked with during the past two presidential campaigns. Nearly a dozen of the 35 bundlers Cooper contacted have committed to helping if the vice president runs, according to the Long Island technology manufacturer.

“It’s getting a lot easier to get people to return my phone calls, because there’s a greater feeling among big donors that this really could be happening,” Cooper said. “There is going to be a deep reservoir of support, particularly among Obama fundraisers and bundlers, if Joe Biden enters the race.”

Even donors who are committed to Clinton say they expect that many fellow fundraisers would jump to Biden — particularly those who think they would be bit players in the massive fundraising operation gearing up for the former secretary of state.

“I think you’ll see a whole lot of people way outside the sphere of influence will be looking to get inside a sphere of influence,” said John Morgan, an Orlando lawyer and top party contributor.

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwer­in declined to comment on donor interest in a Biden run, saying in a statement, “Hillary Clinton is grateful to the hundreds of thousands of people who have stepped up to support her campaign and made her first quarter in the race a historic one.”

But the issue is expected to be a major topic when Clinton bundlers gather in New York next week for a meeting with campaign officials that was scheduled last month.

Biden’s potential candidacy has intrigued major party players who respect the steadfastness he has demonstrated as Obama’s vice president and admire what they describe as his down-to-earth decency. He has strong ties in particular to gay donors, who appreciate his early endorsement of same-sex marriage.

And many bundlers are pining to relive the frisson they experienced as players in Obama’s insurgent bid. After decades in Washington, Biden cannot claim to be an agent of change, but some donors consider him a continuation of the Obama era and its grass-roots appeal.

“There was energy around the genuineness of that campaign that I feel that we’re going to have with a Biden campaign,” said Shiva Sarram, an Obama fundraiser who has signed on to help the Draft Biden effort.

“I think there is a thirst for that genuine, honest candidate,” added Sarram, who runs a Connecticut foundation that supports war-affected children around the world. “That’s what Vice President Biden is to me: He’s trustworthy, he’s genuine, you know exactly what you’re getting with him, gaffes and all.”

Some top party fundraisers are also rattled by the news that the FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server at the State Department put any classified information at risk.

“People are saying, ‘The press has always been out to get her, they are never going to let it go, she’s never going to get past it, what do I tell my friends?’ ” said one well-connected Democratic bundler. “It’s sort of the question of the moment.” But Clinton campaign officials express confidence in the dedication of their supporters and shrug off the idea that some are having second thoughts.

“You can go around and find an anonymous donor to say something about anything,” campaign chairman John Podesta told reporters in Nevada on Monday, according to Politico. “But I think that we feel very good where we are.”

Many top Obama backers are strongly committed to Clinton, and said they will remain so even if Biden enters the race.

Andy Spahn, a major Hollywood fundraiser who advises film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and director Steven Spielberg, wrote in an e-mail that he has “much respect for the job Joe Biden has done as VP but it’s too late in the game to mount a credible campaign. Hope he will join us all in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.”

Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón, a former ambassador to Chile under Bill Clinton who is raising money for Hillary Clinton, said Biden does not have time to build a large war chest.

“It is too late to jump in,” he said.

Some senior Democratic fundraisers are skeptical that the 72-year-old vice president could mount the kind of operation needed to take on Clinton and then win the general election. “You’ve got to have a path,” said one top Obama bundler. “We had a plan in 2007 and executed that plan.”

Meanwhile, some Biden admirers who have signed up with Clinton feel torn.

“I don’t know that Biden can do it,” said a major fundraiser who has been fielding calls from other donors about the vice president. “It feels like another older white guy. Can he really pull it off? I’m really in a quandary.”

Biden supporters have begun pressing their case about how he could win. One of them is Joshua Alcorn, who was chief of staff to the vice president’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in May, and now serves as senior adviser to the Draft Biden super PAC. He sent out a strategy memo Sunday to members of the Democratic National Committee, who are gathering for their summer meeting in Minneapolis this week.

“Since 2000, caucus and ­primary-goers have yet to coronate an inevitable nominee in the year before those contests take place,” Alcorn wrote. One of his prime examples was mid-2007, when Clinton was still leading Obama in the polls. Anne Gearan, Anu Narayanswamy and Karen Tumulty contributed to this report.

Donald Trump trounces GOP field, Biden leads general election match-ups. Vice President Joe Biden fares better against top GOP candidates in hypothetical general election match-ups than Hillary Clinton, according to a new national survey.

The Quinnipiac University poll, released Thursday, also shows Donald Trump smashing the GOP presidential competition garnering 28% support from registered Republican voters in the 17-member field. The real estate mogul's closest competitor is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who tallies 12%.

Just 7% said they would vote for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a record low since November 2013.

Those results show just how far both Trump -- now the Republican front-runner -- and Bush -- the old one -- have come. Bush led national polls for much of the first half of 2015, but was quickly dislodged by Trump, after he announced his presidential ambitions this June.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida both are tied with Bush at 7%, the polls shows, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 6% and former tech CEO Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich tied at 5%.

"Donald Trump soars; Ben Carson rises; Jeb Bush slips and some GOP hopefuls seem to disappear," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the survey. "Trump proves you don't have to be loved by everyone, just by enough Republicans to lead the GOP pack."

And Trump certainly isn't loved by everyone, the survey shows. About 1-in-4 GOP voters say they would never vote for Trump, topping the field. Bush comes in second with 18%.

Clinton still leads the Democratic race at 45% support from registered Democrats, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 22% and Biden -- who is currently mulling a 2016 bid -- at 18%.

But Biden, currently sporting the highest favorability rating among any 2016 candidates polled of either party, tops Trump 48% to 40%, compared to Clinton, who beats Trump 45% to 41%. Biden also beats Bush, 45% to 39%, compared to Clinton, who beats Bush 42% to 40%.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley launched his presidential campaign May 30 in Baltimore with an appeal to the party's progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the Democratic nomination.

"This is the urgent work calling us forward today: to rebuild the truth of the American Dream for all Americans," O'Malley said at his rally. "And to begin right now." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham made himself the ninth Republican candidate to announce his candidacy. Graham launched his bid in Central, S.C., on June 1. Graham is betting his foreign policy experience will set him apart from other potential contenders. 

"I want to be President to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them," he said at his kickoff event. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry threw his name into the ring for the Republican nomination on June 4 in Addison, Texas. Perry ran in 2012 but his campaign ended after a debate gaffe and several stump speech missteps. 

During his announcement, Perry said: "We don't have to settle for a world in chaos or an America that shrinks from its responsibilities." Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee jumped into the 2016 presidential race on June 3 at George Mason University in Virginia. Chafee previously served in the Senate as a Republican and as an Independent governor. He's now running for president as a Democrat.

"I enjoy challenges and certainly we have many facing America," Chafee said during his announcement. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped into the race June 30 during a rally at his former high school in Livingston, New Jersey. He is the 14th candidate on the Republican side to join the race. 

"We need a government in Washington D.C. that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around," he said during the rally. On June 24, hours before a kickoff rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his intention to run. He was once a Republican rising star who passed on an opportunity to seek the White House in 2012.

"I'm running for President of the United States of America. Join me," Jindal tweeted, with a link to his website's announcement page. Businessman Donald Trump announced June 16 at his Trump Tower in New York City that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. This ends more than two decades of flirting with the idea of running for the White House.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," Trump told the crowd at his announcement. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush kicked off his campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination on June 15 in Miami. If his campaign is victorious, the Bush clan will become the only American family to have elected three of their own to the highest office in the land.

"We will get back on the right side of free enterprise and freedom for all Americans," Bush said during his announcement. Jim Webb, former U.S. senator from Virginia, announced in a tweet on July 2 that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, which makes him the fifth Democrat to do so.

"I understand the odds, particularly in today's political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money," he said on his website. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process." On July 13, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became the 15th Republican to join the race for his party's nomination. He launched his bid with a tweet and a video ahead of his rally in his home-state. 

In his video, he said, "In the Republican field, there are some who are good fighters, but they haven't won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven't consistently taken on big fights. We've showed you we can do both." Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined the Republican field July 21 as he formally announced his White House bid.

"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support ... because I have decided to run for president of the United States," Kasich told his kickoff rally at the Ohio State University. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, officially announced his presidential bid April 7 at a rally in Louisville. Paul is the son of former presidential hopeful Ron Paul of Texas. 

"Today I announce with God's help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I'm putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America," Paul said at the rally. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has made a name for himself in the Senate, solidifying his brand as a conservative firebrand willing to take on the GOP's establishment. He announced he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination in a speech on March 23. 

"These are all of our stories," Cruz told the audience at Liberty University in Virginia. "These are who we are as Americans. And yet for so many Americans, the promise of America seems more and more distant." Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid on April 12 through a video message on social media. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state is considered the front-runner among possible Democratic candidates.

"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," she said in her announcement video. "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." Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, announced his 2016 bid with a rally in Miami on April 13, a day after Clinton announced. He's a Republican rising star who swept into office in 2010 in a wave of tea party fervor.

"Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Rubio told supporters at Miami's Freedom Tower. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, announced his run in an email to supporters on April 30. He has said the United States needs a "political revolution" of working-class Americans to take back control of the government from billionaires. 

"This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to a handful of billionaires, their super PACs and their lobbyists," Sanders said at a rally in Vermont on May 26. Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, announced her bid for the Republican nomination on May 4. In 2008 she served as an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, and in 2010 she unsuccessfully ran for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat in California. 

"Yes, I am running," Fiorina said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world; who's in it." Republican Dr. Ben Carson announced he was running for President during a speech May 2 to thousands in Detroit. The retired neurosurgeon and surprise conservative star had been exploring the idea of running for a few months before the announcement.

"I'm probably never going to be politically correct, because I'm not a politician," he said in his announcement. "I don't want to be a politician. Because politicians do what is politically expedient -- I want to do what's right." Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee formally announced his candidacy at a rally in Hope, Arkansas, on May 5. Huckabee unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. This is his second attempt.

"I truly am from Hope to higher ground," Huckabee told the crowd during his announcement. "So it seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for President of the United States of America." Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination from a factory on the outskirts of Pittsburgh on May 27. Santorum, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, is widely considered the most socially conservative candidate who will enter the race. 

"As middle America is hollowing out, we can't sit idly by as big government politicians make it harder for our workers and then turn around and blame them for losing jobs overseas. American families don't need another President tied to big government or big money," he said during his kickoff rally. Former New York Gov. George Pataki formally announced his bid for the White House in a YouTube video released on May 28. The Republican served three terms as New York's governor, including during the 9/11 attacks.

"My vision was not a partisan vision. It was a vision about people, about what we could accomplish together," Pataki said as he narrated a four-minute announcement video. "If we are to flourish as a people, we have to fall in love with America again." Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley launched his presidential campaign May 30 in Baltimore with an appeal to the party's progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the Democratic nomination.

"This is the urgent work calling us forward today: to rebuild the truth of the American Dream for all Americans," O'Malley said at his rally. "And to begin right now." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham made himself the ninth Republican candidate to announce his candidacy. Graham launched his bid in Central, S.C., on June 1. Graham is betting his foreign policy experience will set him apart from other potential contenders. 

"I want to be President to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them," he said at his kickoff event. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry threw his name into the ring for the Republican nomination on June 4 in Addison, Texas. Perry ran in 2012 but his campaign ended after a debate gaffe and several stump speech missteps. 

During his announcement, Perry said: "We don't have to settle for a world in chaos or an America that shrinks from its responsibilities." Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee jumped into the 2016 presidential race on June 3 at George Mason University in Virginia. Chafee previously served in the Senate as a Republican and as an Independent governor. He's now running for president as a Democrat.

"I enjoy challenges and certainly we have many facing America," Chafee said during his announcement. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped into the race June 30 during a rally at his former high school in Livingston, New Jersey. He is the 14th candidate on the Republican side to join the race. 

"We need a government in Washington D.C. that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around," he said during the rally. On June 24, hours before a kickoff rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his intention to run. He was once a Republican rising star who passed on an opportunity to seek the White House in 2012.

"I'm running for President of the United States of America. Join me," Jindal tweeted, with a link to his website's announcement page. Businessman Donald Trump announced June 16 at his Trump Tower in New York City that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. This ends more than two decades of flirting with the idea of running for the White House.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," Trump told the crowd at his announcement. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush kicked off his campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination on June 15 in Miami. If his campaign is victorious, the Bush clan will become the only American family to have elected three of their own to the highest office in the land.

"We will get back on the right side of free enterprise and freedom for all Americans," Bush said during his announcement. Jim Webb, former U.S. senator from Virginia, announced in a tweet on July 2 that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, which makes him the fifth Democrat to do so.

"I understand the odds, particularly in today's political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money," he said on his website. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process." On July 13, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became the 15th Republican to join the race for his party's nomination. He launched his bid with a tweet and a video ahead of his rally in his home-state. 

In his video, he said, "In the Republican field, there are some who are good fighters, but they haven't won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven't consistently taken on big fights. We've showed you we can do both." Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined the Republican field July 21 as he formally announced his White House bid.

"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support ... because I have decided to run for president of the United States," Kasich told his kickoff rally at the Ohio State University. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, officially announced his presidential bid April 7 at a rally in Louisville. Paul is the son of former presidential hopeful Ron Paul of Texas. 

"Today I announce with God's help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I'm putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America," Paul said at the rally. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has made a name for himself in the Senate, solidifying his brand as a conservative firebrand willing to take on the GOP's establishment. He announced he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination in a speech on March 23. 

"These are all of our stories," Cruz told the audience at Liberty University in Virginia. "These are who we are as Americans. And yet for so many Americans, the promise of America seems more and more distant." Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid on April 12 through a video message on social media. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state is considered the front-runner among possible Democratic candidates.

"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," she said in her announcement video. "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." Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, announced his 2016 bid with a rally in Miami on April 13, a day after Clinton announced. He's a Republican rising star who swept into office in 2010 in a wave of tea party fervor.

"Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Rubio told supporters at Miami's Freedom Tower. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, announced his run in an email to supporters on April 30. He has said the United States needs a "political revolution" of working-class Americans to take back control of the government from billionaires. 

"This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to a handful of billionaires, their super PACs and their lobbyists," Sanders said at a rally in Vermont on May 26. Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, announced her bid for the Republican nomination on May 4. In 2008 she served as an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, and in 2010 she unsuccessfully ran for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat in California. 

"Yes, I am running," Fiorina said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world; who's in it." Republican Dr. Ben Carson announced he was running for President during a speech May 2 to thousands in Detroit. The retired neurosurgeon and surprise conservative star had been exploring the idea of running for a few months before the announcement.

"I'm probably never going to be politically correct, because I'm not a politician," he said in his announcement. "I don't want to be a politician. Because politicians do what is politically expedient -- I want to do what's right." Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee formally announced his candidacy at a rally in Hope, Arkansas, on May 5. Huckabee unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. This is his second attempt.

"I truly am from Hope to higher ground," Huckabee told the crowd during his announcement. "So it seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for President of the United States of America." Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination from a factory on the outskirts of Pittsburgh on May 27. Santorum, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, is widely considered the most socially conservative candidate who will enter the race. 

"As middle America is hollowing out, we can't sit idly by as big government politicians make it harder for our workers and then turn around and blame them for losing jobs overseas. American families don't need another President tied to big government or big money," he said during his kickoff rally. Former New York Gov. George Pataki formally announced his bid for the White House in a YouTube video released on May 28. The Republican served three terms as New York's governor, including during the 9/11 attacks.

"My vision was not a partisan vision. It was a vision about people, about what we could accomplish together," Pataki said as he narrated a four-minute announcement video. "If we are to flourish as a people, we have to fall in love with America again." 

Malloy said Biden could be encouraged by these polling results.

"If he is sitting on the fence, his scores in the match-ups and his favorability ratings may compel him to say, 'Let's do this,'" Malloy said.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,563 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, including 666 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points and 647 Democrats with a margin of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Down Hillary Clinton’s Email Rabbit Hole. Hillary Clinton’s released emails contain information that could have damaged U.S. national security if disclosed at the time they were written. A picture is emerging from multiple concurrent investigations into Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive national security information during her tenure as secretary of State. The picture is of a culture, fostered by the secretary, of lax security and inappropriate handling of classified information.

The intelligence community has now flagged 305 of Clinton’s emails for further review to determine if they contain classified information. Reuters, in its own review of emails already released to the public, claims that “dozens” of Clinton’s emails contained information that should have been classified.

And the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Thursday that Clinton’s use of a personal email server to handle her unclassified correspondence violated government policy. The judge allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expand its investigation to search for deleted emails on her server and thumb drives, and he ordered the State Department to review any deleted emails that are recovered.

Thus far, the investigations have focused on whether Clinton or her advisors violated U.S. law by mishandling classified information. It is increasingly clear that the answer is yes. However, it is likely that, in the end, only a very small number of emails will be found to have technically violated U.S. law.

It can be difficult to prove that information should have been classified, because you can often find an unclassified source to back up the classified fact you may have inadvertently disclosed, allowing you to claim that you were merely conveying someone else’s unclassified claim, not confirming a classified fact. “I’m not confirming that the U.S. runs a secret drone campaign; just commenting on what our policy should be if such a program hypothetically existed.” If so, Clinton and her aides are likely to get off with a slap on the wrist.

Hillary Clinton’s Culture of Lax Security
Legalities aside, however, it is clear that the Clinton State Department was extremely lax in its treatment of sensitive and classified information. I read a small selection of Clinton’s emails, which are gradually being made public by the State Department after review. They are available on the State Department’s website, but more easily searchable through the Wall Street Journal.

The very fact that the emails need redacting is proof that the information should have been handled more carefully. The State Department has redacted material from many of these emails. The very fact that the emails need redacting is proof that the information should have been handled more carefully, and probably should have been classified. For example, in March 2011 Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s aides and, so far, the worst offender in the unfolding drama, sent a “status report on Chris Stevens mission to Benghazi.” The next sentence is redacted. The sentence may have contained specific details of the ambassador’s location and itinerary.

Such information about the planned movements of high-ranking U.S. officials is valuable for terrorists who could use it to plan an attack, and this sort of information is routinely classified. This is the sort of information that should not have been sent over an unclassified system, as evidenced by the State Department’s redaction of it (or of something similar).

Other examples of information I found in a cursory review of the emails that probably should have been classified include the following.

Hillary Clinton forwarded a message from Sidney Blumenthal in December 2012 on “Benghazi intel” sourced in part to “the highest levels of European Governments, and Western Intelligence and security services.” Others have raised questions about the ethics of Blumenthal’s consulting for Clinton. But equally worrisome is that Blumenthal felt comfortable relaying information from high-level intelligence officials over an unclassified system, and that Clinton felt comfortable forwarding it on.

Sandy Berger gave advice in 2009 about diplomatic negotiations with Pakistan on how to pressure them to crack down on militants. If Pakistani officials had access to this email, they would be better prepared to negotiate with Clinton and bargain for more U.S. aid while concealing their support for militants. Preserving the confidentiality of internal discussions helps strengthen U.S. officials’ hands in international diplomacy.

If Pakistani officials had access to this email, they would be better prepared to negotiate with Clinton and bargain for more U.S. aid while concealing their support for militants.
Abedin sent a “Behghazi Update” in 2011 with details about the internal machinations of the Libyan Transitional National Council and an assessment of the repercussions of the capture of Qadhafi’s family members. These are straightforward intelligence reports from the field.

It is troubling that Clinton and her advisors regularly sent such information over a private, non-governmental unclassified system. But it is equally worrying that the State Department continues to claim this information was unclassified. These emails contain information that could have damaged U.S. national security if disclosed at the time they were written—but the State Department persists in claiming they did not contain classified information.

While most commentators have complained about a culture of over-classification in the government, it appears that the State Department under Secretary Clinton had a pervasive culture of under-classification. That would explain why the intelligence community’s review of Clinton’s emails has found far more classified information than the State Department’s review did.

Classification Reforms Are Overdue
Today, a couple years after the emails were written, there is little danger in publicizing them—which suggests one possible reform to the classification system. While most commentators have called for reforms to mitigate over-classification, a better reform is for the U.S. government to shorten the time frame for automatic declassification review to a maximum of ten years.

They are still publishing documents from the Nixon and Ford administrations, 40 later.

Under current law (Executive Order 13526), classified information is supposed to be classified for ten years, after which it is automatically queued for review and, if disclosure is deemed non-harmful, public release. However, the author may choose to extend the classification to 25 years instead of ten. In my experience in government, we always did. Virtually all classified information is classified for 25 years, and then only selectively released with ample redactions and withholdings. The long waiting period slows down the work of historians, scholars, and journalists for no discernable gain.

Worse, the queue is getting longer and longer. The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, which publishes the internal deliberations of past administrations and is an invaluable source for historians, has been lagging behind its publication schedule. In theory, they are supposed to be able to publish documents from 25 years ago; in practice, they are still publishing documents from the Nixon and Ford administrations, 40 later.

If Clinton’s email scandal leads to reform of the declassification process, it will accomplish some good. We do not need to classify less information or classify it less stringently. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks have made it nearly impossible to keep anything classified. If anything, we need stronger safeguards for classified information—and a better, faster process for declassification. Paul D. Miller is the Associate Director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin and a research fellow at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He received his PhD in international relations from Georgetown University. He is also a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. 

Donald Trump's America is no place for weaklings.

Impotent lawmakers, chokers and politicians who hug and kiss are out; real men -- tough, mean and nasty -- will be in if the real estate mogul takes the Oval Office.

That's the picture of the brash new nation that Trump promises in the machismo-laden speeches on which he's building his unorthodox campaign.

So far, The Donald's bullish image is the key to his appeal among voters who are sick of the evasions of conventional politicians and who lap up his barked vows to bulldoze political correctness and get something done.

In the long run, the fate of Trump's stunning poll-topping presidential campaign could rest on whether a broader swath of Americans tire of the constant braggadocio and deem it unfitting in a future commander-in-chief.

A timeline of Donald Trump vs. Megyn Kelly
He has said he will "tone it down" if elected president, but there was no sign of that in recent days, as he insulted Mexicans, waged war with Fox News over star anchor Megyn Kelly and kicked Univision journalist Jorge Ramos out of a press conference.

It's a testosterone-fueled performance that has left his rivals gasping for media coverage and turned the 2016 election into a rolling reality show. No one can be sure exactly what will come out of Trump's mouth on live TV.

Being tough is not unusual in presidential campaigns: It's required, for instance, for presidential nominees to show they have the steel to be commander-in-chief.

But Trump takes political bravado to a whole new level, branding himself as a human battering ram who will smash through Washington gridlock and conventions.

Trump: Sanders 'showed such weakness'. And one thing he cannot bear is "weakness." He's baffled that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders let a campaign event be hijacked by African-American activists.

"That showed such weakness," Trump declared in a press conference in Michigan.

Republican foe Jeb Bush doesn't match up either in the eyes of Trump, who paints the former Florida governor as a "low energy" scion of the political elite.

"He had a very small crowd, and very little enthusiasm," Trump said recently of Bush, and slammed his rival's 2014 comment that illegal migrants come to the United States in an "act of love" to better their family's life.

"No act of love. It's tough stuff, it's mean stuff, and it's going to be taken care of," he said.

Weakness is, according to Trump, a national affliction.

"This country is such a target because we're considered to be weak. We're a weak country," Trump told CNN's Chris Cuomo last week.

On Tuesday in Iowa, Trump dialed up criticism of the political establishment further: "I don't know, there's something about Washington. They look at these beautiful buildings, these beautiful halls and all of a sudden they become impotent. Is that an appropriate word? I think so."

Trump might be tough, but he insists he's fair and only attacks when he's provoked.

"I am really a counterpuncher. If you look at what's happened with me and the people that I hit, it is really the people that hit me first," he said on CNBC recently.

But fondness is no reason for him to hold back.

He told CNBC that he liked Marco Rubio, but that all that will end once his GOP foe criticizes him.

"Once that happens, you know, I will no longer like him. ... Then I (will) go after him," Trump said.

And he reflected with apparent faux regret on how he had already dealt with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"I hit him very hard," he acknowledged. "I really go after the person -- like in business, right."

Trump's compelling stream-of-consciousness monologues in place of what regular politicians call a stump speech reveal disdain for rivals who don't share his kill-or-be-killed mantra.

He wondered Tuesday why Bush did not crush Rubio, his former protege, for running for president against him.

"I would really go after that guy. I'd say he's the most disloyal guy, he's a terrible person and I hate him," Trump said.

"I watch those two guys and they're hugging and they're kissing and they're holding each other. Very much like, actually, Chris Christie did with the President," Trump said in Iowa.

He said there will be no such softness around his campaign and pledged to appoint tough people instead of "all talk, no action" politicians.

"All politicians -- all talk, no action -- it's all bull. We've got to stop. I have people that are so nasty, so mean, so horrible, nobody in Iowa will want to have dinner with them. They're Wall Street killers."

Weakness is fatal in politics, according to Trump. He believes Mitt Romney lost the election to President Barack Obama in 2012 because he "choked like a dog."

Donald Trump on Putin and Snowden
And he claims Russia's own macho leader, President Vladimir Putin, would turn docile with Trump in the White House and hand over fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

"He hates Obama, he doesn't respect Obama. ... If I am president, Putin says (to Snowden), 'Hey, boom, you're gone,'" Trump told CNN in July. He often talks about how he will find smart, "cunning" people to deal with the Chinese.

But sometimes Trump's bombast takes him into dangerous political territory -- as in his feuds with Kelly and Republican rival Carly Fiorina, which some party leaders fear could harm the GOP in the eyes of female voters.

He also sometimes seems thin-skinned himself, like when he complained in New Hampshire recently that Fiorina had been "nasty" to him.

"I cannot say anything to her because she is a woman and I do not want to be accused of being tough on a woman."

In the same speech, Trump also proclaimed that real men don't do massage.

"I'm not into that," he explained. "I don't like people touching me."

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