THE BIG IDEA:
Bill Clinton spent 13 minutes yesterday forcefully responding to Black Lives Matter activists who were heckling him. Speaking in an overwhelmingly African American neighborhood of Philadelphia, the city that will host this summer’s Democratic National Convention, the former president offered a spirited defense of his record on civil rights, his signature crime bill and his wife.
One of the protesters held a sign that declared, "Black youth are not super predators.” That’s a reference to when Hillary Clinton spoke in 1996 of “the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’” and said “we have to bring them to heel.”
Clinton pointed to the signs. “This is what’s the matter,” he said. “I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-olds hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn't! … You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter! Tell the truth! You are defending the people who caused young people to go out and take guns.”
The 69-year-old went on an extended riff about why he and his wife are the ones who have really fought to make black lives matter:
"Because of that [crime] bill we had a 25-year low in crime, a 30-year low in the murder rate, and because of that and the background-check law, a 46-year low in deaths of lives by gun violence,” he said. “And who do you think those lives were that mattered? Whose lives were saved that mattered?"
Bill noted that Hillary, unlike Bernie Sanders, did not vote for the crime bill. "She was spending her time trying to get health care for poor kids,” he said. “Who were they? And their lives matter!”
He also highlighted the Democratic front-runner's work for the Children's Defense Fund as a young attorney in Alabama and her work to stop the spread of HIV in Africa as secretary of state. "I'll tell you another story about a place where black lives matter: Africa," he said.
Watch the full exchange here:
-- In a year when the drama has mostly been on the Republican side, it made for great political theater. And it gave Bill Clinton another unforgettable “Sister Souljah Moment.” In May 1992, the hip-hop artist suggested that killing white cops might not be so bad in the wake of the Los Angeles riots. Speaking at a convention organized by Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the then-governor of Arkansas ripped into her. "If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ and reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech,” he said. “We have an obligation, all of us, to call attention to prejudice whenever we see it.” (C-SPAN’s archive has the video.)
Calling her out became legendary and helped Clinton pivot from the Democratic nominating contest he was wrapping up, when he needed base voters, to the general election, when he needed independents. Twenty-four years later, we are at a very similar phase in the campaign cycle.
-- Yesterday’s showdown in Philadelphia quickly became a Rorschach Test. Republicans and liberal activists inclined to dislike WJC called it evidence of him being out of touch and over the hill, while Clinton loyalists said it was the Big Dog at his best. The majority of the crowd of 400 cheered Clinton as he made the protesters his foils.
-- Most mainstream media outlets are covering the comments as another off-message embarrassment for his wife’s campaign, but let’s dispense once and for all with the fiction that Bill Clinton does not know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
FROM CONTRITE TO DEFIANT:
-- A year ago, most D.C. pundits would have bet that the 2016 general election would pit Hillary versus Jeb, and that Democrats could win by making the campaign about whether voters wanted to give Bill or W. a third term. The Bushes are now long gone. Indeed, both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz criticize the former president to varying degrees. Because the Democratic primaries turned out to be more competitive than anticipated, it’s been hard for the Clintons to lean on nostalgia for the 1990s. Instead the former president and first lady have been pressed constantly from the left on everything from NAFTA to DOMA.
-- Bill’s comments about the Black Lives Matter movement suggest that a major pivot in the campaign’s messaging is on the way.
Smarting from the 2008 defections of African Americans to Barack Obama and recognizing that securing the Democratic nomination this time would depend on running up the score among minority voters, the Clintons set out in the spring of 2015 to inoculate themselves from criticism over the crime bill. “We overshot the mark,” Bill wrote in the foreword to a book on mass incarceration that came out exactly one year ago. The same month, Hillary gave a speech at Columbia University -- in the wake of the Baltimore riots – to promise that criminal justice reform to end sentencing disparities -- which were made worse by her husband’s bill – would be a top priority as president.
Last July, the former president told the NAACP convention that he deeply regretted sending minor criminals to prison “for way too long.” "I signed a bill that made the problem worse, and I want to admit it," he said.
Yesterday, the former president instead blamed congressional Republicans for the parts of the law that have increased mass incarceration. He said then-Sen. Joe Biden told him it could not pass if the tough-on-crime provisions were not added in.
After Hillary was confronted this February by a protester about the “super predator” comment, she expressed regret. “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today,” she said in a statement.
-- Now, as the general election looms, polls show that his wife is badly underperforming with white voters in key battleground states compared to 2008. But Bill’s strategy is not without risk. Hillary needs high African American turnout to beat Bernie in New York on April 19 and in the Pennsylvania and Maryland primaries on April 26. She also needs to keep the Obama coalition activated through November.
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Bernie Sanders is going to speak at the Vatican next week, John Wagner scoops. He'll leave for Rome immediately after his debate with Clinton on April 14 for a conference on social, economic and environmental issues.
-- Sanders turned his stump speech into comedy on “The Late Show with Seth Meyers”: The Vermont senator offered a comedic twist on his disdain for the billionaire class, roasting the “one percenters” alongside Meyers on a segment called “Ya Bernt.” “One percent -- what do you need all that money for?” Sanders asked. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to compensate for something.” As for the big banks, Sanders had this to say: “My advice is the same advice I give to a couple contemplating an open relationship. It’s time to break up.” (John Wagner)
-- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper -- who could be a contender in the veepstakes -- hosted Hillary for a fundraiser at his home in Denver last night. Isaac Slade, lead vocalist for The Fray, performed for the 530 attendees. A white noise machine was set up to prevent reporters standing across the street from hearing Hillary's comments in the governor's back yard, according to the local CBS affiliate.
-- Seven in 10 Americans now view Trump unfavorably, according to an AP-GfK poll. And the negativity transcends typical “voter blocs” of age, race and ideology: “It's an opinion shared by majorities of men and women; young and old; conservatives, moderates and liberals; and whites, Hispanics and blacks … a devastatingly broad indictment of [Trump]." The numbers also suggest Trump could be losing his core base: "In the South – a region where Trump has decisively won many primary contests – close to 70 percent of voters view him unfavorably. And among white voters without a college education, 55 percent have a negative opinion."
-- Not ready to make nice: Ted Cruz refuses to apologize to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for publicly calling him “a liar” last year. “That ain't gonna happen," the Texas senator said on CNN last night. “And if the Washington lobbyists want to see that happen, they can hold their breath a long, long time." So much for trying to win over his Senate colleagues...
-- American Idol is finally over. "Less than two months after the curtain went down on #OscarsSoWhite — at least until 2017 — it seems that 'American Idol' may be too white as well. Or, more specifically, too deferential to 'generic' white guys, often wielding guitars. This was the consensus on social media after Trent Harmon, a self-described white 'dude from Mississippi,' defeated La’Porsha Renae, a black single mother from the same state." (Justin Wm. Moyer)
GET SMART FAST:
- Uber agreed to pay up to $25 million to settle a California lawsuit alleging the ride-sharing company misled customers about the quality of its background checks. (USA Today)
- The White House denied placing a “gag order” on senior U.S. military officials to prevent them from discussing the disputed South China Sea, dismissing a report from the Navy Times that officials were “muzzled” during last week’s nuclear summit. (Dan Lamothe)
- British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that he profited from funds set up in an offshore trust by his father, though there is no evidence he did anything illegal. (Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum)
- Nanny state: Public health officials in Britain are moving to label food packaging with the amount of exercise required to burn off the calories contained within. (Time)
- A federal appeals court ruled Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, removing a judge who ruled otherwise from the case. (Buzzfeed)
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said her state does not need a “bathroom bill” similar to what passed in North Carolina. (Mark Berman)
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a pair of executive orders expanding LBGT protections. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- A University of Texas dance student whose body was found on campus this week was the victim of a “brutal murder” while walking back to her dorm, authorities said. They released surveillance footage of a suspect. (Texas Tribune)
- Verizon is planning to make a bid for Yahoo’s core business next week. Google and Time Inc. are also considering bids. (Alex Sherman, Scott Moritz and Brian Womack)
- More than 40 percent of student loan borrowers aren’t making payments or have opted to postpone payments on their student loans, according to an Education Department report, raising fears that many may never repay the funds. (Wall Street Journal)
- An Indiana state trooper was fired after being sued – twice – for proselytizing citizens during traffic stops. (Sarah Larimer)
- A school officer in San Antonio was put on leave after video footage showed him “body-slamming” a 12-year-old girl into the pavement. (Lindsey Bever)
- Google is expanding its self-driving vehicle testing to Phoenix, making it the fourth city to serve as testing site for the autonomous vehicles. (Reuters)
- John Kerry called on Iran to end its “destabilizing behaviors” and work with Middle Eastern neighbors to end warring in Yemen and Syria. The meeting comes as U.S. officials express concerns about the fragility of an existing cease-fire in Syria and uncertainty over the prospects for a cease-fire due to start this weekend in Yemen. (Carol Morello)
- Kerry broke the record for most travel as Secretary of State, eclipsing 1.06 million miles on his way to Bahrain and surpassing Condoleezza Rice. (CNN)
- North Korea is ramping up preparations for a major meeting of Communist leaders expected to be held early next month. Kim Jong Un is expected to announce major policy directives and personnel changes at the event, which is called the “70-day campaign." (Anna Fifield)
- An Indonesian singer famous for performing with live snakes died onstage after being bitten by a king cobra. (Justin Wm. Moyer)
TRUMP SHAKES UP CAMPAIGN AFTER GETTING CAUGHT FLAT-FOOTED IN DELEGATE HUNT:
-- Trump announced yesterday that he is reorganizing his campaign, giving an expanded role to veteran strategist Paul J. Manafort. From Karen Tumulty and Dan Balz: "Manafort, who joined the Trump operation on March 29 as its convention manager, will now have broader responsibilities, and will 'oversee, manage and be responsible for all activities that pertain to Mr. Trump's delegate process and the Cleveland convention,' the campaign said in its announcement. Manafort, working from a new D.C. campaign office, will also be in charge of outreach efforts to members of Congress, the Republican National Committee and think tanks. While the campaign insisted there had been no reduction in the role of embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, it was nonetheless seen that way in Republican circles. Manafort's new portfolio is the operation that could be most crucial to Trump's success in the coming months. Said one GOP strategist who has worked with Manafort, and who declined to be identified: 'I can assure you that Lewandowski should be looking for new employment at this point. He's half wiped out already.'"
“Trump is not a dumb man,” Chris Cillizza writes. “He didn’t get to where he is … by not grasping when things are slipping away from him … [T]he writing appears to be on the wall. Manafort will run things going forward.”
-- Smart frame --> “The strategist vs. the showman: Cruz and Trump run very different campaigns,” by Katie Zezima: “Cruz is the disciplined strategist who stays relentlessly on message and runs a by-the-book organization filled with aides and state chairs … Trump, by contrast, runs what amounts to a DIY presidential campaign. … While the approach has left Trump with little established infrastructure as the race turns into a brawl for delegates, it has also allowed him to be nimble … Cruz’s advance work will be on display this weekend in Colorado, one of five states that leave it up to party members to elect the state’s 37 delegates to the national convention. Organizers said much of the work has been done with little input from Cruz [headquarters in Houston]. ‘There are 50 different states with 50 different speeds,’ said Ken Buck, the senator’s Colorado state chairman.”
-- Trump and Cruz face their first test in the Virginia delegate fight tomorrow: “A few hundred Republicans are set to gather in Wytheville, a town of 8,000 in the state's southwest corner, to elect three delegates to the Republican convention,” the AP reports. “At first glance, the 9th Congressional District's local convention appears to be fertile ground for Trump … But the Cruz campaign is counting on a superior advantage with party insiders, both in Virginia and around the country, to get its preferred delegates elected. Political watchers say these types of party insiders who take the time to register for and attend regional party meetings are more likely to back Cruz. ‘The issue is who is going to these convention,’ said Terry Kilgore, a Republican state House delegate ... ‘The Cruz people understand the game a little bit better.’”
-- Trump leads Cruz by 7 points in California, according to the Field Poll. The front-runner has 39 percent, with Cruz at 32 percent and Kasich at 18 percent. Trump leads in the Bay Area and in the Southern California region outside of Los Angeles. Cruz is preferred over Trump in L.A. proper and among voters in the Central Valley and Sierra mountains, whereas supporters for Kasich are somewhat evenly dispersed across the state. The primary in June will award delegates by congressional districts. Former supporters of Arnold Schwarzenegger prefer Trump: Voters who backed his gubernatorial bid in the recall prefer Trump over Cruz by a three to one margin.
-- “Trump has more than math to worry about in Cleveland,” by Politico’s Kyle Cheney: “Every aspect of the Republican National Convention is a potential tripwire that motivated anti-Trump forces could deploy to waylay the mogul.” Five tactics Cruz could use to try denying Trump the nomination.
- Disqualifying delegates: Even if Trump wins the necessary number of delegates, campaigns can “pepper” delegates with eligibility challenges meant to keep his supporters out of Cleveland.
- Naming a chairman: The chairman is selected by delegates and wields great authority to direct the proceedings. “Campaigns are eyeing a hostile takeover of the chairmanship, which could occur only with the delegates’ blessing — to ensure that the process works in their favor.”
- Working the rules: “The Convention Rules Committee could theoretically set the calendar in certain ways …” said one veteran delegate. “The committee’s proposals must be ratified on the [convention floor], but if one candidate has a disproportionate edge on the committee, it likely reflects a similar edge in the convention writ large.”
- Delay, delay, delay: “When delegates get hungry and homesick, they’re more than likely to make rash decisions,” said one state party chairman. “I’ve seen that throughout the years at conventions. I think the longer it goes, the more likely it is that something crazy happens.”
- Exploiting logistics: Candidates will wrangle for speaking slots and housing supportive state delegations inside the surrounding Secret Service perimeter. “The biggest problem if you went to [the 2012 GOP convention in] Tampa, was the Secret Service lockdown,” said one RNC member. “If you’re inside [the perimeter], it’s great. But outside was a nightmare.”
-- Ben Carson proved again to be a terrible Trump surrogate. When asked on CNN if Lewandowski should be running the show after being charged with battery, he responded that “a lot of people have been charged with various things … You’ve probably been charged with things.” (The interviewer replied that he has not.)
-- Jeff Sessions, Trump's only supporter in the Senate, said he does not think Trump will pick him as VP. “I think that would not happen," he said. “Don’t bet any money on me.” (The Hill)
-- Rudy Giuliani told the New York Post that he will vote for Trump, hitting Cruz for his comments on "New York values." He quipped, “I can make fun of New York. But you can’t!"
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- There is widespread and growing concern among Democrats that the Clinton-Sanders rivalry is doing lasting damage to the party and the eventual nominee. "With both candidates launching 10-day sprints ahead of New York’s April 19 primary, the strain and resentment of a hard-fought and unexpectedly long contest boiled over repeatedly in interviews, speeches and other public appearances," John Wagner, Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan report. "The senator from Vermont refused to retract his assertion that Clinton is not qualified to be president. Clinton dismissed that claim as 'silly' and countered that Sanders has repeatedly made promises he can’t keep. ... Sanders continued to blame Clinton for going on the attack and said he has simply been defending himself. And while he expressed regret for the tenor of the campaign over the previous 24 hours and said the acrimony will make it harder for Democrats to unite in the fall, he also said he does not regret his own statements. Clinton had raised questions in a television interview about whether Sanders was prepared to be president, but she repeatedly stopped short of saying he was unqualified."
"President Obama, who has sought to stay out his party’s nominating contest, weighed in Thursday though a spokesman. Traveling with Obama on Air Force One, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama believes that Clinton 'comes to the race with more experience than any non-vice president' in recent campaign history. Schultz emphasized that Obama feels 'fortunate' that Clinton, whom he defeated in a sometimes nasty battle for the 2008 nomination, served as his secretary of state."
-- In an interview with The Post's John Wagner, Sanders stood by his view that Clinton is not qualified — but he also pledged to support her if she is the nominee. Three highlights:
- On whether he thinks the feuding will make it harder to unify Democrats in the fall: “I do, and I regret it. I have tried throughout this entire campaign to run an issue-oriented campaign … I have rejected time and time and time again a request, in a sense, from the media, to attack Clinton. I have not said one word about her email situation. I have not said one word about the Clinton Foundation, and I don’t intend to.”
- On whether the negative tone will continue: “This is not my style. It is not what I want. I don’t think it’s good for the party or for the country … but let me make it very clear … we will not accept lies and distortions of my record or personal attacks lying down. We will respond accordingly.”
- On whether he regrets calling Clinton “unqualified”: “No. When somebody says that I am unqualified to be president and gives her reasoning, I think it is totally appropriate for me to respond as to why I think she may not be qualified as well.”
-- Congressional Democrats expressed hope that the dust-up over whether Hillary is "qualified" serves as a warning for both candidates to tone things down and keep the party more cohesive than the Republicans. “It’s really important that everybody take a pause, that everybody calm down,” said North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. “At this point in campaigns, people get tired, say things they don’t mean to, emotions get raw. I think a lot of this will dissipate with a couple good nights’ sleep.”
-- Why is Bernie throwing the kitchen sink right now? Because he must fundamentally disrupt the race to have any chance of ultimately prevailing. "Sanders still trails Clinton by more than 200 pledged delegates. The math is close to determinative -- and not in his favor. Barring a major cataclysm in the race, Clinton will be the nominee," writes Chris Cillizza. This chart compares Clinton's lead over Sanders to Obama's lead over her at this point in 2008:
-- “Panama financial scandal blows up into Democratic skirmishing over trade,” by David Nakamura:
- “Trade critics lambasted the administration as failing to heed their prior warnings and win sufficient financial reforms from Panama before signing a landmark free-trade deal in 2011, missing a chance to disrupt the elaborate financial arrangements disclosed" in the Panama Papers.
- Obama allies forcefully defended the trade pact as an instrument that brought greater transparency to the country's shadowy offshore banking system: “Although trade deals do not typically address tax issues, U.S. officials said, the Obama administration won a separate agreement that gave financial regulators greater access to information on Panamanian bank accounts. 'We fought time and time again,' said Rep. Sander M. Levin, who supported the deal. 'I was personally involved in making clear to [Panama’s government] that no matter what else was in the free-trade agreement’ it would not win support from Congress without additional transparency rules.”
SCOTUS NOMINATION BATTLE:
-- President Obama took pains to describe Merrick Garland as a unifying figure during a speech at The University of Chicago Law School. Juliet Eilperin and Mike DeBonis: "In a carefully-orchestrated question and answer session with students and faculty – including several of Garland’s family members, the president said failure to confirm his court nominee would make the courts “just an extension of our … elections and our politics. And that erodes the institutional integrity of the judicial branch.”
One questioner pressed Obama about the lack of diversity on the bench and asked why he picked a white man. Obama said “that’s just not how I’ve approached it": “At no point did I say: ‘Oh, you know what? I need a black lesbian from Skokie in that slot. Can you find me one?’” (The Skokie Review notes that this comment sent the suburb north of Chicago trending online...)
-- Minority Whip Richard Durbin said Democrats are "actively considering" legislative maneuvers to push a vote on Garland. "Democrats have thus far refrained from holding up legislation or other Senate business to gain leverage on the court fight. An ultimate step would be to force a floor vote on Garland without committee action — a move that would almost certainly fail but would attract attention and put those vulnerable Republican incumbents on the spot. A Democratic leadership aide said that is being considered as a last resort, one that would not be deployed for months."
-- Lindsey Graham said he will meet with Garland, reversing course on his earlier pledge not to. Spokesman Kevin Bishop said it was a “courtesy” meeting, and the South Carolina senator “remains opposed to moving forward with the nomination.”
-- “Why a Va. senator told a teacher: ‘You do not know better than the parents,’” by Jenna Portnoy: “Sen. Richard H. Black doesn’t think of himself as squeamish. But the Northern Virginia Republican said he was so stunned by the ‘moral sewage’ in … Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ that he did something he professes to never have done [in office]. He abandoned all diplomacy and told a constituent exactly what he thought. Black called the book ‘profoundly filthy’ and ‘smut.’” The screed is part of an extraordinary email exchange between Black and Loudoun County teacher Jessica Berg, who “wrote to Black to protest his vote for a bill that would have required teachers to give parents advance notice if they planned to assign material with sexually explicit content in class [allowing parents to ‘opt out’ their children from reading the offending books]. ‘It’s ridiculous that you are trying to control education when you have no idea what it entails,’ she wrote. ‘You do not want free thinkers.’ ‘I want teachers who won’t teach such vile things,’ he responded. ‘You do not know better than the parents.’” (Read the full back and forth here.)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), desperately trying to hold his seat, is one of only a handful of Republicans who would show off a handwritten note from Obama:
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) joked about the Senate voting down a legroom amendment in the FAA reauthorization. (Like you, he gets his news from PowerPost):
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) did not look too happy wearing Villanova gear (read about his NCAA wager with Pat Toomey here):
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) played ball with his kids inside a Capitol office building:
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) got birthday cake in committee:
Cruz made the cover of Time:
Check out the scrum surrounding Clinton as she entered the NYC subway (here's the video, too):
Clinton struggled a bit with the turnstile:
Kasich ate his way through the Bronx (check out this video mashup from CNN):
Sanders ran into this character at Temple University:
Clinton allies, including the head of the lead super PAC supporting her, accused Sanders of sexism:
David Axelrod posed a question for Sanders:
The Clinton campaign rapid response team noted that Sanders thought she was qualified enough to become Secretary of State:
Some in upstate New York were not so happy to have Cruz:
Two pictures of Obama back when he was a law professor:
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier threw the first pitch at the Nats home opener:
Internet trolls from the fever swamps of the far right and the far left can be so disgusting and nasty, but this may take the cake:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Bloomberg, “McCain-Linked Nonprofit Received $1 Million From Saudi Arabia,” by Bill Allison: “A nonprofit with ties to Senator John McCain received a $1 million donation from the government of Saudi Arabia in 2014, according to documents filed with the [IRS]. [McCain] has strictly honorary roles with the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a program at Arizona State University, and its fundraising arm, the McCain Institute Foundation, according to his office. But McCain has appeared at fundraising events for the institute and his Senate campaign’s fundraiser is listed in its tax returns as the contact person for the foundation. Though federal law strictly bans foreign contributions to electoral campaigns, the restriction doesn’t apply to nonprofits engaged in policy, even those connected to a sitting lawmaker … The Saudi donation to the McCain Institute Foundation may be the first congressional instance of that trend coming to light ‘The extent of this practice is difficult to gauge, of course,’ Holman said, ‘because we only know about it when a nonprofit or foreign government voluntarily reveals that information.’” (We missed this story when it came out last week but it's caused a stir in Arizona, where McCain is up for reelection.)
- The Post’s Fact Checker givers McCain "Two Pinocchios" for saying he has nothing to do with the foundation: “He has a symbolic role with the nonprofit, attends fundraisers and he and his wife are supportive of its efforts. So his role clearly goes beyond [simply being a namesake] … But McCain should be held accountable for his inaccurate claim, because it ultimately misled the public to believe he had no ties to the institute that he helped create.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“One-Third Of Iraqis Believe America Supports Terrorism,” from HuffPost: “Nearly 1 in 3 Iraqis believe that America supports terrorism overseas. It’s just one of a handful of damning poll numbers showing waning United States-Iraqi relations as part of a U.S. State Department Inspector General’s Office evaluation of the American embassy in Baghdad. America’s popularity has plummeted since it reentered the country in 2014 to help Iraq battle the self-described Islamic State. The report states that the ‘Iraqi public [is] already keenly aware of ISIL’s (also called ISIS) true nature’ and, at the same time, Iraqis’ image of the U.S. has ‘fallen from 38 percent favorable in December 2014 to 18 percent in August 2015.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“3 former defense secretaries slam White House 'micromanagement',” from Washington Examiner: “The military has suffered under Obama, according to all three of his former Pentagon leaders, because of problems ranging from ‘micromanagement’ to ‘35-year-old PhDs who love to talk.’ ‘It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts, of White House and [National Security Council] staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions …’ former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said … "I told my combatant commanders and field commanders … if you get calls from … the president, that's one thing," Gates said. ‘But if you get a call from some White House or National Security Council staffer, you tell them to call me instead, and then tell them, by the way, go to hell … directly from the secretary of defense.’”
On the campaign trail: Here's the rundown:
- Trump canceled a press conference that was scheduled for this afternoon in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, so he could campaign in New York City.
- Sanders has two rallies in New York City: one with Mark Ruffalo and another with Suran Sarandon. Tomorrow he appears at the Apollo Theatre.
- Clinton: Buffalo, Rochester, N.Y.
- Kasich: Fairfield, Conn.; Syracuse, N.Y.
At the White House: President Obama headlines a DSCC fundraiser in Los Angeles, then travels to San Francisco for DNC and DCCC fundraisers. Vice President Biden travels from Las Vegas to Boulder, Colo., where he speaks at the University of Colorado for the "It's on Us Week of Action" against sexual assault and at an event for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). In the evening, Biden departs Denver for Santa Fe, N.M.
On Capitol Hill: Neither the Senate nor the House are in session.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Yeah, he's a white guy, but he's a really outstanding jurist." -- Obama defends his Garland pick in Chicago
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- A mild start to a chilly weekend. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Arguably, today is nicer than anything we’ll see this weekend. Even with wind, it’s still fairly mild — at least comparatively. Clouds and rain showers move in tonight through at least tomorrow morning. We may even see a few snowflakes, but snow of note on Saturday is more of a long shot than sure thing. Hoping to get back outside? Sunday should be calmer and sunnier. Springtime should try to return next week. Whew. Hang on to your hats…”
-- The Nationals lost their home opener to the Miami Marlins 6-4.
-- The Golden State Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-101 to reach 70 wins.
-- The Capitals lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.
-- D.C. police are FINALLY cracking down on illegal dirt bike riders, saying swarms of off-road bikes on the city's streets have become a “dangerous public menace.” (Peter Hermann)
-- Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) abruptly withdrew support for his once-touted economic development strategy, after the Democratic Attorney General said the $35 million “Go Virginia” program probably violates the state constitution. McAuliffe, who gave a “full throated endorsement” of the program last summer, will try to amend the legislation, giving lawmakers the option to accept or reject his changes when they return to Richmond this month. (Jenna Portnoy)
-- Donna Edwards raised more than $1 million in the first quarter for her Senate campaign after struggling to get money last year. (Rachel Weiner)
-- Montgomery County police charged two men with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in March. (Clarence Williams)
-- Two students, a chaperone, and a police officer were injured after a police cruiser and school bus crashed in Springfield. (Victoria St. Martin)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Watch a dramatic video of a knife-wielding man shouting “kill me!” at an Ohio police officer more than 40 times after he was shot in the abdomen. The hero cop shows incredible restraint in the face of danger:
Cruz made matzah in Brooklyn (click for video):
Political hip hop duo Rebel Diaz confronted Cruz, saying he's not welcome in the neighborhood:
Clinton began running her first New York Spanish-language TV ad:
Kasich supporters targeted Cruz and his derision for "New York values" in this new spot:
Kasich's campaign released an ad called "Values":
Trump conjured 9/11 in a Facebook video about Cruz:
New Yorkers taped a satirical video thanking Trump (caution: adult language):
The Washington Examiner's David Freddoso explained with post-it notes why he doesn't see Trump winning in a general election:
A woman secretly recorded what her doctors said during surgery:
A 12-year-old talked about getting thrown down by a school officer:
This stuffed animal was filmed making a trip to the Earth's stratosphere: