THE BIG IDEA:
One of the bigger knocks on Mike Pence when he was in the House, whispered privately among some leading lights of the conservative movement, was that he comes across as inauthentic and a little phony. As a former radio host, he still sometimes talks with a bit of an affect and he’s prone to hyperbole. Lavishing over-the-top praise on Donald Trump over recent days in an effort to become his running mate will only cement this perception.
For example, Pence declared last night that, "Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no other American leader in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan.” This is a laughable comment when you consider that he endorsed Ted Cruz on April 29 — just 10 weeks ago! — ahead of the Indiana primary. If Pence actually believes the above to be true, why didn’t he endorse Trump then?
-- Pence risks looking desperate as he all but pleads for the job. During their joint appearance outside Indianapolis, it felt at times like the governor wants to be rescued from having to run for reelection this November. Here is a sampling of his tweets, which prompted jokes online that Trump had gotten ahold of his phone:
We are ready for change in the United States of America. We are ready for @realDonaldTrump to be our President!— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) July 13, 2016
lol trump stole pence’s phone classic donald pic.twitter.com/nQmroKbB9s— mike casca (@cascamike) July 13, 2016
-- A major reason Pence wants to be Trump's running mate so badly is that he could lose his bid for a second term.
-- All along, the Democratic theory of the case to beat Pence this fall has been to define him as “distracted.” He ran promising to focus on jobs and education, but his tenure has been overshadowed and defined by culture war clashes, from a botched religious freedom bill (which he had to “fix” under pressure) to new restrictions on abortion.
Democratic nominee John Gregg launched an attack ad on July 5 that slams Pence for being “asleep at the switch” before Carrier moved hundreds of jobs out of the state:
-- Pence’s audition to be Trump’s running mate fits perfectly into this messaging frame, for which voters have already been primed. “You've got to applaud Pence for putting it all on red and publicly begging to leave the governorship for VP,” said the Democratic Governors Association’s Jared Leopold. “But if he doesn't get picked, it's going to be hard for him to look Hoosiers in the eye in November and say he wants to be governor for four more years. This last week cements the perception that Pence has taken his eye off the ball as governor.”
-- It’s hard to think of an occasion in recent political history when a candidate campaigned so openly to be VP while facing a competitive reelection themselves. Jeanne Shaheen wanted to be Al Gore’s vice president in 2000 as she sought another term as governor in New Hampshire, but she was not nearly as brazen.
In contrast to Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and Pence — Trump’s three finalists — the leading Democratic contenders to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate — none of whom will otherwise be on the ballot this year — have all done a suitable job at feigning ambivalence and not talking about the vetting process, which is historically what you’re supposed to do (in either party) if you actually want the job.
But Trump, first introduced to many Americans in his role as host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” was enamored with the idea of making his process into a reality-TV-like spectacle. He judged, probably correctly, that it will be a net positive for his campaign. And he clearly enjoys watching professional politicians grovel.
"I don't know if he's going to be your governor or your vice president,” Trump teased a crowd of thousands last night in Westfield after a private, one-on-one sit-down with Pence. “Who the hell knows?"
-- Running for national office as a governor almost always hurts your standing back home. Rather than being seen as a favorite son, invariably you take positions to appeal nationally and to your party’s base that do not jibe well with the parochial interests of your state. Plus, you also spend lots of time on the road. Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty and many more saw their numbers take a hit back home as they hit the hustings in pursuit of the presidency. (To be sure, Christie’s approval rating in New Jersey is much worse than Pence’s, but that’s moot because he’s not going to run for reelection, and Trump will lose the Garden State either way. On the other hand, he needs Indiana’s 11 electoral votes as part of any realistic path to 270.)
-- By all accounts, Pence performed well during last night’s tryout. Our Jose A. DelReal, who was there, says his “aggressive and well-received speech … showed he could be an effective surrogate for Trump.” The Pence sound bite that all the morning shows are using: “To paraphrase the director of the FBI, I think it would be 'extremely careless' to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States.”
-- Temperamentally, the even-keeled Pence is in many ways the un-Trump. A favorite line, which he has repeated ad nauseam for years, is that he’s a conservative, but he’s "not in a bad mood about it.”
And that’s exactly why so many Hoosiers are stunned by Pence’s uncharacteristically fiery remarks on Trump’s behalf. “That’s the most exciting I’d ever heard or seen the man,” Lyle Enyeart, a Pence supporter, told the Indianapolis Star last night. “Man, what a ball of fire there.”
-- Some of the local news clips have been brutal for the governor. Here are three examples:
Indianapolis Star political columnist Matthew Tully writes that “his flirtation … is just the latest in a long series of actions that have made clear Pence’s inability or unwillingness to focus on and adjust to the role of governor. … And there is the dichotomy of a man signing up with the likes of Donald Trump after spending decades portraying himself as driven so much by his moral compass, religion, family values and conservative principles.”
The Indianapolis Business Journal editorial page wonders what Pence is thinking: “Is this Pence being baldly ambitious and opportunistic? Or is Pence acting out of a sense of Republican duty? His party is asking him to run and he can’t say no? We don’t know the answer, but it’s disheartening to watch a politician who’s spent a career as a standard-bearer for the conservative Christian movement align himself with Trump’s reckless and misguided campaign.”
The Terre Haute Tribune-Star editorial board says Pence’s governorship would come under a microscope if he gets picked: “Such scrutiny would involve the good, the bad and the ugly. This state should be up to the challenge, though. Months of derision and criticism tested Hoosiers following Pence’s handling of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.… Three months earlier, Pence’s ill-fated idea to launch a state-run news agency, JustIN, had drawn ridicule as a ‘Pravda on the Plains.’ His rejection of a possible $80 million in federal funding for pre-kindergarten, seemingly to impress the far right of Pence’s party while still a presidential hopeful, hurt more than the state’s image. All of those problems, and undoubtedly others, would be rehashed and illuminated if Trump chooses Pence.”
-- If he gets passed over, Pence’s brand will be inextricably linked with Trump’s in a way it would not have been otherwise. As I explained in yesterday’s 202, Democrat Evan Bayh is jumping into the Indiana Senate race because of his confidence that Trump will ultimately prove toxic and that the bottom is still going to fall out from underneath him — even though polls still show the race to be close. On the other hand, some local analysts argue that Trump might outperform Pence on the November ballot — so the friendship is politically beneficial.
-- Trump’s announcement is expected to come Friday. That’s also a significant deadline for Pence to withdraw from the governor’s race.
-- What’s Trump’s current thinking? He told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that he’s looking for an “attack dog” running mate “skilled in hand-to-hand combat.” He called Christie and Gingrich “two extraordinary warriors.” He added that chemistry is important. “You either have it or you don’t,” he said. “I clearly have it with Chris and Newt.” As for Pence, the Journal reports that he said he hasn’t seen enough to measure his fighting spirit and their personal chemistry.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER OF DISCORD AND DISCONTENT DRAGS ON—
-- Baton Rouge police arrested three young people who they say were organizing a “credible” attempt to kill officers in a Dallas-style attack. The suspects, ranging from 13 to 20, allegedly stole handguns from a local pawn shop and said they were “looking for bullets." Cops say this partly explains why they were so heavy-handed with protestors. (CBS News)
-- A police officer in Overland Park, Kansas, was fired after threatening a black woman’s 5-year-old daughter on Facebook. “We’ll see how much her life matters soon,” he allegedly wrote, commenting on a picture of the young girl sporting new boots. “Better be careful leaving your info open where she can be found :) hold her close tonight, it’ll be the last time.” An investigation is ongoing. (Lindsey Bever)
-- A black dishwasher at Yale University resigned after he admitted to smashing a "racist, very degrading” stained-glass window on campus that depicted slaves picking cotton. The 38-year-old said he used a broomstick to break the window, which has been at the center of a campus debate about race. (Lindsey Bever)
-- The president of Cleveland’s police union threatened to pull his officers from providing security at Cleveland Browns games, after running back Isaiah Crowell posted an image of a policeman getting his throat cut. Union president Stephen Loomis dismissed Crowell’s apology as “store-bought,” and said he would pull his men unless Crowell travels to Dallas to publicly apologize to the victims’ families and “make things right” in person. (Des Bieler)
-- A Canadian vocal quartet has cut one of its members after he altered the O Canada lyrics, sung before last night’s MLB All-Star game, to include the phrase “all lives matter.” (CBC)
-- In Dallas, President Obama tried to help a heartbroken city heal. “We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” he said during a 40-minute speech, which capped an emotional service just a mile from where five police officers were killed last week.
“Even as he spoke of unity, there were still tangible signs of a rift between protesters and police,” Keith L. Alexander, William Wan and Mark Berman report. “Obama was interrupted by applause when he spoke in a concert hall filled with law enforcement officials about those officers killed last Thursday, but the families of those officers did not clap when he spoke about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests or invoked the killings in Minnesota and Louisiana.”
-- George W. Bush, in a beautiful quote that could be etched in stone, pleaded for unity: “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, and this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.”
-- Security at the service was especially tight: “Several police officers said they had mentally checked for escape routes, fearing the worst."
-- During the flight down, Obama called family members of Alton Sterling, killed by police in Baton Rouge last week, and Philando Castile, killed in Minnesota a day later. He offered condolences to them on behalf of the American people. Ted Cruz joined POTUS on Air Force One.
Organizers kept seats open for the slain officers:
-- Trump briefly addressed the Louisiana and Minnesota shootings during his Indiana rally last night: “Appearing to depart from prepared remarks praising law enforcement officials, he called the situation ‘tough to watch’ and raised concerns about the causes of the shootings. ‘We have to figure it out; we have to figure out what is going on. Was it training? Was it something else?’ Trump said. ‘It could have been something else. We have to take care of everybody, remember that.’” (Jose A. DelReal)
-- Clinton will deliver a speech at 10:45 a.m. CT/11:45 a.m. ET at the Old State House in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln delivered the “house divided against itself cannot stand” speech. She’s going to try presenting herself as a unifying figure.
GET SMART FAST:
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dying. Mitch McConnell says "the chances are pretty slim" that the Senate will take up the trade deal during the lame-duck session, and both candidates for president oppose it. (Paul Kane)
- The FBI formally ended its 45-year search for D.B. Cooper, the legendary skyjacker who parachuted into the night after collecting a $200,000 ransom. The bureau says the investigation has diverted too many resources to justify being continued, and many believe Cooper never even survived his 1971 escape. (Peter Holley)
- Polygamous Utah sect leader Lyle Jeffs also creatively evaded authorities last month, using olive oil to slip out of his GPS monitoring device. Jeffs, who took over the FLDS church after his brother was sentenced to life in prison for raping a child, was awaiting charges of food-stamp fraud before his escape. (Melissa Etehad)
- The American League will have home-field advantage in the 2016 World Series because its all-stars beat the National Leaguers, 4-2, in San Diego. (Chelsea Janes)
- The Dow closed at a record high, beating a mark set in 2015. (AP)
- The World Health Organization has teamed up with the CDC to combat violence against children. Some experts estimate that as many as 1 billion children worldwide have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence during the last year. That’s billion with a b. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
- British journalist and ISIS hostage John Cantlie was featured in another propaganda video from the group, criticizing U.S.-led airstrikes as he stands in front of ruins in Mosul. It is Castille's 12th video appearance since being kidnapped in 2014. (Max Bearak)
- Newly-unsealed court documents suggest Penn State coach Joe Paterno was aware of Jerry Sandusky’s inappropriate behavior towards underage boys as early as 1976 and did nothing. One then-14-year-old victim testified that he “specifically” reported his abuse to Paterno, and the now-deceased coach told him he had "a football season to worry about.” (Will Hobson and Cindy Boren)
- The Holocaust Museum asked visitors to refrain from using the Pokemon Go app, saying its “disrespectful." (Andrea Peterson)
- Meanwhile, three people were robbed at gunpoint while playing the game in Baltimore. It’s the latest in a series of attacks targeting users. (AP)
- Federal investigators asked Tesla to release data about a fatal Florida car crash that occurred when the vehicle was in autopilot mode. Authorities are trying to determine whether the new technology poses dangers to drivers. (Jacob Bogage)
- Top U.S. golfers Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will both skip the Olympics, joining six of the world’s top 14 players who have withdrawn because of Zika. (ESPN)
- European experts think Theresa May, who will become Britain's prime minister today, will govern much more like Angela Merkel than Margaret Thatcher. (AP)
- The annual bull-running festival in Pamplona took a dark turn: 15 people were arrested in separate cases of sexual assault, including gang rape. (New York Times)
- The chancellor of U.C.-Berkeley is under investigation for allegedly misusing public funds, including improper travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment. (LA Times)
- Jennifer Aniston penned a fiery column in the Huffington Post, in which she denies pregnancy rumors and laments her decades-long objectification in the public spotlight.
- The U.S. government is planning to use specially-designed candy drones to save the lives of endangered ferrets in Montana. The machines will unleash scores of vaccine-laced M&Ms throughout their habitats, allowing wildlife officials to cover more territory than they ever could before. (The Guardian)
- A “birds of prey show” in Australia came to an abrupt end after a wedge-tailed eagle attempted to carry off a small boy in the audience. (The Guardian)
BAD POLLING FOR HRC:
-- Trump now leads Clinton in Florida and Pennsylvania, while the two remain tied in Ohio, according to Quinnipiac University surveys. The polls suggest that James Comey's speech last week has taken a toll on the former Secretary of State:
- Clinton had an eight-point lead in the Sunshine State. Now she's down 3 points (42-39). In PENNSYLVANIA, Trump leads 43-41. In OHIO, they’re tied at 41.
- She has has also ceded ground to Trump on perceived moral standards and honesty: “Voters still say Clinton is more intelligent than Trump and that she is better prepared to be president. But Clinton has lost her wide lead over Trump for having ‘higher moral standards.’ And Trump widens his lead over Clinton for being more honest and trustworthy.”
-- Trump also edged out Clinton by 2 points in IOWA (44 percent to 42 percent) in a Monmouth University poll. Both candidates are viewed favorably by exactly 33 percent. Trump leads among independents (39-35). "It's a toss-up right now, but Iowa could be the leading edge of a Midwest push for Trump," said Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray.
THE CLINTON EMAIL SAGA WILL NOT END ANYTIME SOON:
-- The FBI says it will release “thousands” of recovered Hillary emails to the State Department for potential public release: “Public disclosure of the emails could help resolve the case by Judicial Watch and dozens of other pending public records lawsuits,” Spencer S. Hsu writes. “Depending on what the records contain and how long the review process takes, however, the State Department’s request for records also could prolong legal wrangling that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has tried to put behind her or could push the resolution until after the November election.”
-- In an op-ed for today’s Post, Speaker Ryan reiterates his belief that Clinton’s “extraordinary lack of discretion and judgment” should disqualify her from receiving the classified intelligence briefings traditionally given to the two major party nominees -- publicly disagreeing with the Director of National Intelligence. “It’s no small matter to hand over classified information to a person as reckless with our national security as Clinton, absent the voting public’s explicit permission in November,” he writes. “If she is elected, those briefings can resume, allowing her more than two months to be fully briefed before she is sworn in as president. Until that time, given Secretary Clinton’s record of extraordinary lack of discretion and judgment, the risk is just too great.” Yesterday, James Clapper rejected Ryan's request.
-- Congressional Republicans are circulating a letter calling on the FBI, IRS, and FTC to launch a public corruption investigation into ties between Clinton Foundation donors and Clinton’s State Department. The letter, authored by Tennessee lawmaker Marsha Blackburn, calls the Clinton Foundation "a lawless, ‘Pay-to-Play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years.” (Daily Caller)
WHO WILL BE HILLARY'S V.P.?
-- Is this an 11th-hour surprise or a head fake from Brooklyn? The Clinton campaign let it be known that retired Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis is being vetted for vice president. Stavridis, 61, served as the supreme allied commander of NATO and ran U.S. European Command from 2009 to 2013. And he chaired the U.S. Naval Institute -- an independent group that serves as an outside "think tank" for the U.S. Navy -- after retiring. He now serves as dean of the Law and Diplomacy school at Tufts University. (Abby Phillip)
“Stavridis was investigated in 2012 over his use of his expense account, including using a military aircraft to fly with his wife to a party in Burgundy, France,” the Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey notes. “He was cleared of all wrongdoing by a Pentagon inspector general who found that the issues did not amount to misuse of office and instead were due to ‘poor attention to administrative detail.’”
But Clinton has a relationship with the former admiral: “Stavridis was copied on a handful of e-mails that were forwarded to Clinton and were contained on her private server,” per the Globe. “He appeared to be involved with Clinton’s Middle East strategy. She was set to attend a private, three-hour dinner held in his honor in July 2012. And there’s some evidence that the two have similar mindsets. While leading NATO, Stavridis would sign off some of his e-mails with the slogan ‘Stronger Together’ — which is now Clinton’s campaign slogan.”
Bottom line: Floating Stavridis seems more like Grade-A trolling than a serious trial balloon: Trump has been talking about how much he likes "the generals," and he was genuinely interested in Michael Flynn until his disastrous appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Clinton, who was on the Armed Services committee during her time in the Senate, has deeper relationships with way more brass than Trump, and this might be a way of showcasing that reality. Also, this guy ran NATO, which Trump actively antagonizes on the stump. Ultimately, HRC is a political animal and it's almost inconceivable to see her either going a non-political route or taking a risk on someone who has not been tested.
-- In what was widely interpreted as a signal that Elizabeth Warren will not be picked as Clinton's running-mate, the Massachusetts senator was invited to speak during the first night of the Democratic convention. But, but, but: CNN's Jeff Zeleny says the convention schedule is still operating on a separate track from the veep vetting, and she could easily be swapped with someone else. (John Edwards was announced as an early convention speaker in 2004, but that changed after John Kerry tapped him.)
-- Hillary will meet with Senate Democrats during their Thursday caucus lunch in the Capitol, just before members leave town for a long recess. They can already smell the jet fumes...
-- “Cory Booker Gets Vetted, By Himself,” by BuzzFeed's Ruby Cramer: The 47-year-old has never fit the profile of a regular politician. "He’s a Stanford football player who quoted poetry in his campus newspaper column; a black Baptist who led the Oxford Jewish club; a suburban-born Yale Law grad with a relentless passion for a city that didn’t always love him back. … He talks in big lofty language about the ‘arc of history’ and ‘conspiracy of love.’ But the loose, freewheeling style that helped form Booker’s political identity didn’t translate easily to his 2013 U.S. Senate race, when stories he’d been telling for years suddenly came under fire. [Staples of his stump speech were verifiably false or could not be corroborated.] ... The experience left him a little rattled, a little wary of a media environment where, he says, people try to ‘bring folk down.’ But it was that race, according to his aides, that helped push Booker to become more disciplined and measured. … Booker, determined to avoid the missteps of 2013, now goes by a new rule. ‘Every story I tell, I’m going to find second and third sources.'"
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has continued to lob attacks at Trump this week, calling him a “faker” and saying she is surprised the media has not pressed him harder to release his tax returns. (Robert Barnes)
Trump responded by calling for her resignation and last night suggested that she is senile:
Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot - resign!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 13, 2016
-- The editorial boards of The Post and the New York Times both chastise Ginsburg this morning. We cannot recall seeing "Trump is right" on the Times's editorial page so far this year, but the paper says the justice "needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling." The Post's board -- independent from the news division -- is more gentle but nonetheless stern: "However valid her comments may have been ... and however in keeping with her known political bent, they were still much, much better left unsaid by a member of the Supreme Court. ... Politicization, real or perceived, undermines public faith in the impartiality of the courts."
-- Intel’s CEO canceled a planned meeting with Trump when his campaign tried to turn it into a fundraiser. Brian “Krzanich said he’d originally scheduled a gathering at his home to discuss issues important to Intel and himself with Trump,” Bloomberg’s Ian King reports. “It turned into a fundraiser, which is when we backed out,” he said. “It was supposed to be a conversation about issues.” The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
-- The Donald declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati, skipping a prominent civil rights conference that both major party nominees typically address. "The explanation given was that they're holding their convention at the same time," NAACP leader Cornell William Brooks said on CNN. "We, of course, are in Cincinnati. They are in Cleveland. We were hoping he would make the short trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati." (Jenna Johnson)
-- Eric Trump said he cannot remember a single instance when his father donated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in personal money to charity, after repeatedly making that claim in a series of interviews last week. "I’m sure there have been but without going back through 10 years, I wouldn’t remember check for check off the top of my head," the candidate's son told David Fahrenthold – who has been doggedly pursuing the story – in an email. “As the day went on, Eric Trump was pressed to explain the contrast with his own statements from a few days before. Why had he asserted that his father had given his charity hundreds of thousands of dollars, if now he didn't remember it ever happening?” In response, Eric Trump said he was too busy to look for any evidence that would corroborate his claims: “I have a lot going on — I just don't have the time. Good luck with the story,” he wrote. “Those comments undermine what was — for a few days — the strongest testimonial about Donald Trump's recent giving to charity.”
-- Clinton ally David Brock will hold a conference call at 10 a.m. to announce that an anonymous Republican has offered to contribute $5 MILLION to a veteran’s charity of Trump’s choosing if the presumptive GOP nominee releases his tax returns. Trump has given varying excuses for refusing to release his returns, as every major party nominee for a generation has done.
-- New York Times, “For Whites Sensing Decline, Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance,” by Nicholas Confessore: “The resentment among whites feels both old and distinctly of this moment. It is shaped by the reality of demographic change, by a decade and a half of war in the Middle East, and by unease with the newly confident and confrontational activism of young blacks furious over police violence. It is mingled with patriotism, pride, fear and a sense that an America without them at its center is not really America anymore. … In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged. But in doing so, Mr. Trump has also opened the door to assertions of white identity and resentment in a way not seen so broadly in American culture in over half a century. … Dozens of interviews … suggest that the passions aroused and channeled by Mr. Trump take many forms, from earnest if muddled rebellion to deeper and more elaborate bigotry.”
-- David Duke is considering launching a congressional bid against Steve Scalise in Louisiana: The former KKK grand wizard said he has set up an exploratory committee and is “heavily leaning” towards challenging the House Majority Whip. He said he will make a final decision in the next few days. (Daily Beast)
-- A Trump University course advised students on how they could profit by targeting destitute, “completely disabled” homeowners in pre-foreclosure. From Mother Jones’ Patrick Caldwell: "The 2006 course, which Trump vowed would offer a 'real estate gold mine,' features tips from real estate investment adviser Gary Eldred about how to best exploit homeowners facing foreclosures. The goal, Eldred says, is to find homeowners who are in a truly desperate financial position. ‘Under no circumstance will a lender accept a short sale if they think they can squeeze that borrower for an extra nickel,’ he explains. He lists the conditions that are ideal for a short sale: ‘The borrower is out of work, the borrower has $50,000 in unpaid medical claims, the borrow is completely disabled, the borrower has an extraordinarily messy divorce where everything has been squandered.’” Trump echoed these sentiments in a taped introduction for the course: “I’m sorry for them, but life goes on,” he said of desperate property owners. “And the fact is, one person's misfortune is someone else's opportunity.”
THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION STARTS IN FIVE DAYS:
-- “GOP moves closer to the base, and away from the broader public, in party platform," by Ed O'Keefe and Dan Balz: The Republican Party firmly embraced conservative orthodoxy on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and immigration during its platform committee meetings in Cleveland. “Among the specific policies the platform committee endorsed is a ‘border wall’ that would cover ‘the entirety of the Southern Border.' ... On abortion, the committee added the full text of the Hyde Amendment — which bans the use of federal funding for all forms of the procedure — to the platform. The panel also included support for ‘religious freedom’ laws and made changes to reinforce its support for traditional marriage."
The victory of the RNC hardliners comes as public opinion continues to inch away from them, especially on social issues: “Approval of legal abortion jumped from 51 percent to 58 percent in 2015. … A record-high six in 10 Americans support same-sex marriage [and] a CNN/ORC poll released in May found that a majority of Americans don’t agree with so-called bathroom bills. … Regardless, few members of the platform committee spoke in opposition to any of the proposals.”
-- The New Black Panther Party announced that its members will carry guns for self-defense during rallies outside the RNC next week: "If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our second amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us," said Panthers leader Hashim Nzinga. Ohio officials have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons in accordance with the state’s open carry laws, so long as protesters remain outside the convention perimeter. (Reuters)
-- Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said Cleveland police are “ready,” officially deeming the city police force well-equipped to handle any potential fracas. (Plain Dealer)
-- Rudy Giuliani is expected to speak at the GOP convention and could earn a prime opening-night time slot, according to Politico. The former New York City mayor’s rumored speech comes in the wake of his inflammatory comments about Black Lives Matter activists Sunday, but party leaders are struggling to book big names for Trump’s coronation.
-- Mitch McConnell said he plans to speak.
-- Ryan, who will chair the convention, repeatedly defended his endorsement of Trump during a CNN town hall last night. "It is a binary choice," the Speaker said. "It is either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. You don't get a third option."
-- Ted Cruz will travel to Cleveland this Friday to address a closed-door meeting of movement conservative leaders ahead of the convention. “Cruz will speak to a gathering of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group … many of whom backed the Texas senator in his failed presidential bid,” per Politico’s Shane Goldmacher. “The CNP is a nonprofit, but some of its members, including Tony Perkins, who also serves as head of the Family Research Council, are part of a subgroup that had voted to endorse Cruz in hopes of uniting the movement behind a single candidate in 2016 … The closed-door speech also represents a chance for Cruz to stay in the good graces of [activists] who could power a 2020 presidential run.” The RNC rules committee also meets Friday. This is where Stop Trump Republicans are expected to make their last-ditch effort to block him from the nomination. (Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier says Cruz plans to appear only at the CNP gathering, not at any RNC meetings.)
-- The governor of Texas confirmed he will stay home. Greg Abbott, who suffered severe burns while vacationing in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last week, is in the hospital recovering from a skin graft procedure. (Austin American-Statesman)
-- BuzzFeed is hosting a party for reporters from the dozen media organizations that have been blacklisted from being credentialed to cover Trump events. (Huffington Post's Michael Calderone)
THE DEMOCRATIC DENOUEMENT:
-- Sanders pledged to support Clinton during a “boisterous, but at times awkward rally” in New Hampshire. "She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States," the senator from Vermont said. Speaking directly to Sanders’s supporters, Clinton welcomed them to her campaign and encouraged them to “make it your own.” “You will always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House,” she said. Clinton and Sanders took the stage to a Bruce Springsteen anthem that was standard at his rallies, John Wagner flags.
-- Wasting no time, Sanders is preparing to launch “as many as three” organizations to continue the efforts of his campaign. “One will be devoted to policy formulation. A second will focus on recruiting and training candidates. And a third might engage in other political activity, possibly registering as a political action committee," Wagner reports. Campaign manager Jeff Weaver said he expects the organizations “to be up and running in a matter of weeks, with the aim of fully participating in the fall elections.”
-- “DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems safe until November,” by CNN’s Manu Raju: There were discussions about replacing her, including with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin. "But those talks didn't pick up much steam, sources said, with Clinton showing little appetite to boot Wasserman Schultz and cause a distraction, while Sanders focused his energy instead on influencing the party platform. When Clinton took over the DNC last month, the campaign named Brandon Davis, a former national political director for the Services Employees International Union, as the chief of staff, giving him day-to-day control over the operation and effectively limiting the role of the Florida Democrat. Now ... there seems to be little appetite for a drawn-out committee fight over naming a replacement."
-- “Democrats make education revisions to 2016 platform — and a key reformer is furious,” by Valerie Strauss: “In an unexpected move, Democrats revised the K-12 education section of their party’s 2016 platform in important ways, backing the right of parents to opt their children out of high-stakes standardized tests, qualifying support for charter schools, and opposing using test scores for high-stakes purposes to evaluate teachers and students. Some of the changes are being welcomed by public school advocates who have been fighting corporate school reform, which includes standardized test-based accountability systems and the expansion of charter schools. Many of these activists have been worried that Clinton … would back corporate reform, just as the Obama administration has. While it isn’t clear exactly what she will do if she becomes president — as platform language does not necessarily translate into policy — supporters of those reforms are furious at the changes, highlighting a rift in the party over how to improve K-12 education.”
-- “Inside ISIS: Quietly preparing for the loss of the ‘caliphate’,” by Joby Warrick and Souad Mekhennet: “Even as it launches waves of terrorist attacks around the globe, the Islamic State is quietly preparing its followers for the eventual collapse of the caliphate it proclaimed with great fanfare two years ago. In public messages and in recent actions in Syria, the group’s leaders are acknowledging the terrorist organization’s declining fortunes on the battlefield while bracing for the possibility that its remaining strongholds could fall. U.S. counterterrorism experts believe the mass casualty attacks in Istanbul and Baghdad in the past month were largely a response to military reversals in Iraq and Syria. Such terrorist acts are likely to continue and even intensify … as the group evolves from a quasi-state with territorial holdings to a shadowy and diffuse network with branches and cells on at least three continents.”
Alarming quote, from an Islamic State operative: “We do have, every day, people reaching out and telling us they want to come to the caliphate. But we tell them to stay in their countries and rather wait to do something there.”
-- “Cash-strapped Rio state says Olympics will be fine. But what about afterward?,” by Dom Phillips: “The state of Rio is so broke it is selling off the governor’s summer residence and the small island it sits on. But because of a recent federal government bailout, officials insist, the Summer Olympics will go just fine. The problem is what happens after the Games. … Rio is running a deficit of about $6 billion a year ... and has lurched from one crisis to another since last year, when state hospitals ran out of basic supplies. Now, officials say, everything is in place for Rio to stage a memorable Olympics — although many observers doubt even that. Less than a month before the Games begin, some emergency health centers have reduced their hours and are struggling to pay suppliers. Police and firefighters have twice staged demonstrations at Rio’s international airport, warning that visitors’ safety cannot be guaranteed and protesting still-unpaid salaries. 'This was for us to work during the Olympics, to shut us up,' said one officer. 'We don’t know what will happen afterward.'"
-- “Colombia offers the possibility that the Zika epidemic may not be as bad as feared,” by Nick Miroff: “In the nine months since the Zika virus appeared in Colombia, the government has reported nearly 100,000 cases, including more than 17,000 pregnant women. But the epidemic has not produced the dreaded wave of fetal deformities witnessed in Brazil. Brazilian health officials blame the virus for at least 1,600 cases of the birth defect microcephaly, and they are investigating another 3,000 for a link to Zika. In Colombia, the country that has logged the second-highest number of infections, authorities have linked Zika to 18 cases of microcephaly, with 112 under investigation.The fact that Colombia has seen a relatively modest — not massive — increase in birth defects raises some hopes that the threat of microcephaly from Zika is not as high" as previously expected.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Young Trump supporters spotted in Indiana:
As seen in Indiana. pic.twitter.com/7dg9GqKHbJ— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) July 12, 2016
An early joke about a possible Trump-Gingrich ticket:
Trump lashed out at Sanders over his endorsement:
Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2016
Bernie Sanders, who has lost most of his leverage, has totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. He will endorse her today - fans angry!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2016
Here's how Sanders responded:
Big talk from the same guy who was too afraid to debate Bernie in California. https://t.co/LVCjo0PKrN— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 12, 2016
Clinton thanked him:
Thank you, @BernieSanders, not just for your endorsement, but for a lifetime of fighting injustice.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 12, 2016
Together, let’s go win this election. pic.twitter.com/lRSwpk9y4b— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 12, 2016
Green Party candidate Jill Stein is trying to win over Sanders supporters:
I call on the millions inspired by Bernie' call for political revolution to reject the self-defeating strategy of voting for the lesser evil— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) July 12, 2016
Berners, I repeat: this isn't the end. Not by a long shot. Together we can keep the political revolution going. We don't need the Democrats.— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) July 13, 2016
We have a real chance to change our political system. We mustn't squander this by pledging allegiance to a corrupt insider 67% don't trust.— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) July 12, 2016
Clinton hung out with Lin-Manuel Miranda in New York. (Notice that he has trimmed his hair since his final performance as Alexander Hamilton...)
A lesson in solemnity, from Arlington National Cemetery:
We do not consider playing "Pokemon Go" to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 12, 2016
The Holocaust Museum posted a similar message:
We welcome & encourage visitors to use technology to engage w/our exhibitions & programs while being respectful of our role as a memorial.— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) July 12, 2016
Meanwhile, Washington continues to embrace Pokemon Go:
Spotted by the C-SPAN team:
Elizabeth Warren celebrated her wedding anniversary:
Bruce & I got married 36 yrs ago today. I’m sure glad I asked — & sure glad he said yes. Happy anniversary, Sweetie! pic.twitter.com/0b1qNVMEgo— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July 12, 2016
Shailene Woodley met with Tim Ryan:
The Capitol briefly went on lockdown yesterday. (Everything turned out to be okay.) Inside were 102 beauty queens -- complete with sashes. "We are here in DC for Miss America orientation," said Lauren Wilson, Miss Utah 2016, who was on her way to meet Sen. Orrin Hatch when the lockdown was announced. "All of us were in a big group text,” she told Karoun Demirjian. Here are some pictures from their office visits:
Pat Toomey and John Thune fielded competing softball teams:
Gabrielle Giffords wished Malala Yousafzai a happy birthday:
Dave Weigel lays a marker:
“We’re gonna win so much you’re gonna get tired of winning” is an aphorism that will survive this campaign.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 12, 2016
And finally, one widely-shared observation:
Say what you want about W & Obama, if all our politics lived up to hope/dignity/constructiveness of what they offered today we'd be doing ok— Tim Miller (@Timodc) July 12, 2016
Kim Kardashian is a cover girl ... on Forbes.
I am very proud of my wife for her Forbes cover story. pic.twitter.com/4eSWq6oQGZ— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 12, 2016
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Cop in ‘antlers photo’ shouldn’t get job back, appeals court says,’" from the Chicago Sun Times: “A former Chicago Police detective shown in a photo posing as a hunter who bagged a black teenager as a trophy should not get his job back, an Illinois appellate court has ruled. A state appellate court on Friday upheld the police board’s firing of McDermott for violating three department rules: bringing discredit on the department; disrespect of a person; and unnecessarily displaying a weapon. Then-Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who had asked the Chicago Police Board to fire McDermott, called the photo 'disgusting.' Also posing in the photo was Officer Jerome Finnigan, who is serving a 12-year prison term for corruption.
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Indicted Dem: Orlando victims would be alive if agents weren’t investigating me,” from The Hill: “Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) said Friday that if the Department of Justice had been investigating the Orlando nightclub shooter instead of her, the 49 people killed in the massacre there last month would still be alive. Brown was charged with 24 counts of fraud late last week, after being accused of using a college scholarship fund as ‘a personal slush fund.’ ‘These are the same agents that was not able to do a thorough investigation of [Omar Mateen], and we ended up with 50 people dead,’ Brown said. Prosecutors allege that the Florida lawmaker and her chief of staff, Elias ‘Ronnie’ Simmons, used her office to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the fake charity."
GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Sabato's Crystal Ball, “Why Ohio Picks the President,” by Kyle Kondik: “Ohio has voted for the winning presidential candidate in 28 of the past 30 elections … That’s the best ‘winning percentage’ of any state over that timeframe. As the political world descends on Ohio next week for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland … it’s worth taking a look at why this state has so consistently reflected the national voting”:
- Ohio is reflective of the nation: The “Western Reserve,” and northeastern parts of the state were once part of Connecticut. Meanwhile, central and southwestern parts of the state were settled by southerners. And the middle of Ohio was largely settled by people from the Middle Atlantic. Early statehood migration patterns, many historians argue, have made the Buckeye State a microcosm of the whole country.
- Ohio has no dominant city or region: “Unlike states like Illinois … or New York … Ohio does not have a leading region or city.” And Ohio’s three major urban counties, combined, aren’t as Democratic as those in other states. “… Ohio’s political makeup — lots of rural and suburban Republican counties with a relative handful of Democratic centers — mimics the nation’s, too.”
- No dominant industries or political ideology: “Ohio is not just a cultural and political melting pot — it’s an economic one, too. Politicians don’t look at it as a coal state, like West Virginia, or as an agriculture state, like Iowa. Additionally, the state does not have a driving political ideology … Ohio has long produced statewide leaders of vastly different ideologies who ascend to high office thanks to a combination of skill and luck.”
On the campaign trail: Clinton speaks in Springfield, Illinois. Trump is in Southern California for fundraisers.
At the White House: Obama hosts a conversation on community policing and criminal justice. Biden speaks on trade enforcement in San Diego, presents the Jimmy V Award to Craig Sager at the 2016 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles and then spends the night in Honolulu.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to resume consideration of the conference report to accompany S.524, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I would rather attend the public hanging of a good friend.” – Former Mitt Romney aide Will Ritter, asked whether he’s going to Cleveland
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- A very swampy day is ahead – along with a 50-50 chance you’re going to want to pack that umbrella. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “We’re back into the soup today with very high humidity (dew points in the low 70s), and highs heading for the upper 80s to low 90s under partly sunny skies. Those increased moisture levels fuel a chance of some heavy showers and storms. Can’t rule out a few showers this morning, but the better chance comes this afternoon into the evening.”
-- Police are investigating the death of a Fredericksburg man who phoned 911 before his death, but his message was dismissed by dispatchers as a “pocket dial.” (Justin Wm. Moyer)
-- The D.C. Council voted unanimously to make it easier for cyclists to collect insurance after a crash, upending a long-standing law that accidents must be 100 percent the driver’s fault for a cyclist to collect on insurance. (Luz Lazo)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Dallas Police Chief David Brown recited the lyrics to a Stevie Wonder song at the memorial service for the slain officers:
Obama said the officers did not die in vain:
Here's Bush 43's speech:
Watch President Bush sing along to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (FLOTUS is clearly unsure how to respond):
Trump compared Clinton to Henry Houdini for not getting indicted:
Here's a summary of the Clinton-Sanders event in less than three minutes:
By Bloomberg's count, Hillary nodded her head more than 400 times during her rally with Sanders yesterday. Watch their six-minute compilation here.
Seth Meyers took a closer look at politicians' response to police shootings:
Check out these images from abandoned Fukushima:
Finally, for new Pokemon Go players, awkward moments you'll understand: