THE BIG IDEA: This is a truly terrible time to be a career politician running for president.

A brand new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 72 percent of Americans believe that politicians cannot be trusted and two-thirds think the country’s political system is dysfunctional. A not insignificant share of folks openly embrace radicalism: 21 percent of those polled would rather the next president “tear down” the political system and “start over” than try to “fix” it. Six in 10 Republicans believe the next president should come from outside the existing political establishment.

A CBS/YouGov survey of the early states, published Sunday, found another barometer of anger at Washington: 81 percent of conservatives in Iowa and 72 percent in South Carolina think congressional Republicans have compromised “too much” with President Obama.

With those numbers, it’s hardly astonishing that two guys who have never held elected office – heck, they haven’t even run for office before – get a combined 53 percent of the vote among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in our poll. Donald Trump managed only to get stronger since the last time we were in the field. He’s the choice of 33 percent, up 9 points since mid-July. Ben Carson is second at 20 percent, 14 points higher than our July poll.

Everyone else trails far behind: Jeb Bush is third at 8 percent, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio at 7 percent each. No one else registered above five percent: Rand Paul got 5, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich both got 3, Carly Fiorina and Scott Walker got 2; Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry (who suspended his campaign Friday night) took 1 percent.

Our poll also gives more cause for concern at HRC HQ in Brooklyn. Hillary remains the unquestioned frontrunner, BUT

  • Fewer than half of Democrats want her to be their nominee. Her support has plummeted 21 points among Democrats since our July poll. For the first time, Hillary gets less than 50 percent in the horse race. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, Clinton garnered 42 percent while Bernie Sanders was second at 24 percent and Joe Biden—not a declared candidate—is third at 21 percent. Sanders’s support has spiked by 10 points since July; Biden has gained 9 points.
  • White women have defected big time. “In July, 64 percent of white women said they supported Clinton,” Dan Balz and Scott Clement note in their front-page story. “Today it is just 31 percent, the same level of backing as Sanders, whose support has doubled among this group.”
  • So much for the electability pitch: Hillary’s lead over Trump in a general election matchup is inside the margin of error. She’s up just 46 to 43 percent among registered voters. Working in her favor, 56 percent say she’s got the personality and temperament to serve as president.
  • There’s a growing feeling that Hillary doesn’t feel their pain. For the first time in Post polling, just over half the country doesn’t think Clinton understands the problems faced by people like them.
  • The Integrity Gap has worsened: 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Clinton has handled questions about her private e-mail account as secretary of state; 54 percent say she tried to cover up the facts; and 51 percent say she broke government rules. Meanwhile, the company that housed the private server told The Post that, to its knowledge, the e-mails were not actually “wiped” from the server but only deleted. This means we might still learn what they said.

How the Clinton campaign is responding –

  • New ads in the early states aim to humanize Hillary and show she’s solutions-oriented: A spot released yesterday highlights the candidate’s granddaughter, Charlotte. “You should not have to be the grandchild of a former president to know that you can make it in America,” Hillary says at a town hall meeting. The other commercial, released late last week, emphasizes her plan to raise incomes and invites viewers to read it on her web site.
  • A weekend retreat for senior staff in Connecticut: Campaign manager Robby Mook has devoted the last couple of days trying to reassure jittery Clintonites that they should trust the campaign’s strategy and not overreact to the spate of bad polling. The effort includes calls to key early state supporters and fresh talking points, noting that both John Kerry and Al Gore trailed the summer before the caucuses. BuzzFeed reported last night that Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada state directors flew in for a huddle with senior staff in Connecticut.

— Hillary’s weakness is about more than Hillary. We are in the midst of a global moment: a rejection of third-way-style triangulation. We saw it Saturday in the stunning win of left-wing backbencher Jeremy Corbyn to  take over as the leader of the Labour Party. Noted Anglophile Dan Balz explains in a smart take that “the election of Corbyn represents a dramatic break with the recent history of the Labour Party and a full and conspicuous rejection of the New Labour philosophy of Tony Blair.” Blair, of course, won election by following the Bill Clinton playbook.

— Is Walker collapsing because he’s a career politician? Apparently, the Wisconsin governor isn’t the vessel for angry voters. He’s held elected office since 1993 and never really held a significant job in the private sector. Friday’s 202 highlighted Walker’s collapse in Iowa, where’s he gone from first to near the bottom of the pack. The new Post poll shows it’s not an isolated problem. Our July poll had him at 13 percent nationally. He’s at 2 percent now.

This weekend, Walker abruptly canceled significant appearances in Michigan and California next weekend, ostensibly so he can focus on the must-win Iowa caucuses. He’s also playing harder for South Carolina than New Hampshire, where his move to the right this year will make it hard to win the open primary. Walker strategists stress that the governor continues to be viewed favorably by most Republicans, which means he could still make a comeback. They also say they’re building an organization to win the caucuses: Today, they’ll announce they have signed up grassroots leaders in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

— Good Monday morning from PALO ALTO, California, where I’m at Stanford for a Hoover Institution media roundtable. Buckle up for another exciting week on the road to the White House!


Overnight in Afghanistan, the Taliban stormed a prison outside the central city of Ghazni, killing four policemen and freeing more than 350 prisoners. The jailbreak appeared to be well-organized and and is the third mass prison break carried out by the extremists, the BBC reports.

Japan’s Mount Aso, on the southwestern island of Kyushu, erupted Monday morning, “sending a plume of thick black smoke and ash more than a mile into the air and disrupting flights,” per NBC. There was no warning, and tourists in the area were quickly whisked to safety.

The National Education Association’s New Hampshire chapter just announced its endorsement of Hillary.


  1. A change in government procedures has led to a big jump in people losing coverage under Obamacare because of immigration and citizenship issues, the AP reports. More than 400,000 have had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year.
  2. Thousands of Latino activists are expected to attend a “Dump the Trump” march in downtown Dallas during rush-hour today, protesting Trump’s appearance in the city.
  3. Meanwhile, the California Senate passed a resolution condemning Trump’s immigration views and urging Californians to stop supporting his businesses. It doesn’t have the force of law.
  4. Germany says its reaching a breaking point and can no longer handle the massive influx of refugees, implementing emergency controls along its border with Austria, including highway checks and closing train service. (Anthony Faiola and Robert Samuels)
  5. American Airlines accidentally flew the wrong plane from Los Angeles to Hawaii on Aug. 31.
  6. Arizona authorities arrested three teens for “copycat” incidents involving shootings on roadways. “Since Aug. 29, more than 10 vehicles have been shot at along a stretch of Interstate 10 from central Phoenix to five miles west of downtown.” (LA Times)
  7. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials finished four days of bilateral meetings on Saturday, focused on cyber security and other issues, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the White House later this month (Reuters)
  8. Before Rosh Hashana, clashes broke out between police and Palestinian at the al-Asqa mosque in Jerusalem’s old city. Palestinians inside the mosque said police entered, shooting rubber-coated steel bullets; police said they came to the site after being told that Muslims planned to attack visiting Jews. (Guardian)
  9. Egyptian forces killed at least 12 people when they fired on an apparent tourist convoy in the western desert carrying Mexican nationals. The Eyptians were pursuing armed militants.
  10. President Obama unveiled his new College Scorecard, an informational .gov site for parents and college students about higher-education institutions. But the Scorecard falls far short of the president’s original ambitions to identify schools whose students have high debt and little ability to recoup it. (Rubio brackets his Iowa visit with this forthcoming video.)
  11. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in two California counties after a wildfire that started north of San Francisco spread to at least 40,000 acres. The “Valley fire” is not yet contained.
  12. We’ll learn fresh facts this Thursday about the kidnapping of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan when he appears at a hearing in San Antonio related to the pending desertion charges against him.
  13. Algeria’s super-powerful top spy, Mohamed Medienne, was abruptly removed after 25 years, a signal of possible turmoil and instability to come.


  1. Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail after refusing to recognize gay marriages, is going back to work today.
  2. Justice Stephen G. Breyer argues in a new book coming out this week that the Supreme Court cannot do its job without a careful understanding of foreign law and practice. He told The Post’s Robert Barnes in an interview that “15 to 20 percent of the cases require the judges to know something about what happens abroad.”
  3. Martin O’Malley is rolling out a detailed plan to cut deaths from gun violence in half within the decade. Here’s a six-page sneak peak of what he’ll outline in New York City at 2 p.m.
  4. Joe Biden will head to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation convention in D.C. on Saturday night.
  5. Carly Fiorina won the straw poll at this weekend’s National Federation of Republican Women convention. Capitalizing on the hit she took from Trump last week, she opened her speech at their event by declaring: “Look at this face.” The Carly for America super PAC is releasing a new web video today with women talking about their faces. There’s lots of speculation in GOP circles about what she’ll say when the subject comes up during Wednesday’s debate.
  6. A new CNN poll finds that one in five Americans still do not believe Obama was born in the United States.
  7. Bernie Sanders speaks this morning at Liberty University, the conservative Christian school founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell. The Vermont senator says he’s determined to bring his income inequality message to unexpected places. (John Wagner and Laura Vozzella)
  8. Cornel West campaigned with Sanders in South Carolina on Saturday. The prominent African-American author praised “brother Bernie” before a racially-mixed crowd at historically-black Benedict University. (John Wagner and Vanessa Williams)
  9. Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey officially kicked off his re-election campaign with a rally seeking to highlight his efforts to reach across the aisle while maintaining a tough stance on fiscal issues. (Morning Call)
  10. Junk bond king Mike Milken has turned into one of the “nation’s leading medical philanthropists” and is turning his attention to Capitol Hill, pushing faster drug approvals and an increase in medical research funding. He and others from his think tank have met with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor. (Boston Globe profile)


— Carson blamed the media for spinning his remarks questioning Trump’s faith. “They love to have a gladiator scene,” Carson said, referring to the press. Explaining why he apologized to Trump, he said: “But when you do something that’s inappropriate, I think it’s appropriate to apologize for it.” (ABC “This Week”)

Carson, arguing that the U.S. must use “enhanced” screening procedures to monitor the intake of refugees from Syria as a result of the migrant crisis, noted that the Boston Marathon bombers came into the U.S. via refugee status. “I would recognize that bringing in people from the Middle East right now carries extra danger,” he said.

Trump called skyrocketing CEO pay “a complete joke,” but explained on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that nothing can be done because executives stack corporate boards with their friends. “That’s the system that we have and it’s a shame and its disgraceful.”

— Sanders said that other counties besides the U.S. are “going to have to get their hands dirty” in tackling ISIS on the ground, specifically Saudi Arabia and Turkey. “I disagree that the United States should have combat troops in the area.” He added that it was “impossible” to quantify how many refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern countries should be accepted by the U.S. (NBC’s Meet the Press)

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insisted “nothing has been proven yet” on fallout from the Bridgegate scandal in which Port Authority of NY-NJ Chair David Sampson, a Christie appointee, is now being probed for allegedly scheming with ex-United CEO Jeff Smisek to establish a direct flight from Newark to his South Carolina vacation home. “You have no idea as you sit here today that he did anything wrong,” Christie told Chuck Todd. “Neither does anybody else.”


Was Donald Trump’s education venture, Trump University, a scam?” by Emma Brown: “Never licensed as a school, Trump University was in reality a series of real estate workshops in hotel ballrooms around the country, not unlike many other for-profit self-help or motivational seminars. Though short-lived, it remains a thorn in Trump’s side nearly five years after its operations ceased: In three pending lawsuits, including one in which the New York attorney general is seeking $40 million in restitution, former students allege that the enterprise bilked them out of their money with misleading advertisements…Instead of a fast route to easy money, these Trump University students say they found generic seminars led by salesmen who pressured them to invest more cash in additional courses. The students say they didn’t learn Trump’s secrets and never received the one-on-one guidance they expected… even some of the students who felt duped said they haven’t given up on him: They like Trump. They admire him. They might even vote for him.”

Hogan, on cancer advocacy: ‘I never expected to be in this position,‘” by Ovetta Wiggins: “The letters, and thousands like them, have pushed the first-term governor into what he refers to as his newest ‘calling’ — advocating for cancer patients and their families. Since he was diagnosed in June, Hogan (R) has invited people with cancer to the State House, set up a #HoganStrong fundraising effort that has raised $35,000, and visited the pediatric oncology ward at the University of Maryland Medical Center. On Sunday, the governor appeared at FedEx Field with fellow cancer patients during the Washington Redskins’ home opener to call attention to their battle against a ‘monster of a disease.'”


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Jeb gets more attention from TV than the polls would merit, as Cruz keeps getting more love from Twitter than the mainstream media. With the second GOP debate now upon us, it’s a good time to look back on the last month of coverage since the candidates gathered in Cleveland. A lot has happened in those four weeks: Carly got a bounce, Carson surged and Perry folded. But television news producers do not necessarily see the race that way. Via our analytics partners at Zignal Labs, here is who all the TV news channels have mentioned the most often since Cleveland:

Trump is still in his own category — both in total coverage and in the polls. But Jeb Bush is a clear No. 2 contender, with more than twice as many mentions as the next candidate, Fiorina, and nearly three times as many as Carson. That’s despite his single-digit showing in the polls. If you watch CNN promos right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Republican contest is really just Trump vs. Jeb.

Meanwhile in the Twitterverse: Trump is in his own atmospheric layer, but Cruz, who lags behind six other GOP contenders in television mentions, is solidly in the No. 2 spot. Is that evidence of strong grassroots support for Cruz, or does it simply mean that his supporters are more likely to tweet than those who back the former Florida governor, who is 17 years older? Cruz’s challenge will be to translate that twitter enthusiasm into popular support as the GOP contest enters its next phase. Here’s a chart from Zignal of how the race has looked on Twitter since August 7:

–Pictures of the day:

CNN has spent heavily to build a debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. This scaffolding was built so that the restored Air Force One can be in the backdrop behind the candidate podiums.

Here is a view of the debate stage (which looks quite different than the NBC/Politico debate four years ago):

Here’s Preston with CNN’s Dana Bash and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who will both be asking questions during Wednesday’s debate:

Donald Trump caused a melee (as usual) when he campaigned this weekend at a football game in Boone, Iowa:

“I still believe there is no one who would make a better President than Rick Perry,” campaign manager Jeff Miller (left) wrote after Perry dropped out of the 2016 race:

–Tweets of the day:

Jeb Bush, along with most 2016 presidential candidates, wished Jewish followers a happy new year:

Hillary Clinton focused on the fight against substance abuse, a big issue in New Hampshire:

Georgia lawmakers, including Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), congratulated newly-crowned Miss America, Betty Cantrell:

First Lady Michelle Obama reached out to Serena Williams after her U.S. Open loss:

–Instagrams of the day:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) celebrated Grandparents Day with his first grandchild, Alistair Lane:

RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer and his wife Rebecca, from the National Beer Wholesalers Assn., pose with Captain America (and their two kids) at the finish line of the Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race:

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and family celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah:

Mike Huckabee posed with a grandson during a visit to Arkansas. “Five grandkids under the age of 5 – and I thought running for president was hard work!” he wrote:


— New York Times, “Ben Carson works his way up the donations ladder,” by Eric Lichtblau and Trip Gabriel: “Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has quietly arrived near the front of the Republican presidential field, is scooping up $100,000 a night from wealthy donors in Texas and California…With more than $23 million at his disposal, according to his campaign, Mr. Carson has hired a staff of about 75, including 30 field organizers in seven states, seeking to carry him all the way to the Republican National Convention… Some 50,000 people paid $25 each for a booklet about his life; $50 donors got a child’s name put up on his campaign bus; and his campaign said it had raised $500,000 by selling signed and numbered portraits of him. In all, nearly half a million people have contributed an average of $51 to Mr. Carson — a swell of small-donor support exceeded in either party’s race only by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”

— Wall Street Journal, “The one man road show of Donald Trump,” by Monica Langley: “Travels and extensive conversations with Mr. Trump in recent weeks show that, while he is slowly beginning to bend to some candidate norms—opening state offices, readying ballot-access drives and preparing a tax plan—he continues to resist the experts’ view that he needs a conventional campaign apparatus…’A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct,’ Mr. Trump said in one of several interviews. ‘I assimilate a lot of information…and I believe in being strategic.’ Instead of surrounding himself with what he called ‘political hacks,’ Mr. Trump said, ‘I don’t need an inner circle.’ His rationale: In an ;age of specialization, I am tapping phenomenal people in every field’…’We’re running an efficient organization with a business mind-set,’ [campaign manager Corey] Lewandowski said. ‘We don’t need high-priced staff or consultants when leading authorities are volunteering to help Mr. Trump.'”

–Des Moines Register, “Some Iowa conservative women on Trump: ‘I’m over him‘,” by Jennifer Jacobs: “The GOP women expressing concerns about Trump’s remarks include Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, the top female elected officials in Iowa, which kicks off voting for the presidency. ‘I personally find it unacceptable,’ Reynolds told The Des Moines Register in an interview. ‘It’s not appropriate in politics, it’s not appropriate in business, and it’s not appropriate anywhere’…Ernst, in response to a question from the Register during a media conference call on Thursday, said: ‘I would like to think our presidential candidates would at least respect other people, whether male or female.’ She said she didn’t want to single out Trump for criticism, but added: ‘If there’s not a certain level of respect, how do we know that people are going to come to the table and work together?’ Former state Rep. Renee Schulte, a Cedar Rapids Republican who backs Bush, said she thinks women who support Trump will ‘start looking around’ now, suggesting that his sexism might be the gravitational force that pulls his soaring candidacy back to Earth. ‘How can we have a leader who discounts over half the population? That is absurd,’ Schulte said.”

— Salon published an excerpt of David Gregory’s new book: “My relationship with ‘Meet the Press’ …was like a bad marriage you know is bad but can’t leave“: The book, “How’s your faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey” is out this week: “The last gasp came suddenly, and the timing was bad: Beth and I were setting off on a day of travel to pick up our kids from camp in New Hampshire. Just before the plane doors closed and I had to power down my phone, my agent called to tell me that NBC had decided it didn’t want to risk another “Ann Curry moment,” which has become a byword in the TV business for an on-air embarrassment, after Curry’s long and tearful farewell from her job as Today show cohost. Because of this ill-conceived concern, NBC decided not to let me have a final show. They wanted this to be my last day. I was furious when I heard that. I felt like they were snuffing me out…

“Sitting in the car that day, watching the tweets stack up about my rumored departure, I was far from at peace with all of it. I had spent so much time planning out my career. It hurt to see how far out of my control this end­ing was. There was also the feeling that I’d be seen as a failure. I’d had a big setback, and everyone was going to know it.”


Michael Moore: World runs smarter with women. From USA Today: “Michael Moore makes hay in his new documentary, ‘Where to Invade Next,’ looking at smarter ways of living elsewhere in the world that, if co-opted, could make America a better place. By the end of the film, which had its world premiere Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, Moore makes one thing very apparent: When women are in power, everything runs a little better … He sees a lot of women who could change America, one of them being Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. ‘I wish she was running for president,’ he says.”


Are western values losing their sway? From New York Times London bureau chief Steven Erlanger in the Sunday Review: “Are Western values, essentially Judeo-Christian ones, truly universal? The history of the last decade is a bracing antidote to such easy thinking. The rise of authoritarian capitalism has been a blow to assumptions, made popular by Francis Fukuyama, that liberal democracy has proved to be the most reliable and lasting political system … Couple the tightening of Chinese authoritarianism with Russia’s turn toward revanchism and dictatorship, and then add the rise of radical Islam, and the grand victory of Western liberalism can seem hollow, its values under threat.”


–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Donald Trump rallies with supporters in Dallas. Hillary Clinton campaigns in Cedar Falls and Decorah, Iowa. Sanders speaks at Liberty University convocation. Scott Walker holds a town hall meeting in Las Vegas. Chris Christie attends events in Manchester, New Hampshire. 

–On the Hill: Both chambers are in recess.

–At the White House: President Obama travels to Des Moines to discuss college affordability. Vice President Biden attends meetings at the White House. 


“It’s like Pat Robertson going to a nudist colony — peculiar and not going to get the results that they hope for,” said state Sen. William M. Stanley (R-Franklin) of Bernie Sanders’ Monday speech to Liberty University.


— Five straight exceptionally nice days are on the way! “High pressure staying true over the region through Friday keeps us sunny, dry, and warm. Temperatures and humidity levels do slowly creep up over the course of the work week, but never quite attain hot and muggy levels,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts.

The Redskins started strong, but ultimately fell to the Miami Dolphins, 17-10, in the season opener.

— The Nationals beat the Miami Marlins, 5-0, yesterday after losing Saturday’s game. Bryce Harper doesn’t have a concussion, but Drew Storen did break his thumb in an angry fit of rage (likely taking him out for the season).


In case you missed it, Jimmy Fallon hosted Donald Trump Friday night on “The Tonight Show.” Check out a sketch with Fallon and Trump below (along with interview clips here, here and here):

What do celebrities like Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Sandra Bullock and Emily Blunt think of the 2016 presidential race? The Hollywood Reporter asked them. Check out their responses below: