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Now Trump’s Looks Get Insulted on the Trail

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Bobby Jindal sounds like he’s spoiling for a fight with Donald Trump: “I think it’s pretty outrageous for him to be attacking anybody’s appearance when he looks like he’s got a squirrel sitting on his head,“ the Louisiana governor tells CBS in an interview that aired last night. And that follows a string of insults yesterday before the National Press Club, including the assertion that Trump has never read the Bible because “he’s not in the Bible.“ Politico catalogs some others in the speech: “narcissist,“ “egomaniac,“ “substance-free,“ “insecure,“ “weak,“ “shallow,“ and “unstable.“

Trump, though, isn’t engaging: “I only respond to people that register more than 1% in the polls.“ Jindal’s squirrel comment was in response to Trump’s dig at Carly Fiorina’s face, a slam that Trump was grilled about by Fox’s Greta Van Susteren last night, notes Mediaite. She cast doubt on his explanation that he was talking about her “persona,“ not her looks, and Trump further deflected: “Many of those comments are made as an entertainer because I did The Apprentice and it was one of the top shows on television,” he said, per Politico. “Some comments are made as an entertainer and as everybody said, as an entertainer is a much different ball game.”

In Case You Were Sleeping…

Joe Biden did not sound like a presidential candidate during his appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show last night. “I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there,” the vice president said. “I’m being completely honest. Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.” He added: “I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and two, they can look at folks out there and say I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion.”

  • Biden revealed that he has at times felt self-conscious about the outpouring of sympathy from the public about the loss of his son. “It’s a little embarrassing. So many people who have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and don’t have the support I have,”  Biden said.  Later, he added: “The loss is serious and it’s consequential, but there are so many other people going through this.” The appearance coincided with a trip to New York for events pushing a raise in the minimum wage and a White House push to increase awareness for testing for rapes,” David Nakamura explains.

  • Meanwhile, more support built for the Draft Biden movement. Iowa state Senator Chaz Allen said he’d back the VP if he ran, which the Des Moines Register calls significant because he hasn’t backed him previously and has been courted heavily by other Democrats already running.

Biden nabs a not insignificant 20 percent in a new national CNN/ORC poll, which finds Clinton with a shrinking lead over Sanders. Hillary is only ahead of Bernie by 10 points, 37 to 27 percent, among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Sanders’ support remained the same since August, so it’s Biden who has posted the gains. In general election matchups, Clinton trails Ben Carson by 5 points but runs evenly with Jeb and Trump among registered voters. CNN reports the tightening general election matchups reflect a weakening of support among women for Clinton.

 



Official Photo of the 114th U.S. Congress - Just Released

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U.S. Senator Manchin Says He Will Vote Against The Iran Nuclear Deal

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, said in a conference call with reporters he will vote against a nuclear deal with Iran.

“It is because of that belief, and a month of thoughtful consideration, that I must cast a vote against this deal. I do not believe that supporting this deal will prevent Iran from eventually acquiring a nuclear weapon or continuing to be a leading sponsor of terrorism against Americans and our allies around the world.

Manchin said the deal would put billions of dollars into the hands of a country known to sponsor terrorism.

“I also cannot in good conscience agree to Iran receiving up to $100 billion in funds that everyone knows will be used, at least in some part, to continue funding terrorism and further destabilize the Middle East,” Manchin said. “Lifting sanctions without ensuring that Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism is neutralized is dangerous to regional and American security. The Administration has accepted — what I consider to be a false choice — that this is only about nuclear weapons and not terrorism. However, the fact of the matter is that we are concerned about Iran having a bomb because, in large part, it is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. Asking us to set aside the terrorist question is irresponsible and misses the point.”

Manchin and. U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito, R-WV, recently answered questions about the deal at The Greenbrier for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Business Summit. Manchin also hosted several town hall meetings in West Virginia to try to make a decision.

“We’re acting as we’re dealing with rational, reasonable people,” he said.

Previously, Manchin said he was leaning toward supporting the deal because he always believed “that to truly be a super power, you must engage in super diplomacy.”

Manchin said for him, the deal had to be about more than preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon for the next 10 to 15 years.

“For me, this deal had to address Iran’s terrorist actions. Without doing so would reward Iran’s 36 years of deplorable behavior and do nothing to prevent its destructive activities.  In fact, even during the negotiating process, it has continued to hold four Americans hostage, support terrorism around the world, breed anti-American sentiment and acquire arms from Russia.”

As far as making his decision, Manchin said he came to the conclusion after believing a vote against the deal forces the United States to “abandon the diplomatic path.”

“We must continue to pursue peace, but on terms that promise a lasting peace for the United States and our allies,” he added.

During questions at business summit, Manchin said his vote wouldn’t stop the deal, but he wouldn’t support a Democratic filibuster of the resolution.

Congress is expected to vote this month on a resolution of disapproval to the proposed deal. If the disapproval resolution passes, President Barack Obama will likely veto it.

Deep-Seated Anger Helps Trump Defy Political Gravity

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NORWOOD, MA — Donald Trump insults and exaggerates.

He dismisses the need for public policy ideas, gets confused about world affairs and sometimes says things that flat-out aren’t true.

And the cheers from his supporters only grow louder.

By the standard that voters typically use to judge presidential candidates, Trump probably should not have survived his first day in the 2016 race.

Yet as the summer draws to a close and the initial votes in the nominating calendar appear on the horizon, Trump has established himself as the Republican front-runner.

Listen to these voters:

    •  “It’s totally refreshing. He’s not politically correct. He has a backbone and he cannot be bought,“ said Leigh Ann Crouse, 55, of Dubuque, Iowa.

    •  “This country needs a businessman just like him to put us back on track, to make us stop being the laughingstock of this world,“ said Ken Brand, 56, of Derry, New Hampshire.

    •  “He says everything that I would like to say, but I’m afraid to say. What comes out of his mouth is not what he thinks I want to hear,“ said Janet Boyden, 67, of Chester, Massachusetts.

They are among the dozens of voters interviewed in the past two weeks by The Associated Press to understand how Trump has defied the laws of political gravity.

Uniting them is a deep-rooted anger and frustration with the nation’s political leaders — President Barack Obama as well as conservative Republicans who, these voters say, haven’t sufficiently stood up to his Democratic administration.

Some haven’t voted in years, or ever, and may not next year. But at this moment, they are entranced by Trump’s combination of utter self-assurance, record of business success and a promise that his bank account is big enough to remain insulated from the forces they believe have poisoned Washington.

By the way, they say it’s not that they are willing to look past Trump’s flaws to fix what they believe ills the country. It’s that those flaws are exactly what makes him the leader America needs.

“At least we know where he stands,“ said Kurt Esche, 49, an independent who was at Trump’s recent rally outside Boston. “These other guys, I don’t trust anything that comes out of their mouths. They’re lying to get elected. This guy’s at least saying what he believes.“

“He may have started as a joke,“ Esche said, “but he may be the real deal.“

___

Crouse is a merchandise processor at a retail distributor outside Dubuque, the Mississippi River town where Trump tossed Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a news conference.

A political independent who has never participated in Iowa’s leadoff presidential caucuses, Crouse said she began following Trump from the moment he referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals during his campaign kickoff.

“He’s just attracting people who are frustrated, and as you can see, there are a lot of us,“ she said.

Illegal immigration is the perfect summation of Trump’s unorthodox campaign.

He claims it’s an issue the GOP would not be discussing if not for his presence in the race, even though the topic has been at the center of political debate for years.

It’s the only one on which he has made a concrete proposal; his rivals, by comparison, have rolled out lots of ideas on a range of issues.

Here’s Trump’s pitch: deport millions of people who are living in the United States illegally and build a border wall. Critics deride this approach as naïve, but his supporters say it’s the obvious solution.

“As crazy as it might be, I think he’s addressing something that needs to be heard,“ said Randy Thomas, 40, of Bedford, New Hampshire. “I think he’s saying something that everybody thinks always has to be addressed. If you have a country of laws, you have to abide by the laws.“

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who recently held a discussion with a group of nearly 30 Trump backers in Virginia, said such support is emblematic of Trump’s popularity. It stems less from their love for the candidate and more from a belief those in power have failed.

“He activates the anger and frustration they have toward Washington and Wall Street,“ Luntz said.

___

For many, Trump’s rise is a reaction to Obama, long criticized by opponents as a weak leader who appeases America’s enemies rather than asserting U.S. dominance on the global stage.

The voters interviewed by AP said much of Trump’s appeal stems from their belief he is a decisive and forceful leader who never backs down or apologizes, even when maybe he should.

Many appear convinced that the sheer force of Trump’s personality can reverse decades of global realignment, and that his pledges to rid the country of people living in the U.S. illegally and penalize imported goods will restore manufacturing jobs lost to China and boost an economy still scarred by the recession.

“We’re just so weak. We’re not respected anymore,“ said Jerry Welshoff, 56, of Franklin, Massachusetts. He arrived at a recent Trump event near Boston unsure about the candidate; he emerged sold on the candidate.

“We’ve appeased everything. We can’t negotiate. I would want Donald Trump to sit across a table from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or Iran or the Mexican prime minister to cut a deal because he’s done it his whole life,“ he said.

The frustration among voters isn’t limited to their feelings about Obama.

Welshoff said the Republican Party has done nothing but acquiesce to Obama despite taking control of Congress in 2014.

It’s the same complaint heard from Duane Ernster, 57, of Dubuque. He is disappointed by the few accomplishments of tea party candidates elected to Congress in 2010.

“Things just didn’t happen. It just hasn’t happened the way we’d hoped,“ he said. “Maybe we need a warrior instead of a politician. People compare Mr. Trump to Putin. There’s something to be said about the man, who takes care of the Russian people.“

Others are simply blown away by Trump’s wealth and his promise to pay for his campaign out of his own pocket. “He won’t owe anybody,“ said Susan Sager, 57, of Aiken, South Carolina.

This is an important point of distinction with both Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who began the campaign viewed as the GOP front-runner due in no small part to his ability to raise huge amounts of money.

“Remember this. They have total control over Jeb and Hillary and everybody else that takes that money,“ Trump said this past week, adding: “I will tell you this. Nobody’s putting up millions of dollars for me. I’m putting up my own money.“

The argument that Trump is uncorruptible is powerful.

“I just think he’s doing it for all the right reasons,“ said Nancy Adam, 60, at the rally near Boston. “It’s not about the money. It’s not about the political power. He’s already got everything. He has nothing to lose by doing this.“

___

Trump’s uncanny ability to stumble without consequence has befuddled his rivals.

The latest misstep for Trump came Thursday. After pledging only to run as a Republican, he fumbled a series of foreign policy questions from radio host Hugh Hewitt. Trump confused the Quds Force, an elite Iranian military unit, and the Kurds, an ethnic group of more than 30 million people.

He said the line of inquiry amounted to a “gotcha question.“

“I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not,“ Trump said, “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.“

Such an answer would invariably be attacked as disqualifying if offered by anyone other than Trump. His rivals have yet to figure out how to challenge an unpredictable opponent who appears immune to such gaffes.

“He just keeps repeating things over and over again. And you all just accept it for the truth, and it’s not,“ Bush told reporters in New Hampshire on Thursday.

Indeed, Trump’s foibles often appear to make him stronger.

During his recent discussion with Trump supporters, Luntz played several video clips of the billionaire’s least flattering moments.

One was Trump’s rejection of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero — “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?“ Another was his complimenting daughter Ivanka’s figure and saying that if she “weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.“

Instead of being rattled, the participants ate up Trump’s comments and left the meeting feeling even more confident in their support for him than when they had arrived.

“I think the Trump candidacy is here to stay and I think Republicans need to figure out how to deal with it,“ Luntz said. He said there is little the party establishment, journalists or his rivals with a background in politics can do to knock Trump down, because the candidate’s supporters distrust those groups so strongly.

“In essence, he’s Teflon because the people most able to take him down can’t because of the very jobs that they do,“ he said.

It’s for that reason that Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who rose to the top of the polls in the fall of 2011, only to see his fortunes derailed by allegations of sexual harassment, said he believes that Trump can succeed.

“It is a totally new paradigm for how the race for president is unfolding,“ said Cain, making the case that Trump, as well as two other Republican candidates, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, had tapped into a portion of the electorate that is typically disengaged from the political process.

___

Many of the Trump supporters interviewed by AP said there was a chance they might change their minds before voting next year or sit the contest out. Trump’s campaign operation lacks the sophistication of many of his rivals, who in some cases have years of experience in politics and the business of getting out the vote.

For all of Trump’s success so far, he’s yet to drive any candidate from the race.

There are several debates still to come and five months until the Iowa caucuses — enough time for a rival to build a winning coalition of voters such as Marvin Smith, a Republican from Independence, Kentucky, who said Trump “scares the hell out of me.“

“He’s appealing to some base emotions. But my worry is that he splinters the Republican Party,“ Smith said. “He’s saying the message people want to hear, but I don’t like the way he’s saying it.“

But anyone who has bet against Trump so far in this campaign has come up — as Trump would say — a loser.

Paul Demerjian, a 55-year-old small business owner from Stoneham, Massachusetts, said he isn’t much into politics. But there he was at a recent Trump rally outside Boston, mobbing Trump’s SUV as he made his exit.

“I haven’t been passionate about a politician running for office since Ronald Reagan,“ he said.

A Guide to Congress’ Upside-Down Vote on Iran

The Gilmer Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional proceedings are routinely convoluted, often inscrutable and sometimes bizarre. Even by those standards, the upcoming vote on the Iran nuclear deal stands out as particularly bewildering.

It’s a situation, by design, where the Democratic minority will rule the Republican majority.

The winners of the initial vote will end up the losers.

And President Barack Obama stands to be repudiated by at least one chamber of Congress on his top foreign policy priority — yet will emerge triumphant in the end.

A guide to a peculiarly only-in-Washington spectacle, coming this week to the floor of the House and Senate.


WHAT’S THE DEAL?

At issue is the agreement signed in July by the U.S., Iran and five world powers: China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany. The accord will provide Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions in exchange for a decade of constraints on the country’s nuclear program.

The deal is unanimously opposed by congressional Republicans and by the leaders of Israel, who fear a newly enriched Iran could wreak havoc across the Middle East. The White House strongly supports it; so do most Democrats, though in some cases reluctantly.


TAKE THAT, EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The White House first tried to cut the deal without getting Congress involved, viewing it as an executive branch agreement, rather than a formal treaty requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate.

That did not go over well with lawmakers of either party.

After much debate and controversy, the House and the Senate in May overwhelmingly passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, giving Congress the opportunity to review the deal and enact a resolution of disapproval that would bar the president from suspending congressional sanctions on Iran. The White House reluctantly went along with the legislation after some language was softened and once it became clear the measure would command veto-proof majorities.


WINNING=LOSING

Ironically, the resolution of disapproval ended up giving supporters of the deal the upper hand legislatively — in an upside-down sort of way.

The resolution is expected to come to a vote in the House and the Senate in the week ahead.

In the House, it is certain to pass. Republicans will vote for it unanimously and the Democratic minority is powerless to block it.

In the Senate, the outcome is uncertain. Sixty of 100 votes will be needed for the resolution to advance to a final vote. Republicans command 54 votes, and just three Democratic senators so far have announced their opposition to the accord. So Democratic and independent supporters may be able to muster the 41 votes needed to filibuster the resolution, or block a vote on final passage.

But even if the disapproval resolution does pass both chambers and makes it to Obama’s desk, the president has promised a veto. It takes a two-thirds vote in the House and the Senate to override a presidential veto. That effectively makes it possible for just one-third of lawmakers in one chamber of Congress to green-light the deal by sustaining Obama’s veto. The votes are already there to do that, in both chambers.


SO?

When the House rejects the Iran nuclear deal this week, and even if the Senate does, too, Obama and his Democratic allies can rest easy knowing that the president will resort to a veto, the Democratic minority will back him up — and there’s nothing Republicans can do about it, except fume.

Fume they have.

“The president may be able to sustain a veto with the tepid, restricted and partisan support of one-third of one House of Congress over Americans’ bipartisan opposition,“ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., complained when Democrats locked up the 34 Senate votes this month to sustain Obama’s veto.

At the same time, the upside-down situation has led to some conspiratorial suggestions on the left that Republicans are secretly happy they cannot block the deal, because this way they can avoid the uncertain outcome and potential international backlash were that to happen.

Opponents of the deal reject that suggestion. But some of them acknowledge feeling like they were set up to fail — that given the extremely high bar for overriding a presidential veto, they never had much of a chance.

“The way the administration chose to bring the agreement with Iran before Congress made it very hard for opponents of it to ever actually have the two-thirds votes necessary in both chambers to stop the agreement,“ said former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a Democratic-turned-independent who’s a leader against the agreement.

“If this was considered a treaty, which I think it really was as important as any treaty,“ Lieberman noted, “the numbers would have been flipped.“

So the tens of millions spent by the pro-Israel lobby, the overheated rhetoric from both sides, the very public agonizing by lawmakers for and against, and the fusillades lobbed by GOP presidential candidates — none of it had much of a chance of affecting the outcome.


WHAT IF?

What if, somehow, congressional opponents were to prevail and the disapproval resolution went into effect? There is debate about the result, but some experts say that not even that could stop Obama from moving forward with the most significant elements of the nuclear deal on his own.

So for Congress, the political ramifications for lawmakers who angered constituents on one side or another with their decision on the deal may be profound and lasting.

But in a practical sense, the game is over and the Obama administration won, before this week’s votes are even cast.

Obama Trump

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