Hillary Clinton Got the Sweetest Thanksgiving Surprise from Her Supporters
Confronted at the family Thanksgiving table with the question of what you’re thankful for this year, you might have cringed. In light of Donald Trump’s surprising presidential win earlier this month—and the hate crimes and controversial appointments that followed—it can feel like there’s less to be hopeful for than fearful of. Especially when your Trump-supporting uncle is the one who’s doing the asking. Consider this news a salve: Today, a group of Hillary Clinton supporters took it upon themselves to remind her that she‘s what they’re thankful for. That she’s “an American hero” whose hard work will not be forgotten. Clinton tweeted a photo of the signs she found this morning expressing gratitude, and she returned the favor. So uh…anybody got tissues?
The Clinton Campaign Was Undone By Its Own Neglect And A Touch Of Arrogance, Staffers Say
By Sam Stein, Senior Politics Editor, (The Huffington Post)
WASHINGTON ― In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s staff in key Midwest states sent out alarms to their headquarters in Brooklyn. They were facing a problematic shortage of paid canvassers to help turn out the vote.
For months, the Clinton campaign had banked on a wide army of volunteer organizers to help corral independents and Democratic leaners and re-energize a base not particularly enthused about the election. But they were volunteers. And as anecdotal data came back to offices in key battlegrounds, concern mounted that leadership had skimped on a critical campaign function.
“It was arrogance, arrogance that they were going to win. That this was all wrapped up,” a senior battleground state operative told The Huffington Post.
Several theories have been proffered to explain just what went wrong for the Clinton campaign in an election that virtually everyone expected the Democratic nominee to win. But lost in the discussion is a simple explanation, one that was re-emphasized to HuffPost in interviews with several high-ranking officials and state-based organizers: The Clinton campaign was harmed by its own neglect.
In Michigan alone, a senior battleground state operative told HuffPost that the state party and local officials were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004. Desperate for more human capital, the state party and local officials ended up raising $300,000 themselves to pay 500 people to help canvass in the election’s closing weeks. By that point, however, they were operating in the dark. One organizer said that in a precinct in Flint, they were sent to a burned down trailer park. No one had taken it off the list of places to visit because no one had been there until the final weekend. Clinton lost the state by 12,000 votes.
A similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin. According to several operatives there, the campaign’s state office and local officials scrambled to raise nearly $1 million for efforts to get out the vote in the closing weeks. Brooklyn headquarters had balked at funding it themselves, arguing that the state already had a decent-sized footprint because of the labor-backed super PAC For Our Future and pointing out that Clinton had never trailed in a single poll in Wisconsin.
The campaign’s state office argued additionally for prominent African-American surrogates to help in Milwaukee. “There are only so many times you can get folks excited about Chelsea Clinton,” explained one Wisconsin Democrat. But President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama didn’t come. Nor did Hillary Clinton after the July Democratic convention. She would go on to lose the state, hampered by lower turnout in precisely the place that had operatives worried. Clinton got 289,000 votes in Milwaukee County compared to the 328,000 that Obama won in 2012.
“They had staff on the ground and lots of volunteers, but they weren’t running a massive program because they thought they were up 6-7 points,” said the aforementioned senior battleground state operative.
In politics, much like anything else, victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. A senior official from Clinton’s campaign noted that they did have a large staff presence in Michigan and Wisconsin (200 and 180 people respectively) while also stressing that one of the reasons they didn’t do more was, in part, because of psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away ― by acting overly confident about their chances ― they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.
Clinton herself has blamed FBI Director James Comey for re-launching an investigation into her emails only to clear her days before the vote; while operatives across the spectrum, including former President Bill Clinton in the campaign’s closing days, argued that she failed to adequately reach working class white voters that had been drifting away from the Democratic Party.
“It is not black and white,” said Michael Tate, the former chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “I can tell you in Wisconsin that the staff they had leading the effort were top-notch field operatives. Period. Would it have helped if Hillary Clinton came in? Yes. Would it have helped if Comey didn’t push his shenanigans? Yes. Would it have helped if Trump hadn’t visited right before the election? Yes … But I think the folks here did a good job and they just came up short in an election where we were running two historically unpopular candidates.”
The more universal explanation, however, was that the data that informed many of the strategic decisions was simply wrong. A campaign that is given a game plan that strongly points to success shouldn’t be expected to rip it up.
“We all were blinded, and even at the end, we were blinded by our own set of biases,” said Paul Maslin, a Madison-based Democratic operative and pollster.
Which explains why, in a Midwest battleground state that the Clinton campaign’s data said would be closely contested, its ground game capacity was robust. Adrienne Hines, chair of the Democratic Party in Ottawa County, Ohio, just east of Toledo, said the Clinton campaign had a very active outreach and turnout operation. But the county, which Obama won twice, still went to Trump as his message ― however detail-free ― of bringing back jobs to the economically depressed area resonated.
“We were dealing with somebody who could say whatever he wanted. It is like being at the Olympics and somebody is on steroids and somebody is not, and then blaming the person not on steroids,” Hines said of criticism of Clinton campaign tactics.
It is like being at the Olympics and somebody is on steroids and somebody is not, and then blaming the person not on steroids.Adrienne Hines, chair of the Democratic Party in Ottawa County, on Trump’s messaging
As Democrats begin to repair their party and learn from the shortcomings of the Clinton campaign, one of the primary arguments being made is that candidates have to show up if they expect to win. Obama said as much in a recent press conference when he tied his success in Iowa to the sheer number of stops he made in the state while campaigning. And the data strongly suggests that this was a vulnerability for Clinton. As the Washington Post reported, Clinton’s campaign and outside groups supporting it aired more television ads in Omaha during the closing weeks than in Michigan and Wisconsin combined. And as NBC News reported, during the final 100 days of the election, Trump made 133 visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin while Clinton made 87.
On the margins as well, campaign operatives say the Clinton campaign’s failure to have a footprint did real harm. In Pennsylvania, for example, the campaign had a healthy canvassing operation and was flush with volunteers, many of whom poured in from New York City and Washington, D.C. But according to one longtime grassroots campaign operative who was involved in the 2016 cycle, leadership was focused predominantly on turning out their own voters and not on persuading others to come on board.
This was a perfectly logical strategic decision, considering the massive voter registration advantage that Democrats enjoy in the state. But it meant that the Clinton campaign wasn’t able to anticipate the surge in Trump support in the rural areas because they weren’t having conversations with voters there.
The results bear this out. In Philadelphia County, Clinton got slightly more votes than Obama did in 2012 despite having a slightly smaller percentage of the vote total. But outside the city and suburbs, she lost badly. Whereas Mitt Romney won 57 percent of Elk County, 63.7 percent of Clearfield County and 72 percent of Jefferson County in 2012, Trump took in 70 percent, 73.1 percent and 78.3 percent of those counties respectively.
“Paid canvassers compensate for candidates who don’t have a huge volunteer base,” said the grassroots campaign operative. “Hillary Clinton had [a huge volunteer base]. It just wasn’t always in the places they needed it to be.”
Polls – How did everyone get it so wrong?
Polls and predictive models failed to predict Trump’s strength.
Everybody was wrong. Again. When Election Day dawned, almost all the pollsters, analytics nerds and political insiders in the country had Hillary Clinton waltzing into the White House.
By the time polls had closed nationwide on Tuesday night, those projections had been left in shambles — just like the ones a year ago that all-but ruled out the possibility of Donald Trump winning the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Headed into Election Day, polling evangelist Nate Silver’s 538 website put Clinton’s odds at winning the White House at about 72 percent. By midnight, the site had more than flipped its odds making, giving Trump an 84 percent chance of winning.
Trump had notched hugely significant upset victories in Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin — critical swing states where almost every public poll and most private projections had shown Clinton ahead.
The Republican nominee’s surprisingly strong performance, which left the race on a razor’s edge at the publication of this story, seemed to at least partly validate his claims that many polls “just put out phony numbers.”
And it left pollsters and operatives struggling to explain how everyone had been so far off.
Geoff Garin, a veteran Democratic pollster who worked for the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, said many surveys had under-sampled non-college-educated whites, a group that Trump appealed to. He also argued there had been on over-emphasis on the belief that the country’s rising demographic diversity would put Clinton over the top.
“There was too great a belief that demographics are destiny, and that demographics would lead to a certain outcome,” he said. “The reality turned out to be much different that.”
“The pollsters have lost a lot of credibility and won’t be believed on anything soon,” said Jonathan Barnett, a Republican National Committeeman from Arkansas who supported Trump. “The way they poll doesn’t work anymore.”
Some pointed to the possibility of “hidden Trump voters,” who were embarrassed to admit even anonymously to pollsters that they planned to support Trump.
“The very premise of polling is based on the idea that voters will be completely honest with total strangers,” said veteran GOP operative Ned Ryun, who runs a grassroots group called American Majority and had announced his intent to run for Republican National Committee chairman if Trump lost.
Others pointed to the surge in momentum Trump received when the FBI announced 11 days before the election that it was reviewing new evidence related to its investigation into the handling of sensitive information by Clinton and her aides at the State Department.
But operatives on both sides of the aisle agreed the damage was done.
They pointed out that Trump was out-performing projections in states that had minimal early voting, such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“The bad headlines hurt her this past week,” said conservative operative Brendan Steinhauser, a staunch Trump critic. “Trump had the momentum and the enthusiasm at just the right time.”
And the Republican National Committee’s investment over the past three years in its ground game, once regarded as a significant liability, was getting renewed attention as Trump’s electoral vote count mounted.
While Trump’s campaign lacked anywhere close to the field staff and offices maintained Clinton’s operation, the RNC had worked to make up the difference, funding 315 field offices staffed by 6,012 paid employees and fellows.
Robert Blizzard, a veteran Republican pollster who had been an outspoken Trump critic, tweeted “Where the heck is the vaunted Democratic turnout machine? The RNC crushed this.”
Pro-Trump operatives argued that even when some polls hinted at Trump’s strength, it was ignored or explained away by the media and analysts.
“Most of the press and folks in DC were science deniers when it came to this election,” said veteran GOP operative Curt Anderson, an adviser to a pro-Trump super PAC. “Even in the face of polls that showed it very close, they all said that Trump had almost no chance. It was because they couldn’t imagine it happening.”
He added that “they are in a bubble, and that bubble has just been burst.”
Presidential Election Live: Donald Trump’s Victory
Donald J. Trump’s victory in the presidential race on Tuesday night capped a remarkable election in which several Democratic Senate candidates fell short and Republicans retained their majority in the House of Representatives. Here are some key takeaways from a stunning result that upended conventional expectations and set the stage for a drastic reordering of politics in Washington:
• Mr. Trump took the stage at the Hilton just before 3 a.m. and told his supporters that Hillary Clinton called him to concede the election. Striking a gracious note, he wished her well and said, “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her debt to our country.”
• Reading from teleprompters and flanked by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and his son, Barron, Mr. Trump said he wanted to “reclaim our country’s destiny” and be bold and daring. He also called for unity and said that he hoped Democrats and Republicans would work together.
• Democratic hopes that Hillary Clinton would easily defeat Mr. Trump crumbled as the evening wore on, as the Republican candidate’s bombastic style appeared to win significant support among white, working-class and rural voters across the country.
• Mrs. Clinton’s loss seemed to result, in part, from a worse-than-expected showing among African-Americans and young voters — two important parts of the coalition that lifted President Obama to victories in 2008 and 2012.
— Black voters made up 12 percent of the national electorate this year, nearly the same as in 2012. Mrs. Clinton won a broad majority of black voters — 88 percent, compared with 8 percent for Mr. Trump. But Mr. Obama received 93 percent of the African-American vote four years ago.
Adver— Mrs. Clinton also did slightly worse than Mr. Obama among young voters. People under 30 made up 19 percent of this year’s electorate, the same as in 2012. Mrs. Clinton got 54 percent of their support, compared with Mr. Obama’s 60 percent. Mr. Trump had the backing of 37 percent of voters under 30, the same percentage that Mitt Romney won in 2012.
— Mr. Trump won in part on his strength with voters who were not strongly identified with either party. Independents made up 31 percent of 2016 voters, compared with 29 percent in 2012. Mrs. Clinton won 42 percent of independents, compared with Mr. Trump’s 47 percent, while 6 percent voted for Gary Johnson and 3 percent supported Jill Stein.
— In the key battleground of Florida, Mr. Trump built his support largely on voters who expressed deep dismay with Washington. Nearly nine in 10 of his voters in Florida said they were dissatisfied or angry with the state of the federal government. Just as many disapproved of Mr. Obama’s job performance, and three-quarters thought the president’s health care law went too far.
— Nearly four in 10 Florida voters said they were most interested in electing a president who would bring serious change, and Mr. Trump won that group by a broad margin. Mrs. Clinton won voters looking for a compassionate, experienced or more judicious leader — but it was not enough to cancel out Mr. Trump’s support among those hungry for change.
— Hispanic voters made up 11 percent of voters nationwide in 2016, just 1 point higher than in 2012. While Mrs. Clinton got 65 percent support among Hispanics, compared with 29 percent for Mr. Trump, her support from this group was 6 points lower than Mr. Obama’s in 2012.
— While Mrs. Clinton did better than Mr. Trump among nonwhite voters in Florida, it was not enough to offset his success with white voters, who skew older in the state. He won those by nearly 2 to 1, including those with a college degree. One-quarter of Florida’s electorate was white and over 60. Mr. Trump pulled most of his support from the Gulf Coast and the central part of the state, a hub for wealthy retirees, offsetting Mrs. Clinton’s gaping lead in the Miami and Orlando areas.
— Mr. Trump also did well in Ohio, where voters ages 18 to 29 were 11 points less likely to support the Democratic candidate this year than in 2012, with Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein capturing 7 percent of their votes. Black voters in Ohio were 6 points less likely to support Mrs. Clinton than they were to support Mr. Obama four years ago.
— In North Carolina, 30 percent of voters were nonwhite, and Mrs. Clinton won this group by a 62-point margin (79 percent to 17 percent). Mr. Trump, countering with a strong showing among whites, won the state.
— The suburban share of the North Carolina vote increased to 38 percent, from 28 percent in 2012, while the share of the rural vote decreased by 10 points, to 24 percent. Mr. Trump won majorities in both groups.
Trump wins presidency in stunning victory
NEW YORK — Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, the Associated Press projected Wednesday. He will be the first person to hold the office despite having no prior political or military experience.
“It’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump, flanked by his family and his running mate, Mike Pence, told the crowd inside the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan. “To all Republicans, Democrats and independents across this nation: I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”
The Republican nominee’s victory over Hillary Clinton marks a stunning upset that neither the polls nor the pundits saw coming. But Trump, defiant to the end, insisted he would win despite burning bridges with key voting groups and even many Republicans. In winning, Trump upended almost every norm of American politics and apparently changed the shape of the Republican Party.
Clinton called Trump to concede the race shortly before he took the stage, Trump said.
“I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton,” he said. “She congratulated us — it’s about us — on our victory. And I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a very long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. And I mean that very sincerely.”
Trump spent the final three weeks of his once-unlikely White House bid railing against a “rigged” election, alleging without evidence that voter fraud would be widespread. He even hinted at the idea of not conceding the race if he lost, jokingly promising to accept the results of the election “if I win.”
But the brash billionaire also predicted that he would shock the establishment and said his campaign would be “Brexit Plus Plus,” a reference to Britain’s exit from the European Union, which also was not forecast in the polls. And in the end, to borrow one of Trump’s favorite expressions, he did indeed exceed expectations “big league.”
“They all told it wrong from day number one,” Michael Cohen, a longtime Trump adviser and Trump Organization attorney, told Yahoo News.
“America is going to see the change that it deep needs and they’re going to have a leader a real leader,” Cohen added.
Trump spent the night huddled with family and friends, watching the returns inside the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where one Trump campaign source initially said some allies expected him to lose and were simply hoping he would outperform Mitt Romney’s showing in the 2012 presidential race. But as the night wore on, the Trump team became more optimistic and began to think the celebrity businessman had a chance, based on razor-thin margins in battleground states. After Ohio was called for Trump, the same source predicted that even the Democrats might also be changing their assessments of Trump’s chances.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described a jubilant atmosphere in his war room in a text to Yahoo News before Trump was projected the winner.
“Absolutely buoyant. We can smell the win,” Conway said.
The crowd that waited to see Trump speak in a ballroom at the Hilton cheered each time a state was called for him. (Unsurprisingly, the television monitors at the event were showing Fox News, the cable news network favored by conservatives on which Trump had appeared often.)
“I had hoped for this,” a second Trump campaign source said. “I knew there was a chance for this, but I gave it a 30 percent chance. I thought we would come up just short.”
Polls had widely shown Trump to be an underdog against Clinton, the Democratic nominee who faced a series of questions over her use of a private email server and how her family foundation interacted with the State Department during her tenure as secretary of state. But those polls were apparently wrong.
Clinton had enjoyed a double-digit lead over Trump in national polls following the presidential debates, but she saw that cushion evaporate after FBI Director James Comey set off a political firestorm 10 days before Election Day. Comey said newly discovered emails related to the investigation were being reviewed, and Trump started predicting that she would be indicted. On Sunday, Comey said a review of those emails did not change his position that Clinton should not face criminal prosecution.
The results indicated that Trump outperformed expectations among working-class whites, forming a coalition of states that few thought possible when the campaign began. Meanwhile, Clinton underperformed among college-educated and young white women.
In the end, Clinton failed to overcome the showman, who gobbled up thousands of hours of free airtime on cable news by making a series of controversial and improbable promises, like a pledge to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. and a promise to “shut down” Muslim immigration. Trump also stayed in the spotlight by fighting a series of feuds and raging against the media. And despite Clinton’s strong performance in the presidential debates, in which she goaded Trump into gaffes and kept the focus squarely on his shortcomings, she could not translate those performances into votes.
Trump’s election is already sending shock waves through the political system because it signals a repudiation of establishment politicians that, to many voters, the Clintons represent. The property magnate and former “Celebrity Apprentice” host, one of the most unconventional major-party candidates in U.S. history, had vowed to “drain the swamp” of Washington, D.C. He derided many of the leaders he’ll likely now need to work with, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and many other congressional Republicans.
It also remains to be seen if President-elect Trump will be able to heal the country’s sharp political divisions, some of which were sparked by his campaign.
But the Queens, N.Y.-born Trump, 70, will have to face all of those challenges and more when he is inaugurated in January.
“Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream,” Trump said. “I’ve spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential, I’ve gotten to know our country so well — tremendous potential. It’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he continued. “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure — which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”
Photos – LeBron James, J.R. Smith stump for Hillary Clinton at Cleveland rally
With the election only two days away, candidates pulled out all the stops Sunday in an effort to drum up support. For Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, that meant bringing NBA superstar LeBron James up on stage at a rally in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers legend introduced the former First Lady, U.S. senator, and Secretary of State with words of support, a strong reminder to vote, and a surprise guest — Cavs teammate and vocal Clinton supporter J.R. Smith: Don’t worry, J.R. kept his shirt on the whole time.
Clinton’s first campaign event featuring James has been hotly anticipated since the three-time NBA Finals MVP officially endorsed her in early October. It’s not clear if LeBron’s support will have any effect on the results in a crucial swing state with 18 electoral votes, but it certainly won’t hurt Clinton to have a very famous local hero and Northeast Ohio native on her side.
Clinton opted not to force basketball references into her speech on Sunday. Instead, she thanked James and Smith for their support and listed many of the policy issues she hopes to work on as president. She also made no reference to the day’s biggest news — FBI Director James Comey’s letter to lawmakers professing that further review of Clinton’s emails has yielded no grounds for prosecution.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in Minnesota around the same time that Clinton was in Cleveland. No Timberwolves have been reported as in attendance.
Hillary Clinton Won’t Face Charges For New Emails, FBI Director Tells Congress
A week after rocking the campaign, Comey cleared the Democratic nominee.
Nine days after upending the 2016 presidential campaign, FBI Director James Comey announced Sunday that Hillary Clinton would not face charges over newly discovered emails found on a separate computer.
In a letter to Congress, Comey said he would not revisit his initial conclusion, announced in July, that Clinton acted carelessly, but not criminally, when she used a private email account as secretary of state.
Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton. I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.
Comey’s initial announcement came in the form of a vague letter to Congress on Oct. 28. It set off days of intense news coverage centered on the possibility that the Democratic presidential nominee could face indictment over emails discovered on a laptop belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Though Clinton’s lead in the polls had been shrinking prior to then, her aides and several pollsters said that the news dampened enthusiasm among Democratic voters and further hurt her standing.
The news certainly caused damage to the FBI’s reputation ― as well as Comey’s. Several Democrats accused the director and agents in the FBI of being partisan actors trying to interfere in the electoral process, while federal prosecutors were highly critical of Comey’s decision to make such a public pronouncement so close to the election.
Comey’s Oct. 28 announcement broke with tradition at the Justice Department, which has rules in place to prevent federal law enforcement from influencing the electoral process. While an aide to Comey blamed reporters for blowing Comey’s letter out of proportion, it was not difficult to imagine how the letter would be ― and was ― used by Clinton’s political opponents in the final days of the campaign.
President Barack Obama, who nominated Comey to head the bureau in 2013, took the unusual step of criticizing the FBI director, telling a reporter that the “norm” is not to “operate on innuendo” or “incomplete information.”
In his letter on Sunday, Comey gave scant explanation for what his bureau found in the newly discovered emails, which reportedly numbered roughly 650,000. But NBC’s Pete Williams, who has been one of the top reporters on the matter, said they found nothing particularly revelatory.
The effect of Sunday’s news on the election is hard to predict. Millions of people have already cast ballots during the days in which all that was known was that the FBI was re-investigating Clinton’s emails. Additionally, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and his surrogates have spent the past week arguing that an indictment against Clinton was in the offing. They even put out television advertisement highlighting the role played by Anthony Weiner in the saga.
The Clinton campaign was relatively muted in its initial response to the news.
But other Democrats had a harder time hiding their annoyance.
“Congrats to the FBI for working so hard to clear up the suspicion it needlessly created,” former Justice Department spokesman and Clinton supporter Matthew Miller wrote on Twitter. “Next time, maybe just stick to the rules though?”
Obama to black voters: Trump would undo my legacy
(CNN)In a strong appeal to black voters on Wednesday, President Barack Obama warned that if Donald Trump wins the election next week, the Republican presidential nominee would undo his administration’s legacy.
“If we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is to have him in the first couple of weeks sitting in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done,” Obama said during an interview on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” a syndicated radio program.
The “African-American vote right now is not as solid as it needs to be,” he said.
Early voting numbers from key swing states and a state Clinton is hoping to flip to the blue column show that African Americans have not been voting early in the same numbers as they have in past elections. In North Carolina, blacks account for 23% of the early voting electorate, compared to 28% at this point in 2012. In Georgia, blacks so far make up 31% of the early voting population compared to 36% at this time in 2012. In Florida, blacks accounted for 15% of the early vote at this stage in 2008 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — compared to 12% this year.
“And I know that there are a lot of people in barbershops and beauty salons, you know, in the neighborhoods who are saying to themselves, ‘We love Barack, we love — we especially love Michelle, and so, you know, it was exciting and now we’re not as excited as much.’ You know what? I need everybody to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things I believe in,” Obama said.
The pitch was similar to remarks Obama made in September at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner, when he said that he would consider a Trump victory to be “an insult to my legacy.”
In an attempt to drive home the point that the black community could be particularly affected by a Clinton loss, the President said Wednesday the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, support for historically black colleges and universities, civil rights, voting right and even the first lady’s garden would be at risk under a Trump presidency.
He said progress made on criminal justice reform could also be stalled, citing the case of the Central Park Five, a group of black and Hispanic youths whose wrongful conviction in a 1989 New York rape was later overturned.
“Donald Trump is somebody who after the Central Park case was recognized as having convicted young African American men who were innocent today still insists that they should be in jail and what – this is the guy who’s gonna suddenly help to make sure that folks have fair treatment in the criminal justice system?”
Polls: Clinton, Trump neck-and-neck in Florida; new results in NC, PA and Ohio
Washington (CNN) ♦ A new slate of state-based polls released Wednesday shows Hillary Clinton up 3 points in North Carolina, while Donald Trump has a 5-point edge in the state of Ohio. Clinton has a tight lead on Trump in Pennsylvania and the two presidential candidates are tied in Florida.
Quinnipiac surveyed 602 likely North Carolina voters between October 27-November 1 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. In Ohio, Quinnipiac surveyed 589 likely voters between October 27-November 1 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
In the Florida, Clinton has 46% compared to Trump’s 45%, while 2% support Johnson and 2% are for Stein, according to the Quinnipiac polls. A CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday had similar results, with Clinton leading Trump 49%-47% among likely voters.
CNN’s Poll of Polls for Florida has Clinton and Trump tied at 45%.
Quinnipiac surveyed 626 likely Florida voters between October 27-November 1 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Clinton leads Trump 48% to 43% among likely voters in the state, while 3% support Johnson and 3% support Stein.
In the CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday, Clinton holds a 4-point edge among likely voters against Trump, 48% to 44% respectively.
Quinnipiac surveyed 612 likely Pennsylvania voters between October 27-November 1 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report
The George W. Bush White House deleted 22 Million Emails
For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished.
Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.
Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”
Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. “That the vice president’s office, widely characterized as the most powerful vice president in history, should have no archived emails in its accounts for scores of days—especially days when there was discussion of whether to invade Iraq—beggared the imagination,” says Thomas Blanton, director of the Washington-based National Security Archive. The NSA (not to be confused with the National Security Agency, the federal surveillance organization) is a nonprofit devoted to obtaining and declassifying national security documents and is one of the key players in the effort to recover the supposedly lost Bush White House emails.
Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails.
The media paid some attention to the Bush email chicanery but spent considerably less ink and airtime than has been devoted to Clinton’s digital communications in the past 18 months. According to the Boston social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, which ran a study for Newsweek, there have been 560,397 articles mentioning Clinton’s emails between March 2015 and September 1, 2016.
In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records created after January 20, 1981, be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. The following year, the Reagan administration installed the White House’s rudimentary first email system.
Despite the PRA, neither the Reagan nor the George H.W. Bush administration maintained email records, even as the number of White House emails began growing exponentially. (The Bush administration would produce around 200 million.) In 1989, a federal lawsuit to force the White House to comply with the PRA was filed by several groups, including the National Security Archive, which at the time was mostly interested in unearthing the secret history of the Cold War. The suit sparked a last-minute court order, issued in the waning hours of the first Bush presidency, that prevented 6,000 White House email backup tapes from being erased.
When Bill Clinton moved into the White House, his lawyers supported the elder Bush in his effort to uphold a side deal he’d cut with the National Archives and Records Administration to allow him to treat his White House emails as personal. At the time, George Stephanopoulos—then the White House communications director—defended the resistance, saying his boss, like Bush, didn’t want subsequent, and potentially unfriendly, administrations rooting around in old emails.
The Clinton White House eventually settled the suit, and White House aide John Podesta—now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—even invited members of the National Security Archive into the White House to demonstrate how the new system worked. If anyone tried to delete an email, a message would pop up on screen indicating that to do so would be in violation of the PRA.
Eight years later, in 2003, a whistleblower told the National Security Archive that the George W. Bush White House was no longer saving its emails. The Archive and another watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which had represented outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in her case against the Bush administration), refiled their original lawsuit.
The plaintiffs soon discovered that Bush aides had simply shut down the Clinton automatic email archive, and they identified the start date of the lost emails as January 1, 2003. The White House claimed it had switched to a new server and in the process was unable to maintain an archive—a claim that many found dubious.
Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence by outing his CIA agent wife, Plame. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said in 2006 that he believed some potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney’s office were in the administration’s system but he couldn’t get them.
Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney listens as former President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2007. Larry Downing/Reuters
The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC and called gwb43.com. The White House, meanwhile, officially refused to comply with the congressional subpoena.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the president’s actions “Nixonian stonewalling” and at one point took to the floor in exasperation and shouted, “They say they have not been preserved. I don’t believe that!” His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), said Bush’s assertion of executive privilege was unprecedented and displayed “an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government.”
In court in May 2008, administration lawyers contended that the White House had lost three months’ worth of email backups from the initial days of the Iraq War. Bush aides thus evaded a court-ordered deadline to describe the contents of digital backup believed to contain emails deleted in 2003 between March—when the U.S. invaded Iraq—and September. They also refused to give the NSA nonprofit any emails relating to the Iraq War, despite the PRA, blaming a system upgrade that had deleted up to 5 million emails. The plaintiffs eventually contended that the Bush administration knew about the problem in 2005 but did nothing to fix it.
Eventually, the Bush White House admitted it had lost 22 million emails, not 5 million. Then, in December 2009—well into Barack Obama’s administration—the White House said it found 22 million emails, dated between 2003 and 2005, that it claimed had been mislabeled. That cache was given to the National Archives, and it and other plaintiffs agreed, on December 14, 2009, to settle their lawsuit. But the emails have not yet been made available to the public.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was operating on a different track but having no more luck. In a bipartisan vote in 2008, the committee found White House aides Karl Rove and Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas in the investigation of the fired U.S. attorneys. The penalties for contempt are fines and possible jail time, but no punishment was ever handed down because a D.C. federal appeals court stayed the Senate’s ruling in October 2008, while the White House appealed. Rove’s lawyer claimed Rove did not “intentionally delete” any emails but was only conducting “the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly,” according to the Associated Press.
By then, Obama was weeks away from winning the election, so the Bush administration basically ran out the clock. And neither the Obama administration nor the Senate committee pursued the matter.
The committee’s final report on the matter was blunt: “[T]his subversion of the justice system has included lying, misleading, stonewalling and ignoring the Congress in our attempts to find out precisely what happened. The reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up, and the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”
At the time, some journalists and editorialists complained about a lack of transparency on the White House’s part, but The Washington Post, in an editorial, accepted the White House explanation that the emails could have been lost due to flawed IT systems.
The mystery of what was in the missing Bush emails and why they went missing is still years away from being solved—if ever. The National Archives now has 220 million emails from the Bush White House, and there is a long backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests already. But not all of the emails will be available to the public until 2021, when the presidential security restrictions elapse. Even then, with currently available archiving and sorting methods, researchers still have years of work to figure out whether Cheney deleted days’ worth of emails around the time of the WMD propaganda campaign that led to war, Blanton says.
“To your question of what’s in there—we don’t know,” he says. “There was not a commitment at the top for saving it all. Now was that resistance motivated by political reasons? Or was it ‘We gotta save money’?”
Former U.S. President George W. Bush winks to a member of the audience before he delivers the final State of the Union address of his presidency at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 28, 2008. Tim Sloan/Reuters
Like Leahy, Blanton has doubts that the emails were ever truly “lost,” given that every email exists in two places, with the sender and with the recipient. But unlike watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been relentless about forcing the State Department to publicly release Hillary Clinton’s emails, Blanton and his fellow researchers have decided not to press their fight for the release of the Bush emails.
Blanton says he has no idea whether the Bush email record will be found intact after 2021, when his group will be allowed to do a systematic search and recovery process in the National Archives. “Did they find all of them? We don’t know,” he says. “Our hope is that by that time, the government and the National Archives will have much better technology and tools with which to sift and sort that kind of volume.”
Blanton says he’s not expecting that kind of upgrade, though. “Their entire budget is less than the cost of a single Marine One helicopter,” he says. “It’s an underfunded orphan.”
Meanwhile, the episode has been nearly forgotten by almost everyone but the litigants. A source involved with the stymied congressional investigation recalled the period as “an intense time,” but the Obama administration didn’t encourage any follow-up, devoting its political capital to dealing with the crashing economy rather than investigating the murky doings that took place under his predecessor. Since then, no major media outlet has devoted significant—or, really, any—resources to obtaining the emails, or to finding out what was in them, or what, exactly, the Bush administration was hiding (or losing).