WikiLeaks: DNC Colluding With Hillary Since December 2014?

Bernie Sanders supporters have more reason to gripe about the Democratic primary process after new WikiLeaks emails show what appears to be collusion between the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. WikiLeaks already told us Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her staff were not exactly fans of the Sanders campaign, messages which eventually got her fired. But, now we find that the committee may have been in cahoots with Clinton way back in December 2014.

In a revealing exchange between Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook and Cheryl Mills, with the subject line reading, "DNC Update," the two discussed how best to utilize the DNC in the upcoming campaign, particularly leaders such as Schultz and CEO Amy Dacey.

In other, newly surfaced emails, we have evidence that interim DNC chair Donna Brazile was sending questions to the Clinton camp ahead of debates.  

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was apparently left out in the cold.

In addition to the DNC, the Clinton campaign also had the media in their corner. In a separate WikiLeaks email, we see CNBC's John Harwood offering Clinton's staff encouragement and advice.

With all of these entities working to get Clinton elected, we may be asking why she isn't 50 points ahead?!

New National Polls: The Race is Tightening, or Stable, or a Blowout

With less than two weeks to go until the general election, it's once again time to play Pick Your Poll!  Step right up, contestants. Would you like to see the presidential race tightening to within the margin or error? Or basically unchanged from the recent polling averages? Or spinning out of control into an historic blowout? We've got fresh options for all three preferences, via Fox News (HRC +3), ABC News (HRC +6 -- down sharply from their previous outlier), and USA Today/Suffolk (HRC +9) or the Associated Press (HRC +14), respectively:

Or if you'd prefer a "dead heat" narrative, you can always turn to Rasmussen or IBD/TIPP, which have Clinton up by a hair.   If you love either Rasmussen or the AP's findings, the bad news is that both outfits fell near the very bottom of the list on 2012 pollster accuracy (IBD/TIPP fared significantly better).  Last cycle, the two most accurate  nonpartisan polling came from YouGov and Reuters/Ipsos.  Where do those surveys stand today?  In the exact same place, as it happens: Clinton up by four points. The RCP average pegs Hillary's nationwide lead at 5.4 percentage points. At the state level, there was a lot of buzz early in the week about Texas inching dangerously close to a pure toss-up race.  Since then, two polls have been released.  One shows Trump up seven (fairly comfortable, although vastly underperforming other GOP nominees in the state), while the other has the race within three points -- which, strikingly, is not an outlier:

I'd still wager that the final result in Texas will more closely resemble the Trump +7 finding than a margin-of-error squeaker, but four of the last statewide surveys have the margin within four points. Meanwhile, a NYT/Sienna poll gives Clinton a seven-point lead in Pennsylvania, and fresh New Hampshire polling suggests she is ahead in the state by either four points or nine points.  NBC/WSJ/Marist finds Trump and Clinton exactly tied in Nevada. All three of those states are critical pieces to cobbling together a 270 electoral vote puzzle for Donald Trump.  And if you're in the "all of the media polls are rigged" camp, I'll leave you with this assessment from Donald Trump's own pollster, whom he's paying 100 grand a week to track his chances:

The article's conclusion: "He needs a miracle." The way that miracle might materialize is that low propensity white voters turnout in unexpectedly large waves, while key segments of Hillary's would-be base -- blacks and Millennials, especially -- sit at home.

Watch Live: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama Hold Rally in Winston-Salem

Chaffez: Okay Fine, I'm Voting For Trump

After jumping off the Trump train earlier this month, Utah Republican and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz is back on board as a voter, but not as an endorser. 

Chaffetz pulled his support for Trump after tape surfaced showing the GOP nominee advocating for "grabbing of women by the p*ssy" during a 2005 conversation with Access Hollywood's Billy Bush.

"I'm out," Chaffetz said to CNN at the time. "My wife Julie and I have a 15-year-old daughter. Do you think I can look her in the eye and tell her I endorsed Donald Trump for President when he acts like this?"

"I'm not going to put my good name and reputation and my family behind Donald Trump for President when he acts like this. I just can't do it," he continued.

A number of Republicans who pulled their support for Trump after the tape surfaced have since come back into the fold.

Poll: Americans Don’t Want Clinton’s Australian-Style Gun Control, Overwhelming Majority Oppose Bans

Let’s go back in time to when Hillary Clinton said this in October of 2015 at a town hall event in Keene, New Hampshire. The voter’s question was about gun control:

VOTER: Back to handguns. Recently, Australia managed to get away, or take away tens of thousands, millions of handguns. In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can’t, why can’t we?

HILLARY CLINTON: Australia is a good example, Canada is a good example, the U.K. is a good example. Why? Each of them have had mass killings. Australia had a huge mass killing about 20-25 years ago, Canada did as well, so did the U.K. In reaction, they passed much stricter gun laws.

In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program. The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns. Then, they basically clamped down, going forward, in terms of having more of a background check approach, more of a permitting approach, but they believe, and I think the evidence supports them, that by offering to buyback those guns, they were able to curtail the supply and set a different standard for gun purchases in the future.

Communities have done that in our country, several communities have done gun buyback programs. I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. After the terrible 2008 financial crisis, one of the programs that President Obama was able to get in place was Cash for Clunkers. You remember that? It was partially a way to get people to buy new cars because we wanted more economic activity, and to get old models that were polluting too much, off the roads. So I think that’s worth considering. I do not know enough detail to tell you how we would do it, or how would it work, but certainly your example is worth looking at. [Applause]

Let’s not kid around here and dispense the pleasantries—Australian-style gun control, which Clinton said “is worth looking at,” means gun bans and confiscation. Period. Now, Stephen Gutowski of The Washington Free Beacon reported that new polls show overwhelming majorities oppose such policies, especially when it comes to handguns and rifles:

A poll published on Wednesday shows record opposition to gun bans from the American public.

The survey, conducted by Gallup, found 76 percent of respondents thought there should not be a law banning civilian ownership of handguns, a four-point increase from last year and an all-time high in the 57 years the question has been asked.

The poll also found that 61 percent of respondents are “against” a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles—often referred to as “assault weapons”—, a ten-point increase since the last time the poll was taken and an all-time high since Gallup began asking the question in 1996.

Support for the gun bans are at all-time lows. The poll shows only 27 percent support for a ban on handgun ownership, a three-point drop from last year. It also shows support for an assault weapons ban at 36 percent, an eight-point decline from the last time the question was asked.


The survey was taken between October 5-9 and collected responses from 1,017 adults.

So, if Clinton (should she win the election) wants to waste the very little political capital she’s going to gain after November on this issue, which will likely end in defeat—we of course shouldn’t stop her. At the same time, all of this could be rendered moot if the GOP unites and elects Donald Trump, but we seem to be incapable of maximizing on that end.

Twitter Kills Vine

Twitter announced on Thursday that they will be discontinuing the mobile app Vine, where users could create and share six-second looping videos. Vine was officially launched in January of 2013 after being acquired by Twitter in October 2012.

In a statement published to blogging site Medium, Twitter said that Vine will be shutting down "in the coming months" and assured users that they will be able to download and save their Vines, and that the app's website will remain online so that Vines will be viewable.

Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.

Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.

Thank you. Thank you. To all the creators out there — thank you for taking a chance on this app back in the day. To the many team members over the years who made this what it was — thank you for your contributions. And of course, thank you to all of those who came to watch and laugh every day.

What’s next? We’ll be working closely with creators to make sure your questions are answered and will work hard to do this the right way. We’ll be sharing more details on this blog and our Twitter account, and will notify you through the app when we start to change things.

- Team Vine & Twitter

Vine was notable for the sheer amount of "stars" who rose from obscurity via their posts on the app to carve out careers. Many journalists also used Vine to create short, sharable clips of various news stories.

In what turned into sort of a group funeral for the app, many people took to Twitter to share their favorite vines and mourn the loss of one of the funnier parts of the internet:

Goodbye, Vine. You were fun while it lasted.

State Department: No, We Won't Be Paying Ransom For Iran's Latest American Hostages

After the Obama administration paid the Iranian government at least $400 million in cash for the release of four American hostages as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, the Islamic regime took two more Americans hostage and is now demanding ransom payments for their freedom.

Americans Baquer Namazi and Siamak Namzi were both sentenced to ten years in prison earlier this month after being accused of spying by the Iranian government, an accusation falsely and often used against Americans living or working in the country. 

Iranian-Americans Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million, according to Iran's official news channel IRINN.
Iran officials say five people were convicted and sentenced for "cooperating with Iran's enemies," a government euphemism that usually implies cooperating with the United States.

Siamak Namazi was arrested nearly a year ago and became the first US citizen reported to have been detained in the country since the announcement of the Iranian nuclear program deal.

Just this week, American Reza Shahini was sentenced to 18 years in prison. From The Foreign Desk

The U.S. is "troubled" by reports of an 18-year sentence handed down to a dual U.S.-Iranian national, a State Department official told The Foreign Desk.

"We are troubled by reports that Robin (or Reza) Shahini, a person reported to be a U.S. citizen, may have been convicted and sentenced to eighteen years in prison. We reaffirm our calls on Iran to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, cease arbitrary and politically-motivated detentions and ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all criminal prosecutions consistent with its law and international obligations," the State Department said.

An Iranian court has sentenced a dual-citizen American Iranian man to 18 years in prison for allegedly ‘collaborating with a foreign government’ and for posts he published on his social media page, his family members told The Foreign Desk.

Despite Iran offering to release hostages for a price of $4 million, pocket change compared to $400 million previously paid, the State Department has said ransom will not be paid.

The State Department insisted Tuesday that Iran has no reason to believe that the U.S. will honor ransom demands for the release of dual U.S.-Iranian citizens or others with close western ties imprisoned in Iran.

"I can't speak to the motivation behind these detentions, but if there's a perception out there, if one of the motivations were to secure ransom, it is a false perception — it is wrong," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.

"What I can say again is that we do not pay ransom. We don't pay ransom," he said. "We didn't then, we don't now. We're not going to change that policy going forward."  

Earlier this year the State Department finally admitted the nuclear deal has likely emboldened Iran's longstanding bad behavior rather than deterring it, something critics of the deal warned about for years.

Cruz: You Know, We Might Just Block Clinton From Filling That Supreme Court Vacancy Indefinitely

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is saber rattling again, warning that any Democratic Supreme Court nominee would be blocked indefinitely. It’s sure to please the conservative wing of the Republican Party and generate some nice fundraising material for the Texas senator. So, here we go with the hold the line games (via Politico):

In a vintage return to his confrontational style, Sen. Ted Cruz indicated that Republicans could seek to block a Democratic president from filling the vacant Supreme Court seat indefinitely.

After staking his endorsement of Donald Trump on a list of potential conservative Supreme Court nominees, Cruz said on Wednesday that there is precedent to limiting the Supreme Court to just eight justices. Last week, Cruz's colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), suggested the GOP should confirm President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, to avoid having to swallow a more liberal nominee under Hillary Clinton.


“There will be plenty of time for debate on that issue ... There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have," Cruz said, in remarks first reported by The Washington Post.

Yes, an eight-member court is not hamstringing the U.S. justice system. And yes, the third branch has been able to operate without nine members; at one point there were seven justices who also had larger workloads. But we’ve seen this movie before. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised a united Republican front against Clinton’s nominees, but soon backtracked, saying he would examine the record of the nominee first.

Yes, I know McCain and Cruz are like oil and water, but there is very little chance that the GOP will take this position, no matter who is staking this hold the line claim. For starters, they’re in a pickle. They’re projected to lose anywhere from five to seven seats, they still have Merrick Garland in the wings who could still be voted on in a lame duck session should the GOP fear a Clinton nominee more, and they said that the next president should fill the vacancy citing past precedent (i.e. Biden rule).

Should the upper chamber flip decisively, the American people have voiced their opinion that the Democrats should be in the driver’s seat—and that includes Supreme Court nominations. Not good. Senate Republicans could risk the revolt from their own base by flip-flopping on Garland and holding a hearing and possibly a vote in a lame duck session to prevent what could be a psycho, anti-gun left wing nut job from Clinton should she win the election. Once the new Congress begins, there is a possibility that a Chuck Schumer-led Democratic Senate majority could tweak the filibuster rules, making things more difficult for Republicans to block nominations. We’ll see what happens, but Senate Republicans don’t look like they’re on the best ground to hold out for four years on SCOTUS.

Watch Live: Trump Holds Rally in Springfield

Evan McMullin Admits He'll Be Happy Preventing a Trump Win in Utah

There is no longer a question of Evan McMullin's true intentions in the 2016 presidential race.  

In an interview on Saturday, McMullin admitted that he would not be able to get 270 electoral votes, but said that he would be more than happy to prevent Donald Trump, who he says is a true authoritarian, from becoming the 45th president of the United States.  

McMullin, a believer in the Mormon religion, is campaigning heavily in the swing state of Utah, doing his best to prevent a Trump victory.

Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs called out McMullin for his comments, saying that him and the Mormon religion was nothing more than a religious mafia.

“A vote for any candidate other than Donald Trump, bottom line, is a vote to make Hillary Clinton the 45th president of the United States,” Trump's VP, Mike Pence said while campaigning in Salt Lake City. “It’s the hard truth. It’s time to come home. It’s time for Republicans to come home.” 

A recent poll found Trump at 32 percent, Evan McMullin at 29 percent and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at 28 percent.

Trump: Paul Ryan Deserves Payback for Disloyalty

According to two anonymous sources close to the Republican nominee, Trump wants Speaker Ryan to be punished for not giving him unwavering support.

In the case that Trump loses, it is unclear what role he would play in a post-election Republican Party. We know from other Trump rivalries - he never forgets someone who’s offended him: sending circled photos of his hands for years to a writer who critiqued them, ongoing insults via Twitter to enemies, etc. If Trump wants to ruin Speaker Ryan’s career, enthusiasm level would not be an issue.

Trump's repeated tweets against him appear to be working. Ryan's approval numbers have dropped significantly after the Republican nominee went after him several times via his favorite social media site. We have yet to see if such online attacks would still be effective months after a possible Trump loss.

Perhaps not Trump, but his surrogates, will continue the killing of one of their own. Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon could return to Breitbart, where he would continue hammering Ryan – something he’s been doing since day one of his speakership.

After losing the GOP primary in Wisconsin’s first district by 68 points, Paul Nehlen has announced he will challenge Ryan again… for the speaker’s gavel. The speaker does not have to be a member of Congress, but a non-member has never been elected.

Something that seems slightly more realistic – some members in the Freedom Caucus are mumbling over a possible challenge to Speaker Ryan. To be fair, Politico reported that others in the group are threatening to quit altogether if such an extreme measure is taken. Rep. Mark Meadows has spoken last week regarding such a move by the renegade Republican group.

Eating one of their own is nothing new in Republican politics. However, nothing to this degree has taken place in recent memory. A presidential nominee seeking the demise of the Speaker of the House and member of his own party?

It should be noted, Ryan did not ask to be speaker. After the abrupt announcement from John Boehner that he would be leaving, House colleagues begged Ryan to put his hat in the ring because he was the most respected member in Congress. Other contestants for the position dropped out of contention out respect for him when he officially announced his candidacy for the position.

Speaker Ryan has gone on to raise more money for the Republican Party than ever before – setting one fundraising record after another.

Before his current leadership position, Ryan was Chairman of Ways and Means - the premiere committee in drafting legislation for tax and entitlement reform. Before that, he was Chairman of the Budget Committee, where he developed his famous budget crunching legislation – The Path to Prosperity.

He now has laid out a more comprehensive conservative agenda in A Better Way.

These are specific conservative policy outlines that I’m hard pressed to find another House member to replicate.

Would the Republican Party really be better off turning their back on Paul Ryan?

Brewer: Despite Close Polls, Arizona Will Go to Trump

With just 12 days to go until Election Day, polls are tightening all over the country and some reliably red states are at risk of going blue. 

Arizona, which has voted for the Republican presidential nominee since 1996, is right on the cusp as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton run neck and neck in the Grand Canyon State.

But despite the close race former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, famous for her support of strong laws against illegal immigration, is confident Trump will take home a win on November 8. 

"I do believe we will win, we're not taking anything for granted. I think the Republicans will come home and the Independents will vote appropriately wanting a change," Brewer said. "We're not giving up, we're pushing forward and Arizona will remain red. It's just a simple fact of the matter."

Earlier this week the Obama administration announced Obamacare recipients in Arizona will see their premiums increase by as much as 116 percent next year.

Mike Pence's Beagle, Maverick, Passes Away At Age 13

Republican VP candidate and Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced on Twitter on Wednesday that his beagle, Maverick, had passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 13.

Condolences started flowing in from both sides of the aisle, as nearly everyone seemed willing to put politics aside to mourn Maverick's passing:

Rest in peace, Maverick.

Trump Convinced Evangelicals Can Win Him the Election

It's a well-known fact that millions of evangelical Christians stayed home on November 6, 2012. Their complacency or hesitancy about Mitt Romney, a Mormon, may have cost the Republican nominee the election. Donald Trump seems to understand this. In a conversation with The Brody File this week, Trump told David Brody that evangelical voters may be his ticket to win.

“If they vote, we’re going to win the election,” Trump said.

“Had they (evangelicals) voted four years ago, and they didn’t, you would have had a different result in the election instead of having Obama who has been catastrophic for evangelicals and a lot of the things that we stand for.”

Anytime Trump reflects on the support he's received from evangelicals, he is noticeably moved. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump wondered out loud whether he even deserved their support. Pastors who attended his meeting in New York City over the summer noted how he adopted a much humbler attitude in their presence than they saw on TV. "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson told Townhall that Trump admitted he was a sinner during their brief conversation and seemed open to hearing about the gospel.

The Republican nominee has certainly been trying to give evangelicals reasons to vote for him.

"We're going to have a great Supreme Court," he said in The Brody File interview. "We're going to have religious liberty."

"Religious liberty is under tremendous stress," he continued. "If Hillary Clinton gets in, you're not going to have religious liberty." Nor, Trump said, will she overturn the Johnson Amendment, a law which prevents pastors and priests from voicing their political opinions in church.

Will these pledges, however, be enough for Trump to overcome the backlash he's received for those vulgar "Access Hollywood" tapes?

You can count on the Trump campaign reminding evangelicals about the alternative, as well as the results of the 2012 election.

Maine's Mock Election Could Be A Good Sign For Trump

Each election cycle, Maine's Department of the Secretary of State conducts the Maine Student Mock Election of Maine's schoolchildren. The mock election has been a remarkably good barometer of the state's political leanings, and has only been incorrect once in the past 10 election cycles. (In 2000, George W. Bush won the student vote, but lost the "grown-up" vote in the state.) In 2014, Maine's students predicted a Paul LePage re-election with a more accurate margin of victory than most polls were forecasting.

Given this info, the results of this year's mock election should be a bit of an eyebrow-raiser: Donald Trump won, by an ever-so-slim margin, with 41.7 percent to Hillary Clinton's 40.2 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson finished third, and the Green Party's Jill Stein finished fourth.

On the Congressional side of things, incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin was re-elected by a 10-point spread over Democrat challenger Emily Cain. Poliquin's seat, representing Maine's 2nd Congressional District, is considered to be one of the most vulnerable in Congress.

Maine is one of two states that allocates its Electoral College votes by congressional district, and signs have been promising that Trump could get at least one Electoral College vote from the Pine Tree State. Now, it doesn't seem entirely out of the question that Trump could get three (two from winning the state and one from the CD2), or even all four.

In the 2008 and 2012 elections, Maine went to Obama by large, double-digit margins. Now, it's looking as though Vacationland is in play--big time.

Indiana Senate: Bayh Skipped 76 Percent of Armed Services Committee Hearings, Including During Iraq War

The guy barely did his job the first time around, now he wants it again -- after enriching himself as a DC lobbyist?  Audacious.  And it's not even like he was running for president and therefore AWOL in the Senate, which is a bipartisan tradition. He just wasn't showing up for work. On the committee overseeing America's troops. Not a good look at all, via Buzzfeed:

Former Sen. Evan Bayh appears to have spent little time in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings while he was a member between 2003 and his departure from the Senate in 2011, missing more than three-quarters of the influential panel’s meetings, according to Senate records and a copy of his daily schedule obtained by BuzzFeed News. Bayh, who is once again running for the Senate after a five-year hiatus in the private sector, is considered one of the keys to Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Senate this year. Although initially seen as a likely pickup, his campaign in recent weeks has been dogged by questions about his seriousness after leaked copies of his schedule as a senator appear to show he spent more time fundraising, traveling at taxpayer expense and potentially job hunting than being focused on his job in the Senate...the ambitious senator rarely showed up to hearings of the committee, particularly in the run up to the March 20, 2003, invasion of Iraq. According to attendance data on the committee’s website, Bayh only attended five of the 24 hearings Armed Services held between Jan. 1, 2003, and April 9, 2003, the day Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad.

Overall, throughout his career on the committee, the Indiana Democrat would miss roughly 76% of hearings, a figure reported by the Free Beacon earlier this month. In fact, on the morning of the invasion, the committee held a hearing on that year’s defense authorization bill, a critical piece of legislation that laid out defense spending priorities for fiscal year. But while Bayh would miss the 9:45 a.m. hearing — where then Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham would testify about his department’s atomic energy defense activities — he did make it to an “informal breakfast” held by the Investment Company Institute earlier that morning. That evening, as the first steps of the invasion of Iraq were raging, Bayh attended a reception — which a Republican charged was a fundraiser — at the home of Jamie Gorelick, who at the time was vice chair of Fannie Mae. The next day, following a members briefing on the war, Bayh and his wife would head out of DC to Vail, Colorado for three days, where he would attend fundraisers and a charity event.

He wasn't just generally absent; he skipped crucial hearings during key stretches of the Iraq invasion, opting to attend networking events, and lavish political fundraisers.  Bayh had voted in favor of the war in 2002, but apparently couldn't be bothered to follow-up on the conflict he'd authorized.  He also supported the Obamacare fiasco, a vote from which he ran away by retiring in 2010.  It was recently revealed that Bayh did not spend a single night at his supposed "residence" in Indiana during 2010, allowing other people to pay for his accommodations during his rare visits to his alleged home state.  Bayh also used taxpayer dollars to fund a trip to New York City during which he went job-hunting for a lucrative lobbying job -- while he was still in office.  Bayh had many connections on Wall Street to exploit, having dined with banking lobbyists on the very day he voted in favor of the Wall Street bailouts.  And with all of this controversy swirling this week, what has Bayh been up to?  Campaigning hard in the Hoosier state?  Nah, I'll let his Republican opponent deliver the punchline:

The state's largest newspaper has now endorsed Young in the race, apparently preferring an Indianan to represent Indiana in DC. Elsewhere in the pitched battle for control of the Senate, a fresh poll of New Hampshire shows Kelly Ayotte running dead even with the Democrat governor of that state, affirming that contest's "pure toss-up" status we discussed yesterday.  I'll leave you with new ads from close Senate races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Missouri:

Twelve days.

Romney Muses Why He Didn't Run Again

"I get asked on a regular basis, 'Boy, why aren't you running this year?' I ask myself that a lot too," Romney said at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. 

Is the 2012 Republican nominee having regrets?

Certainly, he would have had plenty of ammunition to run this year, considering he turned out to be right on key policy issues during the 2012 election. He was mocked at the time, but Romney was eerily accurate in his prediction that Russia would become a serious aggressor and our greatest geopolitical foe. He warned about a debt ceiling fight, which also came to fruition and caused panic across the federal government. He also offered a chilling warning about Obamacare's expensive impact on middle class families. Again, ding ding ding.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz called the former Massachusetts governor "prophetic" for his predictions.

Yet, the so-called seer decided against another run for the White House. In fact, he stayed pretty mum throughout the GOP primary - until March. Romney broke his silence just before the Utah primary to warn voters against voting for Donald Trump. Trump's lack of foreign policy knowledge and lack of policies would spell danger for the country, Romney warned. As for his economic policies, they'd be "bad for American workers and for American families."

His speech worked in Utah, but it didn't work nationally, as Trump ultimately won the Republican nomination. 

At the Chamber of Commerce, Romney lamented that neither of the 2016 candidates have a plan to boost the economy - particularly how to fight entitlements.

He regretted not being able to voice his pro-business policies better in the 2012 election. He apparently did on Thursday; he received a standing ovation.

While Romney has not been so vocal against Trump since the latter became the nominee, he recently urged voters to get out to vote for everyone on the ballot except the top of the ticket.

This Is the Best Political Ad of 2016

With less than two weeks until the election, you’re probably sick of being bombarded by campaign ads, which seem to be increasingly negative these days. But in Texas, one local politician has nailed it with this light hearted and comical ad titled “Please Re-Elect Gerald.”

"Gerald really doesn't have any hobbies," begins the ad introducing Gerald Daugherty, a Republican seeking re-election as a Travis County Commissioner.

And in the next 60 seconds Daugherty is portrayed as a family man with no hobbies except trying to come up with new ways to fix the problems in Travis County.

Sick of her husband at home droning on about things like the cost per inmate in the county jail or details about the tax rate, his wife, Charlyn, who clearly wants him out of the house, pleads with viewers: “Please re-elect Gerald. Please.”

Enjoy, this is definitely the best political ad of the year: 

Obama's BlackBerry Offers More Proof White House Knew About Clinton's Email

President Obama claimed he learned about Hillary Clinton’s email through the news, just like everyone else, but notes the FBI recently released from interviews with her top aides revealed the president was corresponding with Clinton using a pseudonym. Moreover, recently released WikiLeaks emails show top aide Cheryl Mills expressing concern after the president made that public statement because she knew he was emailing with her.

“We need to clean this up — he has emails from her — they do not,” Mills wrote to John Podesta on March 7, 2015.

If this wasn’t enough, the way Obama’s BlackBerry is set up offers even more proof the White House knew about Clinton’s email.

President Obama’s high-security BlackBerry used a special process known as “whitelisting” that only allowed it to take calls and messages from pre-approved contacts, two former senior intelligence officials with knowledge of the set-up told Fox News – pointing to the detail as further proof the White House knew Hillary Clinton’s private account was used for government business. 

As the administration now acknowledges, Obama and Clinton emailed each other while she was helming the State Department. If received on his BlackBerry, the “whitelisting” safeguard means Clinton and other contacts would have had to be approved as secure for data transmission – covering everything from emails to texts to phone calls. The Obama BlackBerry would have also been configured to accept the communications. 

“Whitelisting happens by design. The IT professionals who whitelist devices at places like the White House only add the email addresses authorized by management. To do otherwise would be to violate policy in ways that could introduce threats to the system,” Bob Gourley, former chief technology officer for the DIA, told Fox News.

Another source told Fox News that the administration’s claims would be further undermined if was whitelisted before March 2015 when Obama claimed to have learned about her email through the news like everyone else.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to elaborate on the president’s March 2015 comments on Wednesday.

"The president's explanation in March of 2015 and my explanation of what the president knew in March of 2015 hasn't changed, and the truth is this is just critics of Secretary Clinton and President Obama recycling a conspiracy theory that has already been debunked," he said. 


Rand Paul: Of Course the Polls Are Designed to Suppress Voter Turnout

During a Wednesday morning interview on "The Tom Roten Morning Show" in West Virginia, Republican Sen. Rand Paul said that polls showing Hillary Clinton with a lead over Donald Trump are "designed to suppress turnout."

"You know, I think sometimes polling is done to dampen election turnout so when Trump says the thing's rigged, I'm not sure exactly what he means and I'm not sure I always agree with him," Paul said. "But I do think that when we say over and over someone can't win that is a form of rigging in the sense that it is designed to suppress turnout."

Paul reminded the listeners of an election in Kentucky where liberal news outlets had a Republican candidate down by as many as 8 points, and yet the Republican went on to win by 8 in 2015.

"In Kentucky, in our governor's race in 2015, the media said over and over and over again the Democrats were up 8 points," Paul said. "The hope I think was to depress Republican turnout and these were coming from liberal newspapers in our state. And turns out the Republicans won by 8. They were off like by 16 — 14, 16 points. And but I think some of that is intentional. The polls are put out, you know to make it either look closer than it is or to make it look like Democrats have a better chance. And I think it's done by design to try to dampen turnout."

BLM Fail: Public Support For Police At Highest Level in Decades

Despite attempts by the Black Lives Matter movement to demonize police as heavy-handed racists, public support for law enforcement is at its highest level in decades, according to a new Gallup poll.  

The survey released this week shows that 76 percent of Americans have “a great deal” of respect for their local police, which is 12 percent higher than in 2015. Another 17 percent said they had some respect for police in their area, while only 7 percent say they have “hardly any” respect.

While white Americans are the most supportive at 80 percent, 67 percent of nonwhites say they too have a lot of respect for local police, which is up from 53 percent in 2015.

Interestingly, even though liberal politicians like Hillary Clinton have made statements sympathetic to the BLM cause, such as stating police and all Americans have an “implicit bias,” support among liberals for police in there are has increased from 50 percent last year to 71 percent now. 

DNC Suing RNC Because Trump Claims The Election Is Rigged

The Democratic National Committee has filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against the Republican National Committee because Donald Trump continues to insist that the election is rigged against him. The DNC alleges that the RNC has not done enough to reprimand Trump for claiming that the election is rigged, and seeks to have the court hold the committee in civil contempt as well as levy sanctions.

The DNC claims that because the RNC has done "ballot security" work, they are agreeing with Trump that the election is rigged.

Marc Elias, Hillary Clinton's campaign counsel, claims that there is also a racial element to Trump's claims of voter fraud.

"Trump has falsely and repeatedly told his supporters that the November 8 election will be 'rigged' based upon fabricated claims of voter fraud in 'certain areas' or 'certain sections' of key states," the Democratic attorneys, including Hillary Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias, wrote. "Unsurprisingly, those 'certain areas' are exclusively communities in which large minority voting populations reside."

Election Day is in 13 days.

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Kinston, North Carolina

Wikileaks: Univision Chairman Urged Clinton Campaign To Be Tougher On Trump's Immigration Stance

Wikileaks revealed earlier this month that the chairman for Univision Haim Saban thought the Clinton campaign was being too soft on Donald Trump’s hard stance on immigration, an issue that catapulted the billionaire to clinch the GOP nomination. Saban, who is also a wealthy businessman himself, as his career in music and television (his company produced Power Rangers) made him a billionaire, emailed Clinton’s aides in June of 2015 to demand they hammer Trump more aggressively on his proposals, which Team Hillary agreed (via McClatchy):

…a series of emails pirated from the Democratic National Committee and published in the past week by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks show that within days of Trump’s June 16, 2015, announcement of his candidacy, Univision’s chairman, Haim Saban, was urging the Clinton campaign to take a tougher stance on Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.

“Haim thinks we are underreacting to Trump/Hispanics. Thinks we can get something by standing up for Latinos or attacking R’s (Republicans) for not condemning,” Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta wrote July 3, 2015, in an email to other Clinton staffers.

The email drew an immediate response from Jennifer Palmieri, a former White House spokeswoman who is communications director for the Clinton campaign: “Haim is right – we should be jamming this all the time.”


A spokeswoman for Saban, Stephanie Pillersdorf, said the media tycoon’s support for Clinton’s presidential bid had not influenced Univision’s news coverage. “Not even one iota. Zero, zero, zero,” Pillersdorf said.

“He has been a supporter of Hillary separate and way before his involvement with Univision,” Pillersdorf said.

McClatchy, who gave a shout out to our sister site Hot Air, also mentioned that Saban’s involvement with Univision is separate from his support of Hillary Clinton, and that he doesn’t his news department what to cover after former associate editor Noah Rothman (who has since moved over to Commentary) wrote how Univision is a being used as a hub of pro-Clinton coverage, a deluge of good press.

“I have nothing to do with it. I NEVER tell our news DEP what to cover . . . unlike some of my peers,” Saban wrote in an emailed response to this post to the Clinton team.

Here's Where Hillary Clinton Will Spend Election Night

Hilary Clinton will host her Election Day party at the Javits Center in Manhattan. The location choice seems largely symbolic, as it is located about two miles from Trump Tower and also features a glass ceiling.

Trump has not revealed where he will be spending Election Day, but sources report that he is also expected to be in New York.