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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Trump, Sanders, and the Outsiders

Nate Cohn writes at The New York Times:
Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the Republican coalition.
He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm.
Mr. Trump’s huge advantage among these groups poses a challenge for his campaign, because it may not have the turnout operation necessary to mobilize irregular voters.

Jonah Goldberg writes:
This is one place where Sanders and Trump overlap. They want to make the people ruining this country pay. Sanders wants to impose a cartoonish “speculation” tax on Wall Street; Trump wants to make the Mexicans pay for the wall that will keep them out.
The one area where Trump and Sanders break totally with populist practice, other than geography, is religion. Nearly all of the famous heartland populists of yore were steeped in Christianity and spoke its language fluently. Long’s “Share the Wealth” plan, for instance, was vaguely derived from the Bible.
Sanders is a “not particularly religious” Jew who hates to talk about religion. Trump, because he’s seeking the GOP nomination, has had to work hard at faking religious sincerity. But even if he were serious that he won’t share his favorite Bible verse because “that’s personal,” his reluctance would distinguish him from traditional populists.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Multisided Mainstream Gunfight

At The Washington Post,  Karen Tumulty, Ed O'Keefe and Philip Rucker report that candidates in the mainstream GOP wing are attacking one another. The Bush Super PAC and Chris  Christie is going after Rubio's attendance record.
Meanwhile, Right to Rise USA also launched a spot in New Hampshire contending that the gubernatorial records of Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich do not stack up against that of Bush. The ad was gentler in tone than the super PAC’s assault on Rubio, but it attempted to draw a contrast on the experience that all three of the candidates consider to be their greatest asset.

New Day in America, a super PAC supporting Kasich, responded: “What Team Jeb has failed to address is the political baggage dragging behind Bush and Christie. The country doesn’t have an appetite for another Bush, or another Clinton, for that matter. As for Governor Christie, his mishandling of his state budget and the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal have earned him a 60 percent unfavorable rating from those who know him best — the people of New Jersey.”

The crossfire, said GOP political consultant Alex Castellanos, is beginning to look like “a ‘Fistful of Dollars’ gunfight,” referring to the 1964 spaghetti western that launched Clint Eastwood to stardom.
A more apposite scene is from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, which featured a three-way gunfight:




Also at The Post, James Hohmann writes:
Then Mike Murphy, the strategist behind the Bush super PAC, began tweeting out pictures of embarrassing documents that his opposition researchers had collected from an archive of Kasich’s congressional papers. Among them: a 1980 thank you note from Phil Crane, the Illinois congressman whom Kasich backed over Ronald Reagan in the primaries, and a personalized letter of gratitude from Bill Clinton after Kasich supported the 1994 ban on assault weapons.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rules and Credentials

At The Wall Street Journal, GOP lawyer Ben Ginsberg writes that it is possible that there may not be a presumptive nominee before the convention.  In that case, convention procedures will be much more important than in the past.
An early test of candidate strength will be votes at the credentials and rules committees the week before the convention. The very earliest test will be the selection at next spring’s state conventions of which delegates serve on these committees. Campaigns organized state-by-state to elect delegates loyal to them for these committees will fare best in Cleveland.

The credentials committee will hear challenges—over issues such as flawed state-convention procedures or a delegate’s true party registration—to delegate slates and individual delegates, a potentially decisive role in an unsettled convention.

The rules committee must pass the procedures under which the convention runs, including Rule 40, which determines the number of states needed to place a candidate’s name in nomination. The subject of much inaccurate speculation, Rule 40 must be passed anew by each convention. Historically set at five states, the number needed was raised to eight in 2012 to stop a second candidate being nominated.

Although the 2016 number can be set anywhere, a presumptive nominee will want the number sufficiently high to prevent a challenger throwing off the convention program. If no candidate has a delegate majority, look for intense maneuvering over the number of states needed. A recommendation from the Republican National Committee will be voted on (or amended) by the convention rules committee before being ultimately decided by the full convention.
When reports of a closed-door meeting surfaced in early December, RNC ChairmanReince Priebus ridiculed the chances of a deadlocked convention but insisted that they “prepare for everything.” Indeed, no planning would border on malpractice. The 2016 convention begins five weeks earlier than the previous three. It takes considerable time to plan sessions, slot roll-call votes, find speakers if there’s no clear nominee, and be sure that the arena and hotel rooms are available if the convention goes more than four days.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sanders, Trump, Outsiderism

In 1968, a number of George Wallace's supporters said that Robert F. Kennedy was their second choice for president.  Although they were diametrically opposed on most issues, both were running as outsiders.  Four years later, Time reported:
The Yankelovich pollsters found a surprising degree of second-choice support for McGovern among the Wallace voters -- support rooted in McGovern's broad anti-Establishment campaign. It was not that Wisconsin voters were running to ideological extremes at the expense of centrist candidates, but rather that both McGovern and Wallace seem to have located an authentic area of concern that the other candidates failed to articulate.
As I wrote in August, something similar may be happening now.

Rebecca Kaplan reports at CBS:
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, faulted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for converting voters' legitimate concerns into hatred and said he can win over some of those voters with his message about improving the economy.
"Many of Trump's supporters are working-class people and they're angry, and they're angry because they're working longer hours for lower wages, they're angry because their jobs have left this country and gone to China or other low-wage countries, they're angry because they can't afford to send their kids to college so they can't retire with dignity," Sanders said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears which are legitimate and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims, and in my view that is not the way we're going to address the major problems facing our country," he said.
He suggested there was a certain irony about the fact that Trump does not want to raise the minimum wage, and is looking at ways to give millions in tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country.
"I think for his working class and middle class supporters, I think we can make the case that if we really want to address the issues that people are concerned about...we need policies that bring us together that take on the greed of Wall Street, the greed of corporate America, and create a middle class that works for all of us rather than an economy that works just for a few," Sanders said.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Declining Support for Democracy

Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk write at Vox:
A lot of Americans are viscerally angry at the political system. They hate Washington, they don’t trust politicians, and they are increasingly willing to vote for populist outsiders—like Donald Trump. But we usually assume that for all of their disgust with political reality, they remain as loyal to the ideal of democracy as previous generations of Americans. According to recent polling data, that is simply not the case.

In our research we have found that citizens give less and less importance to living in a democracy. They have increasingly negative views about key democratic institutions. Most worryingly of all, they are more and more open to illiberal alternatives. Americans aren’t just souring on particular institutions or particular politicians. To a surprising degree, they have begun to sour on liberal democracy itself.
...
Political scientists have long known that "government legitimacy," or the popularity of particular administrations, is going down. But many of them have argued that "regime legitimacy," or citizens’ attachment to democracy as a political system, is as strong as ever. Our research shows that this is just not true: Attachment to democracy has fallen over time, and from one generation to the next. Take this worrying graph, which shows how much less important it is to young Americans to live in a democracy. For Americans born in the 1930s, living in a democracy holds virtually sacred importance. Asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how important it is to them to live in a democracy, more than 70 percent give the highest answer. But many of their children and grandchildren are lukewarm. Among millennials — those born since the 1980s — fewer than 30 percent say that living in a democracy is essential.
 Jan-Werner Mueller writes at Al Jazeera:
Populists are politicians who claim that only they represent the true people and that all those who criticize them — or just fail to vote for them — are not properly part of the people. Populists always polarize; it’s us, the real and righteous people, against them, the people’s enemies, who can be found inside and outside the country’s borders. Trump, with his xenophobic attacks on Muslims and Mexicans at home and abroad, fits this pattern perfectly.
When in opposition, populists criticize the elite and always tell a story of why they aren’t in power, which, given that they and only they represent the people, would seem impossible in a democracy. This accounts for the populist obsession with conspiracy theories. Think of Trump’s ominous comment about President Barack Obama that “there is something going on with him that we don’t know about” or Trump’s past false insinuations that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
...
 Populists, then, are not just anti-elitist; they are anti-pluralist. And there’s no such thing as democracy without pluralism. Hence, rather than throw around the F-word or conjure up fantasies of America going the way of the Weimar Republic, it is enough to say that Trump is simply not a democrat.

Political Correctness

Thomas B. Edsall writes at The New York Times:
Polls show that hostility to political correctness is widespread among voters.
On Oct. 30, Fairleigh Dickinson University released the results of a survey that asked 1,026 adults “Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: A big problem this country has is being politically correct.”
Over all, 68 percent agreed that political correctness was a big problem, including 62 percent of self-identified Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. These views cut across racial lines. Seventy-two percent of whites and 61 percent of nonwhites (mostly African-American and Hispanic) describe political correctness as a big problem. A Rasmussen poll in August found that 71 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed agreed with the statement that political correctness was “a problem in America today.”
...

Regardless of the outcome next November, Trump’s success in raising the issue of political correctness creates uncertainty in the 2016 election.
How many Democratic and independent voters share Trump’s implicit racial antipathy to the Black Lives Matter movement? How many worry that the police have backed off law enforcement in response to the so-calledFerguson effect, with a resulting increase in crime? And how many are offended by the concessions of university administrators to demands for speech codes, trigger warnings, “safe spaces” and even resignations?
Is the number of Democrats and independents who feel strongly about such issues large enough to alter the course of the election?
The odds still favor a Hillary Clinton victory, but the issue of political correctness is particularly treacherous for the Democratic Party and liberalism.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Trump's Lack of Conventional Campaign Organization

Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin report at The New York Times:
Donald J. Trump, the poll leader for the last five months in the Republican presidential race, is about to find out whether he has permanently changed the rules of politics, or if some of those old standards still linger.

His long-promised “next phase” defined by new spending, such as a wave of television commercials, has so far failed to materialize, week after week. His advisers have not revealed the existence of any pollsters on their staff or any advertising team. He has no real research operation to examine his own vulnerabilities or those of his opponents and, based on Federal Election Commission filings, little in the way of a voter contact operation to identify and turn out his supporters.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Which 1988 Candidate Foreshadowed Trump?

I am writing a book about the 1988 presidential election.  Reading Elizabeth Drew's Election Journal, I came across this passage, which sounds as if it could apply to Trump.
For a large portion of [his] supporters and would-be supporters, whether his proposals stand up to scrutiny is irrelevant. Their support for him is in a different category -- as the leader of a movement. [He] has become the vehicle for their discontent -- with current policies, with the other candidates. He stands in bold, interesting contrast to some fairly dull candidates.  He is the anti-politics candidate. Measuring his program is linear, rational, while most of the support for him is based on emotion.
In this case, the candidate was ... Jesse Jackson.  

The comparison is less bizarre than it may seem at first.  Like Trump, Jackson was an outsider, a narcissist seeking adulation for himself while giving voice to the inchoate frustrations of large group of Americans who thought that the system was rigged against them.  He was also a morally-compromised leader with deep prejudices and a disregard for factual accuracy.

Super PACs Shift from TV

The New York Times reports:
Soaring advertising costs in early primary states are compelling major “super PACs” to realign their tactics, de-emphasizing costly broadcast commercials in favor of the kind of nuts-and-bolts work that presidential candidates used to handle themselves.
They are overseeing extensive field operations, data-collection programs, digital advertising, email lists, opposition research and voter registration efforts.
The shift away from the broadcast television buys that had been the groups’ main role in past presidential campaigns is among the most significant developments in outside political spending since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which paved the way for super PACs. Originally conceived as a vehicle to raise and spend unlimited money on television, the most expensive part of a White House run, the groups now are seeking to relieve campaigns of much of the vital infrastructure that candidates would otherwise have to assemble and manage.
The results of their efforts, which cannot be coordinated directly with the candidates, are unproven. It is not yet known whether field and data efforts spearheaded by outside groups will be as effective as they are in the hands of a candidate.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cruz, Nuance, Marriage,and Immigration

In June, Ted Cruz promised on NPR that opposition to gay marriage would be “front and center” in his 2016 campaign.
 In July, he said the Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage was the “very definition of tyranny” and urged states to ignore the ruling.
But in December, behind closed doors at a big-dollar Manhattan fundraiser, the quickly ascending presidential candidate assured a Republican gay-rights supporter that a Cruz administration would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority.
In a recording provided to POLITICO, Cruz answers a flat “No” when asked whether fighting gay marriage is a “top-three priority,” an answer that pleased his socially moderate hosts but could surprise some of his evangelical backers.
While Cruz’s private comments to a more moderate GOP audience do not contradict what the Republican Texas senator has said elsewhere, they demonstrate an adeptness at nuance in tone and emphasis that befits his Ivy League background. Indeed, the wording looks jarring when compared with the conservative, evangelical rhetoric he serves at his rallies, which have ballooned in size and excitement as he has moved to the front of the pack in Iowa.
...
But an adviser to a rival campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wants to stay behind the scenes, said the Manhattan comments could help opponents portray Cruz as “calculating” at a time voters are rewarding authenticity.
“There’s an Iowa Ted and a New York Ted,” the adviser said. “He sounds different behind closed doors.”
At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin reports on a campaign memo from 1999:
As one of the architects of Mr. Bush’s immigration platform, Mr. Cruz, then 30, outlined calibrated positions that would appeal to conservatives concerned about border security while portraying Mr. Bush to moderates as an inclusive Republican. The memo, in which Mr. Cruz put his name on every page, was authenticated by another aide on the 2000 Bush campaign.
“America is stronger with the many immigrants who come here to make a new life and participate in the American dream,” Mr. Cruz wrote in capital letters about legal immigrants at the document’s outset.
He also advised that Mr. Bush state his support for increasing caps on visas for high-tech workers — a position that Mr. Cruz held after being elected to the Senate in 2012 but has recently abandoned.
Mr. Cruz urged Mr. Bush, again in capital letters, to state his opposition to illegal immigration and to urge enforcement of border restrictions.
“But, at the same time,” he added in the next sentence, “we need to remember that many of those coming here are coming to feed their families, to have a chance at a better life.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Susana Martinez Has a Great Future Behind Her

James Hohmann reports at The Washington Post Susana Martinez -- the female Hispanic governor of a swing state -- would theoretically be a natural for the GOP ticket.  But...
In practice, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association has become a punch line among some GOP elites in D.C. She’s gotten a reputation within corners of the consultant class as Palinesque: gaffe-prone, not intellectually curious, and not up for the rigors of a national campaign.

Making it in Santa Fe is not the same as making it in Washington. New Mexico’s population is, after all, just 2.1 million.

— The latest setback for any future aspirations Martinez might have came yesterday when the tape of a police officer’s belt recorder was released publicly. The governor sounds intoxicated as she speaks with the cop about a noise complaint in her hotel room and a report that bottles had been thrown from the balcony.
In any case, if the GOP nominee is Cruz or Rubio, the notion of ticket-balancing makes it unlikely that he would  pick an Hispanic running mate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Embarrassed"

Six weeks before the Iowa Caucuses open the 2016 presidential race in earnest, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz lead the Republican field nationally, but Trump trails either Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and 50 percent of American voters say they would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.

Trump has 28 percent of the GOP pack, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 24 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 12 percent and Dr. Ben Carson has 10 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. No other candidate tops 6 percent with 8 percent undecided. But 58 percent of those who name a candidate might change their mind.

Among Democrats, Clinton tops Sanders 61 - 30 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has 2 percent, with 6 percent undecided and 41 percent who might change their mind.

Among Republicans, 28 percent of voters say they "would definitely not support" Trump, with 24 percent who would not back Bush.

Only 23 percent of all voters would be proud to have Trump as president.
If Clinton is elected, 33 percent of all voters would be proud and 35 percent would be embarrassed.

"Half of American voters say they'd be embarrassed to have Donald Trump as their Commander in Chief and most Americans think he doesn't have a good chance in November, but there he is still at the top of the Republican heap," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Hillary Clinton tops him. Sen. Bernie Sanders hammers him and Sen. Ted Cruz is snapping at his heels. Can a candidate that half the American electorate thinks is an embarrassment win in November?"
 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Brokered Convention is Unlikely

At The Washington Examiner, Michael Barone explains why a brokered convention is unlikely. From the 1830s to the 1950s, national conventions provided the only way politicians from around the country could quickly and conveniently communicate with one another.  It was a big deal, for instance, when Jim Farley made long-distance calls in 1936.
Long-distance calls in those days were placed through operators and were expensive: $1 a minute when average earnings were maybe $50 a week. The first direct distance dialing call was not placed until 1951. They weren't available in major cities until the late 1950s and countrywide in the 1960s.
In those days, politicians outside of Congress didn't see much of each other in person. Train travel was time-consuming and plane travel hazardous. Regularly scheduled jet travel only began when the Boeing 707 was launched in 1958.
It's no coincidence then that the last multi-ballot national convention was in 1952, when Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson. As long-distance calls and jet flights became more common, some of the communication that could occur only at the convention started happening earlier.
And since party bosses no longer choose delegates, they can no longer deliver them, either.   Accordingly, if there are negotiations, they will take place among many different people via electronic communication long before the convention.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rubio'sGround Game in Iowa

At FiveThirtyEight, Joshua Darr writes that Rubio has only one field office in Iowa.
According to political science research, Rubio avoids the establishment of a ground game at his peril. Field offices work because they provide a location for the coordination and training that make voter contact valuable. Campaigns that can contact supporters personally to encourage them to vote should make every effort to do so. Knocking on doors can increase turnout by nearly 10 percent, and effective phone calls can encourage an additional 4 percent of voters to head to the polls. Without a field office in an area, candidates will find it much more difficult to translate these tactics into victory.
To be fair, neither canvassing nor phone calls technically require a field office. If a campaign’s main goal is merely to contact as many voters as possible, staff members will often spare themselves the time, effort and cost of training local volunteers by hiring professional callers and recruiting canvassers from out of state. But when campaigns take this shortcut, they often pay the price.
...

Over the past few presidential elections, field offices have clearly generated higher local turnout. Obama opened 786 field offices in 449 counties in 2012, and each office delivered him approximately an additional 0.3 percent of vote share — or roughly the equivalent of airing 1,000 additional campaign ads. In 2008’s battleground states, Obama earned about 200,000 votes — about 7 percent of his margin of victory in those states — from his network of field offices. These offices accounted for 50 percent of Obama’s margin of victory in Indiana, and they likely made the difference in his win in North Carolina.
These effects seem small, but they make a difference where it matters most. Rick Santorum won the 2012 Iowa caucuses by 0.03 percentage points, or 34 votes out of 121,501. Field offices can be expensive — the estimated cost per vote earned by having a field office is $49.40 — but the earned media and momentum benefits from a victory in Iowa are huge.
Or maybe Rubio figures that he will not win Iowa no matter what, so he is putting his scarce resources elsewhere.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Trump Flip-Flops on Immigrants

An Investor's Business Daily editorial -- no doubt with a boost from a rival candidate's oppo -- points out that Trump has flipped on immigration:
You don't have to go back far to find a pro-amnesty statement from the No. 1 defender of deportation. At the end of June, speaking to the press in Chicago and after saying he "heard you probably have 30 million" illegal aliens in America, Trump contended:
"You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that. But the bad ones, and there are bad ones, you have to get out, and you have to get them out fast."
That's "path" as in "path to citizenship," not a path to exit the country via our southern border. And it's clear he was referring to the bulk of the millions of aliens. The "bad ones" he would deport he depicts as a minority of the illegals. How small a minority is wide open to speculation.
Several weeks after President Obama's 2012 re-election, Trump, interviewed by Newsmax's Ron Kessler, blasted Mitt Romney's "crazy policy of self-deportation." It was "maniacal," he said, contending it cost the Republican "all of the Latino vote" and adding "he lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country."
Trump told Kessler that the Republicans must develop comprehensive immigration reform "to take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful, productive citizens of this country."
Contrasting the two parties on the issues, Trump told Kessler, "The Democrats didn't have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren't mean-spirited about it. ... What they were is they were kind."

Trump Is Behind In Organizing

Trip Gabriel reports at The New York Times:
A successful ground game is crucial in Iowa because of the state’s complicated method of caucus voting, but the Trump campaign has fallen behind some of its own benchmarks.
Mr. Trump’s Iowa director predicted that he would recruit a leader for each of the state’s 1,681 Republican precincts by Thanksgiving. Instead, the first major training session for precinct leaders, heavily promoted in emails and conference calls, drew only about 80 people to West Des Moines last weekend, with about 50 participating online.
...
The demographics of Trump supporters reveal his challenges: They are younger, lack a college degree and are less likely to be evangelical Christians, according to polling. The profile of past caucusgoers is the opposite: most are 45 and up, college educated and evangelical.
...
It was clear from the training that the Trump campaign was only beginning to identify supporters, and that its volunteers could face unique challenges in going door to door.
“Just listen to them,” a Trump staff member advised volunteers on how to elicit and record issues on voters’ minds. “If they’re concerned about the border,” he said, mark down immigration. “If they’re worried about space aliens stealing the fillings out of their teeth, it’s ‘other.’

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jeb Takes on Trump

In an online video, Jeb Bush goes after Trump as a "chaos candidate."


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tough Interview of Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday squared off with Fox News anchor Bret Baier over comments Cruz made in 2013 as the Senate considered an immigration reform bill.

Baier began the interview by repeating what Cruz said on the subject during Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate: “I’ve never supported legalization, I do not intend to support it.”

The anchor then played a speech Cruz made in 2013 promoting his amendment to an immigration reform measure in which he called on “people of good faith on both sides of the aisle” to pass a bill “that allows those that are here illegally to come in out of the shadows.”
Asked to respond to the clip, Cruz said his amendment would “remove citizenship.”
“The fact that I introduced an amendment to remove part of the Gang of Eight bill doesn’t mean I support the rest of the Gang of Eight bill,” he added.
But Baier replied with a series of statements Cruz made in 2013 that indicated he wanted the rest of the bill to pass. He quoted the Texas Republican calling the legislation “the compromise that can pass” and saying “if my amendment were adopted, this bill would pass.”
Cruz stammered in his response, saying that “of course I wanted my amendment to pass. ... It doesn’t mean I supported other aspects of the bill.”



Apparently, the Rubio campaign is doing a good job of oppo.

In October, Alex Leary wrote at The Tampa Bay Times:
For now, Republican candidates not named Donald Trump are hesitant to publicly attack each other, but don’t kid yourself: Behind the scenes they are striving to undercut rivals, mining voting and policy records, tracking every campaign appearance and interview, then shopping tidbits to reporters.
“No fingerprints,” reads the standard disclaimer from one sleepless operative.
Consider it the cold war before the field narrows and combat spills into the open.
Several presidential campaigns have in-house “oppo” teams while others outsource work to affiliated super PACs. ...
“A lot of people, when they think of oppo research, think there are these guys who are employed in Dumpster diving, looking for the nefarious information. More often than not, that’s not true,” said Joe Pounder, president of America Rising, a Republican research outfit formed in 2013.

The well-funded group is not officially working for any of the Republican presidential candidates but is focusing on Clinton and other Democrats, including those competing in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.

Technology continues to provide more material and opportunity. Many campaign events are now live-streamed on the Internet and oppo crews, usually, can quickly make video clips to post on YouTube under bogus names. Those videos often get placed on news sites, especially blogs. Failing that, the “hits” can catch on Twitter, building a story line.

That same speed has made it essential for campaigns to be ready with a counter response.
“All of a sudden what someone says in New Hampshire about you is resonating in Iowa,” Pounder said. “You need people on your campaign who can address it and put out the correct information.”
Pounder is now working for Rubio.  Leary writes today:
“Immigration flip-flopping puts Ted Cruz on the defensive,” read a tweet this morning from Alex Conant, Rubio’s top campaign spokesman, with a link to a Guardian story.
“A visibly shaken Cruz said on Fox News Wednesday,” wrote Joe Pounder, Rubio’s oppo-research director, quoting from a Time story on the Rubio-Cruz showdown.
Cruz has waffled. In the past he sounded like he supported legalization of some unauthorized immigrants. He now claims it was a “poison pill” to undermine Rubio’s Gang of 8 bill. Cruz looked deflated after a Fox News interview yesterday in which he stammered and tried to explain away his position.
“In this campaign, he is looking for a political advantage so he tries to obscure the lines on it,” Rubio said on Fox News last night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Good Night for Rubio

Marco Rubio is the Barack Obama of 2008: He rises to big moments, lives up to the hype, and is a gifted communicator and performer. There’s a reason Hillary Clinton allies fear Rubio, and are suddenly publicly pushing the idea that the GOP nominee will be Cruz, an opponent they would much prefer.
Rubio is better than Obama was at this point in ’08, and way more consistent. Tangling with Cruz, Rubio was much more detailed and convincing.
A Rubio adviser said his candidate “is restrained and self controlled -- he does not get in every fight. … When Cruz dodged the question on his support for the path to citizenship, Marco let it go because he knew the Twitterverse and the commentators would handle it.”
At The Washington Free Beacon, Daniel Bassali reports that Trump didn't understand a question about the nuclear triad:
In his original answer, Trump said it was important to have a strong leader with sound judgment during perilous times. He then trailed off to talking about opposing the Iraq War and how important limiting nuclear proliferation is. The response did not touch on Hewitt’s question, so he asked again.
“I think for me nuclear – the power, the devastation is very important to me,” Trump said in his second attempt.
Hewitt then offered the question to Rubio. The young senator elected to explain what the nuclear triad is to “people at home,” although it appeared to be a veiled swipe at Trump for not knowing what it was.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Terrorism Concerns

Pew reports:
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., the public’s concerns about terrorism have surged and positive ratings of the government’s handling of terrorism have plummeted. But other attitudes relating to terrorism and security, as well as perceptions of whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, have shown far less change.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 8-13 among 1,500 adults, finds that since the start of this year, the share of Americans who say the government is doing well in reducing the threat of terrorism has fallen by 26 percentage points – from 72% to 46% – and now stands at its lowest point in the post-9/11 era.
Approval of the way Barack Obama is handling the threat of terrorism also has declined, even as his overall job rating (currently 46%) – and his ratings on immigration, the economy and other issues – is little changed. Just 37% approve of the way Obama is handling terrorism while 57% disapprove, the lowest rating of his presidency for this issue.
Terrorism has reshaped the public’s agenda, both at home and abroad. Currently, 29% cite terrorism (18%), national security (8%) or ISIS (7%) as the most important problem facing the country today. One year ago, just 4% of the public cited any of these issues. And while ISIS already ranked high among leading international dangers, 83% now regard ISIS as a major threat to the well-being of the U.S., up from 67% in August 2014.
Public concerns that anti-terrorism policies have gone too far in restricting civil liberties have fallen to their lowest level in five years (28%); twice as many (56%) now say their greater concern is that these policies have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Cruz Algorithm

Tom Hamburger reports at The Washington Post:
Cruz has largely built his program out of his Houston headquarters, where a team of statisticians and behavioral psychologists who subscribe to the ­burgeoning practice of “psycho­graphic targeting” built their own version of a Myers-Briggs personality test. The test data is supplemented by recent issue surveys, and together they are used to categorize supporters, who then receive specially tailored messages, phone calls and visits. Micro-targeting of voters has been around for well over a decade, but the Cruz operation has deepened the intensity of the effort and the use of psychological data.

Cruz, a critic of excessive government data collection, has been notably aggressive about gathering personal information for his campaign. Some of the data comes from typical sources, such as voters’ consumer habits and Facebook posts. Some is homegrown, such as a new smartphone app that keeps supporters in touch while giving the campaign the ability to scrape their phones for additional contacts.
In July, Kenneth Vogel and Tarini Parti reported at Politico on the company doing the work:
Cambridge Analytica is owned at least in part by the family of the press-shy New York hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, multiple sources confirmed to POLITICO. The Mercers this year provided the lion’s share of the $37 million raised by a quartet of unlimited-money super PACs supporting Cruz’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Cruz’s presidential campaign has contracted with Cambridge Analytica to provide data services, and the company has had talks with at least one of those super PACs, according to sources.
...
Federal Election Commission filings show that nearly 93 percent of the $2.6 million Cambridge Analytica has received in traceable federal payments has come from committees to which the Mercers donated generously. The payments — which all came last year and were for polling, micro-targeting, advertising and other services — came from Cruz’s leadership PAC and a handful of GOP-aligned big-money organizations, including Ending Spending Action Fund, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton’s super PAC and a pop-up super PAC created to boost 2014 Republican Senate candidates. Other Cambridge Analytica clients included the campaigns of GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, as well as unsuccessful GOP House candidate Art Robinson of Oregon. The Mercers combined to donate nearly $3.3 million to those groups in 2014, according to FEC filings.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Unloved Establishment

Nancy Benac writes at AP:
In 1967, the now-gone National Observer took note of the overuse of the term "establishment" and wrote: "If someone wishes to complain about something but hasn't a very clear idea of what, all he needs do is blame the problem on the 'establishment' and people will sagely wag their heads." William Safire included that quote in his Political Dictionary, along with this one from Newsweek in 1987, referring to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush: "Bush's native political tribe — the Eastern-establishment wing of the GOP — is nearly extinct today."
(Nearly three decades later, the tribe lives on: The establishment label is weighing down Jeb Bush, son of one President Bush, brother of another and grandson of a senator.)
GOP pollster David Winston says the word establishment is being redefined in this campaign as a synonym for the status quo, which carries heavy baggage in a time of voter discontent.
Within the Republican Party, Winston says, the anti-establishment camp is divided between candidates who want to work within the existing system to change things (Bush, Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, etc.) and those who want to completely disregard it (Trump, Cruz).
"There are some folks who are trying to create a distinction here that Washington is so broken that you just have to go beyond it and not deal with the consequences," says Winston.
Democratic pollster Peter Hart, for his part, sees the anti-establishment sentiment playing out as anger against the "power elite." Voters are "looking for candidates who represent an ability and a willingness to stand up to those who control our lives," he says.
And Dan Balz ties this sentiment back to the data on the middle class:
Trump’s campaign slogan is not just “Make America Great” but “Make America Great Again.” He summons a time when the middle class was prosperous and incomes were rising. This was a time when the lack of a college degree was not the impediment to a more economically secure life that it has become — and a time when white people made up a higher share of the population.

Whatever happens to Trump’s candidacy over the coming months, the conditions that have helped make him the front-runner for the GOP nomination will still exist, a focal point in a divisive debate about the future of the country.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Distrustful Populism

More clues to the Trump phenomenon. Samantha Smith writes at Pew:
When it comes to politics, the public also is self-critical: Just 34% say they have “very great” or a “good” deal of trust and confidence in the political wisdom of the American people. Fully 63% have “not very much” confidence or “no confidence at all.”
These views have changed dramatically since 2007, when a majority (57%) had at least a good deal of trust and confidence in the American people’s political wisdom. The decline has come among both Democrats and Republicans: Just 37% of Democrats and Democratic leaners have at least a good deal of confidence in the public’s political wisdom, as do 36% of Republicans and Republican leaners, down from 57% and 61%, respectively, eight years ago.
However, even as the public readily acknowledges the shortcomings of Americans, a majority nonetheless see themselves as better able than politicians to solve the nation’s problems.
Most Americans (56%) acknowledge that the big issues facing the country lack clear solutions. Yet a comparable majority (55%) says that “ordinary Americans” could do a better job than elected officials of solving the country’s problems. Only about four-in-ten (39%) say elected officials could do no better than the politicians.
The belief that ordinary people are superior problem-solvers is particularly widespread among the minority of Americans (22%) who say they are angry with the federal government. Among those angry at government, 73% say ordinary Americans could do better than politicians. That compares with 53% of those who are frustrated, but not angry, with government and 40% of those who are basically content with the federal government.

From the November Pew survey:
The share of Republicans and Republican leaners saying they are angry with the government is not as high as in October 2013 (32% now, 38% then). Nonetheless, Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats (12%) to say they are angry with the government. And among politically engaged Republicans and Democrats – those who vote frequently and follow politics on a regular basis – the gap is nearly four-to-one (42% to 11%).
Among both Democrats and Republicans, large majorities say they can seldom, if ever, trust the federal government (89% of Republicans, 72% of Democrats). While trust in government among Republicans has varied widely depending on whether a Republican or Democrat is in the White House, Democrats’ views have shown far less change.
In Barack Obama’s six years as president, 13% of Republicans, on average, have said they can trust the government always or most of the time – the lowest level of average trust among either party during any administration dating back 40 years. During George W. Bush’s presidency, an average of 47% of Republicans said they could trust the government. By contrast, the share of Democrats saying they can trust the government has been virtually unchanged over the two administrations (28% Bush, 29% Obama).


...
Overall, nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say that on the issues that matter to them, their side loses more often than it wins. Just 25% say their side comes out ahead more often.
This sense of “losing” is more widely shared among Republicans than Democrats – large majorities of both conservative Republicans (81%) and moderate and liberal Republicans (75%) say their political side loses more often than it wins.
But while most Republicans feel like they lose more often than they win, most Democrats do not feel like “winners” either. Overall, 52% of Democrats say their side loses more often than it wins, while 40% say it usually wins. Liberal Democrats are divided over whether their side wins or loses more often (46% winning vs. 44% losing) – the only ideological group in which a majority does not think its side is losing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Outsiders and the Dream

Casey Tolan writes at Fusion:
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have radically different political standpoints, personal backgrounds, and hairstyles. But their young supporters agree on at least one thing: The American Dream is in dire straits.
Young people who support Sanders and Trump are less likely than young supporters of any other presidential candidate to agree with the statement that “the American Dream is alive for me.” The finding comes from a Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18-to-29-year-olds released Thursday.
Overall, about half of young people say the American Dream is alive for them, and half say it is dead for them. But only 39% of Trump supporters and 44% of Sanders supporters agree that the dream is alive—and that discontent is fueling their insurgent candidacies.
A Fusion poll published last week found that young people are significantly less likely than they were a generation ago to say that the American Dream has real meaning for them.
From that poll:
One thing we do see reflected in the numbers, whatever is feeding them, is that more young white Americans feel disconnected from the idea of the American Dream while the percentage of young people of color who felt an attachment to—or apathy about—it has remained steady.
Percent who say that the American Dream is very much alive

...................................1986......2015
White............................34.........15
Nonwhite .....................18.........18

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trump: Not So Yuge with the General Public

Gallup reports:
The 2016 presidential candidates who are the most familiar to U.S. adults -- Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush -- also rank among the least-liked, in terms of their unfavorable rating exceeding their favorable rating. Trump vies with Clinton as the race's best-known candidate, but he is by far the least-liked of the field, with 59% viewing him unfavorably and 32% favorably, yielding a net favorable score of -27.
Janet Hook and Patrick O'Connor report at The Wall Street Journal:
Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is opposed by a solid majority of Americans, but there is more support for the idea and greater anti-Muslim sentiment within the Republican Party, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
Those views within the party have helped Mr. Trump weather yet another political storm, as the poll found his favorability rating undiminished among GOP primary voters over the last six weeks.
Some 57% of survey respondents objected to the proposed Muslim ban—most of them saying they objected strongly—while 25% favored it.
Among Republican primary voters, 39% opposed and 38% supported the idea, which has been the subject of heated debate since Monday, when Mr. Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims’ entry into the country.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Three Parts of Oppo

Breet DiResta writes about oppo at The New York Times:
The first step: collection. This work happens in front of computers and at county clerk offices. By gathering data, from votes to videos, researchers provide the factual foundation for campaigns.
...
After the facts are gathered, we put them through the next step, analysis. Here the job can become more art than science. We look for patterns (voted to raise taxes 30 times), for anomalies (voted against military spending except one time, cui bono?) and for oddities.
...
Dissemination is the third step. A campaign must decide how and when to use this material. Should we put it in ads or make it public in speeches? Do we rush it out early or hold it for rapid response? It often helps to have good relations with the news media for this purpose. In 2003, Representative Steve LaTourette, Republican of Ohio, gained notice for divorcing his wife over the phone and taking up with his former chief of staff. In research, I found out that his former chief of staff had become a lobbyist, with clients who were benefiting from Mr. LaTourette’s membership on a transportation committee.
...
Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign has flashed some impressive research skills, especially on the immigration issue. When Senator Ted Cruz of Texas went after Mr. Rubio for his past work on a bipartisan immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship, or what Republicans call amnesty, the Rubio campaign countered swiftly with votes and quotes made by Mr. Cruz that appeared to show him supporting a pathway to citizenship. With prepared research, Mr. Rubio’s team was able to blunt Mr. Cruz’s attack.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Trump: Full Metal Crazy

Time reports:
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told TIME that he does not know whether he would have supported or opposed the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer,” he said during a recent interview in his office in New York City. “I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer.”
Trump added that he believes wartime sometimes requires difficult choices. “It’s a tough thing. It’s tough,” he said. “But you know war is tough. And winning is tough. We don’t win anymore. We don’t win wars anymore. We don’t win wars anymore. We’re not a strong country anymore. We’re just so off.”
On August 10, 1988, President Reagan said:
The Members of Congress and distinguished guests, my fellow Americans, we gather here today to right a grave wrong. More than 40 years ago, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in makeshift internment camps. This action was taken without trial, without jury. It was based solely on race, for these 120,000 were Americans of Japanese descent.
Yes, the Nation was then at war, struggling for its survival, and it's not for us today to pass judgment upon those who may have made mistakes while engaged in that great struggle. Yet we must recognize that the internment of Japanese-Americans was just that: a mistake. For throughout the war, Japanese-Americans in the tens of thousands remained utterly loyal to the United States. Indeed, scores of Japanese-Americans volunteered for our Armed Forces, many stepping forward in theinternment camps themselves. The 442d Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese-Americans, served with immense distinction to defend this nation, their nation. Yet back at home, the soldiers' families were being denied the very freedom for which so many of the soldiers themselves were laying down their lives.
Congressman Norman Mineta, with us today, was 10 years old when his family was interned. In the Congressman's words: "My own family was sent first to Santa Anita Racetrack. We showered in the horse paddocks. Some families lived in converted stables, others in hastily thrown together barracks. We were then moved to Heart Mountain, Wyoming, where our entire family lived in one small room of a rude tar paper barrack." Like so many tens of thousands of others, the members of the Mineta family lived in those conditions not for a matter of weeks or months but for 3 long years.
The legislation that I am about to sign provides for a restitution payment to each of the 60,000 surviving Japanese-Americans of the 120,000 who were relocated or detained. Yet no payment can make up for those lost years. So, what is most important in this bill has less to do with property than with honor. For here we admit a wrong; here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Trump's Blanket Muslim Ban

Ben Kamisar reports at The Hill:
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump wants to bar all Muslims from entering the United States.

In a statement from his campaign, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States until elected leaders can "figure out what is going on."
When asked by The Hill whether that would include Muslim-American citizens currently abroad, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks replied over email: "Mr. Trump says, 'everyone.'"
Trump is quoted in the statement as saying that a significant number of Muslims harbor a "hatred" toward America and as a result should be kept out of the country.
Presumably, that ban would also include American Muslim members of the armed services returning from overseas deployments.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Donald and the Dons

AP reports:
Donald Trump tapped a man to be a senior business adviser to his real-estate empire even after the man's past involvement in a major mafia-linked stock fraud scheme had become publicly known, according to Associated Press interviews and a review of court records.

Portions of Trump's relationship with Felix Sater, a convicted felon and government informant, have been previously known. Trump worked with the company where Sater was an executive, Bayrock Group LLC, after it rented office space from the Trump Organization as early as 2003. Sater's criminal history was effectively unknown to the public at the time, because a judge kept the relevant court records secret and Sater altered his name.
When Sater's criminal past and mafia links came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.
But less than three years later, Trump renewed his ties with Sater. Sater presented business cards describing himself as a senior adviser to Donald Trump, and he had an office on the same floor as Trump's own office in New York's Trump Tower, The Associated Press learned through interviews and court records.

Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.

"Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it," Trump said, referring questions about Sater to his staff. "I'm not that familiar with him."
(NBC reports: Offering reassurance that he had indeed seen video of the celebrations on television on and "all over the Internet," Trump said, "I have the world's greatest memory. It's one thing everyone agrees on.")

In July, Chris Frates reported at CNN:
Donald Trump's glittering empire of New York skyscrapers and Atlantic City casinos have long had a darker side, allegations that the mob helped build them.

Trump's alleged ties to New York and Philadelphia crime families go back decades and have been recounted in a book, newspapers and government records.

"The mob connections of Donald are extraordinarily extensive," New York investigative journalist Wayne Barrett told CNN in an interview.

Barrett, the author of the 1992 unauthorized biography "Trump: The Deals and the Downfall," wrote that Trump's life "intertwines with the underworld."

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Unfortunate Comments by the President

Yesterday, CNN reported:
President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday that he is confident the U.S. is safe from a Paris-style attack from ISIS and that American law enforcement is well equipped to protect the nation during the holidays.
"ISIL will not pose an existential threat to us. They are a dangerous organization like al Qaeda was, but we have hardened our defenses," Obama told CBS. "The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives."
His comments came amid reports that the FBI is investigating ISIS sympathizers across the nation and a new study shows support for the terrorist group has reached unprecedented levels domestically. But Obama called for calm and said that terrorists and ISIS "only win if we start reacting out of fear."
The interview was taped Wednesday, as details were still coming out about the shooting in San Bernardino, California, and before the two suspects had been identified. He renewed his calls for gun control measures in a clip from the interview that aired Wednesday.
This morning, CNN reports:
ISIS on Saturday hailed the two people who massacred 14 people in Southern California this week as "supporters" of the terror group -- a message that came after U.S. investigators said they suspect one of the shooters professed loyalty to the Islamist network.
The terror group's official Iraq-based station made the declaration days after Wednesday's San Bernardino shooting that also left 21 injured, but -- notable for a group quick to claim attacks -- did not say the couple were members or that ISIS was responsible.
Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, sprayed bullets at Farook's co-workers at a holiday party for the environmental health department in San Bernardino before being gunned down in a shootout with authorities the same day.
"We pray to God to accept them as martyrs," ISIS' al-Bayan Radio declared Saturday.
The ISIS radio report came a day after the FBI said it was treating the attack as an act of terrorism.
It also came after reports that Malik made a public declaration of loyalty to ISIS' leader while the attack was underway. Three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN on Friday that Malik posted to Facebook a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Trump, Carson, and RJC

Ben Schreckinger writes at Politico:
Donald Trump joked about Jewish stereotypes, declined to affirm his support for a united Jerusalem, and told his audience they wouldn’t back him because he did not want their money. Reading from a prepared text, Ben Carson repeatedly pronounced the name of the Palestinian group “Hamas” as if it were a delicious spread made with chickpeas.
The performance of these two outsider candidates left attendees at Thursday’s summit of the Republican Jewish Coalition amused, but not impressed. With the RJC, an influential group of donors and activists that prioritizes American policy toward Israel, the retired neurosurgeon and the businessman faced a more politically sophisticated crowd than either is used to, and one more concerned with the nuances of foreign policy.
Patrick O'Connor writes at The Wall Street Journal:
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump provoked boos and jeers from an influential Jewish group here Thursday for refusing to recognize Jerusalem as the undisputed capital of Israel.
The businessman also questioned Israel’s willingness to negotiate a sweeping Middle East peace deal with the Palestinians, a stance challenged earlier in the day by one of his top rivals, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“I don’t know that Israel has a commitment to make a deal,” Mr. Trump told hundreds of members of the Republican Jewish Coalition who gathered a few blocks from the White House to hear from each of the GOP candidates.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Party Preference

So far, the GOP nomination contest hasn't cut into party affiliation.  Gallup reports:
Americans' party preferences are closely divided, with 43% identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic and 41% identifying as Republicans or leaning Republican. The parties have been essentially tied since August, representing a shift from months prior when Democrats had the party affiliation advantage.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Marco, the Second

Fox News reports:
A new poll released Wednesday shows Dr. Ben Carson falling to third place in the race for the Republican 2016 nomination, while Florida Senator Marco Rubio surges into second – but still a significant distance behind frontrunner Donald Trump, who holds a comfortable lead.
The Quinnipiac University National Poll shows Trump leading with 27 percent of Republican voters, while Rubio moves into second place with 17 percent. Carson, who was in a virtual tie with Trump in a Quinnipiac poll taken last month, finds his support dropping to 16 percent, now tied with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
In October, Carson polled at 23 percent, just shy of Trump’s 24 percent. In a Quinnipiac poll taken at the end of September, Carson polled at 17 percent – putting him in second place at that time.
Meanwhile Rubio's numbers show a steady increase from the 9 percent he received in September, and 14 percent he received last month.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush still finds his support in single digits, polling at just 5 percent, while no other candidate tops 3 percent.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Trump Lies about His Lies

The Hill reports:
As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to offer newspaper clippings and soundbites he says are proof of his claim that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslim Americans cheering the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the streets of New Jersey, the TV network responsible for the rumor is stepping in to debunk it.
Digging deep into its archives, MTV News uncovered the Nov. 17, 2001, clip credited with launching the “celebrating Muslims” claim and re-released it in a short video titled "Trump Is Wrong About People ‘Cheering' 9/11 In New Jersey — Here's The Evidence.”
...
Trump, for his part, continued to stand by his remarks Tuesday morning, tweeting a short 2001 excerpt from the very MTV News segment the network itself says disproves his claim.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who appears in the footage tweeted out by Trump as proof of Muslim Americans celebration after 9/11, responded in a tweet of his own, saying the clip in question “is edited” out of context.