Hillary Clinton dances at a block party in Washington Heights, New York, yesterday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
THE BIG IDEA:
Throughout the Democratic nominating contest, Hillary Clinton has seized on and emphasized local issues. But never so much as in New York, the state she represented in the Senate for eight years and which hosts a crucial primary tomorrow.
“I’m not going to Washington and forgetting about New York. I’m going to be your partner,” she told 200 congregants at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon yesterday morning, at the start of a whirlwind day that took her to each of New York City’s five boroughs.
In Brooklyn a few hours later, the Democratic front-runner spoke from the bed of a red Ford F-150 pick-up truck. As the crowd chanted “Madame President,” she shouted: “Hello, Brooklyn! In the house and on the street!”
Hillary supporters in Brooklyn yesterday (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
A man in the crowd banged a drum as Hillary spoke in Washington Heights. After being introduced by Rep. Charlie Rangel, she declared that: “The future starts here … in Harlem.” When she finished, she danced to Merengue music.
Showing incredible stamina after a cross-country flight from California the night before, Hillary wrapped up Sunday with a rally in Staten Island. In the most conservative borough of the city, she praised George W. Bush for making sure the state got federal funds after the Sept. 11 attacks “despite intense Republican pressure to back down.”
“When I ran in 2000, I didn’t carry Staten Island,” Clinton said. “When I ran (for reelection) in 2006, I did.”
Hillary on Staten Island (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The former, and possibly future, first couple tag teamed. After visiting four cities in Upstate New York on Saturday, Bill Clinton went to three black churches Sunday morning and then spoke at three open air block parties in the afternoon. In Queens, as a 7-train rumbled overhead, he reminisced on his 1992 campaign. At the Rochdale Village housing complex, he explained how minorities benefited from his presidency economically.
In the Bronx, which has a massive Puerto Rican population, Bill focused his remarks on the island’s financial crisis. “We owe them a responsible way of working their way out of all this debt,” the former president said, “neither giving in to all the hedge fund guys who bought their debt for pennies on the dollar and now don’t want to take a small haircut, or the members of Congress who want to impose a new form of colonialism and use it as an excuse basically to remove self-government from the island.”
The Clintons are flooding the zone. Reps. Jim Clyburn (S.C.), John Lewis (Ga.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) were among the surrogates spread out across the Big Apple on Clinton’s behalf yesterday.
The intensity of Sunday’s campaigning underscores the stakes. If Hillary wins by double digits, which all the polls suggest she will, Sanders’s path to the Democratic nomination becomes extraordinarily narrow. If Sanders wins, she will still maintain a big lead in pledged delegates, but she will be badly bloodied going forward.
After initially hedging, Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders both endorsed controversial legislation yesterday afternoon that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts over the country’s possible role in the attacks. The bill is being pushed by senior Sen. Chuck Schumer, but it is being actively opposed behind the scenes by the White House. President Obama is going on Wednesday to Saudi Arabia, a key ally, to meet with King Salman.
The Clinton-Sanders embrace of the Schumer bill is the lead story in today’s Daily News. “The Saudi Arabian government has threatened to sell $750 billion in Treasury securities and other assets in the United States” should Congress pass the bill, the tabloid reports. “It’s a move many of the 9/11 families see as blackmail. … Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.”
Sitting down with the Daily News’ editorial board last weekend, HRC rebuked the Obama administration for proposing $90 million in cuts to anti-terror funding for New York. “We need it, we need it! I want it!” Clinton told reporters and editors from the tabloid. “I don’t agree with the Obama administration on that.”
She’s even talking about upgrading the facilities at LaGuardia Airport. “Our infrastructure is below grade in so many ways, we don’t even have an airport in the top 25,” she told the Daily News. “I’m glad at least that we’re looking at upgrades to LaGuardia, which we all know is an embarrassment.”
She also appeared with Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he signed the bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and passing paid family leave as part of the state budget.
At Hillary’s Staten Island event (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
In the New York City media market, the Clinton campaign is running several customized ads. One touts her work to help start a public school for African American boys in the Bronx. A Spanish-language commercial notes that 180 languages are spoken in the city’s schools and says Hillary has been standing up for immigrants throughout her career. A third spot, in English, notes that Hillary has the support of the Daily News and the New York Times.
In the Upstate markets, she’s running two commercials about bringing jobs home as a senator. The first highlights her work to help establish the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, “now home to 100 companies and 12,000 high-tech jobs.”
“In the Adirondacks, she helped get businesses online,” a narrator says in the other. “She helped Finger Lakes farmers sell their products in big cities, stood up to China to protect our workers, helped create high-tech manufacturing jobs in Albany, clean energy jobs in Rochester, and biomedical jobs in Buffalo.”
Bernie Sanders speaks in Brooklyn yesterday. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
— Sanders, who has been criticized for a one-size-fits-all message, has been tailoring his pitch in New York more than in any of the previous states he’s campaigned in.The senator spoke at a Unitarian church Saturday night in Brooklyn, where he grew up, and an African American church in Harlem on Sunday morning. Then he visited a run-down public housing complex in that borough to release an affordable-housing plan. He wrapped up yesterday with a rally in Prospect Park that his campaign said drew 28,356 – the biggest crowd of his campaign.
Supporters cheer as Bernie Sanders speaks at Prospect Park yesterday. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
Sanders’s closing ad in the state highlights his roots and compares him to Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Even when the deck is stacked, a New Yorker will find a way to break up big banks, create millions of jobs and rebuild America,” a narrator says over archival footage of the former president during the New Deal era. “Some say it can’t be done again. Butanother native son of New York is ready: Bernie.”
|Sons of New York | Bernie Sanders
— Two weeks ago, Sanders put out a statement calling for the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester. He called it “a catastrophe waiting to happen.” Clinton responded during a local TV interview by touting her work to improve oversight over a decade ago. She used the plant to highlight the broader contrast between them. “I’m glad he has discovered Indian Point,” Clinton scoffed. “We also have to be realistic and say: You get 25 percent of the electricity in the greater New York City area from Indian Point. I don’t want middle class tax payers to see a huge rate increase. So this needs to be done in a careful, thoughtful way.”
Fans wait for Hillary in Washington Heights yesterday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
— Bernie is pre-spinning his expected loss in the Empire State, blaming the state’s closed primary. Just like two of Donald Trump’s kids cannot vote for him because they missed a deadline to register as Republicans, many liberals who are not registered as Democrats will not be able to back Sanders. “The democratic socialist’s success has been bolstered by independent voters in states where they were permitted to vote. But the improbable odds of winning the nomination in a party Sanders doesn’t even belong to may finally be catching up to him,” David Weigel and John Wagner report.
Independents have made the difference for Sanders in several key states: “In Michigan, where Sanders won his greatest upset, Clinton beat him by 18 points among self-identified Democrats, according to exit polls. In Oklahoma, one of the few states that Clinton won in 2008’s primary but lost this year, she beat Sanders by nine points with Democrats. In Wisconsin, Sanders won overall by 13 points; he split the Democratic vote with Clinton 50-50.” All three states had open primaries.
— Donald Trump also continues to dominate in New York ahead of tomorrow’s primary. A CBS News poll gives him 54 percent in his home state, followed by Ted Cruz at 21 percent and John Kasich at 19 percent.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
Members of Brazil’s Lower House vote on impeachment last night. (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)
— Brazil’s lower house voted to impeach embattled President Dilma Rousseff, increasing the likelihood she will be ousted after a pending Senate vote. “Voting one by one in a rollicking marathon session broadcast live on television to a rapt Brazilian public, the pro-impeachment lawmakers celebrated wildly on the floor of parliament as they vaulted past the minimum threshold needed to repudiate her,” Dom Phillips and Nick Miroffreport. “One lawmaker fired confetti into the air from a toy pistol after voting to sack the president. … The cascade of votes to boot Rousseff from office less than two years after her reelection was a powerful display of her abject political collapse and the extremes of her unpopularity. She and her supporters repeatedly denounced the impeachment attempt as a coup.”
— Outside the capital, thousands of demonstrators followed the voting on big screens as if watching a soccer match:
Demonstrators celebrate in Sao Paulo last night. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)
A demonstrator in Sao Paulo depicts Dilma Rousseff as a mosquito carrying the Zika virus. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
To project strength, the palace staged a photo opp of the president bicycling in Brasilia yesterday afternoon:
— A plane approaching Heathrow Airport is believed to have hit a drone before it landed safely. “The British Airways flight from Geneva was hit as it approached the London airport at about 12:50 BST with 132 passengers and five crew on board,” the BBC reports. “After landing, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the Airbus A320. Aviation police based at Heathrow have launched an investigation. No arrests have been made. If confirmed, it is believed to be the first incident of its kind in the UK. Flying a drone near an airport can already be punished with up to five years in prison, and rules also forbid taking them above 400ft (122m) or near buildings and crowds of people. But the latest incident will only add to the pressure for further steps to be taken. The US recently introduced a compulsory registration scheme so any drone recovered from an accident can be traced back to its owner.”
GET SMART FAST:
Members of the Red Cross and the military work at a collapsed area in Manta yesterday. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)
- At least 235 died in Ecuador after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The strongest quake to rock the nation since 1979 has left more than 1,500 injured. (Julia Symmes Cobb)
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a cabinet meeting on Golan Heights for the first time, vowing to “never return” the mountainous territory to Syria. The declaration came after Bashar al-Assad signaled that he wants to discuss such a possibility during peace talks in Geneva. (William Booth)
- North Korea appears to be getting ready to conduct its fifth nuclear test. South Korean president Park Geun-hye warned of the threat overnight, citing evidence of increased movement around the North’s nuclear test site. (Anna Fifield)
- Pope Francis took a dozen migrants back to Rome with him on his papal plane after meeting with asylum-seekers in Lesbos, a Christ-inspired gesture in the wake of forced deportations. (Griff Witte and Anthony Faiola)
- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to announce this week that he will keep Alexander Hamilton’s face on the $10 bill and replace the less popular Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20 bill. (CNN)
- Top oil producers failed to reach agreement on a “freeze” of global output,setting the stage for further weakness in crude prices. (Chris Mooney)
- The survival rate for melanoma patients using an immunotherapy treatment has nearly doubled, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute. (Laurie McGinley)
- A 76-year-old released from prison after a prosecutor concluded he was wrongly convicted in the 1957 killing of a schoolgirl intends to sue Illinois for his suffering. (Associated Press)
- A U.C. Berkeley student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after speaking Arabic. (Yanan Wang)
- A Georgia mother is considering legal action after school administrators threatened her with jail time if she did not allow her 5-year-old son to be paddled. The incident was captured on cell phone videos. (Peter Holley)
- A zookeeper in Palm Beach died after being attacked by one of the tigers she cared for. The 38-year-old was preparing the tiger’s “night house” in the back of the exhibit when she was mauled. (Niraj Chokshi)
- A Texas man is in custody after firing a real pistol at a 15-year-old girl during a water gun fight. The victim faces non-life threatening injuries. (NBC)
THE LATEST ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:
Trump greets the crowd after an event in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
— Trump wants partial control over the programming and stagecraft of the Republican National Convention by virtue of his front-runner status — even if he does not have the delegates to secure the nomination beforehand. Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report on the front page of today’s paper:
“Trump blasted the GOP’s last convention, in Tampa four years ago, as ‘the single most boring convention I’ve ever seen.’ [He] said it was imperative that this year’s gathering have a ‘showbiz’ quality — and he cast doubt on the ability of the Republican National Committee, which oversees the convention, to deliver. ‘It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep,’ Trump said in a 45-minute interview here last week in his Trump Tower office. ‘We don’t have the people who know how to put showbiz into a convention.’”
Trump says he might dump Priebus if he becomes GOP standard-bearer: “Trump left open the possibility that he would seek to install his own allies at the RNC should he accrue the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination by the time primary voting ends in June. Asked in the interview whether he would retain RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in that scenario, Trump replied: ‘I don’t know. I haven’t made the determination.’”
A big question being buzzed about within each of the remaining campaigns: Will the three candidates announce their running mates before Cleveland? “Trump said he plans to name one only if he has the nomination secured; otherwise, he will wait to do so at the convention.”
How toxic is Trump for down-ballot Republicans right now? Rob Portman, facing a tough reelection, will attend the convention in his home state BUT will mostly be involved in outside “volunteer appreciation events” for his Senate campaign and a local Habitat for Humanity project, according to campaign manager Corry Bliss.
Mitt Romney won’t say whether or not he’s going to the convention after Jeb Bush announced last week that he will stay home.
The city of Cleveland is preparing for potential violence. “Over the past two months, the city has sought bids for 2,000 sets of riot gear, knee and shin guards, breastplates, and other protective items for its police officers, as well as flexible handcuffs, collapsible batons and miles of interlocking steel barriers. The equipment will be funded through a $50 million federal security grant.”
Rival campaigns, naturally, object to Trump’s desire for control. “If you’re ahead in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, you don’t get to decide who gets the Lombardi Trophy,” said John Weaver, chief strategist for the Kasich campaign.
— More than seven in 10 Republicans would reject a nominee who didn’t run in the primaries, according to an NBC/WSJ poll. And two-thirds of voters believe the nominee should be the person with the most votes. (Philip Bump)
THE DELEGATE HUNT:
Ted Cruz poses with a delegate from Sweetwater county after speaking at the Wyoming GOP Convention on Saturday in Casper. (Jenna VonHofe /The Casper Star-Tribune via AP)
— Cruz again dominated the weekend delegate fights, outmaneuvering Trump to capture at least 50 delegates that were up for grabs on Saturday. Trump escaped with about a dozen.
- In WYOMING, Cruz swept all 14 available delegates at the state convention.
- In GEORGIA, Cruz had another strong showing, winning 32 of 42 available delegate slots. “Trump supporters in Georgia’s seventh district were so frustrated they stormed from the convention hall, carrying the American flag with them,” theAtlanta Journal Constitution reports.
- In FLORIDA, there was evidence that Marco Rubio could be a real player at the convention on a fourth ballot. “Of the 15 delegates selected Saturday, three were members of Rubio’s Florida leadership team and two were top party leaders supporting Rubio,” CNN reports. “No Cruz or Trump supporters could be found on the list. Rubio is holding onto his 173 delegates, making his team one of the most important blocs of supporters heading to the national convention.” The winner-take-all rules require that all 99 of Florida’s delegates support Trump on the first three ballots, but they are free to vote for whomever they want on the fourth ballot.
- Paul Manafort, Trump’s convention manager, said the campaign has “many paths” to gaining the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the nomination on the first ballot at the GOP convention in July. “The real issue is there’s not going to be a second ballot,” he said on ABC. ( Elise Viebeck)
— Trump is very likely to win WEST VIRGINIA’S primary, BUT that victory could be hollow. “The state’s primary is threatened by an arcane ballot process, complex rules and even the alphabet that dictate the delegate selection process,” Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports. “It’s yet another convoluted primary system likely to add fuel to Trump’s complaints that the rules of the Republican nomination process are rigged.”
— The bipartisan lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti, in a quarterly PowerPoint presentation for clients, lays out the three most likely victory scenarios for both Trump and Clinton. For Trump, the firm says he can win if it is a change election, a realignment election or an Anybody But Clinton election. Clinton has easier paths: She can win with a coalition of those offended by Trump, by capitalizing on a splintered GOP and/or by riding pro-Obama sentiment. See seven slides here.
— Still not ready for primetime –> One of Trump’s eight “foreign policy advisers” has discrepancies in his resume. “George Papadopoulous, a 2009 graduate of DePaul University, has described himself in several lengthy published résumés as an oil and gas consultant and expert in eastern Mediterranean energy policy,” Karen DeYoung reports. “But his claim to have served for several years as a fellow at the Washington-based Hudson Institute was refuted by David Tell, Hudson senior fellow and director of public affairs, who said the institute’s ‘records indicate that Mr. Papadopoulos started here as an unpaid intern in 2011 and subsequently provided some contractual research assistance to one of our senior fellows.’ Papadopoulos also lists attendance as ‘U.S. Representative at the 2012 Geneva International Model United Nations.’ Two people who were part of the delegation that year … said they had no recollection of him being there. He also cites the delivery of a keynote address at the 2008 annual American Hellenic Institute Foundation Conference. The conference agenda that year noted Papadopoulos’s participation on a youth panel with other students; it lists 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis as the keynote speaker.”
— Students from at least five Northern Virginia high schools will boycott this week’s state debate championship because league officials refused to move it from Liberty University. They are protesting comments by Trump surrogate Jerry Falwell Jr. that many saw as threatening to Muslims. Among the high schools participating: Broad Run and Dominion in Loudoun County, plus McLean, Hayfield and Lake Braddock in Fairfax County. (Moriah Balingit)
— In D.C. this weekend, Mexico’s Finance Minister described Trump’s border wall proposal as “diplomatic harassment” and said there’s “no way” his country would ever go along. (Bloomberg Politics)
SUNDAY SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:
— Trump’s campaign manager declined to apologize to Michelle Fields, the journalist he grabbed by the arm and later called “delusional.” Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Corey Lewandowski called the idea of apologizing “unrealistic” since he did not remember speaking or interacting with her.
— Fields, keeping the door open to a defamation suit against Lewandowski, said she never intended for the altercation to “blow up” into a big story: “The reason why this is such a huge story is that Corey lied; Donald Trump lied,” she said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” “They defamed me, and they went on this huge smear campaign against me … it sheds light on the character of the campaign.”
— George Clooney defended his high-dollar fundraisers for Clinton on “Meet the Press,” saying they were a “necessary evil” in order to elect a Democratic candidate who could limit the power of money in politics. “It is an obscene amount of money,” Clooney said. “The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right. It’s ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics.” Sanders quickly sought toraise money off the interview in an email to his list.
— Clinton clarified her support for a $15 federal minimum wage, saying on ABC’s “This Week” that she would sign legislation if the increase was phased in over time.She also said it would need to include “escape clauses” in case it was hurting the economy, similar to legislation recently passed in New York. “We have to evaluate it as we go,” she said. In rebuttal, Sanders said she is “less bold” than him.
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
— Can House Democrats ride an anti-Trump wave this fall? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will announce that it raised $24.9 million in the first quarter of 2015 — the committee’s best-ever Q1 fundraising total, one that was capped with a record March haul of $11.3 million, Mike DeBonis reports. President Obama helped pull in $4.4 million during a pair of west-coast fundraisers, while Nancy Pelosi raised $12.6 million.
— Priorities USA, the pro-Clinton super PAC, will launch a $35 million online campaign targeting swing voters in seven states, to begin the day after the final primaries in June. “The digital campaign will focus on Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia, targeting millennials, Hispanics, African Americans and women who watch video or use online streaming services,” Ed O’Keefe scoops. “The buy will build on a $90 million television advertising campaign previously announced for the same seven states. … So far this 2016 cycle, the group has raised at least $104 million. There was $44.5 million in the bank at the beginning of March and an additional $49 million in commitments.”
Hillary received endorsements yesterday from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Hartford Courant and the Providence Journal – three metro papers in states with impending April contests.
— In case you missed it: Sanders’ 2014 tax return, which was released after 7 p.m. Friday night, shows income of just more than $200,000 and $8,350 in gifts to charity.“On his Vermont tax return, Sanders made a total of $150 in voluntary contributions to support four causes: at-risk children, endangered wildlife, military veterans and the environment,” John Wagner reports.
Callie Pruett, of Dallas, and Jassiel Perez, of Washington, sit outside the Supreme Court last night ahead of oral arguments this morning. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
— The short-handed Supreme Court will today hear oral arguments in the legal challenges to Obama’s executive actions on immigration. A decision, expected in June, will affect millions. The decision could resonate most in Los Angeles, Robert Barnes reports: “There is no place in the country that will be more affected by the Supreme Court battle over Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation than sprawling Los Angeles County. There are an estimated 1 million undocumented people here, about 400,000 of whom could be eligible for the protected status that Obama says would bring them ‘out of the shadows.’ But the state with the second-largest concentration — Texas — is leading the fight against what it and 25 other states say would saddle them with the cost of providing benefits for millions of people newly eligible for work permits and government programs. The crux of the states’ legal argument is that the program, regardless of its merits, represents an unlawful power grab by the president.”
— “Voters angry about big money in politics take their complaints to City Hall,” by Matea Gold: “The huge sums swamping campaigns have prompted voters to appeal to city halls and state capitols, hoping to curb the influence of wealthy donors in their communities. [And] the growing number of local campaigns means politicians at every level of government are contending with voters who believe their voices are being drowned out by those with more resources.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Here’s Tulsi Gabbard hanging with Danny DeVito and Justin Long on the Sanders campaign trail:
Watch a 1-minute clip of DeVito warming up the crowd for Bernie:
|Danny DeVito rallies masses in Prospect Park to ‘feel the Bern’
A New York state senator danced with Clinton at one of her block parties:
|New York State senator twirls Hillary Clinton during Washington Heights block party.
On Saturday, protesters marched outside a Clinton fundraiser in San Francisco (click for video):
Then threw dollar bills at her motorcade in Los Angeles (click for video):
Trump slammed Cruz on Twitter:
Then he moved on to Clinton:
SNL took some patriotic promo shots with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (scroll down for video):
Obama cut PSAs for mentorship with Steph Curry (click to watch):
They even posted the outtakes:
National Review and the Weekly Standard are doing their best to push Cruz:
Lots of debate like this over the weekend on liberal Twitter:
Erick Erickson had a health scare:
Georgetown University is in the news after the New York Times fronted a Sunday story about how its Jesuit priests once sold 272 slaves to keep the school afloat:
Actor Rob Lowe piled on:
It was a weekend for senators’ kids to get married:
Maine Sen. Angus King rides a Harley:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— Boston Globe, “The pageant of Trump’s dreams,” by Matt Viser: “It began as a planned partnership between Trump and a Florida couple … staging elaborate events in which winning contestants were featured, provocatively posed, in wall calendars. It ended in a bitter, drawn-out legal battle when the planned partnership crumbled after the first pageant. The couple alleged Trump broke his word, cheated them out of a $250,000 fee, and deprived them of up to $5 million in future business. More explosively, they said he continually made aggressive, unwanted sexual advances toward [the wife]. The case of American Dream Enterprise Inc. v. Donald Trump, et al. … shows a darker side of Trump’s playboy image. It foreshadows a reputation for sexism and misogyny that sticks with him nearly 25 years later …” The foray, however, also ushered in Trump’s interest in the business of entertainment. “That got him in the higher hierarchies of the television business,” said consultant Jim Gibson. “And it did exactly what Donald wanted to do: It built his name.”
— Politico, “The House transportation chairman is forced to answer for his relationship with an airline lobbyist as he scrambles to save his seat,” by Sarah Wheaton: “Bill Shuster was accused during a rancorous debate Saturday of ‘cavorting’ with a top airline lobbyist, and the House transportation chairman returned fire by calling his tea party-backed challenger an unprincipled carpetbagger. The hourlong clash between the two in Pennsylvania coal country came as Shuster scrambles to save his seat against an unexpectedly tough challenge from Art Halvorson, a real estate executive and retired Coast Guard captain. The sharp tone in their sole debate before the Republican primary April 26 was almost inevitable, with Shuster on the defensive over his romantic ties to a lobbyist with major interests before his committee.”
- “Halvorson portrayed Shuster as continuing a family tradition of trading on his position of influence in Washington, comparing the incumbent’s actions to those of his father, Bud Shuster, who resigned from Congress in 2001 under a cloud of impropriety. ‘I’m not owned by the lobbyists; Mr. Shuster is,’ Halvorson said at one point. ‘In fact, he cavorts with a lobbyist who lobbies his committee.’”
- “Shuster repeatedly said that he’s been open about his relationship with the lobbyist, Airlines for America’s Shelley Rubino, and barred her from lobbying him or his staff directly.”
— Los Angeles Times, “Are you an independent voter? You aren’t if you checked this box,” by John Myers, Christine Mai-Duc, and Ben Welsh: “With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California’s other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party’s platform opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border. But a Times investigation has found that a majority of its members have registered with the party in error. [Many residents with known Democratic leanings] — including Sugar Ray Leonard, Demi Moore and Emma Stone — were among those who believed they were declaring that they preferred no party affiliation when they checked the box for the American Independent Party. That mistake could prevent people from casting votes in the June 7 presidential primary, California’s most competitive in decades.”
— Walter Shapiro offers his “electoral fantasy” of how Liz Cheney could wind up picking the next president, by way of the 12th Amendment: “Scenario: The Cleveland Convention is as wild as predicted — and the GOP splits with, say, Trump as the nominee and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse running on a third-party line,” Walter writes in his Roll Call column. “Partly because of Clinton’s weakness as the Democratic nominee, no candidate gets the requisite 270 electoral votes and, under the 12th Amendment, the incoming House of Representatives must pick the next president. In a normal election, the 12th Amendment’s one-state-one-vote formula would guarantee a Republican president. But no election can be considered normal [with Trump] on the ballot. With each state casting a single vote, the seven legislators from single-district states … would vault onto the VIP pedestal in Washington. Take the dilemma that might face Liz Cheney if she were to win the GOP primary.” Would she repudiate her father’s career because Trump carries the imprimatur of the GOP, or would she go with Sasse (or even a hawkish Clinton)? “In an unsettled political year, these are the kind of questions that Wyoming voters might be asking House candidates like Cheney.”
|HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Justice Department Is Investigating Treatment of Gay and Trans Prisoners,” from Mother Jones: “The Justice Department and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia have launched a joint investigation into the treatment of gay and transgender inmates in Georgia prisons. The DOJ confirmed … that this is the first time it has opened an investigation focused on LGBT prisoners. The probe follows the high-profile case of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman who … sued employees in Georgia’s correctional department for allegedly denying her medical treatment and failing to protect her from sexual assault while she was detained.”
||HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Victims of 9/11 families accuse Obama of ‘siding with Saudi Arabia,’” from the Daily Mail: “The families of 9/11 victims are reportedly infuriated at … [the Obama administration] for ‘siding with Saudi Arabia’ over a congressional bill that could incriminate Saudi officials for the deadly attacks on September 11 … The families say the Obama administration has ‘consistently sided with the kingdom’ and thus thwarted their efforts to learn ‘the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.’”
On the campaign trail: Everyone is in New York. Here is the rundown:
- Hillary: New York City
- Bill: Buffalo, Rochester
- Sanders: Long Island
- Trump: Buffalo
- Cruz has morning events in NYC, then goes to Towson, Maryland, for a rally and then returns to the Big Apple to tape Bill O’Reilly.
- Kasich is in Syracuse and Schenectady
At the White House: President Obama has no public events scheduled. In the evening, Vice President Biden speaks at J Street’s 2016 National Gala.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 3 p.m. to resume work on the FAA bill. The House meets at 2 p.m. for legislative business, with eight suspension votes expected at 6:30 p.m.
|QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Donald Trump is not a racist, guys,” said Bruce LeVell, an African American supporting Trump. “I swear, I don’t know where that’s coming from. This man is no more racist than Mickey Mouse is on the moon!” (Vanessa Williams)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— Warm, sunny Monday with temps into the eighties! On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best, the Capital Weather Gang forecasts that today will be a 10: “Warm high pressure is solidly in control. So sunshine is the rule and highs steadily climb from the 50s early this morning to near 80 this afternoon.”
— The Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1.
— The Nationals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.
Nicole Mittendorff was reported missing on Friday and her car was found on Saturday. (Family photo)
— The car belonging to a missing 31-year-old Woodbridge woman was found in Shenandoah National Park on Saturday. Police said there were no other signs of the woman, who has been missing since Friday. (Faiz Siddiqui)
— Rep. Chris Van Hollen raised $1.8 million last quarter and spent $3.7 million.Rep. Donna F. Edwards raised about $1 million over the same period. (Rachel Weiner and Fenit Nirappil)
— The sister of the man who fatally shot a Prince George’s County firefighter as he entered his home to do a welfare check said he was “acting in self-defense.” The 61-year-old has been released from custody and is not facing charges at this time. (Ann E. Marimow)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
A frustrated Pope Francis, speaking with reporters on his plane, said his brief interaction with Sanders at the Vatican was not meddling in politics and anyone who thinks that ought to see a psychiatrist. Watch:
|Pope says Sanders meeting was not political
SNL had a stellar line-up this weekend with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the featured guest. Larry David was back to spoof last week’s Democratic debate — with a cameo from Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes:
|Brooklyn Democratic Debate Cold Open – SNL
The cast took on the debate over religious freedom and gay rights:
|God is a Boob Man – SNL
Paul Ryan’s insistence that he will not accept the presidential nomination:
|Cut for Time: Paul Ryan Ad – SNL
And with Louis-Dreyfus, the heroin epidemic:
|Heroin AM – SNL
Justin Trudeau wins again — watch him easily explain quantum computing before a rapt crowd:
|Trudeau schools a reporter and proves he’s a computer-geek in one viral video
In case you missed it, here are clips from Jimmy Fallon’s interview with Cruz from last week:
|Ted Cruz Predicted His Political Future in High School
|Ted Cruz Can Win Against Donald Trump in a Contested Republican Convention
Finally, watch Fallon’s mash-up of kids’ Trump impressions:
|Kid Impressions: Donald Trump Edition
Finally, Yo Yo Ma played cello for students at an under-performing elementary school in Northeast Washington:
|D.C. kids put on a show for Yo-Yo Ma. So he returns the favor