“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
- Harry S. Truman
HILLARY AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK: Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls is shrinking nationally and in battleground states. It’s no surprise her numbers have fallen like they did - she’s had a horrible few weeks filled with regretful remarks, a languishing email controversy, and the State Department pay-for-play accusations, but her real problem lies beneath all of that; her supporters lack enthusiasm, and PA serves as a prime example. Clinton is likely to carry the state if she can motivate her base to show up - but that’s easier said than done. Leaving no stone unturned, Clinton has had to deploy Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to stump in the state this week. Take a peek back at our note on Monday: PA is a huge battleground state that holds 20 electoral votes, and whoever takes the state is likely to win the election.
TRUMP’S TRANSPARENCY TEMPEST: Donald Trump’s call for transparency in Clinton’s campaign is entertaining of course, and we don’t need to mention that he has been one of the least transparent candidates we’ve seen in modern history. While he pounces on the vacuum created by Hillary’s illness, he continues to refuse to release his tax returns, withholds details regarding his foundation’s donations, and has yet to explain his “secret” plan to defeat ISIS. Don’t get us wrong, Clinton is far from perfect and needs to shed her veil of secrecy, but Trump has yet to prove he’s being forthright about affairs with which most presidential candidates have complied. To illustrate this point, the NY Attorney General has now opened an investigation into Trump’s foundation to make sure it's complying with the laws. No political motivation there...
HOMECOMING FOR PENCE: Veep candidate Mike Pence was back on the Hill for a momentary homecoming in an effort to encourage fence-sitting Republicans and fire up loyalists just 54 days ahead of the election. Pence struggled though as he came under fire after being asked to disavow white nationalist, David Duke, as deplorable. Pence reiterated that neither he nor Trump want Duke's support, and tried to turn it back on Clinton like the good attack dog he is, but could never fully combat the thorny question completely - as well as questions about his abysmal standing with women. The irony in Pence’s visit is that Speaker Paul Ryan and other members of leadership have yet to appear with Trump at any type of forum, but continue to embrace his running mate. We don’t see that changing any time soon.
STILL SEARCHING: In addition to the already jam-packed September calendar is House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz’ game plan to demand the full investigative file on the Clinton email probe - he stopped his hearing earlier this week to serve a subpoena to an FBI official. House Republicans have long expressed frustration that the FBI would not provide the Committee with the full, unedited, unredacted investigative summaries of the federal inquiry into Clinton’s personal server and her potential mishandling of classified information, and will continue their efforts to condemn Clinton for her wrongdoings. Not like there’s anything better to do with the budget impasse looming large now that talks have come to a screeching halt.
FLIP FLOP ON FED: Earlier this summer, Trump said the Fed handled interest rates exactly right, but seems to be changing his tone quite a bit. Trump has now turned his back on Fed chair Janet Yellen, describing her interest rate decisions as "obviously not independent" from the White House and has designated her a conspirator out to aid and abet Democrats. And to make things interesting for Trump, nothing has changed at the Fed since his first comments. We’re certainly not shy from holding the Fed’s feet to the fire, but Trump’s comments are over the top.
TODAY → CALL INVITE: TOP THREE DEFENSE POLICY ISSUES FOR NEXT PRESIDENT: Our Senior Defense Policy Advisor LtGen Emo Gardner is hosting a call with the Honorable Dr. James Miller, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and leading expert on defense policy, today at 11:00 AM EDT. Call details can be found here.
COURTS TACKLE NEUSTAR CONTRACT FIGHT AND CELL PHONE RADIATION LAW: Our Telecommunications-Media Policy Analyst Paul Glenchur shared his insight on why a federal court in DC may be leaning against Neustar's contract bid, and discussed another court’s consideration of cell phone safety disclosures. You can read his piece here.
CALL INVITE: ELECTION UPDATE WITH CHARLIE COOK OF THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Please join us for a call on Tuesday, September 20th at 2:00 PM EDT with Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report to discuss his outlook on the presidential race, the state of play for House and Senate elections, and a preview of the upcoming presidential debates later this month. Call details can be found here.