Even as millions around the country and the world have been protesting the policies coming down from Donald Trump – the immigration and travel ban, global gag order on women’s health facilities, attacks on environment and climate action, attacking the media, threatening new voter suppression actions (the list goes on and on) – today a senior group of key Trump-Pence campaign, transition, and inauguration leaders announced the formation of America First Policies, a non-profit organization dedicating to advocating the initiatives and policies of the White House.
“As an issue advocacy organization, America First will be dedicated to empowering, educating, and mobilizing tens of millions of Americans who believe in policies that put America First,” the press release stated. “The organization will promote policy, support leaders, coalitions, and other organizations who back America First policies, and communicate directly to citizens – directly challenging the agenda of the liberal and biased media.”
America First Policies will be led by Nick Ayers, Rick Gates, Marty Obst and Brad Parscale – a team who worked closely throughout much of the campaign, transition, and inauguration and have tremendous experience in public policy, issue advocacy, fundraising, and political organization. In addition, David Bossie and Katrina Pierson will also be joining the newly formed entity. The group said it will not accept any donations from federally registered lobbyists.
“President Trump campaigned on a bold but basic concept: America First,” the team said in a joint statement. “This is a concept the American people both understand and support, but few in the media recognize and many politicians beholden to special interests will oppose. We will provide the counter balance. And while our funding will be significant – the most powerful thing this organization can do is harness the power and energy from everyday ordinary Americans, and give them a voice in this process. If their voices are heard, ‘America First’ policies championed by The White House will prevail.”
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus demanded FBI Director James Comey release more details about the letter he sent to Congress just 11 days before Election Day – an unprecedented action – renewing the email scandal that has plagued Secretary Hillary Clinton’s entire campaign. Otherwise, they charge, it raises questions about Director Comey’s political motivations, handing Donald Trump’s campaign the ammunition they were looking for to depress voter turnout.
“For months, Donald Trump and his henchmen have led chants of ‘Lock her up.’ Now they are trying to turn this letter into something it is not, because the only way he can win is to hijack the election,” stated Congressman Luis Gutierrez (Illinois), and suggested that FBI Director Comey was similarly bullied into making this unprecedented statement, with the effect of breathing new fire into the Trump’s imploding campaign.
But, Gutierrez asserted, “The more we learn, the more we know it is overblown. Initially we told that the investigation has been reopened. That’s debunked. The emails don’t come from Clinton’s server at all. It may be that most or all are duplicates of others that have already been turned over.”
But he said, it raises questions about Comey’s own motivations. If only to give an update on an investigation, he noted, “You don’t hear Comey giving updates” on Russia’s role in the hack of the Democratic National Committee and whether the Trump campaign had any involvement.
“Why go so far as to send this highly questionable, unusual letter? [With so little information] it doesn’t make sense…He sent it, knowing it would be leaked, and he sent to 8 Republican chairmen who were sworn to defeat Clinton.
“Trump may bully the FBI but we cannot let him bully us out of this election,” he said.
Congresswoman Lujan Grisham of New Mexico called it, “another political ploy that has nothing to do with fairness or even professionalism.”
The action casts a shadow over Comey’s leadership, Grisham charged. “It is very difficult for them to rebut the presumption that this was politically motivated, which really should shake us to our core about the DoJ and FBI. This is absolutely unprecedented. You don’t engage this way, so close to an election and without any facts.
“Given that there has been a lot of pressure to the FBI to do something, find something, it is not difficult to figure it out. It allows one side to paint a scenario.” The conclusion that must be drawn, she said, “is that it is aimed at voter suppression, to depress turnout because Clinton is the most qualified candidate ever to run. She has incredible, proven track record for getting things done that this country needs to get done. It appears that that kind of distraction that might suppress remaining voters to stay home. We need Comey and FBI to explain.”
To illustrate how unusual Comey’s action is, she said, “it is not the practice of the FBI or Justice Department to release any kind of information related to ongoing or potential investigation, of which this is neither. And members of Congress should not engage or interfere. Because if you don’t hold to that practice it minimizes the independence and objectivity of the office. That highly unprofessional, out-of-practice effort, particularly engaging 8 Republican members of Congress, told us this is political.
“This has nothing to do with private server, Secretary Clinton’s emails. This is about somebody who has worked with Clinton, and part of an entirely separate investigation.”
Congressman Joaquin Castro (Texas) highlighted the unprecedented timing of releasing such a potentially inflammatory statement just 11 days before an election.
“This would be strange before a City Council election, much less a Presidential election…Director Comey showed extremely poor judgment in deciding to release the letter he did yesterday. He is irresponsible if he does not provide further information as to why looking at these emails. There has been no indication the emails are from or to Secretary Clinton or that she is involved in any way.”
The Hillary for America campaign documented the reaction:
Comey Under Fire After Sending Unprecedented Letter
FBI Director James Comey is under widespread criticism for breaking department precedent by commenting on an ongoing investigation, and doing so just days before a presidential election. Indeed, the Washington Post reported this morning senior Justice Department officials made perfectly clear to Comey that he would be in violation of long-standing DOJ policy.
Moreover, according to CNN, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates both objected to Comey sending this inappropriate letter to Congress. Nevertheless, Director Comey independently decided to move forward, rattling the presidential election with a note that was heavy on innuendo and extremely light on actual information or needed details.
The result? Broad bipartisan condemnation and demands for the swift disclosure of more information:
Washington Post: Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy: “Senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Director James B. Comey’s decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was not consistent with long-standing practices of the department, according to officials familiar with the discussions. Comey told Justice Department officials that he intended to inform lawmakers of newly discovered emails. These officials told him the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations.”
CNN: Comey notified Congress of email probe despite DOJ concerns: “Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates objected to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify Congress about his bureau’s review of emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, law enforcement officials familiar with the discussion said. Comey decided to disregard their objections and sent the letter Friday anyway, shaking the presidential race 11 days before the election and nearly four months after the FBI chief said he wouldn’t recommend criminal charges over the Democratic nominee’s use of the server.
New York Times: Justice Dept. Strongly Discouraged Comey on Move in Clinton Email Case: “Mr. Comey’s letter opened him up to criticism not only from Democrats but also from current and former officials at the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, including Republicans. ‘There’s a longstanding policy of not doing anything that could influence an election,’ said George J. Terwilliger III, a deputy attorney general under the first President George Bush. ‘Those guidelines exist for a reason. Sometimes that makes for hard decisions. But bypassing them has consequences.’”
Politico: Comey’s disclosure shocks former prosecutors: “James Comey’s surprise announcement that investigators are examining new evidence in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server put the FBI director back under a harsh spotlight, reigniting criticism of his unusual decision to discuss the high-profile case in front of the media and two congressional committees.”
Los Angeles Times: “The emails were not to or from Clinton, and contained information that appeared to be more of what agents had already uncovered, the official said, but in an abundance of caution, they felt they needed to further scrutinize them.
Washington Post Editorial: The damage Comey’s bad timing could do: “Mr. Podesta said he is ‘confident’ full disclosure ‘will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.’ If so, the question will be how badly damaged was Ms. Clinton’s candidacy by the 11th-hour re-eruption of a controversy that never should have generated so much suspicion or accusation in the first place.”
New York Times Editorial: “But Mr. Comey’s failure to provide any specifics about a new, potentially important development, less than two weeks before Election Day, is confounding. As Mr. Comey put it in July: “The American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest.” They deserve details even more urgently today.”
Bloomberg: FBI Shocker on Clinton Fuels Criticism of Comey’s Tactics: “FBI Director James Comey is facing extraordinary pressure to explain himself after dropping a bombshell on the campaign of Hillary Clinton just 11 days before the presidential election… Former prosecutors and lawmakers from both parties expressed shock and dismay at Comey’s highly unusual decision, which flouted decades of legal custom that call for avoiding taking actions that could affect the outcome of an election.”
Washington Post: FBI Director James B. Comey under fire for his controversial decision on the Clinton email inquiry: “Nick Ackerman, a former federal prosecutor in New York and an assistant special Watergate prosecutor, said Comey ‘had no business writing to Congress about supposed new emails that neither he nor anyone in the FBI has ever reviewed.’”
Huffington Post: News Outlets Dial Back Reports Of FBI ‘Reopening’ Clinton Email Case: “The story took several other turns on Friday afternoon that complicated the early, screaming headlines, and then ensured the story would remain a topic of discussion in the days ahead. Multiple outlets subsequently reported that the new emails weren’t sent by Clinton and didn’t come from her private server.”
CNN Legal Analyst, Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go: “Comey’s public announcement in July that the FBI had concluded its investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in the conduct of official State Department business and would not recommend the lodging of criminal charges was historically unprecedented in a high-profile political case.”
Washington Post Op-Ed by Former DOJ Spokesman Matt Miller: James Comey fails to follow Justice Department rules yet again: “With each step, Comey moved further away from department guidelines and precedents, culminating in Friday’s letter to Congress. This letter not only violated Justice rules on commenting on ongoing investigations but also flew in the face of years of precedent about how to handle sensitive cases as Election Day nears…. The director of the FBI has great power at his disposal…. With that independence comes a responsibility to adhere to the rules that protect the rights of those whom the FBI investigates. Comey has failed that standard repeatedly in his handling of the Clinton investigation.”
New York Times: F.B.I. Chief James Comey Is in Political Crossfire Again Over Emails: “The reaction was swift and damning, with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and even some Republicans blasting Mr. Comey. Indeed, Mr. Comey, who was attacked this summer by Democrats and Republicans for both his decision not to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton and for the way he handled it, found himself in an even stronger crossfire on Friday.”
Los Angeles Times’ Michael McGough: FBI director should have known what his Clinton emails letter would unleash: “Having raised new doubts about Clinton so close to an election, Comey has an obligation —a moral obligation if not a legal one — to do everything he can to expedite the “additional work” required to determine whether this new information does, in fact, cast doubt on his earlier conclusion that Clinton wasn’t criminally culpable.”
Aurora Sentinel Editorial: FBI’s Comey needs to come clean on details, motivation — or resign: “If there’s damning or critical information about Clinton staff handling of email that creates the clear and immediate threat to national security that would warrant such a ploy, Americans deserve to have Clinton explain them, and Clinton must get that opportunity. Otherwise, Comey needs to apologize for his infelicity and possibly politically motivated stunt, and immediately step aside.”
Newsweek: Hillary Clinton’s Emails: The Real Reason The FBI Is Reviewing More Of Them: “Unfortunately, by trying to have things both ways – revealing the change in circumstances while remaining vague about what the agents know – Comey has created that misleading impression that could change the outcome of a presidential election, an act that, if uncorrected, will undoubtedly go down as one of the darkest moments in the bureau’s history.”
New Yorker: James Comey Broke With Loretta Lynch And Justice Department Tradition: “Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.”
Charlotte Observer Editorial: Comey drops Hillary Clinton email bombshell; so tell us more: “But it is extraordinary for such volatile information to emerge so close to Election Day and that’s especially true given how few specifics are known. Because Comey was so vague, voters can’t know what to think. The new emails could be anything from meaningless to evidence of criminal activity by Clinton to most anything in between.”
ThinkProgress: The ‘new’ Clinton emails might all be duplicates: “So, to be clear, the FBI Director delivered a gut punch to the Clinton campaign, despite the fact that 1) he doesn’t know what he has; 2) it may be something that he already had; and, 3) whatever it is that he has, it reportedly didn’t come from Secretary Clinton, and was not sent to her.”
Huffington Post: Heat Rises For FBI Director James Comey As Both Campaigns Demand Email Answers: “Both camps demanded that FBI Director James Comey disclose more details about the emails and the bureau’s investigation, which he made known in a letter to Congress just 11 days before the election…. Many challenged the FBI director’s motives, increasing the pressure on him to comply with calls from both campaigns for more information.”
It is so concerning how the Donald Trump campaign has seized on the vague statement FBI Director James Comey made, initially first to eight Republican Congressmen, and only later did he bother to clue in the Democratic members of the committees. Trump seized on this revelation as 1) “bigger than Watergate” and 2) satisfying that in fact, the FBI was not part of the conspiracy to rig the election as he had previously charged. But it has fed into the Trump campaign strategy which, in face of dwindling poll numbers, has focused on suppressing turnout from those who would vote for Clinton.
Here’s how the Hillary for America campaign has responded:
“Yesterday, Republican Congressional leaders leaked an unprecedented letter from FBI Director James Comey, with initial reports including dire headlines for Hillary Clinton. But like most “bombshell” discoveries about Clinton over the course of this campaign, it fizzled rapidly as facts actually became available,” the Hillary for America campaign stated. Let’s review…
YESTERDAY’S BOMBSHELL: NBC News: FBI re-opening investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server
Rep. Jason Chaffetz: “FBI Dir just informed me, ‘The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.’ Case reopened”
GOP: “BREAKING NEWS: The FBI is re-opening their investigation into @HillaryClinton’s secret server.”
Investigation not reopened. Huffington Post: News Outlets Dial Back Reports Of FBI ‘Reopening’ Hillary Clinton Email Case
No emails had been withheld. NBC News: “the e-mails Comey announced today were NOT originally withheld by Clinton or campaign.”
Emails not from Clinton’s server.Bloomberg: New Clinton E-mails Not From Her Private Server, AP Says
Emails reportedly not to or from Clinton. Los Angeles Times: “The emails were not to or from Clinton”
No indication emails bear significance. Comey memo to employees: “we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails”
Many emails likely duplicates of ones already turned over.ThinkProgress: The ‘new’ Clinton emails might all be duplicates
Comey letter violates DOJ policy. Washington Post: Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy
Comey overruled AG Loretta Lynch. CNN: “Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates disagreed with FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify Congress about his bureau’s review…”
Former officials on both sides of aisle criticized Comey. New York Times: “Mr. Comey’s letter opened him up to criticism not only from Democrats but also from current and former officials at the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, including Republicans.”
Clinton and Trump both calling for more information. Huffington Post: “Both camps demanded that FBI Director James Comey disclose more details about the emails and the bureau’s investigation”
This is hardly the first time. It seems the script is always the same, the campaign noted:
Bombshell allegation is made hastily without facts available
Media breathlessly covers the latest supposed Clinton Scandal
Republicans declare that this time they’ve found the smoking gun
Initial explosive reports slowly fizzle on account of facts
Here are five of the many recent examples:
BOMBSHELL: @GOP, 8/30/16: “BREAKING: State Dept discovered 30 emails recovered from Hillary Clinton’s private server that discussed Benghazi.”
…facts emerge: Los Angeles Times, 9/7/16: “There appears to be only one new communication related to Benghazi… a complimentary note from a diplomat to Clinton, praising how she handled herself before a Senate panel investigating the matter.”
BOMBSHELL: @GOP, 5/5/16: “Hacker ‘Guccifer’ told news outlets that he repeatedly accessed Clinton’s unsecure email server & that ‘it was easy’”
…facts emerge: FOX News, 7/7/16: Comey: Hacker ‘Guccifer’ Lied About Accessing Clinton’s Emails
BOMBSHELL: @AP, 8/23/16: “BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”
…facts emerge: Vox, 8/24/16: “Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct…. the AP excluded from the denominator all employees of any government, whether US or foreign.”
…facts emerge: CNN, 10/7/16: “Okay, so what’s in this latest batch? Short answer: No bombshells. More than half of the emails are these so-called “near duplicates” of previously released emails… There are also a number of emails between Clinton and her close aides in which they discuss scheduling matters — timing for phone calls, meetings, etc…. None of the new emails contained information marked as classified or upgraded to classified.”
BOMBSHELL: The Hill, 7/5/16: FBI director: Clinton emails were marked as classified at the time
…facts emerge: MediaIte, 7/7/16: FBI Director Admits Hillary Clinton Emails Were Not Properly Marked Classified
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA, better known as Obamacare), more than 50 million Americans were without any health insurance and 20,000 people were losing their health insurance each month as the Bush Great Recession hemorrhaged 850,000 jobs a month. Though employers for more than a decade have been cutting back on health benefits (making it a Hobson’s choice to leave a terrible job or an abusive marriage), 170 million people get their insurance through their employment, and insurance companies were raising premiums annually at rates five times the rate of inflation, refusing to provide insurance based on pre-existing conditions, charging women higher rates (because they have babies, don’t you know), arbitrarily denying services, capping lifetime claims, throwing people off insurance, and pocketing 25-30% of the premium, with only 70-75% going to patient care.
The Affordable Care Act, designed to make health insurance accessible to everyone, made improvements that have benefited everyone (as Hillary said), but meant the difference between life and death for the 50 million who could not afford health care at all. But to get it passed Obama had to make compromises, including giving up a public option. Then, chiefly Republican-dominated states rejected ACA, casting millions of their residents into a limbo where they could not qualify for the federally-provided exchange and didn’t have access through an employer.
Significantly, ACA (Obamacare) was a Hail Mary to get universal access to health care, with some benefits in terms of containing health care costs. But the next round of health care reform would need to address costs. Here, in the words of their own campaigns, are the candidates’ health plans – in essence, Donald Trump pledges to repeal Obamacare and replace it by returning to “market” (that is, for-profit insurance companies) control, while Hillary Clinton is vowing to make necessary improvements to Obamacare to continue the goal of universal health care, correcting the inequities between states which refused Obamacare and possibly with a public option – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features.
Trump: Obamacare is a Disaster and Needs to be Repealed
“Obamacare Is A Disaster. You Know It We All Know It.”
During the second presidential debate, the question was asked, “What will you do to bring down the cost of health care? This is the rambling, nonsensical reply to the question, and the Trump campaign is so proud of it, they emailed it out:
TRUMP: “It is such a great question, and it’s maybe the question I get almost more than anything else. Outside of defense. Obamacare is a disaster. You know it we all know it. It is going up at numbers that nobody has ever seen worldwide. No One has ever seen numbers like this for healthcare. It is only getting worse. In seventeen, implodes by itself. Their methods of fixing it is to go and ask Congress for more money. More and more money. We right now have almost twenty trillion dollars in debt. Obama care with mother work. It is very bad, very bad health insurance. Far too expensive, and not only expensive for the person that has it, unbelievably expensive for our country. It’s got to be one of the biggest line items very shortly. We have to repeal it, and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive. And something that works. Where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state, and official lines. Where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing because they wanted President Obama and whoever is working on it. They want to leave those lines because that gives the insurance companies, essentially, monopolies. We want competition. You will have the finest healthcare plan there is, she wants to go to a single-payer pan. Which would be a disaster. Somewhat similar to Canada. And if you haven’t noticed the Kitty Indians, when they need a big operations they come into the United States in many cases. Because they are system is so slow, it is catastrophic in certain ways. But she wants to go to single-payer. Which means the government basically rules everything. Hillary Clinton has been after this for years. Obamacare was the first step. Obamacare is a total disaster. And not only are your rates going up by numbers that no one has ever believed, but your deductibles are going up. So that unless you get hit by a truck, you are never going to be able to use it. It is a disastrous plan and it has to be repealed.” (Click To Watch)
Clinton’s Plan To Improve Our Health Care And Build On The Affordable Care Act
“Hillary Clinton will defend and expand on the progress made under Obama Administration toward universal coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The fact is, Hillary has never given up on the fight for universal coverage—and she won’t stop now. As First Lady, she refused to give up when the insurance industry and special interests attacked her and defeated healthcare reform. Instead, she worked with Republicans and Democrats to help create and implement the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now provides health coverage to more than 8 million children,” Hillary for America campaign stated.
As president, Hillary will build on the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage for millions of Americans.
She will lower-out-of-pocket expenses for consumers purchasing health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Hillary believes that in order to expand coverage for families, we need to reduce the cost of purchasing health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Her plan will provide enhanced relief for people on the exchanges, and provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 per family to offset a portion of excessive out-of-pocket and premium costs above 5% of their income. She will enhance the premium tax credits now available through the exchanges so that those now eligible will pay less of a percentage of their income than under current law and ensure that all families purchasing on the exchange will not spend more than 8.5 percent of their income for premiums. Finally, she will fix the “family glitch” so that families can access coverage when their employer’s family plan premium is too expensive.
She will support new incentives to encourage all states to expand Medicaid. Hillary will fight for health insurance for our lowest income residents living in every state across the nation. Hillary will follow President Obama’s proposal to allow any state that signs up for the Medicaid expansion to receive a 100 percent match for the first three years, and she will continue to look for other ways to incentivize states to expand Medicaid to meet the health needs of their most vulnerable residents.
She will invest in navigators, advertising and other outreach activities to make enrollment easier. Today, as many as 16 million people or half of all those uninsured are eligible but not enrolled in virtually free Medicaid coverage or exchange coverage for as little as $100 a month or less. Hillary will ensure anyone who wants to enroll can understand their options and do so easily, by dedicating more funding for outreach and enrollment efforts. She will invest $500 million per year in an aggressive enrollment campaign to ensure more people enroll in these extremely affordable options.
She will expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status. Hillary sponsored the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act in the Senate, which later became law and allows immigrant children and pregnant women to obtain Medicaid and CHIP. She believes we should let families—regardless of immigration status—buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Families who want to purchase health insurance should be able to do so.
She will continue to support a “public option”—and work to build on the Affordable Care Act to make it possible. As she did in her 2008 campaign health plan, and consistently since then, Hillary supports a “public option” to reduce costs and broaden the choices of insurance coverage for every American. To make immediate progress toward that goal, Hillary will work with interested governors, using current flexibility under the Affordable Care Act, to empower states to establish a public option choice.
Going forward, Hillary will build on these efforts and fight to ensure that the savings from these reforms benefits families—not just insurance companies, drug companies, and large corporations. She will expand coverage for Americans living in rural areas and continue a lifelong commitment to protecting women’s reproductive rights.
Hillary’s plan will reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Prescription drug spending accelerated from 2.5 percent in 2013 to 12.6 percent in 2014. It’s no wonder that almost three-quarters of Americans believe prescription drug costs are unreasonable. Hillary believes we need to demand lower drug costs for hardworking families and seniors and she will hold drug companies accountable for unjustified price hikes with new penalties.
Her plan will transform our healthcare system to reward value and quality. Hillary is committed to building on delivery system reforms in the Affordable Care Act that improve value and quality care for Americans.
Hillary will also work to expand access to rural Americans, who often have difficulty finding quality, affordable health care. She will explore cost-effective ways to broaden the scope of health care providers eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare and other programs, including federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. She will also call for states to support efforts to streamline licensing for telemedicine and examine ways to expand the types of services that qualify for reimbursement.
Hillary is continuing a lifelong fight to ensure women have access to reproductive health care. As senator, she championed access to emergency contraception and voted in favor of strengthening a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. As president, she will continue defending Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services including breast exams and cancer screenings to 2.7 million patients a year. And she will work to ensure that all women have access to preventive care, affordable contraception, and safe, legal abortion—not just in principle, but in practice, by ending restrictions like the Hyde Amendment.
Hillary for America also challenged Trump’s proposals:
Trump Would Rip Away Health Coverage From 20 Million People And Let Insurers Write The Rules
Donald Trump would immediately work to repeal Obamacare–taking health insurance away from at least 20 million people and letting the insurance companies write the rules all over again. Trump even supported shutting down the government in order to defund Obamacare.
New York Times: “Millions of low-income people have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act and could lost it if Congress repealed the law.”
Trump saidhe supported Republicans’ efforts to shut down the government over Obamacare and that they should have stuck together.
Trump’s “plan” would cost hundreds of billions more, and does not address people with pre-existing conditions.
CNBC: More $$$, More Uninsured: Donald Trump’s Health-Care Plan
VOX: Trump’s Plan Would Take Health Insurance Away From 21 Million People. Sad!
Bloomberg: “Trump’s proposal is silent on the subject of preventing insurers from dropping coverage for those with preexisting conditions, a feature of Obamacare that Trump has said he supports.”
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is making hay, taking a statement that President Bill Clinton made out of context:
FACT CHECK: President Clinton And The Affordable Care Act
“Don’t believe Donald Trump when he distorts what President Clinton said about the Affordable Care Act. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and President Obama all agree that we have made tremendous progress because of the Affordable Care Act, delivering coverage to 20 million people who were previously uninsured — but they agree there’s more we can do.”
Politifact: “In context, it’s also worth noting that Clinton’s actual comments never mentioned the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. In fact, as we reviewed the transcript, we noticed that much of what Clinton said addressed issues that pre-dated the 2010 health care law, including concerns about high costs and a lack of guaranteed coverage.”
The bottom line is Hillary will defend and expand on the progress made under Obama Administration toward universal coverage through the Affordable Care Act, while Donald Trump would immediately work to repeal Obamacare, taking health insurance away from 20 million people – and letting the insurance companies write the rules all over again. Trump’s suggested healthcare plan would cost hundreds of billions more, and does not address people with pre-existing conditions.
The contrast between the candidates’ ideas for energy could not be starker. Hillary Clinton recognizes that energy policy is critical climate action (saving the planet and human habitability), seeing the potential for economic revolution and jobs creation through making the US the world leader in the emerging clean, renewable energy industry. Donald Trump, who never mentions climate change except to say it is a “hoax” perpetrated by China, frames his “America First Energy Plan” as unleashing production of fossil fuels – properly presenting it as “USA, USA and the rest of the planet be damned.” Keep in mind, the US is 5% of the world’s population but is responsible for 25% of the planet’s carbon emissions that are already rendering island nations virtually uninhabitable. China may be close, but it also has four times the population and, in face of choking, debilitating air pollution, is already implementing its agreement to reduce emissions. Here are their campaigns’ own statements about their plans. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features.
Clinton Has A Plan To Combat Climate Change
Hillary Clinton believes climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. That’s why she’s released a bold plan to make the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century, create millions of good-paying jobs across the country, save families money on their energy bills, and ensure that no community is left out or left behind in the clean energy economy, from coal country to Indian country to our inner cities.
Her strategy calls for three goals to achieve within ten years of taking office:
Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term.
Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.
Clinton has long fought for clean energy and measures to curb climate change:
As Secretary of State, she built an unprecedented global effort to combat climate change, making it a key U.S. foreign policy priority, and with President Obama achievedthe key diplomatic breakthrough that yielded the first international climate agreement in which major developing countries like China, India, and Brazil committed to reduce their GHG pollution.
She has praised the Paris climate agreement, calling it a “testament to America’s ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind.”
TIME op-ed: America Must Lead at Paris Climate Talks — “As Secretary of State, I put combating climate change on the agenda for my first trip to Beijing and kept it there over the next four years. I appointed the first high-level special envoy for climate change and led an international effort to launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce so-called “super pollutants” that make up just a fraction of emissions, but drive a disproportionate share of warming. As President, I will protect and build on the progress President Obama has made at home.”
As Senator, she twiceintroduced the Strategic Energy Fund Act to prioritize investment in smarter energy and extend tax credits for ethanol, wind, and other renewable energy sources. The Strategic Energy Fund Act would have eliminated key tax breaks for oil and gas companies. She also introduced a measure that was signed into law requiring the Pentagon to address the risks of climate change in its strategic planning.
She worked with Senate colleagues of all stripes to confront these challenges, teaming upwith Bernie Sanders to create job training opportunities in the clean energy industry, and working with Jim Inhofe to expand alternative energy use in federal buildings.
She worked with Senator Chuck Schumer on legislation calling for the study and potential creation of a national heritage area surrounding Niagara Falls. Following the release of the study, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area was established in 2008. She workedwith Carl Levin to safeguard wildlife and promote sound water management in the Great Lakes region, and she consistentlyfoughtagainst opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
Mr. Trump’s America First Energy Plan will make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water. We will conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources. And we will unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.
We must make American energy dominance a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States. President Obama’s anti-energy orders have weakened our security, by keeping us reliant on foreign sources of energy. Every dollar of energy we don’t explore here, is a dollar of energy that makes someone else rich over there. Imagine a world in which our foes, and the oil cartels, can no longer use energy as a weapon.
America will become, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests. And at the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.
Mr. Trump’s plan is an “all of the above” energy plan that encourages the use of natural gas and other American energy resources. It reduces emissions, the price of energy, and increases our economic output. In addition, we will decrease residential and transportation energy costs, leaving more money for American families as they pay less each month on power bills and gasoline for cars. Electricity will be more affordable for U.S. manufacturers, which will help our companies create jobs, and heaper energy will boost American agriculture.
An America First Energy plan will make the choice of sharing in our great American energy wealth, over sharing in the poverty promised by Hillary Clinton. We will engage in energy exploration which will create a resurgence in American manufacturing, dramatically reducing both our trade deficit and our budget deficit. The Trump plan will end the war on the American worker, putting our coal miners and steel workers back to work.
This new direction will end all job-destroying Obama executive actions as well as reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production. We must support coal production, safe hydraulic fracturing, and allow energy production on federal lands in appropriate areas. It is also time to open up vast areas of our offshore energy resources for safe production.
The Trump plan will use the revenues from energy production to reduce our debt, rebuild our inner cities, roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. It will ensure a reliable, streamlined regulatory and permitting process for energy infrastructure projects to be completed on time and on budget. We commit to solving real environmental problems in our communities like the need for clean and safe drinking water. Most importantly, American workers will be the ones building this new infrastructure.
Mr. Trump’s 100-Day Action Plan
Mr. Trump will rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
Mr. Trump will ask TransCanada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
Mr. Trump will lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
Mr. Trump will revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies will create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
Mr. Trump will cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. Mr. Trump will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
Any future regulation will go through a simple test: Is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.
In the second debate, Donald Trump answered the first question, ‘Are you both modeling positive and appropriate behaviors for today’s youth?’ by attacking Hillary Clinton and saying, “I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We are going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment. And I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS.”
Here is what the presidential candidates offer as their plan to defeat ISIS, as provided by their respective campaigns:
Hillary Clinton Has A Plan To Defeat ISIS, Keep Americans Safe
“The threat we face from terrorism is real, urgent, and knows no boundaries. Hillary Clinton knows that ISIS cannot be contained, it must be defeated. Doing so takes more than empty talk and a handful of slogans. It takes a real plan, real experience, and real leadership. Donald Trump lacks all three. He won’t even say what his plan to defeat ISIS is,” the Hillary for America campaign stated.
Hillary Clinton has laid out a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS and keep Americans safe at home. She understands that it’s not enough just to take out specific groups or leaders – we must have a comprehensive strategy to win the long game against the global terrorist network and its ideology.
First, we need to protect our homeland, including by surging our intelligence to ensure law enforcement has the information they need to detect and disrupt plots, working with Silicon Valley to shut down terrorist propaganda and disrupt their recruitment efforts online, and keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. Hillary has also proposed establishing a “lone wolf” task force to identify and stop radicalized individuals who may or may not have contact and direction from any formal organization.
Second, we need to lash up with our allies to dismantle the global network that supplies money, arms, propaganda and fighters to the terrorists. This means targeted efforts to root out ISIS hubs and affiliates and preventing terrorist organizations from establishing hubs elsewhere, choking off the networks that facilitate their growth and expansion.
Third, we have to take the terrorists plotting against us off the battlefield. Hillary was in the Situation Room as we set out a strategy to eliminate dozens of seniors leaders of al-Qaeda. Now, we have to do the same thing to ISIS, starting with the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And we need to take out ISIS’s strongholds in the Middle East by intensifying the coalition air campaign, supporting our partners on the ground, and pursuing diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war and close Iraq’s sectarian divide, because those conflicts are keeping ISIS alive.
As we do all of this, we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values or allowing us to be driven by fear to embrace policies that would actually make us less safe. Hillary knows that all communities need to be engaged in the fight against ISIS. As the Director of the FBI told Congress recently, anything that erodes trust with Muslim-Americans makes the job of law enforcement more difficult. American Muslims are on the front lines of efforts to combat radicalization, and we need to increase trust and cooperation with law enforcement. Since 9/11, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to build relationships with Muslim-American communities. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. Hillary knows we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them. And as we engage in this fight, we will be stronger with our allies and partners standing with us, particularly in the Muslim world, as we cannot win this fight alone.
Donald Trump’s Plan to Defeat ISIS and Make America Safe Again
Mr. Trump’s Plan To Defeat ISIS Will:
Work with our Arab allies and friends in the Middle East so they can lead the fight against the Islamic State
Aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, coordinate international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expand intelligence sharing, and engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting
Defeat the ideology of radical Islamic terrorism, just as we did in order to win the Cold War.
New screening procedures and enforcement of our immigration laws will:
Temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.
Establish a Commission on Radical Islam to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.
Mr. Trump’s Plan To Make America Respected And Safe Again
Peace through strength will be at the center of our foreign policy. We will achieve a stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.
We will focus on advancing America’s core national interests, promote regional stability, and produce an easing of tensions in the world. We will work with Congress to fully repeal the defense sequester and submit a new budget to rebuild our depleted military.
The Trump plan will rebuild our military, enhance and improve intelligence and cyber capabilities
We will end the current strategy of nation-building and regime change.
And we will ensure our security procedures and refugee policy take into account the security of the American people.
Hillary Clinton Campaign:Trump’s ‘Secret’ Plan To Defeat ISIS Is No Plan At All
Donald Trump has consistently claimed that he has a “secret” plan to defeat ISIS. As it turns out, the secret is that Trump has no plan. Instead, foreign policy experts agree, the ideas Trump has mentioned are dangerous and wrongheaded–and his anti-Muslim rhetoric and proposals are recruiting tools for ISIS and other terror groups.
Trump spent more than a year claiming he had a secret, foolproof plan to defeat ISIS.
May 2015: “I know a way that would absolutely give us guaranteed victory. I’m going to say it, I guess I’ll be forced to say it at some time, but I hate to say it.”
June 2016: “Trump rebuffed Fox News host Greta Van Susteren’s attempts to extract the details of his ‘foolproof’ plan… ‘If I win, I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to tell at some point”
Turns out, there is no plan.
Trump: “Immediately after taking office, I will ask my generals to present to me a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS.”
Politico:“But on Tuesday night, Trump suggested that he is still in need of a plan.”
Washington Post: “Now we know what Trump’s ‘foolproof’ and ‘absolute’ plan for defeating ISIS is — to ask the generals to come up with a plan, quickly.
And foreign policy experts agree: Trump is playing into ISIS’ hands.
Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate: “It is deeply ironic and disturbing that the Islamic State’s dream candidate is posturing as the tough-on-terrorism candidate. If voters can’t see through Trump’s con game, terrorist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda will receive an unprecedented helping hand from America’s next president. Imagine what a conspiracy theorist — someone like Donald Trump — would make of that.”
Why ISIS is Rooting for Trump: “First, Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric plays into ISIS’ narrative of a bipolar world in which the West is at war with Islam. Second, ISIS hopes that Trump will radicalize Muslims in the United States and Europe and inspire them to commit lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. Third, ISIS supporters believe that Trump would be an unstable and irrational leader whose impulsive decision-making would weaken the United States.”
Why ISIS Supports Donald Trump: “Trump’s anti-Muslim proposals are likely to inspire and radicalize more violent jihadists in the U.S. and Europe… By demonizing Muslims, he feeds ISIS’s narrative that the U.S. is at war with Islam.”
From his wild exaggerations to dangerous falsehoods, Donald Trump continued his pattern of bold-faced lying to millions of viewers during the second Presidential Debate, in St. Louis, October 9 – that is when you could get him to put two sentences together, and not wander off or make utterly outrageous statements. Here are just some of the independent reviews of Trump’s untrue statements on topics including taxes, foreign policy, his own offensive comments and more, compiled by the Hillary for America campaign. We’ve already had a president who lacked any inclination to find out facts, and who lied us into a war.
Trump’s Lies About His Own Offensive Comments to Women:
AP: “Donald Trump, asked whether his early morning tweets directing people to check out a sex tape showed discipline, said: ‘It wasn’t ‘check out a sex tape.’’ THE FACTS: Wrong. Trump told his 12.2 million Twitter followers to check out a sex tape as he criticized a former Miss Universe.”
CNN: “Trump: I didn’t say ‘check out the sex tape’ VERDICT: FALSE”
FactCheck.org: “Trump said he never tweeted ‘check out a sex tape’ in the wee hours of the morning a few days after the first presidential debate. That’s false — he did.”
Huffington Post: “During Debate, Trump Denies Telling People To Check Out A Sex Tape On Twitter. Yeah, well, he literally directed people to check out a sex tape on Twitter.”
NPR: “[DJT:] I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women that I do. [FACT CHECK:] Trump has had many occasions to make this claim over the course of the campaign, dating back to his tense interaction with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during the first Republican primary debate in Cleveland in August 2015, when Kelly reminded him of his history of offensive comments about women. Here is a partial list compiled by PBS.”
Politifact: “Trump said the tweet he sent out ‘wasn’t saying, ‘check out a sex tape’’ but rather to ‘just take a look at’ Machado’s background. That’s ridiculous. While Trump did urge his Twitter followers to check out Machado’s ‘past,’ he literally wrote ‘check out sex tape’ in the tweet. We rate his statement Pants on Fire!”
NPR: “[TRUMP:] No I didn’t say that at all. [FACT CHECK:] He did say that.The exact words were, ‘You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”” Trump’s Lies About the Economy & Taxes:
NPR: “[DJT:] We have no growth in this country. There is no growth. [FACT CHECKER:] The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international economic organization, evaluated the U.S. economy this summer and concluded: ‘Seven years after the financial crisis, the US economy has rebounded: output has surpassed its pre-crisis peak by 10%, robust private-sector employment gains have sharply reduced unemployment, fiscal sustainability has been largely restored and corporate profits are high.’”
AP:“Trump wrong on Clinton tax claim… DONALD TRUMP: ‘She is raising your taxes, and I am lowering your taxes. …She’s raising everybody’s taxes massively.’ HILLARY CLINTON: ‘He would end up raising taxes on middle-class families’ THE FACTS: Clinton is not raising taxes on ‘everybody.’ Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s proposed tax increases would affect the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.”
Buzzfeed Reporter: “Trump says AGAIN that the US has the highest taxes in the world. That’s…untrue.”
FactCheck.org: “Trump said of Clinton’s plan, ‘She is raising everybody’s taxes massively.’ Everybody? No. Analyses by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the pro-business Tax Foundation both concluded that almost all of the tax increases proposed by Clinton would fall on the top 10 percent of taxpayers. Hardest hit would be the less than 0.1 percent of taxpayers who earn more than $5 million per year.”
Huffington Post: “Note To Trump: This Is How The Senate Works.Trump seems to misunderstand how the Senate works. He accused Clinton of not doing enough to get rid of the carried interest loophole when she was a senator. Clinton noted that she has been in favor of getting rid it for years.”
Huffington Post: “Trump Says He’ll Get Rid Of A Wall Street Loophole. His Tax Plan Says He Won’t.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump admitted that he used a $916 million loss declared on his 1995 tax returns to avoid paying federal income taxes. But he refused to say how many years he paid no income tax and simultaneously claimed to have paid a ‘tremendous’ amount of taxes. More questions than answers.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said that growth is “down to 1 percent” and that taxes in the United States are the “highest in the world” Wrong.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said he would reduce the tax rate on business income to 15 percent. Not exactly.”
Washington Post: “Fact Check: IRS audit doesn’t prohibit Trump from releasing taxes”
Washington Post: “Fact Check: Trump’s wrong on the U.S. being the highest taxed nation”
Trump’s Lies About The Affordable Care Act:
AP:“Trump overstates cost of Obama’s health plan. DONALD TRUMP: Obamacare ‘is going to be one of the biggest line items very shortly.’ THE FACTS: Trump vastly exaggerates the cost of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The cost of the coverage expansion in Obama’s health care law is nowhere near what the government spends on Medicare and Medicaid, for example.”
FactCheck.org: “He also cherry-picked high proposed premium increases in the exchanges, and he said that the law should be replaced with ‘something absolutely much less expensive,’ when repealing the law is expected to increase federal deficits.”
FactCheck.org: “Finally, Trump said that the ACA is ‘unbelievably expensive for our country. … We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive.’ But the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation’s latest estimates on the impact of repealing the law find doing away with it would likely increase federal deficits over the 2016-2025 time period.”
Trump’s Lies About Hillary Clinton and Health Care:
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said that Mrs. Clinton “wants to go to a single-payer plan” like the health care system in Canada. Untrue.”
NPR: “[DJT:] But she wants to go to single-payer. [FACT CHECKER:] Clinton does not support single-payer. She supports expanding Medicare to people 55 and over, but has not come out in support of a complete overhaul of the health system so that it would be more like Canada or many European health systems.”
Politifact: “Trump says Clinton ‘wants to go to a single-payer plan’ for health care. She has consistently said she would fight efforts to repeal Obamacare and would try to improve it. She said she wants a public option to be ‘possible’ but she has not called for moving to a system of only single payer. Clinton has not called for a single-payer plan. At times, she has praised the health care systems of other countries that have a single-payer plan, but she has not advocated that plan for the United States. We rate Trump’s claim False.”
AP:“Trump wrong on Clinton and health care. DONALD TRUMP: ‘She (Clinton) wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster…she wants to go to single-payer, which means the government basically rules everything.’ THE FACTS: It’s Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — not Clinton — who supports a Canada-style government-run health care system.”
Buzzfeed: “Trump falsely claims Clinton is proposing Canada-style healthcare system.”
FactCheck.org:“Trump used an old GOP scare tactic, wrongly claiming that Clinton wanted to implement a government-run, ‘single-payer,’ health care system, like Canada’s… Clinton supports making Medicare available to those over age 55, and creating a ‘public option,’ or a federal insurance plan, that would compete with private plans on the ACA exchanges. She hasn’t called for a single-payer system.”
Trump’s Lies About Immigration:
Buzzfeed: “Donald Trump claimed that the US doesn’t have borders. ‘We’re going to have borders on our country that we don’t have now,’ Trump said. But enforcement along the US-Mexico border has never been higher.There are currently about 21,000 agents patrolling more than 6,000 miles of the nation’s borders.”
CBS News: “TRUMP: ‘I understand the border. She doesn’t. She wants amnesty for everybody.’… It is not true that Clinton supports ‘amnesty for everybody,’ but she does want to make it easier for people who came here illegally to stay by passing legislation with a path to citizenship.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump says Mrs. Clinton wants “amnesty for everybody, come on in, come on over.” Not her position.”
NPR: “[DJT:] […] we are letting people into this country that are going to cause problems and crime like you’ve never seen. We’re also leading drugs for through our southern border at a record clip. At a record clip and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. [FACT CHECKER:] Apprehensions at the Southwest border—a proxy for attempted crossings—have dropped by 79 percent from the peak in 2000. The Pew Research Center reports more Mexicans left the US than entered between 2009 and 2014.”
NPR: “[DJT:] ICE just endorsed me. They’ve never endorsed a presidential candidate. [FACT CHECKER:] The federal bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not make an endorsement. A union of immigration and customs officers voted to endorse Trump.”
Washington Post:“Trump overstates, by a lot, when he said Syrian refugees are coming to the United States by the “hundreds of thousands.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said we have hundreds of thousands of people pouring into the United States from places like Syria, and we have no idea who they are. Way off.”
Buzzfeed: “Trump’s said the US took in ‘tens of thousands’ of Syrian refugees.That is not accurate.”
CBS News: “Donald Trump says ‘tens of thousands’ of people from Syria are coming to the U.S. TRUMP STATEMENT: ‘We are going to areas like Syria, where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands.’ FACT CHECK: False.”
Trump’s Lies About Muslims and Terrorism:
Buzzfeed: “Trump falsely claimed that Muslims in the United States are not reporting terror plots to the authorities. Trump cited San Bernardino where he said there were ‘bombs on the floor’ of the suspects’ apartment. There has never been any evidence that this was the case.”
CBS News: “Donald Trump claims that ‘many people’ saw bombs at the apartment of the San Bernardino shooters. TRUMP STATEMENT: ‘We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example: San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people.’ FACT CHECK: False. To this day, no one has said they’ve seen bombs in the apartment of the San Bernardino shooters’ apartment.”
CBS News: “Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton will not say the phrase ‘radical Islam.’ TRUMP STATEMENT: ‘When there’s a problem, you have to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name.’ FACT CHECK: False. Clinton used the term in June during an interview on NBC News’ ‘Today Show.’”
CNN: “Trump: ‘Many people saw the bombs all over the apartment’ VERDICT: FALSE”
FactCheck.org: “In stressing that Muslims need to notify the police of wrongdoing in their communities, Trump claimed without evidence that ‘many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people’ in San Bernardino last year.”
Huffington Post: “Fact Check: Trump’s Claim That ‘Many People Saw The Bombs’ In San Bernardino Is False”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said Mrs. Clinton has never used the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ Just flat wrong.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said ‘many people saw’ bombs all over the apartment of a couple who committed the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Not true.”
Politifact: “Trump said of Clinton, ‘These are radical Islamic terrorists and she won’t even mention the word.’ After the Orlando shooting, Clinton said she had no problem saying ‘radical Islamism’ which is similar but not the same as ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ She has also said that leaders should be careful not to demonize the religion of Islam, and that the United States needs specific strategies to fight ISIS. We rate this claim Mostly False.”
Huffington Post: “Don’t Believe Trump: No Syrian Refugees In The U.S. Have Been Linked To Terror”
Trump’s Lies About the Iraq War:
AP: “DONALD TRUMP: ‘I would not have had our troops in Iraq.’ Trump has repeatedly said in the campaign he opposed the Iraq War before it started. But the facts are clear: He did not.”
Buzzfeed: “Trump: ‘I was against the war in Iraq.’ No. He wasn’t.”
CBS News: “Donald Trump says he was against the war in Iraq, and that suggestions he was not have been debunked. TRUMP STATEMENT: ‘I was against the war in Iraq,’ Trump said, as he did in the first debate with Clinton. ‘It has not been debunked.’ FACT CHECK: False and false.”
CNN: “Trump: ‘I would not have had our people in Iraq.’ VERDICT: FALSE”
CNN: “Trump: My opposition to the Iraq War “has not been debunked”VERDICT: FALSE”
FactCheck.org: “And finally Trump pins too much blame for the rise in ISIS — whose origin dates back to the Bush administration — on the troop withdrawal…”
NPR: “[DJT]: I was against the war in Iraq. [FACT CHECKER:] There is no evidence to support this claim.”
Trump’s Lies About Libya:
FactCheck.org:“Trump conveniently leaves out that he posted a YouTube video in February 2011 voicing support for U.S. intervention in Libya to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power, and that he told CNN in a 2007 interview that the U.S. should ‘declare victory [in Iraq] and leave … [T]his is a total catastrophe and you might as well get out now, because you just are wasting time.’”
FactCheck.org:“It’s been half a year, and Trump is still making the false claim that ‘ISIS has a good chunk’ of Libyan oil fields. We first flagged this statement in April, when an expert on Libya’s oil operations told us there’s no evidence that the Islamic State has control of any oil fields in that country.”
AP:“Trump wrong that IS is taking Libyan oil. DONALD TRUMP: ‘ISIS has a good chunk of their oil,’ referring to Libya. THE FACTS: Not quite. While it is true that the Islamic State group has targeted Libya’s oil fields and has aspired to grab some of the country’s oil resources, as it did in Syria, there is no evidence that it is reaping any revenue from Libyan oil. The prospect of the extremist group seizing Libyan oil is one reason the U.S. has conducted limited airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya, where it now has a very small presence.”
FactCheck.org: “Trump said that ‘Ambassador [Chris] Stevens sent 600 requests for help’ before he was killed in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012. But as the Washington Post Fact Checker reported, not all 600 came from Stevens, nor were they all requests for security upgrades, as it may have appeared to those watching or listening to the debate.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said Clinton ignored 600 requests for increased security from J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and only communicated with Sidney Blumenthal. Extremely misleading”
Washington Post: “THE FACT CHECKER | Trump made a ludicrous claimthat U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens made 600 requests for help before he perished in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.”
Huffington Post: “Clinton refused to answer Stevens’ calls for help, Trump claimed… However, repeated GOP-led investigations into the Benghazi incident have found no evidence to blame Clinton for the deaths of Stevens and three other Americans there in a 2012 attack.”
Lies About Iran:
CBS News: “Donald Trump claimed that the Iran nuclear deal meant the United States paid Iran $150 billion. TRUMP STATEMENT: ‘When I look at the Iran deal and how bad it is for us, it’s a one-sided transaction where we’re giving back $150 billion dollars to a terrorist state.’ FACT CHECK: False.”
CNN: “Trump says US is giving $150 billion to Iran REALITY CHECK: FALSE”
Washington Post: “Fact Check: Trump’s claim that Iran got $150 billion from the United States. THE FACTS: Trump always makes it sound like this is U.S. taxpayer money — and he always uses a too-high estimate.”
Trump’s Lies About Syria:
Buzzfeed:“Trump falsely declared that ‘Aleppo has already fallen.’”
Huffington Post: “Meanwhile, he added, only Assad’s coalition is fighting ISIS.In fact, Assad and his allies have focused on targeting civilians opposed to his rule and rebels who remain embedded among them ― allowing extremist militants to spread for years and control much of the country.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump accused Mrs. Clinton of being there for President Obama’s “line in the sand” in Syria. She said she wasn’t. Trump is wrong.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said Syria, Russia and Iran are fighting the Islamic State. Mostly misleading.”
NPR: “[DJT:] I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen. [FACT CHECKER:] Aleppo has not fallen to the Syrian government.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said that the United States signed a “peace treaty” to bring an end to the civil war in Syria. Not even close.”
Trump’s Lies About Russia:
Huffington Post: “Trump said he has no special ties to Russia, despite his campaign’s multiple ties to the country’s business and his stated admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.”
NPR: “[TRUMP:] I don’t deal there and no businesses there have no loans from Russia. [FACT CHECKER:] Trump may not have current business ties with Russia, but he has in fact tried to engage his business interests with Russia since the 1980’s.”
Buzzfeed Reporter: “Trump just said ‘we don’t know if it is the Russians doing the hacking.’ Ummm… no.”
NPR: [DJT:] But I notice anytime anything wrong happens they like to say the Russians we don’t know if it’s Russian. [FACT CHECKER:] The U.S. intelligence community and Department of Homeland Security said Friday that Russia is behind this year’s campaign of hacks and the release of information related to the 2016 campaign.”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump said “maybe there is no hacking,” in response to Mrs. Clinton’s claim that Russians are engaged in an unprecedented effort to influence the election — on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Hacking is endemic.”
Trump’s Lies About Clinton’s Emails:
FactCheck.org: “Trump twisted the facts when he directly addressed Clinton about her use of a private email system while secretary of state. ‘You get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena you delete 33,000 emails. And then you acid wash them — or bleach them, as you would say — a very expensive process,’ Trump said…. there is no evidence that Clinton knew that the emails were deleted after the subpoena was issued.”
Trump’s Lies About Birtherism:
FactCheck.org:“Trump is wrong about Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager. Solis Doyle has said that a ‘rogue volunteer coordinator’ in Iowa was immediately fired when the campaign found out that the aide forwarded an email promoting the birther conspiracy.”
FactCheck.org: “Trump: ‘Sidney Blumenthal — he’s another real winner that you have — and he’s the one that got this started’ As for Blumenthal, he has denied a claim made by McClatchy’s former bureau chief James Asher that Blumenthal, a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2008 campaign, encouraged McClatchy to chase the story of Obama’s birth… Other than that, there is no clear evidence to support Asher’s account.”
NPR: “[TRUMP:] Well, you owe the president an apology because, as you know very well, your campaign Sidney Blumenthal, he’s another real winner that you have. And he’s the one who got this started along with your campaign manager and they were on television just two weeks ago he was saying likely that. [FACT CHECKER:] We have fact-checked Trump’s birther claims previously (several times) online and on air. […] As we noted, ‘There’s a big difference between what fringe supporters of Clinton said at the time, who were disavowed by the candidate, and the campaign Trump himself undertook in the subsequent years.’”
Donald Trump did a mitzvah at the first (maybe only) presidential debate, which was held at Hofstra University on September 26. He brought his true self – not a studied, rehearsed character who could recite the positions scripted for him by Kellyanne Conway.
Instead, he dared to say in mixed company what he has been saying to his rabble, letting his words hang in the air alongside the reasonable, practical, solid policy solutions that Hillary Clinton has been proposing for more than a year.
He showed his true colors – and they were a nasty mishmash of clash that didn’t make sense.
He was incoherent, hysterical. With bloodshot eyes, sniffling, guzzling water (recalling his attacks on Marco Rubio) he looked reptilian (is he hiding a health issue, I wonder?).
Hillary Clinton had to be perfect – not a single inappropriate word or phrase or misplaced comma or gesture or glance. She had to strike just the perfect tone between showing that a woman could be powerful, professional and command authority, but also be “likable,” “pleasing.” And authentic – she elucidated the positions (on investing in infrastructure, keeping the nation safe, attacking ISIS) she has long advocated, and did it with passion, fully immersed in knowing all the parameters of the issues and seeing the long view. She had to show she could stand up to his attacks, send them back without appearing shrill or shrewish, and still present her own positive solutions that will help this country achieve “broad-based, inclusive growth” which, she said, “is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.” And do it in two minutes.
And she was perfect. Indeed, pundit Howard Feinman said it was like an elementary school teacher schooling an unruly child (yet another sexist remark – remember when they criticized Obama for being like a “college professor”?).
With every answer, Trump’s credibility was shot (as were his surrogates who declared him the winner after), he was exposed as the ridiculous Reality TV buffoon he is, and his Swift Boating tactic which Republicans have been exploiting since Bush v. Kerry, where he accuses his opponent of the very thing he is guilty of (ie. pay-to-play) boomeranged so perfectly when he accused Clinton of not having the “temperament,” judgment, or the “look” to be President.
“I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not have a…” he said, as the audience could not contain its snickering.
The ultimate was when he attacked Clinton on her stamina – a woman who even with pneumonia soldiered on the campaign trail and ran rings around him in the Commander-in-Chief forum – saying, “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina” – which all at once reinforced his misogyny and ridiculousness, and exposed him to her withering rejoinder:
“Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” she retorted.
On the other hand, she used his own words to attack him – he basically admitted he pays zero tax (“That makes me smart.”); that he did in fact stiff contractors (“Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work” …“But on occasion, four times, we used certain laws that are there. And when Secretary Clinton talks about people that didn’t get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot, but taken advantage of the laws of the nation”) and turned it into an advertorial for his new hotel; that he did insult women (“Rosie O’Donnell deserved it”), or how his business was sued for housing discrimination (“We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do.”).
Stop and frisk unconstitutional? (the answer he offered when asked about how to deal with rising racial tensions, especially with police shootings of unarmed black men). “No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge,” he said lamely.
She didn’t just parry his attacks – on her record as Secretary of State, in which he tried to blame her for everything that has gone wrong in the world for the past 30 years – she sent them boomeranging back, making a strong case for the Iran nuclear deal, for supporting NATO, for her plan to defeat ISIS, (the list goes on and on).
When he said, “The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks,” he not only reminded voters that he is advocating countries like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia get their own nuclear weapons), but that he has called climate change “a hoax” perpetrated by China (then lied that he hadn’t said that), and, finally, his pejorative use of “your” president, should have not only had progressives, anti-nuclear activists, environmentalists but also African-Americans throwing shoes at the TV (they surely screamed at the watch party at The Space in Westbury).
When he tried to attack her saying, “For 30 years, you’ve been doing it, and now you’re just starting to think of solutions,” he did her the favor of reminding people that she has had a stunning array of accomplishments on behalf of women, girls, families, working people (not to mention her work as Senator and Secretary of State) over the past 30 years – what has he accomplished for anyone but his own self interest, using bankruptcies, stiffing contractors, outsourcing jobs overseas, hiring undocumented workers.
And she managed to both present her argument for an economy that benefits for all, that invests in the middle class, in infrastructure, in education, and paying for it by having the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share, while at the same time throwing back the question of trust and transparency back on him using how he has failed to disclose his taxes, saying, “So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.”
I disagree with the pundits insistence that the debate did not provide enough “policy.” If they actually listened, they would have realized how Clinton managed to get in her policy points on a score of key issues (go back and read the transcript). This was a contest of Substance versus Nonsense.
And finally, when he tried to criticize her for not being on the campaign trail for a few days before the debate, she came back with the line that sums up this contest:
“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”
The Hillary for America campaign has issued 19 pages of Donald Trump’s lies, including the seven the Republican presidential candidate uses most often, as a guide to be used in the upcoming debate at Hofstra University, Long Island, on Monday, September 26.
The campaign is calling out the moderator, Lester Holt, of the first Presidential Election debate, as well as reporters and viewers to hold Trump to account.
For his part, Trump has warned the moderator will be “afraid” to attack Hillary Clinton and that if he is attacked, it is only proof that the system is “rigged” against him.
Expectations are so skewed that the fear is Trump only has to appear calm, even if ill-informed or shallow and lacking in any real understanding of policies, while Hillary Clinton has to be perfectly in command but also “attractive” and not too “studied” or scripted. In this, Hillary, a trail-blazer for women’s rights, will experience the same kind of gender-bias as when she became Arkansas’ First Lady and wanted to be known as Hillary Rodham, instead of Mrs. Clinton, and when in 1992, campaigning for her husband, Bill Clinton, she said she didn’t want to back cookies and stand by her man like Tammy Wynette.
A misplaced comma in a phrase could cost her the debate while the big question for Trump is whether he will be able to resist his verbal tick of calling her “Crooked” Hillary.
But Donald Trump’s, who has used his background as a Realty TV star as his strongest advantage in the campaign so far has won PolitiFact’s “Liar of the Year” award, after it rated 70 percent of his claims as “four Pinnochios” or “Pants on Fire.”
“Debates are about each candidate laying out their vision for America, not making things up. Donald Trump has shown a clear pattern of repeating provably false lies and hoping no one corrects him. Voters and viewers should keep track: any candidate who tells this many lies clearly can’t win the debate on the merits,” said HFA Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri.
The campaign issued a handy guide to Trump’s Seven Deadly Lies
1. FALSE: Trump opposed the Iraq War.
Washington Post:Trump: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.” // Four Pinocchios.”
As our timeline shows, Trump was not ‘totally’ against the Iraq War. Trump expressed lukewarm support the first time he was asked about it on Sept. 11, 2002, and was not clearly against it until he was quoted in the August 2004 Esquire cover story. (We even made a video documenting how this is a bogus claim.) Yet he repeatedly claims he opposed the war from the beginning — and thus, earns Four Pinocchios.”
FALSE: Trump opposed intervention in Libya.
Factcheck.org: Donald Trump on Libya, May 20 interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: I would have stayed out of Libya.” // False.
“Trump’s claim that he ‘would have stayed out of Libya’ doesn’t square with his comments at the time. In February 2011, Trump, referring to Gadhafi, said that the U.S. should go into Libya ‘on a humanitarian basis’ and ‘knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.’”
FALSE: Clinton supports open borders.
PolitiFact: Trump says Clinton wants to create ‘totally open borders.’ // False
“This is a huge distortion of Clinton’s proposals. Clinton has praised work already done to secure the border, and she said she supported a 2013 bill that would have invested billions more in border security while creating a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Her plan calls for protecting the border and targeting deportation to criminals and security threats.”
FALSE: Clinton wants to get rid of the Second Amendment.
ABC News: “Claim: Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment” // False.
“When Trump made this same claim earlier in the cycle, Politifact rated the claim false after finding no evidence of Clinton ever advocating for the abolishment of the Second Amendment… Bottom line: there’s no evidence to support Trump’s claim.
PolitiFact: “Donald Trump falsely claims Hillary Clinton ‘wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment,’” // False.
“We found no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite. She has repeatedly said she wants to protect the right to bear arms while enacting measures to prevent gun violence.”
“Absolutely not. It’s like saying that Ronald Reagan is the founder of al-Qaeda because the arms he sent to the mujahideen in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion led to the creation of al-Qaeda. It’s a ludicrous claim.”
Washington Post: “Trump also claims Hillary Clinton was a “co-founder” of ISIS. Does that make sense?” // No.
“No. Within the administration, Clinton was one of the loudest forces for keeping a residual force in Iraq and for intervening in Syria, such as arming the rebels. So the criticism especially does not apply to her, since she advocated a more hawkish policy than was undertaken by Obama.”
FALSE: Clinton would allow 620,000 refugees into the U.S. with no vetting.
Washington Post: Trump: “This includes her plan to bring in 620,000 new refugees from Syria and that region over a short period of time.” // This is an “invented figure.”
“Trump has used this number before, but it stems from the unverified assumption that Clinton, who has called for 55,000 additional refugees from Syria, would continue at that pace for every year of her first term, on top of the Obama administration’s proposal for 100,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017. Trump then multiplies 155,000 times four years to reach 620,000 refugees. Clinton has never proposed such a “plan,” so this is an invented figure.”
Washington Post: Trump: “Under the Clinton plan, you’d be admitting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East with no system to vet them, or to prevent the radicalization of the children and their children.” // “It’s false…”
“Trump has repeatedly made this “hundreds of thousands” claim, usually referring to Syria, but it’s false… Trump also falsely claims there is “no system to vet” refugees. The process actually takes two more years, after vetting that starts with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and then continues with checks by U.S. intelligence and security agencies.”
FALSE: Trump will make Mexico pay for the wall.
NPR Fact Check: Trump: “And Mexico will pay for the wall. 100 percent.” // Mexican President “would not pay” for the wall.
“After his meeting with Donald Trump today, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto reiterated his insistence that Mexico would not pay for construction of a border wall. Peña Nieto said he made that clear to Trump during their meeting, although Trump told reporters that the issue of payment was not discussed. — Scott Horsley”
For the rest of the18 pages of Trump’s lies see The Briefing here.
“Our concern about Trump’s record of lying is what that means for how the debate unfolds and how viewers should judge,” Jennifer Palmieri said on a press call.
Trump should be expected to present his solutions – explain what his solutions are, demonstrate the knowledge and judgment. But so far, Trump has shown clear pattern of lying, expecting no one to correct them, she said.
“We have provided 19 pages of lies Trump has told during the campaign,” she said. Politifact has rated 70% of his claims as untrue; Factchecker gave him 47 ‘Four Pinnochios’ and rated 47 ‘Pants on Fire.’ He beat out all modern presidential candidates for fact checking – he was awarded the Lie of the Year and Trump was named the Liar of the Year.
“We think this warrants particular focus because his level of lying is unprecedented in American politics – reporters should keep this in mind,”
“Trump is a very unconventional, unusual, challenging candidate – recognize it’s true for press and moderators. It’s unprecedented in modern times to hold a conference to talk about special precautions because the opponent is a habitual liar, but we think it is necessary.
“When Trump has been chosen as Politifact’s Liar of the Year, for the moderator to let lies go unchallenged, gives Trump an unfair advantage. It is the role of moderator, particularly in this case, to call out those lies, and do so in real time.
“Clinton has a responsibility to defend herself – her own record. But given the historic record of how much Trump lies, it can’t be only on her to call him out if the moderator isn’t willing to stand up and challenge lies. We’ve provided 19 pages of them for helpful reference, plus the 7 he uses most often. This is unusual, but that’s the year we are in, that’s the campaign Trump is running, and it requires that kind of role for the moderator.”
Palmieri said that Trump would probably do what he could to “get under her skin,” but “good luck. We’ve all seen her endure tough questions – 11 hours during the Benghazi hearings. Trump may think he will be the first to get under her skin, but I doubt it.”
As for expectations of how Trump might perform, We had a dry run during the Commander-in-Chief forum which demonstrated that Trump could control his demeanor, and the concern is that will be the sole criteria for handing him the “win” in the debate.
“But maintaining demeanor and not becoming unhinged is not the standard for being considered President of the United States.” What should be the standard is that you demonstrate that you understand problems, have solutions, that you can explain them, that you have adequate knowledge, judgment to do the job “and that’s certainly what she is coming to the debate to do, and that’s what voters should judge Trump on as well.”
How Trump behaves and whether or not he maintains a calm demeanor is up to him, and we think that is within his power – I wouldn’t describe that as what we are pending a lot of time on. A good deal of our prep is thinking through the argument she would put forward that she would do – it is a useful exercise at debate as well as what closing arguments for last few weeks of campaign will be as well.
In the three minutes I had one-on-one with <Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson before he addressed an enthusiastic rally of more than 1000 in a Marriott Marquis ballroom in New York City, I asked about his stated goal of attacking the national debt by reducing “entitlement” spending – that is invariably making cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.
His response was similar to the way he would tackle many other issues: punt. Essentially, he has said that he would take whatever Congress handed him in terms of raising the retirement age (pinned down, he has said 72 would be acceptable). Tax reduction? He would sign whatever tax reduction plan came out of Congress, though he also promises “certainty” there will be no tax increase in the two terms of his presidency.
The question I posed was to follow up on his statement that he would be okay with raising retirement age to 72. I asked, what does that mean for the 58-year old who is “excessed” and has no prospect of getting a comparable job? Or for the bricklayer or nurse in jobs that are stressful and physically or mentally punishing?
“Well, I would phase it in – you can’t change this overnight. I would set a date-certain. This is about equity. We need to change the requirements – otherwise [Social Security] is headed to insolvency.”
I interject that instead of cuts to the program, an alternative is to lift the caps on income subject to FICA, currently at $118,000 (and hasn’t been raised in years) – that means that someone like Trump who earns, say, $1 million a year, pays the tax on only a tiny fraction of their income, but the middle class worker gets all their income taxed. But if the caps were lifted, it is likely that the FICA rate could be dropped for everyone – perhaps to 2% from 8.5%.
He makes a reply that this is an interesting suggestion and adds, “We can’t do nothing.”
But the fact is he has not come out with a specific plan to solve this problem. It goes with his philosophy of the Presidency and the federal government – limited government that imposes a minimum of rules and regulations on the individual.
The overall themes of his message are like catnip to young voters who predominated in the room who attach a Christmas list to a Libertarian, third-party election: legalizing marijuana (a long-time advocate of legalization, Johnson was CEO of a marijuana business before entering the presidential campaign), expansion of 2nd Amendment Rights (he has said that access to semi-automatic assault weapons should be easier); that free markets solve every problem. Indeed, he expressed his distaste for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because of the mandatory tax, and said the problem with health care system is that it needs more free market, a government that will take the lid off services, and “make it easier on the front end – diet and exercise.”
The sole government role in the economy, he said, is “to make it easier” for entrepreneurs. “The model for the future is the sharing economy – Air BnB, Uber – eliminating the middle man. That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said to big cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.
“Rules & Regulations [should be reduced]. Our ability to live lives more simply, in compliance with being good human beings,” is the extent of it, he said.
“We will bring certainty: taxes won’t go up. I will sign off on a tax reduction (from Congress).” [One wonders why there is a need for a tax reduction plan at all, particularly one that is designed to put more money in the pockets of the richest so it will “trickle down” to lower classes, when Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, just released 10 years of tax returns which show he paid between a rate of 10-16% of his $150,000-$200,000 income for federal and state taxes combined. And Donald Trump, on the tax returns that have become known, went for years paying zero tax.]
Johnson started off his comments to the crowd with an apology for his unfortunate Aleppo gaffe (where he said on MSNBC, “What is Aleppo?”), which pundits seized upon as being disqualifying.
So in a question to a reporter and then later to the crowd, he went into extensive recitation of Rakka, “a northern city, the capital of ISIS, and they are supporting the Kurds against ISIS that puts them sideways with our allies in Turkey,” he said with breathless pace. “It shows how complex.”
He recited much the same in the larger venue, apologizing for seeming not to know or care about the crisis in Syria which has triggered the humanitarian crisis of millions of refugees, and even directly contributed to the Brexit vote in Great Britain. Johnson was also troubled that his mistake also might be misconstrued that Libertarians did not care about such issues, and that his error magnified both Johnson’s and Weld’s lack of foreign policy experience.
“We all care about these issues,” he told the crowd. But it falls into the Libertarian philosophy of foreign policy: not to get entangled in foreign affairs and especially not military adventures unless they directly impact US interests.
“There are unintended consequences of making us less safe, not more.”
But he also used it to be less about his lack of foreign policy experience to a virtue of his “humanness:” and character and likability.
“We all make mistakes- it’s part of everyday lif e. It is how you deal with a mistake that determines success,” adding, “Tell the truth.”
Johnson and Weld are making a big issue of character as distinguishing from the Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton who, it is so often pointed out, have historically high negatives for “trustworthiness.”
Owning up to the “Aleppo” gaffe was part of that demonstration of character.
Johnson reinforced the overall themes of being “fiscally conservative but socially inclusive” – which he and his Vice Presidential candidate Bill Weld have suggested are popular with 60 percent of the electorate (“We just drive down that middle lane of the highway.”)
“It’s commonsense,” Johnson said, “to keep government out of your pocketbook.” And, one might add, out of your bedroom.
He believes in personal choice. “Each of us should make decisions in our own lives that only affect our own lives, as long as they don’t hurt others.”
This goes for marriage equality and woman’s reproductive choice.
He also is a strong advocate of criminal justice reform – specifically legalizing marijuana use (very big cheers).
“We have the highest incarceration rate in world – tens of millions convicted felons that but for drug laws would be law abiding, tax paying citizens.”
“All lives matter. Black lives matter – blacks are shot at a rate six times the rate of whites; if you are a person of color, you are four times more likely to go to prison than if you are white. We have our head in the sand on discrimination,” he said to cheers.
He followed this by a strong endorsement of the Second Amendment, to even bigger cheers.
But he said, “We need to have a conversation about how we might keep out of hands of mentally ill and would be terrorists.”
He added that he believed the death penalty “as public policy is flawed,” because there are too many mistakes.
He cited a poll of active military, in which he led among the candidates for president.
“We need national defense, not regime change which always has the unintended consequence of making things worse, not better.
“Afghanistan – we were attacked, we attacked back. I supported Afghanistan [attack] in 2003; 13 years later, they now say we will be 20 years more. We need to get out of Afghanistan now.”
[Except that the US went to war in Afghanistan in 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks; the US invaded Iraq in 2003.]
Johnson promised he would submit a balanced budget to Congress.
This would entail reforming entitlements – “tough issues” which Clinton and Trump are not addressing, he said, contradicting himself to say that Hillary has spoken of expanding Social Security benefits (boo).
:”But then, they won’t be available for anyone. Social Security reform has to happen. To do nothing is not acceptable,” he said to cheers.
“Immigration is something to be embraced. The Issue is work visas. 11 million are undocumented because they can’t get work visas for jobs Americans don’t want. We are a country of immigrants. Building a wall is nuts.”
He gave a shout-out for free markets and said that anything else is “crony capitalism …where government decides winners and losers,” which makes the system vulnerable to pay to play, (big cheers).
He did not mention anything about campaign finance reform or Citizens United, but said he supported term limits (big cheers).
He promises that there will be no traffic snarls when he visits New York City. “I will be the most frugal president ever.”
He was careful to distinguish himself, using such shorthand as “honest,” and “transparent” and declaring that hypocrisy is the worst of all, saying, “We’re not hypocrites.”
During his remarks to the gleeful crowd, Vice Presidential candidate Bill Weld, the former Governor of Massachusetts, said, “We think government, like individual families, should balance its check book – a concept utterly unknown in Washington DC.”
Except that families don’t balance their checkbooks either – they routinely take out mortgages, car loans, college loans, maybe a small business loan – because they are investing in the future. In government terms – particularly the federal government – the concept is that a capital improvement like a road or bridge or sewage treatment plant that generations of people benefit from should not be paid for only by those people living that year. Every government, going back to George Washington’s day, went into debt and used taxation to pay for the common good. And as Paul Krugman, among other economists, have pointed out, interest rates today are so low, the investment more than pays for itself, while at the same time generating jobs and a virtuous cycle of consumer spending. If anything, the unprecedented pull-back in government spending after the Great Recession of 2008 – something that had never happened before – only exacerbated and prolonged the economic hardship, resulting in the slow growth.
Yet both Johnson and Weld pointed to their optimism as a distinguishing characteristic of their campaign, and Johnson ended saying – in contrast to the gloom and doom of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech and the Republican campaign themes.
“Has life in this country ever been better?” Johnson asked rhetorically.
“We get along with everyone better. We are smarter than ever. We have smart phones – we are communicating better. We are more efficient, communicative.
“This country is a great, a wonderful place to live.”
And most optimistically of all, he declared, “This is a crazy election because in spite of Aleppo, I think I will be the next president of the United States.”
Indeed, the immediate goal of the campaign is to get into the Presidential Debates – arguing that there is a groundswell of support and that a significant majority of Americans want Johnson and Weld to be included.
And they also believe that if they are included in the debates, they will win the election.
Hillary Clinton’s slogan is “Stronger Together.” Donald Trump’s is “Make America Great Again.”
The slogan for Johnson-Weld 2016? “You In?” though it might as well be “Anything Goes.” And their logo is a Rorschach test.