Posts Tagged Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton stepped into the limelight Monday, making his first solo campaign appearance in wife Hillary’s 2016 bid for the White House, calling her the most qualified US presidential candidate in decades.
The 69-year-old former president went to in support of the former secretary of state, senator and first lady who leads national polls for the Democrats ahead of the state’s voting contest next month.
Popular among party faithful, Clinton is nonetheless still tainted by allegations of infidelity and sexual impropriety that his wife’s Republican rival, Donald Trump, has sought to exploit by calling him “fair game.”
On Monday, he addressed a rally at a community college in the city of Nashua, paying tribute to Hillary’s determination to make America a fairer, safer country for the poor and struggling middle classes.
“I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job in a moment of great importance who is better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done,” he said.
New Hampshire hosts the nation’s first presidential primary on February 9.
Calling himself a “happy grandfather,” a relaxed Clinton said he thought Hillary was “the most amazing person” when they met and fell in love, 45 years ago at Yale Law School.
She could have won any job but wanted only to provide legal aid to the poor, said her husband, dressed in an open-necked shirt, dark pullover and blazer, wearing a Hillary pin on his lapel.
– ‘One of the great women abusers’ –
“Everything she touched, she made better,” he said, calling her a “change maker.”
“In an uncertain world, where borders look more like nets than walls, and no one is in total control, she understands what it takes to keep our country as safe as possible,” he added.
But Trump, the real estate tycoon who has led Republican polls for months, has blasted Bill Clinton’s “terrible record” with women an apparent allusion to his past alleged marital infidelities.
He stepped up his personal attacks on the Clintons on Monday, criticizing Hillary for calling him sexist.
“How can she do that when she’s got one of the great women abusers of all time sitting in her house, waiting for her to come home for dinner,” he said.
“The worst thing Hillary could do is have her husband campaign for her. Just watch,” he tweeted to his 5.5 million followers on Sunday.
Republicans in Congress tried but failed in 1998 to remove Bill Clinton from the White House for alleged perjury and obstruction during an investigation into an alleged affair.
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton was heckled by a Republican state representative in New Hampshire about her husband’s alleged sex scandals. “You are very rude,” she snapped back before addressing another audience member.
Her husband did not mention Trump during his 30-minute speech in Nashua, but warned that key gains in environmental and health care policy would be reversed if the country elects a Republican president.
“It’s kind of scary,” he said in reference to the campaign, urging supporters to take the candidates seriously. He later addressed another campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire.
According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton trails her party rival, Bernie Sanders, by 44.7 to 49 percent of the Democrat vote in the state.
On Monday, she was in Iowa, hundreds of miles apart from her husband. “I think I can be the president America and Iowa needs, with your help,” she told supporters.
Trump on Monday unveiled his first TV ad of the campaign, fanning fresh controversy by incorporating footage of migrants fleeing Morocco into a Spanish enclave with a voice over talking about the Mexico-US border.
The 30-second ad will be broadcast from Tuesday, costing $2 million a week ahead of the first-in-the-nation voting contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
It spotlights his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, pledge to crush the so-called Islamic State extremist group and promise to end illegal immigration from Mexico.
But a fact-checking website gave the ad a “Pants on Fire” rating, saying it uses footage, not from the Mexico-US border, but from Melilla, a small Spanish enclave across the Atlantic Ocean on Morocco’s coast.
Hillary Clinton used the first major rally of her second run for the White House Saturday to make a populist case for her presidential campaign, declaring that the goal of her presidency would be to tip the nation’s economic scales back toward the middle class’s favor.
Clinton used her gender to cast her candidacy as historic and forward-looking. And she used the story of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, to show that she understands the challenges of climbing out of poverty.
“Prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers. Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations,” she told a crowd of 5,500. “Prosperity and democracy are part of your basic bargain, too. You brought our country back. Now it’s time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead.”
The rally’s geography, on a narrow island in New York City’s East River, offered a stirring contrast between the towering Manhattan skyline and working-class Queens. It allowed for nods at both Clinton’s experience the former secretary of state pointed at the United Nations headquarters, and she represented New York as a senator for eight years and at the economic contrast that was the focus of Clinton’s speech.
Rather than delving into policy specifics, Clinton unveiled a laundry list of issues that her campaign says she’ll address in-depth one per week through August.
She touched on a host of Democratic priorities, including increasing the minimum wage, offering paid family leave, implementing equal pay legislation and protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace. And she said she plans to push measures that would offer tax benefits to companies that invest in long-term growth in the United States, and penalize those that shelter money overseas.
Those issues will be important in a Democratic primary battle where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s identified himself as a socialist, now represents Clinton’s stiffest challenge.
In perhaps Clinton’s most emotional portion of the speech, she told the story of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who was abandoned and working on her own as a housemaid by age 14. She said she once asked her mother what kept her going, and her mother’s response was “kindness from someone who believed she mattered.”
“A first-grade teacher who saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and without embarrassing her, brought extra food to share. The woman whose house she cleaned letting her go to high school so long as her work got done that was a bargain she leapt to accept,” Clinton said. “And because some people believed in her, she believed in me.”
What Clinton didn’t address stood out, too. The day after House Democrats rejected the free trade agenda of the current Democratic president, Clinton didn’t mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While she attacked hedge fund managers, she used the words “Wall Street” just once, despite her proximity to the financial district, and didn’t identify bad actors by naming specific people or firms.
Clinton did, though, personalize what she identified as the problems with Washington, and she assigned blame. She hit the Supreme Court, saying the country needs justices “who will protect every citizen’s right to vote rather than every corporation’s right to buy elections.”
And she hit Republicans, including the party’s presidential field, on issues ranging from gay rights to immigration and voting rights. The GOP, she said, will “trip over themselves promising lower taxes for the wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations, without regard for how that will make income inequality even worse.”
“Now there may be some new voices in the presidential Republican choir, but they’re all singing the same old song: A song called ‘Yesterday,'” she said. “You know the one. All our troubles look as though they’re here to stay, and we need a place to hide away. They believe in yesterday.”
The crowd offered Clinton a series of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” chants particularly when she noted the historic nature of her candidacy and potential nomination. More than she did during her 2008 primary campaign, Clinton used her gender to push back against GOP critiques that she represents the past, not America’s future.
“I may not be the youngest candidate in this race,” she said, “but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.”
Clinton followed the line with a joke: “You won’t see my hair turn white in the White House. I’ve been coloring it for years.”
The rally marks Clinton’s departure from the low-key and carefully choreographed small roundtable events that she’s held in the first states to vote in the presidential nominating contest Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada since announcing her candidacy in April.
Supporters began lining up at 6:30 a.m. for a rally that wouldn’t begin until four hours later. Media flocked onto the narrow island, with 550 journalists requesting credentials.
And Clinton’s aides welcomed the attention, billing the rally as the real launch of her campaign and of the case she’ll make to voters for the next year and a half.
“This will be a new moment. We have had the spring training, now it is opening day,” campaign chairman John Podesta said. “I think, for us, this is an opportunity to lay out really the operating manual for where she wants to take the country.”
The entire day focused on Clinton. Although both Bill and Chelsea Clinton attended the first time either appeared at a campaign event they did not speak.
Some of Clinton’s high-profile supporters flocked to the city for Saturday’s rally, too.
Well-known New York Democratic figures weren’t treating Clinton as their party’s presumptive nominee.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t attend the rally in his own backyard, saying he’s waiting for Clinton to present a “larger vision” for tackling income inequality.
Republicans, looking to seize on the media attention around Clinton’s event, bussed supporters north from Washington on Saturday morning, with many leaving at 5:45 a.m. They handed out information about Clinton, including red sunglasses that say “Stop Clinton” and “Shady.”
GOP presidential contenders, meanwhile, offered pre-buttals before Clinton even took the stage.
“Hillary Clinton’s re-launch of her campaign doesn’t change that her views are out-of-touch with mainstream America,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement.
“We don’t need Washington telling us what to do; we need to build the economy from the ground up with government getting out of the way,” he said. “Clinton would be a third term of Obama’s failed policies. Instead, we need new, fresh solutions.”
And the reception from liberal groups afterward noted her reluctance to attack Wall Street by name.
“This was mostly a typical Democratic speech much better than the direction Republicans offer America, but not the bold economic vision that most Americans want and need,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in a statement that perturbed Clinton staffers at Saturday’s event.
Meanwhile, Bill Hyers, a senior strategist for the presidential campaign of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley who has positioned himself as a progressive alternative to the former secretary of state called Clinton’s platform “status quo thinking.”
“We need someone who can bring new leadership, strong progressive values, and a record of getting things done to the White House and that person is Martin O’Malley,” Hyers said in a statement.
The campaign rally was largely organized by Greg Hale, a long-time Clinton aide, who grew up in DeQueen, Arkansas, and met the Clintons when he was young. He started doing advance work for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and is the Clintons’ go-to person for staging events like Saturday’s.
The day’s 75-minute pre-program was filled with symbolic acts and speakers.
A drumline from Brooklyn, where the campaign is headquartered, performed, and Andrea Gonzales, a “Dreamer” from Houston also addressed the audience.
As attendees streamed into the rally, music from Clinton’s recently-announced Spotify playlist blared from large speakers. The playlist, which is intended to serve as the soundtrack for Clinton’s campaign, includes hits like Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Pharrell William’s “Happy.”
Hillary Clinton also joined Pericope, a live-streaming phone app, on Saturday. One of her newest campaign hires, famed Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, hosted Clinton’s Periscope stream of the event.
Hillary Clinton left Roosevelt Island after mingling with the crowd. She heads straight to Iowa for a series of events to organize supporters in early-voting states.
Bill Clinton, who will not go to Iowa or any other early state this week with his wife, mingled with the crowd 10 minutes longer.
After he shook hands and took pictures with a mother and her young daughter, the mother turned to her child.
“That is Hillary Clinton’s husband,” she said.
Despite a storm of recent controversies, Hillary Clinton’s popularity is proving durable among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, home of the nation’s first presidential primary election in early 2016.
Nearly nine of 10 Granite State Democrats who are likely to vote in the primary say they had either a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Clinton, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll. The number, 86 percent, is virtually unchanged from her 88 percent favorability rating among Democrats last November and an 89 percent rating in February.
She also fares about as well as her husband, the 42nd president and a popular figure in U.S. politics, on a host of qualities, the poll found.
“She’s the best of what I’ve seen so far,” said poll respondent Bruce Bonnette, a 79-year-old retiree from Northfield, N.H. “And she’s got Bill to back her up.”
There are also signs that Clinton shouldn’t take her support for granted, particularly among the state’s independent voters. Even among Democrats, there is considerable skepticism about her truth-telling.
“I’m not that happy about the private e-mail server,” said Walter Hamilton, a 64-year-old Democrat and retired civil servant from Portsmouth, N.H., referring to Clinton’s use of non-official e-mail while she served as secretary of state. He also expressed concerns about allegations of impropriety over foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation during that same time.
But one thing stands out for Hamilton: “She’s the only one that can beat the Republicans, and my guess is that most Democrats feel the same way.”
Among likely general-election voters, Clinton is less popular. Nearly half of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of her, and her favorable rating has dropped 8 percentage points since February to 46 percent.
Still, only one politician in the survey had a higher favorability rating among general-election voters: Bill Clinton, at 53 percent.
Among likely Democratic primary voters, both Clintons and President Barack Obama are deeply popular, with more than 85 percent expressing either “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinions of them.
By contrast, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist from neighboring Vermont who announced his candidacy for the nomination last week, has a 56 percent favorable rating among likely Democratic primary voters. Another potential Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, had a 25 percent favorable rating, a likely reflection of poor name recognition.
Yet the poll also suggests that voters believe the former first lady has a clear deficit in some of the qualities they consider most important in choosing a president.
Nearly six out of 10 likely general-election voters said neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton can be trusted to tell the truth. Nearly half, 47 percent, said neither Clinton shares their values. They rated somewhat better on questions about having a vision for the future and perceptions that they care about “people like you.”
While feeding a narrative about her truthfulness, criticism over Clinton’s handling of foreign donations to her family foundation has not created the firestorm that Republicans might have foreseen.
A solid majority, 60 percent, of likely general-election voters said they were either unsure about the allegations or believed they were just another example of overblown accusations by Republicans against the Clintons.
Others think the accustions have merit. Forty percent of those polled said they believed foreign governments and companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation or paid for Bill Clinton’s speaking fees were probably looking for favors and some of them got what they wanted.
Thomas Keach, a 50-year-old independent who said he voted for Obama in 2012, said Clinton’s foreign connections, along with the e-mail controversy, are evidence that she is “part of the old-school politics” in Washington.
“They don’t address real problems that people like I face every day,” said Keach, who now favors Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive.
Women voters are especially likely to support Hillary Clinton. Fifty-six percent of women who are likely to vote in the general election expressed a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of her, compared to 37 percent of men.
“I’m so glad she’s giving it a second shot,” said Spickler. “I felt strongly in 2008 that it was such a wonderful thing to see a woman as a serious candidate in my lifetime. Now, I think it’s more that I think she’s the best-qualified Democrat.”
But she faces a challenge among independent voters who can cast their ballots in either party’s primary. Just 41 percent of independents rate Clinton favorably, compared to 51 percent who expressed positive opinions of Bill Clinton.
Even so, she has a higher favorability rating among independents than many likely Republican presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush.
The poll, conducted May 2-6 by Washington-based Purple Insights, included 500 general-election voters as well as oversamples to include 400 Republican primary voters and 400 Democratic primary voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points on general-election questions and plus or minus 4.9 percentage points on primary questions.
Original Source: Bloomberg Politics
The Clinton Foundation will continue to accept funding from foreign governments in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s decision to run for the U.S. presidency, but only from six countries that already support it, the charity said on Wednesday.
Clinton, the current favorite to become the Democratic nominee, has said the foundation’s charity work is a source of pride, but it has also drawn growing criticism from political opponents and parts of the U.S. media.
Foreigners are not allowed to give money directly to presidential election campaigns, and Clinton’s critics say foreign governments and entrepreneurs may instead be donating to her family’s charities to curry her favor.
The foundation’s board of directors also voted to publish the names of new donors more frequently – four times a year, instead of annually according to the foundation’s statement. Clinton stepped down from the board on Sunday. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea Clinton, remain members.
“While it’s common for global charities to receive international support, it’s rare to find an organization as transparent as the Clinton Foundation,” Craig Minassian, a foundation spokesman, said in a statement.
In order to become secretary of state in 2009, Clinton and her husband signed a similar transparency agreement with Barack Obama’s incoming presidential administration in order to defuse questions about conflicts of interest.
But officials at the Clinton’s charities said last month that key parts of the agreement were broken a year into her four-year tenure. No complete list of donors to Clinton charities has been published since 2010, and new donations from foreign governments were never submitted to the State Department for an ethics review.
The charities said this was the result of oversights. A Clinton spokesman has declined since last month to answer inquiries about when Clinton learned of the breach and how she responded.
Minassian and a spokesman for Clinton declined to say whether they were handling the transparency measures announced on Wednesday any differently to previous ones in order to prevent another breach.
The foundation said it will still accept funding from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, which fund the foundation’s work around the world on climate change and economic development.
The board of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a larger charity associated with the foundation, is still finalizing new transparency measures.
After an event in Morocco in May, the Clinton Global Initiative, a part of the foundation, will stop accepting funds from foreign governments except for what the foundation’s statement referred to as “meeting attendance fees.”
As Hillary Clinton works with her close knit group of advisers ahead of the launch her presidential campaign, their work is guided by a new set of humble principles: No big crowds. Few soaring rallies. Less mention of her own ambitions. And extinguish the air of inevitability propelling her candidacy.
The long and winding prelude to her announcement is nearly over, according to aides, and the start of her second bid for the White House is likely only days away. Top Democratic activists in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire privately say they have been placed on alert that Clinton will soon be on her way.
The specific moment she jumps into the race remains a closely guarded secret, even inside the crowded corridors of her small office suite in Manhattan, which new aides have descended upon to build the operation. Only a handful of confidantes actually know the precise time Clinton will pull the trigger first on social media yet aides have been instructed to be ready from Monday forward.
But her campaign strategy has crystallized: She will devote considerable time and attention to on-the-ground footwork in Iowa and New Hampshire. She intends to make less frequent stops in Nevada and South Carolina. Together, those four states kick off the nominating contest early next year and will help determine how warmly Democrats embrace her candidacy.
The early pieces of her strategy are starting to come into sharper view as the announcement nears. One of the most noticeable differences from her first campaign, according to more than a dozen people close to the Clintons, is a concerted effort to try and make her candidacy seem far less focused on her winning than on listening to the concerns of voters.
“The early caucus and primary states give her an opportunity to visit with folks in small, more intimate settings, where they will learn a lot about her and she will learn a lot from them,” Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary and former Iowa governor, who served as a national chairman of her 2008 campaign said.
Several Democrats close to Clinton say she would actually rather face a credible primary challenger and she still might rather than be forced to compete with unrealistic expectations of a phantom candidate being promoted by the party’s more liberal left wing.
But Clinton has told her advisers that she intends to aggressively campaign as though she has a primary opponent, aides say, by listening to concerns of voters and taking great pains to avoid the appearance of a coronation.
One approach is to avoid blatant suggestions of the historic nature of her candidacy, hoping to fight impressions that Clinton’s presidential aspirations are all about her.
That was one of the key findings of research already conducted through focus groups in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those conversations, coupled with the searing lessons from 2008, have led aides to impress upon Clinton and her loyal circle of admirers that, far more than her own political ambitions, this race must be about what voters want.
While it seems basic, the fresh crop of advisers cringe at how she announced her last presidential campaign, with a video message and a statement on her website that declared: “I’m in. And I’m in to win.”
This first-person mantra, which flourished repeatedly throughout her statement back on Jan. 20, 2007, will be all but stripped from her vocabulary, aides say. In its place will be a pledge to carry the causes of Americans who feel left behind in the economic recovery and the growing divide among classes.
Hillary Clinton plans to address the controversy surrounding her use of a personal email on a private server while serving as America’s top diplomat “as soon as within 48 hours,” sources close to the former secretary of state say.
A Democrat familiar with Hillary Clinton’s communications plan said Clinton is poised to address the email controversy in the coming days, a press conference is the most likely way, though no final decision have been made.
Clinton sources have indicated that a sit-down interview is another option on the table as a potential venue to respond to the questions swirling around her.
The Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination is facing mounting pressure to explain herself, with members of her own party saying they don’t expect the controversy to die down. The White House even appeared to fan the flames on Monday, when President Barack Obama’s spokesman said the President had exchanged emails with Clinton on her personal address.
Experts have said it doesn’t appear Clinton violated federal laws, but that hasn’t stemmed the issue that has become more about bad optics and politics than any actual wrongdoing.
The controversy threatens to consume Clinton for a second straight week, and has already stepped on what Clinton aides and foundation officials hoped would be a few days focused on Clinton’s “No Ceilings Initiative” aimed at leveling the playing field for women and girls.
That hasn’t happened, though. Media attention around Monday’s event was more heightened than usual, but the focus was on the emails.
Outside the event, reporters lined up in vain to shout questions at both Hillary and Bill Clinton. Neither responded to repeated inquiries about the email controversy. But Hillary Clinton is preparing to do so this week.
The explanation Clinton will offer will show that her email use was “completely innocent,” and that she never handled classified information through her private address, the sources said.
That’s in part because the State Department has two separate email systems, with one designated specifically for classified information and she couldn’t access it over her BlackBerry, the sources said.
Clinton’s plan appears to involve laying blame at the feet of the State Department for its response to questions about its email systems and policies, given the spin coming from those close to her.
The need for Clinton to directly address the email story arose when it became clear that people at State had “botched” their attempts to explain it, one of the sources close to Clinton said.
The State Department did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the department, and tweeted last week that she’s asked to have those released. But the former secretary of state hasn’t addressed key questions about transparency: If she and her staff are refereeing their own determinations on what to turn over and what to keep private, how can it be verified that she’s turned over every email related to her official duties?
The State Department, meanwhile, says Clinton did not personally use its classified email system and that classified information was relayed to her through means other than email such as her staff bringing it to her.
Congressional Republicans are pushing for access to Clinton’s emails. A House panel led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, has already subpoenaed her emails in its search for documents related to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi.
Clinton spoke Monday at a “No Ceilings” event that was a joint effort by the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation promoting opportunities and representation for girls. She joined Chelsea Clinton, Melinda Gates, Malala Yousafzai to roll out a year-long report about women’s participation.
Clinton’s only other event of the week is a speech at a United Nations women’s event on Tuesday, though that might also be a problematic place to talk about the emails.