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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/politics/elections/democrats (Page 32)

Tale of two Dems: Mayor Pete gets cover status, Biden gets whacked

Westlake Legal Group Chasten-Buttigieg-1 Tale of two Dems: Mayor Pete gets cover status, Biden gets whacked Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7a31422b-02c4-5c38-8dac-ed72537a583a

Beto O’Rourke and his Vanity Fair cover are already old news. Now Pete Buttigieg is on the cover of Time.

More precisely, Pete Buttigieg and his husband are on the cover of Time.

That captures the cultural zeitgeist, the media’s utter fascination with this small-town mayor, and the way in which the press elevates a chosen few among the Democratic candidates.

By contrast, Joe Biden, who endured weeks of negative press before instantly becoming the front-runner, is being dogged by an old conflict-of-interest story involving his son that has suddenly been brought back to life.

While the former vice president is obviously a war horse, the mayor of South Bend is the epitome of the kind of fresh face who fascinates the press. And it’s worth noting that Time seems to love liberals. While the magazine has run a long series of harshly anti-Trump covers, it recently gave cover status to an upbeat profile of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The double-entendre headline, for Pete and Chasten Buttigieg, is “First Family.”

And the tone is generally admiring of the Rhodes scholar and Afghan war vet who improbably surged into third place in some Democratic polls:

“Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed his right to marry, Buttigieg has become the first openly gay person to make a serious bid for the presidency … to some Americans, Buttigieg may just be the man to vanquish America’s demons. Many Democrats are hungry for generational change, and the two front runners are more than twice his age.”

That’s the general tone, that the guy’s pretty amazing. (He speaks eight languages!) “Buttigieg is a master of redefinition, a translator for a party that has found it increasingly difficult to speak to the voters who elected President Donald Trump.”

The Time coup is a payoff for the strategy of his communications adviser, Lis Smith, who recently told Politico she wants to put him on everything. Buttigieg’s frequent interviews (including an upcoming town hall on Fox) is part of what’s driving his media popularity (along with the fact he’s handled himself well).

Time has the inevitable to-be-sure paragraph:

BUTTIGIEG RAISES EYEBROWS WITH VACCINATION STANCE, FACES MEDIA CRITICISM

“His youth is appealing to many voters, but it also means he’s green. The idea of electing the first gay President thrills liberals, but it also rallies opponents. As a white man, Buttigieg may appeal to more traditional voters, yet women and voters of color are the heart of the Democratic coalition. He’s running as a healer, not a fighter, at a moment when the party seems to be in a fighting mood.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post Style section ran this profile yesterday: “Chasten Buttigieg has been a homeless community-college student and a Starbucks barista. Now, he could be ‘first gentleman.'”

Brief excerpt: “He’s not shy about sharing the weird side of campaign fame. Chasten’s humor and openness have been his defining features since the national spotlight found him and ‘Mayor Pete’ earlier this year. It has made him a force on Twitter, where he has more than 300,000 followers, and a not-so-secret public-relations weapon for his husband.”

There have been enough puffy profiles of potential first ladies that this doesn’t give me any pause. But it shows you what kind of roll the South Bend star is on.

Meanwhile, The New York Times published a Biden story yesterday that says he faces conflict-of-interest allegations involving his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukranian energy company controlled by an oligarch while his dad was VP.

In 2016, Joe Biden publicly threatened to pull $1 billion in federal loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders failed to fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was accused of being soft on corruption. Hunter Biden’s energy company was in the sights of the prosecutor who was in fact ousted.

But here’s the interesting thing: the Times story said “the broad outlines of how the Bidens’ roles intersected in Ukraine have been known for some time.” In fact, the New York Times covered the story back in 2016.

However, the Times said “new details have emerged,” including Ukraine reopening the probe of the energy giant.

But The Hill’s John Solomon reported many of the new details a month ago, as the piece later concedes in saying “the Trump team’s efforts to draw attention to the Bidens’ work in Ukraine” is “already yielding coverage in conservative media.”

Fair enough, but the fact is the Times is running a front-page piece now, given Biden’s surge in the polls. So either it’s a story or it’s not, regardless of partisans pushing it.

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Here’s a telling footnote. The print story is quite fairly headlined “For Biden, A Ukraine Matter That Won’t Go Away.”

And the online headline? “Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted By Trump and Allies.”

Westlake Legal Group Chasten-Buttigieg-1 Tale of two Dems: Mayor Pete gets cover status, Biden gets whacked Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7a31422b-02c4-5c38-8dac-ed72537a583a   Westlake Legal Group Chasten-Buttigieg-1 Tale of two Dems: Mayor Pete gets cover status, Biden gets whacked Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7a31422b-02c4-5c38-8dac-ed72537a583a

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Karl Rove: Impeachment push puts Dems at odds with independents before 2020

Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-impeachment-push-puts-dems-at-odds-with-independents-before-2020 Karl Rove: Impeachment push puts Dems at odds with independents before 2020 Sam Dorman fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f2471cda-ddec-54a9-9fae-e77ba281a716 article
Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove: Impeachment push puts Dems at odds with independents before 2020 Sam Dorman fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f2471cda-ddec-54a9-9fae-e77ba281a716 article

Fox News political contributor Karl Rove said Thursday that if Democrats continue pushing impeachment proceedings for President Trump, they could alienate a vital voting demographic they need to capture in 2020.

“It puts them at odds with the independents who are going to end up deciding the 2020 election,” Rove said while appearing on “The Daily Briefing.”

“What happens if we have 12 or 13 months and the Democrats talk about investigation and impeachment and the support for that among independents continues to drop?” he asked.

Some Democrats have reacted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, released in April, by calling for impeachment proceedings. Scrutiny around that report seemed to mount as Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate on Wednesday, and many suggested Barr refused to act as an impartial arbiter in the matter.

MUELLER REPORT IGNITES NEW DEM BATTLE OVER IMPEACHMENT

Although some Democrats have called for impeachment, polling has revealed that independents largely oppose that. Rove cited post-Mueller report polls which showed both a drop in independents’ support for impeachment and more independent opposition to such a move.

Rove also told Fox News host Dana Perino that Trump should avoid the issue and focus on his economic record. “Let the Democrats spend the time talking about an investigation and impeachment,” he said.

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“He doesn’t need to spend a lot of time talking about that. There are lots of natural allies and increasingly a lot of natural resistance among independents.”

Democrats have also faced resistance within their own party as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly threw cold water on the idea. “We’re not there yet,” she said in April.

Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove: Impeachment push puts Dems at odds with independents before 2020 Sam Dorman fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f2471cda-ddec-54a9-9fae-e77ba281a716 article   Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove: Impeachment push puts Dems at odds with independents before 2020 Sam Dorman fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc f2471cda-ddec-54a9-9fae-e77ba281a716 article

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Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field

Westlake Legal Group union-support-could-be-critical-in-crowded-2020-democratic-field Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd

LAS VEGAS — As the race for 2020 ramps up, the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates all vying for the same seat in the Oval Office are turning to union workers to help separate them from the pack.

“They are the Get Out The Vote. They are the money. They are the ones that are going door to door and really providing the political oomph behind a lot of Democrat candidates,” Vincent Vernuccio, a senior fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy said.

Several Democratic hopefuls stopped in Nevada last week to try and court union workers at the Service Employees International Union forum on wages and working people, in a state in which union members represent roughly 14 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

COLORADO SEN. BENNET JUMPS IN 2020 RACE, AS DEMOCRATIC FIELD GROWS EVEN LARGER

“We will reverse the Janus decision, and make sure that unions can succeed,” former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told a crowd of union workers as they cheered.

The Supreme Court Janus decision ruled forced union fees were unconstitutional.

Westlake Legal Group HICKENLOOPER Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper makes his case to union workers at the SEIU forum in Las Vegas on April 27, 2019. (Ben Brown/Fox News)

Approximately 10.5 percent of all American workers in 2018 were members of unions, according to the BLS.

Despite being a relatively small part of the electorate, Democratic strategist Robert Fisk says with such a large number of candidates, union votes could make all the difference.

“Say you have four or five people at 13, 14, 15 percent and all of a sudden you have your firefighters or your [Service Employees International Union] or your AFL-CIO or something like that, that can bump you into the 16, 17 point world — that can be enough to win in a crowded field.”

JOE BIDEN JOINS OTHER 2020 DEMS TO CALL FOR BARR’S RESIGNATION DESPITE ONCE CALLING HIM ‘HECK OF AN HONORABLE GUY’

During the SEIU forum, candidates touted their economic and healthcare policies, including a $15 minimum wage, universal healthcare as well as repealing the GOP tax cut.

“On day one, we’re going to repeal that tax bill that benefitted the top 1 percent of the biggest corporations,” Sen. Kamala Harris and presidential candidate said to applause from the crowd.

Westlake Legal Group kamala-harris-seiu Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd

Sen. Kamala Harris tells union workers she will repeal the GOP tax cut if she were to be elected president, April 27, 2019 at the SEIU forum in Las Vegas. (Ben Brown/Fox News)

While raising the minimum wage and offering universal healthcare received thunderous applause and cheers during last week’s forum, Ryan Bourne, who is the R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics at Cato, said the presidential candidates touting these policies are missing the underlying issue.

MAYOR PETE LANDS TIME MAGAZINE COVER, GETS DESCRIBED AS MAN SOME SAY COULD ‘VANQUISH AMERICA’S DEMONS’

“The problem is in advocating solutions which are effectively just taxing, regulating and trying to spend government money, ultimately taxpayer money on these programs — they’re not getting at the heart of why these things are expensive or not providing value for money in the first place.”

When it comes to repealing the GOP tax cuts, Bernard Weinstein, economist and associate director of Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute, doesn’t think it “would be good public policy. ”

“Right now we have what I like to call a Goldilocks economy — it’s not too hot it’s not too cold. The economy has grown steadily for a decade, we have a very low unemployment rate, we have lots of jobs available,” Weinstein said. “Without question, the tax cuts have something to do with that and I would not want to upset the apple cart now.”

Nevada could be particularly critical as Election Day nears because of the ability unions have to motivate voters.

FIREFIGHTERS UNION VOWS TO DO ‘EVERYTHING IT TAKES’ TO GET JOE BIDEN ELECTED

“In the past few elections, the Culinary Union especially has made a real difference in terms of organizing their members and getting them out to vote, getting them registered to vote and mobilizing them into a political force that it’s made a real difference in recent elections in Nevada,” Carrie Levine, center for public integrity senior reporter told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group culinary-workers Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd

The Culinary Unions is one of the more influential unions in Nevada, with 60,000 members. (Ben Brown/Fox News)

In addition to the Culinary Union, which has 60,000 members, the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) – Nevada’s largest educator union – believes it will play a critical role in selecting the winner of the state’s caucus come February.

“We’ve built this kind of machine that essentially has not just locked into 18,000 potential teachers that vote, but their networks and it’s significant,” John Vellardita, executive director of the CCEA said. “We will pick who the presidential candidate will be for the Democratic Party in terms of influencing the caucus process on the 22nd of February.”

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However, what remains to be seen is whether a similar scenario in 2016 will unfold yet again in the upcoming election, in which then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton earned the endorsement of union leadership but had a poor turnout at the polls.

Clinton beat President Donald Trump by 8 percentage points among union households, the lowest margin of victory for a Democratic candidate dating back more than three decades, according to Politico.

CLINTON ‘IMAGINES’ SCENARIO WHERE 2020 DEM HOPEFUL ASKS CHINA TO GET TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS

“In 2016, there absolutely was a difference between where the union or the endorsement might have gone and where the actual voters went,” said Democratic strategist Howard Franklin. “We saw a lot of folks in unions that might have endorsed Hillary Clinton but, presumably, those members decided to vote for Donald Trump.”

It’s unclear whether Trump would keep their support.

“The big question that has to be answered is whether or not the disruption that Donald Trump has created in Washington is enough of a commitment to the campaign promises he made to those voters for them to stick with him,” Franklin said, “or if they say, ‘you didn’t bring back these jobs, you’ve allowed factories to continue to close. Yeah, we’ve gotten some policies wins on NAFTA, etcetera, but we still dont feel like we are better of today than we were four years ago.’”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6032296865001_6032291905001-vs Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6032296865001_6032291905001-vs Union support could be critical in crowded 2020 Democratic field fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Benjamin Brown article aacee09e-4de8-5c5d-b436-e01948e319bd

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Sarah Sanders: Russia investigation is over, ‘time for Democrats to move on’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assailed Democrats on Thursday for “outrageous questioning” of Attorney General Wiliam Barr at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.

Appearing on “America’s Newsroom,” Sanders characterized Democrats as obsessed with finding collusion or obstruction by President Trump despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation and report.

“We’ve been transparent this entire process,” Sanders said. “We’ve put forward dozens of people to talk with the special counsel, 1.4 million pages of documents, we’ve been fully transparent.”

“This thing is over,” she said. “It’s time for Democrats to move on. They can’t continue to drag this thing out and continue to put the American people through this. Look, there was no collusion, there was no obstruction. Now they need to come together and work with the president to actually fix real problems.

Westlake Legal Group AP19122510694938 Sarah Sanders: Russia investigation is over, 'time for Democrats to move on' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 7a2676e4-397a-55ba-a22f-227c31668cf6

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., placed a prop chicken on the witness desk for Attorney General William Barr after he does not appear before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

“They’ve shown they aren’t capable of working with us on immigration, but maybe they could help on infrastructure or lowering prescription drugs.”

Barr skipped a House hearing Thursday on Mueller’s Trump-Russia report, escalating an already acrimonious battle between Democrats and the president’s Justice Department. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Barr had already lied to Congress in other testimony and called that a “crime.”

Barr’s decision to avoid the hearing, made after a disagreement with the House Judiciary Committee over questioning, came the day after the department also missed the committee’s deadline to provide it with a full, unredacted version of Mueller’s report and its underlying evidence. In all, it’s likely to prompt a vote on holding Barr in contempt and possibly the issuance of subpoenas, bringing House Democrats and the Trump administration closer to a prolonged battle in court.

Democrats convened a short hearing that included an empty chair with a place card set for Barr. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said that if the attorney general doesn’t provide the committee “with the information it demands and the respect that it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”

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Shortly afterward, Pelosi escalated the tensions further. In a possible reference to the attorney general’s testimony earlier this month, Pelosi said Barr “was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States — that’s a crime.”

Sanders said on “America’s Newsroom” that “Democrats embarrassed themselves yesterday.”

“The attorney general sat for five hours yesterday, and answered every question put in front of him,” Sanders said. “He was willing to sit down again with the House…the Democrats have changed the rules in the middle of the game. They took a vote yesterday, a special vote in order to allow staff to question the attorney general. He is a cabinet member for the president of the United States. And this is a straightforward oversight hearing in which members of Congress should be able to ask those questions.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-50874bbaf3f945169c8bbc16719e49e5 Sarah Sanders: Russia investigation is over, 'time for Democrats to move on' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 7a2676e4-397a-55ba-a22f-227c31668cf6   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-50874bbaf3f945169c8bbc16719e49e5 Sarah Sanders: Russia investigation is over, 'time for Democrats to move on' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 7a2676e4-397a-55ba-a22f-227c31668cf6

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Sen. Kennedy deems Mueller letter ‘much ado about nothing’

Westlake Legal Group sen-kennedy-deems-mueller-letter-much-ado-about-nothing Sen. Kennedy deems Mueller letter 'much ado about nothing' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc b7c0790b-7294-59d0-bce1-b1916b48745c article
Westlake Legal Group mueller Sen. Kennedy deems Mueller letter 'much ado about nothing' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc b7c0790b-7294-59d0-bce1-b1916b48745c article

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said the Russia investigation was “over” despite congressional Democrats’ efforts and the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s letter, which he deemed “much ado about nothing.”

“A lot of people got their bowels in an uproar over it. It turned out to be much ado about nothing,” Kennedy said while appearing on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Wednesday.

He was referring to a letter in which Mueller expressed his dismay with the way that Attorney General William Barr described the special counsel’s report on the long-running Russia investigation. Although Mueller said he wanted Barr’s March summary to more better capture the “context, nature, and substance” of his report, he said during a phone call between the two that he wasn’t calling the summary “inaccurate.”

The release of Mueller’s letter came just before Barr’s Senate testimony on Wednesday and at the end of a long, multiyear investigation in which some critics said President Trump had colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election and tried to obstruct the government’s probe into the matter. Barr’s summary denied Mueller had found sufficient evidence on either front.

BARR ACCUSES DEMS OF USING CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS AS A ‘POLITICAL WEAPON,’ AS HEARING TENSIONS FLARE

“So, my question was real simple, Has Mr. Mueller changed his mind? Has he changed his conclusions?” Kennedy said, noting Mueller’s dissatisfaction with Barr’s summary. “He has not changed his mind,” said Kennedy, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During Barr’s testimony, he faced intense criticism from cable news and politicians, along with some calls for his resignation. Those calls, according to Kennedy, were “patently absurd.”

“Many of my Democratic friends … are not in good faith. I mean, Trump could come out tomorrow solidly in favor of children and prosperity and they would say he’s wrong.”

Following the Mueller report, Democrats pushed for more information related to the obstruction concerns that Mueller outlined in his report. “This is the theory of the case now for some of my Democratic friends: Trump covered up a crime that nobody committed,” Kennedy said.

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“This thing is over. It’s over,” he added. “They threw everything they had at the president … it was cross between an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, and here’s what they said: ‘No indictment.'”

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway similarly told Fox News that the Russia investigation was a “political proctology exam” and requested that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a prominent figure in Congress’ investigatory efforts, resign from his role as House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Westlake Legal Group mueller Sen. Kennedy deems Mueller letter 'much ado about nothing' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc b7c0790b-7294-59d0-bce1-b1916b48745c article   Westlake Legal Group mueller Sen. Kennedy deems Mueller letter 'much ado about nothing' Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc b7c0790b-7294-59d0-bce1-b1916b48745c article

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As Baltimore mayor scandal drags on, donors want their money back

Westlake Legal Group as-baltimore-mayor-scandal-drags-on-donors-want-their-money-back As Baltimore mayor scandal drags on, donors want their money back fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime fox-news/politics/finance fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 2b2728a1-1eaf-58e5-bbe3-2b83d044e0dc

As Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s indefinite home leave drags on, donors to her reelection campaign – which has raised more than $1 million – say they want their money back.

Pugh has been holed up in her three-story house for more than a month as a scandal into whether she used bulk sales of her self-published children’s book to disguise kickbacks unfolds.

BALTIMORE MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH IN POOR HEALTH, NOT ‘LUCID’ ENOUGH TO RESIGN: ATTORNEY 

The first-term Democratic mayor is facing a growing chorus of calls to resign but has retreated inside her home on paid leave from her $185,000 job. Her lawyer says she’s too fragile to make a decision about her future but residents – and donors – are quickly tiring of her open-ended retreat.

“I have requested the Committee to Retain Catherine E. Pugh return my contribution to her campaign in full,” said former state Del. Connie DeJuliis of Baltimore County, who gave $3,000 to Pugh in 2016 for her successful run and $2,000 for a recent fundraiser. “I am disappointed in the mayor’s lack of judgment, to say nothing of her lack of integrity.”

Pugh’s campaign manager, Steven Sibel, told The Baltimore Sun that the campaign committee is “reviewing the options provided under the law regarding campaign contributions, and it will be making a determination in the near future as to whether and how funds may be distributed.”

BALTIMORE STRUGGLING WITH SOARING CRIME, DRUGS AND INEPT POLITICAL LEADERS 

Westlake Legal Group baltimore-pugh-home As Baltimore mayor scandal drags on, donors want their money back fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime fox-news/politics/finance fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 2b2728a1-1eaf-58e5-bbe3-2b83d044e0dc

TV crews report form outside the house of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh in Baltimore, MD., Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP)

If Pugh decides not to run for a second term, Maryland law gives her three options for the cash she’s collected, including keeping the money for up to eight years in case she wants to run again.

If she decides to call it quits, she must first pay off all her debts and expenses. Then, she can either give back all the contributions to donors on a prorated basis or dole out the money to a variety of organizations including the state party, the Baltimore City Central Committee or Maryland’s Fair Campaign Finance Fund, Jared DeMarinis, campaign finance director at the Maryland State Board of Elections said.

State law also spells out that Pugh cannot use the money on herself or to pay her lawyers.

Baltimore resident James DeGraffenreidt told the Sun he wants his $2,000 back and doesn’t like the idea of the campaign acting as an intermediary.

“They should send me a check back,” DeGraffenreidt said.

Pugh’s lawyer Steven Silverman says he’s been discussing Pugh’s next steps with her but maintains she is too ill to make a decision. It’s an excuse that’s getting old with some residents and lawmakers who want answers.

State Sen. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat who sponsored an initial reform bill that exposed alleged “self-dealing” by Pugh and other members of a Maryland medical system’s board, says Silverman should produce some kind of documentation from the mayor’s physician.

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“I imagine she is under tremendous strain which has only exacerbated her health problems. We have to take Mr. Silverman at his word, as he is an officer of the court,” Carter said. But “at the very least, he should produce a statement from a doctor as to her actual medical diagnosis, mental and physical.”

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Media that dismissed Biden now see him as clear front-runner

Westlake Legal Group media-that-dismissed-biden-now-see-him-as-clear-front-runner Media that dismissed Biden now see him as clear front-runner Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 76c75353-5446-5bed-8977-67f03f23f427
Westlake Legal Group joe-biden-AP Media that dismissed Biden now see him as clear front-runner Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 76c75353-5446-5bed-8977-67f03f23f427

After kicking around Joe Biden for weeks, the pundits are slapping their foreheads in amazement.

Hey, they’re now saying, this guy might be a pretty good bet to win the Democratic primaries after all — and might even beat President Trump.

The race has a long way to go, Biden could easily stumble and one of his rivals could catch fire. But rarely has the media’s conventional wisdom done such a collective about-face so quickly.

All it took was a nice fundraising haul, a good speech, and some rising poll numbers to produce a sharp reversal, all in the space of a few days.

And Biden, in part, has Trump to thank — at least according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who has covered him for years.

BIDEN TAKES AIM AT TRUMP’S DEFENSE OF HIS CHARLOTTESVILLE COMMENTS

By repeatedly criticizing him on Twitter, she said on CNN, the president is “elevating Joe Biden and basically turning this into a one-on-one between himself and Joe Biden 18 months ahead of time.”

The former vice president would love that because he could increasingly ignore his Democratic rivals, especially those in the single digits, and run more of a general election campaign. (This will become harder, of course, once Biden has to debate them and they inevitably ramp up their attacks.)

I wrote last week that the New York-Washington media types who are big on Twitter were underestimating Biden, convinced he was too old, too plodding and not liberal enough for his party. (See “Why the Media Are Convinced Joe Biden Will Implode.”)

STIREWALT: SO FAR, BIDEN PROVES THE SKEPTICS WRONG

My view has always been that the party is more moderately liberal than it appears to left-wing commentators who are drawn to the AOC wing and are enamored of such fresher faces as Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke.

After raising more than $6 million on his first day, Biden surged in a CNN poll. That Democratic primary survey puts him at 39 percent, with Bernie Sanders back at 18 percent, followed by Elizabeth Warren (8 percent), Buttigieg (7 percent), O’Rourke (6 percent) and Kamala Harris (5 percent). (Biden also leads Bernie by 14 in a Morning Consult poll and by 8 in a New Hampshire survey.)

Even discounting for the usual bump that accompanies a candidate’s announcement, Biden seems a much stronger front-runner than the handicappers had believed.

Trump has repeatedly tweeted about Biden, saying: “The Media (Fake News) is pushing Sleepy Joe hard. Funny, I’m only here because of Biden & Obama. They didn’t do the job and now you have Trump, who is getting it done – big time!”

After Biden gave his kickoff speech in Pittsburgh, the president said Pennsylvania is having one of its best economic years in history, with a now-thriving steel industry.

In that speech, Biden declared that the middle class isn’t “feeling” the effects of the GOP tax cuts or the booming stock market. Given that the economy is on a tear, that’s probably about the best he can do.

The ex-veep also played on the divisiveness theme: “Donald Trump is the only president who has decided not to represent the entire country. We need a president who will work for all Americans.”

ALYSSA MILANO FACING BACKLASH AFTER DEFENDING BIDEN AGAINST INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING ALLEGATIONS

National Review, meanwhile, says the notion that Biden is deemed a moderate shows how far left the Democrats and the national press have moved: “A Democratic politician now qualifies as a moderate if he believes that 180 million Americans should not be forcibly removed from private health insurance and put in a government system; that third-trimester abortions should be restricted; and that deportation must continue to be a key part of our immigration regime.” These were mainstream Democratic views when Biden was VP, the magazine says.

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While Biden wants to talk about lunch-bucket issues and divisiveness, the media remain heavily focused on controversies. When he and his wife appeared yesterday on “Good Morning America,” Robin Roberts spent most of the first segment on Anita Hill continuing to criticize Biden’s handling of the Clarence Thomas hearings, as well as the allegations by eight women of unwanted touching.

Both are important issues, but I don’t think the 1991 episode is going to change the primaries, and some black voters are telling reporters that they’re with Biden because he was Barack Obama’s partner. The polls show that most Democratic voters weren’t fazed by the allegations of excessive friendliness.

I still think Biden has to show that he can operate at today’s hyperspeed Twitter pace and defend his long record. But he is clearly showing more strength than most of the pundits predicted.

Westlake Legal Group joe-biden-AP Media that dismissed Biden now see him as clear front-runner Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 76c75353-5446-5bed-8977-67f03f23f427   Westlake Legal Group joe-biden-AP Media that dismissed Biden now see him as clear front-runner Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 76c75353-5446-5bed-8977-67f03f23f427

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Dem 2020 candidate Andrew Yang: Universal basic income will make Americans healthier

Westlake Legal Group dem-2020-candidate-andrew-yang-universal-basic-income-will-make-americans-healthier Dem 2020 candidate Andrew Yang: Universal basic income will make Americans healthier Robert Gearty fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc cbee3e1c-7990-557a-bff2-927e8f2b3ff1 article
Westlake Legal Group Andrew-Yang- Dem 2020 candidate Andrew Yang: Universal basic income will make Americans healthier Robert Gearty fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc cbee3e1c-7990-557a-bff2-927e8f2b3ff1 article

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said Tuesday that the benefit of his $1,000-a-month “Freedom Dividend” will be healthier Americans–physically and mentally.

Yang is running on a universal basic income that proposes giving each adult over 18 a monthly benefit totaling $12,000-a-year. The proposal would cost $1.8 trillion and be paid for with a value-added tax on Amazon transactions, Google searches and robot truck miles.

“There is a lot of data on this and what happens is people mental health improves, stress goes down, relationships improve, their physical health even improves over time,” the 44-year-old entrepreneur and former Obama administration official told “America’s Newsroom.”

2020 CANDIDATE ANDREW YANG DEFENDS $1,000 A MONTH PROGRAM, SLAMS DEMS FOR WANTING TO ABOLISH ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Yang said “we’re already seeing this even on a very, very small scale” with a family he is supporting in New Hampshire.

He said the New Hampshire family that is getting $1,000 a month from him is using the money to pay their daughter’s college tuition.

The giveaway began on Jan. 1 and Yang said he wants to extend it to Iowa, another state that plays a key role during the early presidential primaries.

“What’s fun about his is that when people actually get a thousand bucks a month you see they do very positive things,” he said.

YANG: COMPANIES LIKE AMAZON WILL FUND MY UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME PLAN

Yang was then asked how he, or another Democrat, can beat President Trump next year on the back of strong economic growth and GDP performance in the first few months of 2019.

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“GDP is like a highly flawed indicator of how we’re doing,” he responded. “The GDP is at a record high, meanwhile our life expectancy has declined for three straight years because of an increase in drug overdoses and suicides.”

Westlake Legal Group Andrew-Yang- Dem 2020 candidate Andrew Yang: Universal basic income will make Americans healthier Robert Gearty fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc cbee3e1c-7990-557a-bff2-927e8f2b3ff1 article   Westlake Legal Group Andrew-Yang- Dem 2020 candidate Andrew Yang: Universal basic income will make Americans healthier Robert Gearty fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc cbee3e1c-7990-557a-bff2-927e8f2b3ff1 article

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Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump

Westlake Legal Group democrats-struggling-for-pocketbook-message-as-roaring-economy-helps-trump Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e80a7cce-a568-5ce1-b46a-c8bb6c1ce8fd article
Westlake Legal Group NYSE-Latino-Poll Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e80a7cce-a568-5ce1-b46a-c8bb6c1ce8fd article

The economy is on fire right now, and that, more than anything, could be a major boost to President Trump’s reelection chances.

And the Democrats are having a hard time figuring out how to run against this steamroller at a time of 4 percent unemployment and soaring stocks.

Of course, things could cool off before the election, as many economists predict a sharp slowdown in growth over the next two years.

But for now, the S&P and the Nasdaq just hit all-time highs, and the newly announced rebound in first-quarter growth, to 3.2 percent, trounced the market’s all-important expectations.

I’ve always felt that a president presiding over strong growth is far more likely to win a second term, even if other hot-button issues are dominating the news. The flip side is that strong economic anxieties can derail a reelection campaign, even if the economy is recovering from a recession, as happened when George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992. And the Wall Street meltdown in the fall of 2008 helped put Barack Obama in the White House.

The nettlesome challenge for the Democratic candidates is to avoid appearing that they’re talking down a good economy or getting traction when most people are satisfied with their personal situation. During the 1982 midterms, Democrats privately hoped the jobless rate under Ronald Reagan would top 10 percent, which it did, but couldn’t say so publicly on their way to picking up 27 House seats.

Joe Biden is touted for his ability to connect with white, working-class voters in such industrial states as Michigan and Pennsylvania. But if those workers, except in certain fields, are generally doing well, that clearly undercuts the pitch.

But don’t take my word for it — ask Celinda Lake.

She’s a veteran Democratic pollster who told Politico that “we really don’t have a robust national message right now” on the economy. “We will tend to talk about things like paid leave and equal pay,” which are popular but “don’t add up to an economic message that is robust enough to win the presidency.”

Lake also said that people may not agree with Trump, but they know what his message is. “And Democrats, you don’t know what it is. And that’s a recipe for disaster in 2020.”

Look, many things will be at play in this election: Immigration. Health care. The Mueller report. Terrorism. Race relations. And Trump is underwater with key groups and has a 54 percent disapproval rating in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll.

And even on the economic front, not everything is Rosy Scenario. By the administration’s own projections, we’re looking at federal deficits over $1 trillion for the next four years. That’s what you get when you combine only modest spending restraint with tax cuts, which many Americans feel didn’t help them.

As the Politico piece notes, some Democratic candidates are taking broad swipes at the Trump economy, particularly on the subject of inequality.

Kamala Harris: “We have an economy in this country that is not working for working people.”

Elizabeth Warren: “Let’s make the zillionaires pay a fair share.”

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Beto O’Rourke would undo the “worst excesses” of the GOP tax cuts.

One of the reasons that no economic message is breaking through is that there are 20 Democratic candidates, each vying for a share of the spotlight. That would matter less in hard times, but the Democrats don’t have that luxury.

If “it’s the economy, stupid” is as true today as when James Carville coined it a quarter-century ago, beating Trump will be harder than many Democrats think.

Westlake Legal Group NYSE-Latino-Poll Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e80a7cce-a568-5ce1-b46a-c8bb6c1ce8fd article   Westlake Legal Group NYSE-Latino-Poll Democrats struggling for pocketbook message as roaring economy helps Trump Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e80a7cce-a568-5ce1-b46a-c8bb6c1ce8fd article

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Some female Dem voters question whether woman should face Trump in 2020

Westlake Legal Group some-female-dem-voters-question-whether-woman-should-face-trump-in-2020 Some female Dem voters question whether woman should face Trump in 2020 Frank Miles fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox-news/person/kirsten-gillibrand fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/amy-klobuchar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 04470f35-66f7-5fff-b13c-eaa21e41d688
Westlake Legal Group women-prez-candidates-AP Some female Dem voters question whether woman should face Trump in 2020 Frank Miles fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox-news/person/kirsten-gillibrand fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/amy-klobuchar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 04470f35-66f7-5fff-b13c-eaa21e41d688

Is a woman a shoo-in to win the Democratic nomination and take on President Trump in 2020? Some women in three states that could make or break White House hopes aren’t so sure.

“I want to be for a woman, but it’s just hard when you see a lot of other people not supporting women yet. I feel that America’s just not there yet,” Wendy McVey, a 20-year-old junior at Iowa State University, told The Associated Press. At the moment, the candidate McVey is most interested in is former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke.

ALYSSA MILANO SAYS THE MAGA HAT IS THE NEW WHITE HOOD

Women are among the Democratic Party’s most energized and engaged voters, accounting for more than half the electorate in the 2018 midterms. Democrats sent a historic number of women to Congress last year and have a record number of women running for president, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

But the Oval Office has been elusive and given Democrats’ deep desire to oust Trump, some don’t want to take any chances with their nominee. Some fear a repeat experience of Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss to Trump in 2016. Others cite their own experiences with sexism and discrimination.

“I think a lot of people voted for him because they didn’t want to vote for her,” Katrina Riley, 69, of Summerville, S.C. told AP. “And I don’t want that to happen again.”

“I fear for that with women, that it’s, ‘Well, we had our chance. We had Hillary. Hillary didn’t pan out. Best to just pick another 65-year-old plus white guy who has the best chance of winning,'” said Helen Holden Slottje, a 52-year-old New Hampshire attorney.

According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2018, 76 percent of women said a major reason why there are fewer women in office is that women have to do more to prove themselves. About 60 percent of women said they believe gender discrimination is an obstacle, and 57 percent of women said they didn’t believe Americans were ready to elect a woman to higher office.

Older white men do sit atop most early Democratic polls: former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 77. Two younger white men, O’Rourke and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have become media darlings despite having less political experience than many of the women in the White House race.

“I feel like we ourselves have lived in a country where women’s power and leadership has been so absent,” said Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood. “I think it’s hard even for women to imagine a future of real equity but I think that time has come.”

Jennifer Palmieri, who advised Clinton’s 2016 campaign, urged women to “not be scared of the 2016 phantoms.”

“Women voters who want to support a woman candidate should not overthink this but have courage of their convictions and believe in their power to make a difference,” Palmieri said. “That’s what women did in 2018 and look what happened.”

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, Clinton has said she believes sexism and misogyny contributed to her loss. Some of the women in the 2020 race haven’t shied away from those issues.

“If you ask the question, is there gender bias in America today? Absolutely,” said Gillibrand. “Is there gender bias in every industry? Absolutely. But I think for each of us, we can overcome it.”

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At a Friday event in Tipton, Iowa, Warren told the crowd that when she talks to colleagues in the Senate, they tell her “you’re asking for too much” with her campaign platform.

“Don’t ask for such hard things. Smile more,” she said she’s been told, using language familiar to many women.

The crowd erupted in boos and groans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group women-prez-candidates-AP Some female Dem voters question whether woman should face Trump in 2020 Frank Miles fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox-news/person/kirsten-gillibrand fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/amy-klobuchar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 04470f35-66f7-5fff-b13c-eaa21e41d688   Westlake Legal Group women-prez-candidates-AP Some female Dem voters question whether woman should face Trump in 2020 Frank Miles fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox-news/person/kirsten-gillibrand fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/amy-klobuchar fox news fnc/politics fnc article 04470f35-66f7-5fff-b13c-eaa21e41d688

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