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Progressives draft staff blacklist for Clinton administration

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Still bruised by what they see as Barack Obama’s betrayals and anxious that Hillary Clinton isn’t really one of them, progressives are preparing to move hard and quickly to force her hand if she wins the White House. To start, progressive operatives say they’ve targeted two potential Clinton appointments—Tom Nides as chief of staff and Lael Brainard as Treasury secretary or trade representative—to lay down early markers against Clinton. Pick…

Clinton’s secrecy rankles Democrats

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It’s not her health that’s worrying Democrats. It’s her secrecy. Hillary Clinton went dark on Monday, a day after collapsing on a New York City street and only belatedly disclosing a pneumonia diagnosis that she learned of two days earlier. She was finally heeding her doctor’s prescription of rest, she said. And while her surrogates hit the airwaves promising the imminent release of more information about Clinton’s medical records to…

Cheney on Obama: ‘No American president has done more to weaken the US’

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According to former vice president Dick Cheney, Obama has been successful at one thing during his tenure as president, and that is doing more than any president who came before him to “aid America’s adversaries.” He also accused Obama of “hobbling our defenses” against Islamic terrorist groups. His comments were made in a brutal Wall Street Journal op-ed that Cheney wrote alongside his daughter Liz. Cheney said that the policies…

Has Trump hit his ceiling?

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Donald Trump has run head-first into an electoral wall. In poll after poll, Trump isn’t even close to winning a majority of the vote. While he’s narrowed the gap between his campaign and Hillary Clinton in recent weeks, in the past 21 national polls conducted using conventional phone or internet methodologies over the last five weeks, Trump’s high-water mark in a head-to-head matchup with Clinton is 44 percent. And when…

Pentagon: ‘Play hardball’ against Ryan plan

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The Pentagon has crafted a secret plan to play “hardball” against House Speaker Paul Ryan’s defense spending proposal, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO that calls for pitting the House and Senate against each other, capitalizing on the “discomfort” of one key Republican lawmaker and finding ways to undermine the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The five-page strategy blueprint also suggests possibly enlisting top military brass to…

For Warren and her allies, a fight over Clinton’s hires

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her allies aren’t waiting for Election Day: Months before the votes have been counted, they’re already exerting pressure on Hillary Clinton’s transition team over key hiring decisions. Warren’s coalition is developing a hit list of the types of people they’ll oppose — what one source called “hell no” appointments — in a Clinton administration. They’re vowing to fight nominees with ties to big banks, and warn…

Hillary Clinton, rarely seen, rarely heard

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Hillary Clinton has never felt comfortable with the traveling political press. As first lady, she would sometimes arrange travel for herself and Chelsea separate from her husband, partly to avoid the protective pool of reporters assigned to the president. In 2008, she “fought tooth and nail,” former aides said, to avoid sharing the plane with her press corps and relented only when her campaign was running out of money and…

Charlie Crist’s last shot at redemption

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Charlie Crist just can’t help himself. If there’s an election — he’s not especially picky about the race, whether it’s for governor, the Senate or the House, or the party, Republican, Democrat or independent, he’s tried them all — his name will be on the ballot. The former governor of Florida, Crist has been perpetually running for one office or another for the past 25 years….

5 numbers that mattered this week

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Continuing our POLITICO feature, where we dig into the latest polls and loop in other data streams to tell the story of the 2016 campaign. Here are five numbers that mattered this week. It took an entire week, but Trump is launching TV ads in five new states on Saturday, adding to the core four states where he began advertising last month, plus Michigan, which was a late entrant onto…

What Republicans Really Have to Do to Win Over Black Voters

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I have an aunt, now in her 70s, who announced to the entire family during a holiday dinner that she would “slap the shit out of” anyone who voted Republican. The level of distrust between black voters and the GOP is that deep, maybe deeper than that between communities of color and the police. No one interested in bridging this divide should pretend otherwise. A few timely ads or going…

Sources: GOP leaders plan to reprimand Democrats over guns sit-in

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House Republicans are preparing to reprimand Democratic lawmakers for their controversial “sit-in” protest over gun control, sources told POLITICO. The exact language is still in flux, and multiple sources said discussions are ongoing. But Speaker Paul Ryan’s office and other leadership staff have been researching ways they can punish Democrats for their controversial occupation of the House floor to protest the chamber’s lack of response to the Orlando, Florida shooting…

Clinton told FBI she relied on others’ judgment on classified material

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Hillary Clinton never received training on how to handle classified information. By her own admission, she had little ability to discern whether a document included sensitive information. And when she did handle sensitive materials, she relied on her subordinates to ensure that nothing important was compromised. Taken together, her responses to questions from FBI investigators reveal a high-level government executive who apparently had little grasp of the nuances and complexities…

Inside Trump Tower: Facing grim reality

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The plan to get to 270 electoral votes remains unclear. The battleground state deployment plan is a work in progress. Money from big donors is slowing to a trickle. And aides are confused about who’s calling the shots. Donald Trump’s campaign is teetering, threatening to collapse under the weight of a candidate whose personality outweighs his political skill. And now, with 22 days until the start of early voting, the…

GOP insiders: Trump’s trip was a hit

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Republicans judged Donald Trump’s immigration play Wednesday — which consisted of dual visits to Mexico City and Phoenix — as a success for his presidential campaign. Two-thirds of GOP members of The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, operatives and strategists in 11 key battleground states — rated the Republican nominee’s meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, followed by an evening rally in Phoenix in which he reiterated his…

Real Trumpettes of Bel Air

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BEL AIR, Calif. — Past a pair of Rolls-Royces parked in the driveway and a bodyguard who answers the door, the first thing you encounter upon entering Toni Holt Kramer’s house is a picture of Donald Trump. This Hollywood reporter turned bicoastal socialite is the founder of “Trumpettes USA,” a group of mostly high-society female friends and admirers of the GOP nominee — including Gennifer Flowers, of Bill Clinton sex…