5-3-16 Quick Morning News


Talk Media News

 

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

 

Quick News

  • Trump: “They’re finished”
  • Democrats: Close fight in Indiana
  • Cruz confronts Trump voter: Epic
  • Obama takes SCOTUS fight to GOP
  • Obama to Flint Wed: Drink Water? No plans
  • Religious freedom “under…sustained assault”
  • Kerry: Syria “in many ways out of control”
 
Trump: “They’re Finished” (Politico, NYT, LAT, AP, me)
• Donald Trump is done with these primaries. Campaigning in Carmel, Indiana, on Monday, the day before today’s primary, Trump said, “If we win Indiana it’s over. It’s over. They’re finished. They’re finished. They’re gone.” The RealClearPolitics polling average puts rival Ted Cruz behind Trump by more than 9 percentage points (his most annoying trait? repeating himself)
 
• Of Indiana’s 57 delegates, a full 30 go to the statewide winner. The other 27 are allotted three at a time to the winner of each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. Trump needs only 241 more delegates to guarantee he’ll come to the Republican convention with a majority. He comes into the contest with 996 delegates bound to him on the first ballot (no more Cruzing…)
 
• Cruz hinted at an exit strategy Monday, even as he vowed to compete to the end. “I am in for the distance – as long as we have a viable path to victory,” Cruz told reporters. Like Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio), Cruz is already mathematically eliminated from reaching a delegate majority before the July convention (better known as TrumpFestMania16)
 
• Cruz spent part of the weekend campaigning in California, which votes 7 June, and collected the endorsement of Gov Pete Wilson (R), who warned that Trump would doom the party as its nominee, but Wilson conceded in an interview Monday that to win in California, “the first thing he [Cruz] needs to do is win in Indiana.” (shortest known endorsement in history)
 
• Trump, meanwhile, was moving on to Hillary Clinton. “I’m going to start focusing on Hillary. That’s going to be so easy. It’s going to be so great,” he said in Carmel. Earlier, Trump ate lunch with Ed Klein, the author of books that repeat salacious allegations (lies, actually) against Bill and Hillary Clinton (so guess what that campaign might look like – gutter innuendo, gossip)

 

• Some 84% of voters said Donald Trump will likely win the Republican Party’s nomination, while 85% said Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic Party’s nomination, according to a CNN/ORC national poll released Monday (Politico)
 
Democrats: Close Race in Indiana (NYT, NYT, me)
• Polls suggest that Hillary Clinton is in a close fight for Indiana today with Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). Sanders’s populist message has broken through in several other states in the industrial heartland, including neighboring Michigan, and he could score an upset (Clinton campaign has invested in human-sized Off! to try to deal with Sanders at this point)
 
• Addressing a riled-up crowd in Evansville, Ind, on Monday, Sanders took aim at the “billionaire class,” prompting a supporter to shout out that the superrich should “fu*k off!” Laughing, Sanders replied that he was “constrained” from using such language. “You get to the point very succinctly. I like it.”
 
• Meanwhile Clinton campaigned in coal country – and had her feet held to the fire. In Williamson, WVa, a crowd of protesters held Donald Trump signs and chanted “Go home!” (don’t think she won any votes – but she got some points for playing Twister)

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• Bo Copley, a 39-year-old father who lost his job in the coal industry, raised an issue with Clinton that appeared to be on many people’s minds: a remark she made to CNN in March, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” How could she say that and now say she wanted to help West Virginians? he asked (we’re all ears)
 
• Clinton told Copley that her statement “was totally taken out of context” and explained that she had presented a plan to help coal country last summer and was committed to the issue. “I didn’t mean that we were going to do it,” but rather “that was going to happen if we don’t take action.” (might have meant that – but she’ll never be able to do mop up on aisle three on that one)
 
• But, Clinton added, “I don’t mind anybody being upset or angry,” given the desperation in Appalachia, where she will spend today. (points for masochism) At one point, Sen Joe Manchin (D-WVa) stepped in on Clinton’s behalf: “If I thought she wanted to eliminate one job in West Virginia, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” he told his constituents
 
Cruz Confronts Trump Voter: Epic (NYT, me)
• Ted Cruz was headed to a waiting car in Marion, Ind, Monday. A half-dozen Donald Trump protesters were waiting, exchanging insults with Cruz supporters. Then Cruz did something unusual: He crossed the street. “What do you like about Donald Trump?” he asked a Trump follower (this story needs nooo commentary – but…)
 
• “Everything,” said a man in sunglasses, who later refused to give his name. (can’t imagine why) When the protester mentioned the Second Amendment, Cruz said he had defended gun rights in front of the Supreme Court. The man appeared unimpressed. (if he’d sold Cruz Steaks, well, maybe) Sporadic calls of “Lyin’ Ted” from the crowd
 
• Man: immigration. Cruz: “May I ask you something? Out of all the candidates, name one who had a million-dollar judgment against them for hiring illegal immigrants. Name one. Donald Trump.” Man: “Self-funding.” “OK,” Cruz said, “so you like rich people who buy politicians?” Aaaand so it went on… with more “Lyin’ Ted” shout-outs from the crowd
 
• “Sir, with all respect,” Cruz said, “Donald Trump is deceiving you. He is playing you for a chump.” (win friends with that line?) “If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have come over and talked to you. You know what I would have done? I would have told the folks over there, ‘Go over and punch those guys in the face.’ That’s what Donald does to protesters.” Crowd catcalls of “Lyin’ Ted”
 
• “OK, stop,” Cruz said. “What word did I say that was a lie?” Man: “About Donald telling people to punch people.” (how could he not know? oh! Trump follower) Cruz: “Just go home and Google ‘Donald-punched-in-the-face-protester.’ This is on national television.” Man: “You’ll find out tomorrow. Indiana doesn’t want you.” (likely true, Mr Man)
 
• Cruz turned to the cameras, as if making a closing argument in court. “A question here that everyone should ask,” he began… “Are you Canadian?” the man interjected. “Do you want your kids,” Cruz continued, “repeating the words of Donald Trump?” (asked and answered, counselor)

 

Obama Takes SCOTUS Fight to GOP (Reuters, me)   
• President Obama on Monday conducted interviews with local TV anchors from the home states of seven Republican senators up for reelection in November. Why? He was hammering home the argument that his pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, should be given a hearing and vote by GOP senators (can’t stop, won’t stop pushing it)
 
• “What my argument is: Let the American people see Judge Garland, let him answer questions, let them hear his responses,” Obama told WDAT-TV in Kansas City, Mo, a market that straddles states where Sens Roy Blunt (R-Mo) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan) are up for reelection (efficient)
 
• Republican leaders won’t budge and say that Obama’s successor should fill the vacancy left by Feb’s death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans hope their party wins the presidency and can make the appointment. (only about the direction of the court – everything else we’re told is rubbish) The court is now split 4-4 between conservatives and liberals
 
• Obama told WMUR, Manchester, NH: “I know that folks like Sen [Kelly] Ayotte met with him and the fact that they’re not calling a hearing or vote means they’re not doing their job.” Ayotte is in a tight reelection race. In a separate WMUR interview, Ayotte said, “to have the people weigh in the election in November is important considering we have a 4-4 court.” (2008? 2012?)
 
• Obama also spoke with a TV anchor from Iowa, home to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, who helped lead efforts to block Garland. (polls show it’s hurting him) Obama also spoke with Ohio – Sen Rob Portman has a tight race; Wisconsin – Sen Ron Johnson is running; and Phoenix – home to Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) (tight race also)
 

Obama to Flint Wed: Drink Water? No Plans (Hill, me)

• President Obama is visiting Flint, Mich, on Wednesday, but: “I’m not aware of any photo ops that involve the president’s consumption of the water,” WH spox Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. Lots of pressure on Michigan pols to drink the water to prove that cleanup efforts have been successful in removing lead from the water supply (or watch them choke)
 

• Gov Rick Snyder (R) drinks Flint water on days that he’s in the state. Earnest stressed that the EPA has deemed that properly filtered water in Flint is safe to drink. (is Josh going to chug it on Wednesday if he goes?) Snyder and the WH have sometimes clashed over the response to the Flint water crisis
 

• Monday, Snyder said he has formally asked for a meeting with Obama on Wednesday. He disputed a report that he was too busy to meet with Obama, saying he had said last week that he had a full schedule because he didn’t want to be the one confirming Obama’s trip before it was officially announced by the WH (doesn’t even make sense – he lied to avoid confirming? please)
 

• Earnest said Snyder had been invited to greet Obama on the tarmac but wouldn’t commit to a presidential meeting, saying the schedule is still being put together. “I guess his schedule got a little freed up, huh,” Earnest said of the governor. “We’re obviously pleased that he will now be in Flint on that day.”
 

• Obama is due to receive a briefing on the federal effort to assist in the cleanup and to hear directly (ie earful) from Flint residents about the toll the contamination has had on their health and their lives. Lead leached from old untreated pipes after the city began using Flint River water while under state management. The city has switched back – but the problem isn’t solved

 

Religious Freedom “Under…Sustained Assault” (Hill, WashTimes, me)
• Religious freedom has “been under serious and sustained assault” around the world over the past year, the U.S. govt said Monday. The annual report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom faulted North Korea, Iran and Sudan, but it also criticized Egypt, Cuba and Vietnam, among other countries
 
• The Obama admin made headlines when it officially declared last month that ISIS has carried out genocide against religious and ethnic minority groups under its control. But Monday’s report also criticized the govt of Iraqi PM al Abadi for turning a blind eye to religion-related atrocities carried out by Shiite Muslim militants in the nation
 
• Egypt has failed to prosecute those responsible for sectarian violence in recent years, particularly violence that was carried out against Coptic Christians in 2013. Separately, while improvements have been made in the decades since the Vietnam War, the report says Hanoi continues to control “nearly all religious activities” in the nation
 
• In Iran, religious freedom is “deteriorating,” according to the report. Religious minorities in Iran are subject to arrest, torture and even execution “based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.” Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, the Baha’i community, viewed as heretical, “long has been subject to particularly severe religious freedom violations.”
 
• The report called on the State Dept to add eight nations to its existing list of “countries of particular concern.” Nine are already on the list: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Recommended they stay and add: Egypt, Vietnam, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan and the Central African Republic
 

Kerry: Syria “In Many Ways Out of Control (BBC, me)

• SecState John Kerry said in Geneva Monday the Syrian conflict is “in many ways out of control and deeply disturbing,” as he made a fresh push to salvage a fragile truce. After talks with UN and Arab diplomats, he said progress had been made on a plan to reduce violence in the second city of Aleppo – more work needed, and no guarantee of success (ie prepare to fail)
 

• A cessation of hostilities has reduced fighting in Syria’s civil war but has unraveled in recent days. About 250 people have been killed in Aleppo in the past nine days. Monday, fresh govt air strikes and artillery attacks on rebel-held districts and suburbs of Aleppo left at least three dead, according to activists. Fighting and govt shelling erupted east of Damascus overnight today
 

• Kerry said the goal was to reinforce a broad truce that could withstand further tests. He also promised more ceasefire monitors to track violations “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura is due to travel to Russia today
 

• Kerry spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Both men reiterated calls for all sides to observe the cessation of hostilities, the Russian foreign ministry said. Kerry said he would press rebel groups in Aleppo to separate themselves from the powerful jihadist group, al Nusra front, which is affiliated with al Qaeda
 

• The Syrian govt and Russia have said the Aleppo air strikes are only targeting al Nusra, excluded from the cessation of hostilities. The U.S. and the opposition have dismissed the claim. Also in Geneva, Saudi FM al-Jubeir on Monday called the air strikes “an outrage” and “a crime,” adding that President Assad would either be removed from power through political process or force

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Victoria Jones – Editor

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