Trump national political director ‘steps back’ from campaign

Jim Murphy, Donald Trump’s national political director, is no longer playing an active role on the campaign, according to three sources briefed on the move – a troubling development for the Republican nominee coming just 19 days before the election.

"I have not resigned but for personal reasons have had to take a step back from the campaign," Murphy said in a statement to POLITICO. He did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure.

Several Trump aides said that Murphy has been conspicuously absent in recent days as the campaign mobilizes for the final push.

Since joining the Trump campaign in June, Murphy, a longtime party operative, has played a key role in setting up field programs in battleground states. He has emerged as a central point person between top Trump campaign officials and the Republican National Committee. Murphy also helped to oversee floor operations at the Republican National Continue reading “Trump national political director ‘steps back’ from campaign”

Michelle Obama makes play for Arizona

PHOENIX — First lady Michelle Obama didn’t even need to say the word “Arizona” for the first 20 minutes of her rally here on Thursday to send shock waves across the state.

The very presence of the Democrats’ most coveted surrogate in the traditionally deep-red state was enough to send the message that Hillary Clinton is taking it seriously, and Obama’s appeal to local Democrats just hours after the final debate was designed to make the stakes clear.

“We have a candidate whose vision for our country is completely and utterly lacking in hope, a candidate who tells us our country is desperate and weak, that our communities are in chaos, that our fellow citizens are a threat,” she told the crowd of 7,000, yet again ripping into Donald Trump without using his name once. “To him, most of America is ‘them.’"

What’s more, she warned, Trump’s insistence that Continue reading “Michelle Obama makes play for Arizona”

Bernie’s beef with Big Soda

Bernie Sanders has unwittingly become one of Big Soda’s biggest allies in its war against soft drink taxes on the ballot in four U.S. cities this November — and he’s not happy about it.

The Democratic socialist firebrand is demanding that the American Beverage Association, a powerful trade group representing Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, stop using his likeness in the tens of millions of dollars of anti-soda tax ads flooding television and mailboxes across the Bay Area, where San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif. all have tax measures on the ballot.

“Advertising from the American Beverage Association that implies that I oppose ballot items in San Francisco and Oakland that would place a tax on drinks with sugar are false,” Sanders said today in a statement to POLITICO.

For weeks, the beverage industry has been capitalizing on Sanders’ public opposition to a soda tax in Philadelphia — a position he Continue reading “Bernie’s beef with Big Soda”

Michelle Obama to Trump: ‘You do not keep American democracy in suspense’

First lady Michelle Obama came out swinging against Donald Trump on Thursday after the Republican presidential nominee said during the final debate that he will keep the country “in suspense” over whether he will contest the election results if he loses to Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.

“When a presidential candidate threatens to ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election, he is threatening the very idea of America itself,” Obama said during a campaign rally in Phoenix. “We cannot stand for that. You do not keep American democracy in suspense.”

The first lady’s comments came hours after Trump doubled down on his assertion that he may not concede the election if he is defeated. During a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump told a crowd that he “will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.”

He later said Continue reading “Michelle Obama to Trump: ‘You do not keep American democracy in suspense’”

Will Ryan and McConnell concede for Trump?

Donald Trump’s refusal to say he’ll accept a loss on Election Day has raised a jarring possibility: that Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell, the nation’s top two elected Republicans, will have to do it for him.

Just don’t expect the House speaker or Senate majority leader to step in before they absolutely have to.

The continued silence from Ryan and McConnell in the face of Trump’s stunning pronouncement at the final presidential debate Wednesday speaks volumes about the leaders’ immediate strategy: Avoid Trump and his erratic rhetoric at all costs, and do whatever they can to protect their candidates from having to respond to the nominee.

But if Trump actually refuses to concede a loss on Nov. 8, it will be hard, if not impossible, for Ryan and McConnell to maintain that stance.

"I think it’ll be a huge problem then. I think both the speaker and Mitch McConnell would Continue reading “Will Ryan and McConnell concede for Trump?”

Down Goes Donald! The New Yorker Depicts Clinton’s Legendary Knockout

On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head to head for a third and final debate prior to the Nov. 8 presidential election.

If the Democratic nominee was Muhammad Ali, her Republican opponent was Sonny Liston.

The result: a legendary knockout for Clinton.

The outcome was depicted in a cartoon The New Yorker published Thursday morning. In it, artist Benjamin Schwartz recreates the iconic photo taken during the May 25, 1965, heavyweight boxing title rematch between Liston and Ali, who in 1964 changed his name from Cassius Clay.

Instead of Ali, it is Clinton who towers over her opponent, an angry, taunting look across her face. Trump lies on his back, defeated.

The cartoon has no caption ― no words are needed. But had there been one, it might have echoed the words spoken by the announcer of that 1965 heavyweight title: “A knock down, ladies and Continue reading “Down Goes Donald! The New Yorker Depicts Clinton’s Legendary Knockout”

Obama says Trump’s rigged election talk is ‘not a joking matter’