Wednesday, September 2, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 11:20 AM
n this July 17, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party of Arkansas Reagan Rockefeller dinner in Hot Springs, Ark. Trump faced an avalanche of fresh criticism July 20 for questioning Sen. John McCain's heroism. But he’s getting no pressure at all from the one community that could push a candidate out of the 2016 presidential race: political donors. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Some noteworthy things happened Tuesday in the Republican race for president. Ohio Gov. John Kasich launched his campaign. Jeb Bush unveiled a plan to limit the power of lobbyists. Rand Paul chewed up a copy of the U.S. tax code with a chainsaw.

But if a tree falls in the forest…well, you know the rest of that formulation. All three candidates were Trump’d, as was pretty much everything else political. (credit to Politico for the fun usage of the orange-haired agitator’s name.)

Donald Trump, the reality TV star and real-estate developer, dominated the Internet and the cable channels when he took his feud with fellow candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.,S.C.) to the next level. Graham had said Trump ought to “stop acting like a jackass.” Then Trump berated the senator at a campaign stop in his own state, disclosed Graham’s cell phone number, and urged his audience to call it.

POSTED: Monday, July 20, 2015, 6:23 PM
In this July 17, 2015 photo provided by Emma Nozell, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump poses for a photo with Emma Nozell, left, and her sister Addy Nozell in Laconia, N.H. The teenagers from Merrimack, N.H., are attempting to take photos with every presidential candidate campaigning in the state. (Emma Nozell via AP)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds a 9-percentage-point lead in the Republican caucus contest in Iowa, according to a new poll from New Jersey’s Monmouth University released Monday.

That’s in keeping with a variety of Iowa polls over the past two months for Walker, the union-busting governor of a neighboring state. Perhaps the most noteworthy finding in the survey, though, was the degree to which reality TV star, real-estate developer and self-professed billionaire Donald Trump has surged.

He is in second place in the crowded GOP field, backed by 13 percent of Republican voters who told the Monmouth pollsters they were likely to vote in the Iowa caucus, the first contest in the presidential nominating process, scheduled for Feb. 1.

POSTED: Friday, July 17, 2015, 4:18 PM

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is getting the band back together – for Jeb Bush in 2016.

Some 40 Ridge loyalists gathered for a breakfast meeting Friday at the Union League in Philadelphia to discuss how to build fundraising and political momentum for Bush, the former governor of Florida, in the Keystone State.

“It was like a reunion, everywhere I looked around the room,” said Ridge, 69, the founder and CEO of a security consulting firm in Washington. He served as governor from 1993 to 2001, when he joined the George W. Bush administration after the September 11 attacks as the first presidential adviser on homeland security, and later became the first secretary of the Homeland Security department.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 9:34 AM

At the NAACP conference in Philadelphia Tuesday, President Obama will make the case for changes to the criminal justice system to eliminate racial disparities in sentencing and unduly harsh mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders, White House officials said.

Obama also will argue that such an approach will leave more resources to address violent crime and that second chances are an integral part of the American ideal.

Obama’s 28th visit to Pennsylvania as president comes the day after he commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders serving long federal sentences, thus doubling the number of nonviolent criminals granted clemency during his administration.



POSTED: Monday, July 13, 2015, 4:08 PM
President Obama will appear at a $33,000-a-ticket event at the Rittenhouse Hotel Tuesday while he is in Philadelphia for a speech to the national conference of the NAACP. (Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

President Obama is scheduled to raise money for the Democratic National Committee in an exclusive event at the Rittenhouse Hotel Tuesday while he is in Philadelphia for a speech to the national conference of the NAACP.

Power lawyer Steve Cozen, a longtime donor to DNC and other Democratic causes, is hosting the $33,000-a-ticket event. At least 15 people are expected to attend.

The fundraiser is unrelated to Philadelphia’s hosting of the 2016 Democratic presidential nominating convention, though Cozen said many big party givers who plan to attend the reception are grateful the city was chosen.

POSTED: Monday, July 13, 2015, 12:39 PM

Republicans have enacted restrictive voting policies across the nation that amount to “voter suppression” aimed at minority communities, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the NAACP national convention in Philadelphia on Monday.

She urged the civil-rights organization to keep fighting against limits on early voting and requirements that voters bring photo ID to the polls, which she said disproportionately harm women, young voters and people of color.

“It is not a secret that the election of president Obama prompted a backlash against the electoral coalition that put him in office,” Wasserman Schultz said. She mentioned Bloody Sunday, the 1965 day that marchers for voting rights were beaten in Selma, Ala., violence that shocked the nation and helped build support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

POSTED: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 11:01 PM

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the backing of the American Federation of Teachers Saturday, the first major labor union endorsement in the 2016 presidential race.

The national union’s 36-member executive council voted overwhelmingly to support Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Among them was Ted Kirsch, of Philadelphia, president of the Pennsylvania state AFT.

“You can raise a million issues with her (Clinton) – and the Republicans will – but you have to look at the big picture,” Kirsch said in an interview. “She is on the right side of all these issues that are important to a strong middle class.”

POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2015, 6:06 PM
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at Christ the King United Church of Christ, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, in Florissant, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Inquirer colleague Chris Brennan reports:

 Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is postponing a fundraising trip to Philadelphia Friday so she can attend the funeral in Charleston, S.C. for state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor gunned down with eight others at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week.

David L. Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast, was set to host the Clinton fundraiser with his wife Rhonda at their West Mount Airy home.

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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