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This is your campaign trail guide for Wednesday, July 15, a catch-up and assess moment after a busy couple of days on the trail. Here's what we’re watching:
- Donald Trump reported a net worth of nearly $10 billion and $362 million in income last year, according to his campaign.
- President Obama made his case for the new nuclear agreement with Iran at a White House news conference this afternoon.
- Scott Walker is clarifying his comments on gay Boy Scout troop leaders.
- Jeb Bush plans to name individuals bundling donations for his campaign
- Two GOP rivals will huddle privately Wednesday, the Washington Post reports . Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, were slated to meet at -- where else? -- Trump Tower in New York.
- Candidates must file their second quarter financial disclosure forms.
With a $46-million haul, Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared likely to outpace her presidential rivals in the early race to fund their 2016 campaigns, though the Democratic front-runner has burned through a large portion of her contributions at this nascent stage of the race.
While Clinton raised a massive sum, her campaign also spent nearly $18 million, ending the fundraising quarter with about $28 million in cash on hand.
Aides to Clinton said Wednesday much of that money was spent on purchasing voter lists in early primary states and other technology infrastructure.
Bush to name big donors
Jeb Bush's campaign says he'll voluntarily name the individuals bundling donations, a step beyond what's required by law. Bush's move matches the disclosures promised by Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, the Washington Post reports , and puts pressure on his GOP rivals to do the same. Federal law only requires candidates to bundlers if they are registered lobbyists.
Bush spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger emailed this comment:
“This display of transparency is consistent with the high level of disclosure he has practiced during his life in public office and, frankly, should be expected from public servants."
Donald Trump has announced -- yet again -- that he's a very rich man.
This time, however, he released hard numbers to back up his boast.
His net worth is near $10 billion and he earned $362 million last year, Trump's presidential campaign said Wednesday in a financial disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Trump’s campaign managed to both brag and complain about the process of filling out the FEC report.
“This report was not designed for a man of Mr. Trump's massive wealth,” said his campaign in a statement.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, the FEC had not made the disclosure public, so a detailed look and his assets was not available for independent viewing.
In the statement from his campaign, Trump was paid $213,606,575 during the 14 seasons of he starred on NBC'S “The Apprentice.”
Since his inflammatory remarks last month on the campaign trail in which he labeled Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug runners, Trump has lost several business deals with companies such as Macy's and NBCUniversal.
“First people said I would never run, and I did. Then, they said, I would never file my statement of candidacy with the FEC, and I did,” Trump said in a statement. “Next, they said I would never file my personal financial disclosure forms. I filed them early despite the fact that I am allowed two 45 days extensions.”
In 2012 -- as in several subsequent years -- Trump expressed interest in running for president, but opted against a bid. Many critics say his past decisions to not run stems primarily from him having to disclose his finances. Trump has long boasted about his excess wealth, though outside estimators have listed it much lower than he’s projected.
Forbes, for example, estimates his net worth at $4.1 billion.
The debate debate continues. Early-state politicos -- and their hometown newspapers -- are annoyed by national politicos -- and their television networks -- when it comes to reining in the chaos that can be a presidential debate. (See: Any of the 20 GOP forums and debates of the 2012 election.)
Fox News, with backing from the Republican National Committee, plans to allow just 10 candidates on stage for what was to be the first GOP debate on Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland.
But that plan has meant fewer candidates going to debates and forums in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. That means less national attention for those states, their voters and their political classes.
Now three early-state newspapers are bucking the plan, the Associated Press reports.
"The New Hampshire Union Leader plans to host a candidate forum Aug. 3 at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, in partnership with The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, and The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The event will be live on C-SPAN as well as TV stations in Iowa and South Carolina and a New Hampshire radio station.
All 15 candidates now in the Republican pack have been invited to participate and about half have committed so far."
Walker tries to clean up comments on gay Boy Scout leaders
Lexington, S.C. -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who said he believed gay people should be barred from leading Boy Scout troops in order to protect children, tried to clean up his comments Wednesday by suggesting he only wanted scouts to be protected from media controversy.
In an interview with the Independent Journal Review published Tuesday, Walker said he supported the ban. He noted, as he often does on the stump, his own history with the group.
“I was an Eagle Scout, my kids have been involved, Tonette (Walker) was a den mother,” he said. “I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”
The Boy Scouts of America executive committee voted last week to end a policy that bans gay adults from serving as leaders. Final approval of a new policy -- which would allow individual troops to vote on whether to allow gay leaders and would allow “religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own” -- is expected later this month.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Walker downplayed his comment and said he did not intend to suggest that the ban on gay leaders provided “phyiscal protection” for scouts.
“It's up to the Boy Scouts,” he told reporters on his first trip to South Carolina since launching his bid for the GOP nomination for president. “All I pointed out was the policy was perfectly fine when I was there and I thought they should be protected from all the political and media controversy about it. There's nothing more to it than that. It's their decision.”
Pressed by reporters, he added the previous policy “protected them from being involved in the very thing you're talking about right now ¿ the political and media discussion about it instead of just focusing on what Scouts is about, which is about camping and citizenship and things of that nature.”
Draft Biden 2016, a national group unaffiliated with the vice president, announced Wednesday multiple state chapters.
For months, the group has rallied supporters of Joe Biden, should he decide to make a presidential run.
In California, Linnie Frank Bailey, a former organizer for the then-Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, will spearhead the state effort.
Recently, questions have surfaced about Biden nearing a decision on a possible run in 2016. A decision will likely be made by September.
The May death of his son, Beau, has caused pause for Biden as he focuses on his family in their time of mourning.
According to the Wall Street Journal, prior to Beau's death he urged his father to make another White House run, following failed attempts in 2008 and 1988.
Should he enter the race, Biden faces a tough primary test to compete with former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is sitting on a war chest of nearly $45 million.
-- Kurtis Lee
Hillary Rodham Clinton has traveled through early voting states this summer touting an immigration proposal that calls for a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.
On Wednesday, she released an online video promoting that message.
In the video titled Sueños, which in English translates to “Dreams,” several young people brought to the country illegally as children tell stories of wanting citizenship in a country they call home. The Democratic presidential frontrunner has not only called for a legal pathway to citizenship for these so-called DREAMERs, she has also called for a pathway for adults.
Clinton's early proposal has revealed a stark split between her opponents on the Republican side.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he supports comprehensive immigration and a path to “legal status” for immigrants in the country illegally. However, more hard-line Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and real-estate mogul Donald Trump, have stressed the need to first secure the border before discussing any sort of legal status for immigrants.
-- Kurtis Lee
Obama's case for Iran deal in three tweets
Webb among Iran deal skeptics
Few Democrats are openly expressing their doubts about Obama's new nuclear pact with Iran, but Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb is one of them. Here's Webb on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" this morning:
"At this point I would be very skeptical if I were still in the Senate," Webb said. "As I am reading through the documents I say to myself, 'What does Iran get of this?' They get a lot out of this. They get immediate lifting of sanctions. After a period of about ten years they are going to be able to say that they can move forward with a nuclear weapons policy with our acceptance."
Webb is, for now, an outlier. For the most part, Democrats expressed public support for the deal Tuesday, even if they added some qualifiers or expressions of caution. (The first clause in Hillary Rodham Clinton's statement was "I am still studying the details...")
Webb is probably less of an outlier in his complaints about the negotiation process. Lawmakers, and former lawmakers, like to be consulted.
"This should have been a congressional process, not simply a vote of approval or disapproval at the end of it," he said Wednesday. "Rather than an executive agreement, this should have been debated openly in front of the Congress."
Walker going hard after the Harley vote
The Times' Noah Bierman is on the trail with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as he rides with South Carolina on his campaign launch tour. Walker isn't being subtle about his micro-targeting strategy. Harley riders, you are in his sights.
A low-tech lefty discovers the power of political tech
Sen. Bernie Sanders recently overtook Hillary Rodham Clinton in the number of people plugging his name into the search engine, Evan Halper writes, in this look at how the old-school politician is learning to use technology.