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Clinton vs. Trump: Inside the first debate
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Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour along the road to the White House. It's Wednesday, Aug. 12, and this is what we're watching:
- A new poll in New Hampshire shows Bernie Sanders ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton , but The Times' Washington bureau chief, David Lauter, cautions against drawing conclusions from it.
- Clinton had a rare unscripted moment in New Hampshire with an ex-convict who's turned his life around, The Times' Michael A. Memoli writes.
- Jeb Bush blamed Clinton for the rise of Islamic State and left George W. Bush out of a major speech on Iraq policy.
- Donald Trump tries to pivot from controversy to policy.
- Sen. Rand Paul and Trump battle online and on television.
- Millennials don't know what Whitewater was - and don't really care much, reports The Times' Colin Diersing.
- Clinton plans to turn over her private email server to the Justice Department.
In Nevada, Jeb Bush rally interrupted by Black Lives Matter demonstrators
A Jeb Bush town hall meeting Wednesday ended on a testy note, as Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with the presidential candidate's supporters after he faced a series of challenging questions.
Bush, responding to a woman's query about the disproportionate number of minorities killed by police and their treatment in the criminal justice system, said there was no question that racism still existed in the United States and that leaders needed to engage in communities that felt disenfranchised. He then turned to his education record as Florida's governor, saying that achievement scores among minority youths rose during his tenure.
“I have a record of empowering people in communities that” were told “they had no chance,” Bush said, ending the town hall. He did not deliver a closing statement, as he typically does, and quickly made his way to an exit, greeting supporters along the way.
Behind him, a few dozen protesters raised their fists and began chanting, “Black Lives Matter!” A few Bush supporters turned toward them and chanted, “All Lives Matter!” and “White Lives Matter!” Two women -- a protester and a Bush supporter -- stood a few feet from the candidate with their middle fingers extended in each other's faces.
In recent weeks, Black Lives Matter protesters have interrupted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
At the start of Wednesday's town hall, two protesters interrupted Bush, began chanting, “Black Lives Matter” and were escorted out of the community center gymnasium where the event was taking place.
Bush's campaign said the candidate met with Black Lives Matter advocates earlier in the day and discussed criminal justice reform and barriers to upward mobility.
At the town hall, Bush also faced questions on immigration policy, and was booed when he said he favored a pathway to legality but not to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally, with the exception of people who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Richard Carreon, 35, of Las Vegas, told the candidate that as a young child he immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines with his family. His adult sister was separated from the family for a decade because of delays in the family reunification system, he said.
Bush responded that he supported family reunification for spouses and minor children, but thought the nation's policy of including adult siblings and adult parents was too broad.
“I was very disappointed,” said Carreon, a retired member of the military and registered Republican.
But he was also frustrated by the protesters' acts, telling several after the event that he thought they were disrespectful.
“We may have our gripes, but there are other ways to deal with them,” he said. “I'm not a fan of the president, but he is the president. I would never do to him what these folks did to Jeb. There are better ways to effect change than yell at a town hall.”
Scene from Iowa State Fair kickoff parade
Clinton campaign urges supporters that 'truth' matters
Under siege for her use of a private email account while secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton is playing defense.
In an effort to quell concern among supporters about the questions surrounding the private email server, her campaign released a nearly 700-word memo Wednesday urging them to understand that "the truth matters."
The correspondence was sent a day after the Democratic presidential candidate announced she would turn over her private email server to the Justice Department. The move by her campaign to go directly to supporters comes as the publicly defiant candidate faced an onslaught of attacks on Wednesday by Republicans.
Clinton has received strong criticism in recent months for her exclusive use of private email while serving as President Obama's top diplomat. Questions have been raised as to whether her use of the server may have breached classified information.
In the memo, Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's campaign communications director, contended that Clinton “didn't send any classified material over email.”
“No information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them,” wrote Palmieri. “She viewed classified materials in hard copy in her office or via other secure means while traveling, not on email.”
This spring, Clinton's personal office said that more than 62,000 messages were sent or received over her four-year tenure at the State Department. Half of those emails were listed as private by her office -- including messages about her daughter's wedding and her mother's death -- and destroyed.
The remaining emails were turned over to the State Department to be reviewed before they were made public. Last month, the inspector general for the intelligence community notified members of Congress and the Justice Department that some of the emails had information that should have been marked and handled as classified.
Clinton has remained steadfast in stressing that she wants all of her emails to become public.
“I want those emails out,” she has repeatedly told reporters.
Republican candidates including Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued statements attacking Clinton after her campaign said she'd turn over the server.
“She cannot be trusted to keep America's secrets or its citizens safe, and therefore cannot be trusted to be commander in chief," Walker said.
A spat between Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continued Wednesday as the two Republican presidential candidates traded jabs online and on television. Trump was on CNN talking about Paul on the same day the senator released a web ad questioning Trump's conservative credentials. Paul looked to engage Trump, the current GOP front-runner, on a few occasions in last week's presidential debate.
Deviating from early voting states, Ted Cruz heads to the South
He's eaten at chicken shacks and barbecue joints, talked about guns and reducing the size of the federal government.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, polling in the middle of the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls, is nearing the end of a weeklong bus tour that's taken him far from the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, across the Deep South and into the Plains states.
Cruz won his Senate seat 2012 with strong tea party support and is looking to tap into that same base in his quest for the Republican nomination.
Cruz and front-runner Donald Trump are vying for a similar pool of far-right and tea party conservatives, and while Trump has gotten plenty of attention from the national media, Cruz has been on the ground doing retail politics.
"Tennessee's role in this is making sure we nominate a real, a genuine, a strong conservative in 2016," he said at a recent stop in the Volunteer State. "That is the only way we win the general election is to stand for principles."
With other stops in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma, Cruz's sights are on March 1. That's when several Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee to name a few) are scheduled to hold GOP primaries in the so-called SEC primary, named after the collegiate sports conference.
That cluster of contests, just a month after the Iowa caucus as the election calendar is laid out now, is forcing candidates to reevaluate which states they travel to in an effort to secure the nomination.
Is Bernie Sanders really ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire?
Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign lost no time Wednesday sending out fundraising emails touting a new poll showing Sanders, the independent socialist from Vermont, ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, where the first primary of the presidential campaign will be held in about six months.
The Sanders camp probably won't celebrate quite so much over the latest poll from Iowa, which shows no significant shift in Clinton's lead.
The poll, by Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald, showed Sanders leading Clinton, 44%-37%, with Vice President Joe Biden taking 9%. But is it real?
Now is a good time to trot out a reminder that can't be repeated too often: Some polls are better than others, but even the best poll isn't right all the time. All surveys are subject to random error. Take enough polls -- and New Hampshire voters get polled a lot -- and some of them will be outliers. That's why it's always best to look at the average of several polls, rather than focusing on any one survey.
There have been at least four publicly released New Hampshire polls conducted since mid-July. The other three showed Sanders gaining ground but Clinton holding a lead of between 4 and 14 percentage points.
The new poll may have caught a sudden surge by Sanders that has pushed him into the lead. Or, perhaps not. For those who don't have a horse in the race, the best course is to wait for the next poll and see if this one turns out to be part of a trend, or a blip.
As for Iowa, which will hold its presidential caucuses a week before New Hampshire's primary, polls by several organizations going back to May have shown Clinton holding somewhere between 50% and 55% of the vote and Sanders gradually consolidating the anti-Clinton vote.
The latest poll, from CNN, showed much the same. Clinton led Sanders 50%-31%, with Biden at 12% and no other candidate above 1%.
2:32 p.m.: This post was updated with the results of the Iowa poll.
With the first debate between Republican presidential hopefuls behind us, one thing is clear: Donald Trump is at the top of the polls. The Morning Consult national survey has Trump leading with 32%, a full 21 points ahead of Jeb Bush, his closest competitor.
To capitalize on that popularity, publisher Thomas Dunne has moved its Trump biography, "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success," up -- again.
This is the second time Thomas Dunne has changed the book's publication date. The biography by journalist Michael D'Antonio was originally slated for publication in January 2016. Earlier this month it was moved to October 2015; on Tuesday, it was announced that the Trump biography will be published Sept. 22.
Read more of this report from The Times' Carolyn Kellog.
In one of the more memorable New Hampshire moments of the campaign, Carl Babbitt captured the spotlight at a Clinton town hall on Tuesday when he told the candidate his story of drug addiction, manslaughter, prison and his struggle to find work.
“I've been out clean and sober for 15 years, and I cannot find a full-time job because every time they run a background check, 'You're a convicted felon,'” he told Clinton. “What would you suggest we do?”
The Times' Mike Memoli was there and has the full story.
Jeb Bush outlined his plans last night for a tougher approach to battling Islamic State in a speech at the Reagan Library. He pegged the rise of the radical Islamist group on President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But he couldn't talk about the roots of the conflict, notes The Times' Cathleen Decker in her analysis this morning. Although Bush has said he believes his brother's decision to invade Iraq was a mistake, he remains tongue-tied when it comes to discussing the ramifications.
"When George Bush goes missing, it only seems to highlight the past in bright neon and beg for some accounting of how the future under Jeb would be better," Decker writes.
The Times' Colin Diersing takes a look at how your age factors into your views on Hillary Rodham Clinton. For the youngest voters, the Clinton scandals of the 90s are barely a hazy memory, he writes.
"Young people, though, are more likely to know of then-White House intern [Monica] Lewinsky as a vague childhood memory and pop-culture fixture -- refracted through Beyonce lyrics, 'Saturday Night Live' skits and Lewinsky's Vanity Fair cover last year -- rather than a trust-shattering national scandal that originated in the Oval Office."
As Donald Trump continues to lead other Republican presidential hopefuls in the polls, his brash and lofty rhetoric often masks a shortcoming of his candidacy: Where are his policy proposals?
The billionaire real estate mogul and former reality TV star makes broad pronouncements but rarely explains how he would accomplish his goals.
How would he combat illegal immigration? Build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, he says -- and force Mexico to pay for it.
“Will a politician be able to do it? Absolutely not,” Trump said Tuesday night on Fox News' “Hannity,” alluding to his business background and skills as a negotiator. “We give them tens of billion dollars a year, they are ripping us left and right.”
The cost of building a wall is “peanuts,” Trump said. He'd squeeze the money out of the Mexican government, possibly by imposing a tariff.
“They need us so badly. We'll charge them a little tariff -- it'll be paid.”
What should be done about that GOP bane, the Affordable Care Act? Repeal it, Trump replies.
And his alternative?
“Healthcare savings accounts, which a lot of people are talking about -- it would cost the country very little, it would cost the country very little. It's an amazing system,” he said on “Hannity.”
Some of his Republican rivals have called for a combination of healthcare savings accounts and greater interstate competition between insurance companies as the best option for replacing Obamacare.
Trump says he will unveil more policy proposals before the Sept. 16 debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.