Clinton talks to Latino officials, Obama eyes trade vote, Candidates react to church shooting
Good morning and welcome to Thursday on the trail, where immigration politics are likely to take center stage after hovering in the wings all week. Hillary Clinton is set to address Latino lawmakers gathered on the Last Vegas Strip for a meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. The speech will serve as a counterpoint to Jeb Bush’s campaign announcement earlier this week, which was laden with nods to Latino culture and the candidate’s multicultural family, but light on the issue that has pushed many Latino voters away from the GOP. Bush is still threading the needle on a subject that divides his party. Clinton is unlikely to make it easy.
Here’s what else were watching:
_ Bush quickly canceled plans to campaign in Charleston after news of the shooting at a historically black church. A spokeswoman offered the governor's "thoughts and prayers" to the victims' families. Other campaign are likely to comment on the shooting at events on Thursday.
_ Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are set to address conservative activists meeting in Washington for a conference of Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition.
_ President Obama is headed Los Angeles to raise money for Democrats, even as they make his life difficult. The House vote on trade is likely to see scores of Democrats break with Obama for a second time in two weeks.
Clinton calls for action on gun violence
From little children to church members to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?
@Evanhalper has a smart look at Republicans' continued trouble catching up to Democrats on data collection. Among the great nuggets, is this ideological explanation for why it's been so hard for the GOP.
The honest truth is Democrats are ahead of Republicans because of their fundamental belief in the collective. This is very much a clash of ideologies playing out through campaign tactics.”
Vincent Harris, digital director Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's reelection bid
Democrats can't go to Las Vegas without paying respects to the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. Clinton and Obama duked it out for the group's endorsement eight years ago. Clinton lost it and then, much to the union's chagrin, managed to beat Obama on caucus day anyway. The housekeepers and cooks that make up much of the union's membership broke ranks. Looks like Clinton is making amends with union leadership.
The candidates are in with their statements expressing grief and condolences to the families of those killed in the Charleston shooting.
Most of the candidates left it at that. Better to say not much, than risk a misstep on a such a major tragedy.
A few candidates, however, went further and tried to put the shooting in some larger political or social context.
Mike Huckabee said the attack was a particular affront to Christians.
"All Americans join in the condemnation of this act, but for Christians, such horror is especially painful because a holy place for peace and prayer has been infected and desecrated by demonic violence," he said in a statement.
Speaking to an audience of religious conservatives in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul tied the shooting into a discussion about Americans dependence on government.
"What kind of person goes in a church and shoots nine people?" he asked. "There's a sickness in our country, there's something terribly wrong. But it isn't going to be fixed by your government. It's people straying away. It's people not understanding where salvation comes from. I think if we understand that, we'll have better expectations of what to expect from government."
Sen. Ted Cruz followed Paul at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference and asked for a moment of silence.
Marco Rubio, speaking at the same meeting, made no mention of the shooting in his remarks.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, who was just leaving Charleston at the time of the shooting, sent out a tweet.
House vote shines light on lame-duck Obama
President Obama pulled out a win in his push to advance his legacy-making trade deal. But Thursday's House vote wasn't exactly cause for celebration for the president.
The House approval of key fast-track authority legislation was largely thanks to the votes of the Republicans that have infuriated Obama for years. His own party will have all-but abandoned the lame-duck president ¿ now for a second-time in two weeks.
It's not surprising that trade is the issue, some might say final straw, that peels many Democrats away from Obama. Massive trade deals like the one Obama is pushing in Asia and in Europe have long split Democrats and would have been difficult under most circumstances.
It doesn't help that the president's relationship with the party's left flank has long been rocky, and at times held together only by the loyalty of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi could not be brought onboard this time.
Obama isn't helped by his timing. After delayed negotiations with Japan and others parties in the proposed deal, Obama is now asking for help and appealing for solidarity just are many lawmakers are turning their full attention to the campaign year ahead. For many, the prospect of antagonizing their labor backers seems far more potent than prospect of angering a president who often notes he's in the “fourth quarter” of the game.
The only other politician as tortured by the trade fight is Hillary Clinton, who in the end made the same calculation as her fellow Democrats in the House. After resisting expressing outright support or opposition for the deal for weeks, Clinton came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying it needs more protections for workers.
Politically, Clinton may have felt had little choice. Endorsing the agreement, as she when she served as Obama secretary of state, would have made her the target of more liberal opponents, just as she's set out to solidify her party's progressive base.
Both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose support has been rising in once-safe Clinton territory of New Hampshire, blasts the deal as “another corporate-backed agreement that is the latest in a series of failed trade policies.”
The White House and its allies expressed some annoyance at Clinton's comments, but there's little to be done. Obama was still scrambling to lock down votes on Wednesday night when he appealed to lawmakers at the annual congressional picnic. After years of using the event to pitch bipartisanship, this year Obama seemed to be aiming his outreach at his own party.
“Obviously democracy can be contentious,” he said. “There are times when people have deep, principled disagreements. But I hope that events like today remind us that ultimately we're all on the same team. And that's the American team.”