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Ohio Gov. John Kasich says those who criticize Boehner ‘ought to look in the mirror’

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Sunday, Sept. 27, and this is what we're watching: 

  • A fifth consecutive poll this week shows a plateau or decline for support for Donald Trump  
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton is still   struggling to put her email issue to rest
  • Kanye West for president? Ben Carson is "certainly willing" to give him a chance.  

Clinton's big donors in California have found all sorts of reasons to be nervous

Hillary Rodham Clinton is back in California to collect a few more checks, and one of the toughest challenges she and her advisors face is convincing the crowd of Hollywood executives and other titans of West Coast industry that they've got the campaign under control.

Lately, it's been tough. Rival Bernie Sanders -- a self-described socialist -- is ahead in New Hampshire. The threat of the charming and formidable Vice President Joe Biden crashing the nominating contest looms. The FBI is investigating Clinton's email server. It has all amounted to a lot of nail-biting and hand-wringing in the cocktail lounges of Beverly Hills and beach houses of Malibu.

"It is something everyone is talking about," said one prolific Clinton fundraiser, who asked to remain unidentified for fear of antagonizing the campaign. "Is she going to lose? What is going on? Is Biden running? Is she in trouble? Why is the campaign doing this or that?"

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I am against the government shutdown. That's not how democracy works.
Jeb Bush discussing the fight to defund Planned Parenthood on "Fox News Sunday"

Fiorina stands by her statements about Planned Parenthood

Carly Fiorina at the CNN Republican presidential debate held on Sept. 16 in Simi Valley, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press) ()

Carly Fiorina at the CNN Republican presidential debate held on Sept. 16 in Simi Valley, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

During the last Republican presidential debate, Carly Fiorina described a secretly recorded video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing medical research that she said showed "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'"

The scene does not appear on the controversial video. But Fiorina, who saw her poll numbers spike after the debate, refused again Sunday to acknowledge that she misspoke.

"That scene absolutely does exist," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Protesters angry at her efforts to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood threw condoms at Fiorina on Saturday while she campaigned at a tailgate party for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fiorina said on NBC that the protesters were "trying to distract the American people from the hideous reality that Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and other body parts."

Her current opposition to using embryos for medical research is a clear shift from the position she took during her unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate race in California.

Then, in a debate with Democrat Barbara Boxer, she endorsed spending federal funds on research using human embryos that otherwise would have been discarded.

"It is when embryos are produced for the purposes of destruction, for the purposes of stem cell research, that I have a great deal of difficulty," Fiorina said.

On Sunday, Fiorina told NBC's Chuck Todd that the issue is "not about being pro-life or pro-choice." Nor is it about birth control or women's health, she added.

"It is about the character of our nation," she said, repeating a line from the last debate. "No one can deny this is happening because it is happening."

Carson talks about that Muslim remark

Ben Carson speaking in New Hampshire in August. (Jim Cole / Associated Press) ()

Ben Carson speaking in New Hampshire in August. (Jim Cole / Associated Press)

Ben Carson is standing by his criticism of Islam.

In an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week," the Republican presidential hopeful was asked if he stands by his opinion that a Muslim should not be president of the United States.

"Well, first of all, you know, what I said is on a transcript and it's there for anybody," he replied.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has never held elected office, challenged ABC's Martha Raddatz -- or anyone else -- to show him an "Islamic text that opposes Sharia," or religious law.

"Right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?"

In a TV interview last week, Carson said he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."

The comments sparked charges that he was anti-Muslim. The Constitution specifically bars a religious test for elected office.

Can we not get together and talk about creating an economy that works for all of us, and not just millionaires and billionaires?
Bernie Sanders on CBS' "Face the Nation"

Kasich: Those who criticize Boehner 'ought to look in the mirror'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a message for conservatives criticizing retiring House Speaker John Boehner: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

"A lot of the people who are doing the complaining and saying, 'Why isn't anything getting done?," maybe they ought to look in the mirror," Kasich said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"What have they accomplished?" asked Kasich, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination. "Are they just speech-makers? Are they just people out there yelling and screaming?"

Kasich said Boehner, who is also from Ohio, is a "great guy."

Kasich pointed to his work with Boehner in Congress during the 1990s "a time," he said, when "we actually got things done." Kasich was the chairman of the House budget committee, and under the Clinton administration, the U.S. ran a surplus.

Asked about candidates from the private sector running in the 2016 election, Kasich said people who want to run the government need to know how it works.

None of the three candidates now leading Republican polls — Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina — has never held elected office.

Kasich argued that he managed to change politics and make reforms by working within the system, not as an outsider.

"Nobody has shaken up the system more than I have," he said.

Ben Carson is willing to give Kanye West a chance as president

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he would be willing to consider an outside fellow like himself someday in a race for the White House: Kanye West.

"Well, I am certainly willing to give him a chance," Carson said Sunday in an interview with ABC's "This Week." "He'll be able to explain things and see if he resonates with the people."

West said last month during MTV's Video Music Awards that he planned on running for president.

"As you probably could've guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president," West said in August.

The rapper also praised Carson in an interview with Vanity Fair, calling him "the most brilliant guy."

Sunday, Carson acknowledged that he had spoken with West over the phone and praised his "business acumen."

Carson is neck and neck with Donald Trump in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, further cementing his ascendancy to the top of the race from fourth place in July.

The retired neurosurgeon said the surge in support reflects the "enormous enthusiasm" he's seen on the road.

"It says a lot for the American people because it means that they're not necessarily listening to the pundits," he told ABC's Martha Raddatz. "And that, I think, is what it's going to take to get us off of this inexorable track toward destruction that we're on."

Clinton says she's done all she can to be 'as transparent as possible' on emails

Hillary Rodham Clinton tried again Sunday to put to rest questions about her use of private email while secretary of State, lamenting the "drip, drip, drip" of revelations about her conduct and framing them as partisan attacks.

Her campaign has struggled to explain her use of a private server to conduct government business in a way that would put the issue to rest. After months of insisting that she did nothing wrong, Clinton eventually apologized, but this week's revelation that the FBI has recovered emails thought to be deleted put the issue in headlines again.

Clinton told Chuck Todd of NBC's "Meet the Press" that she's tried as best she can to answer questions. She said she understands that voters have concerns but hopes they will also consider her vision for the country.

Clinton said she was not involved in her attorneys' review of her server or emails, adding that she "didn't want to be looking over their shoulder."

"But what I have tried to do in explaining this is to provide more transparency and more information than absolutely that I'm aware of who's ever served in the government, and I'm happy to do that because I want these questions to be answered," she told Todd.

The "drip, drip, drip" nature of the investigation makes it difficult to control, she said.

"I can't predict to you what the Republicans will come up with, what kind of, you know, charges or claims they might make," she told Todd. "I have no control over that. I can only do the best I can to try to respond."

Three takeaways from the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll confirms three key facts about the presidential race.

Outsiders rule in the GOP: With Donald Trump and Ben Carson effectively tied for the lead, at 21% and 20%, and Carly Fiorina tied with Sen. Marco Rubio for second place with 11%, more than half of GOP voters are opting for a candidate who has never held elective office.

Trump's support has topped out: This is now the fifth consecutive poll from a major survey organization showing Trump's support flat or slightly down. The previous NBC/WSJ poll in July had his backing at 19%.

Trump may not be in decline, but the heady days of rapid ascent seem over, at least for now.

Vice President Joe Biden would cut heavily into Hillary Rodham Clinton's support if he runs:

But at 17%, Biden is not exactly getting a resounding "run, Joe, run" from Democratic voters.

Biden doesn't affect support for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont much at all -- Sanders gets 35% when Biden's name is included in the poll and 38% when it's not, a difference that is well within the survey's margin of error of 6.1 percentage points.

But Clinton drops from 53% without Biden in the race to 42% with him. That 53% figure is 6 points less than in July, a drop, but not necessarily a huge one given the survey's margin of error. With or without the vice president in the race, Clinton remains a formidable front runner.


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