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In Chicago, Hillary Clinton meets with mothers of black men killed by police

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Monday, Nov. 2, and this is what we're watching:

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton  traveled to Chicago -- ground zero for  President Obama  -- to  meet with mothers of black men  killed by police. 
  • Rubio nets the endorsement  from Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a well-liked establishment Republican.
  • Jeb Bush insists  his campaign isn't imploding, but he's trying a new message anyway.
  • Marijuana legalization efforts will be on ballots in several states in 2016. How do presidential candidates feel about legalized pot? The Times' Evan Halper and Kurtis Lee explore the marijuana landscape and presidential politics. 
  • Ted Cruz , with his eye on the so-called SEC primary in March , heads to Arkansas to rally supporters. 

Hillary Clinton meets with mothers of black men killed by police

 (Charlie Neibergall /Associated Press)

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Chicago on Monday, where she visited with mothers of several black men killed at the hands of police in recent years.

Clinton visited with the mothers to discuss gun violence and relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

The meeting included Samaria Rice, whose 12-year-old son, Tamir, was killed by Cleveland police last November as he played with a toy gun, and the mother of Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo., teen shot and killed in August 2014 by a police officer. Brown’s death led to weeks of unrest in the St. Louis suburb and amplified a national outcry for police reform.

In recent weeks, Clinton, along with candidates such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have met with representatives from Black Lives Matter -- formed after the 2012 death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin -- to discuss policy platforms and what they would like to see out of 2016 presidential hopefuls. The group has launched “Campaign Zero,” which calls for limiting police use of force and more oversight from civilian review boards of police departments.

Clinton’s meeting with the mothers came on the same day President Obama talked about the need for the next president of the United States to improve race relations.

“One of the things that I've consistently said as president is that I'm the president of all people. I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial injustice,” he told NBC News.

Moreover, Obama talked about disparities in how minorities are treated in the justice system.

“Pretty much up and down the line, what we see is disparities in how white, black, Hispanic suspects are treated, [with] higher arrest rates, tougher sentencing, longer sentences,” he said.

While no official endorsement from groups such as Black Lives Matter is likely to take place, members have vowed to play a role in the 2016 election.

Several candidates, including Clinton and Sanders, have experienced disruptions from demonstrators.

“Until we hear from candidates, beyond just saying, ‘Black lives matter’ -- until we hear them really address how we are continuously cut out of the American democracy, we’re going to continue to shut debates down,” Patrisse Cullors, a Los Angeles-native and founding member of Black Lives Matter, told The Times last summer. “We’re going to continue to call elected officials out.”

When Republicans denounce immigration reform, Hillary Clinton’s campaign pounces

As Republicans remain conflicted by the politics of immigration reform, Democrats are taking every opportunity to remind voters that they are all in.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s recent vow to block any comprehensive immigration overhaul from moving through Congress during the remainder of the Obama presidency created yet another opening.

“With all the Republican candidates for president opposed to President Obama's immigration actions, it is clear the stakes in next year's elections could not be higher,” said a statement from Lorella Praeli, Latino outreach director for the campaign of Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. “It’s time for Republicans to stop putting politics first and do what the majority of the American people want them to do: pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship for those living in the shadows.”

The statement went on: “Hillary’s position is clear: she will protect, expand and renew the executive actions of President Obama and will continue to fight for common sense immigration reform.”

#JebCanFixIt becomes brunt of jokes on Twitter

Jeb Bush has a new campaign slogan and social media is taking note.

On Monday, the former Florida governor launched a reboot of sorts to his Republican presidential campaign, and in recent days began using the slogan "Jeb Can Fix It."

Twitter has taken note and it's backfired some for Bush. Mentions of Florida's 2000 recount and his recent debate performances have been noted.

Below are some of the tweets:

Marco Rubio captures important endorsement from swing state of Colorado

 (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) says he is backing Marco Rubio for president. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) built on his presidential campaign’s recent momentum Monday as he netted the backing of his colleague, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who has deep roots in the swing state.

After a strong debate performance last week, Rubio won increases in donations and the backing of prominent billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer. Now, he’s earned an endorsement from Gardner, who lauded Rubio and called for the need to elect “new leadership to fight for and strengthen the American Dream.”

“We'll have the opportunity to do that again in 2016, when we get to vote for Marco to be our next president,” Gardner said in a statement.

The message of new leadership is at the core of Rubio’s campaign and has come to be seen as an implicit criticism of some of his rivals for the nomination, particularly former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a one-time ally.

Gardner's endorsement for Rubio is critical.

Gardner is a well-liked establishment Republican from a swing state. Moreover, Colorado’s Republican primary falls on March 1, forming a critical mass with several other states that has been nicknamed the SEC Primary, after the college athletic conference. Several of the states whose nominating contests are that day are in the Southeast.

Last year, in a surprising move, Gardner gave up his safe congressional seat to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Gardner won 48% to 46% over Udall in what proved to be a wave for Republicans nationally.

In Colorado, where the electorate is divided among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, Gardner carried a significant number of unaffiliated voters — a mixture that will be key to any Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Jeb Bush's reboot: Reminiscent of the last days of Scott Walker's campaign

 (Steve Pope / Getty Images)

(Steve Pope / Getty Images)

Jeb Bush attempted to reboot his campaign Monday morning with a new book, a new slogan and a new campaign tour. But he pledged he would not bow to critics who want more fundamental changes.

“I am running this campaign on my own terms,” the former Florida governor told an audience in Tampa, Fla. “And let me tell you something: When the dust clears and the delegates are counted, we are going to win this campaign.”

The attempt to reboot amid criticism, with an emphasis on results as a governor, is reminiscent of the latter days of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign. Like Bush, Walker, who dropped out of the race in September, seemed caught off guard by the angry and frustrated mood of the Republican electorate.

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Little known candidate Larry Lessig ends candidacy for Democratic nomination

 (Andy Kropa / Associated Press)

(Andy Kropa / Associated Press)

Larry Lessig, a Harvard law professor whose quest for the Democratic presidential nomination largely went unnoticed, announced Monday that he was dropping out of the race, citing an unfair change to debate rules by the party.

The Democratic National Committee, which is sanctioning the debates, has required candidates to receive at least 1% in three major national polls in the 60 days leading up to the debate in order to get a spot on the stage.

A pair of recent polls showed him hovering at 1%.

However, Lessig said in a video message that the rules were changed last week to require those three polls to come prior to the 60-day mark.

A request for comment from the DNC was not immediately returned.

Democrats will gather in Iowa on Nov. 14 for a debate at Drake University.

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'Jeb can fix it' attempts to relaunch Bush's campaign

In an effort to revamp his foundering campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is embarking on a four-day tour that his campaign has labeled "Jeb can fix it."

Starting with a speech Monday in Tampa, Fla., Bush will seek to prove he's hearing voters' concerns by drawing on his time as governor of the state and his relationships with his former constituents. The stops coincide with the launch of his e-book “Reply All,” which sifts through emails he exchanged with Florida residents while in office.

And after his showing at last week's debate was roundly panned, Bush appears to be retooling his message with an attack on the Obama administration.

This election is not about a set of personalities. It’s about a set of principles. It is about leadership. It is about the right vision to lead America through turbulent waters, after two terms of a divider-in-chief who has sliced and diced the electorate by class, income, grievance and creed.
Bush, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign ahead of his address

The pivot comes after last week's debate in which Bush attacked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, only to see it backfire and spur a new round of speculation about the health of Bush's campaign. Bush's debate performance left supporters and donors questioning his ability to secure the Republican nomination and came on the heels of his consistent drop in polls in recent months.

A new argument for some Republicans: Tolerate dictators

Several top Republican presidential candidates have begun arguing that the United States should embrace, or at least tolerate, old-fashioned dictators — a sharp split from the professed policy of the GOP in the George W. Bush administration.

At a time when voters are anxious about violent extremism, but still queasy about using American troops overseas, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are suggesting that America is sometimes better off leaving strongmen in place to help preserve order abroad, rather than ousting them to try to make their countries more democratic.

Their statements have set off a noisy debate within the GOP between those who advocate acceptance of dictators and those whose views are closer to the neoconservative approach of Bush — including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

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Marijuana will be an issue in 2016 - how do presidential candidates view it?

 (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times)

(Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times)

Politicians have been three steps behind the public on this. The train is already leaving the station. There is huge opportunity. It is going to be on the ballot in swing states.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on marijuana legalization. The Times' Evan Halper and Kurtis Lee explore marijuana and the 2016 landscape.

Read more


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