Will Clinton Meet Expectations In The First Debate?

Election Day is now less than fifty days away, and with national polling reflecting a surge of momentum for Donald Trump, the pressure is squarely on Hillary Clinton to live up to her reputation as a talented debater at a time when millions of undecided voters will be glued to their screens.

For Clinton, high expectations stem from ample experience. Clinton is a career politician who has spent years sharpening her debate reflexes and beefing up on public policy. Donald Trump is new to the format. Aside from the primary debates (which have lower levels of attention focused on them and many more participants), Trump’s lack of formal, political, one-on-one debate experience gives Clinton a significant advantage.

This view is informed in large part due to Clinton’s adroit performances in past debates. Clinton’s been at it since she’s been on the debate team in high school, and she has shined on some of the biggest stages before. In 2008, in the thick of the Democrat primary, Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod admitted Clinton had “a very strong debate performance” against then-Senator Obama. In 2016, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was frustrated by the fact Clinton did not make a single “significant mistake” during the five times they were on stage together. She knows how to debate, and by all accounts, she is a methodical and intense consumer of information in her preparations beforehand.

Just ask her campaign. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon described Clinton’s approach in seeing the debate stage as a “proving ground.” Chief Strategist Joel Benenson echoed Fallon by declaring of Trump, “I don’t think he can go toe to toe with her,” and speculated Clinton “will come out on top.” Not to be outdone, Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell said she held her own on many occasions in 2008 against Obama, who he called “probably the greatest debater in public speaking, in politics, in our lifetime.”

The optimism in the Clinton camp is shared in the media as well, where there is almost unanimous agreement Clinton is an adept debater. Dana BashChris Matthews, and Chris Hayes note how “seasoned”  she is, and more pundits than we can count (including John HeilemannWolf Blitzer, and Mark Shields) laud her talent, experience and debate skills.

Trump hasn’t been running for president for 24 years, he’s spent his career as a successful businessman. Few are expecting the same level of polish from a verbal gunslinger whose rhetorical strength is speaking to the heart – and the gut – of the American people.

Aside from the Super Bowl, the first debate has very high potential to be the most watched television event of the year. With so much riding on this moment and a wealth of experience working in her favor, Hillary Clinton has no excuse not to turn in a near-flawless performance.

We Can’t Afford The Consequences Of A Clinton Presidency

For the 58th time in our nation’s history, Americans will cast their ballots in November for the President of the United States. A presidential election is not just a decision about who will lead our nation right now, but the country we will be in the future.

On both counts, America cannot afford Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Clinton shares President Obama’s misguided belief the economy is in good shape. President Obama has spent years touting a veneer of recovery, but the American people know what Obamanomics has really led to: a shrinking middle class with declining wages, a 50-year low in homeownership, and a swelling global trade deficit of $750 billion.

Yet Hillary Clinton has said President Obama doesn’t “get the credit he deserves,” and merits an “A” for his performance on the economy. That’s a generous grade for a president who has seen 7 million Americans slide into poverty and 11 million Americans newly on food stamps under his watch. President Obama will leave office as the only president in history to never deliver a year of 3% economic growth or more, and with Hillary Clinton praising his failed policies, it’s clear she’s is out of touch with the struggles of many Americans and unable to grasp the solutions needed to get the economy to peak performance.

Clinton is also eager to expand on President Obama’s disastrous ObamaCare agenda. Costs keep escalating for patients and taxpayers, and ObamaCare exchanges have collapsed in multiple states. As the Wall Street Journal has noted, the average deductible for a family of four on a bronze ObamaCare plan is now $11,000, “the equivalent, in the case of routine illness or injury, of not being insured at all.” In a Clinton presidency, consumers will keep paying more for less as ObamaCare continues to tighten its grip on our healthcare system. Clinton claimed credit for laying the groundwork for ObamaCare years ago, and her own personal investment in this failed legislation means she will never abandon it if she is President.

And the disastrous effects of a Clinton presidency would reverberate far beyond our borders.

Clinton is not equipped to lead the fight against radical Islamic terrorism as commander-in-chief. As Secretary of State, she proved her poor judgment by turning Libya into a hotbed for Jihadist activity. Less than three weeks after the horrific San Bernardino shootings, Clinton said “we now finally are where we need to be” on fighting ISIS. With scores dead and wounded in attacks around the globe, Clinton’s unwillingness to change course from President Obama’s futile strategy inspires no confidence that she will be able to stop the terror group, which is now operating in three times as many places around the globe as it was in 2014.

Clinton’s signature “accomplishment” as Secretary of State was the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, which not only does nothing to stop the world’s number one state sponsor of terror from developing a nuclear weapon, but also hands a radical regime $1.7 billion in payments they can spread around to global terror groups. Enabling our enemies is a staple of the Clinton foreign policy record, and the Iran deal is proof positive of more of Clinton’s “leading from behind” mentality which has made the United States and its allies more vulnerable to national security threats.

Lastly, Clinton’s pay-to-play approach to politics has resulted in gross compromises of our national security and diplomatic efforts, and electing her president means the White House will become a new and fertile ground for a pattern of unethical behavior which stretches back decades. While Secretary of State, Clinton’s Foundation took millions from individuals with intimate connections to the governments of countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia. The levels of cash flowing into the Clinton Foundation highlights her greed and conflicts of interest, and covering up these questionable relationships was at the core of Clinton’s motivations for recklessly setting up a secret email server that left classified information exposed to foreign intelligence agencies and hackers. Americans must ask themselves if they should give a promotion to someone who failed so many tests of leadership.

The American people have had enough of failed status quo policies which have left them less hopeful in our country’s future. They have had enough of serially dishonest, corrupt, and self-interested career politicians. If we do not elect Donald Trump president, these will be the inevitable, unaffordable hallmarks of a Clinton presidency.

Hillary Clinton Will Say Anything

Hillary Clinton will say anything. Today she is bringing her campaign of hypocrisy to Virginia, where she is likely to continue her misguided calls to weaken Americans’ Second Amendment rights in the aftermath of the terror attack in Orlando.

The day after the attack, Clinton said, “We need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals.” This is one area where we can all agree.

But if she is serious, her first step must be to walk back her praise of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s controversial restoration of rights for more than 200,000 felons, which included convicted rapists, murderers, and other violent offenders who now have a path toward legally purchasing a firearm.

Commonwealth’s attorneys from both parties have spoken out against this action, which, as The Washington Post reported, covered “some high-profile killers whose crimes shocked their small communities.”

Hillary Clinton likes to have it both ways on just about everything, but she cannot claim to want to keep guns from violent criminals while continuing her support for her friend Terry McAuliffe’s reckless blanket restoration order.

And let’s not forget: the entire reason McAuliffe wanted to flood the voter rolls with newly enfranchised felons was to benefit Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances. But in his haste to create more than 200,000 potential new voters for his longtime friend, violent criminals got the same treatment as a serial bad check writer.

So if Hillary Clinton means what she says about keeping guns out the hands of violent criminals, she must put her political ambitions aside and retract her support for Gov. McAuliffe’s reckless restoration order that could put guns in reach of people found guilty of heinous crimes.

State Department IG Report Exposes Clinton’s Dishonesty

Summer is only just starting. But Hillary Clinton is already feeling the heat.

Hillary Clinton’s hopes that the State Department investigation into her secret email server would come up empty came crashing down last week with the release of a scathing Inspector General’s report that unequivocally stated Clinton “did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

Even the Obama White House won’t go to bat for Clinton, as Press Secretary Josh Earnest punted Tuesday on a chance to defend her non-cooperation with the IG probe. Fox News also reported lawyers for top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills are blocking any questions related to Bryan Pagliano, the IT staffer who set up Clinton’s off the books server – and required immunity from the FBI before talking.

Clinton’s credibility has been torn to shreds, and as her team struggles to spin her obvious breach of the law, her persistent dishonesty has only created a new set of hurdles.

First, the IG report proved Clinton has been lying from the get-go about her secret email server. In March 2015, Clinton said she “provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related,” but the IG report makes clear several work-related emails belonging to Hillary Clinton were apparently never turned over. Clinton told Jake Tapper her private server was “allowed under the rules of the State Department” but in reality, the IG investigation “found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server.” For months, Clinton maintained a willingness to fully comply with the investigation, but the report indicated Clinton declined to be interviewed by the Inspector General. Clinton’s insistence on clearing her name has been exposed as lip service, and her top priority is staying as far away as possible from the investigation.

Even more shameless is the Clinton team still spinning statements they know are lies. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon had the audacity to claim that despite the IG report clearly contradicting numerous of her past claims, it “doesn’t make her statements untruthful.” That level of spin would be laughable were it not for the fact it just shows Clinton’s team is even now still content to keep lying to the American people in the face of rock-solid evidence of her misleading the public.

Secondly, her top aides are also stonewalling on the investigation because of the spider web of lies Clinton and her team have woven. Top aide Cheryl Mills, the IG report shows, was aware of attempts to hack Clinton’s server, defended Clinton’s use of a BlackBerry despite it not meeting minimum security requirements, and sent information now marked classified to private email addresses. Mills also walked out of the FBI interview during its own investigation of the secret server. Nobody can take seriously her staff’s claims to transparency, either: the Office of the Inspector General sent questionnaires to 26 members of Clinton’s staff and got all of 5 responses. Clinton’s aides are as guilty of trying to hide the truth as she is. Apples don’t fall far from the tree in Clinton-world.

Third, the IG report reinforces what everyone knows and dislikes about Hillary Clinton. Her use of a secret email server was clearly for the purpose of keeping her public business away from anyone who might hold her accountable. If America is disappointed in the Obama administration’s failures of transparency, Clinton has already set the tone for the stonewalling that will take place in hers. Whether it is her secret server, the shadiness at Clinton Foundation, or her refusal to release the transcripts of speeches to Wall Street executives, a dishonest, above-the-law mentality is par for the course with all things Clinton. If she can’t be trusted with email, how can she be trusted with the White House?

Hillary Clinton’s dishonesty has caught up with her again. And with the Judicial Watch lawsuit and the FBI investigation still rolling full steam ahead, the worst of Hillary Clinton’s woes over her secret email server may still be yet to come. It’s going to be a long summer for Crooked Hillary.

Anything But A Resounding Iowa Win Is A Loss For Clinton

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Hillary Clinton – a former First Lady, two-term Senator from New York, and Secretary of State – announced her campaign in April of last year, she was the inevitable front-runner and faced token opposition from a cast of nobodies. She was going to amass a massive war chest no one could compete with, put together a 50-state strategy on the ground, and the DNC was going to protect her by holding debates when low viewership was guaranteed. That was then.

Now, Clinton is fighting to hang on against a 74-year old gadfly socialist from Vermont who has managed to keep pace with her fundraising prowess with an army of small donors. As much as 90 percent of the Clinton campaign’s resources are now divided between her Brooklyn campaign headquarters and Iowa, where a loss – or even a narrow win – will send shockwaves through the Democrats’ nominating calendar. Given that Clinton is behind double digits in New Hampshire and there are growing signs of weakness in her so-called ‘southern firewall,’ it’s clear anything but a resounding win in Iowa will be a loss for her campaign.

A prolonged primary against Sanders will only pull Clinton even further to the left and prevent her from laying the groundwork for the general election. That’s a problem Republican candidates don’t have to worry about. The RNC raised more than $105 million in 2015 – a record for an off-year despite not holding the White House – and outraised the DNC by $70 million since 2013. Our massive fundraising advantage has allowed the RNC to build a permanent, data-driven ground game that has been running general election simulations since last year.

The RNC is the only organization right now leveraging an infrastructure which is registering voters, knocking on doors, and recruiting volunteers in all battleground states. Our operation will only continue to grow, with more than 2,000 paid staff and more than 2 million organizers on the ground by election day. Meanwhile, the DNC has been relegated to complete irrelevance on the presidential landscape.

We’ve spent the last four years building relationships with voters all around the country. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said back in October, “You can’t just parachute into a state at the last minute and hope to build a campaign overnight.” But with the Clinton machine bogged down in primary states, that’s the grim reality her camp must now face up to.

So when you add it all up, Hillary Clinton can’t afford to limp across the finish line in Philadelphia – expecially not when Republicans are so well-prepared and her poll numbers are in such bad shape. With so much riding on Iowa, Hillary Clinton can’t afford to lose or squeak by – she needs nothing short of a resounding victory.

Hillary Clinton Has Much To Explain At Second Democrat Debate. Unfortunately, Few Will Hear It

If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and nobody hears it, did it really fall? That question lingers over tomorrow night’s Democrat debate in Des Moines, which was purposely scheduled by the DNC to ensure low viewership to protect Hillary Clinton.

It’s clear she needs protecting. Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are ready to take the gloves off and Hillary Clinton is reeling from new and damaging developments in her growing email scandal. Not only is the FBI expanding its investigation on several fronts, but Clinton still has not had to answer for two newly unearthed non-disclosure agreements that she appears to have violated. New polls show Clinton facing general election headwinds in deep blue Minnesota and Michigan, and a new McClatchy/Marist survey released yesterday found that more than 2-in-3 Americans think her secret email server was either unethical or illegal.

But hosting a debate in Iowa on a Saturday night where the 5th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes football team will continue its march toward a national championship will ensure this debate has little impact on the state of play in the Democrat primary. Even Democrat strategists in Iowa are admitting they’ll be watching the game instead of the debate. Adding to Clinton’s fortunes are her weak sparring partners, who have so far failed to land any meaningful blows.

Democrats who wanted a real contest and exchange of ideas are being shortchanged. This has become a primary in name only, rigged to benefit Hillary Clinton. But the lack of a serious race will only hurt Clinton in the long run. Clinton won’t be tested, and she won’t be forced to defend some of her biggest weaknesses: her untrustworthiness, likeability, and the perception she’s not honest.

At the heart of Clinton’s untrustworthy numbers is her propensity to flip-flop and change positions based on the political winds.  In 2008 it was to run to the right of Obama, in 2015 it’s to run to the left of the self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders.  Hillary Clinton has no core principles or beliefs and it’s a key factor in why she’s not trusted by a majority of the American people.

The RNC will use this debate to target Clinton’s flip-flops to drive home that she’s a dishonest politician who can’t be trusted.   Clinton has switched positions on nearly every key issue there is – she claims she’s evolved but in reality she’s jolted violently to the left.  We’re going to call her out.

The DNC knows all this and wants to shield their frontrunner from scrutiny on national TV.

So while Hillary Clinton coasts towards her coronation, our slate of highly accomplished and qualified candidates will continue to debate the issues in the open – and one of them will emerge battle tested and ready to take on and beat Hillary Clinton.

Dem Debate: On The Ropes, Clinton Has No Choice But To Deliver A Strong Performance

Heading into the first Democrat debate, Hillary Clinton is on the ropes. Down double digits to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire and hanging on by a thread in Iowa, Clinton needs to turn in a strong performance to calm Democrat jitters and send a message to Vice President Biden, who looks increasingly likely to jump into the race. Tonight, anything shy of a homerun performance is unacceptable.

Clinton and her campaign know the stakes. In methodical fashion, she has taken a sharp leftward turn on a slew of issues – from the Trans-Pacific Partnership to Keystone to Wall Street to immigration – bringing her rhetoric and proposals more in line with far-left Democrat primary voters.

In addition to the level of shamelessness only she can bring, Hillary Clinton is an experienced debater who is at her best when her back is against the wall. Bloomberg’s John Heileman, then writing for New York Magazine, noted in 2012 that during the 2008 Democrat primary Barack Obama “lost almost every debate that he debated with Hillary Clinton.”For all of these reasons, signs point to someone who should be the hands down winner. Then again, there is her untested competition to consider, none of whom has ever stood in the spotlight of a presidential debate stage. In contrast, Hillary Clinton debated 26 times during the 2008 nominating contest and clamored for even more.

The Democrats joining Clinton on the debate stage will reinforce why their party hasn’t already deserted her over her seeming lack of conviction and long history of scandal. Tonight she will face off against:

  • Bernie Sanders, a 73-year old socialist from Vermont who is surging in the polls (need we say more?).
  • Martin O’Malley, the failed former governor of Maryland whose signature accomplishment was taxing rain and couldn’t get noticed in an empty room.
  • Lincoln Chafee, a failed former governor of Rhode Island whose signature issue is converting America to the metric system.
  • Jim Webb, a one-term Senator from Virginia who is rumored to still be running for president.
Hillary Clinton should run laps around this field – not just because she can, but because she has to. With her email scandal growing worse by the day she has zero margin for error. If Clinton falters, Democrats will predictably descend into a state of panic. If she emerges relatively unscathed, it will because she abandoned the center. Either way, Hillary Clinton is entering her first debate with some of the worst poll numbers in her more than two-decades in the national political spotlight. And that’s a problem that doesn’t go away in a single night, no matter how good the performance.

Hillary’s Book Tour Reveals Struggling Candidate

Almost $50 million. That’s the amount of free media Hillary Clinton has received so far on her “book tour.” (And not one network has provided time for a Republican response.)

Even so, that $50 million didn’t seem to earn her any new fans. She certainly didn’t buy much good will. In fact, her week in the spotlight exposed her as more defensive and out-of-touch than ever as she struggled to answer for her record and credentials.

“Dead Broke”

First, she told Americans that she and President Clinton were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, a comment that was met by ridicule in the press and raised eyebrows among everyday Americans.

Far from being broke, the Clintons had multiple major sources of income and assets:

  • $200,000 White House salary
  • $10 million for Bill Clinton’s memoir
  • $9.2 million in speaking fees made by Bill Clinton in 2001
  • $8 million book advance for Hillary Clinton’s memoir
  • $1.7 million New York home
  • $2.85 million D.C. home
  • $145,000 Senate salary

Still, she insisted that they “struggled” to pay for houses. Yes, houses. Plural.

Even Rahm Emanuel couldn’t suppress his shock at her tone deafness.

In the real world, the Clintons did just fine, and now they top the list of richest former White House residents.

Fact Check, Please

As her record as Secretary of State was examined, she got defensive. Diane Sawyer called her out for ducking responsibility on Benghazi.

Hillary also insisted that the Taliban 5 are “Not a Threat to the United States.”

In her book and her interviews, she tried to whitewash her mistakes and missteps at State by rewriting history on Benghazi, Russia, Iran, Egypt, Asia, and Syria.

She even got her basic history wrong, calling President Lincoln a former “Senator from Illinois.”

Are the Alarm Bells Going Off?

Democrats are banking on Hillary in 2016 because they have no alternative.

When RNC National Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski asked the DNC’s Mo Elleithee this week to name other Democrats who would make good presidential candidates, all he could do was deflect. He couldn’t name a single person.

That’s why Democrats are so desperate to coronate Hillary as the nominee two years in advance. She’s their only hope, but she’s already letting them down.

As she wades back into the political waters, her popularity is declining. A recent poll found that her favorability rating has fallen 10 points since she was Secretary of State.

Her book tour and continued gaffes and misstatements will only further damage her reputation. She hasn’t generated much more than bad headlines and bad reviews.

Democrat PACs may be “Ready for Hillary,” but it doesn’t look like America is.

P.S. As a sidenote, the next time someone is analyzing Hillary Clinton’s place in the polls, remember that no other candidate in the 2016 presidential race will ever get almost $50 million of free, unchallenged earned media.