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Serve and Volley: Team Hillary says Donna Brazile is a Russian stooge; Brazile says ‘I am not going to be your whipping girl!’

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One year after the Democrats lost the White House to President Donald J. Trump, they are still grappling with “What Happened.”

Thursday, Donna Brazile, who was the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee for the last four months of the campaign posted some of her recollections about the campaign on her blog and in Politico.

The post was based on the narrative Brazile developed for her book Hacks: The inside story of the break-ins and breakdowns that put Donald Trump in the White House.

In her recollection, Brazile said soon after taking over from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.) in last week of July, as emails leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee exposed the congresswoman and her team as favoring former first lady Hillary R. Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.) in the fight for the Democratic nomination for president, she learned that the DNC was broke.

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I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising. I would not be that kind of chair, even if I was only an interim chair. Did they think I would just be a surrogate for them, get on the road and rouse up the crowds? I was going to manage this party the best I could and try to make it better, even if Brooklyn did not like this. It would be weeks before I would fully understand the financial shenanigans that were keeping the party on life support.

The financial shenanigans included fundraising arrangements that allowed “Brooklyn,” or the Clinton campaign based in that borough, to exploit joint fundraising committees to raise more money then they could by themselves, in exchange for subsidies to the DNC, Brazile said.

Brooklyn also took over decision-making for senior personnel hiring and for approval of DNC media statements, she said.

In a related interview, Brazile told The Washington Post said that after Clinton hasty exit from the Sept. 11 ceremony at Ground Zero and her subsequent rag doll collapse on the sidewalk, the chairwoman considered replacing Clinton on the ticket.

Her deliberations were serious enough that word leaked out and she fielded calls from proxies from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sanders, she said.

The response from Brooklyn staffers was swift.

Jesse Ferguson, former spokesman at Hillary for America and deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, published a Nov. 4  open letter on behalf of the HFA team pushing back on Donna Brazile’s stories from her stint as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in the last months of the 2016 presidential campaign:

We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.

Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time. We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.

The 2016 presidential campaign was unlike any in our history. It was very difficult for our candidates and our staff. We are very proud that throughout the campaign and the aftermath the staff stuck together, worked as a team, and did the best we could for both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. We did this for the simple reason that we thought Hillary Clinton would make the best President for the country we all love. We have now, as we did throughout the campaign, enormous love and pride for our candidate, Hillary Clinton. She, more than any of us, persevered through an incredibly difficult campaign and her commitment and stamina inspired us every day. We are very proud of the effort she and the campaign made in both the primary and the general election.

The general election loss was devastating for us all and something we live with every day. And while frustrating that the general election vote total did not change the outcome of the election, we remain proud that Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine received nearly 3 million more votes in the general election than their opponents.

Finally, we are pretty tired of people who were not part of our campaign telling the world what it was like to be on the inside of our campaign and how we felt about it. We loved our candidate and each other and it remains our honor to have been part of the effort to make Hillary Clinton the 45th President of the United States.

All Democrats should be doing everything they can — canvassing, phone banking, etc. — to help our candidates for Governor of Virginia and New Jersey and the other races around the country next Tuesday.

Nearly 100 members of Team Hillary signed onto the letter, including Jake Sullivan, national security aide; Robby Mook, the campaign manager; John Podesta, the campaign chairman; Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director; Nick Merrill, the press secretary and Clinton’s close confidante Huma Abedin.

Not signing? Campaign pollster Joel Benenson and consulting campaign pollster Stanley Greenberg.

Brazile’s response: “I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile told The Washington Post, channeling the character from the film “12 Years a Slave.”

Then, the Louisiana native quoted from the film: “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 Midterms

Big League-Gravis Florida poll: Putnam leads DeSantis 23% to 12% for GOP governor nomination

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Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam leads the field of gubernatorial hopefuls in the race for the GOP nomination for governor, but ties Democrat Andrew D. Gillum head-to-head, according to the poll of 5,778 registered voters conducted Dec. 19 through Dec. 24.

“This is going to be the most competitive Florida primary in many years,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based company that executed the poll. The poll carries a 1.3 percent margin of error.

Kaplan said the number one question is can the Florida Democratic Party can finally get organized.

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[These results were first published in the Orlando Political Observer.]

Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for Aug. 28 and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 6.

“The Democratic field is large, but the race is quickly developing into a two-person race between former congresswoman Gwen Graham at 18 percent and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew D. Gillum at 12 percent,” he said. “The field fills out with businessman Chris King, 3 percent; real estate developer Jeff Greene, 2 percent; and former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, 6 percent.

“Gillum is the wild card,” says Kaplan. “If he can raise money in a five-person and race get overwhelming African American support, he has a path to winning the nomination.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew D. Gillum spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. (Photo courtesy of Gillum’s Facebook page)

Standing in Gillum’s path for the African-American community is Graham’s legacy of support from her previous campaigns and her endorsement by civil rights legend Rep. John R.  Lewis (D.-Ga.). Graham is also the daughter of former Florida governor and senator D. Robert Graham.

Kaplan said the Republican side is equally as competitive, he said.

“Putnam has jumped out to an early 23 percent to 12 percent edge over House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Ronald D. DeSantis,” he said.

Head-to-head, Graham and Putnam were tied at 32 percent with 37 percent undecided.

In a head-to-head matchup, Gillum tied Putnam at 31 percent each with 39 percent undecided.

DeSantis has not formally announced whether he is running, but President Donald J. Trump endorsed him Dec. 22.

“If DeSantis declares, he will give Putnam a run for his money,” said Kaplan. “DeSantis has the ability to raise money, which will be important in an expensive state such as Florida. Democrats would likely prefer a DeSantis candidacy since Putnam is considered more of a centrist.”

Following Putnam and DeSantis are former state senator Jack Latvala and Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran, both men had the support of 2 percent of the respondents and Bob White, the leader of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, who has the support of 1 percent.

While the poll was still in the field, Latvala resigned from his state Senate seat, after a 33-page report by a retired judge with sworn statements by Latvala and his accuser detailed incidents of sexual misconduct by the Latvala. Among the accusations were groping and the then-senator’s offer to trade support for legislation in exchange for sexual contact. There are at least six women, who have come forward.

Gillum said it was time for Latvala to resign in a Dec. 5 statement: “It’s time for Senator Latvala to resign from the Senate. His intimidation of a sexual harassment victim is repulsive and disgusting, as is his alleged behavior. I believe these women, and we need Florida’s Capitol to be a welcoming place for all people — not a place where sexual harassment victims need police protection.”

Latvala served in the state Senate for 23 years and in his letter of resignation, he said he quit under pressure from state GOP leaders.

“I have maintained that the charges in the original complaint were fabrications and say that still today,” he wrote. He also maintained that he was guilty of not keeping up with political correctness in his language.

Another wildcard in this political cycle in Florida is attorney John B. Morgan, who has championed the political career of Rep. Charles J. Crist Jr. (D.-Fla.) after he left the Republican Party after his term as governor expired in 2011. Morgan has also been a major booster of the state’s Democratic Party, along with causes, such as the legalization of medical marijuana.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, Morgan Tweeted that he was leaving the Democratic Party and that if he did run for governor, he would run as an Independent.

The survey was conducted using interactive voice responses and an online panel of cell phone users. The results were weighted to match a proprietary turnout model.

Read the entire poll here:
Big League-Gravis Dec. 19-Dec. 24 Florida poll

Read the crosstabs here:
Crosstabs for Big League-Gravis Dec. 19-Dec. 24 Florida poll

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Big League National Security

U.S. forces, allies clear out ISIS caves in Syria

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SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 27, 2017 — In partnership with coalition forces, the Maghawir al-Thawra conducted a series of ground clearance operations Dec. 23 to drive Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists out of the Hamad Desert in southern Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

 The Maghawir al-Thawra, a vetted Syrian opposition force, has been fighting ISIS in the tri-border area of Iraq, Syria, and Jordan since 2015, according to officials.

Ongoing successful operations follow previous engagements earlier this month, in which the Maghawir al-Thawra, also known as MaT, killed several ISIS terrorists in the 34-mile de-confliction zone recognized by the coalition, Russia and the Syrian regime, officials said.

“The combined operations are a result of many hours of planning, building trust and close cooperation between coalition Special Operations Forces and the MaT,” said Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s Special Operations Joint Task Force.

5th Special Forces Group (A) Operation Detachment Bravo 5310 arrives to meet Major General James Jarrard at the Landing Zone at base camp Al Tanf Garrison in southern Syria (Army photo)

Terrorists lose weapons storage sites

Operations have disrupted ISIS’ freedom of movement by clearing several caves the terrorist organization has historically used to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment, officials said.

The ISIS terrorists were using the area to transit from the Euphrates River Valley, where they have enjoyed relative freedom of movement while fleeing the coalition’s successful Syrian Democratic Forces partners, according to officials.

Recent defeat-ISIS operations conducted by the MaT confirm the de-confliction zone remains inhospitable to the terrorists, officials said.

“ISIS has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad Desert,” Jarrard said. “However, inside the de-confliction zone, our partner forces have successfully thwarted ISIS’ movements.”

The cave clearing operations highlight the MaT’s professionalism, tactical skill and their overall impact as an effective security force within the de-confliction zone, officials said.

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Congress

House Budget Chairman to leave post to focus on her Tennesee governor campaign

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One of the most powerful women on Capitol Hill announced today that she will step down as the chairman of the House Budget Committee as she ramps up her campaign to become the next governor of Tennessee.

“It has been an honor to serve as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, working alongside members this year to recommend responsible and balanced policies for building a better America,” said Rep. Diane L. Black, who in 2011 succeeded Rep. Barton J. Gordon, a conservative Democrat, who did not seek re-election after his votes for the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and bailouts for the auto industry stirred up his district against him.

Rep. Diane L. Black (R.-Tenn.) speaking Dec. 20 at the White House celebrating the the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (Courtesy of Black’s campaign Facebook page)

“I am very proud of the hard work of our members and all we accomplished, especially offering real reforms for mandatory programs and unlocking pro-growth tax reform,” Black said.

“As we enter a new era under a brand new tax law and as members begin crafting a budget for fiscal year 2019, I am confident the focus will remain on addressing unsustainable mandatory programs,” she said. “Without question, it is critical that lawmakers take real action to reverse the trajectory of our nation’s growing debt. While it requires tough decisions in the short-term, the result in the long-term will secure a bright and prosperous future for generations to come.”

Black said she will remain in Congress to finish her term.

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