How many more hits can the Wendy Davis campaign withstand? That is the question the state senator from Texas will have to ask herself as she deals with yet another PR disaster.
The official Davis campaign reports released Wednesday revealed the discrepancy:
Instead of $13.1 million in cash on hand as claimed, the reports Davis and her allies filed show there was actually $12.8 million in the bank at the end of June, a difference of about $300,000.
A more detailed report suggests how those numbers became so skewed:
Davis has invited criticism in part because she counts money contained in four separate accounts — her campaign for governor, her old Senate campaign account, a joint fundraising operation and the Democratic turnout operation known as Battleground Texas.
It was the cash-on-hand figure from Battleground Texas that came in lower than advertised. In the press release, the Davis campaign said Battleground would report $1.1 million in the bank. But Battleground told the Ethics Commission it only had $806,000 in the bank.
Battleground Texas also helps out other Democratic candidates, so it can be argued it’s unfair for the Davis campaign to count their funds in the first place.
Her campaign figures from the latest period were enhanced as well:
The $11.2 million that Davis had reported raising included $500,000 in in-kind donations, where a donor offers services instead of money, including $250,000 that was the cash value of a concert that country music legend Willie Nelson performed at a campaign fundraiser.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ring, Abbott has reported an impressive $35.6 million in cash on hand.
Despite these hard-to-argue with numbers, Battleground Texas just released an email to supporters today bragging about how Davis is “shattering expectations”:
Wendy Davis is keeping pace with Greg Abbott's fundraising, and Leticia Van de Putte outraised Tea Party favorite Dan Patrick, gaining a cash-on-hand advantage as well.
For a dose of reality, here’s a little recap: Wendy Davis’s campaign has thus far featured an exaggerated rags-to-riches story, a spokesman quitting, a staffer mocking her Republican opponent Greg Abbott for being in a wheelchair, fuzzy math - and now more fuzzy math.
Senator Davis, do yourself and all of Texas a favor by throwing in the towel.
The president’s unimpressive response to the downing of Malaysian Airline Flight 17 yesterday (all passengers on board lost their lives, some of whom were reportedly Americans) was met with distain from pundits all across the political spectrum. But two regular critics of the current administration, in my view, were particularly and memorably incensed.
As Guy noted yesterday, mere hours after the Benghazi terrorist raid shocked the nation, the president was off fundraising for Democrats in Las Vegas. He was plainly and roundly criticized for obvious reasons. And yet he has finally outdone himself, or so it seems, after attending two Democratic fundraisers last night on perhaps the biggest news day of the year. He just couldn't cancel them. Hence why conservative talk radio host Mark Levin went ballistic:
Charles Krauthammer, for his part, was less viscerally outraged than Levin. But his words were no less incisive. He took issue not with the fact that the president attended two separate fundraisers (although, in fairness, surely he recognized the optics were less-than-ideal) but for refusing to make “a damn decision” about arming the Ukrainians, thus leaving them vulnerable and defenseless:
Lest you think only conservatives were outraged by the president's disinterested response yesterday, think again: most people were, including this guy.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) has some explaining to do. Although the senator has proclaimed to be pro-life, his recent support of a Democratic bill to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, suggests otherwise. This failed legislation would have reversed a decision that protects the Christian company’s religious freedom and avoid providing employees abortion-inducing drugs.
Manchin explained his support for the bill as such:
“Today, I voted in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that ruled for-profit companies can opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees because of religious beliefs,” Manchin said. “As Governor and U.S. Senator, I have always fought to protect the sincerely-held religious views of non-profit organizations, like soup kitchens, colleges, hospitals and similar non-profit organizations. However, for-profit corporations do not have the same legal privileges as non-profits, and therefore they should not have the same protections as non-profits recognized by law as being a religious organization. This legislation strikes a balance between allowing non-profit organizations to hold onto their religious views while ensuring that Americans have access to safe, affordable and reliable preventative health benefits.”
I don’t understand how someone who considers himself pro-life can add his name to this bill. The drug ella, one of the four contraceptives Hobby Lobby refused to offer employees, can cause the demise of an embryo already implanted in its mother's womb, according to the Family Research Council. It should not fall under the term "health benefits." Clearly, the pro-life movement is overwhelmingly on the side of Hobby Lobby, who is simply trying to avoid violating its religious convictions by offering drugs that could cause abortions.
We’re waiting for an explanation, Mr. Manchin.
Israeli forces on Thursday launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, the military said.
The operation came after 10 days of intense fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas, in which Israel hit more than 2,000 targets in Gaza and Hamas launched nearly 1,500 rockets at Israel.
BREAKING NEWS: A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 17, 2014
The Israeli prime minister himself evidently green lighted the operation:
The Israel Prime Minister's Office has released a statement confirming that Netanyahu has ordered the IDF to launch a ground offensive.— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) July 17, 2014
The reason for the invasion? To take out Hamas's "underground terror tunnels."
BREAKING: Israel PM Netanyahu says objective of ground operation is to destroy #Hamas underground terror tunnels— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) July 17, 2014
Or perhaps this had something to do with it:
Heavy barrage of rockets on Tel Aviv— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Or this:
A statement from the Israeli military said the operation will include "infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support."
Before dawn on Thursday, about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunnelled under the border, emerging near an Israeli community. At least one was killed when Israeli aircraft bombed the group, the military said.
Stay tuned for updates.
View of an explosion following an Israeli strike in Gaza City pic.twitter.com/1Rr5aEvSUt— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: At least 48,000 Israeli reservists have been "called up" and ordered to report for duty, according to Politico. Furthermore, the offensive has been described as "open-ended," and will be initiated on multiple fronts.
Israeli forces have not stormed Gaza since 2009.
And now, a short, tweet-based summary of our Commander-in-Chief's actions in the immediate aftermath of today's developing disaster in Ukraine:
Meanwhile... MT @markknoller: "I'm starving," said Pres Obama as he sat down to lunch...He order a cheeseburger and fries. (Medium well)— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 17, 2014
President's schedule unchanged - he's now at the Charcoal Pit near Wilmington where he ordered the "Pit Special" - burger & fries.— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) July 17, 2014
"Mr. President, 23 Americans appear to have been murdered in the Ukraine conflict. Perhaps we should cut short this burger photo op."— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 17, 2014
Remember, we were just told that this president disdains photo ops...such as surveying the current border crisis in person. Following lunch, Obama proceeded to make a (very) short statement, which included an odd formulation, and a behind-the-curve comment:
Obama on plane crash: "It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy."— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) July 17, 2014
Obama says they're trying to determine if any Americans were on on plane, segues to prepared speech.— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) July 17, 2014
Obama, in sum: A plane crashed. It may be tragic. We're trying to see if US citizens were on board. Hey, great to be in Delaware!— Matt Viser (@mviser) July 17, 2014
Obama now talking about the real enemy: Republicans in Washington.— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) July 17, 2014
Obama’s full exit quote: “Thank you, God bless you, let’s build some bridges, let’s build some roads, God bless America"— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) July 17, 2014
President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. 23 Americans killed and he says 'it looks like a terrible tragedy' then back to jokes?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 17, 2014
Let me help, Mr President - it IS a terrible tragedy, and it's more probably mass murder of your citizens & many other nations' citizens.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 17, 2014
President Obama attended a political fundraiser in Las Vegas the day after the deadly Benghazi terrorist attacks, did the same immediately after delivering his eulogy for the Fort Hood victims, raised a toast to "happy hour with the Democratic Party" minutes after issuing a statement on Russia's invasion of Crimea, golfed through the shutdown crisis, and led a conga line through the White House at his lavish birthday party in the midst of major economic upheaval -- just hours before Standard & Poors downgraded the United States' credit rating for the first time in history. I'll leave you with the punch line from today:
Of course. RT @markknoller: AF-1 wheels up from Delaware. Pres Obama en route to NYC for two Dem fundraisers. Both closed to press coverage— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 17, 2014
UPDATE - Initial news reports from multiple agencies regarding the American death toll appear to have been inaccurate. President Obama said on Friday that "at least one" US citizen was aboard the flight, not the 23 that was originally reported. Some lefties have jumped all over this alteration as an instance of conservatives -- including yours truly -- "lying" about Obama, or jumping the gun to criticize him. They're missing the point entirely, of course, intentionally or otherwise. See my Twitter timeline from this afternoon for my response. One tweet:
(2) # of US deaths in *no way* impacts my point, which was that carrying on w/ photo op, partisan speech, fundraiser was inappropriate.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 18, 2014
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Below is an excerpt from Kevin Glass's August feature story, "Rand Paul vs Marco Rubio for the Foreign Policy Soul of the Republican Party."
On March 6, 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R- KY) rose to take the floor and speak on the subject of President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan was the architect of Obama’s drone program, which the White House had been using to assassinate terrorists overseas.
Over the course of the next 13 hours, Paul made his objections widely known. From his discomfort with the broad unilateral authority that Obama claimed, to the controversy surrounding targeted killings of American citizens overseas, to the scary potential that military-style drones might be brought to American shores.
Paul’s skepticism when it comes to expansive foreign policy is and was well-known. But his half-day filibuster, the second-longest in history, vaulted him into the national conversation and sparked interest across party lines. What was also surprising was the cadre of senators who joined in, and one in particular: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Rubio and Paul have offered divergent views of American foreign policy ever since they were both elected to the Senate in 2010. Their disagreements are cordial and their offices maintain a good working relationship. But there is nonetheless an ideological battle occurring, not only on Capitol Hill, but throughout the Republican Party and across the country.
A new crop of Republicans have comprehensive ideas for how security policy should evolve in the 21st century, and while they by and large are conducting these debates jovially, they are nonetheless fighting for nothing less than the soul of the Republican Party.
A LONG WAY FROM THE BUSH ERA
In 2001, in the wake of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the nation’s history, the United States made some monumental changes in how we conducted international affairs.
After 13 years, two formal wars, multiple tertiary conflicts, and two presidents, Americans’ attitudes about national and international security have changed. There is a cold war brewing in the Republican Party over the utility of our security measures and how conservatives should approach the future.
President Bush chose to implement broad security powers in the U.S. and to aggressively pursue terrorists and state- sponsored terrorism abroad. The Republican Party had few dissidents from these policies in the Bush years, but Obama’s conduction of the War on Terror has caused more people to doubt the effectiveness of our post-9/11 security measures.
Opposition to the Iraq War has hovered above 50 percent since early in Bush’s second term and Republican support for the war has steadily fallen. Obama has made winding down the war in Afghanistan a priority as support for our military force there has fallen. Some of the domestic intelligence operations undertaken by Bush and Obama have also come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats.
We’re a long way from 2007, when former-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani put his mark on his bid for president by stamping out the anti-interventionist rhetoric of former- Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). With the shift in partisan control of the White House, more Republicans have become skeptical of broad security powers emanating from the White House. The anti-Washington sentiment that motivated 2010’s midterm electoral victories sent a new wave of Republicans to the Senate who have begun shaping the GOP’s future security vision. People like Rubio, Paul, along with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have taken an active role in our security policy.
The only catch is that they’re not always pulling in the same direction.
FROM MCCAIN TO RUBIO
For decades Republicans had dominated Democrats on foreign policy. And Bush’s decisive action in the wake of 9/11 only increased that dominance. Even after the American public turned against the war in Iraq, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) still enjoyed a small lead over Obama on foreign policy issues as he headed for defeat in November. ...
Malaysia Airlines says it lost contact with a plane over Ukrainian airspace.
MH17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
A Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashenko said on Facebook that a plane carrying 295 people was shot down over a town in the east of the country.
The timing and proximity of the crash to the Russian border is certainly suspicious, leading one Ukrainian government to accuse pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane:
#BREAKING: Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser said the Buk missile was fired by separatists: Interfax— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 17, 2014
The Russian government, however, has denied any involvement:
Russia's Defense Ministry denied on Thursday it had shot down a Ukrainian airplane and called the accusation by Kiev "absurd", Russian state news agency RIA reported.
"It is absurd, just like all the previous accusations from Kiev's leadership against Russia's Defense Ministry," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: One expert thinks the plane was probably shot down:
"It's extremely rare for an aircraft to come down at altitude. And when one does come down, it is usually the result of an external force.."— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 17, 2014
"... like a bomb or a missile."- CBS analyst.— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 17, 2014
#BREAKING: Emergency Ministry official on site says body parts scattered around up to 15 km from crash site, at least 100 bodies seen— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Ukraine's president released this statement:
UPDATE: The site of the crash:
UPDATE: There were reportedly 23 Americans on board:
Adviser to Ukranian Int Minister says, Ukraine crash kills 23 U.S. citizens— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) July 17, 2014
Bear in mind that CBS News reported earlier today zero Americans were on board. So we don't know the official figures yet. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: President Obama is aware of the crash and will hold a press conference about it this afternoon at 2:10 PM EST.
UPDATE: As it turns out, the "press conference" lasted only about 30 seconds:
May? RT @ZekeJMiller: Obama: “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy"— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) July 17, 2014
Hey, Obama. 295 people are dead. It is a TRAGEDY.— Mary Chastain (@mchastain81) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Piers Morgan had some rather harsh words for the president, too:
President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. 23 Americans killed and he says 'it looks like a terrible tragedy' then back to jokes?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: The president's full remarks:
Full Obama comments on the plane pic.twitter.com/uL84A1HRUp— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 17, 2014
BREAKING: Armed Russian Separatists now in control of the MH17 crash site and not allowing anyone approach the wreckage - @ABC— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Nothing is confirmed yet, but this is certainly a significant development:
A US official tells @LMartinezABC US believes a single surface-to-air missile brought down the Malaysian Airlines jet.— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: It's official:
BREAKING. @CBSDavidMartin: US intelligence confirms Malaysian plane brought down by missile, not yet determined from where.— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: More horror.
Breaking now: death toll increases from 295 to 298 after officials say 3 infants we on board #MH17— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Updated breakdown of passengers' nationalities:
President Obama apparently isn't the only one who gets his information about the IRS targeting scandal from the newspaper.
During an exchange today on Capitol Hill between Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis and Deputy Attorney General James Cole about the IRS targeting of conservatives, Cole said he found out about Lois Lerner's "lost" emails through news reports.
DeSantis: “Mr. Cole, we learned in Congress on June 13th, 2014 that two years-worth of Lois Lerner’s emails were missing—the IRS would not produce those. When did the Justice Department learn of that fact?”
Cole: “I think we learned about it after that from the press accounts that were in the paper following the IRS’ notification to the Congress.”
At best the Department of Justice isn't taking the investigation into IRS targeting seriously. At worst DOJ officials are using the "investigation" to stonewall and cover-up wrong doing. After all, Lois Lerner was working with DOJ officials to build a criminal case against tea party groups.
According to new IRS emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner was in contact with the Department of Justice in May 2013 about whether tax exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for "lying" about political activity.
President of True the Vote Catherine Engelbrecht, who was target by the IRS, told WMAL radio host Larry O'Connor earlier this week the FBI has not contacted her to ask questions for their investigation.
UPDATE: For good measure.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California's 14th District, sent out a tweet this morning that compared access to contraception to the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls by the militant group Boko Haram. Speier included an infographic from the United Nations along with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which is a reference to the kidnapping of 230 girls from the Chibok Government Secondary School.
Does anyone with a functioning brain think that Boko Haram, a group whose name translates to "Western education is forbidden," would not have kidnapped those girls if only the girls were given access to abortions and contraception?
Yes, societies do prosper with education. Absolutely. To suggest, however, that education is only possible with access to contraception (which the UN classifies as carcinogenic) and other reproductive health care is offensive. Countries that forbid or restrict the education of women need a cultural shift to empower women—distributing pills isn't going to cut it.
The annual ESPYs awards are held to honor the year’s most inspiring athletes. Wednesday’s award presentation was no different, recognizing talents like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Superbowl winners the Seattle Seahawks, and the United States men’s national soccer team that represented us so impressively at the World Cup. But, the show's host, a singer known as Drake, managed to briefly turn attention away from these sports stars' incredible achievements by invoking racism during his monologue.
The segment in question started with a rather harmless joke about Richard Sherman being vain, to a slightly offensive joke about white people drinking almond milk, then a downright accusatory jab at the Washington Redskins owners for their “racist" team name:
“No, I love Richard Sherman man,” Drake went on. “Sherman’s my guy! Like, he’s so entertaining! Richard Sherman pissed off more white people this year than a crowded parking lot at Whole Foods. (They hate when they can’t get their almond milk, you know what I’m saying?)
“Now look, some rough words in football this year,” Drake said. “Riley Cooper said some things. Richie Incognito said some things. I just want to stress that there’s no room for racism in the NFL — unless you own a team in Washington, D.C. Then it’s a go.”
The audience reaction was hushed and, when the camera panned to the crowd, it showed attendees squirming in their seats.
Political correctness has no place in culture and certainly no place on the football field. Being constantly concerned with offending people just puts everyone on edge - like Drake's uncomfortable ESPYs audience. Many people have offered their opinions one way or another in regards to a Redskins name change, but if the team is forced to change its name, where does it end? Dr. Ben Carson penned a wonderful piece on “The Insidious Effect of Political Correctness,” in which he writes, “Political correctness is antithetical to our founding principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Its most powerful tool is intimidation.” I can't put it any better.
Drake is a singer by profession. Perhaps because he now has experience hosting Saturday Night Live, he also thinks he’s a comedian.
Watch his whole monologue here and decide for yourself: