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The Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is prepared for the upcoming Republican National Convention, July 13, 2016.

Republican Convention finds itself in need of a bailout

07/15/16 09:20AM

The first signs of trouble emerged in March. Fearing possible violence on the convention floor, a variety of corporate sponsors, previously expected to support the Republican National Convention, announced they would hold back this year.
 
As we discussed in June, as spring turned to summer, and the likelihood of unrest at the Republican convention dissipated, some assumed the corporate sponsors would get back in line. They didn't. Some of the biggest companies in the country -- Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft,  et al -- each of which had extended support to Republican conventions in the past, said they were keeping the checkbook closed in 2016, largely for fear of association with the party's controversial presidential nominee.
 
For a while, this was mostly a matter of political curiosity, with many observers marveling at Corporate America going out of its way to keep Donald Trump at arm's length. But as the GOP gathering in Cleveland prepares to get underway, there's an unexpected problem: Republicans don't have the money they expected to have for their convention.
 
The target was to raise $64 million, but GOP organizers, spurned by corporate allies, are far short of their goal. Politico reported yesterday that Republican National Convention officials have turned to billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, looking for a $6 million bailout.
In a letter addressed to the Adelsons, obtained by POLITICO, the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee revealed the names of more than two dozen prominent corporations and individuals who have reneged on a collective $8.1 million in pledged donations.
 
The letter represents the most public acknowledgement to date that Donald Trump has directly cost convention organizers millions of fundraising dollars.
The letter, dated Tuesday, said "negative publicity" surrounding Trump led a variety of sponsors to back out from their financial commitments to the convention.
 
Indeed, the document named names: FedEx, Pepsi, and others planned to make six- and seven-figure contributions, only to change their minds because of Trump.
 
Remember when RNC officials insisted Trump wouldn't cost the party major donors? Those assurances now look kind of silly.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty)

Trump's delay leaves Indiana politics in limbo

07/15/16 08:40AM

The schedule was set. We knew Donald Trump had settled on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) as his presidential running mate. We knew when and where the Republican candidate would make the announcement. We even learned that the far-right governor had traveled to the New York area yesterday afternoon in advance of his introduction. The speculation and air of mystery surrounding the process had come to a sudden end.
 
But then Trump surprised the political world, declaring on Twitter last night that he's postponing the running-mate announcement, ostensibly because of the deadly terrorist attack in Nice, France. Complicating matters further, the presumptive Republican nominee told a national television audience that he hasn't yet made a "final, final decision" among the three finalists.
 
A model of efficient decision-making this isn't.
 
But as the Washington Post noted, this unexpected delay doesn't just matter in the presidential race; there's also the gubernatorial race in Indiana to consider.
The next few hours are critical to the Indiana governor's race. If, as expected, Trump picks Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to be his running mate, Pence will have to drop out of his reelection race because Indiana law doesn't let you run for two offices on one ballot.
 
The rules say he has to make that decision by noon Friday. Trump was set to make his announcement at 11 a.m. Friday, but he postponed it in light of the terrorist attack in Nice, France. Now, an announcement might not happen until this weekend. That means Pence could be forced to make a tough decision Friday morning between staying on the ballot and forfeiting the vice presidential nomination or taking a risk and getting off the ballot.
It's a relatively safe bet that Pence will take the gamble and things will work out. The governor will probably end his re-election bid -- which was turning out to be a pretty difficult race for him anyway -- before this afternoon's deadline, and move forward with his expected campaign for national office.
 
But there has to be just a hint of doubt, doesn't there? Pence is counting on Trump being steady and consistent enough not to change his mind at the last minute -- because if he does, the Indiana governor may soon find himself without any job in elected office at all.
 
For the sake of conversation, let's assume that this plays out as expected. Let's say Pence bows out of his race in Indiana within the next few hours, assuming he'll be added to the Republican ticket. Chances are, Trump's postponement won't affect the outcome, and by tomorrow, Pence will be introduced as Trump's running mate.
 
What happens to Indiana's gubernatorial race?
Ambulances line up near the scene of the attack in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, July 15, 2016. (Photo by Claude Paris/AP)

Attack in France jolts U.S. presidential race

07/15/16 08:00AM

As of this morning, the death toll in Nice, France stands at 84 people, following an attack in which an unidentified driver mowed down dozens of revelers enjoying the country's Bastille Day celebrations.
 
Four thousand miles away, as the Washington Post reported, news of the attack had a significant impact on the U.S. presidential race.
In a stunning move late Thursday, Donald Trump said he was scrapping his plans to announce a running mate because of the terrorist attack in southern France, following a day of strong signals that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was the likely choice.
 
Throughout the day, aides to Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, were preparing to formally announce Pence as the vice-presidential candidate at a news conference in New York on Friday morning. But by early evening, Trump said that he had yet to make a "final, final decision" between Pence and two other candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.).
Even for a candidate known for his mercurial ways, Trump surprised many last night with his comments. For example, when the presumptive Republican nominee postponed his introduction of Pence as his running mate, it raised concerns that Trump was signaling to terrorists that they can help dictate events in the United States.
 
There was also something of a mixed message: the GOP candidate delayed his vice-presidential announcement in the name of propriety, but Trump nevertheless headlined a fundraiser last night and made multiple Fox News appearances.
 
And during those television interviews, Trump called for a declaration of war, though he may not fully understand what that means; and Trump called for a NATO offensive against terrorists, though he doesn't think NATO should exist. On Twitter, Trump added, in response to the deadly attack, "When will we learn?" He hasn't made any effort to explain what it is, exactly, he wants us to learn that we don't already know.
 
In the wake of the latest terrorist crisis, Trump continues to raise questions about his basic competence and ability to function well under pressure.
 
That said, compared to Newt Gingrich, Donald J. Trump is practically a learned statesman.
France to mobilize troops to bolster security

France to mobilize troops to bolster security

07/14/16 09:52PM

Laura Haim, White House correspondent for Canal Plus, talks with Rachel Maddow about French President Francois Hollande's address regarding the deadly attack in the city of Nice and his announcement that he will be calling up Operational Reserves to bolster national security, including at the borders. watch

Weaponized vehicles a familiar terror tactic

Weaponized vehicles a familiar terror tactic

07/14/16 09:39PM

Malcolm Nance, former U.S. counter-terrorism intelligence officer, talks with Rachel Maddow about the frequency with which terrorists use vehicles as their means of attack, and the details investigators will analyze as they examine the truck attack in Nice, France. watch

Vehicle attacks previously encouraged by ISIS

Vehicle attacks previously encouraged by ISIS leader

07/14/16 09:18PM

Rukmini Callimachi, correspondent for The New York Times, talks with Rachel Maddow about ISIS supporters cheering the deadly attack in Nice, France as the terror group has yet to claim credit for the attack, and how ISIS has encouraged supporters in the West to commit acts of terror with whatever means are available, including vehicles. watch

Attack witness: 'a sea of people just...

Nice witness: 'a sea of people just running'

07/14/16 09:12PM

Terri Clarke, an eye witness to the deadly truck attack in Nice, France, describes what she saw as a large white truck plowed through crowds of Bastille Day holiday crowds, leaving a trail of dead and injured. watch

At least 77 dead in attack in Nice, France

At least 77 dead in attack in Nice, France

07/14/16 08:59PM

Rachel Maddow reports the latest on what is known and what is yet to be determined about an attack in Nice, France, in which local officials say a truck driving through Bastille Day holiday crowds has killed at least 77 people. watch

Thursday's Mini-Report, 7.14.16

07/14/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* As I'm about to publish, there are reports out of Nice, France, about a truck running into a crowd of people, possibly as some kind of attack. As of this minute, details are scarce.

* Ginsburg's walkback: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday she regrets recent 'ill-advised' criticisms of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. 'On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,' Ginsburg said in a statement issued by the court. 'Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.'"
 
* New Jersey: "David Samson -- the embattled former chairman of the powerful Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to using his considerable clout to coerce one of the nation's largest airlines to accommodate his desire for a regularly scheduled, non-stop flight to his South Carolina summer home."
 
* Britain's new top diplomat, Boris Johnson, is off to a difficult start: "France's foreign minister declared that the 'leave' campaigner had 'lied a lot,' and Germany's top diplomat called him 'irresponsible.'"
 
* Syria: "The United States on Thursday offered Russia a broad new military partnership in Syria, hoping the attraction of a unified campaign against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida -- and a Russian commitment to ground Syria's bombers -- could end five years of civil war. If finalized, the deal could dramatically alter America's role in the conflict."
 
* What a fiasco: "The political conventions, followed by a long summer break, proved a higher priority for Congress on Thursday than funding the nation's response to Zika, as the Senate failed again to pass legislation dealing with the mosquito-borne illness."
 
* That's a very encouraging number: "The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly held at lower levels last week, pointing to further momentum in the labor market after job growth surged in June. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 254,000 for the week ended July 9, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims are near the 43-year low of 248,000 touched in mid-April."
 
* This guy says he's running for re-election: "Tennessee state Rep. Jeremy Durham (R) engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, including sexual harassment, toward 22 women, according to a report from the state attorney general released Wednesday. The attorney general's office launched an investigation into Durham after it was revealed that the lawmaker sent inappropriate text messages to young female staff members."
The RNC's graphics light up the Quicken Loans Arena, who will host the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom/ZUMA)

Republican Convention lineup fails to match the hype

07/14/16 12:50PM

Eight days ago, on the morning of July 6, Donald Trump announced that the speaker schedule for the Republican convention would be "released tomorrow." And so, on July 7, we waited. And then again on July 8. And July 9.
 
Perhaps, some of us thought, the GOP candidate and his team were finalizing arrangements with some high-profile national celebrities, which takes some time. But now that party officials have finally released the list, a whole new set of questions come to the fore.
The lineup of speakers at next week's Republican National Convention will include Donald Trump loyalists, Washington outsiders, entrepreneurs and even a former "General Hospital" actor. [...]
 
A senior Trump official said the "impressive lineup" represents a "cross-section of real people facing the same challenges as every American household."
I suppose "impressive" is a subjective term.
 
There's plenty to chew on here. The full list of speakers, for example, includes Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, which sure does make it seem as if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) will be Trump's running mate.
 
We can also note that six people with the last name Trump -- the candidate, his wife, and four of his kids -- will deliver remarks at the convention, which means the number of Trumps will match the number of sitting senators who'll address the GOP delegates.
 
It's also genuinely extraordinary that Republicans have decided the first night of their convention should have a "Benghazi focus," even after all of the party's -- and Trump's -- ridiculous conspiracy theories about the deadly 2012 attack have been discredited.
 
We could also note that there are five living former GOP presidential nominees -- including two former presidents -- and four of them have said they will neither speak to nor attend the party's gathering. (Bob Dole is the exception, announcing in May he plans to go.)
 
But even if we put all of that aside for a moment, we're left with a different kind of problem: Trump promised us a powerful all-star lineup, and he clearly isn't delivering one.

Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 7.14.16

07/14/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
 
* Donald Trump spent some time with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) yesterday at the governor's home, but soon after, Fox News' Sean Hannity flew Newt Gingrich to the Hoosier state for a meeting of his own.
 
* In March, Gingrich told a conservative audience that Trump would be "delusional" if he chose the former Speaker to be his running mate. Oops.
 
* Note, as things stand, it looks like there won't be any votes scheduled in Congress tomorrow, and members' seven-week summer break will begin today. I mention this, of course, because it means the 300 Republican lawmakers who work on Capitol Hill won't be around to respond to Trump's VP choice.
 
* The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released this morning, shows Hillary Clinton and Trump tied nationally at 40% each. This same poll four years ago found Mitt Romney with a one-point lead over President Obama.
 
* The Republican National Committee is worried enough about efforts to launch a convention coup against Trump that the party has put together a whip team to lobby members of the Rules Committee.
 
* Trump may be a thrice-married adulterer who owned casinos, but the Pew Research Center found he's nevertheless doing extremely well with white evangelical voters -- even better than Romney fared with the same constituency four years ago.
 
* In Colorado, a new Fox News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by double digits, 44% to 34%.
 
* The same poll found Clinton also ahead of Trump in Virginia, 44% to 37%.
 
* Quinnipiac continues to delight Republicans, and its new report, out this morning, shows GOP Senate incumbents with significant leads in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
 
* On a related note, the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling shows much tighter Senate races in Ohio and Pennsylvania, though Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) still has a double-digit lead in Iowa.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a question during an interview after a rally in Virginia Beach, Va., July 11, 2016. (Photo by Steve Helber/AP)

Maybe Trump should come with a parental advisory warning

07/14/16 11:20AM

We will soon lose count of every campaign ad in the 2016 presidential election, but on the eve of the major-party conventions, this new spot from the Hillary Clinton campaign stands out. The Washington Post noted the significance of the spot called "Role Models."
Hillary Clinton released her campaign's newest attack ad against Donald Trump, a brutal, minute-long reprisal of some of his most controversial statements as seen through the eyes of children.
 
The sharply negative spot comes a day before Trump is expected to announce his vice-presidential running mate and several days before the Republican Party's convention.
I'm not sure "sharply negative" is the appropriate phrase. It is, to be sure, brutal, but nearly the entire ad simply shows comments Donald Trump made publicly.
 
But it's the way in which the spot packages Trump's quotes that's so effective. Viewers see children watching television as some of Trump's more offensive and vulgar quotes fill the screen.
 
The minute-long ad ends with Clinton telling supporters, the night she wrapped up the Democratic nomination, "Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time -- at the choices we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by -- and we need to make sure that they can be proud of us."
 
According to a press release from the campaign, the spot will be part of the Clinton campaign's media rotation in Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina, in addition to cable and digital advertising.
 
In the larger context, it's been obvious for a while that the Clinton campaign has a non-traditional problem: what's the best way to go after a rival with so many flaws, it's difficult to know where to start. Do you go after Trump's inexperience? His ignorance? His brazen dishonesty? Do you target his bigotry? His private-sector failures? What about his radical ideas? And his affection for authoritarian dictators?
 
This ad is notable in its ability to push a more elemental theme: Donald J. Trump is an embarrassment.
Leading Conservatives Attend 40th Annual CPAC

Tim Scott offers a perspective his colleagues need to hear

07/14/16 10:40AM

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) holds a rather unique position on Capitol Hill. The lawmaker, appointed and then elected to his seat, is the only African-American Republican in the chamber, and the only black senator of either party to get elected in the South since Reconstruction.
 
This background took on added salience last night, when Scott addressed one of the nation's most pressing and more important national debates. Vox had a good piece on the senator's striking remarks.
A common response to the outcry over police misconduct is to almost immediately blame the victim -- he had a criminal record, he didn't listen to the police, and so on. But what happens when the victim to such misconduct is a United States senator with a clean record?
 
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina gave a heartfelt speech in which he spoke about some of the abuses by police that he, as a black man, had dealt with. The speech, Scott said, was meant to show that in some instances -- he insisted that most cops mean well -- police officers are in the wrong, targeting someone solely because of his skin color.
The entirely of Scott's speech is online here.
 
The GOP lawmaker talked about having been pulled over seven times in one year, and in most of the instances, "I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial."
 
Scott shared the details of a case in which an officer stopped him -- a sitting U.S. senator -- on suspicion of his car being stolen. "I started asking myself, because I was smart enough to not ask him, 'Is the license plate coming in as stolen? Does the license plate match the car?'" he said. "I was looking for some rational reason that may have prompted him to stop me on the side of the road."
 
Scott added, "I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell no matter the profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life.... Imagine the frustration, the irritation, the sense of a loss of dignity that accompanies each of those stops."
 
He went on to acknowledge having "felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you're being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.... [T]here is absolutely nothing more frustrating, more damaging to your soul than when you know you're following the rules and being treated like you're not."

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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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