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  1. Interesting race for Governor here in VT. There's a very good chance a republican will win in November. I was surprised when the eventual democratic nominee supported changing the states gun laws. VT may be full of liberals, but they also take their right to bear arms very seriously.
  2. President Barack Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton in a video released Thursday afternoon. "I know how hard this job can be. That's why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don't think there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office," he says in the video, which was tweeted by Clinton's official Twitter account. "I have seen her judgment, I have seen her toughness, I have seen her commitment to our values up close," he said of his former Democratic rival and first secretary of state. Obama and Clinton will appear together in their first joint campaign trip together next Wednesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Clinton's campaign said. The endorsement came just hours after Obama held a meeting at the White House with Clinton rival Bernie Sanders, who told reporters after the summit that he will remain in the race through the District of Columbia primary next week but indicated that he will meet with Clinton soon "to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent." A senior White House aide tells NBC News that the White House planned to roll out the video on Thursday "assuming the meeting went well." It was taped on Tuesday. Clinton welcomed Obama's endorsement in an interview with Bloomberg Politics, saying "it just means so much to have a strong, substantive endorsement from the president. Obviously I value his opinion a great deal personally." "It's just such a treat because over the years of knowing each other, we've gone from fierce competitors to true friends," she added. Obama had stayed conspicuously neutral in his public comments throughout the contentious Democratic primary, although he was widely considered to view his former secretary of state as the best party standard-bearer to continue his policy legacy. The endorsement comes almost exactly eight years after Clinton conceded to Obama and called for party unity after the hard-fought 2008 Democratic primary. Obama alluded to that call for unity in the video released Thursday, noting that many skeptics believed that the 2008 primary race left the party divided before Obama went on to comfortably beat Republican nominee John McCain. And he congratulated Sanders on his campaign and noted that both Sanders and Clinton are "both patriots who love this country and they share a vision for the America we all believe in." NBC News named Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee on Monday evening after she secured a majority of Democratic delegates, including the count of superdelegates whom Sanders has derided as Washington insiders. After significant wins in the California and New Jersey primaries on Tuesday, she had also won a majority of pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July.
  3. Win another one for The Gipper? Newspaper endorses Reagan for president Washington (CNN)The San Diego Union-Tribune has some advice for #NeverTrump Republicans -- vote for the late former President Ronald Reagan, instead. You read that right. The editorial board for the daily newspaper wrote an op-ed Thursday saying it cannot endorse Donald Trump for president. "We can't endorse Trump for reasons we've documented repeatedly: belligerence, casual cruelty, incoherence on policy issues," the board writes. "We can't recommend voters don't vote at all because that's a waste, and we can't suggest voting for another candidate because it accomplishes nothing." So their solution? "If you are voting in the GOP primary Tuesday, write in Ronald Reagan for president," the editorial board wrote about the 40th president, who died in 2004 at age 93. The board said that Reagan's political beliefs, which helped shape the modern Republican Party, should be the philosophy that Trump invokes in his own platform. "Today, the principles of the party of Ronald Reagan are as relevant as ever: a stable border, a strong military and economic policy focused on low taxes, less bureaucracy and limited regulation," the board writes. The opinion also mentions San Diego's proximity to the Mexican border, writing, "Ours is a city of complexity and balance, of possibility." Trump in 1994: 'Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing' The article ends with the editorial board saying Trump doesn't deserve the party's mandate. "Maybe Trump will get the message," the board wrote.
  4. (CNN) – Donald Trump has another woman problem — three of them. The presumptive Republican nominee spent the past 24 hours blasting his likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and his most provocative antagonist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But he didn’t stop there. He also slammed New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s only Latina governor and a Republican. Martinez might be seen as an obvious choice for diplomacy, or even intensive courtship, given Trump’s standing among women and Hispanics. Trump chose a different approach: He told the residents of New Mexico to get rid of her. In all three cases, the clashes were classic Trump. Slight him, diss him, hit him — and he’ll hit back harder. Much harder. But they also could play right into Democrats’ plans to brand Trump as a serial misogynist as he goes up against a rival who could become the first female president in history. His poor standing with women — a CNN/ORC poll in March found he was viewed unfavorably by 73% of registered female voters — is one of his biggest liabilities heading into the fall. “He makes a habit of insulting women,” Clinton said Wednesday afternoon as a campaign stop in California. “He seems to have something about women.” The battles have been brewing for weeks but exploded this week as Trump went west to hold a series of rallies and fundraisers. His latest scrapes are also likely to spur further conversation about whether he has a political weak spot in dealing with outspoken and powerful women — given that his debate clash with businesswoman and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was one of the shakiest moments of an otherwise wildly successful primary campaign. Here are the highlights of Trump’s latest fights: His response to Martinez’s absence was swift, fierce and characteristic. Since becoming the GOP’s presumptive nominee, Trump has not developed the technique of turning the other cheek that could benefit his wider political interests. “We have to get your governor to get going,” Trump told a raucous crowd. “She has got to do a better job. She is not doing the job. Hey, maybe I will run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.” Trump’s attack on Martinez is counter-intuitive, given that she is a rising GOP star, who is perennially mentioned in vice presidential scuttlebutt. As a woman and a Latina, Martinez is the kind of candidate Republicans badly need in their corner if they are to reverse their losing streak in presidential elections. And as a Republican in New Mexico, a state that has trended Democratic in recent presidential contests, she has much to teach her party about winning southwestern states the GOP needs to recapture if it is to make a tough electoral map more favorable. Yet Trump’s attack did not seem off-the-cuff — he appeared to be reading from several sheafs of paper as he jabbed Martinez. Senior Trump advisor Tana Goertz rejected the idea that Trump’s attitude said anything about his feelings towards women and Latino voters but was just a case of him being honest after he was personally snubbed. “She hasn’t been very kind to Mr. Trump and you know that he will not back down to anyone whether it is a male or a female. If you go after him then he will pull out your resume and say, you are not doing that good of a job,” Goertz told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield. Martinez did not take long to respond, hitting back at Trump through a spokesman on Wednesday, rejecting his claims she wanted to import Syrian refugees into New Mexico and claiming he had so far shown little sign of helping her state. “The pot shots weren’t about policy, they were about politics. And the governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans,” said spokesman Mike Lonergan. Trump is receiving especially intense fire from Warren, the liberal, anti-Wall Street Massachusetts senator who, with her dry wit and grassroots Democratic following is emerging as one of his most effective critics and a capable defender of Clinton. Warren is giving Trump a taste of his own medicine, blasting him for comments he made as a businessman noting the money that could be made in a housing crash. In a speech on Tuesday, she mocked him as “a small, insecure, money grubber, who doesn’t care who gets hurt so long as he makes a profit off it.” “What kind of man does that? A man who will never be president of the United States,” Warren said. That might be harsh but it doesn’t approach the fusillades Warren has been firing off on Twitter, directly at Trump, on his favorite social media platform. “Anytime someone calls out @realDonaldTrump, he replies with right-wing conspiracies & lies. It’s not presidential – & getting very old,” she tweeted. On May 11, Warren was even more caustic. “Your policies are dangerous. Your words are reckless. Your record is embarrassing. And your free ride is over,” Warren tweeted. On the same day, Warren openly challenged Trump over his attitude to women. “We get it, @realDonaldTrump: When a woman stands up to you, you’re going to call her a basket case. Hormonal. Ugly.” Trump is not taking such criticism on the chin. He coined a nickname for Warren, calling her “goofy.” And he latched onto her claim, much ridiculed among Republicans, to have native American ancestry, and is now calling her “Pocahontas,” even though such terminology carries racial overtones. “I call her goofy. She gets less done than anybody in the United States Senate,” Trump said in Anaheim, California, on Wednesday. “She gets nothing done, nothing passed. She’s got a big mouth and that’s about it. But they use her because Hillary’s trying to be very presidential.” Warren’s performance has not gone unnoticed by Democrats, even prompting buzz that she could join Clinton on a historic all-women presidential ticket that would put Democratic attacks on Trump’s attitude to women at the center of the fall campaign. At the very least though, Warren, who has deep credibility with grassroots Democrats, many of whom have flocked to Bernie Sanders, could be vital in bringing the party together ahead of its convention in July. While Martinez and Warren are grabbing headlines, the ultimate political clash that will decide the destiny of the White House is between Clinton and Trump. Gender is already a fault line in the general election campaign, which will partly hinge on whether Trump’s unpopularity with women voters will be more decisive than Clinton’s poor ratings with male voters. Clinton downplayed her status as potentially the first woman president in her 2008 campaign. But she has highlighted her historic status more this time around. “I don’t know whether it makes him feel good to insult people,” Clinton said Wednesday. “I don’t understand the motivation.” Trump has responded to what he sees as the playing of the “woman card” by the Clinton campaign by unleashing the full fury of his tongue. “I will never say this — but she screams it drives me crazy. I didn’t say it. It drives me crazy,” he said in New Mexico on Tuesday. To counter claims by Democrats that he is anti-women, Trump has branded the former first lady an “enabler” of Bill Clinton’s alleged extra-marital affairs, and dredged up the 1990s scandals that led to the former president’s impeachment. The tone between Clinton and Trump might be ugly already — but it is likely to get worse before the two rivals meet for their ultimate showdown — three presidential debates in the fall.
  5. WASHINGTON (AP) -- Donald Trump's best ally in winning over skeptical Republicans is turning out to be Hillary Clinton. Having overcome a multimillion-dollar "Never Trump" campaign aimed at blocking him from the Republican nomination, he's now benefiting from a wave of GOP donors, party leaders, voters and conservative groups that are uniting under a new banner: "Never Hillary." "Nothing unites Republicans better than a Clinton," says Scott Reed, a political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has advised previous GOP campaigns. While Reed says there remain "many unknowns" about Trump, he adds that "the knowns about Hillary are very powerful motivators to Republicans." Thanks to Republicans' deep disdain for the likely Democratic nominee, Trump is piling up those kinds of lukewarm GOP endorsements. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who called Trump a dangerous "con artist" during his own failed presidential campaign, now says he's willing to help the presumptive GOP nominee in the general election. And he cites Clinton as his main motivation. "If you can live with a Clinton presidency for 4 years, that's your right," Rubio wrote on Twitter Friday. "I can't and will do what I can to prevent it." "Never Hillary" graced the subject line of a new Republican National Committee fundraising email that had nary a mention of Trump. Super PACs advised by Trump-skeptic Karl Rove are using the hashtag "NeverHillary" on Twitter to promote online videos about her perceived scandals - even as Rove says the groups aren't likely to spend money boosting Trump. Last week when the National Rifle Association endorsed Trump, the announcement came without much of a sales pitch for him. But it did include a blunt message for the 5 million members about Clinton. Noting the heated GOP primary campaign, Chris Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, said at the organization's convention last week, "Were there differences between candidates for the nomination? Of course. Are there valid arguments in favor or some over others? Sure. Will any of it matter if Hillary Clinton wins in November? Not one bit." For the NRA and other Republican-leaning groups, Clinton has become a reason to look past Trump's spotty record on conservative issues. On guns, for example, Trump previously backed an assault weapons ban. He's since backed away from that, which appears to be good enough compared to Clinton's calls for tougher gun control laws. "If she could, Hillary would ban every gun, destroy every magazine, run an entire national security industry right into the ground and put your name on a government registration list," NRA chief Wayne LaPierre told the crowd at the gathering in Louisville, Kentucky. Likewise, Clinton has been an entry point for big donors once not thrilled with - or even downright hostile to - Trump. Billionaire Minnesota broadcasting executive Stanley Hubbard helped pay for the Never Trump campaign, but says he's willing to give money to the GOP nominee to stop Clinton. Trump has unclear policies on some of the issues most important to conservative donors. Even so, Foster Friess, who backed Rick Santorum in his last two presidential campaigns, said he has made a donation to Trump because "the choice is stark." In an email, he contrasted Clinton's possible Supreme Court picks with Trump's, as well as their approaches to economic and immigration policies. Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino executive whose top issue is the protection of Israel, urged reluctant Republican Jews to unite behind Trump. "Like many of you, I do not agree with him on every issue. However, I will not sit idly by and let Hillary Clinton become the next president," he wrote in an email to fellow board members of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Clinton has served as a call-to-arms for some of the top fundraisers for Trump's vanquished rivals, helping him quickly assemble an experienced finance team from scratch. Some Republican voters, too, are finding that unease with Clinton is a good enough reason to back Trump. Margaret Lee, a 66-year-old from Clayton, North Carolina, said that while the former reality TV star may not have been her first choice, she'll vote for anybody but Clinton. "Hillary Clinton is not being held accountable," Lee said of Clinton's use of private emails as secretary of state. "The fact that she's going to be the Democratic nominee having this hanging over her head, I just can't understand that." In Pennsylvania, Lori Clifton said she's deeply frustrated by the prospect of an election face-off between Trump and Clinton. Clifton, a 51-year-old from the Philadelphia suburb of Doylestown, isn't a Trump fan. But as a reliable Republican voter in presidential elections, she said, "What choice do I have? I really don't trust Hillary Clinton." Alison Scott, a 36-year-old from Apex, North Carolina, also has concerns about Trump's demeanor, saying he often "doesn't seem very presidential." But with Clinton as the only alternative, she said her decision is simple. "If I had to pick one of those," Scott said, "I'd vote for Trump."