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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

Battle of the Surrogates

On Tuesday, the Clinton and Trump campaigns did what they will do pretty much every day between now and November: try to define their opponent in the media. 

Hillary Clinton’s message for the day was: Donald Trump screws the little guy. At a campaign rally, Clinton herself attacked Trump for having said he hoped the housing bubble would pop, because “people like me would go in and buy.” And as CNN reported, Team Clinton dispatched its “surrogates” to attack “Trump on the issue in six battleground states through a series of press calls, statements, and events.” The most prominent surrogate was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who reiterated Clinton’s point in harsher terms. After noting that Trump had rooted for a housing crash, she said: “What kind of a man does that? I’ll tell you exactly what kind—a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it.” Warren’s attack earned it’s own, favorable, story in Politico.

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For his part, Trump’s message...

Obama Floats Above the Malaise in His Job Approval Ratings

On pa­per, 2016 has been a fairly tu­mul­tu­ous year for Pres­id­ent Obama. The pres­id­ent’s seni­or for­eign policy strategist, Ben Rhodes, ad­mit­ted to spin­ning mis­lead­ing nar­rat­ives to sell a con­tro­ver­sial nuc­le­ar deal with Ir­an. The eco­nomy con­tin­ues to sput­ter along, with quarterly GDP growth ad­van­cing at its low­est level in two years. Obama’s own FBI dir­ect­or, James Comey, is sound­ing the alarm over a spike in vi­ol­ent crime in most of the largest U.S. cit­ies. Most re­cently, the pres­id­ent is­sued a con­tro­ver­sial dir­ect­ive re­quir­ing pub­lic schools to let trans­gender stu­dents choose the bath­room that fits their gender iden­tity, sidestep­ping pub­lic de­bate or any con­gres­sion­al role in the de­cision.  

Yet as the gen­er­al-elec­tion cam­paign be­gins, Obama en­joys his highest ap­prov­al rat­ing in the past two years—49 per­cent, ac­cord...

How Republican Governors Are Narrowing Clinton's Choices

As she turns her attention to selecting a running mate, Hillary Clinton has, in theory, a wide array of contenders from which to choose. There are up-and-coming Latino leaders like Julián Castro and Tom Perez from President Obama’s Cabinet; liberal favorites like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown; prominent African Americans such as Senator Cory Booker or Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor. Unlike Donald Trump, she has forged solid relationships with elected Democrats from across the country, and virtually the entire party establishment lined up behind her candidacy—either publicly or with a private wink and nod—early on.

Clinton really should have the pick of the political litter. But thanks to a handful of Republican governors, her options might be far more limited. 

Democrats this fall are simultaneously trying to win the White House and wrest back control of the Senate from Republicans, who now have a 54-46 majority. If a Democratic senator wins the vice presidency, the governor of the state he or she represents would usually select a temporary replacement who would serve until a special election were held either in 2017 or 2018. (The precise rules vary by state.) Warren, Brown, and Booker...

Foreign Hackers May Be Targeting U.S. Presidential Candidates

As presidential candidates tack and weave through their primary races and toward their upcoming party conventions, the eyes of voters—and indeed, the eyes of the world—are on them. But a few groups are watching especially closely.

Hackers have been spying on candidates and their campaigns, said James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, during an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday. And the hackers may be on foreign governments’ payroll.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have met with campaigns to educate them about the threats and help counter them. There have already been signs of hacking attempts, Clapper said, and “we’ll probably have more.”

Hackers and spies have targeted campaigns since at least 2008. Earlier this month, the Office of the Director of National Security declassified a slide deck that was presented to the Obama Administration shortly after he was first elected, entitled “How to Use the Intelligence Community.” That deck included a warning that foreign intelligence services “have been tracking this election cycle like no other.”

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Spies overseas “exploited technology to get otherwise sensitive data,” the...

Here's How a Clinton-Warren Ticket Might Just Work

Conventional wisdom holds that the two candidates on a presidential ticket should balance one another out. A young senator pairs well with a seasoned veteran. A longtime politician might look for a running mate who can carry a swing state or coveted demographic; in the 21st century, a white guy might even choose a minority or a woman.

But let’s not get too crazy: you won’t see two minorities on a ticket. And definitely not two women. Even Barack Obama, the candidate of change, opted for an older white guy as his vice president.

What if 2016 is the year that Hillary Clinton starts breaking the rules?

As recently as a year ago, the idea that Clinton might choose another woman as her vice-presidential pick seemed to be a non-starter. Americans have a hard enough time voting for a ticket with one woman on it; two would be overkill, and a death wish for Clinton’s campaign.

But with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, the view looks rather different. New York Magazine now reports that influential advisers in the Clinton campaign want Elizabeth Warren to be Hillary’s running mate.

"She’s been a totally good...