Monday, August 22, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Rubin 8/19/2016

"Shields and Rubin on Trump's staff shift and Clinton's ‘self-inflicted' damage" PBS NewsHour 8/19/2016


SUMMARY:  This week, the Trump campaign underwent possibly its biggest overhaul yet -- the candidate made major staffing changes and publicly said he regrets some past comments.  Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is excelling in the polls, but her emails and foundation still haunt her.  For the political scoop, Judy Woodruff speaks with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  It's Friday, and so we turn to politics, and the analysis of Shields and Rubin.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Jennifer Rubin, the opinion writer for The Washington Post.  David Brooks is away this week.

We welcome you.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  And good to have you back, Mark.

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  Good to be here.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, let's talk about this upheaval in the Trump campaign, phases one and two.  We have a new — Mark, a new campaign manager.  We have Paul Manafort out after some stories about his work in Ukraine.

We know that one of the new folks coming in is from Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon.  What do we make of all this?

MARK SHIELDS:  Well, first of all, Judy, every campaign is ultimately, inevitably a mirror reflection of the candidate.

The criminality and paranoia of the Nixon campaign began with Richard Nixon.  The discipline and, I would say, the insularity of Jimmy Carter's campaign began with Jimmy Carter.

And I think that's true of every campaign.

This is a year unlike any year, when voters are so angry with Washington.  They think Washington is awash in money, that money buys influence, buys access, puts the fix in.

So, what does — Donald Trump, who has an advantage over Hillary Clinton of 3-1 on someone who would change Washington, he hires the ultimate insider, the guy who gets, according to reports, various reports, got $12 million in cash for representing the pro-Russian, pro-Putin interests and parties in Ukraine.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  This is Manafort.

MARK SHIELDS:  Paul Manafort, the ultimate insider.  So, now Paul Manafort is gone, amidst charges that this is just Washington as usual, the worst kind.

And who does he bring in?  He brings in Stephen Bannon, who's never run a campaign before, who has done a good job of running a Web site.  It's been very successful.  And he lines himself up with Roger Ailes, Roger Ailes, the recently deposed chief of FOX News, the bete noire of every liberal in the country, many of whom are sort of lukewarm toward Hillary Clinton, and who has just left amidst a flurry of serious allegations about sexual harassment of women and misconduct.

So, I don't know.  I mean, it just — if personnel is policy, these self-inflicted wounds on the part of Trump are just, if not mortal, they're seriously damaging.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  How do you see all this, Jennifer?

JENNIFER RUBIN, The Washington Post:  Well, I think several strands of the campaign came together all at once.

One is this very odd relationship, maybe not even relationship, that Donald Trump has with Vladimir Putin and the number of advisers around him who are overtly pro-Russian, who have made money in Russia.  So, that's one strand.

The next strand is, there is no campaign.  As you were saying, there is no one really running the store.  There is something more to a campaign than the candidate showing up and giving a speech.  There's ad buys, there's ground game, there's all sorts of elements.

And I see none of that.  And, apparently, Mr.  Manafort didn't do that.  Maybe he tried and Donald didn't let him.  Maybe he didn't know how to do that.  So, that's the second strand.

A third is, he's behind.  And the national polls, I think, underestimate the trouble he's in.


JENNIFER RUBIN:  He is trailing in virtually every poll in every battleground.  And now we have new battleground states.  They're called Georgia and Arizona, which is unheard of.

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