The Daily 202: Democrats claim patriotism, God and American exceptionalism at convention – Washington Post

THE BIG IDEA:

PHILADELPHIA—Democrats are now playing offense on the three G’s that dogged them for so many years: God, gays and guns.

Republicans mercilessly accused Barack Obama of not believing in the notion of American exceptionalism over the years. Some have said he is a closeted Muslim presiding over America’s decline. His opponents have talked relentlessly about “values” and suggested that he somehow lacks them. They’ve used every opportunity to emphasize his otherness, to diminish his Americanism in ways big and small.

Donald Trump has allowed the outgoing president and his party to flip the script. It is the Republican nominee who now talks about malaise, decline and the limitations of U.S. power. His profoundly dark acceptance speech in Cleveland gave an opening for Democrats to present themselves as the hopeful, sunnily optimistic and patriotic party that supports the troops and believes the country’s best days are ahead.

On the third night of the Democratic National Convention here, a procession of speakers wrapped themselves in red, white and blue. And the crowd chanted “U-S-A.”

– While Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama refused to say Trump’s name, Obama said it six times and offered an explicit rebuttal of the portrait he painted last week 430 miles to the west.

“America is already great. America is already strong,” the president said. “What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican, and it sure wasn’t conservative. … Ronald Reagan called America ‘a shining city on a hill.’ Donald Trump calls it ‘a divided crime scene’ that only he can fix.”

“And that is not the America I know,” Obama continued. “The America I know is full of courage, and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.”

– In some ways, Obama’s speech echoed Reagan’s farewell address in January 1989. (Trump did not quote Reagan in his RNC speech—which was inspired instead by Richard Nixon.)

“Sure, we have real anxieties,” the current president said. “We get frustrated with political gridlock and worry about racial divisions. … We are challenged to do better; to be better. But as I’ve traveled this country, through all 50 states, as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America.”

– The president spoke with the confidence of someone who feels certain that he’s on the right side of history. He placed Trump in a tradition of “home-grown demagogues” who have preyed on the citizenry’s fears since the dawn of the Republic. “The American Dream,” he said, “is something no wall will ever contain.”

Obama’s address also functioned as a sort of timeless lecture on “American values.” He said Hillary Clinton will be effective “without resorting to torture or banning entire religions from entering our country.”

– There was irony in Obama painting Trump as fundamentally un-American, after the billionaire spent years insisting that the Hawaii native was actually from Kenya and demanding to see his long-form birth certificate.

– Using rhetoric you can imagine from someone like Dick Cheney in years past, Joe Biden accused Trump earlier in the night of embracing “the tactics of our enemies.” He cited torture and religious intolerance. “We are America – second to none,” the sitting vice president said. “Never, ever bet against America.” Commandeering Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign slogan, he bellowed: “The 21st century is going to be the American century! Because we lead not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example.”

Trump criticized U.S. foreign entanglements during last week’s acceptance speech—calling them a waste of blood and treasure—but he never acknowledged the troops who are stationed in harm’s way.

Obama seized this opening, too, making a potent case for internationalism amidst Trump’s embrace of isolationism: “Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.  He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights.  He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens.”

– Thought leaders on the right, whose efforts to stop Trump proved futile, recognized that Democrats were successfully co-opting four decades of core Republican messaging:

From the top editor at National Review:

The conservative opinion editor of the New York Post:

Other conservative radio hosts and bloggers expressed this sentiment:

From a seasoned Virginia GOP operative (formerly Bob McDonnell’s communications director):

GOD:

– Eight years ago, Obama lost the Democratic primary here in Pennsylvania after videos emerged of appallingly offensive sermons by his pastor. Jeremiah Wright, who had married him and Michelle, had also coined “The Audacity of Hope,” which Obama used as the title for his bestseller.

“God damn America,” Wright said in a sermon delivered while Obama was a member of his congregation. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

Wright had also said the U.S. brought on the Sept. 11 attacks. “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

The Obamas left Wright’s flock during the ensuing firestorm, and the president was forced to deliver a defensive speech about race at the Constitution Center – just a few miles from the Wells Fargo Center where he spoke last night.

Trump blundered by not discussing his personal faith journey during his 75-minute speech in Cleveland. The only reference to a higher power was a “God bless you” at the very end, a thank you to evangelicals who have endorsed him and a promise to let them keep their tax-exempt status if he’s elected. It was a surprising omission for a Republican standard bearer. Worse, his speech was boastful and immodest. He literally said that he is singularly qualified to fix the world’s problems. He certainly does not see himself – or has never tried to portray himself – as a humble servant of Christ.

– “Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order,” Obama replied last night. After touting gains the country has made on his watch, he added that there is more work to do: “We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal, that all of us are free in the eyes of God.”

– Tim Kaine offered the most powerful and overtly-religious testimony, explaining how his faith drove him to public service: “I went to a Jesuit boys high school,” he said. “We had a motto in my school, ‘men for others.’ And it was there that my faith became something vital. My north star for orienting my life. And when I left high school, I knew that I wanted to battle for social justice. … That is why I took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras.” He said he was most struck by the dictatorship in that country “where a few people at the top had all the power and everybody else got left out.”

“Now that convinced me that we have got to advance opportunity for everybody, no matter where you come from, how much money you have, what you look like, how you worship or who you love,” he said.

GAYS:

– Bigger picture, the Democratic Party is playing offense on social issues that candidates were advised to avoid only a few years ago.

Twelve years ago this week, when Obama had his breakout moment at the Fleet Center in Boston, George W. Bush was campaigning for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage and his political team was pushing for state-level referendums on gay marriage to gin up evangelicals. That approach paid handsome, short-term dividends in 2004. Recall that Bush only won Ohio by 119,000 votes, a margin of victory less than 2 percent, even as the Buckeye State voted to ban gay marriage by a margin of more than 1.2 million votes, 62 percent to 38 percent.

Not only is same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, but Republicans are now on the defensive. Even in a Southern state like North Carolina, the GOP governor is more likely than not to lose this November because of backlash to a bill aimed at restricting the ability of transgender people to use whichever bathroom they want.

Some of the biggest applause lines the past three nights were about guaranteeing LGBTQ rights.

GUNS:

– For the first time, Democrats talked vastly more about the need for “responsible new gun laws” in Philadelphia than Republicans talked about “protecting the Second Amendment” in Cleveland.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who has become the most prominent spokeswoman for new gun laws since being shot in the head five years ago during a public event, is out of her wheelchair. She walked on stage to make the case for Clinton.

Mike Bloomberg, who is not a Democrat but is the biggest funder of groups that push for gun control, got a prime speaking slot.

The video introducing Obama showed him crying as he lamented Congress blocking any new legislation after Newtown. The president noted during his speech that he keeps a drawing from one of the elementary students who died in his private study and thinks of it constantly. The video introducing Biden noted his role in the 1990s assault weapons ban.

“We have had enough,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), vowing that Clinton would fight for gun control.

“It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times,” said Christine Leinonen, whose son was killed the Orlando nightclub massacre. Her speech was followed by two women who survived the Charleston church massacre last year and the daughter of a woman killed in Newtown.

– Last night also offered a preview of how aggressively Democrats will try to win over some disenchanted, mainstream Republicans now that she’s officially the nominee.

Kaine noted that his father-in-law Linwood Holton was once the Republican governor of Virginia. “If any of you are looking for the party of Lincoln, we have got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party,” Kaine said, adding that Republican senators tell him privately that Clinton was a great senator to work with.

Obama quoted Republican Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech about “the man in the arena” – not the timid soul who criticizes from the sidelines but the one who strives valiantly; who errs; but who knows in the end the triumph of achievement. “Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena,” the 44th president said.

It is not a coincidence that John McCain, Obama’s 2008 opponent, calls the former president his “ultimate hero” and himself “a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.”

And the Clinton campaign said her first post-convention interview will be with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” It will be her first time on the show since 2011.

– Kaine showed he’s more willing to play the traditional attack dog role of the V.P. nominee than Mike Pence. He did an impression of Trump saying “believe me” several times to make the case that the Republican never follows through on his promises. Recognizing that his running-mate is not seen as trustworthy by most Americans, he made a personal pitch. Noting that his oldest son is a Marine who deployed to Europe on Monday, he looked to his wife and said: “I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life.”

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

– Several protesters briefly broke through a security gate outside the Wells Fargo Center moments before Obama delivered his speech at the DNC. The Secret Service arrested seven people for the breach, saying they face felony charges for entering a restricted area. Separately, a woman was injured while trying to ‎put out a flag that was set on fire, NBC Philadelphia reports. She was treated at the scene for burns on her leg.

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Nearly 3,000 firefighters in California are working to control deadly wildfires across the state’s central coast. The blazes have now burned more than 38,000 acres. (LA Times)
  2. Berkeley researchers discovered that electronic cigarette vapor contains two cancer-causing chemicals, which should put to rest claims that the increasingly popular “e-cigs” are harmless. (Jacob Bogage)
  3. Obama has chosen Chicago’s Jackson Park as the site of his presidential library, selecting the South Side location over several other parks in that area. A formal announcement is expected in the next few days. (Juliet Eilperin)
  4. Baltimore prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three officers who had been awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Maryland man who died from injuries sustained in police custody last year. (Derek Hawkins, Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann)
  5. A Florida judge dismissed charges against a sheriff’s deputy who shot a 33-year-old black man carrying an air rifle, ruling that the officer was protected under a statewide “stand your ground” self-defense law. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  6. A Pennsylvania man who was shot by the Secret Service outside the White House in May is expected to plead guilty after new felony charges. Video footage from the altercation shows the man walking toward a checkpoint with a handgun pointed at the ground and ignoring officers before being wounded in the chest. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  7. Police arrested a suspected armed robber who targeted Pokémon Go players on the University of Maryland campus before slinking away with their cellphones. Police said there were three robberies within a single hour. (Victoria St. Martin)
  8. Iowa police will release body camera footage showing a black University of Iowa football player being confronted by officers at gunpoint while playing Pokemon Go. The 22-year-old linebacker, who was mistaken for a fleeing bank robber, said he “feared for his life.” (Cindy Boren)
  9. More than 40 were killed in Northern Syria after a suicide bomber drove a livestock truck full of explosives into the crowded Kurdish town of Qamishli. ISIS claimed responsibility. (AP)
  10. Several French news organizations announced that they will no longer publish photographs of people responsible for terrorist attacks, seeking to minimize “posthumous glorification” of the killers. (The Guardian)
  11. Another American was detained in Iran, becoming the fourth dual national to be arrested by the regime in the past six months. This has sparked fresh concern from Western nations about unlawful detainment. (Melissa Etehad and Carol Morello)
  12. A former Pennsylvania beauty queen was sentenced to up to four years in prison after she faked a battle with leukemia, raising $3,000. The 24-year-old was so convincing that she had college classmates – and even her own family members – fooled. (Travis M. Andrews)
  13. A 45-year-old lottery winner in Georgia faces “decades” in federal prison after he decided to invest his earnings in crystal meth. If found guilty, police said he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. (Sarah Larimer)
  14. German researchers have discovered a new type of natural antibiotic living in the human nose. The powerful antibody is believed to have antimicrobial effects against a “wide range” of bacterium, including potentially-deadly strains of MRSA. (Lena H. Sun)
  15. A Massachusetts family summering on Cape Cod narrowly avoided an encounter with a 14-foot Great White shark. They credited a new shark-tracking app with helping them. (Boston Globe)

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IS IN JEOPARDY:

– A Washington Post reporter was barred from a rally for Mike Pence and patted down by Wisconsin sheriff’s deputies. From Paul Farhi: “At Pence’s first public event since he was introduced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate … a Post reporter was barred from entering the venue after security staffers summoned local police to pat him down in a search for his cellphone. Pence’s campaign expressed embarrassment and regret about the episode, which an official blamed on overzealous campaign volunteers. Post reporter Jose A. DelReal sought to cover Pence’s rally … outside Milwaukee, but he was turned down for a credential beforehand by volunteers at a press check-in table. DelReal then tried to enter via the general-admission line, as Post reporters have done without incident since Trump last month banned the newspaper from his events. He was stopped there by a private security official who told him he couldn’t enter the building with his laptop and cellphone. When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, ‘Not if they work for The Washington Post.’”

– Statement from Post Executive Editor Martin Baron: “First, press credentials for The Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump. Now, law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less. The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”

– Trump did an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit last night. A supporter asked how he will “take on media elites” while still respecting the First Amendment. He didn’t engage with the latter part of the question. “I have been very concerned about media bias and the total dishonesty of the press,” Trump replied. “I think new media is a great way to get out the truth.”

– Globally, this is a scary moment. At the same time our reporter was being bullied and patted down by the cops in Wisconsin, the Turkish government was moving to close dozens of media organizations, including 45 newspapers and 16 television stations. It’s just the latest move in a broad crackdown on democratic institutions and civil society by the U.S. ally and NATO member. (AP)

– Something to ponder: Would Trump’s authoritarian instincts change if he becomes the most powerful person in the world?  

DONALD’S APPEAL TO PUTIN SPLINTERS GOP:

– Trump urged Vladimir Putin’s government to find and release the “missing” messages from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump told reporters. “They probably have them,” he said, when asked if he believed his comments were inappropriate “I’d like to have them released. It gives me no pause … if they have them, they have them.” (Ed O’Keefe, Jose A. DelReal and John Wagner)

“The … suggestion — essentially inviting a foreign power to spy on an opponent in the presidential race — came during a free-wheeling press conference at Trump’s Doral resort,” Jose A. DelReal writes. The mogul also used the event to condemn Clinton as “unfit to receive classified briefings; attacked one of Clinton’s top advisers as being married to “a pervert and a sleazeball” (Anthony Weiner) and called the Democratic National Committee a “disgrace.”

– “Be quiet,” Trump told a female journalist, NBC’s Katy Tur, when she tried to follow up on his comment about the Russians.

– Under fire, Trump’s said he was just being sarcastic. From Louisa Loveluck: “Asked this morning by Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade whether Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was right to cast the quip as a national security issue, Trump was dismissive. ‘You have to be kidding,’ he said. ‘His client, his person deleted 33,000 emails illegally. You look at that. And when I’m being sarcastic with something. … Of course I’m being sarcastic.” Kilmeade then pressed Trump on how he would act in the face of Russian aggression. “I’m not going to tell you what I’d do. Why would I tell you something like that,” he asked. “No, no. You got to keep it a little bit secret.”

– Congressional leaders were quick to disavow Trump’s remarks: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” said Paul Ryan spokesman Brandon Buck. “Putin should stay out of this election.”

From the former RNC communications director:

A reality check from a veteran Washington journalist:

– Trump’s strategy: He is trying to conflate Hillary’s misuse of a private server with the DNC hack in the minds of low-information voters, all while overshadowing his opponent’s coronation. The latest comments have sparked alarm that the Republican nominee is sympathetic toward Putin. “But the foreign policy establishment is not Trump’s audience. Nor is any establishment,” Dan Balz writes. “Trump’s comments provided more evidence that the candidates speak to two Americas. Trump’s America despises Clinton and sees her use of a private email server to conduct business as secretary of state as a criminal offense that should disqualify her from high office, and the failure to prosecute her as evidence of a rigged system. Clinton’s America sees Trump as a threat to the future of the republic and a man unsuited to occupy the presidency. Those are the givens of the campaign ahead: unbridgeable constituencies with unbending and negative views of the opposition. But it is Trump who continues to play havoc with the system and in so doing to set a standard of conduct that has taken this campaign into unsettling places.”

– Donald keeps changing his story, worsening his credibility gap: 

In a GOP debate on Nov. 10, Trump said of Putin: “I got to know him very well because we were both on ‘60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.”

At his press conference yesterday, he said: “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said ‘Thank you very much’ to the newspaper, and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.” (HuffPost)

– Several Democrats called for Trump to stop getting classified briefings from the intelligence community. Harry Reid suggested Trump should be given fake information. “How would the CIA and the other intelligence agencies brief this guy? How could they do that?” the Minority Reid asked. “I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous.”

– Drip, drip, drip: Wikileaks released a series of voicemails from the DNC showing donors plying top-level officials for favors, with one saying she was “furious” with Sanders’ influence on the Democratic platform. From CNN: “I’m furious about what you are doing for Sanders, he’s getting way too much influence. I’m on a fixed income, I spent over $300, donated to Hillary, what I see is the DNC bending over backwards for Bernie,” the unidentified woman said. “In another voicemail, Bill Eacho, a longtime Democratic donor and former U.S. ambassador, inquired about the details of a “small dinner with President Obama.”

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM NIGHT THREE OF THE DNC:

– As he passed the torch, Obama also made the case for why he thinks he should be considered a great president. “It was part valedictory, part sermon, part campaign stem-winder, and in total it added up to the full Obama, a deeper and more experienced bookend to the speech he delivered in Boston 12 years ago,” David Maraniss, who wrote perhaps the best book on Obama, explains in his analysis. “He at once presented the clearest statement of his political philosophy and attached it to the woman he wants to succeed him. … There were elements or echoes of almost every notable speech Obama had ever delivered somewhere in this convention address.”

– Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged fellow independents to unite behind Hillary, slamming Trump as a “dangerous demagogue.” “The bottom line is: Trump is a risky, reckless and radical choice, and we can’t afford to make that choice,” the onetime Republican said. “Let’s elect a sane, competent person.” The billionaire then ripped into Trump as a bad businessman, noting that he is more of an “heir” than anything else. “I built a business,” Bloomberg said. “And I didn’t start it with a million dollar check from my father!” He also quipped: “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

BERNIE’S REVOLUTION SIMMERS:

– “The convention’s third day was the first that supporters of Sanders could no longer fantasize about how he might win the nomination,” Dave Weigel writes. “At protests inside and outside the Democratic National Convention, the Vermont senator’s supporters bemoaned his loss of the nomination and flirted with whether — or when — to bolt the party.” Among the different ways this played out: 

  • “Wednesday’s major protest inside the convention perimeter was staged to support Nina Turner, a Sanders supporter from Ohio who was denied the chance to help put Sanders’s name in nomination. Smaller than a similar Tuesday protest, the Wednesday action moved inside the Democratic convention itself (both Bloomberg and Leon Panetta were booed).”
  • Leaders of The Socialist Caucus argued that not voting for Democrats in 2016 is reminiscent of the decision some Weimar Republic socialists made in allowing Adolf Hitler to take power in Germany in the hopes that it would lead to a true revolution. 

– The scene: The Wells Fargo Center this week is “a kind of trashy Versailles: gated, blithe, debauched, and just now beginning to understand that it’s under assault,” Post Style reporter Dan Zak writes. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park should be renamed Herbert Hooverville for its “clusters of tents and aura of meagerness. The Occupirates Camp is denoted by a skull-and-crossbones flag strung between two trees. Its denizens are inspired by the Pirate Party, which has little presence in America but is apparently ‘really big in Iceland.’ Outside, in the hot hell of the real world, hundreds of Bernie people gather near city hall in a plaza named after Thomas Paine …The volume on the sound system is turned to the max. The idealism and anger are ear-splitting. ‘He’s the one that will clothe you!” says one speaker of Bernie. ‘We’re headed to a class war!’ says another …The volume on the sound system is turned to the max. The idealism and anger are ear-splitting.”

– The Narrative: Big donors beat out the small donors, and Wall Street wins again. “After a wrenching yearlong nominating battle … the party’s moneyed elite returned to the fore this week, undeterred and mostly unabashed,” Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick write in the New York Times. “In a luxury suite high above the convention floor, some of the Democratic Party’s most generous patrons sipped cocktails and caught up with old friends, tuning out [Sanders] as he bashed Wall Street … On Tuesday … a handful of drug companies and health insurers made sure to echo the theme, paying to sponsor an ‘Inspiring Women’ panel …And in the vaulted marble bar of the Ritz-Carlton downtown, wealthy givers congregated in force for cocktails and glad-handing, as protesters thronged just outside to voice their unhappiness with Wall Street.”

NOT READY FOR PRIME-TIME:

– Trump mixed up Clinton’s running-mate Tim Kaine with former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Keane during his press conference. “Her running mate Tim Kaine, who by the way did a terrible job in New Jersey — first act he did in New Jersey was ask for a $4 billion tax increase and he was not very popular in New Jersey and he still isn’t,” Trump said.

– The Trump operation is apparently trying to cover up Melania’s lie about earning a college degree. The would-be First Lady’s official biography claims she “obtained a degree in design and architecture” from a Slovenian university — an achievement which was once documented on her website, the Huffington Post reports. But biographers, researchers and journalists have documented that she actually dropped out of college after her freshman year. Now, her online bio has been scrubbed completely. “Slovenian journalists Bojan Pozar and Igor Omerza wrote in their biography on the former fashion model that she ‘became ― and remained ― a college dropout’ after leaving the University of Ljubljana’s architecture school following her freshman year.” A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign declined to comment on whether Melania actually has a college degree.

REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO GRAPPLE WITH TRUMPISM:

– Rudy Giuliani endorsed “attaching electronic monitoring tags” to Muslims on the terror watch list. “If you’re on the terror watch list, I should know you’re on the terror watch list,” the former New York City mayor told reporters at the official RNC-sponsored event in Philadelphia to bracket the convention. “The Trump adviser said a similar identification system is in use in France, yet it doesn’t appear to have stopped one of the two suspects in Tuesday’s attack in Normandy, in which a priest was murdered at a Catholic church,” Isaac Stanley-Becker notes.

– Marco Rubio suggested Trump can “learn on the job” if he becomes president, saying his ex-rival will “more fully develop” as he settles into the role. “I view the Senate as a place that can always act as a check and balance on whoever the next president is,” Rubio said in a Wednesday radio interview. “I also think there’s something to be said for, once you’re actually in that position … and you start to have access to information that perhaps you didn’t have before … I think it starts to impact your views a little bit.” The Florida senator argued that Trump is better than Clinton because, while it’s an “open question” whether Trump will become more informed on the issues, voters “know exactly” that they will get with Clinton. (Buzzfeed)

– Marvin Bush, the brother of Jeb and George W., endorsed Gary Johnson for president. “People think it is sort of a wasted vote, but both Gary Johnson and Bill Weld were each successful two term governors who balanced their budgets,” he said on a D.C. sports radio channel . “So they’re fiscally conservative and their essential message is get bureaucracy off our backs. It used to be a part of what the Republicans believed.” (Buzzfeed)

– Florida Gov. Rick Scott agred to chair the “official” Trump-backed super PAC, “Rebuilding America Now.” “The group has so far raised $2.1 million, and spent $1.5 million. That includes funding an ad running during the Democratic National Convention. The ‘Outsourcing’ ad features Clinton during a closed door appearance at a 2005 event in New Delhi, India, where she says ‘I don’t think you can, um, effectively restrict outsourcing.’ The ad ends with the words ‘outsourcing jobs for $$$.’” (Politico)

– Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook needled Trump for saying he can compete in Democratic strongholds. “I absolutely encourage him to spend time campaigning in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey,” he quipped at a Wall Street Journal lunch. (WSJ)

– In an op-ed for The Post, Patti Davis explains why she disagrees with a federal judge letting John Hinckley go free: “When President Ronald Reagan — my father — was lying in a hospital bed recovering from the gunshots that nearly killed him, he said, ‘I know my ability to heal depends on my willingness to forgive John Hinckley.’ I, too, believe in forgiveness. But forgiving someone in your heart doesn’t mean that you let them loose in Virginia to pursue whatever dark agenda they may still hold dear. I have no choice but to resign myself to the fact of Hinckley’s release … but I’m not at all comfortable with the decision. To me, it doesn’t represent justice as much as it does his efforts to methodically wait out and wear down the system. But now what he’s been working toward all these years has happened: A man who shot four people, including the President of the United States, will be granted his freedom. I’m not surprised by this latest development, but my heart is sickened.”

– The Reagan Foundation — which oversees the presidential library and museum — also condemned the judge’s ruling in a statement“Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release. They are all lives that matter dearly to us.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Facebook says the biggest moment on its site over the past 24 hours is Barack and Hillary hugging. The most posted quote on the social network is from Obama: “The Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy either.” The most posted moment from Kaine’s speech is his “believe me” Trump impression. The Biden quote generating the biggest buzz is also about Trump: “This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue!”

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The DNC continues to generate more online buzz than the RNC: Zignal Labs tracked nearly 2 million mentions on traditional and social media yesterday. The chatter about Kaine was primary driven by him speaking Spanish:

But Clinton’s running-mate received fewer mentions than Obama and Biden, though he edged out Bloomberg:  

Of the 1.4 million Tweets Zignal monitored during the televised coverage, 116,000 contained at least one emoji. Democrats are trying to present a more optimistic portrait of America than the one painted in Cleveland last week. If the emojis are any indication, it is working. Here were the most popular emojis during last night’s speeches:

The left loved Obama’s speech:

Trump’s response to the Obama speech played to type:

Biden spoke about his late son, Beau, and posted this memory:

A remarkable observation about Biden’s farewell:

Conservatives imagined an alternative universe in which Biden beat Clinton for the nomination:

Here’s how reporters responded to Bloomberg’s speech:

More reaction on Trump’s public flirtation with Putin

Trump’s crew tried to clean up the mess he created:

It’s hard to overstate the volume of negative reaction against what Trump said. Here’s a round-up, starting with Sweden’s former prime minister and special envoy to the Balkans (now a contributing columnist for The Post):

A conservative writer:

From the conservative Weekly Standard:

From U.S. lawmakers:

And commentators across the political spectrum:

The Green Party candidate remains focused on the underlying DNC’s emails:

Among the jokes was this reference to “The Americans”:

This new logo idea:

And several other puns:

The blow-up really makes 2012 feel so amusingly quaint:

Ahead of Kaine’s speech, Katie Couric shared this moving tribute to her sister Emily, whose political legacy in Virginia is tied to Kaine’s:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus showed her support for Clinton:

Other celebrities at the convention:

Meanwhile, at Trump’s rally (click to watch):

Lawmakers showed support for Ted Poe, who is battling leukemia:

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Trump is in Grand Rapids, Mich., Davenport, Iowa, Novi, Mich., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Clinton speaks during the final night of the Democratic convention.

At the White House: Obama has no public events scheduled. Biden travels to Baton Rouge to speak at a vigil honoring law enforcement officers who died on July 17.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:

– NPR, “Taking On A U.S. Senator As A Student Propelled Clinton Into The Spotlight,” by Tamara Keith: “Hillary Rodham’s 1969 commencement address at Wellesley College did not stand out because of what she said. It stood out because of how she said it, and because she said it at all. … When [Rodham] stepped to the lectern, [she] didn’t go directly to her prepared remarks.” She spoke extemporaneously instead, breaking from her script to address Sen. Edward Brooke, who had spoken before her, on the importance of “constructive protest.” Audience members were “surprised and impressed” with how well she ad-libbed a response before moving to her prepared speech.

Her remarks made national news, with many surprised by her brazenness. The Chicago Tribune wrote “Miss Rodham’s discourtesy to Senator Brooke was unjustified.” “Time, which owns the Life Magazine archives, dug up some notes from the photographer and reporter who worked on the story. Rodham said press accounts had been ‘vastly different from what she actually said,’ and she was ‘quite concerned that it be made clear she was not attacking Senator Brooke personally.’ It would seem, Clinton’s first moment in the limelight was also the beginning of her difficult relationship with the press.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

– Today’s mugginess may give way to some afternoon storms – so be sure to pack that umbrella again. From the Capital Weather Gang: “Higher humidity hacks into our homeland today with partly cloudy skies and steamy highs in the lower to middle 90s.  Those high temperatures may be hit earlier in the afternoon, thanks to showers and thunderstorms popping up around the area during the afternoon into the evening.  Some storms could involve severe, strong winds and heavy downpours. Rain totals vary wildly from just a trace to at least an inch with heavier storms.”

– The Nationals beat the Cleveland Indians 4-1.

–  Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe spent a full 24 hours in clean-up mode after suggesting Clinton would change her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership should she win the presidency in November. From Jenna Portnoy and David Weigel: By Wednesday morning, McAuliffe was characterizing the exchange as a misunderstanding between the governor and a reporter. “There are things in the agreement she does not agree with,” he told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at a Virginia delegation breakfast. “Unless she can get those to the point where she’s happy with it, she’s not going to support it, plain and simple.”

– The federal government opened a new civil rights investigation into potential sexual violence cases at the University of Virginia, the second probe to occur at the school over a five-year period. A U-Va. spokesman declined to comment on the case, saying that “the University is aware that an individual has filed a complaint and will cooperate fully…” (Nick Anderson and T. Rees Shapiro)

– Police in Prince George’s County are asking for help in the search for a man caught on camera stealing $30,000 worth of hair extensions from a salon. (Justin Wm. Moyer)

CONVENTION VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:

A protester was burning a flag outside the DNC when his pants caught on fire. A USA Today reporter caught the scene on her phone:

A 3-minute highlight reel of last night’s speeches:

Watch celebrities sing “What the World Needs Now” onstage:

This video, which played duringthe convention, shows prominent Republicans criticizing Trump:

Here’s a 4-minute summary of Obama’s speech:

A 3-minute summary of Kaine’s speech:

Here’s a 2-minute summary of Biden’s speech:

The vice president really likes to say the word “malarkey”:

Gabby Giffords wowed the convention crowd:

Panetta issued a scathing retort to Trump’s Russia comments:

Here’s a clip of the crowd’s boos:

Harry Reid ripped into Trump as a “hateful con man”:

Gene Sperling and Andrea Savage starred in this video for “Funny or Die,” which also played on the floor:

Watch Clinton join Obama on stage after the speech:

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

The DCCC is putting out this ad hammering Republican representatives for backing Trump:

Paul Ryan’s primary challenger released an ad criticizing him on immigration:

Finally, check out DJ Khaled’s advice for Clinton:

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