Democrats find a Republican they can cheer for

The Latest on the Democratic National Convention and 2016 presidential campaign. (all times EDT):

8:50 p.m.

Doug Elmets is a Republican who Democrats can cheer for.

Elmets – who worked in the Reagan White House – earned a roar from the crowd at the Democratic convention Thursday night when he took the stage and said he was backing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Elmets says Clinton will be the first Democrat to get his vote – and he’s blaming Donald Trump for driving him away from the Republican Party.

He’s borrowing a line from the late Lloyd Bentsen – the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1988 – to tweak Trump for likening himself to Reagan.

Elmets says: “I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan!

8:25 p.m.

They held a political convention and the governor of the host state actually came. And spoke.

That was Tom Wolf on the stage Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and he was taking shots at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Wolf’s presence in the convention hall is a reminder that Republicans couldn’t feature a home-state governor at their convention in Cleveland last week.

That’s because Ohio Republican John Kasich is a former Trump primary rival and sharp critic. Kasich steered clear of the GOP convention

Wolf says, unlike Trump, Hillary Clinton will “reward companies that share profits with their employees.”

8:20 p.m.

Chants of “lock her up” are going up at a Mike Pence rally in suburban Detroit.

It’s the most raucous scene the GOP vice presidential nominee has faced since going out as a solo campaigner as Donald Trump’s running mate.

At times, Pence had to wait for the crowd’s jeers of Democrat Hillary Clinton or chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” to die down.

They cheered when Pence criticized Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attacks in Libya and when Pence praised Trump’s call to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

One of the biggest applause lines came when Pence said: “Hillary Clinton must never become president of the United States.”

8:10 p.m.

Democrats are targeting Donald Trump in their convention speeches, and the Republican presidential nominee is getting tired of it.

He says he wanted to “hit” some of them “so hard their heads would spin.”

Trump isn’t identifying any of them. But he tells a crowd in Iowa that one certain speaker – Trump describes him as “a little guy” who he used to work with – particularly bothered him.

Might that be former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg? He had some dealings with Trump – a New York real estate developer – as the city’s leader.

By the way, Bloomberg is listed as 5-foot-8 inches.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Hillary Clinton aide says Bernie Sanders backers to come around

The Latest on the Democratic National Convention and 2016 presidential campaign. (all times EDT):

7:10 p.m.

A Hillary Clinton campaign adviser says he’s not worried about winning over Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

“Most of them are going to come around.”

That’s what John Podesta thinks.

Podesta says he knows there are some in the Sanders camp who are still “emotional” and wish Clinton didn’t win more votes than the Vermont senator in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But Podesta says most of Sanders’ supporters are looking at the election as a choice between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Podesta spoke after some Sanders delegates at the party’s convention wore neon yellow shirts to protest Clinton’s nomination.

6:50 p.m.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters are wearing glow-in-the-dark shirts on the final night of Democrats convention in Philadelphia.

They say it’s a way to remind presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that she hasn’t brought them all on board yet.

For Clinton, the silent protest probably is preferable to the heckling and booing from that marked the early days of the convention.

Sanders delegate Davena Norris says her bright shirt is meant to send a message that more needs to be done to curb the influence of money in politics.

6:45 p.m.

Donald Trump is campaigning in Iowa and largely avoiding the topic that earned him lots of criticism this week.

Only a day ago Trump encouraged Russia to find and make public missing emails deleted by his Democratic presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s comments raised the question of whether he was condoning foreign government hacking of U.S. computers and the public release of information stolen from political adversaries.

Trump was condemned by Clinton and even some of his fellow Republicans. Running mate Mike Pence warned of “serious consequences” if Russia interfered in the election.

Trump has since insisted he was being sarcastic.

At the Iowa rally, he did say he wanted better relations with Russia and joked that writing letters was more secure than “putting something on a computer.”

5:40 p.m.

Donald Trump says “a lot of lies are being told” about him in the speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week.

The Republican presidential nominee is joking about it during a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.

“Boy, I’m getting hit” by Democrats – he says. “I guess they have to do their thing.”

Trump is criticizing Democrats for not talking about terrorism or laying out a plan to aid the economy.

4:25 p.m.

Die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters from Oregon’s delegation say they’re demanding a nationally televised apology at the Democratic National Convention before Hillary Clinton takes the stage Thursday night to accept the presidential nomination.

The matter involves leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that indicated party officials were biased against the Vermont senator.

The DNC has apologized and the party’s leader, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is resigning her post.

But Melissa Pancurak tells The Associated Press that those steps don’t go far enough. She says the Oregon delegates are part of a coalition of Sanders supporters working to get their demand to appropriate DNC officials before Clinton’s speech.

4:20 p.m.

Donald Trump’s stand on abortion has been inconsistent, but his running says Trump would be a “pro-life president.”

Mike Pence is campaigning in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he makes clear he opposes abortion. And the Indiana governor tells a town hall rally, “I don’t apologize for it.”

Pence drew the ire of abortion rights advocates in March after he signed a law banning abortions that were being sought because of fetal genetic defects. That law has since been blocked pending the outcome of a court challenge.

Pence says Trump would appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court who would send the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling to the “ash heap of history.”

4 p.m.

“Disrespectful.”

That’s what Elijah Cummings thinks of liberal supporters of Bernie Sanders who chanted an anti-trade slogan during the Maryland congressman’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

But Cummings says he’s not upset about it because he’s a veteran of civil rights protests and understands the passion that drove the mostly young delegates to shout over his speech Monday.

Cummings says in an interview that most of those who were shouting probably didn’t know he worked with Sanders to draft the Democratic platform and he’s “never voted for a trade bill in 20 years in Congress.”

He says more than 100 people have apologized to him for the outbursts.

2:37 p.m.

President Barack Obama‘s mention of “fascists” and “homegrown demagogues” in his convention speech wasn’t aimed at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

That’s what White House press secretary Josh Earnest is telling reporters the day after Obama argued for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s election over Trump.

Obama said “anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.”

Obama had criticized Trump several times before arriving at that particular line in the speech, including saying that American power “doesn’t come from a self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way.”

Trump said in his acceptance speech at last week’s GOP convention that “I alone can fix” a political system he says is rigged.

2:19 p.m.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is giving Hillary Clinton credit for her work on behalf of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Giuliani was asked at a Republican Party briefing Thursday in Philadelphia whether he took issue with the Democratic convention speakers who’d been praising Clinton. Giuliani said she was “enormously supportive and helpful.” Clinton was a U.S. senator from New York at the time.

He says Clinton “has a right to tell people that she worked hard on behalf of the 9/11 families.” He adds that, “She did.”

But Giuliani adds that “on all other aspects she fails the test.” Clinton and Democrats, he says, have “not done anything to prevent another attack.”

1:50 p.m.

This time, Bill Clinton will be the adoring spouse, rapt and smiling when the cameras cut away from the candidate in the spotlight.

He’ll be the He in the VIP box watching as She accepts the presidential nomination at the Democratic convention on Thursday.

It’s one small step in the role reversal Americans will need to get used to if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.

Already, satires and spoofs are circulating, taking note of Bill’s fashion choices, accessories and hair style. How about that fetching pantsuit! And that nice head of hair! Whose shoes is he wearing?

After all, that’s what political wives have come to expect.

Bill Clinton, utterly comfortable in his own skin, seems to be just fine with trading places with his wife, the former first lady.

10:28 a.m.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says the CIA should give Donald Trump “fake intelligence briefings” because he can’t be trusted.

The Nevada lawmaker tells reporters in Philadelphia that “they shouldn’t give him anything that means anything because you can’t trust him.”

Reid was responding to Trump’s call for Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

He says he’s sure the agency is aware of his suggestion.

He also says Trump may have violated the Logan Act that bars unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.

9:56 a.m.

The North Carolina Republican Party has removed a tweet criticizing Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for wearing a pin honoring his son’s military service.

The tweet posted during Kaine’s Democratic National Convention speech Wednesday night said Kaine “wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag. Shameful.”

The pin in question has a single blue star against a white background outlined in red. It’s the same design as the Service Flag, which is reserved for families who have members serving in the military during wartime. The flag of Honduras has five stars against a blue and white striped background. Kaine’s son is a Marine set to be deployed to Europe.

The party hasn’t responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Democratic donors, allies offer reward for Donald Trump tax returns

The wealthy Democratic donors, many of them executives who run complex businesses, know firsthand how revealing tax returns can be. Perhaps that’s why they can’t stop talking about Republican nominee Donald Trump‘s refusal to release his.

In their suites at the Ritz Carlton hotel, where many are staying during this week’s Democratic convention, and at its auxiliary swanky parties, the supporters of Hillary Clinton are sounding the alarm about Trump’s break with decades of presidential campaign tradition.

Clinton put out eight years of recent tax filings last summer, and they lament that voters don’t seem to understand why Trump’s refusal to do the same matters.

Democratic talk of the taxes spilled onto the convention stage Wednesday night. Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, mocking Trump, said, “Believe me, there’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns. Believe me!” The crowd laughed.

There’s even a literally a bounty for the Trump documents.

Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered to give $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if he makes them public. He joins an unnamed Republican donor working with Clinton ally David Brock who has made a similar offer of $5 million.

“Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he’s portraying to the American people,” said Mana, a real estate developer in Miami. “He says he’s a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money.”

Trump is unmoved. The billionaire owner of the Trump Organization, an international development company, says the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing his most recent returns and that he’ll release them once that audit is complete.

He reiterated that plan at a news conference Wednesday in Doral, Florida. Asked when he would put out the documents, he said: “I don’t know. Depends on the audit.”

There’s no telling whether that would happen before Election Day, but the IRS says there’s no legal reason Trump can’t make the tax returns public even as they are under review.

The issue has flared up in recent days, in the wake of the hack of emails at the Democratic National Committee that the Obama administration said Wednesday was almost certainly the work of Russia. The group WikiLeaks released the emails on the eve of the convention, a leak its leader Julian Assange has said was timed to inflict political damage on Clinton.

Trump said Wednesday that he has no ties to Russia whatsoever, but that hasn’t stopped Democratic donors in Philadelphia from saying that in the absence of Trump’s tax returns, voters are left to wonder whether there are undisclosed financial ties between Trump and foreign entities.

“Think of what’s gone on just this week and connect the dotted lines,” said top Clinton donor J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire venture capitalist in Chicago. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but it sure doesn’t look good. The question is who his investors are, and whether there are any in China or Russia that are affecting his personal income.”

Mana also wants that answered. If Trump’s elected president, he said, “how much in debt would we be to other countries? This is about the security of the United States. We have the right to make sure he’s not in debt to other countries.”

While information about Trump’s debts has been made public in personal financial disclosures filed with federal election regulators, the Democratic donors say access to his taxes might shed light on previously unknown business arrangements. The returns would also detail for the first time how much he pays in income tax and how much he gives to charity.

“He is obfuscating in order to avoid being discovered as a liar,” Pritzker said.

The 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, resisted putting out his 2011 tax return until the September just before the election, after being pressed for months about doing so. The documents showed he paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, far lower than the average person, spawning days of bad headlines.

Other presidential candidates, including Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have been dinged for not giving much to charity.

Bill and Hillary Clinton paid an overall federal tax rate of 31.6 percent between 2007 and 2014, her returns showed. In 2014, they donated almost 11 percent of their income to charity.

In addition to blaming the IRS audit, Trump has said in interviews that it might not make political sense for him to put out his returns.

Romney’s returns were “a tiny peanut compared to mine,” Trump said on “Meet the Press” in an interview that aired last Sunday. There was little controversial in the Romney documents, he said.

Yet the media “made him look bad,” Trump said. “In fact, I think he lost his election because of that.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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For “blue-collar billionaire” Donald Trump, money’s an asset

A handful of vacation homes. A car elevator for his four-car garage. A wife whose hobbies included show horses.

When Mitt Romney ran for president four years ago, his estimated $250 million fortune was quickly turned into a liability by Democrats, who painted the former Bain Capital chief as out of touch with Americans still struggling to recover from the Great Recession.

Four years later, Donald Trump‘s much-bigger pile of money is a central character of his campaign. And far from seeing it as a liability, the candidate flaunts it.

“I’m the most successful person ever to run for president,” the billionaire businessman has bragged, noting that he’s “really rich.” On the stump, he vows to “make our country rich again.”

Trump will officially become his party’s nominee at this week’s Republican convention, powered by white, working-class voters drawn to his populist message.

The billionaire lives an opulent life on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, worlds away from the day-to-day reality of most supporters. Yet many nonetheless believe he understands their problems in ways other politicians do not. Some dub him the “blue-collar billionaire.”

“You might say because he lives in the ivory tower he doesn’t see what people are doing down below. He honestly does,” said Claude Thompson, 59, a Trump supporter who lives in Fresno, Calif.

Thompson, who runs a property maintenance business, cited Trump’s employment of people through his companies as proof of his working class connections. “He knows that these people are blue-collar people, they’re middle income. … So he understands America,” he said.

The difference between the perception of Trump’s and Romney’s money, Trump supporters say, comes down to attitude.

While some felt that Romney tried to downplay his wealth, Trump has embraced it — even mocking, at times, Romney’s smaller net worth.

The candidate jets around the country on his private plane, adorned with plush leather seats and gold-plated seatbelts. He sometimes holds rallies in open airplane hangars, landing triumphantly in front of screaming crowds. His campaign has doubled as a tour of his gilded properties, from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan to the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

“Trump’s like, screw it, you know? I’m rich, I don’t care,” said Aspen Trevino of Carrollton, Texas. “He flaunts it. He makes it known.”

Trevino, 25, said he views Trump as someone to look up to. “He makes it the America Dream, so people will say, ‘I can do that.’ I want to follow a president that I can look up to.”

As the campaign moves toward the general election, Democrats have begun to paint Trump as an out-of-touch billionaire who has trampled the little guy to build his fortune. Among Democrats’ evidence: contractors and vendors who suffered during company bankruptcies when Trump emerged just fine.

Whether that reputation will stick remains to be seen.

But there’s no question that Trump’s regular Joe habits — including his penchant for fast food — have helped him connect. His campaign has actively worked to cultivate the image, tweeting out photos of him digging into a Big Mac on his plane and publicizing his campaign stays at Holiday Inn Express hotels.

Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. has recalled expecting a stuffy ride with “champagne and caviar” ahead of his first ride on Trump’s plane. Instead, Trump treated the group to Wendy’s cheeseburgers and fries.

Conservative radio host Howie Carr, another Trump backer, shared a similar story: Trump, he said, ordered lunch for the crew: “McDonald’s all the way. … He travels in an easy chair in front of a large TV screen turned to Fox.”

“He’s one of us,” said Diane Priolo, 65, a social worker who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “I don’t care if he’s in a plane with 24 karat gold. He talks like us. He gets us. He’s a guy from Queens who’s not too big for his britches.”

Indeed, Trump’s supporters often credit his upbringing in Queens despite the fact that he was raised in a mansion by a millionaire real estate developer father who helped him get started with a $1 million loan.

Trump himself credits the summers he spent working on his father’s construction sites for his ability to connect with blue-collar voters.

“I know them better than anybody will ever know them,” he said during a recent phone interview. “I grew up on construction sites. … I got to know the construction workers, the sheet rockers and the plumbers and the electrician and all of ’em. I worked with them. They were friends of mine.”

“And frankly,” Trump added, “I like them better than the rich people.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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In Florida, a slow start for Donald Trump operation

Trump office closedFestooned with Donald Trump‘s name and his “Make America Great Again” motto, the awnings at the three-story commercial property advertise a famous tenant.

It’s vintage style for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee: a top-floor campaign office suite in an upscale shopping district, across the street from an automobile showroom of Bentleys and Aston Martins. But there’s a catch.

“Our office is TEMPORARILY CLOSED to the public, while our office works to prep for the National Convention in Cleveland,” reads a notice posted around the lobby. A call to the posted phone number gets an automated message: “Memory is full.” This is Trump’s Florida headquarters.

Just three months before the earliest voting begins in this state that awards 29 electoral votes — more than 10 percent of the 270 necessary to claim the White House — it appears Trump’s Florida campaign is not running on all cylinders.

In nearby Tampa in contrast, the Florida headquarters for Hillary Clinton buzzes with several dozen 20-somethings — paid campaign employees — manning phones and laptops, surrounded by maps and whiteboards covered in notes, names and numbers. Soon the Clinton team will move into a bigger space with room for volunteers, too.

“We’re running the race of our lives,” said Simone Ward, Clinton’s state director, whose staff includes veterans of the primary season, previous presidential campaigns and the Obama White House.

Certainly, disparate office scenes in July do not predict a November result in a state that is a perennial battleground. President Barack Obama won here by fewer than 75,000 votes out of more than 8.4 million in 2012. Overall, out of 41 million total presidential ballots here since 1992, fewer than 131,000 separate the combined totals of the Democratic and Republican nominees.

Yet more than a few Republicans wonder whether Trump will put up an effective campaign in the state.

Orange County Republican Chairman Lew Oliver, whose county includes Orlando, says he’s not “alarmed or terrified” about Trump’s prospects. “But I am concerned.”

Trump trounced his Republican rivals the March 15 primary, delivering the final blow to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio‘s already flagging White House bid. Republicans praise Karen Giorno, Trump’s lead Florida aide, for her work on the primary campaign and describe her as a skilled operator with all the right instincts and connections. She did not respond to requests for comment about his Florida operation.

“He has a message of security — economic security and keeping your family safe,” said Deborah Tamargo, who leads the Republican Party in Hillsborough County, a key swing county that is home to Tampa. “That’s an appeal for every community.”

Florida pollster Fernand Amandi argued such optimism isn’t justified yet. All of Trump’s national shortfalls are on display here: Polls suggest he is failing to rebuild even Mitt Romney‘s losing 2012 coalition as he lags badly among white women, and his struggle among nonwhites is acute in a state that is less white than the nation overall.

Amandi said Trump’s rhetoric on immigration hurts him specifically among Cuban-Americans, typically a GOP-friendly group. “The Cuban electorate is not immune to the Trump backlash,” he said.

Trump gave a nod to that reality recently, scheduling a speech in Miami and planning a private session with Cuban-American leaders. He canceled both after the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers.

Florida airwaves, meanwhile, tilt heavily to Clinton, with her campaign and Democratic allies already sinking more money into Florida ads than anywhere else.

Priorities USA, a super political action committee dedicated to electing Clinton, plans to spend at least $30 million in Florida by Election Day, Kantar Media’s campaign advertising tracker shows.

Also at issue for Trump is the GOP field operation — the “ground game” that uses data, employees and volunteers to identify supporters and get them to vote. The state Republican Party has about 75 paid field workers around the state, paid for mostly by the national party.

Florida GOP spokesman Wadi Gaitan said “there’s no county in the state” that’s not the responsibility of a paid field director, with many of them still training volunteers for fall campaign work. Gaitan also notes gains in GOP voter registration.

Trump has said he will lean on this operation, but the national party and the Trump campaign have yet to work out operating details.

“I’d like there to be some concrete, established offices,” said Michael Barnett, GOP chairman in Palm Beach County, a trove of Republican donors and voters. “We usually see that no later than July, and we’re in July.”

Barnett said he hopes movement will follow the convention, which ends Thursday. “I’m not nervous,” he said. “Not yet.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Hillary Clinton airing thousands of positive ads while Donald Trump silent

It would take almost 14 days of eyes glued to the television to watch all the feel-good Hillary Clinton ads that have aired since the general election campaign began last month.

Meanwhile, anyone flipping through the channels looking for positive ads about Donald Trump would be disappointed: He hasn’t yet put up a spot appealing to November voters, and groups supporting him have been similarly silent.

The lopsided commercial airwaves show the presidential candidates have drastically different views of the importance of traditional political campaigning. Trump says he sees little need for advertising at this stage. Instead, he has been banking on free media coverage propelled by his celebrity appeal.

As a consequence, Trump has largely ceded control over what the voting public is hearing about him. Clinton’s large batch of biographical ads has given her an opportunity to directly influence views about her image.

Up next is what amounts to an hour-long infomercial Thursday night in Cleveland, as Trump accepts his party’s nomination during a speech that will be televised widely in prime time. Clinton has the same perk the following week from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

After that, Trump’s campaign has said he may begin advertising. That would be a dramatic change.

While Trump has aired zero ads, Clinton has been piping thousands of commercials into the homes of swing-state voters in places like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. Specific Florida markets such as Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers have been favored targets, as well as Denver, for Clinton’s ads.

Since June 8, the day after she claimed the Democratic nomination, Clinton has put at least 30,700 commercials on broadcast TV, an Associated Press review of Kantar Media’s campaign advertising data shows.

The majority highlight her work as first lady to expand health care for children.

“For Hillary, it’s always been about kids,” a narrator says in an ad called “Quiet Moments,” which has run more than any other, some 11,400 times as of this week.

A 60-second spot called “Always” seems to spell out the reason for her ads. “She would grow up to be one of the most recognizable women in the world,” a narrator says. “But less well-known are the causes that have been at the center of her life.”

The commercial rolls through milestones in her life, beginning with black-and-white footage of her toddling down steps.

The few ads paid for by Trump supporters bash Clinton rather than make the case for him. For example, a National Rifle Association ad urges people to vote for Trump by flashing his name for four seconds at the end of a 30-second spot. But the narrator says nothing about him — and doesn’t even utter his name.

Clinton’s campaign released a new ad this week that shows children watching television as Trump makes some of his most inflammatory comments, including him saying, “And you can tell them to go (bleep) themselves.” The commercial asks, “Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?”

That follows two Clinton campaign ads that mock him for watching TV shows for military advice and consulting with himself for policy strategy. The pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA is also airing thousands of spots calling Trump “too dangerous for America.”

Political advertising strategists are torn over whether the lack of positive Trump ads matters.

“You never want to be in the position of being outshouted by your opponent,” said Russ Schriefer, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. He and others said the crush of unanswered summertime Democratic advertising hardened voters’ opinions of Romney as an uncaring businessman.

Both Trump and Clinton are historically disliked by voters, according to recent AP-GfK surveys, making upbeat, biographical ads particularly important, Schriefer said. “Someone needs to inject favorability into the bloodstream of the electorate,” he said. “Since she is doing that in a vacuum, her ads will work better.”

Yet Fred Davis, a Republican ad-maker not involved in the 2016 campaign, argues this race has unique features that dampen the impact of ads.

“They are perhaps the best-known presidential final contenders in our lifetime,” he said. “So the value of bio ads suddenly drops. This would imply Hillary wasting her moolah; Trump playing it smart.”

Trump’s team was similarly dismissive of ads early in the primaries. He eventually did put up ads — including some traditional “who I am” ones similar in tone to those from Clinton and previous presidential contenders.

Those offer clues of what Trump might say in his general election ads. In one of his softest commercials, his son Donald Trump Jr. speaks to the camera with a row of family photos behind him.

“Growing up, my brother, sister and I had to really know what we were talking about before bringing him any kind of a proposal,” he says. The elder Trump is shown kissing and hugging kids, as his son adds, “He may be a little less tough on his grandchildren right now, but it’s that toughness that I want renegotiating trade deals with China and Mexico.”

He concludes: “My father will make an incredible president.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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NBC News poll shows Hillary Clinton up by 7 points in Florida

Two new polls released on Friday show Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in Florida, just two days after a Quinnipiac University survey showed Trump leading Clinton in the Sunshine State.

NBC News-Wall Street Journal/Marist survey shows Clinton leading Trump, 44 percent to 37 percent. With third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein added to the mix, Clinton only loses two percentage points – staying on top of Trump, 41 percent to 36 percent. Johnson gets 7 percent, and the Green Party’s Stein is at 4 percent.

Support for Trump among blacks is at 5 percent in Florida, lower than the 7 percent that Mitt Romney received in Florida in 2012. Somewhat alarmingly for Clinton, however, is that her lead shrinks when the poll is limited just to voters who say they definitely will vote in the fall, narrowing to just three percentage points in Florida.

The Florida survey was one of four battleground states conducted by NBC News/WSJ — Clinton leads in all four of them.

“With 66 electoral votes at stake in these four states, Donald Trump is playing catch-up against Hillary Clinton,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the new surveys. “Clinton’s single-digit lead in each of these states is due to her slight advantage in how voters perceive these two candidates.”

The NBC/WSJ/Marist survey was conducted between July 5-July 10 of 871 registered voters in Florida, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Clinton leads Trump, 45 percent to 40 percent in a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey. Libertarian Gary Johnson receives 6 percent support, and 7 percent remain undecided.

News of this poll was first reported by POLITICO Florida.

“This data demonstrates that Donald Trump has a lot of ground to make up with the voters he needs to win,” said Jill Hanauer, CEO of Project New America, who conducted the poll.

This survey was conducted among 1,100 Florida likely general election voters from July 6 – 10, 2016. It carries a margin of error of +/- 4.1 points.

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Dan Coats says Donald Trump hasn’t made up his mind on VP

The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign ahead of the Republican and Democratic national conventions (all times EDT):

1:30 p.m.

Indiana Sen. Dan Coats says Donald Trump hasn’t made up his mind about who to select as his running mate.

Coats told The Associated Press Wednesday that he spoke with Gov. Mike Pence late Tuesday — one of the names on Trump’s shortlist of potential running mates — and Pence told him there’s still no decision.

“I think he’s the front-runner,” Coats said, adding, “I think he ought to be the front-runner.”

Coats said Pence is “pretty calm about the whole thing.”

He added that Trump is cognizant that he needs to make a decision by Friday given gubernatorial succession rules in Indiana.

But he concluded that “reading Donald Trump’s mind is not the easiest thing to do.”

___

1:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln has been transformed into “the party of Trump.”

Rattling off a series of attacks against her GOP rival, Clinton says Trump is “dangerous,” ”divisive,” ”fear-mongering” and is “pitting American against American.” Even stalwart Republicans, she says, should be alarmed by Trump’s policies and racist rhetoric.

Clinton is casting Trump as ignorant of the Constitution, dismissive of U.S. law and lacking the character to be trusted with American security.

“Imagine if he had not just Twitter and cable news to go after his critics and opponents, but also the IRS – or for that matter, our entire military,” she says. “Do any of us think he’d be restrained?”

___

1:07 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is calling on the country — including herself — to “do a better job of listening” rather than fueling political and other divisions after a series of high-profile shootings.

Clinton says the country must address both gun violence, criminal justice reform and find ways to better support police departments.

“I know that just saying these things together may upset some people,” she says. “But all these things can be true at once.”

Clinton is speaking in the Illinois Old State House chamber in Springfield, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s his famous address about the perils of slavery. She is trying to use the symbolic site to contrast her call for civility with what she sees as rival Donald Trump’s polarizing campaign.

Clinton said she has work to do, as well.

She says that as someone “in the middle of a hotly fought political campaign, I cannot claim that my words and actions haven’t sometimes fueled the partisanship that often stands in the way of our progress.”

Clinton adds, “I recognize that I have to do better too.”

___

12:29 p.m.

Donald Trump is meeting with finalists for the job of his vice presidential running mate.

Trump met Tuesday with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his family. Early Wednesday, Trump and his children met with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his family. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also was said to be a finalist.

All three have auditioned for the job by opening for Trump at campaign rallies over the past week.

Trump was expected to make an announcement on Friday.

___

10:20 a.m.

Republican Donald Trump huddled with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence at the governor’s mansion in Indiana on Wednesday morning amid swirling speculation about Trump’s vice presidential deliberations.

Pence and Trump walked out of the residence together just before 10:30 a.m. The pair was joined inside by Pence’s wife, Karen, as well as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Trump is said to have narrowed his short list down to a trio of top contenders, including Pence.

Pence joined Trump at a fundraiser and a rally on Tuesday where he received a warm reception from the crowd.

___

10:15 a.m.

The lead super PAC backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has begun targeting Spanish-speaking voters in Colorado, Nevada and Florida as part of a $35 million online effort it announced earlier this year.

An online ad from Priorities USA features video clips of Trump calling Hispanics “drug dealers” and “criminals” and leading his supporters in the chant: “Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!”

In Spanish, an on-screen message declares that “hatred is growing in our country.”

The ad campaign also includes a website: unidoscontratrump.org, which means “united against Trump.” The same message will appear in banner ads on social media.

The three targeted states all have significant Latino populations. Trump insists he can do better among Hispanics than the less-than-30 percent Republican Mitt Romney drew in 2012 after calling for “self-deportation” for immigrants in the country illegally.

___

7:35 a.m.

Bernie Sanders says he agrees with the harsh remarks that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The Vermont senator declined to say whether it is appropriate for a sitting Supreme Court justice to openly criticize a White House contender. But he tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he agrees Trump is a “total opportunist” and said “the record clear is quite clear that he lies just a whole lot of the time.”

Ginsburg in a series of interviews with The Associated Press, The New York Times and CNN has called Trump unqualified to be president and joked that she would move to New Zealand if he won. Trump said in a tweet that Ginsburg should resign.

Sanders’s comments came a day after he formally endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president.

Asked if he is open to being her running mate, Sanders said, “I doubt that will happen.” He said his focus is on helping Clinton win. He says, “We cannot have a man with Trump’s temperament with the nuclear code and running this country.”

5:25 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is turning to the symbolism of Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech to argue that the nation needs to repair its divisions after high-profile shootings in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota.

Clinton’s campaign says the Democratic presidential candidate will talk about the importance of uniting the country at the Old State House in Springfield, Illinois, later Wednesday. It’s the site of Lincoln’s famous address in 1858.

Clinton plans to say the nation needs to determine ways to close the divides exposed in the recent shootings.

But she will say that the problems facing the country are much broader and show the need to heal divisions in the nation’s politics and culture.

Heading into the Democratic convention, Clinton has tried to present herself as a unifying figure against Republican Donald Trump.

12:40 a.m.

Donald Trump is urging Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign in the wake of harsh remarks she’s made about his presidential campaign.

“Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me,” he tweeted on @realDonaldTrump.

Ginsburg had said that she felt Trump was unqualified for the position. In an interview with The Associated Press last week, she said she didn’t want “to think about that possibility.”

In his Twitter post, Trump said, “Her mind is shot — resign.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it was “totally inappropriate” for Ginsburg to criticize Trump.

McConnell said that members of the Supreme Court shouldn’t weigh in on American elections.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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College-educated whites put hole in Donald Trump coalition

Wanda Melton has voted for every Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980, but now the Georgia grandmother plans to cross over to support Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I’m not a real fan of Hillary,” Melton says from her office in Atlanta. “But I think it would just be awful to have Donald Trump.” She adds: “I cannot in good conscience let that happen.”

Melton is among a particular group of voters, whites with college degrees, who are resistant to Trump. Their skepticism comes as an ominous warning as Trump struggles to rebuild even the losing coalition that Mitt Romney managed four years ago.

College-educated whites made up more than one-third of the electorate in 2012. Polls suggest Trump trails Clinton with those voters, especially women.

“Donald Trump simply cannot afford to lose ground in any segment of the electorate” that supported Romney, said Florida pollster Fernand Amandi. Romney’s strength with that group, for example, made for a close race in Florida, where President Barack Obama won by less than 75,000 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast.

Some Republicans worry Trump’s approach — his unvarnished, sometimes uncouth demeanor and his nationalist and populist arguments — guarantees his defeat, because the same outsider appeal that attracts many working class and even college-educated white men alienates other voters with a college degree.

Ann Robinson, 64, is a lifelong Republican in a Trump’s home state of New York, a Democratic stronghold that the real estate tycoon cites as an example of where he can “expand the map.” Robinson sneers at the proposition and says she’ll vote for Clinton.

“It’s just not a reasonable movement,” she says of Trump’s populist pitch. “I’m not sure he can actually be their savior. She has so much more experience. Trump has nothing.”

Mary Darling, 59, is an Illinois Republican who said she won’t vote for Trump or Clinton. “If they could just soften his edges, people would flock to him, but that’s just not going to happen,” she said.

Lew Oliver, chairman of the Orange County Republican Party in Florida, says he’s prepared for an uphill fight in no small part because of Trump’s struggle among more educated voters. “The fundamentals aren’t in our favor, and some of his comments aren’t helping,” Oliver said.

Romney drew support from 56 percent of white voters with college degrees, according to 2012 exit polls. Obama notched just 42 percent, but still cruised to a second term.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in June found Clinton leading Trump among college-educated whites 50 percent to 42 percent.

Polling from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center pointed to particularly stark numbers among white women with at least a bachelor’s degree. At this point in 2008 and 2012, that group of voters was almost evenly divided between Obama and the Republican nominee. This June, Pew found Clinton with a 62-31 advantage. Conversely, Pew found Trump still leads, albeit by a slightly narrower margin than did Romney at this point, among white women with less than a bachelor’s degree.

Should Trump fail to even replicate Romney’s coalition, he has little hope of flipping many of the most contested states that Obama won twice, particularly Florida, Colorado and Virginia. Trump’s struggles among college whites have Democrats eyeing North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008 before it reverted back to Republicans, and even GOP-leaning Arizona and Georgia.

The education gap for Trump isn’t new.

Exit polls in the Republican primaries found him faring better among less educated groups. Trump particularly struggled with better-educated Republicans when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was in the presidential race.

Republican pollster Greg Strimple of Idaho says the gap is understandable. Voters without a college education, he said, are more likely to be struggling financially, to feel alienated from the political class Trump rails against and to find solace in his promise to stop illegal immigration.

College educated voters “may have had relatively stagnant incomes, but they can still look at their 401(k)s and think about the future,” Strimple said. “They’re free to care more about things like tone.”

Clinton’s campaign sees the persuadable portion of the electorate as being made up largely of women, many with college degrees. It has tried to reach them by hammering Trump as “dangerous” and “temperamentally unfit” for the job, while her initial general election advertising blitz focuses on her achievements in public life.

Strimple said Trump must counter that with a constant “indictment of the last eight years, an indictment of Hillary Clinton. That can get some of those voters back.”

The question for Trump, though, is how many Wanda Meltons are already lost. “He’s just not in control of himself,” she says. “That personality type is not suited either to leadership or protecting the country.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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8 Reasons Rick Scott is the perfect veep for Donald Trump

Rick Scott is basically as awful as Donald Trump in so many ways. But before Floridians start petitioning Trump to introduce Scott to a presidential election turnout and an embarrassing loss before Scott runs for U.S. Senate in 2018, read all eight reasons.

8) Cons. Scott didn’t build his $300-some million fortune with a fraudulent university, but he did help build a company that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by way more, paying a record $1.7 billion fine.

7) Muslims. Scott was offending Muslims and Hispanics long before Trump descended down the escalator at Trump Tower. Scott put some of his first campaign dollars into fear mongering about Muslims in “Obama’s Mosque” near Ground Zero in 2010Also, mic cut.

6) Hispanics. Similar to Trump, and despite all evidence, Hispanics love Scott, according to…only Rick Scott. Scott claims he “won” the Hispanic vote in 2014, despite actually losing it by 20 percent.

5) Little Marco. While Trump’s insults are infamous, Scott is doing his part in Florida. He backed Trump over Rubio (and Jeb!) and is now working against Rubio in his US Senate race, supporting mini-Trump Carlos Beruff, best known for unapologetically calling President Obama an “animal.”

4) Smarts. Trump could own Anderson Cooper‘s “RedicuList” segment, but Scott once got on it for insulting “everybody’s intelligence” trying to defend himself for using on-duty cops at campaign events.

3) Votes. Trump needs turnout to be as depressed as Jeb! after South Carolina. Scott has been hard at work, rolling back civil rights reforms that allowed nonviolent, ex-felons to vote.

2) Money. Scott won in 2014 by outspending his opponent on TV by $33,000,000Romney lost Florida by less than 1 percent in 2012, but only outspent Obama by $17 million. An extra $16,000,000 million might have bought 29 electoral votes.

1) Florida. Trump can’t win without Florida, and Rick Scott knows how to win here.

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Kevin Cate owns CATECOMM, a public relations, digital, and advertising firm based in Florida.

 

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