- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2015

Not so long ago, there was talk that the “coronation” of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was not a given. She had competition. There was scandal talk of Benghazi and those pesky private emails to consider. The positive press narrative has returned her to the throne, however. Mrs. Clinton dominates the diminished field: 80 percent of all voters think she’ll win the nomination; that includes 87 percent of giddy Democrats and 79 percent of disgruntled Republicans. So says the latest Rasmussen Reports “Hillary Meter” survey of likely voters.

These findings, the pollster says, have been unchanged since July. Meanwhile, Republican presidential kingpin Donald Trump this week called Mrs. Clinton “weak and ineffective — no strength, no stamina.”

But the third Democratic debate has already come and gone, leaving Mrs. Clinton still registering the highest popularity numbers, cordial reviews and frequent social media mentions. Sen. Bernard Sanders was himself during the bout Saturday. But some suggest this could be a finale for the other remaining hopeful.

“Is the final presidential debate of the year Martin O’Malley’s last stand?” asks Dan Tuohy, a political columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader who predicts the press will tilt the contest as “Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders.”

Mr. O’Malley is not acting like this is the last hurrah, however. His campaign organized 50 debate watch parties in Iowa alone; the candidate advises he will “build on President Obama’s progress,” then appear at 10 events around New Hampshire through Monday.

“He will crisscross the Granite State talking about his bold vision to rebuild the American dream and his record of delivering on the issues progressives care about. Eight years ago, Americans voted for change — now isn’t the time to turn back the clock on progress,” advises the O’Malley campaign.

CRUZ GETS MORE CONSERVATIVE MUSCLE

He’s already racked up endorsements from conservative maven Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage and Bob Vander Plaats, president of the influential Family Leader organization. Now Sen. Ted Cruz has the support of author James Dobson, who, with his wife Shirley, is the founder of Family Talk, heard on some 1,300 radio stations.

“Ted Cruz’s record on religious liberty, life and marriage is second to none in this Republican field,” says Mr. Dobson. “I have met with the senator on multiple occasions. He is brilliant, articulate and informed. Shirley and I have been praying for a leader such as this.”

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

‘Tis the season for Christmas and campaigning. Still, Iowa is bustling. Republican front-runner Donald Trumpstages a jumbo rally in Cedar Rapids on Saturday before heading to Michigan for a repeat performance in Grand Rapids. Also in the Hawkeye State this weekend, Carly Fiorina has five town halls scheduled, Ben Carson has 11. Among other places, he’ll also visit an airplane hangar, a vineyard, a saloon and American Legion post before heading to New Hampshire for two more days of events.

And New Hampshire is the destination of choice for many. There’s the aforementioned three Democratic hopefuls, of course. Gov. John Kasich is in the Granite State with his entire family this weekend, as is Gov. Chris Christie, who embarks on a six-town bus tour of the state; he will visit a tavern, a pharmacy and an auto garage, among other things. Jeb Bush will attend five town halls in five towns, while Sen. Lindsey Graham attends four events in the company of Sen. John McCain.

And far from everyone is Sen. Ted Cruz, who has already begun his 12-city “Take off with Ted” tour. He’ll stage rallies in Daphne, Alabama, and Bloomingdale, Georgia, on Saturday and Trussville, Alabama, on Sunday, with more of the same right up to Christmas Eve.

FROM THE DAYS OF YORE

“The federal government is currently operating on a budget passed in the dead of night just before Christmas. It comprised three massive documents, ran to a staggering 3,296 pages, weighed in at a hefty 43 pounds and had a price tag of $650 billion. Congress had about three hours to look at it before voting on it, noted Sen. William Armstrong, Colorado Republican, to the Conservative Digest in December 1988.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Charlton Heston’s longtime family home, built in 1959 in Beverly Hills, California. Five bedrooms, six baths; 9,667-square-foot gated estate on three acres. Mountain views from every window, soaring ceilings, open floor plan; two-story library, three-story art studio, screening room, office with balcony, formal dining with Terrazzo floors, marble bar. Natural stone and wood exterior, custom barbecue, pool, tennis court with pavilion and observation deck, meditation area. Priced at $12.3 million through Nourmand.com. Under property search heading, enter 15959079 in MLS category.

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of Americans say a terrorist attack in the U.S. is likely in the next year; 90 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall agree with Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the U.S.; 69 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall say Mr. Trump’s proposal is unconstitutional; 27 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent disagree with Mr. Trump’s proposal; 25 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent overall say the proposal is constitutional; 46 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

24 percent overall don’t know if the proposal is constitutional or not; 27 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 9-10.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide