NEWS AND OPINION:
American voters are hard to please. Or maybe they’re just annoyed, or have early onset election fatigue. Consider that 1,653 likely U.S. voters were asked by Quinnipiac University to describe Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican hopefuls Donald Trump and Jeb Bush in the single word of their choice — and their choices were less than sterling.
The words were ranked into the top 50 words for each candidate by how many times they were cited. Here are the top-25 words for each one:
Mrs. Clinton: Liar, dishonest, untrustworthy, experience, strong, Bill, woman, smart, crook, untruthful, criminal, deceitful, Democrat, intelligent, email, politicians, Benghazi, corrupt, crooked, capable, determined, good, leader, murder, qualified.
Mr. Trump: Arrogant, blowhard, idiot, businessman, clown, honest, ego, money, outspoken, crazy, rich, showman, strong, [expletive], joke, loud, leader, pompous, bombastic, egomaniac, loudmouth, racist, big-mouth, aggressive, buffoon.
Mr. Bush: Bush, family, honest, weak, brother, dynasty, experience, George, Florida, politician, Republican, moderate, governor, establishment, conservative, father, legacy, nice, trustworthy, decent, boring, competent, education, favorable, nepotism.
“We’ve asked voters this question periodically, and I’ve never seen words that are so severely critical,” assistant polling director Tim Malloy tells Inside the Beltway. “The voters have taken their gloves off. No one is restrained, and they say what they want. We are definitely in a new world of social media where everyone has an opinion, and everyone has their own form of an editorial page. All they need is a smart phone.”
WHAT DO YOU KNOW JOE?
Does Vice President Joseph R. Biden have unique insight about the White House race? Some think so.
“As Joe Biden edges closer to a presidential run, there’s no shortage of theories as to what he’s up to,” writes Yoni Appelbaum, political editor at the Atlantic. “But there’s one intriguing theory that has so far garnered little attention: What if Biden knows something about Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton that the rest of us don’t?”
Mr. Appelbaum cites Mrs. Clinton’s challenges — dwindling poll numbers, questions about her private emails — and the noteworthy fact that Mr. Biden is friendly with Anthony Blinken, currently deputy secretary of state.
“There’s no reason to think that Blinken, or any of Biden’s other contacts within the White House or the national-security establishment, have shared with the vice president any information to which they’re privy. In fact, in late June, Blinken and his wife, another former Biden aide who’s now an assistant secretary of state, both gave the maximum allowable donation of $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign,” Mr. Appelbaum notes.
“But if Biden seems more confident than most pundits that Hillary Clinton’s nomination isn’t inevitable, it may reflect more than his natural ebullience and legendary optimism. It may be a sign that he’s banking on voters learning things that he already knows,” he writes.
NOT ELIZABETH JUST YET
No one really knows whether the aforementioned vice president will fire up the campaign engines and run for president. And no one really knows if a certain lawmaker is up for the task either. But, there’s always a handy survey around. The ever-ready Rasmussen Reports poll is there.
“She’s Bernie Sanders with charisma. Now, with Hillary Clinton‘s legal troubles, do Democrats want Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to reconsider and jump into their party’s presidential race?” the pollster asks. And here are the numbers: 45 percent say she shouldn’t run, 30 percent say Mrs. Warren should give it a shot and 25 percent are undecided.
Why, this event is torn right out of the 1967 activist playbook. There will be a “Picnic for Peace with Iran” opposite the White House on Sunday with all the trimmings. “Congress has to vote on the Iran nuclear deal by September 17, and we need your help to ensure that they vote in favor of this historic agreement,” note the organizers from Popular Resistance, Code Pink, Veterans For Peace, National American Iranian Council and Jewish Voice for Peace.
The event appears to be a little more upscale than those of the ancient hippie era, which were often accompanied by tear gas and serenaded by police sirens through the streets of the nation’s capital. The coalition plans to spread out round white tablecloths on the grass with flowers and candles, serve pomegranate lemonade and lunch upon whatever the attendees bring with them.
The attendees, in fact, have been asked to “dress nicely” in white. “Please bring your own cushion,” the organizers advise.
WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER
Here’s the weekend whereabouts of our ever-hopeful presidential hopefuls. All five Democratic candidates will be in Minneapolis on Friday for the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting. Expect soaring soundbites.
The heartland calls, though. Let us commence in Iowa. For the Republicans, Carly Fiorina has been in the Hawkeye State since Wednesday and soon winds up an eight-city tour. Gov. Bobby Jindal arrives Sunday for one fundraiser, three lunches, two dinners and a town hall. Among Democrats, Martin O’Malley arrives Saturday for five events in five cities, Lincoln Chaffee has two events in two cities. For some reason, all four candidates will visit Storm Lake.
South Carolina is GOP territory: Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker and Rick Perry are all in the Palmetto State in the next 48 hours. Mr. Walker delivers a major foreign policy speech at The Citadel, Mr. Rubio weighs in on China and Mr. Cruz and Mr. Perry attend the We Stand with God, Pro-Family Rally at the State House in Columbia. There are no visiting Democrats.
Three Republicans are in New Hampshire: Gov. Chris Christie, George Pataki and the aforementioned Mr. Cruz, who arrives Sunday. The dutiful gents will primarily attend house parties and town halls, though Mr. Cruz will formally open his New Hampshire headquarters and Mr. Pataki has the distinction of attending the Moose Festival in Colebrook. There are no Democrats in the Granite State.
Ben Carson is the sole candidate in Colorado on Friday. The rest — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush included — appear to be taking the weekend off.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: The Kenton Ash House, built in 1801 on 10 acres in Maysville, Kentucky; Georgian mansion built of Flemish brick with attached original log wing. Four bedrooms, three baths, 4,300 square feet; 12-over-12 windows, original Federal-style woodwork, chevron pattern stoneworks, paired gable end chimneys, stone foundation, two stone outbuildings, spring-fed pond. Completed renovations include new roof, front and back porch repair, some woodworking repair. Priced at $299,000 through TheKentuckyTrust.org. Check under “Real Estate” heading.
POLL DU JOUR
• 64 percent of Americans believe prayer can improve a person’s health; 83 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent overall say religious organizations should be tax-exempt; 57 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent overall say the organizations should not be tax-exempt; 25 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.
• 19 percent overall say prayer can make a person wealthier; 25 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
• 14 percent think “wealth is a sign of God’s favor”; 13 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 24-26.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.