- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy for something to do, press and pundits are mulling over Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s private email system that was in use during her time as Secretary of State, trying to ferret out the future implications for 2016 and the Democratic Party in general. But here and now, the situation is affecting voters.

“Hillary Clinton’s troubles are costing her politically, as potential Republican presidential rivals have inched closer to her in 2016 matchups,” states a new McClatchy-Marist poll. “The former secretary of state fell below the crucial 50 percent level of support in one-on-one matchups against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, and she was barely above that benchmark against Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.”

She’s not losing. Yet. Among the endless matchups, the poll found that Mrs. Clinton won the support of 48 percent of registered U.S. voters — compared to 44 percent who favored Mr. Walker. Against Mr. Bush, Mrs. Clinton garnered 49 percent of the vote, compared to 42 percent for Mr. Bush. The results were the same in her match with Mr. Rubio, 49 percent to 42 percent, respectively. This is far from the glory days of last year, when Mrs. Clinton was routinely charting above a 60 percent favorability rating in multiple surveys.

The results “may tap into some concerns voters have about her,” says polling director Lee Miringoff. “It gets us back to stuff people find unpleasant about the Clintons.”

Voters will have reminders. Alas, Mrs. Clinton’s private emails are already a cultural phenomenon, emerging with hilarity on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — and with somber attentiveness from Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, during his appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.



Though the South Carolina Republican does not intend to release any of the emails in question for public scrutiny, he did point out inconsistencies — and the yawning “gaps” between messages. All of this prompts some to dwell on days of yore, when a certain Republican president faced an 18 and one half minute gap on recorded tapes during the Watergate era.

“Like Richard Nixon‘s tapes, the issue of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails raises the issue of control of evidence, destruction of evidence — and deliberately lying about all of it. Will the media go after Hillary Clinton’s e-mails with the ferocity they went after the issue of Richard Nixon’s tapes? Don’t bet the ranch,” points out Jeffrey Lord, a contributor to the media watchdog NewsBusters.com. “Which is exactly why Congress has that subpoena power. And why Benghazi Committee chairman Trey Gowdy is using it.”

WHITE HOUSE FUNDRAISERS BEGIN ANEW

To his credit, President Obama will remain in the nation’s capital for three days this week, tending to the White House business at hand. Hurray. But the seemingly inevitable Democratic fundraisers also loom.

On Monday, Mr. Obama appears before the 50th annual National League of Cities conference which is drawing some 2,000 local leaders to the nation’s capital, then he’ll host European Council President Donald Tusk at the White House. Come Tuesday, Mr. Obama journeys to Atlanta to chat with Georgia Tech students — to be followed by a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Vice President Joseph R. Biden will be in Boston on the same day, for the same reason — a “round table” fundraiser, as a matter of fact.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama is back at the White House for assorted meetings.

On Thursday, it’s time to fire up Air Force One once again for a familiar destination. Mr. Obama is bound for Los Angeles for another Democratic event — a private fundraiser at the home of a high-profile entertainment agent and his spouse, another “roundtable” chat priced at $33,400 per couple. “Obamajam again?” asked MyNews LA, a local online news site, in anticipation of major traffic issues. Mr. Obama, incidentally, was last in the area over Valentine’s Day, on a four-day golf retreat.

And for those keeping count, he has attended about 430 fundraisers since taking office in January 2009, according to an estimate from the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal. Former President George W. Bush, incidentally, attended a total of 318 fundraisers during his entire eight years as president.

HOME SWEET HOME FOR BILLIONAIRES

There’s lots of billionaires out there — 1,826, to be exact, according to recent painstaking research of Forbes magazine. More than a third prefer the urbane and urban life, and the Big Apple is the town of choice. The publication says that with 78 resident billionaires, New York City has the largest uber-rich population on the planet. But wait, there’s more.

Then there’s Moscow (68 billionaires), Hong Kong (64), London (46), Beijing (45), Mumbai (33), Seoul (29), Istanbul (28), Paris (27) and San Francisco (26) to round out the top 10. Though things can be financially dicey for much of America these days, the nation itself remains billionaire-central.

“Thanks the total of 541 billionaire residents in the U.S., American cities have an edge in their shares of billionaires compared to others around the world. Eleven cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas, have more than 10 billionaire residents,” reports Forbes staffer Liyan Chen.

NOT THE JV TEAM

“A year ago, President Obama called ISIS the ‘JV team’ of terror. Now, with the allegiance of Boko Haram and other brutal Islamist extremists groups, these barbaric terrorists have a direct presence, affiliates or significant support in more than a dozen countries — and an even greater capacity to plot attacks against the United States and our allies,” points out Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

The Texas Republican has relentlessly tracked the trajectory of terrorist threats for months and has developed a real time perspective.

“The president must lay out a sweeping plan backed up by the tools necessary to win this war before more Islamist terrorist groups join together in taking aim at the West,” he adds.

SCREEN GEM

A new Fox Business Network show has just been picked up for a second season: that would be “Strange Inheritance,” which plumbs the unpredictable world of heirlooms and family matters. This time out, the program tracks the challenges faced by the great, great grandson of Confederate General George Pickett.

On Monday, host Jamie Colby journeys to Wilmington, North Carolina, for an episode titled “Pickett’s Charge” — chronicling the story of how the descendent “was swindled out of his inheritance of Civil War memorabilia” by someone claiming to be a museum official.

The program airs on FBN at 9 p.m. ET.

POLL DU JOUR

64 percent of Americans support primary elections to elect a party’s nominee; 74 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say they would prefer a national primary day, rather than state-based primaries; 56 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say the presidential campaign is too long; 59 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say they generally vote in primary elections; 72 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted March 2-4.

Churlish remarks and nervous laughter to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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