- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The far-flung presidential hopefuls are many miles from each other Wednesday. But both are campaigning amid drama, trauma and fancy footwork. GOP nominee Donald Trump has a town-hall meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida, followed by a rally in Jacksonville. Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is in grass-roots mode, campaigning through Adams County, Colorado, culminating in a rally in Commerce City.

Her succinct handlers tucked in a handy-dandy talking point for friendly journalists:

“During her trip to Colorado, Hillary Clinton will visit Knotty Tie Co., a small business that specializes in making ties and provides job opportunities to resettling refugees,” her campaign advised — cheery and optimistic despite the fact that the chief executive and two top officials of the Democratic National Committee had just resigned in the wake of a WikiLeaks release of questionable emails within the organization.

Meanwhile, Rep. Richard Hanna, New York Republican, announced he would support Mrs. Clinton and denounced Mr. Trump in an op-ed published in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Tuesday. “He is unfit to serve our party,” the lawmaker wrote.

Which sounds familiar.

“I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president,” President Obama said a few hours later during a joint press conference with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong from the White House. Mr. Obama had much more to say, but the tidy term “unfit” led dozens and dozens of global headlines that followed.

“You know, I chuckle at the president. The president’s out there, he’s doing a joint press conference today with the head honcho in Singapore. You know this has to be planned, and even if it wasn’t planned, it was going to happen,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his audience in review of the situation.

“Obama is using the occasion to bash Trump out the wazoo. One of the questions he got was about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, because one of the reasons for the press conference was how the Singapore honcho would benefit from this. And Obama — attempting to give that trade deal credibility — said, ‘Hey, you know what? I’m president, I’m for it.’ Now, this is after he has just unloaded on Trump as indecent, as unfit, as incompetent, as dangerous,” Mr. Limbaugh noted.

THE LIBERTARIANS HAVE A SAY

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld continue to draw consistent interest from the press, as well as voters exploring their third-party options in the presidential election. Both men appear in a live, one-hour town-hall meeting on CNN at 9 p.m. EDT on Wednesday; anchor Anderson Cooper is moderator. The network says Mr. Johnson and Mr. Weld plan to address the state of the presidential race and field questions from voters.

But it’s more complicated than that. On Monday, Mr. Johnson told CNN that he had been in contact with former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and suggested that an endorsement might be in the offing.

“I think he’s considering the possibility of doing this, of actually endorsing the two of us,” said Mr. Johnson.

They have bigger concerns, though. The two Libertarians are intent on reaching the required 15 percent in national opinion polls that would place them in a trio of sanctioned presidential debates in September. They’re also seeking money. Mr. Johnson recently launched a “money bomb” appeal to his followers, a technique employed by Ron Paul and son Rand Paul when they ran for the White House.

STEIN/BARAKA 2016

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has also warranted increased media coverage in recent days as a viable third-party alternative. Now Ms. Stein has a running mate.

“I am honored and excited to announce that my running mate in the 2016 presidential election will be Ajamu Baraka — activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution,” she says, describing Mr. Baraka as a “spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come — an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice.”

A CNN poll reveals that Ms. Stein is beginning to pick up Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ disenfranchised supporters; see the Poll du Jour at column’s end. And there’s more to come on this. The Green Party’s national convention is in Houston on Saturday.

FOXIFIED

Americans appear very hungry for news. For an unprecedented third month in a row, the Fox News Channel led the entire spectrum of cable TV offerings — this is a news channel besting sports and entertainment, folks.

Furthermore, Fox News also marked 175 months — that’s more than 14 years — as the leading cable news network over CNN, MSNBC and other rivals, this according to numbers from Nielsen Media Research. “The O’Reilly Factor,” incidentally, has led the ratings for its time slot for 188 months, or more than 15 years. Total viewership on every one of their prime-time programs was up by double digits, with “Hannity” leading the way, up by 67 percent.

Meanwhile, the Fox Business Network continues to be the fastest-growing network on cable; July was the channel’s highest-rated months ever, with total viewership up 78 percent. In the critical prime-time hours, viewership grew by 210 percent since this time last year.

POLL DU JOUR

44 percent of registered U.S. voters overall support Democrat Hillary Clinton; 7 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents, and 90 percent of Democrats agree; 21 percent of conservatives, 72 percent of liberals and 66 percent of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ supporters agree.

36 percent of voters overall support Republican Donald Trump; 78 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats agree; 66 percent of conservatives, 7 percent of liberals and 3 percent of Sanders supporters agree.

9 percent of voters overall support Libertarian Gary Johnson; 6 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree; 8 percent of conservatives, 5 percent of liberals and 10 percent of Sanders supporters agree.

5 percent of voters overall support the Greens’ Jill Stein; 3 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 1 percent of Democrats agree; 3 percent of conservatives, 10 percent of liberals and 12 percent of Sanders supporters agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC survey of 894 registered U.S. voters conducted July 29-31.

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