- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2016

The nation is jittery, and the news media is in overdrive following the Orlando nightclub attack. Both press and public have a keen eye on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the aftermath of the mass shooting, however.

The candidates took time to offer prayers and support for the dead, the wounded and the grieving, though Mr. Trump criticized both President Obama and Mrs. Clinton for avoiding references to “radical Islam,” later tweeting, “I want toughness and vigilance. We must be smart!” and vowing to “protect all Americans.”

In certain respects, the campaign equation has changed. Every broadcast and cable news network has sent leading anchors and correspondents to offer intense, live coverage from the Florida city for the next few days. There will be a ready audience — and a judgmental one. The nation will be seeking answers, and many will look to Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton for insight. Who looks more presidential? Who can handle a crisis?

It is a tricky business for both candidates, who must stay on message and articulate their views on terrorism, gun control, national security and other pertinent issues without compromising public decorum. Mr. Obama has ordered flags to remain at half-staff at government buildings through Thursday “as a mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror.”

The show goes on, though. Mr. Trump will be in New Hampshire on Monday, delivering a significant policy speech at a college in Manchester, to be followed by a major public rally in Portsmouth. Then it’s on to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Tuesday, even as critics wonder whether Mr. Trump can pivot into standard presidential posture.



Mrs. Clinton is just as busy, appearing in Ohio on Monday, and meeting with Sen. Bernard Sanders in the nation’s capital on Tuesday. Her much-publicized campaign appearance with Mr. Obama scheduled for Wisconsin on Wednesday has been postponed, the cheerful new campaign logo for the event sidelined for the time being.

POST-ORLANDO REALITY CHECK

The aforementioned Donald Trump is not the only one advocating backbone.

“More of these attacks are coming,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, told Fox News on Sunday, just eight hours after the Orlando attack. “It’s a real part of the threat that we face. If we can’t address it openly and say directly that there is an extremist element within Islam that’s dangerous to the world and has to be confronted, then we need to slow down and be careful about those we admit into the country.

“About two-thirds of those people that were charged were foreign-born, almost all Islamic individuals. So it’s a serious matter. I wish it weren’t so. I wish there were some easy solution, but there’s not. We have to be more vigilant,” he said.

AND ONE MORE

“It’s no secret that abroad, men who are gay — and merely suspected of being gay — are targeted for execution. Today, that threat has reached the United States,” said Gregory T. Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization for LGBT conservatives, in a statement issued after the Orlando attack.

“If the shooter’s suspected motivations are indeed confirmed, we call upon President Obama and the presumptive nominees of both parties to condemn the attacker and acknowledge in no uncertain terms the cause of this massacre: Radical Islamic terrorism.”

STILL FEELING THE BERN

Sen. Bernard Sanders still has his fans.

“More than three-quarters of Democrats say Sanders should have a major role in shaping the party’s positions, while nearly two thirds say Hillary Clinton — who beat him for the nomination — should pick him as her vice-presidential running mate,” states a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

“In a sign that Democrats hope their party can unite after a fierce primary season, two-thirds also said that Sanders should endorse Clinton,” the findings noted. “While most Democrats want Sanders to line up behind Clinton, about 44 percent would like him to make an independent run for the White House. Some 47 percent said he should not.”

THE CLINTON GLOBAL SHOWCASE NOW UNDERWAY

The sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative America meeting got rolling in Atlanta on Sunday. The three-day event features former President Bill Clinton, along with former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, plus multiple policy experts and advocates.

The Republican National Committee is looking askance at the gathering.

“The foundation’s shadiness shows no signs of slowing down,” the organization noted in a public statement, describing “never-ending ethical and legal questions” that could affect Hillary Clinton’s quest for the White House.

“Team Clinton has been forced to confront questions from her tenure as Secretary of State about inappropriate use of funds, conflicts of interest and transparency gaps that have sent the campaign off message,” the GOP continued. “As questions swirl, the Clintons refuse to explain what role Bill Clinton would play should she be elected, and if any meaningful safeguards will exist to create a multi-billion dollar slush fund for one of the most ethically challenged duos in American politics.”

POLL DU JOUR

85 percent of U.S. voters say “more is at stake” in the 2016 presidential election than in the past; 88 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall say Hillary Clinton is “lying about how her emails were handled” when she was secretary of state; 90 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton “put national security at risk by mishandling classified emails”; 83 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent overall say Donald Trump’s description of “crooked Hillary” is accurate; 79 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent overall say Mr. Trump’s description is not accurate; 19 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News Poll of 1,004 registered U.S. voters conducted June 5-8.

• Murmurs and asides to jhar[email protected]

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