Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 21, 2015 · Page B2
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October 21, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page B2

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Rochester, New York
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
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Four weeks ago, we were predicting the demise of Donald Trump. Today, his grip on the GOP nominating contest seems as strong as ever. Twenty-one of 30 political experts surveyedgave first-place marks to Trump this week, his highest total since Week 3of our Power Rankings survey. Trump’s candidacy appears to be making the transition from an upstart spectacle to a real presidential campaign. He is even raising moneydespite telling people he does not need them to donate. “I actually had a chance to attend a Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia, last week, and I was struck by the evolution of Trump’s stump speech,” said Emory University’s Andra Gillespie. “He is still invoking the same themes and the same bluster, but his stump speech is evolving into something that l ooks more traditional. It sug- g ests that Trump may be taking this campaign more seriously t han we gave him credit for earl ier this year.” D emocratic pollster Margie Omero agreed: “People rejoiced i n the last few weeks, thinking T rump’s numbers have faltered but they’ve rebounded some. It seems he stays strong no matter what the press says.” Part of Trump’s return to dominance is that his challengers keep losing traction. Carly Fiorina took over first place in our Power Rankingsafter the second Republican debate, but she has quickly faded. “Fiorina failed to build on debate success,” said Carl Leubsdorf of The Dallas Morning News . She had 13 first-place votes from our panel in Week 4. This week, she had none. Ben Carson (three first-place votes) and Marco Rubio (four) remain in the hunt, though Rubio was not helped by questions about exactly how much money he raised in the third quarter of this year. “The depth of Carson’s small- dollar support is a unique adv antage that no other candidate i n the field matches,” said IMGE’s Phil Musser. “It’s a gift t hat will keep on giving and the r esult of smart early investment o n his behalf.” Candidates at the bottom of o ur rankings have largely re- m ained in place for two months, raising questions about how long they can last. “The race is settling into a top tier and the rest are struggling for campaign dollars,” said Henry Barbour. “The field could thin after the Oct 28 and Nov. 10 debates. Cash flow is becoming a big issue for campaigns.” 2B E3 USA TODAY—DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE WEDNESDAY,OCTOBER21,2015 The Army is placing medical o cials in charge of substance abuse treatment for soldiers in the wake of a USA TODAY invest igation that uncovered poor treatment and a spike in suicides among those su ering addiction. Army Secretary John McHugh decided to shift oversight of the program back to the Army Medical Command to improve the counseling soldiers receive, an Army deputy assistant secretary, Anthony Stamilio, said in an interview. About 20,000 soldiers are screened each year for drug and alcohol abuse. Problems began surfacing after t he Army decided in 2010 to place t he program under the Army’s Installation Management Command, which operates garrisons a nd lacks medical expertise. T hat move led to a sharp de- c line in the quality of care. Half of the Army’s treatment clinics fell below professional standards, veteran personnel left en masse and clinics hired unqualified directors and counselors, according to senior Army clinical sta members and records obtained by USA TODAY. S tamilio defended the program, saying that under Installa- t ion Command management the “program is running well,” current counselors have full credentials, and rates of soldiers successfully completing treatment and staying sober are high. The USA TODAY report in M arch said that since 2010, about 90 soldiers had committed suicide within three months of r eceiving substance-abuse treatment and at least 31 suicides fol- l owed documented cases of substandard care, according to t abulations by clinical sta , though they did not specifically blame the deaths on poor treatment. Current and former clinic sta members told USA TODAY that about half of the 7,000 soldiers screened for alcohol or drug problems last year and turned away with a clean bill of health s hould have been counseled for substance abuse. The USA TODAY reports prompted McHugh and then- Army chief of sta Gen. Ray Odierno to order an inspector general investigation of the program. The Army has not released those results, but McHugh later ordered the program back to medical supervision over a phased-in period to be completed by next October. “They’re fi nally going to bring s ome reasonable and responsible a ction to help soldiers,” said Patrick Lillard, a psychiatrist and former clinical director of the A rmy’s largest inpatient subs tance abuse program at Fort G ordon, Ga. “It means that the direction of the substance abuse treatment program will be back in the province of medical people rather than command, so that decisions will be made by medical people” said Lillard, a vocal critic of the earlier change in management. T he latest move was well-received by medical experts. David R osenbloom, professor of public health at Boston University, said “if they’re putting it under medical control, they’re probably going in the right direction.” Wanda Kuehr, a psychologist and former director of clinical s ervices for the Army substance- abuse program who also had been critical of its management, cau- t ioned that “safeguards must ensure that (treatment) clinicians c ontinue to be licensed, trained and certified in substance abuse r ehabilitation. If not, soldiers’ treatment is not likely to be opti- mal. In fact, it may well put the soldiers at risk.” The Army plans call for placing substance-abuse counselors within mental health clinics now “ embedded” with combat brigades to make care more accessi- b le and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help. Currently, drug and alcohol counselors work in separate clinics on each Army base. “What we have found is that our soldiers are more willing to g o into an embedded behavioral health facility to be seen,” said Maj. Gen. Jimmie Keenan, depu- t y commander for operation under the Medical Command. “ Their mental health care and their substance-abuse treatment c an be delivered in the same location and the people providing that care can make sure it’s coordinated and risk is managed even better than it is now,” said Army Lt. Col. Chris Ivany, Army director of behavioral health. Lillard said that non-medical leaders often fail to recognize alcoholism or drug abuse as an illness that may be related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) stemming from c ombat. The result: Soldiers are s ometimes denied necessary treatment or expelled from the Army for behavior linked to P TSD or TBI. I n one case documented by U SA TODAY in August, Spc. Stephen Akins, a veteran of several tours to Iraq and Afghanistan who returned home with PTSD and TBI, was kicked out of the Army with a general discharge for abusing drugs and alcohol despite pleas by his then-Army psychiatrist, Lillard, that Akin needed a m edical discharge. A two-star general determined that Akins’ s ubstance abuse had nothing to do with his brain injury or emotional problems. Akins committed suicide in July in his mother’s home outside Atlanta. Another USA TODAY report revealed that in 2011 an alcoholic s oldier was denied hospitalization by Army commanders who overruled a medical opinion. The s oldier later murdered a sheri ’s deputy while in a drunken state a nd then killed himself outside Fort Gordon, Ga., in an event that r ocked the local community of Augusta, Ga. Army revises i ts drug, alcohol abuse program Changes come after exposé by USA T ODAY on care, suicides Gregg Zoroya USA TODAY MICHAEL A. SCHWARZ,USA TODAY Stephen Akins’ son, Skylar, and mother, Chrystal Akins, receive a flag from Doug Robbins, part of an American Legion Honor G uard, at the f ormer soldier’s funeral at Georgia N ational C emetery on J uly 9. MICHAEL A. SCHWARZ,USA TODAY Stephen Akins killed himself in his mother’s basement. USA TODAY Lillard USA TODAY Kuehr GETTY IMAGES McHugh The rankings (last week) 1 Donald Trump (1) 2 Ben Carson (2) 3 Marco Rubio (3) 4 Ted Cruz (4) 5 Jeb Bush (6) 6 Carly Fiorina (5) 7 John Kasich (7) 8 Chris Christie (8) 9 Rand Paul (10) 10 Mike Huckabee (9) 11 Bobby Jindal (11) 12 Rick Santorum (12) 13 Lindsey Graham (13) 14 George Pataki (14) 1 5 Jim Gilmore (15) ABOUTTHE POLL USA TODAYsurveys about 30 political experts every week. Their names and the full rankings are at onpolitics.usatoday.com Where the candidates stand Trump is looking more like real deal Paul Singer USA TODAY SEAN RAYFORD, GETTY IMAGES Carly Fiorina has faded since vaulting to first place in the Power Rankings after the second GOP debate last month. WEEK 8 USA TODAY GOP POWER RANKINGS diplomatic compound in Libya, including accounts that Clinton personally approved or reduced security or ordered a stand-down. “It’s an opportunity to puncture these myths and the biggest myth of all: that this select committee is trying to do anything but damage Secretary Clinton,’’ said Rep. Adam Schi of California, a panel Democrat. Gowdy said he’s focused on the four Americans killed in Benghazi and on providing a definitive account of the attacks. Though there have been seven previous congressional investigations, the South Carolina congressman said he’s interviewed 41 witnesses that no other committee interviewed, including seven who were eyewitnesses. Republicans will be aggressive in questioning Clinton, which carries risks for the Democratic front-runner. They’ll also try to demonstrate that their focus is on Benghazi and not the private email server she used at the State Department, said Stu Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report . “Before the McCarthy comment, Republicans knew that the committee was always going to be covered (by the media) in the context of another problem for Hillary Clinton,’’ Rothenberg said. “Now the context will be about Republicans trying to score political points. That’s a very different context.” McCarthy’s comments reversed the politics of Benghazi. The Clinton campaign’s first ad to air on national cable highlighted his remarks. Media Matters, an outside group supporting her, is launching paid online ads and releasing a book called The Benghazi Hoax . A super PAC supporting her will broadcast ads for two days beginning Wednesday in f our early voting states. Last week, the Clinton-aligned g roup Correct the Record blasted o ut a cost analysis of the commit- t ee’s 17-month investigation titled “Harassing Hillary Clinton: Your tax dollars at work.” The deluge, including a letter to Gowdy from the top Democrat on the committee threatening to release transcripts of witnesses who testified in private, prompted Gowdy to issue a 13-page rebuttal Oct. 8. Afew months ago, Republicans were using Benghazi as a political cudgel. In April, as Clinton announced her 2016 bid, the group “Stop Hillary PAC’’ used Gowdy’s image to drum up support for a pledge backing the committee. The Republican opposition group America Rising released a Web video using footage of her Senate Benghazi testimony spliced with images of burning buildings. The Kristol tweet lauding Gowdy’s role in the 2016 campaign was sent as Democrats accused the congressman of slow-walking the Benghazi investigation to coincide with presidential primaries. In March, Gowdy sent a formal request for Clinton to testify, citing questions about her server, including why she deleted some emails and had a private account in the first place. Now, Gowdy and other committee Republicans say Clinton is only one witness, their investigation will go on many more months and they are solely focused on Benghazi. “She’s an important witness, but she is one witness,’’ Gowdy said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation . “I care about her emails only to the extent that they relate to Libya and Benghazi,’’ Gowdy said. “The rest of it — classification, Clinton Foundation, you name it —I have zero interest in.’’ There are always risks when public o cials testify for hours on national television as Clinton plans. During her testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2013, Clinton got in a t esty exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in which she r aised her voice and waved her h ands, a fl are-up used in the Rep ublican Web ad. Context shifts f or committee v CONTINUED FROM1B

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