Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 23, 2015 · Page B2
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October 23, 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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Friday, October 23, 2015
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2B E3 USA TODAY—DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE FRIDAY,OCTOBER23,2015 wait until the next president is poised to take over. u He says House Speaker John Boehner foolishly threw away negotiating leverage with the White House by declaring that Congress wouldn’t allow the United States to default on its debt next month. “I would use the debt limit to negotiate a great deal” to control spending, he says. “How can you do that if you’ve already announced that you’re not going to violate the debt?” Trump declares, as he has before, that he is a world-class negotiator and a proven dealmaker, aproduct of the nation’s finest schools and a very rich man. It is increasingly hard to deny that the 69-year-old celebrity billionaire is also a credible Republican presidential nominee. Trump agrees that the 2016 campaign is moving into a di er- ent phase. He’s not sure what impact an expected deluge of attack ads financed by other campaigns, super-PACs and advocacy groups will have, although he notes that the competitors who have taken him on in the past have seen their support drop. He says he’s tempering his language because he no longer needs to be quite as bombastic as he was at the start of his unconventional campaign. “You know, before, we had 17 p eople (running), and we were all out there fighting, and I had people out there hitting me,” he says. Now, “we’re so far out in front that there’s no reason to be quite the way we were, and I do want to tone it down a little bit.” NO BACKING DOWN That doesn’t seem to be a risk. In the interview with Capital Download, Trump doesn’t back down from his criticism of former president George W. Bush for failing to respond more e ective- ly to intelligence warnings of the threat from Osama bin Laden before the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Indeed, he expands the critique to include former president Bill Clinton. “They both carry responsibility,” he tells the weekly video newsmaker series, calling their administrations’ policies on immigration “very lax” and their focus on bin Laden inadequate. “Certainly Clinton managed to mention the name in a speech, Osama bin Laden, and he didn’t do anything about it,” Trump says. “Certainly it’s something that could have been stopped if they had gone that extra mile.” (In 1997, Clinton did order air- strikes on al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.) Trump says he is the candidate with the strong leadership skills that are the most important qual- i ty of a commander in chief, al- though he lacks traditional credentials for the job. He sco s at the idea that former Florida governor Jeb Bush or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would make a more e ective negotiator with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This week, Bush wrote an op- ed article in National Review charging that Trump’s “bluster overcompensates for a shocking lack of knowledge on the complex national-security challenges that w ill confront the next president of the United States” and calling his views “dangerous.” “Well, I think I know more about national security than he does,” Trump says. “I think that I would be far more respected by people who run countries, whether it’s Putin or you go to China or you go anywhere. We’d have a far more respected administration and a far more respected country.” As he prepares for the third Republican debate next week, Trump says it’s time for those who can’t make the threshold of 3% support in national polls to close their campaigns. That category would include South Carolin a Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York governor George Pataki and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. “I think it’s an embarrassment to the party when Bobby Jindal gets up on stage and when Pataki, who has zero,” he says. “You look at Lindsey Graham; it’s very sad. Lindsey Graham, he’s a sitting senator. He’s at zero. And you have a number of zeros, and I would think they should get on with their life and go back home.” MONEY IN THE BANK Trump has held the lead longer than the string of up-and-down contenders in 2012 — Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich — and has held it more consistently than Mitt Romney, who became the nominee. He has tapped a deep well of dissatisfaction with politicians and politics. During the interview, the sound of several thousand supporters massed in the Burlington Memorial Auditorium can be heard chanting his name. He has won their backing, he points out, without deploying much of his personal wealth. “I have put up almost nothing, actually zero, in advertising. It’s an actual zero,” he says. “I would have thought that I would have had (spent) between $20 and $25 million now. I’ve spent nothing. At the right time, I’ll probably do advertising. “ So far, I haven’t needed it.” Trump says he’ll tone it down ‘a little bit’ SCOTT OLSON,GETTY IMAGES Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets guests after speaking at a rally Wednesday in Burlington, Iowa. v CONTINUED FROM1B NOW PLAYING AT USATODAY.COM Watch the full interview with candidate Donald Trump. WASHINGTON Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before a House committeeon Thursday provided insights into her management decisions before the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in 2012. But partisanship, not proof of conspiracy by Clinton, was the dominant theme. Clinton defended her record against allegations that she engineered the U.S. intervention in Libya just to boost her political s tanding, then failed to make sure h er diplomats were safe. Republicans, led by chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, say they exposed shortcomings in Clinton’s leadership of the State Department, but there was no smoking-gun moment proving Clinton orchestrated any attempt to cover up misconduct. Clinton’s controversial decision to use a personal email account for o cial business came up late in the hearing when Rep.Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, accused her of hiding documents. “If your story about your e mails keeps changing, how can w e accept the statement that you’ve turned over all your work- related emails and emails about Libya?” he asked. Clinton repeated that the private email system was a mistake, but said “email was not my primary means of communication.” Thursday’s public hearing, the fourth one the Benghazi committee has held since it was created 18 months ago, was still going at 8:45 p.m. Republicans pressed Clinton on poor security at the State Department’s outpost in Benghazi, despite rising violence a nd requests for more protection. F our Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed when terrorists overran the outpost Sept. 11, 2012. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., accused Clinton of shunning requests to increase security in Benghazi because that would have amounted to an admission that the situation in Libya was deteriorating after Clinton had argued strongly for intervening there. “You got it wrong, congressman,” Clinton said. “I absolutely did not forget about Libya after G adha fi fell.” R ep. Lynn Westmoreland, R- Ga., questioned why Stevens’ requests for additional security — which were mostly rejected — weren’t reviewed by Clinton personally. “He took his requests to where they belong — to the security professionals,” Clinton said. Rep. Jordan accused Clinton of misleading the American people by trying to downplay the terrorism angle for political reasons before the 2012 presidential election. “You knew the truth, and that is not what the American people got,” Jordan said. Clinton blasted on leadership in Libya operation Mary Troyan USA TODAY WASHINGTON Hillary Clinton’s t estimony before a special House committee investigating terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, offered plenty of partisan fireworks but lacked a smoking gun. Democrats and Republicans jousted from the start over whether the probe is an independent fact-finding mission or an e ort to smear Clinton as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton l argely left it to her Democratic allies on the panel to try to discredit the committee’s work as political. Tensions built during the first three hours of her testimony as Trey Gowdy of South Carolina pressed Clinton on advice she may have gotten from confidant Sidney Blumenthal regarding U.S. policy in Libya. He wasn’t alone in raising his voice at Clinton, who avoided responding in kind. Gowdy had hoped to avoid s uch made-for-television drama a s his panel faces scrutiny after remarks by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tying t he committee’s work to a decline i n Clinton’s poll numbers. “ If it’s chaos, it benefits Hillary Clinton,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who attended the hearing. “Then it’s not a clear outcome. Republicans have to prove asmoking gun, and that’s very di cult.” Gowdy tried from the outset to cast the panel’s work as not fo- c used on politics or Clinton’s use of a private email server at the S tate Department. “Not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your email,” he said in his opening statement. Clinton’s campaign was quick to shoot down the idea that he h ad succeeded in removing politics from Thursday’s hearing. Spokesman Brian Fallon ref erred to McCarthy’s remarks, as well as recent comments by Rep. R ichard Hanna, R-N.Y., who said the panel is politically motivated. G owdy “had a high bar to disprove those statements,” Fallon s aid. The focus on Blumenthal is “hurting his (Gowdy’s) own ability to disprove this is political.” R epublicans relied on recently obtained emails from Clinton’s private email server in asking a bout topics that ranged from U.S. motivations for intervening i n Libya to whether Clinton was adequately informed of the deter iorating security situation on the ground before the attacks Sept. 1 1, 2012, in Benghazi. They hammered her about her lack of knowledge about U.S. diplomats’ r equests for backup security — a point Republicans are likely to continue to pursue. D emocrats repeatedly emphasized that the panel is politically m otivated. They stressed the findings of previous panels that s he did not order a stand-down or approve or deny additional s ecurity. The committee is a taxpayer- f unded “fishing expedition” try- i ng to “derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign,” said Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, t he top Democrat on the commit- t ee. T hat message may overpower the most probing Republican questions, Luntz said. “Americans have said in polling they want to move on,” he said. Monmouth University Polling Institute released findings Wednesday that showed a majority of Americans agree with Demo crats: The committee’s work is primarily focused on politics. Fif- t y-two percent of those polled said the House Benghazi probe is most concerned about targeting Clinton than in ascertaining answers about the terror attacks. During many of the exchanges, Clinton sat expressionless, hands c lasped to her chin. That’s in contrast to her Senate testimony in 2013 in which she yelled and w aved her arms in response to a sharp line of questioning from S en. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. She said her goal in appearing at T hursday’s hearing was to honor the four Americans killed in the a ttacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya and to look f orward, though she implied she w as called before the committee for political reasons. “I’m sorry that it doesn’t fi t y our narrative, congressman,” s he told Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “ I can only tell you what the facts are.” If the final verdict on Clinton’s Benghazi hearing performance ends up positive for her, it could be the latest boost to her campaign this month. Last week, she was the winner of the first presidential debate. Wednesday, Vice P resident Biden announced he would not challenge her for the D emocratic nomination, leaving Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, her main threat. Republicans raised “serious questions about a potential cover- up,” said Rep. Gary Palmer, RA la., who attended. “There was indeed an e ort to mislead the American people initially.” “ This has been so overhyped on both sides,” said former Rep ublican congressman Tom Davis. Even so, Davis said, he made a s pecial trip to attend. “This is high drama,” he said. ANDREW HARRER,BLOOMBERG Hillary Clinton tells the Benghazi panel she tried to improve security for State Department workers after the attack in Libya. CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IMAGES Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wait for the arrival of Hillary Clinton on Thursday. Republicans insist investigation is not about politics Heidi M Przybyla USA TODAY Benghazi hearing ‘chaos’ could help Clinton

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