O’Malley “Steals” Furniture

Martin O’Malley couldn’t let Hillary Clinton have all the controversy spotlight. Because O’Malley took most of the Governor’s Mansion furniture with him, new governor Hogan had to move his 20 year old furniture into the mansion. Perhaps he should call Annapolis Clean Carpet for an upholstery cleaning so the furniture will look like new.

O’Malley and his wife were moving out of the mansion and into a 4 bedroom home in Baltimore. They needed to furnish it and decided they liked the furnishings of the Governor’s mansion.

They decided to see if they could buy it. It went through a process and was declared junk and was sold to them for pennies on the dollar. To be more precise, what originally cost Maryland taxpayers $62,000 to buy was sold for $9,678. These 54 pieces were all purchased in the last 10 years.

It is quite likely that the furnishings were in very good shape. Unlike some tenants in inner city Baltimore who can put 10 years of wear on furniture and buildings in six months, we doubt that the furniture was abused by the tenants of the Governor’s mansion.

Governor Hogan said that he was excited to move into the Governor’s mansion after taking a tour of it after his election. Imagine his surprise when they went to move in and found it stripped bare or at least considerably more bare than when they last saw it. So he had to get his old furniture moved in from his house.

O’Malley says that he went through all the proper channels. But who was going to say no to the governor. He needed at least one person around him who wasn’t a Yes man who could have told him is was a bad idea and would look awful. Especially considering that he is running for President. He comes off as tone deaf to how things will be perceived much as Hillary has done several times over the last couple of years.

Former governor Marvin Mandel did something similar when he left office. He took almost all the furniture, all the liquor, and other supplies with him when he left the mansion. A lawsuit was required to get the items back and some were never recovered. It was filed by Attorney General Steven Sachs and took years in court.

In an ironic twist, this past January before he left the mansion, O’Malley wrote Mandel and asked for some items back that he has supposedly taken from the mansion. In his letter to Mandel, O’Malley say how he and his wife have appreciate the mansion and the contributions of past governors to the ambience of the house. Then he requests the missing items from Mandel’s time.

When Sachs was read this he cracked up laughing. Then Sachs commented that the O’Malley’s liked the mansion so much that they took a lot of things with them, including things that didn’t belong to them.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and what effect it will have on O’Malley’s  presidential campaign.

People’s Feedback on Hillary

Recently we did an informal survey by driving around with clients of Annapolis Limo Service and their partner taxi service, we asked them what they thought of Hillary Clinton. Not a scientific poll, but it was interesting.

People felt that she had more experience and more pertinent experience than probably anyone else running for President. We did this in Annapolis, MD which is pretty blue, although we did run across some Republicans who couldn’t stand her no matter what her experience is.

She has been a Senator, giving her insight into the Legislative Branch and she has been Secretary of State giving her experience with the Executive Branch. Plus she is a lawyer so she is familiar with the Legislative Branch. The knock on may Senators running for President is that they have never run an organization, but the stint as Secretary of State covers that base. Plus, she has the unusual perspective of seeing a presidency from the inside by being married to the President.

Despite this, people felt that she had a nasty habit of shooting herself in the foot. Of course, the Republicans are frequently looking to help pull the trigger. First, using a private server for her emails. Yes, it was legal at the time, but many people commented that it just didn’t look good. They didn’t feel like it passed the smell test. There may have been a good reason, but so far it hasn’t been disclosed. Probably because the reason is that the Clinton’s seem to have a real desire for secrecy.

People were of the opinion that while the Clinton’s might have a good pulse on public opinion, they were quite blind to how the public would react to some of their personal actions.

There was also Benghazi. However, people weren’t sure how to feel about that one. The Republicans were all for cover up and foul play. Democrats and Independents were mixed and felt they didn’t have enough information about what really went on.

Another example people mentioned of not having antennae up and understanding how something would look was getting a $600 haircut. People were amazed that a section of Bergdorf Goodman in New York was closed off so she could get her hair styled in private without people knowing. But word got out anyway. She is trying to portray herself as fighting for the middle and lower classes but everyone agreed they couldn’t relate to $600 haircuts. They couldn’t relate to it and they felt the average American couldn’t relate to it either.

Hillary’s Fundraising Problem

Hillary Clinton’s problem isn’t that she can’t fundraise but you might say she is doing it too well. She and her husband have all the fat cats riding around in their limousines donating large amounts of money to their foundation and also outrageous fees for speaking engagements.

The Clinton Foundation

The Foundation has done a lot of good by connecting various charities with donors. But the problems arises in that the foundation is accepting donations from foreign governments. That would generally not be a problem, but when you are running for President it can look like the foreign governments are trying to buy influence. Not where you want to be when running for President.

Failure to Think Ahead?

The foundation took foreign donations up until 2009 when she became Secretary of State. They stopped because it didn’t look good having foreign governments donating indirectly to a top administration official. But when she stepped down as Secretary of State, the foundation started taking foreign donations again. You would think that she and Bill had in mind her run for President. It seems like a poor choice to resume the practice given this and makes you question the ethics but also the surprising failure to see how it would be perceived.

Defending the Donations

The Clinton’s put out a statement defending the practice and pointing out that they are very transparent about who donates, and making available a donor list. But many of the people who are donating to her campaign fund are also making significant donations to the foundation as well. That just doesn’t look good. One can  make the assumption that people are donating larger amounts to the foundation than they otherwise might because they were assuming she was running for President and now know she is.

Republican vs. Democrat Outlook

It is not unusual for politician’s to buddy up to wealthy people who can write big checks. But the Republicans have an advantage because they are generally seen as on the side of business vs. labor and they generally don’t see it as a problem to be cozying up to rich people. Rather, it is almost a badge of honor. But Hillary has been pulling in money from the wealthiest people in the world for the foundation and these people usually want something in return. Combine that with the fact that the Democrats draw a lot from labor and the middle to lower classes and it makes for a very difficult balancing act.


The problem can go both ways. Her poll numbers have been dropping which is not the direction she wants them to head. However, they have been receiving large donations which have been rapidly filling the campaign coffers which gives her power compared to most rivals.

Hillary Clinton – Review of What Happened: Election Failure Memoir

What happened on the evening of November is marked in the history books and is known to everyone; a well prepared presidential candidate lost to Donald Trump.

This extraordinary memoir has flashes that suggest Hillary Rodham Clinton is well informed of all that happened. However, it sometimes descends like a mode of settling her blames.

Just like any good informative book, it starts at the end; the elections ended her dream and her career. She explores the whole experience of having failed spectacularly and publicly and how open the passage was.

There are touchingly intimate moments and dry whit at home. She explains how she managed to hunt down a specific wallpaper design to decorate their New York’s home bedroom to match the one they anticipated at the white house.

If the wallpaper came from the past political period, it almost feels like her campaign had the same origin.” I carried out a traditional presidential campaign while carefully planning the policies and building coalition painstakingly. On the other hand, Trump was busy running a TV show that relentlessly had expertly stoked the Americans resentment and anger,” she writes.

It was not only about Donald Trump. Clinton reserves some criticisms of her democratic nomination rivals and Bernie Sanders who proposed the bold ideas that would never have passed in the Congress. Mr. Trump is also responsible for the Wall Street line of attacks that was developed and plundered during the election period, she argues.

She narrates that the “optics” was the only wrong thing for taking more than a hundred dollars from the big reputable banks which had a hand in plunging the country into a recession. Hillary Clinton turned out to be a victim who seemed like a flawed candidate with uninspiring campaigns to the whole world.

Mr. Comey was responsible for the homebrew email servers probe that Hillary Clinton used when she was the state’s secretary. Just eleven days to elections, Comey announced that the investigations were going to be reopened which ensured there were a slew of drawback headlines during that crucial moment. “Although Comey caused few voters to change their minds, the mess was enough to move the Electoral College to Trump,” writes Hillary Clinton.

The impact may never be known, but I am glad to imagine the level of intervention it would have caused if she together with her media team had evaded the controversy, instead of avoiding the legitimate questions. The whole book talks about Clinton’s World Reminders: The billionaire friends and Hampton’s hobnobbers in the Dot Com world. She is an active woman when it comes to detailing sexism that has been plaguing her politics and caused many introspection bouts as she figured out how to manage the chromosome.

Ultimately, she analyses Mr. Trumps appeals to show her flaws. She dissects why she did not connect well with Rust Belt states; the primary factor of handling her rival’s election. She concludes by indicating that she did not lay the fault but was done by the arrayed actors that were against her. Perhaps, a better title for Mrs. Clinton’s Thesis would have been a new expression of verbal shrug that sometimes suggests terrible things happen for no reason.

Trump and Pay to Play

Donald Trump Showing Interest in Pay to Play foundation of Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate is now focusing on the operation ‘pay to play’, the Clinton Foundation.  The donations done to the foundation was to secure access and also to influence Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, according to Mr. Trump. It is also done so that she may be used later to influence, if elected.

Trump appreciated the Clinton Foundations work as he checked it online. He said he was happy to see their website offering to help the poor, sick and disadvantaged people. The multiple initiatives taken by this foundation has pleased Trump. he was impressed by the Clintons initiative in Tanzania, Malawi and Rwanda anchor farm projects helping over 77,00 smallholder farmers by offering them access to markets and providing smart agronomic training to produce soya, maize and sunflower.

The Clinton Health Matters works to improve across the United States the wellness in communities. These partnerships reflect projects and investments reaching over 50 million people in the country. Trump also informed that he saw the annual reports, financial statements and IRS Form 990s that revealed the donations done and all the large donors. Their financial statement and reports had details of all the activities the foundation was related to and the entities details to the last dollar. He appreciated the transparency of Pay to Play.

The media is focusing on Donald Trump and his on campaign contributions. This also includes the Trump entities done contributions to Attorneys General in Texas, New York, Florida, California or anyone suing or investigation Trump University. However, the Attorneys General of New York and California are already in the news coverage for pursuing their investigations on the contributions of Trump U. However, Greg Abbott, the Attorney General of Texas, now the Texas Governor, discontinued his investigation as Trump U stopped in Texas.

Mr. Trump was questioned about the ‘Pay to Play’ transaction. The transactional facts of Bondi-Trump offer a clear basis for investigation. Now the investigation relating the Trump-Bondi connection will take place soon, or after the election, is an open question for all the contribution reasons. However, regardless of several inquiring minds, it has kept people wondering whether there are reasons to prosecute Ms. Bondi, Mr. Trump or his corporate entities for public corruption, bribery or both, under state or federal law, or both.

Though, the McDonnel decision narrowed the federal public corruption cases into official acts, yet there appears a potential criminal issue under at least three legal theories and federal statutes with Bondi’s and Trump’s

Hillary and Sanders

Bernie Sanders keeps pushing Hillary Clinton. He may never catch up and she may get the nomination, but he is giving it a valiant effort. While there has been absolute craziness and novelty on the Republican side, the Democrats have been more staid and conventional.

Will a Low Key Campaign Hurt?

The question is, will the low key Democratic primary hurt the Democrats in the long run. People aren’t as energized. The Republican primaries are seeing a lot of interest and getting a lot of new people involved in voting and taking part. Will the divisiveness hurt them or will the emotions and fervor carry over and help them in the general election.

Moving Away From the Middle

The Republicans seem to be racing further to the right and away from the middle. They were already pretty far that direction before the campaign started. Bernie Sanders has surprised Hillary Clinton and his popularity has forced her to move more to the left than she would probably like. She has co-opted some of his message and blunted his surge because of that. But perhaps that was what he was hoping for.

Sanders Successes

Currently Sanders has won 7 primaries versus 11 that Clinton has won. Clinton has tended to win in more populous states with more electoral votes than Sanders has. Bernie Sanders crushed Clinton in New Hampshire. Most recently, he also won Kansas and Nebraska in what some called Super Saturday. Clinton won Louisiana. Prior to that though, Clinton had taken most of the Super Tuesday states. She dominated in the South and also won Massachusetts which was thought would go to Sanders in a close vote before the primary.

Clinton won Iowa, then Sanders won New Hampshire. Not just won, but crushed Clinton. Probably not a surprise because he is from Vermont next door. Then Hillary won Nevada and South Carolina. Next up was Super Tuesday.  Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and of course Vermont, his home state. Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Sanders has won in whiter states and dominates in more rural areas. Clinton has done better in urban and suburban areas and in places that have a greater ethnic mix. Most recently, Sanders won Nebraska and Kansas while Louisiana went to Clinton.

Currently Hillary has 1123 delegates compared to Sanders’ 484. She is about half way to the number she needs to win the nomination. But it will be interesting to see as the elections move to other states with different demographics how Sanders will do. He isn’t out of it yet, but it is getting more and more difficult for him to overcome her lead.

Hillary on Jimmy Kimmel Talks about Jeb

Hillary Clinton made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show recently and stayed on longer than most guests do. Kimmel asked her about what she thought of Bush’s struggles.

She was fairly gracious and said that she could identify and that running for President was tough and that there were bad days along with the good days. She said he was a very accomplished person and that he was trying to get his points across and make his case.

Then Kimmel asked her what she thought of Jeb Bush’s new campaign slogan, Jeb Can Fix It. In the clip she was obviously amused and trying not to laugh too hard. She said that running a campaign was hard and that campaign’s change all the time and that they won’t necessarily stick with the slogan.

Then Kimmel cracked her up by saying that it sounded like Jeb Bush was running a handyman business. Hillary Clinton said Bush had a number of options to fix things and then couldn’t resist and said maybe he could put his phone number on the side of a bus.

Kimmel then teased her and said he appreciated her leaving him for last after Steven Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. Then he started asking about Bill Clinton. He said that first ladies usually redecorated the white house. He asked if Bill would be picking out a new china pattern. Hillary said that she would use his expertise and ask for advice on increasing employment and raising wages.

Interestingly, she admitted that if it were possible, Bill Clinton would run for president again. Then Kimmel asked her if she had to run against Bill, who would win. Of course she said that she would beat him.

When asked about the Republican candidates she said that they seemed to be beholden to fossil fuel companies and that is why they were denying climate change. She wasn’t sure if they really believed it or if they just didn’t want to alienate a funding source.

Kimmel mentioned that Hillary had gone to Donald Trump’s wedding and asked what wedding gift she had given. She smiled and said “I went to the wedding”. She also pointed out that Trump supported her until he decided to run himself.

Then Kimmel spoke to 4 kids and asked them what they thought about a woman being president. The two boys were worried she would paint the White House pink and do other girly things. The girls liked the idea. Then he introduced the kids to Hillary. They chatted a bit and then he asked the boys if they had changed their minds. They said no. Hillary suggested that we needed a woman president so they would have some facts and insights to base their opinions on.

Hillary and Benghazi

The Benghazi probe has now been going on for a longer time than Watergate. That seems kind of ridiculous. The Republicans have sunk their teeth into this like a pit bull and won’t let go. They felt they could ride it all the way to the White House.

Kevin McCarthy Helps the Democrats

Many people feel that McCarthy, who was number 2 in the House at the time, implied that the Benghazi committee was a witch hunt to bring Hillary down. On reading what he said, it is not clear that is what he meant, but the damage was done. Now the Republicans are more on the defensive and seem to be a bit more careful.

Mills’ Testimony Released

Cheryl Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department. She was questioned by the committee in a closed door session.  Since then, there have been leaks of what she said, normally carefully selected and many say taken out of context to make Hillary Clinton look bad. So the Democrats released the 307 page transcript of her testimony.

A number of Republicans who are not on the committee have been claiming that Clinton told the military to stand down during the attacks on the consulate. There is nothing in the testimony of Mills that supports this. There is also nothing that indicates that Clinton ever denied requests for additional security.

Instead, it shows that Clinton was heavily involved during and after the attacks trying to ensure the safety of all personnel involved in any way.

Political Football

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee basically said it is a $4.5 million witch hunt on the part of the Republicans. Trey Gowdy, the Republican leading the committee says they only want to provide an accurate account of the Benghazi attacks. He also felt that the release of the transcript showed that all the Democrats cared about was protecting Hillary Clinton. We doubt either side is likely to agree or back down. Unfortunate.

Mills denied there was any order to stand down, that Clinton denied requests for extra security, that Clinton ordered Ambassador Stevens to go to Benghazi, or that there was a gun-running scheme. We doubt her claims will satisfy the Republicans. Mills also said that Clinton was very involved that night and very concerned about everyone. She took the unusual step of attending a staff level meeting because of her concern. She had the highest regard for Stevens and was very upset about everything that was going on.

A Joe Biden Presidential Run?

Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are inexorably sliding and sliding. This is leading Joe Biden to take a closer look at running for President.

Biden’s Possible Contributors

Mr. Biden has had some discussions with President Obama contributors and his own long time network of donors consisting of trial lawyers, Jewish leaders and Greek Americans. One of these is George Tsunis who helped raise $750,000 for the Obama-Biden ticket and has said he would be there is Biden needed him.

More worrying for Hillary is that some Hillary supporters have said they might switch allegiance if Biden enters the race. One is Tom Daschle, a former Senate leader. Then there is the Draft Biden group that has gone beyond fundraising to hiring staff and field operatives. Biden is likely to portray himself as upholding Obama’s legacy more than Ms. Clinton would.

Poor Clinton Poll Numbers

Beyond possible problems with contributors are the poll numbers. Recent polls in 3 key states, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida showed 60% of the people having an unfavorable view of Hillary and felt that she wasn’t honest and trustworthy. Only 4 in 10 had a favorable view of her.


Biden would need to make a decision before the first Democratic debate which is October 13th. He realizes that if she bounces back from the email and other problems she will be hard to beat and it is unlikely that he would enter. But, if she continues to struggle or things get worse, there is a good possibility he would join the race.

Biden has also put out feelers to the gay and lesbian communities since he came out in favor of gay marriage before either President Obama or Hillary Clinton did.

Hillary Crash and Burn?

Some see Hillary Clinton crashing and burning, not only because of the emails but also the funding she and President Clinton have received for speaking engagements. According to an article in the US News and World Report,  a Russian company needed State Department permission to corner the world uranium market. Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech by the Russian Investment Bank that was rating the stock of the company buying the uranium.

In addition, of $500 million given to the Clintons’ foundation, only 15% has gone to charities and $300 million has gone to “other expenses”.

A Biden Run Helps Hillary?

Others feel that Biden running would help Ms. Clinton’s campaign. They said she is a terrible front runner but does quite well when she is in the middle of a race. They feel Biden running will force her to run a better, more competitive campaign and hone her for the race against the Republican candidate.

Unsurprisingly, they weren’t sure where Biden would get his support from since Bernie Sanders is exciting the liberals and Obama supporters are mostly backing Hillary Clinton according to this line of thinking.

So, there is obviously a wide range of opinion about a Biden run, but it should be interesting to watch and see what happens.

Hillary’s Challengers

Hillary Clinton has been the frontrunner and presumed favorite to win the Democratic Party nomination for President. So far several people have decided to run and challenge her.

Martin O’Malley

One is Martin O’Malley the former governor of the state of Maryland. So far he has not gotten any traction and it is our guess that his aim is for the Vice President position and later for President.

Lincoln Chafee

Another is Lincoln Chafee a former senator and governor of the state of Rhode Island. Interestingly, when he was a senator, he was Republican. Some have described him as a Nelson Rockefeller Republican. So far, he too hasn’t gotten much traction.

Jim Webb

Jim Webb, a former senator from Virginia was the first to anounce an exploratory committee but just decided to declare. However, he has little name recognition and has a long way to go on the fundraising front.

Bernie Sanders

The final challenger to Clinton could be formidable. He is Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont. He recently spoke in front of the largest crowd so far of any candidate running. Over 10,000 people showed up to hear him speak in Madison, WI.

Some say that Hillary Clinton is the strongest front runner of any candidate in history who wasn’t an incumbent. She has experience as a senator and then as Secretary of State, plus the unusual experience of having been married to a President. However, Bernie Sanders could pose problems for the following reasons. ( The Huffington Post had an interesting article on this.)

Because of Sanders length of service in the Senate, he has a more substantial legislative history than any of the Republicans he would have  to run against if he won the nomination.

A majority of  Americans are on the side of the Democrats on a majority of issues from economic to immigration to climate change to gay marriage. If the issues that Sanders has pushed for over the years such as trade, the federal budget and middle class economics, resonate with voters in this election, then he will have a good chance. If you count all the electoral votes of states that are leaning Democratic, or are likely or safely Democratic then only 23 out of 85 toss up votes are needed to win.

This means that Bernie Sanders can stay true to his pricipals and beliefs and doesn’t have moderate or change them to appeal to conservatives. People for a while have been saying the Democrats had to use realism instead of progressive values to be able to win. Because of changes in the electorate, this seems to be much less the case and could leave Clinton in an outmoded paradigm.

Sanders is on 6 committees in the Senate and on many issues has more experience than Clinton or any of the Republican candidates.

Sanders beliefs haven’t changed over the years based on polling. He has stuck to his beliefs and has been fighting for the middle class and the poor for many years.

Despite Hillary’s war chest and fund raising capability, any more emails on Benghazi or other issues could really cripple Hillary and boost Bernie Sanders position. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.