No, the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails during her time as secretary of state isn’t going to hurt her with Democrats or spark a truly contested Democratic primary. (After all, Democrats’ 2016 pickings beyond Clinton are quite slim.) And, no, the matter is unlikely to make her less of a viable general-election candidate. (If the Clintons are good at something, it’s getting out of a jam.) But the controversy, we think, has created two lasting issues for her all-but-certain presidential campaign. One, it’s already led to a new congressional Republican investigation, which could last for months. And here’s the thing about fishing expeditions: You never know what you’re going to catch. (Here’s a video take from one of us on this very point.) Two, the episode has already revealed a pretty hostile relationship with the political press corps. Being a frontrunner means you get tough press, but there’s a difference between getting tough press and getting NO benefit of the doubt from the media. And right now on this story, Clinton doesn’t have the benefit of the doubt.
Obama returns to Selma
On Saturday, President Obama will travel to Selma, AL to participate in events marking the 50th anniversary of the bloody march there that helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act. USA Today reminds us of Obama’s visit there when he was a candidate running for president in 2007. “Eight years ago, an up-and-coming black politician from Chicago talked about how he owed his career to bloodshed on a bridge in Selma, Ala. ‘I'm here because somebody marched,’ then-senator Barack Obama said in Selma that day. ‘I'm here because you all sacrificed for me.’ Now the first African-American president of the United States, Obama returns to Selma on Saturday along with thousands of others who have led very different lives because of what happened there 50 years ago.” More: “Obama and others attending Selma events this weekend are expected to praise racial progress but also address many remaining challenges” -- including what happened in Ferguson, MO last summer.
John Lewis to appear on “Meet the Press”
Speaking of Selma, NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday will interview one of the heroes from the Selma march -- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Other guests will include Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), plus Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Curt Schilling on the coarsening of cultural and political rhetoric.
When a cattle call is actually almost a real cattle call
Saturday also brings us another 2016 GOP cattle call, and this time it’s pretty much a literal cattle call – the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit, which is organized by agribusiness mega-donor Bruce Rastetter. As National Journal wrote last month: “Outside of Iowa, Rastetter is virtually unknown. But in the state, he is a major Republican power player whose own sway—combined with Iowa's influence in the race for the GOP nomination—is enough to convinces comers from all corners of the party to heed his call.” By the way, this is Jeb Bush’s first trip to Iowa since making his presidential ambitions known. Here is the list of scheduled speakers, per NBC’s Dave Forman:
- 10:10 am ET: Chris Christie
- 10:45 am ET: Mike Huckabee
- 11:25 am ET: Jeb Bush
- Noon ET: Ted Cruz
- 12:30 pm ET: Rick Perry
- 2:05 pm ET: Lindsey Graham
- 2:40 pm ET: George Pataki
- 3:05 pm ET: Rick Santorum
- 3:40 pm ET: Scott Walker
(FYI: Marco Rubio is no longer attending due to a family wedding.)
Another strong jobs report: 295,000 jobs created in February, unemployment rate declines to 5.5%
Finally, the U.S. economy keeps truckin’ along: 295,000 jobs were created in February, and the unemployment rate has declined to 5.5%.