First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Why Hillary Clinton is airing $2 million in TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire
Late last night, the Clinton campaign announced it would begin airing on Tuesday its first TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire -- one telling the story of Hillary’s mother who was abandoned as a child; the other emphasizing her work fighting for families. These two bio spots will run for five weeks at approximately $1 million in each state. And there are three reasons why the Clinton camp is airing these TV ads. One, it’s to refocus attention on her Roosevelt Island speech in June, when she first played up her mother’s story. Two, it’s to allow her to dominate the airwaves in Iowa and New Hampshire now (when there isn’t as much competition) as opposed to later in the year (when all of the campaigns will be up with ads). And three, it gives her the opportunity to improve her overall favorable numbers, which have taken a hit in recent polls. Where does her current fav/unfav stand with all Americans? Tune in at 6:30 pm ET for the latest numbers from our national NBC/WSJ poll. It’s not fair to say these new ads are a panic move by the Clinton campaign. But they are an audible to what’s been an erosion in her numbers.
The Biden story isn’t going away until he announces one way or the other
These new ads also come after 48 hours when discussion about Vice President Joe Biden -- will he run or won’t he? -- has reached a fever pitch. The Clinton campaign is adamant that these ads aren’t a response to the Biden news. But then again, the Biden story has additional legs due to Clinton’s softer polling numbers. And this story isn’t going away until Biden announces one way or the other. As NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on NBC’s “Today,” Biden will make up his mind by the end of the summer (so by September). But if you wanted the true tell of his intentions, look no further than the fact that if he went to Iowa or New Hampshire today for political travel, he’d have no money to pay for it. The reality: Biden hasn’t hired a single 2016-related staffer and has no ‘16 fundraising apparatus (an exploratory committee, Super PAC, 527) to pay for political activity. And that Draft Biden Super PAC doesn’t really count…
Who’s in and who’s out of that first GOP debate -- as of now
Yesterday, we released new numbers on the state of the Republican presidential horserace days before the first GOP debate. The leaders among national Republican primary voters: Trump 19%, Walker 15%, Bush 14%, Carson 10%, Cruz 9%, Huckabee 6%, and Paul 6%. And with these new numbers, here are estimates of the candidates who will make that first debate (based on being in the Top 10), according to the last five national polls:
- Trump: 19.8%
- Walker: 13.2%
- Bush: 13.0%
- Paul: 6.4%
- Carson: 6.4%
- Rubio: 6.2%
- Huckabee: 5.8%
- Cruz: 5.8%
- Christie: 3.2%
- Kasich: 3.2%
- Perry: 2.6%
- Santorum: 1.4%
- Jindal: 1.4%
- Fiorina: 0.6%
- Pataki: 0.6%
- Graham: 0.4%
- Gilmore: 0.0%
NBC/WSJ/Telemundo Poll: 75% of Latinos have a negative view of Trump
Remember all of the talk from Donald Trump how he’ll win the Latino vote? Think again. Three in four Latinos say they have a negative view of Donald Trump, and more than half believe that his comments about Mexican immigrants were racist and inappropriate, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/ Telemundo oversample of Latinos. This poll of 250 Latinos found that 75% view the real estate mogul and GOP presidential candidate unfavorably, with 61% saying that their view of him is “very negative.” Just 13% of respondents said they have a positive view of Trump. More: During his announcement speech in June, Trump said that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems… They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Asked to assess that comment, 55% of Latinos said that the remarks were “insulting and racist and have no place in a campaign for president.” Another 29% said that “Trump should have been more careful with the language he used, but he is raising an important issue.” Just 14% said that “Trump had the guts to say exactly what was on his mind about an important problem we need to deal with.” Finally, 69% of Latinos surveyed said that they believe Trump is hurting the Republican Party’s image, while just 12% said he is helping it. What are the views on Trump among everyone else? Tune in at 6:30 pm ET.
Trump: “I’m not looking to take anybody out or be nasty to anybody”
As for Trump and Thursday’s GOP debate, we noticed a change in tone from him on “Meet the Press” yesterday. “I think that, frankly, I'd like to discuss the issues. I'm not looking to take anybody out or be nasty to anybody,” he said. “And as you know … when I made, you know, harsh statements about various people, that was always in response to their criticism of me.” More Trump: “I'm not a debater. I've never debated before. I've never been on a stage debating. I guess my whole life has been a debate in one way. But I've never been on a formal stage debating. So I really don't know. I understand you have nine other people that are going to be shooting at me. And that may be true. Maybe not.”
But Trump doesn’t hold back on rivals who attended the Koch Brothers summit
“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” he tweeted. Ouch. For all of his flaws, Trump isn’t wrong that something is amiss when the 2016 presidential candidates are begging in front of billionaire donors. If these candidates are elected, what are these billionaires getting in return?
Obama to unveil final climate/energy plan
Finally today, at 2:15 pm ET, President Obama will announce his administration’s big “Clean Power” energy plan. Per NBC’s Kristen Welker, the final EPA rule is more ambitious than the proposed rule by reducing power-sector carbon pollution 32% from 2005 levels in 2030, a 9% increase over the proposal. The final rule will also drive a more aggressive transition to zero-carbon renewable energy sources than the proposed rule. Our take: It’s already received lots of backlash from Republicans (not surprisingly) and will be challenged in court. But climate change is definitely a wedge issue for younger voters. By the way, don’t miss Perry Bacon Jr.’s piece on how Obama’s domestic-policy agenda is flourishing in blue states. “With almost no input from Republicans, President Barack Obama has advanced much of his domestic policy agenda in ‘Blue America,’ getting liberal-leaning cities and states to take up ideas that can’t be adopted nationally because of opposition on Capitol Hill.”
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