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Governor Steve Bullock on Being Excluded From the Democrats’ First Debate

Governor Steve Bullock on Being Excluded From the Democrats’ First Debate

Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP

Steve Bullock would love for everyone to know that he’s been elected statewide three times as a Democrat in Montana, a state Donald Trump won by 20 points. But getting that message out is going to be a bit more difficult than Bullock planned, since he won’t be on the first Democratic presidential primary debate stage in Miami later this month, barely falling short of the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold. Bullock, who only got into the race in May after his legislative session ended and he reauthorized Montana’s Medicaid expansion, didn’t make the cut after the party decided not to count an early Washington Post/ABC poll in its qualifying criteria. Then, on the last day he might have snuck in, he came one respondent short in a Nevada poll. He’s not happy about it.

Your campaign manager sent a letter to the DNC this week making the case that you should be allowed into the debates. Did any part of you, over the last few days, think you’d be able to convince them to let you in?

Yeah, I mean, we certainly wanted to be able to continue to make our case to the DNC, and by the rules they made, out of qualifying polls, it sure looks like I should be in. But putting aside those early polls and party rules, the bigger point I’ve wanted to make is certainly, you know, I tried to make the decision to wait until Medicaid expansion was done, and I might not register as much in some of these other polls, but it was important to do. And I don’t regret waiting one bit.

Would you have tried to figure out a way to move up the timing of the expansion reauthorization or launched your campaign during the legislative session if you knew there was a chance this would happen?

Well, those negotiations were almost down to the end. I walked into that legislative session with tobacco companies killing reauthorization with $26 million, so I walked in with a legislature saying, “Oh, voters have already decided that a hundred thousand Montanans don’t need health care.” So that was Day One. And a $400 million infrastructure bill. We hadn’t been able to pass infrastructure, a bill like that, in over a decade. That came together at the end. You know, I had to job to do. I can’t look backwards, but doing that job — giving people health care, giving people working infrastructure — had to be paramount. I certainly understood that getting in late I wouldn’t be on TV as much, I wouldn’t be talking to guys like you. It might hurt my standing in later polls, but I’ve always tried in the time I’ve been in public office to put people over politics every single time, and I think that’s one of the reasons that I’ve won three statewide elections in Montana, and it’s how I’m going to run this race for president. And I think that’s what people are looking for in a president right now.

So what do you make of the argument from the DNC that they’ve been clear about the criteria from the start, that this shouldn’t have been a surprise?

Well, I don’t want to quibble on polls, but yeah, the one to be excluded was a Washington Post/ABC poll, and it was an open-ended poll, which is arguably harder to qualify. And they said, “This couldn’t be legitimate because some Democratic voters voted for Donald Trump.” Well I think we should probably be asking ourselves, “Why are some Democratic-identified voters voting for Donald Trump? How’re we going to win back places that we’ve lost?” Not checking off Washington Post/ABC polls.

Have you talked to DNC chairman Tom Perez, or tried to sway him?

I spoke with Perez back in March about the criteria and where I stand in these polls.

So what now? You won’t be in Miami, so what do the next few weeks look like for you?

There are still 230-some days before any voter expresses a preference. You can expect me to actually be talking to voters during those debates. Probably in the early states.

Are you going to make a concerted push to qualify for the third debate, in September, which is the next one you can make?

I’ll continue focusing — we have been, certainly — on spreading out the message, helping people understand I’m the only Democrat in the country to get elected in a Trump state, certainly in a statewide race. We need to win back some of these places that we’ve lost and get meaningful progressive stuff done.

So you’ve talked a lot about the message Democrats are sending nationally. And there’s been a decent amount of commentary in the last day about the message that gets sent when the one candidate who’s won statewide in a Trump state isn’t on the stage …

I think when you look at that stage, it’s disappointing that it’s missing someone who has had success in a Trump state, who’s had success in getting legislation through. Look, we have to win places both urban and rural. I have a connection with, and an ability in, rural areas. So I get that folks want to hurry up and get to Trump. I think people feel that urgency, but we’re 235 days out and we can’t lose sight of the big picture. We’ve gotta win back some of those places! We’ve gotta be able to govern! And if we exclude those places from the process, we might lose those places forever. We can’t let that happen.

I think elections oughta be decided by voters, not party leaders. And I also think that for all of the noise to this point, you know, in my seven stops in Iowa early this week, it was clear voters are going to want to make the right decision, not necessarily just the fast decision.

Are you concerned about the criteria for the third debate? It’s clear they’re trying to narrow the field.

Yeah. I’ll control everything that I can. It’s always been in the past — even in large fields — there’s a reason why early states are that engaged. And they’ve always been what narrows the field down, not some party rules. But, you know, I’ll control everything I can and keep moving.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Steve Bullock on Being Excluded From Democrats’ First Debate

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s claim that the Harriet Tubman $20 can’t be completed for at least six years seems highly dubious

In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.

That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.

A spokeswoman for the bureau, Lydia Washington, confirmed that preliminary designs of the new note were created as part of research that was done after Jacob J. Lew, President Barack Obama’s final Treasury secretary, proposed the idea of a Tubman bill.

The development of the note did not stop there. A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.

Team Trump has lost confidence in its “all chaos, no copyeditors” strategy

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The document, “Branding Guidelines for the Trump Presidential Campaign,” covers design minutiae such as font size, spacing and authorized colors—“Trump Red” and “Trump Blue” for logos, and “Trump Gold” for special occasions. It specifies which images of Mr. Trump to use to convey compassion, which to show strength and, in the case of a photo of the president pointing into the camera, when to let donors know they need to boost contributions.

Four years ago, Mr. Trump launched a first presidential bid that flouted presidential electioneering norms. His re-election campaign is looking a lot more conventional. It revolves around corporate tactics such as branding and merchandising, a direct-marketing push that relies on collecting supporters’ cellphone numbers and a data-mining operation involving a yet-to-be-released smartphone app.

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People are fired up about the Democratic debate lineup

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@mattyglesias

Vox’s Matthew Yglesias

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This seems good for Elizabeth Warren, who is alone among marquee contenders on one of the debate nights

NEWS – the Democratic debate groups

PURPLE: bernie, harris, biden, buttigieg, bennet, williamson, swalwell gillibrand, yang, hickenlooper

ORANGE: booker, warren, beto, klobuchar, delaney, tulsi, castro, ryan, de blasio, Inslee

NBC will now decide which night goes first

@reidepstein

just asking questions

just asking questions

Governor Steve Bullock on Being Excluded From the Democrats’ First Debate

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“When you look at that stage, it’s disappointing that it’s missing someone who has had success in a Trump state.”


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Not a great sign for GOP House prospects going into 2020

WELP.

Rep Susan Brooks, who was charged with recruiting more GOP women / PoC to run for the House in 2020, is not seeking reelection. And she didn’t tell party leadership ahead of time.

“I have no idea what they’re going to do,” she told the Indy Star. https://t.co/OXbDPiB6VK https://t.co/28dQTcL0G4

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Yeah, like that was on the table

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Fact check: false

“Some people think I’m aggressive,” @NYGovCuomo just said on the radio. “I think I’m a laid back, cool dude in a loose mood.”

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One of those times where it would be nice if the U.S. government had any credibility right now

One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship’s Japanese operator said on Friday, disputing at least part of the account of United States officials who had blamed Iran for the attack.

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, the president of the operator, Kokuka Sangyo.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies had concluded that Tehran was behind the disabling of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital conduit for much of the world’s oil. Senior American officials had already blamed Iran for similar attacks last month against four tankers in the same area. Iranian officials denied any involvement in the events, which have escalated tensions in the region.

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@mkraju

Riiight

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Gary Legumreporter, Wonkette: I was thinking this will be something goofy and funny to cover. And in a year, nobody will remember Donald Trump ran for president.

William Turton: I stood outside interviewing folks with signs. … Basically, none of them spoke English. There was this one Italian family, I remember, who had these Trump signs, and I just asked them, “Why do you like Trump?” And they could barely string together a sentence in English.

Michael D’Antonio: If you saw it in a Batman movie where a villain was staging his announcement, it would look a lot like this. It would be staged in the same way. … A movie villain would live in a golden tower in the middle of a metropolis. He would have bodyguards. He would have paid courtiers. He would glide down the golden escalator.

New York lawmakers took action to combat the state’s measles outbreak

New York eliminated the religious exemption to vaccine requirements for schoolchildren Thursday, as the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades prompts states to reconsider giving parents ways to opt out of immunization rules.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly voted Thursday to repeal the exemption, which allows parents to cite religious beliefs to forego getting their child the vaccines required for school enrollment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the measure minutes after the final vote. The law takes effect immediately but will give unvaccinated students up to 30 days after they enter a school to show they’ve had the first dose of each required immunization.

… “I’m old enough to have been around when polio was a real threat,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan. “I believe in science…. Your personal opinions, which may be based on junk science, do not trump the greater good.”

Boris Johnson is leading in the race to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May

One of seven contenders to replace Prime Minister Theresa May quit the Conservative Party leadership race on Friday, as front-runner Boris Johnson was accused of trying to dodge media scrutiny.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said after the first round of voting, it was clear he did not have the backing to win. He came fifth in a vote Thursday among 313 Conservative lawmakers with 20 votes.

Johnson, a former foreign secretary, won Thursday’s first round of voting by Conservative lawmakers, gaining 114 votes, more than the next three candidates combined.

… In addition to Johnson and Hunt, those still in the race include Environment Secretary Michael Gove, ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart.

Despite her criticism of Joe Biden, Anita Hill has not ruled out voting for him

When asked by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell whether she would consider voting for Biden if he becomes the Democratic nominee, Hill replied: “Of course I could.”

Hill also said in the excerpt released Thursday that none of her comments intended to put Biden and President Donald Trump on the same moral plane. She added that she doubted her rhetoric had affected Biden’s popularity.

“I’m not sure that anything I said has hurt Joe Biden’s campaign,” Hill said. “He is still leading in the polls against Donald Trump, and all the other candidates on the Democratic ticket.”

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Congressman Duncan Hunter’s Wife Flips, Pleads Guilty to Misusing Campaign Funds

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Margaret Hunter admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. As part of her deal, she must help in the investigation into her husband.


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Highlights From Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s Career of Deflection

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Trump announced that Sanders will leave at the end of June. Here’s a look back at some of the White House press secretary’s more brazen moments.

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