Mike Pence may already be changing Hillary Clinton's veep strategy

CLEVELAND -- Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, holds the anchor spot in tonight’s Republican National Convention, a chance at erasing that rather awkward introduction he won from Donald Trump over the weekend.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia have emerged as the leading candidates on a longer list of finalists Hillary Clinton is considering for her vice-presidential running mate, according to interviews with multiple Democrats with knowledge of her deliberations.

There is, of course, this – courtesy of The Hill:

The White House confirmed on Tuesday that Castro, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, won't face any punishment after he apologized for breaching the Hatch Act during an April interview with Yahoo News's Katie Couric.

“I think, to his credit, Secretary Castro acknowledged the mistake that he made," said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.


Below may be the cruelest number in today’s morning reports. Also from The Hill:

Jeb Bush's three delegates at the Republican National Convention cost him and his campaign about $50 million each.


The theme of last night’s gathering of Republicans in Cleveland was “Make America Work Again” –though you heard very few speakers address the economy. Benghazi and email servers were the more common topics. And then there was Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, to whom it was left to declare Democratic presumptive Hillary Clinton to be complicit in her husband’s extracurricular sex life. From Politico.com:

"And as first lady, you viciously attacked the character of women who were sexually abused at the hands of your husband," Day said. "Now, don't get me wrong, I want to see a woman be president one day. I want my granddaughters to see a woman as president one day. But I stand before you, not that woman, not Hillary Clinton."

But the Over-The-Top Award must be placed in the hands of Ben Carson, the brain surgeon and former presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton wrote a college thesis on Saul Alinsky, he said. Alinsky once quipped that Lucifer was the first radical protestor. And there you have a direct connection between the former secretary of state and the Devil. Carson doubled down on CNN:


The New York Times, it appears, has made the most progress in chasing down the Melania Trump plagiarism story:

The Trump campaign turned to two high-powered speechwriters, who had helped write signature political oratory like George W. Bush’s speech to the nation on Sept. 11, 2001, to introduce Ms. Trump, a Slovenian-born former model, to the nation on the opening night of the Republican National Convention….

The speechwriters, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, sent Ms. Trump a draft last month, eager for her approval….

Inside Trump Tower, it turned out, Ms. Trump had decided she was uncomfortable with the text, and began tearing it apart, leaving a small fraction of the original.


Leave it to Cosmopolitan, the magazine known for fashion and models and stuff, to feature one of the harshest criticisms of Melania Trump for those paragraphs lifted from Michelle’s 2008 address to the Democratic National Convention. The author, Brittney Cooper, is African-American:

Not only did Melania Trump claim that she wrote the speech, "with as little help as possible," but the Donald Trump campaign has doubled down in support of her, suggesting that the lines she borrowed included "common words and phrases," and therefore represent nothing particularly unique or remarkable about Obama's own words. I guess this is what Melania Trump, and generations of white women, mean by "help." It seems to mean that they rely upon black women's labor to help them look good, sound good, and gain influence, while treating that labor as wholly expendable.


Jarrett Hill, the journalist who first identified similarities between Melania Trump's convention speech last night and Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC address has Atlanta ties, our colleague Rodney Ho reports:

According to his Linkedin page, the northern California native is a Kennesaw State University graduate who worked as a production assistant and camera operator at the local NBC affiliate 11 Alive (WXIA-TV) from 2006 to 2010. He interned at PR firm Fletcher Martin and CNN and produced a Sirius/XM radio show before moving to Los Angeles in 2010. He was also a strategic marketer for AIDS Walk Atlanta for several years.

Read the whole story here. 


Don't let the speechifying at the Republican National Convention fool you. Beneath the surface the race for 2020 is on.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are stopping by the delegations from all three of the early-voting states - Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is stumping as well, and has already planned a visit to Georgia after the convention is over to boost a Congressional candidate's campaign. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich seems to be everywhere but the Quicken Loans Arena.

The New York Times has more:

For now, much of the positioning is going on relatively quietly. Yet potential candidates are already making moves to help pave their paths. Most obvious is Mr. Cruz, who has landed a prime speaking spot at the convention despite several nasty scrapes this year with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cruz has created two nonprofits to serve his political ambitions and maintain his donor database. He has also installed a veteran political operative who worked on his campaign as his new chief of staff, a move the senator’s associates said was done to make the office less a miniature think tank and more a presidential incubator. And his political allies, including Senator Mike Lee of Utah, staged an insurrection on the convention floor on Monday as part of a failed attempt to change party rules that would have been more advantageous for Mr. Cruz’s future political ambitions (one of the changes: mandating that only registered Republicans can participate in presidential caucuses and primaries).

The quiet campaigning only reinforces the fears of Trump supporters that the Republican establishment is rooting for his defeat and hoping to press the reset button in 2020. Ben Carson put those fears to words on Tuesday, telling Trump skeptics that his defeat will result in far more than another Clinton in the White House.

“They’re not using their God-given brain to think about what they’re saying," said Carson. "It won’t just be eight years. She’ll be appointing people who will affect us for generations. And America may never recover.”


U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is building a formidable war chest for the general election.

The Republican said this week he had raised about $900,000 in the second quarter of the year and has roughly $5.7 million in cash on hand.

Democrat Jim Barksdale, who pumped more than $1 million of his own fortune into the campaign, has yet to disclose his fundraising for the quarter. Libertarian Allen Buckley is also in the race.


U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, joined the Georgia delegation in Cleveland on Tuesday.


U.S. Sen. David Perdue had a brief, non-speaking role on the state of the Republican National Convention last night. But his jean jacket shouted hello from the convention floor. See for yourself:


Gallup tells us that what's selling in the Quicken Loans Arena here in Cleveland may not work on the outside:

Two-thirds of Americans oppose immigration plans advocated by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump -- building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. In contrast, 84% favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S., a plan backed by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Notably, significantly more Republicans favor a path to citizenship than support building a border wall or deporting illegal immigrants.


Here's the partial line-up for tonight's session, courtesy of the RNC:

-- Remarks by Florida Governor Rick Scott;

-- Remarks by Laura Ingraham, radio host;

--Remarks by Phil Ruffin, businessman;

--Remarks by Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida;

--Remarks by Eileen Collins, astronaut;

--Remarks by Ralph Alvarado, Kentucky State Senator

--Remarks by Darrell Scott, pastor;

-- Remarks by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker;

--Remarks by Lynne Patton, Vice President, The Eric Trump Foundation;

--Remarks by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX);

--Remarks by Eric Trump, EVP of Development and Acquisitions, The Trump Organization;

--Remarks by Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Callista Gingrich, president of Gingrich Productions

--Remarks by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Vice Presidential Nominee.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers public policy.