Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hillary trails in polls over 'emailgate'

Hillary Clinton poses for a photograph with an audience member at a campaign town hall meeting in Claremont, New Hampshire
Hillary Clinton poses for a photograph with an audience member at a campaign town hall meeting in Claremont, New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders

David Lawler

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign continues to sputter as a new poll shows her trailing rival Bernie Sanders in the key early voting state of New Hampshire.

Mr Sanders, a Vermont senator and self-described socialist, received 44pc to Mrs Clinton's 37pc in the Franklin Pierce University/ Boston Herald poll.

As Mr Sanders has surged in recent weeks, the enthusiasm gap between the campaigns of the two leading Democrats has been remarkable.

While Mr Sanders has addressed boisterous crowds numbering in the tens of thousands, Mrs Clinton has been on the defensive, responding to repeated attacks from Republicans and downplaying allegations surrounding her emails.

The email controversy deepened this week when Mrs Clinton announced that she would turn the private email server she used as secretary of state over to the US department of justice.

The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments may have been able to access Mr Clinton's emails. At least two emails on the server, which was based in Mrs Clinton's house and not secured by the US government, contained top secret information.

The inspector general for the intelligence community said yesterday that there were "potentially hundreds of classified emails" on the server.

Republicans, including Wisconsin governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker, were quick to question Mrs Clinton's trustworthiness following the latest revelations.

"This is a serious and potentially criminal offence that proves Hillary Clinton put her own personal convenience ahead of the safety and security of the American people. She cannot be trusted to keep America's secrets or its citizens safe, and therefore cannot be trusted to be commander in chief," Mr Walker said in a statement.

Also yesterday, Jeb Bush, the Republican front-runner, attacked Mrs Clinton's record as secretary of state in a major foreign policy speech.

"Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the President and Secretary Clinton - the storied 'team of rivals' - took office? So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers," Mr Bush said.

The barrage of attacks has forced Mrs Clinton to fight on multiple fronts while Mr Sanders has advanced unimpeded on her left flank.

A poll in March showed Mrs Clinton beating Mr Sanders in New Hampshire 44pc to 8pc. A few months later, it is Mr Sanders in the lead.

Despite his surge, just 11pc of respondents in the poll said they believed Mr Sanders would win the Democratic nomination, compared to 65pc for Mrs Clinton.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says Democrats supporting Mr Sanders are "voting their hearts" and attempting to send a message.

"Donald Trump and Sanders have something in common," he says. "They stir the passions of partisans, but neither one is a likely nominee. People get more serious about their vote as Election Day approaches. Sober, and more boring, choices usually win out.

"The Donald" was making headlines again yesterday on the subject of sealing the southern border of the United States, and getting Mexico to pay for the wall.

"So easy," the Republican presidential frontrunner told Fox News, when Sean Hannity asked him how he'd make the country cough up the cash.

"We give them tens of billions of dollars a year," he said, after mocking naysayers. "They are ripping us left and right. Their leaders are so much smarter than our leaders, Sean. They are ripping us left and right. The wall is peanuts."

A quick fact check showed the US doesn't give Mexico tens of billions a year, and the cost of the wall is somewhat north of peanuts.

US foreign aid to Mexico has averaged $233 million per year during the past five years, according to government records. Much of that goes to support clean energy, law enforcement and, yes, border security.

Meanwhile, the cost of completing a wall along the 2,000- mile border would be in the billions. The US spent $2.4 billion for 670 miles of fencing between 2006 and 2009, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

On Fox, Trump estimated that completing a wall along the southern border would require enclosing about 1,000 miles along the border. Using the previous costs as a benchmark, and without adjusting for inflation, that would put the total price tag for completion at $3.58 billion.


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