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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on the state of the race

This story has been updated with a new Associated Press report

Robby Mook, national campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's White House bid, was bullish on the 2016 campaign during a Star Tribune interview, despite the former Secretary of State's inauspicious start, and the potential candidacy of Vice President Joe Biden. 

Mook was in Minnesota last week rounding up delegates at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, where Clinton and her main rivals, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, spoke at a Minneapolis hotel

"We feel really good about the fundamentals of the campaign," he said, citing record-setting fundraising totals, leads over Republican candidates in national polls, and the beginnings of a ground game that has traditionally been Mook's specialty. 

The Clintons got to know Mook while he was Nevada state director during the 2008 campaign, his relentless organizational drive giving Clinton a rare caucus victory during a campaign in which then-Sen. Barack Obama is thought to have out-organized Clinton, especially in caucus states like Minnesota, where Obama won by a two-to-one margin. 

Democrats around the country have become audibly nervous about the campaign, as the former New York Senator has spent much of the spring and summer answering questions about the private email server Clinton used as secretary of state. The situation is currently being reviewed by several government agencies, including the Justice Department.

Critics contend by using a private email address and server, Clinton avoided the closer scrutiny that comes from a government email address and the Freedom of Information Act that applies to it. Her opponents have also questioned whether using the private email server was a secure way to communicate. 

"The important thing to understand is that (Clinton) in Iowa said she wished she had made another decision, said she should have made another decision," Mook said. "She takes responsibility for that, and she’s fully committed to transparency. That’s why she’s turned over all her emails." 

Although Clinton directed staff to give the email server and a backup thumb drive to the Justice Department to review 30,000 emails, another 30,000 were deleted, deemed by Clinton not work-related. 

The Associated Press reported Monday that government secrecy and legal analysts say criminal prosecution is unlikely given the known facts, though Republicans will likely continue to use the issue until Election Day. 

Mook said it was not on voters' minds. 

"When we’re out there talking to voters, they’re not bringing up email servers. They’re talking about child care, how to send their kids to college, how to make their wages grow," he said. 

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed flagging numbers for Clinton, including 51 percent who have an unfavorable impression of her, and 61 percent who say she is not honest or trustworthy. 

Mook said he never doubted this would be a tough election and implored Democrats to get involved. 

"We’ve got to mobilize and bring as many people into this campaign as possible. Everybody has to get on board and help," he said. 


Morning Hot Dish

Scott Walker's fading campaign and Canadian wall

Good morning. Final day of August. Expect a slow-ish news week with the traditional Labor Day holiday coming up, marking the final weekend of summer. Many pols at the State Fair this week, however.

Lessard-Sams meets Tuesday and Wednesday to hear Legacy funding requests.

Nice piece by Adam Belz looking at entrepreneurial Somali women at Karmel Square and other venues. The mall is the scene of a rich paradox in Somali culture. The women who run the shops cover their heads, and many of them believe it is a man’s responsibility to pay bills for the family. Yet they are aggressive businesspeople, cherish financial independence and preside over a microeconomy at the core of the Twin Cities’ Somali community.

Scheck was up in Mille Lacs, where it’s gotten bleak with walleye season over and fears of no ice fishing season either.

The conservative Weekly Standard on Gov. Scott Walker’s fading campaign. On Monday, August 17, Walker said in a Fox News interview that his position on immigration is “very similar” to Donald Trump’s. When asked by an MSNBC reporter later that day if he thinks birthright citizenship should be ended for the children of illegal immigrants, Walker replied, “yeah, absolutely, going forward.” But by Friday, after a week of negative headlines and criticism from some donors, Walker declared of birthright citizenship on CNBC, “I’m not taking a position on it one way or the other.” Two days later, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Walker if he supported the Fourteenth Amendment’s provision that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States .  .  . are citizens of the United States.” Walker replied: “Well, I said the law is there, we need to enforce the laws, including those that are in the Constitution.” The satirical newspaper the Onion published a story the next day with the headline: “Out-of-Control Scott Walker Injured After Wildly Careening Between Stances on Immigration.”

And Dan Balz with an early Walker obit.

Now Walker’s talking about a wall along the Canadian border. (John Candy’s final movie, “Canadian Bacon,” was about an American president helping his flagging approval ratings by starting a cold war with Canada.)

Denali will again be Denali. (Fyi….McKinley never actually went to Alaska.)

Trump may not have Fox  in his corner, but he’s winning another important primary: Talk radio.

Interesting history: Mexican immigrants were forced out of the country in the 1930s over fears they were taking jobs during the Depression. The result: Around 500,000 to 1 million Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans were pushed out of the country during the 1930s repatriation, as the removal is sometimes called. During that time, immigrants were rounded up and sent to Mexico, sometimes in public places and often without formal proceedings. Others, scared under the threat of violence, left voluntarily.

So it’s not like it hasn’t been tried before.

With his term winding down, Obama gets very active on labor issues.

We’re losing to the Russians in the race to control the Arctic. This is a BFD. And some great enterprising journalism.

Have a good week everyone.

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