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Hoosiers sound off on Mueller report—Buttigieg storms S.C.—USW Local 1999 for Hogsett
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Days until Indiana General Assembly Sine Die: 34
Days until the Indy 500: 62
Days until the 2019 election: 225
Days until the 2020 election: 589
HOOSIERS SOUND OFF ON THE MUELLER REPORT: At press time, Vice President Mike Pence, Reps. Jim Banks, Larry Bucshon, Andre Carson, Jackie Walorski and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were all among the Hoosier elected officials to react to yesterday’s big Mueller report news:
“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump Campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” according to the four-page letter by Attorney General Bill Barr the Department of Justice sent to the Judiciary Committee leaders. Barr added: “The evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
“Today is a great day for America, President Trump and our entire administration. After two years of investigation, and reckless accusations by many Democrats and members of the media, the Special Counsel has confirmed what President Trump said along; there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. The Attorney General also confirmed that there was no obstruction of justice. This total vindication of the President of the United States and our campaign should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections. In the days ahead, the American people can be confident that the President and our entire administration will continue to focus where we always have, on the issues most important to our country. We can only hope that Democrats, who have spent so much time on these discredited allegations, will join us to advance an agenda that will make our nation even more prosperous and more secure for every American.”
“Mueller’s report proved what the President has said all along, but every American should be more outraged than ever before by the findings in the Mueller report that show without a shadow of a doubt Russia sought to meddle and disrupt our election process. President Trump has been exonerated from the witch hunt over collusion, but now I hope he will swiftly turn his sights to show leadership in holding Russia accountable for attacking our American institutions. Congress as well should shift away from bogus investigations and instead turn toward passing tough measures to address Russia’s activities and taking action to make the lives of every Hoosier and American better.”
“After two years, two congressional investigations, and millions of taxpayer dollars spent searching for collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation – which had unfettered ability to investigate any potential link between Russia and the Trump campaign – has made it clear, without a doubt, no collusion with Russians by President Trump or by any other Americans.”
“Attorney General Barr's summary of the Special Counsel's report is just that--a summary. It is his assessment of the information provided, made in just tow days an unchecked by any outside source. And as it stands now, this summary is far from a full exoneration of the President of his inner circle. This is why it is so critical that the full report and all underlying documentation be immediately delivered to Congress and the American people.”
“This exhaustive, two-year investigation of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election has concluded there was no collusion by President Trump or his campaign. Now it is time to move on from divisive conspiracy theories and partisan rhetoric. Congress should be entirely focused on our work for the American people: growing our economy, helping workers and families thrive, caring for our veterans, and keeping our nation safe.”
“I also think that our party ought to be focusing on the conditions that made this presidency possible in the first place. I think a figure like this should not come within cheating distance of the Oval Office. And so, if we're pinning all of our hopes on these procedural matters, and not paying attention to the reasons why a lot of people went and voted for somebody they disliked, then we're kind of missing the point. It may well be the case the only appropriate response is impeachment, but to me the most decisive way to put and end to Trumpism is for it to be defeated massively at the ballot box.”
Good Monday morning, and welcome to Importantville. The Indiana House and Senate are in session at 1:30 p.m. today. The federal delegation will be back on the Hill in D.C. Tuesday.
WHERE’S VEEP? He delivers remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, then huddles with president Donald Trump and meets with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
FIRST IN IMPORTANTVILLE: USW Local 1999 is endorsing Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett this week. (It would be bigger news if they didn’t endorse.) The union rose to prominence when many of their workers were caught up in the Carrier dispute in 2016.
“Mayor Joe Hogsett is a true friend of organized labor and USW Local 1999 looks forward to our continued partnership,” President Robert James will announce later today. “Local 1999 proudly endorses Mayor Joe Hogsett for re-election.”
ECONOMIC MOOD MUSIC—IBJ: Indiana's unemployment rate holds firm as labor force ticks up
Indiana’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 percent in February as the state’s labor force continued to grow. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development released its latest unemployment report Friday. Indiana’s labor force—which is composed of both employed and unemployed-but-willing-to-work residents—increased by 7,997 workers from January to February, to 3.4 million.
FOR YOUR RADAR
Tom Lobianco’s “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House” has been pushed back for publication until Sept. 24. It was expected to come out this summer.
THE BUTTIGIEG BEAT: SOUTH CAROLINA EDITION
“Pete Buttigieg is having a moment,” by CNN’s Dan Merica: “Pete Buttigieg can tell that things have changed. Buoyed by positive reviews for the South Bend mayor's performance at an hour-long CNN town hall earlier this month and a steady stream of well received appearances on TV, Buttigieg's 2020 presidential exploratory committee has felt a sustained surge of momentum over the past two weeks. The once little-known mayor is getting recognized across the country, while his committee has mapped out plans to double in size in the coming weeks as a steady stream of new donations flood to the 37-year-old Democrat.
It's been an eye-opening experience for Buttigieg, a mild-mannered candidate who seems allergic to bragging.
“It's heady,” Buttigieg said in an interview with CNN. "And it has happened very quickly.”
COMING ATTRACTIONS: Buttigieg’s candidacy will get a reality check as he reports his fundraising numbers for the first quarterly disclosure this week.
—How does the underdog stack up with other campaigns? When will Buttigieg move his exploratory campaign to an official launch? Will he do it in South Bend?
HOW HE PLAYED IN S.C.— “Pete Buttigieg tells SC voters 2020 presidential race is about justice,” by Andy Shain in the Post & Courier.
“Gillian Lugbill’s visit to South Carolina’s capital city for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament took a detour into 2020 presidential politics Saturday when she heard Pete Buttigieg was appearing at a downtown banquet hall….Lugbill said she was impressed by the South Bend, Indiana mayor’s intelligence and thoughtfulness after watching him on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday….“He seems that rather than just saying something, he’ll find a path to get there,” said Lugbill, a University of Virginia fan from Richmond who was among the more than 200 people crammed to see Buttigieg.”
— Buttigieg took questions —and offered answers—in Norwegian.
SOUTH BEND CLAPS BACK AT NATIONAL COVERAGE— “Our Opinion: South Bend as a 'dying' and 'most violent' city? Let's set the record straight,” South Bend Tribune. And so in 2011, someone at Newsweek decided to put out a list of “America’s Dying Cities.” The list has found new life as Mayor Pete Buttigieg makes a run for the White House. The criteria for “dying cities” was population decline between 2000 and 2009. And ... that’s it. One data point. South Bend’s population drop in that time period, according to the article, was 3.9 percent. Not good. But bad enough to start funeral arrangements? Read more.
Shot: A new Emerson poll of Iowa has Pete Buttigieg surging in third place—and at double digits—11 percent, ahead of Kamala Harris (10 percent), and behind Bernie Sanders (24 percent) and Biden (25 percent).
Chaser: The poll has a margin of error of 6.2 percent, and the sample size was 249 people.
Said Spencer Kimball, director of the poll: “The biggest surprise in this poll is Mayor Pete. Last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking, ‘Who is ‘Mayor Pete’?”
IMPORTANTVILLE TAKE: Directionally, the poll is interesting, as the same one had Buttigieg at 0 percent in January. The South Bend mayor is enjoying the kind of gauzy national press a Hoosier politico hasn’t seen since Gov. Mitch Daniels, circa 2011. Neither Daniels nor another Hoosier mayor, former Sen. Richard Lugar, ever notched double digits in an Iowa poll. Will it last? Will it be enough to make him less of an underdog? The Iowa Caucuses are a long, long away.
Ali Vitali and Jon Allen, NBC: Why some Democrats say: Don't sleep on 'Mayor Pete' Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg just might be the anti-Trump.
Unlike President Donald Trump, the South Bend, Ind., mayor, who is still technically in the "exploratory" phase of a 2020 presidential campaign, is young, progressive and gay.
While Trump obtained deferments to avoid Vietnam, Buttigieg signed up for military service when his generation went to war in Afghanistan. He comes from a small Midwestern city rather than the Big Apple. And perhaps most important to primary voters and some Republicans, his politics are informed by a deep grasp of history, philosophy and ethics that are at odds with Trump's rejection of expertise.
“It's so diametrically opposed to everything Trump,” said Molly Jong-Fast, a New York author and socialite who has hosted a dinner for Buttigieg late last year and is planning a fundraiser for him this spring. "Even if Pete is not the candidate, he is the future of the Democratic Party."
Sara Burnett and Hunter Woodall, AP: Campaign roundup: “Indiana mayor talks marriage, millennials”
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg told voters Saturday that his marriage to his husband exists “by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor visited South Carolina for the first time since announcing his presidential exploratory committee. The 37-year-old would be the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party.
Buttigieg referenced the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that granted, in a 5-4 decision, same-sex couples a right to marry. He married his husband, Chasten Glezman, last year.
Mike Ellis, The Greenville News: “Are the South and the U.S. ready for a gay president? Pete Buttigieg visits as he explores”
Asked about when he would formally announce as a candidate, Buttigieg talked about his exploratory committee.
“When we first set up the committee, we wanted to test certain things: do we have the resonance we should; are we getting the fundraising, volunteers; does the message hit home in different parts of the country. Now I've seen so many indicators in the same direction. It's really a question of how to mount a good launch. It's something you can only do once, but we won't do it until we're ready. I think it won't be much longer."
Here are a few takeaways from his visit to the Upstate:
Buttigieg, an openly gay man who is married, told The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail that his Episcopalian faith has grown stronger through marriage because his marriage has made him a better person. "My marriage and my faith go well together," he said. "We live in a country that is committed to the idea that people of any faith or no faith all have an equal claim on the blessings of life in our country." He said more people are accepting LGBTQ equality today, including in South Carolina.
“Love, as we are taught in the Gospel, has to do with understanding what matters more than you," he said. "When you come to care about somebody more than you care about your own life, I believe that's the very stuff of God, and that's been an important part of our relationship, our marriage and how that's touched my faith.”
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