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MORE DEBATE FALLOUT: Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a combat veteran and DNC Vice Chair, criticized Hillary Clinton's comment that we're "finally where we need to be" in the fight against ISIS. The Daily Caller reports: Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's ISIS strategy explaining, "We've got a strategy executed frankly, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense." … Tapper asked Gabbard to comment on Clinton's statement from the last Democratic debate where Clinton siad, "We are where we need to be in the fight against ISIS." "I would heartily disagree with that," Gabbard insisted. "We've got a strategy executed frankly, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense." The Major in the Hawaii National Guard said, "We are not where we need to be."
The DNC data debacle has left many Democrat tech gurus questioning the security of the party's data infrastructure. MSNBC reports: While the initial crisis has been resolved, there's still more fallout to come from the data breach that rocked the Democratic primary last week. In addition a yet-to-begin investigation and a still-pending lawsuit, the repercussions could cause lasting damage to the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and especially Bernie Sanders … But neither campaign is quite ready to let the issue go … More broadly, the breach has led many Democratic data officials, regardless of which candidate they support, to question the security of the party's current data scheme, which is almost entirely dependent on a single vendor. The breach could undermine trust in the DNC and the vendor for a long time to come.
Hillary Clinton is lowering expectations about her fourth quarter fundraising haul as Sanders builds momentum. POLITICO reports: Hillary Clinton's donors say they think Bernie Sanders will raise more money in the fourth quarter than their candidate for the first time ever – a testament to the underdog's online cash juggernaut and harbinger of donor fatigue among the front-runner's backers … Low-balling your candidate's fundraising totals is a time-honored practice in presidential politics … But the concern appears to be real. Over the past few days, Clinton's advisers have taken steps to stoke donor enthusiasm: Bill and Chelsea Clinton, who on Monday announced she is pregnant with her second child, have stepped up their fundraising for the campaign. They are expected to become even more involved in the campaign beginning in January.
An online push by the Clinton campaign targeting Hispanics backfired. The Hill reports: A post on Hillary Clinton's website meant to showcase how the former secretary of State is like "your abuela" — Spanish for grandmother — is drawing mockery online. In a post called "7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela," the campaign says Clinton is like an ordinary Hispanic grandmother because she "worries about children everywhere," "reads to you before bedtime" and demands "respeto" – Spanish for respect … The post was pilloried by Twitter users, who said Clinton never had to face the hardships of their own Hispanic grandmothers. The hashtags #notmyabuela and #nomiabuela shot to the top of the trending list on Twitter. Screenshots posted on Twitter suggest the Clinton campaign changed the headline on the post, which originally said: "7 ways Hillary Clinton is just like your abuela."
Hillary Clinton raised the possibility of shutting down as many as half of the country's schools. The Washington Free Beacon reports: Hillary Clinton has the support of powerful teachers' unions, but they may not like what she just said at an Iowa school on Tuesday. Speaking at Keota Junior-Senior High School in Keota, Iowa, Clinton said that underperforming schools would be closed under her administration. "This school district and these schools throughout Iowa are doing a better-than-average job," Clinton said. "Now, I wouldn't keep any school open that wasn't doing a better-than-average job. If a school's not doing a good job, then, you know, that may not be good for the kids, but when you have a district that is doing a good job, it seems kind of counterproductive to impose financial burdens on it." By Clinton's logic, about 50 percent of the schools in the United States would be shuttered as a result of this policy.
An ethics watchdog said Hillary Clinton was "in a league of her own" when it comes to unethical behavior. The Washington Examiner reports: An ethics watchdog group argued that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is "in a league of her own" when it comes to ethics violations, and therefore reserved a separate category for her outside of its list of the top seven offenders of 2015. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust cited four examples of ethics violations it said Clinton committed this year alone when explaining its decision to exclude Clinton from its rankings of the "top congressional and campaign ethics violators of 2015," a list the group made public Tuesday. "During her time as secretary of state, overwhelming evidence shows, primarily through the State Department's release of her emails, that she abused her official position," FACT wrote of Clinton. "Since becoming a presidential candidate, she has on numerous occasions violated campaign and ethics laws."
Voters are less confident about the economy heading into 2016. POLITICO reports: Despite relatively steady views on the economy over the past year, Americans are less confident in next year's economy than they were in January 2015, according to a new Pew Research Center poll out Tuesday. Just over one in two Americans (54 percent) expect economic conditions in 2016 to remain the same, 22 percent project they'll get worse and 20 percent foresee an improvement. But those numbers are lower than last January when 31 percent thought things would improve, 17 percent thought there would be a downturn and 51 percent expected things to remain the same.
The Republican-led Congress is tightening the screws on Obama's EPA. The Wall Street Journal editorializes: The EPA received $8.1 billion or $451 million less than Mr. Obama had demanded, and no increase from the year before. Congress has cut the EPA's allowance by $2.1 billion, or 21%, since fiscal 2010. This has forced the EPA to cut more than 2,000 full-time employees over the same period, and its manpower is now at the lowest level since 1989. Mr. Obama sought an additional $72.1 million to turbocharge his extralegal climate rule on power plants … Congress denied every penny. It also denied the nearly $30 million extra that Mr. Obama wanted for the legal department that defends the agency in court … The budget also zeroed out the nearly $44 million increase Mr. Obama sought for his "water quality protection" initiatives … Republicans were able to insert a few modest policy riders in the budget. Congress barred the EPA from attempting to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and it added a requirement that the Administration inform Congress how much it is spending on climate initiatives across the federal bureaucracy … The budget pressure on the EPA and the use of the Congressional Review Act show that GOP control of Congress has made a difference.
IN THE STATES …
In Iowa, Bernie Sanders slammed the DNC's favoritism toward Hillary Clinton and called for an investigation into the embarrassing data breach. The Des Moines Register reports: Sen. Bernie Sanders didn't mince words Monday night, saying Democratic leaders aren't doing themselves any favors airing debates at times when few people are watching. "Is that an accident? No, I don't think it was," Sanders told The Des Moines Register. "I think it was intentionally designed to make sure that I and Gov. (Martin) O'Malley get less exposure." While the Republican debates have garnered more viewers in their weekday prime-time slots, the Democrats have so far scheduled two of their three debates for Saturday evenings. The Nov. 14 debate in Des Moines aired concurrently with an Iowa football game and last weekend's contest in New Hampshire was scheduled for the Saturday before Christmas. Sanders blames the Democratic National Committee for trying to tip the scales in favor of front-runner Hillary Clinton.
In Nevada, Bernie Sanders is going up with a new TV ad. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports: The campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, launched television ads in Nevada on Tuesday. His efforts join others who are ramping up advertising efforts in advance of the February caucuses. The one-minute spot gives Nevada voters an introduction to Sanders, putting his life and policy goals in broad strokes. The ad tells of Sanders' path as the son of a Polish immigrant who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and went on to become mayor of Burlington, Vt., before his election to House of Representatives and then the Senate. It gives snippets of his platform of wanting free public college tuition and fighting for wage equality and rejecting politics as usual.
In Pennsylvania, Harry Reid praised Democrat Senate candidate Katie McGinty for her work on a state budget proposal that "raised taxes on all Pennsylvanians and was rejected by every member of the legislature." The Allentown Morning Call reports: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty is getting a little holiday fundraising help from the Senate's top Democrat. In an email from his leadership PAC, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urged support for McGinty, touting her work on Gov. Tom Wolf's state budget proposal during her six months as his chief of staff … Toomey campaign spokesman Steve Kelly said the state budget that Reid praised "raised taxes on all Pennsylvanians and was rejected by every members of the Legislature."