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At a rally with Hillary Clinton, Democratic firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren proved once more that she knows how to get under Donald Trump’s skin, calling the Republican a “small insecure money-grubber.” Clinton was equally harsh but Trump’s rage was squarely aimed at “goofy” Warren. NPR’s Tamara Keith and Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report join Gwen Ifill to discuss the latest.
But, first: Democrats Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren hit the trail today in Ohio, focusing their energy on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
The candidates are squaring off over trade, Brexit, and which one of them is more qualified.
For that, we turn to Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.
Let's start by the big Cincinnati standoff today — I don't think it was a standoff — between Elizabeth Warren, an apparently very exciting rally, and Hillary Clinton in which we saw the two of them basically take turns taking shots at Donald Trump.
Let's take a listen.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), Massachusetts: What kind of man roots for people to lose their jobs, to lose their homes, to lose their life savings? I will tell you what kind of a man, a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one but himself.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presumptive Presidential Nominee: This is a man who plays coy with white supremacists and mocks people with disabilities, who talks about banning an entire religion from entering our country, who advocates getting rid of gun-free zones in school, letting more countries have nuclear weapons, defaulting on our national debt, turning back the clock on marriage equality.
And just like Elizabeth, I could go on and on.
Go on and on, but she didn't have to, because before they even got on stage at about 6:00 this morning, Donald Trump tweeted this: "Crooked Hillary is wheeling out one of the least productive senators in the U.S. Senate, goofy Elizabeth Warren, who lied on heritage."
Where to begin, Tam? OK.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report:
TAMARA KEITH, NPR:
Well, and then Donald Trump, after the speech was over, called a correspondent for NBC News and doubled down on the Elizabeth Warren lied about her heritage thing and said that, absolutely, he should call her Pocahontas.
This is an issue that dates back to the 2012 Senate race that Elizabeth Warren ultimately won. And one of the issues was, at some point, did she check a box that said she was Native American, and did that help her get preference in hiring?
Well, then the Republican Party held a call to respond to the Clinton-Warren speech. And Scott Brown, Senator Scott Brown, former Senator Scott Brown, who had run against Elizabeth Warren in 2012, was on the call.
He was asked, hey, does it make sense that your candidate is going after a surrogate and not the person he's running against? And Scott Brown's response was, well, maybe Elizabeth Warren could get a DNA test and solve this for everybody. He said that with a little bit of a chuckle, but the point is that, very quickly, they were not talking about Hillary Clinton. They were talking about Elizabeth Warren.
Well, this is my question. It seems that there are many things they could be talking about.
They could be talking about Brexit. They could be talking about trade. Instead, everybody seems to be trying to get under everybody else's skin.
And this is the "I know you are but what am I?" election, which is…
Is that a strategy?
The actual speech today with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, you picked out the parts where they definitely were digging at Donald Trump.
But there was also a broader economic message in there, right? And you could see it in the display they had on the front of the podium that said, we're better together.
It's stronger together.
And just the point about we're going to be bringing…
Yes, we know what this means.
Yes, but we're be bringing people along based on X, Y, Z policies, and Hillary Clinton went through her policy positions. But, of course, that's not particularly interesting. What's much more interesting and buzzy is the debate over this "I know you are but what am I?" piece.
In part because they seem to be successful in getting him to respond.
We saw just a few days ago a huge kind of global upheaval, and we saw the way that Donald Trump responded to it. We saw the kind of careful way Hillary Clinton responded to it. How did Hillary Clinton's response and how did Donald Trump's response fit into a larger strategy that may or may not be working for either of them?
Well, they're playing the part, that's for sure.
Donald Trump was at his golf course in Scotland, grand opening of the golf course that his son had worked on. He was there to promote the golf course. Along one of the holes, he talked about Brexit and said, hey, the pound falling may be bad for people, but it could be good. People might come to my golf course.
That is completely in line with what Donald Trump has said about various things. He is doing what he did in the primary that was wildly successful for him. He's not running ads on television in key swing states. Hillary Clinton is. He thinks he has a strategy that's going to work.
Hillary Clinton and her campaign are now running ads, on cable at least, attacking Donald Trump on his reaction to Brexit. And, you know, she responds with sort of the wonky world leader kind of thing. They're doing themselves.
They're playing to type.
Well, and they're also playing to what the major theme in this campaign is, right, and what it was in Britain, which is, do you want to stay the course, stick with the status quo, even though it has not brought the success that you hoped it would, or do you make a change, even though it's a very unpredictable change?
And the thing that we're seeing in this country — you have to be very careful about making parallels. It's obviously two different countries, et cetera, et cetera. But in the last — this was in the early June poll in The Wall Street Journal. They asked the question, I think correctly, which is — of voters — would you like to see change even if it's unpredictable or sort of a more steady, stay the course, even though it's not going to bring much change?
A majority of voters, 53 percent, say they want to see change. And that is what Donald Trump is hoping he is going to be able to project forward, which, again, yes, there is some danger in making a change, but aren't things the way they are now so terrible that you're willing to try something different?
I read today that some — that when asked about whether it bothered them that Donald Trump didn't appear to know what Brexit was a week or so ago, folks said that's OK because they didn't know either. They didn't know at the time either.
But there are other polls we're kind of following. So, let's throw them all into a pot. We have a Washington Post/ABC poll that shows Hillary Clinton ahead by double digits. We have another one that shows — a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that shows her ahead by five.
And I wonder, as we begin to add them all up together, whether they mean anything at this stage.
Well, we can average them and say Hillary Clinton is ahead at this point, at this moment in time, in the snapshot, but then we also get these swing state polls that show it much tighter in those swing states.
Which he cites, by the way, when he's behind.
Which, of course, he does cite. And he has concerns about the methodology in some of the polls, which he liked those polls earlier. But whatever the case may be, these are polls. The broad trend is that he is not ahead.
And I'm going to wait. I think they are important, and I think that trend is correct.
I think after the convention is going to be an important time to clue in. And we know, historically, once the conventions are over, we start to hit that August, September, and when the numbers start to lock in then, they're harder to change, unless there is some big, major event.
So I think we may still see some volatility going on. The other thing that I thought was really interesting, especially in the NBC poll that came out today, for all the talk of the collapse for Donald Trump, how he's losing, what I found, the congressional ballot test, which asks, would you vote for a Democrat or a Republican in the House of Representatives, that's evenly divided?
In other words, what's happening is, there is not that downward pull, not yet at least — it may happen — of Donald Trump on candidates underneath him. So Senate and House members who are Republicans who are very fearful right now of a Donald Trump effect, it's not showing up.
One more question about this Brexit issue.
I have noticed at the end of Hillary Clinton's speech today, she said let's take our country, and I thought, where's she going? And she said in the right direction, which is not back again or whatever it is that Trump says.
But I do wonder whether a Brexit vote gets people's attention enough or whether we really don't make these kinds of judgments based on issues that happen abroad.
I would argue that people are not really closely following what's happening abroad. But I think that the broad themes of the Brexit vote are something that should give Hillary Clinton and her campaign great pause.
Well, I agree with that, but there has been an immediate effect.
And that is, if you have a 401(k) or if you have any — at all in the stock market, that was an immediate impact. And does it continue? It's one thing if it was one bad day and it comes back. If it doesn't come back, then we're going to start to have a real discussion about how Brexit impacted all of us.
Well, it's one more thing to add to the loop. That's great.
Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you both very much.
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