A matter of distrust

“A lot of people tell pollsters they don’t trust me,” Hillary Clinton said Monday. “Now, I don’t like hearing that.”

That’s for sure. For a long time, the trust gap has driven up her unfavorable ratings. It made it harder for Clinton to put away Bernie Sanders. It saps her polling strength against Donald Trump, even though she is ahead.

Who’s to blame? “Political opponents and conspiracy theorists have accused me of every crime in the book over the years,” she said in Chicago. But, “it certainly is true — I’ve made mistakes.”

Clinton went on to say, “I know trust has to be earned” and she will tell voters, “No one, no one will fight harder for you or your families than I will.” (Video here)

She did not address specific questions that have fed distrust, such as not releasing the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches.

Clinton-Warren tag team

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren electrified a Cincinnati crowd in her debut on the Clinton campaign tour. She ridiculed Trump as “a small, insecure money-grubber,” “a thin-skinned bully” and “a nasty man.”

A Republican National Committee conference call pushed back by echoing Trump’s “Pocahontas” insult — an allegation first raised when Warren ran against Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 that she falsely claimed Native American heritage.

Reporting then found Warren hadn’t backed up family lore of part-Cherokee ancestry, but there also was no evidence she benefitted professionally from it. Brown said on Monday’s call: “She can take a DNA test.”

The take-away: Running mates

Clinton and Trump have to decide soon on running mates, and the choices could strengthen their chances — or harm them, as was the case in 2008 with Sarah Palin on John McCain’s ticket, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Clinton has to consider the potential appeal both on her left, to draw in progressives, and to independents and Trump-hostile Republicans. For Trump, a top consideration is compensation for his lack of experience.

Four open mic nights?

A memorable moment at the 2012 GOP convention was Clint Eastwood’s chat with an empty chair. This year, it could be an empty podium.

Politico surveyed 50 prominent Republicans and found only a few who wanted to speak at the Cleveland gathering. In non-Trump years, pols have coveted a shot on the national stage.

Trump doesn’t want speeches by Republicans who haven’t endorsed him. So the host-state governor, Ohio’s John Kasich, is out. “We have not asked for a speaking slot and have zero expectations of receiving one,” said Kasich adviser John Weaver.

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The king of debt

A study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget finds Trump’s proposals would add $11.5 trillion to the debt by 2026, while Clinton’s would add $250 billion over that period.

The Trump-generated deficit comes mostly from his proposed tax cuts. The group’s co-chairs include Republican Mitch Daniels and Democrat Leon Panetta, who among other jobs, led the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

Muslim ban reset?

Trump and his aides have been signaling a revision of his plan to temporarily ban Muslim immigration to emphasize a focus on people from terrorism-plagued countries.

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But confusion reigns. His spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told CNN Monday there was no change. A surrogate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, told reporters last week: “You all continue to call it a Muslim ban. That’s not what it is and never has been.”

False. Trump , on Dec. 7, called for “ a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” It’s on his website.

What else is happening

  • Clinton quickly hailed the Supreme Court’s abortion decision as “a victory for women in Texas and across America.” There was no word through the day from Trump, who has struggled to define details of his position.
  • An anti-Trump video by Warren for MoveOn included an old news clip of Massachusetts man Michael Levin and his mixed-race family. Levin says they didn’t check with him first — he voted for Trump in the state’s primary.
  • From an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: 45% of GOP voters are satisfied with Trump as their nominee, while 52% would have preferred someone else. Among Democrats, 52% are satisfied with Clinton and 45% prefer someone else.
  • The House Benghazi Committee is releasing a report Tuesday that's unlikely to change either the GOP narrative that the attack marked a monumental fiasco for U.S.agencies or Democratic claims of a political hit job....
  • A Republican National Committee memo outlines plans to attack Clinton’s vice presidential pick, whoever it is, as an “insult” to Bernie Sanders’ supporters, The Huffington Post reports.
  • Democrats face long odds in reclaiming the House, but strategists are looking district by district for opportunities to exploit a potential anti-Trump backlash, Politico says.
  • Trump plans a speech on trade Tuesday in Pennsylvania, while Clinton will speak on technology, education and workforce development in Colorado.
  • No evidence of Trump's charity claims -- that he gives away millions of dollars -- could be found when the Washington Post sought it....