Trade gap: Obama vs. Clinton

Donald Trump’s “xenophobia” was a big target for President Barack Obama’s ire during a news conference with the leaders of Canada and Mexico Wednesday. But elsewhere in Obama’s remarks was a reminder that he and Hillary Clinton are not in sync on trade.

Obama argued forcefully for going through with the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

“In an integrated global economy, the goal is not for us to try to shut ourselves off from the world, but rather to work together to raise standards for the world, for workers and for the environment. And that’s exactly what the TPP does,” Obama said.

Clinton, like Trump, opposes the pact. She supported the idea when secretary of state, but said last year the version that emerged after further negotiations “didn’t meet my standards.” It also happens to be opposed by labor unions whose support is vital to her candidacy.

Freely trading shade

Trump hit back at critics of his trade proposals, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, during a speech in Bangor, Maine.

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“Why would the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say we should leave everything the way it is when I can make a better deal?” Trump asked the crowd. “I don’t understand it,” he added. “If you think about it, it’s pretty sinister.”

Paul Singer, a New York fund executive and major GOP donor, said Trump’s policies would be “close to a guarantee of a global depression, widespread global depression.”

The take-away: Smoke covers retreat

Trump’s shifts on one of his signature issues — a ban on Muslim immigration — has created plenty of confusion, but one thing is clear: It’s a political retreat in progress, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Personality test

A new Fox News poll drilled down in an interesting way on temperament questions and came up with this: 89% of voters think Trump is “hotheaded” and 83% call him “obnoxious.” On Clinton, 35% found her “hotheaded” and 45% “obnoxious.”

Given those answers, Clinton’s 6-point lead in a general-election matchup “is notably small,” said Fox Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. But Trump faces a “growing perception that he is temperamentally unsuited and intellectually unprepared to be president,” said Anderson’s GOP partner, Daron Shaw.

Trump inches up McConnell scale

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Time Warner News’ NY1 that Trump is “getting closer” to meeting the standard for a candidate for president, but isn’t there yet.

McConnell said he told Trump: “You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences. You’re good before a crowd. You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries.”

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But now, McConnell continued, Trump has to show “a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and TelePrompTer and staying on message.”

Trump has an email problem, too

The Trump campaign is blasting out fundraising emails, but they need to check their lists.

The cash appeals have landed in the inboxes of politicians in foreign countries, including the U.K., Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and a former Canadian prime minister, Kim Campbell. Soliciting and accepting campaign donations from foreign nationals is illegal.

What else is happening

  • Introducing Trump at a Maine rally, Boston radio host Howie Carr mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren by putting a hand over his mouth and mimicking a stereotypical Native American war whoop.
  • Trump also attacked Republicans who refused to endorse him as "sore losers" who shouldn't be "allowed to run for office again"... 
  • A Pew Research Center poll of Europeans finds 9% have confidence in Trump on handling world affairs and 85% have no confidence. For Clinton, 59% have confidence and 27% have no confidence.
  • Now there's a "Trump Institute" in the spotlight that like the "Trump University" draws allegations of fraud. Apparently some of its "original" Trump materials were lifted from a book....
  • Clinton has raised close to $34 million in June at fundraisers she has personally attended, according to a CNN estimate based on ticket prices and attendance numbers provided by the Clinton campaign.
  • Bernie Sanders supporters have a lot of problems with the prospect of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as a Clinton running mate.
  • Kaine took significant gifts as permitted under his state's lax ethics rules, which could be ad fodder against him and the Clinton ticket.
  • New York’s House primary was a split decision for Sanders-endorsed Democratic candidates: Zephyr Teachout won in the 19th District, but Eric Kingson lost in the 24th District.
  • Bill Clinton’s name is still on a locker at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County. A photo of his nameplate was tweeted by Boomer Esiason, the broadcaster and former Jets quarterback, who says his locker is next to it.
  • Trump will trot out family members at the Cleveland convention to humanize himself, according to Politico....
  • Brexit champion Boris Johnson won't seek leadership of the UK's Conservatives and prime minister, ending for now the parallels between himself and Trump....
  • When Trump claims a "back door" for China in the TPP, nobody seems quite sure what if anything he's talking about....