Running mates and free rides

Vice-presidential picks will soon emerge from vettings that are supposed to minimize the risk of skeletons in the closet. Even so, there could be bones to pick at.

Take Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. While Virginia governor from 2001 to 2009, he disclosed more than $160,000 in gifts, mostly for travel to events and conferences, Politico reported. All were legal under the state’s permissive ethics rules.

An easy target? Maybe not so much if Donald Trump picks, say, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

There is ample video of Christie enjoying Dallas Cowboys games from the luxury suite of team owner Jerry Jones, a “friend” who flew Christie there on his private jet — and has a Port Authority contract.

Next time, just wave

It wasn’t just Republicans criticizing Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton when word got out about their 30-minute chat while Hillary Clinton’s email practices are still under FBI investigation.

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Lynch said it was a chance encounter, that the talk was social and the email case did not come up. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted it was “foolish to create such optics.” Trump told a radio interviewer, “How bad a judgment is it for him or for her to do this?”

The take-away: Trading places

How jarring for Republicans is Trump’s assault on so-called "free trade?" Four years ago, GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s platform complained about the Obama administration’s “slowness” in negotiating new trade agreements, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

But Trump has read the mood of working-class white voters who believe the party’s veneration for the “global economy” has served the nation poorly.

Selective outrage

Trump slapped down as “nasty” a question from a man at a New Hampshire town hall meeting who said the U.S. is “wasting our military in the Middle East on behalf of Zionist Israel.” He said Israel is “our true friend over there and we are going to protect Israel 100%.”

He was more tolerant of a woman who wanted to ban TSA agents who wear “heeby-jobbies” — an apparent reference to hijabs, or headscarves, worn by some Muslim women — and replace them with veterans.

“You know, we are looking at that,” Trump said.

Polls Trump can believe in

As he wondered aloud, “Why am I not doing better in the polls,” Trump is hiring three more of his own, The New York Times reported.

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Throughout the GOP primaries, Trump was disdainful of paying for polls when he could look for free at those from news organizations. When he didn’t like the numbers, he called them biased, dishonest and dirty.

Two lesser-known polls Thursday gave a split verdict. Rasmussen Reports was the first in more than a month to show Trump in the lead, 4 points ahead. An IBD/TIPP survey had Clinton up by 4 points in a two-way matchup and by 1 point when the Green and Libertarian candidates are included.

Trump: Say sorry? You’ll be sorry

Boston radio host Howie Carr, who mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren with his impression of Native American war whoops at a Trump rally in Maine Wednesday, said the candidate gave him this advice afterward:

“Whatever you do, don’t apologize,” he said. “You never hear me apologize, do you? That’s what killed Jimmy the Greek way back. Remember? He was doing OK ’til he said he was sorry.”

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CBS fired the late Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder from a sportscasting job in 1988 after comments that breeding practices by slave owners made blacks better athletes and that more black coaches would mean “there is not going to be anything left for the white people.”

What else is happening

  • Vice President Joe Biden will make his first campaign appearance with Clinton July 8 in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, looking to bolster her in a swing state where Trump is aiming to turn blue-collar voters his way.
  • Biden told NPR he has talked to Bernie Sanders and “Bernie is going to endorse her.”
  • Trump said the Supreme Court decision against a Texas anti-abortion law would have gone the “opposite” way if he got to name the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor. Actually, it was a 5-3 ruling, so that wouldn’t have worked.
  • New VP buzz surrounds Richard Cordray, an Ohio Democrat who serves as the first director of the national consumer-protection bureau...
  • Billionaire Trump used charitable donations to buy a Tim Tebow football helmet, according to the Washington Post....
  • Clinton leads Trump in New York by 54% to 31% in the latest Siena College poll.
  • French President François Hollande endorsed Clinton in a newspaper article, writing that Trump as president “would complicate relations between Europe and the U.S.
  • The Obama White House tilts more towards Germany in the wake of the Brexit vote....
  • Trump acknowledged that his trade policies could make goods more expensive, saying “We’re better off paying a little bit more” for consumer products if it means protecting American jobs.
  • Christie's electoral career is toast, but he's bulking up his role as a Trump adviser, the New York Times notes....
  • Trump’s children will have a prominent role at the Republican national convention to play up his “softer side,” Politico reports.
  • "It's a Mexican plane... getting ready to attack," Trump ad-libbed at a New Hampshire rally....