POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - America Trembling With Excitement For Mike Pence, Might Barf

Hillary Clinton appears closer to selecting Tim Kaine or Tom Vilsack as her number-two, meaning DNC organizers are going to have to direct the bejesus out of next Wednesday’s programming. Donald Trump refused Melania’s speechwriter’s resignation, an awful punishment as it prevents her from taking a near-assured CNN contributor gig. And Trump said his wife’s plagiarized convention speech “got more publicity than any in the history of politics,” though he forgot about the Slovenian model’s famous remarks that “an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 20th, 2016:

LATEST REMINDER THAT DONALD TRUMP DOESN’T REALLY WANT TO BE PRESIDENT - Robert Draper: “One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history? When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of? ‘Making America great again’ was the casual reply.” [NYT]

KAINE MAKING LAST-MINUTE PLAY FOR EVAN BAYH DEMOCRATS - So goes a Brookings Institution panel on leveraging markets to promote third world gender equality, so goes the nation. Zach Carter: “Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is on Hillary Clinton’s short list of potential vice presidential nominees. He’s also actively pushing bank deregulation this week as he campaigns for the job. Kaine signed two letters on Monday urging federal regulators to go easy on banks ― one to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another to help small banks avoid consumer protection standards...Kaine... is setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party. He has championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that both Sanders and Warren oppose, and he is now publicly siding with bank deregulation advocates at the height of Clinton’s veepstakes.” [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - Everyone in Cleveland is wearing InfoWars shirts that say “Hillary for Prison,” and not just because it’s a snappy slogan. Alysia Tambourides, a 38-year-old stay-at-home mom from Houston, said she wore hers because she had no doubt Clinton belonged behind bars. “She didn’t have intent? What is that?” Tambourides said, referring to Comey’s explanation for not referring Clinton for prosecution. InfoWars.com is a conspiracy theory site managed by 9/11 Truther Alex Jones. Tambourides said she didn’t believe planes knocked down the Twin Towers in 2001.  “What Alex is doing is breaking things down ― I think everyone knows in their gut that something’s going on,” Tambourides said, repeating a line that Donald Trump himself has used several times.

DOUBLE DOWNER - Cleveland police have been vigilant against the threat of bad guys infiltrating the city’s homeless population.

Seven or so protesters got arrested just now after blocking an entrance to the convention ― biggest arrest of the RNC so far.

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

TRUMP STAFFER TAKES BLAME FOR PLAGIARIZED SPEECH - Which is odd considering the campaign insisted Melania Trump wrote her own address. Daniel Marans: “Meredith McIver, a staff writer for the Trump Organization who worked with Melania Trump on the speech, released a statement explaining how the incident had occurred. During the speechwriting process, McIver said, Trump dictated lines over the phone that she hoped to use as inspiration for her address. ‘A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,’ McIver said. ‘Over the phone, she read me some passages of Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech.’ McIver claimed she then failed to double-check the lines they selected against Obama’s speeches. ‘This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as Mrs. Obama,’ McIver said. ‘I meant no harm.’” [HuffPost]

SPEECHWRITERS BEGIN LEAKING THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY - Still, we want an explanation for the rickroll. Maggie Haberman and Michael Barbaro: “It did not go as planned, and it has eclipsed much of the action at the party gathering in Cleveland, where delegates on Tuesday night formally nominated Mr. Trump for president. The speechwriters, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, sent Ms. Trump a draft last month, eager for her approval. Weeks went by. They heard nothing. Inside Trump Tower, it turned out, Ms. Trump had decided she was uncomfortable with the text, and began tearing it apart, leaving a small fraction of the original...The two original speechwriters were not aware of how significantly the speech had been changed until they saw Ms. Trump deliver it on television Monday night, along with the rest of the country.” [NYT]

SCAM SUPER PACS ARE AMERICA’S NEXT BUBBLE - But will Donald Trump suspend his campaign to address the crisis when the economy collapses in a few months? Tarini Parti and Rosie Gray: “Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been pitching his own super PAC to donors after trashing other groups working on behalf of the GOP presidential nominee, six sources with knowledge of those conversations told BuzzFeed News. Here for the Republican National Convention as a New Hampshire delegate and CNN commentator, Lewandowski has criticized the groups trying to boost Trump, especially one called Rebuilding America Now, which is run by the allies of Trump’s now campaign manager Paul Manafort. Among the donors he has pitched are operatives close to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and coal billionaire Joe Craft and his wife Kelly Craft, former backers of Sen. Marco Rubio who are now supporting Trump. Asked for comment, Lewandowski said in an email to BuzzFeed News, ‘I have nothing to do with any Superpacs.’ He also denied talking to donors about a potential group.” [BuzzFeed]

TRUMP DELEGATE WANTS HILLARY SHOT - Remember, as Hillary Clinton demonstrated in 2008, it’s only acceptable to obliquely speculate about someone being shot. Laura Barron-Lopez: “Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and delegate for the Republican presidential nominee, made the comments during an interview on “The Kuhner Report” radio show on Tuesday. Host Jeff Kuhner asked if Baldasaro thought Clinton bore responsibility for those who died in the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya...’[Clinton] is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there,’ he continued.’This whole thing disgusts me,’ Baldasaro added. ‘Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.’  After an extensive investigation into Clinton’s private email server, the FBI and Justice Department decided no charges were appropriate. And after spending more than two years and $7 million, the House Select Committee on Benghazi found no evidence of wrongdoing by the then-secretary of state.” [HuffPost]

KASICH STILL NOT ENDORSING TRUMP - Ted Cruz, meanwhile, is preparing for his RNC speech by clutching a copy of “Conscious of a Conservative,” rocking back and forth on his hotel bed and crying. Marina Fang: “Privately, Trump World still thinks they can get the recalcitrant governor to make a surprise appearance. ‘They’re working feverishly hard to win him over. Donald’s trying everything he can think of, and the kids, too,’ said one source close to Trump. ‘Their pitch is that he’s the governor, this is his state, and Donald has been nominated and he’s won and it looks stupid when you’ve got [Paul] Ryan and [Mike] Pence and [Chris] Christie, and he’s gonna look like a spoiled child, which takes away [the argument that] he’s standing by his principles.’ … The former GOP presidential contender told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews his reluctance to back Trump is ‘something that’s a matter of conscience for me,’ describing the choice between the businessman and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as ‘a vexing situation.’” [HuffPost]

RNC VENDORS ARE AN INTERESTING BUNCH - Eliot spent some time chatting with the vendors around the RNC. Donald Trump would be proud: “Juan Valdez ― yes, like the coffee guy ― is one of the dozens, if not hundreds, of street vendors hawking merchandise on the streets of downtown Cleveland ...  ‘I was actually going for Bernie Sanders, but he didn’t make the cut,’ Valdez told The Huffington Post, ‘and I’ve still got bills to pay.’ … One vendor, who was selling Trump whoopee cushions (”Make America TOOT Again”), didn’t think his political leanings needed to be clarified. ‘Can’t you tell?’ he said. ‘I want to sit on his face.’ … Tim Moore, from just outside Cleveland, said that he’s been to “every Trump rally,” and is “a big fan” of the candidate. So does that mean he’s voting for Trump? ‘I don’t like [Trump] at all,’ he quickly clarified. ‘I like his money, though. I’m a big fan of his money.’” [HuffPost]

A lot of their wares are pretty offensive: “It’s no secret that some Trump supporters at the Republican’s boisterous rallies use the word “bitch” as shorthand for the former secretary of state. But a dose of that misogyny has made its way to the party’s official confab here in Cleveland as well. While the convention itself has no control over what’s sold outside the arena, vendors wouldn’t be selling the stuff if a contingent of convention-goers weren’t buying it.” [HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog devouring a burrito.

THIRD EYE BLIND WON’T BE SILENCED - We were at this concert. It was bizarre. “Third Eye Blind taunted Republicans Tuesday night in a charity concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland during the party’s convention, and a frustrated audience responded with persistent boos...Third Eye Blind taunted Republicans Tuesday night in a charity concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland during the party’s convention, and a frustrated audience responded with persistent boos...Third Eye Blind taunted Republicans Tuesday night in a charity concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland during the party’s convention, and a frustrated audience responded with persistent boos.” [CNN]

They released a statement this afternoon: “We did not play an RNC event. We performed at a benefit for Musicians on Call because we support their mission in bringing music to the bedsides of patients in hospitals. Given that the benefit was held in Cleveland, we suspected that convention types might show up and we let it be known we were there to support Musicians on Call and that we in fact repudiate every last stitch of the RNC platform and the grotesque that is their nominee.” [Facebook]

COMFORT FOOD

TWITTERAMA

@owillis: trump so competent he made a 10 min plagiarism story into a 3 day story drowning out the convention

@BCAppelbaum:1. Deny everything.
2. Blame Hillary Clinton.
3. Blame My Little Pony.
4. Deny everything.
5. Confess & apologize.

@PastVox: 1923: Beer Hall Putz: Adolf Hitler jailed for 5 years following bungled coup. 6 reasons why you’ll never hear from the Nazi Party again.

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com).

CONVERSATIONS