While the eyes of the world are on Pope Francis' first visit to the United States, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has quietly been having a pretty good week. On the heels of a CNN/ORC poll that showed Hillary widening her national lead over Bernie Sanders, a new poll out of Iowa indicates that Clinton may be regaining some traction there. From Public Policy Polling:
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is in pretty good shape. She leads with 43% to 22% for Bernie Sanders, 17% for Joe Biden, 3% for Martin O'Malley and Jim Webb, and 2% for Lincoln Chafee. Among Biden's voters 43% say Clinton would be their second choice to only 15% for Sanders. Reallocate them to their second choice and Clinton would lead Sanders 50/25, almost identical to the 52/25 lead we found for her last month when we didn't include Biden.
In this case, good news is in the eye of the beholder, because if you're a Sanders supporter, you might argue that this result versus the last PPP poll cuts against the trend in the CNN/ORC poll, but in several Iowa polls taken before Hillary's apology over the email issue, Sanders had taken the lead in the state. At the very least, this poll shows that Hillary isn't losing ground in the state.
Hillary Clinton also made news Tuesday when she finally weighed in on the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue that has divided some on the left, and united conservatives around the creation of 35 jobs. The verdict? She's against it:
The move, delayed by a sense of duty and fairness to her former colleagues in the Obama administration, puts to rest a nagging question from the environmental left, and is unlikely to hurt her much with labor. Sen. Bernie Sanders even praised Hillary Tuesday night, albeit with a light, passive-aggressive swipe:
"I'm glad she did. I would hope that everybody understands that you can't be serious about climate change and the need to combat climate change when you are approving the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fuel on Earth. So this is an issue we have been talking about for a very, very long time. And I'm glad the secretary came on board."
While I personally oppose the Keystone pipeline, I've never seen it as anything more than an environmental Macguffin with outsize symolic value to both sides. Opposing it is the right move for Hillary, and all the Democrats, because the right has oversold its importance much more than the environmental left has its disastrousness, so this doesn't figure to hurt anyone in the general election.
Finally, there was some good email news recently, again, in the eye of the beholder. Bloomberg ran a story Tuesday with the tantalizing headline "FBI Said to Recover Personal E-Mails From Hillary Clinton Server," which excited right-wingers who were just glad to see the words "Hillary" and "email" in a headline again, but which didn't add much to the story beyond further destroying the right-wing narrative that Hillary "wiped" her server. The Bloomberg piece is thinner on sourcing than it even is on substance, and includes the following bit of meaningless speculation:
The FBI has recovered personal and work-related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business.
Now, so far, this kind of sourcing has always meant "Republican leakers on the Benghazi committee," who were probably just looking to push the email story back into the headlines, but what makes that Bloomberg reporter think that emails he hasn't seen would "likely" do anything? And what evidence is there to suggest that the FBI would publicize personal emails? Sounds to me like the reporter is having a hard time selling his pitch to himself.
There's one more bit of good news for Hillary, and for Democrats in general. Bernie's praise for Clinton over the Keystone issue is yet another reminder that despite the rather deep and bitter rivalry that has sprung up between the candidates' supporters, neither of them has taken anything but the most gentle of shots at each other. Bernie could have gone at Hillary a lot harder on Keystone, and no one has tried to exploit the email issue yet. It will be interesting to see how long this keeps up, but it;s especially heartening that Hillary's campaign, which proved to be very prone to panic the lat time around, has held it together this long.