2016 Elections

Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, immediately following a video message from Donald Trump, who thanked the audience for voting for him to be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.

“I am here to tell you Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to get elected president,” McConnell said. “You know that if Hillary is president, we’ll continue to slide, distracted by the scandals that follow the Clintons like flies.”

McConnell was booed by some delegates both times he took the stage Tuesday night. He was also booed on Monday evening when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus put McConnell’s name forward to act as temporary convention chairman.

McConnell didn’t talk much about Trump during his speech, though he asserted that the newly-minted nominee would sign legislation that the Republican-dominated House and Senate have pushed in recent years.

Abbey Oldham, PBS Newshour

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he hopes speakers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland reach out to the nation’s immigrants.

Paul told WKU Public Radio he hopes the GOP sends the message “that our party is welcoming to all people, no matter where you came from, or where you immigrated from. That we look at immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity as assets to our country, and that we’re the party of opportunity, and the party that wants to alleviate poverty through the creation of jobs.”

The Bowling Green Republican says he disagrees with statements made by his party’s presumptive presidential candidate, Donald Trump, about banning all Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

In December, the Trump campaign issued a statement saying the candidate was “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Following Melania Trump's speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention, several social media users pointed out a section that was startlingly similar to one the country has heard before — it came from current first lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

It is, of course, common for political speeches to be filled with platitudes like both women used — values, morals, getting what you want in life. But comparing the two speeches, the overlap amounts to more than passing similarity of a few phrases.

The section of Trump's in question is one minute long, and about half of the words in it are the same as Obama's.

The parts that are the same have been bolded by NPR below. The videos begin playing at the comments that are in question.

Melania Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention:

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Conventions give candidates a second chance to make a first impression, even candidates who have been covered by the media as obsessively as Donald Trump.

The Republican convention in Cleveland gives Trump that chance. Here are six things to watch this week:

1. Will the Cleveland Convention stick to a script?

Successful conventions drive home a message relentlessly, with every speech, video and testimonial designed to highlight the strengths of the candidate and minimize his weaknesses. Trump has shown that he is allergic to this kind of discipline. Even the roll out of his vice presidential pick was shambolic and off message. Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, told the Washington Post that one goal of the convention is to make Trump more “likable.” After all, electing a president is more about “Like” Q than IQ.

Gage Skidmore

State Sen. Ralph Alvarado will deliver a speech at the Republican National Convention this week in Cleveland.

Alvarado, a Republican from Winchester and a physician, is the first Hispanic elected to the state legislature.

In a news release from the Republican Party of Kentucky, Alvarado said that the Republican Party is the “party of opportunity for voters of all backgrounds, especially Hispanics.”

“I plan to talk about my story as a public servant striving to make my state and nation a land of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and persevere,” he said in the statement.

Alvarado was elected in 2014, unseating Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, a Democrat. Over his first two legislative sessions, he has pushed for medical review panels and successfully shepherded a new law that creates an appeals process for medical providers who have Medicaid claims denied by managed care organizations (MCOs).

Michael Conroy/AP

So it's the week before the Republican National Convention and we don't know who the vice presidential running mate is going to be. Then the nominee schedules a Saturday midday event and walks onstage with a younger man from Indiana who is known for his ardent conservatism.

Sound familiar?

The year is 1988, the city is New Orleans, and the freshly announced GOP ticket is George H.W. Bush for president and Dan Quayle for vice president.

Surprised? Well, plenty of people were stunned at the time, too. Quayle was a senator but barely over 40, younger still in appearance and demeanor. He had been on some lists of prospects, but not near the top. His selection left many in the party and the media agog.

Donald Trump may have had something like that high-drama reveal in mind for the Hilton Ballroom on Friday. That was the moment he planned to bring out Gov. Mike Pence, who, like Quayle, is a former Indiana congressman who had made it to statewide office.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

After weeks of speculation, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that he has chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.

Trump had planned to hold a press conference Friday morning, but he canceled that after a deadly attack in France. He has now scheduled a news conference for Saturday at 11 a.m.

Pence quote-tweeted Trump’s announcement, adding that he is “honored” to join the ticket and “work to make America great again.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Tom LeGro

Forty-six delegates and 43 alternate delegates from Kentucky will be among the crowd at next week’s Republican national convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump is expected to formally accept the GOP nomination for president at the event.

The real estate mogul Trump won 79 of Kentucky’s 120 counties when state Republicans held their presidential caucus in March, but like elsewhere around the country, not every Kentuckian is enthusiastically supporting Trump.  Owensboro businessman J. Todd Inman is going to the convention as a delegate from Kentucky.

“Donald Trump will be the nominee," stated Inman.  "The question is what’s the process to get to that ultimately.”

Inman says Trump wasn’t his first choice, or his second for that matter, but his allegiance now stands with the billionaire businessman.

Five Things To Know About Mike Pence

Jul 14, 2016
Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images

The buzz about Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick is centering on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Pence “is dropping his re-election bid in Indiana to become Donald Trump’s running mate.”

Trump’s campaign has announced it will officially make an announcement on who his pick is at 11 am ET Friday from Trump Tower in New York. A campaign spokesman tweeted that the campaign is not confirming any vice-presidential pick at this point and said a decision has not yet been made.

Pence has been governor of Indiana since 2013. Before that, he served as the congressman from Indiana’s sixth congressional district from 2000 to 2012. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised Pence Thursday: “It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Mike Pence’s. We’re very good friends. I’ve very high regard for him.”

He called Pence a “good movement conservative.” Pence would help reassure conservatives, who have had their doubts about Trump, about what kind of president he would be. That’s critically important as the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, is set to kick off Monday. The clearest signal that Pence could be Trump’s pick came from a list of speakers the campaign released Thursday. It included Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, two reported finalists for the job, but excluded Pence.

Creative Commons

Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is launching a bid to again represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.

Bayh announced Wednesday that he would seek to make the political comeback. Two days earlier, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill cleared the way by withdrawing as the Democratic nominee.

Bayh complained of the partisanship and gridlock when he left the Senate in 2010, but says he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”

Bayh ‘s return boosts the chances of Democrats to win the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring.

National Democrats pushed for Bayh to enter the race, seeing him as having a better chance to defeat GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Todd Young as Democrats seek to gain the four or five seats they need to win Senate control.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Trump outlined 10 ways he would change the department. In addition to creating a direct hotline to the White House for veterans having trouble with the VA — and promising not to select "a political hack" as head of the agency — he listed several ideas that have been pushed by Republicans recently: increasing the secretary's ability to quickly fire any incompetent or corrupt staff, stopping bonuses for poor performance, and — the big one — allowing veterans to choose a doctor outside the VA system.

Is Trump proposing privatization of the VA?

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that," Sanders said. "She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.

"I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on Nov. 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."

The Sanders endorsement ends a lengthy — and awkward — period in which many were wondering if and how he would back Clinton. Five weeks ago, Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, became the first woman in American history to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination to head the ticket of a major party.

J. Tyler Franklin

Donald Trump will be back in Kentucky Monday for a private fundraiser hosted by a well-known coal magnate and a GOP moneymaker in Lexington.

According to the Associated Press, it will cost individuals $1,000 to attend a reception and $5,000 to get a photo taken with the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The fundraiser comes as Trump is trying to quell GOP fears that he’ll be outmatched by the well-financed campaign of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump only started holding fundraisers in late May and has put up uninspiring fundraising numbers for most of his presidential campaign.

But in June, according to his campaign, Trump raised $51 million — more than all previous months combined. Clinton raised $68.5 million in June.

Jim Gray Says He Raised $1.1 Million in Second Quarter

Jul 7, 2016
Office of Lexington Mayor

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he has raised nearly $1.1 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the second quarter.

The Lexington mayor said in a news release his campaign raised $1,083,039 for the fundraising period ending June 30. The campaign did not say how much money it spent during that time. A spokeswoman for Gray declined to say how much money the campaign has available to spend.

Gray reported $1.8 million in his first fundraising report earlier this year, but $1 million of that was his own money. Gray said he did not contribute to his campaign in the second quarter.

Gray is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Paul, who unsuccessfully ran for president, has not released his fundraising totals yet. The deadline to file fundraising reports is July 15.

NPR

The battle to control the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — and the fate of the party — has reached a turning point.

While the “Stop Trump” movement has unleashed a barrage of cross-country phone calls and emails to seek support for its proposals, a group of longtime Republican rule-makers, some working with the Donald Trump campaign, has quickly coalesced to try to block them.

Those Republican rule-makers are also going on offense by proposing what would be relatively historic changes to take some power away from convention delegates this year and close more primaries to non-Republicans the next time around.

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