Clinton says veep pick Kaine is everything GOP ticket isn’t
MIAMI (AP) — Hillary Clinton debuted running mate Sen. Tim Kaine on Saturday as a can-do progressive committed to social justice and equality — “everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not” — at a boisterous rally ahead of next week’s Democratic National Convention.
“He is qualified to step into this job and lead from Day One. And he is a progressive who likes to get things done,” Clinton declared at Florida International University.
Kaine, a bilingual former Virginia governor, detailed his life in public service. “I like to fight for right,” he said.
And, as Clinton smiled broadly at her choice for vice president, Kaine greeted the largely Hispanic audience in Spanish. “We’re going to be ‘compañeros de alma,’ in this great ‘lucha’ ahead,” he said, or “soul mates in this great fight ahead.”
Trump, in a text to his own supporters, said President Barack Obama, Clinton and Kaine were “the ultimate insiders” and implored voters to not “let Obama have a 3rd term.”
How Hillary Clinton chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her VP
MIAMI (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s search for a vice president started with a commanding victory in the New York primary and a special delivery in a plastic Duane Reade bag. Three months later, it ended with a phone call to a shipyard office, where Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was waiting.
From the start, Kaine was a front-runner to join Clinton on the Democratic ticket. A senator, former Virginia governor and mayor of Richmond, he hails from a top battleground state and, as a fluent Spanish speaker, could help in another: Florida. Victories in both would likely put the White House out of the reach of Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
But Clinton grew personally comfortable with the likable and even-keeled Kaine as they campaigned together in recent weeks and discussed the vice presidency. Clinton ultimately concluded that she had “unshakeable confidence in Kaine’s readiness to do the job,” according to a Clinton aide familiar with her thinking. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private deliberations over her selection.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Clinton was also drawn to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who remained in the running until the end. A person close to the campaign, also speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations, said Clinton had a hard time not choosing her longtime family friend and political loyalist.
Campaign chair John Podesta started the process after Clinton’s convincing victory over Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in April’s New York primary, dropping off binders of information with Clinton at her home in Chappaqua, New York. The information on potential running mates was delivered in a bag from Duane Reade, a New York drug store.
DNC rules meeting agrees to a compromise on superdelegates
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The role of superdelegates could be significantly reduced in future Democratic presidential primaries under a compromise deal struck at the Democratic National Convention rules committee Saturday.
Efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters to pass amendments eliminating or limiting the power of superdelegates failed to win approval at the committee meeting in Philadelphia. But campaigns for Sanders and Hillary Clinton worked out an agreement to create a “unity commission” to revise the nominating process, including changing superdelegate rules, which won near-unanimous support.
The 21-member commission will study a number of issues, including how to improve access to caucuses and how to broaden the party’s appeal. For superdelegates, the commission’s recommendation is that Congress members, governors and other elected officials should remain as unpledged delegates, but that other delegates would be bound proportionally to the primary results of their state.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver endorsed the plan, saying it would “result in the reduction of superdelegates as we know them by two-thirds.” The Clinton campaign also expressed support for the commission.
Any changes to superdelegate rules would still be subject to DNC approval. A report by the commission is due by Jan. 1, 2018.
Police: Munich suspect was obsessed with mass shootings
MUNICH (AP) — The gunman whose rampage at a Munich mall left nine people dead was a depression-plagued teenager who avidly read books and articles about mass killings and apparently tried to lure young victims to their deaths through a faked Facebook posting, authorities said Saturday.
Information from witnesses indicated that his hatred of foreigners might have played a role in the mass shooting, even though he himself was the German-born son of Iranian asylum-seekers.
Most of the dead were youths and all were Munich residents of varied ethnic backgrounds. Hueseyin Bayri, who witnessed one boy’s death, told The Associated Press the shooter screamed a profanity about foreigners and said “I will kill you all” as he pulled the trigger. A video shot of the perpetrator also showed him yelling anti-foreigner slurs.
The 18-year-old high-school student from Munich with Iranian and German citizenship also wounded more than two dozen others Friday night before turning his illegal Glock 17 pistol on himself, ending a shooting rampage that could have become even more tragic.
Police told reporters that a search of the red backpack lying next to his black-clad corpse revealed that the shooter was carrying more than 300 rounds for the 9-millimeter handgun he used to kill his victims.
IS attacks protest in Afghan capital, kills 80 people
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a peaceful protest in the Afghan capital on Saturday that killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 200, marking the first time the extremists have struck Kabul and raising fears of their growing strength and capability in Afghanistan.
The attack was the deadliest to hit Kabul in 15 years of civil war. It struck a demonstration by Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic community, who were marching for a major regional power line to be routed through their home province. The Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, most Afghans are Sunnis.
Footage on Afghan television and photographs posted on social media showed a scene of horror and carnage, with numerous bodies and body parts spread across the square. Bloodied survivors were seen being dragged clear for help, others walked around dazed or screaming.
Two suicide bombers had attempted to target the demonstrators, but one of them was shot by police before he could detonate his explosives, according to Haroon Chakhansuri, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He said that three city district police chiefs were injured and another three security personnel were killed.
Witnesses said that immediately after the blast, security forces shot in the air to disperse the crowd. Secondary attacks have been known to target people who come to the aid of those wounded in a first explosion.
Weary of protest, Baltimore activists seek change elsewhere
BALTIMORE (AP) — Under the beating summer sun, retired steelworker Arthur B. Johnson Jr. stood outside the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore, clutching the fraying wooden handle of a homemade sign.
“Justice for Freddie Gray,” it read. Inside, a fourth officer was about to be cleared of criminal charges in Gray’s death last April, a week after Gray’s neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van. Johnson has shown up for every trial, in pouring rain and sweltering heat.
Thousands took to the streets last spring. The refrain of “No justice, no peace” rang through corridors on the city’s east and west sides for more than a week; after a riot broke out, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew. The National Guard rolled into town to restore order.
But these days, Johnson and his sign typically stand alone.
The most recent acquittal, for Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in Gray’s death, was rapidly preceded by two others, including Officer Caesar Goodson, who drove the wagon in which Gray’s spine was snapped.
Boy Scouts faring well a year after easing ban on gay adults
NEW YORK (AP) — There were dire warnings for the Boy Scouts of America a year ago when the group’s leaders, under intense pressure, voted to end a long-standing blanket ban on participation by openly gay adults. Several of the biggest sponsors of Scout units, including the Roman Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches, were openly dismayed, raising the prospect of mass defections.
Remarkably, nearly 12 months after the BSA National Executive Board’s decision, the Boy Scouts seem more robust than they have in many years. Youth membership is on the verge of stabilizing after a prolonged decline, corporations which halted donations because of the ban have resumed their support, and the vast majority of units affiliated with conservative religious denominations have remained in the fold — still free to exclude gay adults if that’s in accordance with their religious doctrine.
Catholic Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, South Carolina, whose duties include liaising with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, says he knows of no instances where a Catholic unit — there are more than 7,500 — has taken on an openly gay adult leader since the policy change. Gay sex and same-sex marriage are considered violations of church teaching.
The Boy Scouts’ national leadership “has been wonderfully supportive,” Guglielmone said.
Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention were unhappy with the BSA’s easing of the ban on gay adults, but did not call on individual churches to disaffiliate with troops that they sponsored.
AP Poll: Support grows among Americans for stricter gun laws
Americans increasingly favor tougher gun laws by margins that have grown wider after a steady drumbeat of shootings in recent months, but they also are pessimistic that change will happen anytime soon, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents expressed support for stricter laws, with majorities favoring nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets.
The percentage of Americans who want such laws is the highest since the AP-GfK poll started asking the question in 2013, a survey taken about 10 months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six educators.
High-profile shootings also appear to have taken a toll on Americans’ sense of safety. Strong majorities of those polled expressed some degree of concern that they or a relative will be a victim of gun violence or a mass shooting.
“If you live in the United States in these days right now, you have to be concerned,” said Milonne Ambroise, a 63-year-old administrative assistant from Decatur, Georgia. “You could be on the street somewhere. You could be at a shopping mall thinking there will be a mass shooting and you will be in the middle of it. You can’t not think about it.”
WNBA withdraws fines for teams that wore black warmup shirts
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA is withdrawing its fines for teams and players that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before and during games.
WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts — which was a uniform violation. The players started wearing them to show solidarity after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Each team was fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules stated that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.
“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until Aug. 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”
The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message
CLEVELAND (AP) — They don’t like to be called white supremacists.
The well-dressed men who gathered in Cleveland’s Ritz-Carlton bar after Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination for president prefer the term “Europeanists,” ”alt-right,” or even “white nationalists.” They are also die-hard Trump supporters.
And far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party’s highest-profile quadrennial gathering.
Several gathered in the luxury hotel well after midnight following Trump’s Thursday address, a fiery appeal they said helped push the Republican Party closer to their principles.
“I don’t think people have fully recognized the degree to which he’s transformed the party,” said Richard Spencer, a clean-cut 38-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, who sipped Manhattans as he matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States.