07 30 2016
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Blackwood, N.J. May 11, 2016. For Clinton, whether she is competing against Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, one concern is much the same. They are outsider candidates riding a wave of populist excitement, while she is viewed as a traditional, establishment choice. As a result, her campaign sometimes just looks a little less exciting. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Rock concert rallies versus intimate town halls. Adoring groupies versus dutiful voters. Sweeping promises versus targeted proposals.

Whether Hillary Clinton is competing against Democratic rival Bernie Sanders or presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, one concern is much the same. They are outsider candidates riding a wave of populist excitement, while she is viewed as a traditional, establishment choice.

As a result, her campaign sometimes just looks a little less exciting.

Clinton has won far more votes than any other 2016 candidate. But if she moves into a general election matchup with Trump, she may continue to be dogged by questions about voter enthusiasm, especially as Trump pledges to continue his raucous rallies.

Clinton's supporters say they are not worried.
"Big crowds mean nothing," said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. "You don't get extra points for an enthusiastic vote versus a moderately enthusiastic vote."

Still, the differences are clear.

In recent days, Sanders rallied with roughly 4,000 in Salem, Oregon, and Trump drew thousands in Bellingham, Washington. Clinton held a rally with over 1,000 people in New Jersey, but also spoke about family issues at a gathering with about 15 in northern Virginia.

Trump's large crowds were good for more than his ego. They helped him power past his numerous rivals and to the verge of clinching the nomination as Clinton continues mopping up against her last remaining challenger.

"I think the rallies for Trump are the demonstration of his appeal as I think the rallies for Sanders are the demonstration of his appeal," said Republican pollster Greg Strimple. He added that Sanders' crowds have exposed some of Clinton's weaknesses and he would not have generated that energy "if the Democrats were so enamored of her candidacy."

Republican strategist Sara Fagen, who has not backed Trump, says Clinton "doesn't have a movement. She has a base of people that will show up, but they're not overly energized." Still, Fagen said a general election may be more challenging for Trump, noting that his success so far has been in a crowded primary.

"There's no doubt Trump is energizing an element of the electorate," she said. "But some people are showing up not to support him as well. He's divisive."

Crowd counts are just one measure of excitement. Polling suggests that the competitive Democratic race has energized voters, and exit polls find enthusiasm for Clinton as well as Sanders. About 2 in 5 primary voters were enthusiastic about their party's front-runner in a recent CNN poll.

Both Clinton and Trump have negative favorability ratings among general election voters. But Trump's negatives with people of all backgrounds are at historic highs, suggesting he may have difficulty connecting with a broad cross-section of voters in November.

Sanders and Trump have reveled in their large crowds as evidence of the power of their message. During a recent interview with The Associated Press,

Trump said the huge rallies would continue to be a centerpiece of his campaign. He argued that the excitement and momentum were more important than spending heavily in a sophisticated data operation to turn out voters.

"My coalition of voters is amazing," Trump said. "You know, we don't get enough credit. First of all, I have the biggest crowds by far. I have the most loyal voters by far."

Clinton, who shines in more intimate interactions, stressed early in the campaign that she wanted to engage with voters at smaller venues. She is on track to wrap up the nomination within weeks and is increasingly focusing on Trump as she tries to replicate the kind of data-heavy approach that helped Barack

Obama win presidential elections in 2008 and 2012.

Clinton also struggled with the enthusiasm gap when she ran against Obama in the 2008 primary. Obama held huge rallies and captured much of the popular imagination and enthusiasm. Rendell said he did not think 2016 would pose the same problems because the "fear and loathing" of anti-Trump voters will drive turnout.

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, a strategist for a super political action committee supporting Clinton's candidacy, acknowledged "there is a lot of emotion around Donald Trump's candidacy" but contended that cuts both ways.

Trump will be a "lightning rod for motivating Democratic voters to engage in the race and turn out in November in a way that counters whatever enthusiasm he creates on the other side," Garin said.

Whatever happens, Democratic consultant Joe Trippi said dealing with Sanders and his rallies may help Clinton.

"They may just have to get used to hearing everybody whine about 'but he'd got all these crowds,'" Trippi said. "Maybe this is good practice, the primary. There's no evidence that any of this matters."
___
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

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