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Steve Benen
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Attended George Washington University
Lives in Essex Junction, Vermont
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, July 29, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Hillary Clinton, the first woman to ever lead a major-party presidential ticket, made one thing very clear in her acceptance speech: She's the anti-Trump (http://on.msnbc.com/2ainCsU).

* When Khizr Khan pulled out a copy of the Constitution, and challenged Donald Trump from the convention stage ... let's just say it was a moment no one will soon forget (http://on.msnbc.com/2andBLG).

* How do Democrats borrow Republican themes and rhetoric, all while staying true to a progressive platform? Very carefully (http://on.msnbc.com/2afSFrj).

* Donald Trump believes disclosing the truth might cost him votes ... which is why when it comes to his tax returns, he insists on secrecy (http://on.msnbc.com/2aiEU9o).

* North Carolina Republicans targeted African-American voters "with almost surgical precision." An appeals court issued a ruling today on whether that's legal (http://on.msnbc.com/2aaz7CZ).

* If an American has health care coverage through Medicaid, is he or she insured? According to Kentucky's Republican governor, the answer is no. There's a reason this is hard to take seriously (http://on.msnbc.com/2afAjqi).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, July 27, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Donald Trump has literally called for Russia to intervene in the American election and help sabotage Hillary Clinton. We've reached a level of genuine madness -- unlike anything that's ever happened in U.S. history (http://on.msnbc.com/2auCUyI).

* As of today, the Trump campaign's official position is that Americans will not see the candidate's tax returns before the election. Consider how long it's been since a presidential hopeful tried this kind of secrecy (http://on.msnbc.com/2a9pQfl).

* Donald Trump isn't just hostile towards Western institutions like NATO, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization. The Republican is also no longer on board with the Geneva Conventions (http://on.msnbc.com/2aKR24A).

* Bill Clinton offered something at the Democratic convention that his wife's detractors on the right have long tried to deny: A narrative about Hillary Clinton that resembles reality (http://on.msnbc.com/2awwhx7).

* Several news outlets reported today that Donald Trump supports raising the federal minimum wage. Those reports aren't quite right -- and it's wrong to give him credit for a popular position he didn't actually take (http://on.msnbc.com/2ank6Sp).

* When the RNC turns to random personalities from reality-TV shows for foreign policy analysis, that's probably not a positive development (http://on.msnbc.com/2am9d3b).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, July 25, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Russia's alleged interference in our presidential election may be the biggest political bombshell of the year. If Vladimir Putin is trying to help Donald Trump, it's worth asking why (http://on.msnbc.com/29Zb49Z).

* Leading U.S. cyber-security companies "have a high degree of confidence" Russia leaked the DNC's emails. And according to one report, some FBI officials believe Russia is trying to help elect Trump (http://on.msnbc.com/2aowSj6).

* As the campaign has progressed, Trump's candidacy became a source of inspiration for bigots on the right-wing fringe. There's no pretending that doesn't matter (http://on.msnbc.com/2anBDJZ).

* Trump says he's focused on winning the general election -- but there's ample evidence he's not done with the Republican primaries just yet (http://on.msnbc.com/2a94II5).

* Trump campaign last week: Don't believe crime data. Trump campaign this week: Don't believe job numbers, either -- unless they make our running mate look good (http://on.msnbc.com/2aGcrfp).

* As the Democratic convention gets underway, new national polling sheds light on the state of the race (http://on.msnbc.com/29ZXfIp).
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Patrick Murphy is 33 years old and will still be 33 on Election Day. Murphy was elected to the US House in 2012.

John F. Kennedy was 35 on Election Day in 1952 when he defeated incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., with over 51% of the vote, as Eisenhower carried Massachusetts with over 54% of the vote. Kennedy had been elected to the US House in 1946.

Andrew Gillum, the Mayor of Tallahassee, will be 37 years old tomorrow.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, July 20, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Yesterday was the day the Republican National Convention almost literally became a Kangaroo Court. What the GOP no longer remembers: defeating Hillary Clinton is a legitimate goal; imprisoning her is not (http://on.msnbc.com/2aaKznB).

* Donald Trump's "favorite" veteran has called for Hillary Clinton to be "put in the firing line and shot for treason." Given a chance to walk this back, he made matters worse (http://on.msnbc.com/2acRYPY).

* Caught in a plagiarism controversy yesterday, the Trump campaign couldn't keep its story straight. Today, it rolled out a brand new explanation for this mess (http://on.msnbc.com/29VQgTM).

* The Republican convention was supposed to focus on "Making America Work Again" last night. If only the GOP were still interested in the economy (http://on.msnbc.com/29TN75q).

* Donald Trump definitely wants to be elected president. He just hopes to avoid the work that goes along with being president (http://on.msnbc.com/29ZNUEL).

* Inviting Ben Carson to give a high-profile speech at the Republican Convention may have seemed like a good idea. Then he started talking about Lucifer (http://on.msnbc.com/29Lvub4).
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http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/us-politics/us-presidential-election-2016/winner

Odds in blue are shortening. Odds in pink are lengthening. The underlined odds in each row give the maximum return. The convention seems to be going Hillary's way.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, July 18, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Donald Trump believes he can reach the right decisions "with very little knowledge." This may help explain his limited appetite for reading -- which is eerily reminiscent of another recent Republican leader (http://on.msnbc.com/2a3VQmN).

* Presidential hopefuls have traditionally maintained the pretense that unity is preferable to division. After the murders in Baton Rouge, we were reminded that Trump wants something ... different (http://on.msnbc.com/29PnkwD).

* Trump has lied about his position on Iraq many times, but on "60 Minutes," he took his position to new, incoherent depths. In this case, the brazen dishonesty is only part of the story (http://on.msnbc.com/2ansVbX).

* Cleveland police want a temporary pause to existing law, which blocks toy guns, but allows real guns, at the Republican convention. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) gave the police his answer yesterday (http://on.msnbc.com/2anbQiu).

* An unsettling pattern is emerging: in the wake of tragic violence, John McCain will be there ... to tell everyone they should blame the United States' elected leaders (http://on.msnbc.com/2a5GFMt).

* The right-wing fringe often sees secret cultural messages and political propaganda in cartoons. As it turns out, so does Mike Pence, the Republican Party's vice presidential hopeful (http://on.msnbc.com/2aaUnxj).
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Reading good. Science good.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, July 14, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Imagine a scenario in which protesters outside the Republican convention are prohibited from carrying toy guns -- but real guns are fine. Except this isn't a joke; this is actual policy (http://on.msnbc.com/29V5APv).

* A striking new Hillary Clinton ad makes the case against Donald Trump in an elemental way: Would you be embarrassed to have your kids listen to him? (http://on.msnbc.com/29ylv8S)

* When an African-American Republican senator talks about being pulled over by police seven times in a year, he's challenging his party: Pay attention (http://on.msnbc.com/29LSKo7).

* For the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump promised celebrities, movie stars, and sports heroes. As of today, he's delivering ... something else (http://on.msnbc.com/29FGG3Y).

* On a related note, giving Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a prime-time slot seems like a very odd choice under the circumstances (http://on.msnbc.com/29LvLJG).

* Republicans did everything they could think of, included attempted sabotage, to derail the Iran nuclear deal. But exactly one year later, the agreement is working anyway (http://on.msnbc.com/29Ll3mo).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, July 28, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* In a contest over who really understands the heart of America, President Obama thinks he, not Donald Trump, has the stronger case. At the Democratic convention, Obama proved how right he is (http://on.msnbc.com/2aykSgU).

* Even veterans of Republican administrations were taken aback by Donald Trump's latest rhetoric towards Russia. Words and phrases like "very dangerous" and "appalling" stood out for a reason (http://on.msnbc.com/2ajnvRF).

* If Marco Rubio is convinced Trump can't be trusted with the nuclear codes and isn't prepared for the presidency, maybe he can do us a favor and explain why he still supports Trump's presidential campaign (http://on.msnbc.com/2aMYyvN).

* As a major-party nominee, Donald Trump will soon start receiving intelligence briefings. Democrats have an idea: Maybe that's not such a good idea with this guy (http://on.msnbc.com/2a2mf6b).

* Kansas' Republican governor and Republican legislature decided to launch an economic "experiment." It continues to fail spectacularly (http://on.msnbc.com/2adI5jx).

* Not in a generation has so much of the political mainstream felt compelled to say with striking clarity: "Wait. Stop. This is different. This isn't normal" (http://on.msnbc.com/2audwIf).
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Grayson is divorced from his second wife and has a new, third wife, as of May 31, 2016. It is the second wife, Lolita, who is making accusations, and with whom Grayson has five children. Grayson was not charged or arrested. There are no known cases of women lying in these "he say, she say" matters.

The national party's endorsement in the primary is invidious. How could it not have been so? Whose idea was it?

Murphy is a 33 year old empty suit, and not at all another Jack Kennedy. He is Goldman Sachs' favored candidate.

Rubio is a 45 year old empty suit. He was elected in 2010 as a 39 year old empty suit.

Dems' handling of the effort to retake the Senate has been astonishingly clumsy.

https://www.predictit.org/Browse/Group/54/Senate

As of this moment, it appears Marco Rubio has a slightly better chance than Evan Bayh of winning on Nov 8.

Charles Schumer has recently urged Grayson to drop out. Schumer is the US Senator from AIPAC and Wall Street.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, July 26, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* No speaker at the Democratic Convention made a more powerful indictment against Donald Trump than the First Lady ... and Michelle Obama did it without even saying his name (http://on.msnbc.com/2abFzww).

* For a while, questions about Donald Trump's tax returns faded -- but now they're back with a vengeance (http://on.msnbc.com/2auBtli).

* A theft at the DNC. Allegations of a scheme to help a Republican win a presidential race. After years of misplaced comparisons, we finally have a story that actually looks a bit like Watergate (http://on.msnbc.com/2aohySo).

* When his supporters were threatening to derail the Democratic convention, Bernie Sanders did something important: He stepped up and went in a unifying and constructive direction (http://on.msnbc.com/2a8E70v).

* On a related note, the Vermont senator has a candid message for his supporters who are inclined to boo and disrupt (http://on.msnbc.com/2atidVq).

* It's not enough to say that the Republican Party is dying. It's important to acknowledge and understand what's rising in the old GOP's place (http://on.msnbc.com/2a73ZWC).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, July 21, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* The Republicans' Mistake by the Lake has been burdened by a series of mistakes, many of them avoidable. But to understand why this convention has been a fiasco, note that the GOP's problems run deeper (http://on.msnbc.com/29ZIiqa).

* For the first time in a generation, a prominent political leader faced intense booing at his own party's national convention. A convention intended to heal old wounds? Thanks to Ted Cruz, those wounds have been ripped open anew (http://on.msnbc.com/2adsKnD).

* Ronald Reagan is known for having said the United States is a "shining city on a hill," offering hope to people around the globe. A generation later, Donald Trump has a new message, effectively declaring, "Actually, we stink" (http://on.msnbc.com/29WgNmu).

* Questions about Donald Trump's ties to Russia's Vladimir Putin are getting louder. Trump's "no comment" won't cut it (http://on.msnbc.com/2ajUkPF).

* Donald Trump is eager to silence the man who actually wrote Trump's book. Given what the ghostwriter learned about the candidate, we know exactly why Trump wants to shut him up (http://on.msnbc.com/2afnjBw).

* One of Donald Trump's advisers called for Hillary Clinton to be "put in the firing line and shot for treason." No should be surprised that the Secret Service has taken an interest (http://on.msnbc.com/29ZMo1m).
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Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Medusa?

http://www.salon.com/2016/07/22/dnc_emails_wasserman_schultz_furiously_pressured_msnbc_after_it_criticized_her_unfair_treatment_of_sanders/

Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Medusa?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa

Scroll down to "Modern Interpretations," Arnold Bocklin, circa 1878.

I actually was chattering with a neighbor within the last year, and said I had trouble looking at her.

There is also a much more flattering picture of her in Saturday's NY Times.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, July 19, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* For over a year, Trump World has insisted that Team Obama has nothing of value to offer. With Melania Trump stealing from Michelle Obama, that apparently wasn't true (http://on.msnbc.com/29VxGMw).

* On a related note, it was bad when Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama. It was worse when the Trump campaign tried to explain the problem away (http://on.msnbc.com/29L33WO).

* Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has been known for racially charged controversies before, but this new one is different. For King to talk about the superiority of white people's contributions to civilization takes matters to a new level (http://on.msnbc.com/2a5gMLg).

* Republicans are convinced Obama has destroyed the economy -- except where they live, where they think the economy's doing great. In fact, by Donald Trump's standards, Obama's economic record is an extraordinary success (http://on.msnbc.com/29StOaG).

* Major political parties probably shouldn't choose to deliberately take their national convention to "a very dark place." But that's what happens when the Republican obsession with Benghazi reaches an unhealthy level (http://on.msnbc.com/2ae4lOx).

* The United States is not some banana republic, where one party vows to lock up the leaders of the other. It's why Republican rhetoric about imprisoning Hillary Clinton is so important -- and alarming (http://on.msnbc.com/29WGWQQ).
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Obama and Biden today endorsed Kemala Harris for US Senate in California. Why? I thought she was supposed to win by some score like 51-10.

Meanwhile, from the Department of Apocrypha, there is a report that another Obama/Biden favorite, Patrick Murphy, endorsed banks, all banks, everywhere. He promised if elected, to make America a kinder, gentler place for banks and bankers without exception. He got all weepy when he started talking about how banks have been mistreated.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, July 14, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Quantifiably, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) has done something extraordinary: he's become the most far-right presidential running mate in modern American history (http://on.msnbc.com/29IUDA0).

* If Team Trump intends to govern the way it's run this campaign, Americans may be in a lot of trouble. Just look at how the Mike Pence roll-out has unfolded. Has anything gone right? (http://on.msnbc.com/29X8rea)

* Corporate sponsors want nothing to do with Donald Trump -- which leaves the Republican National Convention in need of a fast, massive bailout (http://on.msnbc.com/29DlLPA).

* A Republican senator insisted yesterday, hilariously, that confirming judicial nominees has "nothing to do with doing our jobs." Elizabeth Warren's response to her colleague was ... perfect (http://on.msnbc.com/29DX3hQ).

* In the wake of an attack that killed 84 people in Nice, France, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich held a competition of sorts to see who could respond to the violence in the most ridiculous way (http://on.msnbc.com/29V3T50).

* And say goodbye to the GOP's organized "Never Trump" contingent: its plan to derail the nominee at the Republican Convention is, as of now, a bust (http://on.msnbc.com/29W8BSS).
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http://voteview.com/HOUSE_SORT113.html

Using the same site you did to measure Mike Pence, I find that in the 113th Congress, which wrapped up at the end of 2014, Alan Grayson was the 99th most liberal Dem in the House, while Patrick Murphy was the 199th most liberal Dem in the House.  There were 204 Dems in the House in the 113th Congress.

Congrats to Obama, Biden, Reid for the outstanding job they did trying to influence the Senate Dem primary and Senate general election in FL. If they were trying to lose, that is. They should double down on Murphy and reelect Rubio and keep the Senate GOPer majority. I've gotta believe Rubio relishes the idea of running against Murphy and entered the race because he thought establishment Dems would nominate Murphy. I think Dems will waste lots of money in FL and fail to elect Murphy, who is slightly more liberal and slightly less of a dunderhead than Rubio.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, July 13, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Donald Trump was asked for his response to African Americans who believe they're treated unfairly. If a normal candidate in a normal year gave his response, his campaign would be in big trouble (http://on.msnbc.com/29CPbmg).

* The Speaker of the House is disappointed that Democrats "have moved far, far, far to the left." Paul Ryan doesn't seem to realize how truly hilarious is whining really is (http://on.msnbc.com/2a9FKXC).

* New polling in the 2016 presidential race points to a contest at a curious crossroad (http://on.msnbc.com/29DUIJE).

* Donald Trump should have plenty to occupy his time right now -- but he's suddenly focused on taking a former staffer to court. If he ran a White House the way he runs a campaign, we'd all be in a lot of trouble (http://on.msnbc.com/29EuEIN).

* The Zika virus threat is becoming more serious, which makes the latest partisan games from congressional Republicans more alarming (http://on.msnbc.com/29EiD8N).

* The Republican Party's national platform felt compelled to change references to "illegal immigrants" to "illegal aliens" -- just to be as antagonistic as possible (http://on.msnbc.com/29BWbKg).
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Have him in circles
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Work
Employment
  • MSNBC
    Producer, The Rachel Maddow Show, 2012 - present
  • Washington Monthly
    Contributing Writer, 2008 - 2012
  • The Carpetbagger Report
    Founder, Publisher, 2003 - 2008
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
    Communications Department, 1997 - 2002
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Currently
Essex Junction, Vermont
Previously
Washington, DC - Miami, FL
Story
Tagline
Campaign-covering, chart-making, policy-wonking progressive blogger/reporter/commentator for MSNBC
Introduction

Before joining MSNBC, I was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the "Political Animal" blog. I've also written for a variety of other publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. My blogging career started in February 2003 with the launch of The Carpetbagger Report.

Bragging rights
In July 2009, The Atlantic named me one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. (I finished one slot above Lou Dobbs, which made the honor that much more satisfying.)
Education
  • George Washington University
    1996
Basic Information
Gender
Male