Patrick Caldwell


Patrick Caldwell is a reporter in Mother Jones' DC bureau. Previously, he covered domestic politics for The American Prospect and elections for the American Independent. His work has also appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, and the Washington Independent. Email any and all tips to pcaldwell [at] motherjones [dot] com. Follow his tweets at @patcaldwell.

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Patrick Caldwell is a reporter in Mother Jones’ DC bureau. Previously, he covered all things domestic politics for The American Prospect and elections for The American Independent. His work has also appeared in The NationThe New Republic, and The Washington Independent. E-mail any and all tips to pcaldwell [at] motherjones [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter at @patcaldwell.

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Donald Trump Doesn’t Know Foreign Groups Because They’re Just “Arab Name, Arab Name”

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 9:55 PM EDT

During Wednesday's GOP presidential debate, Donald Trump—the Republican who's still running laps around the competition in the polls—faced a seemingly tough question from moderator Jake Tapper: can he really serve as an effective president when he can't name or even recognize many foreign leaders and groups?

The question stems from Trump's appearance earlier this month on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, in which he confused Iran's Quds Force, a special forces unit within the country's Revolutionary Guard, with the Kurds in Iraq.

Tapper framed the question around Sen. Marco Rubio's recent criticism of Trump over the gaffe. "If you don't know the answer to these questions, then you are not going to be able to serve as commander and chief," Rubio said earlier this month.

How'd Trump deal with Tapper's question? After all, confusing and mispronouncing foreign names was a standard criticism that dogged George W. Bush throughout his presidency. But Trump? Nah, he's not worried. First, he boasted about how Hewitt—a co-moderator of the CNN debate—had since apologized and said that "Donald Trump is maybe the best interview anywhere that he's ever done."

"I will say this though," Trump continued, "Hugh was giving me name after name—Arab name, Arab name, Arab—and there are few people anywhere, ANYWHERE, that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet."

Oy vey.

Sanders Leads Clinton in Iowa in New Poll

| Thu Sep. 10, 2015 12:24 PM EDT
Bernie Sanders in Grinnell, Iowa, last week.

Bernie Sanders is steadily creeping ahead of Hillary Clinton in the early nomination states. The Vermont senator has led Clinton, the presumed front-runner, in the past few polls in New Hampshire, posting a 9-point lead in an NBC/Marist poll from last weekend. Now, a new poll shows Sanders leading Clinton for the first time in Iowa, albeit by a narrow margin.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday finds 41 percent of likely Iowa caucus voters supporting Sanders, with Clinton right behind him at 40 percent—still well within the poll's margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. Quinnipiac's numbers weren't too encouraging for Vice President Joe Biden, who had just 12 percent support in Iowa, a state that doomed his last presidential campaign.

Sanders has invested heavily in the earliest caucus and primary states, banking on a string of early victories to transform him from novelty challenger to legit contender. His campaign currently has 53 field organizers in 15 offices in Iowa. Clinton, in turn, bumped up her number of paid organizers last week from 47 to 78.

Even if Clinton trails in the first two states in the nomination process, she's still crushing Sanders in national polls. RealClearPolitics' average of national polls puts Clinton ahead of Sanders by a whopping 25 percent. Sanders isn't even the second choice of national Democrats, with Biden pulling in 22 percent to Sanders' 20 percent in the most recent nationwide poll, released by Monmouth University earlier this week.

Still, Clinton's struggles in Iowa and New Hampshire must be troubling to the front-runner. No presidential candidate has won either party's overall nomination after losing Iowa and New Hampshire since...Bill Clinton in 1992.

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