<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - First Read]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/first-read-dmv http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usSun, 28 Aug 2016 17:06:56 -0400Sun, 28 Aug 2016 17:06:56 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: A Trump Crowd Up Close]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 05:58:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-594346194.jpg

Your Notebook traveled to Fredericksburg, Va., on Saturday for the Donald Trump rally at its Expo Center.

Fortunately, NBC4 cameraman/editor Evan Carr did all the driving. And fortunately, we were in the free-flowing toll lanes going and returning. Even on a Saturday, regular lanes on I-395 and I-95 were horrific displays of Northern Virginia’s biggest problem: traffic jams.

And also fortunately, the rally site in Fredericksburg was next door to a Wegmans grocery. Before covering the rally crowd, we had lunch at Wegmans. It was my first-ever Wegmans experience. Wandering around part of the store (too big to see it all), I understood why neighbors of the old Walter Reed site in the District are upset Wegmans has essentially pulled out of the planned redevelopment there.

The grocer told the Washington Business Journal and NBC4 last week that it couldn’t reach an agreement with developers of the site. But it also told NBC4 that the city’s new $15 minimum wage law, proposed regulations of part-time worker scheduling and possible paid family leave were factors in its decision.

Mayor Muriel Bowser told us Friday on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour that she wasn’t giving up on Wegmans just yet. The Walter Reed site is about 66 acres of land where a whole new community is slated to be built. And now we are Wegmans supporters, too. Good luck, mayor!

Oh, wait. We were writing about the Trump rally.

It attracted several thousand people. The first person in line told us he arrived at 6:30 a.m. for the 6 p.m. rally.

While there have been many reports of angry Trump crowds cursing and yelling at the news media and its alleged bias, we had none of that on Saturday. Your Notebook, who was both outside and inside the rally and was wearing a media badge, encountered not one angry person. Not one.

We did meet many people who are concerned about the direction of their country and told us only Trump understands them. Whatever their political hopes and fears, it was nice to talk to politically involved people who seemed to appreciate being asked what they thought.

■ “Virginia is lost.” Despite Trump’s raucous rally, the polls show the Republican nominee more than 10 points behind Hillary Clinton in Virginia. She recently postponed her local television ads because she is ahead. Trump this weekend put up his first TV ads in four battleground states. Virginia was not one of them.

On Monday morning, conservative radio host and MSNBC political analyst Hugh Hewitt described the political playing field and said simply, “Virginia is lost.”

As we said on NBC4 Saturday, for this election Virginia may no longer be a battleground state.

■ Presidential outcomes. Many Democrats are (unwisely) talking landslide on Nov. 8. Here is a cool New York Times electoral map looking back to 1964: tinyurl.com/NYT-electoral-history.

■ Bongino’s #%!%#* world. Maryland voters may be interested in an extraordinary telephone call involving former Republican candidate Dan Bongino.

The former Secret Service agent and author, who lost races for the Senate and the House in Maryland, is in a Naples-area congressional seat primary in Florida this Tuesday.

When Politico reporter Marc Caputo called Bongino on Sunday about Bongino’s criticism of a newspaper story, the conversation quickly went downhill. Just know that The Current can’t print any of the salty words Bongino used.

If you want to listen yourself, you can visit tinyurl.com/bongino-youtube — but again, you are forewarned of its extremely foul language.

■ Progress at DCRA. Mayor Bowser spent much of last week hunkered down in what many see as the most frustrating agency in town, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

We don’t know what improvements Bowser will come up with, but the agency itself has some good news this week for anyone applying for or renewing a basic business license. You can do it online.

The mayor is due to appear at The Coupe in Columbia Heights on Thursday to promote the online application process.

Agency director Melinda Bolling told the Notebook on Monday, “The Portal is going to simplify the licensing process for businesses. By using the portal and skipping a trip to DCRA, business owners can spend the time saved to work with staff or customers — or just to take some time to recharge.”

During Thursday’s event, the restaurant/bar will renew its business license online.

The regulatory affairs department always draws a huge crowd at D.C. Council oversight hearings. The agency has supplanted the Department of Motor Vehicles and — almost — parking tickets as the major topic of scorn.

Anything that improves the experience there can mean only good things for individuals and businesses that provide services, jobs and tax revenue.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jaffe: 'Serial Campaign Corrupter' Thompson Got Off Too Easy]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 18:27:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jeffrey+Thompson+file.jpg

Harry Jaffe, a longtime chronicler of the people and politics of Washington, D.C., writes an occasional column for NBC Washington's First Read DMV blog.

Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly refused to take the deal prosecutors made with serial campaign corruptor Jeffrey Thompson. They wanted to let him saunter off with no jail time. Judge said nope.

In a surprise move Monday morning, Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Thompson to three months in prison. And three months home confinement with three years probation.

Judges usually follow recommendations from the prosecutors and accept the deal. This judge, who had been on the bench for this case since 2012, was too grossed out.

“He was the leader, organizer and mastermind of this conspiracy,” she said Monday.

Still, in my book, Jeff Thompson is getting off way too easy.

For injecting more than $3.3 million in dirty cash into campaigns from Texas to the District, for running a shadow campaign that helped wreck Vince Gray’s 2014 mayoral reelection, for luring scores of Washingtonians to launder cash for his illegal schemes, Jeff Thompson will spend a few months in a posh federal prison and another three at home. That’s a gift.

The back story of Thompson’s illegal activities highlights at least two unjust aspects in our criminal justice system: money can buy you a light sentence; and plea deals can turn out to be rotten for all concerned.

When it comes to corruption, the District is no Philly, or Chicago or New York. Call it corruption light. Back in the day, Marion Barry’s political advisor Ivanhoe Donaldson pleaded guilty to embezzling $190,000 in city funds. In 2003 teacher’s union president Barbara Bullock pleaded guilty to looting $5 million from union funds. Harriette Walters was nabbed in in 2009 for pocketing almost $50 million in taxes she was supposed to be collecting. And former council member Harry Thomas Jr., was forced to resign and pleaded guilty to stealing $350,000 from public funds meant for teaching sports to D.C. children.

All served time.

Now we come to Jeff Thompson. A Jamaican immigrant, he learned and labored and networked his way to become president of Chartered Health, a health care consulting firm that was reaping more than $300 million in District government funds by 2012. He lavished money on friends and politicians, partied hard and spread his domain into the Clinton White House. But when Adrian Fenty ran for mayor in 2006, Thompson feared the new regime would threaten his contracts. He didn’t control Fenty, so he set about to neutralize him.

Here’s a list of just a few of Thompson’s schemes detailed in a plea agreement filed in March 2014.


  • He gave $278,000 in unreported cash to former city council chairman Linda Cropp’s campaign to defeat Fenty in 2006. Cropp has said she was unaware of the illegal contributions.

  • In 2008 he put $600,000 in unreported cash into Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign against Barack Obama to drum up votes in Texas. Minyan Moore, the Clinton aide who dealt with Thompson, has said she was “entirely unaware” of any inappropriate activities.

  • He served up a $200,000 contract to former council member Michael Brown to drop out of the 2006 mayoral race. Brown never denied receiving the contract or working with Thompson; Brown pleaded guilty to bribery and is now in prison.

  • To defeat Fenty in 2010, Thompson funded a “shadow campaign” on behalf of council chair Vincent Gray with $650,000 under the table.


In all, Thompson pleaded guilty in 2014 to funneling upwards of $3.3 million in illegal contributions to local and national campaigns over the past decade. In court documents prosecutors noted that Thompson had asked public relations executive Jeanne Clarke Harris, who handled the illegal cash, to alter documents and even leave the country to avoid investigation. That adds up to obstruction of justice, but prosecutors declined to charge him.

Particularly galling for many Washingtonians is that Jeff Thompson salted away millions from contracts to make sure Medicaid recipients received health care, then he used some of those profits to corrupt the political system to preserve his cozy contracts.

How did Thompson emerge with such a sweet deal?

First, he hired Brendan Sullivan, one of the District’s best and most costly white-collar defense attorneys. His firm, Williams & Connolly, charges in the neighborhood of $1,000 an hour. But it paid off, because Sullivan and his assistants drove a hard bargain: Thompson would cooperate and testify that Gray knew of the illegal scheme, if he served no jail time, according to lawyers familiar with the case.

Second, the federal prosecutors were vulnerable and easily pressured into a bad deal.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen vowed to prosecute public corruption, and he notched successes. In addition to Harry Thomas, Jr., he forced former council chair Kwame Brown and Michael Brown to plead to federal crimes. Investigating the 2010 “shadow campaign,” he got guilty pleas from six of Vince Gray’s closes aides.

But Machen, a competitive former athlete, was bent on bagging the biggest game: Mayor Gray.

In face of massive public and legal pressure, Gray maintained he knew nothing of the illegal funding scheme. His defense attorney, Robert Bennett, was Brendan Sullivan’s equal. Working for a reduced fee, Bennett told me he advised Gray to decline talking to federal investigators. In public, Gray simply said he was innocent.

One by one, Machen got guilty pleas from Gray’s close campaign aides: Thomas Gore and Howard Brooks, then Jeannie Clarke Harris and Vernon Hawkins. But not one would implicate Gray with enough evidence to stand up in court proving that the mayor knew of the scam.

Which forced Machen to rest his case against Vince Gray on Jeff Thompson, the serial corruptor. It was the legal equivalent of stacking a 1,000-page brief on the head of a pin. Thompson was not the best of witnesses. Aspects of his personal life invited scrutiny and might compromise his trustworthiness. His expansive history of corrupting campaigns would be hard for jurors to swallow.

“I cannot wait to cross examine Jeff Thompson,” Bob Bennett told me in the midst of the case.

Federal prosecutors called Bennett in to offer Gray a deal: Would the mayor plead guilty to a misdemeanor in exchange for ending the investigation? No way, Gray and Bennett responded, Bennett told me.

His hand forced, Machen agreed to let Thompson plead to two counts and serve six months, in home confinement. He made a so-called deal with the devil: Thompson agrees to implicate Gray and get off, virtually free, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Meanwhile, Gray’s re-election was approaching in the spring of 2014. Machen had to make a move: Bring Jeff Thompson to court before the primary election and hint at Gray’s involvement in the scam, which would mortally wound him. Or wait until after the election, and be blamed for not coming forth earlier. Machen maintained his hands were tied, and politics never influenced his decision to go public with Thompson’s charges.

Machen decided to charge Thompson in March 2014, three weeks before the decisive Democratic primary. Thompson owned up to his corrupt practices in open court. The judge forced prosecutors to name Gray as a willing and knowing participant in the shadow campaign. Without being charged, and without his day in court, Vince Gray was deemed guilty by many voters.


A wounded Mayor Gray lost the election to Muriel Bowser in April 2014.

Ron Machen left office in 2015 and returned to private practice.

Incoming U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips dropped the investigation against Gray in 2015.

And on Monday, Jeff Thompson got it over on us once again.

Yes, he’s suffered. He’s lost his company and his contracts. He’s had to pay Brendan Sullivan’s firm millions. Many now see him as a villain. And thanks to Judge Kollar-Kotelly, he will serve a few months behind bars.

In the end, justice was not served. The political process was corrupted by over-zealous prosecutors. And a bad guy got off easy.

“The kingpin, the orchestrator, they have agreed to a devil’s bargain with him so he can sit home and drink champagne,” said Charles Wagner, a lawyer for Gray’s driver, who was forced to serve time as part of his plea deal in the case. “They give him a pass.”

And that’s simply not just.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Family: Marion Christopher Barry Dies at 36]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 05:30:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/2016-08-14_0705.png

Marion Christopher Barry, son of the late D.C. mayor, has died after a drug overdose, family members told News4's Tom Sherwood.

Sherwood first reported the story on Twitter just before 6 a.m. Sunday. He said Barry had struggled with drug use and ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 8 Council seat in 2015 after his father, former Mayor Marion Barry, died.

Christopher Barry, 36, was the son of Marion and Effi Barry.

According to a police report, the person who reported Christopher Barry's death said Barry went outside about 12:10 a.m. Sunday to smoke K-2 and PCP. When he returned, Barry was "'acting crazy/different' and then he suddenly 'dropped.'"

Barry was found unconscious and unrepsonsive. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a couple hours later, the report said.

Cora Masters Barry, wife of the former mayor, issued a statement on Sunday.

"Christopher's sudden death has been devastating news to me. My heart is broken. I am in shock. The news of his death is beyond comprehension.

"I would like to thank everyone for their concern and support. I would also like to send my condolences to Mrs. Polly Lee Harris, Christopher's grandmother, for the loss of her only grandchild.

"Please understand that I will not be making any further statements at this time."

Community leaders and friends of Barry gathered to remember him Sunday night in Southeast.

Some said despite Barry's personal struggles, he was always fighting for his community.

"Through him I saw strength, I saw vulnerability. I saw the type of heart that creates a community," one man said at the vigil.

Marion Barry was mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1979 to 1991 and 1995 to 1999. He also served on the Council of the District of Columbia for three terms, one as an at-large member and two serving Ward 8.

His prominance as mayor and a civil rights leader changed after he was videotaped and arrested by the FBI on crack cocaine charges in 1990.

The former mayor always hoped his son would follow in his political footsteps, but Sherwood said Christopher Barry never seemed to warm up to the public spotlight like his father. Christopher Barry's bid for a Ward 8 seat, running as Marion C. Barry, fell short in 2015, coming in sixth place.

Christopher Barry also had his share of problems with the law, starting in 2005 with a misdemeanor assault charge for resisting arrest. He also faced drug-related charges in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Effi Barry died of leukemia in 2007. Cora Masters Barry, widow of Marion Barry, confirmed to Sherwood that Christopher Barry died.

A News4 I-Team investigation found that synthetic drug overdoses, including overdoses on K-2, accounted for 10-times more EMS calls than heart attacks in D.C.

<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: A Gold Star Smudge…]]> Wed, 03 Aug 2016 05:33:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2016-GettyImages-584274482.jpg

Your Notebook remembers Vacation Bible School and our weekly Sunday School. We remember aspects of our early elementary education.

And we remember all the gold stars, those tiny, shiny, sticky, glistening rewards given for attendance, achievement or a particular project well done.

But the fact is, your Notebook didn’t earn many of those stars. We kinda wanted to earn them, as we recall, but we rarely measured up.

We hadn’t thought about Gold Stars until recently. And we mean real gold stars — not the ones given for encouragement, but those given for sacrifice.

It is too early to tell, but Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan have given to the nation new meaning to those gold stars.

You would have to be living in isolation to have missed the uproar over Republican nominee Donald Trump’s disdainful dismissal of the Khan parents. Their Muslim son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq in 2004, fighting for the country he and his parents so proudly embraced.

The elder Khan’s seven-minute speech without teleprompter at the Democratic National Convention, his wife standing by his side, has electrified much of the nation. Khan scolded Trump for his lumping of all Muslims as potential terrorists. Trump responded by denigrating the mother for not speaking, suggesting she was not allowed to do so.

Ghazala Khan has since written that the pain of her son’s death even now left her uncertain whether she could even speak in public about the loss, particularly with his photograph emblazoned on a screen behind the couple.

And in her follow-up Washington Post commentary, she wrote, “Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.”

Although she could not speak with her broken heart, she conveyed her thoughts clearly in words.

“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family.”

That’s right: Ghazala Khan is a Gold Star Mother.

The official organization, The Gold Star Mothers, Inc., is located right here in the District. The organization is nonpartisan. It is named after the ritual of putting a gold star in the window of a family whose son had died in war.

“We are a Veterans Service Organization, established in 1928 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1984,” its website reads. “American Gold Star Mothers continue to honor our sons and daughters through service — service to veterans and patriotic events. If you have lost a child in the service to our country and would like the community of others in your situation, we invite you to join. No one knows how you feel like another mother who has lost a child.”

Few also would know how it feels to be a Gold Star family held up to insult by a major party’s candidate for president.

We can only wonder what will be discussed when the American Gold Star Mothers hold their annual weekend here Sept. 23.

Candy Martin of San Antonio is the current president of the group that was founded by distraught mother Grace Darling Seibold. She wanted to turn her personal grief into help and recognition for families that had lost a child to war. Families are casualties, too.

In her acceptance speech posted on the group’s website, Martin asked for a favor from all Americans. While many people spontaneously say to veterans and servicemen, “Thank you for your service,” Martin had a different request.

“Reach out! Please extend your hand of friendship to a fellow Gold Star Mother,” she said. “We all know there are thousands of Gold Star Mothers, and I find it sad that not everyone feels the camaraderie we do with our membership in American Gold Star Mothers. Just think of the possibilities of outreach to our veterans and their families if we had more active members.”

Perhaps Trump can call a truce on this subject. Accused by many of megalomania, he has doubled down on never apologizing, hitting back harder than he has been hit. Trump himself has cast the world and this presidential race as either winners or losers.

Surely, the members of Gold Star Mothers of America, no matter their heritage, are deserving of respect for their searing loss of sons and daughters. That’s not political; that’s decency.

The Gold Star organization can be reached at goldstarmoms.com. Its offices are located off Connecticut Avenue NW just north of Dupont Circle. Volunteers are welcome.

■ Sour Orange? At-large D.C. Council member Vincent Orange was defeated for re-election. His term expires Jan. 2, 2017, five months from now.

Orange has created a growing firestorm over accepting a new job as head of the DC Chamber of Commerce, a position from which he will lobby for the organization’s many members. Orange told us his new job starts Aug. 15. He says he’s checking with city and council ethics lawyers to avoid any conflicts.

But what may be legally permissible — holding an elected post and a private job as business lobbyist — may be untenable politically.

On the WAMU Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour last Friday, at-large members Elissa Silverman and David Grosso both questioned Orange’s decision. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has to decide if Orange should even keep his chairmanship of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

It would seem the mere name of the committee suggests a rampant conflict.

What will Orange do? What will the council members do? What will Mendelson do? Nothing may not be an option.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Army Vet Gives Trump Replica Purple Heart]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 23:55:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015640528_1200x675_737092675542.jpg An Army veteran who supports Donald Trump gave the presidential candidate a replica of his Purple Heart at a rally in Virginia. Julie Carey reports.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Touts His Personal Connection to Loudoun County]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 19:37:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015638466_1200x675_736942147873.jpg Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey attended a Donald Trump rally in Ashburn, Virginia.]]> <![CDATA[Hillary Clinton to Speak at NABJ-NAHJ Convention ]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 15:47:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-584451814.jpg

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will speak in Washington, D.C., this week at a convention for journalists of color.

Clinton is scheduled to appear at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joint convention on Friday. 

The event is closed to the public.

“It is notable that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has recognized the 2016 NABJ-NAHJ Convention as a vital gathering to discuss her platform and the issues impacting black and Latino communities,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover, who is an NBC Universal employee. 

Donald Trump also was invited to speak at the conference, an NABJ representative told NBC News. 

President Barack Obama, Bob Dole and Al Gore attended the convention when they were presidential nominees. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Olympic Games Begin]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:33:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

Rio Olympics get under way, Clinton and Trump begin their stretch-run battle, fresh employment numbers are released -- and Bradleigh breaks down the Atlantic City bailout.

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<![CDATA[Tim Kaine Dad Jokes Take Twitter by Storm]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:01:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16210125790685.jpg

The Democratic Party may be losing the beloved goofiness of "Uncle" Joe Biden, but they could be gaining a new cult hero.

Tim Kaine, who was tapped by Hillary Clinton as her running mate, introduced himself to the Democratic Party at large Wednesday night at their national convention. And upon doing so, he struck a chord with many for what they interpreted as his ability to crack a corny dad joke.

"We all should feel the Bern. And we should all not want to get burned by the other guy," Kaine said.

Kaine, a dad of three kids, also attempted an impression of Donald Trump, repeating "believe me" a popular line from Trump's stump speeches.

"It’s gonna be great—believe me!" We’re gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it—believe me! We’re gonna destroy ISIS so fast—believe me! There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns—believe me! By the way, does anyone here believe that Donald Trump’s been paying his fair share of taxes?"

Many to took to Twitter to offer their commentary on Kaine's dad humor:

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Trump Bashes Kaine Ahead of DNC Speech]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:02:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015570362_1200x675_733445699700.jpg During an almost hour-long press conference, Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine. But the vice presidential hopeful had a few words of his own for the GOP nominee. News4's Aaron Gilchrist reports.]]> <![CDATA[Kaine Reveals the Moment He Got 'the Call' From Clinton]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:20:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015569592_1200x675_733401667747.jpg Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on Tim Kaine's breakfast with the Virginia delegation.]]> <![CDATA[Sen. Kaine's Wife Anne Holton Joins Campaign]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:16:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015569059_1200x675_733382211707.jpg Hillary Clinton's campaign has plans for her running mate's wife, Anne Holton. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports.]]> <![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Joins These 13 Historic Female 'Firsts']]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 04:53:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20160727+elizabeth+blackwwell+victoria+woodhull+first+women.jpg

Tuesday marked a historic moment as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. Clinton joined good company when she claimed the "first" title. Here are 13 powerful women who chipped away at the glass ceiling by achieving historic firsts.

Computer Scientist: Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is considered to be the first female computer scientist. She worked with close friend Charles Babbage on plans for a computing machine in 1834 — they were some of the first people to come up with the concept.

Editor of Major U.S. Newspaper: Cornelia Walter became the first woman to serve as editor of a major U.S. newspaper when she took over as editor of the Boston Transcript in 1842. She was 27 at the time.

American Doctor: In 1849, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to get a medical degree at an American university.

American Lawyer: Arabella Mansfield of Iowa became the first woman officially recognized as a lawyer in the United States when she passed the bar exam in 1869. Although she did not go on to practice law, she taught at several colleges.

Presidential Candidate: Though she received no electoral votes, Victoria Woodhull ran for president in 1872 as the People's Party candidate — nearly 50 years before women could even vote. She was jailed on Election Day on obscenity charges.

Prime Minister: Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first female prime minister or president of a country when she was elected as prime minister of Sri Lanka in 1960.

In Space: Valentaina Tereshkova was the first woman to fly in space when Russia's Vostok 6 launched June 16, 1963. Almost exactly 20 years later, Sally Ride became the first American woman to accomplish the feat when the Challenger launched June 18, 1983.

CEO of Fortune 500 Company: Serving as CEO of The Washington Post from 1963 to 1991, Katharine Graham was the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 Company.

Boston Marathon Runner: When Bobbi Gibb's 1966 application to run the Boston Marathon was rejected because she was a woman, she decided to join in anyway. After sneaking into the starting gate, she ran the marathon in 3:21:40.

Military Academy Graduate: Andrea Hollen was the first of 62 women to graduate from West Point University in the class of 1980. She also received a Rhodes scholarship.

Oscar-Winning Director: Winning an Oscar in 2010 for "The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards. She was the fourth woman to be nominated for that award.

Head of Major U.S. Sports Magazine: ESPN hired Alison Overholt to be editor of ESPN The Magazine in January, making her the first woman to lead a major American sports magazine.

SEAL Candidates: In light of the recent law change that allows women to serve in more combat military roles, the first female SEAL candidates could start training in late August, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. That means a female Navy SEAL could be just a couple of years away.

Photo Credit: National Library of Medicine / Mathew Brady, Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: GOP Convention Rocks Cleveland]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:35:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Republican National Convention kicks off, Hillary hits the campaign trail, a Vietnam War hero receives the Medal of Honor -- and Bradleigh breaks down the White House Global Development Summit.

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<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Democrats Gather in Philadelphia]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:36:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Democratic Convention nominates Hillary, President Obama makes the case for Clinton -- and Bradleigh breaks down the Federal Reserve interest rate decision.

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<![CDATA[DC Statehood Advocates Hope for Boost at DNC]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:32:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015556997_1200x675_732670019505.jpg Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the push for D.C. statehood at the Democratic National Convention.]]> <![CDATA[Tim Kaine's Left Eyebrow Is Capturing Attention]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:37:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/072616+tim+kaine+eyebrow+button.jpg

As Virginia delegates root for Sen. Tim Kaine at the Democratic National Convention, they also are poking good-natured fun at a distinctive part of his face -- his left eyebrow.

Virginia delegates cheered on the senator carrying vivid orange signs bearing a smiley face with the left eyebrow cocked, just like Kaine's.

Delegate Vivian Paige explained.

"Tim Kaine gave us these in 2008, at the convention. He was governor at that point," she said.

Kaine's eyebrow first rose to national prominence in 2006, when the newly sworn-in governor delivered the State of the Union response. His arched eyebrow grabbed attention. Not all of it was positive. 

"... That eyebrow is too distracting for the party to ever put him on national television again," political blogger Brendan Nyhan commented at the time.

His fans in Virginia said they have observed the eyebrow over the years.

"When he talks, his little eyebrow goes up on one side, so it's a little joke, but he goes along with it. He loves it. He's a good guy," delegate Susan Rowland said.

Kaine himself made the first buttons with the arched eyebrow smiley face, passing them out to Virginia delegates when he spoke at the 2008 convention.

"He's a fun-loving, down-to-earth, everybody-loves-him kind of guy," Paige said. "So, this is him poking fun at himself, and he's pretty good at that."

At the convention this week, delegates may find their vintage buttons now are a hot commodity. But Paige says she will not give hers up.

"Let's just say I would make a few bucks if I wanted to sell it. But I'm not about to sell it. Not now," she said.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: DNC Day 1]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-580950636-rnc.jpg

The 2016 Democratic National Convention is underway, and the factual inaccuracies on the first night focused on income, college tuition and something the Republican ticket had said or done.

  • Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” But all income levels would get some tax relief under Trump’s plan.
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy wrongly claimed that Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses.” The law said aborted or miscarried fetuses “must be cremated or interred” by the hospital or abortion facility.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton “will guarantee” free tuition at public colleges or universities for families with annual incomes of $125,000 or less. But free tuition is not guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for the students to receive free tuition.
  • Sens. Casey and Kirsten Gillibrand both claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high.” Trump was specifically talking about a $15 minimum wage when he made that comment, not wages overall.
  • Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” a statistic that has been questioned by economists at the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income,” but economists whose work Sanders has cited put the figure at 52 percent for 1993 to 2015.
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren said wages were “flat.” Wages plunged in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently have showed strong growth.

Note to Readers

This story was written with the help of the entire staff, including some of those based in Philadelphia who are at the convention site. As we did for the Republican National Convention, we intend to vet the major speeches at the Democratic National Convention for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.


Trump’s Tax Plan

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” The wealthiest Americans would receive the largest tax cuts under Trump’s tax plan, but everyone would get some tax relief. Middle-income Americans would receive average tax cuts of about $2,700 in 2017 under Trump’s plan, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center.

Trump’s plan would, among other things, consolidate the current seven income tax brackets into four, with a top marginal rate of 25 percent (it’s currently 39.6 percent).

According to an analysis of the plan by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Trump’s proposal would “reduce taxes throughout the income distribution.” Nonetheless, the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest Americans, in both raw dollars and as a percentage of income, the Tax Policy Center found. The top 1 percent, for example, would get an average tax cut of more than $275,000 (about 17.5 percent of after-tax income) in 2017.

But middle-income people would see a tax cut, too. “Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of about $2,700,or about 5 percent of after-tax income,” the Tax Policy Center concluded.

An analysis by the Tax Foundation reached a similar conclusion — the biggest gains in after-tax income would accrue to the wealthiest taxpayers under Trump’s proposal. But the plan “would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.”

The Tax Foundation analyzed the plan’s impact with (dynamic) and without (static) taking into account the expected effect on the economy. On a static basis, middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 80th percentiles — would see an increase in their after-tax adjusted gross income of between 3 percent and 8.3 percent. Taking into account the positive effects on the economy that the tax cuts could be expected to stimulate, the Tax Foundation found middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 70th percentiles — would see a nearly 20 percent increase in after-tax adjusted gross income.

The Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue under Trump’s plan — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years. One could argue that such large tax cuts might lead to spending cuts that disproportionately affect middle-income taxpayers. But Trump has not been specific about where he would begin making spending cuts.

Funerals for Miscarriages?

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy claimed that GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses, even in some cases, for a miscarriage.” That’s not so.

The controversial anti-abortion bill Malloy referred to, which Indiana Gov. Pence signed into law March 24, contained a provision stating that an aborted or miscarried fetus “must be cremated or interred,” and that the hospital or abortion facility (not the mother, as Malloy suggested) is responsible for the disposition.

Some have characterized this as fetuses receiving “what amounts to a funeral.” But that’s incorrect.

The word “funeral” refers to a ceremony, not to the burial or cremation that follows. For example, Dictionary.com defines “funeral” as “the ceremonies for a dead person prior to burial or cremation.” (Emphasis added is ours.)

And in fact, the Indiana law required no funeral ceremony. It even specified that the parents would not be required to provide a name for the fetus. A federal judge blocked the law from going into effect late last month.

Clinton’s Tuition Plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition at in-state public colleges or universities for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. But free tuition would not be guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for free tuition.

Also, the free-tuition plan would be phased in and not available to families earning as much as $125,000 until 2021.

Sanders mentioned the free-tuition plan in his speech as an example of how Clinton has adopted some of his ideas for the general election in a show of unity after the contentious primary.

Sanders: During the primary campaign, Secretary Clinton and I both focused on [college debt] but with different approaches. Recently, however, we have come together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83 percent of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free.

Clinton announced her plan on July 6, but her plan calls for states to “step up and invest in higher education.” The New York Times wrote that “the federal government would provide tuition grants to states that agree to put up some matching money.”

The paper noted that “some experts said details of the initiative — including exactly how it would work and be paid for — were sketchy, and raised concerns that some states would decline to contribute money.”

More recently, Times columnist Kevin Carey wrote, “States will be able to opt out of the Clinton plan, just as a significant number have chosen not to accept large federal subsidies to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”

Also, free tuition would be gradually phased in, beginning with families earning $85,000 or less. “By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities,” Clinton’s plan says.

So Sanders overstates the impact of Clinton’s plan when he says it “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. Actually, the plan “could eventually provide free in-state tuition to eligible students,” as the Times writes.

Trump on Wages

Two speakers claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high” in the United States. Not exactly. Trump said that in response to a question about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sen. Casey said that Trump said, “Wages in America, quote, are too high,” and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York repeated the talking point, saying, “Donald Trump actually stood on a debate stage and said that wages are ‘too high.’”

At a Nov. 10, 2015, debate hosted by Fox Business Network, Trump was asked if he was “sympathetic” to those who were calling for a $15 minimum wage. He responded that he “can’t be” because the country “is being beaten on every front economically.” He went on to say, “taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.” The “it” was the federal minimum wage.

Here’s the question and Trump’s full answer:

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Nov. 10, 2015: Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

Trump: I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

Cavuto: So do not raise the minimum wage?

Trump: I would not do it.

Trump was criticized for the comment and was asked about it two days later on Fox News. Trump said, “And they said should we increase the minimum wage? And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries, we can’t do that because the wages would be too high. … The question was about the minimum wage. I’m not talking about wages being too high, I’m talking about minimum wage.”

Trump’s original statement may not have been clearly worded, but the context, and his explanation two days later, show he was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high, not all wages in the U.S. in general.

Sanders’ Wealth and Income Talking Point

Sanders continued to strain the facts about inequality of income and wealth, as he had done throughout his campaign.

Wealth: Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”

That’s a hotly debated claim. Sanders referred to a study by economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics and Political Science, first published in October 2014. Their study indeed concluded that as of 2012, the top 0.1 percent of American households held 22 percent of the nation’s personal wealth, while the bottom 90 percent held 23 percent.

However, as we reported last year, Saez and Zucman’s work has been criticized by economists at the Federal Reserve Board, which has conducted its own studies of the wealth held by U.S. households since the 1960s.

The Fed’s survey data put the share of wealth held by the top 0.1 percent at 14 percent, not 22 percent, and the Fed said that group’s share had grown at only half the rate that the Saez-Zucman study stated.

Furthermore, in a paper published in 2015, four Fed economists argue that the Saez-Zucman methodology has an “upward bias.” It is based on inferring wealth from the income reported on federal tax returns, but the Fed economists argue that this fails to capture untaxed cash benefits to middle-income families, such as employer-paid health insurance and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

Income: Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income.” But that’s no longer so, even according to Saez and Zucman.

A June 2016 update by Saez now puts the percentage of income growth captured by the top 1 percent from 1993 to 2015 at 52 percent. That’s barely half — far below the 85 percent figure Sanders gave.

That same study also found “robust income growth for all groups” between 2013 and 2015, and said that for the bottom 99 percent, “incomes grew by 3.9% from 2014 to 2015, the best annual growth rate since 1999.”

So there is indeed evidence of large inequalities in the distribution of wealth and the growth of incomes. But Sanders exaggerates by using outdated or questionable data.

Roller-Coaster Wages

Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his former law professor, said wages were “flat.” In fact, wages have had a roller-coaster ride during that time, and have been rising for years.

Kennedy: [Elizabeth Warren] taught us that [the law’s] impact lay not in classrooms or textbooks, but in a society where wages have not budged in 40 years.

Wages have more than “budged,” plunging in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently showing strong growth.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 12.46.34 AM

It’s true that real (inflation-adjusted) average weekly wages for rank-and-file, nonsupervisory workers were still 3.2 percent lower in June 2016 than they were 40 years earlier, in June 1976, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But they were anything but stagnant in the interim, dropping 16.6 percent between January 1976 to the low point in January 1996.

Since then, weekly paychecks for nonsupervisory workers have regained nearly all that loss, and the upward trend continues.

Warren repeated Kennedy’s claim during her own speech, saying that “wages stay flat” in America.

Warren: I mean look around — Americans bust their tails, some working two or three jobs, but wages stay flat.

Actually, real average weekly earnings climbed 8.6 percent in the past eight years, and 4.5 percent in the past four years.

Kennedy and Warren are not the only politicians to have made this incorrect claim recently. “Flat wages” is also a Clinton claim, as we wrote previously here and here, and we flagged Trump on his statement that “wages have not been raised” here.

— Robert Farley, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Lori Robertson and Jenna Wang


Making college debt-free and taking on student debt.” Press release. Hillary for America. Undated, accessed 26 Jul 2016.

Saul, Stephanie and Matt Flegenheimer. “Hillary Clinton Embraces Ideas From Bernie Sanders’s College Tuition Plan.” New York Times. 6 Jul 2016.

Carey, Kevin. “The Trouble With Hillary Clinton’s Free Tuition Plan.” New York Times. 19 Jul 2016.

Hulse, Carl. “Candidates Join Clinton in Push for Tuition Plan Inspired by Sanders.” New York Times. 13 Jul 2016.

Donald J. Trump for President. “The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Tax Plan.” Accessed 25 Jul 2016.

Nunns, Jim, et al. “Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Policy Center. 22 Dec 2015.

Cole, Alan. “Details and Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Foundation. 29 Sep 2015.

Farley, Robert. “Trump on Clinton’s Tax Plans.” FactCheck.org. 28 Jun 2016.

FoxNews.com. “Special Report with Bret Baier” transcript. 12 Nov 2015.

WashingtonPost.com. “Who said what and what it meant: The 4th GOP debate, annotated.” 10 Nov 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel and Gabriel Zucman “Wealth Inequality in the United States Since 1913; Evidence From Capitalized Income Tax Data” National Bureau of Economic Research. Oct 2014.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “The Increase in Wealth Concentration, 1989-2013.” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Jun 2015.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data.” Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-030. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. April 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel. “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2015 preliminary estimates.” 25 Jun 2016.

House Enrolled Act No. 1337.” Indiana General Assembly.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former DC Mayor Diagnosed With Thyroid Cancer]]> Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:15:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/williams4.jpg

Former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last month but is expected to make a full recovery, a chief aide told News4. 

Williams, who was mayor from January 1999 to January 2007, had a small, cancerous tumor removed from his neck, as he told The Washington Post.

The ex-mayor said pain in his neck this spring led doctors to diagnose him with papillary thyroid carcinoma. That is the most common form of thyroid cancer, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

"It's a really high cure rate, full recovery -- every doctor would tell you that. In other words, if you're going to get cancer, which nobody should get, this is the kind to have," Williams, 65, told the Post. 

Doctors at Washington Hospital Center removed the mass last month.

"They were rummaging around from some pain I was having, and they found a very small tumor," Williams, now the chief executive and executive officer of Federal City Council, told the Post. 

Williams was first appointed chief financial officer of the District in 1995, by then-mayor Marion Barry. Williams is credited as CFO with helping to right the city's financial books. 

As mayor, he is credited with helping to grow the city's population by 100,000 people, and with luring the Washington Nationals to the District in 2005.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton 'Thrilled' With VP Pick Tim Kaine]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 10:00:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16196751572126.jpg

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is Hillary Clinton's pick to become the next vice president of the United States, Clinton told supporters Friday evening.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in a text message Friday evening she was "thrilled" to share that she has selected Kaine as her running mate. 

His guiding principle is "the belief that you can make a difference through public service," Clinton's Twitter account said.  

A steady Clinton surrogate in recent campaign appearances, Kaine was at a fundraiser in Newport, Rhode Island, Friday night when the announcement was made. He is honored to be Clinton's running mate, he tweeted soon after the news broke.

"Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami!" he said.

Republican nominee Donald Trump sought to incite rage among Bernie Sanders supporters over Clinton's pick, tweeting that Kaine represents the opposite of what the Vermont senator stood for, "Philly fight?"

In a series of tweets Saturday morning, Trump said Clinton didn't chose Sen. Elizabeth Warren because "she hates her," alleged Kaine is "owned by banks" and, citing the newly leaked DNC emails, said the party planned to "destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED." 

The swing state's former governor, a current member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, has the national security experience Clinton is said to have been seeking, observers said.

Pundits and Kaine supporters have said the senator's experience and moderate positions make him an ideal choice.

"Senator Kaine's judgment, experience and values make him an excellent complement to the Democratic ticket, and he will be a strong partner to President Hillary Clinton in the White House," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Friday evening. 

The former Virginia governor complements Clinton, Democratic donor Glen Fukushima told CNN.

"He has a business sense and international experience [and] speaks Spanish, which are both pluses," he said. "He also has experience as a governor, which could complement Hillary's background."

Kaine, 58, "has a lot going for him," Rep. Gerry Connolly told CNN.

"He's Catholic, from a swing state, successful governor, speaks fluent Spanish, has political chops, was the head of the [Democratic National Committee]," he told the television network. "He provides a lot of talent to the ticket and could step in and could certainly be an heir apparent." 

"I can say there is no one of higher integrity and trustworthiness," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

"His experience, intellect and dedication to making life better for people from all walks of life will make him an enormous asset to Secretary Clinton throughout the remainder of this campaign and as a leader in her administration over the next four years," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. "This is a proud day for every Virginian."

Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William J. Howell expressed for Kaine while taking the opportunity to attack Clinton. 

"His character makes it all the more surprising that he would sign up to defend Hillary Clinton for the next three-and-a-half months," he said in a statement. "However, Sen. Kaine's selection as the vice presidential nominee does not change that this election is ultimately a referendum on Secretary Clinton." 

Kaine touts his work to reduce unemployment among veterans, to block any Iran nuclear weapons program, to recognize American Indian tribes in Virginia, to preserve Civil War battlegrounds and to improve access to job-training programs.

Kaine, who attended University of Missouri and Harvard Law School, speaks Spanish fluently after taking a year off from attending Harvard to work at a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, his Senate website says.

But critics have called Kaine a safe, even boring, running mate.

When asked by Charlie Rose of PBS on Monday whether Kaine was a boring choice, Clinton said, “I love that about him.” 

Kaine was even asked about being boring on NBC's "Meet the Press" in June, one of his highest-profile appearances in what was evidently his vetting process. Kaine brushed it off with a joke: "I am boring … but boring is the fastest-growing demographic in this country."

What Does Kaine Bring to the Table?
Kaine, who was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was first elected to office in 1994. He served as a city councilman and then was elected mayor of Richmond. He became lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2002, was inaugurated as governor in 2006 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. He serves on the aging, armed services, budget and Senate foreign relations committees. 

Newsweek previously called Kaine "the conventional wisdom pick" for Clinton's running mate and tied his chances of being selected with those of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

Kaine will not energize the party's progressive wing, however, Newsweek argued.

"Kaine ... voted to fast-track President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership, a move that angered most of the left. And his views on abortion are to the right of many Democrats: he’s a practicing Catholic who supported parental consent and informed consent laws in his state. And, Sanders aside, old white guys just don't excite voters like they used to," the publication wrote.

Kaine is personally opposed to abortion but has said he is against overturning Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing the procedure. Beyond supporting requiring parental consent, he also was in favor of banning late-term abortions unless a woman’s life is at risk, and he has promoted abstinence-focused education to try to decrease the number of pregnancies that end in abortion. In the past, the state NARAL chapter refused to endorse him. 

Kaine was on President Barack Obama’s short-list for vice president, according to Politico.

He teamed up with Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to introduce legislation to authorize military force against the Islamic State. 

What Has Kaine Said About Wanting to Be VP?
On Thursday in Virginia, Kaine had downplayed speculation he would be Clinton's pick. 

"I'm in a little, momentary bubble of attention. It will be normal again," he told NBC Washington's David Culver

In March, Kaine also demurred about whether he wanted to be vice president.

"Well, I'm a happy senator and I like my job, and I'm not looking for another one, but, look, my best use is helping Secretary Clinton -- especially win Virginia," he said March 10 to a group of Hispanic and African-American publishers at the National Press Club.

The senator echoed those comments on April 29, saying he would accompany Clinton at her inauguration as a senator, not as her vice president, Politico reported.

"You know, I really love my job. I really do," Kaine reportedly said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe. "And I have a great feeling that I'm going to be on that podium with Hillary Clinton when she's taking the oath of office, but I'm going to be sitting with the other senators."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Tim Kaine Supporters Prepare for Dem. VP Announcement]]> Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:03:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/072216+clinton+kaine+buttons.jpg Supporters of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine were making campaign buttons with Kaine's face alongside Clinton's on Friday in the hope he would be her pick for running mate. News4's Julie Carey reports on why they say Kaine would be an excellent choice. "To underestimate him is to do so at your own peril. He has put away some big figures in Virginia politics," Rep. Gerry Connolly said.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[A Look at the DC Murder Statistic Trump Cited]]> Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:30:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-578666050.jpg

The murder rate in Washington, D.C. is down 9 percent if you look at the data one way, but up 54 percent if you take another view.

As Donald Trump declared himself "the law and order candidate" in his GOP nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, he called out the number of homicides in D.C.

"In our nation's capital, killings have risen by 50 percent," he said.

That's true if you compare the 2014 total to the 2015 total: 162 people died in homicides in D.C. in 2015, marking a 54 percent increase from the 105 people killed in 2014, Metropolitan Police Department statistics show.

More people were killed in D.C. in 2015 than had been killed in a single year since 2008.

But the number of homicides in D.C. this year so far has dropped 9 percent compared with the same period last year, from 77 to 70, police data shows. 

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Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke with News4 about crime Friday afternoon, standing in front of the Old Post Office Pavilion building that Trump is renovating into a luxury hotel. 

"Political cheap shots are not uncommon, and so, what I want to be clear about is that nobody comes to D.C. to cherry-pick the numbers," she said. 

Bowser said there is no one answer to why crime spiked in 2015 but that District officials have created multiple programs to try to reduce violence.

"I just launched a new initiative, for example, to attract more police officers who are D.C. residents, and by expanding our cadet program," she said. "We also worked with our communities to put out 1,200 security cameras."


On Thursday night, Bowser issued this comment on Trump's remarks: "People all over the globe are flocking to the District for opportunity. Mr. Trump should know: he's making a multimillion-dollar investment in revitalizing a hotel on one of our main boulevards.

"We know we can do even better, and that's why each and every day, our residents and police officers work together to drive down crime. Americans deserve a president who will make herself a part of the solution."

Trump also spoke Thursday night about President Barack Obama's impact on the murder rate across the country.

"Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years," he said.

Trump correctly cited a 17 percent increase in homicides in major cities for 2014 to 2015, but the numbers of murders in these cities have dropped dramatically since the 1990s, FactCheck.org reported.

"Snapshots are not trends. And two or three years of data are far too few to establish a trend," Richard A. Berk, professor of criminology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told FactCheck.org.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Disagreement Among Republicans at Convention Watch Parties]]> Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000015507781_1200x675_730076739758.jpg There were several Republican National Convention watch parties around the area Thursday night. News4’s Jackie Bensen talked to voters to see what they think about Donald Trump, and she found some disagreement among Republicans.]]>