Here is a rundown of today’s must-see, must-read news and opinion!
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Al Baldasaro paced outside the GOP convention media space Wednesday, a cell phone to one ear and a half-smoked cigarette in his hand. His voice rising, the 59-year-old told a reporter that Democrat Hillary Clinton should “be shot” for her handling of classified material. “It’s treason,” said Baldasaro, a U.S. Marines veteran who wore his trademark camouflage “Make America Great Again” hat. Baldasaro’s comments, first made Tuesday, have gone viral. As he moved on to a radio interview, his cell phone continued to blow up. They’re “hate calls,” said his wife, Judy, who got on her own cell phone to call their children in Londonderry and tell them to lock the doors.
The Secret Service is investigating comments made by New Hampshire state representative Al Baldasaro in which he said Hillary Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” “The U.S. Secret Service is aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback told POLITICO in an email.Baldasaro’s comments, which were first reported by BuzzFeed, came during an interview on the Jeff Kuhner Show, during which he also called Clinton “a piece of garbage.”
The president of trustees at Phillips Exeter Academy has admitted the school mishandled sexual assault allegations against a former student and announced plans to hire a director of student well-being. Eunice “Nicie” Panetta issued a lengthy statement Tuesday addressing criticism of the school’s handling of sexual misconduct claims involving faculty and students.
NHLC reports state liquor sales hit new record
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is reporting record sales for fiscal year 2016, which ended on June 20. Cash registers at state Liquor and Wine Outlets rang up an all-time high of $678 million, up by 5.6 percent from the previous years, according to unaudited figures released by the NHLC on Wednesday. After expenses, the NHLC was able to deposit $155 million in the state’s general fund, where most of the money from liquor sales is targeted at education, health and social services, transportation and natural resource protection.
When Jill Eides is at work, all that glitters probably is gold, despite what the proverb says. Which is wonderful. And sometimes annoying. “For me, it’s just: Yeah, it’s gold leaf. Yes, it’s gold. It’s on my face, in my mouth – pfffft!” said Eides, foreman of the crew returning the luster to the State House dome.“Gold is amazing; it’s rare, it’s pretty, the durability is amazing. But still . . .” and she laughed.
The process of changing the State House dome from its spotty, tarnished look is in full swing. The three-person crew from New York-based Evergreene Architectural Arts is gilding the actual dome itself, placing thousands of small sheets of gold leaf to curved surfaces, while harnessed to scaffolding more than 100 feet above the ground.
Trump should condemn Baldasaro (Boston Globe)
If there has been one recurrent theme of the Republican National Convention so far, it is that Hillary Clinton is a lying, crooked criminal who should be sent to prison. Indeed, the dominant mantra of the last two days has been the chant “lock her up.” This kind of delegitimizing rhetoric is certainly not new and has been regularly levied at President Obama for the past eight years. On Tuesday, however, that incendiary language took a dark and dangerous turn. Al Baldasaro, a Republican state representative from New Hampshire and a Trump delegate, called Clinton a “piece of garbage.” Because of how she handled Benghazi as well as classified material on her e-mail account, he said she should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason.”
Hostile comment embarrasses state (Nashua Telegraph)
A legislative chamber with 400 representatives is statistically bound to have more than a few loose cannons. But, unfortunately for New Hampshire, one of the loosest of all the cannons cemented in Concord is Al Baldasaro, of Londonderry, one of Donald Trump’s most vocal advisers in the state. The Cambridge, Mass., native, who transplanted to New Hampshire and quickly rose through the far-right ranks as an outspoken conservative, made news this week for saying presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason” for her role in an email scandal during her tenure as secretary of state.
Saying that Hillary Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason,” one of Donald Trump’s New Hampshire delegates stirred up an outrage that crossed party lines Wednesday. The Republican presidential nominee’s campaign distanced itself from Al Baldasaro’s remarks. The Marine Corps veteran and state representative from Londonderry was standing by his comment in the immediate aftermath of the controversy. New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Horn delivered a quick rebuke.
A question of ethics: Hassan v. Gardner (Union Leader)
The tiff between Gov. Maggie Hassan and Secretary of State Bill Gardner over appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Committee may seem like a petty turf war. Yet it raises a narrow but important question about the unique structure of New Hampshire’s state government. The ethics panel overseeing all executive agencies has seven members, three appointed by the governor, and two each by the secretary of state and treasurer. Notably, these are the only two members of the executive branch elected by the Legislature, rather than appointed by the governor. This means the panel has a majority of members independent of the governor, which makes sense for a committee meant to oversee the executive branch.
The “New Hampshire Advantage” is a now-meaningless phrase and should be retired. New Hampshire does not have an economic advantage. On the contrary, we are a stagnant and decaying state. We mistake mediocre success for good results that enables too many leaders to think nothing need change. New Hampshire’s greatest strength was once job growth. We grew dramatically faster than the rest of the country and our population exploded as people came here to work. Our population grew by more than 20 percent each decade from 1960-1990. New Hampshire was a dynamic state of opportunity.
Pursuing justice: Two troopers face charges (Union Leader)
Two months after a helicopter filmed police pummeling a driver who had led them on a high-speed chase through Massachusetts and New Hampshire, two state troopers are facing assault charges. We had faulted the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office for not releasing the names of New Hampshire State Trooper Andrew Monaco and Massachusetts State Trooper Joseph Flynn earlier in the investigation. Civilian suspects are not granted such anonymity. We applaud the thorough investigation that led to these charges.
Sen. Ted Cruz refused to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the party’s convention on Wednesday, sparking an eruption of angry jeers from Trump supporters and shattering the facade of party unity that has been carefully built up in Cleveland this week.Anti-Trump Republican delegate Ken Cuccinelli told Reuters he escorted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, off the floor of the Republican National Convention out of concern for her safety.
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta’s Republican primary challenger is accusing him of lying about his past election campaign finance violations. “He’s not been truthful on this,” Rich Ashooh said. “He attacked Carol Shea-Porter for attacking him and that makes her right, and we can’t have Carol Shea-Porter being right.” Ashooh criticized the incumbent during a debate on WGIR-AM radio on Wednesday. He said that the fundraising scandal could hurt the GOP’s chances in the general election, and not just in taking on Shea-Porter, the lone Democrat in the race for the 1st Congressional District.
Two Republicans competing in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District drew dividing lines Wednesday over issues ranging from gun laws and leadership to trust and Donald Trump.
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, the incumbent, and Rich Ashooh, a business executive from Bedford, are seeking the GOP nomination in the Sept. 13 primary. They met for their first debate Wednesday morning as part of a series organized by New England College and hosted by WGIR radio. While both men said better enforcement of current laws rather than new laws would be the best approach to preventing mass shootings, Guinta tried to suggest his opponent favors further restrictions. “You don’t go after the Second Amendment, you go after the criminals,” he said. “I don’t support gun control as my opponent just said he did.”
BACK HOME. While much attention has been focused on the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and the controversy surrounding a certain New Hampshire delegate, there’s plenty of politics still happening here at home. New Hampshire Primary Source has the latest. DOES MONEY TALK? Republican 2nd District U.S. House candidates Jim Lawrence and Jack Flanagan have been the big winners so far in this week’s series of new WMUR Granite State Polls. Both are in virtual dead heats with two-term Democratic Rep. Anne Kuster, despite the fact that both were outraised by her by a margin of 100-1. As we reported on Wednesday, Kuster leads Flanagan and Lawrence by identical 38 percent to 32 percent margins, and the margin of error for the poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center was 6.1 percent.
University of New Hampshire pollster Andy Smith is not only surveying voters for their opinions on candidates, he is also this week monitoring the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The recent WMUR Granite State poll found that all candidates running for governor face similar challenges in their bid to replace Gov. Maggie Hassan. The poll, conducted this past week, involved some 532 randomly picked adults. Essentially, it found that the two of five Republicans running for Governor, Chris Sununu, currently an Executive Councilor and Ted Gatsas, Manchester’s mayor, are better known than the four Democrats seeking to keep the corner office in Democratic hands.
Back in 1990, when her parents broke up, a split that spawned hundreds of headlines in the tabloids of New York, Ivanka Trump was eight years old. Her younger brother worried their mother would leave them forever. Her older brother raged against their philandering father. Ivanka? She got teased at school, and she cried at home, and she asked her mother, “Mommy, does it mean I’m not going to be Ivanka Trump anymore?” But she also played “peace maker and keeper,” her mother said earlier this year. She talked to her father often from her private school in New York and later from her boarding school in Connecticut, calling collect, dialing his office, where he would put her on speaker and say to the people in the room she was “the smartest,” the “most beautiful.”
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