This is a rush transcript from "Journal: Editorial Report," July 23, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(HILLARY CLINTON/TIM KAINE SPEECHES)
PAUL GIGOT, FOX NEWS HOST: Welcome to this special edition of the "Journal: Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
You just saw Hillary Clinton and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine appearing for the first time together as the Democratic ticket. Clinton announced the pick in a text message to supporters last night, ending weeks of speculation and angering some on the left who question Kaine's positions on free trade and financial regulations.
Stirring the pot this morning, Donald Trump tweeted, "The Bernie Sanders supporters are furious with the choice of Tim Kaine, who represents the opposite of what Bernie stands for. Philly fight?"
Joining the panel this week "Wall Street Journal" columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; Washington columnist, Kim Strassel; associate editorial page editor, James Freeman; and columnist, Jason Riley.
Kim, what does the choice of Tim Kaine tell you about the Clinton campaign and strategy?
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Yeah. It means that Clinton is trying to reach out here, having moved very far left herself during this campaign. She's trying to reach out to more centrist and moderate Democrats and Independents because that is more the mold that Tim Kaine is in. This is about trying to provide a contrast on competence. This is a guy who has spent his whole life at various levels of government. He's good on policy. So this is going to fit into her team that Donald Trump is not fit to be president and that she has a team that is ready to go to the White House on day one. And it's also probably a little bit about geography and that Virginia is always a swing state but Tim Kaine is very much liked there and that could help her put that state in her column.
GIGOT: I'll tell you, I think this is a confident choice, Dan. I think it suggests that Hillary Clinton is quite confident of winning. And this is, in that sense, a governing choice. I don't think Kaine gets her a lot in terms of electoral. The Virginia point is right. I don't think he gets her a lot electorally. But he does do is basically somebody she's comfortable with. And he's very good with Republicans, working across the aisle. So I think this is in some ways as governing pick. If she wanted the politics choice, she could have gone maybe populous with Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown or she could have gone ethnic with a Cory Booker, playing up the base. I think she thinks she's going to get the votes so she chose somebody she's more comfortable with personally.
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: I suspect that's true, Paul. I would guess that Bill Clinton probably had a hand in this selection. He knows Tim Kaine, former southern governor, has that kind of southern sort of personality. Makes you think he's a centrist.
And as to Bernie Sanders and the Sandersnistas and Donald Trump tweet, forget all that. Tim Kaine just knocked it out of the park in front of a progressive audience. And he looks like a centrist and he kind of has a presentation of one. He is not. He is a progressive.
GIGOT: You don't think that his vote for, for example, trade promotion authority or his -- that he's got a lot of donations from banks.
JASON RILEY, COLUMNIST: He does. But as you said, this is a confident selection. She is going to be on the offense between now and November. I think Kaine has two other things going for him in terms of demographic groups she's going after. He speaks fluent Spanish. We saw a little bit in that speech. She wants to play in Florida obviously. But also out in the southwest, New Mexico, Arizona, those states. He is also Roman Catholic, Paul. And the Midwestern industrial states that she is going after, your Wisconsin's, your Michigans, Ohios, Pennsylvanias, large Catholic population, he will play there as well.
GIGOT: He's no conservative though.
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSOCIATE EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: No.
GIGOT: Even moderate is a stretch.
FREEMAN: Oh, yeah.
GIGOT: Fill in some of the resume for us.
FREEMAN: Right. He's a Catholic, OK, but favors abortion rights.
GIGOT: 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood on the scorecard, 2016.
FREEMAN: For gun control, as we just heard.
GIGOT: Voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline.
FREEMAN: You look at his voting record on environmental issues, economics, he is on the left. He occasionally votes in the center. Trade is an example. That's one thing that allows him to raise a lot of money. I think in this way, though, maybe the miscalculation here is he basically underlines Hillary Clinton as Donald Trump has defined her, as the status quo candidate. You could not come up with a more conventional establishment guy. Kim mentioned his career, entire career in politics, mayor, city council, lieutenant governor, governor, Senator, head of the Democratic National Committee. This is the Washington establishment. And I think Trump successfully made the point this week --
FREEMAN: -- that he is the change agent. Hillary is for the status quo. I think this underlines that.
HENNINGER: Look at the guy that just performed. Look at that assuring persona. When you get out there into those states and with the college educated voters on the fence or undecided, they're all looking for reassurance, that is an incredibly reassuring personality that he's presenting.
FREEMAN: I think that's the theory, but what you're seeing is, yes, you saw happier talk than you heard from Donald Trump. Donald Trump, a lot of his comments the other night were angry. If you look at the country, if you look -- poll after poll, what people say about are we on the right track --
FREEMAN: -- is America great --
RILEY: Why, why --
FREEMAN: -- are the best days ahead of us? People are more on the Trump mood.
RILEY: If this is a risky pick, Paul, I think it's for this reason. He's a white male. In a party obsessed with racial and ethnic diversity.
GIGOT: But that's exactly why up saying it's a confident pick.
RILEY: Exactly --
GIGOT: She's willing to say I'm willing to put the ticket on this.
RILEY: Did she miscalculate? Are the progressives not entirely for her? And will she have issues with them with this pick?
GIGOT: What do you think? Do you think they will or not?
RILEY: I think they'll pipe up. I think she'll -- she feels, I think, that having a president with an approval rating above 50 percent out there on the trail with her will help keep them quiet. But they'll pipe up about it.
GIGOT: I think the Republican -- I think they're also -- they also think that Donald Trump is going to scare the minority voters enough that she could get away with putting an all -- with having an all-white ticket.
GIGOT: Kim, what do you think about the progressives and how well they're going to accommodate this?
STRASSEL: Look, I agree with Jason. She's going to have a much easier time unifying her party than Donald Trump is having -- unifying his party. But I think that there's some real issues about Tim Kaine's past and some of his votes that could rile the progressive vote and make that tougher for her.
GIGOT: All right. Thank you.
Still ahead, Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, capping off a wild week for the GOP in Cleveland with a promise to be the voice of Americans who have been forgotten. Is that an effective pitch?
GIGOT: Donald Trump formerly accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, capping off a wild week for the Republicans in Cleveland with a promise to be the voice of Americans who have been forgotten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: These are the forgotten men and women of our country, and they are forgotten, but they're not going to be forgotten long.
TRUMP: These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Signature line, James, of the speech, "I am your voice, the forgotten men and women." Was that an effective speech?
FREEMAN: I think it was. It wasn't necessarily the most entertaining, maybe not a lot of humor, not a lot of sunny, happy talk, but --
GIGOT: That's understating it, but, yes.
FREEMAN: But it may fit the mood of the country. And I think it spoke to people who are disappointed. He was saying basically big media, big government, big business has given us a system in which the average person isn't getting ahead, and I think he's reaching a lot of people. You look at this historically low labor participation rate. Let's face it, it's a lousy economy.
GIGOT: Fit the mood of the country, Jason?
RILEY: I'm not so sure. I'm an optimist by nature. So things are bad but I don't think if they're down as bad as that speech suggested.
One of the first tweets I read after the speech, Paul, was, "It's evening in America," which is striking, playing to Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election television ads. I think the general editorial had it that this was a pre- Ronald Reagan Republican Party speech. I agree with that. I mean, it was-- Donald Trump -- the measure of whether this was a good speech, I think, James, is whether you were sitting on the fence, are you no longer sitting on the fence due to this speech. I'm not sure he closed the deal with the Republican Party with that speech.
GIGOT: Here's the thing, Ronald Reagan "Morning in America" was a re- election speech in 1984. 1980 was not as sunny.
RILEY: Sure. Sure.
GIGOT: His nomination speech. He was -- he made a pitch that the country needs to change. Now, he has a little more of a "city on a hill," Ronald Reagan, more optimism than Donald Trump. But does this fit enough of the mood of the country to draw enough to get a 51 percent majority --
GIGOT: That's the 47 percent majority?
HENNINGER: That the big question. There was enough there to get, say, 40 percent of the vote. Can he get it to --
GIGOT: That's what he has. He needs to get to 48 to win.
HENNINGER: That's exactly right. And while nearly 70 percent of the country believe we're going in the wrong direction, the question is does Donald Trump fit the bill that that 10 percent out there is sitting saying they want. His anger I think is just right there with the angriest part of the electorate. But for those people sitting on the fence trying to decide whether they can accept Donald Trump's personality in the White House or want to go with somebody a little bit more familiar and reliable, like Hillary Clinton, I'm not sure that that speech quite did it for those people.
GIGOT: Kim, what about those fence-sitting Republicans? He needed to get the Republicans up from about 80 percent support up to 90 percent, 95 percent support, do you think he succeeded in that?
STRASSEL: Well, the best shot he had of doing that was talking about Hillary Clinton. And in that very long and somewhat grim speech, he did do that effectively and warn about her. So that's his most unifying potential. But I'm not sure that with the ideas he proposed, which didn't come until the end of the speech, he did much to get people onboard.
GIGOT: So you don't think so. You think he needs to do a little more?
STRASSEL: Not the new audience, no. Not the people you're talking about.
GIGOT: All right.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Stand and speak and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Texas Senator Ted Cruz was booed by Republican delegates Wednesday night after he declined to endorse Republican nominee, Donald Trump, in his primetime convention address. It was one of the more dramatic moments in Cleveland this week and a reminder that divisions remain within the GOP.
So, Dan, Ted Cruz said afterwards what he did was a matter of principle, standing up for a candidate that he could not support, did not deserve his support. What do you think?
HENNINGER: I think it was really quite extraordinary that he was able to stand up in front of the delegates and say that.
GIGOT: Matter of principle?
HENNINGER: He is speaking on principle. I'm willing to concede that. I think he's also speaking on behalf of Ted Cruz going towards 2020.
But look, this isn't just Ted Cruz. Cruz has followers out there. They were out there on that floor. They were not booing him. They liked what they were hearing. Add into that John Kasich, governor of Ohio, who was in Cleveland but not inside the convention hall. He has supporters. As does Jeb Bush, who stayed home. This is a divided party, Paul. And to have Ted Cruz standing up there showing how divided it was, I think is just going to be damaging to this party as it goes out into this election.
GIGOT: Yeah, but Ted Cruz's principle -- when Donald Trump served his interests back in the primaries, he said he was wonderful, he's terrific, great setting an example on trade, speaking the truth. And then now he says, oh, well, now that he's lost the nomination, he stands up and says, well, I guess I can't support him. This isn't principle. This is self-interest.
RILEY: It's also not principle because, the next day, he brought up Trump's attacks on his wife and Trump's attacks on his father, which again shows that this is more personal.
RILEY: Personal. Personal Again, and also he had -- he didn't seem to have a huge problem when Donald Trump was making personal attacks on other people in the race.
HENNINGER: Are Cruz's hundreds of thousands if not millions of voters and supporters going to work for Donald Trump's candidacy or not?
RILEY: But, Dan, I think the point is that this convention was not the place for Cruz to do what he did.
RILEY: The principled thing to do would have been to do what John Kasich did and others, they didn't show up. They didn't want to bad mouth the candidate so they didn't show up. Ted Cruz didn't do that.
FREEMAN: Remember, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, the whole gang said they would support the Republican nominee. So I think this was obviously back when each of them thought they were going to be the guy. And I think they all ought to be wrapped for that. But basically, I think this Cruz speech will turn out to be pointless. For an average viewer, who is not deeply involved in politics, I think you were wondering what is the point here. Here's 15 to 20 minutes saying vote for the best person. Well, thanks for the civics lesson but --
-- we're here to -- we want someone to make a case. Obviously, it would have been more dramatic to say, and I can't vote for Trump for these reasons.
GIGOT: One of the things that Ted Cruz did, Kim, was stole the headlines from Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee, running mate, who I thought gave a very effective speech. And that was a kind of the first introduction for many Americans of Mike Pence as a candidate. How do you think he did?
STRASSEL: Yeah. And it was a pity that Cruz did that because Pence knocked it out of the park. His job there -- a lot of the speakers were there to talk to the delegates and unify people. Mike Pence's job at that was to speak to the nation and provide some reassurance that he was a very competent guy who was going to be at Donald Trump's side and bring some more voters onboard. To the extent Cruz overshadowed that, that was a pity.
I'm going to push back just a little bit. I think that along with Hillary Clinton, this Cruz speech was a bit of a unifier for delegates there. I spoke to some afterward, who were Cruz supporters, but they were so dismayed by what he had done, it was a final thing that pushed them over and made them decide they were going to get behind Donald Trump. They were tired of the division and the ranker.
GIGOT: Let's shift to the Republican leaders in Congress. Paul Ryan, speaker, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they also spoke at the convention. They endorsed Donald Trump, although they've been saying when they disagree with Donald Trump on certain issues. Their goal is to preserve the majorities in the House and the Senate. They're very worried that a big Trump washout could cost them both. How do you think they're playing this line? Walking this line?
HENNINGER: I think they're doing a pretty good job of walking the like, Paul. But I think they have a very tough job. And it's difficult because whatever you think of Donald Trump, he is unique. There is no other candidate like him. There is no other candidate who can say the sorts of things he does and get away with it. If the idea is that all of these at- risk Senators, like Johnson in Wisconsin or Portman, Ohio, have to simply absorb Donald Trump's campaign, I think that's going to be difficult for them. So that Ryan and McConnell are going to run a congressional campaign saying one way or the other put our people back in the Senate and in the House.
GIGOT: And they're localizing it, especially in the Senate race --
GIGOT: -- talking about local issues.
RILEY: And the news, I think, so far at least -- and again, we have a ways to go -- is that Trump doesn't seem to be as much a drag as some of these guys thought he would be. Rubio is run ahead of Trump by five points in Florida. Portman is ahead by four points. Toomey is ahead by six points. So it's not -- it turns out, at least with a few of these races, Trump does not seem to be doing the damage that some anticipated.
GIGOT: Yeah, but --
RILEY: We do have a ways to go.
GIGOT: So they might be able to survive if it's a four-point race, Pennsylvania or -- but if it becomes an eight-point race, ticket splitting is not as common as it used to be. That's what they're really afraid of, James.
FREEMAN: Yeah, but as Jason alluded to, right now look at all the swing states, Trump is very close. It's almost margin of error everywhere. But I think the key is making the case, despite his flaws, to a conservative that Trump is the guy. I think Pence, McConnell, Ryan this week, basically laid out, you know, here's the agenda that will get to his desk, and unlike Hillary Clinton Donald Trump will sign it. I think that's the best argument.
GIGOT: That's the best argument. Well, if Trump is losing big at the end, in October, what you're going to hear is we need to check on Hillary Clinton, from the Senate and the House.
FREEMAN: Yeah, I don't see where her new support comes from. This is a person who has been in public life for decades. She's still hanging around in the low 40s everywhere. That's a problem because she's essentially running as the incumbent. I don't see the ground swell of support moving to her.
GIGOT: All right.
Still ahead, as one convention wraps and another begin, polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump locked in a tight race nationally and in some key battleground states. So will Trump see a bump from his Cleveland performance? And can Clinton change any minds in Philadelphia next week?
GIGOT: Going into next week's Democratic convention in Philadelphia, the latest poll averages show Hillary Clinton locked in a virtual tie with Donald Trump in some key battleground states. But the architect of President Obama's two White House wins says Hillary has nothing to fear. David Plouffe told Bloomberg Politics this week that Clinton can lose Florida, Ohio, even Virginia and still be president. Plouffe acknowledging the presumptive Democratic nominee has a, quote, "enthusiasm problem," but predicted that her poll numbers will improve in the weeks to come.
Doug Schoen is a Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor.
So, Doug, let's start out with the Tim Kaine pick. What do you think of that? What does it tell you about her campaign?
DOUG SCHOEN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It tells me that it's a status quo pick. She doesn't really believe that it's going to make a huge difference in her electoral fortunes. I think it's something she wants to govern with. It's not going to change that enthusiasm gap that David Plouffe acknowledged.
GIGOT: Well, that's an interesting point because Trump went after it and said status quo, this is somebody who is not going the animate the Sanders people. He's for the trade agreements, for example. He gets money from banks. Is that something that Trump can use effectively to pull Sanders voters away?
SCHOEN: I think he can pull some Sanders voters away but there's a larger point. It's going to keep a lot of Sanders voters from voting.
SCHOEN: Oh, yeah. Look, the Sanders voters are not traditional Democrats. They are not people who are wedded to Democratic ideology. They were wedded to Bernie Sanders philosophy and his approach. Let me be clear, she needs turnout --
SCHOEN: -- and Tim Kaine is not going to get a turnout. If I were doing it -- and I obviously worked for Bill Clinton, we made every determination based on politics, as you know. The obvious choice was Sherrod Brown. Why?
GIGOT: Ohio Senator, populous, economics, antitrade.
SCHOEN: Exactly right. This basically says that Hillary is going to run a pretty confident campaign, assuming that, as you were saying before, the race will gradually widen. So far, Paul, no evidence that that's the case.
GIGOT: It could be a miscalculation on her part that she's comfortably ahead and can win. That's -- I'm reading between the lines of what you said.
SCHOEN: No, I'm being very, very clear in saying precisely that.
SCHOEN: This is not the right political choice for her. It may be the right choice to govern. It's not the right electoral choice. And she can lose this election.
GIGOT: Because this is a change election.
SCHOEN: Precisely. Precisely.
GIGOT: The electorate wants something new.
SCHOEN: Precisely. And Donald Trump I don't think needs the support of the Ted Cruz, John Kasich types to win. In fact, I can even make the argument, because they are not with him, it will help him make himself something he wasn't at all. He was nonpartisan in his speech. Didn't use the word "Republican."
SCHOEN: Didn't use the word "conservative." He's running a different kind of campaign. If he can sharpen his message, he can inarguably win.
GIGOT: What about the conventional wisdom, which is Trump has about 80 percent now of Republicans. That he needs to get 90 percent, 95 percent in order to be able to win. And he has to consolidate his party to do that. And if there are those divisions in the GOP, then that's going to be a very hard task.
SCHOEN: Let me be very clear, he has one great ally, Secretary Clinton. And the convention had the right tone, running against her. The only question I have, Paul, again, will he have the resources and the ability to sharpen his message to take on a $2 billion campaign in the swing states.
GIGOT: He doesn't have that. You know that.
SCHOEN: I know he doesn't, but he needs to be able to compete. And if he can't compete, he will suffer a disproportionate impact from being outspent five or six to one.
GIGOT: So you think the Trump speech was effective politically in making the case for change --
SCHOEN: Oh, yeah.
GIGOT: -- even though it was a dark speech? I mean, this was not sunshine, OK? This was really playing to those parts of the electorate that really are fed up.
GIGOT: What about the people who are on the suburbs of Philadelphia, collar counties of Columbus. You know those are the Clinton voters --
GIGOT: -- Clinton got back from the Republicans.
GIGOT: All right.
SCHOEN: We -- we ran on things like crime, law and order, taking the violence out of schools. That's what elected Bill Clinton in swing states in those areas. And you know what? Donald Trump is playing to an electorate that says I think 69 percent that the nation's off on the wrong track.
GIGOT: Where does the race stand right now? Where are we?
SCHOEN: Here's where we are. The Real Clear Politics averages about 2.7 for Secretary Clinton. All the anecdotal evidence suggests that it will be very tight, probably dead even, maybe even a point or two for Trump once the post-Republican conventions come in. I think after the Democratic convention, probably tighten up. So the secretary of state will probably have a slight, couple of point lead after both conventions. But, Paul, this is a race that's picking, I think --
GIGOT: Do you think it's winnable by Donald Trump?
SCHOEN: It's absolutely -- Nate Silver has got the chance of Trump winning up 25 percent to 41 percent. It is moving in that direction. Nobody thought with Brexit that the anti-Europe vote would win. Trump has change on his side. It's a question whether he can get the genie in the bottle and package it.
GIGOT: Do you agree with his strategy to go after Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, the industrial Midwest states?
SCHOEN: I absolutely agree with the strategy. Not clear he has the ability and resources to deliver. But that's where he can win. And arguably, needs to win, given that all those states are effectively within the margin of error.
GIGOT: So do you think that any states that Romney won, like North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, will be in play this year where Clinton can go after?
SCHOEN: North Carolina, I think, is in play. Arizona, I doubt will be in play, unless there's a massive, massive Hispanic vote. But I think there's going to be more of a traditional election with the Midwest in play giving Donald Trump a chance to win this election.
GIGOT: That will be fascinating to watch.
GIGOT: Doug Schoen, thank you for being here.
SCHOEN: Thank you, Paul.
GIGOT: Up next, the Democrats' left turn. Heading into next week's convention, liberals are touting the most progressive party platform in history. We'll tell you what's in there and what's not, when we come back.
GIGOT: As Democrats head to Philadelphia one thing is clear, it's not Bill Clinton's party anymore, and it may not even be Barack Obama's. The party's platform, which will be ratified in the convention next week, is being touted as the most progressive in history. And from a $15 minimum wage to an historic expansion of entitlements like Social Security, it's clear that Bernie Sanders has made his mark.
So, Kim, what do you think explains this left turn?
STRASSEL: Well, this is Bernie Sanders' revenge. He may not have won the nomination but he finagled to get most of his people or his top picks on that platform writing committee. And this is Bernie Sanders' agenda up for view here. You can run through the long list of it. It is, as you said, free tuition in public and state universities, it's expansion of Social Security, it's card check again in unions, it's $15 minimum wage, it's new taxes on corporations and higher earners, it's, on social justice, all the demands made by Black Lives Matter. So this is Bernie Sanders' lasting mark on the party.
GIGOT: And don't forget an attack on fossil fuels.
But I would argue, Jason, that it's not just Bernie Sanders, because while Sanders did influence the race it's also other factors, one of which is demographics. That is, more minorities' population growing, the white vote is shrinking. The white vote tends to be more Republican. Democrats feel confident going forward that they are now a naturally -- natural majority party. And when you feel that way and you think your opponents are hapless, you push in the direction where you unleash your inner Bernie.
JASON RILEY, COLUMNIST: True.
GIGOT: Your inner Socialist.
RILEY: Which is why this is also about Obama and not just Bernie Sanders. He has helped move this party a great deal to the left. And it's given Hillary Clinton a lot of headaches throughout her campaign.
But this is the result. They had to find some way to keep him happy. And I think one reason they were willing to do this is because these platforms don't really mean a heck of a lot in terms of actually governing. The stuff is there. It's written down somewhere. But the president and the new administration typically does -- goes and does its own thing.
GIGOT: But if you look at Hillary Clinton's agenda she's not that far --
RILEY: No, no. She isn't.
GIGOT: -- from the platform on many things and Bernie Sanders did drag her left.
HENNINGER: Yeah, well, that's right. I think she could conceivably win on that platform. But let's talk -- what is the number-one issue among the electorate --
GIGOT: The economy.
HENNINGER: Economic anxiety.
HENNINGER: So what the Democrats are going to propose is the comforting hand of government to start proposing things like, as Kim said, free state and public college tuition and Social Security benefits going up. Look, there is no way to pay for them. I'm going to say one thing, Paul, she could win with that agenda because people are anxious. But if she wins, or if Donald Trump wins, and the economy does not get any stronger than it has been, their party will be hammered in the off year election and either one will be a one-term president. And the Democrats have nothing to improve economic growth on that platform.
RILEY: She spent the entire campaign telling Bernie Sanders and his supporters that his agenda was pie in the sky. Where are you going to get all this money, Bernie? Where are you going to get all this money? But then she concedes to it in the Democratic platform. That tells you something about Hillary Clinton.
GIGOT: It takes somebody to make the case that you can't afford this. Is Donald Trump going to make that case, James? I mean, you know, he's -- there's also the -- the economic anxiety, which is real, has been created in part by the Democratic agenda that has been in control for the last eight years.
GIGOT: And yet, now they're coming to the rescue and saying, hey, we've got a -- we could make it all right. It's not great, but don't -- forget we've been in charge.
FREEMAN: I think that's really the challenge. Is this is basically a continuation of the Obama agenda. And it even sounds the same way. Remember, in his first term, he was talking up this stimulus plan. We've got to spend over $800 billion and build a lot of roads and bridges and the economy will get going again. Didn't really happen. They spent the money but the progress wasn't there. Now they're saying, again, new infrastructure programs that were never built by the stimulus we already paid for, so I think that's the tough thing. But neither party is -- they all decided no more talk about entitlements. They talk about the $19 trillion in debt --
GIGOT: You mean about reforming them?
FREEMAN: About reforming them. Both parties now are pretending it's a nonissue. When they talk about $19 trillion in debt, remember, that's only the part they acknowledge. The real number, the promises they've made in the future goes into the hundreds of trillions.
GIGOT: Kim, another issue that may come up at the Democratic convention this weekend and that is the e-mails, the WikiLeaks Democratic Party e- mails that WikiLeaks exposed. And they really do show that Democratic Party officials did not want Bernie Sanders to be the nominee. They were working behind the scenes to do whatever they could to make sure that Hillary Clinton won those primaries.
STRASSEL: Look, no one should be surprised by that. They were pretty obvious about it. But I think this problem for Hillary Clinton is that Bernie Sanders made that case to all of his loyal voters. He went out and accused the DNC of doing this. They said that wasn't true. Well, now here's the proof in 19,000 e-mails. And for those very loyal Bernie voters who feel as though he was robbed of this election, that is not going to help turn them to come out and vote for her this fall.
GIGOT: Another reason for Bernie guys to stay home?
RILEY: Two things here. One, I was speaking to a couple of Democratic strategists earlier who want to stress the unity of the Democratic -- no division. The Republicans are so divided but we're all together. I think this gives lie to that claim. Bernie said the system is rigged. He didn't mean in this way, but it really was.
It was rigged against him.
FREEMAN: Remember he had the fight last winter about Democratic voter donor lists. He felt like the party wasn't being fair to him. They yanked the list for a while from him.
GIGOT: But as James -- as Kim said, Dan, this is not a secret.
GIGOT: There's no way in the world they were going let Bernie Sanders win this. If they had to, they would have pulled the super delegates on his behalf.
HENNINGER: I would say, look, grow up, Bernie. This is politics. It ain't bean bag. Come November, they will be there voting for Hillary Clinton.
RILEY: The press didn't want to cover the story, Paul. They wanted to focus on GOP division. This story was out there. They did not want to cover it. Another example I think of the mainstream --
GIGOT: And you think there's a chance Sanders voters will stay home?
RILEY: Some of them. Some of them. Some of them, sure.
GIGOT: All right, thank you.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, "Hits and Misses" of the week.
GIGOT: Time now for our "Hits and Misses" of the week.
Kim, start us off.
STRASSEL: So, Paul, a miss to the Obama administration for its announcement this week that it is setting aside another $4.5 billion for loans and loan guarantees to companies involved with electric car technology and charging stations. You know, Paul, if we had spent this entire last live hour devoted to talking about all the companies that have exploded or melted down in the green energy sector under Obama's watch, we couldn't fit them all in, from Solyndra on down. If they have learned anything, it ought to be they have no role in picking winners and losers, and in many ways stymieing energy progress. So they should just keep the money.
GIGOT: More subsidies for Leonardo DiCaprio, just what the economy needs.
All right, James?
FREEMAN: Yeah, that would be a fun hour.
This is only theme of picking winners and losers. This is a miss to Attorney General Loretta Lynch who declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton for reckless mishandling of national security secrets. But this week, the Justice Department sued to block two health care mergers, Humana Aetna and Cigna Anthem. When really all these companies are doing is the natural logical response to Obamacare, which is big regulation with heavy costs forces consolidation. It forces out small players and it makes big players want to get bigger.
GIGOT: All right.
RILEY: This is a miss to the NBA for its hypocritical decision to pull the all-star game from Charlotte, North Carolina. The NBA's moral sensibilities are offended by a law in North Carolina that says people have to use public restrooms based on what's on their birth certificate, now how they are dressed or how they feel. I would remind the NBA that they have no problem with sex specific sports leagues. They also run the WNBA for women. Last time I checked, Lebron James or Steph Curry could not put on a sports bra and go play in the WNBA.
GIGOT: All right.
HENNINGER: All right, Paul, well, a big hit for my hometown Cleveland, Ohio, which hosted the Republican convention. I mean, everybody remembers all the fear and loathing that was in the air thinking that these threatened protests would overwhelm the city. I walked through public scare on public evening and there was a cop playing ping-pong with a protester. Look, Cleveland is a Rust Belt city. It's on the way back. It difficult serves high marks for putting on such a well-received convention.
GIGOT: Sherrod Brown would object and say it's no longer the Rust Belt. It's the Revival Belt of Cleveland. Right?
HENNINGER: Well, there's something on which with may agree with Sherrod.
GIGOT: All right, thanks.
And remember, if you have your own hit or miss, be sure to tweet it to us at JER on FNC.
That's it for this week's show. Thanks to my panel. Thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Paul Gigot. We sure hope to see you right here next week.
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