TIME Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Hits a Triumphant Note As His Crowds Grow

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Bernie Sanders
Christopher Dilts—Bloomberg/Getty Images U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

Riding a wave of momentum before the biggest crowds of the election season

Bernie Sanders, tan and slightly hoarse after six weeks of campaigning for president, began a stump speech on Monday night with a humble brag of epic proportions. “Sometimes, media people ask me, ‘Well, Bernie, why are so many people coming out to your events?’” Sanders said to a crowd of 7,500 people in Portland, Maine.

“Well the answer is, I think, pretty obvious,” Sanders continued, flashing a grin to cheers before getting stern again. “From Maine to California—we have friends in Alaska and Hawaii as well—the American people understand that establishment politics and establishment economics is not working for the middle class!”

The audiences are growing, he says, mostly because things in America are so bad. It’s a note of encouragement in the midst of Sanders’ famously jaundiced speeches, a nod to the tide of hope and discontent that his campaign is riding. “All over America, people are becoming involved in this campaign because they want change,” Sanders said. “Real change! And that is what this campaign is about.”

In a campaign by numbers, Sanders has taken a surprisingly strong grasp of the Democratic base. He drew crowds of thousands at several rallies in the last week, a notable feat 16 months before a general election. His poll numbers in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire show he is just a few paces behind Hillary Clinton, climbing within ten points of the presumptive Democratic nominee in one recent poll. And more than 250,000 people have donated to his campaign.

They are surprising metrics of success for a politician who for decades has seen himself as an outsider.

Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, has done it armed with the promise of revolution. “The only way that change takes place is when we develop that strong grassroots movement, make that political revolution, stand together,” Sanders said on Monday. “And then we bring about change.”

Sanders had originally planned his Monday night rally in this seaside city of 66,000 people at a small venue on the water, but after thousands of RSVPs came back online, he was forced to reschedule the speech in a large arena usually reserved for big musical acts and hockey games. Nearly 8,000 people showed up, flooding the standing room with Mainers touting an eclectic mix of tribal tattoos, floral prints, polo shirts and New Balance sneakers.

Sanders’ supporters found in Portland a candidate invigorated by the last months of success. With his left hand gripping the podium and his right hand dancing in the air as if holding a marionette, Sanders framed the recent liberal groundswell as part of a long legacy of activism. He pointed to the labor movement of the early 20th century, the women’s suffrage activists and the civil rights movement as models for changing the country. He called for equal pay, paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, breaking up the big banks, and a massive infrastructure rebuilding program, a la the New Deal.

“There is nothing, nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish!” said Sanders.

The crowds have taken note of Bernie’s sanguine outlook and call to action.

“He’s telling us that the people’s movements—the grassroots movements—have succeeded when people got off their asses and they went out and marched,” said James Murdoch, a self-employed designer and builder who attended the rally. “We’re now getting to the point where people are getting involved and getting active again.”

Portland was just one leg on Sanders’ packed schedule: after a Madison, Wisconsin rally on Wednesday that drew some 9,500 people, Sanders spent three days in western Iowa corn country, where in Council Bluffs, 2,500 people attended a rally, according to the campaign—more than any other Iowa rally so far. (In Iowa he is trailing Clinton by 52-33.) He flew back to Burlington, and then drove with his wife and an aide the 250-odd miles to Portland.

Despite some of the change in tone, Sanders’ speeches are still largely jeremiads on the perennial problems. Wall Street and the greed of the 1% are destroying America, Sanders says, climate change is wreaking drought and deadly heat waves, and misguided trade agreements are sending millions of jobs overseas to countries like China. There’s only a short window of opportunity to stop global warming, and the middle class is in grave danger.

Among his fans, there’s a new hint of faith that the gravity of the campaign may have jolted something awake. People in the audience said afterward that Sanders had struck a chord, particularly for those disappointed by the Obama years and cautious of the hope brand that dominated the 2008 campaign. “He’s saying the things that need to be said,” said Fran Falcone, a mental health counselor, of Sanders. “We need to start really looking at what’s going in our country that’s turned it into a place a lot of us don’t recognize.”

After the speech, Sanders dined at a Spanish-inspired restaurant a few blocks away on Portland’s Congress Street. Word got around town he was there, and a small crowd gathered to seem him before he went to bed and made for Washington D.C. the next day for Senate duties.

Meanwhile, two buddies drank beers on the upstairs terrace of an Irish pub one block from the rally arena. They discussed the reality-check-and-momentum phenomenon. “Campaigns have cycles,” said Portland resident Doug Hall about Sanders, speaking over the house music. “This is the wake-the-f***-up cycle.”

Paul Drinan, who runs a non-profit and also lives in town, agreed. “At this point in the game that’s the appeal: there’s no fluff in the message. He’s telling it like it is,” said Drinan. “Bernie’s riding the wave.”

TIME Race

Minnesota Firefighter Suspended for Flying Confederate Flag During Parade

He said he's not racist, but is standing against political correctness

A Minnesota volunteer firefighter has been suspended after flying a Confederate battle flag from the back of a fire truck during a parade last week.

Brian Nielsen, a southern Minnesota volunteer firefighter, told the local CBS affiliate he would resign from the Hartland Fire Department if asked to do so.

“I will out of respect for them, yes I will,” Nielsen said, apologizing for the negative attention the town is getting. “I’m sorry I hurt my city and hurt the fire department.”

Nielsen chose to wave the Confederate flag from the back of a Hartland Fire Department truck during the local Albert Lea’s Third of July Parade. He told reporters he is not racist, but that he’s standing against political correctness.

TIME Crime

Confederate Memorial at UNC Chapel Hill Vandalized

Silent Sam, monument to the 321 alumni of UNC who died in the Civil War, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
Wendy Connett—Alamy Silent Sam, monument to the 321 alumni of UNC who died in the Civil War, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

But many students are ambivalent about a controversial symbol

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s memorial to Confederate soldiers was vandalized this weekend with the words “murderer” and “black lives matter.”

The statue of a soldier, which was erected in 1913 and commemorates the more than 300 UNC students who died in the Civil War, is a source of frequent controversy on campus. The soldier’s statue is nicknamed “Silent Sam” because the soldier doesn’t carry a cartridge box and is unable to fire his gun.

The graffiti on the statue elicited an ambivalent reaction among many, the local ABC affiliate reports, in a year marked by police shootings of unarmed black men and a new debate about the South’s Confederate history and the flag’s symbolism.

“As an African-American woman, who is a student here, that statue is the very statue that pretty much says I don’t belong here, that I shouldn’t be here,” said UNC student Kirsten Adams.

“[The statue] represents hate, represents slavery, represents the division between blacks and whites and it’s not UNC, we’ve gone through a lot of stuff, but that’s in the past, leave it in the past, that’s history,” said James Elder, one of many who stopped by to see what happened to the statue overnight.

The University released a statement denouncing the vandalism, but adding: “We understand that the issue of race and place is both emotional and, for many, painful.”

Police are investigating the incident.

[ABC]

TIME Crime

7-Year-Old Chicago Boy Among 7 Killed in Bloody Weekend

"We must stem the flow of guns into the city," the city's police chief said

At least 40 people were wounded and seven were killed in Chicago over the weekend, including a seven-year-old boy, leaving police and residents angry over the ongoing violence in the Windy City.

“We need some help here, folks,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Sunday, CNN reports. “We have to fix this broken system.”

Among the seven people slain was Amari Brown, a seven-year-old boy killed by a bullet intended for his father. Police said his father was a ranking gang member who had been arrested 45 times and has a long criminal record.

Chicago police have recovered one illegal gun per hour across the city since Friday morning.

“We must stem the flow of guns into the city,” McCarthy said.

[CNN]

TIME 2016 Election

Jim Webb Enters 2016 Race Leaning on Foreign Policy

"There is no greater responsibility for our President than the vital role of Commander in Chief"

Jim Webb on Thursday afternoon became the fourth candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, emphasizing his foreign policy chops in a 2,000-word announcement of his unlikely bid.

“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” Webb said. “I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars—some estimates run as high as two billion dollars—in direct and indirect financial support.”

Webb is a long shot for the Democratic nomination: most polls show Webb hovers around 2% among Democratic voters. He lacks the name recognition of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is surging in early state polls.

The secretary of the navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, Webb is also a decorated Vietnam veteran. He was an outspoken critic of the Iraq War during his term in the Senate, and he has often touted his military experience as a key qualification. In his statement, he emphasized his opposition to armed entanglements in Libya and Iraq.

Webb said in his statement that he is running to offer both “a fresh approach” and “experienced leadership.” As president, he said, he would reinforce alliances with NATO and in the Middle East, as well as challenge China in the South China Sea.

Webb is the only Democratic candidate to strongly emphasize foreign policy in his platform.

“There is no greater responsibility for our President than the vital role of Commander in Chief,” said Webb. “I have spent my entire life in and around the American military.”

TIME 2016 Election

Bernie Sanders Catching Up to Hillary Clinton in Iowa

Democratic Candidate For President Bernie Sanders Campaigns In Iowa
Scott Olson—Getty Images Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks at a campaign event at Drake University on June 12, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders, an advocate of providing free college education to all Americans, was greeted by a standing-room-only crowd at the event.

Sanders is now favored by 33% of Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa

Sen. Bernie Sanders is gaining in the polls against Hillary Clinton in Iowa, continuing his momentum in the early primary states two months after entering the race for the Democratic nomination.

The self-described democratic socialist is now favored by 33% of Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, doubling his support since early May and coming within just 19 points of Clinton, who is at 52%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Clinton, however, still has significantly greater name recognition than Sanders in Iowa, where 26% of Iowans haven’t heard enough about the Vermont senator to rate him.

Sanders’ blend of progressive liberalism and dire warnings about income inequality have earned him a sizable and growing base of supporters across the country. More than 200,000 people have contributed to his campaign, and large numbers have shown up to support him at events ranging from New York’s massive LGBT Pride Parade last weekend to Wednesday night’s rally in Madison, Wis., which attracted an audience of some 10,000, according to the Associated Press.

He has also been drawing large crowds to his events along the campaign trail in Iowa. “We have the rule of half that we teach our organizers: if 20 people say they’re going to show up, it’ll be 10,” said Pete D’Alessandro, the state coordinator for Sanders’ Iowa operation. “But at Sen. Sanders’ events, we’ve been consistently over 100% of our RSVPs. Until it doesn’t happen, we feel confident our turnout is going to be higher.”

In Iowa, Sanders’ campaign has adopted much of the support garnered by the Run Warren Run campaign, a liberal movement to encourage Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to enter the race. Blair Lawton, Run Warren Run’s Iowa field director, has joined the Sanders campaign as Iowa’s political director and brought along knowledge of the local progressive scene.

Sanders has climbed the polls in New Hampshire, too, coming within 10 percentage points of Clinton in the Granite State. He has represented the neighboring state of Vermont since in the U.S. House and in the Senate since 1991. He has called for free public university, breaking up large Wall Street banks, aggressively fighting climate change and a $1 trillion infrastructure rebuilding program.

Despite his gains in the polls, Sanders is a long shot to win the Democratic nomination. Clinton is far better funded and better organized than Sanders, and the former secretary of state is widely seen as a more viable candidate in a general election.

For the most recent Iowa poll published Thursday, Quinnipiac surveyed 761 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus participants with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.6 percentage points.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Emails Offer Glimpse Into Hillary Clinton’s Private Side

Buried in more than 3,000 messages are hints at what Clinton is like with closest friends.

When she was in Washington, Hillary Clinton often rushed to the White House to meet with visiting dignitaries, to hash out policies toward the world’s trouble spots and to shore up a once-rocky partnership with President Obama. On the road, she kept a breakneck pace of international travel. At home or abroad, she endured marathon calls and meetings with world leaders, often scheduled in 15 minute blocks. She started her schedule before dawn most days and, when she got to her home or her hotel in the evenings, yet another briefing book was waiting for her there to study.

Yet between it all, she kept her dry sense of humor, her generous approach with her trusted staff and loyalty to those who had known her for decades. Her boosters for years have insisted the hard-nosed and calculating caricature of Clinton that has emerged in the public eye is not recognizable to those closest to her. She is, they have insisted for years, one of the best bosses they’d ever had.

Aides told Clinton who was having birthdays, which State Department employees were grieving and which ambassadors and envoys were becoming troublesome, according to a trove of her emails released Tuesday. Amid the whirlwind, she was trying to do her best to carve out time for herself and her friends. In one email, Clinton told her aides that there was a 7 p.m. concert at a Washington area school. It was the day before she was slated to head to Brussels for NATO meetings. “Can I get there?” Clinton asked her team.

This intimate portrait of Clinton has emerged as part of State Department’s release of 3,000-odd emails on Tuesday, a slow-drip release of Clinton’s correspondence from her time as Secretary of State. As the country’s top diplomat, Clinton conducted business as on email stored on a personal email server stored in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home — a decision critics have condemned as a breach of protocol.

Clinton said she co-mingled her work and personal emails as a matter of convenience and deleted the messages that she considered truly personal: funeral arrangements for her mother or dress fittings for daughter Chelsea’s wedding, for instance. The balance of the emails, she said, she turned over to the State Department for review and release. She has repeatedly said she wants the messages released as quickly as possible.

The State Department for months has been going through the emails, redacting parts officials thought fell under exemptions to public records laws, such as national security discussions or private matters that made their way into official correspondence. This was the first batch of emails that were ready for public review. Officials will release thousands more emails in small batches before January 2016.

Meanwhile, a congressional committee led by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy is scrutinizing Clinton’s correspondence that took place around the time of the September 2012 Benghazi attacks for evidence of an alleged cover-up. That committee plans to release its findings next year, just as the presidential campaign hits full stride.

The State Department email batch details, in hour-by-hour fashion, Clinton’s first months as the United States’ top diplomat, always on the go but also always wanting to do more and know more. At times she seemed genuinely impressed; she wanted to know about a carpet she found particularly lovely in China. At other times, she sounded downright bored. For instance, during an international summit in Trinidad and Tobago, she asked Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills for an update to things happening elsewhere. “Count your blessings since I am sitting thru, as of now, 2 hours of speeches. Not done yet and still have cultural performances to go.”

As she runs for the White House, the complex portrait of Clinton that emerges from the first round of email releases depict a management style that is efficient under pressure and reflective in the late hours of the day. Armchair psychology has its limits, of course, but the bursts of thinking, shared by smartphone between meetings and during sleepless nights circling the globe, offer hints about Clinton the person and those around her.

Clinton appeared well aware of her foibles. In the email asking about the carpet in China, her subject line was knowingly self-deprecating: “Don’t laugh!!”

Clinton’s campaign has cast their candidate as a combative mother-hen, a candidate both protective and pugnacious. In the recent batch of emails, the concerned grandmother-to-be makes an appearance in a note to John Podesta, now the chairman of her campaign. “I’m on endless calls about the UN. Could I call you early tomorrow? Would btw 6:30 and 8:00 be too early?” Clinton wrote to Podesta, who was then 60 years old. “Please wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm,” she added.

In another note, she tries to encourage her deputy chief of staff and policy adviser. As Clinton was preparing for a July 2009 trip to India and Thailand, she dashed a quick note to Jake Sullivan, now a leading contender to become her National Security Adviser if she wins the White House. “Jake—i told you yesterday, but it bears repeating—you’re doing a wonderful job. Not just on the speech, but all the work to establish and implement the priorities it represents. I’m very grateful—Hillary”

Irritation with technology was apparently unavoidable even for the world’s most important diplomat. While U.S. troops were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton was at home battling a fax machine: an exchange of emails with longtime aide Huma Abedin over half an hour show Clinton growing increasingly frustrated with a non-working fax line. In an earlier exchange, Clinton is apparently unable to set up a secure phone call. “I can’t get it to work. They go secure and then there are noises and voice interfering w any ability to talk. Can you help?” Clinton asks.

The mundane, day-to-day logistics also come through in the messages. During an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore, she messaged Abedin about her schedule. “I do not think I’m supposed to be here. I don’t see another FM,” she said, abbreviating foreign minister. As Secretary of State, she essentially shared that rank with other nations’ top diplomats. “Can you check?” she asked Abedin. During another exchange, she messaged her aides; she was at the White House for a meeting and seemed to be the only one who showed up. “What’s up???” she demanded.

The schedules in the emails reflect a humble approach to the job, as someone who traveled to meet with people rather than summon them to her. She traveled to the Naval Observatory on one Tuesday in June 2009 for breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden. She shared lunch that day with Larry Summers, then the Director of the National Economic Council—and previously Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary—in the White House cafeteria alongside the 20-something aides who made copies and ran errands. For dinner, she shared noodles at Hunan on the Hill with Sen. Chuck Schumer, with whom she represented New York for eight years in the Senate.

Clinton’s career-long focus on girls’ education didn’t end when she became Secretary of State. In August 2009, Clinton inquired about a Yemeni girl, Nujood Ali, who at the age of 10 had asked for a divorce; two years later, a news report indicated Ali was bitterly unhappy and not going to school. “Is there any way we can help her?” Clinton asked the U.S. ambassador for global women’s issues in an uncharacteristically long email. “Could we get her to the US for counselling and education?” Next week, she followed up. “That’s good news,” Clinton wrote after finding out Nujood was indeed attending private school.

She also never lost her uncanny sense for the value of personal politics. When Sonia Sotomayor was named as Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, she got a message from her chief of staff with a simple subject line: “Sonia Sotomayer,” misspelling her name. Clinton then messaged her assistant. “Can you get #s for me so I can call and congratulate her?”

In another note, longtime friend Marty Torrey messaged Clinton to alert her about the arrival of a newborn. At the end of the note, the one-time chief of staff to former Rep. John Sweeney added a note of encouragement: “Still think we need you as Pres.” Clinton forwarded the note to her assistants: “Pls do a congrats letter.” She made no acknowledgment of another White House run.

During another note with Torrey, she jokingly suggested that former Rep. Harold Naughton should become a regular contributor to Fox News: “Those shows need at least one sane realistic voice.”

Her wariness of the press comes through in other passages. The day a New York Post article appeared about her vacation with Bill Clinton in Bermuda, she emailed Abedin about the image. “Did you see the photo in the NYPost of Bill and me from yesterday?” she wrote. “It was after lunch but I didn’t see anybody w a camera so obviously a long lens from afar.”

There are also flashes of a demanding boss.

When a brutal snowstorm blasted the Washington region and shut down the government, Mills sent Clinton a note letting her know the State Department would be having a snow day. Not seeming to understand this, Clinton replied, “What does this mean for our schedules?” Mills replied that no one would be in the building. “What about … everyone who asked to see me? I have to come anyway,” Clinton declared in a Sunday evening message back.

The notes also depict a wife to a man as busy as she was. In one June email exchange, Abedin sent a note to her boss letting her know Bill Clinton—William Jefferson Clinton, or WJC—was making a stop to pick up jet fuel, and his longtime aide Doug Band had his cellphone on: “If u r still up, wjc landed in brazil for refuel. He should be on the ground for an hour or so. Call dougs cell.”

During another fast-developing moment, Clinton learned that her husband had agreed to become a Special Envoy for the United Nations’ response to a devastating earthquake in Haiti. News leaked from the UN before Bill Clinton had time to phone his wife to let her know of his new role. “Wjc said he was going to call hrc but hasn’t had time,” Band wrote to Abedin and Mills. Mills forwarded the message to her assistant. “You need to walk this to HRC if she is not gone,” Mills told the aide.

Between international diplomacy and running a sprawling department, she often turned to routine tasks and comforts. As Clinton was preparing for a two-week trip to Africa, aides were trying to find some time for her to look at new furniture for her house in Washington. “Are you around this week?” designer Rosemarie Howe asked Clinton in an email directly to the Secretary of State. “If you have any time we could look at coffee tables for the den.”

During another email exchange, she asked her assistant about the New York-grown apples that were always around her Senate office during the fall months. When she moved to Foggy Bottom’s State Department headquarters, she worried she might no longer be getting New York apples now that she didn’t represent the apple growers in the Senate. “Will we receive them this Fall? How can I buy some for personal use?”

Read next: Bernie Sanders Catching Up to Hillary Clinton in Iowa

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TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on Track to Raise Record $45 Million in First Quarter

She beat President Obama's 2011 record

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is on track to raise more than $45 million in the first quarter of the primary race, a Clinton official said Wednesday, far outpacing her Democratic opponents and breaking President Obama’s previous first-quarter fundraising record of $41.9 million in 2011.

For much of the past 11 weeks, Clinton has spent her afternoons and evenings attending house parties for donors, where the former Secretary of State regularly spends about an hour and fifteen minutes schmoozing with guests, taking photos, and delivering her campaign talking points. The parties, which follow a nearly identical format and which Clinton holds in states as far flung as New York, Iowa and California, asks attendees to raise $2,700 and hosts to bring in $27,000.

A crucial measure of popular enthusiasm for Clinton, however, will not be just the amount of money she raises, but the number of small-donor donations to her campaign. In that arena she is likely to be outmatched by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has raked in about $8 million with an average donation of around $40—which puts him at around 200,000 donors.

Clinton’s campaign has set a goal of raising $100 million to pay for the primary, a target that appears well within reach after just two-and-a-half months of fundraising and seven months to go before the Iowa caucus. The numbers have not been finalized, and the Federal Election Commission is not due to release campaigns’ intake through June 30 until the middle of July.

Clinton officials have not yet released the total number of donors that have given to the candidate as of June 30, but in an email to supporters on Tuesday evening shortly before the midnight deadline, the campaign said there were only “2,109 to go” before reaching 50,000 “grassroots donations.”

According to the campaign, much of Clinton’s donations has come from online and grassroots donations, with 91% of donations at $100 or less.

Hillary for America has also built out a robust online store that includes an array of cheeky apparel and accessories, including a “pantsuit tee” a “Chillary Clinton” beer koozie, and a “Grillary Clinton” barbecue apron. The store will allow the campaign to build out an email list as well as bring in small-dollar donations.

“The campaign has been focused on building an inclusive and diverse group of supporters at all levels,” said a Clinton official, “including longtime Clinton supporters, Obama supporters and some who have never really gotten involved in Presidential politics before.”

In a handwritten note posted on her Instagram Wednesday morning, Clinton personally thanked her donors. “Thank you so much for being part of this campaign,” she wrote. “When the road ahead is tough you need the best people by your side. That’s I’m thankful for you.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

What Hillary Clinton Learned From This 2013 Campaign

Hillary Clinton Addresses Virginia Democratic Party's Annual Jefferson-Jackson Party Dinner
Alex Wong—Getty Images Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton comes on the stage with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe during the Democratic Party of Virginia Jefferson-Jackson dinner June 26, 2015 at George Mason University's Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

Her campaign manager, a number of staffers and her strategy all come from the successful Virginia gubernatorial race

When Terry McAuliffe stormed the stage at a Virginia Democrats’ rally at George Mason University on Friday, Hillary Clinton followed on with an arm around her decades-long friend and political partner.

“I’ll tell you an honest story. When we’re on vacation, come about 6 o’clock at night, I’m ready for a cold beer,” McAuliffe told the crowd of 1,800 supporters, heaping unscripted love on Clinton as she stood smiling by his side. “I don’t go looking for Bill Clinton. I go looking for Hillary Clinton. Because she’s a lot more fun than Bill Clinton is, and I love him too!”

“Woah!” said Clinton, taking the microphone and matching McAuliffe, gush for gush. “I love your governor and I love your first lady.”

Clinton and McAuliffe shared more than just a stage and some kind words on Friday: they are now splitting the spoils of his successful 2013 race for governor of Virginia. Now in its third month, Clinton’s campaign for president has adopted key strategic lessons from McAuliffe’s gubernatorial race, including the finer details of a data-driven field organization focused on turning out the Democratic base and unmarried women, leaning into progressive Democratic positions and hiring many of the same staff members that helped McAuliffe win the governor’s mansion. And Democrats say that McAuliffe’s 2013 victory sets the stage for the state to go blue in the 2016 general election, when Hillary Clinton is the likely candidate.

Bill and Hillary Clinton took a keen interest in the 2013 race—and campaign manager Robby Mook—beyond their role as longtime friends of McAuliffe, her 2008 presidential campaign chairman and his 1996 presidential co-chair. McAuliffe’s staffers recall their candidate receiving excited late-night calls from Bill with stump speech pointers and campaign advice.

Former McAuliffe aides are quick to say that their energy in 2013 was focused on getting their man to the governor’s house. But since then, the victorious McAuliffe campaign has become an ex post facto lab experiment for Clinton’s current bid for the White House.

A purple state that is trending blue, Virginia bears similarities to the general American electorate: its nonwhite population is growing and its voters are increasingly adopting liberal stances social issues. The swing state offered an ideal test run for the Clinton operation, combining vast rural tracts with midsized cities and expansive suburbs.

More alike than the voters, though, are the ethos, spirit and strategy of the campaigns themselves, much of it coming from Mook, the general on McAuliffe’s campaign who is now leading Clinton’s army.

“I can’t think of a state campaign where the esprit was as good as it was in Terry’s campaign. It was not just a minimal amount of backbiting: there was no backbiting,” said Geoff Garin, the pollster for McAuliffe’s campaign who is now working on the pro-Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action. “And part of Robby’s strength as a leader is he does get people engaged and pulling in the same direction.”

Central to McAuliffe’s campaign was his embrace of staunch Democratic positions on gay rights, abortion, gun control and healthcare a hard play for the Democratic base in Virginia that capitalized on the left-shifting electorate in his 2013 race for governor. Clinton has likewise embraced gay marriage, making it a central platform of her campaign messaging this year, just as public support has reached an all-time high. And she has fervently called for action on gun control at a time when a majority of Americans are in favor of universal background checks. Both have also embraced the Affordable Care Act, the controversial law that is growing in acceptance among the general populace but remains anathema to Republicans.

Those progressive positions succeeded in energizing the Democratic base without alienating Virginia moderates, also a central organizing tack of Clinton’s campaign.

To turn out Democrats, McAuliffe adopted and expanded the Obama grassroots vision, bringing on a huge staff of field organizers and signed up volunteers to knock on doors and work the phones from the very beginning of his campaign. Clinton hired about 100 field staff across all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for a two-month intensive effort after her announcement, and at least half the staff remains on the payroll.

Both the 2013 and the current presidential campaigns will rely on an army of volunteers, a flurry of commit-to-vote cards, targeted door-to-door canvassing and plenty of money to fund the efforts.

“The hallmarks of what Robby did in Virginia, and what he’s building now, is that the organizing occurred on the ground very early in the campaign,” Garin said.

Beyond Mook, a bevy of key McAuliffe alumni have migrated to the Clinton camp. Brynne Craig, Clinton’s deputy political director, was the political director on McAuliffe’s campaign. Josh Schwerin, a spokesman on Clinton’s campaign, was the press secretary in the 2013 gubernatorial race. And some of the key players organizing Hillary’s large ground operations in Iowa are former McAuliffe staffers as well, including Clinton caucus director Michael Halle and organizing director Michelle Kleppe. In fact, when Clinton announced on April 12, about a dozen McAuliffe veterans were already on the ground in Iowa, having arrived quietly days before to help lay the groundwork for her campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Despite the talk of focusing on the race at hand, it was clear that whatever happened during the gubernatorial campaign would matter in 2016.

“Everybody knew Robby was in the running for that job” of running the top 2016 Democratic operation, said someone close to the McAuliffe campaign. “But there was a real sense of cream rising to the top broadly: nobody could do well if this campaign didn’t go well.”

Clinton and McAuliffe have had long and closely entwined careers. McAuliffe put up $1.35 million as collateral on Clinton’s mortgage to buy their home in Chappaqua, N.Y. The Clintons, in turn, have provided McAuliffe a large network for his business and political enterprises.

And together, they are magnets for controversy. On the campaign trail in Virginia in 2013, McAuliffe’s strategy was to sidestep the accusations of shady business deals, including a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of an electric car company he founded. Clinton, similarly, has herself largely tried to skirt questions about the Clinton Foundation and her private email server during her time as Secretary of State. Both are reflection of Mook’s long-held strategy “to keep the principals in their box and away from making mistakes, giving the rest of the campaign room to do its job,” says a McAuliffe confidant.

“People who have a lot of history—that needs to be managed when you’re messaging to voters,” said another former McAuliffe campaign staffer. “The campaign in Virginia relied on us not taking the bait on fights on anything in his public record. And you may see that with Clinton campaign.”

McAuliffe, for his part, acknowledged as much in an interview with TIME earlier this year, crediting Mook for keeping his campaign’s eye on the prize.

“In Clinton world there are a lot of friends, a lot of people who want to help, and what he is able to do is direct all of their energy in a positive way. He can make sure campaign staff can do their jobs without losing focus,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe’s victory was due in no small part to unmarried women voters, whom he won by a huge margin of 67% to just 25% for Cuccinelli. McAuliffe blasted ads during the campaign framing Cuccinelli as a right-wing zealot on contraception and abortion issues. That demographic is crucial for Clinton, who tops unmarried woman over a generic Republican candidate with 66% of the vote to 29%, according to a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll.

For all the similarities, there are fundamental differences in the two campaigns. McAuliffe outraised his opponent for the governor’s office by about $15 million—a large margin for a gubernatorial race that Clinton is unlikely to replicate in 2016.

“It’s easy to be the smartest guy in the room when you are able to spend at least $15 million more than your opponent in a statewide race,” said a former advisor to McAuliffe opponent Ken Cuccinelli. “One of the other major differences between 2013 and 2016 is that the huge funding disparity between the two candidates won’t be present again.”

Update: A Clinton campaign spokesperson said campaign manager Robby Mook has no recollection of meeting the Clintons after Gov. McAuliffe’s inauguration. That reference has been removed.

TIME Supreme Court

Why Conservatives Are Nervous About Church Tax Breaks

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Gay Marriage
Mark Wilson—Getty Images People celebrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court’s ruling last week guaranteeing same-sex marriage in all 50 states was a cause for celebration for many across the country.

But many social conservatives saw the ruling as a threat to religious institutions like churches and schools, whose tax-exempt status as non-profits they believe could be at risk.

Why are conservative groups nervous? In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that a fundamentalist Christian university in South Carolina that barred interracial marriage and dating, Bob Jones University, could not hold onto its tax-exempt status.

That case came up in an exchange during the same-sex marriage arguments between Justice Samuel Alito and Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. in April.

Justice Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­-sex marriage?

General Verrilli: You know, ­­I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is –it is going to be an issue.

Many conservatives argue that churches and other religious institutions that hold marriage is between a man and a woman could be subject to scrutiny. They could have their tax-exempt status revoked by the same standard as Bob Jones—for violating a “fundamental national public policy.”

Who’s nervous about it? Some members of Congress, churches, and religious schools. Earlier this month, officials from more than 70 schools sent a letter to congressional leaders warning that a Supreme Court ruling would endanger tax-exempt status for all schools “adhering to traditional religious and moral values.” Among the signatories were Catholic high schools and colleges, evangelical universities and associations of Christian schools.

In anticipation of the ruling, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah introduced a bill that would “clarify and strengthen religious liberty protections.” He told leaders of conservative Christian groups recently that “if the government recognizes a right to same-sex marriage, you could at some point have a move by the government, a move perhaps by the IRS, to remove the tax exempt status of any religiously affiliated educational institution.”

The Home School Legal Defense Association’s chairman and chancellor of the conservative Patrick Henry College, Michael Farris wrote in an op-ed published Friday that the IRS implications won’t stop with colleges: “religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches,” he wrote.

Are the fears exaggerated? In his majority opinion for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy assured people of faith that they would still be allowed “to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Legally, it’s unclear that the Bob Jones decision from 1983 could be applied broadly beyond race. At the time of the case, discrimination based on race was enshrined in federal law and constitutional interpretation. Today, discrimination based on sexual orientation has not been banned by federal law.

Gender discrimination, on the other hand, is prohibited by federal law. Even so, gender-based religious discrimination is often permitted: the government doesn’t force Catholic Churches to ordain women as priests, for example.

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