TIME Hillary Clinton

Why Hillary Clinton Prefers to Talk About Community Banks

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a meeting with parents and child care workers at the Center for New Horizons in Chicago on May 20, 2015.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a meeting with parents and child care workers at the Center for New Horizons in Chicago on May 20, 2015.

Like many Democrats, Hillary Clinton has talked tough about reining in mega banks. But as her presidential campaign has gotten underway, she’s focused on the homier side of the financial industry: community banks.

At a roundtable in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Clinton spoke on Tuesday less about tightening oversight on Wall Street and more about loosening regulations for banks on Main Street. She argued that red tape and paperwork for small banks across the country are holding back small businesses by making it harder to get much-needed loans.

At times, listeners might have even mistaken Clinton for a moderate Republican.

“Today,” Clinton said, “local banks are being squeezed by regulations that don’t make sense for their size and mission—like endless examinations and paperwork designed for banks that measure their assets in the many billions.”

“And when it gets harder for small banks to do their jobs, it gets harder for small businesses to get their loans,” she said. “Our goal should be helping community banks serve their neighbors and customers the way they always have.”

Community banks tend have less than $1 billion in assets, are usually based in rural or suburban communities and are the kind of place your uncle in Idaho might go for money to open an antique shop. Touting small businesses is a tried-and-true trope for candidates on both sides of the aisle. For office-seekers from Barack Obama to Marco Rubio, the subject is as noncontroversial and all-American as crabgrass.

The difference, then, comes at how politicians want to handle bigger banks. Congress right now is debating how far to exempt banks from certain regulations. Democratic lawmakers generally want to reduce them only for smaller banks; some Republicans want to exempt all banks, an approach Clinton criticized.

Big banks in the United States have become increasingly large and powerful in the seven years since the financial crisis. Of the 6,000-odd banks in the United States, the five largest control nearly half of the country’s banking wealth, according to a December study. In 1990, the five biggest banks controlled just 10% of the industry’s assets.

Small banks complain that federal regulation in the aftermath of the Dodd-Frank legislation is contributing to a decline in their numbers. Annual examinations at a community banks, for instance, require staff to walk regulators through paperwork. Filling out paperwork and paying for compliance lawyers to deal with new Dodd-Frank stipulations are burdensome extra costs, banks say. And new rules can impose high damages on lenders who do make unsafe loans.

“There’s an inherent advantage in scale,” said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, pointing out that small banks often have more trouble paying for regulation compliance. “Community banks, being smaller, have less business to spread the cost of regulations over.”

It’s an issue that resonates with Iowa bankers, says John Sorensen, president and CEO of the Iowa Bankers Association. “A lot of the banks we have across Iowa are small businesses with 10 to 30 employees that have been interrupted in their ability to serve their customers through a good part of Dodd-Frank,” he said.

But some say the discussion about scrapping community bank regulations as Clinton suggests is a distraction. Small banks were in steady decline for many years before Dodd-Frank, and they are protected from liability on certain loans that big banks are not. And regulators argue that preventing risky mortgages of the kind that brought on the financial crisis is a good thing.

Much of the push to deregulate community banks comes from bigger institutions who want exemptions from regulation themselves. “If you were able to somehow magically trace who is whipping up frenzy about regulator burden on small banks, you’d find its trade associations at the behest of bigger banks,” said Julia Gordon of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank that has supplied some top officials in the Clinton campaign.

During the roundtable, Donna Sorensen, chair of the board of Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust and a participant on Tuesday, suggested to Clinton that more U.S. Small Business Administration-supported loans come with no fees. Clinton took notes and nodded in assent.

“If we really wanted to jumpstart more community bank lending, part of what we would do is exactly that—raise the limits to avoid the upfront fee” for businesses that need loans, Clinton said.

Clinton did not say specifically what regulations she would remove if she were elected president, but locals in Independence, Iowa, where Clinton stopped by for a visit after her small business roundtables, asked her to hold true to her sentiments. Terry Tekippe, whose family owns an independent hardware store, walked onto the street as Clinton walked by. “Keep us in focus,” Tekippe said.

“I want to be a small business president, so I am,” Clinton called back as she continued down the street.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Joins LinkedIn Because ‘She’s Looking for a New Job’

The presidential candidate looking to make a career move takes to the career networking site

Hillary Clinton just did what lots of people looking for jobs do: She joined LinkedIn.

The 2016 presidential candidate, who has portrayed herself as the small business candidate, on Thursday wrote a post on the career networking site that laid out her plan for how to jumpstart small businesses.

“It’s still too hard to get a business started today,” she wrote. “Hard work is no longer enough to guarantee opportunity. Credit is too tough to come by. Too many regulatory and licensing requirements are uneven and uncertain.”

She laid out four potential fixes.

1. Cut red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs

2. Expand access to capital

3. Provide tax relief and tax simplification for small business

4. Expand access to new markets

Her campaign made light of her new LinkedIn account in a Twitter post.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME

Morning Must Reads: May 21

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Good Thursday morning from Washington. Fox and CNN have set the criteria for the first Republican presidential debates, causing heartburn for candidates polling within the margin of error of zero. Sen. Rand Paul spoke for 10.5 hours on the Senate floor, while his campaign tried to build momentum online. And Pope Francis is coming to Washington in four months and that has Democrats celebrating and many Republicans nervous, or worse. Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Good Thursday morning from Washington. Fox and CNN have set the criteria for the first Republican presidential debates, causing heartburn for candidates polling within the margin of error of zero. Sen. Rand Paul spoke for 10.5 hours on the Senate floor, while his campaign tried to build momentum online. And Pope Francis is coming to Washington in four months and that has Democrats celebrating and many Republicans nervous, or worse. Here are your must reads:

Sound Off

Why This Red State is Poised to End the Death Penalty
It would be the first to do so since 1973, TIME’s Alex Altman explains

Pope Francis Goes to Washington
TIME’s Elizabeth Dias on the politics of the pontiff’s upcoming U.S. visit

Rand Paul Bets the Campaign on ‘Filibuster’
The 10-hour show was accompanied by a major organizing and fundraising push from his presidential campaign (Politico)

Super PAC Backing Hillary Clinton is Struggling to Raise Money
The candidate has promised to fight against unlimited money in politics, but she needs it too (Wall Street Journal)

The Clintons And the Ponzi Schemers
Questionable associations highlight Clinton access woes (BuzzFeed)

Fox News Just Made the Republican Primary More Exciting
Limiting the field to 10 candidates will narrow the field (Politico)

NSA May Need to Begin Winding Down Surveillance Program
A controversial spying program is likely to lose its congressional authorization (Washington Post)

Bits and Bites

“I’m not going to be in a witness protection program. I’m a Bush. I’m proud of it.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on not fleeing from his liability of a last name

“I’m reminded of the movie The Blues Brothers: ‘Jake, we’ve got to get the band back together again.’” — Sen. Ted Cruz loosely quoting the comedy classic as he backs up 2016 rival Rand Paul’s really long speech

TIME In the Arena

An Explosion of Hot Air

Joe Klein is TIME's political columnist and author of six books, most recently Politics Lost. His weekly TIME column, "In the Arena," covers national and international affairs.

The best GOP field in years begins an epic battle for the nomination to be replaced with something else soon

Nothing much is going on right now in the 2016 presidential campaign–unless you’re a Republican political junkie, in which case every day is Christmas or, perhaps, Halloween. Did you know that Donald Trump might actually run this time, instead of using our nation’s highest office to promote his reality-TV show? Or that the very former governor of New York, George Pataki, thinks he’s a candidate? Are you tremendously relieved that the GOP’s most persistent Dr. Strangelove–former U.N. ambassador John Bolton–has taken his hat out of the ring? I sure am. But that leaves 15 or more candidates either in it or circling. The great state of Iowa, which had a dozen wannabes speak at its annual Lincoln Day dinner on May 16, may lose its corn crop in the explosion of hot air. Given that a column is insufficient space to introduce you to the entire mob, here are some observations from a weekend in Iowa:

Jeb Bush, son and brother of other Bushes, is the Republican default position–if not quite the favorite to win. He is conducting a major thought experiment. It involves the proposition that a conservative who is not suffering from red-meat poisoning can win the Republican nomination. Bush has had tough times in recent weeks, mangling answers to inevitable questions like whether he would have gone to war in Iraq, but I watched him handle all sorts of questions at a town-hall meeting in Dubuque, and he did so with intelligence, patience–in the case of one persistent questioner who seemed to believe that the Gates Foundation was intent on wrecking the American education system–and fluency, including casual humor. He will spend the next year trying to convince Republicans that “he’s not so bad” and hope that, in the end, his opponents will seem worse.

Marco Rubio, the Senator from Florida, wasn’t in Iowa over the weekend, but he is the sort of guy Republicans would love to nominate. I suspect he may prove to be Bush’s most formidable opponent; next March 15, he and Bush will joust in Florida’s winner-take-all primary, and the loser will likely be eliminated. Rubio seems far more polished now than the water-gulping ninny who flubbed the Republican response to the State of the Union address in 2013. He seems to have done a lot of homework on the issues, especially foreign policy. A few days before the Lincoln dinner, he gave a very polished performance before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. His positions were stalwart neoconservative and, in some ways, nonsensical: Why on earth do we need more troops, aside from drone jockeys, cyberwarriors and special operators, in a world where set-piece battles have become obsolete? But he was quick. When the moderator, Charlie Rose, mentioned that Cuba’s Raúl Castro had joked that he was considering becoming a Roman Catholic again, Rubio said, “That’s gonna be a pretty long confession.”

Three other candidates impressed me in Iowa, for different reasons. One was Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, spectacularly defenestrated by her board. I’ve seen her speak several times now, and she more than holds her own in this crowd. She has a clipped, clear, efficient style, and more than any other candidate in the race, she really lays the lumber to Hillary Clinton. It should also be noted that Carleton Fiorina is a woman. She wore a dress to the dinner and addressed the women in the audience directly. A guy had recently told her that a woman was hormonally inappropriate for the Oval Office: “Can anyone think for a single instant that a man’s judgment was clouded by his hormones, including in the Oval Office?”

Unfortunately, Fiorina’s foreign policy appears to be as testosterone-addled as that of most of the other candidates in her party. The one exception is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who sounded unlike any of the other candidates in Des Moines, concentrating on his civil-libertarian opposition to the Patriot Act, which he may filibuster again. And while he stands with the others when it comes to economic issues, he does not brandish his talons when it comes to foreign policy–except against the warmakers. “Someone needs to ask Hillary Clinton–if she ever takes any questions–was it a good idea to topple Gaddafi in Libya?” Paul said. “I think it’s a disaster.”

And finally there is Lindsey Graham, who, till now, has been best known as an appendage of John McCain’s, flanking him at warmongering press conferences. The thing about Graham is that he’s a happy–no, hilarious–warrior. “The more you drink, the better I sound,” he told the Iowans, “so keep drinking.” He favors immigration reform, working with Democrats and calling drones to kill American jihadis. I suspect he won’t get lost onstage when the debates start.

TO READ JOE’S BLOG POSTS, GO TO time.com/swampland


This appears in the June 01, 2015 issue of TIME.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME justice

Why This Red State Is Poised to End the Death Penalty

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seen through bars during a tour of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh, Neb., on May 19, 2015.
Nati Harnik—AP Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seen through bars during a tour of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh, Neb., on May 19, 2015.

It would be the first conservative state to do so since 1973

As a college student in the mid-1990s, Colby Coash attended an execution at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Two groups gathered to bear witness. On one side were death-penalty opponents, who prayed quietly. On the other side, the atmosphere was festive.

“It was like a tailgate party,” Coash recalls, replete with a band and barbecue, and locals banging on pots and pans. As the minutes ticked toward midnight and the condemned was strapped into the electric chair, the crowd drank beer and counted down “like it was New Year’s Eve,” says Coash, who supported the death penalty at the time. “Later, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t like how it felt to be a part of the celebration of somebody’s death.”

Coash now serves in Lincoln as a state senator, and on Wednesday he was among a cadre of conservatives who voted to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska. If the measure becomes law, Nebraska would become the first red state to ban capital punishment since North Dakota in 1973.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty, has threatened to veto the bill. But Wednesday’s 32-15 margin in the Nebraska legislature indicates supporters have the votes to override such a move. Ricketts has five days to sign or veto the measure before it automatically becomes law.

The landmark vote was a reflection of the shifting politics of criminal justice. For decades, law-and-order conservatives have been staunch proponents of capital punishment. But in recent years, a growing number of Republicans have begun to oppose the death penalty, arguing it violates the central tenets of conservatism.

“It does things that are cardinal sins for conservatives,” says Marc Hyden, a former NRA staffer from Georgia who serves as coordinator of a national group called Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. “It risks innocent life. It wastes taxpayer money when there’s cheaper alternatives, and fails to be representative of a limited government—while it meanwhile fails to deter crime.”

Overall, Americans’ support for the death penalty is relatively stable, according to a 2015 Gallup poll that found 63% of respondents favored capital punishment for convicted murderers. But among conservatives, support for the practice appears to be dropping, though it remains high. In 2014, Gallup found that 76% of Republicans supported the death penalty, down from 81% the year before. Says Hyden: “It’s just a broken government program that conservatives are speaking out against in greater numbers nationally.”

Eighteen states have banned the death penalty, mostly in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Nebraska might seem an unlikely candidate to join them. The state is a conservative stronghold, and while its unicameral legislature is officially nonpartisan, 36 of its 49 seats are held by Republicans.

But the Cornhusker State has been down this road before. In 1979, a bill banning capital punishment passed the legislature before it was vetoed by the governor. Though Nebraska has 11 inmates on death row, no one has been executed in the state since 1997. In 2013 some observers believed there were enough votes to pass such a measure, though not enough to override a veto. The current legislature had voted twice already to abolish the death penalty.

In preparation for the push, opponents of the death penalty lobbied lawmakers extensively, circulating studies that show the practice is ineffective as a deterrent to crime and enlisting the family members of murder victims to testify about how the endless appeals process compounded their grief.

Stacy Anderson, a conservative Christian and former Republican operative who directs a group called Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said the unique nature of the state legislature—the only nonpartisan, unicameral legislature in the U.S.—helped break down traditional partisan lines. “It’s a very cordial, small body,” Anderson says. “They engage the issues far beyond the regular political rhetoric.”

Some conservatives originally ducked meetings on the topic, Anderson added. Over time, a number came to change their minds. “They learned how much it cost, the risk of executing innocents, how it didn’t align with pro-life values,” she says.

Death penalty opponents hope Nebraska’s vote will be the beginning of a trend. A push to abolish capital punishment in conservative Montana fell one vote short earlier this year. Anti-death penalty legislation has also been introduced in Kansas.

Before the vote Wednesday, Ricketts released a statement urging lawmakers to listen to their constituents. “No one has traveled the state more than I have in the past 18 months, and everywhere I go there is overwhelming support for keeping the death penalty in Nebraska,” he said, calling a vote to abolish the death penalty a vote to “give our state’s most heinous criminals more lenient sentences. This isn’t rhetoric. This is reality.”

For Coash, that’s precisely the point. “People sent me here to Lincoln to find and root out government waste,” he says. In addition to the expense, he came to believe that the protracted appeals process prevented the families of victims from achieving closure. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he says. And “I’m a pro-life guy. I couldn’t reconcile my pro-life beliefs regarding the unborn with doing something different with the condemned.”

TIME jeb bush

Jeb Bush Doubles Down on His Last Name

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall meeting, on May 16, 2015, at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall meeting, on May 16, 2015, at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

"I love my mom and dad. I love my brother"

Make no mistake: Jeb Bush is a member of that Bush clan.

After struggling last week to square his likely presidential campaign with his family tree, the former Florida governor is hitting the reset button. Where he previously tried to keep his father and brother — both former Presidents — at a distance, Bush is now doubling down on his lineage.

“I know you all know me as George and Barbara’s boy,” Bush said Wednesday as he opened a round table with business leaders in New Hampshire’s Seacoast. “You probably know that I’m George W.’s brother.”

There’s no escaping the family liability, no matter how much Jeb Bush’s advisers earlier thought he could. During a February speech in Chicago, Bush tried to paint himself as a different kind of leader and sought to stamp out comparisons to his family, especially his brother.

“I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make,” Bush said. “But I am my own man.”

That didn’t last long.

“I’m proud of my family,” Bush said Wednesday. “I love my mom and dad. I love my brother. And people are just going to have to get over that. That’s just the way it is.”

The family ties came to the forefront when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Bush if he would have supported his brother’s decision to go to war in Iraq, even knowing that the Iraqi government did not possess weapons of mass destruction. Two days after he answered in the affirmative, he dodged the question and said he wouldn’t answer what he called hypotheticals. Aides tried to claim he misunderstood the question and move on.

His rivals for the GOP nomination didn’t yield. Democrats gleefully painted Jeb Bush as a third term for George W. Bush, who left the White House deeply unpopular over his decision to go into Iraq. Bush’s advisers struggled to respond as all corners of politics piled on.

By Thursday, Jeb Bush was telling voters that he made a mistake during the interview, and that he would not have gone to war in Iraq knowing that Saddam Hussein was not the threat George W. Bush’s Administration claimed he was.

“I would not have gone into Iraq,” Bush told reporters in Arizona.

It was a tough week for Bush and his campaign, and one Bush’s team now is looking to leave in the past. For Bush’s top advisers, it is now clear that there is no escaping the shadow of his brother or father.

“I’m not going to be in a witness protection program. I’m a Bush. I’m proud of it,” Bush told reporters. “What am I supposed to say?”

He said any campaign for President would have hiccups and stumbles.

“Admit that you’re going to make mistakes. We’re all imperfect,” Bush said.

Bush is slated to spend two days in New Hampshire, a state that is shaping up to be a state ripe with potential for his campaign. He was scheduled to take voters’ questions near Manchester, followed by business tours on Thursday in Concord and Salem.

TIME Rand Paul

Rand Paul Filibusters Patriot Act Renewal

Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 15, 2015, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the need to reform asset forfeiture.
Andrew Harnik—AP Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 15, 2015, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the need to reform asset forfeiture.

Presidential candidate Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to protest the renewal of the Patriot Act, a Bush administration-era law that enables government surveillance.

The Kentucky Republican argued that the programs authorized by the 2001 law improperly constrict Americans’ rights and grant overly broad powers to the National Security Agency.

“There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer,” he began. “That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged.”

Shortly after the speech began, the Paul campaign emailed supporters to say that he would “not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand.”

Paul began speaking at 1:18 p.m., when the Senate was in the midst of discussion of a massive trade deal with Asia, making it arguable whether it was technically a filibuster, a parliamentary procedure used to delay or prevent a vote.

Paul previously filibustered the nomination of CIA chief John Brennan in order to highlight what he considered the danger of drone strikes against U.S. citizens within the United States.

TIME White House

Obama Steps Down From the Bully Pulpit

President Barack Obama eats lunch at Charmington's Cafe with Vika Jordan, Amanda Rothschild, and Mary Stein to discuss the needs of all Americans as they balance their families and jobs on Jan. 15, 2015 in Baltimore.
Kenneth K. Lam—Baltimore Sun/TNS/Getty Images President Barack Obama eats lunch at Charmington's Cafe with Vika Jordan, Amanda Rothschild, and Mary Stein to discuss the needs of all Americans as they balance their families and jobs on Jan. 15, 2015 in Baltimore.

Barack Obama, who rose to the White House on the strength of his speeches, will spend the twilight of his presidency having conversations.

The orator-in-chief will continue giving big set-piece speeches, such as Wednesday’s commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy tying climate change to national security. But with his agenda hemmed in by Congress and the public’s attention drifting towards his would-be successors, Obama is increasingly taking a more informal tack.

In January, he sat down with YouTube star GloZell Green, better known for a “cinnamon challenge” video. In April, he chatted about climate change with Bill Nye the Science Guy while on a tour of the Everglades. Earlier this month, he sat on a panel on poverty at Georgetown University with a Harvard professor and the head of a conservative think tank.

The White House says these are all part of an effort to come down from the bully pulpit and get into the pews.

“The President wants to spend the next year and a half not just talking at people but having a conversation with people and there are a range of ways to do that,” says Jennifer Psaki, the White House communications director.

She stressed that these more nontraditional interviews allow Obama to talk more at length about the issues he cares about, especially when the subject is not the lead story on cable news.

“There are many, many people who care deeply about climate change for example, but they may not be interested in reading the latest clip or watching the latest cable news piece about a debate on Capital Hill,” she adds. “They’re more interested in watching a clip or hearing more in depth discussion with the president of the United States about how to address this larger, bigger issue.”

The strategy also allows the White House to reach audiences that may not be tuning in to the news through more traditional outlets. When Obama went on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ web series Between Two Ferns last year to talk about insurance enrollment, some pundits clucked, but the White House noted that signups on HealthCare.gov spiked.

In many ways, Obama is just following the path of predecessors like Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, who used radio and television in new ways to get their message out.

“Younger audiences receive information in different ways,” says Don Baer, CEO of strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller and former Clinton White House communications director. “There is no need to stand on a lot of ceremony about that. At one point in our history, the presidential press conference was viewed as innovative, new and foreign. Today it’s one of the core staples of presidential communications.”

There is a downside, says Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute and author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” The YouTube interview or the Top 40 radio station hit is not a presidential press conference, and the circumventing of the traditional media does not go unnoticed by the people of the White House press corps who constantly struggle for more access to the president.

“The number one downside is that the traditional media don’t like it,” Troy says. “And as president, that can impact the way they write about you.”

Still, Psaki insists the president’s conversations with bloggers and thought leaders do not signal that he’s completely done away with traditional speeches and interviews.

“It’s about expanding the scope of what you consider and also thinking about what your audience cares deeply about,” Psaki says. “How do you—not just talk at them, but also engage.”

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