Hillary Clinton's selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate may gall some progressives. But Kaine brings to the campaign deep connections with Democratic insiders and fundraising on K Street.

Kaine’s network of former aides and contacts say the ex-Virginia Democratic governor and one-time chairman of the Democratic National Committee is a policy wonk who studies issues, speaks without notes in English or Spanish, seeks out competing viewpoints and comes across as genuine on the fundraising circuit.

“He can speak with great authority on a wide range of policy matters,” said Preston Bryant, a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting, who served as Kaine’s secretary of natural resources in Richmond. “As governor, he got way into the weeds on most every policy or budget matter that crossed his desk.”

Other former Kaine aides with private-sector practices include Lawrence Roberts, a partner in the Tysons Corner, Virginia, office of the lobby and law firm Venable. Roberts served as campaign chairman of Kaine’s 2005 gubernatorial and 2012 senatorial bids. He was also chief of staff at the DNC while Kaine was chairman there. And he served as counselor to him while he was governor.

An Inner Toughness Roberts says Kaine's nice exterior belies an inner toughness. “People may underestimate his competitiveness and the fire in his belly,” Roberts said. “In an age when the political process is full of people expressing loud and confrontational points of view, he is understated but very pointed in his words.”

[ Kaine Said Obama Needed Congressional Approval to Fight ISIS ]

Other former Kaine aides include Lynda Tran of 270 Strategies, who was a Kaine communications director in state government, and Mo Elleithee, now executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. Alfonso Lopez, who was head of congressional and legislative affairs for then-Gov. Kaine and previously lobbied at the firm Alcalde & Fay, is now a Virginia delegate from Arlington and with the government contracting firm Capitol Bridge LLC.

Democratic lobbyist and donor David Castagnetti said Kaine’s national security background — he represents a defense-heavy state that includes the Pentagon and serves on both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees — boosts the ticket. “He’s certainly qualified to be president,” Castagnetti said.

McGuireWoods is one of Kaine’s top sources of political money, according to an analysis of federal election records by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics .

The political committee of J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel advocacy group that supported the multinational nuclear deal with Iran — which Kaine also backed — is also a top source of funds, as were the University of Virginia and the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Lawyers and law firms were Kaine's biggest source of funds by industry, the center found.

“On a personal level, I have a very high regard for the guy,” said former Rep. Vic Fazio, D-Calif., a lobbyist with Akin Gump and who hosted a fundraiser for Kaine at Fazio’s Arlington home.

“He came early, left late and met everyone there,” Fazio recalled. “He met all my neighbors. He looks you in the eye, he’s connecting.”

Kaine remembers that Fazio sits on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association, “and every time I run into him we talk about something to do with the national parks,” Fazio said.

Kaine, the lobbyist added, isn’t associated with any specific faction or interest group downtown. His Senate chief of staff, Mike Henry, once worked for the labor federation AFL-CIO.

[ Virginia's Democratic Governor Would Appoint Kaine Replacement ]

To the chagrin of progressives, Kaine bucked most in the labor movement last year in his vote for passage of Trade Promotion Authority, granting the president authority to negotiate trade deals and giving signed deals an expedited path on Capitol Hill. Some liberal groups, such as Democracy for America, said Kaine’s support for the trade measure as well as the senator’s reported push for a banking regulation rollback “could be potentially disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump this fall.”

But Kaine allies say he’s misunderstood among some liberals.

“He is much more progressive than many think — or give him credit for,” said Bryant, a hiking buddy of Kaine. “He is a career civil rights lawyer who concentrated on fair housing. He is a defender of women’s reproductive rights. He came out forcefully against a Virginia constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.”

Kaine also has a lifelong devotion to racial reconciliation and matters of social justice, stemming from his Catholic faith, Bryant added.

As governor during the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, Kaine has pushed for gun-control measures.

“He’s very pragmatic, and I think his door is open. He listens,” Fazio said. “But he is not perceived as a friend of K Street. And if he doesn’t agree with you, he’ll let you know.”

Lopez, who ran the congressional and federal liaison office for then-Gov. Kaine, said his one-time boss’s optimism is infectious and will serve the Democratic ticket well in November.

“Sometimes it feels like the world’s lost its way, and the country would benefit greatly from someone like Tim Kaine,” Lopez said. “In 20-plus years of working in politics and policy at the local, state and federal level, Tim Kaine is one of the best public servants and best individuals I’ve ever met.”

Lopez, who ran the congressional and federal liaison office for then-Gov. Kaine, said his one-time boss’s optimism is infectious and will serve the Democratic ticket well in November.

“Sometimes it feels like the world’s lost its way, and the country would benefit greatly from someone like Tim Kaine,” Lopez said. “In 20-plus years of working in politics and policy at the local, state and federal level, Tim Kaine is one of the best public servants and best individuals I’ve ever met.”

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PHILADELPHIA — Democrats say they will present a positive vision for the country at their national convention in the City of Brotherly Love, even as they work to bridge internal divisions before Hillary Clinton leaves town as the party's presidential nominee.

The goal is to solidify a unified front before the big events on the final two days of the convention when Tim Kaine accepts the lts a public have ir goal will be to unite before the the

Wednesday when Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine accepts the vice presidential nomination and Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination for the presidency Thursday, and

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., does the same for the No. 2 spot on the ticket the night before.

That seemed possible after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., endorsed Clinton and effectively ended his primary campaign. But an email leak on the eve of the convention has raised questions about whether different factions of the party will be able to unify.

[ Special Coverage: 2016 Democratic National Convention ]

A leak of roughly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails stoked Democratic divisions by revealing that some staffers plotted against Sanders.

Sanders reiterated his call for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schutlz, D-Fla., to step down in the wake of the scandal. But he declined to say on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she should do so immediately, instead noting that it appeared she would not be speaking at the convention following the email leak.

Sanders: Wasserman Schultz Should Resign ]

Instead, Sanders said, the focus should be on the Democrats’ common enemy: GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“I think right now what we have got to focus on as Democrats is defeating perhaps the worst Republican candidate that I have seen in my lifetime,” Sanders said. “Donald Trump would be a disaster for this country. We’ve got to elect Secretary Clinton.”

But some Sanders supporters are taking matters into their own hands. On Sunday, a group of Sanders delegates said they are weighing a challenge to Kaine’s vice presidential nomination on the convention floor, arguing that he is not progressive enough.

Sanders supporters also successfully fought for the party to establish a commission to reduce the role superdelegates – party leaders who are not elected delegates but have a vote at the convention -- in the future.

Sanders Delegates Weigh Kaine Challenge Sanders is expected to meet with his delegates ahead of his convention speech on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

While they work to come together, Democrats will also aim to present their vision for the country and make the case for a Clinton presidency.

"What you see and hear in Philadelphia is a very positive and forward looking message. You know, we believe that when you give people a hand up, the people of this country compete and win," Katie McGinty, the local Democratic nominee for Senate told reporters last week.

If all goes according to plan, the contrast with the previous week in Cleveland will be unmistakable. There in line with Trump, Republican convention speakers focused on a need to revive a declining country, to reduce crime, to control immigration and to tighten up trade policy.

Philadelphia: A Rough-And-Tumble Town Puts on Its Best Face for the Democratic National Convention "Instead of selling hatred, fear and division, it's going to be an agenda that lives up to our true and noble and honorable traditions as a country," McGinty said of the Democratic plan.

On the final day of the Republican convention, other Democratic lawmakers showed up in Ohio and decried what they viewed as overtly angry, hate-filled, and untruthful rhetoric from Republicans.

"Bluster, fear, chaos and anger are not the qualities America wants or needs in a president," said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

"When you see our convention next week, you’re going to see the spirit," Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said. “You’re going to see kindness. You’re going to see hope and compassion.”

Booker is one of several lawmakers and Clinton campaign surrogates speaking at the convention The former Newark mayor, who was on the vice presidential shortlist before the announcement that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine would get the nod, is known for passionate speeches.

Clinton Picks Virginia's Tim Kaine for VP Booker told reporters he will be drawing from convention addresses in the past that have inspired him.

"I'm pretty confident about the people that I know are going to be speaking, Booker said. "And I can virtually guarantee you that you’re going to hear a marked difference. No one will be leading chants so filled with hate."

One look at the convention themes and list of scheduled speakers for the Democrats demonstrates the contrast. Three out of the four Democratic convention days center on a theme that uses the word “together.” The final night will center on Clinton’s campaign theme, “Stronger Together.”

Monday night features Dreamer activist Astrid Silva, who came to the United States from Mexico as a child without documentation.

Meet the Least Familiar Headliner at the Democratic Convention According to the convention organizing committee, additional speakers include Khizr Khan, whose son, a Muslim American, was killed in combat in 2004 while serving in Iraq.

Also expected is Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was gunned down while attempting to protect students during the December 2012 mass shooting in Connecticut.

Aside from the optimistic message about America, there's sure to be plenty of talk about Trump. Fear of a Trump presidency has been one of the motivators bringing Sanders’ supporters into the fold.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., may be a key to that unity effort. The favorite of the liberal Democratic base who has derided Trump as a "money grubber" and questioned the Republican businessman's wealth.

"We cannot be a country ruled by hatred and bigotry," Warren said Saturday in a speech to the National Council of La Raza in Orlando. "The last we need is a president who fans the flames of hatred and division."

The convention in Philadelphia should also allow Democrats to shift from defense to offense. The DNC spent much of the Republican convention counteracting GOP claims about Clinton and Republican proposals, blasting out press releases during the headliners' speeches, and holding daily press conference in downtown Cleveland.

But now it's time for Democrats to outline their own vision.

Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski. Contact Bowman at bridgetbowman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @bridgetbhc.

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Nevada state Sen. Ruben Kihuen is the sole House Democratic recruit the Democratic National Convention Committee has touted as a major speaker in Philadelphia this week.

The selection of a Hispanic state legislator underscores Democrats’ desire to showcase diversity on stage this week, while also promoting a candidate who has a good opportunity to flip a red seat blue.

Democrats must net 30 seats to win control of the House and four to win control of the Senate (if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency). The party has touted the strength and diversity of its recruits this cycle, but many of its competitive recruits are steering clear of the convention.

Kihuen is an establishment favorite — he was Harry Reid’s pick — and defeated both an EMILY's List-backed candidate and Bernie Sanders-backed candidate in the June primary.

“I look forward to sharing my experiences as an immigrant, the values my hard-working parents instilled in me, and my vision for a more inclusive America,” Kihuen said in a statement after the Democratic National Convention Committee announced him as a speaker late last week.

Kihuen is running in Nevada’s 4th District , currently held by GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy, the second most vulnerable member of the House .

The freshman Republican unseated a Democrat by less than 3 points in a low turnout year, and President Barack Obama carried the district comfortably in 2012. In this district that’s 29 percent Hispanic, Donald Trump and his comments about Hispanics may also be a liability down-ticket .

All of that makes for unfavorable environment for an incumbent Republican who’s seen as too conservative for the district.

Hardy lead Kihuen with cash on hand at the end of the second quarter, but now that his primary is over, Democrats are likely to invest more heavily in Kihuen and make sure he has the resources to be competitive.

[ Democrats Aim to Reduce 30-Seat House Deficit with Help from Trump ]

Nevada’s 4th District is among the party’s top pick-up opportunities in what they hope is an expanded battle field. With Trump at the top of the ticket, Democrats have recruited candidates in even red seats to take advantage of a wave.

But Kihuen is the only one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 38 Red to Blue candidates who, as of now, is scheduled to have a visible place on stage this week.

Other candidates will appear on stage — but via video — with DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján on Tuesday night.

[ The Seats Democrats Must Win to Retake House ]

Other notable candidates expected to attend the convention include former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, who’s running in Florida’s 10th District. The Democratic establishment has rallied behind Demings in her August primary. The June shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando has underscored her experience as an African American with law enforcement experience , who’s also been an outspoken advocate for gun safety reform.

California’s Nanette Barragan, another EMILY’s List candidate, is running in the open 44th District, and is also expected to attend.

New York Democrat Tom Suozzi, who’s running to succeed Rep. Steve Israel, will be in Philadelphia. He won a competitive primary last month, and is trying to keep Israel’s Long Island district in Democratic hands. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Report/Roll Call rates his race Tilts Democrat .

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, will be at this convention, too. He’s running for the state’s 13th District, which became much more Democratic in recent redistricting , and faces GOP Rep. David Jolly , one of this year’s most vulnerable incumbents .

Meanwhile, candidates like Colorado state Sen. Gail Schwartz and Indiana's Shelli Yoder , both Red to Blue candidates running in safe Republican districts, are steering clear.

At the Senate level, Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth will be speaking , likely on the same night Clinton accepts the nomination. She's running in a Leans Democratic race against GOP Sen. Mark Kirk.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who's challenging GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, will be in Philadelphia but she is not scheduled to speak on stage during the convention. Similarly, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who's challenging Sen. Rob Portman, is attending with his delegation but not speaking.

Pennsylvania Democrat Katie McGinty will be participating in an EMILY’s List event and holding media availabilities during the week. She’d be the first woman to represent the Keystone State in the Senate. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who would be the second-ever African American woman elected to the Senate, will also be present during the convention.

[ Kamala Harris Aims to Make History in California, Again ]

Iowa Democrat Patty Judge, the former lieutenant governor, is waging an uphill battle against Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. She'll be on hand this week. Judge’s star has risen as Democrats have sought to hit Republicans — and Grassley in particular — for blocking the nomination of the president’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

[ Obama Backs Patty Judge in Iowa Senate Race ]

But many recruits have said they are still determining their schedules, with the many choosing to remain in their districts to campaign.

Many more Republicans with competitive races mostly stayed far away from their party’s national convention in Cleveland last week. The exceptions were Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson , who addressed the convention during prime-time, and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr , who met with his delegation but avoided the Quicken Loans Arena altogether.

[ This Vulnerable Senator Is Not Afraid of Donald Trump ]

The need to campaign in their districts during the summer recess is a reality for candidates on both sides of the aisle, but the degree to which incumbents and recruits are steering clear of their party conventions may also say something about the relatively unpopularity of each nominee and the desire among candidates to run their own races.

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Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California, said the choice of Sen. Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's running mate shows "demonstrable contempt for the progressive wing of the party."

[ Clinton Picks Virginia's Tim Kaine for VP ]

Solomon told reporters at a news conference that there are "very serious" discussions about forcing a challenge to the Kaine nomination on the convention floor.

Solomon heads the The Bernie Delegates Network, an independent group of Sanders delegates which claims 1,250 in their ranks. The group conducted a survey of some delegates 10 days ago, in which some 88.1 percent said Kaine would be a "not acceptable" choice.

"We're going to be very quickly doing another straw poll," to see what action the delegates would like to do, Solomon said. He expected that survey of delegates within the network would take place within the next 24 hours.

[ Kaine the Attack Dog Goes After Trump ]

Solomon said that under the Democratic National Convention rules, it would take 300 signatures, no more than 50 of which could originate from any individual state, in order to put a second name in for nomination as vice president. "There has been outreach to specific individuals" about possibly being involved, said Progressive Democrats of America Executive Director Donna Smith, speaking at the same news conference.

Sanders said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he would have preferred another person for vice president, but the choice was up to Clinton. But, he said, Kaine was not the choice he was hoping for. “Tim is a very very smart guy. His is a very nice guy. His political views are not my political views. He is more conservative than I am," Sanders said. "Would I have preferred to see somebody like Elizabeth Warren selected by Secretary Clinton? Yes I would have.”

Bridget Bowman contributed.

Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski.

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Media outlets are reporting some grumbling about Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's leadership of the Democratic National Committee and whether she can bring the party back together after a divisive presidential primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Wasserman Schultz was a rising star from a swing state when President Barack Obama selected her for the chairwoman post in 2011 . Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in a letter to supporters, said Obama picked her for her "tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit and her ability to overcome adversity." [ Reports: Murmurs About Ousting Wasserman Schultz at DNC ]

But those qualities have at times rubbed some in her party the wrong way. Here are a few of those times:

She was already in hot water for criticizing the Obama administration's policy of sending undocumented immigrant children back to their home countries a couple weeks earlier.

Contact Akin at stephanieakin@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @stephanieakin .

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PHILADELPHIA — Delegates in town to support Sen. Bernie Sanders have grievances, but their candidate will be fully behind the presumptive Democratic nominee when he takes the stage Monday night.

His campaign seemed to want to make clear to supporters that despite their concerns — whether about the contents of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that indicated some staffers there had been plotting against him, or the selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as Clinton's running mate — that Clinton is the obvious choice for November.

A Sanders campaign aide promised a speech touting Clinton's policies on key domestic issues, including the environment and health care.

Sanders said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" that he will use his speech to make the case for his "revolution" to continue.

"We have got to continue to get people involved in the political process at every level," Sanders said. "And that means not just the U.S. Senate but school board, at every level."

[ Sanders Endorses Clinton ]

Sanders also plans to say that his movement is going to, "continue the fight to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent — a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice," according to the aide.

The Sanders campaign did claim victory Saturday night with an agreement to establish a commission designed to curtail the power of super delegates.

The deal prevents what could have been a complicated floor fight at Wells Fargo Arena on Monday.

"This is a tremendous victory for Senator Sanders' fight to democratize the Democratic Party and reform the Democratic nominating process," Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, said of the commission on superdelegates. "We were pleased to work with the Clinton campaign to enact this historic commission."

As proposed, the commission would feature appointees from both campaigns, as well as the Democratic National Committee.

[ Roll Call's 2016 Election Guide: President ]

"We haven't completely eliminated superdelegates, so this fight is not over. But a guaranteed recommendation of two-thirds fewer superdelegates is a major step, and one that I'm excited to continue building on in future years," said rules committee member Aaron Regunberg, a state lawmaker from Rhode Island who had pushed an effort to completely eliminate the use of superdelegates.

The coming together on reducing the number of party insiders who get to cast votes as delegates without being bound to election results tracks well with the news reported by CNN that Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is expected to no longer have a leading role on the convention stage.

Wasserman Schultz has long been criticized by supporters of Sanders over concerns the DNC put a thumb on the scale in favor of Clinton during the primary process, and the deluge of internal emails released by Wikileaks only added fuel to that fire.

Sanders said Sunday that Wasserman Schultz should step down.

“I think she should resign. Period," Sanders told ABC. "And i think we need a new chair who is going to lead us in a different direction.”

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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Opinion

Hillary Clinton's 'Law and Order' Problem

By Mary C. Curtis
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Convention Preview: Philadelphia Freedom

By Cody Long, David Ellis
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While Sen. Tim Kaine was widely seen as the safest choice for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's ticket, the Virginia Democrat's selection isn't without potential complications.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clintons, would assuredly appoint a Democrat to fill Kaine's seat if the first-term senator were to become vice president, but the resignation would prompt an unusual off-year Senate campaign in the Commonwealth. The special election would align with the 2017 governor's race.

McAuliffe would be leaving the governor's mansion then, due to Virginia's rather strange law that only allows the governor to serve a single consecutive term (part of the reason why Kaine ended in the Senate in the first place). So McAuliffe could always run himself.

Some potential Democratic candidates for the seat — either by temporary appointment or election) include Northern Virginia Reps. Gerald E. Connolly and Don Beyer, both of whom represent areas just outside Washington, D.C., that are vital for Democrats in Virginia elections.

The most logical choice might be Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who took a pass on throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017. Hampton Roads Rep. Robert C. Scott would bring more racial diversity to the Senate.

And a sentimental favorite, at least for a temporary appointment, would be Kaine's own wife , Ann Holton. A Harvard Law School graduate, Holton is now Virginia's Secretary of Education. She's also the daughter of a former Republican Virginia governor.

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Hillary Clinton's campaign launched a mobile app on Sunday to make campaign organizing easier.

The Clinton campaign said the app is centered around what it calls a "virtual campaign field office" and said it took the best experiences from gaming applications.

The app includes daily challenges like quizzes on policy and allows them to get real-world signed merchandise from the Clinton campaign. It also allows users to compete against friends.

The app comes as many Republicans have been concerned about nominee Donald Trump campaign's weak ground game.

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Donald Trump’s biggest selling point is his brilliance as a manager.

Yet if this week’s Republican National Convention is any guide, a Trump administration would marry the micromanaging of Jimmy Carter, who refused to delegate even the scheduling of the White House tennis courts, with the incompetence of, say, James Buchanan, who held that Southern secession was illegal, but that going to war to keep the country together was, too.

The unlikely theme of the day here in Cleveland is “Making America One Again.”

Doing that would never have been easy in a moment so polarized that even the weather is a political topic. (“It’s so cool here for this time of year,” my climate change skeptic dad often tells me in midsummer. “Really? Because it’s beastly here,’’ I often answer.)

But this GOP convention has itself made “making America one again” a little harder.

A conspiracy theory-loving person like the GOP nominee might not have to think too hard before concluding that yes, Donald J. Trump's party is out to sink him with the goings-on here, which have featured daily booing on the floor by what he’s called a tiny minority of embarrassed losers.

[ The Latest From Day 4 ]

John Kasich, the governor of the state hosting Trump’s nominating party, has not only stayed away but let slip that he was offered the vice presidency – and told by Donald Trump Jr. that if he took the job, his portfolio would include both foreign and domestic policy. (The nominee’s son has denied making any such offer, which would presumably have left Trump free to pursue other interests.)

Then we have the whole Melania speech fiasco , George W. Bush wondering aloud whether he will go down in history as the last Republican president, and Ted Cruz urging Americans to “vote your conscience” — a decision that the party, if it does survive, may yet come to see as principled even if it also involved score-settling.

[ Who Came Off Worse — Cruz or Trump? ]

After that performance, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the Texas senator "selfish,” to which Cruz's former campaign manager, Jeff Roe, responded, “That guy turned over his political testicles long ago.”

All in all, you have to wonder how Trump can run a country when he can’t run a convention, or how he might bring the country together when the Quicken Loans Arena is the site of so many civil war skirmishes.

The speakers squarely in Trump’s corner are busy making the drawing together of our countrymen less likely with over-the-top rhetoric like Christie's, when he essentially asked for a thumbs up or thumbs down during a mock trial of Clinton on Tuesday that recalled entertainment in the Roman Colosseum . And when Ben Carson linked Clinton to Lucifer, Dana Carvey’s old “Church lady ” skit on Saturday Night Live was officially surpassed by reality.

In his speech accepting the GOP nomination tonight, Donald Trump would have to change course radically to even start to unify the country. And though I’m sure we will hear a few words about love and kindness, any suggestion that we’re not that different or all that far apart would be so out of character that his supporters wouldn’t recognize him even if he did.

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New York Republican Rep. Peter King has never been a fan of Sen. Ted Cruz. But in an interview with Roll Call in the hours after Cruz refused to endorse fellow New Yorker, Donald Trump, at the Republican National Convention, King unloaded on the Texas senator as a "liar and a self-centered fraud" who should never be considered again for president of the United States.

"I was sitting in the front row, dead center, with the New York delegates and they're all shouting at him and yelling at him, "Endorse! Endorse!"" King said, recounting the moment Cruz spoke to the Republican National Convention. "And the guys are shaking their fists. And he has that lizard smirk on his face."

King and Cruz famously clashed after Cruz derided Donald Trump's "New York values" in an early presidential debate. King stepped in at the time to defend his state and its values, and warned Wednesday night that Cruz's convention performance, just like his debate performance, was all about Ted Cruz.

"He probably thinks he's on top of the world, like he's the messiah," King said. "He's terrible. He's going to do all he can to undercut Trump and then emerge as a savior. But Trump's going to win."

No matter the outcome of the November elections, King predicted doom for Cruz's future presidential ambitions, especially after his performance in Cleveland.

"He's hurting himself. He's going to be yesterday's mail," he said. "I can't see any real Republican even considering Cruz again." As for Trump's best response to the snub? King said the less reaction the better.

"Leave him out where he is. Leave him out in the wilderness. Leave him in the desert without water."

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Sen. Christopher S. Murphy announced Tuesday the first set of candidates his new political fund will back in an effort to elect more lawmakers dedicated to combating gun violence.

[ Democrat Launches Fund to Support Gun Control Candidates ]

The Connecticut Democrat encouraged donations to two Senate candidates and one House hopeful, all Democrats, in an email sent to his supporters. His "Fund to End Gun Violence" will support New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate, and former Orlando Chief of Police Val Demings in Florida's 10th Congressional District.

The announcement came as Chris Cox, who heads the National Rifle Association's lobbying arm, is set to address the GOP convention in Cleveland.

[ Who's Speaking at the Republican Convention? ]

"But it is important to note that his speech tonight is set against the backdrop of the NRA beginning to lose its vise grip on Congress," Murphy wrote in the email.

"The filibuster I led in the Senate, followed by the House sit-in, have helped us turn a corner in the fight to pass anti-gun violence legislation," Murphy wrote. "But now we need to keep our momentum going by continuing to build a national political infrastructure that rivals that of the NRA."

[ Remembering Heroic Sandy Hook Teacher, Murphy Yields the Floor ]

Murphy pledged to take the issue of gun violence to the campaign trail following his nearly 15-hour filibuster on the issue in June. The senator has been a staunch gun control advocate ever since the tragic shooting in his home state at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

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CLEVELAND — The final case of openly mutual contempt between Donald Trump and one of his Republican rivals, the stylistically opposite Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, can now be fairly described as a clash of the escalators.

Last year Trump launched his improbable path to the party’s presidential nomination by riding down a moving staircase in the atrium of his iconic New York office tower, stagecraft symbolizing his unabashed descent into the art of the negative campaign.

And on Tuesday Kasich did the opposite, riding up an escalator through the atrium of his home state’s iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, logistics instantly embraced by his campaign’s lingering fan base as evidence Kasich’s politics of positivity hasn’t changed.

The afternoon event, which drew a capacity crowd of about 2,000 campaign supporters from across the country to the museum, had all the trappings of a rally for a politician who has no plans to leave the national stage. It offered no sign whatsoever that Kasich has any interest in succumbing to the entreaties of some party leaders, not to mention many delegates to the Republican National Convention, that he make some measure of peace with the nascent nominee in the name of party unity.

Kasich spoke for seven minutes. He did not mention Trump’s name or even allude to the convention, entering its second day a mile down the road.

Instead, he offered a shorthand version of his stump speech — some familiar phrases about his personal and political philosophy now sounding like someone with 2016 in the rearview mirror and 2020 already in sight.

“I’m just a slob trying to get through the day and do the best I possibly can realizing I’ve got another chance tomorrow to maybe get it right,” he said.

“I’ve never been more satisfied,” both personally and professionally, he said. “I’m an optimist about America. We’re good people. Believe that you can stand and make a difference in the way the world spins, believe that standing on principle and having ethics and integrity can make a huge deal.”

His stand on principle has caused considerable contention in recent days, when he’s maintained it would be emblematic of a politician’s situational hypocrisy if he endorsed Trump in time for the convention after being so critical of him during the primaries.

The victor would "have to change everything that he says" in order for Kasich to speak at the convention, Kasich told NBC on Monday, and so he committed to spending the week totally clear of the Quicken Loans Area, where he ended up with 120 votes during the balloting that formally anointed Trump as the nominee Tuesday evening.

He planned to remain moderately visible on the periphery, however. The Rock Hall party was his highest profile convention-related event, but he also spoke Tuesday to the Illinois and Michigan delegations, appeared on a panel discussion at the conservative International Republican Institute and attended a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reception.

“He’s embarrassing his party in Ohio,” the Trump campaign chief, Paul Manafort, said Monday in explaining why Kasich would not appear on the podium. “Negotiations broke down,” Manafort asserted, because Kasich campaign chief John Weaver concluded his client “will have a better chance to be president by not supporting Donald Trump.”

The charge stung enough that a "'John is not an embarrassment” declaration was proffered by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who also has stayed away from the convention floor this week so as to distance himself from Trump during an intense re-election fight in their swing state.

Kasich, who is term limited as governor in two years, will turn 68 in the middle of the next round of presidential primaries

As a thank you present, Kasich has given his supporters an Ohio-shaped plaque with a quote from the speech he gave when he suspended his campaign, which drew a clear contrast between his aspirational approach and Trump’s fearfulness: "It is from this higher path that we are offered the greater view. Our strength resides within ourselves. The spirit of our country rests in us."

The so-called two paths speech has become Kasich’s rhetorical touchstone since his race ended. He also, for example, made it the theme of a fundraising appeal on behalf of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan — another potential presidential candidate in four years, if Trump loses this fall, who could be counted on to start with messages of optimism and inclusion.

Ryan, though, has forged a balky path to endorsing Trump without ever embracing him. And even some of the governor’s most fervent fans, believing party unity is the most important priority heading toward November, warn that he’s making a mistake in not doing likewise if he has a presidential comeback bid in mind.

“Not a word about Trump,” declared an incredulous Karen Funk of Youngstown as the party broke up. "What a disappointment, because I think it will come back to haunt him.”

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