Who Is Lester Holt, First Debate Moderator? Anchor To Referee Hillary Clinton Vs. Donald Trump

There has probably never been a presidential debate as highly anticipated as Monday's contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And that puts a lot of pressure on the moderator.  Of course, there would be a lot of pressure on the moderator of any presidential debate. But in an election cycle where Trump, the GOP nominee, has publicly attacked primary debate moderators he has deemed unfair to him and with Trump and Clinton's record unfavorability priming the debate for Super Bowl-level ratings, there is more pressure than ever. The journalist tasked with handling that pressure is NBC News' Lester Holt.  Holt, 56, has been a reporter and anchor for more than 30 years. He first went on air with CBS in 1981, where he spent close to two decades before joining NBC News in 2000. Starting in 2011, Holt began hosting the popular news program "Dateline NBC," but in February 2015 he was promoted to the full time host of "NBC Nightly News," replacing disgraced anchor Brian Williams in the coveted chair. Holt had first been Williams' temporary placement while the later served a six-month suspension after admitting to lying about being involved in a fire-fight while covering the Iraq War. NBC ultimately decided to cut ties with Williams, who is now at MSNBC, and make Holt the show's face.  PrettyFamous | Graphiq Holt previously moderated a Democratic primary debate in February in Charleston, South Carolina, where Clinton sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Holt and co-moderator Andrea Mitchell received positive reviews for their performance.  Holt is a registered Republican and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Carol Hagen, and their two sons.  The first presidential debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It will air live at 8 p.m. EST Monday on every network and cable news network: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Continue Reading

Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins, the next President needs to take meaningful action in Syria crisis

As presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated last week, Syria was a sideshow. Clinton mentioned the country in passing; Trump ignored it altogether. While they sparred over responsibility for the Islamic State, neither candidate mentioned Aleppo, a city of 2 million people reduced to rubble and under siege. At least — unlike Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson — they knew what Aleppo was. President Obama hotly rebuffs those who say his hesitancy to enforce redlines or support a no-fly zone made the Syria conflict worse. Obama, Trump, Democratic runner-up Bernie Sanders, and even former President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, have all quipped at one point or another that the United States can’t be the world’s policeman. Still, Syria’s plight tugs at the heartstrings. Almost 5 million refugees have fled their homeland, and millions more are displaced internally. The United Nations estimated 400,000 dead; an equal number have disappeared. Girls who once aspired to be doctors or lawyers now find themselves forced into child marriages in Jordan and Turkey. Syrian regime helicopters drop bombs on hospitals, and Islamist radicals terrorize women and minorities. Syrian infants wash up dead on European shores. What was diagnosed as a stage one cancer has metastasized to stage four as the world debates prescribing an aspirin. But is averting humanitarian tragedy reason enough to establish no-fly zones and put tens of thousands of boots on the ground? The “Responsibility to Protect” that underscored NATO intervention in Libya failed to alleviate suffering and may have made it worse. And, as bad as Syria is, the Second Congo War (1998-2003) killed 10 times as many garnering barely a yawn. Why should the Syrian tragedy, more than others, matter to the United States? When refugees flood neighboring countries, they distort the labor market and raise the Continue Reading

Colin Kaepernick bashes Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, calls presidential hopefuls ‘proven liars’

Colin Kaepernick is unimpressed. The 49ers backup-turned-social leader bashed both major party presidential hopefuls Tuesday, calling Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump “proven liars” following their debate performance Monday at Hofstra University. He also had some tips for Trump — get in line, Colin — on how to tweak his campaign message. “He always says ‘Make America Great Again.’ Well, America’s never been great for people of color,” Kaepernick told CSN Bay Area. “And that’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.” Trump blasted the anthem-kneeling quarterback when he first began protesting in the preseason, calling his actions “terrible” and suggesting that he leave the U.S. to “find a country that works better for him.” Kaepernick responded Tuesday by calling Trump’s remarks “ignorant.” “That’s a very ignorant statement, that if you don’t agree with what’s going on here and that if you want justice and liberty and freedom for all that you should leave the country,” Kaepernick said. The 28-year-old was hardly complimentary of Clinton, calling her “the lesser of two evils.” “To me, it was embarrassing to watch; that these are our two candidates,” Kaepernick said. “Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist. "And at this point, talking with one of my friends, it was you, you have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it’s still evil.” Continue Reading

The 45th President and the 16th: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both invoked Abraham Lincoln. Only one of them understands his legacy.

A third candidate made it to the 2016 presidential debate stage after all. Sunday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both managed to summon Abraham Lincoln to their dustup at Washington University. Lincoln’s name hasn’t been mentioned as often in political debate since Stephen A. Douglas pummeled him during their own seven marathons in 1858 Illinois. Lincoln, who built his political career as a fierce debater, might well have been pleased that both of the 2016 presidential candidates channeled him, but perplexed that only one of them comprehends his legacy. And it is not his “fellow” Republican. Clinton called forth the ghost of Lincoln first, in explaining WikiLeaks-released excerpts of a paid speech to bankers at which she argued that politicians might justifiably deploy one approach publicly, and another privately, in order to achieve important goals. Lincoln, she pointed out in that speech and during the debate, pursued that very approach in pushing the 1865 constitutional amendment banning slavery. That’s right. To make sure Congress approved it before Union armies could force Confederate forces to surrender — a triumph some feared would ease the pressure to destroy the institution that had caused the war — the agile President moved on several fronts at once. First, he made sure his party endorsed abolition in its 1864 platform. Knowing the real fight would be waged among lame-duck members of the House of Representatives, he lobbied them fiercely, often secretly, offering outgoing Democratic congressmen federal jobs in exchange for “aye” votes, and, perhaps, as some have alleged, allowing money to change hands when absolutely necessary. To the public, Lincoln emerged with clean hands. Insiders knew better. But the President believed the ends more than justified the means. With scant time to relate this complex story, Clinton instead referenced Steven Spielberg’s Continue Reading

That awkward moment when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump said what they ‘respect’ about each other

After a debate full of mudslinging, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump managed to come up with one thing they respect about each other. Clinton praised Trump’s kids, while the GOP nominee said he admires that his opponent is a fighter after a voter challenged the two candidates to say something positive about it each other. It was a rare moment of kindness in a debate where the two traded accusations about sexual assault — with Trump responding to controversy over his boasts about grabbing women by the “p---y” by charging Clinton’s husband Bill had done worse — and Trump even threatened to put Clinton in jail if he wins. The pair declined to shake hands at the beginning of the debate. “I respect his children,” Clinton said in response to the closing question, calling the mogul’s five kids “incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.” “I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that, and I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me,” she said. Trump said he appreciated the “very nice compliment,” and responded with a few kind words of his own. “I will say this about Hillary - she doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give up. I respect that,” he said. “She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up, and I consider that to be a very good trait.” The two candidiates then managed to exchange a handshake as the debate came to an end. Continue Reading

Readers sound off on the Iran deal, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

The disastrous deal with Iran Manhattan: Mortimer B. Zuckerman has labeled President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s agreement “A dastardly, dangerous Iran deal” (Op-Ed, Aug. 11). Chuck Schumer preceded him by a step. What took so long? It was obvious from Day One. All the Democrats are afraid of Obama. Even Jews delayed the obvious — forgetting that they could lose Israel and the United States, a double whammy. Any House member or senator who votes for the deal should be impeached. They would be selling America down the river in order to enjoy the favor of a legacy-obsessed President. Is this how the President contains Iran? By freeing up over $1 billion in previous sanctions, by allowing Iran to insist on a 24-day delay before we are allowed to inspect their nuclear plants? Obama and Kerry are pretending that we have a choice between diplomacy and war, when their false notion of diplomacy will actually end up in war. David Lawrence Just say no Washingtonville, N.Y.: People are left wondering each time they hear another news story: Is this happening? The latest example is the Iran nuclear agreement. Our politicians are more concerned with their careers than our nation’s future. The House and the Senate have absolutely no grounds to vote for this deal because it includes none of the provisions they required the Obama administration to include for their approval. Clearly it fails to protect the United States, something our elected officials are obligated to do under the Constitution. While Sen. Chuck Schumer will vote against it, 14 Democrats are counted by the White House as supporting it, apparently under duress. The fact that we will be returning billions of dollars to Iran (to possibly support terrorism), removing sanctions so they can do business around the world and, most despicably, allowing them development of ballistic missiles that in the long run will be pointed at the U.S. is truly insane. Kim Continue Reading

Poll reveals falling Democrat support for Hillary Clinton as Donald Trump keeps strong GOP lead

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be leading the polls, but that doesn’t mean voters like them. “Liar” was the first word that came to mind when voters were asked what they think of Clinton, and “arrogant” was the first word when they think of Trump, according to a new national primary poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. The poll showed Clinton's approval ratings continue to slide, and while she stills leads in the Democratic primary, she does worse than Vice President Biden against the GOP field. Her approval rating is in negative territory, with 39% of voters viewing her favorably and 51% viewing her unfavorably, a new low in Quinnipiac's polling. Voters say she isn't honest and trustworthy by 61%-34%. CUPP: BIDEN'S ONLY SHOT? DITCH PROGRESSIVES Biden has a 48%-39% favorability rating with all voters. He is behind Clinton in the Democratic field, but does slightly better in general election match-ups. Clinton leads the Democrats with 45% to 22% for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and 17% for Biden. That's down from a 55% mark in Qunnipiac's last national poll July 30. "Secretary Hillary Clinton continues her slide while Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to narrow the gap," Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy said. "But the real news is the man who isn't there — yet. Vice President Joseph Biden has the best appeal in general election matchups against top Republicans." DONALD TRUMP ENDS ATTACK ON MEGYN KELLY  Biden leads Jeb Bush by 45%-39%, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by 44%-41% and Trump by 48%-40%, while Clinton leads Bush by 42%-40%, edges Rubio by 44%-43% and leads Trump by 45%-41%. Trump pulls 28% of GOP primary voters, good for a solid first place, with neurosurgeon Ben Carson in second with 12% support. Bush is stuck in a three-way tie for third place with Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — all three pull 7% Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump: 6 weeks, 3 tasks to be the next president

The race for the White House is finally set: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.Clinton has joined Trump in clinching a majority of delegates at the national conventions in July — making American history as the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party. By some measures, the controversial former secretary of State and the blustery billionaire businessman have electoral flaws that might prove fatal in a typical political year.Clinton and Trump have negative ratings worse than any previous nominees. Both face legal controversies that are all but certain to dog them through the fall campaign. The election of either would require breaking ground, as the first female president or the first president to lack governmental or military experience.Yet the prospects for each are bolstered by the vulnerabilities of the other. Besides, this has hardly been a typical political year. The six weeks from the effective end of the primary campaign Tuesday to the start of the summer conventions is when more voters begin to pay attention and impressions of the candidates are set.Here are three big tasks Clinton and Trump each need to accomplish as they prepare to face off in the fall. 1. Tone it down."Stop the crazy," advises former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.Trump's propensity for provocative statements — build a wall at the Mexican border, temporarily ban Muslim immigrants, countenance the spread of nuclear weapons — helped him create a core of supporters who see him as a straight talker and strong leader not constrained by political correctness. But in recent weeks, his declarations have alarmed even some natural allies, especially his attack on an Indiana-born federal judge he says can't be trusted to preside over a lawsuit against Trump University because of his Mexican heritage. Tuesday afternoon, Trump issued a statement saying his Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump win Delaware primary

Results of Tuesday's primary showed the First State's commitment to its established Democratic Party and the power of an outsider to mobilize traditionally poor-showing Republicans in a part of Delaware accustomed to losing elections.Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won Delaware's piece of a heated primary season, collecting 55,950 votes, with nearly 60 percent of the total Democratic ballot. Billionaire Donald Trump trounced his two competitors with 42,472 votes, accumulating almost 61 percent of the total from his party.Tuesday’s victory was Clinton’s first in Delaware. In 2008, she lost the primary to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama after Joe Biden had dropped out of the race.About 147,000 voted in Delaware's 2008 primary, when the state's party voters gave majority support to Obama and U.S. Sen. John McCain.A total of 163,525 Delawareans voted Tuesday. Statewide, there were 312,260 registered Democrats in April, a 2 percent increase from a year ago. There were 185,134 Republicans in April, a 2.5 percent increase from the previous year.Delaware voters cast 36,659 ballots for longshot presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, giving him only 39 percent of the statewide Democratic vote. [Editor's note: Scroll to the bottom of this page to view Delaware's district-by-district results on a map.]"Delaware has spoken, so I'll probably put my superdelegate vote toward her. That's where I think I should be," said state Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, who told The News Journal last week she would vote in Philadelphia for whomever won the state Tuesday. "It pretty much was a landslide in my district for Hillary." Clinton took 12 of the state's 21 delegates. Delaware also has 10 “superdelegates” who are allowed to change their allegiance any time before voting starts at the national convention in Philadelphia, but half already have Continue Reading

Our View: Why Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dominated Arizona

On a day CNN reported Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the most disliked presidential candidates in modern times, Arizonans went to the polls and voted for both to represent their respective parties in the fall.Unloved and even despised by many, Trump and Clinton managed to persuade pluralities of Arizonans they are the best suited to succeed Barack Obama.Trump fought off an energetic bid by Ted Cruz, who sought to prove he is the man with momentum heading toward what is likely to be a brokered GOP convention in Cleveland in July.Cruz had crossed the state, spending big on ads and an event on the border. But he never got the kind of attention Trump commanded from the media with his massive rallies, long lines and deepening shadows of potential violence.On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders made a week-long push in Arizona to try to stop the hemorrhaging after losing five states to Clinton a week earlier. It didn’t work. He lost big to Clinton, and it’s time to administer life support.The Sanders faithful must have ached knowing all those Arizona independents showing up at the polls on Tuesday would cast ballots in vain. A good number of those were certainly Sanders’ votes. They wouldn’t count because only voters registered Democrat, Republican or Green could vote in our presidential preference election.The biggest losers in Arizona had to be Maricopa County election officials who badly miscalculated the demand for polling places. In Arizona there were reports of voters waiting more than five hours to cast ballots.An election with so many fascinating personalities no doubt made voting this year irresistible, but in Maricopa County the bottleneck was compounded by bureaucrats who, for cost-cutting reasons, reduced the number of polling places to 60 from 200-plus four years ago. EDITORIAL: A five-hour wait to vote? ShamefulLet’s hope those county officials heard the same furious complaints that poured into this newspaper and Continue Reading