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Stephen Burlingham Going Beyond Art for Youth with Cancer

  |   September 18, 2016    2:05 PM ET

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LaurenWeber   |   September 11, 2015    3:22 PM ET


As the GOP's presidential hopefuls steer their way into the second debate, their challenge in many ways will be the same one they faced before: what to do about the interloper in their midst. Back in August, Roger Ailes attempted to come to the rescue of his beloved Republican contenders, only to watch his appointed moderators fail at Trump-slaying duty. Now, with CNN set to host, Trump's rivals are largely on their own.


Which may not be a bad thing. Over the last few weeks, as each Republican hopeful has attempted to regain his or her footing, we've seen almost as many distinct anti-Trump tactics deployed as there are candidates. Some are trying to stay above the fray. Some are lacing up the gloves, hoping that a clever clap back will send the teevee blowhard cowering. A few are just ignoring Trump completely, hoping he'll go away.

 What's the best way to deal with the skunk at the garden party? Cruelty? Cleverness? Maybe it's kindness! We're going to try to figure it out on this week's First To Last.




RANK CANDIDATE
1
BEN CARSON: KILLING HIM WITH RELIGIOUS KINDNESS
As Ben Carson creeps upward in the polls, he’s staying soft-spoken and respectful, issuing only barbs wrapped in velvet. Maybe turning the other cheek is the way to go!
2
TED CRUZ: THE KISS-UP
Or, if you’re Ted Cruz, you focus on the other, lower cheek. It’s a strange sight to see 2016’s haughtiest candidate fawn over Trump, but if the real estate mogul collapses, his voters have to go somewhere!
3
BOBBY JINDAL: THE FULL-FRONTAL CLOWN ATTACK
Jindal's performed exorcisms before, so maybe his recent attempts at low-road invective can actually reveal Trump’s disingenuous spirit.
4
CARLY FIORINA: POISE UNDER PRESSURE
Fiorina has opted to refrain from hitting back with a killer blow yet, but her stoic response to Trump’s recent jabs are demonstrating that she’s no stranger to dealing with boardroom business macho bullshit. This debate will be one to watch.
5
LINDSEY GRAHAM: THE DUELLIST
Graham might be on to something with this threat to “beat [Trump’s] brains out” -- maybe the way to take Trump down is to be the “new alpha.” Unfortunately, Graham isn’t polling well enough to get into the same room.
6
JEB BUSH: SERIOUS THINKER
Deep down, Jeb Bush’s persona is “sensitive nerd.” As such, he’d desperately like to stage a fight with Trump on the high road -- like any presumptive frontrunner would! Trouble is, Trump won't meet him there.
7
RAND PAUL: KILL THE RICH
Rand Paul didn’t take kindly to Trump calling him a spoiled brat, and responded by criticizing Trump -- and his kids! -- "for spending their lives in an affluent bubble." But since when do Republicans find that offensive?
8
MITT ROMNEY: THE LOOMING ANTI-TRUMP
He hasn't taken a stand on Trump yet, but the scuttlebutt is that it’s coming. Meanwhile, the field’s inability to defeat the reality star is making Mitt look good again, giving rise to another round of “could he swoop into the race” speculation.
9
HILLARY CLINTON: DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS
And be thankful that the Trump effect is dominating the headlines.

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press

Paige Lavender   |   September 11, 2015    9:10 AM ET

Read More: Who Cares

With political neophytes collecting half of the support from Republican Party primary voters and anti-Washington sentiments as palpable as a punch, one might think U.S. senators running for president would be walking in and out of the Capitol incognito.

LaurenWeber   |   September 4, 2015    2:30 PM ET


Thank God Labor Day has come and gone. After such a sleepy summer, maybe we'll finally have some political news to cover in this boring, routine presidential race. 


The two sentences above are examples of what we ultra-professional writers call "facetious humor." 


In truth, the first furlong of the race has been INSANE. As in: SECRET GEFILTE FISH EMAIL! FEEL THE "BERN!" HE'S BIDEN HIS TIME. AN APOCALYPTIC NEUROSURGEON. A CEO WHO NEARLY SANK BOTH HEWLETT AND PACKARD. AND OF COURSE: DONALD TRUMP! DONALD TRUMP! DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP!


Now we enter an inescapable garden maze of televised debates, starting with CNN's Republican one on Wednesday of next week at the Reagan Library in California. They'll have a panel of media inquisitors. But why wait? And why them? HuffPost First to Last has its own questions for each of the top 10 candidates.




 (If you have more, dear readers, serious or not quite, email them to us at openreporting@huffingtonpost.com. We'll run some of them in a separate piece. Gefilte fish news also welcome.) 


Here's a start:




RANK CANDIDATE
1
DONALD TRUMP
“You got a great photo-op out of the pledge you signed. But given your golf exploits, and your pride at having stiffed past business partners, why should anyone believe you when you say you've signed a pledge?”
2
BEN CARSON
“You recently told Fox News that you’ve 'learned how to phrase things in a way that people actually hear what [you’re] saying.' Does that mean you were wrong when you compared Obamacare to slavery?”
3
JEB BUSH
“You signed a pledge vowing to support the eventual GOP nominee. You also recently put out an ad describing your party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, as being insincere in his conservatism. How do you resolve this contradiction?”
4
TED CRUZ
“Why are you palling around with Donald Trump? Are his coattails that luxurious?”
5
MARCO RUBIO
“You came into this race as the young, fresh optimist. How exactly are you going to survive this bitter slugfest you’ve gotten yourself sucked into?”
6
MIKE HUCKABEE
“With Ben Carson carting off such a huge chunk of your evangelical base, what’s your path in Iowa?”
7
CARLY FIORINA
“You’ve styled yourself as a candidate who’s come from outside the world of politics. But is a mediocre business career really better than a successful electoral career? If so, explain how.”
8
SCOTT WALKER
“Are you starting to feel that a presidential race is maybe a level of difficulty higher than you thought it would be?”
9
JOHN KASICH
“You've been a career politician and you’ve worked for Lehman Brothers -- which one is the bigger albatross around your neck right now?”
10
RAND PAUL
“What happened, dude?”

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press

LaurenWeber   |   August 28, 2015    3:59 PM ET


By now, if you're one of the people who decided to embark on the strange and wonderful journey of becoming president, you've probably experienced a lot of personal highs. You've traveled to far-flung parts of the country and met some great people. You've gotten your mug on television and have been chased down by reporters. You've met some of our weirdest billionaires, eaten some state fair food and participated in a candidate debate. What an experience this has been! 


Well, hope you took some 'Grams because it's time to get out while the getting's good.


What? You don't understand what we're talking about? Look, we're going to let you in on a little secret. "President of the United States" is a terrible and thankless job that doesn't pay well and subjects you to relentless criticism. The power's not all it's cracked up to be and the perks get old. Plus, any time something goes wrong in the world, you're the first person everyone calls. 




 This job sucks, and if you're smart, you'll let someone else do it. Besides, every single one of you has a good reason to quit the race. Maybe you're not aware of it, but trust us, we've seen it. And on this week's First To Last, we'll tell each of you the reason it's time for you to make your Irish goodbye.




RANK CANDIDATE
1
HILLARY CLINTON
You have more money than God, nearly as much fame -- and you don't look like you're enjoying running for president at all. Escape.
2
JEB BUSH
Good God, man, the most exciting thing that's happened to you so far is you won Eric Cantor's endorsement. Take your weight loss and run with it.
3
MARCO RUBIO
You're young, you've still got student loans and a fresh face that could get bruised in this Trumped-up slap-fight. Buy yourself a larger boat and sail away, sail away, sail away.
4
BERNIE SANDERS
Bernie, you're a great guy. But some of your most dedicated Twitter followers are feeling the Bern way too much. Cool those jets.
5
DONALD TRUMP
Dude, you have lost a ton of prestige for a job you don't even want. Why go on? Eject.
6
SCOTT WALKER
Wow, this is a lot harder than you thought it was gonna be, isn't it? Take a powder.
7
BEN CARSON
We can't get our heads around the fact that you used to be so good at something so hard -- and now you're doing the opposite. Stay in your lane.
8
MIKE HUCKABEE
At this point, you're probably in a good position to up your salary at Fox. Get back to it before you blow it.
9
TED CRUZ
More than almost anyone else, Donald Trump stole your thunder. Retreat.
10
RAND PAUL
Remember a minute ago when we said almost anyone else? Recharge.
11
JOHN KASICH
Ever get the nagging sensation that this is probably as good as it's ever going to get? Peace out.
12
CARLY FIORINA
It's wrong you have to fight CNN to get into the debate, but what a sad thing to be fighting for. Take it on the arches.
13
LINDSEY GRAHAM
Whoa, Lindsey, you said that you were gonna beat Donald Trump's brains out? Man, you better really mean that! If not, you've got to hit the bricks.
14
CHRIS CHRISTIE
And how are you gonna let Lindsey Graham become the anti-Trump alpha dog? Son, hit the showers.
15
MARTIN O'MALLEY
You can stay because we need someone to end lists with.

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press


LaurenWeber   |   August 20, 2015    4:36 PM ET


It’s late August 2015. There are already more than 20 people running for president. Only about five of those have a realistic chance of actually winning, and we should not be encouraging anybody else to participate in the race. But here we are, just a group of Internet wags, standing in front of Joe Biden, asking him to love the idea of running for president.


Because let’s face it, why not. Why else would anyone agree to be vice president, if not to seek that brass ring ... that easy ascension. Why not give it a shot -- all you need is one or two billionaire donors to give you some lift.




You've already consulted with Elizabeth Warren, who isn’t running, and guys like Martin O’Malley aren’t winning. Are you really going to let Al Gore snake some attention? Are you actually going to sit back and watch Lincoln Chafee run as a Democrat? Have you not already thought about how great it would be to launch your latest bid for the White House at a barbecue-slash-summit with #BlackLivesMatter activists?


Here at First To Last, we aren’t counting you, Joe Biden, out. 




RANK REASON
1
POLLING NUMBERS ARE INVITING
I mean, you're gonna jump ahead of Webb, O'Malley and Chafee -- and you'll post pretty good numbers against the GOP in the swing states.
2
WHO KNOWS WHAT'S ON THE HILLARY EMAILS
The FBI continues to make progress recovering that wiped server for personal emails...
3
OBAMA WILL SAY NICE THINGS
Long live your bromance with the prez.
4
AUTHENTICITY NOW A CALLING CARD
In the past, "Uncle Joe" has been a bit too authentic for your own good. But in this field, it's a virtue.
5
VEEP BUT NO VICE
You've taken a showhorse position and turned it into a workhorse position.
6
ERASE THE MEMORY OF FIRST TWO 'CAMPAIGNS'
If you think about it, your Oval Office trajectory is at least as good as Clinton's.
7
VPs USED TO ALWAYS RUN
Dick Cheney didn't have the cojones. You do.
8
THE MEDIA WILL LOVE IT
You know, at least until you either get yourself into trouble ... or emerge as the frontrunner.
9
YOU LOOK YOUNGER THAN BERNIE
And you can probably bench press more than Martin O'Malley.
10
CAN ACTUALLY RIDE AROUND IN THAT TRANS-AM
And wear those aviators every. single. damn. day.
11
YOUR NAME IS JOE
It's just too perfect.

Images: Getty, Associated Press


Paige Lavender   |   August 20, 2015    8:25 AM ET

Read More: Who Cares

Jeb Bush is in terrible shape. He’s not leading many polls, though that’s fine this early on.

 

Paige Lavender   |   August 19, 2015    9:22 AM ET

Read More: Who Cares

John Kasich has been telling Iowans the same stories over the course of nearly two decades.

Paige Lavender   |   August 19, 2015    9:10 AM ET

Read More: Who Cares

Two leading Republican presidential candidates, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, recently released concept papers that promise to provide “all Americans” with government-subsidized access to health insurance. This is a monumental development for both the campaign and for the conservative movement, one that breathes Ronald Reagan’s soul into the Republican nomination fight.

LaurenWeber   |   August 13, 2015    4:20 PM ET


Things are getting weird when even Al Gore is thinking of getting into the Democratic presidential race, which is turning into a last hurrah for the Baby Boomers and their tad-older camp counselors.


Hillary Clinton, permanently punctilious, has done everything right: She put her HQ in Brooklyn, hired savvy digital/social/big data nerds, raised a ton of dough, gave substantive, well-thought-out speeches and flooded early primary and caucus states with organizers. She's still the default bet for the Democratic nomination: national polls show her with a fat 36 percent lead.


And yet all is not well in Hillaryland. Polls also indicate that voters now view her as untrustworthy. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose DeLorean time machine is in overdrive, is drawing colossal crowds and, according to one poll, now leads the former secretary of state in New Hampshire. Vice President Joe Biden, who had previously said “no way,” is now sounding serious about jumping in. So, we are told, is Gore, who was warning of environmental doom as far back as the ‘60s.




 What’s happening to Hillary? Here are our explanations, ranked on our First to Last Political Richter Scale: 




RANK REASON
1
PINATA FOR GOP AND FOX
Hillary was right: There IS a vast right-wing conspiracy, and it is out to get her.
2
EMAIL HANDOVER
Words like "FBI," "CIA," "classified" and "investigation" are not things you want associated with your presidential campaign.
3
NO NEW NARRATIVE
Familiarity makes it hard to create a campaign narrative when the real one is so well-known, and so complicated.
4
KREMLIN-LIKE CAMPAIGN MACHINERY
Hillary trusts only a tight circle, led by longtime aide Huma Abedin, Philippe Reines, David Kendall and a few others. Everyone else, including the “campaign manager,” is hired help. This overprotectiveness approaches on paranoia.
5
WHERE'S BILL?
What IS his role, anyway? Remember Charlotte? That was the best sales speech a Democrat had given in years. Plus, people like him, and you’re married to him!
6
OVERSEAS AND CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS
Guess this is why we aren’t seeing Bill Clinton.
7
'DEAD BROKE'
We know what you meant, but we are well-fed, inside-the-Beltway pundits.
8
LOOKS LIKE IT'S NOT GOING TO BE JEB
The more traction Marco Rubio gets, the more slippery Hillary’s slope becomes.
9
DEBATE SCHEDULE BACKLASH
Only insiders (and Martin O’Malley) care, but the Beltway and media crowd blames her for the measly, weekend-heavy schedule of Democratic debates.
10
ATTENDED DONALD TRUMP'S THIRD WEDDING
Something about the phrase “third wedding” should have been a warning. But, hey, a party is a party. We’re waiting for the pictures of Hill & Bill dancing to the 2005 classic “Gold Digger.”
11
TRYING A LITTLE TOO HARD TO BE ALL DIGITAL AND ZEITGEISTY
Who told her that it was cool to ask college kids to send her emoji tweets about their college debt? College kids can actually use words.

Images: Getty, Associated Press


LaurenWeber   |   August 7, 2015    9:06 AM ET


Thursday's debate was, well, a spectacle. What else can you call two hours of Donald Trump being The Donald, Rand Paul eye rolls, teased appearances of God and a Chris Christie shouting match


Check out the five clips that sum up the absurdity of the GOP primary debate, and prepare yourselves for the next 458 days of presidential election shenanigans. 


The Crowd's Favorite Statements Of The Night




No matter how ridiculous.


*****


Every Republican Candidate Tries To Out-Hardscrabble Each Other 




Drake would have been proud.


*****


Megyn Kelly Takes Down The Donald




We can all agree: Megyn Kelly was the true winner of last night's debate.


*****


Chris Christie And Rand Paul Throw Down




That eye roll vs. the ghost of Giuliani. 


*****


And Donald Trump Attempts To Prove He's A Republican




 Spoiler alert: It didn't go very well.


*****


 


Bonus Video: The Moderators Roast The Candidates At Kids Table Debate




Ouch.

LaurenWeber   |   August 6, 2015    7:51 PM ET

A lot of pressure comes with moderating a presidential debate. People are often just as focused on the questions being asked as they are on the candidates themselves.  

But as we watched the so-called "kids' table" debate on Thursday night -- the forum held for the seven candidates who didn't poll high enough to make it into the main event -- we realized that some of the questions asked by moderators Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer were truly terrible. The questions were often poorly phrased, and many revealed the moderators' obvious political leanings.

From asking candidates whether Donald Trump was "getting the better" of them to posing leading questions about mosques requiring surveillance, absurdity reigned.    

Watch some of Thursday night's worst questions in the video above. 

For more GOP debate coverage, visit our liveblog.

 

LaurenWeber   |   July 30, 2015    3:30 PM ET


Donald Trump and nine other people will take the stage in Cleveland on Thursday night for the first of at least nine Republican presidential debates. Earlier in the day, several lesser-known candidates will go at it on an undercard that’s been set up to contend with the fact that 17 people think that they should be the GOP nominee.


We at 2016 FIRST TO LAST are charitable souls, and we want to help them all, if for no other reason than that covering such a large, chaotic field is so much fun. One obvious priority for the debaters is to be ready for the Godzilla of Glitz to stomp on you with his gigantic Gucci loafers. (Although Trump said in a tweet that he’ll be playing nice.)


You need to have a calm, classy and substantive comeback. You also need to remember that the FOX moderators are (maybe!) out to get Trump, whom their boss of bosses, Rupert Murdoch, can’t stand. So that means: Get out of the way. And of course: Always lower expectations -- to zero if possible -- since this whole thing is such a circus.


But beyond that, what should you, the candidate, do? Sadly, no rich megadonor is paying us, but here is our premium (free) advice. 




RANK TIPS
1
LIMIT YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH DONALD TRUMP
The more you say his name, the more he gets to speak. If you’re going to pick a fight, do it with someone else.
2
WHAT IS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?
Say something distinctive. Define yourself succinctly, and do it now, because your opponents are waiting to do it for you.
3
MEMES WILL HAPPEN
Your words will be chopped, diced and dissected on the groupthink that is journalistic Twitter. Make peace with this.
4
REMEMBER, DONORS ARE WATCHING
Your campaign's funding is on the line. Pretend you're talking to a billionaire, because you are. (Don’t “imagine them naked,” though.)
5
BE 'PRESIDENTIAL'
These days, that means being the guy folks want to get a beer with or sit next to in coach.
6
IF THERE IS DEAD AIR, DIVE INTO IT
Especially if you’re a candidate at the fringes. There are 10 people on stage. Make sure they know you are there.
7
ASSUME THE CAMERA IS ALWAYS ON YOU
Even though you're only one of 10. Don't look bored, don't look jealous, don't look confused.
8
SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE
This is not about pleasing Roger Ailes, who would be happy if you set your hair on fire because it would goose the ratings.
9
WIN THE LITTLE KIDS' DEBATE OUTRIGHT
If you don’t get into the “top ten” debate, remember, this is the play-in game. One and done.
10
DON'T GET LOST IN THE WEEDS
Whether that's policy, campaign strategy or anything else. Keep it simple for now. There will be at least eight other debates.
11
DON'T PULL A TIM PAWLENTY
If you've talked a big game offstage, make sure you talk it onstage. That means you, too, Donald Trump.
12
STAY ABOVE THE FRAY
But if you have an opportunity to stay out of the melee, do. Romney did this well.
13
DON'T CONFRONT THE MODERATOR
Attempting media criticism never works (see 2012). (Also: this is Fox, your buddies.)
14
DON'T BE TOO CUTE
Elevator pitch, yes; robotic, focus-grouped slogan, no.
15
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, MENTION RONALD REAGAN
The old standard still pleases. (Do not mention George W. Bush, though, even if you are trying to needle Jeb.)


LaurenWeber   |   July 23, 2015    2:28 PM ET


By tradition, only grumpy, unglamorous curmudgeons consider running as independent candidates for president -- men such as George Wallace, John Anderson, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. They were the political equivalents of a shot and a beer.


But now we have the innovative Donald Trump. He is a glitzy global celebrity: an orange-haired, gold-plated bottle of Cristal, full of ephemeral fizz and loaded with gas. Which got us thinking here at 2016 FIRST TO LAST. What other public-spirited, somewhat political celebs, entertainers, captains of industry and Aspen-ish “thought leaders” are out there who might also qualify to be whisked through the “tough door” at Club White House and into VIP room of possible independent candidates?


 Because, really, anyone would be preferable, or at least more tolerable. Our list: 




RANK CANDIDATE RISING OR FALLING
1
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
Has the money, media empire, government experience and ego. Just run already.
😇 😇 😇
2
OPRAH
Paperback conscience of America.
😇 😇 😇
3
JAMIE DIMON
Presidency would be a step down, but he knows how to get things done in Washington (just buy it).
😇 😇 😇
4
JOHN LEGEND
Kinda think he might be really great. Classy guy.
😇 😇 😇
5
HOWARD SCHULTZ
Would you like an agenda with your coffee?
😇 😇
6
STEPHEN COLBERT
Already an adroit and instructive parodist -- maybe if he becomes president, we can finally see who we really are.
😇 😇
7
GEORGE CLOONEY
Ocean's '16: We'd prefer Amal, but we'll settle for George.
😇 😇
8
PETER THIEL
From PayPal to Palantir, he's already creepin' all up in our business.
😇 😇
9
TRAVIS KALANICK
Teaming up with David Plouffe to do some Trump-lite plutocrat-populism, with celeb friends advancing the #brands.
😇 😇
10
WARREN BUFFET
Imagine if the State of Union was like his annual letter to investors!
😇 😇
11
ANDERSON COOPER
America's last Vanderbilt.
😇 😇
12
WALTER ISAACSON
Biographer of Franklin, Einstein and Jobs. Boss of Aspen ideas festival. Knows big think and bloviation.
😇
13
BILL GATES
Just because we want Clippy to do all intragovernment communications: "Hi, it looks like you're trying to pass a highway bill!"
😇
14
ANGELINA JOLIE
Does real work for the U.N., outed herself as wannabe politician -- in Vanity Fair, of course.
😇
15
ASHTON KUTCHER
Tours the country as an evangelist of entrepreneurialism. But dude, where's my car?
😇
16
SERGEY BRIN
Already runs the world as Google founder, just adding this managerial title.
😇
17
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON
Maybe the only man in America who can get us off of this planet. (But his Pluto demotion probably disqualifies him for higher office.)
😇
18
THOMAS FRIEDMAN
On the list because we found the perfect emoji for him.
👨

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press