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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

er trump nydnThank you, New York Daily News.

1) We're still having some difficulty viewing Donald Trump as a legitimate presidential candidate, but that doesn't mean he didn't move the needle when he made his announcement on Tuesday. From our friends at Facebook, via P-G Washington Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: Mr. Trump's mess of a declaration generated 6.4 million interactions on FB yesterday. How does that compare to other presidential announcements? The Republican candidate whose announcement came closest to generating a Trump-like reaction was Ted Cruz, who generated 5.5 million interactions, while Rand Paul, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio each generated over a million. Jeb Bush generated just 849,000 interactions, although, to be fair, reaction his announcement on Monday might have been watered down by all the pre-announcements that preceded it. And not even the bluster of Hurricane Donald could match the announcement of Hillary Clinton, whose official entry into the race generated 10.1 million interactions.

2) We're having way too much fun with Mr. Trump's candidacy – a trend we pledge will continue – but especially for Republicans, his candidacy is worth watching carefully. You guys may recall Ross Perot, whose independent campaign in 1992 had a lot to do with George H.W. Bush not being able to hold off Bill Clinton. We don't think Mr. Trump will stick around that long, but he could hang on during the primaries long enough to steal votes from real candidates – like, say, Mr. Bush, who looks like a statue next to The Donald.

3) We are likely just days away from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the legality of federal healthcare subsidies, a ruling that could leave more than 6 million Americans in the lurch if those subsidies are taken away. But a handful of states – including Pennsylvania, which just gained conditional federal approval to create a marketplace for the state – are betting they have a solution ready to go.

4) Quinnipiac University's ongoing polling of swing states – that would be Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania – shows that Ms. Clinton is losing ground to Mr. Rubio here and in Florida. She's also losing in a head-to-head matchup with undeclared candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home state.

5) If you listen to presidential candidates long enough, this one thing becomes subconsciously ingrained: we shouldn't trust people from Washington D.C. #unleash

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Trump jumps in

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

When Donald Trump announces a presidential run, it's time for Bonus Early Returns. And believe us, we could have come up with way more than five things to send you to read.

1) Let's start with Mr. Trump in his own words. Because you wouldn't believe it otherwise.

2) Of course, this all seems a little familiar.

3) Besides serving as a reality show host, what does Mr. Trump do well? Starting failed businesses, for starters. He also does a nice job of critiquing other candidates.

4) The Donald has apparently settled on theme music for his campaign – and, naturally, he's chosen a song, written by a Canadian, that criticizes social problems in the United States. In one 45-minute appearance, Mr. Trump has singlehandedly catapulted Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" atop the list of biggest political misunderstandings ever, displacing Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." (a campaign favorite for Ronald Reagan, who apparently never listened to the lyrics) and The Pretender's "My City Was Gone" (a lament about over development that Rush Limbaugh ironically co-opted as his show's theme song).

5) There was, of course, reaction from the Democratic National Committee, specifically from Holly Shulman, press secretary: "Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation."

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush waves as he takes the stage to formally join the race for president, Monday, June 15, 2015, at Miami Dade College in Miami. (David Goldman/Associated Press)Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush waves as he takes the stage to formally join the race for president, Monday, June 15, 2015, at Miami Dade College in Miami. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

1) There were no gasps of shock Monday afternoon when Jeb Bush announced that he had decided to run for the Republican presidential nomination – after all, we had already heard announcements about possible announcements about soon-to-be-scheduled announcements from the former Florida governor. Even less surprising? His emphasis on his connections to the Latino community and an approach that's less about charisma and more about policy.

2) Quick – name another presidential candidate who'd rather talk about the wonky side of running for the office. And that's not the only similarity between Mr. Bush and Hillary Clinton.

3) Ms. Clinton has other issues to deal with, like the one named Bernie Sanders, whose poll numbers in New England have to be making the front runner a little uncomfortable.

4) Pennsylvanians are more supportive of hydraulic fracking than the national average, a new poll from the Robert Morris University Polling Institute has found. We back fracking to the tune of 57.1 percent, while the national average reaches 55.9 percent. But we're also a bit confused about the issue; the poll found that 60.1 percent say they agree "strongly" or "somewhat" with this statement: "The environmental impact of gas drilling outweighs any resulting reduced energy costs or energy independence."

5) We've always been fascinated by Richard Nixon – we're old enough to remember when our Sesame Street viewing was interrupted by the Watergate hearings – so we can't get enough of this week's media tour by Tim Weiner, who combed through documents and hours of recently released tapes from Mr. Nixon's White House to write his new book, "One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon." In this excerpt, Mr. Weiner recounts a night in 1973 when members of the administration – Al Haig was in control, as it turns out – had to deal with a threat that the Soviet Union might intervene in the Arab-Israel War because an increasingly fearful and paranoid president was too drunk to make decisions.

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Wolf steps back on personnel decisions

Published by Mike Pound on .

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Erik Arneson? He has a job. Marcus Brown? He doesn't.

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf announced two personnel decisions this morning, both of which represent a more conciliatory stance than Governor Go Time has taken.

First, Mr. Wolf said he'd allow Erik Arneson to serve as director of the state's Office of Public Records while the administration waits on its appeal over the position. Mr. Arneson, you'll recall, was appointed to the job by Mr. Wolf's predecessor but replaced by Mr. Wolf in January. Mr. Arneson, backed by senate Republicans, sued, saying the office's independence would be compromised if its director was a political appointment; last week, the state Commonwealth Court said it agreed with Mr. Arneson. Mr. Wolf said last week that decision was stayed by his appeal to the state Supreme Court; his announcement today changes that stance.

We don't know if Col. Brown, Mr. Wolf's nominee to lead the Pennsylvania State Police, was asked to withdraw his name for consideration or if he did it on his own – Jeffrey Sheridan, Mr. Wolf's spokesman, refused to say – but Mr. Wolf will seek a new nominee for the commissioner's chair. Col. Brown seemed to be imminently qualified for the job, but he drew the ire of current and former troopers when he chose to wear the PSP uniform in spite of not being a graduate of the state academy. The senate last week voted down Col. Brown's nomination, but Mr. Wolf said then that his choice would remain in place as acting commissioner, prompting some saber-rattling on the part of senate Republicans. Wolf said today that Col. Brown would hold the job until a new candidate -- presumably one comfortable wearing a suit -- is nominated.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

A technician does a sound check at Miami Dade College where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Monday, June 15, 2015, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)A technician does a sound check at Miami Dade College where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Monday, June 15, 2015, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

1) We've seen Jeb Bush announce that he's thinking about announcing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, and we've seen him announce that he's going to officially announce his candidacy. This afternoon, he's making that announcement. But really, we'd mostly like to hear more about his guacamole.

2) Hillary Clinton had already announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination, but on Saturday, she gave the first major speech since making that announcement in April. The speech seemed to be aimed at the progressive wing of the party, the one that's excited about Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his presidential nominations. So while she touched on a mess of populist themes during the speech, it's also worth noting what she didn't bring up: the current president's education reforms or his quest for new trade agreements (although she answered questions about the trade issue over the weekend), domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency or Obamacare.

3) Over in New Jersey, Chris Christie had declared himself ready for battle at the presidential-candidate level, although he said he needs to finish work on his state's budget first. Which probably works for him, because the more distance he can put between himself and the scandal over shutting down traffic at the George Washington Bridge in the name of political retribution, the better.

4) We don't yet know if state Attorney General Kathleen Kane is going to face charges in the investigation over leaks of grand jury information, but it isn't hard to figure out that potential Republican candidates for her seat aren't going to wait to find out. Take state Sen. John Rafferty, for example – the Berks County Republican will announce his candidacy for the seat on Wednesday. And Mr. Rafferty may be joined by state Rep. Todd Stephens, of Montgomery County, who said last week he'd make a decision after the state completes its work on the 2015-16 budget.

5) Happy 94th birthday to the late jazz pianist Erroll Garner. We're celebrating by noting the donation of Mr. Garner's professional materials to the University of Pittsburgh Library System, the perfect place to house the legacy of the East Liberty native.

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