(CNN) - Hillary Clinton is the clear 2016 frontrunner in the nation's largest presidential battleground state, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey of Florida voters indicates the former secretary of state, who's seriously considering a second bid for the White House, has leads from seven to 21 percentage points over potential GOP presidential candidates in possible 2016 showdowns.
updated at 3:25pm ET
(CNN) - A significant portion of a paper Montana Sen. John Walsh had to complete to obtain his Master’s degree was taken directly from two sources and given no attribution, according to the New York Times.
At least one-quarter of the 14-page paper, “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” from the United States Army War College was copied from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report and a 1998 Harvard scholar's essay, the Times reported.
Walsh, an Iraq War veteran and former head of Montana’s National Guard, completed the paper in 2007. He was 46.
Nearly 24 hours after the story broke, his re-election campaign released a full-bore defense, laying out more than a dozen accomplishments and awards from his 33-year military career. The campaign didn’t deny the plagiarism but said it wasn’t deliberate.
"He acknowledges the citations were not all done correctly, but that it was an unintentional mistake," the statement said.
Walsh separately told the Associated Press that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress after his Iraq deployment. His office said he commanded an infantry battalion in 2004-05.
His office said the difficult period was not an excuse for the plagiarized portions of the paper.
The damning report could impact not only Walsh’s election chances this November, but also the Democrats’ odds of maintaining control of the Senate.
Walsh stepped down as Montana's lieutenant governor after he was appointed to the Senate in February to replace longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who was appointed Ambassador to China. Walsh is running in November's midterm election for a full six year term in Senate.
In the conservative state of Montana, Republicans pegged the race as winnable. The GOP must win six seats currently in Democratic hands to win back control of the Upper Chamber.
Even before the plagiarism allegations broke, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers gave the edge in the race to the GOP candidate, Rep. Steve Daines. The Cook Report listed the race as “lean Republican” and the Rothenberg Report rated the contest as “toss up/tilt Republican.”
In a statement, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee defended Walsh.
"John Walsh is a decorated war hero and it’s disgusting that Steve Daines and Washington Republicans are going to try denigrate John’s distinguished service after multiple polls show him gaining. Steve Daines should immediately denounce these latest smears and call for an end to all attacks on John Walsh’s record protecting Montana and serving his country," said DSCC press secretary Justin Barasky.
CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan spelled out his plan Thursday to fight poverty, a pilot program that would combine 11 federal programs into one pool of money for participating states.
According to the plan, which the Wisconsin Republican detailed at the American Enterprise Institute, states would voluntarily submit their own anti-poverty proposals in order to get money.
Washington (CNN) - After several weeks in which the influx of tens of thousands of undocumented children illegally crossing the border into the United States has dominated the headlines, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote an op-ed about the issue, calling for a change in how the children are handled after they are arrested - and also urging his fellow Republicans not to use this as an "excuse" to abandon comprehensive immigration reform.
His Wall Street Journal opinion piece that published Wednesday evening is similar to the statement he released to CNN last week and is just the second time he's spoken on the issue that has caused national debate as unaccompanied children continue to cross the border at an increasing rate.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate wrote in the in the Wall Street Journal, "We now have a humanitarian crisis on our Southern border that demands strong leadership that respects the rule of law."
(CNN) - Olivia Pope may be the best crisis manager - real or fictional - to ever grace Washington.
But that doesn't mean the situations on "Scandal" are anything close to what President Barack Obama wants to see play out in real life.
Speaking during a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, Obama used a now-familiar phrase - "phony scandals" - to describe what he sees as a petty obsession among the political class. FULL POST