Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders attend a rally in Carson, California, last week. “The 2016 race is transcendentally bizarre. We have two near-nominees with the highest unfavourables at this point in the race of any in modern history.” Photograph:  Monica Almeida/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Sanders and Trump scent blood as Hillary campaign limps on joylessly

Republican front-runner Donald Trump: “Paul [Ryan] said to me that he has never seen anything like it because I’m a non-politician and I beat very successful politicians. He was really fascinated by how I won.” Photograph: Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans wring their hands as the New York billionaire savours his unlikely victory

Donald Trump. Photograph: Travis Dove/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd: After House speaker's rebuff, the two sit down to hash it out

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: on some foreign policy issues, it’s Hillary the Hawk against Donald the Quasi-Dove. Photographs: Damon Winter/Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Republican has tender ego, whereas Democrat is so tough she is known as ‘the Warrior’

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:  her  decision on Iraq was put through a political filter and a paranoid mindset. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Has Clinton the confidence to act in ways that are contrary to political interests?

Peter Dinklage: “If it doesn’t boil the blood, especially in this genre, then we’re not doing our jobs.” Photograph: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Peter Dinklage talks dragons, fame and Donald Trump to superfan Maureen Dowd

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: it’s ridiculous how many mistakes he has has made in rapid order to alienate women when he was already on thin ice with them. Photograph: Marisa Wojcik/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram via AP

Businessman may be the GOP front-runner, but he just keeps alienating women

US president Barack Obama dances the tango during a state dinner hosted by Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The US president proves he can go to a ballgame and still keep his eye on the ball

Republican would-be presidential candidate Donald Trump at Fountain Park, Arizona, during a campaign rally. Photograph: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Brand baron seems cool with being called a bigot and a menace – by his own party

Nancy Reagan: enjoyed dishing the dirt over lunch in the Polo Lounge. Photograph: Reuters/Sam Mircovich

While celebs officially shun Old Hollywood headquarters the Beverly Hills Hotel, my friend Max is not so sure

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: “The most enjoyable thing about the Trump phenomenon has been watching him make monkeys out of a lot of people who had it coming.”   Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

No one is more shocked at how far Donald Trump has come than Donald Trump

Prof Anita Hill  Photograph:  Frank Miller

As per the OJ and Clarence Thomas cases, one theme dominates the US

Hillary Clinton is coming up drastically short on trustworthiness. Photograph:  Jim Young/Reuters

Maureen Dowd: Key demographic who deserted her in 2008 are still not convinced

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: Bernie Sanders’s populist surge has led some top Democrats to wonder if Barack Obama will have to step in and endorse her campaign. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Hillary’s campaign cries sexism too often and pales when compared to Bernie Sanders

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: while others cast him as a bully, Trump cast himself  at a New Hampshire rally as a tender soul trying for self-actualisation. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Businessman claims he knows how to act properly and flexibly when he needs to

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: “When Palin turned out to be utterly unqualified and unintelligible, spouting her own special Yoda-like language, it did not reflect poorly on women as a whole – only on her and John McCain.” Photograph: Cassi Alexandra/Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s endorser has way of getting her message across that few identify with

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures as she walks on stage at a Democratic fundraising dinner featuring all three candidates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph: Getty Images

Contender seeks to be seen as dog with a bone compared with feline Obama

Former US president Bill Clinton  campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Hillary Clinton is on a sticky wicket when she accuses Donald Trump of bullying – and he knows it

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday: with all his bombast and incivility, Trump has joyfully debunked political correctness for the complete fraud that it is. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters

The Republicans and Democrats find no shortage of bones to pick over turkey

Former US president George HW Bush: “Like many uptight, upper-class families, the Bushes seem unable to directly confront tensions and talk to each other candidly. In the case of the Bushes, this ended up rupturing the globe.” Photograph: Aida Crawley/EPA

Bush patriarch has used his new biography to tackle some family politics

 Jeb Bush: this was going to be the year that settled sibling scores – he would get what his parents considered his birthright. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Jeb Bush won’t turn around his listless campaign by channelling his brother W

Hillary Clinton at the end of her day-long appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill last week. Photograph: Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Benghazi hearing showcased ‘good’ Hillary, but there were flashes of ‘bad’

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign meeting in Keene, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Its efforts to derail Democrat candidate have ruined credibility of Benghazi inquiry

US house speaker John Boehner: When asked whether he would advance a debt limit Bill before resigning from Congress on October 30th, he said: “We’ll have to see. There are a number of issues that we’re going to try to deal with over the coming month.” Photograph: Jonathan Ernst

The speaker’s mind must be racing as he gets set for the big countdown

Pope Francis greets inmates at a correctional facility in Philadelphia on Sunday during his US visit. Photograph: Tony Gentile/pool

Francis preaches against elites while keeping the church an elite boys’ club

‘The Starry Night’ by Vincent van Gogh. Photograph: AP/Museum of Modern Art

Questions surround Paris-based project aimed at digitally replicating all art

“A lethargic, insubstantial image of Jeb Bush that is at odds with the perky red ‘Jeb!’ campaign logo”. Photograph: Reuters/Jay Westcott

Maverick Donald Trump’s ‘gusto’ has shown up the timidity of the other runners

Donald Trump speaks at a rally  in Mobile, Alabama. Photograph:  Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

The pugnacious candidate has scrambled up the US presidential campaign

Republican US presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump: “I’m a solid, stable person . . . I am a man of great achievement. I win. I always win. Knock on wood. I win. It’s what I do. I beat people. I win.” Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Some see Donald Trump as a crude, cartoonish bully. He says he just lacks insecurities

Donald Trump: ‘Policy ideas are ripped from the gut instead of the head. Still, he can be a catalyst, challenging his rivals where they need to be challenged.’ Photograph:  David Maxwell/EPA

Businessman’s attacks can help smoke out more careful rivals in US presidential race

Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton:  Biden is talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in. The 72-year-old vice-president has been having meetings to explore the idea of taking on Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. Photograph: Luke Sharret/The New York Times

As Hillary Clinton’s sheen is scuffed, the vice-president must make up his mind

 President Barack Obama:    far more energised than a couple years ago when  he acted as though he would like to quit, if it was a job you could stride away from. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

His supporters are thrilled to see the Barack Obama they voted for is back

 Monica Lewinsky: “It’s nice to see the 41-year-old move out of her self-imposed exile, looking lovely, acting graciously and speaking out for a good cause.”  Photograph: James Duncan Davidson/Reuters

Monica Lewinsky steps out of exile at Cannes festival to tackle cyberbullies

Hillary Clinton. ‘If you want to be president and you shape your principles to suit the shifting winds, then how can people on either side of an issue trust you?’ Photograph: AP Photo/Mathew Sumner

Ducking and diving on trade deal raises questions about trustworthiness

‘The president descended from the mountain for half an hour on Thursday evening, materialising at Nationals Park to schmooze with Democrats and Republicans at the annual congressional baseball game.’ Photograph: Aude Guerrucci/Getty Images

US president has learned the hard way that you shouldn’t abandon your allies

Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the US, next to a photograph taken by his partner, Pascal Blondeau, at his residence in Washington. After a distinguished career in the French foreign ministry, Araud is trumpeting his support for same-sex marriage. Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

French ambassador to US invents a new form of digital diplomacy for our cacophonous age

The joke circulates in Hollywood that Hillary is like Coca-Cola’s Dasani water: She’s got a great distribution system, but nobody likes the taste. Photograph: Eric Thayer/New York Times

Hillary may get cash, but she’ll get little enthusiasm from jaded Hollywood insiders

An Uber car in New York: an article in Business Insider advised giving an extra cash tip  if you want a five-star rating. Photograph: Sam Hodgson /The New York Times

I didn’t realise that while I was reviewing my drivers, they were doing the same to me

Tara suffered a stroke after playing tennis but was advised by a neurologist to stay active

Fit, healthy and not one to overindulge, my niece Tara was an unlikely victim

In 2008, Hillary Clinton took advice from two men – Bill Clinton and Mark Penn – and campaigned like a man. Now she must figure out how to campaign as a woman. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Is there nothing between Macho Man and Humble Granny for Hillary?

US congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks during a ‘Ready for Hillary’ rally in New York. Photograph: Darren Ornitz/Reuters

Lack of large-scale allure reflected in planned low-key start to campaign

Claire Danes in “Homeland”: the CIA sisterhood is fed up with the flock of fictional CIA women. Photograph: Didier Baverel/Showtime

Real female CIA operatives say they are tired of being misrepresented

Jeb Bush: though he is more apt to do his homework, he’s unformed on foreign policy, like his brother – except that his brother was elected before 9/11. Photograph: Jabin Botsford/New York Times

The neocons are swirling around Jeb, ready to inhabit another president Bush

There was an attempt to rebrand cats to be less snobby and more in tune with the huggy internet age

In festival of interactivity, connectivity, sharing and Tindering, the two big stars were Grumpy Cat and Meerkat, a live-streaming(...)

Hillary, you seem like an annoyed queen, radiating irritation at anyone who tries to hold you accountable.  Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Your ill-advisedly deleting 30,000 emails just makes us want to sigh: okay, just take the presidency

Life in Clintonland: Hillary Clinton only turned over cherry-picked messages in December at the state department’s request. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Hillary’s private email controversy highlights her desire for control

Mindy Kaling, creator and star of   The Mindy Project, one of a new genre of films and television shows written by  women that portray a more sexually frank account of their  lives.   Photograph: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SCAD

New generation of women in film and TV take things into their own hands

Jeb Bush: the last two presidents in his party were his father and brother, and his brother crashed the family station wagon into the globe. Photograph: Jim Young / Reuters

To be seen as his own man, Jeb Bush needs to let go of his big brother’s props

Brian Williams moderating a presidential debate  in Florida  in January 2012. Williams said on Saturday he was stepping aside from daily news broadcasts for several days after admitting he had misled the public about being on a helicopter that was forced down in Iraq in 2003. Photograph: Chip Litherland/The New York Times

NBC’s anchor Brian Williams is in trouble, but respect for the medium is already gone

Aha moment: That guy is great, Mitt Romney thought to himself. That guy should be running for president. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

After he saw the documentary ‘Mitt’, the former Massachusetts governor thought he could be president

‘He’s alone on the stage – always his preferred setting. As an isolato, he can say what he thinks and define himself on his own terms. He can ascend to the mountaintop and ignore us when we pester him to come down.’ Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Defeat has left the US president free to resume being the consummate outsider

‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’ Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Film-makers have a responsibility to be accurate about race, the US’s original sin

US soldiers at a base near Najaf, Iraq, in 2004. “The government does a very good job of sending people to war and a very poor job of bringing them home.”  Photograph: AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Starbucks boss Howard Schultz has taken up the cause of returning combatants

British actor Dominic West: after playing Iago and the English serial killer Fred West, he yearned for a more heroic role. “I was really keen to play a good guy, so this is the good guy I’m playing – a cheating husband.” Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

‘The Affair’, starring Dominic West, is the classic scenario of he said she said

“Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck opened last weekend with the backdrop of cover-ups on NFL domestic violence.

Film noir vixens always beat boring cinema portraits of idealised women

Julia Pierson prepares to testify before a White House committee last month. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Julia Pierson withheld crucial information and papered over fiascos at a vital agency

A Syrian refugee and her children are among the 140,000 people that have fled Kurdish villages in northern Syria to escape Islamic State attacks. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA

The US looks past human rights in the Middle East as it woos the coalition

Willie Nelson. Comedian Bill Maher offered Colorado some tips on marijuana, such as avoidinbg selling novices kief – superconcentrated crystals so potent that they’re “harvested directly from Willie Nelson’s beard”. Photograph: Rick Olivier

Opinion: country singer’s tour bus ideal venue to discuss US marijuana laws

Pressure is on  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resign. Photograph: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

NFL commissioner is acting more like Nixon than like his courageous father

Actors Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen, who play Virginia Johnson and William Masters in ‘Masters Of Sex’. Photograph: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Opinion: repulsive William Masters was the opposite of Tony Blair and David Frost

Course of action: US president Barack Obama golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club, Martha’s Vineyard, at the weekend. Photograph: Steven Senne/AP

Opinion: be a player on the world stage? I’d rather play golf, says our leader

Pallets of bottled water aboard a US Air Force aircraft in preparation for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq. Photograph:  US Air Force, Staff Sgt Vernon Young jnr/AP

We’re in a new war in Iraq with some bad ‘folks’, as the president might say, whose name we’re still fuzzy on

Former US presidents George W Bush (L) and George HW Bush wave before an American football game last November. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Is Bush biography a bid to exorcise the ghosts of all who died for no reason?

‘New Yorker’ baseball writer Roger Angell (left) with retired baseball player  George Brett during a reception in Angell’s honour in Cooperstown, New York, at which he received the JG Taylor Spink Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s writing honour. Photograph: Nathaniel Brooks/The New York Times

‘New Yorker’ writer Roger Angell is the game’s undisputed poet laureate

A recent “Wall Street Journal”/ NBC News/Annenberg centre poll showed that Clinton was the most admired president of the last quarter-century. Photograph: Luong Thai Linh/EPA

Clinton’s displays of empathy provide a sharp contrast with the president’s chilliness

Why is an hour of Chelsea Clinton’s time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don’t make in a year? Photograph: Jason Clarke Photography

The Clinton family act as if all they care about is selfless public service

Independence Day fireworks explode over the Washington monument in Washington, DC. Photograph: EPA/Allison Shelley

Opinion: defensive US is struggling to come to grips with the loss of its sense of greatness

Hillary Clinton interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC: “When you’re in the spotlight as a woman, you know you’re being judged constantly.” Photograph: Reuters/Martin H Simon/ABC

Opinion: Clinton’s claim that she is no longer scripted and safe is not credible

Google Inc branded candy on display inside the company’s offices in Berlin, Germany. The European Court of Justice ruled last week that Google and other search engines can be forced to remove search results.  Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The European Court of Justice’s ruling enshrines the right to forget

After protests about imperialism, Condoleezza Rice pulled out of her speech at Rutgers University. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Overly PC students missed a chance to hear Rice explain her fall from grace

Although Pope Francis has said that women could gain greater power in the church, other comments have been typically atavistic. Photograph: Claudio Peri/EPA

Whether deliberate or not, Vatican ambiguity is most harsh on women

Everywhere you look, the Clintons rule: Chelsea Clinton and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton take part in a No Ceilings Conversation at Lower Eastside Girls’ Club in New York. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

As a tired and fed-up Obama looks ready to pass the baton, Hillary looks ready to grab it

Rancher Cliven Bundy: has refused for 20 years to pay for grazing on federal land. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

Bigoted views of folk hero Cliven Bundy proves embarrassing for Republicans

The Ford Mustang’s $2,368 price tag in 1964 made it affordable to the horde of baby boomers that were just reaching driving age or heading off to college. Photograph: Reuters/Ford Motor Company

Since its launch in 1964, Ford’s Mustang has been an affordable classic

Comedian Stephen Colbert, who describes himself as “an omnivore,” who loves everything from ‘A Man for All Seasons’ to ‘Jackass’. Photograph: Reuters/Jim Bourg

Opinion: new US ‘Late Show’ host has surgical wit but is no radical

‘Game of Thrones’: ‘After a marathon of three seasons of ‘Game’ and the beginning of the fourth, which started last night, I’m ready to forgo reality for fantasy.’

Opinion: US senate seems tame after the cut and thrust of one of Barack Obama’s favourite series

Governor of California Jerry Brown: “I don’t see anyone challenging [Hillary Clinton] at this point.” Photographer: Ken James/Bloomberg

Governor of California says former adversary is in strong position for White House

US President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Ahead of the midterms, a sense of malaise is building around Obama and the Democrats

A woman cries while meeting US president Barack Obama at the Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida, last week. Photograph: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

There are many things the unpopular US president just doesn’t get

Hillary Clinton: “She’s always on listening tours but is she hearing?” Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Clintons don’t get defeated in elections: they get postponed

Opinion: Pope Francis has shown a more conciliatory attitude to gays than some US clerics

New Jersey governor Chris Christie speaks during a town hall meeting about Hurricane Sandy relief at a VFW hall in Port Monmouth last Thursday. The meeting was Christie’s first time speaking to New Jersey voters since the scandal involving abuse of power and the closing of access lanes at the George Washington Bridge erupted in early January. Photograph: Fred R Conrad/The New York Times

The New Jersey governor is a stark contrast to the wan Obama

French President François Hollande delivers a speech at the French Tech Hub in San Francisco, California, as part of his three-day state visit to the US. Photograph: EPA/Alain Jocard

François Hollande is thought to be a loser in the US because he’s so unrefined he might as well be American

Peter Finch as Howard Beale in ‘Network’: “I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell: ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!’”

Opinion: We’ve gone so far beyond the scenario depicted in ‘Network’ that we should be scared as hell

Senator Rand Paul said there “is no excuse” for preying on a young intern

Republican up in arms over Democrats’ ‘war on women’ claims

An employee pulls marijuana out of a jar at the LoDo Wellness Center in  Denver, Colorado. Photograph: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg.

Pot entrepeneurs are trying to cast Denver as the Napa Valley of cannabis

Mitt and Ann Romney, with their granddaughter Allie Romney, before the premiere of Mitt at the  Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photograph: EPA/George Frey

Opinion: a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the former candidate for the US presidency does what his Republican advisers could no(...)

New Jersey governor Chris Christie. “The epic news conference felt like a scene out of the governor’s favourite movie, The Godfather: Christie offering his tremulous, grandiose, self-pitying public apologia while in cross-cut scenes, his henchmen were getting rid of those who threatened his operation.” Photograph: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New Jersey governor’s grovelling apology rings hollow

William Bratton is sworn in as the 42nd commissioner of the New York police department by New York mayor Bill de Blasio during a ceremony at police headquarters in New York earlier this week. Photograph; Mike Segar/Reuters

Bratton must walk the line between police department and mayor’s office

The New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell tried to riposte in a post called “Being Nice isn’t really so awful” but wandered into a silly argument about satire propping up, rather than subverting, the privileged and the status quo. Malcolm Gladwell Photograph: Theo Wargo/WireImage

While intellectuals can be kind and nice, their job is to expose mediocrity

Woodrow Wilson: made jokes in black dialect and felt that interracial marriage would “degrade the white nations”.

Maureen Dowd: the 28th president of the US was an unlikely lothario

Sarah Silverman: credits conservatives with being deviously effective at naming things. Photograph: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Comedian Sarah Silverman wants Hillary Clinton to take a voice class

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie arrive at the Old Bailey courthouse in London last Friday. Photograph: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

The extension of information obsession to the field of intimacy ruins the mystery, poetry and suspense

“The president who yearned to be transformational stood beneath an oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln and demanded . . . a farm Bill.” US president Barack Obama delivers remarks on the end of the government shutdown in the state dining room of the White House. Photograph: Reuters/Jason Reed

The US president always conveys tedium at the idea that he has to persuade people to go along with him

Former secretary of defence is still not admitting his historic blunders

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington: “The fanatics barricaded in the Capitol dug in, determined to tear down what their idols, the founding fathers, had built.” Photograph: Getty Images

Tea Party zombies continue to maraud around the Hill

When US National Security Agency director general Keith Alexander was asked a year ago if the Bluffdale centre would hold the data of Americans, he replied no: “We don’t hold data on US citizens.” Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

The Bluffdale sinkhole has quietly started sucking in mountains of data

Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, speaking at Georgetown University in Washington DC last Thursday. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

83-year-old is full of philanthropic good advice and investing wisdom

“The president looked exhausted as he met the press in St Petersburg on Friday.” US president Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question about the Syrian situation during his news conference at the G20 Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, last Friday. Photograph: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Obama’s war within

Column: on the issue of Syrian intervention the US president has been deserted by his powers of persuasion

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