The WSB Care-a-Thon Total: $643,631




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News/Talk WSB Name Game Rules




Contesting Sweepstakes Name: WSB-AM/WSBB-FM Name Game, Contesting Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”)

Participating Station of Sponsor: WSB-AM/WSBB-FM.  Collectively referred to herein as the “Station.”

Sponsor Address:  Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio, 1601 W. Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309.

Sponsor Phone:  (404) 897-7500


Sweepstakes Period: Sweepstakes starts on September 23, 2013 at 7:01am EST and ends on December 6, 2013 at 5:00pm EST or when $75,000 in prizes has been awarded, whichever is earlier (“Sweepstakes Period”). Sponsor will be the official timekeeper for the Sweepstakes. This Sweepstakes shall be subject to these Official Rules, and by participating, all participants agree to abide and be bound by these rules and the decisions of Sponsor and any Sweepstakes judges or administrators selected by Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. The final day to enter into the Sweepstakes is Friday, November 29, by 5pm Atlanta time.


Eligibility: This Sweepstakes is only open to legal residents of the state of Georgia who are 18 years or older as of the first day of the Sweepstakes Period. Employees (and their immediate family or any persons domiciled with such employees) of Cox Radio, Inc. d/b/a Cox Media Group-Atlanta Radio (“Sponsor”) and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, prize providers, promotion and delivery contractors and/or public relations companies associated with this Sweepstakes, are not eligible to participate or to win. The term “immediate family” includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, and in-laws, regardless of where they live. A potential winner will be requested to provide proof that all eligibility requirements are met. Void where prohibited and outside Georgia. This Sweepstakes shall be governed and enforced pursuant to Georgia law, excluding choice of law provisions.


How to Enter the Sweepstakes:  To enter, during the Sweepstakes Period, register at and listen to WSBB-FM 95.5 or WSB-AM 750 at the announced times each weekday to see if your name is announced on air (see “How to Play,” below).  The registration website will be announced on the Station, via a link on a participating Station’s website ( and via a link on Each  entrant  must fully and accurately complete the online registration page with all required information including, but not limited to, his/her name, a valid email address and birth date.  After having read and agreed to these Official Rules, click the submit button to submit your online registration.  All online registrations must be completed fully to remain eligible to have your name announced on-air and to be a potential winner. By entering, you agree to the privacy policy on  Maximum of one (1) online registration per person and per valid email address, regardless of method of online entry.  Any online registration submitted with an invalid email address will be disqualified.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  



Any registration submitted on behalf of another individual or using another person’s email address or name will be disqualified and ineligible to claim any prize.  The use of multiple identities and/or accounts is prohibited, and any attempt by any participant to obtain more than the stated number of entries will void that participant's registrations and that participant will be disqualified.  Registrations by any means which subvert the registration process will be void.  Use of any automated system to participate or subvert the registration process is prohibited.  Sponsor will not be responsible for failure to receive entries due to transmission failures or technical failures of any kind, including, without limitation, malfunctioning of any network, hardware or software, whether originating with sender, Sponsor, or Sponsor’s Sweepstakes application service provider.   

In the event of a dispute as to any registration, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to register will be deemed to be the registrant if he/she meets the eligibility requirements of these Official Rules. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address.  All registrations received become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned.  Any questions regarding the number of registrations submitted or the authorized account holder shall be determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, and Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entries by persons who submit false or misleading entry information or who Sponsor determines to be tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Sweepstakes.


Survey Drawing:  As part of the Sweepstakes registration process at, participants who meet the Sweepstakes eligibility requirements will also have the opportunity to enter a separate prize drawing by electing to complete an online radio survey (the “Survey Drawing”).  By electing to participate in the online radio survey, you will receive a Survey Drawing email invitation message.  Follow the email instructions for completing the online radio survey to receive an automatic entry into the Survey Drawing.  All surveys must be fully completed and received by the end of the applicable “Survey Drawing Period” to be eligible for entry into the Survey Drawing at the end of each Survey Drawing Period.  The Survey Drawing Periods are: September 15 through October 13 (one (1) potential winner drawn on October 14), October 14 through November 10 (one (1) potential winner drawn on November 11) and November 11 through November 29 (one (1) potential winner drawn on December 2).     


Survey Drawing Winner Selection and Odds:  On or about each of the following drawing dates: October 14, 2013, November 11, 2013 and December 2, 2013, Sponsor will select one (1) potential Survey Drawing Prize Winner in a random drawing from among all eligible survey entries received during the applicable Survey Drawing Period.  Potential Survey Drawing Prize Winners must respond to Sponsor’s notification within five (5) days of notice or attempted notice to claim their prize.  Sponsor’s inability to reach potential Survey Drawing Prize Winners, the failure of a potential Survey Drawing Prize Winner to timely respond within five (5) days of prize notification, the return of any prize notification as undeliverable, and/or potential Survey Drawing Prize Winner’s failure to comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules may, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, result in the potential Survey Drawing Prize Winner’s disqualification, the forfeiture of his or her interest in the Survey Drawing Prize, and the selection of a substitute winner from all remaining eligible survey entries.  Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible survey entries received.


Survey Drawing Prize Description:  Subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules, each of the three (3) Survey Drawing Prize Winners will receive a check for $500.


Sponsor is not responsible for, and will not replace, any lost, mutilated, or stolen check.  A winner may waive the right to receive a prize.  Prizes are non-assignable and nontransferable.  No substitutions allowed by a winner.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value selected by Sponsor in its sole discretion.  Prizes not won and claimed by eligible winners in accordance with these Official Rules will not be awarded and will remain the property of Sponsor.

Limit:  One (1) Survey Drawing Prize per person.   


Maximum of one (1) entry per person per Survey Drawing Period.  All survey entries become the property of Sponsor and none will be returned.  In the event of a dispute over the identity of the individual who submitted a survey entry, the survey entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the email account identified on the applicable survey entry form, provided that such person satisfies all other Sweepstakes eligibility requirements. The authorized account holder is deemed to be the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, service provider, or other online organization that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. Any questions regarding the number of survey entries submitted or the identity of the individual who submitted a survey entry shall be determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, and Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any survey entries by persons who submit false or misleading information or who Sponsor determines to be tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Survey Drawing.


How to Play the Sweepstakes: Approximately three (3) times each weekday beginning Monday, September 30, 2013 through Friday, December 6, 2013 each of the Stations will air a “Name Game Prize Announcement” between 7am EST and 5pm EST.  At the previously announced designated play times (at approximately the 7am, 9am and 5pm hours), the Stations will air a live announcement of the name of an entrant randomly selected from among all eligible entries received through the day prior to such announcement. The contestant selected and announced on-air by the Stations will be eligible to win that “Name Game” announcement shortly after the top of the hour. Once the announcement has been made, the registrant whose name has been announced on-air will have fifteen (15) minutes to call in to Sponsor’s Sweepstakes line at (404) 741-0750 and claim his or her prize.  For example, if a registrant’s name is announced by the Stations at 5:09pm, he or she will have until 5:25 pm that same day to call in to Sponsor’s Sweepstakes line at (404) 741-0750 in order to claim his or her prize.  Sponsor reserves the right to change the exact prize value for each Name Game announcement; provided that the change in prize value for each Name Game announcement will be clearly disclosed by the Stations on-air at the time of the announcement.


Any individual claiming to be the registrant whose name was announced during a Name Game announcement will need to verify his or her registration information, including the email address on his or her registration form, in order to claim his or her prize.  In the event that multiple prize claims are made by individuals with the same names in response to a Name Game announcement, the prize will go to the individual whose email address matches the email address specified on the entry form randomly drawn as the potential winner for such announcement, subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules.

Throughout the Sweepstakes Period, Sponsor will make a minimum of forty (40) Name Game announcements.  As described above, Sponsor will make approximately three (3) announcements periodically each weekday between approximately 7am EST and 5pm EST during the Sweepstakes Period; provided, however, that Sponsor reserves the right to make additional, fewer or no Name Game announcements on any given weekday during the Sweepstakes Period.  The exact timing and number of Name Game announcements may vary each day in Sponsor’s sole discretion.  Sponsor will use commercially reasonable efforts to announce all Name Game announcements simultaneously on participating Stations.

Eligible individuals who listen to the Stations’ audio service via IP connections streaming or mobile devices are welcome to call-in.  However, Sponsor cannot be responsible for delays in electronic transmission of its Stations’ audio service to IP devices.  By participating in this Sweepstakes, listeners acknowledge and agree to this specific provision of these Official Rules.  In addition, Sponsor will not be responsible for loss of service to the Sweepstakes line or for a participant’s failure to reach the Sweepstakes line due to malfunction of any network or system, congestion, any technical or human error, failures or malfunctions of any kind, including the congestion, overload, busy signals, or any other factor that may prevent an individual from completing his/her phone call.  In the event of interruption of power or telephone service to Sponsor during a Name Game announcement for the Sweepstakes, or a change in programming that results in Sponsor’s inability to air a call-in opportunity on the Stations, the call-in period for the Name Game announcement affected by the interruption may or may not be replayed at the resumption of service, in Sponsor’s sole discretion.  If a designated caller is ineligible, or fails to comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules, that caller will not receive the applicable prize award.  Any telephone calls placed to the Sponsor Sweepstakes line may be recorded for use on air any time.


Prizes: A maximum of $75,000 in prizes will be awarded during the Sweepstakes Period; however, the total dollar amount may be lower depending on the number of eligible entrants who call-in in response to each Name Game announcement.  Unless otherwise clearly announced by the Stations on-air at the time of a particular Name Game announcement, the prize value for each Name Game announcement will be five-hundred ($500) dollars. Each prize claim will be subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules.  The odds of being selected as a potential winner of a Name Game announcement call-in opportunity will depend on the number of eligible entries received.    


Limit: One (1) prize per person and one (1) prize per household for the duration of the Sweepstakes.


Prize Claim Procedures: In the event of a prize claim, the claimant must complete the online Prize Claim procedures at and return per listed directions and must present a valid government-issued photo ID. Prize checks will be mailed within four to six weeks of completed paperwork.  The verification decisions of Sponsor are final and binding in all respects.  In addition, failure to present the required government-issued photo ID will result in forfeiture of the prize.

General Terms Applicable to all Prizes: All prizes will be awarded in the form of a check to winners.  A winner may waive the right to receive a prize.  Prizes are non-assignable and nontransferable.  No substitutions allowed by winner.  Prizes and individual components of prize packages are subject to availability.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes or components of prize packages with a prize or component of equal or greater value.  Winner is solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on a prize.  Winner may be required to provide his/her valid Social Security Number (or other taxpayer identification number Sponsor deems acceptable) to Sponsor for tax purposes and/or complete an IRS W-9 form in order to claim a prize.  Winners are solely responsible for reporting and paying all federal, state and local taxes on the prize value and, if applicable, will be issued an IRS Form 1099 based on the prize value determined by Sponsor. Prizes not won and claimed by eligible Name Game announcement winners in accordance with these Official Rules will not be awarded and will remain the property of Sponsor.  In no event will Sponsor award a total number of prizes in excess of $75,000.  In the event that production, technical, seeding, programming, or any other reasons cause more than the stated number of prizes set forth in these Official Rules to be available and/or claimed, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prizes by a random drawing among all legitimate eligible prize claims.

Other Conditions: Potential winners may be required to complete an affidavit of eligibility, and a liability and publicity release (except where prohibited by law), which must be notarized and returned to Sponsor prior to prize delivery. Failure to do so will result in that potential winner forfeiting his or her prize.


By participating, participants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor and any Sweepstakes judges or administrators selected by Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects.  Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify persons found tampering with or otherwise abusing any aspect of this Sweepstakes as solely determined by Sponsor.  In the event the Sweepstakes is compromised by a virus, non-authorized human intervention, tampering or other causes beyond the reasonable control of Sponsor which corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper operation of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the Sweepstakes.  Should the Sweepstakes be terminated prior to the stated expiration date, Sponsor reserves the right to award prizes based on the eligible prize claims received before the termination date.  Proof of sending or submission of an entry will not be deemed proof of receipt by Sponsor.  

Except where prohibited, acceptance of any prize constitutes the winner’s irrevocable consent to the publication or other use by Sponsor and its licensees of his or her name, biographical information and likeness in any media, including the Internet, for any commercial, publicity or promotional purpose, without limitation, review or approval, or additional compensation.



Limitations of Liability: By PARTICIPATING IN THE SWEEPSTAKES, PARTICIPANTS acknowledge and agree that EVERYTHING REGARDING THIS SWEEPSTAKES, INCLUDING THE WEBSITES AND THE PRIZES, ARE provided “as is” and that Sponsor makes no representations or warranties OF ANY KIND, express or implied, about the PRIZES and Sponsor hereby DISCLAIMS all such warranties, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  (BECAUSE SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF CERTAIN IMPLIED WARRANTIES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. IN SUCH STATES, THE LIABILITY OF THE RELEASED PARTIES IS LIMITED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY SUCH STATE LAW.)


The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by PARTICIPANTS, printing OR PRODUCTION errors, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or EMPLOYED in the Sweepstakes; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes, the processing of entries, or the notification of any winner; or (5) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from A PARTICIPANT’S participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

Construction: The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.  In the event that any such provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, these Official Rules shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or unenforceable provision was not contained therein.

Sweepstakes Mail Opt-Out Request/Winners List or Official Rules: For a list of winners (available after December 1, 2013), or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Cox Media Group Atlanta, Name Game - Contesting Sweepstakes, Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio, 1601 W. Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309. Official Rules are also available at  All requests for Official Rules must be received by December 1, 2013 and for a list of winners by December 31, 2013.   If you no longer wish to receive mailings for sweepstakes sponsored by Cox Media Group-Atlanta, write to 1601 W. Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309 - Attn: Sweepstakes Removal.


Sponsor: Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio, 1601 W. Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309.  The Sweepstakes is no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  Sponsor is conducting this Sweepstakes concurrently and simultaneously on the Stations identified above.  Sponsor will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Rules or in other materials or announcements relating to the Sweepstakes.  If you have questions regarding this Sweepstakes, please contact Charles Youngs at 1601 W. Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, 30309.


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  • President Donald Trump's new communications director exploded the smoldering tensions at the White House into a full-fledged conflagration Thursday, angrily daring Trump's chief of staff to deny he's a 'leaker' and exposing West Wing backstabbing in language more suitable to a mobster movie than a seat of presidential stability. In a pull-no-punches, impromptu CNN interview that he said was authorized by the president, Anthony Scaramucci went after chief of staff Reince Priebus in graphic terms. 'The fish stinks from the head down,' he said. 'I can tell you two fish that don't stink, and that's me and the president.' Not even a week into his new job, Scaramucci accused unidentified senior officials of trying to sabotage him and committing a felony by leaking information. But the personal financial information that he said someone had 'leaked' about him had simply been obtained through a public records request. Then in an interview published by The New Yorker late Thursday, an angry Scaramucci used an expletive to accuse Priebus of being a 'f------ paranoid schizophrenic' and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon of trying to burnish his own reputation. He also threatened to fire White House staffers who leaked about a dinner he had with the president. 'They'll all be fired by me,' Scaramucci told the magazine. 'I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I'll fire tomorrow. I'll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus — if you want to leak something — he'll be asked to resign very shortly.' By day's end Scaramucci sounded calmer, though not regretful. 'I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA,' he tweeted. The tag at the end stands for Trump's 'Make America Great Again.' He also blamed the reporter, Ryan Lizza. 'I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter,' he added later. 'It won't happen again.' White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders referred reporters to the first tweet. The president's senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, had earlier speculated in a Fox News interview that unnamed forces were out to get Scaramucci, saying: 'Somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off.' 'There are leaks and then there are people using the press to shiv each other in the ribs,' she said. Meanwhile, no one in the White House took up for Priebus — including Priebus himself. Sanders avoided giving a direct answer when asked whether Trump has confidence in Priebus. The past 24 hours provided the clearest evidence yet that Scaramucci and Trump, both brash New Yorkers, are cut from the same cloth. One of their shared techniques: publicly shaming members of their own team. Scaramucci's goading of Priebus came as Trump continued to fume publicly and privately about his attorney general. Trump has been critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Justice Department investigation into whether the president's campaign had anything to do with Russian interference in the election last fall. 'It hasn't been my best week ... for my relationship with the president,' Sessions acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press in El Salvador, where he was on a mission to increase international cooperation against gangs. He said he would stay in his post and fight for Trump's agenda 'as long as he sees that as appropriate.' Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and frequent outside adviser to Trump, said in an interview that Scaramucci's attacks on Priebus are problematic. 'They've got to get this sorted out between the two of them, and it would be nice if they didn't do it in public,' he said. Yet after Scaramucci's call-in CNN performance — a move lifted from his boss' playbook — it was difficult to see how the two could mend fences. 'I don't know if this is repairable or not — that will be up to the president,' Scaramucci said on air. He compared their relationship to that of brothers who are 'rough on each other,' invoking Cain and Abel. One of those biblical brothers murdered the other. The bad blood stems from Scaramucci's view that Priebus was insufficiently supportive of Trump at the end of the election campaign and his belief that Priebus persuaded the president to keep him out of the White House in January. Six months later, Scaramucci's close relationship with the president trumped the opposition of Priebus and Bannon. Scaramucci's arrival in the West Wing last Friday marked the first in a series of falling dominoes that seemed to be leading toward Priebus. Press secretary Sean Spicer, a close ally of Priebus, resigned last week. Scaramucci then forced out another communications aide close to Priebus. Scaramucci then tweeted that someone had illegally leaked financial information about him, conspicuously mentioning Priebus' Twitter handle. Scaramucci later deleted that tweet and said he had only mentioned Priebus to show that all senior leaders are taking leaks seriously. 'In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony, I will be contacting @FBI and the @JusticeDept #swamp @Reince45,' his since-deleted tweet read. Scaramucci's financial disclosure form wasn't leaked at all. It was released after a public records request by a Politico reporter. In the CNN interview, Scaramucci said he'd be reaching out to his 'buddies' in the FBI about the matter. If Scaramucci tries to direct the FBI to conduct a leak investigation, that could brush up against the Justice Department's obligation to function independently from the White House, said Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer in Washington. 'It starts to potentially smell and approach an inappropriate line,' Zaid said. Brad Gerstman, a New York lobbyist and public relations executive, said it probably doesn't matter to Trump that Scaramucci and Priebus don't get along. Gerstman has done projects for the Trump Organization and is a neighbor and longtime friend of Scaramucci's. 'In my experience, he's of the belief that sometimes a little friction in the ranks is how you surface the best ideas,' Gerstman said of Trump. But another rule of thumb in Trump's inner circle is that it's never wise to outshine the president. Trump has reacted angrily when certain aides — including Bannon and, briefly, son-in-law Jared Kushner — received outsized media attention. Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary under George W. Bush, said, 'Ask Steve Bannon what happens if you get too much publicity and go too far.' 'It reminds me of Icarus flying too close to the sun.' ___ Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Vivian Salama, Eric Tucker and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from office Friday by the country’s Supreme Court after a corruption probe into his family wealth, CNN reported. A spokesman said Sharif resigned despite having reservations about the court order. >> Read more trending news  The court ruled that Sharif, who must step down from office, was dishonest to the Pakistani parliament and judicial system, a panel of five judges ruled unanimously Friday.  “He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister,”Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court. The panel had been investigating Sharif's alleged links to offshore accounts and overseas properties owned by three of his children, CNN reported. The assets, which were not declared on the family's wealth statement, were revealed in the Panama Papers leak in April 2016. Sharif, 67, has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the investigation into him as biased and inaccurate. Reuters reported.
  • Tragedy struck a Florida family within days, leaving three children without their parents. Days after a man was shot and killed, his girlfriend died from complications after giving birth to twins. >> Read more trending news On July 11, 26-year-old Jevaughn Suckoo was found shot and killed in the West Palm Beach apartment complex where he lived with his nearly 2-year-old daughter and pregnant girlfriend, Stephanie Caceres. Three days later, Caceres gave birth to their twins, Jevaughn Jr. and Lailah. On Wednesday, she died — the same day as Suckoo’s funeral. Family said she died from an infection from her C-section. As family and friends mourn the couple, they are also thinking about the futures of their three children. At Juan E. Batista Pediatrics in Lake Clarke Shores, where Caceres worked for four years, family, friends and coworkers gathered Thursday in front of dozens of donations given to the family in the wake of the sudden deaths. Office manager Lina Niemczyk, Caceres’ mother, Irma Meza, and Suckoo’s aunt, Joni Saunders, all spoke about the couple and their children. “We’re just trying to figure out how to move forward from here,” Saunders said. Niemczyk said Caceres had “an excellent work ethic” and was her “right and left hand” in the office. Niemczyk said the office and their patients are like a family, so everyone came together to gather items and money for Caceres’s children. “Our goal is to secure their future,” Niemczyk said. “It’s a promise to their mom and dad.” Police have made no arrests in Suckoo’s death. A day after Caceres gave birth to the twins, she took to Facebook to express her distress. “I just don’t understand how someone can have the heart to leave three kids without a father especially two that never got the chance to even meet him,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “They didn’t deserve this! I’m trying I really am to stay strong but this has to be the toughest battle I’ve ever had to fight.” A GoFundMe Page has been started for the three children.
  • The Senate's decisive vote to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea sends the popular bill to President Donald Trump, who will be under pressure to sign it after weeks of intense negotiations. Trump's likelihood of supporting the measure is a remarkable concession that the president has yet to sell his party on his hopes for forging a warmer relationship with Moscow. Trump's vow to extend a hand of cooperation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit the executive power's leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both are veto proof numbers as the White House has wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law. Never in doubt, however, was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The provisions were included to assuage concerns among lawmakers that the president's push for better relations with Moscow might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin. The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill's passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug. 'Over the last eight months what price has Russia paid for attacking our elections?' McCain asked. 'Very little.' Trump had privately expressed frustration over Congress' ability to limit or override the power of the president on national security matters, according to Trump administration officials and advisers. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations. But faced with heavy bipartisan support for the bill in the House and Senate, the president has little choice but to sign the bill into law. Trump's communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, suggested earlier Thursday on CNN's New Day that Trump might veto the bill and 'negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.' Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that would be a serious mistake and called Scaramucci's remark an 'off-handed comment.' If Trump rejected the bill, Corker said, Congress would overrule him. 'I cannot imagine anybody is seriously thinking about vetoing this bill,' said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 'It's not good for any president — and most governors don't like to veto things that are going to be overridden. It shows a diminishment of their authority. I just don't think that's a good way to start off as president.' Still, signing a bill that penalizes Russia's election interference would mark a significant shift for Trump. He's repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia sought to tip the election in his favor. And he's blasted as a 'witch hunt' investigations into the extent of Russia's interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. The 184-page bill seeks to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports. The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit. The bill raised the threshold for when U.S. firms would be prohibited from being part of energy projects that also included Russian businesses. Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia's energy sector didn't undercut the ability of U.S. allies in Europe to get access to oil and gas resources outside of Russia. The North Korea sanctions are intended to thwart Pyongyang's ambition for nuclear weapons by cutting off access to the cash the reclusive nation needs to follow through with its plans. The bill prohibits ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against it from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports. Goods produced by North Korea's forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the bill. The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against the sanctions bill. ___ Contact Richard Lardner on Twitter:
  • Republican plans to approve a slimmed down bill to overhaul the Obama health law abruptly ran aground early on Friday morning in the U.S. Senate, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) refused to support a last minute “skinny” GOP bill, forcing Republican leaders back to the drawing board in their quest to get a bill to the President’s desk to rewire America’s health care system. “I thought it was the right vote,” McCain told reporters as he left the Senate floor. Outside, there were cheers as the Arizona Senator – who has bedeviled members of both parties through his years – went home shortly after 2 am. Here is how it looked from the halls of the U.S. Capitol: 1. McCain goes Maverick on health care. When the vote on the GOP ‘skinny bill’ was set to begin at about 12:35 am, it was obvious that Republicans might not have the votes to prevail, as Vice President Mike Pence lobbied McCain, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). But all three stuck to their guns, and torpedoed the GOP effort on health care. McCain was the key, as he attracted the most attention from the Vice President during a 45 minute delay on the Senate floor. The Arizona Republican had made clear for days that he didn’t like the process, he didn’t like the details of the ‘skinny’ bill, and he wanted to see more bipartisan cooperation. McCain had his GOP colleagues gritting their teeth. McCain leaving the Capitol asked why he voted NO: 'I thought it was the right thing to do.' — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 28, 2017 2. Republicans stunned by health care setback. The looks on the faces of GOP Senators told the whole story on the Senate floor, as the realization hit home that McCain was not going to vote with them. After the vote it was grim in the hallways just off the Senate floor. “It was a big setback,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said tersely. “This is sad,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The normally chatty Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) pushed through a crowd of reporters without saying anything. “No, I don’t want to talk right now, Jamie,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) flatly said to me as he headed back to his office. What’s next now for the GOP on health care? “No big reforms,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). “That unfortunately will not occur.” 3. An unhappy President Donald Trump. After showering McCain with praise earlier in the week, when the 2008 Republican nominee for President returned to cast the key vote to begin this debate, Mr. Trump had to watch as McCain threw the bill into a Legislative Ditch. At 2:25 am, the President got on Twitter to issue his first reaction, taking the 51 Senators in both parties to task, and again repeating his threat to simply stand off to the side and watch the individual exchanges go down the drain. It’s not clear whether the White House will sanction bipartisan negotiations on health care, but it’s hard to imagine that this issue is just going to melt away. 3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017 So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave – American hero! Thank you John. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017 4. Zombie health care bill. I have cautioned my colleagues for months not to declare this GOP effort dead, and I will repeat that advice again, even in the wake of this defeat on the Senate floor for Republicans. All it takes is one deal to flip McCain, Murkowski or Collins, and the GOP would be back in business. Remember, lots of people thought Speaker Ryan was wrong to keep pushing in the House, but then he suddenly found the votes for a bill that many thought was dead in early May. I wouldn’t write off that possibility in the Senate, especially if Republican Governors – like McCain’s in Arizona – get more involved in the process. All it takes is one vote, and it could be the Democrats looking glum. “We’re going to have to pick up the pieces and keep going,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The bill is not dead – McConnell just returned it to calendar. — julie rovner (@jrovner) July 28, 2017 5. Can there be any real bipartisan deal making? There have been talks for some time among Senators who are former Governors and insurance commissioners in both parties – now we’ll see if those gain more traction in a bid to find common ground to do something on health care. Some like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) have been talking about brokering a bipartisan deal for months – Manchin told reporters repeatedly that he didn’t think those efforts would have a chance until the GOP lost a vote in the Senate. Now we’ll see if anything changes on that front. I ask each & every one of my colleagues to search their hearts for what their purpose of being here is. We must work in a bipartisan manner. — Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) July 28, 2017 6. The demonstrators outside the Capitol. When I went out to grab some dinner around 7 pm, I was surprised at how few people were outside the Capitol; I had expected a larger crowd with the health bill ready to come to a vote. Well, the size of the crowd did grow in the hours after that, and when the GOP ‘skinny’ bill was defeated, you could hear the roars from outside echoing back into the halls of the Senate. Just as it was a defeat for Republicans, it was a victory for Democrats and progressive groups, which had worked hard to try to preserve the Obama health law. The House victory for Republicans on health care in early May had been a bitter setback for Democrats. This time, those opposed to GOP reform plans enjoyed the moment. Here's the moment the crowd outside the Capitol learned Republicans didn't have the votes. — Emma Roller (@emmaroller) July 28, 2017 7. What was in the “skinny” GOP bill? If you went to bed at a reasonable hour on Thursday, you missed the two hour life span of the new GOP proposal, the “Health Care Freedom Act.” After complaining for seven years (in many ways incorrectly), that Democrats had abused the legislative process in the passage of the Obama health law, Senate Republicans made the Democrats look like pikers. The bill surfaced just after 10 pm, there was two hours of debate, and then a vote. In between, a report surfaced from the Congressional Budget Office. Yes, the bill was only 8 pages long, but it was a brand new proposal that had suddenly emerged, with little time to be evaluated. Don’t overlook these details – as I mentioned above, they could resurface at any time in the future.
  • Dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump's agenda, the Senate early Friday rejected a measure to repeal parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law after a night of high suspense in the U.S. Capitol. Unable to pass even a so-called 'skinny repeal,' it was unclear if Senate Republicans could advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal 'Obamacare.' 'This is clearly a disappointing moment,' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. 'I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time.' 'It's time to move on,' he said. The vote was 49-51 with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting 'no.' McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week. Trump responded on Twitter: '3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!' A key vote to defeat the measure was cast by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who returned to the Senate this week after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer. In an impassioned speech the day he returned, McCain had called for bipartisanship on major issues of national concern, and a return to the 'regular order' of legislating by committee. Two other Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — joined McCain and all Democrats to reject the amendment, which would have repealed a mandate that most individuals get health insurance and would have suspended a requirement that large companies provide coverage to their employees. It would have also suspended a tax on medical devices and denied funding to Planned Parenthood for a year. On Twitter, McCain said the repeal bill 'fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform,' adding, 'I hope we can rely on humility, cooperation & dependence on each other to better serve the people who elected us.' The amendment was a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something — anything — to trigger negotiations with the House. 'It's time to turn the page,' said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York. 'We are not celebrating. We are relieved.' Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said in a statement that the Trump administration would pursue its health care goals through regulation. 'This effort will continue,' Price said. But insurers, hospitals, doctors, and consumer groups are pressing the administration to guarantee billions of dollars in disputed subsidies to help stabilize insurance markets around the country. Buoyed by a signal from House Speaker Paul Ryan, McConnell had introduced a pared-down health care bill late Thursday that he hoped would keep alive Republican ambitions to repeal 'Obamacare.' McConnell called his measure the Health Care Freedom Act. It was not intended to become law, but to open a path for a House-Senate conference committee to try to work out comprehensive legislation Congress could pass and send to Trump. The Congressional Budget Office said the amendment would have increased the number of uninsured people by 16 million, the same problem that vexed all the 'repeal and replace' measures Republicans have offered. Obama's law extended coverage to some 20 million people, reducing the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low of around 9 percent. Still, Ryan, R-Wis., had seemingly opened a path for McConnell earlier Thursday by signaling a willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive bill with the Senate. Some Republican senators had been concerned that the House would simply pass McConnell's 'skinny bill' and send it to Trump. That would have sent a shock wave through health insurance markets, spiking premiums. Ryan sent senators a statement saying that if 'moving forward' requires talks with the Senate, the House would be 'willing' to do so. But shortly afterward, his words received varied responses from three GOP senators who'd insisted on a clear commitment from Ryan. 'Not sufficient,' said McCain, who returned to the Capitol Tuesday. The 80-year-old McCain had been home in Arizona trying to decide on treatment options for brain cancer. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., initially said 'not yet' when asked if he was ready to vote for the scaled-back Senate bill. But later, he told reporters that Ryan had assured him and others in a phone conversation that the House would hold talks with the Senate. 'I feel comfortable personally. I know Paul; he's a man of his word,' said Graham. As the convoluted developments played out, the slender 52-48 GOP majority was divided among itself over what it could agree to. Democrats were unanimously opposed. After a comprehensive 'repeal and replace' bill failed on the Senate floor, and a straight-up repeal failed too, McConnell and his top lieutenants turned toward the 'skinny repeal.' It was to have been the ticket to negotiations with the House, which had passed its own legislation in May. Opponents mobilized quickly against McConnell's new strategy. The insurance company lobby group, America's Health Insurance Plans, wrote to Senate leaders Thursday saying that ending Obama's requirement that people buy insurance without strengthening insurance markets would produce 'higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers and fewer people covered next year.' And a bipartisan group of governors including John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada also announced against it. So did the American Medical Association. Numerous polls had shown little public support for the GOP's earlier proposals to repeal and replace Obama's law. A recent AP-NORC poll found only 22 percent of the public backing the Republican approach, while 51 percent were opposed. In the end the misgivings of a few Republican senators derailed the GOP's seven-year quest to roll back 'Obamacare.' It remains to be seen whether a bipartisan deal can now be reached to stabilize insurance markets that have been rattled by rising premiums and insurer exits. The dizzying series of legislative maneuvers this week left even veteran senators puzzled. 'We're in the twilight zone of legislating,' said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. ____ Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Stephen Ohlemacher and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.