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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    Cokie Roberts, who covered Congress and national politics for many years at ABC News and National Public Radio, died Tuesday at age 75, ABC News announced, saying her death was due to complications from breast cancer. 'A mentor, a friend, a legend,' tweeted ABC News correspondent Cecilia Vega. 'Horrible, sad news,' said ABC White House correspondent Karen Travers, as tributes poured in about Roberts. While many knew that Cokie was married to veteran political reporter Steve Roberts, her experience in politics came directly from her family - as both of her parents were members of the U.S. House. Her father, Hale Boggs, might have been Speaker of the House, but a plane he was traveling on in Alaska - disappeared 47 years ago next month - and was never found. Also aboard was Rep. Nick Begich of Alaska; his son, Mark Begich, would later serve in the U.S. Senate. When the plane carrying Begich and Boggs disappeared on October 16, 1972, Boggs was House Majority Leader at the time; after his plane was never found, Democrats in the House elected Rep. Tip O'Neill (D-MA) to be the new Majority Leader. O'Neill would later succeed Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK) as House Speaker. Boggs was succeeded in his House seat by his wife, Rep. Lindy Boggs (D-LA), the first woman ever elected to Congress in Louisiana. Lindy Boggs retired after the 1990 elections.
  • Angered by stories over the weekend about possible sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his law school days at Yale University, one progressive Democrat in Congress is ready to introduce articles of impeachment against Kavanaugh - but there is no guarantee the issue would be acted upon by the House. 'I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believe Deborah Ramirez,' Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted. 'It is our responsibility to collectively affirm the dignity and humanity of survivors.' But even as some Democrats in Congress call for more answers about the FBI investigation of complaints about Kavanaugh, the lawmaker in charge of the committee which would deal with an impeachment effort said Monday that it wasn't on his radar screen. Instead, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told a New York radio show that his panel's various investigations of President Trump leave little time or oxygen to specifically go through allegations against Kavanaugh. “Even Jerry Nadler figured out that impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh, based on this ridiculous accusation, is a Bridge Too Far,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). But there were also Democrats in Congress who disagreed with Nadler, as they demanded a further investigation not only of Kavanaugh, but of the FBI background investigation of the Justice. 'Those who voted yes on his nomination betrayed the women of this country and we learn more of the depth of that betrayal with every new detail & allegation,' tweeted Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Only one member of the Supreme Court has ever gone through impeachment proceedings, Justice Samuel Chase, who was accused of being too partisan to serve on the bench. While he was a Justice, Chase had campaigned in the 1800 election for John Adams, who lost that election to Thomas Jefferson. Looking for payback, the House approved articles of impeachment against Justice Chase for his partisan activities, but the Senate refused to convict. On the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed talk of Kavanaugh's impeachment. 'This is not just a left-wing obsession with one man. It is part of a deliberate effort to attack judicial independence,' McConnell said in a Senate floor speech, as he said this was more than a case of 'sour grapes.' 'Six of the Democrat presidential candidates — plus one who has now quit to run for the Senate — have publicly flirted with packing the Supreme Court,' McConnell said. 'Court-packing. Today’s bold new Democrat idea is a failed power grab from the 1930s,' McConnell added, referring to the effort by Democrats to help President Franklin D. Roosevelt achieve more of his New Deal platform, without interference by the Supreme Court.
  • Starting a western campaign swing on Monday which will include a series of fund raising stops in California this week, President Donald Trump first holds a rally in New Mexico, a state where Democrats control the state's Congressional delegation, and where the President was easily defeated by Hillary Clinton in 2016. 'Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN,' the President tweeted before leaving the White House for his flight west.  'Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day,' the President added. Republicans have not won the race for President in New Mexico since 2004, when President George W. Bush narrowly won the state over John Kerry. Four years earlier, Al Gore won New Mexico by less than 400 votes. But in 2008, 2012, and 2016, Democrats cruised to victory, with Hillary Clinton winning in 2016 by over 8 percent. In 2018, New Mexico showed little sign of trending to the Republican side, as Democrats won the race for Governor, as well as all three seats in the U.S. House. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) mocked the President for even making the trip to the Land of Enchantment.
  • With growing pressure from Democrats for action by the Senate on a House-passed bill which requires background checks on private gun sales, President Donald Trump spoke Sunday with Democratic leaders in Congress, as the White House said legislative solutions are still being examined. 'The conversation was cordial,' the White House said in a statement sent to reporters on Sunday afternoon.  'The President made no commitments,' the White House said on whether Mr. Trump would support the background checks bill known as H.R. 8, 'but instead indicated his interest in working to find a bipartisan legislative solution on appropriate responses to the issue of mass gun violence.' In their own readout on Sunday, top Democrats again demanded action by the Senate. 'This morning, we made it clear to the President that any proposal he endorses that does not include the House-passed universal background checks legislation will not get the job done, as dangerous loopholes will still exist and people who shouldn’t have guns will still have access,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. 'We’re looking at background checks and we’re looking at putting everything together in a unified way so that we can have something that’s meaningful,” President Trump told reporters last week in the Oval Office.  “At the same time, all of us want to protect our great Second Amendment,' the President added. 'It’s very important to all of us.' Mr. Trump made that same point of emphasis in a speech to House Republicans during a party retreat in Baltimore last week. 'Meanwhile, Democrats want to confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans, so they’re totally defenseless when somebody walks into their house with a gun,' the President said. Democrats are also not interested in what they view as a plan which doesn't do enough to curb guns, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has urged action on a bill which does more to focus on denying guns to people with a criminal record, or a history of mental health issues - stopping short of background checks on all private gun sales. 'If you have a federal government background check for that, what you will see the next step to be is the only way to enforce that is a federal gun registry and a gun registry is the step you need for gun confiscation,' Cruz said in an interview on ABC's 'This Week.' Democrats have also been pressing to get the GOP to accept action by the feds to help states with what are called, 'Red Flag laws,' which can be used to take firearms away from someone who is considered a threat, or has mental health issues. Many Republicans are opposed to this idea - though it has support from both GOP Senators from Florida, a state which changed its laws after a mass school shooting, in order allow for more opportunities to seize firearms from someone who is considered a threat, or has mental health concerns.
  • Three days after Julian Castro again used a 2020 presidential debate to direct attacked the Democratic Party front runner at a 2020 debate, one Texas Democrat in Congress publicly switched his support in the race for his party's nomination from Castro to former Vice President Joe Biden. 'I think at this point in time, we need to narrow the field,' said Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), in a Sunday interview on CNN. In a written statement released by the Biden campaign, Gonzalez said nothing about his past support for Castro, instead emphasizing the need to trim the field running for President. 'At this point in the process, I believe Democrats need to consolidate behind a candidate who is sure to beat Donald Trump,' Gonzalez said. “We don’t need Donald Trump for a second term, we need someone who can beat him and win,” the Texas Congressman added. In the last two debates, Castro had taken direct shots at Vice President Biden over health care, and accusing his party's front runner of flip-flopping on certain issues, and wrongly talking about former President Obama's actions only when they were politically beneficial. 'But my problem with Vice President Biden,' Castro said at the ABC debate last week in Houston, 'is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that's me, too, and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president.' Biden said he wasn't doing anything of the sort. 'I stand with Barack Obama all eight years, good, bad and indifferent,' Biden said to Castro. 'That's where I stand.' At another point, Castro raised eyebrows about Biden's memory, in a debate on health care. 'Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?' Like a number of other Democrats, Castro's poll numbers have been mired in single digits - mainly bouncing between one and two percent. Castro has shown no signs that he is going to get out of the race, as on Sunday, he challenged President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick of Brett Kavanaugh. 'It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath,' Castro said, after a new report from the New York Times about Kavanaugh's time at Yale. 'He should be impeached.' In the last half dozen national polls, Castro had zero percent, four polls at one percent, and one at two percent. In those same six polls, Biden was between 22 and 33 percent.
  • For a third straight debate, former Vice President Joe Biden found himself under attack from fellow Democrats,  brushing aside verbal jabs in a debate hosted by ABC, as Democrats tried to temper some of their attacks, with a few publicly reminding each other that their goal in 2020 is to push President Donald Trump out of the White House. The sharpest attacks on Biden were not from Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders - though they sparred with each other in another extended discussion of health care - but instead from Julian Castro, who for a second straight debate questioned Biden's veracity on health care and immigration. 'You just said that two minutes ago,' Castro said to Biden, accusing him of flip-flopping and picking and choosing when to say he supported President Obama. 'I stand with Barack Obama all eight years,' Biden said. 'Good, bad, and indifferent.' Before the debate began, Republicans made their voice heard, renting a plane to tow a giant banner over the campus of Texas State University. Here is a look at the ten candidates in Thursday's debate: 1. Still the front runner, Joe Biden. For a third consecutive debate, former Vice President Biden faced a series of attacks from other Democrats, and probably had his strongest debate yet. Yes, he had some mini verbal stumbles, talking about a record player at one point - and working himself into some verbal cul-de-sacs - but Biden was much more on point and definitive as he questioned the cost of the Medicare For All health plan favored by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Biden finished on a very personal note, talking about the tragedy he has faced in his family life. 2. Elizabeth Warren keeps chugging along. While there was a lot of talk about Biden and Warren being on the debate stage for the first time together, there wasn't much to talk about from the debate. Yes, they sparred a bit over the details of Medicare For All, and Biden threw some weak elbows on other policy points - but for the most part, the two avoided any policy showdowns. After three debates, it's obvious that Warren is in the top tier with Biden, as she has been able to create a lot of organic support for her candidacy, with a stump speech that's well oiled, and position papers for just about everything a voter could imagine. The strategy question for coming weeks is a simple one for Warren. Does she take the fight directly to Biden on the campaign trail? Or does she stick with the issues and policy matters which have driven her approach so far. 3. Sanders tries to puncture focus on Biden-Warren. As Warren has made her move up in the polls, the Sanders camp has expressed aggravation with the press coverage, basically arguing that Sanders is being left out. he's been getting - or maybe in the mind of campaign officials, not getting - from the news media. Usually people associate complaints about the press with Republicans - but Sanders has always had a somewhat rumpled relationship with the news media. 'Bernie Sanders thinks media is unfair, so he created his own,' read one AP headline. 'Sanders team frustrated with media coverage,' was another. 'Bernie Sanders Is As Frustrated as Ever With Corporate Media,' the Nation wrote. Sanders can hold his own on any issue - but does that get him to the nomination? 4. Kamala Harris looks for lasting gains. All three debates for Democrats have both included solid moments and exchanges for Kamala Harris. After taking on Joe Biden over his past actions regarding civil rights in the first debate, and going aggressive last month, this time Harris played a softer touch, drawing laughs from the audience while reminding the other Democrats of their need to be unified against President Trump. The biggest problem for Harris has been a cycle of where she does well in a debate - and her poll numbers go up. Then over the next month, those gains fade away. She does well in the next debate, and then her poll numbers go up. And they fade away again. Yes, she's the fourth strongest candidate when you look at the polls - but her debate performances have not translated into numbers which boost her into the Biden/Sanders/Warren tier. 5. Buttigieg still in the mushy middle of the race. While his name gets talked about a lot, while he's done fine in the debates so far, the polling for Mayor Pete Buttigieg continues to show that he's not in the top tier of Democrats with Biden, Warren, Sanders - and is struggling to stay in the middle with Harris, and not drop back towards the rest of the field. But one good note is that the Indiana mayor is still raising a lot of money, allowing him to set up a decent operation in Iowa, where he is doing much better in the polls than Harris. Some candidates may encounter money problems soon - it doesn't seem like Buttigieg is in that spot. On Thursday night, Buttigieg also gave the back of the hand to Julian Castro's attacks on Biden. 'This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable,' Buttigieg said. 6. Amy Klobuchar tries to get her campaign out of neutral. Klobuchar is one of a group of Democrats who certainly have the credentials to be in this race, but who have not been able to make the jump to light speed. 'Houston, we have a problem,' Klobuchar said early on Thursday night in talking about the need for Democrats to unite against President Trump. Klobuchar tried her best again in this debate to focus on how she got into politics, how she's a bit more moderate than Warren and Sanders, looking for a campaign spark. Klobuchar has not blossomed in Iowa as yet,as her more moderate brand of politics isn't really what many more progressive Democratic Party activists are looking for right now. 7. Booker looks for a primary breakout. In many ways, Cory Booker is in a similar situation as that of Klobuchar. Booker is a very popular guy with Democratic audiences on the campaign trail, and he has used his debate time to both spar and press his ideas. A positive vibe just seems to ooze from the guy naturally.  But the polls continue to show Booker stuck along with so many other candidates, way down in single digits. Booker was asked one of the oddest questions in this debate - about the fact that he's a vegan. And he also weighed in on the hairstyle of the Canadian Prime Minister. A lot of voters like him, but Booker is nowhere near the top tier of candidates. 8. Beto tries for a campaign re-boot.  In his home state, there were a lot of 'Beto' signs around the debate site on Thursday, as the former Texas Congressman has been trying to inject new momentum into his campaign. Since the mass shooting in his home town of El Paso in early August, O'Rourke has put a heavy emphasis on gun control, as he staked out very clear ground on Thursday night that he would like ban - and even confiscate - military style assault weapons like the AR-15 and AK-47. 'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,' O'Rourke said to cheers. Will gun control provide new hope for his campaign? The polls will tell us in coming weeks. 9. Castro raises eyebrows with Biden debate attacks. For a second straight debate, Julian Castro went after Joe Biden, and went after him hard, mocking Biden again for tying himself to President Obama on some issues but not on others. 'He wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer any questions,' Castro said, ripping Biden for not stopping large deportations of illegal immigrants under the Obama Administration. 'Are you forgetting what you just said two minutes ago?” Castro said to Biden at one point on Thursday night. The Castro game plan didn't go over well with some; former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said on ABC right after the debate that Castro came off as 'mean and vindictive.' 10. Andrew Yang might outlast most Democrats. Not only has Andrew Yang managed to raise enough money and get enough qualifying polls to stay in the debates, his combination of non-political and quirky positions has allowed him to get a good amount of attention - as he's doing better than about a dozen people in the 2020 race who do politics for a living. Yang doesn't mind poking fun at himself, he doesn't seem to care that Official Washington wants him to put on a tie for these debates, and doesn't worry about what people think of his plan for 'Universal Basic Income,' in which the government would give everyone $1,000 a month. I could see Yang sticking around for a while - whether or not he's really a threat to win his party's nomination. 11. All the others try to stay afloat. Let's face it, if you're one of those Democrats who failed to qualify for this debate - and if you can't qualify for the October debate - the end might be near for your campaign. Billionaire Tom Steyer has made the cut for October, and Tulsi Gabbard could as well. But the names of Williamson, Bullock, Ryan, Delaney, DeBlasio, and others are not likely to get in another big debate. And even if you are Booker, O'Rourke, Klobuchar, Yang, and Castro, it's an uphill fight to remain in the discussion for the 2020 Democratic nomination.  The Iowa Caucuses are February 3. The New Hampshire Primary is February 11. That is less than five months from now. There are lot of miles still left to travel in the Democratic race. But the clock is ticking for a lot of the candidates.
  • In the party's smallest debate so far, ten Democrats will face off at Texas Southern University on Thursday night in a debate hosted by ABC News and Univision, another step on the way to determining a candidate to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. Instead of two debate nights - with ten candidates on stage in both - this Houston debate will have just one night involving the ten who were able to qualify. Here is a rundown of the evening's events.  All times are EDT. - 10:45 pm - And the third debate is in the books. 10:40 pm - Look for Beto O'Rourke to get some extra talk after tonight's debate.  His reaction to the mass shooting in his home town of El Paso - and his effort to tie President Trump to the anger of the gunman - which might give him a little boost.  But like others, he needs a big, big, boost in this 2020 campaign. 10:35 pm - Again, it's not easy to figure out what to ask, or how the debate flows.  But a number of issues didn't make the cut by ABC and Univision tonight. 10:30 pm - With these final statements on professional 'setbacks' - the debate ends on a more quiet and personal note.   Buttigieg talks about his decision to reveal that he was gay. 10:26 pm - As the final segment starts, a group of protesters interrupt Biden.  Asked about his biggest setback, Biden talks about family.  “There are setbacks, and then there are setbacks,” as he mentions the death of his first wife soon after he won a seat in the Senate, plus his son's death from cancer. 10:25 pm - What are Republicans talking about in this debate?  10:22 pm - A second debate break.  If you are wondering why people are talking about record players, Biden mentioned it in his long winded answer of a few minutes ago. 10:20 pm - We all would do things differently about what questions should be asked. Here's one view. 10:16 pm - Biden is told his time is up.  Instead of just stopping like he usually does, Biden says he's going to talk over time like everyone else. Castro gets a lot of laughs by saying immediately, “that's quite a lot.”  Reporters who covered Biden in Congress have been there. 10:15 pm - ABC goes back to what Biden said or did forty years ago related to civil rights - remember, this spurred the big Biden-Harris divide in the first debate. 10:08 pm - Booker was asked about being a vegan, yes.
  • After an August that saw the federal government run up $200 billion in new red ink, the Treasury Department reported on Thursday that the federal deficit for 2019 is now at $1.067 trillion, almost $300 billion larger than all of 2018. The new budget figures showed Uncle Sam brought in almost $228 billion in revenues in August, while spending $428 billion.  With one month to go in Fiscal Year 2019, the feds have already spent $4.16 trillion - more money than was spent in all of 2018, at $4.11 trillion. It's still possible the deficit won't end up over $1 trillion for 2019, as September can often be a positive month in terms of the deficit. With the new figures coming out just a few hours before the next Democratic debate, one budget watchdog group, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said it was time for the candidates to be asked about the matter. “Absent more responsible budgets, the deficit and interest costs will continue to grow rapidly, diminishing America’s future,' said Michael Peterson, head of another budget watchdog, the Peterson Foundation.  'The longer we wait, the more costly and difficult it will be to put our nation on a stronger path,' Peterson added. The growing size of the deficit under the Trump Administration - coming during a positive period of economic growth - is highly unusual, as a stronger economy should mean lower deficits. “More remarkable is the fact that these deficits are projected to continue and grow well past the one trillion dollar figure each year over the next ten years,” said Mark Sanford, a former GOP Congressman challenging President Trump.  “The President hasn’t even tried to get the federal budget under control,” said Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI). “President Trump’s big-government agenda is not sustainable,” added Amash, who has been called a 'loser' by the President.
  • The next step in the 2020 race for President comes tonight at an ABC News/Univision debate at Texas Southern University in Houston, as Democrats for the first time will only have one debate night, but again the stage will be crowded with ten candidates on hand. With the first votes to be cast in Iowa and New Hampshire less than five months away, it's another important night for those candidates who have struggled to boost themselves into a stronger primary position. The Iowa Caucus is on February 3. The New Hampshire Primary is the next week. In other words, the clock is ticking on who has a realistic shot at winning the Democratic Party's nomination, and taking on President Donald Trump. Here are a few things to look for tonight:  1. Joe Biden vs Elizabeth Warren. Yes, there are ten candidates on the stage. Yes, there are another ten-plus candidates who didn't qualify for this debate and who are still running for the Democratic nomination. But this is the first time that Biden and Warren will have been on the debate stage together in this 2020 race. As has been demonstrated in the first two Democratic gatherings, it won't shock anyone if the folks from ABC News try to set the stage for some Biden vs Warren time in this debate, and attempt to pit them against each other. Obviously, it doesn't mean the two will have a cage match. But watch their interactions tonight. 2. There are eight other candidates. Look at that graphic of the candidates and remind yourself that this is not just about Biden and Warren meeting for the first time. Bernie Sanders will be next to Biden. Kamala Harris has had two good debates. There are others who would love to come up with one of those magic moments in a debate. The strategy choice remains a simple one - do you take your precious time on stage to talk about yourself and your own ideas? Or do you get drawn in to sniping at the leaders in the Democratic race. 3. Will this turn into a group attack on Biden? In the first two debates, Joe Biden has delivered some good and bad on the debate stage. If the other Democrats - along with the ABC moderators - decide to make the same gambit of going after the former Vice President, it could make this evening even trickier for Biden. But some on the Democratic side are starting to publicly make the case that these debates are hurting their own party - because they're not focusing enough on President Trump. It's an interesting issue for those not in the top tier. Is your goal to take down Biden? Or is your goal to take down the current President? 4. Hoping to get asked about your plans. The joke among those watching this race closely is that Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything - but, there is some truth to that, as she has set out policy on a wide range of items. Beto O'Rourke today is calling on banks and credit card companies to not allow their services to be used to purchase an assault weapon. He would probably like to talk about that tonight. In the previous debates, there have been very detailed discussions of health care, and the divide over Medicare For All. But not every candidate gets to talk about their own ideas on stage, and it has led some Democrats to feel like all they ever do is get asked about someone else's agenda. 5. So far, the debates haven't changed this race. Yes, Joe Biden's lead is not as big as it was a few months ago. But he's still at the top of the heap right now. Elizabeth Warren would be the one candidate who has come up in the polls. Two times, we have seen Kamala Harris have a good debate and surge in the polls. And then her numbers settle back, behind Biden, Warren and Sanders. Pete Buttigieg has been stuck behind Harris for the most part. And then comes everyone else. These debates are very important - but for the most part, they have simply reinforced the current race situation.   Does the race stay the same?  Stay tuned.
  • For the first time in the 2020 campaign, Democrats will hold a one night debate, as ten candidates will be on stage at Texas Southern University in Houston on Thursday evening, taking the next step in their party's effort to knock President Donald Trump out of the White House. Unlike the first two debates in Miami and Detroit, only ten candidates qualified for this debate - sponsored by ABC News and Univision - so, there is just a single night of questions and answers . But ten politicians still make for a crowded stage. 'Yes, it will be messy, and candidates will not get a lot of time to speak,' said Sarah Fulton, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University. 'Candidates need to make the most of their limited time by effectively contrasting themselves against their competitors, and delivering memorable moments,' Fulton added. The debate strategy is a basic calculus - how much time do you talk about your own ideas, and how much time do you give to giving the verbal back of your hand to another Democrat on stage? Along those lines, this debate marks the first time that Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will be on the debate stage together - whether they tangle directly will be watched closely. Biden and Warren will be joined by Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, and Julian Castro. Democrats are expected to return to the two-night debate scenario next month in Ohio, because of other candidates who have qualified for that gathering. Both Warren and Sanders warmed up for this debate with big rallies in recent days - Sanders attracting what his campaign said was a crowd of 10,000 on Monday in Denver - and Warren on Tuesday gathered about 5,000 in Austin, the Texas state capital. While Sanders and Warren were on the road drawing big crowds, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg  were all smiles as they were seated close to each other on a flight to Houston. As this third Democratic debate arrives, the outlines of the race have stayed fairly stable over the past few months - Biden, Warren, and Sanders in the top tier - with Kamala Harris and then Pete Buttigieg trying to get into that group. But after that - most of the other Democratic candidates have been unable to generate any kind of magic moment to launch themselves into a higher spot in this campaign - and that's especially true of Booker, O'Rourke, Castro, Yang, and Klobuchar. Looking to the future - no matter the nominee - Democrats believe they are making inroads in Texas, which could again bring the state into play in a Presidential election. They point to the retirement announcements of five Texas Republicans in the U.S. House already, and gains in once-reliable GOP suburbs made by Democrats in 2018. But winning the Lone Star State in the race for President?  'Do I think that Texas is moving towards becoming more purplish? Yes,' professor Fulton told me this week.  'Will it happen in 2020?' Fulton added. 'I don't know - but I'm skeptical that it will happen in the immediate term.

News

  • An inmate at a Florida county jail rushed at a guard while naked and injured the female deputy, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Awanda Baker, 46, faces additional charges after the Thursday incident at the Manatee County Jail, according to the Bradenton Herald. According to jail records, Baker was jailed because she failed to answer a summons for n a prior misdemeanor battery charge. According to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Baker was housed in a special section of the jail reserved for disruptive inmates, the newspaper reported. Deputies said Baker became disruptive after 8 p.m. Thursday and was warned she would be pepper-sprayed, WWSB reported. When the deputy attempted to use the pepper spray, Baker covered herself with a blanket.  The deputy pulled off the blanket, and that's when Baker allegedly rushed the guard, the Herald reported. According to the Sheriff's Office, the two fell to the ground and Baker bit the deputy, the newspaper reported. Surveillance video at the jail allegedly shows Baker throwing several punches at the deputy and hitting her on the back the head, WWSB reported. The deputy was taken to an area hospital and was treated for bite wounds and a neck injury, the television station reported. Baker now faces two felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer with violence. She remains in custody in lieu of bonds totaling $11,500.
  • The first hotel in orbit above the Earth is set to open in just over six years, according to the ambitious plans of the company anticipating the world’s first space tourists. >> Read more trending news  The Gateway Foundation unveiled its designs for a rotating space station that will produce differing levels of artificial gravity and will accommodate up to 100 tourists a week when it opens in 2025, according to news reports. Named the Von Braun Station after rocket technology pioneer Wernher von Braun, Gateway said on its website that it’s working with national space agencies to research low gravity while assembling the station and also providing “space tourists who want to experience life on a large space station with the comfort of low gravity and the feel of a nice hotel.” Using technology for the construction of the International Space Station, the Von Braun station will consist of two concentric structural rings connected together by spokes that will support a so-called Habitation Ring of large, pressurized modules, Gateway officials said. The foundation said the station will include an array of modules, including an air water power module, a gym module, a kitchen, restaurant and bar module. There will also be a crew quarters; privately owned modules for villas, hotels and commercial uses and government-owned modules for research and training. Initial activities for tourists might include low-gravity basketball, low-gravity rock climbing and trampolining, Von Braun Station design architect Tim Alatorre said, according to ABC News, which sited the architecture and design magazine Dezeen. Alatorre predicted travel to the station would compare with a cruise or a Disney World vacation with activities like concerts, movies and seminars. Others are getting in on the race to commercialize space, including NASA, which announced this summer it expected to open the International Space Station to tourists by 2020.
  • A Texas teen was arrested for hitting a woman with his car when driving drunk, according to police. KAGS reported that around 2 a.m. Saturday, Pedro Puga, 17, was driving in College Station, Texas, when he hit a woman with his vehicle and kept driving, according to court documents.  >> Read more trending news  WFAA reported that Puga hit Carlynn Beatty, a sophomore at Texas A&M.  Beatty was walking home with friends on campus when Puga hit her with his SUV. According to court documents obtained by KAGS, a witness told police Puga pulled into a parking lot and inspected his vehicle for damage. He then got back in his vehicle and continued to drive.  The vehicle was found parked at a gym, KAGS reported. When College Station Police Department officers confronted Puga, he said he would have outrun them had he not taken Xanax and cocaine earlier that day. KBTX reported Beatty is in critical condition at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston. She has had four surgeries, WFAA reported. 'You can tell, like, that she’s fighting for her life and that she’s fighting to be here and that she wants to live,' Beatty’s friend Bri Copeland told KBTX. 'She’s still in very critical condition, we’re just worried about her brain right now, it’s the main thing we’re worried about.' Puga has been charged with intoxication assault, evading arrest and accident involving serious bodily injury. He was booked at Brazos County Jail Saturday and released the next day on bond, according to jail records.
  • An assistant football coach at a California high school is accused of soliciting nude photographs from a 15-year-old female student, police said. >> Read more trending news  Victor Perez Carillo, 26, of Modesto, was arrested Monday and charged with solicitation of child pornography and arranging to meet with a minor for lewd purposes, according to a news release from the Escalon Police Department. He was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail and remains there in lieu of a $505,000 bond, according to KCRA Carillo, who is an assistant football coach at Escalon High School, was arrested after a woman reported discovering inappropriate messages on her daughter's phone, KCRA reported. Police said a detective went to the high school and discovered Carillo had communicated with the girl on Snapchat, The Modesto Bee reported. Carillo also tried to arrange a meeting with the girl after school, the newspaper reported. Carillo is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, KCRA reported.
  • Ten years ago, large swaths of metro Atlanta were flooded when unrelenting rain fell from Sept. 15-22, 2009 on already-saturated ground. Roads were impassable, bridges were underwater, homes were inundated and even roller coasters at Six Flags were submerged. The floods were record-breaking, catastrophic, and left a lasting impact for the metro area. The flooding There already were record levels of moisture when storms developed in the area on Sept. 15, said Laura Belanger, a senior service hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. Then the storms continued with near-constant rainfall for more than a week. “We had pretty wet conditions late that summer,” said Belanger, who was an intern at the NWS in 2009. The flooding peaked overnight Sept. 20 and into Sept. 21. Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Bartow and Cherokee counties all got at least five to seven inches of rain in a 24-hour period that began on the evening of Sept. 20. It was worse in Cobb and Douglas counties. One Douglas location was swamped with more than 21 inches of rain in 24 hours, Belanger said. Cobb County hit hard Sweetwater Creek’s levels rose to 20 feet above flood stage — soaring past the creek’s previous high-water mark of nine feet above flood level. The Austell area, in particular, sustained quite a bit of damage. The Great American Scream Machine, a roller coaster at Six Flags, was mostly under water. “It was not something that we’d really seen before,” Belanger said. Jim and Margaret Hobbs live in Vinings, on the Chattahoochee River. They’d raised their home seven feet in the 1980s, when wet weather had caused water to fill their yard. After the 2009 flood, they raised it again. “This was a real flood,” Jim Hobbs said. “It was scary.” There was almost two feet of water on the first floor of the Hobbs’ home, he said. When it receded, they had mold, and the mud stuck like concrete. “It was a mess,” Margaret Hobbs said. “It was nasty.” 2011 VIDEO: Flood damaged homes demolished It took more than a year to set everything back to normal. Margaret Hobbs said the flooding has had a lasting impact on her — she’s always nervous when there are heavy rains. But she said the disaster brought neighbors together. “We say we live on the river, and sometimes in the river,” she said. The roads Natalie Dale, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said flooding on highways was exacerbated by blocked drains. Leaf debris and other trash clogged the system, and made it harder for the water to drain off roadways. There was significant flooding on the downtown connector, I-20 and I-575, as well as Stone Mountain freeway. All were closed. Rivers often overwhelmed bridges and roads, leading to closures across the metro area. Many residents took to boats to check on neighbors or move belongings. Belanger said the speed with which the water overtook roads was one of the factors that led to phone alerts warning about flash flooding. There were more than 100 rescues across the metro area. The damage Eleven people died in the storms, including 10 in Georgia. Of those, eight died in their cars as they tried to traverse floodwaters. The flooding also did a lot of damage. Belanger said the official estimate of $500 million is likely an undercount, since the figures don’t include the cost of debris removal. More than 20,000 homes and businesses were damaged. Cobb County purchased more than 75 homes in flood hazard areas and more than 125 acres of vacant floodplain. In Sandy Springs, three homes destroyed by the 2009 flood were torn down and replaced with Windsor Meadows passive park. The damage included the replacement of several bridges that were washed out. Seventeen counties received federal disaster declarations.
  • Police in New York said Tuesday that they've located the grandparents of a 3-year-old boy found sleeping Monday morning in a box on a woman's porch. >> Read more trending news  The boy was found about a mile away from a burned car that contained possible human remains, though authorities did not immediately link the two incidents. Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Two women identified as grandmothers of the boy found Monday morning on Potomac Avenue have traveled from Florida to New York, according to WGRZ-TV. Buffalo police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Tuesday at a news conference that police were working with the women and with Child Protective Services to reunite them with their grandson. 'I am praying that they return him today to us. It's all I want. Please return him back to us,' Zenaida Colon, one of the boy's grandmother's, told WGRZ-TV. 'He is a loved child. His parents loved him very much and was always with him. They were great parents.' Family members told WKBW-TV they last heard from the boy's parents, 24-year-old Nicole Mersed and 31-year-old Migel Valentin, on Sunday. Colon told WIVB-TV she believes Noelvin was vacationing in Buffalo with his parents and a friend. The whereabouts of the boy's parents and their friend remained unknown Tuesday, though Rinaldo said investigators believe they arrived in Buffalo late Sunday. Police plan to release images of the trio later Tuesday. Police said they found a burned car Monday about a mile from where Noelvin was discovered. Investigators were working Tuesday to identify human remains found inside the vehicle, which was so badly damaged that officers were unable to positively identify its make or model. Rinaldo said it remained unclear Tuesday whether multiple remains had been recovered from the burned car. 'We will not know the identities of the people found in the vehicle for quite some time,' he said, adding that forensic anthropologists were assisting in the investigation. Original report: Authorities in Buffalo, New York, found a burned car containing possible human remains just one mile away from the home where a woman discovered a sleeping toddler on her porch Monday morning, police said. According to WIVB-TV, Buffalo police found the vehicle about 6 p.m. Monday outside a Black Rock storage facility on Tonawanda Street. Investigators did not say whose remains may have been inside or whether the incident was connected to the 3-year-old boy found alone on nearby Potomac Avenue hours earlier. Homeowner Lori Ausberger told WIVB that she spotted the child on her porch, curled up with a blanket in a box, about 8 a.m.  'I said, 'Where's your mommy, honey?'' she told WKBW. 'He said, 'The car's on fire.' That's all he kept saying.' Investigators are trying to identify the parents of the boy, who was placed in Child Protective Services' care, WHEC reported.