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National Politics

    After seeing their ranks decimated in 2010 during a mid-term election backlash against the Obama health law, times have changed for Democrats in the 2018 elections for Congress, as polls show voters moving away from Republicans on the issue of health care, as Democrats “are now embracing it whole-heartedly” in the final days of the campaign. they In a report issued last week titled, “2018: The Health Care Election,” Wesleyan University’s media trackers found that health care “is most prominent in ads supporting Democrats, appearing in 54.5 percent” of their commercials. The Wesleyan Media Project said back in 2010 – in the big Tea Party wave election for the GOP – Democrats talked about health care in less than 9 percent of their advertisements. Year-over-year comparisons show that while Dems previously avoided the issue of health care after the Affordable Care Act was passed, they are now embracing it whole-heartedly https://t.co/B2tHGU6B6j @wesleyan_u pic.twitter.com/sG14qUo5jF — WesleyanMediaProject (@wesmediaproject) October 19, 2018 Recent polling also backs up the change of heart by Democrats, as polls consistently are showing more support for the Obama health law than a few years ago. Public support for what the GOP derides as “Obamacare” peaked during the unsuccessful effort by the Republican Congress in 2017-2018 to repeal and replace that law with a GOP sponsored plan. A new Fox News poll released on October 17 shows voters nationally give President Donald Trump a thumbs down on he’s handled health care, with 37 percent of voters approving, and 53 percent of voters disapproving. The divide is slightly larger, at 37-55, for ‘likely’ voters in the November mid-term elections. And of those who see health care as a big issue, they are definitely more drawn to candidates on the Democratic side. Obamacare favorability at an all-time high in FOX News poll. Can’t wait for the closing ads from Republicans: “And if those Democrats try to take away your Obamacare, I’ll fight to protect it like I’ve always done.” pic.twitter.com/pJaa7MVkHK — Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) October 18, 2018 But the President and other Republicans this past week have been expressing their support for protection those with pre-existing conditions, possibly feeling the election heat on the issue. “All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them,” the President tweeted. “I am in total support.” Statements like that from the President – and a variety of GOP lawmakers have left Democrats in disbelief, as they accuse Republicans of completely changing their tune on health care in order to portray themselves as something that they are not. The hutzpah of the GOP on health care this election is stunning. I’m listening right now to NY Rep. John Faso on NPR claim he’s against ACA repeal. He voted FOR the repeal bill!!!! It ended insurance for 30m Americans! Does the think his constituents are so stupid they forgot? — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 20, 2018 “President Trump and Republicans will do anything to undermine health care and pre-existing condition protections for patients and families across the country,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “What. A. Bunch. Of. Lies,” tweeted House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. from an arms control agreement with Russia (all times local): 8:10 a.m. Britain's defense secretary says his country stands 'absolutely resolute' with the United States as President Donald Trump says he'll pull out from a landmark arms control agreement with Russia. Gavin Williamson blames Russia for endangering the treaty. He's calling on the Kremlin to 'get its house in order.' Trump says he'll exit the agreement because Russia has violated it 'for many years' and it's preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. Backing Trump, Williamson tells the Financial Times that Moscow has made a 'mockery' of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The 1987 pact prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles ___ 5 a.m. A top Russian diplomat says President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw from a landmark treaty on nuclear weapons is a perilous move. And a Russian senator says the U.S. move to leave the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty would undermine nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as telling state news agency Tass that 'this would be a very dangerous step.' He says the move 'will cause the most serious condemnation from all members of the international community who are committed to security and stability.' Konstatin Kosachev is head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper house of parliament. He says on Facebook that a U.S. withdrawal from the treaty would mean 'mankind is facing full chaos in the nuclear weapons sphere.' ___ 12:30 a.m. President Donald Trump says he will exit a landmark arms control agreement the United States signed with the former Soviet Union. He says Russia is violating the pact and it's preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East. It prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles. Trump is saying that 'Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years.' The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but Trump said America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons.
  • President Donald Trump says his intention to scrap a landmark arms control agreement Russia follows years of violations by Moscow in developing prohibited weapons, and 'we're not going to be the only one to adhere to it.' The Kremlin said the pullout 'would be a very dangerous step.' The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East. It bars the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles. 'Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,' Trump said Saturday after a rally in Elko, Nevada. 'And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to.' The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said. China is not a party to the pact. 'We'll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let's really get smart and let's none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia's doing it and if China's doing it, and we're adhering to the agreement, that's unacceptable,' he said. Trump is sending his national security adviser, John Bolton, to Moscow for meetings with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and was expected to relay the news about Trump's decision. 'This would be a very dangerous step,' Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, was quoted as telling state news agency Tass on Sunday. He said a U.S. withdrawal 'will cause the most serious condemnation from all members of the international community who are committed to security and stability.' But Britain's defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, said his country stands 'absolutely resolute' with the United States on the treaty dispute. Williamson blamed Russia for endangering the arms control pact and he called on the Kremlin to 'get its house in order.' Williamson told the Financial Times on Sunday that Moscow had made a 'mockery' of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. U.S.-Russia relations already are strained as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and upcoming U.S. midterm elections. Trump did not provide details about violations. But in 2017, White House national security officials said Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the treaty. Earlier, the Obama administration accused the Russians of violating the pact by developing and testing a prohibited cruise missile. Russia has repeatedly denied that it has violated the treaty and has accused the United States of not being in compliance. Defense Secretary James Mattis has previously suggested that a Trump administration proposal to add a sea-launched cruise missile to America's nuclear arsenal could provide the U.S. with leverage to try to persuade Russia to come back in line on the arms treaty. Russia's Foreign Ministry said in February that the country would only consider using nuclear weapons in response to an attack involving nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or in response to a non-nuclear assault that endangered the survival of the Russian nation. An independent Russian political analyst, Dmitry Oreshkin, said, 'We are slowly slipping back to the situation of cold war as it was at the end of the Soviet Union, with quite similar consequences, but now it could be worse because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin belongs to a generation that had no war under its belt.' Trump's decision could prove controversial with European allies and others who see value in the treaty, said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on nuclear arms control. 'Once the United States withdraws from the treaty, there is no reason for Russia to even pretend it is observing the limits,' he wrote in a post on the organization's website. 'Moscow will be free to deploy the 9M729 cruise missile, and an intermediate-range ballistic missile if it wants, without any restraint.' U.S. officials have previously alleged that Russia violated the treaty by deliberately deploying a land-based cruise missile in order to pose a threat to NATO. Russia has claimed that U.S. missile defenses violate the pact. In the past, the Obama administration worked to convince Moscow to respect the INF treaty but made little progress. 'If they get smart and if others get smart and they say let's not develop these horrible nuclear weapons, I would be extremely happy with that, but as long as somebody's violating the agreement, we're not going to be the only ones to adhere to it,' Trump said. ___ Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann in Washington and Tanya Titova and James Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.
  • President Donald Trump says he hopes to select a U.N. ambassador to replace Nikki Haley very soon and is interviewing 5 candidates for the job. Trump said Saturday after a campaign rally in Nevada: 'We'll have somebody great ... we're going to pick somebody very quickly. Trump said he's interviewing three women and two men for the post. Asked if he would prefer to have a woman in the job, he said 'Yes,' later adding: 'I think I might prefer that, but we'll see.' Haley announced earlier this month that she was leaving the job by the end of the year. She is the former governor of South Carolina. Haley has often been an unpredictable and independent force in the Trump administration.
  • President Donald Trump said Saturday he will exit a landmark arms control agreement the United States signed with the former Soviet Union, saying that Russia is violating the pact and it's preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. The 1987 pact, which helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East, prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. 'Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,' Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada. 'And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to.' The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said. China is not currently party to the pact. 'We'll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let's really get smart and let's none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia's doing it and if China's doing it, and we're adhering to the agreement, that's unacceptable,' he said. National Security Adviser John Bolton was headed Saturday to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. His first stop is Moscow, where he'll meet with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. His visit comes at a time when Moscow-Washington relations also remain frosty over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and upcoming U.S. midterm elections. There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin or the Russian Foreign Ministry on Trump's announcement. Trump didn't provide details about violations, but in 2017, White House national security officials said Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the treaty. Earlier, the Obama administration accused the Russians of violating the pact by developing and testing a prohibited cruise missile. Russia has repeatedly denied that it has violated the treaty and has accused the United States of not being in compliance. Defense Secretary James Mattis has previously suggested that a Trump administration proposal to add a sea-launched cruise missile to America's nuclear arsenal could provide the U.S. with leverage to try to convince Russia to come back in line on the arms treaty. Russia's Foreign Ministry said in February that the country would only consider using nuclear weapons in response to an attack involving nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or in response to a non-nuclear assault that endangered the survival of the Russian nation. 'We are slowly slipping back to the situation of cold war as it was at the end of the Soviet Union, with quite similar consequences, but now it could be worse because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin belongs to a generation that had no war under its belt,' said Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent Russian political analyst. 'These people aren't as much fearful of a war as people of Brezhnev's epoch. They think if they threaten the West properly, it gets scared.' Trump's decision could be controversial with European allies and others who see value in the treaty, said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on nuclear arms control. 'Once the United States withdraws from the treaty, there is no reason for Russia to even pretend it is observing the limits,' he wrote in a post on the organization's website. 'Moscow will be free to deploy the 9M729 cruise missile, and an intermediate-range ballistic missile if it wants, without any restraint.' U.S. officials have previously alleged that Russia violated the treaty by deliberately deploying a land-based cruise missile in order to pose a threat to NATO. Russia has claimed that U.S. missile defenses violate the pact. In the past, the Obama administration worked to convince Moscow to respect the INF treaty but made little progress. 'If they get smart and if others get smart and they say let's not develop these horrible nuclear weapons, I would be extremely happy with that, but as long as somebody's violating the agreement, we're not going to be the only ones to adhere to it,' Trump said. ___ Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann in Washington and Tanya Titova and James Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke of working class struggles and said President Donald Trump is shredding American values as the Democrat rallied union members in Las Vegas to support Jacky Rosen and other Nevada Democrats. Rosen, a freshman congresswoman from the Las Vegas-area, is challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and the race is seen as one of Democrats' best chances to flip a seat this November. Heller is the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016. He's a former Trump critic who has become an ally of the president and rallied with him in the northern, rural Nevada city of Elko Saturday. In Las Vegas, Biden criticized Trump for his approach to Russia and President Vladimir Putin, his equivocating on white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his immigration policies, including the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border American values, 'are being shredded,' Biden said. 'They're being shredded by a president who is all about himself. It's all about Donald.' The crowd was dominated by members of the powerful, heavily immigrant Culinary Workers Union Local 226. The union represents about 57,000 housekeepers, bartenders, bellmen and other workers in the city's casino-hotels and has been credited with giving Democrats key wins in the state in 2016. Democrats are counting on Latino mobilization driven by the union this year to avoid a repeat of the 2014 elections, when Democratic turnout in Nevada faltered. Trump in Elko later scoffed at the idea of a 'blue wave' of heavy Democratic turnout this November and mocked the smaller crowd at Biden's event. Culinary Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said later Saturday organizers checked in more than 500 people for the Las Vegas rally, including some who filled in overflow areas away from the stage. The rally outside the union hall north of the Las Vegas Strip included appearances from comedian Billy Eichner and a mariachi band and came as two weeks of early voting kicked off in the state. Former President Barack Obama, who won Nevada during the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, will be visiting the battleground state Monday with a get-out-the-vote rally in Las Vegas. Biden also touted the candidacy of other Democrats, including Steve Sisolak, the powerful chairman of the county commission overseeing the Las Vegas Strip who is running for governor, and Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, who are seeking seats to Nevada's 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts, both of which are considered swing seats. 'This election is literally bigger than politics. It's bigger than politics,' Biden said. 'No matter how old or young you are, you have never participated in an election that is as consequential as this election national and locally.' Biden, who has said he won't decide until at least next year whether he'll seek the presidency in 2020, has been keeping a presence in early voting states like Nevada. He's scheduled to return Dec. 1 to speak to a fundraiser for the law school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. ___ This story has been updated to correct the proper name of the union.
  • Two years after a tough loss in South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders returned Saturday to the state where he said his progressive message is resonating more strongly than before. In an interview with The Associated Press following a rally attended by roughly 1,000 supporters, Sanders said, 'The day is going to come, sooner than people believe, that South Carolina is going to become a progressive state.' 'We have helped transform political consciousness in this country,' the Vermont independent said. Sanders' trip to the home of this first-in-the-South presidential primary came as part of a swing through several other states with early positions on the primary calendar. Next up was Iowa. A visit to Nevada was planned for next week. The South Carolina trip differed from many of Sanders' other stops, where he's stumping with congressional candidates. None of them campaigned with him in South Carolina, with some young Democratic leaders in the state eschewing his trip as a self-serving exercise. Still, Sanders received thunderous applause from his crowd of supporters. 'So there are progressives in South Carolina! I was told that nobody would come out to a meeting like this,' Sanders said. 'Thank you all very much for being here.' The trip was billed as a 'Medicare for All' rally at the behest of Our Revolution, an offshoot of Sanders' 2016 presidential effort. The event came on the heels of visits by potential 2020 hopefuls Cory Booker and Kamala Harris , both of whom stumped with multiple Democratic candidates during several days in the state accustomed to hosting candidates testing out their messaging and building activist and donor relationships ahead of a national run. News of Sanders' trip was met with a cool welcome from some Democrats, who characterized it as a distraction and portrayed Sanders' left-leaning message as too liberal for the conservative state. Sanders finished a distant second to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina's 2016 Democratic presidential primary, with only 26 percent of votes cast. In a digital ad , Republican Gov. Henry McMaster pointed out that his opponent, state Rep. James Smith, boasted being endorsed by Our Revolution South Carolina. Smith's campaign distanced itself from Sanders, saying they 'welcome the support' of voters of all persuasions but wouldn't campaign with the senator and didn't support his health care ideas. Smith's lieutenant governor running mate, state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, attended Our Revolution meetings on Friday. Sanders told AP he wasn't concerned about Smith's stance, saying he understood the intricacies of a Democratic statewide campaign here. 'Our Revolution doesn't have a litmus test,' Sanders told AP. 'South Carolina is not California.' State Rep. Justin Bamberg, one of Sanders' biggest South Carolina backers and a 2016 national surrogate, said the trip was more about continuing to push some of the senator's top issues, such as increasing the minimum wage, than framing a presidential bid. Ahead of Saturday's rally, Bamberg told AP it is imperative for Democrats to broaden the party's reach. 'If Democrats are going to start winning more, particularly in places where Democrats make up the minority, we've got to start being more welcoming,' Bamberg said. 'We cannot be a part of that Democrat 'elitists.' That, 'Oh, you're not Democrat enough,' or 'We don't agree with what you say.' Young people ain't trying to hear that nonsense.' Former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, who introduced Sanders on stage, took on the critics directly, saying that Sanders' didn't need a candidate invitation to bring his message to South Carolina. 'We are not here for any particular candidate, baby, we're here for you,' Turner said. 'It's not just about standing on stages with folks who want to get elected to office. ... So South Carolina, I am here to declare that we are here because you are here. All the folks talking trash ain't going do nothing for the people.' ___ Sign up for 'Politics in Focus,' a weekly newsletter showcasing the AP's best political reporting from across the United States leading up to the 2018 midterm elections: https://bit.ly/2ICEr3D . ___ Kinnard can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard .
  • With his demand that the Pentagon create a new military service — a Space Force to assure 'American dominance in space' — President Donald Trump has injected urgency into a long-meandering debate over the best way to protect U.S. interests in space, both military and commercial. At the same time, his approach has left many struggling to understand the basics, such as what a Space Force would do and how much it might cost. The Pentagon is expected to have enough details filled out by early next year to include a Space Force plan in its 2020 budget request to Congress. Until then, the idea has taken on a life of its own at Trump's political rallies, powered at least in part by his conflating of the nation's civilian space program with the military's separate role of providing space-based navigation and communications satellites. At a June rally in Minnesota, for example, Trump alluded to his decision in December 2017 to refocus the civilian space program to human exploration as a first step toward returning an astronaut to the Moon. This prompted some in the crowd to chant, 'Space Force, Space Force!' Trump responded by ticking off the names of the current military services and adding, 'Now we're going to have the Space Force. We need it.' Earlier this month Trump told a rally in Kentucky, 'One of the biggest applause I get wherever I go is when I talk about the Space Force.' But just what is this thing? Some may think it would assemble a razzle-dazzle new army for the heavens that would deploy soldiers in space or arm astronauts with galactic superweapons. Analysts say the reality is that building space muscle is more about reordering the way the Pentagon already uses space than about combat. In fits and starts, the military has been trying for decades to reorganize and accelerate technological advances in space. Some blame the Air Force, which has had the lead, for underinvesting in space because it prefers spending on warplanes. Details are still in play, but the main idea is this: find more effective ways to defend U.S. interests in space, especially the constellations of satellites that U.S. ground, sea and air forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance. These roles make them increasingly tempting military targets even as China and Russia work on ways to disrupt, disable and even destroy American satellites. 'This isn't science fiction. This isn't about creating space marines or some expeditionary space force that is going to go out and conquer the universe,' says Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'This is simply a reorganization' of existing space assets so that they can be use more effectively in a unified chain of command with one person in charge. Still, questions abound as some in the Pentagon talk about someday basing anti-missile weapons in space. Would a Space Force, which has yet to be authorized by Congress, consume an intelligence agency such as the National Reconnaissance Office, responsible for building and operating reconnaissance satellites? What about the Missile Defense Agency, which runs ground-based anti-missile systems that rely on space to defend U.S. territory? Also to be determined is how it would connect, if at all, to the security policy goals of U.S. military allies and to U.S. civilian space entities to realize Trump's declared vision of 'gleaming new spaceships' built to 'conquer the unknown?' Trump publicly raised the prospect of a Space Force in March. In seemingly offhanded comments to Marines in California he said, 'You know, I was saying it the other day, because we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force. We'll call it the Space Force. And I was not really serious. Then I said, 'What a great idea.'' Three months later, on June 18, the 'great idea' became an order. Trump told the Pentagon to immediately get started on building a Space Force. Since then, 'Space Force' has become a staple at Trump political rallies. William D. Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy and a longtime Pentagon critic, has written that 'Space Force' could become the rhetorical equivalent of 'the Wall' — 'a big idea that appeals to Trump's base but would be wildly impractical and hugely expensive to implement.' Just how expensive it might be is a matter of debate. The Air Force has estimated that it might cost $13 billion in the first five years. Others, including Harrison, say that's an exaggeration. In late August, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he was awaiting staff work on an estimate to be included in next year's defense budget request. Tom Nichols, an author and professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, said no one should think a Space Force will produce an economic windfall of space contracts. 'People who think a 'space force' will create a new economic boom don't realize that our space infrastructure already exists,' he wrote an email, stressing that he was speaking in a private capacity. 'Any additional spending will likely be concentrated in research and knowledge-centric areas, not depressed manufacturing states.' More to the point, he wrote, new weaponry is not in the offing. 'Put simply: We are not going to start building Klingon battle cruisers or the Moonraker fleet in West Virginia or Ohio.' Misconceptions aside, Harrison and many other defense analysts argue that a Space Force is needed. In Harrison's view, it's about consolidating authority and responsibility for national security space in a single chain of command: reorganization, in other words, and building a bigger cadre of space strategy professionals. He argues that the space workforce now is so scattered across the military services and the intelligence agencies that it has not been possible to create a viable career path that will attract the right people. He likens the Space Force proposal to the creation of the Air Force in 1947. It was not built from scratch. It was made a separate military department after having resided in the Army as the Army Air Corps. Although a Space Force would require its own civilian and military leadership and presumably its own uniforms and additional personnel, other steps to consolidate the space chain of command would be bureaucratic. In fact, one of the main moves already in motion is to recreate U.S. Space Command, which existed from 1985 to 2002, when it was disbanded to establish U.S. Northern Command in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although Space Command went away, its functions did not. They were absorbed by U.S. Strategic Command, and the Air Force retained its lead role in space through Air Force Space Command. ___
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local): 12:35 p.m. President Donald Trump is poking fun at former Joe Biden on a day when both politicians were campaigning in Nevada for candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot. Trump was in rural Elko, Nevada, for a rally a short time after Biden appeared hundreds of mile south in Las Vegas. The president mocked the potential 2020 White House contender as '1 percent Joe' — a reference to Biden's low showing in earlier presidential runs. Trump said Barack Obama came along in 2008 and took Biden 'off of the trash heap and made him vice president.' Trump boasted of the size of his audience in Elko and said Biden drew only a few hundred in Las Vegas 'and he was thrilled — that's one of the biggest crowds he's ever had.' ___ 11:55 a.m. President Donald Trump is scoffing at the idea of a 'blue wave' sweeping Democrats to big victories on Election Day, saying he thinks it's 'being rapidly shattered.' He tells a Republican rally in Elko, Nevada, that he 'likes where we stand in the election' on Nov. 6 that will determine control of Congress. The president says 'all the Democrats want is power and they've got this blue wave deal going. Not looking like a blue wave.' Trump is listing a number of GOP candidates he says will prevail, including Dean Heller, who's seeking another term as a Nevada senator. Trump also accuses Democrats of backing an 'extremist immigration agenda' and claims that he's 'already figured out' how to solve the complex issue of immigration, though he's giving no details. 'We're going to make a lot of people happy,' he says. 'I think I'll keep it a little bit low-key until the election.' ___ 11:05 a.m. Former Vice President Joe Biden says American values are 'being shredded by a president who is all about himself.' Biden's swipe at Republican President Donald Trump came as he spoke at a Democratic Party rally in Las Vegas on Saturday. Biden says America was built on basic fundamental decency and 'it is being shredded right now.' He says America built some of the 'greatest alliances in literally the history of the world' over the past 70 years. But Biden says Trump is 'all about himself.' Biden also called out congressional Republicans, saying they are 'choosing party over their country' because of gerrymandering and unlimited spending. ___ 10:45 a.m. Former Vice President Joe Biden is urging union members in Las Vegas to get out the vote for Democrat Jacky Rosen in Nevada's U.S. Senate race. Biden has held a rally with Rosen and members of the powerful Culinary Union 226, which represents about 57,000 housekeepers, bartenders and other workers in the city's casino-hotels. The heavily immigrant union's voter turnout was credited with giving Democrats key victories in Nevada in 2016. Rosen is seen as one of Democrats' best chances to wrest a Senate seat from Republicans on Election Day. She's running against GOP incumbent Dean Heller in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential race over Donald Trump. The rally took place as early voting began Saturday and shortly before Trump's rally several hundred miles away in rural Elko, Nevada. ___ 5:20 a.m. It's going to be a busy day of politicking in Nevada, where early voting for the Nov. 6 election is beginning Saturday. President Donald Trump is wrapping up a visit to Western states with a campaign rally later Saturday in rural Elko, Nevada. He's lending support for Dean Heller, who's considered the most vulnerable GOP senator on the ballot this fall. A few hours earlier, former Vice President Joe Biden is set to be in Las Vegas. And on Monday, former President Barack Obama is returning to Nevada, a state that he won in both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Nevada by 2 percentage points in the 2016 White House race. But during the last midterm elections in 2014, many Democrats stayed home and Republicans won key races across the state. Heller faces Jacky Rosen, a Democratic congresswoman who's trying to help her party regain control of the Senate. Republicans now hold a 51-49 advantage. ___ 10 p.m. Friday President Donald Trump says Democrats are 'too extreme and too dangerous' to take control of Congress. That's one of the themes he's hitting on during a visit to Western states as he makes his closing arguments for Republican candidates before the Nov. 6 election. The president wants to focus on immigration as one of the defining election issues. On Friday night, Trump rallied thousands of supporters for GOP Senate candidate Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona. He warned of dire consequences if Kyrsten Sinema (SIN'-uh-muh), the Democratic congresswoman challenging McSally, is victorious. Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate now.
  • This Saturday marks the 45th anniversary of the infamous ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ when an embattled President Richard Nixon fired the special Watergate prosecutor, but only after both the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General refused to carry out the President’s orders, and resigned from their positions. The move by President Nixon came during an ongoing legal dispute over the release of the Watergate tapes – recordings made in the Oval Office by a secret taping system that the President had installed – which ultimately contained evidence that forced Nixon from office. Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox wanted all the tapes for his investigation, but even with the backing of a federal court order, President Nixon refused to turn them over, instead offering summaries, an offer that Cox refused to accept. “I’m not looking for a confrontation,” Cox told an October 20, 1973 news conference at the National Press. “I’m certainly not out to get the President of the United States.” Several hours later, Nixon ordered that Cox be fired. The President first asked Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and quickly resigned. The same request the went to Deputy Attorney General Williams Ruckleshaus. Like Richardson, Ruckleshaus also refused and quit. Finally, the firing of Cox was carried out by Solicitor General Robert Bork. It’s a scenario that some have focused on, wondering if President Donald Trump might try to end the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. In an op-ed in August of 2018, Ruckleshaus drew parallels between Watergate and the current battle over the Russia investigation. “President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington,” Ruckleshaus wrote. “45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox.” “Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation,” Ruckleshaus added. It took until late July of 1974 for the U.S. Supreme Court to finally order Nixon to turn over the tapes – in a unanimous 8-0 ruling. Nixon resigned soon after, on August 8, 1974.

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  • Pop singer Britney Spears will be returning to Las Vegas for a new residency next year, Variety reported. >> Read more trending news  Spears’ “Dominations” show will debut in February at the Park MGM. The show was announced on Ellen DeGeneres’ YouTube channel, Billboard reported. Tickets will go on sale Friday. In January, Spears ended a four-year run in Vegas at Planet Hollywood’s Axis Theater, Variety reported. She recently ended a European tour with Pitbull as her opening act. According to Pollstar, Spears grossed $2.38 million at Paris’ 15,000-capacity AccorHotels Arena on Aug 28 and 29.
  • Better bundle up, Georgia! Most of the state will feel some of the coldest temperatures Georgia has had in almost six months. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that parts of Georgia have seen temperature drops more than 20 degrees colder from Saturday morning. Back to 44 now after a low of 43 this morning in Atlanta -- the coldest since we dropped to 36 degrees on April 17th! @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/vbm4qLFO4Z — Brian Monahan, WSB (@BMonahanWSB) October 21, 2018 While it'll be a cold start, we'll see temperatures climb up into the 60s with lots of sunshine.  Severe Weather Team 2 be tracking how long the sunshine will stick around on Channel 2 Action News Sunday AM!
  • After seeing their ranks decimated in 2010 during a mid-term election backlash against the Obama health law, times have changed for Democrats in the 2018 elections for Congress, as polls show voters moving away from Republicans on the issue of health care, as Democrats “are now embracing it whole-heartedly” in the final days of the campaign. they In a report issued last week titled, “2018: The Health Care Election,” Wesleyan University’s media trackers found that health care “is most prominent in ads supporting Democrats, appearing in 54.5 percent” of their commercials. The Wesleyan Media Project said back in 2010 – in the big Tea Party wave election for the GOP – Democrats talked about health care in less than 9 percent of their advertisements. Year-over-year comparisons show that while Dems previously avoided the issue of health care after the Affordable Care Act was passed, they are now embracing it whole-heartedly https://t.co/B2tHGU6B6j @wesleyan_u pic.twitter.com/sG14qUo5jF — WesleyanMediaProject (@wesmediaproject) October 19, 2018 Recent polling also backs up the change of heart by Democrats, as polls consistently are showing more support for the Obama health law than a few years ago. Public support for what the GOP derides as “Obamacare” peaked during the unsuccessful effort by the Republican Congress in 2017-2018 to repeal and replace that law with a GOP sponsored plan. A new Fox News poll released on October 17 shows voters nationally give President Donald Trump a thumbs down on he’s handled health care, with 37 percent of voters approving, and 53 percent of voters disapproving. The divide is slightly larger, at 37-55, for ‘likely’ voters in the November mid-term elections. And of those who see health care as a big issue, they are definitely more drawn to candidates on the Democratic side. Obamacare favorability at an all-time high in FOX News poll. Can’t wait for the closing ads from Republicans: “And if those Democrats try to take away your Obamacare, I’ll fight to protect it like I’ve always done.” pic.twitter.com/pJaa7MVkHK — Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) October 18, 2018 But the President and other Republicans this past week have been expressing their support for protection those with pre-existing conditions, possibly feeling the election heat on the issue. “All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them,” the President tweeted. “I am in total support.” Statements like that from the President – and a variety of GOP lawmakers have left Democrats in disbelief, as they accuse Republicans of completely changing their tune on health care in order to portray themselves as something that they are not. The hutzpah of the GOP on health care this election is stunning. I’m listening right now to NY Rep. John Faso on NPR claim he’s against ACA repeal. He voted FOR the repeal bill!!!! It ended insurance for 30m Americans! Does the think his constituents are so stupid they forgot? — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 20, 2018 “President Trump and Republicans will do anything to undermine health care and pre-existing condition protections for patients and families across the country,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “What. A. Bunch. Of. Lies,” tweeted House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. from an arms control agreement with Russia (all times local): 8:10 a.m. Britain's defense secretary says his country stands 'absolutely resolute' with the United States as President Donald Trump says he'll pull out from a landmark arms control agreement with Russia. Gavin Williamson blames Russia for endangering the treaty. He's calling on the Kremlin to 'get its house in order.' Trump says he'll exit the agreement because Russia has violated it 'for many years' and it's preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. Backing Trump, Williamson tells the Financial Times that Moscow has made a 'mockery' of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The 1987 pact prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles ___ 5 a.m. A top Russian diplomat says President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw from a landmark treaty on nuclear weapons is a perilous move. And a Russian senator says the U.S. move to leave the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty would undermine nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as telling state news agency Tass that 'this would be a very dangerous step.' He says the move 'will cause the most serious condemnation from all members of the international community who are committed to security and stability.' Konstatin Kosachev is head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper house of parliament. He says on Facebook that a U.S. withdrawal from the treaty would mean 'mankind is facing full chaos in the nuclear weapons sphere.' ___ 12:30 a.m. President Donald Trump says he will exit a landmark arms control agreement the United States signed with the former Soviet Union. He says Russia is violating the pact and it's preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons. The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East. It prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles. Trump is saying that 'Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years.' The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but Trump said America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families has confirmed the death of a 5-year-old girl who was badly beaten in a Jacksonville home. >> Watch the news report here ActionNewsJax reported Friday that sources said the girl was on life support after an extreme case of abuse in a home at the Oak Tree Apartments. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Child dies following incident at Oak Tree Apartments, DCF says The child’s grandmother told ActionNewsJax reporter Ryan Nelson that the child’s mother, Michelle Cannimore, is behind bars, and so is her current boyfriend, Jonte Harris. Cannimore is charged with child neglect and child abuse with intentional infliction of physical or mental injury. Harris is charged with aggravated battery on a child using a deadly weapon. Neighbors said they feared abuse may have been present in the home. They said they could hear screams coming from the home. “I told [detectives] the same thing I'm telling you,” said one neighbor. 'That I would hear that, and I was like, ‘What's going on?’” >> Read more news stories  ActionNewsJax obtained a statement from DCF Interim Secretary Rebecca Kapusta: “I am absolutely horrified and disgusted at the abuse this child endured in her short life. That anyone would hurt an innocent child is shameful and DCF will work closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her abuse fully accountable under the law. 'There are not sufficient words to describe the pain those who loved her are feeling right now, but the department will continue to ensure her sibling is in a safe home and that she receives the highest quality care as she recovers from this loss.” DCF also said the family has a history with the welfare system. “We’d try to go ask if she's alright,” said the neighbor. “She would just open the door for a second. She wouldn't open the door all the way.” Another woman, who asked that her identity be concealed for her protection, claimed that Cannimore’s personality seemed to change after she began dating Harris. “She will have her head down,” she said. “And that’s how she would be.” So far, no murder charges have been filed in the case. ActionNewsJax requested the arrest report from the Sheriff’s Office on Friday but has not yet received it.
  • The day after nobody won a $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the numbers were drawn for a relatively paltry Powerball prize of $470 million. But like Mega Millions, no one took home Powerball and the pot continues to rise. The winning numbers for Saturday's drawing were 16, 54, 57, 62, 69 with a Powerball of 23. With no one claiming the big prize, the Powerball drawing on Wednesday -- one day after a $1.6 billion Mega Millions drawing -- will be $620 million. The cash payout is approximately $354.3 million. The Powerball is the third-largest in the game's history and sixth-largest in U.S. lotto history. [ RELATED: No winner in Mega Millions; historic jackpot jumps to $1.6 billion] You can watch next Mega Millions drawing Tuesday and Powerball drawing Wednesday LIVE before Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m. There were a number of runner-up prizes. There were $2 million winners in Florida and Tennessee, and $1 million winners in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Washington. The first five balls were drawn from a pool of 69 and the Powerball from a pool of 26, making the odds of getting all six number correct 292,201,338 to 1, according to the Powerball website. [PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of the $1 billion Mega Millions drawing] A single winning ticket Saturday would have been eligible for a cash payout of $268.6 million. Combined with a new Mega Millions jackpot of $1.6 billion, there is more than $2 billion in top-prize money between the two lottery games — and millions more available for subordinate prizes. The Mega Millions top prize of $1.6 billion has a cash payout option of $904 million, but both can grow depending on the volume of ticket sales. [READ: Here's why no one has to know if you win the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot]