The Republican presidential primary debates have shaped the race a lot this year, but mostly in one way: making candidates not named Mitt Romney look bad. Herman Cain and the other two ex-frontrunners -- Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry -- will try to get voters to love them again, while the three remaining not-Romneys -- Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul -- will ask to have their turn. But the topic of tonight's debate -- foreign policy -- might make that tricky. The subject has made Cain look badseveral times already, but he's only the guy who's had the hardest time with it. We'll be liveblogging the debate, which starts at 8p.m. on CNN, right here.
10:30p.m.: Debate highlights: Romney forgets his name. Cain forgets Wolf Blitzer's. Paul makes amazing faces. Gingrich braves his base by saying illegal immigrants who've lived here for decades shouldn't be sent back to the countries they came from, because breaking up families is inhumane.
10:13p.m.:Severalreporters and consultants are pointing to the key moment in the debate being when Gingrich said he was prepared to face the criticism from within his party when he called for immigration laws to be implemented humanely. The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan says Gingrich won the debate. Drudge saw it differently:
9:58p.m.: George W. Bush was never asked about al Qaeda in 2000. Who do the candidates think is the threat they should be talking about but aren't?
Santorum says creeping socialism around the world.
Paul says it's our own foreign occupations.
Perry says China -- "communist China." Noting how Ronald Reagan predicted the end of the Soviet Union, Perry says, "I happen to thnk that communist China is destined for the ash heap of history."
Romney says the issue not getting enough attention is Latin America, where Hezbollah is working.
Cain notes his computer engineering past (a reminder he is smart!) and says the danger is cyberattacks.
Gingrich says an electromagnetic pulse attack, which is the coolest sci-fi prediction so far.
Bachmann says we "won the peace in Iraq" and now Obama is giving that peace away. Plus the Islamist Somali group al Shabaab is recruiting in Minnesota.
Huntsman closes: "Our biggest problem is right here at home... it's called joblessness." Look who's on message! Right? Wait, but isn't Huntsman supposed to advertise his foreign policy experience because he lived in China?
9:52p.m.: Because the debate is co-hosted by two conservative think tanks, a lot of Bush-era people are popping up as questioners. Lots of people are enjoying this reunion of folks like David Addingon (former chief of staff to Dick Cheney), and Paul WOlfowitz (former deputy defense secretary). The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza jokingly predicts Scooter Libby will get a question, while National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru jokingly says the last question will come from Ahmed Chalabi.
9:45p.m.: What is Gingrich doing on immigration? By saying he wouldn't send every illegal immigrant back where he or she came from -- which would break up families -- he's going to make a lot of Republican voters really mad, just as Perry did. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates says he's playing for the general election. National Journal's Marc Ambinder says it gives Romney an opening. National Review's Rich Lowry says "gingrich defending the perry position 100 times better than perry ever did."
9:38p.m.: So Romney and Bachmann support making it easier for educated immigrants to come to America, while Gingrich and Perry want to make it easier for all immigrants.
9:35p.m.: Gingrich says we should make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay if they have roots here -- like a church. He mentions the church thing twice.
9:34p.m.: Bachmann supports making it easier for specialized foreign workers -- like chenists, engineers -- to get visas so they can work here. But she doesn't support allowing 11 million illegal immigrants to get "amnesty." Middle-class immigrants are okay, poor immigrants are not.
9:30p.m.: As he said he'd do earlier, Santorum is trying to sound kinder and gentler and not so angry.
9:28p.m.: Ron Paul gets cheers when he calls for an end to the Drug War. "You can at least let sick people have marijuana," then notes that alcohol is a much more dangerous drug. This is the closest a Republican debate has ever come to sounding like a dorm room debate.
9:26p.m.: Perry sounds like he's trying so hard not to mess up. He gets a chance to address one of his biggest weaknesses: immigration. Saying Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are working in Mexico, he says within 12 months, the border with Mexico will be secure. He doesn't say whether he's changed his mind that it'd be impossible a fence along the enormous border.
9:17p.m.: Earlier in the debate, Daniel Drezner, who writes for Foreign Policy, tweeted, "God help me, but at this point in the debate, Bachmann has done the best job." National Review's Robert Costa notes that she's improved on the issue, and says House SpeakerJohn Boehner's decision to help her get a seat on the House intelligence committee has "changed the reace."
9:07p.m.: Huntsman says it was hard sitting in Beijing as the Chinese got mining rights in Afghanistan. He says his "foreign policy will be determined by economics," without getting into specifics of how he'd deal with Pentagon budget cuts. Perry responds saying Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta should "resign in protest" over the cuts.
9:00p.m.: One of Cain's favorite phrases is "it depends." Would he support an Israeli strike on Iran? "It depends..." Republican consultant Mike Murphy tweets, "About every Cain answer is about process of decision making. A dodge..."
8:58p.m.: Republican strategist Alex Castellanos says all the candidates sound serious, except Perry and Cain.
8:53p.m.: In another life, Ron Paul would have made a great character actor. He's so expressive, he could easily be in Vanity Fair's "In Character" feature.
8:47p.m.: With Romney saying he'd listen to the generals on the ground about Afghanistan, Huntsman pulls the Vietnam card! Reason's Mike Riggs jokes, "Jon Huntsman hates the military. Why else would he say that we should not let generals on the ground run our civilian government?"
8:41p.m.: Gingrich finally gets to speak. But first he has to criticize the questions and the debate rules. He seems just a tiny bit condescending. Maybe this is why the demographics of his supporters "skews way old."
8:39p.m.: Gingrich looks very frustrated he's being ignored!
8:34p.m.: Bachmann and Perry have a real debate on Pakistan. He says he wouldn't write blank checks to the country -- and that he wouldn't disengage from the area, just engage economically -- and she says the aid isn't a blank check. It buys intel.
8:31p.m.: Romney's name gaffe is already on YouTube:
8:27p.m.: Does Cain support religious profling of Muslims? "I support targeted profiling." Doesn't really explain the difference, but says calling it "profiling" is "oversimplification. Paul audibly scoffs. Cain then calls Blitzer "Blitz."
8:24p.m.: Santorum says he supports religious profiling of Muslims on airplane. And young men, he adds.
8:23p.m.: Herman Cain is again wearing his signature gold tie. And Bachmann is wearing her signature white:
8:19p.m.: Ron Paul, as expected, disagrees with Gingrich, saying he opposes the Patriot Act. ("This is like saying we need a policeman in every house ... because we want to prevent child and wife beating .. Yes you might prevent a crime, but the crime is against the American people. ") Bachmann says, as she has before, that we've handed over terrorist interrogation responsibility to the ACLU. (National Journal's Marc Ambinder: "I'm sure the ACLU would love to have the power w/in the admin that Michelle Bachmann thinks it has.") Huntsman splits the difference: "We forget sometimes that we have a namebrand in this world."
8:14p.m.: CNN's Wolf Blitzer opened the debate by introducing himself and saying that yes, that is his real first name. In Mitt Romney's introductory remarks, he joked, "My name's Mitt Romney, and that's my real name too." But it isn't! As the Wall Street Journal's Julian Barnes notes, his first name is Willard.
8:12p.m.: More than 10 minutes in and no questions yet. The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny tweets, "How does CNN stretch a 90-minute debate into a two-hour television show? Like this."
8:05p.m.: CNN promises foreign policy is cool. It's like a video game!
7:58p.m.: Hilarious: Politico's Mike Allen tweets: "Floor director at #CNNDebate has audience practice applause in and out of 3 commercial breaks: 'You will be seen around the world in HD.'" Is that a subtle warning against inappropriate booing?
7:41p.m.: Just before the debate, Jimmy Fallon apologizes for the intro to Michele Bachamnn's appearance on his show Monday night, which was the song "Lyin' Ass Bitch." He tweets "I'm honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I'm so sorry about the intro mess. I really hope she comes back."
7:29p.m.: Newt Gingrich was riding so high on his new frontrunner status that he forgot to file to be on the ballot in Missouri's February 7 primary, The Washington Post's Paul West reports. The deadline was 5p.m. today. The price was just $1,000. All the other candidates debating tonight will be on the ballot.
7:23p.m.: Opening ceremonies feature a group singing "I'll Be There," Politico's Mike Allen notes. Jon Huntsman's daughters and wife are ready:
Dad got ready earlier today:
5:02p.m.:Bachmann said this month the U.S. economy could grow faster if it became less socialist like China, which is a communist country. Paul was booed at an earlier debate for suggesting American foreign policy encouraged terrorists to attack us. Huntsman says he was merely doing his duty to serve the country when he took a job as ambassador to China under President Obama, even though he quit that job to run for Obama's. Santorum has been the most open about begging for love. When Hot Air's Ed Morrissey asked him if he deserved a "second look" from Republicans, Santorum shot back, "They haven’t really taken a first look." All that time in the wilderness has made the former frat guy introspective. Noting that Saturday Night Live portrays him as "Angry Santorum," he told ABC News' Shushannah Walshe, "I’m not angry. Do you think I’m angry? I’m not an angry guy. I get wound up and passionate about things, but I’m not angry." Still, he's taken apologizing for sounding angry at campaign events, explaining that he's just "passionate." It will be interesting to see how he balances that tonight when talking about Israel, an issue he's shown quite a bit of passion about in previous debates.
The president addressed the quadrennial gathering like a campaign rally—talking to a group devoted to service as if it valued self-interest.
Donald Trump continued his ongoing tour of cherished American institutions on Monday night, delivering yet another jarringly partisan speech to an apolitical audience—this one, comprising tens of thousands still too young to vote.
During the campaign, his performance at the Al Smith dinner—where presidential candidates roast their rivals and themselves every four years—devolved into overt attacks on his opponent. Shortly after his election, he stunned CIA employees by delivering a campaign-style stump speech before the agency’s Memorial Wall. On Saturday, he surprised the crowd of uniformed personnel at the commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford by imploring them to lobby Congress in support of his agenda.
Partly, it’s simple rage. Mueller threatens Trump. And when Trump sees someone as a threat, he tries to discredit and destroy them—conventional norms of propriety, decency and legality be damned.
But there’s another, more calculated, reason. Trump and his advisors may genuinely believe that firing Mueller is a smart move. And if you put morality aside, and see the question in nakedly political terms, they may be right.
The chances that Mueller will uncover something damning seem very high. Trump has already admitted to firing former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation. Donald Trump Jr. has already admitted to welcoming the opportunity to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from people he believed were representatives of the Russian government. Even if Mueller doesn’t accuse anyone of a crime, he’s likely to paint a brutal picture. And that’s just on the question of election collusion and obstruction of justice. If Mueller uses Russia to segue into Trump’s business dealings, who knows what he might find. An all-star team of legal and financial sleuths, with unlimited time and money, and the ability to subpoena documents and people, have been let loose on the affairs of a man whose own autobiographer called him a “sociopath.” No wonder Trump is scared.
The internet’s favorite fact-checkers are caught in a messy dispute.
On Monday, the editorial staff of Snopes.com wrote a short plea for help. The post said that the site needed money to fund its operations because another company that Snopes had contracted with “continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage.”
“Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile,” the note continued.
It was a shocking message from a website that’s been around for more than 20 years—and that’s become a vital part of internet infrastructure in the #fakenews era. The site’s readers have responded. Already, more than $92,000 has been donated to a GoFundMe with a goal of $500,000.
Thirty-one-year-old Ezra Cohen-Watnick holds the intelligence portfolio on the National Security Council—but almost everything about him is a mystery.
Just 24 days into his tenure as Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, Michael Flynn was forced to resign, having reportedly misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. When Flynn departed, the men and women he’d appointed to the National Security Council grew nervous about their own jobs, and with good reason. The new national-security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, promptly began clearing out Flynn’s people, among them Dave Cattler, the deputy assistant to the president for regional affairs, Adam Lovinger, a strategic affairs analyst on loan from the Pentagon, and KT McFarland, Flynn’s deputy, who was eased out with the ambassadorship to Singapore. Even Steve Bannon, among the most powerful people in the White House, was removed from the meetings of the NSC Principal’s Committee, where he had been installed early on in the administration.
Half a century ago, a senator battling a brain tumor took to the Senate floor, and secured his legacy.
None of us can choose how we are remembered. Most of us are not remembered at all. Senator John McCain knows that he will be remembered. He faces a choice about how his remarkable career will be noted in its autumnal phase.
McCain will of course be remembered most of all for his service, and sacrifice and bravery, as a naval aviator and then as prisoner of war in Vietnam. He should also be known for his efforts in his early days in politics to heal divisions within the United States over the Vietnam war, and then between Vietnam and the United States.
In the world of politics he is known and will probably be remembered as a steadfast personal friend, despite disagreements of party. Michael Lewis’s remarkable tale of McCain’s loyalty to the disabled and mostly forgotten one-time liberal champion Morris Udall is, well, an unforgettable example. More than most politicians, McCain has had dramatic moments of principle-above-party high-road stands, as when he told a Republican questioner that she should stop suggesting that his then-opponent for the presidency, Barack Obama, was “an Arab.” As Colin Powell later pointed out, McCain’s response fell an inch short of perfection, in that he answered the questioner by saying that Obama wasn’t “an Arab—he’s a decent family man.” Still, in real time and near the end of a bitter campaign it was brave, right, to his credit—and in character.
There were numerous attempts to establish contact with the campaign and the transition team.
In trying to fend off suspicion of collusion with the Kremlin, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner have recently provided the public with two very interesting documents. Shoving responsibility for any outreach onto the Russian side, the two men have given us with a partial account of Russian methods in approaching the Trump camp in 2016.
If the accounts are true—and, given that their accounts have changed in the past, these latest accounts could change too—then, taken together, the Trump Jr. emails and Kushner’s statement show a Russian side that is experimenting with ways of getting the Trump team’s attention. They show a side that really is, as one former Obama administration official told me, “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what would stick.”
A crucial Senate vote to begin the health-care debate is set for Tuesday, but it could fail.
Updated on July 25 at 9:38 a.m. ET
Senate Republicans on Tuesday will begin debating legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, making good on the party’s most enduring campaign promise of the last seven years.
Or maybe they won’t.
The Senate’s next move on health carehas been cloaked in mystery over the last several days, as President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell try to clear a crucial procedural vote while preparing for the increasing possibility that it will fail.
McConnell is determined to call up legislation the House passed in May to replace Obamacare as a means of starting formal debate in the upper chamber. But the Senate wouldn’t ultimately be voting on the House bill. Instead, McConnell would immediately move to substitute the House bill with a different proposal—either the bill he drafted to partially repeal and replace Obamacare, or a copy of legislation Republicans advanced in 2015 that repeals but does not replace the health law.
Terminating the special counsel would show recklessness, imply corruption, and irrevocably damage the country.
Last week, President Donald Trump fueled speculation that he might work to oust Robert Mueller, the former FBI director appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump could do so today, or tomorrow, or three months from now; the news could be announced in a televised speech, through a spokesperson, or even in a late night tweet sent on an impulse after his advisers have gone to bed.
If Trump fires Robert Mueller, few will be surprised. But if that happens, as the Department of Justice is thrown into chaos, as the American public sees its clearly expressed support for the special counsel disregarded, as the vital inquiry into the integrity of American elections stalls, as protesters take to the streets in a show of outrage at the affront to the rule of law, as the 2018 midterms morph into a referendum on the administration, and as American democracy reels into unknown territory, the House of Representatives should immediately impeach the president.
If some version of the GOP’s healthcare bill comes to pass, millions of Americans will find themselves selling assets, going into debt, or declaring bankruptcy as they struggle to pay for medical services.
Senate Republicans are working to pass legislation scaling back government support for health coverage, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for a vote on Tuesday to begin debate on a bill whose precise contents remain unknown. “Every Republican running for office promised immediate relief from this disastrous law,” President Trump said on Monday, referring to Obamacare. “But so far, Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare.”
Even without more specifics on the details of the legislation, one thing is clear: The options under consideration would increase the number of uninsured by 15 to 30 million over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated. A consequence of this will be not only a loss of access to medical services, but an increase in financial crises for millions of American families. Insurance, after all, is also a financial product, protecting people from economic ruin.
A study suggests time-saving services like meal delivery and housekeepers boost life satisfaction—for the purchaser, of course.
Recently, my boyfriend and I grew tired of 9 p.m. dinner fights and pizza orders, so we signed up for Blue Apron. Now, our fridge is filled with individually wrapped celery stalks and 1-ounce packets of aioli, ready to be transformed, cooking-show style, into an edible meal—even after a 14-hour workday.
We live in the suburbs, so when I have an after-work event, I hail whichever car-sharing service had fewer labor abuses that week and try not to ever mention it to my Marxist father.
And a month ago, after realizing I would need approximately 900 shift dresses to fulfill my moderating duties at the Aspen Ideas Festival, I tried a service that shops for you. I had to return all but an overpriced blouse, but at least I didn’t have to leave the house, look at it, or even click on anything first.