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Democrats delight in Delaware special election

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WASHINGTON -- From the women's marches to town hall protests, Democrats are starting to feel emboldened about their prospects in the midterms. A recent special election for the state Senate in Delaware only added to Democratic optimism, but the realities surrounding the race are more sobering.

Democrat Stephanie Hansen, a former New Castle ...Read more

Q&A with Rep. Josh Gottheimer

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WASHINGTON -- Freshman Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, 41, talks about working as a White House speechwriter, connecting with his children long-distance, and being a Bruce Springsteen fan.

Q: What was it like being a speechwriter for Bill Clinton?

A: It was an enormous honor. It was a great front seat on the political and ...Read more

It's only a drill: Guantanamo rehearses Caribbean migrant crisis

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MIAMI -- Hundreds of U.S. forces are rehearsing a migrant crisis this week at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a massive multimillion dollar drill that envisions the United States capturing huge numbers of people in the Caribbean bound for the United States -- and how the military, State Department and Homeland Security would ...Read more

Trump's golf courses would benefit from his water-rule rollback

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's order on Tuesday to rescind and rewrite federal water regulations not only coincides with his conservative agenda but also could cut his costs as an owner of a dozen U.S. golf courses, again raising concerns about conflict of interest in the White House.

The directive to reconsider the 2015 "Waters of the ...Read more

New Ways and Means ranking Democrat looks for bipartisanship in tax overhaul

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts aims to counter conservative priorities of President Donald Trump, while seeking a few shared trophies as the new top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.

An institutionalist who's finally ascended to his party's ranking seat on a committee after 28 years in the House, Neal turned 68 ...Read more

Chicago records no snow on ground in January, February for 1st time in 146 years

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CHICAGO -- For the first time in 146 years, the National Weather Service documented no snow on the ground in Chicago in January and February -- a record that put a spring in the step of some but weighed down others worried about climate change.

Because the snow measurement is taken at 6 a.m. at O'Hare International Airport, small amounts of ...Read more

Bipartisan group pushes opioid help amid Obamacare debate

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WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is fighting to keep attention focused on last session's top health issue -- abuse of prescription opioids, heroin and other drugs -- although the 2010 health care law now dominates the health policy discourse.

The group hopes to pressure Congress to provide financial support to states for ...Read more

Get ready, President Trump — It's all complicated

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump laid out a grand vision to Congress Tuesday night of the plans he has to Make America Great Again -- health care reform, tax reform, immigration reform, the Wall, a massive expansion of the military, reduction of the debt. More for less. Everything better. Everything safer. Everything great. Again.

But ...Read more

Rural Zimbabwe empties as Mugabe's land reform policy unravels

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Forests engulf fields that used to produce some of the world's best tobacco around the northern Zimbabwean town of Banket, while barns that once stored the leaf stand empty, their corrugated iron roofs ripped off and sold for scrap. Most of the farm workers have left.

"We are 15 here now, from roughly 50," said 25-year-old Bruce Mahenya, who ...Read more

Pot sales pay for schools and road repairs, but Trump might take that away

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's plan to crack down on recreational marijuana could blow a hole in the budgets of states that have come to rely on new tax revenue from pot sales to pay for everything from road repairs to schools.

The Democratic governors of Washington state and Colorado, the first states that voted to legalize the drug ...Read more

Novel explores the woman in Wyeth's 'Christina's World'

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"A Piece of the World: A Novel," by Christina Baker Kline, HarperLuxe (400 pages, $27.99)

Andrew Wyeth carried his paints and brushes during regular visits with Christina Olson at her family's farm in Cushing, Maine. The American painter from Chadds Ford, Pa., often set up his easel on the third floor of the Olsons' farmhouse or outdoors in a ...Read more

Indiana's claims about its Medicaid experiment don't all check out

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Indiana expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, adding conditions designed to appeal to the state's conservative leadership. The federal government approved the experiment, called the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, which is now up for a three-year renewal.

But a close reading of the state's renewal application shows that ...Read more

University of California: New revelations show widespread sexual misconduct across the state

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The University of California disciplined more than 100 employees for sexual misconduct, about a quarter of them faculty members, at campuses across the state in the nearly three years before a scandal blew up at UC Berkeley, according to documents released Tuesday after a public records request from the Bay Area News Group.

The cases covered a ...Read more

Analysis: A big shift in tone, but tough choices left to Congress

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President Donald Trump's well-delivered speech to Congress Tuesday night answered one major question -- whether he could offer the country a less divisive tone -- but provided almost no clarity about how he hopes to fulfill the promises that he made in his campaign.

In addition to "massive" tax cuts and additional write-offs, Trump talked of ...Read more

Republicans praise the tone of Trump's speech, but it may not move the ball

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump gave Republican lawmakers what they badly wanted Tuesday night: a positive, upbeat speech that moved on from the rancor of the campaign and the dark tone of his inaugural speech in January.

But he delivered nothing new. He offered few specifics to guide a Republican-led Congress that wants details and ...Read more

Trump acknowledges Navy SEAL widow

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WASHINGTON -- The widow of a Navy SEAL killed in a problem-plagued raid in Yemen last month attended President Donald Trump's address to Congress days after the commando's father publicly criticized the raid.

"We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William 'Ryan' Owens," Trump...Read more

San Bernardino area representatives say it was 'disgusting' for Trump to cite attack in speech

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Pete Aguilar has previously asked President Donald Trump not to refer to the 2015 attack in San Bernardino to justify his plans to limit immigration as a way to prevent terrorism.

When the name of the city he's mourned with again slipped from the president's lips Tuesday night, the Redlands, Calif., Democrat was offended.

"...Read more

Trump repeats his push for school voucher program in joint address to Congress

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President Donald Trump announced steps toward creating a national school voucher program during his speech to Congress on Tuesday night.

"I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African American and Latino children," Trump said. "These families ...Read more

Deep cuts in State Department budget would meet with resistance

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WASHINGTON -- Drastic cuts to the U.S. foreign aid budget by the Trump administration is likely to produce strong resistance in Congress and in the foreign policy community.

Several key Republicans, as well as a large contingent of retired military officers, already have spoken out against curtailing the budgets of the State Department and the ...Read more

Trump's Texas voting rights case stance leaves judge unclear

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The Trump administration's effort to drop part of a lawsuit challenging Texas' strict voter ID requirements was questioned by a federal judge who must decide whether state lawmakers intended to suppress voting by minority citizens.

The Trump administration is seeking to abandon part of an Obama-era lawsuit challenging ...Read more