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Study: “Medicare for all” plan touted by Bernie Sanders would cost $32.6 trillion

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Governor’s race could pit Trump surrogate vs. #MeToo supporter, poll shows

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Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Gwen Graham have solid leads in their party’s respective primaries for governor, according to a new poll that foreshadows a general election pitting the candidate of President Donald Trump against the candidate of women’s issues.

DeSantis, a two-term member of Congress, has had a meteoric rise in the GOP primary, pulling to a 41-29 percent lead over Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, thanks in large part to Trump’s support, the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey showed. Trump will campaign for DeSantis on Tuesday in Tampa, the center of the state’s largest media market.

Graham, a former member of Congress, has 27 percent support in her primary against four men and leads the second-place Democrat, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, by 9 percentage points, according to the survey. Saying that the race consists of “Gwen and the men,” Graham has made abortion rights and support of the #MeToo movement central to her campaign.

“If this is the way the general turns out, this will be a race that’s all about the national dynamic for Democrats to motivate the women’s vote against Trump because of his positions and what he has said,” Brad Coker, Mason-Dixon pollster, told POLITICO.

“Having a woman candidate face off against Trump’s guy is the beating heart of the type of campaigns that Democrats are counting on,” Coker said.

While there’s still time for anything to happen ahead of the Aug. 28 primary, the Republican race has been more stable than the Democratic contest. DeSantis has steadily picked up support that finally reached a tipping point when Trump endorsed him last month. For the primary match-ups, Coker surveyed 500 Democrats and 500 Republicans. The poll has an error margin of 4.5 percentage points.

Because the races still are fluid and have so many candidates, Coker didn’t survey general election head-to-head match-ups. Instead, he polled each candidate’s favorability ratings.

And right now Graham looks like a stronger contender heading into a general election, Coker said.

She is the best-known and best-liked candidate in the race, with 35 percent having a favorable impression of her while only 5 percent have a negative view of her, making her net favorable rating 30 percent.

DeSantis’ net favorable rating is 11 percent, with 32 percent viewing him favorably but 21 percent unfavorably. Putnam’s net favorable rating is 10 percent, a sign that the $20 million ad campaign run on his behalf and the additional $4.8 million in outside spending trained on DeSantis have had little effect.

The numbers stand out even more because Putnam has been elected statewide twice and has continually held various elected offices in the state for 21 years. DeSantis’ camp has spent $9.7 million on TV, less than half of what Putnam’s team has spent on air, plus an additional $399,000 attacking Putnam.

The spending has been far bigger on the Democratic side because of the presence of Levine, a multimillionaire, and Jeff Greene, a billionaire who quickly climbed to third place with 12 percent on the strength of a $10.2 million TV ad campaign in about five weeks. Levine has spent about $15 million in eight months, and Graham about $4.7 million in about two months.

“Levine had been running about even with Graham until Greene jumped in. Both men have extremely similar profiles — politically experienced, successful business owners who are white, male, Jewish and from South Florida,” Coker said in a polling memo. “They each have tremendous personal wealth that gives them the ability to put a considerable amount of their own money into their campaigns. With this overlapping appeal, the two are drawing a combined 30% of voters — slightly more than Graham.”

Rounding out the Democratic primary, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the only non-millionaire and African-American in the race, polled at 10 percent. He just started an undefined “six-figure” TV ad buy. And Orlando businessman Chris King is at 7 percent and has spent $4.1 million on TV.

Coker said that Graham is “benefiting as the only female candidate, receiving the support of 30 percent of Democratic women” and that she also has highest name recognition —79 percent — and the highest favorable rating, 45 percent, among Democrats.

Unlike any of the Democrats in the race, Graham also can take a political punch. A so-called “dark money” group fueled with secret donations spent as much as $1.1 million attacking her as a phony progressive, and it made almost no difference, Coker said.

“Graham’s numbers have only gone up. She’s finally got her act together,” Coker said. “If she gets passed the primary and gets to the general election, she’ll be tough. She has the highest favorable and the lowest negatives. She is set up pretty well in the general.”

Read the poll’s details here.

Source: https://subscriber.politicopro.com/states/florida/story/2018/07/27/governors-race-could-pit-trump-surrogate-vs-metoo-supporter-poll-shows-531234

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Corker compares revoking security clearances to Venezuela’s dictatorship

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s decision to consider revoking security clearances for several ex-government officials who have been vocal about their opposition to President Donald Trump, adding that it’s “the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela.”

“I can’t even believe that somebody at the White House thought up something like this,” Corker said during an interview on MSNBC. “I mean, when you’re going to start taking retribution against people who are your political enemies in this manner, that’s the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela.”

“So you just don’t do that. I can’t believe they even allowed it to be aired, to be honest,” he said. “I mean, it’s a banana republic kind of thing.”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s administration is considered a dictatorship by the United States.

Corker’s comments come a day after the White House announced it was looking to remove security clearances held by former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former NSA Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

McCabe’s security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Comey also does not currently have a security clearance. Hayden, the only Bush administration-era official who is facing revocation of his security clearance, tweeted he does not go back for classified briefings but has occasionally been asked to offer a view on something.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during Monday’s press briefing that Trump feels as though the former officials have “politicized” their positions by accusing Trump of inappropriate contact with Russia.

“The fact that people with security clearances are making baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence,” she said.

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/24/revoke-security-clearances-bob-corker-737110

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I traced missile casings in Syria back to their original sellers, so it's time for the West to reveal who they sell arms to

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I don’t think either Nato or the EU has the slightest interest in chasing the provenance of weapons in the hands of Islamist fighters in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-missile-arms-deals-west-us-uk-saudi-arabia-a8459731.html

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Rubio warns of possible civil war in Nicaragua

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Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday blasted the Nicaraguan government for its lethal crackdown on protests, cautioning that “the possibility of a civil war in Nicaragua is real.”

The Florida Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that an escalation of the country’s months-long crisis “would trigger a migratory crisis. It would undermine our anti-drug efforts in the region. There is a direct national security interest for the United States in seeing democracy and stability in Nicaragua.”

Tens of thousands of protesters have convulsed the Central American nation since April. Led by students, protests have railed against social security overhauls and President Daniel Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Nearly 300 people have died.

The U.N. warned last week of human rights violations by the paramilitary forces Ortega has used against protesters.

The onetime leftist Sandinista revolutionary led Nicaragua in the 1980s after the toppling of the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. Since returning to power in 2007, Ortega has consolidated power, done away with term limits and elevated his widely reviled wife, Rosario Murillo, to the vice presidency as a possible successor.

Rubio said the U.S. is working on standing up sanctions against Nicaraguan entities and individuals as punishment for the unrest.

He also blasted Ortega as “a dying man” and Murillo as “a lunatic,” saying that “there’s no future for them in power.”

And he castigated Nicaragua’s leaders for not staving off the protests with democratic concessions.

“All of this could have been avoided weeks ago,” he said Sunday. “The message to the Nicaraguan regime under Ortega was very clear, and that is: You call early elections, you allow legitimate elections, and this thing can move forward and everyone’s going to be fine. But if you soak your hands in blood, all of that’s off the table. They decided to soak their hands in blood. …

“That opportunity’s now gone for Ortega.”

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/22/rubio-warns-of-possible-civil-war-in-nicaragua-735560