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Biden’s age, memory, rambling come under renewed attack as allies warn against low blows



Biden’s age, memory, rambling come under renewed attack as allies warn against low blows

Former Vice President Joe Biden came under sustained and withering fire Thursday when fellow Democrats renewed their attacks on his age, memory and alleged rambling — as his allies scolded them for the low blows and warned the approach won’t pave the way to victory.

Biden, 76, fought back over the course of the three-hour debate in Houston and landed several jabs of his own on fellow Democrats battling for the nomination. But the attacks on his mental acuity, which continued after the debate ended, re-opened an issue he’s tried to put to rest, signaling another nasty and personal phase in the primary race as lower-polling candidates fight to take down the front-runner.


Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, who served in the Obama administration with Biden, landed arguably the lowest blow when he swiped at Biden’s memory — accusing him of contradicting himself on whether Americans would have to buy into his health care plan.

“You just said two minutes ago they would have to buy in. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked, in what appeared to be a reference to past senior moments by Biden.

However, Biden did not say during the debate that individuals would have to buy in. Instead, he said that individuals would automatically be enrolled if they lost their jobs.

Biden adviser Anita Dunn checked Castro later in the spin room, saying that his “cheap shot” was “based on a lie.”

“I think Castro, who likes to talk about learning from history, clearly didn’t learn from the first two debates that taking personal cheap shots at Vice President Biden actually doesn’t work out that well for the candidate who throws the shot,” Dunn told reporters. “It’s unfortunate that Castro decided to go the route he did.”

On ABC News, former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said that the way Castro handled the moment was a “disqualifier.”

“It will come across as mean and vindictive. That’s not who he is.”


Biden’s team defended him in the post-debate spin-room, with deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield saying that candidates “have seen, not just in the debates, but over the course of this campaign, that attacking Joe Biden is not the way to advance yourself in the polls.”

The sustained attacks, though, raise concerns that barbs from longshot candidates such as Castro (who is polling in low single digits) could kneecap Biden as front-runner and leave him weakened for the general election race should he emerge the nominee.

Still, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., publicly backed Castro after the debate and raised further questions about Biden’s ability to carry the banner for the Democrats into 2020.

“I think we are at a tough point right now, because there’s a lot of people concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to carry the ball all the way across the end line without fumbling,” Booker told CNN in an interview. “And I think that Castro had really legitimate concerns about can he be someone in a long grueling campaign… and has every right to call out.”

Biden did fumble on a number of occasions during the debate, supplying more political ammo to his rivals.

At one point he said that “nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime,” which would come as great news to people like former Trump associates Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, who are both serving prison time for non-violent offenses. His campaign later clarified he was talking about non-violent drug offenses. He also falsely claimed the Obama administration “didn’t lock people up in cages.”

Further, he was mocked online when he urged people to spend evenings watching television and to “make sure you have the record player on at night.” The reference to record players, despite having a certain hipster cachet, drew Twitter teasing while others drew attention to the lengthy, rambling answer to what was a question on racism.

Booker made reference to this too in his post-debate blasting of Biden.

“At one point, he was talking about communities like mine listening to record players,” he said. “I don’t remember the last time I saw a record player… But there are definitely moments where you listen to Joe Biden and you just wonder.”

When asked if he was saying Biden is too old to be president, Booker said he was “definitely not saying that” but that the veteran politician has a habit of “meandering” in his speeches.

“I want someone that can excite and energize and call us to a campaign like we saw back in ’08, in ’12 where we saw record turnouts and somebody that can speak to the fullness of the Democratic Party,” he said. “If I believed Joe Biden was that person, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

Biden, as the presumptive front-runner, has faced sustained attacks before. While he has been leading the polls since his entrance in the race, his lead has tightened amid questions over his decades-long record in the Senate and his defense of working with segregationists during the 1970s.


Questions about his mental fitness have also surfaced repeatedly and provided fodder for his opponents. President Trump has nicknamed him “Sleepy Joe.” Biden was dinged by The Washington Post last month when it reported that a moving military story he frequently retold had never happened and that “almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect.”

Opponents also seized on a statement he made in August when he asked “What’s not to like about Vermont?”

He was in New Hampshire.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.


Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in ‘SMEAR story’




Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in 'SMEAR story'

President Trump blasted The New York Times over its supposed bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling on “everybody” involved in the “smear” to resign.

“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story, and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!” Trump tweeted Monday evening.

“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation… She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”


Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, alleged there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.

However, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway — who reviewed an advance copy of the book – flagged an omission and the paper eventually revised the controversial story after being lampooned on social media over the gaffe.

The update included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.


Trump was asked about whether anyone from The Times should be “fired” over the controversy. He called it a “fair” question but didn’t directly give an answer.

“I think The New York Times made another terrible mistake,” Trump said. “It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen… They used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don’t have fact-checking anymore.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016




With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will hold one of his signature rallies on Monday night in New Mexico, a longtime Democratic stronghold his campaign has added to the list of states it hopes to win in the November 2020 election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The last time New Mexico supported a Republican in a presidential race was 2004. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 8 percentage points three years ago.

Trump’s campaign sees an opening in the state with Latinos, who it believes will swing his way despite tough immigration policies, including a crackdown on migrants from Central America and a push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrats have criticized those efforts. But a Trump campaign aide said the Republican president could win over Latinos who came to the United States legally and believe others should, too.

“Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN. Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day — see you in a few hours!” Trump tweeted ahead of his trip.

The campaign also views Trump’s support for the fossil fuel industry as a plus in the state, which is rich in oil and natural gas, said the campaign aide, who declined to be named. Trump is likely to discuss energy on Monday night.

Trump won the White House in 2016 with electoral votes from traditional Republican-leaning states and some surprise Democratic-leaning ones.

The Trump campaign says it wants New Mexico’s five electoral votes to augment the 306 electoral votes the president received in his first election, not create a separate path for victory. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes nationally to win.

Democrats, who did well in New Mexico during the 2018 mid-term elections, are skeptical.

“Last cycle, Democrats crushed Republicans in New Mexico because voters are fed up with President Trump’s toxic healthcare agenda and broken promises,” said David Bergstein, a communications director for the Democratic National Committee focused on battleground states.

“We take nothing for granted, but this GOP strategy looks like they’re concerned about a realistic pathway to 270 electoral votes,” he added.

Trump won electoral-vote-rich swing states such as Ohio and Florida in 2016, while also picking up Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from Democrats.

The campaign says it is eyeing more pickups in 2020, including Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

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California adds Iowa to ‘travel ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions




California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced Monday that it has added Iowa to the list of states on its ever-expanding “travel ban” list because of that state’s new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid.

The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.

Becerra’s authority came from a 2016 California law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bars state-funded travel to other states that undercut LGBT rights. The list already included Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.


Conservatives have called the law ineffective, inconveniencing, possibly unconstitutional and hypocritical. The state’s sports teams have turned to private funding to get around the restrictions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care,” Becerra said in a statement. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.”

The brouhaha began after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that taxpayers could be forced to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law effectively overriding that ruling two months later.

At the federal level, the Trump administration has disputed the idea that sex-based discrimination prohibitions under law include protections for gender identity. The Health and Human Services Department, in May, angered progressive advocates with rules that both allowed doctors not to perform certain operations and stated that “gender identity” was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care.


Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

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