Biden Defends Parkland Gaffe: ‘I Was Still Called Vice President’ When Shooting Happened

Joe Biden attempted to do damage control Tuesday in Iowa on his comment from earlier this month when he falsely stated he was vice president during the Parkland school shooting in 2018, but it didn’t go smoothly.

Speaking at a campaign event, Biden said he “was still called vice president” when he met with the students from Parkland.

“I also met with the kids from Parkland, in the Capitol,” Biden said. “I was still called vice president, but it was in ’18.”

His memory of the event, however, remains incomplete.

“They asked me to come speak to them in the rotunda,” Biden said, before pausing to think.

“I think it was the rotunda, it was one of the buildings, or one of the rooms in the Capitol,” he said.

It was a clear attempt by Biden to recover from his mistake earlier this month when he falsely claimed at a gun control forum that he was vice president during the deadly February 2018 shooting.

“I watched what happened when the kids from Parkland marched up and I met with them and then they went off up to the Hill when I was vice president,” Biden said at the forum.

Biden’s attempt to explain away his gaffe by saying he was still called vice president when he met the children is interesting given his campaign immediately acknowledged it was a mistake when the initial comment was made.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who consoles Americans in their time of need so often that he sometimes mistakes the timing?” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director.

Biden’s brain surgeon released a statement on Tuesday saying he “has a brain that is functioning.”

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CNN Host on Gillibrand’s Gun Control Platform: ‘You Get It’

CNN host Brooke Baldwin appeared to endorse Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D., N.Y.) stance on gun control during their interview Tuesday, telling the lawmaker “you get it.”

Baldwin asked Gillibrand if she was “less hopeful” about whether laws like expanded background checks could get passed in the wake of recent mass shootings, given reports that President Donald Trump had privately backed off his support for such measures.

Gillibrand replied Trump lacked courage and wasn’t willing to stand up to the National Rifle Association, saying there were plenty of “common-sense” measures that could be passed.

“Universal background checks, making sure we ban assault weapons and large magazines, and a federal, anti-gun trafficking law,” Gillibrand said. “We shouldn’t have to live in a world where kids doing back-to-school shopping at Walmart are afraid, where kids are doing shelter-in-place drills as opposed to mathematical drills. It’s not what we should be aspiring to.”

“How can President Trump get it? You get it,” Baldwin said, interrupting. “How can President Trump get it? How can Senator Mitch McConnell get it?”

“I think people need to keep raising their voices,” Gillibrand said. “We have mental health issues in every country around the globe, but only in America do you have these mass shootings, do you have gun violence on every street corner in big cities.”

An emotional Baldwin rebuked Congress and the White House for what she viewed as lack of proper action in response to the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month.

Baldwin also grew angry with a Florida Republican in 2018, shortly after the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, for his resistance to discussing a ban on semiautomatic guns. He responded it would be a ban on nearly all guns, and at one point she demanded he stop returning to his “talking points.”

Gillibrand has also expressed support for a mandatory “buyback” program for so-called “assault weapons” and criminal prosecution of those who didn’t participate.

Gillibrand acknowledged during the interview she had appeared on CNN to convince viewers to donate $1 to her campaign. She is still short of the 130,000 unique donors to make the next round of debates, and she also needs to hit at least 2 percent support in three more polls in the next week.

She said Monday she would consider being the running mate for the eventual nominee.

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Dem Dark Money Group Begins Ads in Support of Dems Opposed to Dark Money

A new dark money project for House Democrats is poised to release an ad campaign that will benefit at least four members who have voiced strong opposition to the use of dark money in politics and recently voted in favor of a bill that would force more disclosure on dark money groups.

House Majority Forward was established in March of this year to promote Democratic candidates for the House, but because the group is set up as a nonprofit and not a political action committee, it doesn’t have to disclose its donors.

“Abby Curran Horrell, the group’s executive director, tells [Politico Morning] Score that it’ll have six-figure buys in CA-21 (TJ Cox), CA-48 (Harley Rouda), CA-49 (Mike Levin) and NM-02 (Xochitl Torres Small) promoting the respective freshmen members of Congress and hinted that that the buys will be a health care-related message,” Politico Morning Score reported Tuesday (emphasis original).

All of those candidates have taken stands against dark money in the past year, and all have voted in favor of a Democrat-sponsored bill that would force more disclosure on nonprofits like House Majority Forward.

“We need to take back the House and prioritize getting the dark money out of politics!” Mike Levin tweeted in July of last year.

“Policy decisions among leaders in Washington should not be tied to special interest money,” Harley Rouda tweeted just over a year ago. “That’s why I have pledged to get dark money out of politics. #CA48”

Rep. T.J. Cox posted a newsletter to his congressional website promoting the first bit of legislation Democrats introduced in 2019 after gaining a majority in the lower chamber, a bill for which Cox was also a co-sponsor.

“This legislation ends the influence of special interest and ‘dark’ money in our elections, promotes national redistricting reform, and makes it easier for everyone to vote,” Cox wrote in the newsletter about the DISCLOSE Act.

National Public Radio highlighted the difference between words and deeds in a story headlined, “Democrats Want To End Dark Money, But First They Want To Use It.”

“Reform-minded Democrats have long held up ‘dark money’—political money that can’t be traced to its source—as a symptom of what’s wrong with politics in Washington,” the NPR report noted.

“But while House Democrats this winter passed a bill to end the secrecy shielding donors behind unregulated dark money contributions, liberal activist groups now deploy those funds to boost the party’s candidates in the 2020 elections.”

None of the campaigns or congressional offices of the representatives listed responded to requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon on the disparity between decrying dark money in politics and getting help from a dark money group.

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CNN Analyst April Ryan’s Bodyguard Charged With Assault

A bodyguard for CNN analyst April Ryan has been charged with assault after he allegedly grabbed a reporter’s camera and forced him out of an event in New Brunswick.

Charlie Kratovil, editor of independent news outlet New Brunswick Today, reported on Twitter that the 30-year-old Joel Morris stole his camera as he tried to record Ryan’s speech at an August 3 event. When Kratovil tried to retrieve his property, Morris twisted his arm behind his back in the lobby of the hotel where the event was taking place.

A subsequent video posted on Twitter confirmed that Morris had grabbed Kratovil in the hotel lobby.

Kratovil stated on Twitter that before arriving, he had received permission from the public relations firm running the event to cover it.

“Unlike many stories I do, I wasn’t digging deep or trying to put anyone on the spot,” he wrote. “Just thought it was cool that a well-known journo was speaking in my city & something our audience might appreciate.”

Before the event, Kratovil spoke with other attendees, including Rep. Donald Payne (D., N.J.), whom he congratulated on supporting impeachment for President Donald Trump. But during the event, Morris asked Kratovil to take down his camera. Kratovil refused. When Ryan took the stage to speak, Morris whispered in her ear that she was being recorded. Ryan then refused to speak until Kratovil turned off his camera.

“What I will say, when I speak, I don’t have news covering my speeches,” Ryan told the crowd as Morris left the stage to remove Kratovil’s camera.

“Don’t touch my camera,” Kratovil said. “Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir. That’s my camera.”

Kratovil chased Morris out of the room and was able to recover his property, but not without an altercation. Kratovil later accused Morris of harassment, assault, and theft. In an interview with NJ.com, Kratovil said he does not understand why his camera was taken down when other local news outlets were allowed to keep their cameras. He also noted that Ryan has not commented on the incident.

“Her silence is deafening at this point. It’s been more than two weeks,” Kratovil told NJ.com. “Anybody who’s a journalist should be condemning this.”

Ryan has been a vocal proponent of press freedom, saying last year that she hired a bodyguard after receiving death threats. She also stated in June on CNN that she has to fight for her “survival” as a reporter asking questions in the White House.

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Kentucky Democrats Revive ‘Deplorable’ Label With Attack on Republican Governor

A local Kentucky Democratic group blasted state Gov. Matt Bevin (R.) over the weekend, calling him a “deplorable troll” and referring to him as “The Deplorable” in a Facebook post.

The post displayed a photo of Bevin at a Kentucky state fair wearing a jacket with President Donald Trump’s face on it speaking with two volunteers at a Democratic state party booth.

“Who is this deplorable troll, her face asks?” the post reads. “Matt Bevin went to the Democratic booth at the State fair with a ridiculous jacket with Trump images printed in blue all over it. He went to ‘troll’ the young volunteers there because he bragged that it was ‘easy fishing.'”

“The Deplorable has no depth to which he will not descend,” the post concluded.

The Louisville Metro Democratic Club posted the photo and the caption, which references a major talking point from the 2016 presidential election. Failed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton described supporters of President Donald Trump as deplorable, which became a rallying cry for segments of Trump supporters who adopted the phase.

“We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton infamously said two months before the 2016 election.

Immediately afterwards, Clinton said she regretted the remark. In her post-mortem book on the election, titled “What Happened,” Clinton listed the remark alongside factors like James Comey, Vladimir Putin, sexism, and Jill Stein as contributing to her loss to President Trump.

President Trump will be holding a fundraiser for Bevin’s re-election campaign tomorrow as the incumbent faces off against Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Bevin’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the governor’s decision to wear the jacket, according to Newsweek.

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Va. Dem Delegate: ‘I Identify as Socialist in Many Ways’

Virginia delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg expressed his identification as a socialist in a string of 2016 Facebook comments.

In response to a 2016 Jacobin Magazine Facebook post, VanValkenburg wrote that he identifies as a socialist “in many ways,” adding that “socialists need liberals” to win elections because a socialist candidate “isn’t getting elected president anytime soon.”

“Look, the reality is that socialists need liberals and vice versa,” wrote VanValkenburg. “I identify as a socialist in many ways but the reality is that identification isn’t getting elected president.”

The original Jacobin post cited a Politico piece critical of Hillary Clinton’s choice of Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) to be her running mate. VanValkenburg added that “liberals are not a perfect vessel for change…But socialist change doesn’t come from right wing officeholders.”

But VanValkenburg appeared to contradict himself when he challenged many of the socialist magazine’s commenters for criticizing Kaine, writing, “This is some left wing bullshit.”

“Tim Kaine is a liberal who will better this country,” he wrote. “Get over yourself Jacobin.”

 

 

VanValkenburg, a Democrat, is serving his first term in the House of Delegates after narrowly defeating Republican challenger Edward Whitlock in 2017. VanValkenburg represents Virginia’s 72nd district, a historically conservative district held by Republicans for more than two decades.

Given his status as a swing district representative, VanValkenburg has refrained from discussing President Trump on the campaign trail.

“It’s actually very rare that I hear about Donald Trump, which I actually think is nice,” said VanValkenburg in a 2017 interview. “You know, I think that speaks to voters’ sense of, you know, that’s not what it’s about.”

VanValkenburg often campaigns with self-described moderate Abigail Spanberger, calling the freshman representative his “favorite congresswoman.” Spanberger associates with a “gang” of Democratic lawmakers described as the “Anti-Squad” due to their opposition of socialist policies. According to Politico, members of Spanberger’s gang “privately grouse” that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., NY) and other progressive members are “hampering their efforts to seek bipartisan remedies.”

VanValkenburg is seeking re-election in November against Republican GayDonna Vandergriff.

Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox included VanValkenburg in a list of targeted blue seats.

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New RSLC National Finance Chairman: ‘The Future of This Country Is on the Line’

Ron Weiser, a philanthropist and former ambassador who assisted the RNC in raising funds for President Trump, was named the Republican State Leadership Committee’s national finance chairman on Tuesday.

RSLC president Austin Chambers expressed concern with Democratic candidates’ funds being backed by liberal billionaires for the upcoming 2020 election cycle, saying these donors support “dangerous policies.”

Chambers said Weiser has “deep experience fighting back against assaults on our freedoms” and that he “will be a pillar of success moving forward.”

“Everything is on the line in this election cycle,” Chambers said, “and there is no one I’d rather [have] fight in the trenches.” 

Weiser said is willing to bring the fight in 2020.

“We’re going to stop [the Democrats],” he said, “but it’s going to take a lot of money—that’s why I’m in this fight. The future of the country is on the line.”

In 2016, the Republican National Committee tasked Weiser with helping raise funds for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Weiser previously served as the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and was the ambassador to Slovakia under former president George W. Bush’s administration. 

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Planned Parenthood Chooses Abortion Over Needy Patients

Planned Parenthood vacuumed up tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year through the Title X federal birth control program, but is now cutting ties with the program as a regulation prohibiting abortion referrals is set to go into effect.

The Trump administration introduced a rule forbidding doctors treating patients in the Title X program from providing direct referrals to abortion providers in 2018. The administration’s new directive forbids referrals for abortions as “a method of family planning,” but still allows for “nondirective” counseling on abortion services. Planned Parenthood’s announcement came one month after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected its bid to block the rule. On Friday, the court again denied the organization’s bid for an emergency injunction.

The Title X program, established in 1970 under President Richard Nixon, requires that clinics maintain a “financial and physical separation” from abortion facilities, which are not eligible for federal funding, and “family planning” clinics which can receive federal funding. Abortion referrals allowed eligible clinics to coordinate with ineligible abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood took in $60 million from the program annually, but decided to withdraw from it rather than stop abortion referrals in compliance with the new regulation. The funding will now be re-directed to other health organizations that do not perform abortions.

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced that the Trump administration, through an unethical and dangerous gag rule, has forced Planned Parenthood grantees out of Title X,” the organization said in a Monday press release.

Withdrawing from Title X does not mean that Planned Parenthood no longer receives any federal funding. The organization still receives around $500 million in Medicaid funding each year.

The administration said the rule will ensure that taxpayer dollars are not directly connected to abortion. The Department of Health and Human Services said it will broaden health care access and protect “Title X healthcare providers so that they are not required to choose between participating in the program and violating their own consciences by providing abortion counseling and referral.”

Pro-life groups have praised the new rule. Many said Planned Parenthood’s decision to withdraw from Title X illustrates the organization’s priorities. March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said that for all of Planned Parenthood’s rhetoric about caring for poor women, it was willing to abandon Title X for the sake of abortion.

“Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, today made a choice not to separate its abortion operation from Title X services, and in doing declined Title X funding,” she said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood’s decision today doubles down on their ultimate goal, which is political abortion advocacy, not healthcare.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, called it a “huge victory” for taxpayers and women. She said community health centers, which far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics, would fill the gap left to provide care to Title X patients.

“Planned Parenthood showed its true colors by prioritizing abortion over family planning, refusing to comply with the Protect Life Rule and dropping out of the Title X program,” she said in a release. “The Protect Life Rule does not reduce family planning funding by a single dollar, it simply directs taxpayer funding to family planning providers who stay out of the abortion business.”

Planned Parenthood is now pushing for legislation to overturn the rule. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives included language to reverse the Title X rule in a June spending package. The organization called on the Senate to adopt a similar measure.

“The Senate must push for a spending bill that includes protective language to make sure millions of people can continue to access health care through Title X,” it said in the release.

Sen. Steve Daines (R., Mont.), founder of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, said his state will benefit from the withdrawal.

“Taxpayer money no longer going to the nation’s largest abortion provider will now be available for community health centers across Montana,” he said in a statement. “In Montana, community health centers are more accessible, with more than three times as many locations to provide healthcare and benefit Montanans.”

Planned Parenthood will continue to battle the administration before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are scheduled for September.

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Cotton: Chinese Military Action Against Hong Kong Protests Would Be ‘Grave Miscalculation’

Republican senator Tom Cotton (Ark.) said during an appearance on The Hugh Hewitt Show Tuesday morning that it would be “a grave miscalculation of historic proportion for Beijing to crack down on Hong Kong.”

Hewitt asked Cotton about an L.A. Times report that suggested the Chinese government is considering using its military to quell ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

“It would be a grave miscalculation of historic proportion for Beijing to crack down on Hong Kong, to invade Hong Kong territory with the People’s Armed Police, or to declare martial law that would require a fundamental reassessment of our relationship with the People’s Republic of China,” Cotton said.

“I’m not seeing any publicly-available evidence that Beijing is trying to deescalate the tension in Hong Kong,” Cotton continued. “Now to be fair, we haven’t seen any publicly-available evidence that they are beginning to exert physical force against the protesters. There’s been some evidence that they are using subterfuge, espionage, cyberattacks to undercut the protesters, but as you saw over the weekend, that certainly did nothing to deter the huge protests on Hong Kong Island.”

Cotton described Chinese military intervention in Hong Kong as a point of no return for U.S.-Chinese relations, saying America “should reconsider in a fundamental way our relationship with Beijing should they crack down or impose martial law on Hong Kong.”

“We ought to reconsider the kind of visas that we give to senior-level Chinese officials, or the number of Chinese nationals we allow into our universities. We could also just say simply that trade talks will no longer go forward and the tariffs will remain in place,” he added. “These are the kind of steps, these are the kind of steps that we ought to have taken after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 when the geopolitical situation had changed so much from the initial opening to China in the 1970s.”

The months-long Hong Kong protests have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and police officers and the temporary closure of a major international airport. When the protests initially broke out earlier this summer, a group of 12 bipartisan senators, including Cotton, expressed their support for the demonstrators in a statement.

“The people of Hong Kong are assembling in the streets to resist this threat to their freedom and send a message to the Chinese Communist Party,” the statement said.

A State Department report on human rights practices in China found a long list of abuses on the part of the Chinese government.

“Official repression of the freedoms of speech, religion, movement, association, and assembly of Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas and of Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang worsened and was more severe than in other areas of the country,” the report stated.

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Jill Biden: Voters Should Support Biden Even If They Prefer Others

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of former vice president and current Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, said that while Democratic voters may like other candidates better, they should support her husband because of his electability.

In an MSNBC video posted Monday, Jill Biden said voters may “have to swallow a little bit” and accept that their ultimate goal is to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

“So yes, you know, your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, healthcare than Joe is. But you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘Ok, I personally like so and so better, but your bottom line has to be we have to beat Trump,” Dr. Biden said.

“I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race,” she added. “And so, if you’re looking at that you’ve got to look at the polls, and you know a lot of the times I say, ‘Oh you know polls don’t mean anything, polls don’t mean anything,’ but if they’re consistent and they’re consistently saying the same thing, I think you can’t dismiss that.”

“So I think if your goal, I know my goal is to beat Donald Trump, we have to have someone who can beat him. And so if you look at the polls, if you look at Joe, with his record with independents, we can’t just have Democrats who are going to win. You know, we have to include everybody, our party has to be more inclusive.”

Biden is currently beating Trump in national polling in a one-on-one matchup. A recent CNN poll also shows Biden increasing his lead over his fellow Democratic candidates, with the former vice president enjoying a 7-point jump and a 14-point lead over the second place candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

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