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Tuesday, Sep 23rd

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Bush-Era Wiretapping Memos Released

Bush era memosThe Justice Department released two decade-old memos Friday night, offering the fullest public airing to date of the Bush administration’s legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails — a program that began in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The broad outlines of the argument — that the president has inherent constitutional power to monitor Americans’ communications without a warrant in a time of war — were known, but the sweep of the reasoning becomes even clearer in the memos written by then-Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, who was head of President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel.

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In memoir, Texas' Wendy Davis reveals abortion

Wendy DavisTexas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis discloses in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion in the 1990s after discovering the fetus had a severe brain abnormality.

In "Forgetting to be Afraid," Davis also writes about ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.

Davis became a national political sensation by filibustering her state's tough new restrictions on abortion.

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Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigns

jesse BentonSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, announced his resignation late Friday, citing potential distractions over renewed attention to a scandal from the Iowa 2012 caucuses.

A longtime associate of Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Benton was the surprise choice to run the McConnell campaign in Sept. 2012 — even before the current election cycle began. Benton’s departure comes days after a former Iowa GOP state lawmaker pleaded guilty to charges of accepting money to change his endorsement in 2012 from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul. Benton was the chairman of Paul’s 2012 campaign and has been mentioned in documents surrounding the case. He has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case.

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GOP poll of women: Party 'stuck in past'

GOP study on women's supportA detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources.

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Iowa Politician Admits To Accepting Illegal Money From Ron Paul Campaign

Ron PaulA former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to hiding money received from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in exchange for ending his support for Michele Bachmann, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

Kent Sorenson was a supporter of Bachmann’s campaign in the 2012 primaries. He later switched his allegiance to Paul’s campaign, after Paul deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari wrote him a $25,000 check, the Associated Press reported. Sorenson eventually received $73,000 in payments that were linked to the campaign, an investigator found. Sorenson has now admitted taking the bribes, and pleaded guilty to one count of concealing federal campaign expenditures.

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The end of AIPAC?

AIPAC influenceFor decades, AIPAC has thrived on bipartisanship, exerting its influence on congressional Democrats and Republicans alike. But Israel’s government, now dominated by a coalition of right-wing parties led by Likud, has made compromise far less likely than it was a generation ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, the leader of Likud and an unabashed partisan of the Republican view of the world, took office at about the same time as President Obama, and the two have clashed frequently over the expansion of Israeli settlements and the contours of a potential peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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Palin goes 0 for 2 in Alaska as clout disappears nationally

Sarah Palin clout disappearsSarah Palin has lost the magic. The defeat of her choice Tuesday in a Republican Senate primary in her home state of Alaska capped a primary season in which her favored candidates have stumbled across the nation.

A referendum to restore Palin’s signature achievement from her time as Alaska governor, a state tax on oil companies, was also headed toward defeat following Tuesday’s voting, dealing a double whammy loss to Palin in her home state and highlighting her declining influence.

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