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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    Former Virginia Governor and Senate candidate Tim Kaine introduces U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to speak during a rally for the Biden-Obama re-election campaign in Sterling, Virginia November 5, 2012. After a long, bitter and expensive campaign, national polls show U.S. President Barack Obama and Republic challenger Mitt Romney are essentially deadlocked ahead of Tuesday's election, although Obama has a slight advantage in the eight or nine battleground states that will decide the winner.
 REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION) - RTR3A0ZG

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: From the Senate to the vice presidential race.

    Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine may not be as well-known or as polarizing as the candidates at the top of the ticket. In fact, polls show more than one-third of registered voters don’t know enough about either of them to form an opinion, this despite the fact that, if Trump wins, he would be the oldest newly elected president to take office, while Clinton would be the second oldest.

    Americans will have a chance to compare the two running mates when they face off on the debate stage tomorrow night in Virginia.

    We take a look now at how these two competitors got to where they are today.

    SEN. TIM KAINE (D), Vice Presidential Nominee: Are we going to let him get away with it?

    AUDIENCE: No!

    SEN. TIM KAINE: Absolutely not. We can’t.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, they represent polar opposites of the political spectrum.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), Vice Presidential Nominee: I know that I know we will make America great again.

    (APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But long before they were vying to be the nation’s second in command, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine began their path to politics under strikingly similar circumstances.

    Both were sons of the Midwest, in Pence’s case, Columbus, Indiana, raised by a gas station owner and a homemaker, in a large Irish-Catholic family.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’m really just a small-town boy who grew up in Southern Indiana with a big family and a cornfield in the backyard.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Kaine grew up in Kansas city, Missouri, the elder of two brothers, his father a metalworker, his mother a teacher.

    SEN. TIM KAINE: I wanted to be a man for others, somebody who fought for the rights of others, had others’ back, would stand up for others, especially if others wouldn’t.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Catholic Church played an integral role in both men’s early lives. The Jesuit-educated Kaine came from a family that he says cared very much about the church, and very little about politics.

    Jeff Schapiro has covered Kaine for The Richmond Times-Dispatch for more than a decade.

    JEFF SCHAPIRO, The Richmond-Times Dispatch: I think the Jesuit connection is important for several reasons, most notably the idea of liberation theology, that faith manifests itself in political action.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Like Kaine, Pence was a Catholic school kid, serving as an altar boy, sometimes seven days a week. The future GOP governor also had an early interest in politics, Democratic politics, says Maureen Groppe of The Indianapolis Star.

    MAUREEN GROPPE, The Indianapolis Star: He was a youth coordinator for the Democratic Party in his county at one point. He revered the Kennedys. He had a bust of JFK. He voted for Carter, but his politics started to change in college.

    He said Ronald Reagan inspired him to become a Republican. He thought that Reagan embodied the ideals of America that he was raised to believe in.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Both men went on to study law. But Kaine took a detour to Honduras to work with a Jesuit mission.

    JEFF SCHAPIRO: Then, when he indicated to the Jesuits present there that he was a law student, he was told that that was not necessarily a skill that would be useful in a Third World country. And he spent a year teaching crafts, metalwork, carpentry to youngsters at this missionary.

    SEN. TIM KAINE: And it convinced me that we have got to advance opportunity and equality for everybody, no matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like, what accent they have, or who they love.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: After law school, the newly wed Kaine settled in Richmond, Virginia, to be close to his wife’s family and launch his legal career. Pence did the same in his home state, Indiana, and mulled his next step.

    MAUREEN GROPPE: When he was thinking about what he wanted to do with his life, he thought about his gifts, his talents, and he thought he had a gift for articulation for advocacy. And he wanted to try and use that in some way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: After two failed runs for Congress in the ’80s, that gift led Pence to start his own radio talk show.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE: And I’m supposed to be a cynic. I’m supposed to not appropriate you people.

    MAUREEN GROPPE: He said that his show was Rush Limbaugh on decaf. And he also likes to say that he’s a conservative, but he’s not in a bad mood about it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Also during this time, Pence moved away from his Catholic upbringing, joining an evangelical Christian church in Indianapolis.

    In 2000, Pence ran for Congress again. The third time was the charm. He quickly earned a reputation as a champion for conservative causes, leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE: Millions of pro-life Americans shouldn’t be asked to fund the leading abortion provider in the United States.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But he didn’t always fall in line with the Republican Party’s leadership, fighting against President Bush’s signature education program and expansion of Medicaid.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE: I rise on behalf of the fringe in America.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As Pence built his Washington resume, Kaine was launching himself into Virginia politics. First serving on city council, Kaine went on to become the first white mayor of Richmond, a majority-black city, in nearly a decade.

    JEFF SCHAPIRO: His relationship with African-Americans has been enduring. And it manifests itself not just in politics, but in faith. He and Anne Holton attend a majority-black African-American Roman Catholic parish.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He went on to serve as lieutenant governor under then governor and now fellow Senator Mark Warner, and was next elected governor himself.

    For Kaine, the 2008 financial collapse and the nation’s worst mass shooting, 32 dead at Virginia Tech University, would consume his attention.

    SEN. TIM KAINE: As you wrestle with your sadness, as you wrestle with your own feelings of anger or confusion, as you wrestle with the despair, do not let hold of that spirit of the community that makes Virginia Tech such a special place. Do not lose hold of that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Although Governor Kaine was unable to convince a Republican legislature to adopt stricter background checks following the shooting, he did close a loophole that had permitted the mentally ill to purchase guns.

    SEN. TIM KAINE: I have always believed that, however you serve, what matters is whether you actually deliver results for people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Schapiro says these experiences helped Kaine hone his political skills.

    JEFF SCHAPIRO: He can be very calculated. He can be very cagey. He has an acute sense of the jugular.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Kaine’s political star continued to rise. He helped Barack Obama win Virginia in 2008, was named national party chair the next year, and in 2012 ran for the Senate, and won easily.

    As Kaine entered Congress, Mike Pence gave up his House seat to run for governor of Indiana. His tenure has been rocky at times. In 2015, Pence signed and defended a controversial law that critics charged would let businesses discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    MAUREEN GROPPE: The business community in Indiana really rose up against it. And then, when he agreed to make changes to the law, that satisfied neither side. The conservatives thought he had capitulated and the other side thought that the changes didn’t go far enough.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Pence did earn praise from conservatives for implementing significant tax cuts and signing a stricter state abortion law.

    Donald Trump tapped Pence to be his running mate just as he was mounting a tough reelection bid in Indiana.

    Groppe says Pence is motivated by aspirations for higher office, but also by his Christian faith.

    MAUREEN GROPPE: It’s a central part of his life, and I think he also sees it as a reason why — connected to what he’s doing in public office. He said he sees public service as a calling.

    GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In a similar vein, Schapiro says Kaine is driven by a belief that politics can be faith in action.

    JEFF SCHAPIRO: Faith becomes sort of the broad umbrella under which Kaine operates. I don’t know that it’s the only thing. This is politics and government as opportunities for change, as instruments for good. This is what interests and motivates Kaine.

    The post What you need to know about Tim Kaine and Mike Pence appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan speaks at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTS43ZV

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, we head to New Hampshire, where a tight race between Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte and her Democratic challenger, the current governor, Maggie Hassan, will help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

    Lisa Desjardins has the story.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The start of fall in New Hampshire. Along with the changing leaves this year, the Granite State is home to something else special, a contest between two respected and popular Senate candidates.

    Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, out gathering votes at an apple festival this weekend, is defending her seat. Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, rallying volunteers, is hoping to win it. Polls show it is a toss-up race, a sharp partisan fight, even as both brandish they are not.

    GOV. MAGGIE HASSAN, Democratic Senate Candidate: We passed a bipartisan Medicaid expansion program. We froze in-state tuition at our university system, and actually lowered it at our community colleges.

    SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, Republican Senate Candidate: I have one of the most bipartisan records in the Senate. I have certainly been called a problem-solver by the independent group No Labels, who I have worked with.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Both are former lawyers, both known for their work ethic. Neither is flashy. But Hassan charges Ayotte is too conservative for the state, in lockstep with the GOP on defunding Planned Parenthood, overturning Roe vs. Wade, and on guns.

    GOV. MAGGIE HASSAN: Whether it’s standing with the gun lobby, rather than expanding background checks so that terrorists can’t get guns online and at gun shows, or whether it’s standing against a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, those decisions of Senator Ayotte, her positions and her votes, really have pulled us backwards.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Ayotte stands by her position to ban most abortions as a matter of faith, adding she supports access to more contraception. She attacks Hassan on taxes, a core issue here.

    SEN. KELLY AYOTTE: In terms of taxes, I’m someone who focuses on low taxes, a better tax climate for individuals and small businesses. She has long record of increasing taxes, not only on small businesses, but on campgrounds, registration fees on the people of New Hampshire.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Hassan’s tax record is complicated. She cut taxes for some, but raised them for others, citing urgent needs like fighting the opioid crisis.

    Meanwhile, both candidates are keeping their party’s presidential nominees at arm’s length. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both in New Hampshire last week, but neither Hassan nor Ayotte joined them on stage. Ayotte has said she’s voting for Trump, but not endorsing him.

    But how do the important people, the voters, see this?

    Jim Jalbert runs a thriving family-owned bus company, C&J Bus, in Portsmouth. Jalbert is a registered Republican who doesn’t like Trump. But between Ayotte and Hassan:

    JIM JALBERT, C&J Bus Lines: If you look at the two of them, they’re both really good people.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Jim has a lot at stake. He’s worried about passing on his business to a third generation, his sons. He’s worried about taxes and America’s crumbling roads.

    JIM JALBERT: I don’t vote for a person based on a single issue. I vote for a person based on what they’re going to do in total. And I look at the two of them, and I think that Ayotte, with her demeanor and her style, will probably do more for New Hampshire.

    LISA DESJARDINS: But Hassan and Democrats would love a so-called Trump drag on down-ballot races, especially in a place like New Hampshire

    Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise institute explains.

    NORMAN ORNSTEIN, American Enterprise Institute: If the Democrats can’t win in a purple state with a large number of highly educated voters who are turned off by Donald Trump, they’re going to have a much more steeply uphill battle in accomplishing the goal of winning the Senate.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s look at the Senate battle map.

    To take over the Senate, Democrats need to gain four Senate seats if Clinton is president and her V.P. can break a tie, or five seats if Trump wins. Democrats have a big advantage. Look at the 10 most competitive Senate seats. Nine are red, held by Republicans. What is Democrats’ best chance at a Senate takeover?

    Well, sources in both parties believe they will pick up Illinois and Wisconsin. That would be two. In North Carolina and Missouri, incumbent Republicans are on the ropes. If they lose? That’s two more Democratic pick-ups, for four total. But Democrats may lose Nevada, or the presidency, so they need to pick up at least one more seat from a toss-up state like New Hampshire.

    That battle is playing out at the 140-year-old Deerfield Fair. It’s a jumble of food and politics.

    Andrew Robertson is splitting his ticket, voting Clinton for president, but for Senate?

    ANDREW ROBERTSON: Yes, I think I’m probably likely to vote for Senator Ayotte, in large part because of her experience.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Others are an equal mix.

    CAROL WYNNE: I really admire Maggie Hassan. She appears to have incredible work ethic and a great heart.

    BOB BARTOLUCCI: Unenthusiastically, I am supporting Ayotte.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Why unenthusiastically?

    BOB BARTOLUCCI: Well, basically because Ayotte has not been as supportive to the Republican nominee as she should be.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Enthusiastic support from the Senate will be key to passing the next president’s agenda, likely to include several Supreme Court nominations.

    Norm Ornstein:

    NORMAN ORNSTEIN: This year, I really do believe that the battle for control of the Senate is very close in importance to that battle for control of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Those high stakes have meant sky-high spending here in the Granite State, and not just from the candidates, but from dozens of outside groups.

    They have flooded the airwaves with tens of millions of dollars in ads. And that’s in a state with just over one million people. It’s by far the most spending per person of any Senate race.

    Ads from pro- and anti-gun groups, from Planned Parenthood, from big-money groups on the left and right all creating an airwaves war, as two popular candidates try to outperform their parties’ presidential nominees.

    This makes voter contact, in this retail politics state, pivotal. And, there, Ayotte has a challenge: Usually, Senate and presidential campaigns coordinate, but not so with Republicans this year. Ayotte is on her own to identify and get out her voters.

    All this means, right now, it’s any woman’s race.

    For the “PBS NewsHour” I’m Lisa Desjardins in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    The post Why Senate control could ride on this tight New Hampshire race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Members of the Shi'ite Badr Organisation undergo training before the upcoming battle to recapture Mosul in Diyala province, Iraq September 27, 2016. Picture taken September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.  - RTSPTYH

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the first of three reports this week on the fight for Iraq.

    Thirteen years after the U.S. military invasion, the country still struggles to stand on its own, as it faces profound challenges, none more dire than the threat posed by the Islamic State, which controls parts of the country.

    Tonight, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, special correspondent Jane Ferguson and producer Jon Gerberg look at the coming crucial battle to reclaim the city of Mosul from ISIS and to drive it from Iraq once and for all.

    JANE FERGUSON: Hungry and crushed together in the punishing sun, these Iraqis, refugees in their own land, desperately grasp for food.

    They have fled south of Mosul City, where fighting between government forces and ISIS has been raging for months. New offensives have ISIS in retreat, but with their homes, and all they know, engulfed in the battle, they have come here.

    Escaping from Mosul just days ago, this woman says she and her family of seven were lucky to get away. Running away from ISIS is dangerous, and she didn’t want to be identified.

    WOMAN (through translator): There are many people who want to leave, but cannot. The ones they catch, they break their legs. They just use a block on the sidewalk and break their legs. If the person has already gone very far, they just kill them.

    JANE FERGUSON: We are 60 miles south of Mosul. Just up the road, these troops are fighting the ISIS insurgency. Iraqi special forces have already pushed ISIS from many areas of the country. The battles have been tough, destroying almost everything in sight.

    The Iraqi army has fought for months over these areas south of Mosul City, swathes of land and villages just like this that they have been pushed out of. But even though they retook this land several months ago, civilians have yet to return.

    These soldiers now have their sites set north, planning to take back the city of Mosul, the Islamic State’s last remaining major urban base in Iraq.

    At 23, Mahmoud has fought and won several battles against the group. And these men are ready to take Mosul.

    MAHMOUD DUYOUL SABBAGH, Iraqi Special Forces (through translator): By God, my morale is high. Praise be to God. Praise and thanks be to God. We will kick is from Mosul.

    JANE FERGUSON: That confidence is a major turnaround from just two years ago. Then, ISIS rushed into Iraq from Syria and swept down these very roads, as the Iraqi army collapsed and ran away.

    It was a humiliating shock for the country’s security forces. ISIS declared their conquest a new caliphate, or Muslim empire, with the capital based in Raqqa, Syria, only 140 miles from the border. It was from Mosul that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, first appeared in public, preaching in the city’s Grand Mosque, demanding obedience from Muslims around the world.

    For the past year, Iraq’s military has been fighting back, retaking former ISIS strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi. Now the Iraqi military is planning a showdown with ISIS in Mosul, a battle they hope will push the group out of the country.

    Iraqi special forces commander General Maan al-Saadi, believes is will soon be on the run.

    GENERAL MAAN AL-SAADI, Commander, Iraqi Special Forces (through translator): No one accepts them, whether civilian or military. We are living in the 21st century. Who would accept bloody savages and killers?

    JANE FERGUSON: Across Iraq, the U.S. leads a coalition of 19 countries fighting ISIS, but the push to retake Mosul will be an Iraqi military effort, with U.S. military support.

    American airstrikes, guided by the precision of surveillance drones, have already hammered ISIS for more than two years. Heavy vehicles, and attack helicopters, designed to press the fight on the ground, can already be seen on U.S. bases here. And last week, the Pentagon announced an additional 600 U.S. troops are heading to Iraq, bringing the number of American boots on the ground to more than 5,000.

    But the Americans will not be on the front lines. That task falls to these regular Iraqi troops. They have already fought ISIS in other, smaller cities, and now each soldier is getting a month of extra training for the tough door-to-door urban warfare expected in Mosul.

    It will be a huge test for these men, with Da’esh, as they call ISIS here, likely to challenge their fighting skills more than ever before. To prepare for the variety of threats, roadside bombs, booby traps, suicide car bombs and more, coalition partners from the Australian military are training these young fighters. They have a clear, limited goal.

    COL. ANDREW LOWE, Australian Army: When you only have four weeks of training, it’s important to keep in the back of our minds is that we are not training them to be like us. We are training them to be what they need to be to defeat Da’esh. So, what we say in the training role, amongst the task group, is, make them better than Da’esh.

    JANE FERGUSON: Iraqi soldiers alone cannot defeat ISIS. The upcoming battle for Mosul will involve a complex mix of fighting groups, some at odds with one another. Iranian-backed Shia militias, like these currently on the front line near Tikrit, will be another fighting element.

    Accused of taking orders from Shiite commanders in Tehran, they are blamed for stirring sectarian tensions in Sunni areas. Mosul is a largely Sunni city, and their participation in the upcoming fight has been politically divisive.

    Iran-backed fighters allied with U.S.-backed forces reflect the reality of Iraq today. There are many players who have found a common goal in defeating ISIS, but it’s often the only thing uniting them.

    In Northern Iraq, Peshmerga forces from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region near Mosul will also play a role in the fight for the city. They have been at odds with the Baghdad government for decades, seeking independence and a country of their own. They also see parts of Mosul as rightly theirs.

    This young Kurdish fighter told us what motivates him

    NEZAR ESMAEL MUSTAFA, Peshmerga (through translator): This is for our future, for the future of Kurdistan. It is an honor and we will give our lives for this cause.

    JANE FERGUSON: But the Kurdish fighters, also trained by and allied with the U.S.-led coalition, don’t want the Shia militias joining the fight. Their spokesman told “PBS NewsHour” plainly, the Kurds do not approve.

    BRIG. GEN. HALGURD HIKMAT, Spokesman, Peshmerga (through translator): The Shia militias are foreigners to the people of that area. They have no relations with the land and the people. If they participate, they will create conflict.

    JANE FERGUSON: This is where the battle for Mosul will begin.

    Qayyarah, a small town just 35 miles south of Mosul, was occupied by ISIS until they were pushed out just over a month ago. Now some signs of life are returning. At the entrance to the town, a hand-painted sign reads: “Here is Qayyarah, the key to liberating Mosul.”

    ISIS set fire to Qayyarah oil wells in retreat.

    This road is the front line before getting to ISIS-controlled Mosul, and all along the front line here, it is divided up between the various groups who are fighting ISIS. It represents just how complex the battle for Mosul will be.

    U.S. Major General Gary Volesky, commander of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, knows the difficulties involved in getting Iraq’s combative factions to work together.

    “PBS NewsHour” traveled with the general to Qayyarah Air Field, destroyed by ISIS as they left here, he says. This will be the major hub, where U.S. support troops and Iraqi forces will work together as the offensive gets under way.

    MAJ. GEN. GARY VOLESKY, Commander, 101st Airborne Division: All of the stakeholders recognize the importance of Mosul. I mean, we have been to meetings with both the Kurds, the Iraqis, a lot of the different stakeholders, if you will, and they all understand that they have got to come together to defeat Da’esh. And that’s what they are doing.

    JANE FERGUSON: In 2003, during the early days of the American occupation here, the 101st Airborne was responsible for Mosul.

    Colonel Brett Sylvia knows that role has now changed.

    COL. BRETT SYLVIA, 101st Airborne Division: I am a soldier. And there is no doubt that if you ask me where I wanted to be, it would be up front, you know, with a rifle in my hand leading. But that’s not our role today. Our role is to advise and assist them. And, to be honest with you, it may very well be the right strategy.

    JANE FERGUSON: U.S. commanders hope their latest efforts will prevent another 13 years of bloodshed and fighting.

    COL. BRETT SYLVIA: I do have a son in the military now. And I do think about it a lot, about, what I am doing today in order to be able to create a long-lasting stability, such that he may not have to come here?

    JANE FERGUSON: Stability of any kind has eluded this land for so long that refugees fleeing Mosul will have to survive in places like this. As many as a million civilians live in Mosul City right now.

    When they flee, the humanitarian crisis could accelerate from grave to disaster. Camps are already stretched beyond capacity. The United Nations is frantically trying to expand this facility to absorb the expected new arrivals.

    MAN: It is also going to start to be raining, and the winter season is going to make any construction a lot more challenging and the living conditions a lot more difficult. So it’s really a race against time.

    JANE FERGUSON: Despite the hardship, it’s better than living under ISIS rule.

    WOMAN (through translator): Life is miserable here, but better than where we were before. A price cannot be set for freedom. People’s freedom is priceless.

    JANE FERGUSON: How long they must stay here will depend on how the fight for Mosul plays out. Defeating ISIS is a short-term goal. But once they have been pushed out of the city, keeping those who have fought them from turning on each other will be the next challenge.

    Their hatred of ISIS is the only thing that binds many of Iraq’s fighting forces together.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jane Ferguson in Qayyarah, Iraq.

    The post To drive ISIS from Mosul, a complicated coalition joins forces appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man casts his vote in a referendum on a peace deal between the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels at the Colombian Consulate in Caracas, Venezuela October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello - RTSQFVK

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to a major upset in South America.

    Yesterday, voters in Colombia rejected a peace deal between their government and the largest rebel group, known as the FARC. It was hoped the deal would put an end to 50-plus years of conflict that’s left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

    William Brangham has the latest.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Sunday’s stunning outcome in Colombia touched off celebrations in parts of Bogota. Voters narrowly rejected a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, this despite predictions it would win easily.

    CLAUDIA, ‘No’ Supporter (through translator): We have all been victims of the FARC and this victory is calling to the government to renegotiate the agreements, not to hand over the country to the FARC. It’s very emotional. This is what Colombia wants.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But yes-voters complained opponents of the peace deal were misguided.

    ANTONIO SANGUINO, ‘Yes’ supporter (through translator): Fifty percent of the people who went out to vote allowed themselves to be convinced by a message of hate, a message of revenge, a message of keeping us in the past.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The government and the leftist rebels signed the peace pact one week ago after four years of negotiations. It would formally end a conflict that’s claimed at least 220,000 lives since the 1960s, and displaced millions more, but it still needed ratification. After Sunday’s rejection, President Juan Manuel Santos and the top FARC commander appealed for calm.

    PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, Colombia (through translator): I call on those who decided to or not to support the agreement to end the conflict with the FARC. Now we are all together, going to decide between the path that we should take so that peace is possible. I will not give up.

    TIMOCHENKO, FARC Commander (through translator): The FARC maintains its willingness for peace and reiterates its position to use only words as weapons to work towards the future. The Colombian people who dream of peace, you can count on us. Peace will win out.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Even former President Alvaro Uribe, a leader of the no campaign, warned against reprisals.

    PRESIDENT ALVARO URIBE, Former President, Colombia (through translator): We all want peace. Nobody wants violence. We ask that the FARC are protected and that all crimes, including drug trafficking and extortion, are stopped.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The United States had backed the accord, and, today, a White House spokesman voiced hope.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: The good news is that all sides including the voters, I think, are still focused on trying to reach this negotiated peace, and that certainly is within the national security interests of the United States to end this war, and we are going to encourage all sides to pursue that peace.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For now, a cease-fire remains in effect, as negotiators ponder the way forward.

    To help us understand the future of this peace process, we’re joined now by someone intimately involved in securing the deal in the first place.

    Bernard Aronson is the U.S. special envoy for talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels.

    Welcome.

    Fifty years of fighting. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions of people pushed out of their homes. Why did voters reject this peace plan?

    BERNARD ARONSON, US Special Envoy for Colombian Peace Process: Well, I think the woman who spoke about it in your introduction spoke for a lot of Colombians, which is they have suffered enormously, they have been victimized, they’re bitter about that, rightfully so, and they felt the FARC got off too easy in this peace accord.

    Whether that’s true or not is up to debate, but many Colombians felt that way and they turned out, and, by a very small majority, rejected the accord.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A very, very small majority, I mean, 50 to 49, almost.

    Pick up that idea, though. The argument that many of them made is that the FARC were involved in drug trafficking, killings, kidnappings, extortion, and to them this deal felt like the FARC was able to walk away scot-free. Is that a legitimate criticism?

    BERNARD ARONSON: It isn’t true that they were going to wake away scot-free.

    What the agreement did was set up a system of justice called transitional justice. All the FARC members who were accused of war crimes, atrocities or atrocities or violations of international human rights had to go before these tribunals, confess all of their crimes, all their criminal activity, give up any gains they made from it, and then subject themselves to sanctions by the court, which included restrictions on liberty, though maybe not prison, per se, and some kind of sanction of work.

    They have been sentenced to spend five or eight years removing land mines. But the people in Colombia whose family were kidnapped and who were killed or driven off their land, and they felt that that wasn’t an appropriate punishment.

    And that’s part of the discussion that has to go forward now between the government and the opposition.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, what does happen at this point?

    I mean, before this vote was held, the government said if the vote goes no, we’re not coming back to the negotiating table. The FARC said the same thing. So, where does the leave the peace process?

    BERNARD ARONSON: Well, but you just heard President Santos, in fact, say, they are going to try to renegotiate.

    I think what he wants to do, and what he’s doing correctly, is try to reach out to a broad spectrum of Colombian political leadership, including the no campaign, which obviously has to have a seat at the table now, and see if they can come up with some new consensus that they can start to discuss with the FARC.

    Whether they will get there or not is an open question, but it’s certainly worth an effort. And this president has been pretty relentless in his pursuit of peace.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But do you think the FARC — and you know many of these leaders. You have worked with them intimately over the years.

    Do you think they are going to tolerate a further conversation where all of a sudden the government says, I know we had a deal, but now we have a new deal to work out and you guys are going to have to be punished more severely?

    BERNARD ARONSON: Right. It’s not an easy sell.

    On the other hand, if the opposition can be brought into the deal so that there is a national consensus behind it, that’s good for the peace process, it’s good for the FARC, because, with a country as divided as Colombia is today, to go forward with the agreement, you would have made it a political football for the opposition. It could be obstructed and torn apart.

    And this way, the hope is — and it’s a hope at this point — is that you can create a national consensus which will be enduring and will unite the country.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Let’s say that it does forward and there is some sort of process reignited.

    One of the things I know that was an issue at this was the FARC rebels to disarm and some of their soldiers would then be reintegrated into Colombian society. My understanding is, many of these are very, very young people. How does someone who’s lived their entire life as a guerrilla soldier suddenly put down arms and reintegrate into society?

    BERNARD ARONSON: Well, Colombia actually has a long history over the last 20 or 30 years of reintegrating and demobilizing guerrilla forces.

    But what they do is a very sort of systematic approach with a presidential institute. They teach these young fighters to read and write, if they’re not literate. They teach them a job skill. They reunite them with their families. They provide housing. They often provide direct entree to a job opportunity.

    It’s not 100 percent foolproof, but they actually have a pretty good track record of demobilizing guerrilla forces.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You are someone who’s worked in this region for decades and you know the players involved intimately.

    Today, in the light of this vote, do you have any sense of hope that this is a chance that this is going to be restarted in a meaningful way?

    BERNARD ARONSON: Colombians on the yes vote and the Colombians on the no vote want peace.

    They don’t want to go back to war. They want a negotiated settlement. So, I don’t think it’s impossible the Colombians can come together on a new consensus. Getting the FARC to give up what they had and go to a different set of agreements is not going to be easy, but they don’t have other options either.

    They don’t want to go back to war, and war is not an option for them. So this is an uphill fight, but getting to the peace accords was a very long and torturous process. So, this is well worth the effort. President Santos wants to do this. The United States obviously support him.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Bernard Aronson, thank you very much for being here.

    BERNARD ARONSON: Thank you.

    The post Why did Colombian voters reject the FARC peace deal? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A woman protects herself from rain as Hurricane Matthew approaches in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSQL84

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news:  U.S. relations with Russia hit a new low today.  Washington called off talks with Moscow on the conflict in Syria, amid fierce air attacks on the city of Aleppo.  The State Department said the Russians failed to keep commitments they made in a cease-fire deal.

    ELIZABETH TRUDEAU, State Department Spokeswoman:  Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course inconsistent with the cessation of hostilities, as demonstrated by intensified attacks against civilian area, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a deal with the U.S. on disposing of weapons-grade plutonium.  He cited unfriendly actions and U.S. failure to meet its obligations under the agreement.

    Hurricane Matthew bore down on Haiti, with winds of 140 miles per hour and up to 40 inches of rain.  It’s one of the strongest Atlantic storms in recent years.  And, late today, it was centered about 230 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.  Outer bands of wind and rain were already battering the impoverished country’s southwestern tip.  The eye is expected to pass near, or over, that area late tonight.

    The state of Ohio will resume executing condemned prisoners in January.  That follows an unofficial three-year moratorium due to shortages of lethal drugs.  But, today, the state attorney general’s office said that it now has a new three-drug combination.  Attorneys for death row inmates immediately said they will file a new court challenge.

    Los Angeles police are facing protests over a fatal shooting on Saturday.  Officers say they chased and ultimately killed an 18-year-old black man, Carnell Snell, after he jumped from a car that had faulty license plates.  The incident sparked protests last night.

    But, today, police Chief Charlie Beck said that Snell had a loaded weapon.

    CHARLIE BECK, Chief , Los Angeles Police Department:  At one point during their foot pursuit, which was 200 to 300 yards in total, they observed him remove a handgun from his waistband and hold it in his left hand.  And while holding the handgun in his left hand, he turned in the direction of the pursuing officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Beck also defended police actions in a second fatal shooting.  He said a Hispanic man pointed what turned out to be a replica handgun at officers, and they opened fire.

    The U.S. Supreme Court opened its fall term today, and refused a White House appeal to rehear a key immigration case.  In June, the court tie-voted on the president’s policy of shielding millions of immigrants from deportation.  So, a lower court ruling against the plan remains in effect.  The court has had only eight members since Justice Antonin Scalia died in March.

    This was Black Monday in Poland, with thousands of women wearing black and protesting against a bill imposing a total ban on abortion.  Demonstrators nationwide shut down businesses and government offices and blocked roads.  Later, they held a huge rally in Warsaw.  Poland is heavily Catholic, and already has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

    A Japanese biologist has won this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine.  Yoshinori Ohsumi was honored today for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle.  His work in the 1990s may now aid research on fighting cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

    In Japan today, Ohsumi said he never imagined that his experiments with yeast would mean a Nobel.

    YOSHINORI OHSUMI, Nobel Prize, Medicine (through translator):  There is one thing I would like to stress.  When I began this research, there was no assurance whatsoever that it would lead to some connection with cancer or human longevity.  That’s not why I started.  Such is the nature of how fundamental research unfolds, and I stress the importance of the fundamentals of science.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Along with a Nobel medal, Ohsumi receives prize money worth $930,000.

    And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 54 points to close below 18254.  The Nasdaq fell 11, and the S&P 500 slipped seven.

    The post News Wrap: Winds top 140 mph as Hurricane Matthew bears down appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the "Retired American Warriors" conference during a campaign stop in Herndon, Virginia, U.S., October 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSQKI5

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Thirty-six days to go, and the Trump campaign is struggling again to get back on message.  Instead, questions about Donald Trump’s taxes, treatment of women and even his charity swirled today, and his opponent was quick to strike.

    John Yang has our report.

    JOHN YANG:  Hillary Clinton pounced on reports that Donald Trump might have avoid income taxes because of business losses to suggest he may not be the businessman he says he is.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  Yesterday, his campaign was bragging it makes him a genius.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HILLARY CLINTON: Here’s my question.  What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    HILLARY CLINTON:  This is Trump to a T.  He’s taking corporate excess and made a business model out of it.

    JOHN YANG:  The New York Times published part of Trump’s 1995 federal tax return showing that he declared a loss of $916 million from real estate and other business failures.  That could have legally allowed him to avoid paying income taxes for 18 years.

    The Clinton campaign quickly produced a TV ad on the issue.

    NARRATOR:  A new report shows he may not have paid any federal taxes for almost 20 years.

    HILLARY CLINTON: He didn’t pay any federal income tax.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  That makes me smart.

    NARRATOR:  If he thinks that makes him smart, what does he think of you?

    JOHN YANG:  Late today at a rally in Colorado, Trump fired back.

    DONALD TRUMP:  As a businessman and real estate developer, I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company, my investors and my employees.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    DONALD TRUMP:  I mean, honestly, I have brilliantly — I have brilliantly used those laws.  I have often said, on the campaign trail, that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required, like anybody else, or, to put it another way, to pay as little tax as legally possible.

    JOHN YANG:  The Republican nominee is under fire on several other fronts, including allegation that he routinely demeaned women on his reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

    The Associated Press reported Trump asked some female contestants to wear shorter dresses, openly discussed which ones he would like to sleep with, and made lewd comments about women on the show and on the crew.

    And the New York state attorney general, a Democrat who is backing Clinton, ordered the Trump Foundation to stop fund-raising in the state, saying it’s not properly registered.

    In addition, Trump was criticized for comments made about PTSD sufferers at a forum with veterans in Virginia.

    DONALD TRUMP, Presidential Nominee:  When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.

    JOHN YANG:  Later, the Marine who asked the question said he found Trump’s answer thoughtful and understanding.

    Republican vice presidential hopeful Mike Pence campaigned in Virginia.  Democratic running mate Tim Kaine was off the campaign trail.  They meet tomorrow night for their one and only debate.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

    The post Clinton campaign pounces on Trump controversies appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of polling site by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    File photo of polling site by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — From Minnesota to the San Diego suburbs, Democrats are throwing millions of dollars into TV ads tethering House Republican candidates to Donald Trump. They say the strategy is buoying their quest for big gains in the chamber in this November’s elections.

    Republicans discount the impact their presidential nominee will have on House races, saying voters distinguish between Trump’s unconventional candidacy and local, familiar congressional hopefuls. And they’re firing back with ads tying Democratic House candidates to Hillary Clinton in Maine, Michigan and elsewhere.

    There’s no doubt that Trump’s incendiary criticisms of women, Hispanics and others have raised Democrats’ prospects for gains, especially in suburban districts and those with well-educated or minority voters. Their hopes rose further following Trump’s lamentable week in which he performed poorly in a debate against Clinton, repeatedly mocked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for gaining weight and dealt with the fallout from The New York Times report that he declared enough business losses in 1995 to potentially avoid paying federal taxes for 18 years.

    “You can’t just say, ‘Well, Donald Trump is on the ballot, we’re going to win everything and all we have to do is scream about Donald Trump.'” — Alixandria Lapp of the House Majority PAC, which helps House Democrats

    The big question is whether Trump can give Democrats enough ammunition for an unlikely gain of 30 House seats, enough for majority control. They say Trump helps them across the nation, but concede that his usefulness to their congressional candidates has limits.

    “Donald Trump is defining this election,” said Kelly Ward, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ political arm. But she said choosing a campaign strategy varies by district, and it “may or may not include Donald Trump.”

    From this election cycle’s start in January 2015 through last Wednesday, Democrats and their allies spent nearly $7 million on almost 10,000 broadcast TV spots using Trump in 22 House districts, according to Kantar Media’s political ad tracker.

    Republicans and their supporters spent more than $4.5 million mentioning Clinton in ads that ran almost 10,500 times, also in 22 districts, Kantar Media figures show. The figures include primaries.

    Among Democrats, the DCCC alone aired nearly 4,000 spots costing around $2.3 million — more money and spots tying House Republicans to Trump than any other Democratic group, ally or candidate. It has run ads featuring Trump in districts including the Philadelphia and Las Vegas suburbs, western Texas and around San Diego, where the party is seeking to oust veteran GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.

    One Minnesota spot this week shows two DVDs on a store shelf, one featuring Trump and the other Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., as an actor says, “No one buys these anymore.”

    The House Majority PAC, which helps House Democrats, has spent nearly $400,000 on 1,300 ads for House races that mention Trump, including along California’s central coast and near Tampa, Florida.

    But like the DCCC, the Majority PAC is tailoring ads to issues they consider most effective. It released new spots Tuesday in Florida, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska that didn’t feature Trump but focused instead on Social Security and attacks on GOP candidates’ backgrounds and past statements.

    “You can’t just say, ‘Well, Donald Trump is on the ballot, we’re going to win everything and all we have to do is scream about Donald Trump,'” said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of the House Majority PAC.

    Historically, the victor of a presidential election in which no incumbent is running has finite coattails. In the six races since World War II in which no sitting president sought re-election, the party winning the White House also gained House seats just three times, and never more than 22 seats.

    Republicans say Democrats are overrating the damage Trump could do to GOP House candidates.

    “I hope they keep this strategy going. I hope they keep wasting their money.” — Mike Shields of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which backs House Republicans

    GOP pollster Jon McHenry says Trump has “cultivated his own brand” that voters don’t automatically link to congressional GOP candidates, especially incumbents who can highlight work on local problems.

    They also note that thanks to redistricting and Democrats’ concentrations in cities and coastlines, only a few dozen of the chamber’s 435 seats are competitive, Trump or not. Republicans have a 247-188 majority, including vacancies in one GOP and two Democratic seats.

    “I hope they keep this strategy going. I hope they keep wasting their money,” said Mike Shields, president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which backs House Republicans.

    Republicans say Trump’s limited down-ballot damage is illustrated by GOP candidates who remain competitive in Republican districts that President Barack Obama carried twice in South Florida, the Chicago suburbs and around Denver.

    Taking no chances, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., ran a spot saying of Trump, “Honestly, I don’t care for him much, and I certainly don’t trust Hillary.”

    Republicans also cite the Democratic effort to defeat Paulsen, who remains strong in his Minnesota district in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul suburbs. Democrats have spent around $1.1 million on ads linking Trump to the four-term congressman, more than in any other House race, according to Kantar Media.

    While the DCCC says Paulsen remains vulnerable, the House Majority PAC recently canceled around $600,000 worth of ad time it had reserved there.

    Playing offense, House Republican candidates and their allies have run spots featuring Clinton in states including Maine, Michigan and Arizona. Democrats say that will have little impact because Clinton is doing well in most suburban districts they hope to capture.

    “She sides with Hillary, not us,” says an ad by the National Republican Congressional Committee aimed at Democrat Emily Cain, who is challenging GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine.

    The post Trump’s down-ballot impact? Democrats, GOP disagree appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A view of the US Supreme Court on February 13, 2016 in Washington, DC.  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a fiery conservative who helped shape American legal thought, died on February 13, 2016. He was 79. Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the high court, died in his sleep while on a hunting trip in Texas, local media reported.  / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Supreme Court’s new term got underway on Tuesday. The court has a little-known revision process for its rulings that could impact a key immigration case this term. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

    With today marking the first day of arguments for the Supreme Court, most would think that the justices’ work from the previous term is over.

    But in fact, the justices spend years reworking their opinions after they are initially released, purging them of grammatical, spelling, stylistic, and even factual errors. The court’s decisions take effect immediately, but the opinions—the written rationales behind the decisions— don’t become official until they are published in United States Reports, the official publication of Supreme Court rulings.

    The court is required to publish the hulking volumes in print, but there’s no specific deadline. The most recent volume was published in June, five years after the rulings were handed down.

    Even so, the justices still have a way of sneaking in more changes after the final printing. The Office of the Solicitor General invoked this obscure process this year to suggest that the court remove a 13-year-old error from its 2003 ruling in Demore v. Kim, a case about detention times for illegal immigrants.

    In an unusual move, Acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn sent an apology letter to the court last month, admitting that the office submitted inaccurate statistics in Demore v. Kim. The Aug. 26 letter said the office underestimated the average time that illegal immigrants spent in detention while waiting to appeal their case.

    The solicitor general’s office had told the court in 2003 that the average detention time was four months. In the letter last month, Gershengorn said average detention time was actually more than a year. The mistake, legal experts say, could have major implications for Jennings v. Rodriguez, a similar immigration case the court is scheduled to hear this term.

    Opinions, thought to be solid as the marble steps leading up to the Court, are in perpetual flux.

    Immigration reform advocates have long questioned whether the original four-month estimate was an honest mistake, or whether the solicitor general’s office at the time knowingly misled the court.

    “If you look carefully at the letter, it’s clear they actually had a chart back then in 2003 that told part of the story of what was wrong with the numbers,” said Nancy Morawetz, a professor at the New York University School of Law who specializes in immigration rights. “They knew at the time the decision came out that the court was misunderstanding the length of detention.”

    Some supporters of mandatory detention think the critical response to the solicitor general’s letter was strategic, not substantive.

    Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, says the government is only trying to submit relevant information to the court, showing how mandatory detention is necessary to preserving an immigration system with integrity. “It’s more of a distraction than something meaningful to the case,” she said.

    The controversy highlights the solicitor general’s ability to submit unvetted evidence directly to the court, free from the discovery process in lower courts, where both parties have equal footing. Critics have contended for years that the relationship has resulted in systematic submissions of erroneous information.

    The solicitor general is appointed by the president to represent the administration before the Supreme Court. It’s a prestigious position, sometimes used as a stepping stone to future bench appointments. Five solicitors general have gone on to the Supreme Court bench, including Justice Elena Kagan, who served as solicitor general from 2009 to 2010.

    The solicitor general’s office, though it has exclusive access to internal government data, “is not a neutral purveyor of facts,” said Amanda Frost, a law professor at American University. “It can’t be relied upon blindly.”

    The solicitor general’s office, which declined to comment for this story, has apologized twice before for mistakes stemming from information it submitted to the court: once for notoriously withholding evidence in the 1944 case Korematsu v. United States, and a second time for submitting uncited evidence in the 2009 ruling Nken v. Holder.

    What distinguishes the Demore apology is that the solicitor general’s office directly proposed that the court “amend its opinion to delete” the mistake. The Demore ruling, however, was already made official in Volume 538 of United States Reports.

    The court’s “commitment to getting things absolutely right is commendable,” said Richard Lazarus, a Harvard Law School professor. But the practice of quietly tinkering with opinions after the fact, and then being nontransparent about what changes were made, is “fairly indefensible,” said Lazarus, the first legal scholar to document the process.

    A four-step revision process

    The four-step editing process begins with the bench opinion, the version that is announced day-of from the bench and widely read by journalists and legal scholars. Days later the slip opinion appears, correcting mistakes brought to the court’s attention during the post-decision scrutiny. Years later come the preliminary prints, essentially dry runs for United States Reports.

    Then, at last, the bound volumes of United States Reports themselves are published. It usually takes a set of three to five volumes to collect just one term’s worth of court opinions, orders, and case tables.

    All the while, as the court strives for editorial accuracy from its private chambers, the old, unrevised opinions still float around the Internet unchanged.

    “It’s a quality control problem,” said Jack Metzler, a Washington appellate attorney who found the court’s internal style guide and published it in book form earlier this year. “The more sources that are out there for Supreme Court opinions, the harder it is to make sure all those documents have the right information.”

    Since Lazarus began writing about the editing practice, tech-savvy lawyers have developed workarounds to discover the justices’ edits, in lieu of stronger transparency from the court.

    CourtListener.com, a free online legal database, uses cryptographic hash to detect changes to opinion PDFs on the court’s website. If a PDF changes in any way, CourtListener downloads the altered file but also backs up the original, so the public can judge the difference for themselves.

    “Most of the revisions are super mundane, probably 99 percent,” said Mike Lissner, a co-founder at the Free Law Project, which created CourtListener.

    Of course, no landmark decision will crumble because of a misplaced apostrophe.

    “What did strike me as a big deal is the Supreme Court never told anyone they were making these changes,” said David Zvenyach, who created a software program called SCOTUS Servo that tracked changes to opinion PDFs.

    Zvenyach wrote a scraper script that visited the court’s website every five minutes to check for edits. If his program made any discoveries, he would tweet them out. Just a couple hundred lines of code “resolved a pretty big structural problem,” Zvenyach said.

    Court adapts, slowly

    The court, in its way, has slowly adapted. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first to formally cop to a blunder: the court’s Public Information Officer Kathleen Arberg informed a select group of reporters via email about an error in Ginsburg’s dissent to Veasey v. Perry in 2014.

    The email showed the exact language that was being deleted and replaced, also noting “small stylistic changes on pages 2 and 4.” Then, at the beginning of the last term, the court announced it would annotate slip opinions to reflect any edits.

    “It’s okay to admit your mistakes. You enhance your credibility by admitting mistakes,” Lazarus said. “I think the court has figured that out.”

    But the court continues to keep private all of its edits past the slip opinion phase, meaning that “any changes that are happening in the bound volumes won’t be discovered until potentially years later,” said Zvenyach.

    Peter A. Martin, a former dean of the Cornell Law School, attributes the long wait to “bad habits, reinforced by staffing and funding limitations.” Indeed, the bound volumes are published at a slower rate today than they were in the 1800s, when the court had a heavier caseload and worked without computers.

    In addition to the official four-step process, the court reserves into perpetuity one final laver of authority. Right after the title page of a new bound volume, the court can print a list of corrections to previous volumes. It’s called an errata sheet, and the court has no known restrictions on its use. An erratum once corrected the misspelling of “Braislford” to “Brailsford” 204 years later.

    Opinions, thought to be solid as the marble steps leading up to the Court, are in perpetual flux.

    Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, wonders if there ought to be a statute of limitations on errata sheets: “Going back 13 years is, you would think, stretching the limit.”

    Errata sheets are for typos, Martin said, “not something that’s part of the essential underpinning of an opinion,” as in Demore.

    The court can always revisit the precedential weight it applies to Demore in the frame of a new case. With Jennings v. Rodriguez, the court will get that chance. Jennings focuses on part of the issue addressed in Demore, specifically the constitutionality of holding illegal immigrants without bail.

    Demore found that mandatory detention was constitutional, partly because the solicitor general’s brief argued, incorrectly, that average detention times were short.

    Now, the solicitor general, relying on the precedent in Demore, will fight to uphold mandatory detention past the six-month mark in Jennings. The Obama administration wants to maintain its ability to detain illegal immigrants in proceedings for deportation, arguing they pose a flight risk and potential threat to public safety.

    But the solicitor general’s brief again includes untested government statistics. The Demore apology, submitted the same day, reads, “the government recognizes its special obligation to provide this court with reliable and accurate information at all times.”

    The post Inside the Supreme Court’s little-known revision process appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of soldiers in Afghanistan by Mark Wilson/AFP/Getty Images

    File photo of soldiers in Afghanistan by Mark Wilson/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. military says a U.S. commando has been killed in Afghanistan after being hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol with Afghan forces in a northeastern province bordering Pakistan.

    U.S. forces have been conducting counterterror operations with Afghan troops against Islamic State militants in Achin, Nangarhar province. The U.S. military says the commando, whose name was not released, died from wounds sustained when the patrol triggered an improvised explosive device.

    Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says the U.S. remains committed to defeating the Islamic State Khorasan group, the IS affiliate in Afghanistan.

    The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes near Achin. Last week Afghan officials said a U.S. airstrike hit a house, killing civilians. The U.S. says it’s looking into the incident.

    The post U.S. service member killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of voting booths by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    File photo of voting booths by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    MADISON, Wis. — Workers at seven Division of Motor Vehicles offices across Wisconsin are heard in newly released recordings giving would-be voters without photo IDs inaccurate information about the availability of credentials that would allow them to cast a ballot in next month’s election.

    A worker for the national group VoteRiders released the recordings Tuesday to The Associated Press, after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported about some of the details. The head of the state Department of Transportation told legislators the agency is stepping up training for employees and complying with a federal judge’s order to investigate why workers were dispensing erroneous information.

    “Clearly, we take seriously some of the recent news reports about allegations we didn’t provide accurate information or provided wrong information,” DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said.

    Wisconsin law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls and allows for state ID cards to be provided free of charge. In May, the transportation department adopted regulations allowing people who lack the supporting documents such as birth certificates needed to obtain an ID to get a receipt they can use for voting. The rules dictate that the receipts must be mailed within six days of applying.

    The recorded statements seem to conflict with those rules. On one recording from Sept. 28, a DMV worker in Hudson tells a person asking for an ID that she’s not guaranteed to get one.

    A DMV worker in Rice Lake told a woman “it’s possible” she could get an ID in time for the election, but “there’s no guarantees.” DMV workers in Black River Falls and Wisconsin Rapids incorrectly say that no temporary voting credentials are available.

    And in Neillsville a DMV worker says it could take weeks to get an ID without a birth certificate. The recordings revealed that DMV workers in Adams, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie gave mostly correct information.

    Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office has insisted in court filings that DMV workers have been trained to tell people without birth certificates that they will get credentials for voting within six days.

    Gottlieb told the Legislature’s rules committee during a hearing Tuesday on whether to extend the receipt regulations through the November election that training consisted of online courses for employees. He said nearly 100 percent of the DMV’s 400 employees participated.

    He added that the agency launched another online training course on Tuesday and all DMV employees must complete it by Friday. Supervisors have been asked to have one-on-conversations with their workers about receipt protocols, he said.

    U.S. District Judge James Peterson in July struck down a host of election-related laws as unconstitutional, including limits on early voting. While he left the voter ID law in place, Peterson ordered the state to improve the way it gives credentials to people who don’t have birth certificates or face other challenges to getting IDs.

    A previously released recording by the group VoteRiders revealed three DMV workers giving incorrect information to a Madison man about whether he could get an ID without a birth certificate. Reports about that recording motivated Peterson to say last week that the state appeared to not be in compliance with his July order to promptly issue voting credentials to anyone who lacks documents needed to get an ID. Peterson ordered the state to investigate and report back to him by Friday.

    Gottlieb told the committee that investigation is continuing but has been hampered because investigators lack the full transcripts of the exchanges in the offices.

    The rules committee, which is controlled by Republicans, ultimately voted Tuesday to extend the credential protocols until early December. The three Democrats on the panel voted against the extension, saying DOT can’t make the process work and DMV employees are discouraging people from voting.

    The post In Wisconsin, DMV workers give bad information on voter IDs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 02: Broadcaster Vin Scully acknowledges fans before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park on October 2, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

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    GWEN IFILL: And finally tonight: As the baseball playoffs get under way, one of the game’s legendary figures, Vin Scully, is signing off; 88-year-old Scully called his last Los Angeles Dodgers game on Sunday. That closed an incredible 67-year career that started back when the Dodgers called Brooklyn home.

    Jeffrey Brown spent a day at the ballpark with Scully in 2009.

    Here’s an excerpt of that profile.

    VIN SCULLY, Broadcaster, Los Angeles Dodgers: It’s time for Dodger baseball.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a voice that generations of Dodger fans have grown up with, savored, loved.

    VIN SCULLY: Ground ball to third, backhanded by Blake. He straightens up to throw him out. Easy inning for Randy Wolf.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In Los Angeles, but also, incredibly, going all the way back to Brooklyn in the 1950s.

    VIN SCULLY: The pitch at the right ankle of Andres Torres. Ball one.

    Now, admittedly, there are days where you think, you know, I’d rather sit under a tree and read a book than go to the ballpark.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Everybody has those days, right?

    VIN SCULLY: But what’s great is, you come to the park, you do the routine stuff, and then the crowd comes in, and the team takes the field, and the crowd roars. And, all of a sudden, you’re delighted as a kid in a candy store.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That’s exactly where you want to be.

    VIN SCULLY: Exactly.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In an age when the sports broadcast booth is crammed with two or even three announcers, Scully still prefers to work alone.

    VIN SCULLY: Sanchez a strike, and the count 0-1.

    JEFFREY BROWN: His style, mastery of language, and, yes, longevity have made him a legend in sports circles.

    It all began, he says, with lessons in attitude from his mentor, Red Barber, another broadcasting great, who gave Scully his first big break and brought him into the booth in Brooklyn in 1950.

    VIN SCULLY: One of my many jobs as the junior partner of the broadcasting firm would be to get the lineups every day.

    And let’s say that, one day, I brought up a lineup where Smith was hitting in front of Brown. The next day, I brought a lineup up and Brown was hitting in front of Smith. Red would ask me, why? And the first time he asked me why, I didn’t know.

    However, after that, I knew. And that was part of Red: Be there early, be very well-prepared, and then you’re ready to go on the air.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Who are you talking to when you’re doing the game? I mean, you’re one of the few who still does it alone for the most part. So who are you talking to?

    VIN SCULLY: Well, first of all, I have to make people understand, it’s not an ego thing. It’s not that I just want to be on all by myself.

    This goes back to Brooklyn, where Red’s philosophy was simply this: If I want to sell you a car, is it better for me to talk to you about the merits of the car or talk to so-and-so and have you listen to our discussion about the merits of the car? Red always felt that it was better to talk one-on-one.

    So what I’m doing, I’m talking to the listener. And I will talk. I will say, oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, or…

    JEFFREY BROWN: I forgot to tell you.

    VIN SCULLY: Exactly, talking — because I don’t want the microphone to be in the way. I want them to know I’m sitting next to them in the ballpark talking.

    Yankee Stadium shivering in its concrete foundation right now.

    JEFFREY BROWN: He called the only perfect game pitched in a World Series, Don Larsen’s gem for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

    VIN SCULLY: Got him! The greatest game ever pitched in baseball history by Don Larsen!

    JEFFREY BROWN: Nine years later, Scully was there for Sandy Koufax’s perfect game.

    VIN SCULLY: Sandy into his windup. Here’s the pitch. Swung on and missed! ha perfect game!

    High fly ball into right field, she is gone! In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then there was the famous 1988 World Series walk-off home run by a hobbled Kirk Gibson. That crowd noise and the silence from the broadcast booth is another Scully trademark.

    VIN SCULLY: When I was very small, maybe 8 years old, we had a big radio that stood on four legs, and it had a crosspiece underneath it.

    And I used to take a pillow and crawl under the radio. And I would listen to a game that meant nothing to a kid growing up in New York. I mean, it might be Tennessee-Alabama. But when someone scored a touchdown and the crowd roared, that crowd noise would come out of the speaker like water out of a showerhead, and it would just cover me with goose bumps.

    And I used to think, oh, I would like to be there to feel that roar of the crowd.

    And it’s never left me to this day, so that, when something happens, I love it to shut up and hear the crowd.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you’re still enjoying what you’re doing?

    VIN SCULLY: I love it. And you know how I know I love it? Because, when there’s a great play on the field and the crowd roars, I still get goose bumps. I’m just like that little kid under the radio.

    Bases loaded, sixth inning, one out. And a drive to left field down the line. It is gone, a grand slam home run!

    GWEN IFILL: Those goose bumps were back in 2009.

    Scully, who was a childhood fan of the San Francisco Giants, said the greatest ballplayer of his lifetime was Willie Mays. So, on Sunday, Mays joined him in the booth for his final game between the Dodgers and their rivals, the Giants.

    After the game, he said farewell to his fans.

    VIN SCULLY: You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I have always needed you more than you have ever needed me.

    And I will miss our time together more than I can say. But you know what? There will be a new day and eventually a new year. And when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, oh, rest assured, once again, it will be time for Dodger baseball.

    So, this is Vin Scully, wishing you a very pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.

    The post Vin Scully ends his 67-year career as voice of the Dodgers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Oklahoma3

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In some parts of the country, it’s not just the presidential race on voters’ minds. State elections are taking center stage in some places, too, like Oklahoma, where education is at the forefront of the ballot.

    Teachers are upset over spending cuts and what they see as a political assault on public education. They have decided it’s time to take matters into their own hands. A record number of teachers are running for seats in the state legislature. All of this comes as Oklahoma faces tough budget decisions.

    Special correspondent Lisa Stark of our partner Education Week reports from Oklahoma as part of our weekly segment Making the Grade.

    LISA STARK: Football is king in Oklahoma, so it’s no surprise the Norman High School homecoming parade shuts down the town’s main street.

    There’s candy for the kids, cheerleaders, and athletes, of course, and enjoying the ride, Oklahoma’s teacher of the year, whose day job is deciphering algebra for ninth graders at Norman High.

    This is Shawn Sheehan’s sixth year teaching.

    So, you love being a teacher?

    SHAWN SHEEHAN, Oklahoma Teacher of the Year: I do. I love it. I love working with kids. I really do. And I love math. That sounds super nerdy, but I do love math.

    LISA STARK: So, it may seem odd that Sheehan, Oklahoma’s top teacher, is ready to hang up the white board.

    SHAWN SHEEHAN: I made the decision to run for state Senate.

    I think what it is, is, we have is a lack of representation at the state capitol. We have folks up there who don’t really understand what’s going on in education and what’s going on in our communities.

    LISA STARK: He’s not the only one who feels that way. Sheehan has joined more than 40 educators who have filed to run for the Oklahoma legislature.

    Why do you think so many educators are running this year?

    SHAWN SHEEHAN: I think, in this state, educators are finally fed up. And it’s almost like a sense of, we don’t have anything to lose at this point.

    LISA STARK: Oklahoma schools have already lost a lot. The state ranks 47 out of 50 in per-pupil spending. And since 2008, the legislature has cut spending per student by 24 percent, the largest drop in the nation, leading to teacher layoffs, overcrowded classrooms. More than 100 districts have approved four-day school weeks. Teachers and parents are riled up.

    DAVID BOREN, President, University of Oklahoma: They are really concerned about the education of their children.

    LISA STARK: David Boren is president of the University of Oklahoma, and a former U.S. senator and governor.

    DAVID BOREN: We’re headed for dead last in what we spend in the nation among all the states on the education of our students, and we’re losing our best and brightest teachers to all the states that surround us, because they pay so much more in their salaries, every single one of them. So, we’re at a crossroads.

    LISA STARK: Salaries average about $45,000 a year, including benefits. It’s so hard to attract teachers that the state this school year has already approved more than 900 emergency certifications.

    Currently, an estimated 50,000 students are relying on these teachers, who may not be fully qualified to take over a classroom.

    GENE PERRY, Oklahoma Policy Institute: And that’s troubling.

    LISA STARK: Gene Perry is the policy director at a progressive Oklahoma think tank.

    GENE PERRY: What I think it’s shown is that experience and that training is the most important thing to have to be an effective teacher, and we’re putting untrained people in the classroom.

    LISA STARK: Educators say they have tried to change things from outside the capitol, rallying for more money for education. Instead, lawmakers cut taxes, even when the state’s oil industry was booming. Now the industry’s in a slump, and there’s no money to spare.

    JUDY MULLEN HOPPER: Hello, sir. I’m Judy Mullen Hopper.

    LISA STARK: So, educators are now trying to get inside the capitol.

    Judy Mullen Hopper is vying for the state Senate. She retired after 35 years as a special-ed teacher, unhappy over the emphasis on testing.

    JUDY MULLEN HOPPER: But our biggest concern right now is education, and being able to finance it correctly, being able to allow teachers to teach the way they used to teach, you know?

    MICKEY DOLLENS: I just wanted to come back by and ask for your vote on November 8.

    LISA STARK: Mickey Dollens is campaigning for the state House, one of 1,500 Oklahoma teachers let go last spring because of budget cuts.

    MICKEY DOLLENS: I am sticking up for education, mental health, senior citizens, and public safety. That’s where all my time and attention will go into. Check out my campaign headquarters.

    LISA STARK: His headquarters? Right behind his front door.

    MICKEY DOLLENS: These are probably the most important parts right here, the follow-up thank-you letters. I try to hit a 100 doors a day.

    LISA STARK: Dollens was a college football player, a Team USA bobsledder, even drilled for oil, before he became a high school English teacher. He’s reinventing himself again.

    How to win a local election?

    MICKEY DOLLENS: Mm-hmm.

    LISA STARK: A complete step-by-step guide.

    MICKEY DOLLENS: Yes, I read them all.

    LISA STARK: Dollens and the other educators running for office have been dubbed the teacher caucus.

    WOMAN: We’re definitely going to go vote for you.

    MICKEY DOLLENS: Well, thank you so much.

    WOMAN: We really support you.

    MICKEY DOLLENS: Mostly Democrats running in this very conservative state.

    ANGELA CLARK LITTLE, Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education: This is our list of candidates our group supports.

    LISA STARK: Angela Little can take some credit for this swell of education candidates. A suburban single mom with twin fifth graders, upset over increased school testing, she started a Facebook group two years ago for parents and teachers to share ideas.

    This year, she put out a call for candidates to challenge — quote — “anti-public education legislators.” The idea took off. So did the Facebook group. It now has 25,000 members.

    ANGELA CLARK LITTLE: A lot of legislators feel like because they went to school, they are education experts. Well, I have been to a Thunder game, and I can’t play basketball. There’s a difference. You have to bring the subject matter experts to the table.

    CLARK JOLLEY (R), Oklahoma State Senator: These people who are running to put more money in education, to do more for education, I think they are going to quickly find out, whoa, we have got other things we have to fund too.

    LISA STARK: State Senator Clark Jolley has chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee for five years, and has seen Oklahoma’s economy nosedive, as gas prices plummeted. Mid-last year, lawmakers suddenly faced a $1.3 billion deficit. Even so, Jolley says education got more than it’s fair share.

    CLARK JOLLEY: We actually are giving more money to education at the end of my tenure than we were at the beginning. The problem is that we have got…

    LISA STARK: But not more money per student.

    CLARK JOLLEY: We have got more students coming in than we have money coming in. And so, because of that, we’re seeing a decrease in the per-pupil expenditure, even though we’re putting tens of millions of more dollars in education every year.

    LISA STARK: But what legislators didn’t do, voters are being asked to, on the ballot, a measure to raise the sales tax by 1 percent for education, including money to boost teacher salaries by $5,000 a year.

    University President Boren is its chief backer.

    DAVID BOREN: It’s not a perfect solution, but we can’t sit here and wait. Are we going to wait until we have 100,000 students in classroom with no teachers, qualified teachers? Are we going to go to three-day school weeks? How long are we going to wait before we go over Niagara Falls, so to speak, in a barrel?

    LISA STARK: It’s clear some voters aren’t convinced. They see waste in the system, too many school districts, too many administrators.

    MAN: And our teachers are complaining about not being paid enough? Well, where is all this money going to? Every year, we ask for more and more money for education.

    LISA STARK: Regardless of what happens at the polls, educators feel that, by running in such large numbers, they have made a difference, that they have changed the conversation around education here in Oklahoma.

    JUDY MULLEN HOPPER: Come help me. Just push it down. Can you do it with me? Put your hand right here.

    LISA STARK: It’s a conversation these novice candidates hope will sink in with voters.

    JUDY MULLEN HOPPER: OK, here we go. And…

    LISA STARK: Reporting from Oklahoma, I’m Lisa Stark of Education Week, for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    JUDY MULLEN HOPPER: And can you vote for me? Can you vote for me?

    The post Affected by budget cuts and testing, dozens of Oklahoma teachers are running for office appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Protesters with We Need Nine, a group calling for the U.S. Senate to allow President Barack Obama to nominate a ninth Supreme Court justice, display their signs in front of the Supreme Court in Washington U.S., October 4, 2016.          REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSQPVK

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    GWEN IFILL: The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal this week to rehear a key immigration case dealt a setback to millions of undocumented immigrants hoping to stay in the U.S. legally.

    It also reflects the continuing difficulty of deadlock, in this case, the limitations of an eight-person bench. The issue of the immigration program’s legality could yet return to the high court, but one whose makeup is likely to be decided by the next president.

    Twelve-year-old Victoria Bonilla, like many seventh graders, spends weeknights hammering away at her homework. Unlike her classmates, she worries her mom won’t always be there to help.

    VICTORIA BONILLA: I’m worried that they might take my mom away from me, which is really hard for a kid, because, like, you know you can’t live without your mom.

    GWEN IFILL: Victoria is an only child and a U.S. citizen. But she was born to a mother who came to the country illegally, from Eli Salvador in 2004.

    The Bonillas live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a Washington suburb, where Hilaria works as a restaurant manager. She says she moved to the U.S. to escape domestic abuse, one of an estimated four million parents who would have qualified for legal status under a 2014 executive action issued by President Obama.

    The president’s plan was blocked by a Texas federal judge last year, leaving families like the Bonillas in limbo. The court deadlocked 4-4 when it heard the case earlier this year, leaving the lower court’s hold in place.

    And with the ninth seat vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death nearly eight months ago, there is no resolution in sight.

    “NewsHour” regular Marcia Coyle covers the court for “The National Law Journal.”

    MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal: This is such an important issue, it may be well that the court is willing to take another shot at it if it does have a ninth justice eventually.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge, Merrick Garland.

    GWEN IFILL: President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, has languished without a confirmation hearing since March, after the Republican Senate majority declared it was too late in the president’s term to allow him a nomination.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Senate Majority Leader: The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.

    GWEN IFILL: The conservative Judicial Crisis Network has spent more than $4 million opposing Garland’s confirmation.

    CARRIE SEVERINO, Judicial Crisis Network: The Constitution gives the authority to choose the Supreme Court justices to the president, as the nominator, and then to the Senate, which gives its advice and consent. And there’s a lot of ways it can do that. It doesn’t have to have hearings or votes on a specific schedule. And, historically, two-thirds of the justices who have not been confirmed, who’ve been rejected by the Senate, it’s been because they didn’t get a vote.

    SEN. HARRY REID, Senate Minority Leader: All we’re asking is for the Republicans to do their job. Now, Mitch McConnell set out and he did it publicly. His number one goal was to make sure Obama wasn’t reelected. He failed at that miserably, just like he is going to fail miserably here. We are going to have a Supreme Court justice. It’s the right thing to do.

    GWEN IFILL: Michele Jawando follows the Supreme Court for the liberal Center for American Progress.

    MICHELE JAWANDO, Center for American Progress: The Supreme Court is supposed to be the final arbiter of the most difficult constitutional and statutory questions in our country. And if they can’t make a decision to move us in a direction that the framers intended for us to move forward on, then we have a major problem.

    GWEN IFILL: It is also clear that the Scalia vacancy is not the only worry for those most concerned about the court’s future.

    MARCIA COYLE: If you look at the ages of the justices who are currently on the Supreme Court, the potential is very high that the next president would be able to fill not only one seat, but possibly as many as three and maybe even four.

    GWEN IFILL: That makes Supreme Court appointments a campaign issue; 65 percent of registered voters told Pew Research this year that Supreme Court appointments are — quote — “very important.” Seventy percent of Trump supporters said the same, compared to 62 percent of Clinton supporters.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: One of the reasons this election is so important is because the Supreme Court hangs in the balance.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: Even if you can’t stand Donald Trump, you think Donald Trump is the worst, you’re going to vote for me. You know why? Justices of the Supreme Court.

    GWEN IFILL: Even Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who called Trump a pathological liar during the campaign, told conservative radio host Glenn Beck that the future of the court drove his decision to endorse Trump last month.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-Texas): Almost every one of our constitutional rights hangs in the balance. We have a narrowly divided court with Justice Scalia’s passing. Just about every right we cherish is at risk of being lost.

    GWEN IFILL: That makes Hillary Clinton supporters like Michele Jawando nervous about what a Trump court would look like.

    MICHELE JAWANDO, Center for American Progress: There are questions about if he even understands the constitutional contours of his role as president. There’ve been questions about, does he understand what due process is or what constitutional protections are available to all Americans?

    GWEN IFILL: Whether the court is made up of eight or nine justices, that political divide could make it more powerful than ever.

    “National Law Journal”‘s Marcia Coyle:

    MARCIA COYLE: The political polarization that we have been experiencing in the last eight years has driven more organizations and people to turn to the courts for answers to some of the questions and issues that Congress has not been able to address. And that has raised the profile of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    And it also has made the Supreme Court loom much larger in every American’s life than it has been perhaps in recent decades.

    GWEN IFILL: And for Hilaria Bonilla and her daughter, this election’s outcome will hit close to home. Will they stay or will they go?

    HILARIA BONILLA: We never know. So, we are going to work and we never know if we can come back or not. So, it’s difficult.

    The post How the deadlocked Supreme Court became a leading campaign issue appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    They are ordinarily reclusive and often don't make the headlines, but pangolins are the world's most heavily trafficked mammal and conservationists want their protection scaled up. Demand for pangolin meat and body parts is fuelling a bloodbath and driving the secretive scaly ant-eating mammals to near extinction. Photo by Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

    They are ordinarily reclusive and often don’t make the headlines, but pangolins are the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal and conservationists want their protection scaled up. Demand for pangolin meat and body parts is fuelling a bloodbath and driving the secretive scaly ant-eating mammals to near extinction. Photo by Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

    In a sweeping move, the international commission in charge of wildlife commerce plans to ban the trade of what some experts call the world’s most trafficked animal, the pangolin.

    Populations of this burrowing mammal, known for its scaly exterior and its long, insect-snatching tongue, have been in decline in their native homes of Asia and Africa. Pangolin meat is eaten in both places, while their scales are sought after for their alleged medicinal uses. The number of pangolins left in the wild is largely unknown, but conservation groups estimate their population has dropped by to 80 percent in the last decade.

    Last week in response, delegates from 152 nations gathered at a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa where they developed an agreement that bans all international trade of the pangolin except for extraordinary circumstances as part of the CITES treaty. The group is expected to ratify the deal on Wednesday.

    Conservationists are praising the agreement but add they are under no illusions about the enforcement of such a broad measure.

    “All we can hope is to disrupt the business network that is trafficking the pangolin,” World Wildlife Fund policy director Colman O’Criodain said. “It’s a first step, and we have to be vigilant.”

    O’Criodain points out many animals, such as elephants and rhinos, already possess similar protections, but those animals are still poached. CITES has no enforcement power, and upholding its agreements is largely voluntary for its member states.

    Want to stop pangolin poaching? Try DNA

    Four species of pangolin are native across Asia, but due to trafficking, they’re now listed as endangered or critically endangered. As Asian numbers have dwindled, traders have turned their gaze to the four other pangolin species that live in central and southern Africa. They’ve been under increased threat from traffickers.

    The transnational nature of wildlife trafficking, coupled with demand, can wipe out a species in a heartbeat,” said Sam Wasser, director of the University of Washington’s Center For Conservation Biology.

    Wasser and graduate student Hyeon Jeong Kim have developed DNA analysis tools so law enforcement can trace where pangolins are being poached. Such tracking can crack down on countries violating the new guidelines and may be key to enforcing the CITES agreement.

    Wasser said protecting the pangolin, which plays a key role in the ecosystem as an ant and termite-eater, will preserve biodiversity. But he said disrupting the routes of pangolin traffickers could stop other criminal activity.

    “These transnational criminals are not just dealing with pangolins,” he said. “They’re dealing with ivory. They’re dealing with cocaine. They’re dealing with heroin. They’re dealing with human trafficking.”

    The post Why it’s so hard to beef up protections for the world’s most trafficked animal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    shields

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    GWEN IFILL: For more on tonight’s debate, we’re joined now by syndicated columnist Mark Shields, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson.

    Hey, Amy, did you notice something I just noticed with Donna Brazile, which is, when she was asked about something that Bill Clinton said, which is widely interpreted to be a gaffe, she responded by saying Tim Kaine will respond that tonight?

    AMY WALTER: Tim Kaine can help clean that up.

    (LAUGHTER)

    AMY WALTER: Cleanup in aisle six.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    AMY WALTER: Bring Tim Kaine over there.

    Look, both of these candidates were brought on, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, were brought on to be stabilizers for Hillary Clinton and Donald for Trump, for different reasons, for Donald Trump, literally a stabilizer, in that both his personality and his ability to talk to that core conservative base that Matt Schlapp was talking about, so to make them feel better.

    And Tim Kaine was there to sort of stabilize the Hillary Clinton — not expand her base, but hold on to a lot of her base, and also to prove to be a very different kind of candidate without the baggage that Hillary Clinton comes with.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, how do you see the mission of these two men at — the second man on the ticket in both cases tonight?

    MARK SHIELDS: Obviously, as said earlier, not to make any mistakes, but most of all, Mike Pence has a tougher task.

    He does — stop the bleeding or however you want to put it. It’s been a terrible week for the Trump campaign ever since the first debate. He’s been assigned the task of being the explainer-in-chief. He’s had to clean up in the past after Mr. and Mrs. Khan. He said, we honor Gold Star parents. I mean, he said that to a partisan crowd.

    He’s time and again had to sort of right the wrongs. And I think that is his — to try the change the narrative as much as he can.

    Tim Kaine, it’s interesting. The happiest I have ever seen Hillary Clinton in any public setting was the day that she chose Tim Kaine. She was beyond giddy. She was just happy. And she had somebody she could totally depend upon as a partner. And I think it was the best decision of her campaign, in the sense of, you couldn’t get a Republican to say anything bad about him.

    In Washington and the toxicity, to have somebody like Tim Kaine — and so I think his job, again, is going to be the explainer, or defender, or whatever, but to — I would just remind people, Tim Kaine in 2007 at Virginia Tech. And I have never seen anybody handle a public situation…

    GWEN IFILL: After the shooting.

    MARK SHIELDS: Just after the tragedy of 32 people being murdered by a deranged person with a gun. And I have just never seen anybody handle it better.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    Michael Gerson, so, vice presidential debate, do they ever help, or are they more likely to hurt?

    MICHAEL GERSON, The Washington Post: Well, it’s interesting. They’re often memorable. They’re seldom consequential, don’t really determine the outcome.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MICHAEL GERSON: And this is a strange one, though, in a certain way. These are not strange men.

    It’s a strange circumstance, where the republic might be better served, and a lot of people might agree that both tickets could be flipped and actually have more appealing candidates.

    GWEN IFILL: They say that about the Libertarian ticket, too.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Right. Yes.

    So, that could be — that’s interesting, because it’s an indictment of sorts of the system, that our primary system has chosen two of the least popular politicians in America. But the selection, the people they selected as vice president are actually very respected in their party, knowledgeable people, so, you know, the selected candidates better than the elected candidates, maybe.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Amy, when all is said and done tonight, we don’t know what’s going to happen, does the election, does the direction of this election change after tonight?

    AMY WALTER: Well, remember, in 2012, after Barack Obama’s first — after the first presidential debate, he was widely panned for having an off night. And you saw Democrats panic. And the polls started to dip.

    And it was Joe Biden’s job to go in and basically reassure Republicans — I mean Democrats — reenergize Democrats, keep them — keep their chin up. That’s what Mike Pence will have to do tonight as well, is to reassure a lot of those Republicans who are worried, as well as go on the offense, something that Donald Trump didn’t do well in the first debate.

    I actually think this — while it might not be consequential, I think we might see a much more aggressive debate than we’re expecting, because Mike Pence really does have to put Kaine and the Hillary Clinton campaign back on its heels. And so this may not be the nice, genteel, lovely sort of experience that people are expecting.

    GWEN IFILL: Briefly, which one is better equipped to do that job, that Swiffer job, that cleanup job tonight?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, Pence has the tougher task, whether, in fact, he can do it.

    It’s more immediate and urgent that he do it than Kaine do it.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Yes. No, I agree with that.

    I talked to some of the people that prepared Pence today. And they need to explain, because they have to respond to charges, but then not give get into the quicksand of just explaining, because that would be a loss.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We are going to be all watching closely. You will all be here with us in just about two-and-a-half-hours from now.

    And we ask all of you watching, tune in at 9:00 p.m. Eastern for our special live coverage of the vice presidential debate.

    And, online, you can follow along at PBS.org/NewsHour for more in-depth analysis.

    The post What Pence and Kaine need to do in their only VP face-off appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man walks past banners  before the vice presidential debate between US Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and his Democratic counterpart Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016. 
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's running mates carried the race for the White House Tuesday, preparing to face off in their only debate of the campaign with the US elections  five weeks away. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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    GWEN IFILL: The vice presidential nominees step out of the shadows tonight for their lone debate. They are at Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia, for their 90-minute face off.

    Lisa Desjardins is there, and she begins our coverage.

    LISA DESJARDINS: They previewed the Virginia debate site less than an hour apart, first Republican Mike Pence, then Democrat Tim Kaine, scouting out the Longwood University stage ahead of their one and only vice presidential showdown.

    For both, it’s an opportunity to help the ticket, while trying to avoid pitfalls. Consider 1988, when Republican Dan Quayle likened himself to a youthful John F. Kennedy, and drew that famous rebuke from Democrat Lloyd Bentsen.

    LLOYD BENTSEN (D), Vice Presidential Nominee: Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Then there was 2000, when two experienced politicians and debaters met, Democrat Joe Lieberman and Republican Dick Cheney.

    SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), Vice Presidential Nominee: I can see my wife, and I think she’s thinking, gee, I wish he would go out into the private sector.

    DICK CHENEY (R), Vice Presidential Nominee: Well, I’m going to try to help you do that, Joe.

    (LAUGHTER)

    LISA DESJARDINS: While this year’s debate participants were prepping today, their top-of-the-ticket running mates were out stumping. Hillary Clinton, not far from Philadelphia, talked about her proposals to help families, and went after Donald Trump on the way he talks about women.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Think about it. My opponent insulted Miss Universe. I mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that? But it wasn’t good enough. We need to laugh at it, we need to refute it, we need to ignore it, and we need to stand up to it.

    LISA DESJARDINS: First lady Michelle Obama was also campaigning for Clinton again, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    MICHELLE OBAMA, First Lady: Hillary Clinton is tough. See, I have watched her. When she gets knocked down, she doesn’t complain. She doesn’t cry foul. No, she gets right back up.

    LISA DESJARDINS: As for Trump, he was in a traditional Republican stronghold, Arizona.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: She complains about how I have used the tax laws of this country to my benefit. Then I ask a simple question: Why didn’t she ever try to change those laws, so I couldn’t use them?

    LISA DESJARDINS: This morning, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway defended him against a New York Times report that he might have paid no income taxes for 18 years. She insisted he paid plenty in taxes.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Trump Campaign Manager: The fact is, this man has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes over decades, excise taxes, federal payroll taxes, city state and local taxes, real estate taxes, property taxes.

    QUESTION: You didn’t say income taxes. But you didn’t say income taxes.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, he certainly has, in the years that he made a profit. Like anybody else, he paid income taxes.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson raised more questions today, arguing that his admitted lack of foreign policy knowledge is a positive, that it could prevent wars.

    FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, Libertarian Presidential Nominee: You know what? And the fact that somebody can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way.

    LISA DESJARDINS: For tonight, though, the focus is on the V.P. face-off. And then it’s full speed ahead to the second Trump-Clinton debate, on Sunday night.

    And, Gwen and Judy, late tonight, we asked Gary Johnson’s campaign to respond to his quote today. And they responded to us late tonight saying that Gary Johnson wasn’t making a serious argument, that he was being tongue-in-cheek — back to you.

    GWEN IFILL: OK, Lisa. Well, that’s an interesting response.

    Let me ask you about the scene down there in Farmville, Virginia. Last weekend, we worked up to the first presidential debate. There was so much excitement about how many people would be watching, about what would happen, what wouldn’t happen. Is it fair to say it’s not exactly the same tonight?

    LISA DESJARDINS: I think that’s right, but maybe in a good way. It is actually an incredibly relaxed atmosphere. Of all the debates that I have covered, Gwen and Judy, I have never been at one that sort of had this kind of nice feeling to it.

    Maybe it’s because we have got these two Midwesterners debating tonight, maybe because it’s the vice presidential debate, maybe because people are just tired of all the attacks.

    But there is a very almost casual atmosphere here that I haven’t experienced at a debate before. One example, I was walking in the spin room, and noticed some very high-ranking Trump campaign officials just walking around. No one was noticing them, not any reporters.

    I was the only reporter who went up to talk to them. They also seemed more at ease than you would expect in a spin room just hours before a debate, so a very different atmosphere indeed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, is the expectation we are going to hear more tonight about these vice presidential candidates, the running mates, or about the folks at the top of the ticket?

    LISA DESJARDINS: Yes.

    (LAUGHTER)

    LISA DESJARDINS: I think that we will hear about both, but I think that when you talk to the campaigns, representatives of both campaigns told me today that they are hoping for a policy debate, but that they don’t expect one.

    These two vice presidential candidates have had a lot they have had to defendant in the past month-and-a-half, and we expect that to continue tonight.

    Of course, a lot depends on the questions, but then the candidates can turn those questions around. And we will see if either one of them goes on the attack tonight, maybe some policy, but maybe it’s a case of fasten your seat belt. It’s going to be a politely bumpy night, something like that.

    (LAUGHTER)

    GWEN IFILL: A politely bumpy night. Thanks.

    We will ask you about that later on. Lisa Desjardins, thank you very much.

    As the campaigns prepare for tonight’s debate, we turn to representatives of both parties to tell us what to expect.

    We begin with Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union. He also served as political director in the George W. Bush White House.

    When we talked a short time ago, I began by asking what Mike Pence needs to accomplish tonight.

    MATT SCHLAPP, Chair, American Conservative Union: You know, I think his job, his primary job is to connect with that heart and soul of the Republican Party, and that’s the conservative base.

    And that conservative base is trying to get to know this guy, Donald Trump, and be comfortable with him. And it’s Mike Pence’s number one priority to connect with them, to close the deal with them, bring back those conservatives and Republicans who are still thinking about who they’re going to vote for on Election Day.

    GWEN IFILL: I have heard more analogies having to do with Mike Pence’s role in this debate tonight, from cleanup to Swiffer, to — none of them complimentary, all of them about Mike Pence having to defend Donald Trump. Is that his principal role here tonight?

    MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, well, all vice presidents have to be the number one cheerleader for the top of the ticket.

    But I actually don’t think that’s what this debate is going to be about tonight. I think actually what we’re going to have tonight is a very conservative public servant against a very liberal public servant.

    And in our own ratings, Mike Pence has a 99 percent and Tim Kaine has a zero percent. So, we might have a very solid ideological conversation of what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a liberal and why one philosophy is the right philosophy in 2016.

    GWEN IFILL: Matt Schlapp, one of the big differences between the two candidates tonight, for instance, on taxes is that Donald Trump will not release his income tax statements, but Mike Pence already has. How does he explain that?

    MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, I think that’s probably — I think that’s going to be one of Kaine’s strategies, to try to put Mike Pence on the defense.

    And I’m sure Mike Pence, who I know well, and I’m sure he is very ready for this moment, is going to be ready to also put Tim Kaine on the defense, for the fact that Hillary Clinton has been involved in scandal after scandal after scandal. And it’s one of the reasons why the American voters in all the polls show that they don’t find her honest and trustworthy.

    It’s her number one problem that she has got to find a way to mend between now and Election Day.

    GWEN IFILL: I think it’s fair to say that Mike Pence and Donald Trump come from opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Do you think that their differences help or hurt the Trump-Pence candidacy?

    MATT SCHLAPP: I think the differences make for a good team.

    Mike Pence is kind of a steady Midwesterner who comes from kind of a base of the — he’s an ideological firebrand. He understands the conservative philosophy well.

    And Donald Trump is a complete outsider, is a relatively new Republican, and he doesn’t even talk like politicians. He talks like a New York businessman. And, together, I actually think Trump is reaching out to these blue-collar working-class Americans across the country like the Republican Party has never been able to do before.

    We have always had trouble with that bloc. And I think Mike Pence is able to reach out to those steady conservatives, those lifelong Republicans and say, look, take a chance with this guy because, together, we’re going to make a great team for the country.

    GWEN IFILL: Taking a chance.

    Here’s one of the things about vice presidential debates, and that people often expect a vice presidential candidate to do fine, as long as he or she doesn’t make a mistake.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Right.

    GWEN IFILL: So, is it a good night for Mike Pence if he simply gets away without making a mistake?

    MATT SCHLAPP: I think so. I think — actually, I think, for both of them, I don’t think either one of them has to worry too much about — I mean, they’re going to make a mistake, Gwen.

    You have been there. You have seen it. They’re going to make small mistakes. I don’t see either one of them making a big, huge gaffe. They’re pretty steady political pros.

    And I also think, if Tim Kaine’s number one job is to help Hillary Clinton be a little more likable and smile and be charming and be himself, that’s a pretty low bar for someone to have to pass. And I think, for Mike Pence, his job is to once again hit those themes which he lives and understands and passionately believes in.

    GWEN IFILL: Matt Schlapp, thanks so much.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Thanks, Gwen.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we hear from the Democrats.

    Donna Brazile is interim chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    Welcome to the program, Donna Brazile.

    So, we just heard Matt Schlapp say that Tim Kaine’s main job is going to be make Secretary Clinton more likable. Is that right?

    DONNA BRAZILE, Interim Chair, Democratic National Committee: I think, tonight, Tim Kaine is going to build upon what I believe was a terrific debate by Hillary Clinton last week.

    She outlined her plans for the American people. She talked about job creation. She talked about keeping us safe and secure. She talked about making sure that college is more affordable. I think Mike Pence has a tough job tonight explaining to the American people all of the ridiculous things Donald Trump has said, from veterans, insulting veterans, to insulting women of a certain size, to banning Muslims.

    I think Mike Pence has a more difficult job tonight explaining the differences between him and Donald Trump on so many issues. Tim Kaine tonight, who is a reasonable, down-home, what I call a great public servant, will be able to tell the American people what the Clinton-Kaine ticket will be able to do to build upon the great success and legacy of Barack Obama as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, again quoting Mr. Schlapp, he said he thinks what Tim Kaine is going to have to do is defend Secretary Clinton tonight, and he said, in that she’s been involved in — quote — “scandal after scandal.”

    DONNA BRAZILE: I mean, what is the biggest scandal? Of not paying your tax, not releasing your taxes, saying that you’re smart because you don’t abide by the rules, like most of us, and making sure that we can pay for our roads, making sure that we can educate our children.

    I think that’s the greatest scandal. I also think that Donald Trump’s comments again that he made overnight at 3:00 a.m., and there were different things he said on the campaign trail — how does Mike Pence defend that? How does he defend this notion that President Obama was somehow or another not born in America, the whole birther nonsense?

    So, I think Tim Kaine’s job tonight is to focus his remarks on the American people. This is about the future, having a conversation with the American people. And I think Tim Kaine will be able to get the message across that we’re stronger together when we come together as Americans to solve our problems. And that’s what tonight’s debate is going to be about.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned what Donald Trump has said on the trail.

    We know that former President Bill Clinton said on the trail yesterday, made some comments about the health care reform law, Obamacare. He said that it’s a crazy system in which half the American people, hardworking people have seen their premiums go up, become more expensive.

    He did walk that back a little bit today, but is that something that Hillary Clinton is going to have to explain herself?

    DONNA BRAZILE: Well, look, I’m sure that Tim Kaine will be able to explain it tonight.

    He’s been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Over 20 million Americans now have health insurance because of that. Bill Clinton has been a champion for health care reform. So has Hillary Clinton over the years.

    And so I think it’s important to understand that the law is good. It’s strong. People with preexisting conditions are now able to have access to health care. Millions of Americans who live below the poverty line have access to what I call life quality medicine, Medicaid expansion that I just saw in my home state of Louisiana.

    So, what Bill Clinton was talking about, I believe, are the improvements that we’d like to see in expanding the marketplace, ensuring that people have that people have subsidies to be able to afford it.

    And those Americans who own small businesses and others who are not able to get the subsidies that they need or to have what I call more marketplace protections, there’s no question that even President Obama said that we have to focus on cost containment.

    But, look, the issue tonight is that the Democrats believe in expanding health care for all. We believe in making sure that people have lifesaving medicines. The Republicans want to repeal, and Donald Trump said he wants to replace it with something terrific that we don’t know what that means.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Donna Brazile, finally, we saw Hillary Clinton in last week’s debate with Donald Trump at the last minute, in effect, set a trap for him. She brought up the comments about Miss Universe. Maybe Tim Kaine does something like that tonight?

    (LAUGHTER)

    DONNA BRAZILE: You know, Tim is smart on his feet, and he also — he is bilingual. So maybe he will say it in Spanish.

    But, regardless of how he says it, most Americans will see Tim Kaine as a man of principle, someone that Hillary Clinton picked because he’s a future leader, he’s a visionary, and he’s a strong leader.

    And let me just say something. I think Tim Kaine is going to bring up the fact tonight that, when it comes to women in this society, we’re the majority of voters, the majority of college graduates. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine believe in equal pay, and Mike Pence doesn’t.

    So there are many issues, whether it’s making — Mike Pence went out of his way to say that Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be funded. Mike Pence went out of his way to put forward policies that were discriminated against the LGBTQ community.

    So, Tim Kaine has a great record. Hillary Clinton is a great leader, a visionary. I think, tonight, you are going to see a contrast in two candidates, one who is optimistic and has a plan for the future, and another one who is trying to drag us back to someplace in the past that nobody wants to go to. That’s Mike Pence.

    Tim Kaine is the candidate of the future.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Donna Brazile, it’s great to have you with us. Thank you.

    DONNA BRAZILE: Always good to hear your voice and see you, Judy.

    The post How the VP nominees are preparing to boost their campaigns in the debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    European Parliament President Martin Schulz (C) signs the Paris U.N. COP 21 Climate Change agreement as (L to R) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, French Minister for Environment and President of the COP 21 Segolene Royal, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Slovakia's Miniser of Foreign and European Affairs Ivan Korcok look on, after the European Parliament vote in Strasbourg, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler  - RTSQOPD

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    GWEN IFILL:  In the day’s other news:  The way is now clear for the Paris climate change accord to take effect.  European Union lawmakers gave their endorsement today.  The overwhelming vote means the accord has the backing of countries accounting for 55 percent of global emissions, more than enough.

    MARTIN SCHULZ, President, European Parliament (through translator):  Our vote opens the way to ensuring that the whole agreement can achieve the necessary threshold figures so as to come into worldwide implementation.

    GWEN IFILL:  The E.U.’s member states are to make the approval official on Friday, and present it to the U.N.  The Paris accord formally takes effect 30 days later.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  There’s a new surge in the flow of migrants trying to reach Italy from Libya.  The Italian coast guard reports more than 6,000 people were rescued on Monday alone, as seas calmed for the first time in days.

    Meanwhile, another 1,000 migrants have been brought into ports today.  So far, 132,000 have arrived in Italy this year.  Another 3,000 have died in the attempt.

    GWEN IFILL:  Russia airstrikes blasted Eastern Aleppo in Syria again today.  But rebels said they repelled a ground assault on the southern part of the city.

    Just yesterday, the U.S. suspended direct talks with Russia on the conflict.  This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said that doesn’t mean the Obama administration is giving up.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State:  We will continue, as we have before, to pursue a meaningful, sustainable, enforceable cessation of hostilities throughout the country, and that includes the grounding of Syrian and Russian combat aircraft in designated areas.  And Russia knows exactly what it needs to do in order to get that cessation implemented in a fair and reasonable way.

    GWEN IFILL:  And Moscow announced it has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system in Syria for the first time.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  A U.S. military service person was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan today.  It happened during operations against Islamic State militants in the east.

    Meanwhile, in the north, Afghan forces in Kunduz regained control of most of the city.  The government troops drove back Taliban militants who attacked a day earlier.  It came nearly a year after Taliban gunmen held the city for three days.

    GWEN IFILL:  In economic news, new worries about Britain’s exit from the European Union weighed on Wall Street.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 85 points to close at 18168.  The Nasdaq fell 11 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 10.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  And three British-born scientists who teach in the U.S. have won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics.  David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were recognized for their research into rare states of matter.  It paved the way for designing new materials for electronics and future quantum computers.  Haldane is now a physics professor at Princeton.

    DUNCAN HALDANE, Nobel Prize, Physics:  It’s a very gratifying recognition of the work.  I mean, it’s — I don’t think one goes into the business for prizes.  You’re kind of trying to find neat stuff, basically.  Everyone wants to find neat stuff.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The other recipients are affiliated with the University of Washington and Brown University.

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    People inspect the rising water level of a river due to the rains caused by Hurricane Matthew passing through Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins - RTSQRRK

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Reports are just beginning to trickle in tonight, but already it’s clear Hurricane Matthew has sent long-suffering Haiti even deeper into misery.  There’s word of at least seven dead and widespread wreckage.

    MAN:  This is Matthew.  Pray for us!

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  It’s one of the fiercest Caribbean storms in years, and its powerful core roared over the southwestern tip of Haiti before dawn, with winds of 145 miles an hour.

    Emergency officials reported major damage, roots ripped apart, trees torn out of the ground, and roads and bridges underwater.  Forecasters had said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches of rain on the poorest country in the Americas.

    Jacqueline Charles is a reporter from The Miami Herald.  She spoke from Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

    JACQUELINE CHARLES:  We have rivers that are beginning to rise.  There’s one major bridge that connects the capital with the north.  And police basically blocked traffic from using that bridge because it’s now become a dangerous situation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  After crossing Haiti, the hurricane’s center moved on during the day to strike Eastern Cuba tonight, not far from the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.  Its approach sent people fleeing across the region.

    MAN (through translator):  Last night was terrible.  The waves were enormous, to the point where I thought they were going to enter the house.  They were very big.  They were worse than now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Overnight, the slow-moving Matthew is set to barrel through the Eastern Bahamas.  It’s projected to head toward Florida at the end of the week, and push its way up the U.S. East Coast over the weekend.

    Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott was out telling people to start getting ready without delay.

    GOV. RICK SCOTT (R-Fla.):  Once this storm comes, we cannot put our first-responders in harm’s way.  You must leave before it’s too late.  You can rebuild a home, you can rebuild a business, you cannot rebuild a life.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Hurricane watches are now up for the southeastern parts of Florida.  And farther up the coast, South Carolina’s governor has announced plans to evacuate one million people.

    And for the very latest on Matthew, we turn to the National Hurricane Center.

    I spoke with its director, Rick Knabb, in Miami just a short time ago.

    Rick Knabb, welcome.

    First of all, where is this storm right now?

    RICK KNABB, Director, National Hurricane Center:  Right now, Hurricane Matthew is centered in between Haiti and Eastern Cuba, will clip the eastern tip of Cuba this evening.

    Then it will be headed toward the Bahamas.  And it’s still going to be impacting Haiti and Cuba for many, many hours to come.  It’s not just a point on a map.  It’s a pretty big and powerful hurricane, still a Category 4.  It’s not just about wind either, heavy rainfall, likely flash floods and mudslides affecting Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and that could spread into Eastern Cuba, and then the Bahamas, hurricanes warning for the entire length of the Bahamas.  They’re going to be impacted starting tomorrow.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  You said it’s a powerful storm.  Compared to other hurricanes, how do you describe it?

    RICK KNABB:  It is similar to many other past major hurricanes that are Category 3 or stronger on our five-tier hurricane wind scale.

    And Matthew’s sustain winds are 140 miles per hour.  So those are the maximum winds, but the tropical storm-force winds can extend out to almost 200 miles from the center.  So it’s a big and powerful system.  And what we’re really concerned about is a large number of folks in the Bahamas being impacted, but also then we’re forecasting this turn to the northwest.

    Florida, and Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina are all threatened, with Florida being first, hurricane watches in effect for portions of the southeast coast of Florida.  We even had to extend that a little farther south to include Broward County, the Fort Lauderdale area, here at 5:00 p.m.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, what are you able to determine in terms of how strong it’s going to stay?

    RICK KNABB:  It’s not going to interact with land enough to significantly weaken it.  It’s good that it’s not spending too much time over Eastern Cuba tonight.  And then, as it’s over the Bahamas, that’s mostly a water environment.  The islands there probably are not going to cause it to weaken.

    The waters are very warm, the atmosphere conditions still conducive for this to remain a major hurricane for the next few days.  And that means it’s not impossible for a major hurricane to make landfall somewhere in the state of Florida this week.  And it’s also possible for hurricanes to directly or indirectly impact Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

    So, we have been talking to emergency managers in all of these areas today, and we urge folks to pay attention, do whatever their local officials are telling them to do.  And here in South Florida, where we live, today and tomorrow and tomorrow night is the time left to prepare before the weather starts going downhill down here on Thursday morning.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  And, Rick Knabb, when is the next alert you’re going to be issuing?

    RICK KNABB:  We issue full updates, with a complete new forecast every six hours.  So, that will happen again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight.  We do issue intermediate public advisories every three hours in between to update on the intensity and on the position as we continue to fly hurricane hunter aircraft into and around the hurricane.

    But the next complete forecast and major changes that we would potentially communicate with watches and warnings will happen again at 11:00 p.m. and then again at 5:00 a.m.  So, people on the East Coast of the U.S., just don’t tune out.  And take preliminary preparations, so you know what you’re going to do if watches and warnings are issued for your area later.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, I know everyone is going to be paying very close attention.

    Rick Knabb with the National Hurricane Center, we thank you.

    RICK KNABB:  Thank you, Judy.

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    A man walks past banners  before the vice presidential debate between US Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and his Democratic counterpart Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's running mates carried the race for the White House Tuesday, preparing to face off in their only debate of the campaign with the US elections  five weeks away. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    A man walks past banners before the vice presidential debate between US Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and his Democratic counterpart Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016.
    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s running mates carried the race for the White House Tuesday, preparing to face off in their only debate of the campaign with the US elections five weeks away. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    FARMVILLE, Va. — Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine have arrived at the site of the first and only vice presidential debate.

    The candidates will face off just past 9 p.m. at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

    Advisers for the candidates suggest there could be fireworks during the 90-minute affair, although vice presidential debates rarely change the direction of a presidential race.

    Elaine Quijano of CBS News serves as the moderator.

    Neither candidate is as well-known as his running mate. Pence is a first-term governor and previously served as a congressman. Kaine is former Virginia governor and now serves the state in the Senate.

    Donald Trump is campaigning in Colorado, but he said he’d be “live tweeting” the debate. Hillary Clinton is at home in New York.

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    An attendee in the audience places his hand on his U.S. Vice Presidential Debate program before the start of the debate between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginiaon October 4, 2016.  Photo by Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters

    An attendee in the audience places his hand on his U.S. Vice Presidential Debate program before the start of the debate between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginiaon October 4, 2016. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/ Reuters

    The politics team at NPR, with help from their reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy, provides context, analysis and fact checking for the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. Follow the transcript below. Note: this transcript may include some errors.

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    The post Live fact checking the vice presidential debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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