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Daily News Digest – April 25, 2018

 Good morning! Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, April 25, which we all know is the “perfect date.”

1. Dem debate gets testy. 

  • Hoo, boy. This one might be interesting after all.
  • Democratic candidates for governor debated last night.
  • It was kind of a spectacle that included lesser-known candidates like Doug “New Blue” Smith and Chris Countryman, plus some heckling from the crowd.
  • What mattered the most, though, was how testy things got between the frontrunners: Former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
  • Cobb accused Maddox of “commercial capitalism” in the Tuscaloosa tornado recovery effort (she probably meant crony capitalism).
  • Maddox said Cobb had been “ruling from a marble castle in Montgomery” and shouldn’t talk.
  • Read Leada Gore’s story for HERE.
  • Watch the debate for yourself via ABC33/40 HERE.

2. VA nomination hits the skids.

President Trump’s nomination of White House physician Ronny Jackson as Secretary of Veterans Affairs has officially hit the skids.

The Senate is delaying confirmation hearings and the president is sending mixed signals as to what he wants.

Reading between the lines: the nomination would have already been dumped were it not a distraction to the French state visit.

What happened?

  • I said yesterday that in order to scuttle a cabinet appointment, there ought to be big, terrible problems with the nominee.
  • Turns out there probably are with Jackson: reports indicate he was known to act unprofessionally and hand out prescriptions indiscriminately.
  • If you’re a doc who has earned the nickname “Candy Man,” then you’re probably not a good fit to run the VA, where issues over prescription drugs are many.

How did this happen?

  • How is it we are just now finding out negative information about a guy who has been a White House physician for two presidents (Obama & Trump)?
  • INTERESTINGLY, Politico reports that leaked information on Jackson might have come from aggravated White House staff that feel isolated from the process. From Burgess Everett & Eliana Johnson:

Jackson’s trouble may also signal a new front in the war inside the White House. Aides who‘ve come to realize they can’t control the president have taken to leaking negative information about advisers, Cabinet members and Cabinet nominees in hopes they can shape the president’s personnel decisions — or torpedo them entirely — through the news media.

  • Their full story HERE.

What’s next?

  • We’re going to need a VA Secretary.
  • Senators are growing weary of the lack of vetting for presidential nominees, and it’s hard to blame them.
  • It turns out firing Cabinet officials is easy, while hiring them with the advice and consent of the Senate is not.
  • The White House will either double down on Jackson and buckle up for another rough confirmation process, or start over.
  • Read more HERE.

3. DACA what?

  • A federal judge has ordered that the Trump Administration cannot move forward with its plans to end the deportation protection program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
  • The reason? The judge says there was no administrative explanation for the move. Homeland Security now has 90 days for provide a better legal justification for ending the program.
  • That’s weird. Considering DACA is not law, but rather was ordered by the previous administration, you’d think it could be de-ordered by the current one.
  • No matter how you feel about DACA as a policy, this is troubling from a constitutional perspective.
  • In my mind, the president shouldn’t have to justify cancelling an executive action no more than he needs to explain his lunch order.
  • I’m sure my many lawyer readers will help explain why I’m off on this.
  • In any case, it’s a reminder that Congress has failed to find a reasonable solution on this very important issue.
  • Read more from The Washington Post HERE.

4. New Ads.

  • In the race for Congress in AL-2, incumbent Rep. Martha Robyis first out of the gate with a tv ad. It contrasts her votes & views on immigration versus that of democrats, namely Nancy Pelosi. Reckon we’ll hear that name some more in this race? Watch HERE.
  • State Senator Bill Hightower has an new ad for his campaign for governor. It touts his support for term limits, a flat tax and banning earmarks. Those vaguely federal issues and the fact that his ad only appears to be running in the Mobile market have some speculating that this could be about building name ID for a congressional run should Bradley Byrne run for Senate in 2020. Anyway, watch it HERE.
  • State Senate candidate Mary Scott Hunter has an ad up highlighting her relationship with her father and his relationship to Bear Bryant. It’s called “Prepare to Win,” and you can see it HERE.
  • State Senate District 21 candidates Ronda Walker and Will Barfoot are both up on TV now. Walker’s ad talks about rolling back Obama-era regulations while Barfoot’s ad touts his message as a political outsider.
  • Lieutenant Governor candidate Will Ainsworth will announce a heavy ad buy later today: $1 million for broadcast & cable statewide. The ad will be introductory meant to build name ID.
  • Is your campaign running an ad on television or radio? Send it to me! If you don’t send it, I might not see it. Email [email protected].
  • I’ll be adding these ads to the full rundown on and creating a separate rundown for legislative races.

5. News briefs. 

  • While some cabinet secretaries and appointees have earned embarrassing headlines for their personal extravagances or ethical lapses, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is hunkered down just doing his job. He eats a $6.00 turkey sandwich from the DOJ cafeteria at his desk. Read that NYT story HERE.
  • The Republican candidate to fill an open House seat in Arizona won last night, but not by very much. (The seat is being vacated by Rep. Trent Franks, the guy who resigned after he asked his staffer to be a surrogate mother, ew) The close race in a heavy GOP district highlights concerns about Republicans losing the House this fall. And now people in the Senate are started to get worried.
  • Veteran AP reporter Jay Reeves has an exclusive piece looking back at the Amtrack derailment in Mobile 25 years ago. He spoke with some survivors who say the tragedy has stayed with them all these years. His story HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Video: Roby first up with TV ad in Congressional race.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Lax vetting on nominees begins to frustrate senators.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Flowers: Supreme Court races on the ballot this year.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: In big shift, Trump assesses Kim Jong Un as ‘very honorable.’

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Investigators: school design contributed to massacre.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What comes after commission’s report on college basketball?

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jay Reeves exclusive: ‘93 Amtrak survivor relives each new one.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republican wins U.S. House race in Republican stronghold.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Mixed signals from Trump on VA nominee as allegations mount.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: First Lady Melania Trump steps into the spotlight during French state visit.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: The lynching of Robin White and the confession of George Howard.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: Montgomery to the NFL: City stars bound for pros.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Freedom rider highlights and inspires local school walkout on Columbine anniversary.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Joshua Felder:  Here’s why EJI’s Legacy Museum matters.

DOTHAN EAGLE – Columnist Steve Flowers’:  Alabama politics under President Trump.

DECATUR DAILY – Orr calls for widening I-565 at legislative session wrap-up.

GADSDEN TIMES – School safety tops student concerns at ‘council’ meeting.

ANNISTON STAR – Better than a wall.

AL.COM – Alabama Democratic Governor’s Debate 2018 turns nasty: Who won?

AL.COM – Cobb, Maddox trade jabs over tornado redevelopment, ‘quitting’ on Alabama at debate.

AL.COM – What’s up, dock? Old pledge to Airbus nears fulfillment.

AL.COM – Jefferson County unveils inclusive mural next to 2 deemed offensive.

AL.COM – Did Gov. Kay Ivey’s support for state superintendent break her own order?

AL.COM – Montevallo becomes second Alabama city to pass protections for LGBTQ community.

AL.COM – Ivey hopes trip to Japan strengthens Toyota, Mazda, Honda ties.

AL.COM – Sessions won’t recuse himself in investigation of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey steadied the ship, now asks Alabama voters to choose her.

AL.COM – Experts say Democratic gubernatorial candidates can’t afford to pull a Kay Ivey and skip debate.

AL.COM – Columnist Mike Oliver:  Words matter, brain disease or not, Pulitzer affirms.

WASHINGTON POST – Federal judge: Trump administration must accept new DACA applications.

WASHINGTON POST – Trump can blame Democrats all he likes, but his nominee problems start with him.

WASHINGTON POST – A powerful memorial in Montgomery remembers the victims of lynching.

NEW YORK TIMES – A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.

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