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Daily News Digest – September 25, 2018

Good morning! Congratulations Sen. Cam Ward and Lindsey Ward on the birth of their daughter!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, September 25.

1. GOP, Kavanaugh fight back.

  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he’s “not going anywhere.”
  • He, President Donald Trump and top Republicans are mounting an aggressive drive to rally the public and GOP senators to save their Supreme Court nomination.
  • In an interview with Fox News’ Martha McCallum, Kavanaugh said he wasn’t questioning that professor Christine Blasey Ford may have been sexually assaulted in her life, but said, “What I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”
  • “I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people,” Kavanaugh said.
  • Trump called the accusations among “the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., angrily accused Democrats of slinging “all the mud they could manufacture” and promised a full Senate vote soon, but specified no date.
  • McConnell doesn’t make idle threats.
  • Read more and watch the full interview HERE.

2. What in the world went on with Rosenstein?

  • Here was a jolting Monday morning headline from Axios’ Jonathan Swan: Rod Rosenstein resigns.
  • Actually, the Deputy Attorney General reportedly offered to resign verbally to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
  • And we knew about it because Swan is well sourced and the White House is a leaky cauldron of staffers trying to get ahead.
  • But that offer wasn’t accepted, and now Rosenstein is set to see President Trump on Thursday in a meeting that will decide his fate.
  • In case you’re wondering, yes, Thursday is the same day the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing is supposed to happen, so buckle up for that day.
  • Trump is in an interesting position here. If he wanted an excuse to get rid of Rosenstein, he has one. The Deputy AG’s comments about wearing a wire, even if made in jest, are probably enough to warrant a resignation, and I don’t blame him for offering it up.
  • But Trump might actually have more confidence in DOJ than he lets on via Twitter. And he probably understands the risks of another major administration distraction this close to the midterms.
  • Anyway, read all about Rosenstein’s weird day and where this all goes HERE.


A message from the Boeing Company

  • Congress and the U.S. Army are looking to quickly re-establish the country’s ability to defend against cruise missile threats.
  • An upgrade to Boeing’s Avenger system – powered by Alabama’s workforce – could get real capability to warfighters quickly and affordably.
  • Find out more about Boeing’s upgraded Avenger offer HERE.

3. Lottery talk.

  • State media got pretty excited yesterday after WHNT-Huntsville’s Brian Lawson reported House Speaker Mac McCutcheon saying there would definitely be a lottery bill in the Legislature next year.
  • But that’s like saying there will be a deer baiting bill. Of course there’s going to be a bill, but the question is whether or not there will be a serious concerted effort to pass it next year.
  • The Speaker later clarified that he was simply answering Lawson’s question about whether or not the issue would come up. In any case, a lottery won’t be a House Leadership priority next year, the Speaker said.
  • Granted, the state news cycle is slow at the moment. But, just seeing the way everyone went crazy over an off handed comment about the lottery makes me dread seeing the issue debated in the Legislature.
  • It’s an important issue, to be sure. But man, that’s going to be rough.

4. Maddox pitches Medicaid expansion, lottery as mental health fix.

  • Speaking of a lottery, Democratic nominee for governor Walt Maddox says that’s one way he wants to pay for expanded mental health services.
  • The other way would be expanding Medicaid.
  • Passing a lottery and expanding Medicaid are two major planks in Maddox’s platform, but this idea to use it to improve mental health is a newer angle.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • He also cleverly snuck in a reference to the “Bentley-Ivey Administration,” trying to link Gov. Kay Ivey to former Gov. Robert Bentley.
  • I get that. Bentley is persona non grata, and I’m sure his polling says so. We’ll see if it works. To me, it’s hard to ask voters to erase the image of how Ivey reluctantly assumed the top job after Bentley’s demise.
  • But hey, you gotta try something.

5. Sessions to police: “We have your back.”

  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised President Donald Trump as a “law and order” president and told a gathering of law enforcement officials that they have support from the White House and the Justice Department.
  • Speaking to the National Public Safety Partnership Symposium, Sessions praised the program’s partnership between the federal government and communities to help fight violent crime.
  • “Each one of you can be certain about this: we have your back and you have our thanks,” Sessions said.
  • Sessions touted the efforts of the Justice Department to fight violent crime and “back the blue.” He said Trump took office with a mission to restore public safety, and said it is a switch from those that “saw police as the problem in America.”
  • Full story HERE.

Bonus: Palmer releases ad.

  • Congressman Gary Palmer has released his first television ad of the 2018 general election.
  • Growing the economy, supporting the military, and “reflecting Alabama values” are the major themes of the spot.
  • Not that Team Palmer is taking 2018 Democratic opponent Danner Kline for granted, but when I look at this ad I see what a possible Palmer 2020 Senate campaign could look like.
  • Watch it for yourself HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After offering resignation, Rosenstein will discuss his job’s future with Trump Thursday.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘We have your back.’ Sessions speaks to law enforcement in Birmingham.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Maddox pitches Medicaid expansion as mental health care fix.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP, Kavanaugh fight back to save confirmation.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Palmer releases first 2018 TV ad.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Maddox calls for improved mental health care.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – ‘Skeptical’ podcast looks into Coosa killing with eye on proving mens’ innocence.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Houston County to use state funds to clean up discarded tires.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Poarch Creek Indians’ Robbie McGhee: We don’t mind supporting a lottery ‘if it is something good for the state of Alabama’
DECATUR DAILY – Living with Alzheimer’s: Morgan couple share journey ahead of Caddell Conference today.
DECATUR DAILY – Newsday: Social programs on block to pay for big tax cuts?
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Editorial: Much more is needed to fight opioid abuse.
GADSDEN TIMES – Aderholt: Montgomery in control of highway money.
GADSDEN TIMES – Project could restore voting rights to hundreds in Etowah.
AL.COM – Walt Maddox says state falling short on mental health care.
AL.COM – Republican favorability highest in 7 years, poll shows.
AL.COM – Lottery could be on lawmaker’s agenda this year.
AL.COM – NBC anchor Lester Holt coming to Montgomery for third ‘Across America’ tour.
AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Finding truth about Kavanaugh in partisan America.
WASHINGTON POST – White House grapples with dual crises over Kavanaugh and Rosenstein.
WASHINGTON POST – Columnist Michael Gerson: We no longer want to just win. We want to destroy.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Jeff Greenfield: Family ties are no match for Trump’s divisive politics.
WASHINGTON POST – Yale Law students sit out class, travel to Supreme Court to protest Kavanaugh.
NEW YORK TIMES – Brett Kavanaugh Vows to Fight ‘Smears’ and Will Not Withdraw
NEW YORK TIMES – Rod Rosenstein’s Job Is Safe, for Now: Inside His Dramatic Day.

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