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An Appreciation of the Rush Limbaugh Media Revolution

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Call it Rush Limbaugh’s media revolution.

To explain? Hop in the time travel machine and come with me back to 1963 and 1964.

Arizona’s Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, dubbed “Mr. Conservative” as he was the unofficial standard bearer of the aborning conservative movement, was getting ready to run for president in 1964, and finally did so.

In his memoirs he discusses three separate incidents, all of them involving CBS News.

Number One: CBS — through its president — came to Goldwater in 1963 telling him they wanted to “produce an hour-long documentary on the conservative revolution in America. They even mentioned a title, The Conservative Revival.”

Goldwater was reluctant because, he said, “CBS News had a liberal bias.”  But he thought these were “gentlemen and men of their word” —  so he agreed. Correspondent Eric Sevareid came to Goldwater’s Senate office, and the interview lasted two and a half hours. 

“The interview went down hill”, Goldwater said, and almost immediately. The questions included asking how he could run for president since he didn’t have a college degree. It was suggested that he was an “accomplice” of the far-right John Birch Society and “similar groups.” On it went in this fashion. Goldwater’s press secretary was so angry at the insulting and hostile questions he wanted the on-camera interview halted. Goldwater, once committed, waved him off and went on with it. Next a CBS camera crew followed Goldwater around for over a month to get footage for the show. 

The show finally came out. It had been re-titled Thunder on the Right. Now the focus was on the John Birch Society, the Minutemen and other “far-right activists.” The program had become an attack on those groups and “not a documentary on the conservative revival.” The only part of the very long interview that Eric Sevareid had conducted with Goldwater was a single Goldwater answer to a question on the John Birch Society, in which he said Birchers were not violating the Constitution.

No mention was made that, as Goldwater wrote, he “had long opposed the views of the Birchers and similar groups.” The film was selectively — very selectively — edited to make it appear Goldwater was directly linked to these extremist groups. Goldwater said he never accepted the word of the CBS president or reporter Sevareid again.

Number Two:  President John F. Kennedy is assassinated on November 22, 1963. Goldwater and JFK were not just ideological opposites. They were also great friends. In fact, JFK had suggested to Goldwater that if in fact Goldwater was the 1964 GOP nominee that the two of them campaign…together. Kennedy’s idea was that the two would fly around the country on Air Force One and then debate each other, a twentieth century version of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

When Kennedy was killed —  on a Friday — the country was plunged into televised trauma over the space of the weekend and the following Monday. The funeral was on Monday, with a solemn parade from the funeral service at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, featuring a horse drawn caisson bearing the flag-draped casket, and burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite went on the air and announced that Goldwater would not attend the funeral because he was “in Indiana giving a political speech.”

There was not a word of truth to that. In fact, Goldwater’s own mother-in-law had died and her son-in-law was busy arranging and attending her funeral. Goldwater was livid. Cronkite said nothing about JFK and Goldwater being friends.

Number Three: As I have noted before, as Goldwater was preparing to accept the 1964 nomination at the Republican convention in San Francisco, out of the blue comes a CBS report from correspondent Daniel Schorr that once the convention is over, Goldwater will fly to Germany to meet with far right German activists and “link up” the far right Germans (aka Neo-Nazis) with conservatives in America.

Now. These are three of countless examples of how the liberal media presented conservatives, with Goldwater being the most prominent in the day. And they could get away with it precisely because there was no conservative media with the media reach to challenge them.

When Rush Limbaugh sat down behind his golden EIB microphone in August of 1988, he would change that media world forever. It is Rush Limbaugh who is, in effect, the founding father of conservative media. Never again could liberal media slander or smear a conservative candidate or conservatives in the rank and file grassroots without being challenged, fact checked, cross examined and more.

To cite but one example? In 1987 when President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for the Supreme Court the liberal media and the left-wing activist groups piled on and succeeded in destroying Bork. So thorough was the destruction of that distinguished jurist that his last name became a verb, as in “borking” a nominee with an unchallenged-in-the-media smear campaign.

In 1991, when the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, retired, the cry went up from liberals in and out of the media that President George H.W. Bush must nominate another African-American as this was now the “black seat” on the Court. Bush did just that, and nominated  Judge Clarence Thomas.

On a dime the liberal media swiveled, aghast. Why? Thomas was …gasp!…a conservative. And the campaign to bork Clarence Thomas was on. But this time there was a very big difference —  Rush Limbaugh.

There was Rush for three hours a day, five days a week, not only making the case for Thomas but going after his liberal media attackers. One by one Rush would go after the liberal smears. And it worked —  big time.

It is frequently forgotten that in 1992, Rush hosted a syndicated late-night television show produced by Roger Ailes. Eventually Rush stopped doing television —  too many people required to get a show on the air, he would say later. He loved being the solo radio guy. But for Roger Ailes the success of the show with Rush was an eye opener —  and he shortly joined forces with Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News.

In sum, what would become today’s conservative media was on its way to creation. Talk radio took off, and there would be a veritable legion of talk radio hosts at both the national and local level (inspired by Rush) who were carrying the conservative message every day. Inspired by his experience with Rush on television, Roger Ailes built Fox News into a conservative media juggernaut. In today’s world there is Newsmax and One America News. Not to mention that with the creation of the Internet countless conservative websites — like the one you are now reading — would blossom and flourish.

When President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court and the usual liberal media borking began, conservative media, expanded by multiples from the day in 1991 when Rush was defending Clarence Thomas, was there to fight back —  and carry the day.

Conservative media of today, without question, exists because of Rush Limbaugh’s role as the founding father. There is a long list of others who had a role in its creation, but without doubt it was Rush who started the conservative media revolution. 

As life and history move on, sadly without Rush, those of us in the world of conservative media will never forget that we are here because Rush Limbaugh had the vision and the courage to sit down behind that golden EIB microphone and speak his mind. 

Thank you Rush. God bless. Your revolution will live on.

Read more: newsbusters.org

Trump to speak at CPAC

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Former President Donald Trump is slated to speak at next week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, according to two people familiar with the appearance.

Trump will “be talking about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement,” one of the people said. “Also look for the 45th President to take on President Biden’s disastrous amnesty and border policies.”

The conference will take place Feb. 25-28 in Orlando, Fla. Trump is scheduled to speak Feb. 28.

Trump has been a CPAC regular since making his first appearance there in 2011, years before he became a presidential candidate. During Trump’s White House tenure, the conference was a four-day celebration of his administration, with appearances from Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and other top advisers.

Since leaving office, Trump has given several TV interviews on friendly outlets and released public statements, but has yet to speak before an audience. It will be Trump’s first major address since the Senate impeachment trial that focused on his role in the Jan. 6 riot.

It will also be the first time Trump has spoken out after he released a scathing multi-page statement going after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Trump’s statement — which came after McConnell savaged the former president’s role in the Capitol insurrection — called the minority leader "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack."

Trump is expected to play an active role in the 2022 midterm elections and has privately told people in recent days that he is weighing a 2024 comeback bid.

Trump advisers say the former president is trying to determine exactly how he will engage in the midterms, including from a financial perspective. Trump has so far endorsed one 2022 candidate: Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for Arkansas governor and is slated to appear at CPAC.

CPAC is overseen by longtime Republican strategist Matt Schlapp, whose wife, Mercedes, served as a Trump White House official.

This year’s conference is drawing a slew of potential Republican presidential candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, South Dakota Sen. Kristi Noem, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Rick Scott.

Read more: politico.com

Newsom recall drive faces tight finish based on latest California data

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OAKLAND, Calif. — The campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has had nearly 670,000 signatures validated with a month left to reach roughly 1.5 million, according to an official Friday update, but the total number of valid signatures submitted is likely larger.

It’s shaping up to be a tight finish for the drive to qualify only the second gubernatorial recall in California history. Longtime ballot experts say the campaign continues to have an impressive validation rate of signatures submitted, but that it could still come down to the wire based on Friday’s data release.

An update from the Secretary of State’s office shows 668,202 valid signatures to date, equal to a relatively high 84 percent validity rate of the 798,310 signatures reviewed by local elections offices through early February.

Officials still hadn’t processed an additional roughly 300,000 ballots, which at the reported validity rate would put organizers at around 900,000 total signatures — about 60 percent of the total needed.

Anne Dunsmore, who manages one of two groups spearheading the recall, said the report lagged behind the campaign’s actual rate of signature gathering. Dunsmore said proponents have submitted about 1.2 million signatures and collected around 1.7 million total.

“We’re doing great," Dunsmore said. "We’re right on track."

But campaign consultant Brandon Castillo, who is not affiliated with the recall, predicted the outcome could be tight. He said it will depend on how many signatures the campaign has banked beyond the 1.09 million that registrars have officially received, assuming their submission rate in the following month roughly matches the campaign’s raw total from early January through early February.

"I think it’s very close. I think it’s seriously possible they qualify. But only if they have that additional 400,000 to 500,000 signatures in hand," Castillo said.

The last official update, in January, showed proponents had submitted around 410,000 valid signatures and had likely collected around 610,000 valid signatures total.

A growing consensus that the recall could well go before voters has attracted national attention and money, with the Republican National Committee channeling $250,000 to get the signature-gathering effort across the finish line. Republican contenders are lining up, and Democrats are unifying behind Newsom.

A halting mass vaccination effort and the continued closure of schools have fueled criticism of Newsom’s leadership.

The next official state status report is scheduled for March 18 — the day after the deadline for proponents to submit signatures. County election officials will then need submit results to the secretary of state’s office, which will announce if the recall has made the ballot.

If that happens, an election would likely occur in the fall. Voters would decide two questions: whether to keep Newsom in office, and who should replace him if the recall passes.

Read more: politico.com

Just Why Are Post, NY Times Obits Nicer to Terrorists Than Conservatives?

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It’s amazing how nuanced obituaries can be for figures that liberal media types appreciate. The portrait is always complicated. But less so when it’s a conservative. Conservative radio star Rush Limbaugh passed away this week and The New York Times slammed him with an obit about “hate,” “mistrust” and grievances.” The online version featured a sub-headline sliming him as “pushing talk radio to the right with misogynistic and racist language and conspiracy theories.”

 

 

When conservative Supreme Court icon Antonin Scalia died, here’s the dour, negative headline from the February 14, 2016 print Washington Post:

 

 

As I wondered at the time, what was the most important thing for readers of Washington Post to see on the front-page of the paper? A big headline focusing directly on the legacy or impact of the life of Antonin Scalia? No, just that liberals didn’t care for him. Here’s the front page when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died: 

 

 

When cruel terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in 2019, the Post was much nicer to him than Scalia, calling the killer an “austere religious scholar.” 

 

 

But when Fidel Castro died, The New York Times cheered, “A Revolutionary Who Defied the U.S. and Held Cuba in His Thrall.” The Post remembered how the “Revolutionary Remade Cuba.” 

 

 

 

The lesson in all of this is that when you die, it’s better to be a liberal, a far-left dictator or a terrorist than a conservative. According to outlets like The Washington Post and New York Times anyway.

For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.

Read more: newsbusters.org

A ‘freer’ de Blasio convenes labor leaders for private meeting on mayor’s race

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NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio took a reprieve from dealing with the pandemic one evening last week to turn his attention to local politics.

Worried about keeping his legacy intact, the outgoing mayor convened a meeting of three labor leaders to discuss the race to replace him and air concerns about the potential damage a pro-business candidate would do to the city, several people familiar with the closed-door discussion told POLITICO.

De Blasio hosted the presidents of District Council 37, the Hotel Trades Council and 32BJ SEIU — unions he counts as allies — at his Gracie Mansion residence last Wednesday evening for a long discussion about the state of the race and the future of the city, the people said.

The outgoing mayor, whose term ends on Dec. 31, did not endorse or admonish any of the Democrats seeking his job ahead of the June primary, but made clear he wants the next mayor to continue his record of expanding pre-kindergarten and affordable housing and requiring building retrofits to cut emissions.

De Blasio, a political operative by trade, also expressed a preference for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, questioned the veracity of Andrew Yang’s healthy lead in the polls and asked the union presidents if they would join forces in the race, the people said.

“He said he liked Eric’s story,” said one person, referring to the biography Adams frequently shares on the campaign trail: The Black son of a single mother who grew up in poverty and was beaten by police officers as a teenager before becoming a cop himself. Adams and de Blasio share a political base in Central Brooklyn and the borough president is one of the few politicians who has avoided piling on the mayor during the low points of his tenure.

De Blasio has publicly said he has not decided who to endorse. In a statement, his spokesman Bill Neidhardt simply said, “The mayor and union leaders, who are close friends, joined to talk about the future of the labor movement in New York City and the need to see progressive policies for years to come.”

The mayor did not openly disparage Yang, but questioned his frontrunner status in a poll commissioned by Yang’s team, the people said. A subsequent, independent survey confirmed Yang is in the lead among likely Democratic voters.

Several people familiar with de Blasio’s thinking have told POLITICO recently that the mayor is hesitant about Yang, a private-sector political outsider who presents a stark ideological and stylistic contrast. One said the mayor is wary of Yang’s ties to advisers of former mayor Mike Bloomberg.

And while de Blasio has a particularly hostile relationship with one of the frontrunners in the race, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, he said he would prefer Stringer to “a Bloomberg-like type that would undo or would regress the city back 10, 12 years,” one person said, recounting the mayor’s remarks.

He offered measured support for Maya Wiley, his former attorney in City Hall who is also running, but expressed skepticism about her chances of winning the primary, the people familiar with the meeting said.

Those interviewed by POLITICO asked for anonymity to speak freely about a private meeting.

The labor leaders —  who wore masks, sat at a distance and at times were unsure about the exact purpose of the meeting — told de Blasio they have not decided who to endorse and are unlikely to unite behind one candidate.

One person said de Blasio seemed in “good spirits” and “freer.”

He reminisced about his own come-from-behind victory in 2013, and reminded those in attendance his first-place status was not cemented until the month before the primary that year.

Chris Coffey, Yang’s co-campaign manager, said “a Yang administration would be a clean break from the past eight years of missed opportunities and insider politics. It’s time for a change.”

Read more: politico.com

U.S. life expectancy plummets amid pandemic

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Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials are reporting.

Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a huge decline,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the numbers for the CDC. “You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”

Other health experts say it shows the profound impact of COVID-19, not just on deaths directly due to infection but also from heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

“What is really quite striking in these numbers is that they only reflect the first half of the year … I would expect that these numbers would only get worse,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco.

This is the first time the CDC has reported on life expectancy from early, partial records; more death certificates from that period may yet come in. It’s already known that 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time.

Life expectancy is how long a baby born today can expect to live, on average. In the first half of last year, that was 77.8 years for Americans overall, down one year from 78.8 in 2019. For males it was 75.1 years and for females, 80.5 years.

As a group, Hispanics in the U.S. have had the most longevity and still do. Black people now lag white people by six years in life expectancy, reversing a trend that had been bringing their numbers closer since 1993.

Between 2019 and the first half of 2020, life expectancy decreased 2.7 years for Black people, to 72. It dropped 1.9 years for Hispanics, to 79.9, and 0.8 years for white people, to 78. The preliminary report did not analyze trends for Asian or Native Americans.

“Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic,” Bibbins-Domingo said.

They’re more likely to be in frontline, low-wage jobs and living in crowded environments where it’s easier for the virus to spread, and “there are stark, pre-existing health disparities in other conditions” that raise their risk of dying of COVID-19, she said.

More needs to be done to distribute vaccines equitably, to improve working conditions and better protect minorities from infection, and to include them in economic relief measures, she said.

Dr. Otis Brawley, a cancer specialist and public health professor at Johns Hopkins University, agreed.

“The focus really needs to be broad spread of getting every American adequate care. And health care needs to be defined as prevention as well as treatment,” he said.

Overall, the drop in life expectancy is more evidence of “our mishandling of the pandemic,” Brawley said.

“We have been devastated by the coronavirus more so than any other country. We are 4% of the world’s population, more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” he said.

Not enough use of masks, early reliance on drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, “which turned out to be worthless,” and other missteps meant many Americans died needlessly, Brawley said.

“Going forward, we need to practice the very basics” such as hand-washing, physical distancing and vaccinating as soon as possible to get prevention back on track, he said.

Read more: politico.com

Fauci: ‘Non-workable’ to vaccinate teachers before schools open

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Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that vaccinating all teachers against Covid-19 before reopening schools is "non-workable," wading into an issue that has taken center stage for the Biden administration amid the ongoing pandemic.

"If you are going to say that every single teacher needs to be vaccinated before you get back to school, I believe quite frankly that’s a non-workable situation," Fauci told "CBS This Morning."

Fauci’s assessment on Wednesday of vaccination plans for teachers laid down a marker that others in the Biden administration have thus far been unwilling to match amid a heated debate over reopening schools. On CNN Wednesday morning, Symone Sanders, spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, repeatedly declined to answer directly whether teacher vaccinations are necessary to reopen schools, insisting instead that teachers should be “prioritized" for vaccination.

Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, agreed Wednesday that teachers should “absolutely” be prioritized among essential workers in vaccination efforts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines say that getting teachers vaccinated offers an “additional layer of protection” but that vaccinations for teachers shouldn’t be required for reopening in-person learning. Instead, the CDC’s guidelines for schools have emphasized social distancing and masking.

“You should try to get as many teachers as you possibly can vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can,” Fauci said. “But to make it a sine qua non that you don’t open a school until every teacher is vaccinated, I think is not workable, and probably most of the teachers would agree with that … You don’t want to essentially have nobody in school until all the teachers get vaccinated.”

Earlier this month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky echoed Fauci’s take that teachers don’t need to be vaccinated for reopening safely. After Walensky’s remarks, before the CDC’s guidelines were released, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Walensky was speaking “in her personal capacity.”

CNN’s John Berman pressed Sanders on the issue Wednesday morning.

“I don’t understand why it’s a hard question to answer. It may be that you want every teacher to be vaccinated. It may be the answer is, yeah, teachers should, if they can, be vaccinated before they return to school, but it’s not necessary,” Berman said after Sanders didn’t directly answer his question.

“The president has been clear, the Vice President has been clear, and I think I was really clear just now. It is the administration’s position, the President and Vice President believe that teachers should be prioritized for vaccinations,” Sanders responded.

Read more: politico.com

Storms likely causing ‘widespread’ delays of vaccine shipments, CDC says

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The Biden administration is expecting "widespread" delays in Covid-19 vaccine shipments due to severe winter storms across the country, a CDC spokesperson confirmed Tuesday evening.

At least two shipping hubs that multiple states rely on for vaccine distribution have been affected by the storms, and federal officials expect delays to continue for several days.

"CDC and federal partners are working closely with the jurisdictions, as well as manufacturing and shipping partners, to assess weather conditions and help mitigate potential delivery delays and cancellation," the CDC spokesperson said in a statement.

The two known affected shipping hubs include FedEx facilities in Memphis, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky., according to the CDC. It is unclear how many vaccine doses are affected by shipment delays, but officials from numerous states said they were expecting delays, including Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota and Texas.

Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health said health care providers in the state may have to reschedule appointments because of the delays.

Meanwhile, a number of cities across the country, including Chicago, Memphis and Dallas, closed vaccination sites because of the winter storms.

The news comes as the Biden administration on Tuesday announced that it will increase weekly vaccine allocations to states by 23 percent, from 11 million doses to 13.5 million.

Read more: politico.com

1 killed, 5 Americans injured in rockets strike near U.S. base in Iraq

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BAGHDAD — Fourteen rockets struck outside Irbil international airport near where U.S. forces are based in northern Iraq late Monday, killing one non-US civilian contractor and wounding five Americans, according to U.S. defense officials.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the attack, which sparked fears of a new escalation in the region, according to a White House official.

More than a dozen 107mm rockets hit areas between the civilian airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region and the nearby base hosting U.S. troops at 9:30 p.m on Monday. No one immediately claimed responsibility, but a U.S. defense official said the attack was launched by a Shia militia group.

It is too soon to say whether Iran directed the attack, the person said, but previous attacks by militia groups on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq have been linked to Tehran.

In total, five Americans were injured in the attack: four civilian contractors and one service member, according to two defense officials. In addition, one non-U.S. contractor were killed and two non-U.S. contractors were injured.

At least two civilians were also wounded and material damage was caused to cars and other property, security officials said, without providing more details. A statement from Kurdistan’s interior ministry said “several people” had been injured based on a preliminary investigation. The rockets were launched from an area south of Irbil near the border with Kirkuk province and fell on some residential areas close to the airport.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh condemned the attack, saying in a statement posted online that it marked a “dangerous escalation.”

Kurdish authorities cautioning Irbil residents to stay away from areas that were targeted and remain in their homes, according to a statement from the interior ministry.

Attacks targeting Irbil airport are rare. Monday’s attack was the first to strike the area in five months.

On Sept. 30, when six rockets hit near the airport. Kurdish authorities said they had been launched from a pickup truck in the nearby town of Bartella in Ninevah province, which falls under federal government control. Kurdish authorities had blamed Shiite militia groups.

Hoshiyar Zebari, a politburo member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said security officials were investigating the source of the attack. “There will be consequences against the culprits. This aggression will not stand,” he tweeted.

Rocket attacks have frequently target the U.S. presence in Baghdad, including the U.S. Embassy, as well as convoys ferrying materials for the U.S.-led coalition.

The frequency of attacks diminished late last year ahead of Biden’s inauguration. The U.S. under the previous Trump administration blamed Iran-backed groups for carrying out the attacks. Tensions soared after a Washington-directed drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani and powerful Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last year.

Trump had said the death of a U.S. contractor would be a red line and provoke U.S. escalation in Iraq. The December 2019 killing of a U.S. civilian contractor in a rocket attack in Kirkuk sparked a tit-for-tat fight on Iraqi soil that brought the country to the brink of a proxy war.

U.S. forces have been significantly reduced in Iraq to 2,500 personnel and no longer partake in combat missions with Iraqi forces in ongoing operations against the Islamic State group.

Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.

Read more: politico.com

Perdue ‘leaning heavily’ toward challenging Warnock in Georgia

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David Perdue, the former Republican senator from Georgia who lost one of two runoffs in the state last month, filed paperwork to run again in 2022 but has not yet made a final decision on whether to launch another campaign, according to two advisers.

Perdue lost his bid for a second term to now-Sen. Jon Ossoff in January after failing to get a majority of the vote in November. Ossoff’s victory came alongside fellow Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who defeated appointed GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election. But Warnock has to run again in 2022 for a full term, and Perdue is looking seriously at challenging him.

The former senator filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission Monday night. A top Perdue adviser said the paperwork wasn’t an announcement of a campaign, but a "legal step that had to be taken."

"He is close to making a decision, leaning heavily towards it, but will decide in [the] next few weeks," the adviser said.

Perdue would start with a hefty sum in his campaign account: He had $5.7 million left over weeks after the runoff, according to a filing with the FEC late last month.

Perdue lost by slightly more than a percentage point in January after running nearly 2 points ahead of Ossoff in November. Ossoff won a full term and will not be on the ballot again until 2026.

Warnock defeated Loeffler by 2 points, running slightly ahead of Ossoff. The state will be a critical battleground for control of the Senate in 2022: Democrats currently control the 50-50 chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.

Loeffler is also considering running again in a rematch against Warnock, as is former Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who finished third in the special election in November.

Read more: politico.com

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