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John Hickenlooper Mulling Ending Presidential Bid to Run for Senate

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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado is in discussions about ending his presidential bid and entering the race for his state’s Republican-held Senate seat, potentially giving Democrats a strong candidate in a race they must win to have hopes of retaking the chamber in 2021, according to four Democrats familiar with his thinking.

Mr. Hickenlooper, who is mired at the bottom of public polling of the presidential race, hopped into Senator Michael Bennet’s car on Friday night in this Northern Iowa town to discuss his impending decision, said Democrats familiar with the discussion, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential talks.

The two drove around Clear Lake for about 20 minutes ahead of the Wing Ding dinner, a Democratic fund-raiser that drew 21 presidential candidates. Aides and advisers to the two men, who have been both allies and rivals over their careers in Colorado politics, declined to reveal what was discussed.

[Who’s in? Who’s out? Keep up with the 2020 field with our candidate tracker.]

Officials who have been in discussions with the Hickenlooper campaign said Tuesday that the former two-term governor is giving serious consideration to switching to the Senate race but stressed that a final decision has not yet been made. Short of a massive change in political momentum, Mr. Hickenlooper is certain to fail to qualify for the next round of presidential debates in September, an additional blow to a campaign struggling to attract attention and financial contributions.

A spokesman for Mr. Hickenlooper, Peter Cunningham, declined to comment on the former governor’s plans or what was discussed during his Friday night drive with Mr. Bennet, who is also running for president. A Bennet aide also declined to comment on their discussion.

Recent days have brought unsubtle messages that high-ranking Democratic officials in Colorado and Washington believe Mr. Hickenlooper is in the wrong race.

The Denver Post on Sunday published polling done on behalf of “a national Democratic group involved in Senate races” that showed Mr. Hickenlooper holding a 51-point lead over two other Democrats in the state’s 2020 Senate race.

On Monday, the 314 Action Fund, a super PAC that backs candidates who are scientists, announced a “Draft Hick for Senate” campaign along with a poll it commissioned showing Mr. Hickenlooper leading Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican seeking re-election, by 13 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup.

[We asked Mr. Hickenlooper and other Democratic presidential hopefuls the same set of 18 questions. Watch them answer.]

Colorado is key to Democratic hopes of retaking a Senate majority in the 2020 election. Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, has spent months trying to recruit Mr. Hickenlooper to enter the contest to face Mr. Gardner. Mr. Hickenlooper would join a Democratic primary that already has 11 declared candidates, including Mike Johnston, a former state senator who placed third in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor; Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker; John Walsh, a former United States attorney for Colorado; and Dan Baer, a former Obama administration official.

Mr. Hickenlooper has pooh-poohed his interest in running for the Senate. In February he told reporters in Iowa that he is “not cut out to be a senator.”

Mr. Gardner is seeking a second term in office but faces headwinds in a state where President Trump is highly unpopular. In 2016 Mr. Trump lost Colorado to Hillary Clinton by five points. A July poll of likely Colorado voters from a Republican-aligned firm found Mr. Trump with a 39 percent approval rating in the state and concluded he trails a generic Democratic general election opponent by 12 percentage points.

Democrats must win a net of three Republican-held Senate seats and win the White House to take control of the Senate.

Mr. Hickenlooper in recent weeks has seen an exodus of senior campaign aides, who advised him in the spring to end his presidential bid if his fund-raising and polling status did not improve by the end of July. He qualified and participated in the first two televised debates in June and July, but his performances were not memorable and there has been little improvement in his fund-raising, according to people familiar with his campaign’s finances.

During the three-month fund-raising period that ended June 30, Mr. Hickenlooper raised $1.1 million and spent $1.7 million, an unsustainable pattern for a candidate who has not caught fire with voters. He had $800,000 in his campaign account at the end of June, according to his Federal Election Commission report.

Mr. Johnston and Mr. Baer each raised more campaign funds for their Senate campaigns in the second quarter than Mr. Hickenlooper did for his presidential bid.

Yet when he appeared before Democratic activists in Clear Lake Friday night, Mr. Hickenlooper appeared unbowed. Amid the sounds of people chattering and eating their baked beans and pulled pork, he said his case for the presidency relies on his stature as a chief executive untarred by Washington politics.

“My plan to beat Donald Trump is to start by looking at our history,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. “No sitting senator has ever beaten an incumbent president. Go backwards with Clinton to Reagan to Carter to Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson, all former governors who defeated incumbent presidents. Just want to make that clear — governors are closer to the people.”

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One of the last survivors of the USS Arizona was interred on the sunken warship

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Lauren Bruner, one of 334 crew members to survive the December 7, 1941 attack, died on September 10, just months before his 99th birthday.
Loved ones gathered at sunset at the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii. Family and friends handed Bruner’s ashes over to divers who placed the urn inside the well of the barbette on gun turret No. 4. A barbette is an armored structure protecting a gun turret on a warship.

The ceremony included a rifle salute, flag presentation and plaque presentation in honor of the veteran. A barbette is an armored structure protecting a gun turret on a warship.

The memorial can only be reached by boat as was built above the submerged hull of the sunken battleship. The hull is a tomb for more than 900 sailors who remain within and serves as an artificial reef providing habitat for marine life.

Only the remains of USS Arizona survivors can be interred on the sunken battleship. Pearl Harbor survivors can have their ashes scattered over the harbor.

Bruner was on the sky control deck when the ship was struck by several bombs, igniting explosions which killed 1,177 Arizona crew members. He was one of a handful of sailors on deck to survive the catastrophic explosion when a bomb struck the Arizona’s forward magazine.
After the explosion, he swam across 70 feet of burning water to reach the repair ship USS Vestal. Bruner suffered burns on nearly 80 percent of his body and was wounded by Japanese gunfire.

He recovered from his wounds and returned to sea, serving aboard the destroyer USS Coghlan in eight more battles against the Japanese, according to the Navy. He finished the war as a fire control chief on Coghlan, steaming into Nagasaki harbor only days after the atomic bomb explosion.

Bruner is the 44th and last USS Arizona survivor to be interred, according to Emily Pruett, a spokeswoman for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

“The wrecks of only two vessels remain in the harbor — the Arizona and USS Utah — so survivors of those ships are the only ones who have the option to be laid to rest this way,” Pruett told CNN.

The rest of the ships which were struck that day were either repaired or scrapped, she said.

The last three living survivors of the USS Arizona plan to be laid to rest with their families.



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Macron under pressure as French pension protests leaves Paris burning

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Days after French President Emmanuel Macron attended the NATO summit, thousands of protestors marched down the streets of Paris to strike over pension reform. Former foreign policy adviser under Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardiner, discusses the protests in France and the state of foreign countries compared to America.

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For Trump, Instinct After Florida Killings Is Simple: Protect Saudis

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It was hardly the first time Mr. Trump had shown such tendencies. After the brutal killing in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and a legal American resident, Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo played down American intelligence findings that closely tied Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the matter. The findings suggested he had connections to the members of the hit team sent to Turkey — and almost certainly played a role in ordering them to bring Mr. Khashoggi back to the country by force.

Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Pompeo’s initial promises to follow the evidence wherever it led dissipated. Over the past year, Mr. Pompeo has expressed deep annoyance whenever the topic is raised. The United States was awaiting the results of a Saudi investigation, he often said, as if he expected that to offer a full accounting. And he told members of Congress that no matter the truth of what unfolded, the relationship between the kingdom and Washington was too important to be held hostage to one vicious, ill-thought-out act.

No American assessment of what the Saudi leadership knew has ever been made public.

Before the shooting on Friday, the White House was already fighting efforts in Congress to cut military aid to the Saudis, a reflection of anger over the Khashoggi murder and continuing war in Yemen. But the Pensacola attack underlined the continuing instinct to protect the relationship.

“If Trump wants to convey condolences from Saudi King Salman, fine,” Mr. Miller wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “But you don’t do it on day — Americans are killed — untethered from a message of ironclad assurances from King to provide” whatever cooperation is necessary to understand the gunman and his motives. “Otherwise Trump sounds like what he has become — a Saudi apologist.’’

After Mr. Pompeo announced that he had spoken with the Saudi foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, about the shooting, Martin Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and longtime Middle East negotiator, tweeted: “Isn’t it interesting how quick Trump and Pompeo are to broadcast Saudi government condolences for the murder of three Americans and how slow they were to criticize the Saudi government’s murder” of Mr. Khashoggi.

Still, the bond between the countries is weakening, as the erosion of support in Congress shows. A negotiation over providing nuclear technology to the Saudis, a huge push early in the administration, has stalled. The chances that the military support will remain at current levels appear slim.

“The U.S.-Saudi relationship is on life support,” Mr. Riedel said, noting that it would be in jeopardy if a Democrat were to win the 2020 election. “Even Joe Biden is calling the Kingdom a ‘pariah’ that needs to be punished,” he said, referring to the former vice president, who had for decades supported a strong relationship with the Saudis.





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