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Texas finally passes nation’s most restrictive abortion law

Republican lawmakers in Texas passed a bill that would give the state some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws and force most of its clinics to close, leading Democrats to promise a fight over the contentious measure in the courts and at the ballot box. More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the Capitol building in Austin to voice their opposition to the bill, including six protesters who were dragged out of the Senate chamber by state troopers for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority passed the bill unchanged late Friday — just before midnight — with all but
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Republicans rejoicing after former Montana governor says ‘no’ to Senate race

Republicans received a boost in their attempt to win back the majority in the Senate next year when a former Democratic governor bowed out of Montana’s open Senate race, a development that could further hamper President Barack Obama’s agenda during his final two years in office. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Saturday he would not run for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus in 2014, dealing a blow to Democrats who considered the popular ex-governor their best chance of keeping the office. Republicans have not settled on a candidate in GOP-leaning Montana. Republicans need to pick up
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Government may limit ability to seize records of journalists

The Justice Department on Friday proposed curbing the ability of prosecutors to seize reporters’ records while investigating leaks to the media, after complaints that journalists’ rights were violated in recent high-profile cases. A revised set of guidelines proposed by the department said that search warrants would not be sought against journalists carrying out “ordinary news-gathering activities.” In another change, the department would in most instances notify news organizations in advance if a subpoena is being sought to obtain phone records. The changes were contained in a report which the department prepared at the request of President Barack Obama and which
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Lackluster second term so far for Obama

A dramatic tax-raising deal last New Year’s looked like it might be a breakthrough, signaling improved second-term relations between newly re-elected President Barack Obama and a divided Congress. At least that’s what the White House hoped. But six months later, growing uncertainty over a sweeping immigration overhaul measure has dimmed expectations for a big summertime achievement and left Obama still in search of a marquee legislative accomplishment to mark his second four years. His advisers now concede that their best shot at changing the immigration system might come in the fall, after lawmakers return from their August recess. But that
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Obama claims immigration overhaul can boost economy

President Barack Obama says overhauling the nation’s immigration system can provide a big boost to the economic recovery. In his weekly Internet and radio address, Obama cites former President George W. Bush’s support for a comprehensive solution on immigration. He says if Democrats and Republicans can agree on something, it’s a good place to start. The Senate has already passed a bipartisan bill. Obama says now the House must act. He says Americans should use email and Facebook and phone calls to tell their representatives to take action. In the Republican address, Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming says Americans are
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Napolitano quits as Homeland Security Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced her resignation Friday to take over the University of California system, leaving behind a huge department still working to adjust to the merger of nearly two dozen agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The former Arizona governor came to President Barack Obama’s Cabinet with plans to fix the nation’s broken immigration system, and she is leaving in the midst of a heated battle in Congress over how — or if — that overhaul will be accomplished. The most frequent contact by most Americans is with the department’s Transportation Security Administration screeners at
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James Clapper’s sordid history of lying to Congress, America

As the director of national intelligence, James Clapper has told Congress that the regime of Moammar Gadhafi would likely prevail in Libya, that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood party was “largely secular” and that the National Security Agency doesn’t collect data on millions of Americans. Not quite. Gadhafi ended up killed by Libyan rebel forces, and the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi quickly moved to install conservative Islamists into top positions when he became Egypt’s president. And Clapper’s latest misstep may have dented trust in the chief intelligence officer despite public assurances of support from the White House and key members of Congress. Clapper
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Texas set to pass tough restrictions on abortion

This time when the Texas Senate takes up tough new abortion restrictions, the chamber’s top Republican is determined not to let anything — or anyone — derail a vote. The Senate’s leader, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, has scheduled a vote for Friday on the same restrictions on when, where and how women may obtain abortions in Texas that failed to become law after a Democratic filibuster and raucous protesters were able to run out the clock out on an earlier special session. But when protesters arrive at the state Capitol on Friday, dozens of extra police officers will be waiting
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Spitzer collects more than enough signatures for return to politics

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who shook up the New York political world this week with an 11th-hour bid for city comptroller, announced on Thursday he had collected enough signatures to get on the Democratic primary ballot. Eyeing a comeback five years after he resigned from office in a prostitution scandal, Spitzer arrived at the New York Board of Elections office carrying four boxes of petitions, with about an hour to go before the midnight deadline. “It’s important to those who said it was not possible in the course of three and a half days to gather enough signatures
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GOP rejects comprehensive approach on immigration

House Republicans are embracing a step-by-step approach to immigration, in contrast to the sweeping plan passed by the Senate and backed by the White House. But they’re offering neither specifics nor a timetable — nor any mention of possible citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country unlawfully. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders said in a statement the administration “cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.” House GOP lawmakers streaming out of
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