The new law in Texas that bans abortions after 20 weeks gestation and strengthens health standards at abortion clinics has transformed Gov. Rick Perry and pro-life state lawmakers into legislative role models of sorts.
"This monumental new law sheds light on the urgent need for action in the U.S. Senate. Unborn children and women deserve federal protection from horrific late-term abortions," says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life interest group.
"Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support protecting babies and women late in pregnancy and Senate Majority Leader Reid should bring this to the floor for a vote. If he and his Senate colleagues stand with the American people against the barbarism of late-term abortion, they have nothing to fear from a Senate vote," Mrs. Dannenfelser continues.
"Conversely, remaining silent on this — especially in the aftermath of Kermit Gosnell and other abortion clinic horrors — would be both a moral and political mistake," she warns. "Real lives are at stake. Washington, as well as the abortion lobby, must not be allowed to ignore the women and babies suffering barbaric late-term abortions nationwide."
The winds of 2016 have begun to blow in earnest, perhaps: one Texas Republican is in Iowa this very moment. That would be Sen. Ted Cruz, who's already arrived in Des Moines to host a sold-out summer picnic for the Republican Party of Iowa. But wait. In addition, Mr. Cruz is a keynote speaker for "Pastors and Pews," a two-day closed-press event for several hundred evangelical Christian pastors now underway in the city, sponsored by the American Renewal Project. Also on the speakers roster: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has the polling edge, at least for now.
"The goal is the mobilization of pastors and pews to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture," organizer and project founder David Lane recently told The Dallas Morning News.
"We've been in 15 states now, largely under the radar, and we've had 10,000 pastors plus spouses that we've put up overnight and fed three meals. The purpose is to get the pastors — the shepherds in America — to engage the culture through better registration and get out the vote," Mr. Lane explained.
Meanwhile, the all-important numbers from a July 11 Public Policy Polling survey of voters in the Hawkeye State: Mr. Paul is in the lead with 18 percent of the vote, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (16 percent), Jeb Bush (14 percent), Sen. Marco Rubio (11 percent), Mr. Cruz (10 percent), Rick Santorum (6 percent), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2 percent) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (1 percent).
Mr. Cruz, incidentally, heads to New Hampshire to address the Republican State Committee on Aug. 23.
A Homeland Security stalwart has his eye on the White House? Could be.
"I'm going to certainly give it thought. I'm going to see where it goes. My concern right now is I don't see anyone at the national level speaking enough on, to me, what's important — national security, homeland security, counterterrorism," Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, told ABC News.
He's got his preferences, though.
"I would hope that our party is not defined by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. I'm not crazy about Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. But on the other hand, you know, guys like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, I have a lot of regard for," Mr. King added.
"Obamacare. Tornado. Obamacarenado," proclaims the newest video from American Crossroads, the political action committee founded by Karl Rove. "Just when you thought it was safe to go to the doctor the perfect storm is coming. Are you ready?" the 45-second missive of doom asks.
"Obamacare's three central promises — that costs would go down, that insurance wouldn't change, and for universal coverage — are all now proven as not true, leading every American to wonder why we did this in the first place," observes spokesman Jonathan Collegio.
'THE ISSUE ISN'T GUNS'
"One year ago on July 20, Americans were deeply saddened by the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., in which 12 people were killed and 70 wounded," says Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who notes that "national dialogue" forums inspired by the National Conference on Mental Health last month will take place in three cities in the next week.
"One in four American adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. The majority receive no treatment. Young adults in their 20s are the most common age group to experience the first onset of psychosis," Mr. Fitzpatrick observes.
"For them, the issue isn't guns. It is access to mental health care — a person being able to get help when it's needed," he says. "Commitment is needed to a mental health care system that includes mental health screening, early intervention, evidence-based mental health treatment and services, and family education and support."
"On behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, I applaud the North Carolina General Assembly's passage of the new state law that permits students to use the Cherokee language to satisfy a 'foreign' language requirement for institutions of the University of North Carolina system."
— Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
JOE'S BIG DEAL
"I can die a happy man never having been President of the United States of America. But it doesn't mean I won't run. The judgment I'll make is, first of all, am I still as full of as much energy as I have now — do I feel this? Number two, do I think I'm the best person in the position to move the ball? And, you know, we'll see where the hell I am.
"And by the way, if you come in the office, I have two portraits hanging — one of Jefferson, one of Adams. Both vice presidents who became presidents. I joke to myself, I wonder what their portraits looked like when they were vice presidents."
— Vice President Joseph R. Biden, on running for president in 2016, to GQ magazine.
POLL DU JOUR
• 83 percent of Israelis have a positive opinion of the U.S.; 78 percent of South Koreans, 76 percent of Italians, 66 percent of Mexicans, 64 percent of Canadians, 51 percent of Russians and 16 percent of Egyptians agree.
• 90 percent of Israeli Jews, 82 percent of Nigerian Christians, 72 percent of Malaysian Buddhists and 66 percent of Lebanese Sunni also agree.
• 90 percent of Israelis consider the U.S. to be a "partner;" 88 percent of El Salvadorans, 84 percent of Senegalese, 81 percent of Filipinos, 72 percent of Germans and 63 percent of British agree.
• 76 percent of Palestinians consider the U.S. an "enemy;" 64 percent of Pakistanis, 49 percent of Turkish, 46 percent of Lebanese, 39 percent of Venezuelans and 22 percent of Greeks agree.
• 37 percent of Americans have a positive view of China; 81 percent of Pakistanis, 62 percent of Russians, 48 percent of Britons, 28 percent of Germans and 5 percent of Japanese agree.
Source: A Pew Global survey of approximately 38,000 people in 39 countries conducted March 4-April 21 and released Thursday; see this large, wide-ranging survey here: PewGlobal.org.
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