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FILE - In this March 15, 2014 file photo, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice peaks at the California Republican Party 2014 Spring Convention in Burlingame, Calif.  Rice has decided against delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War. Rice said in a statement Saturday, May 3, 2014 that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation. She said her involvement had "become a distraction for the university community" at a "time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families."(AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Condoleezza Rice endorses Joni Ernst

- The Washington Times

It is not surprising that Condoleezza Rice has taken a shine to Joni Ernst. The former Secretary of State has endorsed the Republican hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat in Iowa - who also is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard with some significant experience. She served as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom, overseeing convoys through Kuwait and into southern Iraq throughout 2003, and her political philosophy remains in the can-do realm.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at an energy summit in October. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Rick Perry warns of a 'crisis of competence in America'

- The Washington Times

"The greatest problem of all is that in the face of these troubles so many serious challenges, we don't have the leadership to deal with it. We are experiencing a crisis of competence in America, and the people know it," says Texas Gov. Rick Perry

A Union re-enactor carrying a flag yells as he charges at retreating Confederates during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek event in Middletown, Va. Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. The re-enactment is held on the same field as the battle on Oct. 19, 1864. (AP Photo, The Winchester Star, Jeff Taylor)

TLC for Gettysburg and Virginia: four Civil War battlefields get $2.2 million for their upkeep

- The Washington Times

A quartet of significant Civil War battlefields are getting some protective help - $2.2 million worth, and none of that coming from tax payer funds. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has announced the new grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help preserve land at Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania, and the Manassas, North Anna, and Rappahannock Station battlefields in Virginia.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said he concluded that the quarantine was necessary to protect public health and that he thinks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "eventually will come around to our point of view on this." (Associated Press)

Iowa insiders convinced it's 'all systems go' for a Chris Christie presidential run

- The Washington Times

Gov. Chris Christie takes his Jersey-style star power and fundraising prowess to Florida, Connecticut and yes, to Iowa in the next 72 hours, marking his fourth trip to the state this year. Mr. Christie was in Des Moines only 72 hours ago, helping Gov. Terry Brandstad celebrate his 68th birthday. Iowa insiders are convinced this is a true sign that Mr. Christie is running for president in 2016.

George Washington's apple brandy goes up for sale - made from the historic apple varieties he once favored. (Mount Vernon)

George Washington's official apple brandy goes on sale - $150 a bottle

- The Washington Times

There an autumnal link 'twixt president and spirits. On sale Friday at George Washington's Mount Vernon, it's - of course - George Washington's Apple Brandy, an assertive libation double-distilled in copper pots heated by wood fires then aged in "toasted" barrels for two years. The meticulous craft distillers behind it all used the same varieties of apples that George used: Hewes Crab, Roxbury Russet, and Newtown Pippin. So huzzah.

Fox News has won the ratings race for 150 months. Prime-time anchor Megyn Kelly is now drawing a larger audience than veteran Bill O'Reilly. (Fox News)

It's no illusion: Study finds conservatives overwhelmingly trust Fox News

- The Washington Times

Political differences are pronounced when it comes to choice of news sources. Conservatives remain fiercely loyal to Fox News, liberals cuddle up to National Public Radio and The New York Times. Ideology plays a pronounced role in the phenomenon, according to an extensive new survey and analysis of "political divisiveness" among Americans released by the Pew Research Center.

Twitter (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire via AP Images)

Liberals more likely than conservatives to dump a friend over politics

- The Washington Times

Politics brings out certain petty behaviors in people, particularly those who frequent Facebook and Twitter. To like, or not to like, to friend — or horrors — unfriend? A retweet can be a personal matter, indeed. Politics and ideology play a pronounced role in the phenomenon, this according to an extensive survey and analysis of "political divisiveness" among Americans released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The study found that liberals are more likely to dump a friend than conservatives over partisan leanings alone.

In this Oct. 1, 2014 photo, placards advocating a position to keep casino gambling in Massachusetts rest against a wall in the entrance to the Plainridge Racecourse harness racing track in Plainville, Mass. The Plainridge Park Casino is under construction adjacent to the harness racing track in Plainville. Voters will decide in the Nov. 4 election whether to repeal a 2011 law that opened the door for casinos in the state. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Pew Research poll finds motivated conservatives twice as likely as liberals to vote on Nov. 4

- The Washington Times

Conservatives are twice as likely as their liberal counterparts to go to the polls Nov. 4. No really. "Although overall turnout among the public is likely to be around 40 percent, 73 percent of those who hold consistently conservative attitudes are likely to vote in the midterm, as are 52 percent of those with mostly conservative views," reports the Americans Trends Panel, a substantial new gauge of the upcoming midterm election by the indefatigable Pew Research Center.

Voters in Tennessee's 9th Congressional District to decide whether they will send a black woman who embraces the tea party to Congress. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Intelligence community ponders the 'immaculate collection'

- The Washington Times

"There’s no 'secret' version of the NIS. Our oversight committees, our partners, the public and, for that matter, even our adversaries are all seeing the very same strategic direction I'm giving to the Intelligence Community," says James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence - who also has thoughts on the current intel landscape.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio was one of three Republicans that voted to end his party's filibuster of the energy efficiency bill. Mr. Portman, who co-sponsored the bill, called its defeat "yet another disappointing example of Washington's dysfunction."

The GOP's youthful Maverick PAC set to host Portman, Cruz, Priebus

- The Washington Times

The term "maverick" used to belong to Sen. John McCain back in the day. Now it's been expanded to represent a growing batallion of young, aggressive Republicans and conservatives who are ready to rumble, and in touch with their inner maverick, or words to that effect. Founded in 2009, Maverick PAC - or MAVPAC - now boasts 2,500 members. The group gathers Friday in the nation's capital for an annual conference that has attracted a stellar line-up of speakers.

A voter leaves the polls in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, after voting in the South Carolina primary runoff. Voters across the state were deciding the GOP nominations for lieutenant governor and superintendent of education, as well as the Democratic nomination for superintendent of education. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

49 percent of Americans now say they would vote for a gay presidential candidate

- The Washington Times

Big majorities of Americans - about seven-out-of-10 - say they would be comfortable voting for a presidential candidate who was Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, childless or single. So says a meticulous new Harris Poll which reveals some partisan divides among other demographics. Half of the overall public - 49 percent - would be comfortable voting for a gay presidential hopeful; 36 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents agree with that.