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Political Notebook

Abortion opponents eye priorities as high court ruling looms

Anti-abortion supporters hold signs from the organization Students for Life during a Kansans for Life march Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Topeka, Kan.Evert Nelson/Associated Press

In the nearly two months since a conservative majority of justices on the Supreme Court indicated openness to dramatic new restrictions on abortion, money has poured into the political fund-raising arm of the antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List.

The organization secured $20 million in pledged financial contributions, five times more than it has had at the outset of an election year over its 30-year history, according to figures shared with the Associated Press. Before the recent surge, the group had already signed off on its largest-ever political budget, $72 million, for 2022. That’s nearly $20 million more than it spent in 2020, a year that included a presidential election.

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The cash pile virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court's abortion ruling, anticipated by the summer, will do little to quell what has become one of the most animating issues in the United States. Abortion opponents say they will pump their newfound resources into the November elections.

Once a decision is issued, “there will be a lot of focus on all the states and the midterm elections,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony List.

The Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. If the law is upheld, antiabortion activists said much of the attention would shift to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kansas. These are states with Republican legislatures but Democrats in the governorship, each of whom is up for election in November.

If the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade ruling that women have a constitutional right to an abortion, governors in Michigan and Wisconsin would be powerless to overturn restrictions in their states that were already in place before the 1973 decision.

And these governors would be the only obstacle to new measures passed by GOP legislatures, including outright bans on the procedure.

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A Supreme Court decision is “really just the beginning of the work,” said Terry Schilling, president of the socially conservative American Principles Project. “Groups have actually been really well-connected with state leaders and investing in campaigns at the local level in these swing states, trying to win control in divided governments."

Supporters of abortion rights, already feeling a heightened sense of alarm by the prospect of a defeat at the Supreme Court, are well aware of how important the governors' races may be to their cause.

“Really truly, governors in many states are going to be our backstop,” said Jenny Lawson, vice president of organizing and electoral campaigns for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “As the decisions come down to the states, these governors are the ones who can protect access.”

Associated Press

Pelosi will seek reelection

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that she is running for reelection, citing the “crucial” need to defend American democracy through legislation on voting rights and other issues.

Pelosi, 81, has represented a California Bay Area district in Congress since 1987.

“While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives,” the Democratic leader said in a video posted to her Twitter feed. “Our democracy is at risk because of assaults on the truth, the assault on the US Capitol, and the state-by-state assault on voting rights. This election is crucial. Nothing less is at stake than our democracy.”

She added: “But as we say, we don’t agonize, we organize.”

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Pelosi has led House Democrats for 19 years through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden. She was instrumental in ensuring the passage of the Affordable Care Act during Obama’s tenure. Democrats’ focus on preserving the law helped the party reclaim the House majority in 2018.

Washington Post

Capitol officer hailed as hero describes Jan. 6

For the first time since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman has spoken out publicly about his experiences during the attack, where his actions were credited with saving countless lives.

Goodman was hailed as a hero after video footage from HuffPost political reporter Igor Bobic showed Goodman standing alone at one point, facing down a mob of pro-Trump rioters, who had stormed the Capitol seeking to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win.

In the video, Goodman can be seen luring the mob away from the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were sheltering. Other footage from that day also showed Goodman redirecting Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, to safety as rioters were spilling into the Capitol. The insurrection resulted in five deaths and injured about 140 members of law enforcement.

For more than a year, Goodman kept a low profile, declining interviews. But he appeared in an interview posted Monday on the “3 Brothers No Sense” podcast, where he spoke candidly with the show’s three hosts about the attack and wrestling with the ups and downs of subsequent fame, which included being featured on the cover of Time magazine.

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“I keep asking myself that question every day, like who the hell am I?” Goodman told the hosts at the beginning of the interview. Goodman said he felt safe with them, noting one of the hosts is Byron “Buff” Evans, a personal friend and co-worker who was also at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Goodman said he was actually outside for a bit during the siege. When he ran into the mob at the Senate, Goodman said, he was surprised to see that the crowd had penetrated the inside of the complex.

“I honestly didn’t know they were that far up into the building,” Goodman said. “[I thought,] ‘Aw hell, they’re actually in the building.’ They lock eyes on me right away and just like that, I was in it. It wasn’t a matter of let me leave them alone or not. I feel like they would have followed me anyway.”

Goodman, who is a veteran, said his military training and real-life experience in the Army — when “nothing ever went to plan, ever” — helped him think on the fly, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.

“I was just in go mode, you know what I mean?” he said, adding that he was focused on safety and de-escalation as he faced angry people screaming in his face, some of whom he suspected could have been armed.

Washington Post

Biden’s vulgar comment caught on microphone

WASHINGTON — President Biden responded to a question about inflation by calling a Fox News reporter a vulgarity.

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The president was in the East Room of the White House on Monday for a meeting of his Competition Council, which is focused on changing regulations and enforcing laws to help consumers deal with high prices. Reporters in the room shouted questions after Biden’s remarks.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Biden about inflation, which is at a nearly 40-year high and has hurt the president’s public approval. Doocy’s network has been relentlessly critical of Biden.

Doocy called out, “Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”

Biden responded with sarcasm, “It’s a great asset — more inflation.” Then he shook his head and added, “What a stupid son of a bitch.”

The president’s comments were captured on video and by the microphone in front of him. Doocy laughed it off in a subsequent appearance on his network, joking, “Nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true.”

Doocy told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Biden called him later to the clear the air. Doocy said Biden told him, “It’s nothing personal, pal.”

Associated Press