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Republican Senator Rob Portman rules out 2016 bid for White House

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Republican Senator Rob Portman, a former White House budget chief and trade representative who broke with fellow conservatives to back gay marriage, has ruled out a presidential run in 2016 and will seek a second term.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ohio lawmaker said he could not be an effective senator and campaign for the White House at the same time, and sees potential in the new Republican majority in Congress to tackle issues such as revamping the tax code, overhauling the nation’s energy sector and boosting exports.

His decision comes as Republicans prepare to take over the Senate in January after November elections that gave the party control of both houses of Congress.

“With the new Republican majority, I see a real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans,” Portman said.

Portman gained some Democratic allies when he became one of the most prominent Republican politicians to support gay marriage rights in 2013, two years after his son told him he was gay.

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He is also known for his focus on fiscal matters. He served as head of the Office of Management and Budget and was the U.S. trade representative under Republican President George W. Bush.

While in Congress, he was a member of the so-called “super committee” that failed to reach a grand bargain on the nation’s spending. With no deal, “sequester” automatic spending cuts across the board began in early 2013.

Despite that failure, Portman said he sees potential to work through political differences in Congress and said lawmakers “must pass a responsible budget to address the record levels of debt.”

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Other potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016 include Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“I know it will not be easy to break the gridlock and make Washington work,” Portman said.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker, Richard Cowan and Karen Brooks; Writing by Susan Heavey)


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‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

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MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.

"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.

"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.

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Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

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President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

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The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

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Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

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