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Jeb Bush tells Chuck Todd he’s ‘conflicted’ about the death penalty and that it needs reform

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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he is conflicted about the death penalty and wants to see reforms in how it is implemented.

Bush, in an interview taped for broadcast on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said executions can provide closure for families of murder victims but that other issues are involved.

“It’s hard for me, as a human being, to sign the death warrant, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m informed by my faith in many things, and this is one of them. So I have to admit that I’m conflicted about this.”

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“But we should reform it. If it’s to be used as a deterrent, it has to be reformed. It can’t take 25 years (of legal appeals before an execution). That does no one any good. Neither the victims nor the state is solving this problem with that kind of tangled judicial process.”

Florida executed 20 murderers while Bush was the state’s governor from 1999 to January 2007, according to the database of the Death Penalty Information Center.

Republican candidates generally have supported the death penalty while Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said it should be re-examined and her main challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has called for its abolition.

Bush’s campaign has been troubled by lackluster debate performances, sagging poll numbers and recent cutbacks in staff and salaries of his campaign organization. He also has faced criticism from Republican rival candidate Donald Trump for being “low energy” and critics have questioned if he has the personality and resolve to carry a campaign through to the November 2016 election.

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Bush said on “Meet the Press” he did not know why pundits questioned his drive to be president but said he needed to improve his performance.

“Look, I know that I’ve got to get better at doing the debate,” he said. “I’m a grinder. I mean, when I see that I’m not doing something well then I reset and I get better. And I’m going to be better.”

(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

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With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

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As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

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As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

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Elections 2016

‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral

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In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.

At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."

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