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Ben Carson’s campaign manager and communications director resign

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The campaign manager of U.S. Republican Ben Carson’s presidential run and another top aide resigned on Thursday amid sliding poll numbers for the retired neurosurgeon.

“Barry Bennett and I have resigned from the Carson campaign effective immediately,” communications director Doug Watts said in a statement as he and campaign manager Bennett departed.

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“We respect the candidate and we have enjoyed helping him go from far back in the field to top tier status,” he said.

Carson’s numbers in opinion polls have dropped ahead of the first contest – in the state Iowa on Feb. 1 – for the Republican nomination in the November 2016 election.

He now places fourth in many national opinion polls after enjoying an extended bid in the second slot behind front-runner, real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Craig Robinson, former political director for Iowa’s Republican Party, said Carson’s lack of visibility in such early-voting states as Iowa damaged him even though he had the chance to capitalize on his much-touted status as a political outsider.

“It only works if you’re here. You need to have a constant presence. He vanished. He did these big family festivals in late July and then it was like he was done. He didn’t come back until November,” Robinson said.

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In spite of the poll numbers, Carson’s campaign on Wednesday announced a fourth-quarter fundraising haul of about $23 million, with 600,000 unique donors.

“We are proud of our efforts for Dr. Carson and we wish him and his campaign the best of luck,” Watts said.

(Reporting by Megan Cassella, Alana Wise and James Oliphant; Editing by Alistair Bell and Howard Goller)

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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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Elections 2016

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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