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CBS host burns Cruz over his anti-Muslim patrols: ‘You don’t even know how many Muslims are in America’

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Republican candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz faced tough questioning on Wednesday morning from CBS This Morning hosts about his call for law enforcement to patrol Muslim communities.

Cruz drew fire from top law enforcement officials, including current New York police Chief Bill Bratton, who has served on police departments in major cities across the country, including Boston and Los Angeles.

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“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” Cruz had said after terrorist attacks killed dozens and wounded hundreds in Brussels on Tuesday.

Bratton fired back Tuesday evening, mincing no words.

“He doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Bratton said. “Quite frankly I took great offense at that statement. I have almost 1,000 Muslim officers in the NYPD. Ironically, when he’s running around here, we probably have a few Muslim officers guarding him.”

Cruz responded by calling Bratton, a military veteran who has worked as a police officer for decades, a “Democratic political henchman” of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The CBS hosts pressed Cruz on how he thinks it would logistically work to patrol 3 million American Muslims, who are not, as Cruz suggested, “ghetto-ized” in festering radical communities.

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Cruz admitted, when asked by co-host Norah O’Donnell that he didn’t know how many Muslims lived in the United States.

“So you’re saying that law enforcement should surveil a number of Muslims and you don’t even know how many Muslims are in America,” she said.

She pointed out that Bratton had explained the United States isn’t like Europe and doesn’t have the kinds of “Muslim neighborhoods” that Cruz is talking about. Cruz was also pressed about whether his anti-Muslim rhetoric bolsters terrorists.

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“There are so many people that say that your comments are decidedly anti-Muslim, and that you’re playing right into the hands of ISIS,” co-host Gayle King said. “You’re giving them ammunition to come after us, to really take action against us.”

Cruz didn’t answer the question, and instead launched into a tirade against “political correctness.”

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“Gayle with all respect, people are fed up with the political correctness of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Islamism is a political and theocratic philosophy that commands its adherents to wage violent jihad.”

King then pointed out Cruz was painting a broad population “with one brush.”

Watch the exchange, as posted to YouTube, here:

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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