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Eisenhower family lifts opposition to Ike memorial in Washington

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The family of former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower has lifted its longstanding opposition to the design of a memorial to him, the commission overseeing the project said on Monday.

The family’s support could remove a hurdle for construction of the memorial to the World War Two Allied commander and 34th president. The backing follows changes to the design by architect Frank Gehry.

The nearly $150 million, 4-acre (1.6-hectare) project near Capitol Hill has been stalled for years amid opposition from the family, Congress and others over its scale and design.

“I believe we have reached an excellent compromise and that the proposed modifications appropriately honor Eisenhower, Kansas’ favorite son, as both General and President,” Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican and chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, said in a statement.

The family’s change of heart follows discussions with former Secretary of State James Baker III, a member of the memorial’s advisory commission, about a compromise design, the statement said.

Gehry’s design for the memorial just off the National Mall included a pair of 80-foot (24-meter) freestanding columns and 447-foot (136-meter) steel mesh tapestries that depict the Kansas plains where the Eisenhower spent his boyhood.

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The tapestries had drawn the most criticism, especially from Congress and the Eisenhower family. Gehry is perhaps best known for the dramatic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

The statement did not detail the design changes, but said the tapestries would include a representation of the site of Eisenhower’s World War Two headquarters in England and a greater focus on Kansas.

Some members of Congress have criticized Gehry’s design as

inappropriate and too big. A 2014 report by the House Natural

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Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the memorial,

blasted it as a “five-star folly” plagued by construction

delays, design problems and rising costs.

A current House of Representatives spending bill contains no funds for a monument, citing opposition from the Eisenhower family and others to Gehry’s design.

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One of the memorial’s most persistent critics, Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society, decried the family’s decision.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Eisenhower family has come to accept the enormous metal tapestry that will, if built, be forever be known as the ‘Iron Curtain.’ The symbolism could not be worse,” he said, referring to Eisenhower’s leadership during the Cold War.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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