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Beto O’Rourke hits the road again with 2020 decision looming

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Beto O’Rourke is on the road again as he nears a decision on whether to enter the 2020 presidential race.

The former Democratic congressman from El Paso who ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 has at least two appearances scheduled this weekend across the Midwest. On Friday evening, he will visit the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he will hold a meet-and-greet with students and faculty. And on Saturday afternoon, he will speak at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute National Conference in Chicago.

The swing through the region appears to be O’Rourke’s first major travel outside Texas since his solo road trip last month through parts of the Southwest. Since then, O’Rourke has said he will make a 2020 decision by the end of the month.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether O’Rourke was approaching the Midwest trip the same way he did his previous one — traveling alone by car and blogging along the way. But the Midwestern stops will undoubtedly further stoke speculation about his 2020 plans, which are the subject of even more interest after his starring role in protests of President Donald Trump’s visit to El Paso on Monday.

The event at UW-Madison, hosted by the Political Science Student Association, is for students and faculty only. It is nonetheless notable, as it takes O’Rourke to a presidential battleground state that Donald Trump carried in 2016. Another Democrat in the 2020 mix, declared candidate and Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, is starting a swing through the state Saturday.

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At the USHLI conference in Chicago, O’Rourke is the featured speaker at a luncheon honoring three Democratic lawmakers: U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico and former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

The conference will also feature remarks Friday by Julián Castro, the Texas Democrat who is already a 2020 candidate. He is the keynote speaker at a luncheon recognizing his mother, the Mexican-American civil rights activist Rosie Castro.


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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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