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    Outgoing White House chief of staff Ron Klain burst into tears Wednesday as he talked about his boss, President Joe Biden, and his decades of work with him. The East Room was packed with White House staff, aides and Cabinet members there to send off Klain, a Biden loyalist who has worked for the president off and on for 36 years. Klain said, “This is the best job I’ve ever had” as the president beamed from the sidelines. Klain said Biden has been a leader, a teacher and a mentor, adding, “I learned everything I know about how to be a good father from Joe Biden.”

      Emboldened anti-abortion activists are looking to the next presidential election as an opportunity to solidify their influence over the Republican Party. Leaders of the influential group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America are telling potential GOP presidential hopefuls they expect Republican candidates to support national restrictions on the procedure. Exceptions in cases of rape, incest or the mother's life are acceptable to the group, while leaving the question up to states is not. That directive is creating an early litmus test for Republicans considering entering the presidential race. It also could create problems for the party’s eventual nominee in the general election.

        New campaign finance reports show that former President Donald Trump’s political operation started this year with about $25 million socked away for his recently launched presidential campaign. That sum is substantially less than the $105 million he had on hand just one year ago when he was not yet a White House candidate. The diminished sum speaks to the potential challenges for Trump as he mounts his third bid for the presidency facing what is likely to be a crowded field of GOP candidates who will also be vying for campaign cash from the party’s donors.

        The presidential campaign landscape in Iowa is markedly different this year compared with four years ago. In 2019, at least a dozen Democratic hopefuls eager to make their case against the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, had either visited Iowa or had announced plans to visit soon. This year, Republicans considering a challenge to Democrat Joe Biden seem frozen by Trump’s early announcement of a 2024 campaign. With Iowa’s first-in-the-nation GOP caucuses just a year off, the field of would-be White House candidates has largely been content to steer clear of the state. Even Trump has been absent from Iowa, choosing instead to kickstart his campaign last weekend in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

        Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has won her bid to lead the GOP for two more years. McDaniel prevailed Friday over Donald Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon in a high-profile election that highlighted fierce internal divisions that threaten to plague the party into the next presidential season. While Donald Trump privately backed McDaniel, powerful forces from within his “Make America Great Again” movement lined up behind Dhillon. The victory makes McDaniel the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War, yet friends and foes alike agree that she will not be leading the RNC from a position of strength.

        Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has won her bid to lead the GOP for two more years. McDaniel prevailed Friday over Donald Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon in a high-profile election that highlighted fierce internal divisions that threaten to plague the party into the next presidential season. While Donald Trump privately backed McDaniel, powerful forces from within his “Make America Great Again” movement lined up behind Dhillon. The victory makes McDaniel the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War, yet friends and foes alike agree that she will not be leading the RNC from a position of strength.

        For the second time this month, House Republicans have advanced a measure to restrict presidential use of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile — a proposal that has already drawn a White House veto threat. A GOP bill approved Friday would require the government to offset any non-emergency withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with new drilling on public lands and oceans. Republicans accuse President Joe Biden of abusing the reserve for political reasons to keep gas prices low, while Biden says tapping the reserve was needed last year in response to a ban on Russian oil imports following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The bill was approved on a near party-line vote. It now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to languish.

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        Speaker Kevin McCarthy is reiterating that he will block Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California from serving on the House committee that oversees national intelligence. He says the decision is not based on political payback but because “integrity matters, and they have failed in that place.” In the previous Congress, Democrats booted Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committee assignments for incendiary commentary that lawmakers said incited potential violence against colleagues. McCarthy insists he is putting national security over partisan politics. But the Democratic lawmakers targeted say he has “capitulated to the right wing of his caucus."

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