May 4, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Sunday said his state would continue to execute criminals despite the horrific results of Oklahoma's failed execution last week.

Perry, whose state has executed more people than any other in the past four decades, said he was "confident that the way the executions are taken care of in the state of Texas are appropriate and humane." And though he said Oklahoma had clearly screwed up its execution, he would not say whether the procedure was so horrific as to have been torture.

"I don't know whether it was inhumane or not, but it was botched," he said in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.

Oklahoma's Supreme Court stayed the execution of Clayton Lockett because of questions about the untested drug cocktail that would ultimately be used to kill him, though Gov. Mary Fallin (R) ignored the decision and proceeded anyway. Lockett writhed in apparent pain and said "oh, man" before dying of a heart attack 43 minutes after receiving the injection. --Jon Terbush

12:34 p.m. ET
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Spain's Socialist Party on Sunday cleared the way to ending nearly a year of political deadlock by abstaining from a parliamentary vote which was then able to confirm Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative People's Party (PP) for another term.

The abstention decision follows national elections in December and June which left no single party or coalition with a governing majority. The most recent election saw Rajoy's party take a plurality while the Socialists, the runner-up, lost five seats in parliament. A third general election would have been scheduled soon absent today's shift, and the Socialist Party was worried they might lose additional seats in the third vote.

"We went to win the elections, but since that didn't happen, we need that there is a government to act as the opposition," said Socialist interim party head Javier Fernandez of his party's unusual decision. Without a sweeping mandate from voters, Rajoy has said he must "work day to day, with humility and patience" to pursue his legislative agenda. Bonnie Kristian

11:54 a.m. ET
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While conventional wisdom suggests income level is the greatest determining factor in white voters' support for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump — she the elite insider, he the voice of the beleaguered working class — a new analysis from FiveThirtyEight suggests religion and education level are both far more important.

"Roughly speaking," the report summarizes, "a white voter will lean left if she is 'more college than church' and will lean right if she is 'more church than college.'" For those who fall in the middle of each spectrum, the third most predictive factor — whether a person lives in a more urban or rural area — settled the matter, with rural voters preferring Trump and urbanites going with Clinton.

As for income, the pollsters note it was actually "the least predictive of white voter support" of all seven demographic factors analyzed. The voting habits of white voters will be subject to extensive scrutiny in the run-up to Election Day, as overwhelming minority support for Clinton means Trump would rely primarily on white swing voters to win. Bonnie Kristian

11:26 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump was endorsed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an editorial published Saturday night, his first serious newspaper endorsement of the general election. The bulk of the endorsement pitch turned on Supreme Court vacancies, arguing Hillary Clinton must not be permitted to fill those seats.

"Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave," the article says. "But he promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites for whom the nation's strength and solvency have become subservient to power's pursuit and preservation."

Trump was previously only endorsed for the general election by The National Enquirer, while most paper endorsements have gone to Clinton. Even Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson still easily outpaces Trump in newspaper support, with the backing of notable outlets like the Chicago Tribune, The Detroit News, and more. Bonnie Kristian

11:06 a.m. ET
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The United States and Iran aren't the friendliest pair on a national level, but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has taken a more conciliatory stance toward the West than others in his country's leadership, feels America's pain on having to pick between two historically unpopular presidential candidates.

"America claims it has more than 200 years of democracy, and they have had 50 presidential elections, but there is no morality in that country," Rouhani said in a speech Sunday. "You saw the presidential debates, how they talk ... how they accuse and mock [each other]."

He recounted a recent episode in which he was asked by a fellow head of state whether he preferred to see Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House. "I said should I prefer bad over worse or worse over bad?" Rouhani recalled, declining to specify who is "bad" and who is "worse." Bonnie Kristian

10:42 a.m. ET

"Hey, buddy," Tom Hanks said at the beginning of his heart-to-heart with the oldest Hanks child — the United States of America — in his Saturday Night Live monologue. Hanks was recently named "America's dad" on a magazine cover, so he decided to use his SNL intro to have a little chat with a nation he's noticed is confused and even scared of all the changes happening inside.

Hanks mostly struck an encouraging tone, as any good parent would do. "Remember when you went though that Depression? This is nothing!" he said. "You're just growing up. You're in an awkward phase."

But he had some tough love, too. That national debt, for instance — don't expect dad to pay it off. "I'd like to help you out," Hanks said, "but if I do, you're never gonna learn. Also, I don't have $19 trillion. I have $230 million." Also, everyone can smell the weed, champ.

Watch the whole chat below. Bonnie Kristian

10:31 a.m. ET
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Fighting in Aleppo, Syria, intensified Sunday after three days of cease-fire provided the desperate city a moment of relief. The unilateral cease-fire announced by Russia, which is supporting Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime, was not accepted by the rebels who control Aleppo and thus was swiftly broken.

Likewise, in Yemen, a three-day cease-fire ended Sunday, and the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led coalition intervening in the Gulf nation's civil war promptly resumed airstrikes. Each side of the conflict blamed the other for breaking the peace, and United Nations efforts to prolong the cease-fire were unsuccessful.

The brief truce did allow some humanitarian aid to enter the starving country, where nearly half a million children risk serious malnutrition. Bonnie Kristian

10:02 a.m. ET
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An 11th woman accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct Saturday just hours after he said in his "first 100 days" speech in Pennsylvania that he will sue his accusers following Election Day.

The accuser, an adult film star named Jessica Drake, says when she met Trump with several friends, "He grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission." Drake also says Trump later called her and offered $10,000 and a plane ride for sex, which she refused. The Trump campaign categorically denied her account, calling it "totally false and ridiculous."

Earlier on Saturday, Trump had reiterated his position that all the accusers are politically-motivated liars. "Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," he said at his Gettysburg event. "Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over." Bonnie Kristian

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