Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) failed miserably last year in his attempt to stop ObamaCare by forcing a government shutdown. And Republican lawmakers have voted 50 times now, all to no avail, to repeal the law. But now, Cruz claims the GOP could still totally repeal the law — while President Obama is in office, no less — via a wildly fantastical scenario in which Democrats have a sudden change of heart and turn on the president.
Here's what Cruz told Jonathan Karl Sunday on ABC's This Week:
If there's one thing that unifies politicians of both parties, you know, their top priority is preserving their own hide. And if enough Congressional Democrats realize they either stand with ObamaCare and lose, or they listen to the American people and have a chance at staying in office, that's the one scenario we could do it in 2015. If not, we'll do it in 2017. […] Washington isn't listening to those people. That's how we win elections and that's also how we repeal ObamaCare.
An incredulous Karl asked Cruz if he really believed Congress could overturn the whole law while Obama was president, to which Cruz replied, "Every single word."
Cruz is either delusional or willfully obfuscating the truth on the matter. Poll after poll has shown that while voters don't particularly like ObamaCare, they don't support repealing it either. And Democratic lawmakers have shown no indication they would ever get behind the GOP's repeal efforts; just a few months ago, they locked arms amid the government shutdown and forced the GOP to back down.
Moreover, Cruz is being a little hypocritical in saying repeal is still even an option at this point. In pushing for the self-serving government shutdown last year, he repeatedly warned that the law could not be stopped after January 1. Of course, Cruz has strong financial and personal-branding incentives to beat the repeal drum, so don't expect him to move on any time soon. Jon Terbush
British neurologist and author Oliver Sacks died at 82 on Sunday, months after being diagnosed with terminal eye cancer, The New York Times reports. Sacks was a practicing doctor and a professor of neurology at New York University.
He was also well-known for his best-selling books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars. Awakenings, his autobiographical account of treating patients with encephalitis lethargica, a condition that renders people motionless, was later adapted in an Oscar-winning film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.
In February, Sacks wrote about his ocular melanoma diagnosis and confronting his mortality in a touching Times op-ed:
I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure. [The New York Times]
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is gaining ground on Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in Iowa, which will hold the country's first caucuses Feb. 1. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday shows Sanders just 7 percentage points behind Clinton's 37. She's lost a third of her Iowa support since May.
Vice President Joe Biden, who is rumored to be considering a campaign, took 14 percent out of the 404 likely caucus voters polled.
On the Republican side, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson sits in second at 18 percent to Donald Trump's 23 percent. Only 29 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers said they'd never vote for Trump, a figure that's halved since May. Julie Kliegman
On Saturday, New Orleans residents commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people and cost $151 billion in damage across the region.
"We saved each other," Mayor Mitch Landrieu told dignitaries at a memorial for the unidentified and unclaimed dead, The Associated Press reports. "New Orleans will be unbowed and unbroken."
Residents and activists gathered for speeches and a parade in the city's Lower 9th Ward at the site of one levee that had broken. In Mississippi, also hit hard by Katrina, coastal church bells rang out to remember one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history.
Presidential hopeful and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) spoke to a crowd in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Saturday about the need to crack down on legal immigration enforcement.
He rejected competitor Donald Trump's idea to build a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexican border, but suggested if he becomes president, he'd use FedEx's package tracking strategies to more closely track people entering the country:
The minute they come in, we lose track of them? So here's what I'm going to do as president: I'm going to ask Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, to come work for the government for three months at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and show these people. We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in, and then when your time is up... however long your visa is, then we go get you. We tap you on the shoulder and say, "Thanks for coming. Time to go." [The Star-Ledger]
While this isn't the first time Republicans have used FedEx rhetoric to talk immigration policy, Smith's daughter, Samantha, serves as Christie's campaign spokeswoman.
Christie also criticized President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers on Saturday, calling the U.S. under Obama's oversight "a nation of lawlessness," The Star-Ledger reports. Julie Kliegman
Researchers at an archaeological site in Catalonia, Spain, discovered an inner part of a cave that may have been used for sleeping, the first such area linked to a Neanderthal site, Archaeology reports.
The Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology archaeologists say the sleeping area found at Abric Romaní is distinctive from other parts of the cave because it features a lower density of artifacts. They also found a hole near a wall that may have been used to heat water 60,000 years ago.
— Archaeology Magazine (@archaeologymag) August 28, 2015
The potential bedroom and water-heating system were found among 10,000 Neanderthal artifacts researchers found at the site in August. Julie Kliegman
In a tease for her upcoming Elle UK cover story, Miley Cyrus said she identifies as pansexual, which means she considers herself attracted to people of all gender identities.
"I'm very open about it — I'm pansexual," she said. "But I'm not in a relationship. I'm 22, I'm going on dates, but I change my style every two weeks, let alone who I'm with."
The pop star and upcoming VMAs host had described her fluid sexuality similarly, without using the word pansexual, in a not-safe-for-work photoshoot with Paper Magazine in June.
"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age," she said. "Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."
You might say she's just being Miley. Julie Kliegman
Uber hired the two men who gained notoriety after remotely hacking a moving Jeep Cherokee in July, the company said Friday. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek will join the company's Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technologies Center, which has been upping its research on the technology behind self-driving cars, Reuters reports.
Miller and Valasek join the same center where Uber hired away dozens of Carnegie Mellon University's top scientists and researchers earlier in 2015. The company, valued at more than $50 billion, also announced Tuesday a partnership with the University of Arizona focused on mapping research and safety technology for self-driving cars.