August 20, 2020

Joe Biden gave the biggest speech of his career on Thursday night when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president. "The current president's cloaked America in darkness for far too long," the former vice president said. "Too much anger, too much fear, too much division. I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. … And make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness."

The speech earned rave reviews, with former President Barack Obama's chief speechwriter Cody Keenan calling it "easily Joe Biden's best speech. He rose to the moment in a big way." Added Politico's chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, "We're watching an old ballplayer whose skills have diminished turn in a career-best performance in the biggest game of his life. Remarkable to witness."

The speech even received praise by some across the aisle. Conservative commentator Erick Erickson tweeted, "Biden exceeded expectations. That was a fine speech." Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, agreed, tweeting: "Forceful, energetic delivery, strongest when portraying his program as all about jobs, speech lost focus in the second half — but overall, probably helped himself." Guy Benson, the political editor of Townhall, said simply: "Biden crushed expectations."

Even those who've known Biden for years were in awe. "After Biden mopped the floor with Paul Ryan in 2012 VP debate, I looked at him and said 'you will never have a better performance than tonight,'" tweeted Jim Messina, Obama's 2012 campaign manager. "I was wrong. Tonight is better." Jeva Lange

3:17 a.m.

A poll Sunday from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden beating President Trump by 3 percentage points among likely Texas voters, 48 percent to 45 percent. "That's within the margin of error, but it's also a 5-point reversal from the last such poll in early September," the Morning News reports.

This poll may very well be an outlier, but not by much. Trump and Biden are tied in FiveThirtyEight's Texas polling average.

"I suppose I'd note here that our forecast still has Trump favored in Texas, in part because it has strict voting laws (one of the few states without no-excuse absentee voting)," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver adds, "but Biden's chances there (38 percent) are the highest they've been all cycle." Turnout is high, so far. As of Saturday, 7.2 million Texans had voted, 42.4 percent of the state's registered voters, The Texas Tribune reports. That matches the 2016 early vote count, and Texans have five days left to cast their ballots before Election Day.

If Biden pulled off a win in Texas, Trump would have essentially no path to victory. Still, Trump isn't going to visit the Lone Star State before the election because "he's going to be in battleground states," former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), Trump first energy secretary, told the Morning News. "Texas is not a battleground state, it's that simple," and a Biden victory is a Democratic "pipe dream." It's not clear how seriously the Biden campaign is taking Texas — not seriously enough, according to Texas Democrats — but vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is paying a visit Friday.

The Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll was conducted Oct. 13-20 among 1,012 registered Texas voters, including 924 "extremely likely" voters. The poll's margin of error for the likely voters is ± 3.22 percentage points. Peter Weber

2:18 a.m.

The Wall Street Journal published a short article Thursday night on Hunter Biden's business dealings that concluded: "Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden." The same night, the Journal published an opinion piece that asserted the Democratic presidential nominee had been aware of and/or involved in his son's business endeavors, about 24 hours after Breitbart News published a statement from a former Hunter Biden business partner, Tony Bobulinksi.

That wasn't how President Trump's allies had wanted this to go, Ben Smith reports in The New York Times.

In early October, three men allied with Trump — Arthur Schwartz, a public relations man close to Donald Trump Jr.; former deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino; and Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer currently on the public payroll as "senior adviser to the president" — met in a McLean, Virginia, house and pitched the Hunter Biden story to Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, Smith reports, citing two people familiar with the meeting. Bobulinksi called in and offered to go on the record.

The trio gave Bender a cache of Hunter Biden emails and ended the meeting "believing that the Journal would blow the thing open, and their excitement was conveyed to the president," who said on an Oct. 19 conference call that an "important piece" was coming in the Journal, Smith reports. The Journal had assigned a group of reporters to dig in to the allegations, and Trump and his allies expected their article to appear in the Journal that day, former Trump campaign chairman Stephen Bannon told Smith.

"The editors didn't like Trump's insinuation that we were being teed up to do this hit job," a Journal reporter not directly involved in the story told Smith. But the Journal continued working on the report. But by that point, things had already gotten "messy," Smith reports. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's political operative, had "delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance — but containing some of the same emails — to the New York Post, a sister publication to the Journal in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.," casting "a pall over the story."

Smith, a media reporter, splits his weekly column between a report on "the McLean group's failed attempt to sway the election" and an analysis of the media's gatekeeper role. Read the entire column at The New York Times. Peter Weber

1:58 a.m.

While exploring Horseshoe Canyon in Alberta this summer, Nathan Hrushkin, 12, made a discovery that thrilled the aspiring paleontologist: he found the bones of a 69-million-year-old dinosaur.

Nathan was hiking through the area with his dad, Dion, when he came across the bones. They took several photos and sent them to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, which dispatched a team to look for more fossils. Between 30 and 50 bones were found, including a partial skull, and the experts determined they all belonged to the same hadrosaur, which was about three or four years old.

Francois Therrien, curator of dinosaur paleoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, said in a statement that this "young hadrosaur is a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta. Nathan and Dion's find will help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution."

Nathan says the hadrosaur is now his favorite dinosaur, and his discovery has made him even more curious about what could be hiding in the dirt. "I am fascinated about how bones from creatures that lived tens of millions of years ago became these fossil rocks, which are just sitting on the ground waiting to be found," he told People. Catherine Garcia

1:07 a.m.

A strengthening Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to become a hurricane on Monday, forecasters said Sunday night, and could hit the northeastern tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula or western Cuba by late Monday or early Tuesday before heading toward the Gulf Coast.

Late Sunday night, Zeta was 260 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and is essentially at a standstill, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Zeta is stuck in the western Caribbean between high pressure systems to the east and west, and "just has to sit and wait for a day or so," University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press. "It just needs anything to move."

Zeta could reach the central Gulf Coast by Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, making landfall anywhere from Louisiana to Florida's Panhandle. Zeta is the earliest named 27th Atlantic storm in recorded history. Catherine Garcia

12:17 a.m.

When President Trump released raw footage of his interview with 60 Minutes on Friday, CBS said it would not "not deter 60 Minutes from providing its full, fair, and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades." And it didn't. Sunday's 60 Minutes included interviews with Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and their running mates, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

The White House interview with Trump "began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously," 60 Minutes said, showing the moment Trump walked out of the interview early. Leading into the scene, Trump had been trying to convince Lesley Stahl, unsuccessfully, that Biden and President Barack Obama had spied on his 2016 campaign.

60 Minutes also showed what happened right after Trump walked off — that was when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany brought in Trump's "health care plan."

The context for that was Trump promising that his "fully developed" health care plan would finally be released if the Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act, something Trump told Stahl he hoped will happen.

Trump's main complaint to Stahl was that 60 Minutes didn't ask Biden the same kind of "tough" questions he got. Here's Biden answering Kelly O'Donnell's question on the economy and taxes, Trump's strongest issue.

And here's how Trump answers Stahl's question on managing the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden's strongest topic.

You can watch the full Trump and Biden interviews at 60 Minutes. Peter Weber

12:07 a.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were victorious on Sunday night in Game 5 of the World Series, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2. They now lead the series 3-2, and if the Dodgers win Game 6 on Tuesday night, they will earn their first World Series title since 1988.

The team had an early lead, thanks to Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger scoring singles in the first inning and Joc Pederson following up with a home run in the second inning. The Rays came back with Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena scoring two runs in the third, but Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, giving the Dodgers a two-run lead.

Game 6 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is set for Tuesday at 8:08 p.m. ET. Catherine Garcia

October 25, 2020

For the first time in 100 years, the New Hampshire Union Leader has endorsed a Democrat for president.

In a editorial published Sunday, the conservative-leaning paper's editorial board said it has "significant" policy disagreements with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and while he "may not be the president we want," in 2020 he is "the president we desperately need. He will be a president to bring people together and right the ship of state."

Biden is a "caring, compassionate, and professional public servant," the editorial board said. "He has repeatedly expressed his desire to be a president for all of America, and we take him at his word." President Trump, they wrote, is "not always 100 percent wrong, but he is 100 percent wrong for America."

Trump didn't receive the newspaper's 2016 endorsement, either. That year, the editorial board picked Libertarian Gary Johnson, breaking its 100-year tradition of selecting Republicans, CNN reports. During the Republican primaries, the newspaper endorsed then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), which caused Trump to call publisher Joseph McQuaid a "lowlife" and "bad guy." Catherine Garcia

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