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TheChat: South Carolina begins push to rid itself of the Confederate flag

Good morning.

▪ “Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill will to say it is time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds. This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.” — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican and the state’s first non-white governor.

The call for the Confederate flag’s removal comes in the wake of last week’s racially motivated shooting that left nine African Americans dead. The calls from Haley and other South Carolina leaders should free 2016 GOP presidential candidates to back the request. So far, most candidates have hesitated when asked about the flag, saying the matter is in the hands of South Carolina residents.

▪ “The only question is does Kander meet Hillary Clinton at the airport or join her at the event?” — Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, goading Democrat Jason Kander about Tuesday’s campaign event in Missouri for the likely Democratic presidential nominee.

Clinton is planning to visit the Ferguson area near St. Louis, and Wilcox is wondering whether Kander will be seen anywhere near Clinton. Republicans probably wouldn’t mind getting a photo of the two together. A similar photo-op featuring President Obama and Robin Carnahan, the 2010 Democratic Senate nominee, helped sink Carnahan’s campaign. But Republicans should be careful. Clinton is no Obama, at least when it comes to her electoral prospects in Missouri. She could be competitive here.

▪ “The longest Kansas legislative session in state history puts Kansas Republicans in a dangerous schism leading up to the 2016 House and Senate elections, one in which party infighting will likely significantly dilute the authority of the GOP which has 97 of 125 House seats and 32 of 40 Senate seats now.” — long-time Kansas political analyst Martin Hawver sizing up the political fallout of the 2015 legislative session, the longest in state history.

Hawver points out that the Democrats’ best hope of picking up seats next year hangs on whether Republicans tear each other up in the August primaries.

▪ “We want to produce a safety net, but we don't want that to be a permanent situation.” — Missouri state Rep. Eric Burlison, a Springfield Republican, who supported big changes to the state’s welfare program this year

New rules go into effect on Jan. 1 that will limit how much time Missourians can be on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The length of time will be cut from five years to three years, nine months. The state estimates that nearly 3,200 families will lose benefits next year. (link courtesy of johncombest.com).

▪ “Once again the Benghazi Committee uncovers information that should already be part of the public record but was not made available to the American people or congressional investigators.” — South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Gowdy said the committee uncovered emails to and from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that should have been turned over to investigators. The panel released those emails on Monday.

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