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Debate sausage: 5 things to read about the first GOP debate

Published by Mike Pound on .

Ten Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, (L-R) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Ohio Governor John Kasich, debate at the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)Ten Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, (L-R) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Ohio Governor John Kasich, debate at the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Whew. For a first effort, that was fun. And no one can say Fox News took it easy on its favored candidates.

1) How did Donald Trump do? That depends. He's a lousy debater, if we judge him as we'd traditionally judge a candidate in this setting. But remember that the rules for Mr. Trump are different; if a candidacy is about anger and volume, the candidate needs only anger and volume -- and not so much responses of substance -- to be successful.

2) We propose a trade: For the next debate, let's get Carly Fiorina on the primetime stage in place of Rand Paul.

3) Jeb Bush will continue to be a GOP frontrunner simply because he has more money available than anyone else -- with the exception of Mr. Trump, of course -- but his attempt to be the grownup of the debate came off flat.

4) Four years ago, the Republican presidential candidates spent a year trying to out-conservative each other, taking the party on a sharp turn to the right. And once he was nominated, Mitt Romney found himself in an impossible position -- he was a moderate who had to be so conservative in the primaries that he was essentially unelectable, in an election where a moderate Republican probably could have taken the White House from a weakened Barack Obama. That appears to be happening again ... unless John Kasich is able to sustain the momentum that took him from his late entry to one of the last spots in the primetime debate Thursday night. Kasich's responses were consistently closer to the center than the rest of the men who shared that stage, and he had a human touch that most of the other candidate lacked.

5) Debates are often more about theater than they are about facts. Want to know who came closest to being truthful and whose pants are on fire? PolitiFact tracked the claims of the candidates and assembled this stream of social media refutations.

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Criminal charges set up conflict between Kane, Wolf

Published by Mike Pound on .

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman speaks during a news conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Norristown, Pa. Ferman announced charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane, of leaking secret grand jury information and lying about her actions under oath. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman speaks during a news conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Norristown, Pa. Ferman announced charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane, of leaking secret grand jury information and lying about her actions under oath. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

As promised, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane was charged in Montgomery County with multiple counts of obstruction of justice, official opression, perjury and contempt of court. And Gov. Tom Wolf isn't happy about it.

All the details -- including copies of the relevant court documents -- are provided here by our Karen Langley. But we wanted to note a couple of specific points.

1) Statement, in part, from Ms. Kane: "I look forward to the opportunity to present my case in a public courtroom and move beyond the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has defined the process to this point. Meanwhile, I remain committed to leading the Office of Attorney General and doing the job the citizens of this Commonwealth elected me to do. A resignation would be an admission of guilt and I'm not guilty."

2) Statement, in part, from Mr. Wolf: "She is entitled to her day in court. She is entitled to due process under our system of government and law, and she will have time to defend herself, and I think she needs to do that. But in the meantime, I am calling on her to step aside, step down as attorney general, because I think she cannot do what she has to do as the top law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania while she's facing these serious charges."

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Breakfast Sausage: The 'Let's Debate' Edition

Published by Mike Pound on .

1) Over three hours this evening, all 457 candidates seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will get a chance – albeit a brief one – to make an impression on the American voting public. And while the actual primary elections are still months away, a poor performance in tonight's debates could start a quick slide towards an early exit. Face time will be precious – whether we're talking about the kids' table debate at 5 p.m. or the main event at 9 – so look for the candidates to be sharp and concise. Unless you're frontrunner Donald Trump; in that case, you just want to continue to be louder than everyone else.

2) Scoring points during the debates will be tough, especially if you're the candidate who considers himself to be the campaign's designated adult. Jeb Bush could set himself apart tonight with a calm, thoughtful performance. But he needs to be careful: off-the-cuff Jeb Bush sometimes doesn't work so well.

3) We're not the only ones having fun with notion of the kids' table debate, but the second-tier candidates have an interesting opportunity. They don't have to share a stage with Mr. Trump, so a smart performance at 5 p.m. might work out better than a middle-of-the-road performance at 9.

4) State Attorney General Kathleen Kane could face criminal charges later today for allegedly leaking grand jury documents and lying about it in court. Ms. Kane has steadfastly maintained her innocence, even insisting she wouldn't resign if charged.

5) Meet Robert Gray. He's from Terry, Mississippi. He's a truck driver. Oh, and he's also the state's Democratic nominee for governor.

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Patrick Murphy gets Obama's nod for Defense post

Published by Tracie Mauriello on .

Patrick Murphy, then a Philadelphia-area Congressman, and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, go door to door in Philadelphia in support of Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Obama has nominated Mr. Murphy to serve as undersecretary of the Army. (Tracie Mauriello/Post-Gazette)Patrick Murphy, then a Philadelphia-area Democratic congressman, and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, go door to door in Philadelphia in support of Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Obama has nominated Mr. Murphy to serve as undersecretary of the Army. (Tracie Mauriello/Post-Gazette)

Philadelphia attorney and former Democratic Congressman Patrick J. Murphy has his sights on Washington again.

Five years after he lost his congressional seat to Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Bucks, Mr. Murphy is in line to become the Department of Defense's next undersecretary of the Army.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate the Iraq War veteran to the post John McHugh is vacating in the fall after six years.

Senate confirmation is required.

A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, Mr. Murphy was the first Iraq War veteran elected to the U.S. Congress. He also served in Bosnia in 2002 and was a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve from 1996 to 2000.

In Congress, Mr. Murphy represented Bucks County and portions of Montgomery County for two terms. He served on the House Armed Services Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Appropriations Committee.

Politically he has long been aligned with Mr. Obama on defense issues. As congressional colleagues in 2007 they jointly sponsored a failed plan to bring troops back from Iraq. Around the same time Mr. Murphy became one of the first members of Congress to actively campaign for Mr. Obama's first presidential run.

In 2012 he ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general.

Currently, he is a partner in the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP in Philly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of "China: Through the Looking Glass," in Manhattan, New York in a May 4, 2015 file photo. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)Businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of "China: Through the Looking Glass," in Manhattan, New York in a May 4, 2015 file photo. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

1) Sure, we spent a lot of time poking fun at Jeb Bush as he pretended to be coy about officially beginning his presidential campaign, but while he was, uh, waffling, he was also hauling in money by the truckload. Candidates are permitted to raise money – in unlimited amounts – directly for their superPACs when they're not yet technically candidates; once they've declared, though, they're bound by much more restrictive fundraising limits. Over the weekend, Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, defended the practice – and the $120 million he's raised so far – while courting additional donations at a conference for wealthy conservatives run by Their Royal Majesties Charles and David Koch.

2) But before we dismiss all superPACs as evil, take a look at this NPR story about how easy it is to form one to support pretty much any candidate or cause you can think of. Journalists are generally forbidden from making political donations, but we're thinking that a passing on a few bucks to Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsive Democracy would be money well spent.

3) We know of another superPAC that's pretty excited this morning. When Will Pierce, executive director of the Draft Biden PAC, appeared on NPR Sunday morning, he said his group – which is trying to draft Vice President Joe Biden into the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination – would soon have an interesting staff announcement. And word came later in the day: Josh Alcorn, a senior advisor to the late Beau Biden, was joining the PAC's staff. That move guarantees that, at the very least, the Draft Biden movement will be on Mr. Biden's radar.

4) The Senate today is scheduled to start nibbling around the edges of a push to defund Planned Parenthood, in the wake of heavily edited videos that purport to show that the women's health organization is profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. But while it would be a relatively simple step for Congress to shut off Title X family planning funds – Congress has complete control over that money – cutting off Medicaid money, which provides the bulk of the public money that goes to the group, is a lot tougher, says Politico.

5) Our Robert Zullo gave us an update this morning on what has to be one of Mayor Bill Peduto's most delicate political efforts – convincing the city's big non-profits that they should be pitching in for the city services that the rest of us pay for – and it sounds a little encouraging.