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WASHINGTON — Thirty months after setting the goal of sending a mission 239,000 miles to the moon, and returning safely, President John Kennedy cited a story the Irish author Frank O’Connor told about his boyhood. Facing the challenge of a high wall, O’Connor and his playmates tossed their caps over it. Said Kennedy, “They had no choice but to follow them. This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space.” Kennedy said this on Nov. 21, 1963, in San Antonio. The next day: Dallas.

WASHINGTON — Accusations of racism are so inflammatory that they should always be made cautiously and carefully. But when President Trump told four congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, his comments were not only blatantly racist, they were also sexist, xenophobic and intensely cynical.

WASHINGTON — President Trump was elected largely on the issue of Hispanic immigration. It’s an issue that resonates with a large number of voters, who tell pollsters that it’s a major concern — greater than the economy.

WASHINGTON — Can a candidate who is leading the field by 12 points be weak? That's the question of Joe Biden's run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

WASHINGTON — With a disgust commensurate with the fact, Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat, says that during 40% of his 10 Senate years the government has been run on "continuing resolutions." Congress passes these in order to spare itself the torture of performing its primary function, which is to set national priorities. Bennet is too serious a person to be content in today's Senate, and if Democrats are as serious as they say they are about defeating Donald Trump, Bennet should be their nominee.

LITTLE ROCK — The worse it gets, the more I need baseball. The worse what gets? Well, what have you got? Watched the evening news lately? Some days, the promise of a three-hour break from what novelist Philip Roth called “the indigenous American berserk” draws me like a fountain in the desert.

WASHINGTON — There is no clarity in the presidential race at this point, no obvious favorite, no predictable outcome. Every factor that favors President Trump or the Democrats is balanced out by a negative trend. A victory — or a defeat — for either party is totally plausible.

LITTLE ROCK — Long ago and far away, I sometimes joked that I only look white: Actually, I’m Irish. These days, people have no idea what you’re talking about. Courtesy of Ancestry.com, I’ve since learned that all the family stories are true: All eight of my great-grandparents were born in Ireland. Mayo and Cork for the most part, counties where rebellion against centuries of English oppression ran strong.

WASHINGTON — On Oct. 28, 1980, in the final debate of his race against Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan asked a question that has come to define presidential politics.

WASHINGTON — The superb athletes of the U.S. women's national soccer team, once again winners of the World Cup, shouldn't be paid as much as their counterparts on the men's team. The women should be paid more. A lot more.

WASHINGTON — If California Sen. Kamala Harris is elected president in 2020 and reelected in 2024, by the time she leaves office 114 months from now she might have a coherent answer to the question of whether Americans should be forbidden to have what 217 million of them currently have: private health insurance. Her 22 weeks of contradictory statements, and her Trumpian meretriciousness about her contradictions, reveal a frivolity about upending health care's complex 18% of America's economy. And her bumblings illustrate how many of the Democratic presidential aspirants, snug in their i…

WASHINGTON — Never-Trump Republicans and independents may be shocked to hear this, but the Democratic Party is likely to nominate a Democrat for president. That means they’re not going to nominate someone who thinks exactly like a Never-Trump Republican.

LITTLE ROCK — Purely as a sporting proposition, I would love to watch Donald Trump debate Sen. Kamala Harris. The combination of her race, her beauty and her lacerating wit would scare him half to death. I’m guessing he’d concoct an excuse not to show up. Not his type, you see. Definitely not his type at all.

WASHINGTON — On this 243rd anniversary of the beginning of the best thing that ever happened — “The Great Republic” was Winston Churchill’s tribute — many of today’s most interesting arguments about America’s nature and meaning are among conservatives. One concerns the relevance of the Declaration of Independence to the contested question of how to construe the Constitution.

WASHINGTON — The day after his dismal showing in the first Democratic debates, former Vice President Joe Biden said in Chicago: “Folks, the discussion in this race shouldn’t be about the past.”

WASHINGTON — The toxicity of the resistance to President Trump has risen in recent days, with the nation’s most respected newspapers publishing rationalizations for denying Trump supporters public accommodation and for doxxing career federal employees, while a journalist found himself under physical attack from the so-called anti-fascist group Antifa, which has stepped up its violent activities since Trump’s election.

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts used every euphemism in the thesaurus this last week to accuse the Trump administration of lying.