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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The details of Maureen Dowd's Aug. 1 New York Times column recounting the dying wish of Beau Biden that his father Joe Biden run for President came from the vice president himself, according to a Politico report.

Anonymous sources close to Biden told Politico the vice president conveyed the anecdote in what the article called a "trial balloon." The column kicked off renewed speculation about a Biden candidacy.

Beau died of brain cancer in May.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) -- who is challenging House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the conservative alternative to replace House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) -- said he would be willing to risk a default on the national debt or a government shutdown to extract demands from President Obama.

"I have no interest in just simply raising the debt ceiling without changing the trajectory of spending," Chaffetz told CNN Monday. "It's a time where we should be reflecting on, what are we going to do so that we don't have to keep changing the debt ceiling and raising it."

The Treasury Department has signaled a Nov. 5 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, which is only days after Boehner is set to step down from the speakership. In 2011, Standard & Poors downgraded the U.S.'s credit rating after Republicans seemed willing to blow past the debt ceiling deadline.

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Facing accusations of bringing back Jim Crow, Alabama officials are arguing that the closure of 31 driver's license offices will not make it harder to vote in the state -- which requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box -- because of the state's efforts to provide a free state-issued ID for voting.

However, since the photo ID voting law went into effect in 2014, only a small portion of the estimated 250,000 Alabamans who do not already have the accepted IDs have obtained the free version. In 2014, an election year, only 5,294 of those IDs were issued, state officials told TPM.

The number of IDs issued this year is even smaller. As of September 28, 1,442 IDs had been issued since January 2, 2015.

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A top civil rights legal group, citing a likely violation of voting rights, suggested possible legal action against Alabama for its decision to close 31 of its driver's license offices. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has requested to meet with Alabama state officials in person to express the group's concerns that the DMV closures will make it harder for residents -- particularly African Americans in the state's "Black Belt" -- to obtain the government-issued photo IDs required to vote under Alabama law.

NAACP-LDF President Sherrilyn Ifill sent a letter Friday to Gov. Robert Bentley (R), Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Spencer Collier (R) and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), in which she suggested a "strong likelihood" that Alabama’s actions violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. She said there was a "potential need for immediate legal action" by the group.

"By closing these offices, the State will drastically reduce the number of sites where potential voters can obtain photo ID, creating a substantial and disproportionate burden on Black people’s ability to participate in the political process in Alabama," the letter said.

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The U.S. House member representing Alabama's only majority minority district district has requested that the Department of Justice investigate the closure of 31 driver's licenses offices in the state as a possible violation of her constituents' constitutional right to vote.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) released a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the department to investigate the closures in a state which requires government-issued photo IDs to vote. Eight of the 14 counties in Sewell's district will be without a DMV, the letter said.

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The state of Alabama has been accused of bringing back Jim Crow for closing 31 driver’s licenses offices in the state -- including all the offices in counties where African Americans make up more than 75 percent of the registered voters -- which critics say will further disenfranchise minority voters in a state that requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box.

The backlash Alabama is now facing reflects the state’s long history of blocking African Americans access to the polls, from 1965’s Selma protests that ushered in the Voting Rights Act in the first place to the 2013 Supreme Court decision in the Shelby County case that gutted a key provision of it.

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Hillary Clinton slammed the closure of 31 driver's license offices in Alabama -- many in majority-black counties -- as "a blast from the Jim Crow past."

The closures, announced this week, hit majority-black counties especially hard. Under Alabama's new tougher version of its voter ID law, voters must have a photo ID, such as a driver's license, to vote. Every Alabama county with at least 75 percent African American registered voters will lose its DMV office, according to local reports.

"This is only going to make it harder for people to vote," Clinton said in a statement Friday. "It's a blast from the Jim Crow past."

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The Alabama state official in charge of overseeing elections insisted that the closure of 31 driver's license offices -- many in majority black counties -- will not get in the way of residents' ability to vote in a state the requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box.

“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement Thursday. He pointed to the free state-issued voter ID cards that residents can apply for if they do no have any of the other approved photo IDs.

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Shirley Sherrod has settled her lawsuit over the deeply flawed 2010 Breitbart story that cost Sherrod her job at the USDA over ultimately false allegations that she discriminated against a white farmer, The National Law Journal reported. The suit had been brought against Andrew Breitbart -- who died in 2012 and was represented by his estate -- and Larry O’Connor, head of Breitbart.tv at the time.

Sherrod, O’Connor and Breitbart's estate released a joint statement Thursday announcing the settlement: "In a gesture they hope will inspire others to engage in the difficult but critically important process of bridging racial divides, the parties have agreed to resolve this lawsuit on confidential terms."

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