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Gov. Newsom admits he ‘made mistakes’ during pandemic

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As a petition against him is nearing the required threshold to trigger a recall election, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) admitted Tuesday night that he has “made mistakes” during the pandemic and called the petition a “partisan power grab.”

“Look, we’ve made mistakes,” Newsom said during his State of the State speech at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, according to SFGATE. “I’ve made mistakes. But we own them, we learn from them, and we never stop trying.”

“I just want you to know – we’re not going to change course just because of a few naysayers and doomsdayers,” added the governor, who was first elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote. “To the California critics who are promoting partisan, political power grabs with outdated prejudices and rejecting everything that makes California truly great, we say this: We will not be distracted from getting shots in arms and our economy booming again. This is a fight for California’s future.”

Watch Gov. Newsom’s full 2021 State of the State address here.

The petition began picking up steam in the latter part of last year as Newsom came under increasing criticism for his handling of the pandemic. The Golden State enforced business-related shutdowns and COVID-19 restrictions that were strict comparative to other high-population states like Florida and Texas. The governor has also been attacked for his winter stay-at-home order that was questioned even by members of his own party, a slow vaccine rollout, and for most students being forced to learn from home.

RELATED: Push to recall Gov. Newsom receives $500K donation from firm

Newsom also came under fire back in the autumn when he was caught violating his own COVID-19 restrictions by dining indoors and maskless at the high-end French Laundry restaurant with a large group of people from multiple households. The governor subsequently apologized for attending the dinner party, saying it was a “bad mistake”.

On Sunday, recall leaders announced that they have collected 1.95 million signatures just a little more than a week before the deadline, nearly hitting their goal of 2 million to trigger a recall election later this year, according to The Sacramento Bee. Though only 1.5 million signatures are needed for the petition to force an election, activists had to collect an excess since many signatures are often ruled invalid during the review process.

The most recent signature verification numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office, per The Bee, found that about 83% of the signatures counted by early February were valid. There’s no guarantee that validity rate will hold for the remaining signatures, the newspaper pointed out, but if it does, proponents would reach the threshold needed to trigger a special recall election.

RELATED: Poll: 40% of New Yorkers support recalling Gov. Cuomo

According to SFGATE, Tuesday night is the first time that Newsom has directly acknowledged the petition.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

CNN announces controversial presidential debate rules obviously intended to benefit Biden

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CNN announced its several presidential debate rules over the weekend sparking controversy. The rules will govern the upcoming debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden on June 27. A

After Trump publicly stated he would debate the president “any time and any where” the Biden campaign agreed to a total of two debates that would be closely regulated. Not only did the administration demand a ban on audiences, it also approved CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash as its moderators. Breitbart reports Tapper is one of Trump’s sharpest critics.

CNN announced its own additional parameters on Saturday, which likely were done in partnership with the White House:

  • Two commercial breaks (Likely to benefit Biden)
  • Campaign staff will not be able to interact with their candidate during the break
  • No opening statements, two-minute closing statements
  • Two-minute answer shot clock, one minute for rebuttals
  • Mics will be muted “except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak” (Likely to benefit Biden)

CNN reported its rules:

The 90-minute debate will include two commercial breaks, according to the network, and campaign staff may not interact with their candidate during that time. Both candidates agreed to appear at a uniform podium, and their podium positions will be determined by a coin flip.

Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak. While no props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water.

Some aspects of the debate – including the absence of a studio audience – will be a departure from previous debates. But, as in the past, the moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to the network.

Breitbart reports that the President is planning to spend about a week preparing to debate Trump who has also requested Biden receive a drug test before the debates. The White House did not respond in May as to whether Biden intends to use performance-enhancing drugs in preparation for the presidential debates.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff who is going on vacation to help Biden prepare for the debates, did not respond to Politico Playbook’s request for comment about “whether any illegal substances are used as part of Klain’s debate prep.”

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