TIME Budget

Texas Measure Cuts HIV Funds, Boosts Abstinence Education

A Republican-sponsored measure has been tucked into the Texas budget to supplant funding for HIV prevention with abstinence education

(AUSTIN) — Texas would cut $3 million from programs to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and spend that money instead on abstinence education under a contentious Republican-sponsored measure tucked into the state budget Tuesday night.

The GOP-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the budget amendment, but not before a tense exchange with Democrats that veered into the unusually personal.

Republican state Rep. Stuart Spitzer, a doctor and the amendment’s sponsor, at one point defended the change by telling the Texas House that he practiced abstinence until marriage. The first-term lawmaker said he hopes schoolchildren follow his example, saying, “What’s good for me is good for a lot of people.”

Democrat state Rep. Harold Dutton asked Spitzer if abstinence worked for him.

Shouts of “Decorum!” soon echoed on the House floor as Spitzer responded and the back-and-forth intensified. Efforts by Democrats to put the debate in writing for the record — usually a perfunctory request — failed.

The measure is a long way from final approval. It must still survive budget negotiations with the Senate, although that chamber is equally dominated by conservatives.

Texas in 2013 had the third-highest number of HIV diagnoses in the country, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Texas also has one of the highest teen birth rates, and its public schools are not required to teach sex education.

Another Republican-sponsored amendment that passed Tuesday night would prevent schools from distributing sex education materials from abortion providers.

TIME republicans

Most Young Republicans Support Birth Control, Poll Says

TIME.com stock photos Birth Control Pills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

But 60% don't think it's a health care need

A majority of young Republicans believe every woman should have access to affordable birth control, according to a new poll.

The survey, by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, found that 57% of Republicans aged 18-34 said they had a positive view of birth control, and two-thirds of them agreed that “every adult woman should have access to affordable, effective birth control because it gives people a chance to build families on their own terms.”

“Young Republicans don’t leave their ideology behind when thinking about expanding contraceptive access, and they certainly favor limited government,” said Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey. “However, within that context, they want to know how to make sure that the most effective methods of birth control are available to those who want them.”

Despite largely believing birth control should be covered by insurance, a majority of those surveyed, including 55% of young Republican women, supported the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed an employer to deny contraceptive coverage to employees on religious grounds. And while a majority support birth control generally, 60% of respondents, including a majority of women, consider birth control “more of a personal convenience than a health care need for adult women.”

TIME Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina’s Anecdotal Campaign

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.

She doesn't have any legislative experience, so she talks about life experience instead

If you want to hear about health care, Carly Fiorina will talk about her fight with breast cancer. If you want to know about the economy, she’ll talk about working as a secretary in a small real-estate firm. If you want to learn about ISIS, she’ll even cite her degree in medieval history.

It seems that Fiorina has a personal anecdote for just about every policy question.

As she prepares to join the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has put together a well-polished set of personal stories for use on the stump. In recent weeks, she’s used the same anecdotes in speeches to very different audiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative women’s organization and a group of investors.

To be fair, every presidential candidate relies on stock anecdotes about themselves. As he launched his campaign Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz talked at length about his dad fleeing from Cuba and his wife selling bread in elementary school.

But as one of the only candidates with no prior political experience (former neurosurgeon Ben Carson is the other), Fiorina is unusually dependent on personal stories. Without a track record of votes, bills or executive actions to point to and, like many candidates at this stage, without a well-developed policy playbook, she has only her own history.

During an event on leadership and technology in Virginia Wednesday morning, she was asked by a member of the audience about innovation in government. Her response: health care.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” she said. “So I understand how important it is to make sure that people can get care despite pre-existing conditions or that people have access to quality affordable health care regardless of their circumstances.”

At a conference on women and leadership in Virginia Saturday, she talked about how social welfare programs have created a “web of dependence” for people who need help.

“Every one of us needs a helping hand sometimes,” she said. “When I battled cancer, I needed many helping hands. When my husband Frank and I lost our younger daughter Lori from the demons of addiction, we counted on the kindness of strangers.”

One of Fiorina’s favorite all-purpose anecdotes is the fact that she graduated from Stanford with a degree in medieval history and philosophy. It never fails to draw chuckles from the crowd when she brings it up, which she does, often.

She used it to knock President Obama’s comments on ISIS during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): “I was fortunate enough to enroll in Stanford University where I would earn a degree in medieval history and philosophy. All dressed up and nowhere to go. That degree has come in handy recently since our President, he’s talking about the Crusades. Yes Mr. President, ISIS indeed wants to drive the whole world back to the Middle Ages, but the rest of us moved on about 800 years ago.”

Other times, she uses her liberal arts degree to talk about education policy. At the event Wednesday, Fiorina was asked about whether education should be more vocational. She said, “While I joke that my medieval history and philosophy degree prepared me not for the job market, I must tell you it did prepare me for life… I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”

Sometimes she segues her degree into a discussion of small businesses. After graduation, she felt unprepared for the job market, so she tried law school. She hated it, dropped out after one semester and got a job as a secretary to pay the bills. “I filed and answered the phones for a little nine-person real estate firm,” she said at CPAC. “Most Americans get their start the way I did: in a small business. The dry cleaners, the coffee shops, the hairdressers and the real estate firms of American Main Street create most of our new jobs and employ half of our people. So if we want more jobs, we need more small businesses.”

Anna Epstein, press secretary at Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential Project, says these stories are how Fiorina gets through to the audience.

“Carly has always related to people at a personal level,” Epstein said. “Like all of us, her experiences shape her world view. People relate to story telling more easily than they relate to numbers and figures.”

Fiorina hasn’t said exactly when she’ll announce a run for the White House, but whenever it is, you can be sure she’ll tell some of these anecdotes in her speech.

TIME Congress

Koch Brothers Battle Against Export-Import Bank Heats Up Again

From Left: David Koch and Charles Koch
AP; Getty Images From Left: David Koch and Charles Koch

Business lobbyists won the last round, but conservative activists plan to up the pressure later this year

The conservative war over the Export-Import Bank is heating up again.

A federal lending arm of the U.S. government aimed at boosting exports with subsidized credit has long been a target of conservatives, who nearly prevented its reauthorization last year. Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a group backed by the Koch Brothers, is re-launching its effort Monday to end the bank when its charter expires at the end of June.

Backed by a six-figure digital ad buy, as well as efforts to organize a conservative coalition, the group is trying to put a stop to what it terms “cronyism and corporate welfare.” Already several Republican presidential candidates oppose its reauthorization, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“The Ex-Im Bank puts billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to subsidize some of the world’s largest, most well-connected companies at the expense of hard-working American taxpayers,” said Freedom Partners president Marc Short. “Congress should take a stand against corporate welfare and allow this bank to expire. The expiration of Ex-Im is a central focus of Freedom Partners and will be a key test for lawmakers who claim to want to tackle the big problems.”

But the bank maintains the support of much of the GOP’s establishment wing, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as many Democrats and the White House. Among other loan guarantees, the Ex-Im Bank has heavily subsidized the sale of Boeing aircraft overseas, which the company says helps it compete with Airbus, which is backed by several European governments.

The new Freedom Partners websitewww.eximexposed.org—includes shareable info-graphics highlighting controversial Ex-Im investments, as well as a roster of Republicans who have come out against reauthorizing the bank.

The bank’s charter was extended for nine months in September as part of a stop-gap funding measure for the federal government, but the absence of a shutdown threat could give Ex-Im critics more leverage in the coming months to overhaul or wind down the bank. And for Republican candidates who have yet to weigh in on the subject, the influence of billionaire GOP mega-donors will make support for the bank all the more difficult.

The Freedom Partners video:

TIME 2016 Election

Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Jump Into 2016 Race

In this March 10, 2015, photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, appears in Washington
Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP Senator Ted Cruz appears in Washington on March 10, 2015

"I am running for President and I hope to earn your support," Cruz announced on Twitter

(WASHINGTON) — Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has become the first major candidate for president, kicking off what’s expected to be a rush over the next few weeks of more than a dozen White House hopefuls into the 2016 campaign.

“I am running for president and I hope to earn your support,” the tea party favorite said in a Twitter message posted just after midnight on Monday.

Cruz will formally launch his bid during a morning speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, choosing to begin his campaign at the Christian college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell rather than his home state of Texas or the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s a fitting setting for Cruz, a 44-year-old tea party darling whose entry into the 2016 campaign drew cheers Sunday among fellow conservatives.

Amy Kremer, the former head of the Tea Party Express, said that the Republican pool of candidates “will take a quantum leap forward” with Cruz’s announcement, adding that it “will excite the base in a way we haven’t seen in years.”

Elected for the first time just three years ago, when he defeated an establishment figure in Texas politics with decades of experience in office, Cruz has hinted openly for more than a year that he wants to move down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Senate and into the White House.

In an online video promoted on his Twitter account, Cruz offered a preview of his campaign’s message.

“It’s a time for truth, a time to rise to the challenge, just as Americans have always done. I believe in America and her people, and I believe we can stand up and restore our promise,” Cruz said as images of farm fields, city skylines and American landmarks and symbols played in the background. “It’s going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again, and I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight.”

While Cruz is the first Republican to declare his candidacy, he is all but certain to be followed by several big names in the GOP, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and two Senate colleagues, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio.

The Houston Chronicle first reported details about Cruz’s campaign launch. His move puts him into pole position among those whose strategy to win the nomination counts on courting the party’s most conservative voters, who hold an outsized influence in the Republican nominating process.

“Cruz is going to make it tough for all of the candidates who are fighting to emerge as the champion of the anti-establishment wing of the party,” said GOP strategist Kevin Madden. “That is starting to look like quite a scrum where lots of candidates will be throwing some sharp elbows.”

Following his election to the Senate in 2012, the former Texas solicitor general quickly established himself as an uncompromising conservative willing to take on Democrats and Republicans alike. He won praise from tea party activists in 2013 for leading the GOP’s push to partially shut the federal government during an unsuccessful bid to block money for President Barack Obama’s health care law.

In December, Cruz defied party leaders to force a vote on opposing Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The strategy failed, and led several of his Republican colleagues to call Cruz out. “You should have an end goal in sight if you’re going to do these types of things and I don’t see an end goal other than irritating a lot of people,” said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Such admonitions mean little to Cruz, who wins over crowds of like-minded conservative voters with his broadsides against Obama, Congress and the federal government. One of the nation’s top college debaters while a student at Princeton University, Cruz continues to be a leading voice for the health law’s repeal, and promises to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and scrap the Department of Education if elected president.

Last weekend in New Hampshire, one voter gave Cruz a blank check and told him to write it for whatever amount he needed.

“He’s awfully good at making promises that he knows the GOP can’t keep and pushing for unachievable goals, but he seems very popular with right wing,” said veteran Republican strategist John Feehery. “Cruz is a lot smarter than the typical darling of the right, and that makes him more dangerous to guys like Scott Walker and Rand Paul.”

The son of an American mother and Cuban-born father, Cruz would be the nation’s first Hispanic president. While in New Hampshire this month, Cruz told voters his daughter, Caroline, had given him permission to join the presidential race in the hopes that the family puppy would get to play on the White House lawn instead of near their Houston high-rise condo.

“If you win, that means Snowflake will finally get a backyard to pee in,” Cruz said his daughter told him.

To get there, Cruz knows he needs to reach out beyond his base. He is set to release a book this summer that he said would reflect themes of his White House campaign, and said in a recent Associated Press interview he will use it to counter the “caricatures” of the right as “stupid,” ”evil” or “crazy.”

“The image created in the mainstream media does not comply with the facts,” he said.

TIME People

Dick Cheney: Obama Is ‘Playing the Race Card’

Dick Cheney Slams Obama in Playboy
Brendan Hoffman—Getty Images Former Vice President Dick Cheney is interviewed by SiriusXM Patriot host David Webb at SiriusXM studios on Oct. 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The former VP discussed everything from Ferguson to Obama's "damage" in a new Playboy interview

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one to mince his words about current U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “playing the race card” when they suggest that their critics may be partially driven by race, Cheney told Playboy in an interview for its April issue, which was published online Tuesday.

Cheney also reaffirmed his view that the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., while tragic, has been overblown by the Obama administration.

“It seems to me it’s a clear-cut case that the officer did what he had to do to defend himself,” Cheney said. “I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty.”

Read the full interview at Playboy.

TIME Campaign Finance

Ted Cruz: Lift All Contribution Limits on Campaign Cash

Senator Ted Cruz speaks to supporters at the Strafford County Republican Committee Chili and  Chat in  Barrington
Joel Page—Reuters Senator Ted Cruz, (R-Texas) speaks to supporters at the Strafford County Republican Committee Chili and Chat in Barrington, N.H. on March 15, 2015.

"Money absolutely can be speech"

(BARRINGTON, N.H.) — Unlimited political cash would give rank-and-file conservative activists greater sway in picking their representatives, including the president, White House hopeful Ted Cruz told New Hampshire voters on Sunday.

Cruz, a first-term senator who represents Texas, said deep-pocketed donors should have the same rights to write giant campaign checks as voters have to put signs in their front yards. Both, Cruz said, were an example of political speech, and he added that “money absolutely can be speech.”

“I believe everyone here has a right to speak out on politics as effectively as possible,” Cruz told a voter who asked him about the role of the super-rich in politics.

Cruz, making his first trip to New Hampshire this year, was using a two-day visit to this early voting state to lay the groundwork for an expected presidential campaign. Three of the seven questions he took during a town hall-style meeting were statements encouraging him to run for president.

Cruz steadfastly insisted he was not yet a presidential candidate and said he was merely considering it. “I am looking at it very seriously,” he said a day after making a campaign-style trip to South Carolina, another early nominating state.

After the session, one activist gave Cruz a blank check and told him to write it for whatever amount he needed.

Cruz, mindful that accepting the check would trigger his official entrance to the Republican primary, declined but told an aide to follow up with the man after a campaign is official.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

But Cruz also told voters his daughter, Caroline, had given him permission to join the presidential race in the hopes that the family puppy would get to play on the White House lawn instead of near their Houston high-rise condo.

“If you win, that means Snowflake will finally get a backyard to pee in,” Cruz said his daughter told him.

Cruz, a tea-party favorite, is expecting to formally join a crowded field of presidential hopefuls in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he has been courting party activists and donors to help him counter deep-pocketed rivals such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Asked about the outsized role of money in politics at his first event in New Hampshire this year, Cruz said he understands voters’ frustration but that cannot trump the constitutional rights to free speech.

“Right now, the system is crazy,” Cruz said of the campaign finance rules.

At a later appearance at a GOP fundraiser in New Hampshire’s rural Grafton County, Cruz said Democrats were working to limit activists’ rights through a proposed constitutional amendment to restrict campaign spending. The Democrat-backed proposal last year was more an election year posturing than a viable plan to change the Constitution.

“Is there not one lion of the Left who will stand for free speech?” Cruz said in Lincoln.

In the Senate, Cruz has proposed lifting all campaign contribution limits in exchange for immediate disclosure.

“The answer is not to muzzle citizens. It is to empower citizens,” Cruz said.

Yet Cruz acknowledged that heavy spending had been a headache during his 2012 campaign for Senate. “In the Senate race, I had $35 million in nasty attack ads against me,” Cruz said. “And you know what? It was their Constitutional right to do so.”

TIME voting rights

Democrats in Selma Gear Up for Long Fight on Voting Rights

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, USA
Erik S. Lesser—EPA US House of Representative Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrives for activities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. on March 7, 2015.

But getting legislation passed through a Republican Congress is easier said than done

For members of Congress in Selma Saturday, the history of the Voting Rights Act was clear, but its future remained murky.

As they listened to President Obama and other speakers mark the events leading to the passage of the 1965 law protecting the rights of black voters, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in attendance celebrated a milestone of the civil rights movement.

But they did not agree on what will come next for voting rights in the United States.

In 2013, the Supreme Court made huge changes to the Voting Rights Act, eliminating a “pre-clearance” cause which allowed the Department of Justice to vet any changes in voting laws in areas with a history of discrimination. Congress could restore that part of the law by making some legislative changes, but so far it has not.

In the meantime, Republican-led state legislatures have added new identification requirements and curtailed voting periods in what they say are efforts to fight voter fraud and streamline elections. Democrats argue these laws are designed to suppress the votes of minorities and called for the law to be fixed.

“One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects,” President Obama said in a speech at Selma. “If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.”

Yet the path forward for the law is a long and winding one.

The Voting Rights Act was twice been extended by Republican presidents, but in recent years voting rights has become a partisan issue. Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, who agitated for voting rights with Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960s, blamed the GOP. “There’s rhetoric to the effect of, ‘We want to impede voting, because when voting is low, we win,'” he said.

Republican commitment to Voting Rights was also called into question by the level of attendance on the trip. While much of the Democratic leadership attended the bipartisan coalition, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy only joined at the last minute, after criticism that no Republican leaders in Congress were attending.

But Republicans on the trip bristled at the implication that the GOP opposed voting rights. “If you look back at the ‘60s at who supported the Civil Rights legislation, it was Republicans more so than Democrats. The history of racial equality has included both parties consistently,” said Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the first black Senator elected from the South since Reconstruction. “What we’ve done, to sully it sometimes, is to try to put it into a partisan politics prism so as to spew venom towards one side, so we will stigmatize one party as being more racially accepting than another.”

Last month, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act was introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Rep. John Conyers, but so far it’s gotten little traction or public attention. Democrats hope the trip will motivate lawmakers to jumpstart discussions on the bill, if not begin to craft new legislation themselves. “People have to vote,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “They don’t have to vote Democratic, they just have to vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”

But the bill enjoys little Republican backing, and seven of 11 GOP co-sponsors have dropped their support since last year (though some have said they would consider supporting a different version of the bill.)

“The question right now is: what’s the right bill?” said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in an interview on Saturday. She said she hadn’t yet given the Sensenbrenner-Conyer bill a close look, but added that she’s “now committed to talking to more of my colleagues about a stronger bill.”

Still, despite the political quagmire of 2015 partisanship, some of the lawmakers left Selma more optimistic than they came. “People ask me, ‘do you think change is possible?'” asked Warren. “How can you be in Selma and believe that change is not possible? How can you be in Selma and believe that change is not necessary?”

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: 300 Republicans Support Gay Marriage

300 veteran Republicans filed a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.

Watch #KnowRightNow, and click here for more on this story.

TIME republicans

Danforth Cites Political Bullying in Schweich Eulogy

Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth leaves in Clayton, Mo., after delivering the eulogy at the funeral for Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich
Robert Cohen—AP Former U.S. Senator John Danforth leaves after delivering the eulogy at the funeral for Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich in Clayton, Mo.

Political bullying and an anti-Semitic whisper campaign led to the Missouri auditor Tom Schweich's death, former U.S. Senator John Danforth says

(CLAYTON, Mo.) — Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth denounced the ugly nature of American politics Tuesday while eulogizing Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, suggesting that political bullying and an anti-Semitic whisper campaign led his friend to kill himself.

Danforth expressed “overwhelming anger that politics has gone so hideously wrong” as he spoke at a memorial service that drew many of Missouri’s top elected officials and hundreds of others to the Episcopal church that Schweich had attended in suburban St. Louis.

“Words do hurt. Words can kill,” Danforth said. “That has been proven right here in our home state.”

Schweich, 54, fatally shot himself last Thursday in what police say was an apparent suicide at his home in Clayton. He left behind a wife, two children and an apparently rising political career. He had launched a campaign for the Republican nomination for governor just a month before his death and was already locked in a contentious primary with Catherine Hanaway, a former Missouri House speaker and U.S. attorney.

Danforth, who is an ordained Episcopal priest, served 18 years as a Republican senator before retiring in 1995 and remains one of the more respected elder statesmen of Missouri politics. Danforth said he had talked with Schweich two days before his death. He said Schweich was upset about a radio ad from a political action committee that mocked his physical appearance and suggested he was a pawn of Democrats who would “quickly squash him like the little bug that he is” in a general election.

But Danforth said Schweich was particularly distraught by what he perceived to be an anti-Semitic whispering campaign by the chairman of the Missouri Republican party, who Schweich said had been telling people that Schweich was Jewish. Schweich was Christian, but had some Jewish ancestry and had said his grandfather had long-encouraged him to stand up to anti-Semitism.

The party chairman, John Hancock, has denied making anti-Semitic remarks, though he has acknowledged he mistakenly believed Schweich was Jewish and may have mentioned it in an off-hand way to some people. Hancock didn’t attend the memorial service and declined to comment about Danforth’s remarks.

“Today is not an appropriate time to engage in political back-and-forth,” state GOP Executive Director Jonathon Prouty said on Hancock’s behalf.

Schweich’s former spokesman, Spence Jackson, said after the service that Hancock “should resign immediately” as Republican party chairman and that Hanaway should “do some serious soul-searching about the race she’s run so far and the people she’s associated with.”

Hanaway did not attend the funeral and a spokesman for her said she will not have any comment.

Danforth recited a passage from the gospel of Matthew in which Jesus describes as blessed those “who are persecuted for righteousness sake” and against whom others “utter all kinds of evil against you on my behalf.”

He said Schweich was a “model public servant” who “was a person easily hurt and quickly offended” — so much so that Danforth said he had tried to discourage Schweich from entering politics six years ago because he didn’t believe Schweich had the temperament for it.

Danforth said he is haunted by the fact that he had advised Schweich not to personally go public last week with the allegations of the anti-Semitic whispering campaign and had suggested Schweich should have someone else supply that information to the media.

“He may have thought that I had abandoned him — left him on the high ground all alone,” Danforth said.

On the morning of his death, Schweich had invited reporters for The Associated Press and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to his home for an afternoon interview, saying he was ready to go public with the allegations about the anti-Semitic campaign. He shot himself about 13 minutes after talking to the AP reporter over the phone.

“The death of Tom Schweich is the natural consequence of what politics has become,” Danforth said. “It is now our duty — yours and mine — to turn politics into something much better than its now so miserable state.”

Schweich’s coffin, draped in a Missouri flag, was placed at the front of the sanctuary, with his family seated on one side and Gov. Jay Nixon and other top officials seated on the other. The pews were packed and hundreds of people stood along the side isles.

Schweich was first elected in 2010 and had easily won election to a second, four-year term in November. He previously served as Danforth’s chief of staff for a 1999 federal investigation into the deadly government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and followed Danforth to the United Nations, where he was chief of staff for the U.S. delegation.

President George W. Bush appointed Schweich to the State Department in 2005 as an international law enforcement official and picked Schweich two years later to coordinate the anti-drug and justice reform efforts in Afghanistan.

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