Don Gonyea | KUER 90.1

Don Gonyea

Certain rituals have grown up around the use of the presidential pardon.

The most common is a lengthy review by the Justice Department on the merits of any such petition for a pardon.

But for President Trump, the pardon seems to have become the ultimate symbol of presidential power — the ability to use this exclusive authority as an act of benevolent largess and as the ultimate political perk.

Don Blankenship is an unlikely hero to the working class.

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Add Planned Parenthood to the list of organizations looking to take advantage of President Trump's low approval ratings in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Republicans are using tough language in the current immigration debate. They speak of the threats and dangers posed by those in the U.S. illegally. Their words largely echo those of President Trump in warning that immigrants steal jobs from Americans and drag down the standard of living.

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A majority of whites say discrimination against them exists in America today, according to a poll released Tuesday from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"If you apply for a job, they seem to give the blacks the first crack at it," said 68-year-old Tim Hershman of Akron, Ohio, "and, basically, you know, if you want any help from the government, if you're white, you don't get it. If you're black, you get it."

Updated on Oct. 18 a 4:25 p.m. ET

The pushback — and the outrage — began immediately.

Trump was asked on Monday why he had not yet commented on the deaths of four U.S. soldiers who were ambushed during a mission in Niger on Oct. 4. In his answer, Trump turned attention to the policies of past presidents and their contact with families of service members who have died.

On Tuesday, he followed his initial comments with more assertions, offering a specific example. That prompted further rebuttal from staff of previous administrations.

There was a time when the National Rifle Association was known primarily for promoting gun safety and advocating for gun ownership for hunting and home protection.

But that seems a long time ago.

It still does those things, to be sure, but these days the NRA is far more recognizable as an uncompromising political force, aggressively defending its interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, while working to defeat any and all politicians it views as its enemy.

Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET

You might call it "The Schumer Test." It goes something like this: If you're a Republican and Chuck Schumer is happy, then it's likely not a good day.

Ask AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the climate for unions on this Labor Day weekend, and he starts with something positive: a new Gallup poll showing public support for unions at its highest point since 2003.

"There's much more excitement about unions," Trumka says during an interview in his Washington, D.C., office just across Lafayette Square Park and with a view of the White House. He adds that, "over 61 percent of the people in the country support unions."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a tough assessment of what it's been like trying to work with the White House on manufacturing, trade and other issues that helped lure many union members to vote for President Trump in November.

Speaking at a breakfast event in Washington, D.C., Wednesday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Trumka said any hopes for progress ran up against another ugly reality at the White House: warring factions within the West Wing, battling for influence with the president.

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Talk to voters across the country about President Trump's first 100 days in office and a few things become abundantly clear:

His supporters — those who turned out in force and voted for him — still overwhelmingly love him.

His detractors — and they are many, given that Trump failed to win the popular vote — are still shocked by his election and appalled by his behavior.

He has lost support, particularly among moderates and independent voters. That's a big reason that polls give him the lowest approval rating of any modern president this soon after taking office.

George DeTitta, a retired biomedical researcher, is no fan of President Trump's.

"Well, the day he got inaugurated, I put on my Facebook page, 'Not my president,' " the 69-year-old Democrat says, sitting at a table near the window at a restaurant in downtown Buffalo.

DeTitta says he took the post down the next day, but he's been watching the Trump White House with alarm ever since. Even something Democrats felt relief about — the failure of the president and fractured House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act — wasn't reason for DeTitta to celebrate.

Thursday will mark seven years since President Obama signed the now-threatened Affordable Care Act before a crowd in the jam-packed East Room of the White House. It was the signature legislative moment of his presidency, underscored by then-Vice President Biden, who whispered into the president's ear that it was a "big f****** deal." The mic picked up the remark, which created quite a stir.

In eastern North Carolina, residents who voted for President Trump are loyal to him. But it is not a blind loyalty.

When asked the simple question, "How is the president doing so far?" surprisingly, Trump supporters in Nash County often begin their response with what they don't like.

Eric Wyatt, a 21-year-old engineering student, was typical.

"I support what he's doing thus far," he said, before immediately adding, "I wish he wasn't such a blowhard."

Outside of show business, the presidency is one of the few jobs that comes with its own song.

In a tradition dating back to the 1800s, when the commander in chief enters the room, the U.S. Marine Band strikes up "Hail to the Chief."

It started out a simple, human interest story featuring a former president and his post-White House hobby — painting watercolors of world leaders, and now, portraits of American soldiers, wounded during military service.

President Trump's status with the Conservative Political Action Conference has gone from "it's complicated" to a full-on committed relationship.

That turnaround was to be expected, given that the former reality TV star and billionaire businessman pulled off an unlikely upset last November that finally gave attendees at CPAC what they had been salivating over for more than a decade — control of the White House, Congress and a new conservative justice nominated to the Supreme Court.

One of the most fragile pieces of President Obama's legacy in the aftermath of the 2016 election is the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans ran on their long-standing pledge to repeal it, and we'll know soon whether — as promised — they make it their top priority in the new Congress, even without having released details on what would replace it.

The history of the Affordable Care Act also provides a window into the earliest years of the Obama presidency.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET

For more than 50 years, it's been a tradition at the White House — a concise daily intelligence briefing, presented to the president and a small group of top officials.

It is also tradition for the winner of the presidential election to start receiving the same briefing during his transition, as a way to start preparing for the world he will face once he moves into the Oval Office.

But Donald Trump, who defied all conventions of campaigning for the White House, is doing the same when it comes to the President's Daily Brief.

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