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Manic Monday Markup 9/21/15…

UPDATED 5:38PM: To reflect more links on Scott Walker’s exit from the presidential contest.

…And the World:

We begin today in Cuba, where Pope Francis has arrived ahead of his big trip to the United States. The pontiff played a major role in helping the US and Cuba reestablish diplomatic relations after 54 years of enmity. Pope Francis said mass and visited the ailing Fidel Castro, but he is also working to avoid any direct political confrontations aside from some gentle needling. Urging more religious freedom was a big one.

Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who resigned last month to trigger yesterday’s election, was triumphant at the polls. His Syriza party, which split as hardliner anti-bailout members formed their own party, remained the dominant party in parliament. The leader of New Democracy, the largest opposition party conceded defeat shortly after the polls closed. However, Tsipras still faces daunting tasks ahead at home and abroad, even after purging his party of its intransigent factions.

After protests erupted in Burkina Faso after a recent coup, African leaders have reached an agreement to allow loyalists of the previous deposed president to participate in elections.

Australia’s new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who came to power after supplanting Tony Abbott as the Coalition’s leader in Parliament, may have a short honeymoon as he tackles the country’s mounting problems and internal party dissent.

Israel and Russia reach an agreement on military coordination, but there still may be disagreements.

Iran hands samples over to International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Bangladeshi PM denies her government represses her people.

The Feds:

As Pope-mania reaches the US, Democrats are looking forward to turning the tables on Republicans, who traditionally sided with the Catholic Church’s criticism of American politics. The GOP turns to a favorite to blunt the impact: abortion. PowerPost also curates GOP attacks on the pontiff.

Carly Fiorina has surged after her strong if truth-lite performance in last week’s debate. What comes with that is scrutiny. The Times reports Fiorina is going to try to blunt the impact of her disastrous tenure at Hewlett-Packard. Other nugget from post-Simi Valley debate, Scott Walker has entered a polling abyss and is set to exit the race.

UPDATE: More links on Walker’s exit. His money dried up after two languid debate performances and bad polling. The Times has a timeline of his campaign. On Twitter, former staffer Liz Mair savaged his campaign, but not the candidate as much, for his candidacy’s breakdown.

Donald Trump’s slippage aside, The Times also notes that changes to GOP primary rules may backfire and burden the party with them Trump for the foreseeable future.

Hillary Clinton seems to have had some good news. While Sanders had a show of force too, Clinton’s performance at the New Hampshire Democratic convention was widely applauded. Her interview on Face the Nation appeared to go well. Aside from odd emphasis on her “I’m a real person” quote, the big news was calling for the US to accept more Syrian refugees. Cherry on top? A poll shows Clinton’s lead growing for once.

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, faced heckles in Manchester, New Hampshire, for not expanding the number of Democratic primary debates.

Is that fear emanating out of US Senator David Vitter’s campaign for governor of Louisiana?

Last week Luke Bronin defeated incumbent Hartford mayor Pedro Segarra in the race for the Democratic mayoral nomination. The Hartford Courant looks at how he did it. Elsewhere in CT municipal elections, incumbent Bridgeport mayor Bill Finch also lost the party nomination to ex-con, ex-mayor Joe Ganim.

Rhode Island Public Radio considers whether Providence should revive residency requirements for city workers.

The State of Things:

Amherst’s Town Manager died suddenly over the weekend.

The Massachusetts Democratic convention brought delegates to Springfield from across the state. But for minor fact-checking and meta-tweets, we took the day off, our editor wearing his other hats that day. However, Politico’s Lauren Dezenski has quite the roundup of the weekend. Highlights include her talk with Clinton surrogate Howard Dean, Andy Metzger reporting Dems talking up Newton Mayor Setti Warren for State House News, The Boston Globe’s wide-angle view from Josh Miller and WGBH’s explanation for Dems’ kid gloves vis-à-vis Charlie Baker from Mike Deehan.

Before the convention, The Globe’s David Scharfenbarg also questioned whether Baker’s low-key approach is viable long-term.

DCF is in the spotlight again after Baby Doe is identified.

The Green Line’s fate could be decided by Thanksgiving.

Masslive has a curtain-raiser on Holyoke’s mayoral preliminary tomorrow. New England Public Radio previews Pittsfield’s preliminary also slated for Tuesday.

The Fourth Estatements:

Mass Politics Profs’ Jerold Duquette considers the media’s Trump problem.

City Slickers:

The debate over the tax break for CRRC’s railcar factory continues in the press.

Northeastern Public Radio notes Springfield’s home receivership program.

Tonight, the Council meets to discuss pensions and the next step on the biomass litigation.

Also in biomass, our analysis of the politics that have suddenly come upon at-large Councilor Bud Williams.

Springfield Police and the US Department of Justice may be setting up for a clash over the homeless.

Twitter Chatter:

Originally we had a winner for the tweet prize this week, but sudden events required us to appoint another tie. The deluge of SuperPAC money has fundamentally changed the way elections work in this country and, in effect, set us back decades. Election Law expert Rick Hasen nails this point perfectly by juxtaposing a subtweet on this development with paraphrased words from Chief Justice John Roberts assuring that influence & access are not corruption. That wins him the tweet prize this week.

However, we are also compelled to recognize Roll Call reporter Matt Fuller in light of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s exit from the presidential contest. Caked in the very kind of snark we value most, Fuller notes that Walker claimed he didn’t need to answer the question on whether to support birthright citizenship. Indeed, history would prove he was right…about not needing to answer.