Trump

A supporter watches as the motorcade carrying President Donald Trump passes by on return to Mar-a-Largo in West Palm Beach, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Biden launches Iowa trip with focus on Trump, rural America

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden launched an eight-day bus tour of Iowa on Saturday projecting confidence, ignoring his many Democratic presidential competitors and pledging that he will unseat President Donald Trump in 2020.

The former vice president pledged first to win the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, despite recent polls suggesting his standing there has slipped in recent months.

"I promise you, I promise you," Biden told a few hundred supporters outside his Council Bluff campaign office, "we're going to win this race, and we're going to beat Donald Trump, and we're going to change America."

Behind the optimism, Biden aides acknowledge he must sharpen his message and bolster his voter outreach operation ahead of the caucuses that start Democrats' 2020 voting. But his advisers also insist he has wide support and remains well-positioned to recover any lost ground.

His chief argument — his perceived strength against Trump — was on clear display Saturday. Sidestepping his philosophical tussle with progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders over the party's direction, Biden struck a general-election posture. He added an emphasis on small town and rural America, an electoral swath where Democrats have struggled in recent elections but that could prove critical in both the nominating fight and November battlegrounds.

"We're going to touch on what we think is a forgotten part of this campaign," Biden said, bemoaning the effects of Trump's tariffs on Iowa farmers and highlighting his own rural policy plans shaped with the help of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The former Obama agriculture secretary recently gave Biden his most high-profile Iowa endorsement.

Jill Biden, the candidate's wife, followed suit in Council Bluffs, introducing her husband as the "only candidate who can take on Trump in places like Florida and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan."

Authorities: 2 kids dead, 1 missing after truck swept away

GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA - The bodies of two children were found Saturday, but searchers were still looking for a third child who went missing after a truck they were in was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen Arizona creek in what a sheriff's official called a "horrible and tragic incident."

Gila County sheriff's Lt. Virgil Dodd said the first body found was of a 5-year-old boy. The second child's age and gender weren't provided in a statement released by the Sheriff's Office.

Dodd said the 5-year-old boy's body was found about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) downstream of the crossing which had been closed hours before the truck tried to cross Friday despite barricades and warning signs.

Drivers "really need to not ignore that. It's very dangerous. It's very hazardous," Dodd said in announcing the first death. "In this case, this horrible and tragic incident ... that's what happens when you ignore these types of signs."

The Sheriff's Office said emergency personnel and law enforcement helicopters on Friday rescued two adults and two children who also were in the military-style truck swept downstream in Tonto Creek near the small community of Tonto Basin, which is about 52 miles (83 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

Sheriff's officials previously said a total of six people, including four children, were rescued Friday at locations along the creek.

The people in the truck didn't live locally, Dodd said, but he didn't know the relationship between the adults and the children.

"We have no information as to why they were trying to cross the creek," Dodd said. "We think everybody was in the cab at the time."

Rescue teams from multiple agencies participated in the search, and authorities brought in a bulldozer to pull the truck from the creek bed Saturday.

"Searchers found the truck about 1,000 yards (around 914 meters) downstream from the crossing Friday night," Dodd said. "There was nobody in the truck."

Suit claims Boy Scouts overlooked leader's alleged abuse

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America is facing another lawsuit in a wave of litigation over decades-old allegations of sexual abuse.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that two men filed a federal suit in Little Rock Wednesday, accusing the organization of concealing "negligence and fraud."

The men claim they were sexually abused on scouting trips in Arkansas in 1979 and 1980, when they were between 9 and 11, by a leader who the Boy Scouts had deemed "ineligible" to volunteer with boys following accusation of sexually abuse in Georgia two years earlier. The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they were sexually assaulted.

The suit claims the Boy Scouts did not report the leader to police in either state. The leader is identified by name but is not a defendant in the suit.

The Boy Scouts apologized in a Saturday statement to "anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting" and said it's outraged by people who "took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children."

The youth group did not address the specific allegations made in the lawsuit but acknowledged "that there were some instances in our organization's history when cases were not addressed in a manner consistent with our commitment to protect Scouts."

Charlottesville Confederate statue vandalized again

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, that became a rallying point for white nationalists has been vandalized again, this time with graffiti saying, "Impeach Trump."

News outlets report that the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was also spray-painted Thursday night with "This is Racist."

Tarps were put over the graffiti and city officials expect a clean-up effort to start Monday. The statue was vandalized earlier this year with an expletive directed at President Donald Trump.

White nationalists seized on a city plan to remove the statue and flocked there in 2017 for a rally that turned violent and deadly. The city's effort to remove the statue have been prevented by a judge amid ongoing litigation.

The statue has been vandalized several times previously.