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Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — one of the few Republicans who voted both to convict President Trump and to approve the infrastructure deal — told me in an “Axios on HBO” interview:

  • “People assume that if you're moderate in tone and you wish to connect with others for a common goal of improving our country in some way, you don't have true colors — whatever those colors are supposed to be, red or blue.”

After Cassidy became one of seven Republican senators to convict President Trump just before he left office, the Louisiana Republican Party voted to censure the sitting senator.

The big picture: The American Conservative Union says that for both last year and for his career, Cassidy has an 83% conservative voting rating, showing he’s a rock-solid conservative.

  • Cassidy sometimes gets cast as a moderate, which drives him crazy.
  • “I'm a conservative who happens to be a senator,” he said during an interview in Chalmette, La. “The only way you get something done to advance our country is to work with other people.”
  • “I've learned that lesson the hard way,” Cassidy added. “And if I can work with other people and make our country better, then I'm a conservative who's got his job done.

Referring to a constituent whose home was damaged by Hurricane Ida, Cassidy said the man was “excited because his kids may move home — because of a program that I've been helped, that I've been able to help craft, which prioritizes communities such as the community in which he lives.”

  • “I'm doing my job,” the senator added. “Now, I may take some flack. But that's OK.”
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Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.