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Republicans in Washington faced a sudden leadership vacuum on Thursday when the front-runner to take control of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, dropped out of the race in a surprise that raised concerns about the party's ability to govern effectively. Representative McCarthy, the No. 2 House Republican, had been expected to win Thursday's contest for the nomination to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner despite opposition from more conservative lawmakers who have called for a confrontational approach toward Democratic President Barack Obama's agenda. Instead, lacking the mandate he thought he needed to be an effective speaker, McCarthy stunned his colleagues by bowing out.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Air Force airman Spencer Stone, one of the three Americans who thwarted an August train attack in France, was stabbed several times during a fight outside a Sacramento bar early on Thursday and was hospitalized in serious condition, police said. The fight was not related to Stone's role in taking down the gunman on a train headed to Paris and there was no connection to terrorism, Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard told a news conference. Stone's assailant, who has not been caught, is not believed to have known Stone's identity, Bernard said.
Mourners on Thursday remembered a student who was among 10 people who died in a shooting rampage at an Oregon community college, in the first of a series of publicly announced memorial services for the victims. The service for Jason Johnson, 33, took place a week after gunman Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire at Umpqua Community College in the former timber town of Roseburg. Police exchanged gunfire with Harper-Mercer, and after he was wounded, he shot himself to death.