Who Could Be the Independent Candidate Against Donald Trump?

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The possibility of a breakout independent presidential candidate has followed the 2016 campaign since the beginning, when Donald Trump used the threat of separating from the Republican race as a way to win establishment support.

But the speculation hasn’t ended now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee; it’s now focused around people who could run against him.

Prominent Republican Bill Kristol, who is the editor and founder of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard has been actively predicting another person will run.

Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016

Kristol focused on the prospect of a new hat in the ring in his most recent editorial, naming “not-terribly-well-known, but capable congressman like Mike Pompeo or Adam Kinzinger” as possibilities, or “a respected former senator like Judd Gregg or Mel Martinez.”

In an email to ABC News, Kristol posed a question rather than giving specific descriptions of his ideal candidate.

“Key question: can a (relative) unknown who’s a very impressive person (and will have access to resources and a strong team) run as a citizen candidate who’s served his country and establish a contrast to Trump and Clinton?” Kristol wrote.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has already ruled out running as a spoiler, as has Trump’s former rival Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as well as Senators Ben Sasse and Tom Coburn.

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said the state of the two presumptive nominees has likely led to Kristol’s comments.

“The reason this keeps gets talked about,” Dowd said on Good Morning America, “is that we have two very unpopular likely nominees of the major parties. It creates a window of opportunity.”

Kristol has been one of the most vocal advocates for an independent run and Dowd likened his comments to those of the police commissioner in Batman comics who called on the caped crusader to save the day.

“He’s a little bit like Commissioner Gordon,” Dowd said of Kristol, “shining the bat signal over the White House, hoping that somebody will show up and save the day and save the GOP.”

For his part, Trump has dismissed Kristol’s claims, saying the editor has “no credibility” since Kristol initially said that Trump would never run for office.

“He looks like such a fool,” Trump said.

If a third-party candidate were to step up, it would have to be soon since time is running out.

Philip Wallach, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, thinks that the later it gets in the race, the bigger a network the individual would need to make their bid viable.

“At this point, it is late enough in the game that only someone with extensive backing and a strong national reputation could have a significant impact as an independent,” Wallach told ABC News.

“Because of this, the Libertarian ticket headed by two well-liked former Republican governors has the best chance in its history to tap into the ‘None of the Above’ vote and expand their party’s backing beyond a highly committed fringe,” he said.

 Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Who Could Be the Independent Candidate Against Donald Trump?

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The possibility of a breakout independent presidential candidate has followed the 2016 campaign since the beginning, when Donald Trump used the threat of separating from the Republican race as a way to win establishment support.

But the speculation hasn’t ended now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee; it’s now focused around people who could run against him.

Prominent Republican Bill Kristol, who is the editor and founder of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard has been actively predicting another person will run.

Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016

Kristol focused on the prospect of a new hat in the ring in his most recent editorial, naming “not-terribly-well-known, but capable congressman like Mike Pompeo or Adam Kinzinger” as possibilities, or “a respected former senator like Judd Gregg or Mel Martinez.”

In an email to ABC News, Kristol posed a question rather than giving specific descriptions of his ideal candidate.

“Key question: can a (relative) unknown who’s a very impressive person (and will have access to resources and a strong team) run as a citizen candidate who’s served his country and establish a contrast to Trump and Clinton?” Kristol wrote.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has already ruled out running as a spoiler, as has Trump’s former rival Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as well as Senators Ben Sasse and Tom Coburn.

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said the state of the two presumptive nominees has likely led to Kristol’s comments.

“The reason this keeps gets talked about,” Dowd said on Good Morning America, “is that we have two very unpopular likely nominees of the major parties. It creates a window of opportunity.”

Kristol has been one of the most vocal advocates for an independent run and Dowd likened his comments to those of the police commissioner in Batman comics who called on the caped crusader to save the day.

“He’s a little bit like Commissioner Gordon,” Dowd said of Kristol, “shining the bat signal over the White House, hoping that somebody will show up and save the day and save the GOP.”

For his part, Trump has dismissed Kristol’s claims, saying the editor has “no credibility” since Kristol initially said that Trump would never run for office.

“He looks like such a fool,” Trump said.

If a third-party candidate were to step up, it would have to be soon since time is running out.

Philip Wallach, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, thinks that the later it gets in the race, the bigger a network the individual would need to make their bid viable.

“At this point, it is late enough in the game that only someone with extensive backing and a strong national reputation could have a significant impact as an independent,” Wallach told ABC News.

“Because of this, the Libertarian ticket headed by two well-liked former Republican governors has the best chance in its history to tap into the ‘None of the Above’ vote and expand their party’s backing beyond a highly committed fringe,” he said.

 Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Shifts Schedule to Focus on Calif. Before Tight Primary

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton has shifted her game plan to show more love to California before the state’s June 7 primary.

The Democratic front-runner changed her schedule for this week, canceling a Thursday event in New Jersey in order to be in California on the days leading up to next Tuesday’s election there.

She will now be in California from June 2 to June 6, her campaign said this weekend.

This isn’t the first time she has changed her schedule to allow more face time with California voters: She also added a roundtable event in Oakland Friday before heading back to the East Coast for the Memorial Day weekend.

But a Clinton campaign aide dismissed speculation that the changes are an indication of anything more than scheduling adjustments. The aide said they always knew it would be a competitive race in California, and have prepared for such.

Close Polling

The schedule changes come as polling suggests the race in the Golden State has been tightening.

The Public Policy Institute of California released a poll last week showing that Clinton was leading Sanders by 2 percentage points, putting the race inside the margin of error.

The race has grown closer since the group’s most recent poll, released March 24, which had Clinton with a 7-point lead.

Shaping the Ad Buys

Sanders also appears to have at least partially forced Clinton’s hand when it comes to the ad front: Sanders’ campaign announced it made a $1.5 million ad buy in the state on May 24, and the next day, a Clinton aide told ABC News that Clinton would start airing multilingual ads there Friday.

The exact price tag on her ads, which include one ad voiced by actor Morgan Freeman and others in Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Cantonese, has not been released but the aide said it was a six-figure buy.

Big-Name Endorsement

Another significant development came today when Gov. Jerry Brown announced his endorsement of Clinton in an open letter on his website.

Brown noted that he is “deeply impressed” by how well Sanders has done and made a reference to his own campaign against a Clinton. Brown ran against Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential race, and said in today’s letter that he had “attempted a similar campaign” to Sanders’.

“This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other,” Brown wrote. “The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as secretary of state, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Shifts Schedule to Focus on Calif. Before Tight Primary

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton has shifted her game plan to show more love to California before the state’s June 7 primary.

The Democratic front-runner changed her schedule for this week, canceling a Thursday event in New Jersey in order to be in California on the days leading up to next Tuesday’s election there.

She will now be in California from June 2 to June 6, her campaign said this weekend.

This isn’t the first time she has changed her schedule to allow more face time with California voters: She also added a roundtable event in Oakland Friday before heading back to the East Coast for the Memorial Day weekend.

But a Clinton campaign aide dismissed speculation that the changes are an indication of anything more than scheduling adjustments. The aide said they always knew it would be a competitive race in California, and have prepared for such.

Close Polling

The schedule changes come as polling suggests the race in the Golden State has been tightening.

The Public Policy Institute of California released a poll last week showing that Clinton was leading Sanders by 2 percentage points, putting the race inside the margin of error.

The race has grown closer since the group’s most recent poll, released March 24, which had Clinton with a 7-point lead.

Shaping the Ad Buys

Sanders also appears to have at least partially forced Clinton’s hand when it comes to the ad front: Sanders’ campaign announced it made a $1.5 million ad buy in the state on May 24, and the next day, a Clinton aide told ABC News that Clinton would start airing multilingual ads there Friday.

The exact price tag on her ads, which include one ad voiced by actor Morgan Freeman and others in Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Cantonese, has not been released but the aide said it was a six-figure buy.

Big-Name Endorsement

Another significant development came today when Gov. Jerry Brown announced his endorsement of Clinton in an open letter on his website.

Brown noted that he is “deeply impressed” by how well Sanders has done and made a reference to his own campaign against a Clinton. Brown ran against Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential race, and said in today’s letter that he had “attempted a similar campaign” to Sanders’.

“This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other,” Brown wrote. “The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as secretary of state, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Endorses Hillary Clinton Ahead of Primary

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has thrown his support behind Hillary Clinton one week before his state’s primary contest.

“On Tuesday, June 7, I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump,” Brown wrote in an open letter to California Democrats and Independents, which he posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The endorsement comes in spite of a contentious history with Bill Clinton, who he ran against in 1992. Brown, who came in second in the popular vote that year, stayed in for the duration of the primary season. After Clinton had clinched the party nomination, Brown arrived at the Democratic convention with his own party platform, and spoke when his name was placed into nomination.

Brown alluded to his 1992 run in his current letter supporting Clinton, noting that his own presidential campaign had similar ideals to Sanders’ and he has been “deeply impressed” with his performance.

But, he continued, the voters have clearly chosen Clinton, both in raw vote count and delegate numbers.

“Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown — by millions of votes — that they want her as their nominee,” Brown wrote.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Bill Clinton met with Brown earlier this month.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump to Explain Charitable Contributions to Veterans’ Groups Tuesday

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has scheduled a news conference today at Trump Tower where he will detail which veteran groups have shared the millions collected at his Iowa fundraiser in January, according to the campaign.

Instead of appearing on an Iowa stage with his presidential competitors at a Jan. 28 Republican debate, Trump hosted a “special event to benefit veterans organizations” that night, later saying it raised $6 million.

But it’s now unclear which groups benefited, when they received the money and exactly how much was allocated.

Trump announced last week he had donated $1 million of his own money.

Trump could also use Tuesday’s scheduled news conference as an opportunity to criticize the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Obama administration, something he has done recently on the stump and in his tweets.

Organized by an outside Democratic group, veterans are also expected to protest the real estate mogul outside Trump Tower in New York, just after Trump’s news conference is scheduled to begin.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Physicist Stephen Hawking Baffled by Donald Trump’s Popularity, Calls Him a Demagogue

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Gary Gershoff/WireImage(LONDON) — World-renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking may understand the many mysteries of the universe, but even he’s having a hard time grasping Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in popularity.

In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain Tuesday, Hawking called Trump a “demagogue” who seemed to attract the “lowest common denominator.”

When Hawking was asked whether his knowledge of the universe meant that he could explain Trump’s popularity, he was blunt.

“I can’t,” Hawking, 74, said.

Hawking is a cosmologist at the University of Cambridge in England.

Diagnosed with a motor neurone disease at 21, Hawking has been confined to a wheelchair for decades and communicates with the help of a speech synthesizer.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Animal Rights Protesters Rush Stage at Bernie Sanders Rally in California

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Five animal rights protesters jumped over barricades and rushed the podium at a Bernie Sanders rally in East Oakland, California, on Monday night, prompting the Vermont senator’s Secret Service detail to intervene.

One of the protesters appeared to be hit by one of the security member’s baton, while another was carried out of the venue by his arms and legs.

For his part, Sanders did not seem rattled.

“We don’t get intimidated easily,” he said, after the protesters had been removed.

Sanders’ campaign spokesperson, Michael Briggs, said he thought security handled the episode “professionally,” although a media spokesperson for the group organizing the protest said one of its members was “assaulted.”

Zach Groff of the grassroots group Direct Action Everywhere told ABC News that they have been targeting Sanders because of his message about caring for the most vulnerable.

“His campaign has promoted itself based on this idea of progressivism and rejecting discrimination and inequality,” Groff said, “but when it comes to the animals in the United States and around the world, discrimination and violence is the name of the game every single day.”

“He claims to be a progressive, but you cannot be a progressive if you oppose animal rights,” he said.

In a statement, another one of the Berkely-based group’s organizers, Aidan Cook, said that “Sanders claims to oppose ‘factory farming,’ but what he hides is that virtually all farms in the United States, including farms he supports, are essentially factory farms.”

“What we’ve learned in the case of human oppression applies to animals too: when we see someone as an object, all sorts of horrors, notably factory farming, are not just possible but inevitable,” Cook said.

The group is seeking an endorsement of full “personhood” for all animals and has previously disrupted Sanders’ events.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sanders: I’m Heading to the Convention Even If Clinton Sweeps CA, NJ Primaries

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Bernie Sanders reaffirmed Sunday that he is not planning to accept defeat in the primary race until the Democratic Party’s convention in July, regardless of the outcome of the June 7 primaries, which include delegate-rich California and New Jersey.

Talking to reporters before an event in East Oakland, California, Sanders preemptively rejected any declarations about Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee until superdelegates vote in Philadelphia at the party’s convention later this summer, even if she passes the threshold for delegates needed, as she likely will, next week.

“I think you know there’s been some discussion that some of the media is going to say the campaign is over, she is the nominee on Tuesday night after the votes come in from New Jersey — that’s not accurate,” said Sanders, who has been feverishly campaigning in California, where 475 pledged delegates are at stake.

The Sanders campaign has said for months that it intends to fight until the national party meets in Philadelphia, even if Sanders does not have a take the lead in pledged delegates. However, until recently, the Vermont senator has also consistently contended he will pass her on that front. These days the senator talks about the momentum he will have going into Philadelphia. Sanders comments today were also notable as they come so late in the game, just a week before June 7, and as Clinton stands on the verge of securing the number of delegates needed for the nomination.

Considering Clinton’s resounding lead among the party’s superdelegates, the former Secretary of State currently needs only 73 more delegates to clinch the nomination. She has 2,310 pledged and superdelegates committed to her, out of the 2,383 needed in total.

If Clinton wins roughly 50 percent of the pledged delegates available in contests this weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then she will only be 39 delegates shy coming into June 7.

“She has received obviously a whole lot of superdelegate support, no question about that,” Sanders said. “A lot more than I have. But superdelegates don’t vote until they’re on the floor of the Democratic convention. That’s when they vote. Sanders addded that “starting yesterday” his job was to convince superdelegates of his electability against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Sanders has been feverishly campaigning up and down California hoping for a landslide victory in the far west state where 475 pledged delegates are at stake.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sanders, Clinton Walk in Memorial Day Parades on Opposite Coasts

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Both Democratic presidential hopefuls took to the streets on opposite coasts Monday to walk in Memorial Day parades: Frontrunner Hillary Clinton, joined by husband Bill, walked in the annual Newcastle Memorial Day parade in their hometown of Chappaqua, New York, while Bernie Sanders walked with a largely veteran crowd in a parade in San Francisco.

Joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local officials, the Clintons walked the short parade route from the town’s fire station to the train station, waving at spectators along the route.

The Clintons were in stride with each other, fashion-wise, wearing matching blue ensembles: The former Secretary of State wore a bright blue pantsuit and matching pair of chic sunglasses, while Bill wore bright blue running shoes.

CLOSE UP: Hillary Clinton's Memorial Day shades pic.twitter.com/CqtaCr3Mgo

— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) May 30, 2016

One man followed Clinton down the parade route holding a sign that read “The Silent Majority Stands with TRUMP.”

Towards the end of the parade, reporters asked Clinton what the event meant to her, to which she replied, “I love it. I love being here. It’s my favorite parade.”

On the other side of the country, Sanders marched in a San Francisco Memorial Day parade. He walked the short parade route with veterans and honored guests. Then, he later sat onstage joined by the mayor and police chief at the historic Presidio, overlooking the bay, next to the city’s national cemetery.

.@BernieSanders walks in #MemorialDay parade at The Presidio in San Francisco #CA pic.twitter.com/B29S6B3tcX

— MaryAlice Parks (@maryaliceparks) May 30, 2016

Other than one female spectator who booed him, the crowd appeared excited by his surprise visit, shaking his hand and waving from the sidelines.

“As the former chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, the needs of veterans and the needs of those families who made the ultimate sacrifice is something that is very important,” Sanders said.

Sanders also delivered a brief statement to reporters after the event, standing on the edge of the cemetery grass with military gravestones behind him. He did not take questions, saying he did not want to talk politics.

“Today [Monday] is not just a day for picnics and for ball games,” he said. “It is a day to remember. The cost of war is very very real. Not only in terms of death but in terms of the kind of pain that the veterans carry with them who have come back. So today is a day to remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives and of their families.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Most Interesting Characters From the Libertarian Convention

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — It’s not just Republicans and Democrats gearing up for the 2016 election — Libertarians from across the country huddled in Orlando this past  weekend to choose their presidential nominee.

They’re the voters who don’t fit into the customary two-party divide: As social liberals and fiscal conservatives, they’re pushing their own movement to create a viable third party. One delegate from Texas wore bunny ears throughout the convention, arguing, “these things need a little levity.” Another wore a red clown nose.

But that’s not all: Here are the characters you don’t want to miss from the convention.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld

Libertarians say they now have their most viable general election ticket in their party’s history: the two former GOP two-term governors will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states this year.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld say that Americans’ dissatisfaction with major party nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump means they have a chance to compete this year.

A recent Fox News poll places Johnson at roughly 10 percent support. But polls tend to overestimate third-party support: Johnson got one percent of the popular vote in 2012.

The Libertarian nominees for president and vice president of the United States. #LNC16 pic.twitter.com/BBvdJVOwHA

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) May 29, 2016

The Rapping Doctor Presidential Candidate

Libertarian presidential candidate Marc Allen Feldman won over the crowd with his witty one-liners and closing statement rap.

When asked in the debate whether he supports gender-divided bathrooms, the doctor quipped that he backs one for people who wash their hands and one for those who don’t. He also compared the joint-security organization NATO to Facebook, saying it lets you know what your friends are doing, but it’s a waste of time.

He fell short in the presidential race, but his medical skills came in handy: delegates applauded him after he helped a pedestrian who got hit by a car outside the convention center.

Freedom From Clothes?

One Libertarian candidate for party chair took his idea of liberty to another level.

The delegate stripped down to his underwear on stage, immediately dropping out of the race and telling delegates he was dared to do strip down.

so this guy just started stripping while giving his nominating speech at the Libertarian convention #LNC16 pic.twitter.com/NKcN1qdgm8

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) May 29, 2016

Most of the delegates booed the man, complaining that the party needed to be taken seriously during the election season. One delegate moved to kick the stripper out of the party, but it was ruled out of order.

The Delegate Called ‘StarChild’

A delegate from California who goes by the name of StarChild wore a see-through raincoat with only a Speedo underneath it to “demand transparency.”

StarChild, a sex worker, describes the Libertarian party as “trans-partisan.”

“I think we tend to appeal both equally to right and left,” he told ABC News.

“We need to get away from this two-party cartel,” he added.

Good morning from the Libertarian convention in Orlando! "Starchild" from CA urges voters to "demand transparency" pic.twitter.com/mKiVlK5MjT

— Ines de La Cuetara (@InesdLC) May 27, 2016

StarChild wore different outfits every day of the convention.

The Anti-Virus Software Founder

John McAfee was one of Johnson’s most serious competitors for the presidential nomination.

Founder of the computer software of the same name, he fled Belize a few years ago after he was listed as a person of interest in the murder of his neighbor.

In a bid to convince delegates to vote for him, McAfee threw an eccentric party while the convention was still ongoing, complete with neon lights, women on stilts, and acrobats.

Overseen at the Libertarian national convention. pic.twitter.com/wZBjWF59q0

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) May 28, 2016

Vermin Supreme Makes an Appearance

New Hampshire’s Vermin Supreme also stopped by the convention to seek the Libertarian nomination. Supreme, who ran for president in his home state both this year and in 2012, is known for wearing a boot on his head.

His platform? Mandatory tooth-brushing laws, free ponies for all Americans, time-travel, and preparing for the zombie apocalypse. He received one vote.

Supreme, however, made it a point to tell ABC News he was not representative of the party, “and I think the party would appreciate me saying that.”

Presidential candidate Vermin Supreme making an appearance during day two of the Libertarian convention in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/RJDEStg0c4

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) May 28, 2016

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Obama Calls for True Remembrance of Nation’s Fallen Through Actions

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) — President Obama Monday honored the nation’s fallen service members by calling for true remembrance of their sacrifices – through actions and deeds – in a Memorial Day address at Arlington Cemetery.

“The Americans who rest here and their families, the best of us, those from whom we asked everything ask of us today only one thing in return, that we remember them,” the president said of the fallen in an address that followed a wreath-laying ceremony at the Virginia cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

True remembrance, the president said, means supporting the families who lost their loved ones and living a life that embodies the values for which the fallen sacrificed their lives.

“Truly honoring these fallen Americans means being there for spouses and their children,” the president said.

The president also said “we have to do better” in true remembrance of the sacrifices made by the veterans still among us by ensuring they are supported in accessing good health care and jobs upon their return home.

“Truly remembering means that after our fallen heroes gave everything to get their battle buddies home we have to make sure our veterans get everything that they have earned from good health care to a good job,” he said. “And we have to do better, our work is never done. We have to be there not only when we need them but when they need us.”

And in a reminder that the United States remains a nation engaged in active fighting, the president paused to acknowledge the 20 Americans who have given their lives in Afghanistan since last year’s Memorial Day, as well as three in Iraq in the fight against ISIS.

In an emotional moment, Obama told the story of Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, who died in Iraq, and whose wife, Ashley, was present at Arlington Ceremony along with their 10-month-old son, David. The audience offered an extended applause as the president paused in recognition of the Wheeler family.

“Today [Monday] this husband and father rests here at Arlington in Section 60, and as Americans, we resolve to be better, better people, better citizens because of Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler,” the president said.

Prior to his visit to Arlington Monday morning, the president hosted a breakfast honoring military service organizations at the White House.

The U.S. flag and and the POW/MIA flag are flying at half-staff at the White House Monday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Celebrates Memorial Day Weekend with Veterans at Rolling Thunder Rally

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ANDREW CABALLERO/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump spent part of his Memorial Day weekend supporting veterans at a motorcycle run through the nation’s capital.

At the 29th annual Rolling Thunder rally, which supports Vietnam War veterans, Trump complimented the riders with “the most beautiful bikes I’ve ever seen in my life” and said Memorial Day was “so important.”

“It’s our day and we have to be very proud of, and we are very proud of it,” he said. “And it’s an honor to be with you.”

He also railed against the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which has been criticized for having long wait times for veterans at its medical facilities.

“If there’s a wait, we’re going to give the right for those people to go to a private doctor or even a public doctor, and get themselves taken care of, and we’re going to pay the bill,” he said. “And that should’ve happened a long time ago.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Will Trump’s Muslim Ban Be Included in the GOP Platform?

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) — For those who worry that Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will stray from the party’s core ideology, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso wants to be clear: he won’t.

Sen. Barrasso, who will chair the Republican Platform Committee at the party’s convention in Cleveland this summer, said he believes Trump will “embrace” the GOP platform.

What’s still unclear is what that platform will include, as the GOP struggles between traditional party policy and Trump’s key campaign promises.

Chief among those promises is Trump’s temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

When asked by ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl whether the ban would be part of the platform, Barrasso did not say no.

“It’s going to be a conservative platform that’s going to be positive, optimistic, looking to the future, focused on things like jobs, the economy, and national security,” Barrasso said on “This Week” on Sunday. “And what he was focused on with that ban is national security.”

When pressed, Barrasso deferred to the delegates who will meet in July.

“It’s 112 members of the platform committee, and we’ve asked Donald Trump to allow the process to play out. He has agreed to do that. And I’ve asked him personally to embrace the platform and I believe he will. National security will be a big part of it,” he said.

On reforming Social Security and Medicare, an issue close to the heart of House Speaker Paul Ryan and other fiscal conservatives, Trump has also stood in contrast to most Republicans, saying he would not touch any entitlement programs.

Barrasso took a harder line against that.

“They need to continue and be reformed and strengthened so they’re there for future generations. And I believe that will be part of the Republican platform coming out of the convention,” he said.

But on immigration, the Republican leader said there will be negotiation with Trump, who has campaigned on a strong anti-illegal immigration platform, centered around building a southern border wall and deporting 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

“The platform committee is going to meet on talking about all of these things, and there’s going to be agreements with Donald Trump, there’s going to be disagreements,” said Barrasso, noting that there may be a “maze” of discussions for the Republican Platform Committee to work through this summer, but the Democrats are going to have to work “through a minefield, which could be explosive.”

“They are deeply divided,” he said, but regarding his own party, “I believe we’re going to come out of Cleveland united so we can win in November and get the country headed in the right direction.”

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Gary Johnson Wins Libertarian Nomination For President

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via GettyImages(NEW YORK) — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has won the Libertarian nomination for president.

Hoping to emerge as a viable contender against the two major parties’ nominees in the general election, Johnson says he aims to tap into voters’ broad reluctance to fall in line behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But Johnson needed to fend off challengers from more extreme wings of his party, originally falling five votes short of winning the 463 delegates needed for the nomination on the first ballot. Delegates voted a second time, giving Johnson the majority he needed (55.8 percent).

Johnson defeated five hopefuls to secure his place on top of the Libertarian ticket, which will likely be the only third party on the ballot in all 50 states.

Delegates have yet to vote on Johnson’s hand-picked vice presidential pick, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Many Libertarians here are wary of Weld, who joined the party less than two weeks ago and endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican primary earlier this election cycle.

Unlike the primary and caucus system used by the Republican and Democratic parties, Libertarian presidential candidates have spent much of the past week debating and wooing delegates, who were free to vote for whomever they choose at the party’s national convention.

The Libertarian Party faces an uphill climb to become viable in the general election. A recent Fox News poll shows Johnson at 10 percent in a race against Trump and Clinton, although polling tends to overstate the support of third party candidates.

Johnson was also the party’s nominee in 2012, when he received 1 percent of the popular vote – topping 1 million votes for the first time in the party’s history.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Campaign Chief: ‘Trouble Follows the Clintons Everywhere’

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — As he begins to build his strategy for the general election, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will not only attack his likely Democrat opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but also her husband and family, according to Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist.

“Trouble follows the Clinton’s everywhere,” Paul Manafort told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, during an interview Sunday on This Week.

“People are frustrated with all of the drama around the Clinton family and the history of the Clinton family,” he said. “And certainly, if they’re going to be back in the political milieu, then their history is relevant to what the American people can expect.”

Manafort added that because Hillary Clinton recently suggested her husband could potentially be in charge of fixing the economy in her administration, “the whole family is up for discussion.”

Manafort also responded to the reversal by his boss who earlier this week appeared eager to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders. “I’d love to debate Bernie, actually,” Trump said during a press conference Thursday.

“I mean, the problem with debating Bernie, he’s gonna lose,” he added.

Manafort said Trump’s change of heart on the matter came when he secured enough delegates on Thursday to clinch the GOP presidential nomination.

“The question should be, why is Hillary Clinton afraid to debate Bernie Sanders?” he said. (Clinton has rejected multiple offers from the Sanders campaign to debate ahead of the California primaries in just over a week.)

“Bernie should have that chance,” Manafort said, adding that Trump would “debate [whomever] it is that emerges from the system” and becomes the Democratic nominee.

Manafort, who was promoted to his current role as head of the campaign two weeks ago, also dismissed recent media reports citing that some Trump staffers claimed their offices in Trump Tower might have been wiretapped.

“There’s a lot of good work going on there and we’ve been able to develop a campaign that is cohesive, that’s working together, and in a record time thanks to a great candidate who has got a vision and connected to the American people, put the campaign in a position to win the presidency,” Manafort said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why the Favored Libertarian Ticket Could Be in Jeopardy

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Two former Republican governors favored to win their bids for the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket at their party’s national convention this weekend in Orlando may be in trouble.

Top Libertarian officials huddling here are starkly divided between those focused on putting up a viable general election ticket like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson versus those focused on maintaining ideological purity.

This split — highlighted by widespread hesitancy from purists around Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld — is threatening to doom this ticket entirely.

All of the national delegates here are free to vote for whichever candidate they want at this weekend’s meetings, unlike the two major parties, which bind most delegates according to a primary or caucus process.

Many establishment Libertarians in Florida support a Johnson-Weld ticket because it would give credibility to the party and Weld presents strong fundraising potential, but more radical Libertarians say Weld is just “Republican-lite” and does not align with the core values of the party.

They argue that Libertarians won’t win this cycle anyway, but that this time they have a chance to be heard, and that they should therefore nominate a purist who will do the best job of getting their core message across.

The Libertarian ticket, no matter who it is, will face a steep climb in November, as the party got only 1 percent of the vote in 2012. But party leaders cite the unpopularity of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and polls that show Americans more open to a third party than ever before.

Weld debated three other vice presidential hopefuls on Friday night, earning polite applause from the audience but failing to hit Libertarian talking points.

His most colorful line: Weld said that if Donald Trump is elected, the United States “will be the North Korea of the next eight years.”

Johnson said he was pleased with the debate.

“I hope Bill Weld is the nominee,” he said afterwards. “I think if Bill Weld is the nominee, I think we actually have a chance of winning the presidency.”

But one of the other candidates, Larry Sharpe, took a dig at Johnson-Weld in his closing statement, saying that one Republican governor on the ticket was enough “and something else could help.”

“If that’s his pitch to everyone, that’s his pitch,” Johnson responded after the debate, calling his ticket “arguably the two most Libertarian governors that have ever served.”

But in a signal of his campaign’s concern for getting a majority of delegates to fall in line behind Weld, Johnson made the unusual move of introducing Weld at a party for supporters Friday night — not visa versa — and vouching for his libertarian credentials.

Former two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is primarily rivaled by young, up-and-coming Austin Petersen, a former TV producer and Libertarian activist.

Two other noteworthy candidates include John McAfee, the millionaire software entrepreneur who fled Belize after he was listed as a “person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor, and Darryl Perry, who believes “the United States government, as it exists today, should be abolished,” according to his website.

McAfee and Perry are more radical candidates expected to garner enough support to keep them in through a potential second ballot if Johnson doesn’t win outright.

But presidential hopefuls weren’t the only ones gathered here in Orlando. California-based Libertarian “Star Child” only wore a Speedo and a see-through raincoat to “demand transparency.” One Texas delegate wore bunny ears all day “for his own entertainment.” Even New Hampshire’s Vermin Supreme stopped by Friday night.

It just so happens that a Comic Con is also being held at the Rosen Center this weekend: people dressed as Harry Potter, the Hulk and “Star Wars” characters have had to walk by the Libertarian booths to make it to their own convention.

Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” movies, was scheduled to make an appearance at the Comic Con and stopped by to meet Johnson and Weld.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Highlights From the Libertarian Party Presidential Debate

Posted on: May 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson faced off against his four main rivals on the debate stage on Saturday night, earning some of the night’s loudest cheers and boos as he tried to sell his viability in the general election without alienating his party’s more hardcore members.

JOHNSON DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS

• When asked whether it was wrong for the United States to intervene in WWI? In WWII? Johnson’s entire answer was “I don’t know.” This response got a lot of traction on Twitter as a major red flag for any Libertarian Party momentum.

• Gary Johnson also received boos for saying he would have signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Libertarians object to Title 2 as a violation of the freedom of association.) This response also got traction on Twitter.

• Johnson was the only candidate who said he would require drivers to have licenses, citing possible dangers — such as blind drivers. The crowd responded by booing loudly.

• Johnson: “If we legalized all drugs tomorrow, the world would be a much better place.”

• “I’m not smart enough to say whether global warming is man-made,” said Johnson.

• On immigration: Johnson believes the U.S. should make it “as easy as possible” for people to get work visas. “We need to embrace immigration,” said Johnson, adding immigrants “are the cream of the crop. They are not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want.”

OTHER DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS

• Libertarian candidate Austin Petersen, seen widely as Johnson’s stiffest competition, said we don’t need the government to build roads because “in the future, we’ll have jetpacks.”

• Libertarian candidate Marc Feldman says he supports separate bathrooms — one for people who wash their hands and one for those who don’t.

• On global warming: “Whether or not global warming is real not, it’s not the government’s business to fight it,” said Petersen. Only John McAfee acknowledged man-made climate change.

• When asked how they would fund things like healthcare and the military, some of the candidates insisted they would depend on citizens’ “voluntary contributions.” “The military should be as big as can be on donations and bake sales,” said Darryl Perry.

• On immigration: All Libertarian candidates who made the debate agree that the U.S. should have an open-borders policy. “I’d like to build a wall around Donald Trump and make Bernie Sanders pay for it,” Petersen said. “If Donald Trump wins the election, we should revolt,” he added.

Delegates at the Libertarian convention in Orlando, Florida, will decide the nominee on Sunday. Most party insiders expect Johnson to win the presidential nod, but stiff competition from extreme wings of the party threatens to drag the voting out for multiple ballots.

Delegates will then vote separately on vice presidential nominations, where leaders here believe the race is more unpredictable. Johnson is pushing for former GOP Gov. Bill Weld, but some delegates are wary, saying he’s not a true Libertarian.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein Says Bernie Sanders’ Campaign ‘All But Over’

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fight for the Democratic nomination is “all but over,” adding that the nation would be “better off” if he worked to bridge the party’s divides ahead of the general election.

Feinstein, one of the earliest members of Congress to endorse Hillary Clinton, encouraged Sanders to view his campaign from a “real perspective.”

“Senator Sanders has the right to run, no question. He ought to be able to read the signposts as well as anybody else, and if he did that he would know that it’s all but over,” Feinstein told Jonathan Karl in an interview for ABC News’ “This Week” that will air Sunday.

“I know the passion of a campaign. I know when you’re in it, you just keep go, go, go until the last hour is there. Well, the last hour is close by,” Feinstein added.

The California senator, who previously criticized Sanders for delaying Clinton’s pivot to a general election showdown with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, suggested Sanders should work to fortify the Democratic Party before November.

“It would be, I think, a very positive gesture for reconciliation if Senator Sanders were to consider putting his campaign in the very real perspective that it’s in, and doing those things that can bring the party together,” Feinstein said. “I think the nation is better off if that were to happen.”

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Sanders Campaign Calls for Committee Leadership Changes at Convention

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) — The Bernie Sanders campaign is calling to remove Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank from leadership positions on Democratic committees at the national convention, arguing that their allegiance to Hillary Clinton will compromise their neutrality.

In a letter to the Democratic National Committee, Brad Deutsch, counsel to the Sanders campaign, called Malloy and Frank “aggressive attack surrogates for the Clinton campaign.”

“The appointment of two individuals so outspokenly critical of Senator Sanders, and so closely affiliated with Secretary Clinton’s campaign, raises concerns that two of the three Convention Standing Committees are being constituted in an overtly partisan way designed to exclude meaningful input from supporters of Senator Sanders’ candidacy,” Deutsch wrote in a letter to the co-chairs of the DNC rules and bylaws committee, which the Sanders campaign posted on its website.

Malloy is co-chairman of the platform committee, and Frank is head of the rules committee.

Jim Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller, the co-chairs of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, wrote in a letter to Deutsch that they are “compelled to dismiss” his challenge, because there is no allegation that the selection of Malloy and Frank violated any rules of the Democratic Convention.

DNC responds to Sanders campaign call for convention leadership change, say they are "compelled to dismiss it" pic.twitter.com/e7p1i1Dz47

— Alana Abramson (@aabramson) May 28, 2016

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced this week that five Sanders supporters would serve on the platform committee, which is responsible for managing the process of drafting the party’s platform. In a release announcing the committee members the DNC said 75 percent of the committee’s seats have been allocated to the two presidential campaigns, awarded proportionally according to vote tally, “in an effort to make this the most representative and inclusive process in history.”

Concerns about discontent from the Sanders campaign at the convention increased after Nevada’s state convention, where Sanders supporters grew rowdy after Clinton received more delegates and maintained the process was usurping democracy.

“People in America have the right to demonstrate. It’s kind of what the constitution of the United States is,” Sanders said on ABC’s “The View” earlier this week when asked about concerns of violence at the convention in Philadelphia.

“It goes without saying that I will condemn any and all forms of violence,” he said. “Secretary Clinton and I have different points of view on many of these issues. I don’t see anything wrong with a vigorous debate.”

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35 Arrested After Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump Groups Clash in San Diego

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Stone/ABC News(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — Police in riot gear were called in to separate Donald Trump protesters and supporters Friday afternoon after they clashed outside a rally for the presumptive Republican nominee in San Diego, California.

According to San Diego Police, 35 people were arrested. There was no property damage and no injuries reported, police added.

**Final Update** 35 arrests were made today during the protest. No property damage was reported. No injuries were reported.

— San Diego Police (@SanDiegoPD) May 28, 2016

 The roughly 1,000 demonstrators were gathered on both sides of the street outside the San Diego Convention Center.

Some protesters holding Mexican flags and flags from other countries yelled, “Dump Donald Trump.”

Trump supporters chanted, “You can’t vote,” and, “Build that wall!”

A helicopter loudspeaker and ground loudspeakers repeatedly made announcements that unlawful assembly was declared, and anyone in the area would be arrested if they stayed.

Police forced protesters out of the area by firing pepper spray balls at the crowd.

Trump took to Twitter to thank the San Diego Police Department, while referring to the anti-Trump protesters as “thugs.” He wrote, “Fantastic job on handling the thugs who tried to disrupt our very peaceful and well attended rally. Greatly appreciated!”

.@SanDiegoPD– Fantastic job on handling the thugs who tried to disrupt our very peaceful and well attended rally. Greatly appreciated!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2016

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President Obama Calls on Americans to Remember Fallen Heroes in Address

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day in his weekly address.

He stressed the difference between thanking veterans for their service every day of the year, and the Monday holiday.

“Memorial Day, which we’ll observe Monday, is different,” the president said. “It’s the day we remember those who never made it home; those who never had the chance to take off the uniform and be honored as a veteran.  It’s the day we stop to reflect with gratitude on the sacrifice of generations who made us more prosperous and free, and to think of the loved ones they left behind.”

President Obama called on Americans to remember U.S. servicemen and women “who died in our defense.”

“The debt we owe our fallen heroes is one we can never truly repay,” he said. “But our responsibility to remember is something we can live up to every day of the year.”

Read the president’s full address:

Hi, everybody.  Right now, there are American troops serving in harm’s way and standing sentry around the world.  There are veterans who’ve served honorably in times of war and peace, and often came home bearing the invisible and visible wounds of war.  They may not speak the loudest about their patriotism – they let their actions do that.  And the right time to think of these men and women, and thank them for their service and sacrifice, is every day of the year.
 
Memorial Day, which we’ll observe Monday, is different.  It’s the day we remember those who never made it home; those who never had the chance to take off the uniform and be honored as a veteran.  It’s the day we stop to reflect with gratitude on the sacrifice of generations who made us more prosperous and free, and to think of the loved ones they left behind.
 
Remembering them – searing their stories and their contributions into our collective memory – that’s an awesome responsibility.  It’s one that all of us share as citizens.
 
As Commander-in-Chief, I have no more solemn obligation than leading our men and women in uniform.  Making sure they have what they need to succeed.  Making sure we only send them into harm’s way when it’s absolutely necessary.  And if they make the ultimate sacrifice – if they give their very lives – we have to do more than honor their memory.
 
We have to be there for their families.  Over the years, Michelle and I have spent quiet moments with the families of the fallen – husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.  They’ve shared their pain – but also their pride in the sacrifices their loved ones made under our proud flag.
 
It’s up to the rest of us to live our lives in a way that’s worthy of these sacrifices.
 
The idea to set aside a Memorial Day each year didn’t come from our government – it came from ordinary citizens who acknowledged that while we can’t build monuments to every heroic act of every warrior we lost in battle, we can keep their memories alive by taking one day out of the year to decorate the places where they’re buried.
 
That’s something that so many of our fellow Americans are doing this weekend.  Remembering.  Remembering the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who died in our defense.  Remembering those who remain missing.  Remembering that they were our fellow citizens and churchgoers, classmates and children, and more often than not, the best of us.
 
So this Memorial weekend, I hope you’ll join me in acts of remembrance.  Lay a flower or plant a flag at a fallen hero’s final resting place.  Reach out to a Gold Star Family in your community, and listen to the story they have to tell.  Send a care package to our troops overseas, volunteer to make a wounded warrior’s day a little easier, or hire a veteran who is ready and willing to serve at home just as they did abroad.
 
Or just pause, take a moment, and offer a silent word of prayer or a public word of thanks.
 
The debt we owe our fallen heroes is one we can never truly repay.  But our responsibility to remember is something we can live up to every day of the year.
 
Thanks.  May God watch over our fallen heroes and their families, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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Sen. Joni Ernst Honors Veterans for Memorial Day in GOP Address

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) delivered this week’s Republican address and honored American veterans for Memorial Day.

Ernst, who is the Senate’s first female combat veteran and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said to “push past” a “divided America” this holiday weekend.

“Unfortunately, all too often folks hear in the media talking about a divided America,” she said. “But this Memorial Day, I implore you to push past the 30 second sound bites and instead join me in honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation since its founding in 1776.”

The senator also mentioned bipartisan legislation introudced with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) that would ensure Women Airforce Service Pilots could have their ashes placed at Arlington National Cemetery.

Read the Republican’s full address:
 
Hi, I’m Joni Ernst and I have the honor of serving the great state of Iowa in the United States Senate.
 
It’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa to Washington, D.C., but often I think back to even more distant places I’ve traveled to like Kuwait and Iraq, where I served as a company commander, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom 13 years ago. I also often think of the nearly 4,500 Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation during the Iraq War.
 
I have been so fortunate that my 23 years of service in the military has introduced me to some of the most patriotic and selfless Americans who woke up each day willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom.
 
Unfortunately, all too often folks hear in the media talking about a divided America. But this Memorial Day, I implore you to push past the 30 second sound bites and instead join me in honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation since its founding in 1776.
 
While Memorial Day is a day to honor our fallen heroes, I would also like to say a few words about our veterans whose sacrifices must never be forgotten.
 
From those who responded after the shocking attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, to those sent around the globe after the tragic events of September 11th 2001, we honor them.
 
This Congress recognizes the service and sacrifice that veterans like the Women Airforce Service Pilots, also known as WASP, made during the 1940s.
 
You see, during World War II, these bold, revolutionary women flew non-combat service missions for the Army Airforce to free up their male counterparts for combat duty overseas.
 
The WASP willingly put their lives on the line for this country during a time of war. This work wasn’t easy and in fact, 38 WASP died in service to our great nation, such as Beverly Moses, who was born in Des Moines; and Gleanna Roberts who grew up near Iowa City.
 
These women served our nation with great honor – and put their lives on the line.
 
You and I know that their sacrifice and love for this nation deserves to be celebrated, and always remembered. Unfortunately, these pioneers of aviation have long struggled to gain the recognition and honor they earned.
 
With this in mind, I helped introduce bipartisan legislation along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswomen Martha McSally and Susan Davis to ensure the WASP ashes could be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. A seemingly simple thing, that means so much.
 
This Congress passed this legislation honoring these historic women and it is now law.
 
Now, this Congress is getting to work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation includes measures to make sure our men and women have access to the top equipment and training they need on the battlefield. The NDAA includes many critical provisions to help keep our military members safe so they do return home to their families.
 
We’ve already gotten to work on the NDAA, and later this summer, the Senate will consider the Defense Appropriations Act. These measures will provide some level of certainty to our brave service members now serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other places around the world.
 
As Memorial Day approaches, let us pause and remember all of the men and women who have given their lives so we can be free.
 
Let’s pause and honor the families of the fallen who have also given so much.
 
On Memorial Day—and every day—let us give thanks for these outstanding heroes. They serve as a testimony to the character of America.
 
May God always bless you, our servicemen and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice, the great state of Iowa, and these wonderful United States of America.

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Police Separate Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump Groups in San Diego

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Stone/ABC News(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — Police in riot gear were called in to separate Donald Trump protesters and supporters Friday afternoon after they clashed outside a rally for the presumptive Republican nominee in San Diego, California.

According to San Diego Police, at least three people were arrested.

The roughly 1,000 demonstrators were gathered on both sides of the street outside the San Diego Convention Center.

Some protesters holding Mexican flags and flags from other countries yelled, “Dump Donald Trump.”

Trump supporters chanted, “You can’t vote,” and, “Build that wall!”

A helicopter loudspeaker and ground loudspeakers repeatedly made announcements that unlawful assembly was declared, and anyone in the area would be arrested if they stayed.

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Donald Trump Backs Down from Debate with Bernie Sanders

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump backed down from much-hyped hypothetical debate he wanted to have with Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Trump, who has now secured enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, said that “now that I am the presumptive nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher,” he said in a statement released Friday. Both Trump and Sanders said they wanted the debate to happen.

Trump reiterated his claim that “the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged” and said that “Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win,” he added, referring to the party chair.

Neither Clinton or Sanders have enough delegates to win at this point.

The prospect of a debate originated from a question Sanders submitted to Jimmy Kimmel ahead of Trump’s appearance on the late night talkshow Wednesday. At a press conference in North Dakota on Thursday, Trump was asked about it and said that money from the event should be raised “for maybe women’s health issues or something.”

Now, Trump is stepping back and taking the more traditional approach of waiting for the Democrats to nominate a candidate.

“I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be,” he said in the statement.

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Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Tease Details of Theoretical Debate

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ debate challenge to Donald Trump is still a topic of discussion for both candidates, leading to speculation that it could actually happen.

Trump agreed Wednesday to the one-on-one debate suggestion and hasn’t backed down yet, but he has set some terms.

He stipulated Thursday that he’d “want a lot of money to be put up for charity” in order to make the debate happen.

During a press conference in North Dakota, Trump said “if we can raise for maybe women’s health issues or something, if we can raise $10 million or $15 million for charity,” then it could work.

“I understand the television business very well. I think we’d get very high ratings. It should be in a big arena somewhere. And we could have a lot of fun with it,” Trump added.

For his part, Sanders, who had initiated the challenge via a question he submitted to Jimmy Kimmel, said Thursday he’s “excited” about the prospect, but “we will see if he stays with it.”

At a rally in Pomona, California, Sanders went on to lay out some of the “very simple questions” he would ask the presumptive Republican nominee, including topics like the federal minimum wage, wealth disparity, whether or not Trump thinks climate change is a hoax, and “why he thinks trying to divide us up is good for America.”

The Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have said they don’t believe there’s anything that would prevent Trump and Sanders from debating, if they agree to do so.

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd sees the whole debate over a possible debate as a win for both sides.

“I think it’s a really smart move on both their parts,” Dowd said on Good Morning America Friday.

“These are two people, especially Donald Trump, who don’t play by traditional rules. Donald Trump’s coalesced the Republican Party – he’s got that – now he’s moving on to the independents.

“It highlights Donald Trump’s victories and it undermines Hillary Clinton as she’s not able to turn towards the general election,” Dowd said.

As for Hillary Clinton, the notion of a Trump-Sanders fight night “was a joke,” and she says she’s moving on.

“I’m going to look forward to debating Donald Trump,” she said Thursday in California.

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Donald Trump Encourages Marco Rubio to Run for Re-Election

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is making peace with former rival and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, encouraging him to run for re-election for his Florida senate seat.

Trump expressed his support on Twitter Thursday, saying: “Poll data shows that @marcorubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida. Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!”

However, the junior senator from Florida has said repeatedly he has no plans on running for re-election.

Trump’s support came just hours after Rubio announced he would attend the GOP convention in July. Rubio told CNN that he would release his 165 delegates to vote for Trump at the convention.

“I want to be helpful. I don’t want to be harmful, because I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president,” Rubio said in a clip of an interview that’s set to air in full Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

The Florida senator, who was once part of the #NeverTrump movement, has still not formally endorsed Trump, but insists he would be “honored” to help defeat Clinton.

“I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. If there’s something I can do to help that from happening, and it’s helpful to the cause, I’d most certainly be honored to be considered for that,” Rubio said.

Rubio took to Twitter Friday to say he will not be voting for Clinton in November.

With less than a month left to meet the filing deadline, Rubio expressed uncertainty after he leaves the Senate in January 2017, and did not shut down the possibility of returning to elected office.

“I can tell you I enjoy public service. If there’s an opportunity to serve again in a way that I feel passionate about, I’ll most certainly think I would explore it,” Rubio said. “But I don’t know where I’m going to be in two years. I don’t know what my life will look like then.”

Republicans are deeply concerned about losing Rubio’s Senate seat to a Democrat.

Republican officials expressed confidence in the field of five GOP candidates to replace Rubio in Florida, though none have emerged as a clear favorite in the August primary.

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‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Endorses Donald Trump for President

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Controversial former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli will support Donald Trump for president in a matchup against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to a tweet sent out Thursday night.

 

I haven’t been called by the Trump camp. I support him vs. Hillary. He should find a VP candidate who is seasoned in politics, an ugly game.

— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) May 27, 2016

 

The “Pharma Bro,” criticized by members of Congress for his behavior during a February congressional hearing on drug prices, had previously supported Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and claimed to have contributed to his campaign.

 

Damn @BernieSanders is my boy with that Kosovo reference. Gets my full endorsement. I did donate to him…

— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) October 14, 2015

 

Shrekli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, famously hiked the price of Daraprim, an anti-parasitic drug used to treat infections, by 5,000 percent overnight. He was arrested in December on multiple securities and wire fraud charges related to an alleged defrauding of pharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc.

He is due back in court on June 6 and could face additional charges.

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Bernie Sanders Supporters to File Emergency Injunction Against Calif. Primary

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Attorneys representing a group of Bernie Sanders supporters informed San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Thursday night that they plan to file an “emergency request” with U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in the city Friday “for a preliminary injunction” in California’s June 7 presidential primary,” Herrera’s office said.

“I think it’s unfortunate — and selfish, frankly — that these plaintiffs would inject confusion and uncertainty into an election that has been underway for weeks,” Herrera said in a statement Thursday night. “San Francisco’s Department of Elections and its employees have been doing an exemplary job, and I’m equally confident that our co-defendants are also meeting or exceeding their legal duties. This lawsuit is without merit, and there is no basis for an emergency injunction. I intend to fight it aggressively.”

Voting by mail began in California May 9.

A news release from the Office of the City Attorney, noted, “San Francisco, Alameda County, and state elections officials were sued last week by an unincorporated association of Sanders backers called the ‘Voting Rights Defense Project,’ who together with the American Independence Party and two San Francisco voters leveled an array of allegations in their May 20 civil complaint that Herrera calls wholly baseless.”

The release continued, “The activists are seeking sweeping injunctive relief in their suit, including provisions to force 58 counties to segregate ballots already cast by unaffiliated voters; to allow “re-votes” by those voters for presidential primary candidates; and to extend the state’s voter registration deadline — which passed on May 23 for eligibility to vote in the June 7 primary — until election day itself.”

Two lawyers for the group — William M. Simpich and Stephen R. Jaffe — did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Sanders has not issued a statement on the matter.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What to Watch at the Libertarian Convention

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — While Donald Trump indulges in fries and a big Mac to celebrate beating 16 Republican candidates and effectively winning his party’s nomination, another party is huddling to plan a new threat.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Libertarian Party will be holding its convention in Orlando to put forth its presidential and vice presidential candidates. The party has largely been ignored in previous cycles, but party leaders are hoping that this year might be different.

Libertarians are trying to appeal to voters disenchanted with the prospect of a Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency. The party is banking on the fact that Trump and Clinton have the highest unfavorability ratings of any candidate — on either side of the aisle — in recent history.

“We are seeing record interest in the party,” the national Libertarian Party’s political director, Carla Howell, recently told Politico Magazine. “Membership has spiked; it has gone up about 30 percent in the last few months. We’re also seeing record media interest.”

What is the Libertarian Party?

“Libertarian” is defined as “a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The Libertarian Party tends to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It vehemently opposes any government intervention in citizens’ private and business decisions (the party’s current front-runner, for instance, supports abortion rights and legalizing drugs).

“Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another. In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom,” the party says on its website.

The Orlando convention will be themed “Legalize Freedom.”

The party was first formed 45 years ago. Prominent Libertarians include Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul, who both ran as Republican presidential candidates, as well as David Koch, the billionaire political activist (Koch ran as Libertarian vice president in 1980).

How Have They Done In The Past?

In 2012, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson earned almost 1.3 million votes – the most votes a Libertarian nominee has ever garnered. Still, it only amounted for 0.99 percent of the total popular vote, and the party was far from winning any electoral votes.

The party reached more than 1 percent of the popular vote just once in its history when Ed Clark headlined the Libertarian ticket in 1980.

Alaska has been the best state for Libertarians in the past, according to an analysis from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Libertarians also average over 1 percent of support in Montana, Arizona and Wyoming.

Could They Do Better This Year?

Some Libertarians hope that this could be a breakthrough year for the party, usually reduced to a footnote in the overarching narrative of the general election.

Libertarians want their eventual nominee to receive at least 15 percent support in national polls so that he or she can debate the presumptive GOP and Democratic nominees.

A Fox News poll in mid-May shows Johnson garnering 10 percent support in a race against Trump and Clinton. A Monmouth poll in March showed Johnson hitting 11 percent support.

That might be enough for the Libertarian Party to become a spoiler.

The party has also been working hard to ensure its candidate is listed on every state’s ballot — so far, the party has made it to 32 states and is confident it can reach its goal.

Who’s Running For Their Nomination?

There are a total of 12 candidates running to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

Former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is currently expected to clinch the nomination (Johnson was also the nominee in 2012).

Other viable candidates include millionaire software entrepreneur John McAfee, who fled Belize after he was cited as a “person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor, and Austin Peterson, former Fox Business producer and Libertarian activist.

Johnson recently announced he would want former Republican Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his vice president. Weld might help make a Libertarian ticket more attractive to Democrats — in 1997, Bill Clinton nominated him as ambassador to Mexico (the nomination was eventually blocked). He also wound up supporting President Obama in 2008, though he has since said he regretted it.

Weld has been very outspoken in his criticism of Trump.

“I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest,” he told The New York Times, blasting Trump’s policy to round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

The party’s convention will feature a vice presidential and presidential debate. Presidential candidates have already debated each other three times.

Party operatives have shot down speculation that a dark horse candidate like Mitt Romney might try to win the party’s nomination. It is possible, but highly unlikely, they’ve said.

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