Obama Urges West Africans Not to Touch Bodies of Ebola Victims in Video

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — In a video released by the U.S. State Department and posted to YouTube, President Obama urged West Africans not to touch the bodies of family members who have died from Ebola.

“When burying someone who has died from this terrible disease,” Obama said, “it’s important to not directly touch their body. You can respect your traditions and honor your loved ones without risking the lives of the living.”

The World Health Organization has noted that burial practices involving physical contact with corpses may play a role in the transmission of Ebola. The disease has spread to at least four countries in West Africa and threatens to infect even more people if action isn’t taken to halt it.

Obama addressed the video to “you, the people of West Africa,” and reassured West Africans that the U.S. and other nations will continue to work with the West African governments to fight the Ebola outbreak.

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President Obama Heads to Europe, NATO Summit to Discuss Tension in Ukraine

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will head to Europe on Tuesday to take part in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit to discuss, among other things, the continued tension caused by Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

Obama will first land in Estonia, where he is expected to reaffirm the U.S.’ stance that Russia should not get involved in the independent nations. At his second stop, the president will meet with other NATO leaders, but without Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Wales.

While Ukraine is not a NATO member, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was invited to this week’s summit.

In a statement, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, highlighted the importance of “collective defense,” “crisis management” and “partnerships,” in handling the situation in Ukraine. The summit, initially planned to mark an end to the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan, will still touch on that subject as well, Vershbow said.

NATO is expected to form a “spearhead” force in response to Russian actions, which will be “ready to respond at short notice.”

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The Note: Obama Prepares NATO Pitch

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

By John R. Parkinson (jparkABC) 

NOTABLES

  • OBAMA JETS TO ESTONIA: President Obama heads to Europe today, first stopping off in Estonia where the president there wants to establish a permanent NATO base. This week, Obama will to try to build an international coalition in the fight against ISIS, but those aren’t the only leaders he’ll need to persuade if he decides to expand airstrikes into Syria, ABC’s JEFF ZELENY reports. Congress remains skeptical and divided, but they speak in unison about one thing: the president must seek Congressional approval before going forward. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says it boils down to this: “The question is not whether these are bad guys. The question is whether the side effects of long-term engagement is worse for the United States than the cure we’re seeking.” http://abcn.ws/Y5Uyzo
  • FOUR THINGS TO WATCH ON OBAMA’S TRIP Can the Obama Doctrine neutralize the Putin Doctrine? Can it quash the terror threat from radical Islamic extremism? The answers may well depend on President Obama’s trip this week to Russia-bordering Estonia and a summit of NATO allies in Wales, perhaps the group’s most consequential meeting since the Cold War, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER notes. http://abcn.ws/W5JnF7
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA NOTIFIES CONGRESS OF AMIRLI BOMBING, AIRDROP CAMPAIGN: President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of an expanded bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by Sunni militants fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS, in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House Monday, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. “These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote in his letter to Congress. http://abcn.ws/1qwxGlT

THE ROUNDTABLE 

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Vice President Joe Biden figures to be quite the draw for Democrats this fall, behind perhaps only a few people named Clinton, and maybe one named Warren, as the Democrat other Democrats want alongside them to help them in closely contested elections. To that end, Biden’s rousing Labor Day speech in Detroit is worth paying attention to. “It’s time to take back America,” said the man who’s been vice president of the United States for almost six years. Amid his calls for middle-class ownership opportunities and a “fair wage” came this: “I know I’m out of sync here, because I continue to believe middle class is not a number … it’s a value set.” Biden went on to deride “what the pollsters tell me now” about the middle class. On the presumption that Biden is talking to Democratic pollsters, possibly even pollsters employed by the White House, this is an admission with deep implications for the midterm year. The kinds of Democrats Biden was exhorting to vote aren’t likely to do so this year, at least not for Democrats. As much as the midterms will make judgments about President Obama’s vision for the nation, the Biden vision is worth measuring against election realities, too.

ABC’s TOM SHINE: It is so new it doesn’t even have a name yet, but it does have a price: $7 a day, $2500 a year per patient to treat millions who suffer from chronic heart failure.  It would replace far less effective drugs that cost only $4 a month, according to the New York Times’ Andrew PollackThen there’s that $1,000 a pill, $84,000 Hepatitis C cure which some private and federal programs are already rationing.  And apparently there are a slew of other promising miracle drugs in the pipeline.  So much hope for millions of Americans who are real sick!  But who will get these pricey drugs?  And more importantly who will play God in making that decision?   Or as Jason Millman, Oregon’s drug buyer put it: “How far should society go to make sure the poor get the best treatment available?”

THE BUZZ
with ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY (@erindooley1)

Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age.’ Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD reports. The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.” http://abcn.ws/1sS4VQ2

Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS. While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said on “This Week” that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act, ABC’s IMTIYAZ DELAWALA notes. “I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said. http://abcn.ws/1lDhoc4

Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers. President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East, according to ABC’s ADAM TEICHOLZ and KARI REA. Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.” Clarke, appearing Sunday Morning on “This Week,” said simply, “I think he’s wrong.” http://abcn.ws/1px201K

3 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria, UN Agency Says. More than 3 million people have sought refuge from the fighting in Syria, the United Nations’ refugee agency announced Friday, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. That means the Syrian crisis, which has persisted since a civilian uprising began in 2011, is the biggest refugee operation in the UNHCR’s 64-year history, the agency said. http://abcn.ws/1osNPo9

President Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It.’ Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. “Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance. “The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office.” http://abcn.ws/1nQ0G4i

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Newest Fight Is Over Her Louisiana Residency. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is the latest Washington veteran being forced to fend off a challenge to her reelection that alleges she is no longer a resident of her home state, but lives in DC, according to ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS and CHRIS GOOD. A similar challenge succeeded in knocking off former Indiana senator Richard Lugar in 2012, despite – or because of – his 35 years in Congress. http://abcn.ws/1sRhBGW

Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid To Overturn Gop Runoff Results. A Mississippi judge on Friday tossed out a lawsuit filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who was seeking to overturn Republican incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff, ABC’s NOAH WEILAND and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE note.  Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law. http://abcn.ws/1CbfIeM

ABC/Fusion Investigation: Military Guns Missing From Police Agencies. The guns-drawn streets of Ferguson jolted America awake to the militarization of the nation’s police. Local cops, often untrained in military tactics, may be carrying assault rifles used by our Marines and even Special Forces, commanding American boulevards from atop armored personnel carriers — all using surplus weaponry donated by the Pentagon in a program designed to better equip civilian police against terrorists and heavily armed criminals, ABC’s JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL and Fusion’s DANIEL RIVERO report. However, some police forces are not keeping track of these high-powered weapons, an ABC News/Fusion investigation revealed. http://abcn.ws/1pBjOsq

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

ABC’s DAVID MUIR DEBUTS ON WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH DAVID MUIR: http://abcn.ws/1w1q2lh

POWER PLAYERS: ON THE FRONT LINES WITH A U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT: For border patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border, intercepting migrants is daily business, ABC’s JIM AVILA reports. http://yhoo.it/W5y67P

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

CANTOR LANDS JOB ON WALL STREET: National Journal’s Marina Koren explains how former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who resigned from office August 18, landed a job on Wall Street, where the former House Majority Leader will join the investment bank Moelis & Co. as vice chairman and board member. http://bit.ly/Z5zFV9

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX 

DAVE BRAT PICKS UP ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT: Dave Brat, this election year’s ultimate spoiler who knocked off former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June, has received the support of another key conservative group in his bid to represent Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. “Dave’s recent primary victory demonstrated that grassroots candidates can take on powerful incumbents and win against all odds,” Senate Conservatives Fund President and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stated in a release this morning.

VETERANS GROUP DINGS MCCONNELL: The veterans group VoteVets.org is launching a $300,000 broadcast and cable ad buy across Kentucky, hitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking a $21 billion Democrat veterans bill last February. VoteVets says McConnell’s “bullheadedness against funding veterans care into raw perspective” as the ad features a veteran expressing his frustrations to the 30-year incumbent. http://youtu.be/XTqdMgJo-sw

NRCC TARGETS BARROW IN NEW AD BUY FEATURING COCAINE MONKEY: The National Republican Congressional Committee is up today in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District with a new TV ad attacking John Barrow for supporting President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package and voting for $800,000 studying how monkeys react to cocaine. The ad is running in Savannah on broadcast and in Augusta on broadcast and cable, according to the NRCC spokeswoman.

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@ScottWalker Had no problem greeting the President just like I have no problem explaining how I differ with him. pic.twitter.com/HScGL4zjRR

@RepDuckworth Bryan and I are expecting! Thank you for your kind words and support. http://youtu.be/K94gcK-KGuo

@USAID 600 million people in Africa don’t have access to electricity. See how energy poverty affects students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpo1uXC1KQo … #PowerAfrica

@markknoller Estonia will be the 46th foreign nation Pres Obama has visited. At same point, Pres GWBush had visited 34 nations; Pres Clinton 53.

@DavidMuir Can’t wait to visit my friends @KellyandMichael this morning! Talking #WorldNewsTonight #MadeInAmerica

4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

GTY obama kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

   (Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Can the Obama Doctrine neutralize the Putin Doctrine? Can it quash the terror threat from radical Islamic extremism?

The answers may well depend on President Obama’s trip this week to Russia-bordering Estonia and a summit of NATO allies in Wales, perhaps the group’s most consequential meeting since the Cold War.

Obama will arrive in Europe Wednesday determined to show that coalition-building and multilateral diplomacy is the best weapon against imminent security threats from a common enemy.  So far, the approach has done little to deter Russian incursions into Ukraine, or stunt the rise of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

“What we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet,” Obama told donors at a private fundraiser Friday in New York. “And it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process.”

A rocky and dangerous test, as a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin asserts a right to defend ethnic Russians wherever they are and ISIS militants vow a fight to extend their caliphate across the globe.

As the world watches Obama’s huddle with NATO allies, here are four things to look out for:

1. TOUGH TALK FOR PUTIN: ‘DON’T MESS WITH’ US

Obama kicks off his three-day European swing with a stop on Putin’s doorstep in Tallinn, Estonia, a former Soviet Union country and NATO member unnerved by Russia’s push into Ukraine. He’ll also meet with the presidents of neighboring Latvia and Lithuania.

While there has been no shortage of tough talk about Russia or Putin, look for Obama to be more assertive about the U.S. military commitment to defending NATO allies.

“The message the president will be sending is, ‘We stand with you. Article 5 constitutes an ironclad guarantee of your security,’” Charles Kupchan of Obama’s National Security Council said. “‘Russia, don’t even think about messing around in Estonia or in any of the Baltic areas in the same way that you have been messing around in Ukraine.’”

Article 5 of the NATO charter means an attack on one member is treated as an attack on all, a key difference from the crisis in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

 

AP nato2 ml 140902 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Gero Breloer/AP Photo)

2. NATO RETOOLS ITS MILITARY MIGHT

For NATO, the first major summit since 2012 will be a defining moment. Leaders will agree to modernizing its military might, creating a “spearhead” rapid-response force of 4,000 troops that is nimble and fast, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says. It will “travel light, but strike hard” and “deploy at very short notice,” within hours.

The White House says the move is aimed specifically at the “hybrid or asymmetric warfare” tactics that the Russians have been using effectively in eastern Ukraine. “Guys coming across in masks, you don’t know who they are” have become the most urgent concern, as opposed to trundling armored columns “which you can normally see in advance,” official said.

NATO is also for the first time prepared to deploy forces at new military installations along Russia’s western border; what Rasmussen calls “reception facilities.”  These would be bases in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to host NATO troops pretty much all the time, administration officials say, though the nationality of the units and composition will rotate.

Also look for the alliance to announce new financial support for Ukraine’s military, including logistics, command and control systems and cyberdefense, even if NATO cannot and will not deploy forces in Ukraine, officials said.

GTY putin kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

3. NOT INVITED: HOW WILL PUTIN RESPOND? 

Putin wasn’t invited to the NATO summit, but he will still be the center of attention for 67 heads of state and government assembled in Wales. Obama administration officials say NATO’s military posturing is more protective than provocative, but what may matter more is how Putin perceives it.

He has been defiant after months of Western condemnation and economic sanctions over Russian intervention in Ukraine. He reportedly boasted to some European leaders Saturday that, “If I want, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Will talk of yet another round of U.S. and European sanctions influence Russia’s plan in Ukraine?  Will NATO’s new “spearhead” force be a deterrent?

“I am sure the reaction will be strong. It will probably, again, provoke the additional force; Russian forces along in this area, so we will see a buildup on both sides,” Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said. “There are Cold War elements of it, and this is going to be one of them, where you will see a response, but we have to react to the instability, and quite frankly, it ensures stability.”

RT isis kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

4. STILL ‘NO STRATEGY’?  OBAMA’S PLAN TO FIGHT ISIS IN SYRIA

President Obama says “strong regional partnerships” are the cornerstone of any comprehensive strategy to confront Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and this week he will have a face-to-face opportunity to shore up an international coalition.

But will allies like the U.K.’s David Cameron press him to do more, and fast?

Obama arrives in Great Britain with a national terror alert at its highest level in five years on account of the threat from ISIS.

Cameron Monday declared ISIS a “direct threat to every European country,” calling for a “firm security response with a military action to go after terrorists.”

Obama, by contrast, has said ISIS is merely “an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region.”

“Rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can and we will, working closely with our allies and our partners,” he said in a measured statement before Labor Day.

Administration officials say the NATO summit will include discussions on possible engagement in the “Iraq and Syrian theater.”  Look for what concrete military commitments and strategies may emerge.

 

AP nato ml 140902 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Phil Major/RAF/AP Photo)

 

 

Eric Cantor to Join Investment Bank

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

US House of Representatives(NEW YORK) — Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been appointed Vice Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors of Moelis & Company, a global investment bank.

According to a release posted to Moelis & Company’s website, Cantor will “provide strategic counsel to the Firm’s corporate and institutional clients on key issues.” He will also be involved in client development.

Cantor said that when considering his post-politics career, he “wanted to join a firm with a great entrepreneurial spirit that focused on its clients.” Citing admiration of the vision of Moelis & Company, Cantor said that he felt the company was “a place where I knew my skills could help clients succeed.”

The company’s Chairman and CEO, Ken Moelis, called the former Republican Congressman “a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions.”

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Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It’

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MILWAUKEE) — Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011.

“Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, of pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance.

“The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office,” he said.

Obama spoke at Laborfest 2014, a Labor Day rally in Henry Maier Festival Park. Supporters standing behind him and out in the audience wore green AFSCME and purple SEIU t-shirts.

It was a typical economic stump speech of the kind Obama has delivered over and over in American cities this year, with calls for higher wages, criticism of Republicans for blocking them, and pleas for a better life for working-class Americans.

But Monday, the president was more expressly political, exhorting the crowd to organize and vote Democratic in this fall’s midterm elections.

“I’d also want more Democrats looking out for me, I’m just saying,” Obama said, after telling the crowd that if he were a worker looking for better wages and safety protections, he’d join a union.

Shouting and appearing visibly riled, Obama reminded the crowd of union and Democratic-Party victories in securing a 40-hour workweek and supporting Medicare and Social Security.

Earlier on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a similarly political, and similarly populist speech to a Labor Day rally hosted by union organizers in Detroit.

The president traveled to Wisconsin for this one appearance and was to return to the White House before departing Tuesday for Estonia and this week’s NATO summit in Wales.

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Congresswoman and Iraq War Vet Tammy Duckworth is Pregnant

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has announced she’s pregnant.

In 2004, the veteran lost both of her legs and part of an arm when her helicopter was shot down in the Iraq War.

She says she became pregnant through a form of in vitro fertilization, and now she and her husband are expecting a baby girl in December.

The 46-year-old says due to her age and injuries the pregnancy is considered “high risk.”

Duckworth is the first female veteran of the Iraq war to be elected to congress. She will be seeking re-election in November.

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President Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It’

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011.

“Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, of pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance.

“The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office,” he said.

Obama spoke at Laborfest 2014, a Labor Day rally in Henry Maier Festival Park. Supporters standing behind him and out in the audience wore green AFSCME and purple SEIU t-shirts.

It was a typical economic stump speech of the kind Obama has delivered over and over in American cities this year, with calls for higher wages, criticism of Republicans for blocking them, and pleas for a better life for working-class Americans.

But today, the president was more expressly political, exhorting the crowd to organize and vote Democratic in this fall’s midterm elections.

“I’d also want more Democrats looking out for me, I’m just saying,” Obama said, after telling the crowd that if he were a worker looking for better wages and safety protections, he’d join a union.

Shouting and appearing visibly riled, Obama reminded the crowd of union and Democratic-Party victories in securing a 40-hour workweek and supporting Medicare and Social Security.

Earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a similarly political, and similarly populist speech to a Labor Day rally hosted by union organizers in Detroit.

The president traveled to Wisconsin for this one appearance and was to return to the White House before departing Tuesday for Estonia and this week’s NATO summit in Wales.

Obama Notifies Congress of Amirli Bombing, Airdrop Campaign

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of the bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by ISIS in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House on Monday.

“These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote.

Up until this point, Obama has publicly justified military actions against ISIS as protecting U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil and to assist Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. In this new letter – which could be construed as a bit unusual because it concerns an expansion of the anti-ISIS campaign he’s already announced – Obama defines the Amirli strikes as solely a humanitarian/assistance mission, not as protecting Americans.

The letter followed Obama’s standard practice, to announce strikes (usually two days later) in a letter to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution – an act of Congress that Obama and other presidents have declined to acknowledge as binding.

The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it had extended its bombing campaign southward to help the Turkmen. Strikes and humanitarian drops began on Saturday and strikes continued Sunday.

U.S. bombs have been falling mostly around Mosul and Mosul Dam since Obama authorized the anti-ISIS campaign three weeks ago. This weekend, the Pentagon announced a handful of strikes that brought the total to 120 in Iraq since they began Aug. 8.

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President Obama Notifies Congress of Amirli Bombing, Airdrop Campaign

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of the bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by ISIS in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House today.

“These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote.

Up until this point, Obama has publicly justified military actions against ISIS as protecting U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil and to assist Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. In this new letter – which could be construed as a bit unusual because it concerns an expansion of the anti-ISIS campaign he’s already announced – Obama defines the Amirli strikes as solely a humanitarian/assistance mission, not as protecting Americans.

The letter followed Obama’s standard practice, to announce strikes (usually two days later) in a letter to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution – an act of Congress that Obama and other presidents have declined to acknowledge as binding.

The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it had extended its bombing campaign southward to help the Turkmen. Strikes and humanitarian drops began on Saturday. Strikes continued Sunday.

U.S. bombs have been falling mostly around Mosul and Mosul Dam since Obama authorized the anti-ISIS campaign three weeks ago. This weekend, the Pentagon announced a handful of strikes that brought the total to 120 in Iraq since they began Aug. 8.

Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said Sunday on This Week that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act.

“I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said on the This Week roundtable. “I think the elements of a strategy are already there. We know we’re going to use air power. We know we’re going to use special operators. We know we’re going to have to build alliances on the ground. That’s a very doable thing.”

“They’re tougher in Syria than they are in Iraq. We don’t have any preexisting relationships there,” Cole added. “But I think at the end of the day, look I think there’s a consensus that we are going to do things, but again being a little bit thoughtful might be a good idea.”

While Cole said Obama “made some bad mistakes” in pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011 and “not taking this threat seriously earlier,” he said, “I still think the elements are there to be successful.”

Cole, a member of the House Republican leadership, also said he believes “there can be bipartisan support” for action against ISIS if Obama comes to Congress.

“I think the important thing for the president here is to move with Congress — that is, to not do this on his own, to make everybody put their fingerprints on the decision and say yea or nay and go home and justify it,” Cole said.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the current foreign policy challenges a “potential 9/11 moment,” but said more has to be learned about ISIS.

“They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?” he said.

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the U.S. shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

“You do have to have a coalition,” he said.

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Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said today on “This Week” that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act.

“I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said on the “This Week” roundtable. “I think the elements of a strategy are already there. We know we’re going to use air power. We know we’re going to use special operators. We know we’re going to have to build alliances on the ground. That’s a very doable thing.

“They’re tougher in Syria than they are in Iraq. We don’t have any preexisting relationships there,” Cole added. “But I think at the end of the day, look I think there’s a consensus that we are going to do things, but again being a little bit thoughtful might be a good idea.”

At a news conference Friday, President Obama said, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet” when asked about seeking Congressional approval for U.S. strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

The administration approved military surveillance flights over Syria last week, but airstrikes in Syria have not been authorized. The U.S. has carried out over 100 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS positions International US Carries Out More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Iraq” href=”http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-carries-airstrikes-isis-iraq/story?id=24897334″ target=”_blank”>since early August as part of humanitarian relief efforts and to protect U.S. assets and personnel in Iraq.

While Cole said Obama “made some bad mistakes” in pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011 and “not taking this threat seriously earlier,” he said, “I still think the elements are there to be successful.”

Cole, a member of the House Republican leadership, also said he believes “there can be bipartisan support” for action against ISIS if Obama comes to Congress.

“I think the important thing for the president here is to move with Congress — that is, to not do this on his own, to make everybody put their fingerprints on the decision and say yea or nay and go home and justify it,” Cole said.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the current foreign policy challenges a “potential 9/11 moment,” but said more has to be learned about ISIS.

“They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?” he said.

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the U.S. shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

“You do have to have a coalition,” he said.

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Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East.

Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.”

Clarke, appearing Sunday on This Week, said simply, “I think he’s wrong.”

“We’re much more capable of defending ourselves now,” said Clarke, who served under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as the nation’s top counterterrorism official. “We have the Department of Homeland Security, we have a lot of resources going into counterterrorism, but the threat has also increased. And I think the threat has probably increased more than the defenses.”

Speaking of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, Clarke told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “ISIS is highly capable. It has a lot of money. It has people from many, many countries. And our fear is it may have people in its ranks that we don’t know about. We have the names of thousands of people, and we can stop them if they try to get into this country, but if we don’t know their names, and we don’t know they’re involved, they can get in.”

Others experts on This Week echoed these concerns. Mubin Shaikh, a former Taliban jihadist who became an undercover counterterrorism operative, said that while terrorist recruiting efforts in the U.S. could eventually be brought under control, “the horse has bolted from the farm” in terms of  existing efforts.

Clarke emphasized the importance of law enforcement working with the local Muslim communities to combat those recruiting efforts, saying, “our best defense are our own American Muslims who have been very cooperative. They don’t want anything to happen like this again in this country.”

On the This Week roundtable, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the ISIS threat to America a “potential 9/11 moment,” but sounded a note of caution on dealing with the terror group, saying, “They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?”

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the U.S. shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

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Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News’ Adam Teicholz and Kari Rea report:

President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East.

Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.”

Clarke, appearing this morning on “This Week,” said simply, “I think he’s wrong.”

“We’re much more capable of defending ourselves now,” said Clarke, who served under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as the nation’s top counterterrorism official.  “We have the Department of Homeland Security, we have a lot of resources going into counterterrorism, but the threat has also increased. And I think the threat has probably increased more than the defenses.”

READ: How Entrenched Is ISIS in Syria?

Speaking of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, Clarke told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “ISIS is highly capable. It has a lot of money. It has people from many, many countries. And our fear is it may have people in its ranks that we don’t know about. We have the names of thousands of people, and we can stop them if they try to get into this country, but if we don’t know their names, and we don’t know they’re involved, they can get in.”

Other experts on “This Week” echoed such concerns. Mubin Shaikh, a former Taliban jihadist who became an undercover counterterrorism operative, said that while terrorist recruiting efforts in the United States could eventually be brought under control, “the horse has bolted from the farm” in terms of  existing efforts.

Clarke emphasized the importance of law enforcement working with the local Muslim communities to combat those recruiting efforts, saying, “our best defense are our own American Muslims who have been very cooperative. They don’t want anything to happen like this again in this country.”

On the “This Week” roundtable, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the ISIS threat to America a “potential 9/11 moment,” but sounded a note of caution on dealing with the terror group, saying, “They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?”

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the United States shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

Like “This Week” on Facebook here. You can also follow the show on Twitter here.

Go here to find out when “This Week” is on in your area.

Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age’

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region.

The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.”

“Tonight I am officially extending an invitation for Barack Obama to come join me at the border in Texas,” Cruz said. “I figured the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come: I am inviting him to a golf course.”

Cruz told the audience that he is inviting Obama to join him at Lajitas Golf Resort in Big Bend, where, on “the 11th hole, the pin is on the other side of the Rio Grande, so you can only go for a hole in one.”

Cruz devoted much of his speech to lambasting Democratic immigration reforms and warned that it would be “utterly lawless” for Obama to offer “amnesty” without the consent of Congress. Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration sometime this fall, but it has remained unclear when or how aggressively the president would seek to change U.S. policy.

“I’m expecting to get a call back from the president any day now to accept this invitation,” Cruz said.

Cruz briefly mocked Obama’s comment that he has no “strategy” yet to attack ISIS in Syria, a remark the president made in a live news conference on Thursday, on which fellow high-profile Republicans have seized.

“I’m sure everyone was shocked to hear this,” Cruz said sarcastically, of the president’s remark, contrasting it with Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the Cold War and quoting the former president: “We win, they lose.”

Cruz railed against ISIS, the jihadist group that has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria and which shocked many in the West by executing American journalist James Foley.

“America has always been reluctant to use military force, but we have never shied away from defending the United States of America,” Cruz said. “ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity, well I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the stone age.”

Earlier this month, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS positions in northern Iraq. On Saturday, the U.S. military’s Central Command announced five more drone and fighter-jet strikes had destroyed ISIS positions near the contested Mosul Dam. Those strikes brought the total up to 115 since Obama’s authorization three weeks ago, CENTCOM said.

Cruz criticized Obama’s foreign policy in general, alleging he’s been outplayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the geopolitical stage. Cruz also blasted the FAA’s short-lived ban on flights to Tel Aviv, during the recent Gaza conflict.

“The Obama Doctrine works very, very well,” Cruz said. “You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

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Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age’

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Sen. Ted Cruz today invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region.

The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.”

“Tonight I am officially extending an invitation for Barack Obama to come join me at the border in Texas,” Cruz said. “I figured the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come: I am inviting him to a golf course.”

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Texas Abuzz About Possible Perry-Cruz 2016 Battle

Cruz told the audience that he is inviting Obama to join him at Lajitas Golf Resort in Big Bend, where, on “the 11th hole, the pin is on the other side of the Rio Grande, so you can only go for a hole in one.”

Cruz devoted much of his speech to lambasting Democratic immigration reforms and warned that it would be “utterly lawless” for Obama to offer “amnesty” without the consent of Congress. Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration sometime this fall, but it has remained unclear when or how aggressively the president would seek to change U.S. policy.

“I’m expecting to get a call back from the president any day now to accept this invitation,” Cruz said.

Cruz briefly mocked Obama’s comment that he has no “strategy” yet to attack ISIS in Syria, a remark the president made in a live news conference on Thursday, on which fellow high-profile Republicans have seized.

“I’m sure everyone was shocked to hear this,” Cruz said sarcastically, of the president’s remark, contrasting it with Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the Cold War and quoting the former president: “We win, they lose.”

Cruz railed against ISIS, the jihadist group that has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria and which shocked many in the West by executing American journalist James Foley.

“America has always been reluctant to use military force, but we have never shied away from defending the United States of America,” Cruz said. “ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity, well I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the stone age.”

Earlier this month, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS positions in northern Iraq. On Saturday, the U.S. military’s Central Command announced five more drone and fighter-jet strikes had destroyed ISIS positions near the contested Mosul Dam. Those strikes brought the total up to 115 since Obama’s authorization three weeks ago, CENTCOM said.

Cruz criticized Obama’s foreign policy in general, alleging he’s been outplayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the geopolitical stage. Cruz also blasted the FAA’s short-lived ban on flights to Tel Aviv, during the recent Gaza conflict.

“The Obama Doctrine works very, very well,” Cruz said. “You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

California Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make California the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.

State lawmakers okayed the bill Friday after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.

The measure makes plastic bags illegal statewide at grocery stores and large pharmacies. It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge $0.10 each for paper and reusable plastic.

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Obama Pushes for Increased Minimum Wage in Weekly Address

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — With Labor Day just around the corner, President Obama outlined the arguments behind his continued push for an increased minimum wage in his weekly address.

Obama reiterated once again that Congress should act to help hardworking Americans around the country. Obama raised the minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 per hour using an executive order earlier this year, and in his address he praised the 13 states and the District of Columbia who have followed his lead.

“America deserves a raise,” Obama said, because the country built “the greatest middle class the world has ever known” by ensuring that all hardworking Americans can get ahead.

Read the full transcript of the president’s address:

Hi, everybody.  Whether you’re firing up the grill, fired up for some college football, or filling up the car for one last summer roadtrip – Happy Labor Day weekend.

We set aside Labor Day to honor the working men and women of America.  And this Labor Day, we’ve got more to celebrate.  Over the past 53 months, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs.  Last month, for the first time since 1997, we created more than 200,000 jobs for six straight months.  And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders worldwide have declared, two years running, that the number one place to invest isn’t China – it’s America.

So there are reasons to be optimistic about where we’re headed.  And the decisions we make now will determine whether or not we accelerate this progress – whether economic gains flow to a few at the top, or whether a growing economy fuels rising incomes and a thriving middle class.

Think about it this Labor Day.  The things we often take for granted – Social Security and Medicare, workplace safety laws and the right to organize for better pay and benefits, even weekends – we didn’t always have these things.  Workers and the unions who get their back had to fight for them.  And those fights built a stronger middle class.

To build a stronger middle class in today’s changing economy, we’ve got to keep fighting.  We’ve got to fight for the right to affordable health insurance for everybody.  The right to fair pay, family leave, and workplace flexibility.  The right to a fair living wage. 

Let me focus on that last one for a minute.  In America, no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.  And raising the minimum wage would be one of the best ways to give a boost to working families.  It would help around 28 million Americans from all walks of life pay the bills, provide for their kids, and spend that money at local businesses.  And that grows the economy for everyone.

The bottom line is, America deserves a raise.  But until we’ve got a Congress that cares about raising working folks’ wages, it’s up to the rest of us to make it happen.  And in the year and a half since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, Americans of all walks of life are doing just that.

Thirteen states and D.C. have done their part by raising their minimum wages.  Four more states have minimum wage initiatives on the ballot this November.  And the states where the minimum wage has gone up this year have experienced higher job growth than the states that haven’t. 

Business leaders at companies like The Gap are doing their part.  They’re raising base wages for tens of thousands of workers because they know it’s good for business.
Mayors across the country are doing their part.  Mayor Emanuel in Chicago and Mayor Garcetti in L.A. are working to lift their cities’ wages over time to at least thirteen dollars an hour.

I’ve tried to do my part by requiring companies that get contracts with the federal government to pay their workers a fair wage of ten dollars and ten cents an hour. 

And earlier this month, the president of Kentucky State University set a great example by giving himself a $90,000 pay cut, so that he could give raises to his lowest-paid employees.  His sacrifice will give more of his workers and their families a little extra money to help make ends meet. 

That’s how America built the greatest middle class the world has ever known.  Not by making sure a fortunate few at the top are doing well, but by making sure that everyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead.  That’s the bedrock this country is built on.  Hard work.  Responsibility.  Sacrifice.  And looking out for one another as one united American family.

Let’s keep that in mind this Labor Day, and every day.  Have a great weekend, everybody.

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GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Larry Bucshon on Bringing Jobs Back to the US

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

US Congress(WASHINGTON) — In the Republican weekly address, Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana discussed what American political leaders must do to bring jobs back to the United States.

With Labor Day on Monday, Bucshon spoke of how “Americas workers make our country go.” He noted, however, that many of those workers are “hurting.”

Bucshon mentioned 40 “good jobs bills awaiting action,” blame for which he pointed at the Democrat-held Senate.

Bucshon argues for lowering energy costs, fixing the tax code and restoring opportunities for all Americans.

Read the full transcript of the GOP address:

Hello, I’m Dr. Larry Bucshon, proudly serving Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District.

I’m honored to be speaking with you from the Heartland of America on this weekend when we tip our hat to the working man and woman.

America’s workers make our country go, so our goal should be to make our economy work for them.

But traveling around Indiana this week, going from job fairs to listening sessions to small businesses, it was easy to see how our workers are still hurting.

We’re seeing some jobs come back, but too many of our fellow Americans are stuck in part-time work or have stopped looking altogether.  And between wages staying flat – and costs on everything from food to health care going up – families are being squeezed at every turn.

Here in Indiana, and in many states throughout the union, we rely on coal to power our homes and provide good-paying middle class jobs – like the one my family relied on when I was a kid.

My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois. He was proud of the work he did everyday and rightly so.  The coal mine helped put food on our table and helped me pursue an education and realize the American Dream.

Unfortunately, the current administration is waging a war on this reliable, affordable source of energy and the countless jobs it supports.  This is one example of many where the policies coming from Washington, D.C. just don’t make sense.

As a physician, I took an oath to “do no harm.”  While this Administration’s policies continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on. Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run.

First, we need to get people back into steady, good-paying jobs.  One thing we’ve already done is fix our job training system to make it easier for workers to find the skills they need to get ahead – this was a bipartisan, common-sense compromise with our colleagues in the Senate.  We’ve also offered proposals to jumpstart small business investment and rein in the red tape factory that makes it harder for employers to hire and expand.

All told, we have more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate. 

Lowering costs is another area that demands action.  Several of the bipartisan jobs bills we’re asking Senate Democrats to act on would help make energy less expensive for families and small businesses, like the manufacturers that help support the Hoosier economy.  And we need to implement real health care reform that lets patients choose the plans they want at a price they can afford.

And third, we need to restore real opportunities for all Americans.  That’s why we’ve sent the Senate solutions to make education more affordable and accessible for middle-class families.  And we’re ready to fix our tax code to make it simpler and fairer for everyone.

These three things – getting people back to work, lowering costs at home, and restoring opportunity – will continue to be our focus in the weeks ahead.

We call them ‘American Solutions’ because they put the American people first.  Which is exactly what we’re asking of President Obama and Senate Democrats as we celebrate our nation’s workforce: put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work.

Thanks for listening. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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Federal Judge Rejects Part of Restrictive Texas Abortion Law

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge rejected part of the state’s abortion law that would have required abortion clinics to meet hospital-level operating room standards by Sept. 1 or close.

The law would have left just seven facilities in Texas as legal abortion sites. For now, at least 19 such facilities will remain open. An appeal from the state is expected.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis called the decision “a victory for women’s health care.” Davis notably filibustered the abortion bill for 11 hours before it passed during a special session. “These decisions,” Davis said, “should only be made between a woman, her doctor and her God — not Austin politicians like Attorney General Greg Abbott, who would make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest.”

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Mississippi Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Sen. Thad Cochran’s Primary Win

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) — A Mississippi judge threw out a lawsuit Friday filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who sought to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

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A Mississippi judge  threw out a lawsuit today filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who seeking to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

Six-Term Incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran Beats Tea Party Challenger, Chris McDaniel

Chris McDaniel Opens Legal Challenge in Mississippi GOP Primary Race

Chris McDaniel Just Won’t Give Up After GOP Senate Primary Loss

The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which  Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid to Overturn GOP Runoff Results

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

gty ht cochran mcdaniels split kb 131210 16x9 608 Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid to Overturn GOP Runoff Results

(J. Scott Applewhite/ AP Photo | Chris McDaniel For Senate)

A Mississippi judge  threw out a lawsuit today filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who seeking to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

Six-Term Incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran Beats Tea Party Challenger, Chris McDaniel

Chris McDaniel Opens Legal Challenge in Mississippi GOP Primary Race

Chris McDaniel Just Won’t Give Up After GOP Senate Primary Loss

The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which  Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

Rick Perry Criticizes Obama for Lack of Strategy, Calls ISIS ‘Danger to the Free World’

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Matthew Putney(DALLAS) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized President Obama on Friday at the annual Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas.

Calling out the commander in chief for his admission that the administration does not yet have a strategy on how to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Thursday, Perry called the militant group a “clear and present danger to the free world.” Obama, he said, needs to understand that “the peace of the free world requires presidential decisiveness, not dithering and debating.”

Addressing the conservative crowd, Perry called for action, declaring that “presidential leadership is needed now, more than ever.”

Changing topics, Perry also criticized Obama’s overreach on immigration. “On the one hand we’re seeing a willful neglect of clear presidential responsibility,” Perry said, “and on the other, we’re seeing an aggressive overreach into powers that don’t even belong to a president.”

Perry was indicted earlier this month on charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official for his threat to veto funding for the Texas state public integrity unit when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a DUI.

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Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu Facing Questions About Residency

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing questions this week after a tea party candidate for her seat filed a letter with the Louisiana Secretary of State urging them to investigate Landrieu’s residency status.

Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a tea party candidate for the Louisiana Senate seat said that while Landrieu owns a home in Louisiana, she lists a home in Washington, D.C. as her home address on a number of forms and has referred to the D.C. home as her residence. This, Maness says, should disqualify her from the requirements to represent the state. Specifically, Louisiana statutes require a Senator to be an “inhabitant of this state.”

In his letter to the Louisiana Secretary of State, Maness cites numerous media interviews and paperwork in which Landrieu has called Washington her home. Her campaign website refers to the Louisiana home as “the house she grew up in,” and not her current home.

Landrieu is registered to vote at the Louisiana home and is a joint owner of the home along with a limited liability corporation set up for her family’s estate planning. However, Maness argues, that is not the same as being an inhabitant of the state.

Still, Landrieu’s daughter still attends high school in Louisiana and lives in the state regularly, and Landrieu is listed as the partial owner of a home in the state, making it difficult for Maness to prove that she is not legally a Louisiana resident.

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Chelsea Clinton to Leave NBC News

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) — Chelsea Clinton announced on Friday that she will leave her job as a special correspondent at NBC News due in part to her pregnancy and in part so that she can focus on her work with the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton joined NBC in 2011, and thanked the company for the opportunity to tell “stories about remarkable people and organizations and [make] a profound difference in our country and our world.” She called her time at NBC a “privilege”

Still, Clinton said, she looks forward to working with NBC in the future.

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Sunday on ‘This Week’: The ISIS Terror Threat

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

 Sunday on This Week: The ISIS Terror Threat

Reuters

This Sunday, “This Week” covers the latest on the terror threat warnings over ISIS.

And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts.

Check the “This Week” page for full guest listings. See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”

Like “This Week” on Facebook here. You can also follow the show on Twitter here.

Go here to find out when “This Week” is on in your area.


Former Presidents to Announce Partnership, Launch Presidential Leadership Scholars Program

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photo Credits: ABC/ JON GARCIA (L) and ABC/Randy Holmes (R)(WASHINGTON) — Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will team up again, they announced on Friday, to launch an educational leadership program.

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program will offer “motivated leaders an opportunity to study presidential decisions, and learn from key administration officials, practitioners, and leading academics.” This program is the product of a partnership between the presidential centers of Bush, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The specific details of the program will be unveiled on Sept. 8 during a lunch event at Washington D.C.’s, Newseum. That event will be also be steamed live.

According to a press release, the program’s intent is to allow its participants to “foster the skills they’ll need to address both the challenges and opportunities presented in the 21st century.”

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Homeland Security Secretary Says No Threat Imminent Against US

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

US Department of Homeland Security(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on Friday in regards to the decision made by the government of the United Kingdom to raise that country’s domestic terror threat level to “severe.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in the statement that the U.S. government has not received any “specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland.” Still, Johnson noted, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have shown the intent and capability to capture American citizens overseas, making them an “active and serious threat.”

Johnson points out the action that the DHS has taken in recent weeks, including enhanced security at overseas airports and increased tracking of foreign fighters traveling to and from Syria. “Additional security measures” are also under consideration, he said.

Johnson expressed deep concern about the ongoing situation in both Iraq and Syria, saying that the DHS will “continue to evaluate and adopt serious and prudent homeland security measures as the situation warrants.”

Earlier on Friday, the FBI noted that the United Kingdom’s decision was not based on a specific threat. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest echoed that sentiment, saying that he didn’t “anticipate at this point that there is a plan to change” the U.S. terror threat level.

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3 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria, UN Agency Says

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

RT syrian refugees jef 140829 16x9 608 3 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria, UN Agency Says

(Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

More than 3 million people have sought refuge from the fighting in Syria, the United Nations’ refugee agency announced today.

That means the Syrian crisis, which has persisted since a civilian uprising began in 2011, is the biggest refugee operation in the UNHCR’s 64-year history, the agency said.

Escalating Violence Fuels Syrian Refugee Crisis

WATCH: This Is What It’s Like Inside a Syrian Refugee Camp

UN Calls Syrian Refugee Crisis Worst Since Rwandan Genocide

Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said the international effort to help Syrian refugees was insufficient to meet their growing needs and number.

“The world is failing to meet the needs of [Syrian] refugees and the countries hosting them,” Guterres said, adding that, while the response to the crisis has been generous, “the bitter truth is that it falls far short of what’s needed.”

In addition to the 3 million people who have sought shelter in neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, another 6.5 million refugees have been displaced within Syria, the agency said, adding that half of those people were children. The UNHCR concluded that almost half of the  Syrian civilian population has had to leave its homes.

Not only are the refugees fleeing violence, but because they frequently bounce from village to village before finally leaving their home country, they arrive in neighboring countries in increasingly “shocking states[s],” according to a UNHCR statement.

“There are worrying signs too that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders,” the statement said.

Long-term medical conditions, steep food and commodity prices and unemployment are also problems that Syrians are plagued with once they escape the areas of greatest danger, the UNHCR added.

The Note: No Strategy

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

By CHRIS GOOD (@c_good)

 

NOTABLES

  • ‘WE DON’T HAVE A STRATEGY YET’: President Obama said Thursday that his administration does not yet have a strategy to combat the militant Islamic group ISIS that has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria. When the president was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, he responded, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” ABC’s John Parkinson and Erin Dooley report. “Some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are,” he added. http://abcn.ws/1sKkQQp
  • MORE ISIS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: It’s just a Web video, not a TV ad with money behind it, but Scott Brown has posted a one-minute YouTube clip hitting President Obama on ISIS and Ukraine, featuring footage of ISIS fighters. “There are so many issues on the table right now that are affecting our foreign policy, but we have one of the most incoherent foreign policies right now,” Brown alleges in it. http://youtu.be/uslrm_DON-I
  • GOP ’16ERS @ AFP SUMMIT: Americans for Prosperity—poised to be the most influential conservative group in the nation this year, and among the most influential and heaviest spending across the political spectrum this year and into the looming presidential race—will host potential Republican White House aspirants at its Defending the American Dream Summit in Dallas. Today Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul speak; tomorrow, Ted Cruz. http://bit.ly/1ppuB99
  • OBAMA FUNDRAISING TODAY. For the third time this week, President Obama will spend the day out of the public eye, ABC’s Mary Bruce reports. He’ll spend the afternoon fundraising off camera for the DNC and DCCC in Westchester, NY, and Newport, RI.
  • GOOGLE DOES DRONES. Google[x] announces in a press release that it’s been trying out home-delivery drones in Australia. From Google[x]‘s timeline of the project, August 2014 entry: “Team travels to Queensland, Australia, for first delivery flights to real people using prototype vehicle. Two farmers receive candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water, radios, and more. Nick [Roy, of MIT Aeronautics & Astronautics] heads back to MIT. Dave Vos, a longtime expert in automating systems for aviation, joins to lead the team from research to product.”

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Those five words from President Obama, “We don’t have a strategy yet,” will hang over the debate as the U.S. prepares to confront Islamic extremists in Syria. His remarks yesterday stood in sharp contrast to those from his top military advisers, who have been dramatically escalating the urgency of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The president’s phrasing may have been inarftul, considering how swiftly the White House rushed to clarify he simply meant there was no imminent plan to launch air strikes. But those five words carried a real purpose: He was sending a signal to Congress that he’s not yet made a decision. There has been increasing worry — among Democrats, in particular — that the Pentagon was on the verge of opening another full-scale attack in the Middle East. His words were intended to reassure Congress that he will seek their support if he does decide to act. But by bluntly declaring he doesn’t have a strategy, did he make that sales job more difficult?

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: There are carts and there are horses, and there are last opportunities to wear your tan suit. Then there’s the gaffe – and that’s what it was – by President Obama: “We don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS in Syria. The White House clean-up attempts are focusing on the Syria part of that equation. But that doesn’t make it much better: We know ISIS is deeply in Syria, and the “S” in “ISIS” is for … “Syria.” Beyond that, what makes the statement damaging is that it undermines the president from virtually every direction. Republicans are pouncing for quite obvious reasons, viewing at a sign of presidential vacillation and weakness. The statement reinforces liberals’ worry that airstrikes are taking place without a broader plan in place. And the president heads off huddle with NATO allies next week with the United States now on record saying the nation doesn’t have a strategy just yet.

ABC’s CHRIS GOOD: The U.S. hasn’t had a foreign-policy election since 2008, and given the prominence of health care and the financial crash in that one, you have to go back to 2006, when Iraq and congressional ethics scandals dominated as issues. Since then, aside from some very mild buzz about aid to Pakistan, candidates haven’t really played to foreign policy. ISIS and the diplomatic crisis over Ukraine might change that, as Republican candidates learn to hit President Obama over his perceived lack of direction, and as Hillary Clinton becomes a magnet for such questions from journalists and criticism from Republicans as the 2016 frontrunner. Most reporters (I think) are rightly (I think) loath to give free press to candidates’ YouTube videos, but Scott Brown’s one-minute clip hitting Obama’s foreign policy seems significant: It suggests that ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine will permeate through campaign ads and talking points this fall and on through 2016. If Scott Brown, whose political identity isn’t built on foreign-policy cred, can level an effective critique, many others probably will too.

 

THE BUZZ, with ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY (@erindooley1)

PROSPECT OF ANOTHER DC SHUTDOWN LOOMS OVER IMMIGRATION SHOWDOWN. The prospect of another economically and politically crippling government shutdown looms over President Obama’s talk of taking executive action on immigration next month and Republican threats to thwart him by blocking certain funding measures, ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports. Republicans insist they are not interested in another shutdown and that the possibility is being raised by fear mongering Democrats, but the GOP does raise the  possibility of using a September vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government as a weapon against any executive action by Obama. http://abcn.ws/1qkHZco

VA SCANDAL TAKING CENTER ROLE IN 2014 POLITICAL ADS. Judging by candidates’ ads, the hottest issue in House and Senate midterm elections this year is easily care for America’s veterans, according to ABC’s Shushannah Walshe.  This month alone, 23 House races and 10 Senate races have seen over 13,000 airings of television ads on the topic of veterans’ healthcare or veterans’ benefits according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG). http://abcn.ws/1paO4En

HILLARY CLINTON BREAKS HER SILENCE ON FERGUSON. Just off a three-week vacation in the Hamptons, Hillary Clinton used her first day back on the speaking circuit Thursday to address the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, applauding President Obama for his response to the protests and calling for a nationwide effort to improve racial inequalities that she said still persist in the American justice system, according to ABC’s Liz Kreutz.  “Watching the recent funeral for Michael Brown, as a mother, as a human being, my heart just broke for his family,” Clinton said. “Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone. Not in America.” http://abcn.ws/1qGKIxX

CANADIAN, RUSSIAN NATO MISSIONS TROLL EACH OTHER ON TWITTER. In case the actual war in Ukraine wasn’t enough, there’s also a Twitter battle raging between the Canadian and Russian missions to NATO, ABC’s Ali Weinberg notes. It all started with the Canadian Twitter account, which on Wednesday tweeted a snarky map intended to “help” the Russian soldiers who ended up in Ukraine but reportedly claimed they didn’t know where they were going. http://abcn.ws/1qMxb4r

IMMIGRATION SIT-IN OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE RESULTS IN ABOUT 100 ARRESTS. For the second time in a month, progressive activists disillusioned with the Obama administration’s immigration policies intentionally had themselves arrested outside the White House in what they called an act of “civil disobedience,” ABC’s Matt Larotonda reports.  The highly choreographed sit-in, organized by a coalition of labor, immigration reform and religious groups, featured roughly 100 demonstrators who sat down on the sidewalk outside the president’s residence in an area already cordoned off by law enforcement. After several warnings from law enforcement officers on standby, the scores of protesters were peacefully detained for obstructing sidewalk traffic. http://abcn.ws/1qMwHLD

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND RECALLS ‘PORKY’ CRACK BY MALE COLLEAGUE.  In her upcoming book “Off the Sidelines,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., reveals she was the subject of insensitive comments about her weight from male colleagues in the House and Senate, ABC’s Arlette Saenz notes.  According to an excerpt posted by PEOPLE magazine, Gillibrand details an incident in her book where a male colleague  saw her in the gym said, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” According to the Huffington Post, Gillibrand responded, “Thanks, a-hole.” http://abcn.ws/1qkHZco

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@politicalwire Romney In Demand by GOP Candidates http://politicalwire.com/archives/2014/08/29/romney_in_demand_by_gop_candidates.html#.VABw60qcaCQ.twitter

@AnupKaphle The birthplace of an outbreak — stunning images from Sierra Leone, epicenter of #Ebola crisis. http://wapo.st/1orTZoq

@usembassybeirut #AmbHale: This weaponry and ordnance is paid for by the American people. #partnership #PromisesToKeep

@Sarah_Boxer Big @oaklandtrib front page: San Jose Police Dept. getting rid of its army vehicle to keep community trust: http://www1.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=CA_OT&ref_pge=lst

@gretawire Benghazi chairman says probe should end in ’15 | TheHill http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/216223-gowdy-benghazi-probe-should-be-over-by-end-of-2015#.VABvm9EF5kQ.twitter … via @TheHill