Hillary Clinton Mocks Ben Carson, Ted Cruz on Gay Rights

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton on Saturday mocked Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz over their positions on gay rights during remarks to the Human Rights Campaign, where she also called for new laws to support and protect the rights of transgendered people.

“Ben Carson says that marriage equality is what caused the fall of the Roman empire,” the Democratic presidential candidate said to laughter during a breakfast at the LGBT rights organization’s annual gathering in Washington, D.C.

Clinton then mentioned Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which drew hisses and boos from the crowd gathered inside the grand ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, and went on to challenge him to join her at a gay pride parade.

“Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a pride parade. He clearly has no idea what he’s missing. Pride parades are so much fun. I was marching in them back when I was first lady. You should join sometime Senator, come on,” she said.

Both Carson and Cruz have said they believe marriage is between a man and a woman. ABC News has reached out to their campaigns for comment to Clinton’s remarks.

“Hillary would have everyone believe she’s been in favor of marriage equality since the fall of the Roman Empire,” Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said. “When she’s not lying, she’s spinning!”

Cruz’ campaign did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Clinton, who supports same-sex marriage, also took a forceful stance on transgendered issues during her remarks, and called for the military to allow transgender people to serve openly.

“We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued, loved, and one of us,” she said. “Transgendered people are still banned from serving … that is an outdated rule. I support the policy review that Defense Secretary [Ash] Carter recently announced in the Pentagon. I hope the United States joins many other countries and lets transgendered people join openly.”

She later called out the Republican presidential candidates for ignoring the issue all together.

“See if you are ever in a forum with any of them, if you can get them to say the word transgendered,” she said.

In addition, Clinton called on Congress to pass the Federal Equality Act. And she said she would upgrade dishonorable discharges of service members who were forced out of the military in years past for being gay.

Clinton, who announced her support of same-sex marriage in March 2013 in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, thanked the organization on Saturday for the work it has done to help get it legalized in all 50 states.

“The people here today deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. You’ve helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that,” she said.

There were plenty of jokes at the event playing on the fact that Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign share the same initials: HRC.

During the opening of her remarks, Clinton said, “It is great to be back with the other HRC … there’s no one else I’d rather share my initials with.”

And later, when promising to fight for LGBT rights as president, she said this: “That’s a promise, from one HRC to another.”

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How Bernie Sanders Almost Matched Hillary Clinton in Fundraising

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton outspent Bernie Sanders by a 2-1 margin last quarter, hosted almost 10 times as many fundraisers, and spent millions on television ads when Sanders spent none.

And yet, according to the two campaigns Sanders almost matched Clinton’s fundraising numbers for the third quarter. So now everyone has just one question: how did he do it?

Sanders has been able to bring in cash quickly since day one. In the first 24 hours of his campaign, Sanders was able to raise an astonishing $1.5 million from over 35,000 donors, according to his campaign, more than any other candidate who released first day numbers, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Since then, he has convinced fans to give what they can and keep giving, resulting in a groundswell of small donations. While the official FEC filings do not come out until later this month, according to the campaign, the average donation size last quarter was $30 dollars and 99 percent of all of donations to the campaign were under $100.

In many ways, donors are responding to Sanders’ populist message. He does not have a super-PAC. He rails against the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” decision, which opened the floodgates of corporate money into elections. He calls for a “political revolution,” and during each of his campaign stops he says his candidacy is not about Bernie Sanders, but about the people.

As a result, donors at his events say they feel invested in and a part of his campaign, and donating to him has come to represent for many a statement against the status quo.

Considering the fact that many progressive organizations, such as MoveOn.org, say that the number-one issue for many of their members is ending the influence of corporate money in politics, it is not so surprising to see the fundraising surge Sanders is enjoying.

Progressives have shown the power of their networks in the past. In 2012 they mobilized their troops and brought in record-breaking $42 million for Elizabeth Warren’s senate campaign, putting her fundraising totals ahead of every other congressional candidate in the country.

And this election cycle, technology has made it even easier for voters on the left to give. Act Blue, a fundraising firm that helps many Democratic candidates including Bernie Sanders, has focused specifically on mobile applications, allowing voters to give on their phones and, by saving payment information, easily give again to their favorite candidates.

In the final hours before Wednesday’s quarterly fundraising deadline, this ability to give easily made a huge difference for Sanders’ campaign. According to Sanders’ campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs, the campaign raised over $2 million alone that day, and it came in quickly with $500,000 spilling in the final two and half hours before the midnight quarterly deadline.

Sanders’ campaign is also using social media tactics, email blasts and even limited direct text messaging to both get his political message out and translate that message into fundraising dollars.

While Hillary Clinton’s official Twitter account dwarfs Sanders’ in the number of followers, on Facebook, Sanders has slightly more followers than she does (1.6 million compared to her 1.4 million).

In addition, Sanders’ official campaign benefits from a very coordinated grassroots campaign called “People for Bernie,” which almost shadows the official campaign with chapters in multiple states. These chapters runs their own social media accounts and are able to consistently turn people out to Sanders’ events and drive traffic to his official fundraising pages.

From the beginning, the campaign has also been active on Reddit and now enjoys a huge community of active followers on that site. The “Sanders for President” subreddit page, run by grassroots volunteers, for example, is full of comments like these from the last few days.

“Yesterday I set myself up for $15/mo monthly payments for the next year! GO BERNIE! FEEL THE BERN!” writes one user.

“I donated $2 even though I only had $2.41 in my account until I get paid,” writes another. “Anyone want to match or double that? Poor people can only do so much individually, but together we can raise billions.”

Perhaps most telling is the comparison between Sanders and another presidential hopeful who relied on grassroots support: then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008. Sanders is bringing in small contributions at a faster rate than Obama did. As of Thursday, Sanders had received 1.3 million donations, from 650,000 individual donors, according to the campaign. Whereas, Obama did not met the one million mark until February 2008, and in the same quarter, in 2007, Obama raised $3 million dollars less than Sanders.

“What it tells us is that Bernie has financial staying power,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said. “We have the financial wherewithal that will allow for a major campaign through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond in state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate contests for the Democratic Party nomination.”

On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton often says she knew this would be a competitive race and Wednesday evening, her campaign manager Robert Mook said they were excited by their numbers. “We are thrilled and grateful for the support of hundreds of thousands of donors across the country, helping us raise a record $75 million in the first two quarters,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.

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President Obama Tells Congress Not to ‘Flirt With Another Shutdown’

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama used his weekly address to urge Congress to pass a long term budget and not to “flirt with another shutdown.”

“Look, that’s not the way America should operate.  It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.  And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week,” he said.

He also said that come December, the U.S. could face another government shutdown, and Democrats and Republicans needed to work together to work on a solution to the budget.

Read the full transcript of the president’s address:

Hi, everybody.  Yesterday, we learned that our businesses created another 118,000 new jobs in September.  That makes 67 straight months of job creation, and 13.2 million new jobs in all. 

But we would be doing even better if we didn’t have to keep dealing with crises in Congress every few months.  And especially at a time when the global economy is softening, our own growth could slow if Congress doesn’t do away with harmful austerity measures.

Now, on Wednesday, more than half of Republicans in Congress voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years.  Fortunately, there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks.  Unfortunately, that gimmick only sets up another shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas.

Look, that’s not the way America should operate.  It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.  And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week. 

Here’s why.  A few years ago, both parties agreed to put in place harmful, automatic cuts that make no distinction between spending we don’t need and spending we do.  Those cuts have actually kept our economy from growing faster.  Even worse, they’re actually undermining the middle class. 

Here’s one example.  If we don’t undo these mindless cuts, then next year, we’ll be funding our kids’ education at the same levels per pupil we did in the year 2000.  Compared to my budget, that would be like cutting federal funding for 4,500 schools, 17,500 teachers and aides, 1.9 million students. 

That’s not good for our kids or our economy.  It’s a prescription for American decline.  And it shouldn’t happen.  We should invest in things like education today, or we’ll pay the price tomorrow.

Congress should do its job, stop kicking the can down the road, and pass a serious budget rather than flirt with another shutdown.  A serious budget is one that keeps America strong through our military, our law enforcement; that keeps America generous through caring for our veterans and our seniors; that keeps America competitive by educating our kids and our workers.

That’s what I want to work with serious people in both parties to achieve.  Because that’s how we’ll build on the progress of 13 million new jobs, and help the middle class get ahead.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

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Sen. John Barrasso Says Obama Administration Issuing Too Many Regulations

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Wyoming Senator John Barrasso delivered this week’s Republican address, discussing regulations that he says are costing Americans billions of dollars.

The senator said the Obama administration had issued too many regulations, specifically those more involved with protecting the environment, citing 2,500 new regulations in the past six years.

“In this administration’s race to control more of what Americans do every day, it has lost all perspective,” he said. “The rules are based on ideology, rather than practicality.”

He continued to say that Republicans would be putting working on legislation in the fall to “rein in runaway regulations,” and President Obama would “have to choose between big government and hardworking Americans.”

Read the full transcript of the Republican’s address:

Hi. I’m Dr. John Barrasso, United States Senator for Wyoming.

Let me tell you a story about a family in my home state. 

Andy Johnson is 32, he works as a welder. He and his wife Katie have four kids and they live out in the country. They have a few cows and some horses.

Two years ago, the Johnsons wanted to build a small pond in their front yard.

They got their plan approved by the state, and used the pond to provide water for their animals.

They thought it was a beautiful addition to the dry landscape.

The pond attracts birds and other animals that make our state a special place to live.

Everything was fine until the Johnsons got a visit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Even though the state of Wyoming had approved the pond, the federal government had not.

The Johnsons now face fines of more than $37,000 every day, until they remove the pond.
This is what’s happened to government in America. It’s gotten so aggressive, so inflexible, and so unyielding – and seemingly for so little purpose.

And it’s going to get worse.

The Obama administration is seizing new authority to control what it calls Waters of the United States.

This includes things like irrigation ditches, isolated ponds – even low points in the landscape where water might collect after a heavy rain.

The consequences of this new federal authority will be severe.

Local land-use decisions will now be driven by Washington bureaucrats.

And this new water rule is just one of the thousands of regulations that Washington is churning out. 

In the final 15 months of the Obama administration, Washington bureaucrats are working overtime, to finalize new rules on everything from prairie puddles to power plants. 

Just this week, the White House released a new ozone rule that will increase electricity costs and decrease reliability.

In this administration’s race to control more of what Americans do every day, it has lost all perspective.

The rules are based on ideology, rather than practicality.

The result is an explosion of expensive regulations and new federal requirements on hardworking families.

Washington’s assault on Andy Johnson in Wyoming could soon be repeated all across the country.

The Obama administration has issued more than 2,500 new regulations in the past six years.

Complying with these regulations is expected to cost our economy a staggering $680 billion. 

People will be forced to spend millions of hours filling out the paperwork.

You might ask, what do Americans get for all this time and money?

One of EPA’s rules on power plants would cost as much as $2,400 for every $1 in direct benefits.

This imbalance is a big reason why Americans’ wages have been stagnant since President Obama took office.

The costs of these regulations are real.

They are significant to our economy, to good-paying jobs, and to the ability of Americans to live freely.

That’s why Republicans are fighting so hard. 

The White House’s cynical response is that only polluters would oppose these new environmental rules.

I’m fortunate to live in Wyoming, one of the most beautiful, pristine places in the world. 

We protect fiercely our open spaces, our clean air, and water. 

At the same time, the entire country benefits from our responsible and reliable production of American energy. 

We’ve proven you can have both.

The Obama administration long ago left this reasonable objective in the dust.

What the administration won’t tell you is that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress oppose many of these regulations – including the new rules on Waters of the United States.

Senators Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin – all Democrats – joined us to change these water regulations.

Yet commonsense changes to all this rulemaking are being blocked by the president and the liberal Democrat leaders in the Congress.

Even the courts have dealt the Obama administration serious setbacks to its regulatory rampage.

But by the time the courts finally act, the damage is already done – those jobs are gone, and communities suffer. 

The head of the EPA bragged that it didn’t matter if the Obama administration lost in court – because the rules had already been in effect for three years.

That’s outrageous. 

Meanwhile, the fines against Andy Johnson continue to pile up, and could exceed $16 million.
His family cannot afford to fight anymore.

Just like the Johnsons in Wyoming, the American people can’t afford the overreach and the near-constant onslaught of new Washington regulations.

This fall, Republicans will put legislation on the president’s desk to rein in runaway regulations. He will have to choose between big government and hardworking Americans.

We’ve already made our choice.

Thanks for listening.

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Jeb Bush Says ‘Stuff Happens’ in Response to Gun Violence

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made an eyebrow-raising comment in the wake of the Oregon school massacre — saying “stuff happens” in response to a discussion about gun violence.

Bush called the shooting in Oregon “very sad,” but said he also had challenges that he faced during his tenure as governor of Florida.

“Look stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do,” Bush said at the Conservative Leadership Project in Greenville, South Carolina, referring to taking away rights.

At a press conference on Friday, President Obama was asked what he thought about the comment.

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one,” the president said. “I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgments based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting. And they can decide whether they consider that stuff happening.”

Gunman Chris Harper Mercer opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College Thursday, killing 9 people and wounding seven others. He later died in a gun battle with police.

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Stepping Down

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — He’s one of President Obama’s longest serving members in the cabinet and now he’s stepping down.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Friday he will step down from his position in December, after serving for over seven years.

President Obama will formally announce the decision on Friday afternoon.

Duncan told staff in an email his position as education secretary was “the greatest honor of his life,” but he wanted to return to Chicago to spend more time with his family.

The former secretary will be replaced by Dr. John King Jr., one of his deputies.

Duncan was noted for his Race to the Top program, which had states compete for federal grant money as a way to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom.

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Mass Shootings Like Umpqua Lift Support for Gun Control, But Not for Long

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK)— Attitudes on gun control are equivocal, even conflicted.

Past heinous gun crimes haven’t shown much, if any impact, on these attitudes. After the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 15 dead, a Pew poll showed an 8 percent increase in people who favored controlling gun ownership. That swing was erased within a year.

Thirteen years later, the influence was even less noticeable after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 20 children died. Only 2 percent more people favored gun control, with that difference being reversed about 13 months later.

Most U.S. adults support some kind of stricter gun control, but most also are skeptical that such laws will reduce gun deaths, and most see gun ownership as a basic right. These are reasons the issue hasn’t gained higher priority in public attitudes.

In polling this past summer:

  • 88 percent of U.S. adults favored background checks “on all potential gun buyers.” (CBS)
  • 85 percent favored making private sales and gun show sales subject to background checks. (Pew)
  • 70 percent favored a government database to track all gun sales. (Pew)
  • But fewer — 52 percent — favored making gun laws more strict overall. (CBS)
  • 52 percent also thought stricter gun laws would do “a lot” or “some” to help prevent gun violence, but 47 percent thought they’d help “not much” or “not at all.” (CBS)
  • In other words, Americans, by 60-40 percent, said they thought stricter gun control laws would not reduce gun-related deaths, according to a CNN poll.
  • Americans, by 54-40 percent, said gun ownership does more to prevent crime victimization than to put people’s safety at risk. (Pew)
  • And the public is divided about evenly on whether it’s more important to protect gun owners’ rights or to control gun ownership, 47-50 percent. (Pew)

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Joe Biden Still Has About One More Month to Make Up His Mind

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden is still deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race — but how much longer can he go before he’s forced to make the leap?

The “maybe” candidate is benefiting from the speculation in the media for now, but filing deadlines to get on early primary ballots that could force the vice president’s hand are already right around the corner.

The first deadline for Democratic candidates — and perhaps the absolute moment of truth for Joe Biden — is just five weeks away: a Nov. 6 deadline to get on the Alabama ballot. The problem snowballs from there, as Biden stands to miss out on competing for hundreds of delegates if he waits into December, not to mention falling behind on fundraising and missing the first debates.

Pundits are split on how long Biden should — or could — wait to enter the race. People close to Biden say they don’t view the first debate in mid-October as a deadline. Pundits are also split on whether he should jump in soon to begin fundraising and building campaign infrastructure or continue to wait and see whether Clinton’s campaign continues to falter.

So how long is too long to avoid declaring his candidacy? The longer Biden waits, the more he’ll be in danger of missing three things: deadlines, debates and dollars.

Missing the Deadlines

The longer Biden waits to declare his candidacy, the more he’ll struggle to get on the ballot in early primary states.

Just five weeks remain until the first primary deadline on Nov. 6, when candidates need to pay a $2,500 fee and gather 500 signatures to get on the ballot in Alabama. Biden himself will need to sign a statement of candidacy form with the state party. Roughly 60 delegates — a small fraction of the total number of people who will elect the Democratic nominee at the convention next summer — are at stake there, although these delegate counts are yet to be finalized and could change.

So what if Biden opts to sacrifice the Alabama primary in favor of letting the clock tick?

Biden has only 72 hours until the next state deadline comes around: Arkansas. Biden stands to lose his portion of the state’s 37 delegates if he decides not to file by Nov. 9, digging himself further into a hole in the race for accumulating the most delegates. His next deadline comes less than two weeks later on Nov. 20, when candidates must pay a $1,000 filing fee to get on the New Hampshire ballot and vie for its 32 delegates.

Biden would stand to lose the most delegates yet if he hasn’t declared by the Nov. 30 deadline for the Florida primary, which has a whopping 245 delegates up for grabs. And if he waits one more day until after Dec. 1 to declare, he’d miss the deadlines for the primaries in Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, totaling another 229 delegates.

Waiting this long would bring the grand total that Biden doesn’t pursue to more than 600 of the 4,800 expected total Democratic delegates, digging himself a significant hole from which to come back and be competitive for the nomination.

Missing the Debate

If Biden wants to be onstage for the first Democratic presidential primary debate, CNN is leaving the door wide open. The Vice President has until the day of the debate, Oct. 13, to say he’ll run, CNN says, allowing him to declare his candidacy mere hours before air. Biden wouldn’t even have to fill out paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) beforehand.

And we know that debates matter: On the Republican side, 23 million people watched the second debate as Carly Fiorina rocketed herself into the top tier and Scott Walker fell into the basement.

The first Democratic debate will be one of only six chances that challengers to Clinton have to topple her frontrunner status, and giving one up could prove pivotal down the road. If Biden doesn’t declare before Oct. 13, he’d have to wait more than a month to participate in the next Democratic debate.

Missing the Dollars

Biden is also beginning to fall behind on fundraising, and the longer he waits, the larger the gap between him and the competition grows.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Super PACs raised a whopping $59 million before June, and Bernie Sanders raised almost $14 million in the same time period. Both campaigns announced Wednesday a combined $54 million in campaign fundraising since then.

Biden, meanwhile, isn’t allowed to raise any money for a campaign until he declares his candidacy. Draft Biden had raised only $86,000 by June, largely before speculation that he would run started swirling.

He’ll likely struggle to raise more money until donors are certain he’ll be in the race. And meanwhile, the remaining big donors who haven’t committed to Clinton are getting anxious to settle in with a candidate.

And the campaign cash isn’t the only thing he’s falling behind on. Clinton has built a massive campaign infrastructure with offices and staff, and Sanders is beginning to bulk up his operation. Waiting will require Biden to scramble to build his operation with limited time before the first caucuses and primaries.

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Kasich to Call for No-Fly Zones in Syria

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will call for the U.S. and its allies to designate no-fly zones in parts of Syria.

According to Kasich campaign spokesman Scott Milburn, Kasich will tie his announcement to Russia’s recent military action within Syria, noting concern over further escalation.

Kasich was scheduled to speak at a press conference in Concord, N.H., at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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Presidential Candidates Offer Support for Umpqua Community College Shooting Victims

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of a mass shooting Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a number of presidential candidates took to social media to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones.

According to ABC News affiliate KATU-TV, there were at least 7 people killed and 20 wounded in the shooting in Roseburg, the station said, citing Oregon State Police Lt. Bill Fugate.

The shooter’s identity has not been released, but police confirmed the shooter was male and is dead.

Jeb Bush was the first to take to Twitter to respond.

“Praying for Umpqua Community College, the victims, and families impacted by this senseless tragedy,” he tweeted.

Following her event in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton expressed disbelief.

“It is just beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again,” Clinton told the press. “And as I have said, we have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe. You know, I know there is a way to have sensible gun control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and save lives. And I am committed to doing everything I can to achieve that.”

She also tweeted, “Another devastating shooting. We need sensible gun control measures to save lives, and I will do everything I can to achieve that. -H”

Donald Trump told the Washington Post, the shooting was “absolutely a terrible tragedy.”

“It sounds like another mental health problem. So many of these people, they’re coming out of the woodwork,” Trump said, the Washington Post reported. “We have to really get to the bottom of it. It’s so hard to even talk about these things, because you see them and it’s such a tragedy.”

The former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, the first Democratic candidate to respond, also offered his thoughts.

He tweeted, “My heart is with those who lost so much today in Oregon. -O’M”

During a radio interview on Thursday with Hugh Hewitt, Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that the aftermath of the shootings would lead to more calls for gun control.

“Obviously there are going to be those calling for gun control but that happens every time we have one of these incidents. Obviously that’s not the issue,” Carson said. “The issue is the mentality of these people. And we need to be looking at the mentality of these individuals and seeing if there are any early warning clues that we can gather that will help us as a society be able to identify these people ahead of time.

“What I worry about is when we get to the point and we say we have to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are, and where their guns are,” he added. “That is very dangerous that I wouldn’t agree with at all.”

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President Obama Speaks About Oregon Shooting

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama spoke on Thursday in the wake of a shooting at an Oregon community college that took at least seven lives, according to ABC affiliate.

“There’s been another mass shooting in America,” the president said in the White House briefing room.

“There are more American families – moms, dads, children – whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief – and communities across the country forced to relive their own anguish and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their family or their children.”

The shooting, which left at least 20 people dead and injured, according to the governor’s office, took place Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The identity of the 20-year-old shooter has not been released.

The president has said the failure to pass more stringent gun safety laws is one of the greatest frustrations of his presidency thus far.

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which, we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in July.

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President Obama Says Mass Shootings Have Become ‘Routine’ After Oregon School Massacre

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

The White House(WASHINGTON) —  President Obama lamented the fact that he was making comments about yet another shooting – this time at a community college in Oregon – saying the process has become “routine” for him and new families who mourn the loss of loved ones.

“There’s been another mass shooting in America,” the president said in the White House briefing room.

“There are more American families – moms, dads, children – whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief – and communities across the country forced to relive their own anguish and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their family or their children.”

“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that,” the president said in the White House briefing room.

The president said that just as his remarks on shootings have become routine, so too have the reactions from politicians and opponents of stricter gun regulations.

“Somebody somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue.’ Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic,” he said.

Rather than shying away from the political dimension to mass shootings, the president leaned in to it, saying that Thursday’s events were direct products of political decisions – those made by lawmakers and by those who elect them.

“We collectively are answerable to those families, who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said.

In a veiled reference to groups like the National Rifle Association which has opposed most of the president’s efforts to tighten gun purchasing laws, he urged firearms owners to reconsider their affiliation with the group.

“I would particularly ask America’s gun owners, who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, or protecting their families, to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you,” he said.

The shooting, which left at least 20 people dead and injured, according to the governor’s office, took place Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The identity of the 20-year-old shooter has not been released.

The president has said the failure to pass more stringent gun safety laws is one of the greatest frustrations of his presidency thus far.

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which, we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in July.

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Why Ben Carson Keeps Talking About Hitler

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Lyons/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Ben Carson has been talking about Hitler a lot lately on the campaign trail. Yes, Adolf Hitler.

The retired neurosurgeon and GOP front-runner is attempting to send a clear message to his supporters: Nazi Germany can happen in America.

“I’ve talked in the past about how the people in Nazi Germany did not agree with Hitler. A lot of them didn’t. But did they stand up? Did they say anything? No, they kept their mouths shut and look at the atrocities that occurred,” Carson said, speaking at Berean Baptist Church in North Carolina on Wednesday. “And some people think something like that can’t happen here but think again. Look at the world and all those examples of tyranny, it can happen here.”

He continued: “I mean if people don’t speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. That’s what I mean. That’s what facilitated [Hitler’s] rise.”

Carson’s campaign acknowledges the political perils associated with speaking of Nazi Germany and Hitler, and concedes that Carson should probably find a better example to make the same point.

“It’s an example [Carson] has been using for years and to be honest with you he needs to find a better example because the problem is as soon as you say Hitler, nobody hears anything else you say,” Campaign Manager Barry Bennett told ABC News. “Its just so evil, so contemptible, that no one can hear anything else.”

Bennett said that Carson is not really talking about Hitler or the Holocaust but rather “talking about how a general population kept their mouth shut.”

“The example is too powerful perhaps,” Bennett said referring to Carson’s rhetoric. “I think that he will find other ways to say the exact same thing.”

Carson himself acknowledged Wednesday that he probably shouldn’t draw the comparison between America and Nazi Germany, but did so nonetheless.

“You know I think back to Nazi Germany — and I know the politically correct police say you are not allowed to say Nazi Germany but I am going to say it anyway because I don’t care what they say,” Carson told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday. “And some people say ‘Oh nothing like that could happen in America.’ I beg to differ.”

Carson emphasized that he was not comparing President Obama to Hitler.

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Nancy Pelosi Confronted by Reporter on Abortion Views

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended her position on abortion Thursday, responding forcefully to a confrontational question about whether a fetus is a human being at her weekly news conference.

“Leader Pelosi, in reference to funding of Planned Parenthood, is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?” asked the reporter, who did not identify himself.

“I am a devout, practicing Catholic,” Pelosi, D-Calif., replied. “A mother of five children. When my baby was born, my fifth child, my oldest child was six years old.

“I think I know more about this subject than you, with all due respect,” she continued. “I do not intend to respond to your question which has no basis in what public policy we do here.”

Congress passed a spending bill Wednesday to keep the government open through Dec. 11, averting a shutdown. A majority of Republicans in the House voted against the measure, over objections to funding Planned Parenthood.

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Al Gore Won’t Give Outright ‘No’ to Presidential Bid

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Kris Connor/WireImage(WASHINGTON) — Is Al Gore running in 2016?

He’s been asked repeatedly — and often gives the same answer — but it is never a straight up “no.”

“I am a recovering politician. The longer I go without a relapse the less likely one becomes,” the former Vice President and 2000 Presidential candidate told the Atlantic‘s James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Forum.

Gore admitted that he had overused this answer, but said, “I’m gonna give it anyway.”

Gore gave a virtually identical answer to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, in an excerpts of an interview that will broadcast on Oct. 6.

After hearing Gore’s first answer, Ramos subsequently asked, “Are you ruling out any possibility of running for president in this campaign?” and “I just wanted to know if you want to run for president again.”

Gore repeated his claim about being a recovering politician.

ABC News reported in August that a group of friends and former aides are having a “soft conversation” about the possibility that Gore run for president in 2016, but noted that no formal or informal moves had been made.

After reports about Gore considering a bid began surfacing, his spokesman denied any truth to them.

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Today on the Trail — 10/1/15

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Thursday? Read below to find out their schedules:

Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal both are in Iowa Thursday. Rubio will hold a town hall in Cedar Falls Thursday evening, while Jindal will hold a town hall in the nearby town of Cedar Rapids.

Mike Huckabee will be in Alabama for four events, including two press conferences in Sylacauga and Selma, a key city during the civil rights movement.

He also has two rallies on his schedule Thursday morning and evening in Florence and Dothan.

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Third GOP Debate Could Exclude These Two Candidates

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore may be cut from the next GOP debate.

Criteria released on Wednesday by CNBC could leave the two Republican presidential candidates off the stage at the next GOP presidential debate on Oct. 28 in Colorado.

In order to gain a spot at the so-called “undercard” debate, Graham and Gilmore need an average of 1 percent in voter support in at least one national poll over the next three weeks. According to an ABC News analysis of recent national polls, neither candidate currently meets the threshold.

Current ABC News projections show that the ten candidates on the main stage two weeks ago would again be on stage for the CNBC’s debate, although more polls over the next three weeks could alter those standings.

Polling averages show that Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Chris Christie will almost certainly make the third debate. But Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul are within one percentage point of missing out on the main stage debate.

The third undercard round would likely only take three candidates: Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Bobby Jindal.

When asked if he was considering dropping out, Graham, who garnered praise for his quips during the second undercard debate, told Whoopi Goldberg on ABC’s The View this week, “No. Hell no, I’m not gonna drop out.”

A Gilmore spokesperson told ABC last week that “the governor is in the race to stay.”

Mainstage debate: (2.5 percent or higher)

1. Trump 23.0%

2. Carson 17.0%

3. Fiorina 11.5%

4. Rubio 9.8%

5. Bush 9.0%

6. Cruz 6.0%

7. Kasich 4.0%

8. Christie 3.8%

9. Huckabee 3.5%

10. Paul 2.8%

Undercard debate: (1 percent in at least one national poll)

11. Santorum 0.8%

12. Pataki <0.6%

13. Jindal <0.6%

Excluded: (did not get 1 percent in at least one national poll)

14. Gilmore <0.5%

15. Graham <0.3%

Polls included: CNN on 9/20, Bloomberg on 9/24, Fox News on 9/24, NBC/WSJ on 9/27.

Some had hoped the third debate criteria would begin to winnow the field of competitors. Earlier this month, RNC Spokesperson Sean Spicer said that it was possible there would be no undercard round during the third debate, telling ABC News that organizers were “seeing how things shake out.” But CNBC opted to keep the lower-tier debate.

“We have the most diverse and experienced field of candidates in history and we applaud CNBC’s efforts to ensure that all of our top candidates will have an opportunity to share their views with the American people,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement.

The previous two Republican debates, hosted by Fox News and CNN, have also had two rounds — an introductory undercard debate for lower-tier candidates and a prime-time debate with 10 or 11 top-tier candidates.

The last two rounds have shown that debates matter: Carly Fiorina’s strong performance in the Fox News undercard debate and her aggressive performance in the CNN debate catapulted her from the low single digits into a top-tier competitor.

Over the last month, two GOP candidates have dropped out of the race. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry struggled to gain any momentum in the polls, marginalizing him to the lower-tier debate. Meanwhile Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fell dramatically from the top of the polls in Iowa to less than 1 percent support nationwide.

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Senate Democrats Call for Disbanding of ‘Unconscionable’ Benghazi Committee

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Senate Democrats are calling for the dissolution of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in light of an admission by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that the committee’s existent is purely political.

A letter signed by five Democratic leaders in the senate urges Speaker of the House John Boehner to “disband” the committee after McCarthy said in an interview on Fox News that it had been put together “to serve the political purpose of defeating Secretary Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential elections by hurting her in the polls, rather than conducting a serious investigation into a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.”

“We should not disrespect their sacrifice by further politicizing this tragedy,” the letter explains.

Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Barbara Boxer, D-Cal.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash. signed the letter, criticizing the committee’s $4.5 million price tag. The Democrats also note that the investigation has gone on longer than those related to the Watergate scandal, the Pearl Harbor attack, the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Iran Contra investigation.

Noting the lack of evidence supporting “any of the original Republican conspiracy theories on Benghazi,” the letter urges its disbanding, calling the continued spending on what the Democrats deem a political attack “unconscionable.”

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Donald Trump Would Send Syrian Refugees Back, Jeb Bush Hits Back

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(KEENE, N.H.) — On the first campaign stop since announcing his tax plan, GOP front-runner Donald Trump came out swinging Wednesday night to a crowd of over 3,500 in Keene, N.H.

Changing his tune on Syrian refugees, after once saying he would grant them asylum because it was the “humane” thing to do, Trump now says he would kick them out. “I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they’re going back.”

Trump also took direct aim at rivals Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “Then there’s Rubio, who’s running against Bush, and he probably shouldn’t be from a loyalty standpoint; the veterans know what I mean about loyalty, right?” Trump asked the crowd.

“So they ask Rubio, ‘What do you think of Bush?’ ‘He’s my dear friend. Wonderful, just wonderful.’ They hate each other. They hate. Trust me, I know. They hate so much. They hate more than anybody in this room hates their neighbor. But it’s political bull****, do you understand? It’s true,” a fiery Trump said.

Bush, at his own town hall across the state in Bedford, N.H., scoffed at Trump’s assertion that his and Rubio’s relationship wasn’t real.

“We’re friends, and I can take criticism. He [Rubio] can as well. Donald seems to have a harder time taking criticism,” Bush said, adding “Donald Trump has no knowledge about my relationship with Marco Rubio.”

And, speaking to a crowd of about 200, there was a striking scene. A young Syrian-American woman named Nora stood up, in tears, and told of her 14 family members whom she had been supporting in Syria, whose houses had been bombed. They had just made it to Turkey and she asked Bush, voice cracking and filled with emotion, “Are we going to let Putin run this world?”

Bush applauded her strength and encouraged the crowd to do so as well. Then, he put himself in clear opposition to Trump, saying the United States has to take a role in providing support.

“Send them all back to a hell hole?” he said to reporters afterwards. “That’s not the proper policy for the United States and it’s certainly not an exhibition of leadership. …There should be some sensitivity to this by Mr. Trump.”

Back in Keene, Trump ran threw his tax plan, his first time including it in a campaign speech since announcing it Monday morning.

Weather depending, the New York real estate mogul will campaign in Virginia and Tennessee this weekend.

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Almost Even in Quarterly Fundraising

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders inch closer together in the polls, so it seems do their fundraising numbers.

Clinton raised roughly $28 million in the second quarter of her presidential campaign, a Clinton campaign official familiar with Federal Election Commission filings said. This figure, while strong, is just slightly ahead of her Democratic opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raised about $26 million during the same period, which ended Wednesday.

Sanders’ fundraising efforts were aided by a last-minute texting and email push, campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs said after the fundraising deadline had passed.

“As of midnight, we raised $2.07 million online on Sept 30. That’s a record day for us,” Briggs said.

The funding total is a significant bump for Sanders, who raised $13.6 million in the previous quarter. (Clinton, by contrast, raised $47.6 million in the previous quarter.)

Although Clinton’s fundraising number this quarter is significantly less, she has now raised a total of roughly $75 million since the start of her campaign – a number that puts her campaign well on its way to hit the goal of $100 million by the end of 2015. Sanders has raised a total of about $39 million.

These figures, released late Wednesday, come after a tough summer for Clinton, who has seen sliding poll numbers partly because of the controversy about her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Sanders, however, has seen a rise in support. While Clinton is still leading Sanders in national polls, a recent CNN/WMUR/UNH poll showed the ultra-liberal Vermont senator with a 16-point lead on Clinton in the key early voting state of New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Clinton has continued to raise money at a feverish pace. In the past three months, she has held more than 60 fundraisers across the country and Puerto Rico.

Her campaign, which says 93 percent of its donations were from small-dollar donors who gave $100 or less, remains confident and happy with the fundraising efforts.

“We are thrilled and grateful for the support of hundreds of thousands of donors across the country, helping us raise a record $75 million in the first two quarters,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement. “Thanks to our supporters, we are able to meet our goals and build an organization that can mobilize millions of voters to ensure Hillary Clinton is their fighter in the White House.”

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Secret Service Apologizes After Employees Improperly Accessed Utah Congressman’s Personal Information

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service apologized on Wednesday to Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz after a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General determined that Secret Service personnel had improperly accessed Chaffetz’ personal files.

Between March 24 and April 2, 45 Secret Service employees accessed Chaffetz’ personal information on approximately 60 occasions, the Inspector General said. Only four of those 45 employees were determined to have had a “legitimate need to access the information.”

Additionally, the Inspector General said, 18 supervisors knew or should have known about the improper access, but only one manager attempted to inform their superiors or stop the activity from occurring.

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson each apologized to Chaffetz. Clancy added in a statement that “any employee, regardless of rank or seniority, who has committed misconduct will be held accountable.”

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Hillary Clinton Received Speeding-Ticket Scam Email on Private Account

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Jupiterimages/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received email on her private account that appeared to be part of a phishing scam, newly released documents show.

On the morning of Aug. 3, 2011, Clinton received five pieces of email with the subject line “Uniform traffic ticket,” with two attachments included. The email came from an address that resembled a New York City government account and contained a heading from the “New York State – Department of Motor Vehicles.”

It listed details of an alleged speeding violation and urged the recipient to print out the ticket and send it to a mailing address.

In 2011, Hillary Clinton received the following e-mail 5 times in the same day. pic.twitter.com/9q7e5p8e4w

— Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) October 1, 2015

The messages, which were part of a State Department release of about 6,300 pages of email from Clinton’s personal account, bear resemblance to messages sent during a 2011 speeding-ticket phishing scam.

The Clinton campaign contends the former Secretary of State did not open the email nor was her private server breached.

“We have no evidence to suggest she replied to this email nor that she opened the attachment. As we have said before, there is no evidence that the system was ever breached,” Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, told ABC News. “All these emails show is that, like millions of other Americans, she received spam.”

But the new email may raise further questions about the security of her private server.

In an editorial board meeting with the Des Moines Register last week, Clinton suggested her server had a better security track record than the State Department’s.

“There is no evidence at all that my server was breached and in the State Department we had constant barrages, attacks,” Clinton said.

National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, the nation’s cyberwarfare chief, said last week he would consider it an opportunity if he knew a foreign leader used a private email account to conduct government business.

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Ben Carson Cannot Say How He Would Tackle Hurricane Joaquin

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Stocktrek Images/iStock/Thinkstock(EXEXTER, N.H.) — Ben Carson could not say how he would deal with Hurricane Joaquin, the storm that’s intensifying in the Atlantic and headed toward the Bahamas and the East Coast.

“Uh, I don’t know,” Carson said with a giggle in response to an ABC News question asking what steps he would take if he was president today.

In contrast, Jeb Bush gave a rather detailed response, including an evacuation plan for certain areas in Joaquin’s path.

“It’s easy for people to be prepared and public leaders, mayors and governors have a duty to let them know they’ll be there to help them the day the storm passes,” Bush said today in New Hampshire. “But in the interim it’s up to citizens to be prepared and evacuate if they’re in low lying areas. And you know be safe basically.”

Bush advised government officials on the East Coast to be prepared for what could be a devastating storm.

National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb said on Wednesday that a hurricane warning could be issued for parts of the East Coast as early as Thursday.

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Why Jeb Bush Sees Himself as the John McCain of 2016

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(MANCHESTER, N.H) — As polls show Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush slipping, and though his donors may be worried, he’s certainly not, at least visibly.

Speaking to ABC News on Wednesday, Bush offered an anecdote about a previous GOP candidate whose chances seemed slim.

“This time, eight years ago, John McCain was traveling through the Atlanta airport. I saw him and he had no aide, no person, [he was] by himself because his campaign was supposed to be ended,” Bush said of the Arizona senator. “He won the Republican primary that year. This is how the process works; you have to go earn it.”

While Bush’s events are well-attended, they are no match for the likes of fellow candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have seen their stadium events packed with thousands of people.

“It doesn’t frustrate me at all,” Bush said. “Because I know at the end, the people I’m talking to and listening to are going to be the ones who will decide who the nominee will be and I believe I will be that person.”

Not oblivious to the polls, however, his campaign has started to ramp up its advertising efforts. In New Hampshire, they’ve dropped a whopping $4.6 million for ads slated to air in January and February.

Between New Hampshire and other early primary states — Iowa and South Carolina — campaign officials are spending close to $8 million on ads, in the hopes it will bolster their on-the-ground efforts.

Today, Bush portrayed no uneasiness, instead simply steadfast in the belief that polls, at this early stage, mean nothing. He says he’s prepared for the many months ahead.

“It’s a long haul, man,” he said. “A long haul.”

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House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill, Government Shutdown Averted

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ingram Publishing/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The House has passed a funding bill to avert a government shutdown Wednesday night.

A minority of Republicans joined with Democrats to send the bill to President Obama’s desk.

It will fund the government until Dec. 11, setting up another fiscal battle later this year.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next House Speaker, voted to keep the government open.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is running to replace McCarthy, also voted for the bill. His opponent in the majority leader race, Rep. Tom Price, voted against it.

House Republicans also voted symbolically to defund Planned Parenthood, though that measure will go to the Senate, not the president’s desk.

Gov’t funding vote:
Yeas:  277 (91 Republicans + 186 Democrats)
Nays: 151 Republicans
Not voting: 7 (5 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

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Hillary Clinton Email: 6,300 New Pages From Private Account Released

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Hemera Technologies/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The State Department released about 6,300 pages of email from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private account on Wednesday, the fifth batch of such documents released since May.

The newly released messages, which were posted on the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act website, date from 2010 to 2011. The new production accounts for 12 percent of the 52,000 pages in the State Department’s possession, bringing the total amount of Clinton’s email released to 37 percent.

In an interview with ABC News’ David Muir in early September, Clinton apologized for the use of a private email account, acknowledging it was a “mistake.”

“As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts: one for personal, one for work-related emails,” Clinton said. “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”

The State Department began releasing Clinton’s work-related email from her private account in May and aims to release them in their entirety by January.

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Mitt Romney Confident Donald Trump Won’t Be GOP Nominee

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, isn’t sure who will succeed him as the party’s standard-bearer in 2016, but he can’t imagine it being front-runner Donald Trump.

“I will support the nominee. I don’t think that’s going to be Donald Trump,” Romney told Atlantic Editor-in-Chief James Bennett at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday.

“My party has historically nominated someone who’s a mainstream conservative, and someone who has a foundation of foreign policy that gives people confidence that can guide ship in a state of troubled waters,” Romney said, adding that Trump’s suggestion on “60 Minutes” that ISIS take over Syria was “absurd and dangerous.”

Romney also seemed to repudiate Trump’s treatment of his fellow candidates on the trail, noting that what Ronald Reagan called the 11th Commandment – never criticize another Republican – has clearly fallen by the wayside, which he said makes it harder for the party to win the general election. He said Trump’s criticism put other candidates in an uncomfortable position because they don’t get anywhere by ignoring the New York real estate mogul.

“They are coming back strong and standing up for themselves,” he said of the other candidates.

As for Trump’s view of Romney, he said in January that the former Massachusetts governor “failed” in the 2012 election.

“He choked,” Trump said at the Iowa Freedom Summit. “He had that election won.”

Romney, who hasn’t made an endorsement, listed John Kasich, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush as mainstream conservatives, adding that Carly Fiorina could fit in that category if she “elucidates more on her policy positions.”

“I think each of them has staked out a territory which is not extreme and so I don’t think I’d conclude it’s impossible to win the general election,” Romney told the Atlantic. “As a matter of fact I think we will win the general election in part because we have such strong and capable people as the ones I’ve mentioned.”

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Why Congress Might Only Be Delaying Another Fiscal Showdown

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Party leaders appear to be on the verge of keeping their promise of avoiding a government shutdown Wednesday afternoon — at least for the time being.

Congress is expected to pass a short-term spending bill by Wednesday evening to avert a shutdown at midnight, when the new fiscal year begins.

The Senate passed a continuing resolution Wednesday morning that will fund the government at previous years’ levels. The House will begin debate on the measure in the afternoon, followed by a vote.

The must-pass bill will keep the government open until Dec. 11, setting up a showdown in Congress down the road on several fronts.

The fiercest is expected to be over long-term government funding. The Obama administration and Democrats want to lift sequester spending caps on defense and domestic spending, while Republicans want to keep spending in check.

Another looming standoff is over the debt ceiling. The United States government will soon lose the ability to borrow money, forcing Congress to hold a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently informed Congress that the government won’t be able to pay its bills after October.

A summer patch in infrastructure funding is also set to expire on Oct. 29, when money will run out in the federal fund that pays for highway repair projects. Lawmakers are working on a proposal to pay for long-term infrastructure funding through international tax code reform.

Congressional leaders are preparing for budget negotiations to address the looming funding cliff and spending deadlines.

Democratic leaders recently met with President Obama, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that Republicans are preparing for negotiations.

“The president and Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started on the discussions last week,” McConnell said. “I would expect them to start very soon.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who made a surprise announcement on Friday saying he would resign from Congress on Oct. 30, has not said whether the House will vote on raising the debt ceiling or tackle any other big-ticket items before he leaves Congress. But he has said he doesn’t want his successor to inherit a “dirty barn.”

“If there’s a way to get things done so I don’t burden my successor, I’ll get them finished,” he said Tuesday.

While Democrats have signaled their willingness to work with Boehner, conservatives eyeing his lieutenants closely ahead of leadership elections could make it difficult for Republicans to compromise before the threat of another deadline.

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White House Reiterates Kim Davis’ Religious Freedom Not Above Constitution

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In response to a report that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that Davis is not above the rule of law.

“Our position about Miss Davis is quite clear: that the president believes strongly in the rule of law and that’s a principle that applies to those who are engaged in public service, starting at the level of the President of the United States but even going down all the way to the level of the Rowan County clerk in Kentucky,” Earnest told reporters during Wednesday’s White House press briefing.

Earnest stressed that President Obama believes “religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their basic constitutional rights.”

Davis privately met with Pope Francis in Washington, D.C., last Thursday, as first reported by ABC News Wednesday.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, refused to confirm the meeting occurred, but added “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I will not comment on it further.”

Pope Francis told reporters on Monday that it is the “human right” of government officials like Kim Davis who refuse to enforce laws because it goes against their religion.

“Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” Francis declared. “It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’”

“It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right,” the pope continued. “It is a human right.”

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How the 1 Percent Club Is (Or Is Not) Running for President

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — It may be lonely at the top, but it’s also tough campaigning at the bottom.

Several candidates in the crowded 2016 presidential field are scraping the bottom of the barrel in the polls, vying for every fraction of a percentage point and spinning any tick upward as a sign of real momentum.

Support on the Republican side is currently splintered among 15 candidates. On the Democratic side, two main candidates (and one main maybe-candidate) have left the others in the dust.

So how do you run for president when you can barely squeeze out 1 percent of your party’s support? Here’s a look at how the lower-tier candidates in this 2016 field are handling running on empty:

Throwing in the Towel: Scott Walker and Rick Perry

For Rick Perry and Scott Walker, the answer was to give up.

After failing to gain any momentum in both national and state-level polls and struggling to pay his staffers to keep his campaign afloat, Rick Perry decided to call it quits. The former Texas governor once had frontrunner status in the 2012 election, but never got his 2016 operation completely off the ground.

Then Scott Walker, who had led the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa just six weeks earlier, dramatically fell from the top of the pack, eventually landing at less than 1 percent. He also faced problems financially maintaining the massive campaign infrastructure he had built.

Whether Perry hoped to preserve his legacy or Walker is leaving the door open to 2020, both opted to end their bids instead of clinging to the hope of scraping or clawing their way back from the basement. But both still asserted their advice on the race’s outcome, bashing frontrunner Donald Trump even as they stepped aside. Perry called for Republicans to not “indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further” while Walker called for Republicans to drop out and consolidate against the real estate mogul.

Starting from the Very, Very Bottom: Jim Gilmore and Lincoln Chafee

For other contenders, it’s just about trying to get on the map. At all.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore is the only candidate so far to be excluded from a debate. He was left off the CNN debate stage because he couldn’t hit an average of 1 percent in at least three national polls.

In a Quinnipiac University poll last week, almost eight in 10 Republicans hadn’t heard enough about Gilmore to have an opinion of him. Among those who did, 13 percent said it was unfavorable, compared to only 8 percent favorable, the lowest of the 15 candidates in the race.

Things got even worse for Democrat Lincoln Chafee. In the same poll, 85 percent of Democrats didn’t know enough about Chafee to form an opinion of him. Of those who did, 9 percent had an unfavorable view and only 5 percent had a favorable opinion.

And while Chafee is occasionally at 1 percent in national surveys, pollster Monmouth University isn’t having the same luck. Out of almost 1,500 registered Democratic voters interviewed by the firm since the former Rhode Island governor announced his presidential bid in June, not one single respondent has picked him as their favorite presidential candidate.

But they aren’t giving in — continuing to hope for a moment in the 2016 campaign that will earn them even a sliver of the spotlight. A Gilmore spokesperson told ABC News that “the governor is in the race to stay.”

Yell and Scream: Martin O’Malley and Bobby Jindal

Some other 1 percent-ers aren’t going down without a fight.

Bobby Jindal has gone on a name-calling spree in an effort to drag down frontrunner Donald Trump. The Louisiana governor called Trump an “egomaniacal madman,” a “power-hungry shark” who “eats whatever is in front of him,” and a “non-serious carnival act.” He joked about how Trump has never read the Bible because Trump himself isn’t in the Bible. And is it working? Jindal has reached as high as 4 percent this month in the crucial state of Iowa.

Meanwhile, Martin O’Malley has led a full-out revolt against his own party, trying to increase the number of opportunities he has to topple Hillary Clinton on the debate stage. The former Maryland governor has led the charge against top Democrats and their current plan to host only six Democratic debates during the fight for the nomination.

He has placed all his chips on earning more debates, bringing brutal criticism against the Democratic National Committee and saying he thinks the debate schedule is stacked in favor of Hillary Clinton.

“This is nothing short of political malpractice,” he said in a statement after pointing to the huge audience for the GOP debate. But DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz isn’t budging: she has stood firm that the debate schedule will not change.

Wait and See: The Rest

What about Lindsey Graham? Jim Webb? George Pataki? Rick Santorum? Well, we wait and see.

Many pundits are asking which candidate is going to be the next to bite the dust, gradually narrowing one of the widest presidential fields in recent memory.

But Rick Santorum remembers the 2012 election well, when he was at just 1 percent support in a national ABC News/Washington Post poll in early November before climbing to win the Iowa caucuses exactly two months later. Are others hoping for the same kind of unexpected surge to the top tier?

It’s certainly possible. After all, Carly Fiorina was polling at 1 percent for most of the summer and has since rocketed to the top tier of candidates. But for now, this group of 2016 hopefuls remains in the bottom of the pack.

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