Today on the Trail — 7/29/15

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) —  Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Wednesday?

Read below to find out their campaign schedules:

The AFL-CIO Executive Council meets in Silver Spring, Maryland to host several presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Mike Huckabee is the lone Republican.

The candidates will try and woo the important union and while it’s very unlikely Huckabee would get the group’s backing, he’s there to push his populist message.

The AFL-CIO describes the meetings as “individual discussions about working people and the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages Agenda.”

Donald Trump

Trump is off the trail and leaving Wednesday for the Women’s British Open in Scotland. The Open is at the Trump Turnberry resort.

Bernie Sanders

The senator from Vermont is in Washington, D.C., and his campaign is hosting thousands of video livestream parties in all 50 states at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Chris Christie

New Jersey’s governor is in New Hampshire. On Wednesday morning, Christie attended a “meet and greet” at Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett. At 11:30 a.m. ET, Christie attends the Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security Forum in Manchester.

Rick Perry

The governor from Texas is in New York City Wednesday. He will lay out his plan for Wall Street reform at an event hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. He will speak at 1:20 p.m. ET at the Yale Club.

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Hillary Clinton Still Hasn’t Taken a Position on Keystone

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Voters want to know where Hillary Clinton stands on the Keystone XL issue, but the former Secretary of State has yet to take up the issue.

At an event in New Hampshire Tuesday, Hillary Clinton was asked by a voter for a “yes or no” answer on whether she would vote to approve the Keystone pipeline. Once again, she punted, saying it’s “President Obama’s decision.” She did, however, give a little more insight into when she might take a stance.

“If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” she said.

READ CLINTON’S FULL RESPONSE:

“No other presidential candidate was secretary of state when this process started, and I put together a very thorough deliberative, evidence based process to evaluate the environmental impact and other considerations of Keystone. As such, I know that there is a very careful evaluation continuing, and at the final decisions pending to be made by Secretary Kerry and President Obama, very simply, the evaluation is determined whether this pipeline is in our nation’s interest and I’m confident that the pipeline’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions will be a major factor in that decision, as the president has said. So I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and we have to let it run its course.”

Democratic presidential candidate and Clinton rival Bernie Sanders has, for a long time, said Keystone was one of the defining differences between him and Clinton.

On Tuesday, he put out the following statement:

“We have to address the planetary crisis of climate change and there is no question that we must move aggressively toward energy efficiency and the development of sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. That is why I have introduced legislation that would create 10 million solar rooftops on homes and businesses in the United States. So I agree with Secretary Clinton about the need for substantial investment in sustainable energy.”

“But that is not enough,” Sanders added. “We must make significant reductions in carbon emissions and break our dependency on fossil fuels. That is why I have helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline which would transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world. It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline.”

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Three Republican Presidential Candidates Say Planned Parenthood Video Enough to Cut Funding

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — An anti-abortion group has released another undercover video showing Planned Parenthood workers discussing prices to process and ship fetal tissue.

Three Republican presidential candidates on Tuesday said that the video is enough reason to cut off the organization’s funding.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at a Washington DC rally, “The US department of justice should open a criminal investigation into whether Planned Parenthood nationally is a criminal enterprise breaking the law.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said, “The Senate will vote on de-funding Planned Parenthood before we go home in August.”

Planned Parenthood leaders insist they are doing everything legally and that they can legally charge preparation and shipping fees for discarded fetal tissue.

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House and Senate Leaders Agree on Highway Projects and VA Funds Deal

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Catuncia/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) — House and Senate leaders have agreed on a last minute deal to keep highway projects going this summer and VA hospitals open for now.

The bill would not only keep money flowing to bridge and road project, but it would also reallocate $3 billion dollars in VA funding to prevent the agency from closing hospitals and imposing a hiring freeze.

The House is expected to vote on a three month extension for the bill on Wednesday.

The Senate will receive the bill aftewards and then the president will receive it before the funds dry up on July 31.

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No Toxic Substances in Suspicious Letters Sent to Oregon Government Offices, FBI Says

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The FBI says that suspicious letters and packages sent to government offices throughout Oregon don’t appear to contain any hazardous materials, despite some initial concern.

The FBI, Oregon State Police and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are working “to determine the origin and nature” of about 20 letters sent to Oregon sheriffs or their offices, the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. The pieces of mail began arriving Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon, the FBI said it had found “no evidence of a visible powder to be found in any” of the letters.

In addition, field testing by hazardous materials crews “has shown NO toxic substance on any letter or in any envelope,” the FBI said in the statement.

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer was taken to the hospital on Monday night after opening up one piece of mail and developing a rash on his arms. But he was released within hours, according to KGW-TV in Portland.

Efforts to reach Palmer were not successful.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, meanwhile, had to be evacuated because of a suspicious package. About 60 people had to leave once it was noticed. At least two county courthouses in the state were also evacuated.

The FBI and U.S. Postal Service are assisting local officials as they work to determine precisely what substance was sent through the mail system, and who sent it. Officials said at least 10 letters appeared to be from the same person.

Nevertheless, the state police are urging the public to look out for any mail “that has excessive postage, no return address, excessive tape to secure [it], misspelled words … strange odors, and oily stains, discolorations, [or] crystallization” on the packaging.

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Meet Jim Gilmore: Everything You Need to Know (And Probably Didn’t Know) About the Potential 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesFull name: James S. “Jim” Gilmore III

Party: Republican

What he does now: Gilmore serves as a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. He’s also the President and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1977.

What he used to do: He served as the governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. He chaired the Republican National Convention from January to December of 2001. Gilmore was elected as Virginia’s attorney general in 1993. And after graduating college in 1971, Gilmore joined the Army and worked as an intelligence officer until 1974.

Expected to declare as a candidate: Early August 2015.

In his own words: “I am committed to addressing the central problems facing the nation.”

Family tree: Gilmore grew up in a working class area of Richmond. His father was a butcher and his mother was a church secretary.

Double legacy: Gilmore completed both his undergraduate and his law degrees at the University of Virginia.

Claim to fame: Gilmore headed the Gilmore Commission during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The commission’s purpose was to advise presidents on how to handle terrorist incidents in the U.S. that involved weapons of mass destruction. He was also Virginia’s governor during the September 11 terrorist attacks when a plane flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

Might have wished for a do-over: Gilmore resigned from his post as RNC chair after less than a year in the position, saying, “Neither I nor my family can see any light at the end of this tunnel,” according to The Washington Post. While President George W. Bush called Gilmore a, “close friend and valuable ally,” his departure came after two gubernatorial losses for the GOP in the same year.

Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Gilmore sharply criticized President Obama’s comparison of the brutality of ISIS militants to actions committed by Christians during the medieval Crusades, calling the president’s comments, “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” He told the New York Times that Obama had “offended every believing Christian in the United States.”

A bilingual president: Jim Gilmore is fluent in German. Gilmore was stationed in Germany from 1971 to 1974 doing counter-intelligence work to protect American military bases in Europe.

What could hold him back: Gilmore’s gubernatorial race was won without much fanfare and that could hurt his visibility since the GOP field has several prominent governors-turned-candidates including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. A Washington Post article called his race “the bland leading the bland,” and quoted a University of Virginia political science professor who referred to the race as, “a charisma-free zone.”

Comfort food (and drink): When it comes to favorite foods, Jim Gilmore says his favorite restaurant is Pizza Hut. According to the Washington Post, he drinks Miller Genuine Draft.

Woodwinds in the White House?: According to Gilmore, “All I did in high school was play music.” He played clarinet in several bands during his high school years and served as drum major of his school’s marching band and president of his school’s concert band.

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Gun Violence Survivors Urge Background Check Legislation

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It was a macabre “who’s who” of gun violence: family members whose loved ones were killed in Charleston, Aurora, and in several other high-profile shootings, standing together to urge Congress to vote on tighter background check laws.
 
Speaking on Capitol Hill, they uttered the locations of the latest episodes of gun violence, whose families join their tragic club: Chattanooga and Lafayette.
 
“It’s my turn to rise. It’s my turn to rise for Chattanooga. It’s my turn to rise for Lafayette. For the 88 Americans killed every day by gun violence,” said Reverend Sharon Risher, who lost her mother Ethel Lance and cousins Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders in the Mother Emanuel shooting.

“We’ve experienced Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette,” said Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in the so-called “loud music shooting” of 2012. “I fight for Jordan. I fight for Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette.”
 
“I don’t want any other parent in America to experience the crushing loss of our family,” said Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was killed in the Isla Vista shooting at UC Santa Barbara in 2014.

Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as New York’s Chuck Schumer, attended the press conference and said they continued to push to get a vote on background checks in Congress.
 
But for all the powerful sound this group made, the senators suggested they think they will have more luck if they use public pressure to get gun retailers to change their background check policies voluntarily.
 
“There is certainly precedent for the bully pulpit of congress and these advocacy groups making these corporations change their minds,” Murphy said.

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Donald Trump’s Ex-Wife Ivana Disavows Old ‘Rape’ Allegation

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ron Galella/WireImage(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, said Tuesday that she is “the best of friends” with her ex-husband, responding to a report in the Daily Beast on Monday that cited her 1989 divorce case deposition in which the former Mrs. Trump claimed Trump allegedly raped her once.

A statement Tuesday from Ivana Trump appeared to refute the allegations in the deposition, which were revealed in a 1993 book, The Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.

“I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald,” she said in the statement today. “The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised 3 children that we love and are very proud of.”

Ivana Trump had already walked back the rape allegation in 1993 as the book was about to be published.

“During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me,” Ivana Trump said in a statement at the time, as the Daily Beast reported. “[O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

A Trump campaign spokesman responded Monday night to the Daily Beast article, saying, “This is an event that has been widely reported on in the past, it is old news and it never happened. It is a standard lawyer technique, which was used to exploit more money from Mr. Trump especially since he had an ironclad prenuptial agreement. It is just a way for the badly failing and money losing Daily Beast, which has been reporting inaccurately on Mr. Trump for years, to get some publicity for itself.”

Trump’s special counsel, Michael Cohen, also fired back Monday denying the charge, telling the Daily Beast there was case law that stated clearly “you cannot rape a spouse.”

In a follow-up statement, the Trump campaign distanced itself from Cohen’s remarks saying, “Mr. Trump didn’t know of his [Cohen’s] comments, but disagrees with them.”

“Nobody speaks for Mr. Trump but Mr. Trump,” a Trump campaign spokesperson said Monday night.

Cohen later clarified the statement he made to the Daily Beast. “As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core,” Cohen said. “Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely.”

Ivana has three children with Trump: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — all of whom work with their father as part of the Trump Organization.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Ivana said she has “nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president.”

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White House Responds to Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The White House isn’t interested in pardoning NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
 
The president’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco responded Tuesday to a petition calling for Snowden to be pardoned, saying that he should return to the U.S. to “be judged by a jury of his peers” rather than “running away from the consequences of his actions.”
 
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions,” Monaco writes a newly posted response.  

[Read the full response from the White House]

 Since being posted in June on 2013, the petition has gained over 160,000 signatures through the White House’s “We the People” petition site.

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Obama Concludes Visit to Africa with Speech Before African Union

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — President Obama departed Ethiopia on Air Force One Tuesday after capping off his five-day, two-country visit to Africa with a speech before the African Union — the first time a U.S. president has addressed the 54-country body.

“I stand before you as a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of an African,” the president said in a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “Africa and its people helped to shape America and allowed it to become the great nation that it is, and Africa and its people have helped shape who I am and how I see the world.”

“In the villages of Kenya where my father was born, I learned of my ancestors and the life of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, the bonds of family that connect us all as Africans and Americans,” he added.

In his nearly hour-long speech, Obama touched on everything ranging from Africa’s counterterrorism efforts to empowering women and girls to expanding business and trade with the region.

The president also addressed human rights and encouraged Ethiopia to extend more freedom to the press — an issue the president was adamant the U.S. would continue to stress even if other countries would not.

“I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can’t participate in the campaign process, and to his credit, the prime minister acknowledged that more work will need to be done for Ethiopia to be a full-fledged sustainable democracy,” Obama said. “These are conversations we have to have as friends. You know, American democracy’s not perfect. We’ve worked for many years, but one thing we do is we continually reexamine to figure how we can make our democracy better. And that’s a source of strength for us, being willing to look and see honestly what we need to be doing to fulfill the promise of our founding documents.”

“I know that there are some countries that don’t say anything, and maybe that’s easier to, you know, for leaders to deal with. But you’re kind of stuck with us, this is how we are,” he said. “We believe in these things, we’re going to keep on talking about them.”

The president said standing up for journalists should be of particular importance to people whose culture has been oppressed in the past.

“This is especially important, I believe, for those of us of African descent because we’ve known what it feels like to be on the receiving end of injustice, we know what it means to be discriminated against, we know what it means to be jailed,” he said. “So how can we stand by when it’s happening to somebody else?”

As he did in Kenya, Obama briefly cited gay rights as he argued everyone should be treated equally no matter “who they love.”

Just before departing from Ethiopia, the president viewed a Boeing airliner owned by Ethiopian Airlines that was sitting on the tarmac by Air Force One.

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Obama Thinks He ‘Could Win’ Third Term in White House

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — President Obama thinks he ‘could win’ a third term in the White House if he wasn’t barred from running again.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” Obama said Tuesday in a speech before the African Union in Ethiopia. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.”

The president’s comments came as he explained he does “not understand” why some leaders are insistent they remain in power when their term limit ends.

“The point is I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. Especially when they’ve got a lot of money,” he said. “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we’ve seen in Burundi.”

As he advocated for term limits, Obama said “old people think in old ways” before making a joke about his own aging.

“You can see my gray hair, I’m getting old,” he said to laughter.

The president also shared what he looks forward to doing once he leaves the White House.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have such a big security detail all the time,” he said. “It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve, I can visit Africa more often.”

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Obama Tours Food Factory on Last Day in Ethiopia

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — On the last day of his five-day, two-country visit to Africa, President Obama toured a food factory in Ethiopia Tuesday morning, highlighting efforts to promote food security in the region.

Donning a USAID cap, the president spoke with a local farmer at the Faffa Foods plants and touted the U.S. government’s Feed the Future program, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative.

“The goal is to drastically increase productivity of farmers throughout Africa,” Obama said. “With just a few smart innovations…they can make huge improvements in their overall yield.”

“Historically part of the problem is even if you have food grown here the process is done somewhere else…you don’t get the kind of integrated food industries locally,” he said.

Feed the Future supports the Faffa Foods plant by incorporating private sector partnerships to help improve food security and counter malnutrition in Ethiopia. 

At one point on his tour, Obama noticed the reporters assembled in the travel pool were required to wear hair nets on the food tour.

“Everybody looks great in their hairnet,” he joked. He later posed for a photo with the hair-net-wearing travel pool. The president donned only a hat and not a hair net.

Later on Tuesday, Obama will speak before the African Union — the first time a U.S. president addresses the group of African leaders.

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House Republicans Asking President to Fire IRS Head

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

marcnorman/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) — Congressional Republicans are demanding the President ask his Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner to resign.

They insist he hasn’t cooperated and let the agency destroy evidence that could prove the IRS targeted conservative groups.

The agency released a statement saying Commissioner Josh Koskinen has cooperated and has been truthful and employees have testified in more than 30 congressional hearings offering more than a million pages of documents.

A treasury investigation suggests the IRS did destroy some relative records and email files.

Many House Republicans want the President to hire a new IRS leader.

No response yet from the President or the IRS.

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Request to DOJ to Investigate Planned Parenthood

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Max Whittaker/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — More fallout from the controversial undercover video of a Planned Parenthood meeting.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 134 of her colleagues sent a request to the Department of Justice on Monday requesting an investigation. Blackburn says the video shows Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal organs.

The organization is apologizing for the tone of their workers but says it has done nothing wrong and the video has been heavily edited to support extremist claims.

Blackburn said, “Planned Parenthood knows they have been caught and they know that they’re going to need to work with us. My committee is conducting an investigation on this activity.”

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The First Republican Presidential Debate: Who’s In, Who’s Out

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The first Republican Presidential debate is just 10 days away, but the question remains: who will be on stage and who will be watching from home?

Fox News, which is hosting the first debate next Thursday in Cleveland, says that they will include the top 10 candidates from an average of the five most recent national polls. But Fox News isn’t saying which polls they will use to calculate their average, leaving the rest of us to play a guessing game.

We expect several more national polls to come out in the next week and a half — and we will watch as GOP candidates jockey for every last percentage point they can earn.

Getting onto the debate stage in Cleveland is a major first hurdle in the GOP race that will create a stark division between candidates who are in the running and candidates who have minimal support.

WHAT TO KNOW

Getting onto the debate stage in Cleveland is a major first hurdle in the GOP race.

Who’s In

According to an ABC News analysis of five recent major national polls on July 27, eight candidates can likely already book their tickets to the debate. Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson.

Who’s Out

Another three candidates are almost certainly going to miss the mark. Carly Fiorina, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham have less than 1 percent support. The six candidates who don’t make the debate will instead participate in a one-hour forum during the afternoon before the debate.

Who’s on the Bubble:

But that leaves five candidates who are on the bubble: less than 1 percentage point separates the four candidates between 10th place and 13th place.

Chris Christie and Rick Perry currently hold the last two spots on the debate stage. John Kasich, who just announced his candidacy last week, misses the debate stage by just two-tenths of a percentage point. Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal are close behind, but still watching from home on Aug. 6. These numbers will move slightly with each new poll that comes out in the next 10 days.

FULL STANDINGS (as of July 27):

1. Trump – 18 percent
2. Bush – 14 percent
3. Walker – 11 percent
4. Rubio – 6 percent
T5. Paul – 6 percent
T5. Cruz – 6 percent
7. Huckabee – 6 percent
8. Carson – 5 percent
9. Christie – 3.0 percent
10. Perry – 2.2 percent
11. Kasich – 2.0 percent
12. Santorum – 1.6 percent
13. Jindal – 1.4 percent
14. Fiorina – 0.8 percent
15. Pataki – 0.6 percent
16. Graham – 0.2 percent

This analysis includes five recent polls: CNN/ORC on July 26; ABC/Post on July 20, Fox News on July 17, Monmouth University on July 13 and USA Today/Suffolk University on July 13. This analysis excludes a poll from PPP, a Democratic polling company, on July 21.

What We Don’t Know

There’s still a lot we don’t know. Fox News says that it gets to decide which national polls it will recognize, saying only that they “must be conducted by major, nationally recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques.”

But there’s more. Will it try to get more precise numbers from polling companies or just use the whole number reported? There’s a big difference between 4.4 percent and 3.5 percent, but both round to 4 percent. Will Fox News round averages to the nearest whole number? To the nearest tenth of a percent? What qualifies as a tie?

What About Ties?

Fox News has also said that, if there is an apparent tie, the news agency will look at more detailed data to determine who is ahead, according to Politico. And if there is an exact tie, they will add an 11th podium to the stage.

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Meet John Kasich: Everything You Need to Know (And Probably Didn’t Know) About the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) —

Name: John Richard Kasich

Party: Republican

Declared as a candidate: July 21, 2015 at the Ohio State University.

What he does now: Kasich is the 69th Governor of Ohio, elected first in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

What he used to do: Kasich was a managing director in the Investment Banking Division of Lehman Brothers up until the 2008 financial collapse. He also served in Congress for 18 years, where he was chairman of the House Budget Committee from 1995 to 2001. He unsuccessfully ran for president in 2000.

In his own words: “I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.”

Family tree: Kasich was born the eldest of three to two Democratic parents, both of whom were children of immigrants. His father was a mailman and believed Democrats were for the working man, though his mother eventually became a Republican. Sadly, Kasich lost both his parents in a car crash in 1987 — they were killed by a drunk driver.

Where he grew up: In a working class neighborhood in Pennsylvania. He was very active in the Catholic church. As an altar boy, he dreamed of someday becoming a priest, and was even nicknamed, ‘Pope’. After enrolling in the Ohio State University, he abandoned his dreams of priesthood after realizing the implication of a life of celibacy.

Breakout moment in politics: Kasich made history in Ohio by becoming the youngest elected senator in its legislature’s history. He was elected to Congress when he was 30 and rose through the ranks to ultimately chair the House Budget Committee. During his time in Congress, he teamed up with fellow Rep. Ron Dellums of California to curb production of the B-2 bomber, which cost $1 billion per plane.

Claim to fame: In 1997, Kasich made Newsweek’s “The Century Club,” list, a compilation of people to watch in the 21st century. In the company of superstars like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez and Chris Rock.

What you might not know about him: Kasich was kicked off the stage at a Grateful Dead concert in 1991. He had a pass to be on stage for the opener, Dwight Yoakam, but attempted to go back on stage as the Dead played.

Famous friend:
Arnold Schwarzenegger. “He’s a pal, he’s been a great friend of mine,” Kasich once told the Columbus Dispatch. “There aren’t that many people like him on the Earth.”

Known for: His brash style and tone. Following his 2010 gubernatorial election win, he told lobbyists at a luncheon, “If you’re not on the bus we will run you over with the bus. And I’m not kidding.” In 2008, Kasich was ticketed for “approaching a public safety vehicle with lights displayed.” Speaking of the incident in January 2011, Kasich bluntly referred to the police officer who cited him as “an idiot.”

Might have wished for a do-over: In 2011, Kasich championed and signed into law legislation that implemented restrictive collective bargaining measures. After a campaign led by teachers, police and firefighters, the voters of Ohio were able to place a voter referendum on Ohio’s 2011 general election ballot. Kasich defended the bill, arguing that it was intended to close the then 8-billion budget hole in Ohio. On November 8, 2011, however, Ohio voters soundly rejected Kasich’s argument; 61 percent of voters chose to repeal the law.

What he did during the political off-season: Worked for Fox News. After declining to run for re-election for Congress in 2001 and after a failed presidential bid in the 2000 election, Kasich landed a show on Fox News. Heartland with John Kasich, a program similar in style to Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor, aired its final show in 2007.

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Meet Donald Trump: Everything You Need To Know (And Probably Didn’t Know) About The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) —

Name: Donald John Trump

Party: Republican

What he does now: Trump has been the chairman and president of the Trump Organization since 1971 and is the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts.

What he used to do:
During summers as a teen, Trump worked for his father’s company at construction sites. Influenced by his father to start a career in real estate, Trump began his career at his father’s company, “Elizabeth Trump and Son.” Before he was given control of the company in 1971, Trump worked on building projects in Manhattan.

Declared as a candidate:
June 16, 2015 in New York City.

Nickname:
The Donald.

In his own words: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that. I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.”

Family tree:
Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York to Fred Trump and Mary MacLeod, a Scottish immigrant. His paternal grandparents were German immigrants. His father had amassed a sizeable fortune through his career as an entrepreneur in real estate developments, particularly in low-cost rental apartments in a variety of New York City neighborhoods, including Coney Island, Flatbush, and Flushing.

How he grew up: The fourth of five children and the son of a burgeoning real-estate entrepreneur, Donald grew up in relatively affluent circumstances. After graduating from the New York Military Academy, Donald attended college for two years at Fordham University in the Bronx before transferring to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, which then had one of the only real estate programs in American academia. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.

Early challenge: Trump’s father decided to take his son out of the Kew-Forest School in Queens and transfer him to the New York Military Academy at the age of 13. Trump excelled at the Military Academy, playing three varsity sports and earning academic honors. He graduated in 1964.

Breakout moment in politics: During the 2000 presidential primaries, Trump made an effort to receive the nomination of the Reform Party. Joining the party on October 25, 1999, Trump initially presented an alternative to the frontrunner, Pat Buchanan. Confident in his chances in winning both the primary and the general election, Trump entered the California primary, receiving 15,311 votes. He later withdrew his candidacy, expressing concerns over the state of the Reform Party.

Stoked controversy: When he raised questions over the veracity of President Obama’s birth certificate. Though the President acquiesced by releasing his long-form birth certificate in April of 2011, Trump continued to call for the release of additional personal documents, offering Obama a check for $5 million to the charity of his choice in return for the release of his college transcripts and passport records.

What you might not know about him: Trump’s family is not entirely new to the realm of politics: Trump’s older sister — Maryanne Trump Barry — served as a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was appointed on September 22, 1999 by President Clinton and served until June 30, 2011.

Family tragedy:
The life of Trump’s brother, Fred, was tragically cut short as a result of extreme alcoholism. Donald, mindful of his brother’s warnings to refrain from drinking and smoking, does not drink.

Favorite hobby: An owner of renowned golf courses from the Doonbeg Golf Course in County Clare, Ireland to his own course in Washington, D.C., Trump, an avid golfer, developed a passion for the game when he played with friends in college at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump’s career best is a 66, which he shot while playing at his course in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Katy Perry’s Presidential Ambitions: Singer Poses with Two Former Presidents

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

@katyperry/Instagram(ST. PAUL, Minn.) — Katy Perry held her own among two political powerhouses Sunday night when she headlined a charity event in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Posing between President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush — the 42nd and 43rd presidents of the United States — the singer suggested that she might even be next.

“42, 43, 46?!” Perry captioned an Instagram snap with the former presidents, implying that she’d consider running for the high office in 2020 or 2024 when she’d be the 46th president.

The “Dark Horse” singer, 30, was headlining the annual Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala, where she performed five songs, including “Roar” and “Firework,” according to TwinCities.com.

The foundation, which provides more than 175,000 free hearing aids annually around the world, honored President Bush this year, while President Clinton’s Global Initiative is one of the foundation’s major supporters.

Though she may have been joking about running for office, Perry is no stranger to politics.

She has been a vocal supporter of President Barack Obama, even performing at a rally for the president during the 2012 campaign.

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Today on the Trail — 7/27/15

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton is on the third day of a swing in Iowa and Monday she will further address her climate change policies she unveiled last night.

At 11 a.m. ET, she will take a tour and speak at the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Central Station, which is LEED Platinum certified.

At 12:15 p.m. ET, she will address the Iowa State Education Association summer leadership conference in Altoona.

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Obama: Huckabee Is Trying to ‘Push Mr. Trump’ Out of Headlines

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — On his first day in Ethiopia, President Obama waded into the 2016 presidential campaign, criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for suggesting the president is trying to push Israelis to the “door of the oven” with Iran’s nuclear deal.

“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern we’ve seen … that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” the president said in a news conference Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines but it’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed for America right now,” he added.

The president was responding to comments made by Huckabee in an interview Saturday.

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, said. “He’s so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiot thing.”

Obama also took aim at Donald Trump’s recent comments challenging the heroism of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was a POW in Vietnam.

“The Republican Party is shocked and yet that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks become far too commonplace and get circulated non-stop,” the president said.

“We are creating a culture that is not conducive to good policy and good politics,” Obama said. “The American people deserve better. Certainly presidential debates deserve better.”

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Ethiopia Welcomes President Obama for Historic Trip

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — President Obama kicked off his first full day in Ethiopia as he heads into the second half of his historic trip to East Africa.

Obama arrived Monday morning at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, where he was greeted by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The two men shook hands and exchanged pleasantries as the Ethiopians prepared an elaborate arrival ceremony.

The leaders stood at attention in front of their delegations while the American then Ethiopian national anthems were played. On either side of the palace stood enormous portraits of both leaders.

The president was then led by an officer, upright sword in hand, to inspect the honor guard. He walked on a square red carpet past rows of Ethiopian troops as ceremonial cannons fired in the distance.

The two sides then held a bilateral meeting, sitting across from each other at an elegantly set table complete with dozens of red roses.

Obama also met with Ethiopia’s president, Mulatu Teshome. Although he’s technically the head of state, the Ethiopian presidency is mainly a ceremonial position.

Obama just wrapped up his historic two-day visit in Kenya, his father’s homeland, where he was received with much fanfare and adoration. Supporters spilled into the streets of Addis Ababa as well, holding American flags and photos of Obama.

There was even a rainbow on the tarmac as the president arrived Sunday evening.

Obama and the Ethiopian prime minister hold a press conference Monday before a meeting with regional leaders on the crisis in South Sudan and a state dinner that night. On Tuesday, Obama will address the African Union, the first U.S. president to do so.

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Obama Meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — Kicking off his first full day in Ethiopia, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the National Palace in Addis Ababa Monday morning.

Prior to the bilateral meeting, the prime minister greeted Obama with an arrival ceremony at the National Palace.

With their delegations behind them, the two men stood at attention while first the American then the Ethiopian national anthems were played. Obama then inspected the Ethiopian honor guard, walking along a square red carpet path as cannons were fired in the distance.

Later Monday morning, the president will meet privately with Ethiopia’s president, Mulatu Teshome. At 6:20 a.m. ET, Obama and the prime minister will hold a news conference.

This is the first time a sitting U.S. president has visited Ethiopia. The focal points of this trip: Security in the region, including threats posed by al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for a deadly hotel bombing in the neighboring country of Somalia Sunday; human rights; and South Sudan.

Obama will hold a meeting with regional leaders Monday to discuss the civil war in South Sudan.

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Mike Huckabee: Obama Marching Israelis to ‘Door of the Oven’

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee evoked imagery of Nazi death camps when discussing the deal over Iran’s nuclear program Saturday, saying President Obama “would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.”

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, said. “He’s so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiot thing.”

The comment elicited criticism over the weekend, including from Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, who on Sunday called for an apology.

“This rhetoric, while commonplace in today’s Republican presidential primary, has no place in American politics,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable. Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement.”

But Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who travels frequently to Israel and has an affinity for the country, is not backing down.

Soon after Wasserman Schultz tweeted a link to her statement Sunday afternoon, Huckabee posted an image on Facebook and Twitter that juxtaposed the Israeli and Iranian flags behind the words, “The Iran nuclear deal is marching the Israelis to the door of the oven.”

Huckabee, who in May announced he is running for president, has frequently broadcast his opposition to the agreement reached earlier this month.

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Meet George Pataki: Everything You Need to Know (And Probably Didn’t Know) About The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) —

Name: George Elmer Pataki

Party: Republican

Declared as a candidate: May 28, 2015

What he does now: He is Of Counsel with Chadbourne and Parke LLC and president of The Pataki-Cahill Group, which he founded to advise companies in the energy, infrastructure, clean-tech and environmental industries.

What he used to do: Pataki began his political career as the mayor of Peekskill, New York located in Westchester County. He was elected to New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate, respectively, and later served three terms as Governor of New York from 1995 to 2006, including during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In his own words: “Let the next decade be the decade when Americans can have boundless economic growth, while enhancing and preserving the natural environment. Let the next decade be the decade when American proves to the world, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Met his wife: Body-surfing in a hurricane. He and Libby have been married for 41 years and have four children and two dogs.

Where he grew up: On the family farm in Peekskill. His father was a postman and volunteer firefighter and his mother was stay-at-home mom. He still enjoys taking care of his yard and planting fruit.

Claim to fame He has never lost an election for any public office. In fact, he defeated three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo in 1994.

What he did as governor: Fought to ban smoking in public places. New York State passed a law doing just that in 2003. He also cut taxes but was criticized for not delivering on-time budgets.

Academic honors: He attended Yale University (future president George W. Bush was a classmate) on an academic scholarship, completing his degree in three years and serving as the chairman of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union. He also hold a law degree from Columbia University.

Guilty pleasures: He has said he is fond of drinking Diet Coke with breakfast.

Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Obamacare, which he has called “the worst law passed in my lifetime.” In 2010 he attempted to create a non-profit organization, Revere America, to advocate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It is now defunct.

Linguistic talent: Pataki is of Hungarian descent, and can still speak a small amount of Hungarian, along with Spanish, French, and German. Pataki received the Star of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Hungary in 2008 for his work improving Hungarian-American relations.

What sets him apart: Pataki has been called “progressive” on a number of issues. He supports abortion rights, gun control and loweing the cost of college. He is also an environmentalist and helped create and pass the Clean Water/Clean Air Environmental Bond Act in New York State.

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Hillary Clinton Calls Out GOP Climate Change Deniers in New ‘Stand With Reality’ Video

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton Sunday attacked the Republican presidential contenders who deny “the settled science of climate change” and laid out two renewable power goals in a new video that outlines part of her plan to tackle global warming.

“It’s hard to believe there are people running for president who still refuse to accept the settled science of climate change, who would rather remind us they’re not scientists than listen to those who are,” Clinton narrates over a graphic that shows quotes from Republican presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump.

“You don’t have to be a scientist to take on this urgent challenge that threatens us all. You just have to be willing to act,” she continues.

By contrast, in the video — titled “Stand with Reality” — Clinton calls herself “just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain” who knows that “what’s happening in the world is going to have a big effect on my daughter and especially on my granddaughter.”

Clinton then lays out two national goals that she would implement “on day one as president.”

The first pledge: to have more than half a billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of her first term. And the second: to have the U.S. generate enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within 10 years.

“The decisions we make in the next decade can make all of this possible, or they can keep us trapped in the past,” Clinton says. “We cannot wait any longer.”

On the campaign trail, Clinton repeatedly calls for a “global fight against climate change,” which she says is “one of the defining threats of our time.” The video, which was posted to her campaign website Sunday night, however, is the first time the Democratic presidential candidate has laid out specific policy proposals on how she would plan to tackle the issue should she become president.

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Huckabee Makes Holocaust Reference in Criticism of Iran Nuclear Deal

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

(ABC News)(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee shared controversial thoughts on the Iran nuclear deal on twitter Sunday, criticizing president Obama administration in the process.

In a tweet that links to Huckabee’s own website, the candidate included a graphic that reads “the Iran nuclear deal is marching the Israelis to the door of the oven.” The rhetoric, which makes a not-so-veiled reference to the Holocaust, continues at Huckabee’s website, where he posted a petition calling for Congress to kill the nuclear deal.

“Until you fulfill your constitutional duty and KILL the dangerous Obama-Kerry nuclear deal with the Iranians, you must NOT take your summer vacation,” Huckabee writes.

“This deal is a horrific, humiliating handout to Iran that threatens Israel, emboldens terrorists, and will trigger a nuclear arms race across the Middle East,” he continues.Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Huckabee’s rhetoric “commonplace in today’s Republican presidential primary,” but said that it “has no place in American politics.”

“Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable,” Wasserman Schultz added, “Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement.”

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Uncommon Sunday Senate Session Features Pair of Votes

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — The Senate was in session on Sunday and held a series of votes on a funding bill to prevent states from losing money for highway and transit projects before a Friday deadline.

The first vote was for an amendment that would repeal Obamacare, which failed 49-43. Utah Republican Mike Lee said that he would consider a “nuclear option” to repeal Obamacare, which would require just 51 votes, but in order to do so, he would have to receive 60 votes of approval for the procedure, which could be a big hurdle for the anti-Obamacare effort.

In a second vote, the Senate reauthorized the Export-Import bankby a 67-26 vote. The Export-Import Bank helps American companies sell products overseas. Funding for the bank ran out earlier this summer, which some conservatives considered a victory, calling the program corporate welfare.

The Senate will return to action Monday afternoon. A vote on the larger highway funding bill is expected by Tuesday. The House has passed a short-term funding bill and leaders there insist that the Senate should pass a five-month patch. If Congress doesn’t pass one of the measures by July 31, road, bridge and highway repairs around the nation could be halted.

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Lindsey Graham: Donald Trump ‘Selling Fear and Prejudice’

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Lindsey Graham might thank Donald Trump for getting him to finally buy a new phone, but the South Carolina senator said Sunday he still doesn’t think the Republican Party should “hire” the real estate mogul as its presidential candidate.

Graham made national headlines last week when he destroyed his old-school cell phone after Trump read the number aloud on national TV, but Graham had more just jokes for his opponent in the race for GOP presidential nomination.

Speaking exclusively with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” the senator said he sees great dangers in continuing to support Trump, the current Republican frontrunner in the polls.

“I would ask the Republican Party why most major companies are firing Mr. Trump, and I don’t think we should hire him,” Graham said.

“I’m not taking on voters, I am taking on an idea that I think he’s appealing to the dark side of American politics,” he added. “He is not offering solutions to hard, complicated problems. He is basically selling fear and prejudice.”

Graham said he believes there’s a market in both political parties for candidates who say “outrageous” things.

“There’s a market in my party for people if you say that [President] Obama’s not born in America — that he’s actually born in Kenya — there are people who want to believe that,” he said.

“If you said [former President George W.] Bush was a war criminal or he’s stupid, there’s a market for that on the other side,” Graham later added.

On what Trump offers the party, Graham argued that “he’s appealing to fear and prejudice, and there’s a market for that.” But he said he believes that is not good for the country, even though there may be a “market” for it.

Graham acknowledged that, despite his petition to the RNC to allow all 16 candidates a place on the debate stage, his standing in national public opinion polls likely will not earn him a spot in the first televised Republican debate on August 6. Still, Graham appeared hopeful about his plan to win over primary voters.

“I’m going to talk to people in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina about the threats we face, why I’m the best qualified to be commander-in-chief,“ Graham said. “And why Mr. Trump, while he says a lot of controversial and loud things, is not qualified to be commander-in-chief, and he cannot win an election that we cannot afford to lose,” he added.

A notorious flip-phone devotee, Graham — who said first on “This Week” he has upgraded to an iPhone after Trump announced his cell phone number to the world — said he did have one thing to thank The Donald for.

“Donald Trump’s done something my staff could never get me to do, and that’s get a new phone – so thanks, Donald,” he joked.

It’s official: Sen. Lindsey Graham has a new cell phone.

“I don’t know if I’m going to email, but I do have an iPhone,” the 2016 Republican presidential candidate, who previously said he’s never sent an e-mail before, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.

A notorious flip-phone devotee, last week the senator destroyed his old-school phone after primary opponent Donald Trump read the cell number aloud during a televised speech before a crowd in Graham’s home state of South Carolina.

“Donald Trump’s done something my staff could never get me to do, and that’s get a new phone — so thanks, Donald,” Graham joked.

 But Graham had far more than just jokes for his GOP rival Trump. The GOP senator stated his case against the reality star hotel mogul, underscoring what he says are the great dangers of continuing to support Trump, the current Republican frontrunner in the polls.

“I would ask the Republican Party why most major companies are firing Mr. Trump, and I don’t think we should hire him,” Graham said.

“I’m not taking on voters, I am taking on an idea that I think he’s appealing to the dark side of American politics,” he added. “He is not offering solutions to hard, complicated problems. He is basically selling fear and prejudice.”

Graham said he believes there’s a market in both political parties for candidates who say “outrageous” things.

“There’s a market in my party for people if you say that Obama’s not born in America -– that he’s actually born in Kenya -– there are people who want to believe that,” he said. “If you said [President George W.] Bush was a war criminal or he’s stupid, there’s a market for that on the other side.”

On what Trump offers the party, Graham argued that “he’s appealing to fear and prejudice, and there’s a market for that,” adding that it’s not good for the country, despite the “market” being in place.

Graham acknowledged that, despite his petition to the RNC to allow all 16 candidates a place on the debate stage, his standing in national public opinion polls likely will not earn him a spot in the first televised Republican debate on August 6. Still, Graham appeared hopeful about his plan to win over primary voters.

“I’m going to talk to people in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina about the threats we face, why I’m the best qualified to be commander-in-chief.” Graham said. “And why Mr. Trump, while he says a lot of controversial and loud things, is not qualified to be commander-in-chief, and he cannot win an election that we cannot afford to lose.”

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch Faces Potential Minefield With Hillary Clinton Email Investigation

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The latest controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system while secretary of state is not only a possible drag on her presidential campaign, but it also creates a potential headache for Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community on Friday disclosed that an internal review of Clinton’s system concluded some emails contained classified information and that the inspectors general had sent a non-criminal “referral” to the Justice Department over the matter.

Lynch and her department must now determine what to do next — including whether to open a criminal investigation — and whatever she decides will be under intense scrutiny, especially by Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“We have recently received some referrals … as we receive referrals on any number of things,” Lynch told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas in an exclusive interview. “We review them and we’ll determine what particular steps, if any, we need to take.”

Before becoming attorney general, Lynch served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. It was her second time in the position, having been first appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

Lynch declined to say whether her connection to the Clintons creates a conflict of interest for her now.

The intelligence community referred the matter to the Justice Department mainly because it was concerned that classified information could be compromised after being sent over unsecured networks and then put in the hands of Clinton’s legal team, a spokesman for the intelligence community’s inspector general told ABC News.

The purpose of notifying the Justice Department was to inform the FBI of “a potential compromise of classified information,” not to seek a criminal probe, spokeswoman Andrea Williams said.

In a recent memorandum to the State Department’s Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, the inspectors general said a review of Clinton’s emails revealed “hundreds of potentially classified emails within the collection.”

Williams said the intelligence community found four emails out of a batch of 40 that it reviewed containing classified information, though they were not marked as such.

Clinton on Saturday brushed off the new investigation, saying she was confident she hadn’t received or sent anything that was classified at the time.

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President Obama Urges Kenya to End Corruption, Oppression of Women

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NAIROBI, Kenya) President Obama spoke to thousands of Kenyans who packed a sports arena in Nairobi on Sunday, telling them his personal connection to his father’s homeland makes him want to help with their success but also urging the country to end corruption and the oppression of women.

The president compared the oppression of women in Kenya to some Americans who embrace the Confederate Flag, citing both as a tradition but adding that “just because something’s a tradition doesn’t make it right.”

“Treating women as second-class citizens is a bad tradition. It holds you back,” he said. “These traditions may date back centuries. They have no place in the 21st century.”

Obama also praised the country for promoting democracy and innovation.

“I’m here as a friend who wants Kenya to succeed,” he said. “Now’s the time to do the hard work of living up to that inheritance of building a Kenya where the inherent dignity of every person is respected.”
Obama pledged continued aid to Kenya as it fights the rising threat of Somali-based extremist group al-Shabaab.

“We are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this fight against terrorism for as long as it takes,” he said.

The speech came at the end of his trip, the first to Kenya by a sitting president. Obama reflected on his first trip in 1988 when he traveled to the country to discover his roots as he felt “disconnected from half of my heritage.”

Recounting a story from his memoir “Dreams From My Father,” the president shared how he felt when an airline worker at the airport in Kenya’s capital recognized his name.

“That was the first time that my name meant something,” he said.

The president said the Kenyan people made him feel at home on his fourth trip to the country but admitted it was very different from his first, during which the airline lost his luggage and his half-sister picked him up from the airport in a baby blue Volkswagen Beetle.

“They always have my luggage on Air Force One,” he said.

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