Review Category : Politics

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Spar over Immigration Flip-Flops

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Despite front-runner Donald Trump’s absence during Thursday’s GOP presidential debate, there was no lack of contentiousness — particularly among rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

The two Floridians engaged in a heated debate over immigration, each criticizing the other for changing their stances.

Fox News co-host Megyn Kelly played a video showing Rubio decrying any effort to grant “blanket legalization amnesty” to undocumented immigrants. Later in 2013, Rubio co-sponsored legislation to create a path to citizenship. Bush, asked if Rubio had reversed himself, was quick to chime in.

“I’m kind of confused because he was the sponsor of the Gang of Eight bill that did require a bunch of thresholds but ultimately allowed for citizenship over an extended period of time. I mean, that’s a fact,” Bush said. “Then he cut and run because it wasn’t popular amongst conservatives, I guess.”

Rubio immediately fired back.

“It’s interesting Jeb mentions the book, that’s the book where you changed your position on immigration because you used to support a path to citizenship,” Rubio said.

“So did you,” Bush retorted.

Indeed, before the publication of his 2013 book, Immigration Wars, Bush supported granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. He now supports a path to legal status.

Bush ended the debate, temporarily, by saying that he’s supported a “consensus approach” to the problem of immigration.

The issue is a familiar one for the former friends; the pair worked together on immigration reform when Bush was still governor of Florida. In 2013, Bush praised Rubio for his efforts on immigration reform.

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Five Moments that Mattered at Seventh Undercard Republican Debate

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) — For Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore — the four candidates who participated in the Fox News “undercard” debate Thursday night — it was not only the last time they will meet before the Iowa caucuses but it’s also possible it could be the last time they appear on a presidential debate stage at all — depending on how they finish on Monday.

Here are five key moments from the undercard debate:

1. Carly Fiorina Saves Her Best One-liners for Hillary Clinton

She may have not been on stage, but Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was the focus of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina’s attacks.

“Listen, if my husband did what Bill Clinton did, I would have left him long ago,” Fiorina said, adding that Clinton ”has escaped prosecution more times than El Chapo,” referring to the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman.

And in answering a question on the threat of ISIS, Fiorina used the former secretary of state’s words against her.

“You are saying to every adversary and every terrorist organization on the planet, it’s open season. That, Mrs. Clinton, is what difference it makes,” Fiorina said, paraphrasing a remark Clinton made at her 2013 Benghazi hearing.

2. Rick Santorum Rejects ‘Undercard’ Label

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum argued at the debate that “undercard” was akin to a four-letter word.

“You know, listening to what your network was talking about prior to this race, this debate, reminded me of the coverage that many on this floor are getting,” he said, chastising the moderator. “This debate was called the undercard debate — the undercard debate. It wasn’t advertised significantly. In fact, the entire hour lead-up to this, there was no conversation about any of the four people on this debate stage.”

Later, he implored Iowans to ignore the polls and “pick the leader you know is best for this country.”

3. Mike Huckabee and a Guy Named Thomas

When asked if New York values are different than Iowa values (a reference to a quip made by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at a previous debate), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dodged the question.

Instead, he emphasized he isn’t “bank-rolled by the corporatists” like Goldman Sachs and AIG.

“I’m sponsored by people like Thomas, a part-time Uber driver in Pennsylvania who sent me $25 this week,” he said. “He is between jobs. He is driving an Uber car. But he believed in what I’m talking about enough that even on a limited, part-time income, he sent me $25 to help in my campaign. I’ll stand with the Thomas of the world any day.”

4. Jim Gilmore: ‘Did You Miss Me?’

“Did you miss me? Did you skip me?” Jim Gilmore interjected as the Fox moderator directed a question to fellow GOP contender, Mike Huckabee.

While the former Virginia governor may not have shined on the presidential debate stage, his finest hour was on social media.

Gilmore became a trending topic on Twitter minutes into the debate. Why? Twitter users were interested to know who the presidential candidate was.

5. Candidates Cornered About the Caucuses

Santorum, who belatedly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, was asked if Feb. 1, 2016, was his last stand. He chastised the moderators for asking that question, adding: “What Iowans deserve is to hear from every candidate on an equal footing.”

Huckabee was asked why he wasn’t doing better in the polls: “I don’t think it’s that the message isn’t working. I think the message isn’t getting out.”

And Gilmore acknowledged he wasn’t focused on Iowa: “I am beginning my campaign in New Hampshire, and I decided to do that based upon the process that is in place in Iowa.”

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Republican Presidential Debate: Five Moments That Mattered Without Trump

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Just days before the Iowa caucuses, seven Republican presidential candidates met on a debate stage in Des Moines hoping to sway the voters of the Hawkeye State one last time.

But unlike so many other GOP debates, Thursday night’s event seemed tamer than usual in the absence of frontrunner Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul was across town hosting his own event raising money for veterans instead of being on the stage.

Here are five moments that mattered at the Trump-less final debate before Monday’s caucuses:

1. Cruz Gets His Trump Insults in Early

Donald Trump may have chosen to skip the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses, but he was mentioned at the very top of the debate when moderator Megyn Kelly said it was time to “address the elephant not in the room tonight.” She then asked Ted Cruz “what message do you think that sends to the voters of Iowa?”

He thanked Iowa before quipping: “Let me say I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly.

“And Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon,” Cruz said, turning to Ben Carson. “Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way.”

2. Cruz Channels Trump for the Second Time

For the second time during the debate, Cruz tried to channel Trump trying to take on moderator Chris Wallace.

“I would note that the last four questions had been Rand, please attack Ted, Jeb, please attack Ted,” Cruz said, complaining about the line of questioning.

Wallace explained, “It is a debate, sir.”

“No, no, a debate actually is a policy issue, but I will say this, gosh, if you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage,” Cruz joked, referring to Trump’s no show.

3. Everybody vs. Everybody Brawl over Immigration

Jeb Bush attacked Marco Rubio. Then Rubio attacked Bush. Next, Rand Paul attacked Ted Cruz. And then Cruz attacked Rubio. And Rubio and Cruz were both forced to respond to videos showing quotes from positions they had articulated in the past.

“We’re not going to beat Hillary Clinton with someone who’s willing to say or do anything to win an election,” said after a long critique of Cruz.

“You know, I like Marco. He’s very charming. He’s very smooth,” Cruz replied. “But the facts are simple.”

And when Rubio accused Bush of saying he used to support a path to citizenship, Bush jabbed back: “So did you, Marco.”

Christie ended the battle boasting of his governor status.

“It’s perfectly legal in this country to change your mind. But when you’re a governor, you have to admit it,” he said. “That’s the kind of leader we need in the White House.”

4. Chris Christie’s “Washington-To-English” Dictionary

After a spat between Rubio and Cruz about campaigns “building lies” and willingness “to say or do anything in order to get votes” in their states and not delivering as soon as they get to Washington, Christie jumped in and said Americans need a translator to understand the two.

“This is why you need to send someone from outside of Washington to Washington,” Christie said. “I feel like I need a Washington English dictionary converter, right?”

Christie went on to say it’s harder to “change your mind” and “hide behind parliamentary tricks” when you’re governor.

“Stop the Washington bull and let’s get things done.“

5. Ben Carson: “Putin is a one-horse country: oil and energy.”

Ben Carson used to be riding high in Iowa — now he’s plummeted in the polls.

But that didn’t stop the doctor, who was largely absent from tonight’s debate, from getting pitched some foreign policy questions.

“Putin is a one-horse country: oil and energy,” Carson said in response to a question on Estonia and NATO. “We would definitely protect all of our allies.”

He ended the debate by quoting a core line of the Constitution verbatim and then adding: “Folks, it’s not too late. Enough said.”

Carson is currently polling fourth in Iowa.

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Trump Says He Misses Debate While Hosting Counter Event

ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump may have skipped the seventh Republican debate Thursday night in protest, but he misses being in the fray, he said.

Trump opened his counter event to the final GOP debate — which he says was designed to raise money for veterans — by telling the crowd he enjoys the debates.

“I didn’t want to be here…I wanted to be about 5 minutes away,” Trump said to the crowd at Drake University.

But he said he was mistreated by Fox News, which was hosting the debate.

“Fox has been extremely nice in the last number of hours,” Trump said the network invited him back.

In a statement Fox News said the billionaire “offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that FOX News contribute $5 million to his charities. We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason.”

Trump said he raised millions for veterans so far through Thursday’s event — at least $5 million from friends of his, including a million dollars of his own.

Trump also said a website the campaign created has raised over $400,000 thus far from supporters. Fellow GOP candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee attended the Trump event after the front runner extended an invitation to all his competitors.

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Obama: Republicans “Have Some Stuff to Work Out” in 2016

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(BALTIMORE, Md.) — President Obama said Thursday he’s not worried about Democrats splitting in the heat of the presidential campaign, saying Republicans “have some stuff to work out” in 2016.

“It’s election season, the press has been focused on debates and divisions they can drum up within the primary and within our party,” Obama said to House Democrats at their policy retreat in Baltimore. “I’m not worried, though, about this party staying united. The other side may have some stuff to work out.”

Republicans, he said, “talk about American in decline … I don’t believe it, and the facts don’t show it,” he continued, citing the economic recovery, the Affordable Care Act, and the improvement of the auto industry. “Sometimes I get a little frustrated that we don’t run back the tape to what Republicans said.”

Turning to national security, Obama seemed to acknowledge Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration into the U.S.

“We’re not going to lead around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims or pit groups of Americans against each other.” he said.

Facing a much smaller audience of House Democrats than he did seven in 2009 when Democrats controlled the House — the caucus has paid the political price for helping muscle the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, and other major pieces of legislation through Congress — Obama said he “couldn’t be prouder” of his partnership with House Dems.

“I am looking forward to one more year of hard work, and fulfilling work,” he said, before slipping in a Super Bowl reference.

“I know that the Carolina and Colorado delegations may be a little distracted.”

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Bernie Sanders Reverses Position on Gun Maker Liability Law

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Bernie Sanders — whose vote in favor of a bill that protected gun makers from liability in many cases became a key attack point for the Hillary Clinton campaign — is co-sponsoring a new bill that would repeal that measure, according to a spokesman for his Senate office.

The goal of the law had been to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits, but supporters of its repeal say the measure was overly broad. They also say it has several unintended consequences including shielding so-called “straw purchasers,” who buy guns and then sell them to people without requiring a background check, from litigation as well.

Clinton, who served as a Senator from 2001 to 2009, has criticized Sanders frequently on the campaign trail for his vote in support of the bill, the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). She voted against it.

“There was vote in the Congress; do we give the gun lobby, the manufacturers and the sellers, absolute immunity from any liability or accountability? President Obama and I were both in the Senate and we voted no. Senator Sanders voted yes. That is a big difference between us because I believe we have to stand with President Obama now,” she said at an event in Iowa earlier this month.

Sanders said he would support the bill that would repeal the 2005 law when it was first announced two weeks ago and became an official co-sponsor Wednesday.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that also supports the liability bill’s repeal, said in a statement that Sanders staff met Wednesday with Hector Adames and Rosalia Diaz, whose case against the gun manufacturer Beretta after the accidental shooting death of their son was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2009.

Adames and Diaz also appeared in a press conference Wednesday in which the legislation was officially introduced.

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Sanders Reverses Position on Gun Maker Liability Law

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Bernie Sanders — whose vote in favor of a bill that protected gun makers from liability in many cases became a key attack point for the Hillary Clinton campaign — is co-sponsoring a new bill that would repeal that measure, according to a spokesman for his Senate office.

The goal of the law had been to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits, but supporters of its repeal say the measure was overly broad. They also say it has several unintended consequences including shielding so-called “straw purchasers,” who buy guns and then sell them to people without requiring a background check, from litigation as well.

Clinton, who served as a Senator from 2001 to 2009, has criticized Sanders frequently on the campaign trail for his vote in support of the bill, the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). She voted against it.

“There was vote in the Congress; do we give the gun lobby, the manufacturers and the sellers, absolute immunity from any liability or accountability? President Obama and I were both in the Senate and we voted no. Senator Sanders voted yes. That is a big difference between us because I believe we have to stand with President Obama now,” she said at an event in Iowa earlier this month.

Sanders said he would support the bill that would repeal the 2005 law when it was first announced two weeks ago and became an official co-sponsor Wednesday.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that also supports the liability bill’s repeal, said in a statement that Sanders staff met Wednesday with Hector Adames and Rosalia Diaz, whose case against the gun manufacturer Beretta after the accidental shooting death of their son was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2009.

Adames and Diaz also appeared in a press conference Wednesday in which the legislation was officially introduced.

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Defense Secretary Announces New Military Maternity Leave Guidelines

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced that the US military services will now provide new military mothers 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, a doubling of the current six weeks of leave.

However, the announcement is a step back for the Navy and Marines who since last summer have been given 18 weeks of leave, something which the Air Force had also been considering. Paternity leave is also being increased from 10 days to 14 days.

The maternity leave is among five military personnel reforms that Carter announced on Thursday at a Pentagon press conference. The reforms are intended to bring the military services in line with corporate America and help with retention of service members who cite stress on the family as reasons for leaving the military.

The other changes include expanding military child care hours from 12 to 14, adding 3,600 nursing rooms for breastfeeding military moms, allowing service members extra time at a duty station in return for added service time, and covering the cost of freezing sperm or eggs for service members concerned that combat deployments could affect their ability to start a family.

Carter described the 12 weeks of maternity leave as “extremely generous” and puts the US military “in the very top tiers of American employers.”

Pregnant Navy and Marine service members will be grand-fathered and allowed to take the existing 18 week policy until the new policy comes into effect. Carter said he arrived at the 12 week maternity leave standard after reviewing studies and available private sector data.

Carter said a big factor was balancing the maternity leave with any potential reduction in readiness. “I came to the conclusion that 12 was the right number here, as we struck that balance. I thought it was important that we have the same standard across the joint force.

“That’s the right place we landed. And that’s what I thought, and that’s what all of our joint chiefs of staff and the chairman thought as well,” said Carter.

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Anne Frank’s Stepsister: Trump Is ‘Acting Like Hitler’

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Anne Frank’s stepsister, 86-year-old Eva Schloss, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in a column published by Newsweek on Wednesday.

“I think [Trump] is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism,” wrote Schloss, an Auschwitz concentration survivor. “During his U.S. presidential campaign he has suggested the ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’ as well as pledging to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out.”

Schloss added, “If Donald Trump became the next president of the U.S. it would be a complete disaster.”

Schloss, who was once a Jewish refugee in Amsterdam, wrote the criticism of Trump as part of a larger opinion piece for International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27).

This year’s theme was “Don’t stand by.” Schloss noted the theme was “particularly important now with the refugee crisis going on as more people than ever are being bystanders.”

The 86-year-old said the refugee “situation today is worse than it was under Hitler because at that time all the Allies — the U.S., Russia and Britain — worked together to combat the terrible threat of Nazisim,” but such is not the case in the fight against terrorism today.

“I am very upset that today again so many countries are closing their borders,” she wrote. “It is even harder for today’s Syrian refugees who have a very different culture. We were Europeans as well as Jews — we were assimilated.”

She added, “I remember how upset the world was when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 and now everybody is building walls again to keep people out. It’s absurd.”

Schloss is the daughter of Erich Geirginger and Elfriede Geiringer. Her father died in Auschwitz, and her mother — who survived — later remarried to Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank.

Donald Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Biden: GOP Presidential Race “A Gift From The Lord”

Jim Watson/Getty Images(BALTIMORE, Md.) — He may have decided to sit out the presidential race, but Vice President Joe Biden still loves a good political fight.

In an energetic speech to House Democrats in Baltimore on Thursday, Biden urged members to run on Democrats’ achievements over the last seven years and their contrasts with Republicans.

“We don’t do it nearly enough,” he said. “We never talk about what they’re really for.”

He also said Democrats could benefit from the GOP presidential primary.

“By the way, we may be given a gift from the lord in the presidential race,” Biden said in a reference to the GOP field. “I don’t know who to root for more.”

“What’s that guy’s name? He’s having a fundraiser for veterans,” he joked.

Another election-year “gift” for Democrats? The Ryan budget passed by House Republicans in 2014, Biden said.

“You guys don’t have to make anything up,” he said to laughs. “It’s real. That’s what they passed.”

Biden, who acknowledged his tendency to be the “optimist, the new kid on the block,” believes House Democrats can “take back the House when nobody expects it.”

He also offered to campaign in members’ districts, “for you or against you, whatever helps the most.”

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