Review Category : Poltics

Marco Rubio to Announce 2016 Presidential Run Decision on April 13

US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday he will announce whether he will run for president at an upcoming event.

“I will announce on April 13 what I’m going to do next in terms of running for president or the U.S. Senate,” Rubio said on FOX News’ The Five.

Rubio, a first-term senator, is up for re-election to the Senate in 2016, but Florida law bars him from running for both the Senate and the presidency at the same time. If he chooses to run for president but loses, Rubio said he wouldn’t fall back on a Senate bid as a backup plan.

“When you choose to do something as big as that, you’ve really got to be focused on that and not have an exit strategy,” Rubio said earlier this year.

One of Rubio’s potential presidential opponents, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is planning on running for both offices in 2016. Earlier this month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, became the first major presidential candidate to declare a 2016 presidential bid.

Should Rubio decide to run for president, he will likely face his old mentor — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Asked to assess how Bush’s expected candidacy could affect his own race, Rubio said, “The time will come for comparison shopping.”

Rubio also commented on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business, saying it must be determined if she sent sensitive information using the private email.

“I think she has bigger problems than emails. Ultimately I don’t think she has an agenda that looks forward to the 21st century,” Rubio said.

Rubio revealed he uses a private email of his own, but stressed that he never includes “sensitive” information in his messages.

“I don’t write anything that’s national security related in an email,” Rubio said.

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NCAA President ‘Surprised,’ ‘Disappointed’ by Indiana Law

Eddie Perlas / ESPN Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — NCAA President Mark Emmert, an early critic of Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law, says it could be a problem for future NCAA events in Indiana — like the 2016 women’s Final Four — and is backing efforts within the state to change or repeal it.

“Whether it’s repeal or whether it’s some language change that makes it self-evident that there’s no discriminatory practices that could be condoned under this model is a decision they’re going to have to make, but they need to deal with it,” Emmert told ESPN in an interview Monday.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence last week signed into law Indiana Senate Bill 101, a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books in other states and at the federal level. It simply states that the government must prove a higher threshold of government interest when enforcing widely applied laws where they infringe on anyone’s free exercise of religion.

Both opponents and supporters have said it would allow for businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians, for instance if a Christian wedding photographer were uncomfortable being hired to photograph a gay wedding.

Indiana’s Republican House speaker and Senate president pro tem said earlier on Monday that they will push their colleagues to make changes to the bill to clarify that it is not intended to allow denial of services based on sexual preference.

The law is slated to go into effect this July.

The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis, where the men’s basketball Final Four will be played this weekend, and Emmert was one of the first figures outside politics to voice “concern” over the law when Pence signed it last week.

In the interview Monday, Emmert said the NCAA is proud that it has championed diversity for its athletes and employees and alluded to future problems for sporting events — and the NCAA’s presence — in the state if the law stands.

“For us personally in the NCAA, this is a big deal. We’re very proud of the environment we’ve created here, and we don’t want to lose that. We don’t want to have it put at risk,” Emmert said.

Emmert also hinted that the NCAA could move next year’s women’s basketball Final Four if the law stands.

“We have to evaluate this,” Emmert said. “We, the NCAA, have to sit down and say, if this environment remains where it is, what does this mean for us going forward?”

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos over the weekend, Pence would not say whether the law would allow for denial of services to gays and lesbians, and Emmert said recent statements by Indiana public officials have left uncertainty over what the law does.

“Before we get that far down the road [in repealing or changing the law], we need to get a better feel for what it really means,” Emmert said.

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Indiana House Speaker ‘Disappointed’ in Gov. Mike Pence After ABC Interview

ABC News(INDIANAPOLIS) — One of the top Republicans in Indiana says he was “disappointed” with how Gov. Mike Pence addressed questions about Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday.

“We were disappointed,” Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, told ABC’s Gio Benitez. “He failed to answer that question on national TV [Sunday].”

In an interview with ABC News, Pence repeatedly dodged questions on whether or not the new law could allow businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians, citing religious reasons for doing so.

Senate Bill 101, which Pence signed into law last week, is a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books in other states and at the federal level.

Both socially conservative supporters and pro-gay-rights opponents of the law say it paves the way for wedding-related businesses to refuse to provide cakes or flowers to gay weddings, for instance. The law simply states that the government must prove a higher threshold of governmental interest in order to enforce widely applied laws if they infringe on the free exercise of religion.

Bosma and Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long hastily arranged a news conference Monday morning to say that, in their view, the law would not allow businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians — and that they want to amend it to clarify that point.

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Obama Calls for Bipartisanship: ‘Get Something Done’

The White House(BOSTON) — President Obama made a passionate appeal for bipartisanship and civility at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston Monday.

“We live in a time of such great cynicism,” Obama said. “What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy?”

“Ted understood that the only point of running for office was to get something done. Not to posture. Not to sit there worrying about the next election or the polls. To take risk,” the president said of the former Massachusetts senator, who died of brain cancer in 2009 after serving almost 47 years in the Senate.

“There are Republicans here today for a reason,” Obama said. “Because they knew Ted as somebody who bridged the partisan divide over and over and over. They knew him as somebody who kept his word.”

The U.S. Senate is “a more diverse, more accurate reflection of America than it used to be and that is a grand thing, a great achievement. But Ted grieved the loss of comradery and collegiality, the face-to-face interaction. I think he’d regret it, the arguments now made to cameras rather than colleagues, directed to a narrow base instead of the body politic as a whole…It leads more Americans to turn away in disgust and simply choose not to exercise their right to vote,” the president said.

Obama told the audience he and the first lady had been praying for Officer John Moynihan, the Boston police officer shot on Saturday. Moynihan was formerly honored at the White House as one of the nation’s “Top Cops.”

The president also alluded briefly to the Iran negotiations, quoting President John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

Known as the “liberal lion of the Senate,” Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., endorsed Obama during the Democratic primary in 2008, helping to legitimize what began as a long-shot campaign against then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

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Obama to Visit Kenya in July

Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will head to Kenya this summer, marking his first visit to his father’s birthplace since taking office in 2009, the White House announced on Monday.

While there, Obama will hold bilateral meetings and participate in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which Kenya is co-hosting, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

The president’s trip in July will “build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and continue our efforts to work with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security,” Earnest said.

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Indiana Lawmakers Will Push for Update to ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana’s top two Republican legislators will push for an update to the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law, the pair said at a news conference Monday, following a wave of national backlash to the state’s newest law.

“Hopefully by doing this we’ll put the whole issue to rest,” Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long told reporters at the State Capitol.

Major corporations, athletes, celebrities and gay-rights activists have lambasted the state’s legislature and governor for enacting Senate Bill 101, a “religious freedom” law that states government must clear a higher threshold when enforcing laws that contradict citizens’ or corporations’ religious beliefs.

Both socially conservative advocates of the bill and pro-gay-rights opponents have said the bill could allow businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians based on their sexual preference. A Christian wedding photographer, for instance, could refuse to photograph a gay wedding by claiming it violated his or her religious beliefs, activists on both sides have said.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill last week, stating in a press conference after he signed it that the law was not meant to promote discrimination.

Indiana State House Speaker Brian Bosma on Monday clarified that the bill was not intended to do that. Bosma called it a “misconception” that the law “allows the denial of services to any Hoosier. It doesn’t do that.”

Bosma and Long said they will “encourage” their legislative colleagues to pass an update to the bill in the four remaining weeks of their legislative session to specifically address that issue, saying both sides — supporters and critics alike — have mischaracterized what the bill would mean for gays and lesbians.

That question has been unclear since Pence signed it into law. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Pence repeatedly dodged specific questions on whether the bill could mean denial of services for gays and lesbians, if companies claimed religious grounds for doing so. Pence repeatedly stated the bill was not about discrimination and had been mischaracterized.

Long and Bosma criticized Pence and said his ABC interview prompted them to call the press conference.

Pence “did not answer questions clearly” in that interview, Bosma said. Pointing to their interpretation that the law will not mean denial of services, Long said, of Pence, “It would’ve been helpful if he said that yesterday.”

Major groups and corporations from Apple to Angie’s List to the NCAA and the NBA have released statements expressing a range of “concern” and condemnation of the law. Social conservatives like Bob Vander Plaats of the influential Iowa-based group FAMiLY Leader have praised Pence and the law.

The fallout over SB 101 also hangs over the 2016 presidential race, as Pence has said he’s considering a run for the GOP nomination and will reportedly finalize his decision sometime this spring.

Similar laws are on the books in other states, including neighboring Illinois. A similar federal law was signed by president Bill Clinton.

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Californians High on Legalized Pot, More Water and Obama

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — If President Obama is considering a political career after the White House, he might want to consider running for governor of California.

Unlike national polls that have consistently shown more people disapproving of the job he’s doing than the other way around, 55 percent of respondents to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California approve of Obama’s job performance with just 41 percent giving the president a thumbs down.

One thing in Obama’s favor is that 52 percent generally favor his health care law while 42 percent are opposed to it, figures that run contrary to polls that are taken nationally.

As for the most pressing issue facing California, the economy and the state’s problematic water supplies due to drought are essentially tied at 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively, among the 1,760 residents polled.

Two-thirds of Californians, in fact, say their regional water supply is a big problem and an equal number don’t believe the state is doing enough to combat the drought.

Asked whether the sale and possession of marijuana should be legal in California, a record number — 53 percent — said yes while 45 percent are against legalization.

One other finding that appears to buck the national mood: half of the state’s residents believe that California is going in the right direction. Just 41 percent say otherwise.

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John Kerry Staying in Switzerland for Iran Nuclear Talks

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As the clock continues to tick down on a nuclear deal with Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled a planned return to the United States.

Kerry will remain in Switzerland as the Iran nuclear talks approach their deadline.

Foreign ministers from six world powers are trying to reach a deal with Iran before a self-imposed deadline on March 31.

The focus of any deal would be to restrict Iran’s nuclear program in return for easing sanctions.

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Gov. Martin O’Malley: Presidency Not a Crown to be Passed Between Two Families

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Gov. Martin O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland who is considering a run for the White House, said Sunday that new leadership is needed as the country heads toward the 2016 presidential race.

“The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people,” O Malley told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday.

When asked whether he was referring specifically to the Clinton and Bush families, the former governor said simply that the principle would apply to any two families.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says Controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Won’t Change

ABC News(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act would not be changing, state Gov. Mike Pence said Sunday during an exclusive interview on ABC’s This Week.

Pence said that the issue had been turned into “shameless rhetoric” and that the law is about strengthening the foundation of First Amendment rights rather than discrimination. He did not answer repeated questions about whether the law would allow business owners to discriminate against gay or lesbian individuals.

Pence, a Republican, signed the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act into Indiana law Thursday. The law intends to prevent the government from infringing on individual’s religious beliefs, Pence said, but opponents say the law allows business owners to use religion as a reason to legally discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

A federal version of the religious freedom law was enacted in 1993 but dozens of states have passed their own versions since then, including one passed unanimously in Illinois when President Barack Obama was a state senator.

Pence touted bipartisan support for the law, saying that President Obama and Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi supported similar legislation. He said the issue was being misrepresented by the media in a news conference after the closed bill-signing ceremony.

Illinois added specific protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation several years after passing the religious freedom law.

Pence told the Indianapolis Star this specific legal protection is “not on his agenda” for Indiana residents.

Pence said Sunday that he would look at a bill to clarify the law’s intent if one reaches him.

The law gained national attention quickly after it was signed when the NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, released a statement expressing concern that the law would negatively impact athletes and visitors in town for the Final Four games of its men’s basketball tournament. Several businesses, including Yelp, threatened to take their business away from the state.

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