Review Category : Poltics

Donald Trump Gaining Strength Despite Questionable Comments

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump has come under fire for saying he saw some New Jersey residents celebrating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a claim that has been questioned by various fact-checkers.

But such comments, as well as his repeated campaign pledges to “bomb the s***out of” the Islamic State, seem to be bolstering the GOP front-runner’s strength even more.

Polls released this weekend show Trump is, by far, the most trusted GOP candidate to tackle the threat of terrorism in the United States, and more Republicans see Trump as honest and trustworthy than don’t. But Trump is facing scrutiny over the accuracy of two comments he made this weekend, including the one about Sept. 11, as well as another on race.

“I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said in a speech Saturday. “Thousands of people were cheering.”

Then Trump doubled-down Sunday on his assertion to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

“It was well covered at the time, George,” Trump said. “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down.”

The Washington Post fact-checker called the claim “outrageous” and gave Trump four “Pinocchios,” its worst rating. Meanwhile, the independent fact-checking website, Politifact, concluded: “Trump’s recollection of events in New Jersey in the hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks flies in the face of all the evidence we could find. We rate this statement Pants on Fire.”

(Several media organizations have been unsuccessful in trying to verify Trump’s assertion.)

But rather than rattle his supporters, the questionable comments seem to embolden them.

Forty-two percent of Republicans say they trust Trump the most to handle the threat of terrorism, according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll Sunday. Jeb Bush comes in second with only 18 percent, less than half of Trump’s support.

But the Sept. 11 claim wasn’t the only controversial one the New York real estate mogul made in recent days. Trump, 69, tweeted Sunday afternoon this image of a masked man holding a gun along with several statistics about homicides by race.

@SeanSean252: @WayneDupreeShow @Rockprincess818 @CheriJacobus

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2015

The graphic does not match official statistics from an FBI report in 2014, which shows that 82 percent of whites were killed by other whites. Black Americans were responsible for 15 percent of white slayings.

Nevertheless, Trump comes in second when GOP voters are asked who is most honest and trustworthy, according to the same ABC-Post poll. Twenty-three percent of Republican voters say Trump is most honest and trustworthy behind only Ben Carson, who garners 34 percent, but ahead of Rubio, Bush and Cruz, who have less than half of Trump’s support. Including the Democrats, however, the same ABC-Post poll this weekend shows front-runner Hillary Clinton with an 8-point lead over Trump in trust to handle the threat of terrorism.

But, according to a Fox News poll out Sunday, Trump has a positive-24 percent net honest and trustworthy rating among Republicans.

And his supporters are sticking by his side.

Almost half of Republicans also back Trump as the candidate who could best bring change to Washington, more than doubling Carson, his next closest rival. Trump also leads Republican rivals on other issues like the economy.

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Ben Carson Says He Saw ‘Newsreels’ of American Muslims Cheering on 9/11

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In a press conference following a rally in Nevada on Monday, presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters that he saw a video of American Muslims cheering on Sept. 11, 2001, in New Jersey when the World Trade Center’s twin towers fell.

When asked by ABC News if American Muslims were cheering on 9/11, Carson said “Yes.”

When asked if he specifically saw it happening he said, “I saw the film of it, yeah.”

Later in the press conference he clarified he saw it from “the newsreels” from the 9/11 coverage at the time.

Over the weekend, fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump said he saw New Jersey residents celebrating the 9/11 terrorist attacks — a claim that has been challenged by fact checkers.

“I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said in a speech on Saturday. “Thousands of people were cheering.”

Trump repeated the assertion to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

“It was well covered at the time, George,” Trump said Sunday. “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down.”

The Washington Post called the claim “outrageous” and the independent fact-checking website, PolitiFact, concluded that Trump’s statement “flies in the face of all the evidence we could find. We rate this statement ‘Pants on Fire.’”

On Monday, Trump tweeted a link to a Sept. 18, 2001, Washington Post story:

Via @washingtonpost 9/18/01. I want an apology! Many people have tweeted that I am right!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2015

But The Post‘s fact-checker refuted the notion that the reported allegations in the story back up Trump’s claim.

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Marco Rubio Warns in First National TV Ad ‘Paris Could Happen Here’

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio will debut the first national television ad of his campaign Tuesday focusing squarely on terrorism.

The 30-second ad features the Florida senator up close against a simple black background as he warns Americans of the dangers of “radical terrorists.”

“This is a civilizational struggle, between the values of freedom and liberty, and radical Islamic terror,” Rubio says. “What happened in Paris could happen here.”

In the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead, the presidential hopeful calls the terrorists “disgruntled or disempowered people.”

“These are radical terrorists who want to kill us because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school,” Rubio, 44, says directly to the camera.

He wraps up the ad with an ultimatum on the war against ISIS.

“Either they win,” he says, “or we do.”

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Today on the Trail — 11/23/15

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Monday? Read below to find out their schedules:

Hillary Clinton is in Reno, Nevada where she will visit a substance abuse facility. Substance abuse is an issue that has become an important one on the campaign trail.

Ben Carson is also in Nevada. On Monday morning in Pahrump he’s holding a closed press briefing on Yucca Mountain and federal lands followed by a rally. Later that evening Carson will visit a facility that tries to dissuade women from getting abortions in Las Vegas.

Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina are both in Iowa on Monday. Rubio is holding three town halls in the state, beginning Monday morning in Carroll then another in Council Bluffs that afternoon, followed by another one in Grinnell.

Martin O’Malley and Lindsey Graham are both taking their campaigns to New Hampshire Monday.

Bernie Sanders is in Atlanta for a rally Monday night.

John Kasich will head to Sterling, Michigan for a business incubator tour Monday afternoon.

Jeb Bush is off the trail fundraising.

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President Obama Returns to DC Amid ISIS Intelligence Report Investigation

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama made his way back to Washington, D.C., early Monday morning, facing a problem that has plagued some of his top military officials: an expanded investigation into intelligence reports that were possibly doctored to paint a rosy picture of Mideast conflict.

At issue is whether analysts at Central Command, which oversees U.S. Department of Defense operations in the Middle East, altered assessments of the campaign against ISIS to make it appear as though the United States and Western partners were making more progress than they really were.

That inquiry, which started in September, has grown to include congressional investigations, including the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees. The chairmen of both committees are also forming a task force in the “near future” to investigate allegations of intelligence manipulation, aides with both panels confirmed.

During a news conference in Malaysia Sunday, Obama vowed to “get to the bottom” of the issue.

“One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics,” he told reporters at a news conference in Malaysia, wrapping up a nine-day East Asia trip. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story.”

The Pentagon inspector general in recent weeks has seized a large stash of emails and documents from military servers and has added more investigators to the inquiry, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin told a Senate panel on Sept. 16 that he welcomed such inquiry, and added that he never ordered or suggested to anyone in the intelligence command that they should sweeten intelligence reports to reflect a more positive view of the United States’ efforts in Iraq and Syria.

“Absolutely not,” he said at the time.

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POLL: No Clear Advantage in Trust on Terrorism

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump in trust to handle terrorism -– but the table turns among those who say they feel terrorism is the most pressing issue in the election.

Terrorism has surged as an election issue since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, and this ABC News/Washington Post poll finds Clinton with an 8-point lead over Trump in trust to handle it. Among those who call it the top issue in their vote, though, Trump leads by 25 points.

That’s because concern about terrorism is especially high among Republicans and conservatives, and their trust in Clinton, on this and other issues, is very low. Those most concerned with the economy, by contrast, tend to be Democrats, and far prefer Clinton, including on terrorism.

See PDF with full results and tables here.

Notably, Clinton maintains a slight lead on terrorism against Trump among registered voters, a 7-point advantage in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. That’s not so with other top GOP contenders; the former secretary of state leads most of them among all adults –- although former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are within the margin of error –- but not among those who are registered. This reflects the customary GOP edge in registration -– clearly damaging to the Democrats if left unaddressed.

There’s a contrast in Trump’s position on terrorism moving from the GOP contest to a general election. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, he leads the top primary candidates by a wide margin as most trusted to deal with the issue. When Trump is tested against Clinton, though, 21 percent of leaned Republicans prefer her, contributing to her advantage over Trump on terrorism among all Americans.

That said, 42 percent of leaned Republicans and 40 percent of conservatives cite terrorism as the most important issue in the election, compared, for example, with 18 percent of leaned Democrats and 15 percent of liberals. Leaned Republicans and conservatives also are much more likely to see an attack as likely and to doubt the government’s capacity to prevent it.

As a result, among Americans who view the threat of terrorism as the most important issue in the 2016 election (28 percent of adults), Trump leads Clinton 65 percent to 35 percent in trust to handle it, with almost identical results for the other top GOP candidates. Similar patterns hold true for those who think that an imminent terrorist attack is very likely or who lack confidence the government can prevent one.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Nov. 16-19, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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Sanders Talks Income Inequality at Black Churches in South Carolina

Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Bernie Sanders took his message of income inequality to black Baptist churches in North Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday, in an attempt appeal directly to minority voters in the state.

Sanders, the only Jewish candidate in the 2016 presidential race, bowed his head and prayed, and occasionally tapped his foot and clapped to the gospel music, before addressing the congregations.

“My name is Bernie Sanders. I am a United States senator from the state of Vermont,” he began at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. “I am running for president of the United States, because I believe that in our great country we can do a lot better for working people and poor people than we are currently doing.

“I want to see the United States as a country that does not have more people in jail but has the best educated population on earth,” he said.

The 74-year-old senator continues to face an uphill climb with this core Democratic constituency, but according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday, Sanders is seeing more and more support from minorities nationwide.

Sanders gained 16 percentage points among nonwhite voters since the last poll in October, whereas Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton lost 11 percentage points, though she still has a 2-1 lead over him with with this key group (65 percent compared to 31 percent support.)

“We think that meeting with African Americans in their place of worship is a great way for the campaign to introduce the senator to the African American community,” said Chris Covert, the campaign’s South Carolina state director.

In South Carolina, which has the first Democratic primary in the South, Sanders faces a unique challenge. A poll from Winthrop University released November 1 found Clinton with 80 percent of the African American vote in the state.

Still it seems the Sanders campaign is not yet folding here. They have hired dozens of community organizers and paid canvassers to target African American communities, and just last week rolled out new radio ads to target these communities as well. During his three-day swing through the state this weekend, he was often flanked by one or two African American elected official or TV personalities.

“You have to go to where the people are and in South Carolina and many communities across the country, the people are in the church,” campaign spokeswoman Symone Sanders said. “We are going to reach people by meeting them where they are in their communities. For a number of African-Americans, the church is more than just a house of worship it is a place where they go to get the news most pertinent to them, discuss the issues they are facing in their neighborhoods and the catalyst for real change.”

At the second church Sanders attended, Royal Missionary Baptist, he spoke with the pastor and senior leadership for about 30 minutes before the service. There he delivered his remarks from the church’s main lectern, with a big, white cross behind him and his face projected on monitors.

In addition to wage inequality, Sanders focused his remarks on caring for children.

“When we are talking about the children, and I know how much you love the children and how much you do to protect the children … I want to see excellent afterschool programs,” he said.

Brenda Jenkins, a volunteer at Royal Missionary Baptist church, said she thought Sanders was “warmly received” at her church, and that she liked “everything he promised to do for America.”

“I think it is helpful for congregations for the candidate to come through, for those who might miss the news or are not up on the news,” she added.

Just a few days ago, Sanders was asked about his faith during a town hall in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We all believe in God in different ways. I have my way. I am Jewish and I am proud of it,” he said. He was asked specifically whether he was nontheistic, to which he said, no.

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Terrorism Worries Are Back; Sanders Up, GOP Steady, Says Poll

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Terrorism suddenly rivals the economy as the single most important issue to Americans in the 2016 presidential election — and a year out, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds more people paying close attention to the contest than at this point in any race back to 1988.

After years of dominating the political landscape, the economy now has company. Given the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, 28 percent of Americans now call terrorism the top issue in their choice for president, compared with 33 percent who cite the economy. Nothing else comes close.

Attention, moreover, is focused as never before. Three-quarters of Americans say they are closely following the 2016 race, including three in 10 who are following it very closely. That’s the highest level of attention at this point in a presidential race in polls back nearly 30 years.

Voting-wise, after its summertime churn, the race for the GOP nomination is in a lull; all the debates, discussion and occasional invective of the past month have changed almost nothing. But there’s some Democratic movement — a 9-point advance for Bernie Sanders with Joe Biden off the books, and big shifts in some groups.

See PDF with full results here.

At 60-34 percent, Hillary Clinton is 26 percentage points ahead of Sanders, down from 39 points in October. He has gained significantly among registered Democrats and Democrat leaners under age 50, runs closely with Clinton among liberals and has closed the margin, to some extent, among nonwhites and women — results that may give Clinton pause, if not palpitations.

In the Republican contest, Donald Trump wins support from 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, while Ben Carson has 22 percent — both precisely where they were in the last ABC/Post poll on the contest a month ago.

That puts 54 percent of the GOP preference on the side of these two non-politicians, just where most Republicans want it. Fifty-two percent say they are mainly looking for a candidate who’ll shake things up in Washington, and in this group, Trump commands 42 percent support, a major share of his total.

Nor is there change in the lower ranks. This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds Florida Sen. Marco Rubio the only other candidate to break into double digits, with 11 percent support — numerically a new high, but a scant 1 point more than he had last month. Ted Cruz has 8 percent, Jeb Bush 6 — numerically a new low and less than a third of his high watermark last spring, before the summer’s dramatic shifts in the GOP race.


On the Democratic side, Sanders has managed a sharp advance among Democrats and Democratic leaners younger than 50, gaining 23 points in this group since October, while Clinton’s lost 15. They now divide 53-43 percent, Sanders-Clinton.

At the same time, those older than 50 back Clinton by a whopping 79 to 14 percent, and she’s gained 10 points in this group in the past month.

Sanders has advanced by 11 points among women, to 32 percent, versus Clinton’s 63 percent; it’s 55-39 percent among men. He has gained 16 points, and Clinton’s lost 11, among nonwhites; she still leads by 2-1 in this group, 65-31 percent, a key one for her. Finally, Sanders has gained 17 points, and Clinton has lost 13, among liberals, to a greatly tightened 52-45 percent Clinton-Sanders race.


Trump’s steady lead reflects his success in tapping into the broad anti-establishment, anti-immigration — and now anti-refugee — sentiment within the GOP. Despite his sometimes controversial statements — or perhaps because of them — he leads his competitors on key attributes and issues alike, and continues to be seen as most likely to win the party’s nomination.

Forty-two percent of leaned Republicans say they trust Trump over his top four opponents to handle terrorism; his nearest competitor, Bush, gets just 18 percent. Trump prevails by a slightly wider margin on trust to handle the economy, with 47 percent versus 15 percent for Carson.

Trump also leads, with 45 percent, in trust to handle immigration — Rubio’s next with 18 percent — and to handle tax policy — 42 percent for Trump while the rest clumped behind. That leaves just one issue tested on which Trump doesn’t prevail: trust to handle health care; 35 percent pick Carson, a retired neurosurgeon; 26 percent, Trump.

In terms of personal attributes, 47 percent see Trump as the candidate best able to “bring about needed change in Washington,” versus 22 percent for his nearest competitor, Carson. Trump also leads in being seen as having the best chance to win the White House, 38 percent, and Carson again next at 22 percent.

Carson nips Trump in being seen as more honest (34 percent); Bush leads in having the best experience, and there’s a mash-up in who’s got the best personality for the job. What’s key here is “needed change” is the most desirable attribute by far, and on it, Trump and Carson consume 69 percent of the oxygen between them.


While fewer than one in 10 leaned Republicans cite immigration as the top issue in their choice for president, it remains a key topic in the GOP race. Overall, fewer than half of Americans, 42 percent, support mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, as Trump has advocated. But among leaned Republicans who are registered to vote, support swells to 59 percent — and 46 percent in this group back Trump for the nomination. Indeed pro-deportation leaned Republicans account for 83 percent of Trump’s support.

Recent anti-refugee sentiment also benefits Trump. Post-Paris, seven in 10 leaned Republicans oppose the U.S. taking in refugees from Syria and other Mideast countries. Support for Trump rises to 40 percent among anti-refugee registered voters, versus just 13 percent among those who support accepting these refugees.

Top issues

As noted, terrorism has re-emerged as a key issue, with a partisan division. Forty-two percent of leaned Republicans call it the single most important issue in their vote for president, while 29 percent pick the economy. Priorities flip for leaned Democrats — 39 percent call the economy the top issue, while 19 percent say it’s health care, 18 percent terrorism.


Close attention to the race is high across the board, but especially so among leaned Republicans versus leaned Democrats, 82 to 74 percent. A net total of 75 percent say they’re closely following the contest, the highest at this point in polling since 1987. That compares to just 57 percent a year out from the 1988 election, and about two-thirds in 2007 and 2011 alike.

Leaned Republicans who are registered to vote also are more apt than registered leaned Democrats to say they’re certain to show up for the upcoming primaries and caucuses, 84 versus 71 percent. But intention to vote, at least at this stage, doesn’t make any substantive difference: In either contest, vote preferences among those certain to vote look almost exactly the same as they do among all registered voters.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Nov. 16-19, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including 373 registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 352 registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points for the full sample, and 6 points for leaned Republicans and leaned Democrats alike, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Donald Trump Again Says He Saw Cheering in New Jersey on 9/11

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump defended comments he made Saturday saying he saw thousands of people in Jersey City, New Jersey cheering when the World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11, 2001.

“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations,” he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down, and that tells you something. It was well covered at the time.”

In response, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said Trump “has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party.”

“Trump is plain wrong, and he is shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue. No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11th,” Fulop said. “We were actually among the first to provide responders to help in lower Manhattan. Trump needs to understand that Jersey City will not be part of his hate campaign.”

Trump first claimed to have seen the images of people cheering in New Jersey while speaking at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, and I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said.

While there were images of people cheering the towers’ collapse in parts of the Middle East, there is no record of such celebrations in New Jersey. There were some Internet rumors of Muslims celebrating the towers’ fall in Paterson, New Jersey, but those rumors were discounted by local police at the time.

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Ben Carson Further Defends Foreign Policy Credentials

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson further defended his foreign policy credentials Sunday, refuting claims that his lack of experience makes him unqualified to be commander in chief.

“I hope everyone is on a learning curve,” the retired neurosurgeon said on ABC’s “This Week.” “In medicine, we have something that is called CME — continuing medical education. It recognizes the fact that things are always in the process of changing, and if you stay stagnant, and you say, ‘Well, I’m up on it and I’ll go relax,’ you’re not going to be very competent.”

Noting the world changes at a rapid pace, Carson emphasized that foreign policy experience comes down to practical experience — not political experience.

“Yes, we should have in place protocols to deal with that 2 a.m. call in the morning, but we also need to have the ability to think quickly and to be flexible,” Carson said, noting that he likely has more early morning calls than anyone else running for president, and greater experience making life or death decisions. “I don’t know that it necessarily comes down to politics. It comes down to practical experience, solving difficult problems, doing things quickly and efficiently, and using the resources available to you to get that done.”

His comments came as he faced a number of foreign policy mistakes last week in the wake of the Paris terror attacks — with his own advisers even saying he still has a lot to learn.

“He is not perfect,” Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told Bloomberg News last week. “We’ll never be perfect. But he continues to surround himself with people and engage people that can enhance his foreign policy.

In The New York Times, Duane R. Clarridge, who has advised Carson, also offered a candid critique.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” Clarridge told the Times, adding that Carson needs weekly conference calls on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”

But Williams insisted that Carson is learning, telling ABC News “he is learning, gaining confidence and making tremendous progress.”

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