Review Category : Poltics

President Obama Reunites With Family in Kenya Over Dinner

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NAIROBI, Kenya) — It was a big family reunion when President Obama arrived in Kenya Friday.

Obama, who is visiting his father’s homeland for the fourth time but for the first time as president, sat down with three-dozen members of his Kenyan family for dinner at his hotel.

He sat next to his half-sister Auma and step-grandmother Sarah Obama, who was the third wife of the president’s paternal grandfather. She’s affectionately known to many as Mama Sarah, but to President Obama, she’s just Granny.

Obama’s half-sister Auma was among the first people to greet President Obama as he walked off Air Force One at Jobo Kenyatta International Airport on Friday evening, local time.

When Obama first visited Kenya in 1988, Auma picked him up at the airport in a sputtering baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle that was missing a muffler. Friday night, it was a much different scene as the president treated Auma to a ride in the presidential motorcade.

Due to logistical constraints, Obama will not travel to Kogelo, the village where his father was born and is buried, during this trip, officials said. Instead, Mama Sarah and others traveled to Nairobi to accompany the president on his official trip to Kenya.

The president last visited Kogelo in 2006 when he traveled to Kenya as a U.S. senator.

President Obama will spend two days in Kenya before traveling to Ethiopia on Sunday. It is the first time a sitting U.S. president had visited either country.

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President Obama’s Trips to Kenya: Then vs. Now

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will make history this weekend as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya, but it’s actually the fourth trip to his father’s home country.

The latest visit, more than 25 years after his first, will bring a very different Obama face-to-face with a very different Kenya.

From Lost Luggage to Air Force One

In 1988, at just 27 years old, “Barry,” as he was known, arrived in Nairobi for the first time. He was on a journey of self-discovery to learn more about his heritage and his father, who was Kenyan.

But when his commercial flight landed in an empty airport, he felt “tired” and “abandoned,” Obama wrote in his memoir, Dreams From My Father. A gate agent informed him that the airline had misplaced his bags. And his half-sister, Auma, and Aunt Zeituni picked him up in a beat-up, baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle with a missing muffler.

Fast forward 27 years, and Obama will be arriving on Air Force One and riding around in a heavily armored limousine. This time, he is packed with plenty of staffers, surrounded by security and awaited by Kenya’s president and the rest of the country.

From Family Pilgrimage to Official Business

On his second trip in 1992, Obama traveled with his new fiance, Michelle Obama, as a young lawyer. They were married that October, and, he would later joke, he had to make sure he had his paternal grandmother’s approval, according to one biography.

In Dreams From My Father, Obama described drifting through the streets of Nairobi, visiting slums, and going out dancing and drinking. It was a picture of a young man at a pivotal moment in his life, freely wandering through his father’s homeland. He has prolonged, deeply personal conversations with family members and travels extensively around the country.

Even on his 2006 visit to Kenya, when he was greeted with much fanfare and celebrity, then-Sen. Obama was able to move around relatively freely, from cities to villages and through large crowds. He visited his father’s grave and his grandmother’s tin-roof house.

This weekend, it’s strictly business. The first family is not coming with the president, and his schedule is packed with meetings, conferences and state dinners.

From Wandering Tourist to Security Lockdown

Obama will be on a tight schedule during the visit. There will be no village visit. He doesn’t even plan to leave the capital during his whole stay. There’s talk that family members will come to him, meeting him before his major speech Sunday or at the hotel, at some point. But there’s also a good chance he won’t see any of them.

He’ll be on even tighter security, too. With the threat of the al-Shabaab militant group in neighboring Somalia and a leak of some of his itinerary, there are raised concerns for his safety. The Secret Service will keep the president in a tight bubble to prevent anything from happening — something Obama has lamented.

“Visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as president because I can actually go outside of the hotel room or a conference center,” he said in a July 15 news conference at the White House. “And just the logistics of visiting a place are always tough as president, but it’s obviously symbolically important.”

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Top Conservative Brent Bozell Endorses Ted Cruz

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — One of the Republican party’s top supporters is showing his support for Ted Cruz. The endorsement was announced Friday in a statement from the Cruz presidential campaign.

“U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today received the endorsement of Brent Bozell, conservative stalwart and president of the Conservative Victory Committee,” read the statement.

Bozell released a video announcing his support of Cruz’s candidacy for President.

“Make no mistake: If the Republican Party repeats what it has done the last two presidential elections, Republicans will lose. I guarantee it,” Bozell said in the video. “On the other hand, if we nominate a principled, passionate conservative America can count on to restore her greatness, there will be an outpouring of support.”

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Jeb Bush Says No Need to Apologize for ‘All Lives Matter’

ABC News (GORHAM, N.H.) — As questions swirl over what happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her cell in a Texas jail, candidates in the 2016 presidential race are being hammered on their views surrounding the call for justice and the hastag #BlackLivesMatter.

It is a movement that largely began last year as part of the protests over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Republican candidate and former Florida governor Jeb Bush was asked Thursday in New Hampshire if he thought that Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley should apologize for saying that “all lives matter” during progressive gathering, Netroots Nation.

Bush responded by asking, “We’re so uptight and so politically correct now that we apologize for saying ‘lives matter?'”

He added, “Life is precious. It’s a gift from God. I frankly think that it’s one of the most important values that we have. I know in the political context it’s a slogan, I guess. Should he have apologized? No. If he believes that white lives matter, which I hope he does, then he shouldn’t have apologized to a group that seemed to disagree with it.”

The Liberal super pac, American Bridge, quickly uploaded the video.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, largely led by young grassroots organizers who profess a non-partisan view, has proved to be a stumbling block for candidates on both sides. Both O’Malley and his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders were criticized for their responses to activists’ demonstrations, declining to advocate specifically for Black Lives Matter, choosing the more inclusive call of “All Lives Matter.”

It is a slogan viewed by activists as deeply out of touch and a view that overlooks the crux of their call to social equality and an end to the systematic prejudice they say African-Americans face in the eyes of the justice system.

On Thursday, Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton tried to overcome her own similar stumbles while speaking to a black church in South Carolina, twice invoking the “Black Lives Matter” slogan and calling Bland’s death “heartbreaking”.

“And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly,” Clinton said to cheers during a campaign stop at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Clinton was criticized last month for saying “all lives matter” at an event at a historic black church close to Ferguson, Missouri, where protesters last year widely used the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

Bush has said in the past that he will win this campaign by going to places “that haven’t seen a Republican in a very long time,” declaring to be able to rally the support of Latinos and African-Americans, groups that have traditionally eluded the GOP.

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Hillary Clinton Facing More Scrutiny Over E-mails

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — An internal government review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s controversial private email account concluded that some of those messages contained classified information, senior government officials confirm to ABC News.

The Inspectors General for the State Department and Intelligence Community have sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department, asking that it investigate the matter.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill issued the following statement: “Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

“All I know is what I’ve read today and learned today actually this morning. Inspector generals operate completely independently, that’s why they were put there,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with NBC News. “What I do know is, that in the State Department we have a whole team working extremely hard to get all the required emails out, public as fast as possible. And I can’t wait until that happens. I’m sure Hillary can’t either. And I’m sure it will be cleared up with the final release as we get that done.”

Hillary Clinton is expected to give an economic address in New York City at 1:30pm Eastern at New York University. A Clinton aide tells ABC News: “Clinton will describe a series of pressures and incentives that are encouraging corporate America to focus on short-term profits rather than long-term investment. She will say American business needs to break free from the ‘tyranny of today’s earnings report’ so they can build tomorrow’s prosperity in a way that drives income growth for everyday Americans. Clinton will diagnose symptoms of short-termism that has gone too far. Corporate profits are at near-record highs, but companies are too often not choosing to reinvest those funds in innovation or their workforce.”

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Hillary Clinton Facing More Scrutiny Over E-mails

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — An internal government review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s controversial private email account concluded that some of those messages contained classified information, senior government officials confirm to ABC News.

The Inspectors General for the State Department and Intelligence Community have sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department, asking that it investigate the matter.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill issued the following statement: “Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

“All I know is what I’ve read today and learned today actually this morning. Inspector generals operate completely independently, that’s why they were put there,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with NBC News. “What I do know is, that in the State Department we have a whole team working extremely hard to get all the required emails out, public as fast as possible. And I can’t wait until that happens. I’m sure Hillary can’t either. And I’m sure it will be cleared up with the final release as we get that done.”

Hillary Clinton is expected to give an economic address in New York City at 1:30pm Eastern at New York University. A Clinton aide tells ABC News: “Clinton will describe a series of pressures and incentives that are encouraging corporate America to focus on short-term profits rather than long-term investment. She will say American business needs to break free from the ‘tyranny of today’s earnings report’ so they can build tomorrow’s prosperity in a way that drives income growth for everyday Americans. Clinton will diagnose symptoms of short-termism that has gone too far. Corporate profits are at near-record highs, but companies are too often not choosing to reinvest those funds in innovation or their workforce.”

ABC US News | World News

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Five Topics Obama Faces in Kenya and Ethiopia

File photo. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)(NAIROBI, Kenya) — With a trip to Africa this weekend, President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia. While much of his schedule is official business, it will be a highly personal visit for Obama, whose father was Kenyan, and a moment of pride for the Kenyan people, who have been clamoring for a presidential visit since 2009.

But it won’t be all pomp and pageantry. Obama will confront several thorny issues throughout this trip, from gay rights to defending unmet expectations for his grand U.S.-African initiatives. Here’s a look at five:

Gay Rights in Africa

As the first sitting president to support same-sex marriage, gay rights are an important part of Obama’s legacy. But in many countries around the world, same-sex relations are illegal and often dangerous.

That’s the case in Ethiopia and Kenya, where political and religious leaders have warned Obama not to address the issue. Protesters have even taken to the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to demonstrate against gay rights and admonish the president for his support of them.

Will the president listen? In an interview with the BBC, Obama indicated he’s willing to discuss the sensitive subject while in Kenya as he did during a trip to Senegal in 2013.

“In a press conference, I was very blunt about my belief that everybody deserves fair treatment, equal treatment in the eyes of the law and the state,” the president said of his trip to Senegal. “And that includes gays, lesbians, transgender persons.”

“I am not a fan of discrimination and bullying of anybody on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender. And I think that this is actually part and parcel of the agenda that’s also going to be front and center, and that is how are we treating women and girls,” he added.

Terror Alert from Al-Shabaab

Security conditions in the region will be high on the agenda at a time when Kenya deals with the growing threat posed by Somali-based group al-Shabaab, which shares ties with al Qaeda.

The group has conducted two big attacks in recent years — at the Garissa University in eastern Kenya earlier this year and at the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, which re-opened last weekend for the first time since the 2013 attack. It has also carried out a string of kidnappings, car bombings and shootings throughout the country.

Kenya has become a target because it sent troops to Somalia alongside the African Union force fighting to exterminate al-Shabaab. Both Ethiopia and Kenya have become important U.S. allies in the fight against terrorists, and the White House says counterterror strategy will be an important topic during the president’s trip.

There are also general security concerns around events the president will attend. One week before the scheduled visit, the State Department alerted U.S. citizens that large public events like the Global Entrepreneurship Summit where the president will speak may be a “target for terrorists.”

Undemocratic Heads of State?

The administration has touted both Kenya and Ethiopia as important partners, but Obama is meeting with two heads of state with questionable records, at best.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was indicted on crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for fomenting and funding violence after the candidate he supported lost the presidential election in 2007, a time of civil unrest and widespread ethnic violence. The charges have since been withdrawn, but Kenyatta faces allegations of corruption and suppressing freedom of the press.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his party won 100 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections this spring, raising concerns in the United States about their openness and fairness. The dominant ruling party has tried to shut down dissent by allegedly jailing and even torturing political opponents, protesters and journalists.

The president’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice told reporters Wednesday that the president would address these issues. “We raise them directly and clearly, both in public and in private,” she said. “And we will do that as we always do when we visit Kenya and Ethiopia.”

Restricted Press Freedom

In both Kenya and Ethiopia, journalists do not enjoy the same freedom as reporters in the United States, and some media rights groups are urging Obama to push both governments to lift restrictions on the press.

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a report last week chronicling how the Kenyan government and large media corporations have curtailed a free press.

“Kenyan reporters, editors and publishers are exposed to threats of being hurt, prosecuted, imprisoned or simply having crucial advertising withdrawn,” the report says. “Media are manipulated by dominant corporations, and news outlets are subject to the whims of their politician-owners or publishers who want to cozy up to power.”

Before the trip, Rice said the administration has been vocal about the need for a free press in the two countries, particularly in Ethiopia, saying it has “a long way to go.”

“Obviously, in Ethiopia in particular, we have consistently expressed concern about the treatment of journalists, among other issues. We noted that recently, the Ethiopian government did release five journalists, which is a welcome step, but they have a long way to go. And I think we have been very clear in our dialogue with them on this, and other issues related to democracy and governance that we believe they can and should do more and better.

Personal Duty vs. Presidential Responsibility

Unlike his 2006 trip to Kenya, the president will not visit Kogelo, the village where his father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and buried. The White House cited time and logistical concerns that are keeping the president from touring the village. The lack of a visit from the president will likely disappoint the villagers hoping he would make the trek to area where his family is from.

Instead, Obama will spend his time in Nairobi in full presidential mode: meeting with President Kenyatta and delivering remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. But the president does have plans to meet privately with some of his family members while in Nairobi, and they may accompany him to some of his official obligations.

“I’ll be honest with you, visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as president because I can actually get outside of a hotel room or a conference center,” the president in a news conference White House earlier this month.

“And just the logistics of visiting a place are always tough as president, but it’s obviously symbolically important.”

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Donald Trump: What He Is Doing at the US-Mexico Border

Robin Marchant/Getty Images(LAREDO, Texas) — Unlike Des Moines, Iowa and Manchester, New Hampshire, Laredo, Texas isn’t a typical stop on the presidential campaign trail.

Unless you are Donald Trump.

The town on the U.S.-Mexico border will become the center of attention Thursday when the Republican presidential candidate stops by for a visit.

But the border union that was expected to host Trump announced on Thursday morning that they’re backing out. Trump was going to meet with the union and tour the border.

“Our intention to meet with Mr. Trump was to provide a ‘Boots on the Ground’ perspective to not only Mr. Trump, but to the media that would be in attendance at this event,” the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 wrote in a statement. “Just to be clear, an endorsement was never discussed for any presidential candidate.”

Still, Trump says the trip is on. He is scheduled to land around 1 p.m. A campaign spokesperson tells ABC News that Trump plans to meet with the mayor and police department of Laredo, Texas.

The billionaire business mogul whose controversial comments about Mexican immigrants have been the talk of the campaign in recent weeks will receive a briefing from Hector Garza, president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, according to Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s visit to the town, where the population is over 90 percent Hispanic, will begin with a town hall meeting in which law enforcement officers will give The Donald their own views on the situation at the border. Trump also plans to hold a news conference.

Since first receiving backlash last month for saying in his announcement speech that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists into the United States, Trump has discussed immigration at length in interviews and in speeches.

Trump will not be the first candidate in the GOP field to visit the border, however.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a number of trips to the border during his time as governor of Texas; Cruz visited the border in June, receiving a briefing from U.S. Border Patrol; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a similar trip earlier this year, in March.

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Donald Trump: What He Is Doing at the US-Mexico Border

Robin Marchant/Getty Images(LAREDO, Texas) — Unlike Des Moines, Iowa and Manchester, New Hampshire, Laredo, Texas isn’t a typical stop on the presidential campaign trail.

Unless you are Donald Trump.

The town on the U.S.-Mexico border will become the center of attention Thursday when the Republican presidential candidate stops by for a visit.

But the border union that was expected to host Trump announced on Thursday morning that they’re backing out. Trump was going to meet with the union and tour the border.

“Our intention to meet with Mr. Trump was to provide a ‘Boots on the Ground’ perspective to not only Mr. Trump, but to the media that would be in attendance at this event,” the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 wrote in a statement. “Just to be clear, an endorsement was never discussed for any presidential candidate.”

Still, Trump says the trip is on. He is scheduled to land around 1 p.m. A campaign spokesperson tells ABC News that Trump plans to meet with the mayor and police department of Laredo, Texas.

The billionaire business mogul whose controversial comments about Mexican immigrants have been the talk of the campaign in recent weeks will receive a briefing from Hector Garza, president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, according to Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s visit to the town, where the population is over 90 percent Hispanic, will begin with a town hall meeting in which law enforcement officers will give The Donald their own views on the situation at the border. Trump also plans to hold a news conference.

Since first receiving backlash last month for saying in his announcement speech that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists into the United States, Trump has discussed immigration at length in interviews and in speeches.

Trump will not be the first candidate in the GOP field to visit the border, however.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a number of trips to the border during his time as governor of Texas; Cruz visited the border in June, receiving a briefing from U.S. Border Patrol; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a similar trip earlier this year, in March.

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Nominee for Top Marine Post: Arming Recruiters ‘Most Extreme’ Response to Chattanooga

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A week after four Marines and a Navy sailor were killed by a lone gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the nominee to take over as the Marines’ highest-ranking officer expressed skepticism about arming military recruiters across the country.

“I’m not going to discount it, but I think that’s probably at the end and the most extreme measure we could take to do what we need to do, which is protect those service members out there doing their mission,” Lt. Gen. Robert Neller told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday.

Just Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said the Department of Defense does not support arming all military personnel because of “safety concerns, the prohibitive costs for use of force and weapons training, qualification costs, as well as compliance with multiple weapons-screening laws.”

Neller, however, offered a different reasoning, worrying that it could create a potential rift between recruiters and their communities.

“I have some concerns about the second- and third-order effects of that,” Neller said, “particularly on the recruiters and their access and the things they need to do.”

Neller said that despite the “potential consequences,” however, he agreed that it’s an approach that should be under consideration.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., pounced on Neller’s response, calling his answer “disappointing.”

“You know what happened in that recruiting station don’t you?” McCain asked. “The guy walked up to the door and shot and killed four Marines. Shouldn’t we have had those Marines be able to defend themselves?”

Neller noted that the four Marines and sailor were killed at the Naval Operations Support Center, while only one person was wounded at the recruitment center, but said he agreed the Marines should have been able to protect themselves.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a GOP presidential candidate, asked Neller whether he thought things would have been different if the recruiters had been armed, to which Neller responded, “I don’t know.”

“I think they would have been, and … [that’s] the answer I don’t ever want to have again: ‘I don’t know,’” Graham said. “I think it’s time, in my view, to get real with where we stand as a nation. They’re coming after us here and everywhere else, and we better get ready to be able to defend our people.”

Earlier in the day, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made his first public comments on whether or not to arm military recruiters to a group of U.S. troops on an unannounced visit to Iraq.

“Should people in recruiting offices be armed or not?” Carter asked. “I’ll tell you, I don’t know the answer to that yet. I’m waiting to hear back from the services about that. We need to recruit, but we can’t put people at unnecessary risk, as well.”

Carter is set to receive a set of recommendations over security measures he requested in the wake of the Chattanooga attack by Friday, though the Pentagon has not said whether those recommendations will be made public.

Neller is in line to replace Gen. Joseph Dunford as Marine commandant, as Dunford moves to replace Gen. Martin Dempsey as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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