Review Category : Poltics

Zephyr Teachout Mounts Challenge to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Zephyr Teachout is turning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reelection race into a dogfight.

Teachout, a law professor who worked for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, has mounted a challenge to Cuomo from his left.

She’s aggressively drawing attention to the failures of Cuomo’s Moreland Commission — the anti-corruption panel that backed down after it began sniffing around organizations close to the governor, according to a New York Times report.

Cuomo has said his office only advised the commission and denied interference with any investigations.

While still a longshot with little name recognition, Teachout, 42, is picking up support by tapping into progressive discontent with Cuomo’s economic positions.

After recently surviving Cuomo’s attempt to get her thrown off the primary ballot, Teachout picked up the endorsement of the state’s second-largest employee union Thursday, after the state teachers union snubbed Cuomo by not endorsing either candidate.

Despite Teachout’s rising stock, Cuomo has kept silent on his primary opponent and ignored her calls for a debate. His campaign did not return a request for comment on Teachout’s bid.

ABC News spoke to Teachout about her challenge to Cuomo, progressive politics and her thoughts on Cuomo’s presidential chances. The following is a Q&A, edited for brevity:

A judge recently threw out Gov. Cuomo’s legal challenge to your campaign, which argued you weren’t a New York resident.

It turned into an incredible opportunity for us. It’s basically a three-day ad paid for by the Andrew Cuomo campaign. I can’t tell whether he’s scared of a primary, which it seems like he certainly acting like he is.

The governor is afraid of you?

It’s the only logical explanation. It really doesn’t make any sense. The rules are clear. You have to live somewhere for five years. I was there for five years. [A Vermont native, Teachout has worked at Fordham University since June 2009.]

One explanation is that it was a fishing expedition. Another is that he was trying to drain me of money, which backfired, because we’ve raised a lot of money on the court case – I’m truly estimating, but between $70,000 and $100,000.

I’ll put this in a broader context. For years, Gov. Cuomo has managed to keep in control of politics, and now, there are things outside of his control, like what’s happened with the Moreland Commission. You can’t shut down a primary the way you can shut down the Moreland Commission.

You’ve made the Moreland Commission a big part of your campaign.

The [New York Times] report was eye-opening and scalding. It showed that his top aide was attempting to direct the activities of the commission. That kind of disrespect for the idea of law was really audacious.

Four years ago, you supported Cuomo’s initial bid, and considered working for his campaign.

I think I had an experience similar to a lot of New Yorkers. I really admired his dad [former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo] and I saw him as a real moral force in politics.

But he basically hasn’t been a Democrat! There are a lot of things that Gov. Cuomo does that doesn’t make sense in terms of state politics.

Do you consider yourself a progressive in the same vein of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio?

Well, I am a progressive, but I am a down-the-line, traditional Democrat. I would be right at home in Mario Cuomo’s cabinet.

But the support for DiBlasio is the same kind of support we’re seeing. That hunger, talking about economic inequality and addressing the root issues of it.

Has he supported your campaign?

He supports the governor. In New York, we have a really powerful governor who uses his budgetary power to punish and reward.

It’s very hard for politicians, without hurting their own constituents, to support a challenger to the governor. I’m not talking about DiBlasio, in particular, but more broadly. But there are an increasing number of brave individuals who are joining us.

How did working for the Howard Dean campaign prepare you for this race?

The heart of the campaign, as much as we touted our technical prowess, was the trust of the people. And the heart of this campaign is the trust of New Yorkers and New York Democrats.

For all the technological advances, there are still relatively few campaigns that really tap into the deep grassroots power that’s there.

By most measures, you’re still considered a long shot.

We’re very focused on the voters most likely to vote. In New York, there’s an extraordinarily powerful anti-fracking movement. There’s a powerful parent and teachers movement that has been bird-dogging Cuomo across the state.

There’s a lot of anger on Cuomo’s silence on the national immigration crisis. New York hasn’t taken leadership, and that’s the role New York has traditionally played.

There are these real pockets of intense anger, and that’s what matters in primary races: intensity.

What are your thoughts on the presidential chatter surrounding Cuomo?


I can tell you, from running against him, that Andrew Cuomo will not be president of the United States.

He’s made some junior-league mistakes running against a relative unknown, and it’s going to be hard for him to run for president after he’s been defeated in the Democratic primary.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Hillary Clinton, Kevin Spacey Parody “House of Cards” for Bill Clinton’s Birthday

Photo credit: Nathaniel Bell for Netflix/State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) — Best birthday gift ever?

In honor of former president Bill Clinton’s upcoming birthday, the Clinton Foundation has released a clever House of Cards-inspired video for him, featuring both actor Kevin Spacey, who stars in the Netflix series as the cunning politician Frank Underwood, and his wife, Hillary Clinton.

The short video, which begins with Kevin Spacey prank calling Hillary Clinton pretending to be her husband, spoofs the political drama and Clinton’s indecision about whether she’ll run for president in 2016 (“This is a very personal decision,” Clinton says when asked what’s she’s getting her husband for his birthday). In addition, Spacey suggests names for the Clintons’ grandchild — Frank, if it’s a boy, and Claire, if it’s a girl — which insiders know just happen to be the names of the lead, scheming characters in House of Cards.

Ultimately, an exasperated Clinton admits she knows it’s Kevin Spacey and asks him to just sign her husband’s birthday card.

The Clintons are known to be big House of Cards fans. In an interview with People Magazine early this summer, Hillary Clinton said she and her husband “totally binge-watched the first season” of the political series together.

Bill Clinton, who is currently vacationing with his wife in the Hamptons, turns 68 years old on Tuesday.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Obama Goes for Bike Ride with Family, Golfs on Vacation

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WEST TISBURY, Mass.) — President Obama, the first lady and daughter Malia went for a leisurely bike ride Friday, enjoying a sunny afternoon on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Hey guys, nice day, huh?” the president asked reporters as he briefly peddled past them on the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest bike path outside West Tisbury.

All three Obamas sported athletic gear and helmets. Michelle Obama wore spandex capri pants and a short-sleeved top, while Malia was in running shorts and a Stanford tee-shirt.

The president wore a dark athletic shirt, gray pants and Nike sneakers with white socks.

The travel pool got a brief glimpse of the first family on-camera as they biked past. The threesome were preceded by teams of advance security and agents on bikes.

After their ride, the president headed back to the golf course to play at the Farm Neck Country Club with businessman Glenn Hutchins, Valerie Jarrett’s cousin Cyrus Walker, and mega-donor Robert Wolf.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Less than 8,000 Voters Will Determine Hawaii Senate Election

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s likely the Democratic Senate brawl in Hawaii is getting closer to its end, with a result coming as soon as Friday for the Aloha State.

It all comes down to less than 8,000 voters who will finally decide the fate of incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz or challenger Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The election was held last Saturday, but remains too close to call with Schatz leading by just over 1,600 votes.

On Friday, two precincts on the Big Island of Hawaii who were unable to get to their voting locations last Saturday due to the wrath of Hurricane Iselle will get an opportunity to cast their ballots.

Hanabusa was trying to delay the vote, filing a suit Thursday saying people are still trying to get the “basic necessities” of food, ice, water and power so voting is the last thing on their mind. She was also concerned that without power voters may not even know about the rescheduled election.

Both Hanabusa and Schatz traveled to the Puna area of the Hawaii Island, known as the Big Island, after the storm to help with clean-up and campaign for those last critical votes. Both have said the recovery is their priority.

Hanabusa’s campaign says the judge denied their request and Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago says the vote will go on Friday. In a statement, he says the election will continue for those two Big Island precincts.

The two precincts include about 8,000 voters, but about 20 percent voted early or by absentee. With those polls closing at 6 p.m. local or midnight on the east coast, Hawaii officials say they should have a winner late Friday night.

Colin Moore, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, tells ABC News it may be “technically possible” for Hanabusa to pull ahead, but “it’s very unlikely.” It’s not just making up the votes, Moore points out, but Schatz won in both other precincts in the Puna area of Hawaii Island.

“That means she would have to convince the relatively small number of remaining voters to support her overwhelmingly,” Moore said, adding he expects a “post-election challenge” from Hanabusa if she’s not successful on Friday.

That won’t be easy, though. Unlike other states, Hawaii has no automatic recount or run-off trigger if the vote between Schatz and Hanabusa narrows even more.

Rex Quidilla, spokesman for Nago’s office, says a campaign could choose to file an appeal or a contest of the results with Hawaii’s State Supreme Court and a recount could be one of the remedies that are prescribed. But it’s “not a guarantee,” and they must “prove the results should have been different,” in order for the court to allow a recount, he said.

As for Hanabusa’s argument that voters may not even be aware of the rescheduled vote, Moore says “there has been a tremendous amount of press coverage about the election.”

“I’m sure the affected voters will hear about it from the two campaigns and from their friends and neighbors,” Moore said. “That said, many people in Puna still don’t have electricity or water, so they may not have an opportunity to vote.”

So, how did things even get to the point where Hanabusa challenged the incumbent senator? It’s been a bruising intra-party brawl. It started in December 2012, when Sen. Daniel Inouye, who had represented Hawaii for 50 years, passed away. His dying wish was that Gov. Neil Abercrombie appoint Hanabusa, his political protégé, to his seat after he died. That didn’t happen and instead he appointed then-lieutenant governor Brian Schatz.

Abercrombie maintains Inouye said it was ultimately his decision, but Inouye’s widow is backing Hanabusa.

Hanabusa decided to challenge Schatz for the Senate and Abercrombie lost his job by a massive 35 point margin last Saturday, partly because of the Schatz appointment. It was the first time an incumbent ever lost reelection in a primary in the island state.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

A Look Back at Presidential Responses to Racial Violence

The White House(WASHINGTON) — At the height of the racial turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri, President Obama interrupted his Martha Vineyard vacation to urge calm and promised an open invesitgation into the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager shot and killed by a police officer.

Since the shooting, five days of protest have rocked the St. Louis suburb, where police have unleashed tear gas and smoke bombs to try to control the angry mob.

ABC News takes a look back at race riots across America and how presidents have responded throughout history:

Tulsa, May – June 1921

Post-WWI Oklahoma erupted in a deadly race riot in 1921 in the prosperous Greenwood District, a mostly African American neighborhood of Tulsa. Left out of history books for decades, the 18-hour violent clash left between 50 and 300 dead and over 1,000 homes and businesses destroyed, according to the historical society.

By the time the National Guard arrived the morning after the riot, 35 city blocks had been burned to the ground and countless were injured.

President Warren G. Harding discussed the riot while addressing students at Lincoln University. The president was “shocked” and expressed hope that “such a spectacle would never again be witnessed in this country,” according to a New York Times article from June 7, 1921.

Detroit, June 1943

Riots between blacks and whites at the Belle Isle integrated amusement park led to three days of violence beginning on June 20, 1943. Thirty-four people lost their lives. Of the 25 blacks who perished, 17 were killed by white police officers. President Franklin D. Roosevelt released a “proclamation” on June 21, saying:

“Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby make proclamation and I do hereby command all persons engaged in said unlawful and insurrectionary proceedings to disperse and retire peacefully to their respective abodes immediately, and hereafter abandon said combinations and submit themselves to the laws and constituted authorities of said State; And I invoke the aid and cooperation of all good citizens thereof to uphold the laws and preserve the public peace.”

New York City, July 1964

On July 18, 1964 in Harlem, a white police officer shot and killed James Brown, a 15-year-old African American. His death inspired thousands of residents to riot in New York City neighborhoods for six days. On July 21, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed the nation, saying:

“It must be made clear once and for all that violence and lawlessness cannot, must not, and will not be tolerated. In this determination, New York officials shall have all of the help that we can give them. And this includes help in correcting the evil social conditions that breed despair and disorder.

American citizens have a right to protection of life and limb-whether driving along a highway in Georgia, a road in Mississippi, or a street in New York City.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans will join in preserving law and order and reject resolutely those who espouse violence no matter what the cause.

Evils acts of the past are never rectified by evil acts of the present. We must put aside the quarrels and the hatreds of bygone days; resolutely reject bigotry and vengeance; and proceed to work together toward our national goals.”

Los Angeles, April 1992

On April 29, 1992, officers charged with brutally beating Rodney King were deemed “not guilty” by a jury of 10 whites and no African Americans. For three days, violence erupted across Los Angeles, prompting President George H. W. Bush to send military troops and riot-trained law enforcement to the city.

On May 1, the president spoke about the “civil disturbances,” saying:

“Television has become a medium that often brings us together. But its vivid display of Rodney King’s beating shocked us. The America it has shown us on our screens these last 48 hours has appalled us. None of this is what we wish to think of as American. It’s as if we were looking in a mirror that distorted our better selves and turned us ugly. We cannot let that happen. We cannot do that to ourselves…

Tonight, I ask all Americans to lend their hearts, their voices, and their prayers to the healing of hatred. As President, I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, an oath that requires every President to establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility. That duty is foremost in my mind tonight.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

NCAA Rulings Divide Congress — But Not Along Party Lines

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The fate of two recent rulings by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a federal district court judge on the power of big college athletic conferences and compensation of its players may rest on the most famous deliberative body in America: the United States Congress, which, until now, has yet to speak up on the ramifications of the decisions.

In a series of interviews with ABC News, members of Congress exposed another significant rift on a prominent national issue. The difference this time? Political parties have nothing to do with it. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed either fear of or support for the growth of college sports in light of the rulings.

In the first major decision from Aug. 7, the Division I board of directors gave the five richest athletic conferences the right to set their own rules on the value of scholarships and student health insurance arrangements, among a slate of new powers. And in Oakland, California on Aug. 8, a district judge issued a 99-page ruling, commonly known as the O’Bannon ruling, arguing that the NCAA’s policy of prohibiting payments to college athletes violates antitrust laws.

Voices from all over the country have warned of further enlarging the already large influence of big-time college sports in America, where around $16 billion is fought over annually by university administrators, the NCAA, television networks, coaching staffs and students.

“My general sense is that both of these decisions are due to the inertia and abdication of the NCAA in terms of trying to catch up with reality, in terms of what’s happened to TV revenue, marketing, merchandise, video games and everything else,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., whose district covers the University of Connecticut, a perennial basketball powerhouse. “In both instances, clinging to a model that is overtaken by events decades ago has resulted in a situation where I think it’s kind of an unstable and negative path.”

The O’Bannon ruling centers on the use of player likenesses in video games, which became a hot-button issue after former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon complained of his figure being used in a video game without being compensated in any form.

“When the [O'Bannon] lawsuit was started…it was an outlier opinion. Now, it’s sort of evolved to the point where more people are accepting the fact that the athletes should get the share,” said Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., a former linebacker at Division III Wabash College. “We’re not going to go back to world where money is taken out of this process. The question becomes how we best allocate those rewards.”

Few congressmen have been more active in pursuing legislation on behalf of college athletes than Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, who presides over the third district in Ohio, home to Ohio State University, where she was formerly the senior vice president for outreach and engagement. Beatty has helped introduce two bills in Congress that address health and scholarship concerns in college athletics, including support for concussions and for athletes at risk of losing scholarships because of injuries.

To Beatty, the rulings last week are an extension of a slate of ongoing debates about the NCAA’s responsibility in protecting the livelihood of students.

“It sounds like [the NCAA] has been listening to some of the things we’ve been saying in Congress,” she told ABC News. “We don’t do business the same as we did 30 or 50 years ago. I don’t think we should hold student-athletes to the exact same standards we did decades ago.”

Senators also are reacting to the two rulings. In separate statements to ABC News, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., agreed it’s time for the NCAA to be more accountable for the financial well-being of its most prized athletes.

“While recent rulings have shaken the foundation of the NCAA, we should seize this opportunity to examine how we prioritize and reward work…in our nation’s colleges and universities,” Brown said. “I stand in solidarity with all NCAA athletes to ensure they get the education, health care and support they deserve.

Nelson struck a more personal tone in advocating for the players.

“So many of these players come from families that don’t have a lot of money. Many of them don’t have the same opportunities that others do,” he said. “I think they should be given stipends, especially if they’re contributing to the financial well-being of the university.

Yet as with the rest of the congressional agenda, a deep divide exists between those supporting player compensation and big conference autonomy, and those who believe the rulings send big time college sports even further down the financial rabbit hole.

“There’s bound to be a way for us to address the problem without making broad rules,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala. “The vast majority of college administrators and coaches are dealing with students for whom their college experience is a lot more than just playing sports.”

If the legal system usurps the authority of university executives, Byrne said, “we start destroying what’s been a real strength of America, with the best higher education system in the world.”

“I think it’s going to be the end of college athletics as we see it,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.

Roe, along with Byrne and Messer, sits on the Education and the Workforce Committee in Congress, responsible for overseeing much of the controversy surrounding these subjects. The committee held a hearing on May 8 to examine the possibility and consequences of college athletes unionizing.

Roe’s main concern was the fate of mid-level and smaller schools in less-wealthy conferences, in which most athletic departments barely break even. As the richer schools and athletic departments have become more independent, the nature of their participation in organized college sports has been remodeled.

“What you’ve created is a semi-pro or low-level professional league,” he added.

The debate over the rulings could result in congressional action, including an antitrust exemption for the NCAA in negotiating with universities. What’s likelier is hearings and floor discussion on the rulings, particularly in a Congress that struggles to debate and act on even the most boilerplate issues.

“I’ve certainly been trying to talk it up with some of my colleagues. … I just don’t see any appetite to weigh into this among majority members,” Courtney said. “The outcome is chaotic in terms of where things are headed.”

“It’s an important cultural issue … but my hope is that it gets resolved by the private parties,” Messer added. “If Congress has to intervene, it’ll be because the NCAA has failed to intervene.”

To Rep. Byrne, mere discussion of and attention to the O’Bannon and Big Five rulings among Congress serves the right purpose.

“I think that’s probably the most important role we can play,” he said.

Pushing federal action after the decisions could have a counterproductive effect on the triangular relationship between universities, the NCAA and Congress. Interference by the House or Senate may actually impede what all parties hope are smoother negotiations between athletic conferences, athletes and the NCAA.

What could be at stake is something more symbolic and morally urgent than a $5,000 stipend awarded to players used in NCAA-sanctioned video games: the two rulings could be a slippery slope leading to bigger, more expansive rewards for the athletes and schools best positioned to benefit from them.

Post-O’Bannon, the use of the term “student-athlete” might effectively be a smoke screen, a way to disguise serious threats to the structure of higher education in America.

“We love our sports in this country, but it’s gotten a little crazy,” Roe said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Texas Gov. Perry Sees Off Guard Heading to the Southern Border

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — Denying he was engaging in a political stunt, Texas Governor Rick Perry called National and State Guard heading to the border with Mexico “the tip of the spear, protecting Americans from these cartels and gangs.”

Perry had previously announced that he was sending 1,000 Guard troops to the border in the wake of the influx of tens of thousands of children from Central America who’ve entered the U.S just in the past year.

According to Perry, 2,200 people have volunteered from various branches, including the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard and the State Guard.

The governor suggested that anticipation of the mission has reduced the number of people trying to sneak over the border over the past five weeks.

As for whether he ordered the increase of manpower to burnish his conservative credentials ahead of the 2016 presidential race, Perry scoffed, “The idea that what we’re doing is politics versus protecting the people of Texas and the people of this country is just false on its face.”

He called the members of the drug cartels, “narco-terrorists.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Texas Gov. Perry Sees Off Guard Heading to the Southern Border

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — Denying he was engaging in a political stunt, Texas Governor Rick Perry called National and State Guard heading to the border with Mexico “the tip of the spear, protecting Americans from these cartels and gangs.”

Perry had previously announced that he was sending 1,000 Guard troops to the border in the wake of the influx of tens of thousands of children from Central America who’ve entered the U.S just in the past year.

According to Perry, 2,200 people have volunteered from various branches, including the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard and the State Guard.

The governor suggested that anticipation of the mission has reduced the number of people trying to sneak over the border over the past five weeks.

As for whether he ordered the increase of manpower to burnish his conservative credentials ahead of the 2016 presidential race, Perry scoffed, “The idea that what we’re doing is politics versus protecting the people of Texas and the people of this country is just false on its face.”

He called the members of the drug cartels, “narco-terrorists.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

State Department: White House, DOD ‘Incredibly Linked Up’ on All Israel Weapons Transfers

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — State Department spokesperson Marie Harf denied Thursday that officials at the State Department and the White House were “caught off-guard” upon learning that the Department of Defense was providing weapons to Israel.

Harf, in light of a Wall Street Journal article that said that officials at the White House and the State Department were “caught off-guard” upon learning of the Department of Defense’s supplying of the Israel Defense Forces with ammunition, said that the agencies and the White House are “incredibly linked up on everything we do on Israel.” She was, however, unable to comment on reports that the U.S. had halted the sale of Hellfire missiles to Israel.

According to Harf, the increased scrutiny on weapons transfers is solely about additional “care” with the weapons being provided to Israel. “Given the crisis in Gaza, it’s natural that agencies take additional care to review deliveries as part of an interagency process,” Harf said. “That is by no means unusual and…does not indicate any change in policy.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

NJ Sen. Cory Booker Calls for Expansion of DOJ Probe into Ferguson Shooting

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on Thursday wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to expand the Department of Justice’s probe into the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker praised the DOJ’s decision to investigate the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, on Saturday. “However,” his letter reads, “given recent events, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice expand its probe to include a review of unnecessary infringement of the protected right to peacefully protest and the right of a free press.”

Booker’s letter comes after reports that police in Ferguson on Wednesday night used tear gas on protesters and arrested a pair of reporters.

Booker noted his own past, saying that through “personal experience in my own city I have come to learn the value of federal involvement.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →