Review Category : Poltics

Chris Christie Announces 2016 Presidential Campaign

ABC/Randy Sager(NEW YORK) — Chris Christie is running for president, his campaign announced in an e-mail to supporters Tuesday.

The New Jersey governor is expected to formally declare a candidacy for the White House at his alma mater, Livingston High School in New Jersey, later Tuesday, becoming the 14th Republican candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race. The tough-talking moderate Republican’s campaign slogan is: “Tell It Like It Is.”

On Saturday, Christie unveiled his presidential campaign site. A day later, a short video was posted showing a more personal side of the governor in a town-hall style setting.

“I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt and too direct and saying what’s on my mind just a little bit too loudly,” Christie says in the video. “I know if my mom were still alive, she would say to me, ‘I taught you that in a trusting relationship, you don’t hold anything back’.”

Christie’s decision to run for the presidency comes after months of speculation as to whether the governor would throw his hat into an already crowded field of GOP candidates.

In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll last month, 22 percent of Americans see Christie favorably, while 48 percent see him unfavorably.

After Tuesday’s announcement Christie will go on to campaign in New Hampshire for the rest of the week, making stops at a series of town hall meetings and diners, as well as an appearance at the Wolfeboro 4th of July Parade on Saturday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Chris Christie Set to Formally Declare Presidential Candidacy

ABC/Randy Sager(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will formally declare his candidacy for president of the United States Tuesday at his alma mater, Livingston High School in New Jersey, becoming the 14th Republican candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race.

Over the weekend, Christie unveiled a short video previewing his message.

“I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt and too direct and saying what’s on my mind just a little bit too loudly,” Christie says in the video. “I know if my mom were still alive, she would say to me, ‘I taught you that in a trusting relationship, you don’t hold anything back.’”

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll last month, 22 percent of Americans said they see Christie favorably, while 48 percent see him unfavorably.

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Former Iran Hostage Wants President Obama to Demand Apology for Americans Held in 1979

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — As the White House seeks a historic détente and nuclear deal with Iran, the 52 Americans held hostage by the Islamic regime back in 1979 are redoubling demands for a formal apology and compensation for their nightmarish ordeal.

“Not only have they not apologized. The taking of that [U.S.] embassy is still celebrated in Iran,” former hostage Rodney Sickmann, who spent 444 days in captivity, told ABC News. “We need to make sure that we show the rest of the world that if you do this to an American embassy, you will be held accountable.”

Sickmann and other survivors are imploring the Obama administration to insist upon a formal apology and compensation for their treatment as part of any agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. However, the White House has repeatedly said restitution for the hostages is not on the table in the discussions set to conclude in a few days.

“There are a whole host of issues on the side that are also priorities but that are separate from our ongoing efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told ABC News in April.

“Ultimately, the U.S. should insist on an apology,” Sickmann said in the interview. “For 444 days I had to live as a hostage, tied to a chair first 30 days, then locked in a room for the next 400. My freedom was gone. It was torture.”

On Nov. 4th, 1979, the United States embassy in Teheran was overrun by Iranians who Sickmann calls “terrorists,” describing abusive, humiliating and torturous circumstances for over a year. He and the other American captives were released Jan. 20, 1981, just minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.

“You regret not ever pulling that trigger when all this is happening to you, you think back to the morning I had a chance. I couldn’t have killed everybody but at least I would have given some satisfaction,” Sickmann told ABC. “But I did my job, I did what I was told to do which was to stand down. So stand down I did and now it is time for the US government to stand up and make sure that Iran is held accountable for what they did.”

The former hostages have found some allies on Capitol Hill, working on legislation in consultation with the State Department, that could potentially provide compensation from frozen or seized Iranian assets under U.S. sanctions. Congress has not yet approved any such proposal.

For more on Sickmann’s story and the harrowing tale of his detention in this ABC News Original Video.

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Michelle Obama Hints at Post-White House Work While Promoting Education Initiative

Photo by Kris Connor/ FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) — First Lady Michelle Obama said on Monday that she hopes to continue her work on the Let Girls Learn initiative, which promotes education for young women in third world nations, after she leaves the White House.

Obama, along with the Peace Corps, have secured funding from numerous international powers for projects that provide young women around the world with educational opportunities. The funding also helps to keep those girls in school despite “cultural barriers.”

“This is exactly the kind of work that I plan to do for my remaining time as first lady, and beyond,” Obama said at More Magazine’s Impact Awards luncheon at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum Monday.

Obama said that the initiative “can’t just be the work of government.”

In fact, the first lady says she sees herself in the women her initiative has helped, saying that she “wasn’t any smarter or more talented than they are.”

“Instead of having to work or support family, I got to go to school,” Obama said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Michelle Obama Hints at Post-White House Work While Promoting Education Initiative

Photo by Kris Connor/ FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) — First Lady Michelle Obama said on Monday that she hopes to continue her work on the Let Girls Learn initiative, which promotes education for young women in third world nations, after she leaves the White House.

Obama, along with the Peace Corps, have secured funding from numerous international powers for projects that provide young women around the world with educational opportunities. The funding also helps to keep those girls in school despite “cultural barriers.”

“This is exactly the kind of work that I plan to do for my remaining time as first lady, and beyond,” Obama said at More Magazine’s Impact Awards luncheon at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum Monday.

Obama said that the initiative “can’t just be the work of government.”

In fact, the first lady says she sees herself in the women her initiative has helped, saying that she “wasn’t any smarter or more talented than they are.”

“Instead of having to work or support family, I got to go to school,” Obama said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

NBC Ends Relationship with Donald Trump

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — NBC on Monday ended its business relationship with business mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In a press release, NBC cites Trumps “derogatory statements…regarding immigrants.” Trump said Mexican immigrants to the U.S. brought “drugs” and “crime” and included “rapists” when he announced his candidacy earlier this month. He also said that Mexico wasn’t sending its “best” people to the U.S.

In the wake of those comments, Spanish language channel Univision said it would not carry the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, ventures partially run by Trump. NBC made similar comments on Monday.

The NBC press release further says that Trump will not participate in “The Apprentice,” but that “Celebrity Apprentice” is licensed by United Artists Media Group, allowing that show’s relationship with NBC to continue.

Trump told reporters on Monday, following a speech in Chicago, that the relationship with NBA had to end “because my view on immigration is much different than NBC.”

An official statement from Trump’s campaign called NBC “weak” and said that “like everybody else is trying to be politically correct — that is why our country is in serious trouble.”

“If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court,” Trump’s statement read.

Trump concluded by ripping NBC for their willingness to “stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

How Obama Will Welcome a President He Spied On

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff learned in 2013 that the National Security Agency was listening in on her phone calls and reading her emails, she was none too pleased.

She canceled a long-planned state visit to the United States and used an address at the United Nations General Assembly to blast the United States for what she called a “totally unacceptable” violation of her country’s sovereignty and accused the United States of breaking international law.

But Monday night, over two years later, Rousseff will be wined and dined by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a private “working dinner” at the White House. It’s part of a two-day fence-mending trip and an opportunity for the two presidents to move beyond what the White House acknowledges as a “turbulent patch” between the Western hemisphere’s two largest economies.

The two leaders will participate Tuesday in a series of formal meetings and also hold a joint news conference.

Obama has found himself in this predicament often in the past two years as he has tried to restore relationships with key allies angry over the NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The president has repaired his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel with meetings, phone calls and even a beer after she expressed outrage about the NSA spying on her cellphone conversations.

Just last week, Obama called French President Francois Hollande to patch their relationship following reports the United States spied on him and his two predecessors. In the phone call, the president reiterated a commitment that the United States is “not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president.”

This will be the second meeting for Obama and Rousseff since the NSA spying revelations in 2013. They previously met on the sidelines of the Summit of Americas in Panama in April.

But even as the two leaders attempt to move beyond the spying that damaged their relationship, the White House won’t say whether Obama will formally apologize to Rousseff.

“We have not made it a practice to issue apologies related to our surveillance activities,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said during a conference call with reporters to preview Rousseff’s visit last week. “What the president has done is make changes based on our very thorough review of programs.”

Rousseff’s visit to the White House “signals the fact that we are moving forward in terms of our positive relationship” and will allow the two leaders to move forward on a number of “stalled” areas, Rhodes said.

The White House said the two leaders will discuss a wide range of topics, from climate change to trade, as well as defense and international cooperation. The two leaders will also discuss Cuba and Venezuela.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

President Obama Signs Trade Bills into Law

Official White House photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama signed two trade bills into law Monday, a victory for the president who faced embarrassing setbacks by members of his own party opposed to the measures.

“I think it’s fair to say that getting these bills through Congress has not been easy,” Obama said to laughter. “They’ve been declared dead more than once. They have inspired long and passionate debates and that’s entirely appropriate for our democracy. That’s how this country’s supposed to work. We’re supposed to make sure that we air our differences and then ultimately Congress works its will, especially on issues that inspire strongly held feelings on both sides.”

“This is a good day,” the president said. “I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to say at the end of the day that the trade agreements that come under this authorization are going to be improve the system of trade that we have right now and that’s a good thing.”

The bills give Obama “fast track authority” to secure a Pacific trade deal as well as provides assistance to workers. The president thanked his unlikely allies — House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — for working with him on the legislation.

As he signed the two bills, Obama seemed to relish the moment after spending weeks battling with members of his own party over the legislation.

“This is so much fun we should do it again,” he said.

“No thank you,” one of the men standing behind the president said.

“Well maybe not this particular piece of legislation,” Obama responded. “I do like signing bills though.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Hack Forces OPM to Shut Down System for Background Checks

Mike Levine(WASHINGTON) — Three weeks after U.S. authorities determined foreign hackers may have stolen sensitive government records tied to tens of millions of people, the Office of Personnel Management has now shut down the system at the center of that breach, essentially bringing to a halt the way federal agencies have conducted background checks for years.

According to an “alert” posted on OPM’s website Monday, the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing system — or “e-QIP” — “will be down for an extended period of time for security enhancements.”

“e-QIP allows the user to electronically enter, update and transmit their personal investigative data over a secure internet connection,” OPM’s website said.

As ABC News previously reported, the e-QIP system was one of several systems likely breached by hackers in China, and they stole forms — known as “SF-86” forms — submitted by federal employees and others seeking security clearances.

The forms require applicants to provide personal information not only about themselves but also relatives, friends and “associates” spanning several years.

The forms ask applicants about past drug use, financial history, mental health history and personal relationships. That type of information could be exploited to pressure or trick employees into further compromising their agencies, sources said.

ABC News previously reported the OPM hackers may have used information stolen last year from a private government contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions, to ultimately break into federal systems.

Each month, OPM “thwarts” an average of 10 million “intrusion attempts,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta recently said in testimony submitted to lawmakers.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Why Supreme Court’s Latest Ruling Could Have 2016 Implications

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court affirmed Arizona’s ability to appoint an independent commission to draw federal districts in a 5-4 decision Monday.

The Arizona legislature had filed suit against the state in an effort to get redistricting, which happens every 10 years, back under its control. That duty has fallen to the independent commission since 2000 when a state referendum passed in an attempt to get politics out of the redistricting process.

“The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering and, thereby, to ensure that Members of Congress would have ‘an habitual recollection of their dependence on the people,’” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion, quoting James Madison in the Federalist Papers. “In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’”

If the court had ruled the other way, it was possible that legislatures in Arizona and 12 other states that currently use nonpartisan redistricting methods, including California, could have had the opportunity to redraw districts as early as this summer because the decision would have rendered the 2010 districts invalid. Now, those 2010 lines stand.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →