Review Category : Poltics

John Kerry Says the Americas Entering ‘Transformative’ Era

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry says that the Americas are entering a new era of economic, political and social change.

“It is in fact a transformative moment for the Americas. And we are determined to deliver on the strategic and historic opportunities that together we can create,” he said Tuesday morning, speaking at the State Department during the Conference of the Americas.

Kerry said the U.S. is committed to continuing its partnerships and growing democracy in the region.

“To succeed we must do more to empower the people of our hemisphere in education, technology, open governance and innovation,” he said.

Kerry added, “To build and defend democracy is our shared mission. Now more than ever before in my lifetime, people of the Americas are truly united in that cause.”

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Majority of Community College Presidents Not Optimistic About Free Tuition for All

Photos.com/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — One of President Obama’s top goals before leaving office is to create a system whereby studying at a community college would be free for two years to anyone interested in enrolling at a local school.

The idea, called “America’s College Promise,” proposes three-quarters of the funding would be covered by the federal government, and states would pay for the remaining 25 percent. Students would have to attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA or better, and remain enrolled.

Asked by Inside Higher Ed, with Gallup Education, whether such a proposal is feasible, fewer than four in ten of 213 community college presidents surveyed believe that states would go along with the plan, even after receiving federal assistance.

The college presidents also expressed concern about for-profit colleges, with 38 percent acknowledging that they’re losing students to these institutions.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of the respondents say there is a workforce skills gap in their communities. Close to nine in 10 have started programs with local businesses to address this problem.

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Colorado Lawmaker Proposes Medical Marijuana Use at School

Gabriel Eckert/iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — A Colorado lawmaker says it’s time that children who are prescribed medical marijuana be allowed to use that marijuana at school.

The push began when a school in Jefferson County, Colorado, told a 14-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy and relies on a cannabis patch along with low-THC oil to treat muscle spasms that he could no longer have access to his medication on campus because it was marijuana.

State Representative Jonathan Singer wants medical marijuana administered the same way as drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

“If we can do this for heavy narcotics we can certainly do it for medical marijuana,” he said.

Singer is now working on a proposal that would change the law to allow children access to prescribed medical marijuana at Colorado schools.

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Two Senators Briefed on Clinton Cash Book Before Release

Andre Nantel/Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — At least two senators – Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky – have been briefed on the Clinton Cash book, ABC News has learned.

Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told ABC News he was briefed by the book’s author, Peter Schweizer, two or three weeks ago. The briefing was conducted in Corker’s Senate office and consisted of a slideshow presentation.

Corker said he was the only lawmaker in the briefing, and it was not conducted through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Somebody sent me an e-mail and said that, you know, that he was in town and thought it would be worth my while to listen,” Corker said. “It was just me.”

Asked about the contents of the briefing, Corker only said, “I saw it, he seemed like he had done a lot of research, and but I don’t have any comment beyond that.”

Senator Rand Paul was also briefed on the book, but his aides repeatedly declined to provide any information about who conducted the briefing, what was said, where it was conducted, etc.

On Sunday, The New York Times wrote that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were briefed on the book, leaving many wondering who exactly was briefed.

“Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which includes Mr. Paul and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have been briefed on the book’s findings, and its contents have already made their way into several of the Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns,” the NYT wrote.

ABC News reached out to all of the senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and only Corker and Paul confirmed they were briefed. Five Republicans and five Democrats on the committee said they did not receive a briefing.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest defenders in the Senate, said any briefing “was clearly partisan in nature.”

“Today’s New York Times reported that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were briefed on the latest anti-Hillary Clinton book. As the longest serving member of the Committee, I was never briefed on the book and I know of no other Democrats on the Committee who were briefed on it,” Boxer said. “So if there was a briefing, it was clearly partisan in nature.”

“This is just another vicious, partisan and unfounded attack on Hillary Clinton,” she added.

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Star-struck Obama Honors OSU Buckeyes

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama seemed to get a little star-struck on Monday as he honored the Ohio State University Buckeyes for winning the first-ever college football playoff national championship.

After lauding the “character and characters” of the team, the president was working the room and shaking hands when he spotted two famous Buckeyes.

“Hold on a second, Archie Griffin is here!” the president exclaimed when he noticed the former running back and football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in the audience.

Obama urged Griffin up on stage to take a photo with him and that’s when the sports-fan-in-chief eyed Cris Carter.

“Wow, Cris Carter!” he said, calling over the Hall of Famer, who looked equally starstuck to be meeting Obama.

The three then posed for a photo, but not before a few members of the team gave Carter an assist, wiping the sweat from his brow and straightening his tie.

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White House Doesn’t Deny Reports of Preferential Treatment for Clinton Foundation Donors

TylerFairbank/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House on Monday declined to deny the allegations that Clinton Foundation donors were given preferential treatment by the administration while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

“I know there’s been a lot of accusations made about this, but not a lot of evidence,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing. “The president continues to be extraordinarily proud of the work that Secretary Clinton did as the Secretary of State. But for the details of some of those accusations, I’d refer you to Secretary Clinton’s campaign.”

“I’m not going to be in a position here where every time somebody raises a spurious claim, that I’m going to be the one sit down here and say that it’s not true,” Earnest explained to ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Earnest noted that the administration and the Clinton Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding before Clinton took the helm of the State Department in 2009, saying it went “above and beyond the ethical guidelines that the federal government previously had in place.”

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Could Loretta Lynch Confirmation for Attorney General Be Coming Soon?

Ramin Talaie/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Will the Senate finally confirm Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general?

It all depends on whether Republicans and Democrats are able to resolve their differences on the anti-human trafficking bill.

Over the weekend, senators hinted they have made progress in the trafficking logjam that has held up Lynch’s nomination.

It has been over five months since she was nominated to replace Attorney General Eric Holder — the longest delay for an attorney general nominee in modern history.

Last week, Jeb Bush advocated for confirming Lynch — a position that put him at odds with many Republicans in the Senate. His argument: the longer you wait to confirm Lynch, the longer Eric Holder is in office.

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Poll Finds Chris Christie Losing Popularity with New Jersey Voters

ABC/ LOU ROCCO(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s reputation has suffered over the last year, and a new Quinnipiac poll out Monday has the data to prove it.

His approval rating in New Jersey is down to 38 percent, and voters in his home state — 65 to 29 percent — say that Christie would not make a good president, according to the poll. That’s the baseline from which Christie is working to rebuild himself toward presidential credibility.

There were flashes of the old Christie — the blunt style that wins converts — during his recent trip to New Hampshire. And there are plenty of pro-Christie strategists ready to make the case that others with less magnetism than the New Jersey governor have used New Hampshire to resuscitate campaigns. But it sure was crowded in the Granite State the last few days, with New Hampshire hosting the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit over the weekend.

Christie, of course, has a job to do back in Trenton, New Jersey, too — even as he awaits indictments in the Bridgegate scandal.

There may yet be a comeback path for the New Jersey governor, but it’s going to take a long while yet to materialize. After all, John McCain didn’t have to compete for attention with a dozen other viable candidates.

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Hillary Clinton Faces Questions About Foreign Donations

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A new book is raising questions about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, by Peter Schweizer, takes a close look at the tens of millions of dollars in donations that the foundation received and highlights the speaking fees that Bill Clinton received while Hillary was secretary of state.

The book, out next month, charges that those donors got favors in return for their contributions.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is clearly worried about this, says ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. They are portraying it as a partisan hit job, pointing out that the author is a former Bush speech writer, he says.

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Sen. McCaskill Says Clinton ‘Most Qualified,’ Marco Rubio ‘Folded Like a Cheap Shotgun’

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) — Senator Claire McCaskill, an early endorser of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in 2016, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Sunday that Clinton is “the most qualified” person “to be a champion for working families in this country.”

McCaskill defended Clinton’s record in regards to the email controversy that has embroiled the former secretary of state in recent months. “I think most Americans understand that this has turned into a political exercise,” she said, “Benghazi has had more hearings, more documents produced, more investigative effort than the entire Iraq war.”

“And at this point,” McCaskill argued, “it’s pretty clear that she implemented all the recommendations of an independent review, she has answered all of the questions.” As for the House Select Committee, which continues to ask Clinton for more answers, the Missouri senator said that “they are really getting into dangerous territory where it becomes blatantly obvious that this is just about politics and not about policy.”

McCaskill echoed others, saying that neither she nor Clinton want to see the former secretary of state undergo a coronation ahead of the 2016 election. “Anyone can challenge Hillary Clinton if they would like to,” noted McCaskill, “the reason people aren’t challenging her is because of her qualifications.”

Raddatz also questioned McCaskill’s endorsement of Clinton, considering the senator endorsed Barack Obama instead of Clinton in 2008.

“That was a tough choice,” McCaskill admitted. “I am glad I don’t have that kind of tough choice this time. This is not a hard choice. And I don’t think it will be a hard choice for America.”

On a weekend where many possible GOP candidates gathered in New Hampshire and took shots at Clinton’s campaign, McCaskill cracked a joke at the expense of Marco Rubio, who also announced his candidacy last week.

“The minute Rush Limbaugh criticized him, he folded like a cheap shotgun,” McCaskill said about Rubio’s stance on immigration reform. “That’s old politics. That’s not what we need right now. That is the stalest trick in the book.”

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