Review Category : Poltics

Sen. Bernie Sanders Attracts Some Democratic Voters in Iowa

US Senate(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only person to draw a large and boisterous crowd in Iowa over the weekend.

In a cramped church basement a few miles from downtown, a crowd of more than 400 sweltered through a 90-minute discussion Sunday night with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described “democratic socialist” independent senator from Vermont who’s considering a run for president as a Democrat.

They followed a handwritten sign – “BERNIE SANDERS, DOWNSTAIRS” – to an overflow gathering near a folded-up ping pong table that was emotional, loud, passionate, sweaty, and angry.

“There is a lot of anger out there,” Sanders said, his signature Brooklyn accent drawing hoots and cheers. “Our job is get [people] angry at the right people for the right reasons.”

Sanders and those who came out to see him touched on a dizzying array of concerns. Social Security, trade, corporate welfare, campaign-finance reform, climate change, college costs, single-payer health care, Wall Street greed, immigration reform, the Iraq War – they mixed to tell a story for Sanders and his followers where Republicans are definitely among the bad guys, but Democrats aren’t necessarily the good guys.

“The average person doesn’t perceive that the Democratic Party is standing up for the working people effectively,” Sanders said.

Clinton drew perhaps 20 times as many people a few hours earlier on Sunday, at her first Iowa visit in nearly seven years. But Sanders drew out far more passions. It felt like the mirror-image opposite of a tea party gathering, with similar righteous anger – and shots at the mainstream media – just with solutions that tack far left, not far right.

The display made clear that while Hillary Clinton may coast to the Democratic nomination, on a road that would start in Iowa, she won’t be able to do so without minding her left.

Sanders has said he’s visiting Iowa in part to decide whether he should run as a Democrat for president in 2016. But it’s not just about Sanders: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., continues to draw wide interest from Iowa voters, despite the fact that she’s said repeatedly that she’s not running for president.

Even in her appearance at Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa’s, annual fundraising steak fry, billed as Clinton’s big return to Iowa, Ready for Hillary supporters were met with Ready for Warren supporters.

“We weren’t really sure what the reaction would be today, but a lot of people have been coming by, taking shirts and signs and just saying we love Elizabeth Warren, we support her,” said Erica Sagrans, Ready for Warren’s campaign manager, who noted that even people with Ready for Hillary buttons had been stopping by their booth eager to sign up.

While the group’s presence, on the surface, was not nearly as noticeable at the steak fry –- with their roughly 100 volunteers, billboards, and their iconic giant bus, Ready for Hillary commanded all the attention — among Iowans, there was an emerging curiosity about Warren that was hard to ignore.

Donning a Ready for Hillary button prominently on her front jacket, one Iowan, Marcia Fulton, said she would vote for Clinton if she ran, but quickly noted she was also intrigued by other candidates who could relate more to what she called “the Iowa thing.” Specifically, she said, Elizabeth Warren.

“Oh, Elizabeth Warren. Wow. I love Elizabeth Warren,” Fulton gushed. “Warren is someone…I just want to follow her, anywhere.”

And this wasn’t a lone sentiment. Robert Lorr, who came to the steak fry from Ames, Iowa, said he’d be conflicted if both Clinton and Warren ran. Vicki Perry from Spirit Lake said while Clinton’s a “great choice,” she wants to see who else is going to get in the race.

Later that evening, those who came out to the Bernie Sanders event expressed a similar desire to expand the field beyond just Clinton.

“I don’t think we need a coronation of anybody,” said Des Moines resident Steve Gude, who admitted Sanders would have a hard time winning the party’s nomination, but likes that at the least he is pushing the conversation left.

While Iowa Democrats are no means against a Clinton run, there’s a subtle, but potentially bubbling air of hesitance in many of their endorsements. And some stronger than others.

“I think Hillary is over the hill,” said Garry Klicker at Sanders’ event on Sunday. “She’s a wonderful human being. I think she’s good, but she’s just been in too long.”

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US ‘Communicating’ with Adversaries Against ISIS but Not ‘Coordinating’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(PARIS) — Secretary of State John Kerry made clear during a roundtable with reporters in Paris on Monday that the U.S. is open to communicating with both Iran and Syria on their shared concerns regarding the ISIS extremist group, although he insisted it’s not “coordinating” with either of them.

But the administration does not appear to have a clear answer for when communicating ends and coordinating begins.

Kerry said that the U.S. isn’t planning military action with Iran, but he left the door open to other types of synchronization between the two countries.

“We’re not coordinating with Iran, but as I said, we’re open to have a conversation at some point in time if there’s a way to find something constructive,” he said.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf sought to explain the difference during Monday’s briefing: “We’re not going to be telling the Iranians what we’re doing. We’re not going to be coordinating actions with them. We’re not going to be sharing intelligence with them. We’ve made clear how people can be helpful, but again, we’re not going to be coordinating with them.”

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest called it a matter of where the U.S. and Iran’s shared interests are.

“There is a reason for us to have conversations with Iran on this topic, because we do have a shared interest in degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL,” he said, using an alternate name for ISIS. “I think the reasonable question that people have is, given Iran’s significant military capability and given their significant interest in the outcome here, is the United States going to coordinate with Iran as we move forward on this military strategy? The answer to that is, no, we are not.”

But as the U.S. ponders its military steps in Iraq and neighboring Syria, Kerry said on Sunday, during an interview with CBS, that the U.S. would “de-conflict” with the Assad regime in Damascus if necessary.

“Well, we’re not going to coordinate with the Syrians. We’ve made that very, very clear. But there are all kinds of ways of communicating to avoid mistakes or disasters and not — strike the word ‘disasters’ — there are all kinds of ways of avoiding bad things. And I’m not going to go into them, but we’re not going to coordinate,” he said.

When asked what Kerry could have meant by “de-conflicting,” Harf grew visibly frustrated.

“As [Kerry] said several times in that interview, we will not — it’s like I’m a broken record today — we will not be coordinating in any way with the Syrian government,” she said.

The reporter persisted, asking again.

“I think I just made clear what he meant. And we have to move on; I’m on a little bit of a tight time schedule today,” Harf said.

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Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam Veterans

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins endured 38 hours of relentless attacks, killed an estimated 175 enemy fighters, sustained 18 different wounds and evaded a tiger on the loose in the jungle of Vietnam in 1966.

On Monday, nearly half a century later, he was awarded the nation’s highest military honor by President Obama.

“This is strictly a humbling experience for me,” Adkins, now 80 years old, told reporters at the White House. “I want to dedicate this to the five soldiers who paid the ultimate price in this battle.”

During the wee hours of the morning on March 9, 1966, Adkins’ camp came under fire from a formidable North Vietnamese outfit. After learning his fellow soldiers were wounded, Adkins ran repeatedly into enemy fire, navigating through exploding mortar rounds to drag his comrades to safety.

Over the next 24 hours, Adkins continued to deflect enemy fire, fending it off as his camp’s perimeter was infiltrated. When they were ordered to evacuate, Adkins and a small group of soldiers dug their way out of a bunker and fought their way out. When they couldn’t reach an evacuation helicopter, Adkins led the group of surviving soldiers into the jungle, where they hid for 48 hours before being rescued.

“And after all they had been through, as if it weren’t enough, there was something more. You can’t make this up,” Obama said at a White House ceremony. “There in the jungle, they heard the growls of a tiger. It turns out, that tiger might have been the best thing that happened to Bennie…He says, the North Vietnamese were more scared of that tiger than they were of us.”

After the enemy fled, Adkins and his squad made their escape and were rescued the next morning.

Adkins went on to serve a third tour of duty and later earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees before founding an accounting service.

On Monday, he was one of two Vietnam veterans recognized at the White House in a ceremony the president admitted came too late.

“Normally this medal must be awarded within a few years of the action,” Obama explained. “But sometimes, even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the fog of war or the passage of time. Yet, when new evidence comes to light, certain actions can be reconsidered for this honor. And it is entirely right and proper that we have done so and that is why we are here today.”

The president went on to thank those whose persistence and research resulted in the two men finally getting the recognition they deserve.

U.S. Army Spc. Four Donald P. Sloat was honored for an astonishing act of self-sacrifice at the age of just 20.

On Jan. 17, 1970, when Sloat’s squad was serving as a blocking force for tanks and armored personnel carriers, the lead soldier tripped a wire connected to a hand grenade booby-trap. Sloat picked up the grenade and intended to throw it, but realized it was close to detonating.

“There were Americans in front of him and behind him, inside the kill zone. So Don held on to that grenade, and he pulled it close to his body, and he bent over it. And then, as one of the men said, all of a sudden there was a boom,” Obama said.

Sloat’s actions saved the lives of three of his comrades. On Monday, his brother accepted the Medal of Honor in his place.

“Over the decades our Vietnam veterans didn’t always receive the thanks and respect they deserved. That’s a fact. But as we have been reminded again today, our Vietnam vets were patriots and are patriots. You served with valor. You made us proud. And your service is with us for eternity,” the president said.

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Holder Unveils New Steps to Prevent Homegrown Terror

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the U.S. must do more to prevent homegrown terror with the rise of ISIS.

In a video message Monday, Holder says the country will begin new pilot programs to confront the threat.

“These programs will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders, and United States attorneys to improve local engagement, to counter violent extremism,” he says.

Holder says law enforcement is increasing outreach to Muslim communities in the U.S., hoping to detect terrorist threats before they emerge.

“We have established processes for detecting American extremists who attempt to join terror groups abroad,” he notes.

Overseas, Holder says the U.S. is working with partner nations and Interpol, hoping to track Westerners who have made the trip to Syria and Iraq, and flag them before they attempt to come home.

“Ultimately, the pilot programs will enable us to develop more effective and more inclusive ways to build a more just, secure, and free society that all Americans deserve,” he says.

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‘I’m Baa-aack!': Clintons Give Hillary’s 2016 Efforts an Unofficial Start in Iowa

John Moore/Getty Images(INDIANOLA, Iowa) — If and when Hillary Clinton runs for president again, history will record that her campaign began in all but name with a swarm of young and “ready” activists, stage-managed banter about grilled hunks of Iowa meat, and a concession that she’s “thinking about” what she referred to only as “that other thing.”

“Hello Iowa — I’m baa-aack!” Clinton told a crowd of more than 6,000 gathered to honor the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on a field outside Des Moines.

“I’ve got a few things on my mind these days,” Clinton added, drawing rising applause from the group of Democratic activists. “First and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild watch.”

She said she just might have to sprint off the stage if Chelsea goes into labor, and added: “Then of course — there’s that other thing. Well it is true, I am thinking about it. But for today, that is not why I’m here. I’m here for the steak.”

Framed by a giant American flag, a few tractors, and bales of Iowa hay, Clinton’s speech doubled as a tribute to a retiring liberal stalwart and an initial reintroduction to Iowa’s party faithful.

Her calls for populist Democratic policies and elected Democrats who can help in “moving America forward” received polite, though only occasionally enthusiastic, applause.

Harkin, the event’s host, offered to build on the “Comeback Kid” nickname Bill Clinton famously earned in 1992, after he exceeded expectations in the New Hampshire primary.

“President Clinton and Hillary Clinton are now the ‘Comeback Couple,'” Harkin said.

There was nothing approaching an announcement of candidacy, of course, and no hints about a timeline. Both Clintons parried questions about whether their appearance at an Iowa institution like the Steak Fry means the former secretary of state is running for president again.

“It’s great to be back in Iowa,” Hillary Clinton told reporters who swarmed near her after her designated time behind the steak grill.

Peppered with questions about 2016, she rolled her eyes for dramatic effect.

“This is about the people running right now — 2014,” she said.

But the former president couldn’t help but effuse when asked about the “Ready for Hillary” volunteers who crisscrossed the Steak Fry grounds, about 20 miles outside Des Moines.

“Just like Energizer Bunnies. They’re everywhere,” Clinton said.

Pressed by ABC News on whether his wife would disappoint those supporters by not running, the former president spoke loudly with his no-comment.

“I will not be baited. I cannot be baited,” he said. “I’m waiting to be a grandfather, and I want a happy grandmother.”

Clinton’s appearance drew more than 6,000 Democratic activists — and more than 200 journalists — for the 37th and final Harkin Steak Fry, held on the grounds of the annual National Hot Air Balloon Championships.

As Clinton’s first visit of the year to an early-voting state, the event offered a glimpse of what a potential second Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would look like, with all its strengths and weaknesses.

Conversations with a range of attendees revealed more acceptance than eagerness about another Clinton campaign.

Virtually all said they’d likely support Clinton. But several attendees offered up other potential Democrats — notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — as people they’d like to see run as well.

Clinton was the only potential 2016er to attend the Steak Fry, which has historically been a proving ground for Democrats in advance of the Iowa caucuses. Yet the Clintons spent little time mingling with possible caucus-goers; they arrived via motorcade at the back of the sprawling field, and even their few moments of grilling time was fenced off from the press and attendees.

Clinton’s challenges in Iowa are a microcosm of the broader obstacles she could face in a second presidential candidacy. She needs to turn around memories of a dysfunctional and ultimately doomed effort to connect one-on-one with voters in the state that kicks off the presidential process.

In 2008, Clinton finished an embarrassing third in the Iowa caucuses, behind Barack Obama and John Edwards — a result she called “excruciating” in her book. Now, should she run, Clinton needs to find a way to look forward, when at least part of her appeal is based on looking back.

The Democratic Party, too, is in a different place than it was in the pre-Obama era. Harkin, the day’s host, spoke of the broader angst inside the party on the eve of the event. He told ABC News that he and fellow liberals are “always nervous about people moving too far to the right.”

“So where is Hillary on that?” Harkin was asked in an interview that aired on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

“Well I don’t know,” Harkin said. “I mean, I think this is something that will be developed and we’ll find out when, if she, if she decides to run. You know, what’s her vision for America?”

Cathy Jaschke, a 66-year-old Medicare specialist from Ankeny who attended the Steak Fry, said she’s concerned that the sense of inevitability surrounding Clinton’s candidacy could once again hurt her in Iowa.

“People think it’s a given, and that could be a problem,” said Jaschke, who said she supported Bill Richardson and then John Edwards in the 2008 caucuses. “It’s expected. It’s not something you can get on and get excited over.”

But the event in Indianola also showed off the considerable advantages her candidacy would enjoy. The Clintons themselves traveled with few staffers and no formal campaign apparatus, but they didn’t need an entourage: The quasi-grassroots organization Ready for Hillary took care of the organizing necessary to make her appearance look like a major political event.

Ready for Hillary bused in supporters from six colleges and universities, an implicit response to those who remember her failure to attract the fervor of young voters nearly seven years ago.

The group’s bus — bought and wrapped with pro-Hillary slogans in Iowa — was parked at the Steak Fry entrance. More than 300 volunteers milled the grounds, slapping bumper stickers on cars whose drivers welcomed the additions, and adding names to the group’s growing database.

The baby-blue signs that lined the event site read simply, “Ready,” as if the “for Hillary” part is no longer necessary to convey the mission. Organizers said that’s intended as a message that Democrats are as interested in 2014 as they are 2016 — and to remind Clinton herself that she has a campaign army in waiting.

“The message to her, that she’s been getting wherever she travels, is, ‘We’re ready for you,'” said Adam Parkhomenko, Ready for Hillary’s executive director and a cofounder of the group. “If you decide to run, there’s going to be thousands of people who have your back.”

A few other potential candidates, notably Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have showered money on Iowa candidates this year.

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Iowa Wednesday, and liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is mulling a run for president as a Democrat, made a weekend stop in the state that included events both before and after the Clintons were in Iowa on Sunday.

But there’s no Obama-like figure anywhere on the Democratic horizon these days, leaving Hillary Clinton as the far-and-away frontrunner.

Harkin called it a “joy and honor” to welcome two people who “have become a part of our Iowa Democratic family,” and he closed his final speech at the event with the warmest of tributes to his former colleague.

“There are many more chapters to be written in the amazing life of Hillary Clinton,” Harkin said.

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‘I’m Baa-aack!': Clintons Give Hillary’s 2016 Efforts an Unofficial Start in Iowa

John Moore/Getty Images(INDIANOLA, Iowa) — If and when Hillary Clinton runs for president again, history will record that her campaign began in all but name with a swarm of young and “ready” activists, stage-managed banter about grilled hunks of Iowa meat, and a concession that she’s “thinking about” what she referred to only as “that other thing.”

“Hello Iowa — I’m baa-aack!” Clinton told a crowd of more than 6,000 gathered to honor the retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on a field outside Des Moines.

“I’ve got a few things on my mind these days,” Clinton added, drawing rising applause from the group of Democratic activists. “First and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild watch.”

She said she just might have to sprint off the stage if Chelsea goes into labor, and added: “Then of course — there’s that other thing. Well it is true, I am thinking about it. But for today, that is not why I’m here. I’m here for the steak.”

Framed by a giant American flag, a few tractors, and bales of Iowa hay, Clinton’s speech doubled as a tribute to a retiring liberal stalwart and an initial reintroduction to Iowa’s party faithful.

Her calls for populist Democratic policies and elected Democrats who can help in “moving America forward” received polite, though only occasionally enthusiastic, applause.

Harkin, the event’s host, offered to build on the “Comeback Kid” nickname Bill Clinton famously earned in 1992, after he exceeded expectations in the New Hampshire primary.

“President Clinton and Hillary Clinton are now the ‘Comeback Couple,'” Harkin said.

There was nothing approaching an announcement of candidacy, of course, and no hints about a timeline. Both Clintons parried questions about whether their appearance at an Iowa institution like the Steak Fry means the former secretary of state is running for president again.

“It’s great to be back in Iowa,” Hillary Clinton told reporters who swarmed near her after her designated time behind the steak grill.

Peppered with questions about 2016, she rolled her eyes for dramatic effect.

“This is about the people running right now — 2014,” she said.

But the former president couldn’t help but effuse when asked about the “Ready for Hillary” volunteers who crisscrossed the Steak Fry grounds, about 20 miles outside Des Moines.

“Just like Energizer Bunnies. They’re everywhere,” Clinton said.

Pressed by ABC News on whether his wife would disappoint those supporters by not running, the former president spoke loudly with his no-comment.

“I will not be baited. I cannot be baited,” he said. “I’m waiting to be a grandfather, and I want a happy grandmother.”

Clinton’s appearance drew more than 6,000 Democratic activists — and more than 200 journalists — for the 37th and final Harkin Steak Fry, held on the grounds of the annual National Hot Air Balloon Championships.

As Clinton’s first visit of the year to an early-voting state, the event offered a glimpse of what a potential second Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would look like, with all its strengths and weaknesses.

Conversations with a range of attendees revealed more acceptance than eagerness about another Clinton campaign.

Virtually all said they’d likely support Clinton. But several attendees offered up other potential Democrats — notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — as people they’d like to see run as well.

Clinton was the only potential 2016er to attend the Steak Fry, which has historically been a proving ground for Democrats in advance of the Iowa caucuses. Yet the Clintons spent little time mingling with possible caucus-goers; they arrived via motorcade at the back of the sprawling field, and even their few moments of grilling time was fenced off from the press and attendees.

Clinton’s challenges in Iowa are a microcosm of the broader obstacles she could face in a second presidential candidacy. She needs to turn around memories of a dysfunctional and ultimately doomed effort to connect one-on-one with voters in the state that kicks off the presidential process.

In 2008, Clinton finished an embarrassing third in the Iowa caucuses, behind Barack Obama and John Edwards — a result she called “excruciating” in her book. Now, should she run, Clinton needs to find a way to look forward, when at least part of her appeal is based on looking back.

The Democratic Party, too, is in a different place than it was in the pre-Obama era. Harkin, the day’s host, spoke of the broader angst inside the party on the eve of the event. He told ABC News that he and fellow liberals are “always nervous about people moving too far to the right.”

“So where is Hillary on that?” Harkin was asked in an interview that aired on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

“Well I don’t know,” Harkin said. “I mean, I think this is something that will be developed and we’ll find out when, if she, if she decides to run. You know, what’s her vision for America?”

Cathy Jaschke, a 66-year-old Medicare specialist from Ankeny who attended the Steak Fry, said she’s concerned that the sense of inevitability surrounding Clinton’s candidacy could once again hurt her in Iowa.

“People think it’s a given, and that could be a problem,” said Jaschke, who said she supported Bill Richardson and then John Edwards in the 2008 caucuses. “It’s expected. It’s not something you can get on and get excited over.”

But the event in Indianola also showed off the considerable advantages her candidacy would enjoy. The Clintons themselves traveled with few staffers and no formal campaign apparatus, but they didn’t need an entourage: The quasi-grassroots organization Ready for Hillary took care of the organizing necessary to make her appearance look like a major political event.

Ready for Hillary bused in supporters from six colleges and universities, an implicit response to those who remember her failure to attract the fervor of young voters nearly seven years ago.

The group’s bus — bought and wrapped with pro-Hillary slogans in Iowa — was parked at the Steak Fry entrance. More than 300 volunteers milled the grounds, slapping bumper stickers on cars whose drivers welcomed the additions, and adding names to the group’s growing database.

The baby-blue signs that lined the event site read simply, “Ready,” as if the “for Hillary” part is no longer necessary to convey the mission. Organizers said that’s intended as a message that Democrats are as interested in 2014 as they are 2016 — and to remind Clinton herself that she has a campaign army in waiting.

“The message to her, that she’s been getting wherever she travels, is, ‘We’re ready for you,'” said Adam Parkhomenko, Ready for Hillary’s executive director and a cofounder of the group. “If you decide to run, there’s going to be thousands of people who have your back.”

A few other potential candidates, notably Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have showered money on Iowa candidates this year.

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Iowa Wednesday, and liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is mulling a run for president as a Democrat, made a weekend stop in the state that included events both before and after the Clintons were in Iowa on Sunday.

But there’s no Obama-like figure anywhere on the Democratic horizon these days, leaving Hillary Clinton as the far-and-away frontrunner.

Harkin called it a “joy and honor” to welcome two people who “have become a part of our Iowa Democratic family,” and he closed his final speech at the event with the warmest of tributes to his former colleague.

“There are many more chapters to be written in the amazing life of Hillary Clinton,” Harkin said.

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Is Iowa Ready for Hillary? Sen. Tom Harkin Still Has Questions

United States Senate(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be headlining Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual Steak Fry on Sunday, but the longtime progressive senator indicated that shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement should she decide to run for president in 2016.

Harkin, who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate and was hosting his last annual Steak Fry, said progressives should raise questions about Clinton’s foreign policy and economic positions.

“As someone who has carried the liberal, progressive populist banner for many years, we’re always nervous about people moving too far to the right,” the Democratic lawmaker told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for This Week. “See we, a lot of us believe the center ought to be moved back, that the center has moved too far right.”

Clinton is making her first trip to Iowa since 2008 for the signature political event that attracts thousands of Iowans, politicos and Democratic hopefuls seeking state and nationwide exposure. She was to headline the event with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Asked where Clinton’s positions fell on the political spectrum, Harkin responded, “Well, I don’t know, I mean I think this is something that will be developed and we’ll find out when, if she, if she decides to run. You know, what’s her vision for America?”

When asked if he had “real questions” about Clinton’s stances on issues, Harkin said, “I do about everybody” considering a run for the White House.

He added that President Barack Obama’s positions have been less progressive than he had hoped they would be.

“I must be frank with you, I thought Barack Obama was a great progressive and a great populist and quite frankly, I haven’t, some things have happened that I don’t agree with,” Harkin said.

And while most eyes on Clinton this weekend are reading signs for what her return trip to Iowa means for her 2016 presidential prospects, Harkin said Clinton’s trip will have more impact on the 2014 midterm elections, as she and former President Clinton begin hitting the campaign trail for Democrats facing tough election battles.

“She wants to focus on 2014 and how we can keep the Senate and elect some key people around the country, so she’s going to be out there working hard,” Harkin said.

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Sen. Gillibrand: If Goodell Lied, ‘He Has to Step Down’

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, has tentatively added her voice to the rising chorus calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s resignation in the wake of the Ray Rice incident.

“If he lied, then he has to step down,” Gillibrand said on the latest episode of the ESPN-ABC News podcast “Capital Games.”

“What I’ve said up till now is, I expect Roger to create a zero tolerance policy and change the NFL, but … you can’t lie to the American people about the facts,” she said.

According to the senator, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose name has been bandied about as a possible Goodell replacement, “would make a great NFL commissioner, just based on her talent, her intelligence, her love of the sport.”

Appointing Rice commissioner would ignite the NFL’s female fan base and give the league a fresh perspective on issues with which it has long struggled. Choosing Rice would be not only a symbolic gesture, but a functional one as well.

“You know, we always fight for breaking every glass ceiling … But it’s more than just a message. Women often bring to leadership a different style of leadership, one that often is more focused on consensus building, often more focused on transparency and accountability,” Gillibrand said.

“I think what Condi or any other strong, capable woman could bring to the NFL is probably a voice they haven’t been hearing, and one that would do great, great benefit to the organization,” she added.

ESPN analyst and former NFL executive Andrew Brandt echoed Gillibrand’s contention that Rice should not be merely a token candidate.

“Would she be on the list if there wasn’t a Ray Rice issue, if he was retiring as commissioner would she be on the list? For her I would say yes,” Brandt said, adding that Rice has “impeccable credentials, impeccable integrity.”

“Sports are still considered a male-dominated thing,” acknowledges Julie Foudy, a former Olympian and World Cup champion. “I still think, with all the strides we’ve made with Title IX and the number of girls that are playing, the hardest area to break into is the professional game …. It’s a constant challenge.”

As for drawing the line on domestic violence: “I don’t buy the argument that you should do it because your fan base is women,” Foudy says. “Do it because it’s the right damn thing to do!”

The relationship between sports and politics is a reciprocal one, Gillibrand says.

“If you play sports, particularly competitive sports, you learn … your job is to hit your best shot, and your opponent’s going to hit his or her best shot against you as well. And it doesn’t mean anything, it just means you have to stay tough, stay focused, and know why you’re in the game,” she said on “Capital Games.”

“There’s an indicator, when they look at these things, that says if a woman’s played competitive sports, she might be more likely to run.”

Whether or not they play competitive sports, “I want women and girls to believe in themselves just as much as men and boys do. I want them to trust their own power … not just for their own sense of self, but for all of us,” Gillibrand says in her new book, Off the Sidelines. “Girls’ voices matter. Women’s voices matter. From Congress to board meetings to PTAs, our country needs more women to share their thoughts, and take a place at the decision-making table.”

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GOP Weekly Address: ‘State Is Under Attack from the Federal Government’

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — Congressional candidate Andy Tobin, R-Arizona, delivered the weekly Republican Address on Saturday, speaking strongly about the importance of “putting people first” and ending an “attack from the federal government.”

Tobin, currently the Speaker of the Arizona House, pointed the finger at “overregulation” and federal debt and ObamaCare for the imbalance of power taxpayers experience compared to the government.

Calling the existing gridlock in Washington “disappointing,” Tobin spoke about the “good-faith effort” being given by Republicans and accused Democrats of avoiding votes, specifically noting the Democratic failure to pass their immigration bill. “They’re more worried about losing their Senate majority than the concerns of the American people,” Tobin said.

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Hello, I’m Andy Tobin. I serve as Speaker of the Arizona House, and I’m the Republican candidate for Arizona’s First Congressional District.

Before I begin: we have had terrible flooding in our state this week. At least two Arizonans died. Our hearts go out to their families, and our thanks go to the first responders. Their service inspires us always.

I’m running for Congress for a simple reason: our state is under attack from the federal government. Day after day, the powers-that-be in Washington try to bury us in more regulations and more havoc. This has to stop. Not just here, but everywhere people are working harder only to have Washington take more of their money and more of their freedom.

How do we restore the balance of power for hardworking taxpayers?

Well, one thing we can do is go after overregulation. Here in rural Arizona, the EPA’s mandates threaten to shut down the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-powered plant that is vital to our state’s economy. These mandates will mean higher water and electricity prices for Arizona residents. They also threaten the viability of this plant, putting hundreds of jobs in jeopardy. Instead of perpetrating a war on coal, Washington should be protecting coal, protecting these jobs, and supporting American energy.

Second, we need to repeal ObamaCare. I run a small business involved in employee benefits, so I’ve seen firsthand the rate increases, and the way this law is crushing businesses and pushing people into part-time work. It’s also costing our seniors money they don’t have and doctors they’ve relied on for years. Let’s start over and focus on ideas that lower costs and put the patient back in charge.

Third, we need to get ourselves out of all this debt. It’s a drag on our economy and investment, and it’s not something we should be passing on to our kids. Not too long ago, our state was one of many caught in the grip of recession and a budget crisis. Working together, we turned things around. Cut government by 25 percent. Balanced the state’s budget. And passed the largest tax cuts in our state’s history, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Now we’re moving in the right direction, building a better future for our children and their children.

And you know how we got it done? By finding common ground, making the tough choices, and recognizing that Arizona would only recover if we all recover.

That’s why the gridlock in Washington is so disappointing. You have Republicans making a good-faith effort, bringing real ideas to the table to help our economy, but Senate Democrats won’t give them a vote. They didn’t even pass their own bill to help us deal with the crisis at our border. They’re more worried about losing their Senate majority than the concerns of the American people.

I’ve dedicated my life to serving others. It was instilled in me as the son of a police officer. To get America back on track, we need to put the people first, be their voice, especially for parts of the country like rural Arizona that have been forgotten by Washington.

Thank you for listening. May God bless Arizona and the United States of America.

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Rep. Mark Sanford Splits With Argentine ‘Soul Mate’

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Mark Sanford has decided to “call off” his engagement to the Argentine “soul mate” he had a intercontinental, extra-marital affair with as governor in 2009.

The announcement of the split with Maria Belen Chapur was buried in a 2,349-word Friday Facebook post responding to the complaint filed by the South Carolina Republican’s ex-wife, Jenny, in Charleston County Family Court Sept. 2.

“No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement,” Sanford, 54, wrote in the post. “Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything.”

Sanford also said in the post that he would hire a lawyer for his Sept. 15 court date.

The former two-term governor proposed to Chapur, who he had seen in secret for more than a year, in Argentina in 2012.

“Belen is a remarkably wonderful woman who I have always loved and I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever warm and kind spirit,” Sanford wrote Friday.

Sanford’s congressional office declined to respond to the letter, while Jenny Sanford did not immediately respond to ABC’s requests for comment.

In 2009, then-Governor Sanford went AWOL from South Carolina, claiming he was hiking, then admitting that he’d been away having an affair with Chapur. Sanford returned to politics in a successful bid for South Carolina’s First Congressional District in 2012. He had served in the Congress from 1995-2001.

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