Review Category : Poltics

“Boston Globe” Backs Charlie Baker for Mass. Governor

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Newspapers across the country endorsed candidates this weekend, but perhaps no choice was more surprising than The Boston Globe backing of Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley in the bright blue Bay State of Massachusetts.

Remembered for her loss to Scott Brown in 2010, it looks like this year the very same thing could happen to the gubernatorial candidate now being called Martha “Choke-ly.”

The Globe says they endorsed Baker because during this campaign he “has focused principally on making state government work better” and the “emphasis is warranted.” They also note his split from the national Republican Party on social issues.

In their editorial, The Globe describes Coakley’s “assessment of the status quo” as “fundamentally upbeat.” They also noted her “campaign up to now suggests an odd reluctance to seize the initiative” and said during her primary she was “unwilling to spell out an issue agenda” — all reasons they say they went with Baker.

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Senator Wants Auto Makers to Reveal Secret Settlements

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., took his recent criticism of federal highway safety regulators to the next level Sunday calling for an end to secret legal settlements, saying they delay solutions to potentially deadly problems on America’s roadways.

The senator has been critical of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration over its handling recalls related to defective airbags. Reports have linked automotive supplier Takata to four deaths and many more injuries over 10 years because its airbags can improperly deploy, turning the metal housing into shrapnel.

Honda was aware of the problem as early as 2004 and settled lawsuits with injured drivers on the condition that the victims could not reveal the terms of their agreements, a common term in settlements.

“If the public were aware of the lawsuits that are brought, if they were settled in open view, available to the public, there would be much quicker and more vigorous action to end the defects that lead to these horrendous crashes and exploding airbags, in this case,” Blumenthal told ABC’s Chief Global Correspondent Martha Raddatz Sunday on This Week.

Blumenthal, with Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., proposed legislation earlier this year to force manufacturers to publicize litigation and settlements when consumers sue them for alleged misdeeds that implicate public safety. That bill, the Sunshine in Litigation Act, was referred to committee in May.

Such disclosure provisions are not part of new legislation that Blumenthal is currently sponsoring to strengthen safety oversight of the auto industry.

The new bill would overhaul the NHTSA, the government’s watchdog for the auto industry, housed within the Department of Transportation. An overhaul is necessary, Blumenthal argued on This Week, to root out what he calls a “culture of capture” in which regulators trust the manufacturers they oversee.

“There are times when a good working relationship is fine,” Blumenthal said about the NHTSA’s relationship with auto manufacturers. “But there are also times when the relationship has to be confrontational, not collegial.”

Earlier this week, Blumenthal wrote a letter, with Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., to NHTSA director Anthony Foxx, criticizing NHTSA for not stepping in earlier to force wide recalls of the defective airbags, for issuing an incomplete list of recalled models, and for allowing manufacturers without enough replacement airbags to simply disconnect the defective ones, leaving drivers without the protection of the required safety equipment.

The senator expanded on this last critique on This Week.

“Disabling the airbags is of very questionable legality,” he said. “In fact, I’d argue it is blatantly illegal without a finding from the Secretary of Transportation that there’s a basis for this exemption.”

Blumenthal said NHTSA should require that auto manufacturers offer loaner vehicles to drivers affected by the recall.

Automakers have recalled about 7.8 million vehicles in connection with the defective airbags just this year.

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Bill Clinton: Gender and Racial Politics ‘Greatest Threat’ to Country’s Future‏

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former President Bill Clinton warned Saturday night that despite great gains for the gay and transgender community, the lines of gender and race in politics could still cast a shadow in the years ahead.

Clinton was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual black tie dinner Saturday night. And as Hillary Clinton continues to lay the groundwork for a possible presidential run of her own, the leading lobby for gay and transgender rights represents a strong Democratic constituency profoundly affected — both positively and negatively — by his time in the Oval Office.

“I believe that in ways large and small, peaceful and sometimes violent, that the biggest threat to the future of our children and grandchildren is the poison of identity politics that preaches that our differences are far more important than our common humanity,” he told the crowd of activists, celebrities, and lawmakers.

The head of the Human Rights Campaign is himself a former veteran of the Clinton White House.

Buoyed by recent legislative victories for their cause, the HRC has been trying to expand its focus into formerly unreachable areas, including the rural and religiously conservative Deep South, and overseas.

Clinton, recollecting the Human Genome Project of his administration, had this advice for the volunteers heading into new territory: “When the HRC goes to Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama, and you see the first person who cusses you out, just remember we’re 99 and a half percent the same.”

Clinton also noted that at his recent high school reunion — he attends every year — he learned a close childhood friend had finally wed their partner.

The president’s years in office were not completely rosy ones for the gay community — stymied by the creation of the now-defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military, and his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act. That signing was politically expedient at the time, because the law passed Congress with wide enough margins to overcome a presidential veto. Facing reelection, Clinton also feared losing the right-leaning rural Americans that had helped propel the former Arkansas governor into office.

Clinton spent 17 years first defending, then inching away from the decision. His evolving position came full circle last year, when in an editorial published in the Washington Post, the man who signed the Defense of Marriage Act called for its overturn in the Supreme Court.

Should Hillary Clinton run for president, that reluctant history is likely to provide ammunition to a challenger from the left.

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke briefly in a surprise visit to the dinner. Holder, who will leave behind a reputation of civil rights activism in office, trumpeted the Justice Department’s announcement Saturday that the agency would expand recognition of same-gender marriage licenses to an additional six states, bring the total of those recognized by the Obama administration to 32.

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Rep. Michael McCaul: ISIS Waging War Online; Recent Homegrown Attacks Examples of ‘Where They’re Winning’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on This Week that ISIS is waging a war against the West online, with three attacks this week against law enforcement and military personnel – two in Canada and one in the United States – serving as examples of “where they’re winning.”

“I think all the markings are there of radical Islamist ties,” McCaul said of the Thursday New York City subway attack, in which an unemployed recent Muslim convert – identified by authorities as 32-year-old Zale Thompson – attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet in broad daylight, striking one in the head before being shot and killed by police.

New York police said Friday that Thompson appears to have been self-radicalized on the Internet watching videos of ISIS and al Qaeda.

“This is the profile of the enemy within: self-radicalization within the United States,” McCaul told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “We worry a lot about ISIS traveling overseas from Syria to the United States, but I think one of the greatest fears are those already within the United States who are being radicalized and inspired by the ISIS propaganda that’s out there on the Internet.”

The attack came just a day after the deadly rampage in the Canadian capital when another 32-year-old Muslim convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, put the city of Ottawa on lockdown after he allegedly killed a soldier who was guarding Canada’s National War Memorial and then stormed the Canadian parliament building. On Monday, another Canadian soldier was killed when his car was run off the road by a man boasting ties to ISIS.

“They are waging a campaign of war against the West and the United States, and these are three examples just last week of where they’re winning,” McCaul said of the attacks.

McCaul said because these homegrown violent extremists – so-called “lone wolves” – are inspired from overseas but often act alone, it is not easy to track them down.

“These are people in a basement being radicalized over the internet,” McCaul said on This Week. “They’re not mentally all that sound. They’re really one of the most difficult to stop. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

But McCaul said one solution is to intervene on the local level. “What I would urge is we have greater community involvement within the mosques,” he said, noting that radical behavior noticed in a mosque should be reported to local law enforcement, who could work with the FBI.

“Remember Tamerlan Tsarnev, the Boston bomber, got literally kicked out of his mosque, and yet there was no reporting of that at that time,” McCaul said. “Had there been, just maybe we could have stopped that particular bombing from happening.”

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Rep. Michael McCaul: ISIS Waging War Online; Recent Homegrown Attacks Examples of ‘Where They’re Winning’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on This Week that ISIS is waging a war against the West online, with three attacks this week against law enforcement and military personnel – two in Canada and one in the United States – serving as examples of “where they’re winning.”

“I think all the markings are there of radical Islamist ties,” McCaul said of the Thursday New York City subway attack, in which an unemployed recent Muslim convert – identified by authorities as 32-year-old Zale Thompson – attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet in broad daylight, striking one in the head before being shot and killed by police.

New York police said Friday that Thompson appears to have been self-radicalized on the Internet watching videos of ISIS and al Qaeda.

“This is the profile of the enemy within: self-radicalization within the United States,” McCaul told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “We worry a lot about ISIS traveling overseas from Syria to the United States, but I think one of the greatest fears are those already within the United States who are being radicalized and inspired by the ISIS propaganda that’s out there on the Internet.”

The attack came just a day after the deadly rampage in the Canadian capital when another 32-year-old Muslim convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, put the city of Ottawa on lockdown after he allegedly killed a soldier who was guarding Canada’s National War Memorial and then stormed the Canadian parliament building. On Monday, another Canadian soldier was killed when his car was run off the road by a man boasting ties to ISIS.

“They are waging a campaign of war against the West and the United States, and these are three examples just last week of where they’re winning,” McCaul said of the attacks.

McCaul said because these homegrown violent extremists – so-called “lone wolves” – are inspired from overseas but often act alone, it is not easy to track them down.

“These are people in a basement being radicalized over the internet,” McCaul said on This Week. “They’re not mentally all that sound. They’re really one of the most difficult to stop. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

But McCaul said one solution is to intervene on the local level. “What I would urge is we have greater community involvement within the mosques,” he said, noting that radical behavior noticed in a mosque should be reported to local law enforcement, who could work with the FBI.

“Remember Tamerlan Tsarnev, the Boston bomber, got literally kicked out of his mosque, and yet there was no reporting of that at that time,” McCaul said. “Had there been, just maybe we could have stopped that particular bombing from happening.”

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GOP Weekly Address: US Needs ‘New Energy to Keep Our Country Strong’

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s GOP Address, Will Hurd, who is running for representative of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, critiques the Obama administration and says he wants “to get this mess in Washington cleaned up once and for all.”

Looking forward, Hurd says the country needs new energy to stay strong.

Hurd says the government should “clean up the mess of debt and waste by balancing our budget and simplifying our tax code” and “reduce the burdens on middle class families and small business owners who are trying to achieve the American Dream.”

Read the full transcript of the GOP address:

“Good morning.

My name is Will Hurd.

My hope is to be elected representative of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.

Because, like you, I want to get this mess in Washington cleaned up once and for all.

For too long, we’ve had an administration in DC that spends too much and listens too little, that thinks the answer to every question is more government. But when we can’t trust that government to protect our economy … secure our borders … to provide basic services to our veterans, we know something has to change.

Now, the president expects you to go to the polls and stick with the people who have stuck with him. To stick with the politicians who helped him push through ObamaCare…who helped him block solutions that would create jobs.

“These are all folks who vote with me,” he said.

But don’t we want representatives who vote with us? Don’t we want to send to Washington leaders who will take on the tough issues and focus on getting things done?

I’ve been in real fights – as an overseas officer in the CIA, I witnessed folks struggling for freedom and stared down those trying to end our way of life.

And working in the private sector trying to help companies compete, I see how our government is threatening our economic security.

We need to clean up the mess of debt and waste by balancing our budget and simplifying our tax code.

We need to reduce the burdens on middle class families and small business owners who are trying to achieve the American Dream.

We need to ensure our ability to be energy independent.

And we need to make border security, countering drug traffickers and fighting cyber criminals all national priorities.

It is time we come together to do these things.

America doesn’t need more politicians who vote in lock step with the president. We need new energy to keep our country strong, at home and abroad.

Fellow Texans and Americans, this is the opportunity we face in ten days time. This is our moment.

Let’s stand together and take our government back from the bureaucrats in Washington and put the power where it belongs: in the hands of the people.

Thank you for listening.”

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Hillary Clinton Showers Elizabeth Warren With ‘Love’

State Department(BOSTON) — Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both stumped for Massachusetts governor candidate Martha Coakley on Friday, and one thing was clear: Hillary hearts Elizabeth.

“I love watching Elizabeth,” Clinton gushed about the populist Massachusetts senator. “You know, give it to those who deserve to get it. Standing up not only for you, but people with the same needs and same wants across our country. It’s a great pleasure to be here in a state that has such tremendous tradition of leadership.”

Clinton called Warren a “passionate champion for working people and middle class families.”

However, the two did not appear on stage together at the rally, and there’s been speculation both might consider a run in 2016, even though Warren has denied it. Clinton has not announced whether she will run.

Warren was also kind to Clinton, but not nearly as effusive.

“I’m happy to welcome Secretary Clinton back to the commonwealth,” Warren said. “We love it.”

Warren seemed to downplay their relationship in a recent interview with People.

“We have talked. It’s not much more than that,” Warren told the magazine. “Not much more.”

They did, however, exchange stories about their grandchildren backstage.

“Backstage before we came on, Governor (Patrick Deval) and Senator Warren were trading grandchild stories. I don’t even have a month’s worth of stories,” Clinton said. “Looking at the smile on Elizabeth’s face and the excitement on Deval’s face, I thought when all is said and done that’s what this is supposed to be about.”

Clinton used the anecdote to introduce a line that has become a staple of her 2014 campaign speeches: “How do we give the best future we can to every single child? You should not have to be a grandchild of a governor, a senator, a secretary of state to have the same opportunity that we were given in previous years.”

Both Clinton and Warren have been busy this fall campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates. On Sunday, Warren will be on the campaign trail in New Hampshire and on Wednesday, Clinton heads to Iowa.

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James Foley Honored with Award at US Institute of Peace

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — James Foley, the first journalist beheaded by ISIS, was honored with an award for extraordinary courage.

Former President Clinton nominated Foley for the award, which was presented at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

Foley’s father, John, said, “This is recognition of Jim’s courage. His sacrifice and his love of his fellow man his fellow captives, and we couldn’t be more proud to be his parents.”

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Ebola-Free Nurse Nina Pham Visits President Obama

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) — Before returning to her “normal life” in Texas, newly Ebola-free Dallas nurse Nina Pham got a hug from President Obama in the Oval Office.

Hours earlier, Pham had walked out of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where she has been in isolation since Oct. 16, to a round of applause. She thanked everyone who cared for her since her Oct. 11 Ebola diagnosis, and said she would finally go home to her dog, Bentley.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” she told reporters, adding that she hopes to return to her “normal life.”

Pham, 26, contracted Ebola from Liberian national Thomas Duncan, who flew to the United States in September and was diagnosed with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Pham, a nurse there, cared for Duncan when he was especially contagious. He died on Oct. 8, and she tested positive for the deadly virus three days later.

It was the first Ebola transmission on U.S. soil.

“I am on my way back to recovery even as I reflect on others who have not been so fortunate,” Pham said, reading from her prepared statement at the press conference.

Pham’s colleague, nurse Amber Vinson, 29, also tested positive for the virus on Oct. 15, and was flown from Dallas to Emory University Hospital later that night. The following day, Pham was flown to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Dallas hospital’s request.

At the news conference announcing Pham’s discharge, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said she tested negative for Ebola five times, and that it wasn’t clear which treatment saved her because they were all experimental.

“I want to first tell you what a great pleasure and in many respects, a privilege …to have the opportunity to treat and care for and get to know such an extremely courageous and lovely person,” Fauci said, adding that she represents the health care workers who “put themselves on the line”

He said he wore Pham’s nursing school colors for the press conference in her honor.

“I’m going to miss Nina a lot,” Fauci quipped at the end of the conference, adding that he gave her his cellphone number.

Pham also thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, the American missionary who had been treating Ebola patients in Liberia when he contracted the deadly virus in late July. Brantly was declared virus-free in September and has donated plasma to Pham and other American Ebola patients in the hopes of boosting their ability to fight the virus with his antibodies.

Pham’s dog, Bentley, was taken to an animal shelter following her diagnosis. He has tested negative for Ebola, but his 21-day incubation period isn’t over until Nov. 1. They will likely reunite a few days later.

Vinson’s family announced on Oct. 22 that she, too, tested negative for the virus at Emory.

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