Review Category : Poltics

Jeb Bush Says ‘Stuff Happens’ in Response to Gun Violence

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made an eyebrow-raising comment in the wake of the Oregon school massacre — saying “stuff happens” in response to a discussion about gun violence.

Bush called the shooting in Oregon “very sad,” but said he also had challenges that he faced during his tenure as governor of Florida.

“Look stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do,” Bush said at the Conservative Leadership Project in Greenville, South Carolina, referring to taking away rights.

At a press conference on Friday, President Obama was asked what he thought about the comment.

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one,” the president said. “I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgments based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting. And they can decide whether they consider that stuff happening.”

Gunman Chris Harper Mercer opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College Thursday, killing 9 people and wounding seven others. He later died in a gun battle with police.

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Trump Backs Out of Meeting After Concerns Over Questions, Hispanic Business Group Says

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has quietly backed out of a planned event with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce after the chamber says Trump found out that he would be asked about his plans to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the organization told ABC News.

The event, scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C., was part of the USHCC’s Presidential Candidate Q&A Session, which they have been holding with all presidential contenders throughout the past few months, including former governors Jeb Bush and Martin O’Malley, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

The group’s CEO, Javier Palomarez, met personally with Trump last month to secure the date for the Q&A, the organization said.

The cause of the withdrawal, according to the USHCC, which represents Hispanic-owned businesses, was that Trump didn’t like the format and worried about the questions and some reporters in attendance, according to Palomarez.

“Mr. Trump was unwilling to abide by the terms and conditions of the USHCC’s Presidential Candidate Q&A Series — the same rules that all participants have previously followed,” Palomarez said in a statement. “The USHCC refused to change the format of the forum, show any favoritism, exclude any issues or topics, or grant any immunity from objective scrutiny of his policies.”

Trump has repeatedly declared Hispanics would love him because he’d get jobs back in America, but the USHCC denounces the sudden withdrawal as showing a lack of respect towards Hispanics.

“Withdrawing from the Q&A can only suggest that Trump himself believes his views are indefensible before a Hispanic audience,” Palomarez said.

Questions for the session are often sent to candidates in advance. And while questions included issues such as jobs, the economy, women’s rights and national security, they also planned to address immigration and immigration reform, Palomarez said.

“As it relates to immigration, our objective was to refocus the national debate toward the more positive, fact-based, and economically sound narrative that the USHCC has been advancing for years, long before the 2016 election cycle,” Palomarez said. “With an 84 percent disapproval rating among Hispanics, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the session only deepens our community’s already negative perceptions of him.”

Trump acknowledged his planned attendance of the USHCC event during an interview with Geraldo Rivera in September.

“We don’t agree on everything certainly but I think I agreed to do some kind of luncheon or whatever down in Washington,” Trump said. Palomarez “is having the meeting down in Washington. So, I will be going down at some point in October or whatever. I will go to Washington. That won’t be that easy a meeting because you’ll have hundreds of people and they will have constituents of his and they may disagree with me but ultimately we will all get along.”

USHCC Communications Director Ammar Campa-Najjar told ABC News that the organization knew Trump was getting cold feet, but actually found out about the withdrawal from an inquiry they received from a media outlet.

One of the questions he was uncomfortable with included his plan on mass deportation, Campa-Najjar said.

“We were going to ask him about his own immigration plans. He cites undocumented immigrants get $4.2 billion a year in tax credits, yet estimates show his own plan to deport 11 million in two years would cost $400 billion,” Campa-Najjar explained. “These people have to live 100 years to incur the cost of his two-year plan and he was uncomfortable answering those questions.”

The Republican front-runner also was apparently uncomfortable with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos being in attendance, USHCC officials said.

Ramos was kicked out of a Trump news conference in August for trying to ask a question.

Trump backing out makes him the only candidate from either party to not participate in the chamber’s series. Currently, Sen. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton have agreed to take part in the series.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment by ABC News.

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Stalled Bills Aimed at Mass Shootings Flounder in Congress

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Obama expressed frustration that Thursday’s shooting in Oregon would likely not spur Congress to pass legislation geared at reducing gun violence.

“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said during his address from the White House briefing room Thursday night.

Congress’ last big push on big-ticket gun control legislation came in 2013, with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Va., responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut by crafting a bill that would have expanded background checks for online sales and gun shows.

But it still faced resistance from conservative groups and the National Rifle Association, and did not clear the Senate, nor was it expected to clear the Republican-controlled House.

Since Manchin-Toomey, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have continued to push new legislation, but all have been, at some point or another in the legislative process, become stalled.


A proposal from Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist by trade, would add psychiatric beds and improve access to mental health care across the country. The measure, which has bipartisan support and 128 cosponsors, was first introduced in 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newton. Before the Oregon shooting Thursday, Murphy wrote a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders urging them to take up the bill. “Congress will probably have another moment of silence when we get back next week, and I, like many Americans, will be sitting there extremely frustrated,” Murphy said in an interview with CNN on Friday, calling on Americans to contact their members of Congress.

Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., introduced a bill that would, in part, change medical privacy laws to help families have more information about mentally ill loved ones, in August 2015. Both senators had experienced mass shootings in their home states: a July shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater, and the Sandy Hook massacre. The bill passed Wednesday out of a key committee whose leaders urged the full Senate to take up the measure soon.


Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the number-two Senate Republican, introduced a bill in August backed by the National Rifle Association that would encourage states to send the FBI the records of at least 90 percent of the people they know have serious mental health issues. A Cornyn aide said he is working to line up co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle and is optimistic the House will introduce companion legislation.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., teamed up with his cousin, actress Amy Schumer, to introduce a bill in August that would create rewards for states that submit all necessary records into the background check system. They also called for the Department of Justice to write a report comparing all states’ standards for involuntary commitment for mental health issues. The Schumers’ push came after the Louisiana shooting that occurred at a showing of Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck.”

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., introduced legislation in August that would expand background checks to all gun sales and urge states to submit more records of prohibited purchasers to the National Instant Check System (NICS). Her bill “definitely the best example in our opinion of the opportunity to save lives by keeping guns out of the wrong hands and expanding background checks,” Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told reporters on a conference call Friday.

Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced background check legislation that has received bipartisan support, but not enough to make it through Congress. The measure would expand background checks to cover all commercial firearms sales. Gross said the bill doesn’t go as far as Speier’s bill “but would also do a lot of good.”

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Stepping Down

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — He’s one of President Obama’s longest serving members in the cabinet and now he’s stepping down.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Friday he will step down from his position in December, after serving for over seven years.

President Obama will formally announce the decision on Friday afternoon.

Duncan told staff in an email his position as education secretary was “the greatest honor of his life,” but he wanted to return to Chicago to spend more time with his family.

The former secretary will be replaced by Dr. John King Jr., one of his deputies.

Duncan was noted for his Race to the Top program, which had states compete for federal grant money as a way to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom.

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Mass Shootings Like Umpqua Lift Support for Gun Control, But Not for Long

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK)— Attitudes on gun control are equivocal, even conflicted.

Past heinous gun crimes haven’t shown much, if any impact, on these attitudes. After the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 15 dead, a Pew poll showed an 8 percent increase in people who favored controlling gun ownership. That swing was erased within a year.

Thirteen years later, the influence was even less noticeable after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 20 children died. Only 2 percent more people favored gun control, with that difference being reversed about 13 months later.

Most U.S. adults support some kind of stricter gun control, but most also are skeptical that such laws will reduce gun deaths, and most see gun ownership as a basic right. These are reasons the issue hasn’t gained higher priority in public attitudes.

In polling this past summer:

  • 88 percent of U.S. adults favored background checks “on all potential gun buyers.” (CBS)
  • 85 percent favored making private sales and gun show sales subject to background checks. (Pew)
  • 70 percent favored a government database to track all gun sales. (Pew)
  • But fewer — 52 percent — favored making gun laws more strict overall. (CBS)
  • 52 percent also thought stricter gun laws would do “a lot” or “some” to help prevent gun violence, but 47 percent thought they’d help “not much” or “not at all.” (CBS)
  • In other words, Americans, by 60-40 percent, said they thought stricter gun control laws would not reduce gun-related deaths, according to a CNN poll.
  • Americans, by 54-40 percent, said gun ownership does more to prevent crime victimization than to put people’s safety at risk. (Pew)
  • And the public is divided about evenly on whether it’s more important to protect gun owners’ rights or to control gun ownership, 47-50 percent. (Pew)

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Joe Biden Still Has About One More Month to Make Up His Mind

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden is still deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race — but how much longer can he go before he’s forced to make the leap?

The “maybe” candidate is benefiting from the speculation in the media for now, but filing deadlines to get on early primary ballots that could force the vice president’s hand are already right around the corner.

The first deadline for Democratic candidates — and perhaps the absolute moment of truth for Joe Biden — is just five weeks away: a Nov. 6 deadline to get on the Alabama ballot. The problem snowballs from there, as Biden stands to miss out on competing for hundreds of delegates if he waits into December, not to mention falling behind on fundraising and missing the first debates.

Pundits are split on how long Biden should — or could — wait to enter the race. People close to Biden say they don’t view the first debate in mid-October as a deadline. Pundits are also split on whether he should jump in soon to begin fundraising and building campaign infrastructure or continue to wait and see whether Clinton’s campaign continues to falter.

So how long is too long to avoid declaring his candidacy? The longer Biden waits, the more he’ll be in danger of missing three things: deadlines, debates and dollars.

Missing the Deadlines

The longer Biden waits to declare his candidacy, the more he’ll struggle to get on the ballot in early primary states.

Just five weeks remain until the first primary deadline on Nov. 6, when candidates need to pay a $2,500 fee and gather 500 signatures to get on the ballot in Alabama. Biden himself will need to sign a statement of candidacy form with the state party. Roughly 60 delegates — a small fraction of the total number of people who will elect the Democratic nominee at the convention next summer — are at stake there, although these delegate counts are yet to be finalized and could change.

So what if Biden opts to sacrifice the Alabama primary in favor of letting the clock tick?

Biden has only 72 hours until the next state deadline comes around: Arkansas. Biden stands to lose his portion of the state’s 37 delegates if he decides not to file by Nov. 9, digging himself further into a hole in the race for accumulating the most delegates. His next deadline comes less than two weeks later on Nov. 20, when candidates must pay a $1,000 filing fee to get on the New Hampshire ballot and vie for its 32 delegates.

Biden would stand to lose the most delegates yet if he hasn’t declared by the Nov. 30 deadline for the Florida primary, which has a whopping 245 delegates up for grabs. And if he waits one more day until after Dec. 1 to declare, he’d miss the deadlines for the primaries in Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, totaling another 229 delegates.

Waiting this long would bring the grand total that Biden doesn’t pursue to more than 600 of the 4,800 expected total Democratic delegates, digging himself a significant hole from which to come back and be competitive for the nomination.

Missing the Debate

If Biden wants to be onstage for the first Democratic presidential primary debate, CNN is leaving the door wide open. The Vice President has until the day of the debate, Oct. 13, to say he’ll run, CNN says, allowing him to declare his candidacy mere hours before air. Biden wouldn’t even have to fill out paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) beforehand.

And we know that debates matter: On the Republican side, 23 million people watched the second debate as Carly Fiorina rocketed herself into the top tier and Scott Walker fell into the basement.

The first Democratic debate will be one of only six chances that challengers to Clinton have to topple her frontrunner status, and giving one up could prove pivotal down the road. If Biden doesn’t declare before Oct. 13, he’d have to wait more than a month to participate in the next Democratic debate.

Missing the Dollars

Biden is also beginning to fall behind on fundraising, and the longer he waits, the larger the gap between him and the competition grows.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Super PACs raised a whopping $59 million before June, and Bernie Sanders raised almost $14 million in the same time period. Both campaigns announced Wednesday a combined $54 million in campaign fundraising since then.

Biden, meanwhile, isn’t allowed to raise any money for a campaign until he declares his candidacy. Draft Biden had raised only $86,000 by June, largely before speculation that he would run started swirling.

He’ll likely struggle to raise more money until donors are certain he’ll be in the race. And meanwhile, the remaining big donors who haven’t committed to Clinton are getting anxious to settle in with a candidate.

And the campaign cash isn’t the only thing he’s falling behind on. Clinton has built a massive campaign infrastructure with offices and staff, and Sanders is beginning to bulk up his operation. Waiting will require Biden to scramble to build his operation with limited time before the first caucuses and primaries.

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Kasich to Call for No-Fly Zones in Syria

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will call for the U.S. and its allies to designate no-fly zones in parts of Syria.

According to Kasich campaign spokesman Scott Milburn, Kasich will tie his announcement to Russia’s recent military action within Syria, noting concern over further escalation.

Kasich was scheduled to speak at a press conference in Concord, N.H., at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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Presidential Candidates Offer Support for Umpqua Community College Shooting Victims

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of a mass shooting Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a number of presidential candidates took to social media to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones.

According to ABC News affiliate KATU-TV, there were at least 7 people killed and 20 wounded in the shooting in Roseburg, the station said, citing Oregon State Police Lt. Bill Fugate.

The shooter’s identity has not been released, but police confirmed the shooter was male and is dead.

Jeb Bush was the first to take to Twitter to respond.

“Praying for Umpqua Community College, the victims, and families impacted by this senseless tragedy,” he tweeted.

Following her event in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton expressed disbelief.

“It is just beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again,” Clinton told the press. “And as I have said, we have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe. You know, I know there is a way to have sensible gun control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and save lives. And I am committed to doing everything I can to achieve that.”

She also tweeted, “Another devastating shooting. We need sensible gun control measures to save lives, and I will do everything I can to achieve that. -H”

Donald Trump told the Washington Post, the shooting was “absolutely a terrible tragedy.”

“It sounds like another mental health problem. So many of these people, they’re coming out of the woodwork,” Trump said, the Washington Post reported. “We have to really get to the bottom of it. It’s so hard to even talk about these things, because you see them and it’s such a tragedy.”

The former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, the first Democratic candidate to respond, also offered his thoughts.

He tweeted, “My heart is with those who lost so much today in Oregon. -O’M”

During a radio interview on Thursday with Hugh Hewitt, Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that the aftermath of the shootings would lead to more calls for gun control.

“Obviously there are going to be those calling for gun control but that happens every time we have one of these incidents. Obviously that’s not the issue,” Carson said. “The issue is the mentality of these people. And we need to be looking at the mentality of these individuals and seeing if there are any early warning clues that we can gather that will help us as a society be able to identify these people ahead of time.

“What I worry about is when we get to the point and we say we have to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are, and where their guns are,” he added. “That is very dangerous that I wouldn’t agree with at all.”

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President Obama Says Mass Shootings Have Become ‘Routine’ After Oregon School Massacre

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama lamented the fact that he was making comments about yet another shooting – this time at a community college in Oregon – saying the process has become “routine” for him and new families who mourn the loss of loved ones.

“There’s been another mass shooting in America,” the president said in the White House briefing room.

“There are more American families – moms, dads, children – whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief – and communities across the country forced to relive their own anguish and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their family or their children.”

“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that,” the president said in the White House briefing room.

The president said that just as his remarks on shootings have become routine, so too have the reactions from politicians and opponents of stricter gun regulations.

“Somebody somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue.’ Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic,” he said.

Rather than shying away from the political dimension to mass shootings, the president leaned in to it, saying that Thursday’s events were direct products of political decisions – those made by lawmakers and by those who elect them.

“We collectively are answerable to those families, who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said.

In a veiled reference to groups like the National Rifle Association which has opposed most of the president’s efforts to tighten gun purchasing laws, he urged firearms owners to reconsider their affiliation with the group.

“I would particularly ask America’s gun owners, who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, or protecting their families, to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you,” he said.

The shooting, which left at least 20 people dead and injured, according to the governor’s office, took place Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The identity of the 20-year-old shooter has not been released.

The president has said the failure to pass more stringent gun safety laws is one of the greatest frustrations of his presidency thus far.

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which, we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in July.

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Why Ben Carson Keeps Talking About Hitler

Mark Lyons/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Ben Carson has been talking about Hitler a lot lately on the campaign trail. Yes, Adolf Hitler.

The retired neurosurgeon and GOP front-runner is attempting to send a clear message to his supporters: Nazi Germany can happen in America.

“I’ve talked in the past about how the people in Nazi Germany did not agree with Hitler. A lot of them didn’t. But did they stand up? Did they say anything? No, they kept their mouths shut and look at the atrocities that occurred,” Carson said, speaking at Berean Baptist Church in North Carolina on Wednesday. “And some people think something like that can’t happen here but think again. Look at the world and all those examples of tyranny, it can happen here.”

He continued: “I mean if people don’t speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. That’s what I mean. That’s what facilitated [Hitler’s] rise.”

Carson’s campaign acknowledges the political perils associated with speaking of Nazi Germany and Hitler, and concedes that Carson should probably find a better example to make the same point.

“It’s an example [Carson] has been using for years and to be honest with you he needs to find a better example because the problem is as soon as you say Hitler, nobody hears anything else you say,” Campaign Manager Barry Bennett told ABC News. “Its just so evil, so contemptible, that no one can hear anything else.”

Bennett said that Carson is not really talking about Hitler or the Holocaust but rather “talking about how a general population kept their mouth shut.”

“The example is too powerful perhaps,” Bennett said referring to Carson’s rhetoric. “I think that he will find other ways to say the exact same thing.”

Carson himself acknowledged Wednesday that he probably shouldn’t draw the comparison between America and Nazi Germany, but did so nonetheless.

“You know I think back to Nazi Germany — and I know the politically correct police say you are not allowed to say Nazi Germany but I am going to say it anyway because I don’t care what they say,” Carson told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday. “And some people say ‘Oh nothing like that could happen in America.’ I beg to differ.”

Carson emphasized that he was not comparing President Obama to Hitler.

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