Review Category : Poltics

Scott Walker Talks Foreign Policy at The Citadel

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will lay out his foreign policy agenda in a speech at The Citadel, a military college in the early voting state of South Carolina.

Walker is making the case that the U.S. strategy in the Middle East needs to be expanded from its focus on defeating ISIS to also include a more aggressive stance against Iran, which he says is a Shiite form of Islamic terrorism.

“Over the last seven years, we have seen far too much of this delusion and wishful thinking,” Walker will say in his speech, according to advance excerpts released by his campaign.

“To believe that a stable and lasting Middle East can be built by working with Iran, any more than by working with ISIS, isn’t statesmanship. It’s pure fantasy,” he’ll say.

Walker has long said that he would terminate a nuclear deal with Iran on day one as president and is also calling for “lifting the political restrictions” on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, which would allow them to take a more active combat role.

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Cruz and Trump Plan Joint Event in September

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are taking their cozy relationship to a new level. The two are now going to appear at an event together.

Cruz’s campaign said they invited Trump to participate in a rally against the Iran Deal that will take place Sept. 9.

Trump broke the news of the joint event at a campaign stop in South Carolina Thursday, saying, “We are talking to Ted Cruz, a good guy and friend of mine about doing something very big in Washington over the next two weeks.”

It’s the latest friendly gesture between the two presidential candidates. They’ve publicly praised each other in the past and Cruz is one of the few GOP candidates to steer clear of bashing Donald Trump.

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President Obama to Pitch Iran Deal in Live Webcast to Jewish Americans

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Amid President Obama’s ongoing lobbying effort to gain sufficient Congressional support to approve the Iran nuclear deal, the president Friday will make his pitch directly to the North American Jewish community in a live webcast organized by two major Jewish organizations.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also held a webcast with the Jewish American community and made the case against the deal, arguing that it will only help to pave the way for Iran to obtain a bomb.

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Bill Clinton Sought State Department OK for Paid Speeches Related to North Korea, Congo

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for the Starkey Hearing Foundation(WASHINGTON) — ABC News has obtained State Department e-mails that shed light on Bill Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements and show he and the Clinton Foundation tried to get approval for invitations related to two of the most repressive countries in the world — North Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

While Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, Bill Clinton earned speaking fees around the globe totaling more than $48 million — speeches that had to be vetted by the State Department to ensure there were no conflicts of interest with his wife’s work as America’s top diplomat. These newly revealed emails show speech requests that the State Department refused to approve.

The emails — which have come to light because of a public records request by the conservative group Citizens United, which sued the State Department to get the documents — show just how far Bill Clinton was willing to go to earn those lucrative fees — seeking approval for appearances with ties to two of the most brutal countries in the world.

One email sent in June 2012 to Clinton State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills from Amitabh Desai, a foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, passed on an invitation for a speaking engagement in Brazzaville, Congo.

The catch? The dictators of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would both be attending — and required photos with Bill Clinton. The speaking fee? A whopping $650,000.

The Harry Walker Agency, which worked with Clinton on coordinating his speeches, recommended declining the invite, noting the particularly grim human rights record of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its leader, Joseph Kabila.

“Given President Kabila and others invovlement [sic] we anticipate you’ll want us to quickly decline” the Harry Walker representative wrote.

The speaking agency’s vetting of the Democratic Republic of the Congo noted the “prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern Congo is widely described as the worst in the world.”

Desai forwarded the e-mail to Mills and other State Department employees, including long-time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, asking for state’s opinion on whether Bill Clinton could do the speech but give the money to the Clinton Foundation.

“WJC wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation,” Desai wrote using Clinton’s initials. “We’d welcome your thoughts.”

A second email thread in May 2012 shows another potentially thorny event — subject line: “North Korea invitation.”

“Is it safe to assume [the U.S. Government] would have concerns about WJC accepting the attached invitation related to North Korea?” Desai wrote in an e-mail to Mills and two other State Department officials — Jake Sullivan, then-director of Policy Planning Staff and deputy chief of staff, and Michael Fuchs, then a special assistant to the secretary of state who now serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Mills two-word response? “Decline it.”

But the Clinton Foundation followed up three weeks later, saying the invite came via Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham.

“We would be grateful for any specific concerns that we could share,” Desai wrote. “Tony is seeing WJC in a couple hours.”

Mills wrote back to tell Bill Clinton, “If he needs more let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line.”

There is no further explanation of what the North Korea related event entailed in the documents provided to Citizens United by the State Department.

The Office of President Clinton confirmed to ABC News that the former president did not deliver either of the speeches.

“As a matter of course, all requests were run by the State Department. Ultimately, the president did not give these speeches,” Angel Urena, press secretary in the Office of President Clinton, told ABC News.

The Clinton spokesman contends Desai was not “pushing” for these speeches, but he was just seeking the facts.

ABC News reached a friend of the family speaking for Rodham who declined to comment on the nature of the North Korea invitation.

Prior to his wife’s confirmation as secretary of state, Bill Clinton volunteered to submit information for proposed paid speeches to the Department of State’s ethics agency to “review for any real or apparent conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.”

Hillary Clinton defenders are likely to point to the emails as an example of the system set up by the Clintons working. Speaking requests were sent to the State Department, which had the final word.

Still, the exchanges open a rare window on the private communications between aides to the former president, the Clinton Foundation, and Secretary Clinton’s State Department during the four-year period that Hillary Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat. Those relationships and communications have drawn political scrutiny in recent months, with Republicans pouncing on episodes of potential conflicts of interests.

Bill Clinton delivered 215 speeches totaling over $48 million in the four years Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

This is the first batch of e-mails released as part of the public records requests originally submitted by Citizens United back in 2014. Earlier this year, the organization filed a lawsuit after the State Department failed to provide the e-mails. The State Department delivered the material to Citizens United last week, and more messages are expected to come in the next month.

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Words People Most Associate with 2016 Candidates

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — “Crook,” “weak,” “joke” are just a few of the words that voters said when Quinnipiac University asked them the first word that pops into their heads when they think of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.

Quinnipiac asked 1,563 voters and reported only the words that were said at least five times.

So what do voters really think of the 2016 presidential frontrunners? Here are the answers:

Hillary Clinton — ‘Liar’

Clinton can’t shake the reputation that she’s hiding something.

The word “liar” was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. Some of the other top words voters said to describe the former secretary of state were “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” and “criminal.”

The two issues the GOP argues why Clinton’s unfit to hold office — “Benghazi” and “email” — topped the list as well. Also, her husband’s first name, Bill, came up 56 times by voters.

The poll, released on Thursday, shows Clinton is still leading among Democratic voters, but is down from 55 percent in late July to 45 percent, with Bernie Sanders gaining on her. Thirty-four percent of voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

Donald Trump — ‘Arrogant’

“Arrogant” was said 58 times for Trump — who’s still leading the GOP pack with 28 percent support. Other words were “blowhard,” “idiot,” and “clown.” Other words pointed to Trump’s successful career when he’s not out on the campaign trail: “businessman,” “rich,” and “money.”

Jeb Bush — ‘Bush’

Bush can’t escape his family name.

As much as Bush insists he is his own man and tries distancing himself from the two former presidents in his family, voters think otherwise. Ironically, “Bush” is the top word that 136 people related to the former Florida governor. Voters also frequently answered “family,” “brother,” “George” and “dynasty” when asked to say immediately what comes to mind when they think of Jeb Bush.

“War” — mostly likely referring to the Iraq War — was brought up 10 times. “Weak” was also mentioned 45 times. In Quinnipiac’s national poll, Bush is tied with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for 7 percent of support.

Other Notable Answers

A few profanities were mentioned for Clinton and Trump. “Hair” was also mentioned eight times for Trump. Bush was associated with the word “boring” 10 times.

It wasn’t all bad; voters did connect some positive words with these three candidates.

Clinton was hailed as “qualified,” “strong,” and “intelligent.” Trump was thought of as “bold,” “interesting,” and “successful.” Most likely given that Trump has never held office before, voters also associated the word “change” with Trump. For Bush, “honest” was mentioned 73 times, along with “nice” and “trustworthy.”

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President Obama Marks Decade of Katrina Recovery in New Orleans

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) — President Obama marked a decade of recovery after Hurricane Katrina, touring New Orleans on Thursday not only to get a first-hand look at the progress made after the storm destroyed the city, but also to encourage its residents to achieve “real change.”

“If Katrina was initially an example of what happens when government fails, the recovery has been an example of what’s possible when government works together,” President Obama said during remarks at a community center in New Orleans Thursday afternoon.

While the president acknowledged the government’s challenge to rebuild the region’s infrastructure in the wake of the disaster, he stressed that “real change” to social and economic barriers is “even harder” to attain.

“It takes courage to experiment with new ideas and change the old ways of doing things. That’s hard. Getting it right and making sure that everybody is included, and everybody has a fair shot at success — that takes time. That’s not unique to New Orleans. We got those challenges all across the country,” he said.

But President Obama credited the people of New Orleans as an inspiration to him as he shares that message over the duration of his presidency.

“I’m here to hold up a mirror and say because of you, the people of New Orleans working together, this city is moving in the right direction,” he continued. “I have never been more confident that together we will get to where we need to go. You inspire me.”

The trip is President Obama’s sixth visit to New Orleans, and his ninth trip to Louisiana as President in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, the president took aim at congressional Republicans, noting that he expects lawmakers to pass a budget next month that doesn’t include any extraneous policy riders or threaten to shut down the government.

“Our economy has been moving and continues to grow, and unemployment continues to come down, and our work is not yet done, but we have to have that sense of steadiness and vision and purpose in order to sustain this recovery so that it reaches everybody and not just some,” President Obama said. “It’s why we need to do everything we can in government to make sure that our economy keeps growing.”

“That requires Congress to protect our momentum, not kill it,” he warned. “Congress needs to fund America in a way that invests in our growth and our security and not cuts us off at the knees by locking in mindless austerity or short-sighted sequester cuts to our economy or our military.”

Congress must pass a bill to fund the government by September 30 or the government could shut down for the second time in two years.

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2016 Candidates Respond to the Virginia Shooting

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The 2016 field of presidential candidates highlighted their various positions on gun control on Thursday while offering prayers and support in the wake of a shooting in Virginia that took the lives of two television journalists.

Other prominent shootings have prompted strong reactions from both sides — calls for stronger gun control from the left and calls to respect the Second Amendment from the right.

Vester Flanagan, described by authorities as a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ, shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward while they were on the air Wednesday morning.

When Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was asked this morning on CNN whether he would do something different with gun policy, he said he would not.

“I don’t think I would because this is really a sick person. This isn’t a gun problem. This is a mental problem,” he said. “That’s what they should be focusing on instead of guns — they should be talking about mental health because there’s so many things that can be done.”

He went on to call himself a “Second Amendment person,” adding that the shooting in Virginia was “horrible” and “a very sad commentary on life.”

But the real estate mogul has changed his tune since writing his book in 2000. “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in “The America We Deserve.”

On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton vowed to continue her support for gun control after the tragic shooting.

“Heartbroken and angry. We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer. Praying for the victims’ families in Virginia,” tweeted Clinton.

“But I will also reiterate we have got to do something about gun violence, and I will take it on,” she told reporters in Ankeny, Iowa, on Wednesday. “If we had universal background checks, if we could just put some time out between the person who’s upset because he got fired or domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this, maybe we could prevent this kind carnage.”

While Joe Biden considers whether to jump into the 2016 race, Clinton’s strongest competition right now, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, referred reporters to his previous statements on gun control, which have been criticized by the left for being too moderate.

“I am saddened by the senseless deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward,” tweeted Sanders. “Jane and I have their families and friends in our thoughts.”

“We can’t have people demagoguing against folks just because they go out and hunt and they own guns,” he said on ABC News’ This Week in late June. “On the other hand, rural America has got to understand that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has not gotten traction in the polls and is struggling to regain the spotlight, pointed to President Obama as a source of the problem.

“Well, first off, the deaths are an awful tragedy but let’s focus on what the real problem is,” he said on Fox and Friends Thursday morning. “We’re not enforcing law in this country. … This president and this administration hasn’t enforced them.”

Other Republican candidates, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, expressed their support on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday.

“What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them, whether it was with a gun or a knife or a bomb,” Rubio said in New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe. “What has happened to us as a society that we now devalue life to such a level? What has happened in our society that people have become so violent? That’s the fundamental question we need to confront.”

Neurosurgeon and GOP candidate Ben Carson expressed a similar sentiment on CNN Wednesday night. “People are the problem, not so much guns,” he said. “People use knives, people use bats, people us hammers to bludgeon people to death. I don’t hear anybody talking about taking those things away.”

Other candidates, including Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Huckabee, continued to offer their support on social media.

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Obama in New Orleans to Mark 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama is in New Orleans on Thursday to observe the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

President Obama spoke at a community center in New Orleans where he talked about the rebuilding process and what had been done so far. He told the audience the project of rebuilding New Orleans wasn’t just to restore the city as it had been, it was to build a city as it should be.

“A city where everyone — no matter what they look like, how much money they got, where they come from, where they’re born — has a chance to make it,” said the president.

The city was devastated by the Category 3 hurricane when it slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005. Levees failed and flooded the city to the point where pundits questioned whether the Big Easy would ever come back.

In all, nearly 2,000 people died and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged in New Orleans.

The president criticized the previous administration’s handling of the event.

“We came to realize that what started out as a natural disaster became a man-made disaster, a failure of government to look out for its own citizens,” said President Obama.

He also said the recovery effort can be applied to other disasters, such as the recovery for Hurricane Sandy.

“If Katrina was initially an example of what happens when government fails,” said the president. “The recovery’s been an example of what’s possible when government works together.”

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Donald Trump’s Campaign Co-Chairman Blasted Trump While Working for Rick Perry

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump’s new national co-chairman Sam Clovis, who recently defected from Rick Perry’s campaign, sent emails as recently as two months ago questioning Trump’s Christian faith and condemning his comments about John McCain, according to emails obtained by ABC News.

Sam Clovis, while serving as Perry’s Iowa chairman, wrote in an email titled “Faith and Our Candidates” that that one candidate’s comments “reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal.”

“Of all the potential candidates who spoke, one of them left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs,” Clovis wrote.

Clovis’ emails were originally reported by the Des Moines Register, but ABC News has independently obtained copies and confirmed they came from Clovis’ email address.

The candidate that Clovis was referring to was Trump, according to the Des Moines Register.

Clovis, a military veteran, also sent the following reply on July 20 to an activist who emailed him saying Rick Perry should apologize for condemning Trump’s comments about John McCain, in which he blasted the veteran’s war record.

“His comments were offensive and people responded accordingly. I was offended by a man who sought and gained four student deferments to avoid the draft and who has never served this nation a day — not a day — in any fashion or way,” Clovis wrote in the email.

“Why should I not be suspicious of someone who cannot come to say that he believes in God, that he has never asked for forgiveness and that communion is simply wine and a cracker,” Clovis subsequently writes in the same email.

When asked by ABC News whether the candidate mentioned in his emails were in fact Donald Trump, Clovis pointed ABC News to the Des Moines Register article.

At the time these emails were sent, Clovis was Rick Perry’s Iowa chairman. He signed on with Trump’s campaign as national co-chairman earlier this week.

In an interview with ABC News, Clovis said he and Trump resolved the issues expressed in the emails before signing on with his campaign.

“There’s no better way to resolve it than to have a discussion,” he said. “The answers that Mr. Trump gave me were more than satisfactory and I wouldn’t be working for him if they weren’t.”

Clovis did not divulge details of his conversation with Trump, but said he wanted to hear about Trump’s faith and views on veterans. He also said he researched “all of the wonderful things” Trump has done for veterans.

Rick Perry, whose campaign is strapped for cash, announced that funds were too low to compensate staffers earlier this month. Clovis told ABC News he was one of those staffers.

Clovis is a paid employee of the Trump campaign, he said. He said he is on a 1-year unpaid leave of absence from his job teaching at Iowa’s Morningside College.

Donald Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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Donald Trump’s Campaign Co-Chairman Blasted Trump While Working for Rick Perry

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump’s new national co-chairman Sam Clovis, who recently defected from Rick Perry’s campaign, sent emails as recently as two months ago questioning Trump’s Christian faith and condemning his comments about John McCain, according to emails obtained by ABC News.

Sam Clovis, while serving as Perry’s Iowa chairman, wrote in an email titled “Faith and Our Candidates” that that one candidate’s comments “reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal.”

“Of all the potential candidates who spoke, one of them left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs,” Clovis wrote.

Clovis’ emails were originally reported by the Des Moines Register, but ABC News has independently obtained copies and confirmed they came from Clovis’ email address.

The candidate that Clovis was referring to was Trump, according to the Des Moines Register.

Clovis, a military veteran, also sent the following reply on July 20 to an activist who emailed him saying Rick Perry should apologize for condemning Trump’s comments about John McCain, in which he blasted the veteran’s war record.

“His comments were offensive and people responded accordingly. I was offended by a man who sought and gained four student deferments to avoid the draft and who has never served this nation a day — not a day — in any fashion or way,” Clovis wrote in the email.

“Why should I not be suspicious of someone who cannot come to say that he believes in God, that he has never asked for forgiveness and that communion is simply wine and a cracker,” Clovis subsequently writes in the same email.

When asked by ABC News whether the candidate mentioned in his emails were in fact Donald Trump, Clovis pointed ABC News to the Des Moines Register article.

At the time these emails were sent, Clovis was Rick Perry’s Iowa chairman. He signed on with Trump’s campaign as national co-chairman earlier this week.

In an interview with ABC News, Clovis said he and Trump resolved the issues expressed in the emails before signing on with his campaign.

“There’s no better way to resolve it than to have a discussion,” he said. “The answers that Mr. Trump gave me were more than satisfactory and I wouldn’t be working for him if they weren’t.”

Clovis did not divulge details of his conversation with Trump, but said he wanted to hear about Trump’s faith and views on veterans. He also said he researched “all of the wonderful things” Trump has done for veterans.

Rick Perry, whose campaign is strapped for cash, announced that funds were too low to compensate staffers earlier this month. Clovis told ABC News he was one of those staffers.

Clovis is a paid employee of the Trump campaign, he said. He said he is on a 1-year unpaid leave of absence from his job teaching at Iowa’s Morningside College.

Donald Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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