Phototreat/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Fielding repeated questions over the fall of Ramadi, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that reporters should not light their “hair on fire” over every setback in the fight against ISIS.

“Are we going to light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL?” Earnest asked reporters rhetorically in Tuesday’s briefing. “Or are we going to take very seriously our responsibility to evaluate those areas where we succeed and evaluate where steps are necessary for us to change our strategy where we sustain setbacks?”

Earnest fought back against the notion that an overhaul of U.S. strategy in Iraq is in order and said that instead the president and his security team are regularly looking for ways “to tweak” our approach.

“Where are we seeing areas of progress, where are we seeing areas of setback, and are there things that we can do to tweak the strategy to better reflect those areas of concern, or to capitalize on those elements of our strategy that have worked and apply them in other areas,” Earnest said, explaining the president’s process of evaluating military strategy.

Earnest sought to downplay the fall of Ramadi as part of a “dynamic that is common in military conflicts” by which there are “days of progress and periods of setback.”

He specifically pointed to the killing of ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf over the weekend as an example of success.

“Certainly the ISIL effort to take over Ramadi is a setback, and we’ve been pretty candid about that,” Earnest said. “But I think this illustrates how important it is for us to maintain some perspective on this.”

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ABC News(CEDAR FALLS, Iowa) — Hillary Clinton has broken her 28-day streak avoiding the press.

Following a campaign event in Iowa, where she was discussing small businesses and entrepreneurship, the Democratic presidential candidate meandered over the rope line to greet the media on Tuesday.

She then proceeded to answer a total of six questions from reporters — her first time to do so in roughly four weeks.

During this “ramp up” phase of her candidacy, Clinton has kept her distance from the media, answering only a handful of questions from the reporters following her on the campaign trail. Her opponents — and not surprisingly, the press — had taken notice.

But Tuesday, at a bike shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Clinton did face the media and answered a handful of questions on topics including Iraq, the Clinton Foundation, her personal wealth, paid speeches, and State Department emails.

Clinton was also asked by a person on the roundtable she was participating in about her stance on President Obama’s trade deal. Clinton once again punted, saying that she is not yet ready to take a position, and that she wants to wait and “judge the final agreement.”

Here are the 6 things Clinton was asked about by the press — and what she answered:

1. On the Clinton Foundation and foreign donations.

“I am so proud of the foundation. I’m proud of the work that it has done and that it is doing. … And I’ll let the American people make their own judgments about that.”

2. On the situation in Iraq.

“I know that there have been a lot of questions about Iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks. I’ve made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple. … The United States is doing what it can, but ultimately this has to be a struggle that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people are determined to win for themselves. And we can provide support but they’re going to have to do it.”

3. On Clinton’s wealth and relating to everyday Americans.

“Well, obviously Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we had. But we’ve never forgotten where we came from, and we’ve never forgotten the kind of country that we want to see for our granddaughter. … So I think that most Americans understand that the deck is stacked for those at the top, and I am running a campaign that is very clearly stating that we want to shuffle that deck.”

4. On Clinton’s relationship with Sidney Blumenthal and her associations with old friends.

“I have many, many old friends, and I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends that you had before you were in politics. … When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure you’re not caught in a bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people, and I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are.”

5. On the release of Clinton’s emails by the State Department and whether Clinton’s paid speeches show a conflict of interest.

“The answer to the second is no, and the answer to the first is I have said repeatedly I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do. I respect the State Department. They have their process that they do for everybody and not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process I heartily support.”

6. On whether Clinton will demand the emails be released sooner.

“Well, they’re not mine. They belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through its process but as much as they can expedite that process, that’s what I’m asking them to do. Please move as quickly as they possibly can to get them out … as they can.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, is leading a war against a USDA catfish inspection program – and two Mississippi senators are trying to stop him.

An animated and angry McCain took the Senate floor Tuesday to push for a trade bill amendment to eliminate a USDA catfish inspection program, arguing it duplicates food inspection programs within the FDA, complicates trade efforts with Asian countries and would waste taxpayer dollars.

At times, McCain stood next to a giant picture of a catfish as he argued for “eliminating this catfish program which is one of the most brazen and reckless and protectionist programs that I have encountered in my time as the U.S. Senate.”

“I’m all in favor of ensuring that American consumers enjoy wholesome catfish. The problem is the Food and Drug Administration already inspects all seafood including catfish,” McCain said. “The true purpose of the catfish program is to create a trade barrier to protect a small handful of catfish farmers in two or three southern states.”

One of those states is Mississippi, where the state’s two senators – Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran want their colleagues to block the amendment if it comes up for a vote.

“It is absolutely not duplicative,” Wicker said. “What this is about is food safety for Americans in 50 states who deserve to know that the fish they are eating, that the product they are eating is unadulterated.”

McCain argued that it’s not only a duplicative program, but that it threatens trade negotiations with Asian countries, like Vietnam, that oppose the program and want to be able to import their fish.

It’s unclear yet whether there will be an actual vote on this amendment.

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United States Senate(WASHINGTON) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined a jam-packed agenda for the Senate in the final days before a week-long Memorial Day recess.

McConnell said the Senate must complete its work on three measures – Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and highway funding — before leaving for the holiday.

TPA would give President Obama the ability to bring an international trade deal for votes in both the House and Senate. Prompted by Edward Snowden’s disclosure of surveillance by the NSA, FISA would make that surveillance legal, but adds limitations on access to the data.

He warned senators against making travel plans before a path forward in each measure is revealed.

“The Senate will finish its work on trade this week and we will remain in session as long as it takes to do so,” McConnell said Monday.

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United States Senate(WASHINGTON) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined a jam-packed agenda for the Senate in the final days before a week-long Memorial Day recess.

McConnell said the Senate must complete its work on three measures – Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and highway funding — before leaving for the holiday.

TPA would give President Obama the ability to bring an international trade deal for votes in both the House and Senate. Prompted by Edward Snowden’s disclosure of surveillance by the NSA, FISA would make that surveillance legal, but adds limitations on access to the data.

He warned senators against making travel plans before a path forward in each measure is revealed.

“The Senate will finish its work on trade this week and we will remain in session as long as it takes to do so,” McConnell said Monday.

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Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — State Dept. Press Director Jeff Rathke continued to downplay the loss of Ramadi at Monday’s press briefing, but acknowledged that the loss of the capital of Anbar province was indeed a “setback” for coalition efforts to defeat ISIS.

“We believe the Iraqi forces have the capacity and the will to retake Ramadi with coalition support, and as we’ve always said this fight against ISIL would be difficult and will take time,” Rathke told reporters Monday afternoon. “There’s no denying that this is a setback, but there’s also no denying that the United States will help the Iraqis take back Ramadi.”

Rathke opened by pointing out that ISIS first moved onto Ramadi on Jan. 1, 2014, but remarked on what could have led to the significant gains achieved by the group over the past week before the city eventually fell.

“Ramadi has been contested for the last 18 months,” Rathke said. “Starting last week, ISIL launched a series of suicide vehicle bombs that had a large impact, and since then we’ve also heard from ISIL’s own comments that the suicide bombers were foreign fighters.”

But Rathke repeated remarks made earlier today by Secretary of State John Kerry in South Korea that despite the fall of Ramadi, the group has lost ground in Iraq.

“I’m not trying to downplay the importance of Ramadi, I’m simply pointing out that over the last 12 months the trend has been for ISIL to be pushed back,” Rathke said, referencing victories in Tikrit and past fears that Baghdad was under direct threat from the terror group.

When asked by ABC News whether it was the U.S. position that the coalition was winning in its battle against ISIS, Rathke wouldn’t answer directly.

“We see the overall trend in the fight against ISIL in Iraq as positive,” Rathke said. “We see them overall losing control of territory, we see increased unity and solidarity in fighting back against them, we see increased international support. That doesn’t diminish the setback in Ramadi, but we are confident that our efforts in conjunction with the Iraqi leadership and with Iraqi forces will be successful.”

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CIA(WASHINGTON) — The CIA held its annual Memorial ceremony to acknowledge covert officers who have fallen in the line of duty and are remembered by stars on a Memorial Wall in the lobby of the CIA’s headquarters building.

At Monday’s ceremony, the CIA said two additional stars were added to the Memorial Wall this year, meaning two CIA officers died in the line of duty.

Their identities are not disclosed, because they remain classified.

“For as long as this Agency endures, we will never shy away from the risks that must be taken to protect America and to further freedom’s cause,” CIA Director John O. Brennan said. “Today, we pay tribute to our heroes who accepted those risks and placed themselves in harm’s way, expecting neither praise nor fame in return.”

During the ceremony, Brennan presented the families of the two officers with a marble replica of their loved one’s star.

The total number of stars on the wall has now risen to 113.

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The White House(CAMDEN, N.J.) — Discussing his new executive action to limit certain types of military-style gear for local law enforcement, President Obama said on Monday the new restrictions prohibit gear that is “made for the battlefield” — and not America’s communities.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama told an audience in Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in America.

“We’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments,” Obama said, qualifying that some types of military-style gear will still be available to police when they are properly trained to operate it.

The president praised the community-policing work of the Camden Police Department as a role model for law enforcement across the country can build trust with communities through a sustained presence while simultaneously lowering crime rates.

“If it’s working here, it can work anywhere,” Obama said.

But addressing the challenges that face communities like Camden, Obama noted, goes beyond effective policing.

He said and other systemic problems affecting the nation’s poorest communities must be addressed on a societal level.

“If we as a society aren’t willing to deal honestly with issues of race, then we can’t just expect police departments to solve these problems,” Obama said. “If communities are being isolated and segregated without opportunity and without opportunity and without jobs, if we politicians are simply ramping up long sentences on non-violent drug crimes that end up devastating communities, we can’t ask the police to solve the problem when there are no able bodied men in the community or kids are growing up without intact households.”

“Communities, like some poor communities in Camden or my hometown of Chicago, they’re part of America too,” Obama said, making a plea for the nation to invest in the futures of children growing up in impoverished communities.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House is calling the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi an undeniable setback.

“There’s no denying that this is indeed a setback, but there is also no denying that we will help the Iraqis take back Ramadi,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday.

Schultz said the president is being kept up-to-date on the situation and that the U.S. military will provide assistance – specifically in the form of airstrikes – until Ramadi is recaptured by the Iraqi government.

“Our aircraft are in the air right now and searching for ISIL targets,” Schultz said. “They will continue to do so until Ramadi is retaken. In fact, we have conducted 38 air strikes in the last 3 weeks, including 8 over the last 24 hours.”

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — On his way to Camden, N.J., on Monday, President Obama briefly huddled with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and a handful of other political and community leaders on the tarmac of Philadelphia International Airport to discuss last week’s Amtrak crash.

Obama met with Nutter, Sen. Bob Casey, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Chuck Ramsey, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, Philadelphia Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Everett Gillison, and Philadelphia Director of Emergency Management Samantha Phillips.

The president is flying in and out of the Philadelphia airport Monday. He is not expected to stop at the crash site.

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