Hogan For Governor(BOCA RATON, Fla.) — Larry Hogan, the political longshot who is now the governor-elect of Maryland, is being applauded at the Republican Governors Association conference for his shocking upset win in the midterm elections.

Hogan says he won despite being outspent “five to one” and says he’s only the “second governor in nearly 50 years to be elected as a Republican” in the state.

Maryland was one of the rare spots that even got a visit from the president in the days before the election. The race wasn’t on the national radar and he even describes himself as a “no name, regular” guy.

But he’s at this week’s annual Republican Governors Association conference and he’s getting quite the reception. The RGA even decided to go into $1.5 million in debt to play in the state, a successful gamble.

Here’s a condensed Q and A with the man who pulled off the biggest upset of the midterm cycle, including his thoughts on 2016 and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

ABC: Are you being treated like a rock star here after your big win?

LH: Well I’ve got to tell you nobody really expected us to win Maryland and it does seem like the surprise of the election season, so we are getting people coming up and congratulating us, I’ll tell you that.

ABC: How much has your life changed overnight?

LH: It is a little bit overwhelming quite frankly and it’s a little bit of a whirlwind. I mean immediately on election night state troopers show up in my room and now everybody in the country wants to talk to us and I’m just a no name guy who’s a small businessman whose never held elected office and now we pulled off the biggest upset in the country so it’s changed quite a bit, but I’m going to try and stay grounded. I mean what got me elected was talking to real people and just being a regular guy that was saying the same kind of things average Marylanders were talking about.

ABC: Are you the most in demand governor here?

LH: It seems like. Well, we ran a lot of tough races in Illinois, in Massachusetts, and in Maryland, but a lot of people are pretty excited about our win…I was surprised last night when during the opening dinner [New Jersey] Gov. Christie spent half his speech talking about the win in Maryland. And he came into our state four times and he really pushed the other governors to try and make a decision to come in and help us. And he said a lot of them thought he was completely crazy when he talked about Maryland, but we’re happy to have his support and the RGA helping us at the end of the race.

ABC: How much do you think that Chris Christie himself helped put you over the top?

LH: Well he helped a lot. We ran a great campaign. I worked for three and a half years to try and make this happen and we had a great grassroots effort with 130,000 volunteers involved, half of which were Democrats and Independents. But Chris Christie came at the end when no one believed and that helped convince the media to pay more attention to our race and it helped us raise a little bit more money to get our television ads on at the end.

ABC: How did you pull it off?

LH: We went into non-traditional areas. We did better among women, we did better among Hispanics, Asians, black voters. We did tremendously well, three times better than the last candidate than ran in our state. We won a lot of Jewish voters. We won in places people didn’t expect to win because we went there we talked with people and we talked about things they cared about and we came up with solutions they thought were better for the state.

ABC: When it comes to 2016, do you think it has to be a governor?

LH: I don’t know it has to be a governor, but my opinion is the crop of governors we have here, and I’ve gotten a chance to know some of them and have been following them all for a long time, they actually govern. And being a governor of a state you have to govern, you have to represent everybody, you have to make really tough decisions, you have to actually manage things… It’s a better breeding ground, better training to become president when you are in an executive capacity. Not to say we don’t have any great folks in the Senate or in the House, but legislators dont’ have the same experiences as people who are actually governing and running things.

ABC: Is that person here now?

LH: I think there’s a very good likelihood that the next president of the United States could be right here at his conference, yes.

ABC: What about Chris Christie?

LH: I’m a huge Chris Christie fan, have been for a long time since he was first elected in 2009. He won in a blue state, which is what I did, and he was kind of a role model for me because he did it in 2009… Nobody believed he could win, he pulled off an upset, and he’s done a great job as governor and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for his help and his advice and for believing in us and coming in to our state. I think the world of Gov. Christie and I think he would make a great president.


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US Congress(WASHINGTON) — It seems Sen. Ted Cruz has graduated from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to the towering words of Cicero.

The Texas Republican took to the Senate floor Thursday to criticize President Obama’s expected executive action on immigration, set to be announced at 8 p.m. Thursday. But instead of using his own words, he adapted Cicero’s speech against Catiline to make his point.

“The words of Cicero, powerfully relevant 2,077 years later,” Cruz said.

“When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?” he said, substituting “President Obama” for “O Catiline” in the speech’s opening. “How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours swaggering about as it does now?”

Cruz continued, appropriating features of Cicero’s address to fit the specifics of the immigration debate.

“Do not the nightly guards placed on the border, do not the watches posted throughout the city, does not the alarm of the people and the union of all good men and women, does not the precaution taken of assembling the Senate in this most defensible place, do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present have any effect upon you?” he asked. “Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge that everyone here possesses of it?”

Cruz regularly referred to notes while reading, though Cicero was said to have had the capacity to memorize his speeches.

The speech by Cicero, delivered in 63 B.C., was meant to further humiliate Catiline, apparently attempting to seize and overthrow the Roman Republic while Cicero was a consul.

Cruz’s Cicero references were a giant leap from when he read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham during a marathon filibuster in 2013. The reading was supposedly intended to entertain his kids, who were at home watching Cruz on the Senate floor.

The late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., was also known to use Cicero quotations to enhance his arguments on the Senate floor.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A CIA reviewer has halting praise for journalist Glenn Greenwald’s book on the Edward Snowden affair, calling it the book “the most complete, though far from the most objective account” of the leaker who exposed the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance programs.

The review, written by a veteran of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology and Directorate of Operations, was posted recently on the CIA’s website, in a regularly-updated section called the “Intelligent Officer’s Bookshelf.” The Agency veteran and others often review espionage-related popular nonfiction and fiction books for the site.

The reviewer describes Greenwald’s account in No Place to Hide of being contacted by Snowden and eventually meeting him in Hong Kong, before taking issue with what he called Greenwald’s “core arguments” presented later.

“Greenwald is appalled at the concept implied in the [third] chapter’s title [“Collect It All”] and analyzes it with the presumption of illegality while dismissing without comment the intelligence issues that led to its adoption,” the reviewer says. “Greenwald also ignores other interpretations regarding the legality of the NSA’s collection programs…”

Greenwald’s book is reviewed along with two others that cover the Snowden affair, and the reviewer concludes that Greenwald’s “sums up the common themes of these three books: Snowden’s acts were justified because he chose to seek ‘reform of the surveillance state.’”

A disclaimer at the bottom of the website notes that the opinions “expressed in this journal are those of the authors” and shouldn’t be “construed as asserting or implying U.S. government endorsement…”

In January, America’s top intelligence officials, including CIA Director John Brennan, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the purported severe damage Snowden’s disclosures had done to U.S. national security.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A vice president of Takata, the airbag company that has been subject to a series of recalls in recent years, told a congressional committee on Thursday that he does not believe a nationwide recall of Takata’s airbags is necessary.

Takata feels “strongly” that Takata recalls should continue to focus on “regions of high absolute humidity. Our best information supports the view that these regions must be the priority for the replacement of airbags,” Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata’s senior vice president of global quality assurance, told the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday morning.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration has called for a series of regional recalls to be expanded to a nationwide recall to replace Takata airbags installed in cars.

Senators had their first opportunity to question a Takata representative since its airbags were linked to five deaths related to faulty deployments. Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sought to link Takata airbags to a sixth death, holding a press conference with a young woman who lost her sister in a 2003 automobile crash in Arizona.

Kim Kopf detailed how her sister Charlene Weaver was killed after a car accident while riding as a passenger in a 2004 Subaru Impreza. Kopf and her family maintain Weaver was killed after she was struck by an airbag in the passenger’s seat.

Kopf noted that the car her sister was a passenger in has yet to be recalled for airbag related reasons though similar models in humid states have been placed on the recall list.

“The American people have a right to know about the story behind this airbag recall,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who chaired the hearing. “That’s why we’re here today.”

Shimizu maintained that the main causes of airbag malfunctions are the age of the airbags, their exposure to humidity, and “potential production issues, which we have worked to identify and address.”

So far, automakers including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota have recalled several million cars because of defective airbags.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A CIA reviewer has halting praise for journalist Glenn Greenwald’s book on the Edward Snowden affair, calling it the book “the most complete, though far from the most objective account” of the leaker who exposed the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance programs.

The review, written by a veteran of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology and Directorate of Operations, was posted recently on the CIA’s website, in a regularly-updated section called the “Intelligent Officer’s Bookshelf.” The Agency veteran and others often review espionage-related popular nonfiction and fiction books for the site.

The reviewer describes Greenwald’s account in No Place to Hide of being contacted by Snowden and eventually meeting him in Hong Kong, before taking issue with what he called Greenwald’s “core arguments” presented later.

“Greenwald is appalled at the concept implied in the [third] chapter’s title [“Collect It All”] and analyzes it with the presumption of illegality while dismissing without comment the intelligence issues that led to its adoption,” the reviewer says. “Greenwald also ignores other interpretations regarding the legality of the NSA’s collection programs…”

Greenwald’s book is reviewed along with two others that cover the Snowden affair, and the reviewer concludes that Greenwald’s “sums up the common themes of these three books: Snowden’s acts were justified because he chose to seek ‘reform of the surveillance state.’”

A disclaimer at the bottom of the website notes that the opinions “expressed in this journal are those of the authors” and shouldn’t be “construed as asserting or implying U.S. government endorsement…”

In January, America’s top intelligence officials, including CIA Director John Brennan, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the purported severe damage Snowden’s disclosures had done to U.S. national security.

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Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb is exploring whether to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

Webb announced his intention to form an exploratory committee in a message posted Thursday on his website, Webb 2016 Exploratory Committee.

In his post, Webb asks, “Is it possible that our next President could actually lay out a vision for the country, and create an environment where leaders from both parties and from all philosophies would feel compelled to work together for the good of the country, despite all of the money and political pressure that now demands they disagree?”

Webb suggests he’s the person for the job because of his one term in the Senate as a Democrat from 2007-20012 while also serving as Navy secretary during the Reagan administration in 1987 and 1988.

An exploratory committee is generally the first step in gauging the public’s interest in one’s potential candidacy as well as what kind of fundraising support is available.

Should Webb decide to run in 2016, one of his likely challengers will be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who many believe is just biding her time before making her candidacy official at some point in 2015.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Potential Republican presidential candidates at the Republican Governors Association annual conference gave very different responses to the president’s decision to announce major executive action on immigration reform Thursday.

At the gathering at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dodged, Texas Gov. Rick Perry threatened, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal accused the president of throwing a “temper tantrum” and Ohio Gov. John Kasich sounded a more moderate tone.

Christie, the RGA’s outgoing chairman, refused to weigh in, saying, “We will have to wait and see what he says and what he does and what the legal implications are.”

Christie, never known to be less than vocal or shy, was asked several times his thoughts on the president’s decision and he refused each time, saying, “I am not going to articulate the basis of a yet-unknown candidacy.”

He did note his work in the state on the issue, including legislation he signed last year that gave tuition breaks to New Jersey residents who are the children of undocumented working immigrants, as well as his opposition to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Asked specifically about a pathway to citizenship, Christie said he would share his thoughts on that issue: “If I run for president.”

Other governors weren’t shy and didn’t hesitate to critique the president, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal calling it “absolutely an overreach of power.”

“This is not how the president should be doing this. If he wants change then he should go to the House, go to the Senate and pass a bill changing the law. He’s not the first president to ever disagree with Congress, but he is becoming the first president to consistently throw a temper tantrum and ignore Congress time and time again,” Jindal said in an interview with ABC News.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — also considering a possible run for the White House — said the president is acting without the “consent of the governed.”

“I think it would be a profound mistake for the president to overturn America’s immigration laws with a stroke of a pen,” Pence said.

Gov. Perry, also considering attempting another run in 2016, said he sees a “very real possibility” that his state of Texas sues the president over his executive action, something the man who will take over for him in January, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, has already been saying. Perry noted that he believes if the president does move forward he could even endanger his party’s chances of regaining power in Washington, saying it would be sticking a “a finger in the eye of the American people with no thought about it.”

“I think the president is taking a major, major political chance with what he’s doing,” Perry said at an RGA session with four other possible 2016ers, including Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich, Pence and Jindal.

“He’s putting his party in jeopardy, and I think he’s putting members of the Senate and the House in jeopardy,” Perry said.

“The president is going to take this action supposedly tomorrow. It is unconstitutional, in his own words, in his own words,” Perry added. “The American people are not for this…you will not get Americans to support an immigration reform bill until the border is secure…not until that point.”

Kasich, who recently won re-election by a massive margin, consistently gave a more moderate position than his GOP counterparts, although he did call unilateral action on the part of the president a “mistake.” He did call on Republican leaders to work with the president on immigration. He even said he wouldn’t oppose citizenship eventually for these immigrants after a “laborious and tough process” because “we’ve got to think about what’s going to bring about healing,” adding “everybody in this country has to feel like they have an opportunity.”

The governors gathered here are celebrating their recent big wins, including in blue states like Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts. In January there will be 31 governors in state house across the country, which is the most for either party in 16 years. They spent a total of $130 million in the cycle.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Secret Service arrested a 41-year-old Iowa man one block from the White House on Wednesday after a search of his car uncovered a rifle and ammunition, law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News.

The man, R.J. Kapheim, from Davenport, Iowa, approached a uniform division officer on the corner of 15th St and E St NW at 12:54 p.m. and “stated that someone in Iowa told him to go to the White House,” Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole Mainor said.

He was not threatening in any way, but his behavior was deemed suspicious.

Officers located and conducted a search of his vehicle, a 2013 Volkswagen Passat with Iowa tags.

It was parked on Constitution Ave between 16th St NW and 15th St NW. The weapon and ammunition were found in the car.

He is being held on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm, among others forthcoming, Mainor said.

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Dana Edelson/NBC(WASHINGTON) – Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong will headline next year’s White House Correspondents Association’s dinner, the association announced. She becomes the fourth woman to ever do the honors.

“Her political humor is sly and edgy, and it comes with a Chicago accent. Cecily grew up in suburban Oak Park, Ill. and got her start in Chicago’s comedy scene with stints at iO and Second City,” WHCA President Christi Parsons said in a statement.

The dinner, which is attended by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with most of Washington, D.C.’s movers and shakers, also funds scholarships to high school students, which are handed out at the event.

Strong will join the roster of other comedians who have been tapped for the coveted gig over the years, including Joel McHale, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Drew Carey. The only other women to take the podium have been Paula Poundstone in 1992, Elayne Boosler in 1993, and Wanda Sykes in 2009.

The White House Correspondents Dinner will be held on April 25, 2015.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Despite his sponsoring of the House version of the Keystone bill that died in the Senate Tuesday night, there is perhaps no bigger winner from the legislation’s defeat than Louisiana GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy.

And there is likely no bigger loser than the state’s senator, Mary Landrieu, the Democrat who is on the defensive as she heads to a Dec. 6 runoff election against Cassidy.

Cassidy’s campaign was quick to seize on the bill’s defeat, which came up shy of passing by just one vote, as an example of Landrieu’s failed leadership.

Last week my #KXL bill passed House. Last night Landrieu’s KXL bill failed in the Senate. Louisiana deserves results pic.twitter.com/GA3H4owvHO

— Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) November 19, 2014

“Senator Mary Landrieu’s failure to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline this evening is a perfect snapshot of her time as chair of the Energy Committee; a failure,” Cassidy campaign spokesman John Cummins said in a statement sent soon after Tuesday night’s vote.

But even if the bill had passed, it was unclear how Landrieu, 58, would have translated a legislative victory into an electoral one. With the clock ticking down to the runoff, the embattled Democrat faces several major hurdles on the road to re-election:

1. Landrieu’s Other Republican Problem

In the general election earlier this month, Cassidy, 57, was already close on Landrieu’s heels, finishing with 41 percent of the total vote, compared with Landrieu’s 42 percent. A second Republican in the race, tea party-backed candidate Rob Maness, captured 14 percent of the vote and, in so doing, prevented both Landrieu and Cassidy from clearing the 50 percent threshold necessary to avoid a runoff.

While Maness had no shortage of criticism for Cassidy in the general election, he has since moved to endorse his fellow Republican in the runoff and supported him in building a coalition of tea party support. Conservative stars such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have come to Cassidy’s side since he advanced to the runoff.

2. Democrats Are on the Run

While Cassidy has seen an outpouring of new Republican endorsements and support, Landrieu is waging a lonely battle as the national Democratic Party licks its wounds after a wave of defeats earlier this month. Perhaps the biggest blow came when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled back a previously reserved $2 million worth of television advertising from Louisiana after the general election.

3. White Voter Problems

Landrieu has a problem with white voters, who voted overwhelmingly Republican in Louisiana two weeks ago. She needs to get close to 30 percent of the white vote in order to win in next month’s runoff. But according to exit polls, she only captured 18 percent of that constituency on Nov. 4. In 2008, by contrast, she won with 33 percent of the white vote.

Although Louisiana saw a record turnout of nonwhite voters in this year’s general election, of whom nearly 9 out 10 voted for Landrieu, that constituency is not enough to secure a victory for Landrieu without a complimenting segment of the white vote.

4. This Year Is Not Like the Others

Runoffs are hardly unchartered territory to Landrieu, who has won two out of three of her previous victories this way (one in 1996 and again in 2002). It’s a point her campaign emphasizes as Landrieu heads to her third.

“She’s done it before, and she’ll do it again,” campaign manager Ryan Berni said in a memo sent to supporters earlier this month. “In 2002 in particular, Republicans had a big win, and President Bush was at his peak approval ratings, yet Mary still found a way to pull through.”

In some ways, 2002 was similar to 2014. Like this year’s midterms, the GOP enjoyed a wave of victories in 2002 and gained a new majority in the Senate at a time when then-President George W. Bush enjoyed broad popularity. But Landrieu managed a surprise win.

Before entering the 2002 runoff, she had run a campaign that emphasized her similarities to the then-popular Republican president. She rallied her base to the polls in December, after many of those voters had sat out the general election.

This year, however, the bigger problem is that her base is increasingly small because of changes in the Louisiana electorate since 2002. The state has grown increasingly red in the past 12 years and 19 percent of the Orleans Parish, which was pivotal in securing her 2002 victory, permanently relocated after Hurricane Katrina.

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