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Palestinians to Obama: We Told You So About Netanyahu

Palestinians to Obama: We Told You So About Netanyahu

State Dept(WASHINGTON) -- Now that President Obama is calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an unwilling partner in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Palestinian representatives in the United States have a simple message for him: We told you so.“Ever since [Netanyahu] came to power in 2009, he did not have any intention whatsoever to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” said Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s representative to the United States.“I think he is telling the world, 'Here I am. I want to show you my true skin,'” he added.

Obama said the United States would re-evaluate its policies towards Israeli-Palestinian issues after Netanyahu said, the day before parliamentary elections, that he would not see a Palestinian state established if he were re-elected.“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership," Obama said in an interview with The Huffington Post Saturday. "And so, that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”Netanyahu’s Likud party went on to victory, which many political observers attributed to Netanyahu's comments on a Palestinian state and other comments that were seen as driving divisions between Israeli Jews and minorities. He has walked back those statements -- most recently apologizing to Israeli Arabs in remarks at his official residence Monday evening -- but the White House insisted the damage was done.Areikat said the government he represents understands why Obama gave Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt until now, but that just looking at domestic Israeli politics, it was clear he was never serious about peace talks -- which have started and stopped twice since Obama and Netanyahu took office.Netanyahu ran his campaign largely on security issues and the threat he said would befall Israel if his center-left opponents took over.“This whole shift in Israeli politics in recent years was fundamentally based on misperceptions, false presentations, a culture of fear exported to the Israeli people about the security issues,” Areikat said. “This current government succeeded in somehow selling what it sold its own public to the rest of the world, especially the United States.”The Israeli embassy in the United States did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.One policy shift the Obama administration has already floated is to support, or at least not actively oppose, a United Nations Security Council resolution defining Palestinian statehood, which it had previously opposed because it believed such a move could jeopardize direct talks, which it believed were more effective.Last week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Netanyahu’s comments “have consequences for actions that we take at the United Nations and other places,” although during the Huffington Post interview Obama would not say whether or not he would support such a resolution.But the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N., Riyad Mansour, suggested that was one way the U.S. could register its disillusionment with Netanyahu.“A United Nations Security Council resolution legislating the two-state solution would be an appropriate option to defend the two-state solution which enjoys a global consensus,” he said.Airekat said that while supporting a U.N. resolution would be a step in the right direction, he wanted the U.S. to also urge Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank.“Nobody knows what the United States is planning to do. We are hoping together to hear from them in the coming days about what they have in mind,” he said.So far, the United States has only signaled that it might make changes, without actually making any yet. But long wait times are nothing new for participants in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process -- something Mansour seemed to acknowledge when he spoke generally of this new shift in US policy.“This process will likely take time," he said. "However, we do hope it happens quickly.”

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Secret Service Video of White House Incident Released

Secret Service Video of White House Incident Released

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Surveillance video that captured a crash involving allegedly intoxicated Secret Service agents was released Tuesday showing a car driving at a slow speed just outside a White House checkpoint.The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released the video from the incident that occurred earlier this month -- and the video seems to corroborate statements made by the director of the Secret Service that initial reports of the alleged crash were overstated.The D.C. Police video from March 4 shows the government vehicle driving at a slow speed when it pushed aside a plastic barrel standing outside a checkpoint. Before that incident, the video shows someone dropping a suspicious package in the area, but the video also shows no police tape or any other indication that there was an active crime scene when the government vehicle drove through it.Last week, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy insisted recent reports of a “crash” at the White House by potentially intoxicated agents driving a government vehicle “are inaccurate,” and he pushed back on any suggestion that his agency deliberately "erased" other surveillance video showing the incident.With several cameras in the area of the White House, video from certain angles of the incident were lost because, “by practice,” the cameras tape over their content every 72 hours, Clancy told lawmakers.Nothing had been deliberately “erased,” he added.Nevertheless, he said he has instructed his staff to contact the manufacturer of the cameras to see whether the company that built them can help retrieve the lost video."We understand it’s a concern,” he said. “We're doing everything we can to retrieve those images and be as transparent as we can be."

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‘My Shop’: ‘President Abraham Lincoln’ Shows Off His Office

‘My Shop’: ‘President Abraham Lincoln’ Shows Off His Office

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s been awhile since President Abraham Lincoln has sat down for an interview with the media.But in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of his assassination, the 16th president sat down with Power Players -- well, sort of -- for a rare exclusive interview in his White House office.“I call it my shop,” professional Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein said during an in-character interview at a White House Historical Association exhibit that aims to recreate Lincoln’s office as it looked when he inhabited the White House in the 1860s.“This room is the center of life, it seems,” Klein said, posing as Lincoln. “I get my hair cut in here. I get shaved in here. I get the mail in here. I get briefed on the previous day’s occurrences. The public attends to their personal requests in here…My secretaries are right across the hall, and they come in at all hours, no matter what I'm doing, with notices from this or that general, and so, it's a hub of activity.”The White House room that was formerly Lincoln's office is today the Lincoln bedroom. It's located on the second floor of the White House and is part of the first family's private residence.The exhibit was designed based on a sketch that depicted President Lincoln and his cabinet posed in his office for the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It’s a day our fake Lincoln recalls with great pride, saying, “I've never done anything that I was more certain was right.”“We had a public reception as everybody does on New Year's Day, and I spent at least two hours shaking hands with the public. Well, my hand was nearly crippled by the time I returned to sign the document,” Klein said. “And I had to massage it and again wait nearly 30 minutes before I could do so, because I was convinced, if I signed that document in a way that looked irregular, someday, when people…look at it and they would say 'Look, he hesitated.' But once my hand was in better shape, I signed it.”The exhibit includes life-size cutouts of President Lincoln and his cabinet, as well as props used in the making of the DreamWorks film Lincoln, so as to give visitors an immersive impression of what Lincoln’s office looked like. And, of course, a precise depiction of Lincoln’s office would not be complete if it did not capture certain aspects of the not-so-tidy president. Accordingly, books and papers are strewn across the desk and floor.“I've been accused of being unorganized, but anybody who knows me knows that that's absolutely true,” Klein said jokingly, with a smile characteristic of Lincoln.“I generally walk around while various members of the cabinet are talking. Tad may burst in at any moment, much to the chagrin of my friends here,” he continued. “At the end, I am compelled to sum up everything…and occasionally decisions are made as a group. Generally I make them, though."On the topic of his signature style and dress -- complete with a beard and top hat -- Lincoln explained that his hat serves a dual purpose by both protecting his head from the elements and also acting as a casual filing system of sorts.“There's some portions of speeches, sometimes I receive notes that need to be attended to and I'll pop them in her,” Lincoln said, gesturing at the contents held within the inside rim of his hat. “Most of my clothes, including my hat, I purchase at Brooks Brothers.”And on his distinctive beard, Lincoln explained how the whiskers came to be.“I sprouted it because when I was running for president, I had a letter from a little lady out in western New York who thought I would look a good deal better with whiskers,” Lincoln explained. “I don't know quite what to say when somebody tells you would look better if your face was all covered in hair, but nonetheless. But I grew them, partly on her advice. And some people have said they agreed with her.”For more of the interview with Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein, and to learn more about the exhibit that is open now through the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, check out this episode of Power Players.

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Collapse of Yemeni Government Devastates US Counterterrorism Efforts

Collapse of Yemeni Government Devastates US Counterterrorism Efforts

Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A year after President Obama declared that Yemen had become a model for successful U.S. counterterrorism campaigns, the White House is now facing tough questions about why the security situation there has collapsed.Yemen is on the verge of civil war with the U.S.-backed central government apparently overwhelmed by the Shiite militia Houthis who control the capital of Sanaa and are in the midst of seizing other cities.With the U.S. closing down its embassy and withdrawing the remaining 100 Special Service Forces from Yemen, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing that Yemen had previously served "as a template for the kind of strategy that we would employ and have employed to mitigate the threat from extremists around the world."Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the relocation of U.S. personnel "has not forced us to suspend our counterterrorism operations," claiming that "we continue to actively monitor threats and have resources prepared in the region to address them."However, some Washington lawmakers are worried about losing Yemen, which had become a major intelligence hub in the region, especially since the country is the headquarters for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State also poses a threat to Yemen's stability.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Gets New Life

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Gets New Life

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Wisconsin's voter ID law can soon go into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a challenge to the statute that was upheld by a federal appeals court.The law requires residents to present at least one of eight forms of identification that will permit them to cast ballots in elections.Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a potential candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, supported the law when he first ran for the state house. Supporters contend it will reduce voter fraud.Opponents of the law say that it amounts to voter suppression because those most likely not to carry IDs authorized by the state are blacks and Hispanics, who traditionally vote Democratic.The law will be enforced after an April 7 primary.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ted Cruz Bets Jeb Bush Will ‘Shatter Every Fundraising Record’

Ted Cruz Bets Jeb Bush Will ‘Shatter Every Fundraising Record’

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may believe that Jeb Bush, one of his likely opponents, will “shatter every fundraising record,” but in an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl just hours after his presidential announcement he said that “on the money side we are going to surprise a whole lot of people,” too.“The support we are seeing on the money side has been incredible, both small-dollar donations that are pouring in, people are going to tedcruz.org, they are contributing right now and we are seeing heavy hitters supporting financially also,” the Republican senator said Monday. Karl asked if he will be able to “compete with Jeb Bush” and Cruz acknowledged “nobody is going to manage to keep up.” “He is going to shatter every fundraising record that’s ever been set. He set the goal of $100 million this quarter, my guess is he blows past that goal, he ends up raising way more than $100 million,” Cruz said. Supporters of Bush have been throwing out that $100 million number, but neither Bush himself, nor his team, have ever admitted to the eye-popping sum. Cruz said being behind Bush in the money game won’t matter because “elections are actually decided by real live people.” “What I’m so encouraged by is the enthusiasm we are seeing, particularly in the early primary states, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, people are hungry for someone who will stand up and fight alongside them,” Cruz said. APPEALING TO MODERATES Cruz is among the most conservative Republicans who will seek the White House next year, and his announcement speech reflected those ideals, including his views on limiting gun control, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage. But, in his interview with Karl, he stressed that he can still appeal to moderate and independent voters. Cruz said his campaign phrase – in a "nutshell" – is "reigniting the promise of America." "It's a very simple message, it’s a message of this country, ‘Let’s get back to the Constitution,'" Cruz said, describing his pitch to those voters. "My speech today talked about ‘imagine America’ that gets back to the free market principles and the constitutional liberties this country was built on." THE OBAMA COMPARISON Cruz's entry into the race has already brought comparisons to another freshman senator who had eyes on the White House: Then-senator and current President Barack Obama. When asked if he has enough experience to be president, Cruz said: "I’m going to leave that question to the voters," but managed to get in a jab at the president, whom he is a notorious critic of. "I will note, before I was in the Senate I wasn’t simply a community organizer," he said. "I spent five and a half years as the solicitor general of Texas, leading the state, representing the state before the U.S. Supreme Court and we won landmark victories over and over again." THE ‘IMAGINE’ CAMPAIGN In his presidential announcement Monday—the first of the cycle—the 44-year-old senator told the crowd to “imagine” a different type of America, one where he is leading. He used the word 38 times in his remarks. “I want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives, all across America, rising up together to say in unison, ‘We demand our liberty,’" he said. Karl asked Cruz if he was a “big John Lennon fan,” mentioning Lennon’s 1971 song “Imagine.” “I am,” Cruz quipped. “I will admit I did kind of envision pulling out some John Lennon little round glasses but I didn’t bring any to the talk.”

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Threat to Obama’s Niece Prompts Tighter NCAA Game Security

Threat to Obama’s Niece Prompts Tighter NCAA Game Security

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) -- Someone called the University of Maryland on Monday, saying a man was driving to the school to shoot President Obama's niece, a member of the Princeton basketball team scheduled to play there Monday night, the university said. Maryland officials posted extra security at the NCAA tournament game Monday evening, according to a statement from the school police department. According to the statement, campus police received a call Monday at approximately 3 p.m. from a woman saying that she had received a text from a third party indicating that a male that she knew had a gun and mentioned President Obama's niece, Leslie Robinson, the daughter of Michelle Obama's brother. UMPD officers began an immediate investigation into the call and notified the Secret Service, the school said. "Our investigation reveals at this time that these details that were passed on from this third party are unsubstantiated," UMPD Major Marc Limansky said in the statement. The game was played Monday night without incident. A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told ABC News police were able to run the alleged threat down to the source and there is essentially no threat. The source said it was clear pretty early on that there was no threat, but they had additional manpower and stepped up security out of an abundance of caution.

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Utah To Allow Firing Squads for Executions

Utah To Allow Firing Squads for Executions

AndreyKrav/iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Utah has officially become the only state in the country to allow firing squads for executions.  The state’s Republican Governor, Gary Herbert, signed it into law on Monday. Herbert admitted he finds the use of a firing squad “a bit gruesome,” but Utah is a capital punishment state. Herbert said it needs a backup execution method in case a shortage of lethal injection drugs continues.  Condemned inmates in Utah had the choice of death by firing squad until 2004, until lawmakers banned it, saying it attracted too much media attention.The last inmate to die by firing squad in Utah was in 2010. He was sentenced before the practice was outlawed, so he still got the choice.

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Hillary Clinton Jokes About Emails, Praises the Press at Event

Hillary Clinton Jokes About Emails, Praises the Press at Event

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At an awards ceremony in the nation’s capital for the political-reporting prize named after the late reporter Robin Toner, Hillary Clinton joked late Monday about her sometimes-adversarial relationship with the press--and about her private email account.Clinton joked with the crowd of reporters that her relationship with the press has always been "complicated" and she is "well aware that some of you may be a little surprised" that she's here at this awards reception."A new email address, why not a new relationship with the press," Clinton joked.She also offered up some sympathy for the press and analysis of changes for the industry."Every day, you, the writers and reporters in this room, are under even more pressure...from the market...and of course from our politics," Clinton said. "I think the stakes are really high. Too many of our most important debates occur in what I call an evidence-free zone."While public officials and politicians might not always be happy with reporters, Clinton said, "We do understand, in our more rational moments, that is your job."

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No Announcement at Camp David on Delaying the US Afghan Withdrawal

No Announcement at Camp David on Delaying the US Afghan Withdrawal

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Ghani both said Monday at a Camp David news conference that President Obama is still considering Ghani’s request to delay the pace of this year’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.  

Originally the 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan would have been reduced to half that by year’s end and cut to an embassy presence by the end of 2016.  Ghani has requested that process be delayed to help Afghan troops get through this summer’s fighting season. “President Obama is actively considering that request,” said Kerry, who indicated that discussion would be the focus of tomorrow’s meetings at the White House between the two presidents.Ghani said the troops decision “will solely be made by President Obama,” though he also said “numbers are a means; they are not an end in themselves.”In his opening statement Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. would provide funding to maintain current Afghan security force levels of 352,000 through 2017, one year more than had been scheduled.  Carter said providing the funding was “a way of providing some future horizon and stability to that force as it builds itself and takes over an increasing share of the -- of the security mission in Afghanistan.”Afghan troop levels are currently at 330,000 but Ghani made the point that it’s not about troop numbers but about maintaining Afghanistan’s partnership with the U.S. and the international community.

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Neurosurgeon and UN Ambassador Lead NCAA Bracket Among 2016 Presidential Hopefuls

Neurosurgeon and UN Ambassador Lead NCAA Bracket Among 2016 Presidential Hopefuls

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly all of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have graciously entered our NCAA tournament bracket pool, perhaps eager for some competition in this pre-campaign, exploratory phase of the 2016 presidential contest. So how are they doing? Although he’s not ahead in the polls, neurosurgeon Ben Carson has a sizable lead in the ABC News 2016 presidential bracket pool. Carson’s bracket is currently in the 85th percentile of all the brackets on ESPN.com, a solid rank in a year full of upsets. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s not far behind, ranking in the 77th percentile. Though unlike the majority of candidates, Walker selected his home-state Badgers to win the tournament, which sets him apart from the majority, who selected Kentucky. The opening rounds have been tough on Rick Santorum, who sits at the bottom of the bracket pool. He picked the favorite in almost every game, which led to the early loss of half of his Final Four teams -- Villanova and Iowa State. Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Martin O’Malley have each already lost their champion teams. Gilmore, Fiorina and Bush all had the swing state of Virginia selected as their champion -- a politically savvy move, perhaps, but not one that's paid off in our pool. Jindal and O’Malley picked their home-state teams of Louisiana State University and Maryland, which was a risky proposition to begin with because they were ninth and fourth seeds, respectively. Wisconsin isn't counted among the critical, early-primary states, but it may decide the winner of the 2015 presidential bracket pool. Carson has the Badgers coming up short against North Carolina this round and Arizona advancing to the Final Four from the West. Both Carson and Walker still have three teams left in their Final Four selections -- more than any other candidates in the top half of the presidential bracket pool. But if Kentucky comes out on top, as ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight predicts, Carson will almost certainly win the pool. In our women’s NCAA tournament pool, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is in the lead among five other 2016ers. With all of his final four picks still in the game, including his home state Maryland, Bolton ranks in the 97th percentile on ESPN.com. Trailing not far behind, Carly Fiorina ranks in the 85th percentile on ESPN.com. With her calculated picks, Fiorina chose two of her alma maters, University of Maryland and Stanford, advancing to the Final Four with Maryland winning it all. Bobby Jindal falls right in the middle, but his NCAA winner pick, his home team Louisiana State University, is already out of the game with an early loss this past weekend. Eleventh-seed LSU is the only low seed that Jindal picked for the Final Four, sticking by his home state. Martin O’Malley and George Pataki are tied at the 40th percentile while Jim Gilmore, ranking in the 13th percentile on ESPN.com, lands at the bottom of the pool.If Maryland comes out on top, then Fiorina has a chance to win the bracket challenge. However, if Fiorina’s alma mater fails to advance even in the championship game, Bolton will most likely remain as the bracket winner.

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White House Says Afghan Drawdown Plan Has Been ‘Clear and Firm’

White House Says Afghan Drawdown Plan Has Been ‘Clear and Firm’

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House reiterated on Monday that a planned military drawdown in Afghanistan has been “clear and firm,” despite talk of troop levels being extended.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his administration are on their first official visit to the United States this week, starting with a security meeting at Camp David on Monday with Secretary of State John Kerry.It's expected that Ghani will be asking the U.S. to maintain the current military levels of around 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan beyond 2016, instead of sticking to President Obama's plan to draw down troops to about 1,500.White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday that troop numbers will be a sticking point.“Making a substantial commitment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan again is not in our national security interest,” Earnest said. “Drawing the United States into another land war in Asia is not in our best interest.”

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Obama Talks Brainstorming With Cape-Clad Kid Scientists

Obama Talks Brainstorming With Cape-Clad Kid Scientists

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The 6-year-old inventors at Monday’s White House Science Fair are “better brainstormers” than Obama -- at least that’s what the president thinks. During a tour of the winning science projects at the White House on Monday, Girl Scout Troop 411 told Obama they generated their idea for a Lego-based automatic page turner during a group “brainstorming session.” “You guys are already better brainstormers than I am,” the president told the girls, all clad in superhero capes. The page-turning device -- embellished with multicolored bricks and Lego people -- was “working really well, although you gotta read kind of fast,” Obama observed. “Are you guys able to speed it up and slow it down?” “It’s a prototype,” said one of the girls. “It's a prototype! It will get refined later,” Obama said with a laugh. “That’s what I’m saying.” “Have you ever had a brainstorming session yourself?” one of the girls asked the POTUS. “I have had a couple brainstorming sessions, but I didn't come up with anything this good!” the president said. “I came up with things like, you know, health care. Yeah, it turned out okay -- but it started off with some prototypes.” “He was a lot more fun than I expected!” 6-year-old Karissa Chang said of Obama. “That was pretty awesome and pretty funny.” Developing the Affordable Care Act “might take three months, just like it took for us,” Chang remarked to ABC News. Other inventions on display at the White House on Monday included a spinal implant that grows with the patient, an algae-based biofuel, and a hiccup-curing lollipop. “These young scientists and engineers teach us something beyond the specific topics that they're exploring. They teach us how to question assumptions, to wonder why something is the way it is, and how we can make it better. And they remind us that there's always something more to learn, and to try, and to discover, and to imagine,” Obama said. “We don't want to just increase the number of American students in STEM," the president added, referring to science, technology, engineering and math. "We want to make sure everybody is involved. We want to increase the diversity of STEM programs, as well.” Cierra Ramirez, who plays a teenage coder on ABC’s The Fosters and attended the White House event as a VIP, said the fair shows young people -- especially young girls -- that “you can be both beautiful and smart.” “Women don't really make up a lot of STEM, especially girls of color. So, to be able to represent both parts of that, and to hopefully inspire some young girls who watch the show to continue to follow their dreams, if they're interested in it, is awesome,” she said.

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Ted Cruz Could Be First Canadian-Born US President: Here’s Why

Ted Cruz Could Be First Canadian-Born US President: Here’s Why

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most Americans learn early on that you can’t be president of the United States unless you’re born in America. But to the confusion of civics students everywhere, Ted Cruz’s presidential story begins in Canada. The Texas senator, who officially announced his bid for president Monday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970. (Cruz even briefly mentioned Canada in his speech.) So, why doesn't the Canadian-born U.S. senator seem to be worried? Let’s review: According to the Constitution, a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. While Cruz received U.S. citizenship through his American mother, he was a Canadian citizen by virtue of his birth, the Dallas Morning News discovered in 2013. While some conservatives–and Donald Trump—have questioned Cruz’s presidential eligibility, and the Supreme Court has never weighed in on the subject, many legal experts believe his Canadian citizenship doesn’t disqualify him from running for president. Both John McCain and George Romney ran for president despite being born in the Panama Canal Zone and Mexico, respectively. The most recent defense of Cruz’s eligibility came in a recent article in the Harvard Law Review, where two lawyers who worked in the Bush and Obama administrations argued that Cruz’s mother’s citizenship and his father’s status as a U.S. resident covered the Constitution’s requirement. “Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution,” wrote Paul Clement, a Bush administration solicitor general and Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration. Cruz vowed to “renounce any Canadian citizenship” following the initial reporting in 2013. “Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American,” he said in a statement in 2013. Cruz formally renounced his citizenship in an official "Canadian Renunciation Letter" on May 14, 2014.

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Ted Cruz’s Word of the Day: ‘Imagine’

Ted Cruz’s Word of the Day: ‘Imagine’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- Speaking before thousands of students packed into a sports arena Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz formally announced his presidential campaign in a speech that amounted to a political sermon of sorts.“I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America, and that is why today I am announcing that I'm running for president of the United States,” Cruz said at Liberty University Monday.The word of the day for Cruz was “imagine” -- using the word 38 times to paint a picture of the president he would be.“I want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives, all across America, rising up together to say in unison ‘we demand our liberty,’" he said.Cruz, 44, asked students to “imagine” a president that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and halt President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But the biggest applause line of the day at the Christian university came when the Republican talked about his support for Israel.“Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel,” Cruz said, prompting the crowd to chant “USA, USA.”

Sitting just off stage was Cruz’s family -- his wife Heidi and two daughters Catherine and Caroline. He was also joined by his mother and his father, Rafael Cruz, who fled Cuba in the 1950s.

Cruz’s entrance in the race makes him the first major candidate to officially declare for 2016.

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‘Stand with Rand’ Shirts Abundant at Ted Cruz Announcement

‘Stand with Rand’ Shirts Abundant at Ted Cruz Announcement

US Congress(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- Sen. Ted Cruz no doubt wanted everything to be just right for his official presidential roll-out on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia. He even went to the trouble of practicing everything from his wave to a kiss with his wife on Sunday.Enter a group of Rand Paul supporters.Several students wearing “Stand With Rand” shirts made their way into seats directly behind Cruz on stage Monday morning. The students' shirts were blurry yet visible in many of the shots during Cruz’s speech.The “Stand With Rand” campaign was launched by Sen. Rand Paul’s team during his filibuster of U.S. drone policy in the spring of 2013. Paul’s filibuster lasted 13 hours and was the longest in recent memory. That is, until Cruz stood on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours to discuss defunding Obamacare in September of the same year.Cruz, R-Texas, is the first Republican presidential candidate to officially announce his candidacy.Paul, R-Ky., is still in the exploratory phase of his campaign, but reports say he could officially declare his candidacy early next month.

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Obamacare Turns Five Years Old

Obamacare Turns Five Years OldABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's signature health care plan hit a milestone on Monday.The Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- is now five years old, despite the best efforts of its opponents.The controversy over the law started a...

Ted Cruz Is Running for President: 5 Obstacles Between Him and the White House

Ted Cruz Is Running for President: 5 Obstacles Between Him and the White House

US Senate/iStock/Thinkstock(LYNCHBURG, Va.) — Speaking at the largest Christian university in the country on the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz officially announced his campaign for president Monday, billing himself as the small-government, socially conservative antidote to the Obama administration."It is a time for truth, it is a time for liberty, it is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States," Cruz said Monday morning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.Cruz became the first major candidate to formally declare his candidacy."I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives, rising up to reignite the promise of America," he said.But despite his appeal to the conservative, grassroots elements of the GOP, Cruz faces significant challenges in the battle for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

Here are five obstacles standing between Cruz and the White House:1. Standing Out as the Conservative CandidateTed Cruz's presidential campaign will largely hinge on appealing to the conservative base of the Republican Party, and his ability to distinguish himself from other conservative candidates.Cruz's first test will come in Iowa -- a state that selected former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum as the winner of its caucus in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Recently, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has attracted the attention of Iowa's social conservatives after his fiery speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January. Cruz will need to differentiate himself from these candidates to win over the state's social conservative voters, who represent a large bloc of caucus-goers, and set the path for the rest of the primary races.2. Jeb Bush's Fundraising JuggernautWith $100,000-per-ticket fundraisers and a purported goal of raising as much as $500 million for the Republican presidential primary fight, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has emerged as the fundraising heavyweight in the 2016 race, pressuring other candidates to ramp up their own efforts.Cruz had the backing of traditional donors in his 2012 Senate race, but also raised a significant amount of money from small-dollar donors. Cruz will need that grassroots support once again to sustain his campaign. As the first candidate to declare, he'll be the first to solicit direct contributions to his campaign. Against Jeb Bush's prolific fundraising machine, every direct dollar, from contributions big or small, will help Cruz in what is expected to be the most expensive presidential campaign cycle to date.3. The Canada QuestionCan Cruz -- who was born in Calgary, Canada -- legally run for president? He says yes. His mother, a U.S. citizen, gave birth while his parents happened to be working in Canada at the time.Cruz was a dual American-Canadian citizen until 2014, when he renounced his Canadian citizenship after its discovery raised questions about his presidential eligibility. While he won't be the first presidential candidate not to be be born in the United States (John McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone, and George Romney was born in Mexico to American parents), legal experts have concluded that Cruz's birth isn't an obstacle to becoming president. In a recent Harvard Law Review article, a pair of former solicitors general said Cruz was "fully eligible" to serve as president. Still, Cruz could face some resistance from within the party -- potential candidate Donald Trump has already voiced concerns about Cruz's eligibility.4. He's Not Always the Most Popular Guy in the RoomIn his three years in the Senate, Cruz has irked his colleagues over and over -- whether it was leading a 21 hour filibuster just days before a government shutdown or making one senator miss a performance of the “Nutcracker” with her family ahead of Christmas.In 2013, McCain called Cruz a "wacko bird" for his positions and representation of the Republican Party. But Cruz -- who tellingly called himself a "proud wacko bird" in response to McCain's comment -- has built his political brand on such confrontations with Democrats and Republicans, and will likely bill himself as an uncompromising candidate willing to stand up to both parties in defense of his principles, and regardless of popularity.5. He Hasn't Been Around the BlockUnlike many of the current and former governors in the Republican field, Cruz is a relative political newcomer, having only taken office in 2013. While Bush can draw from eight years of governing experience, and Walker can highlight five years of battling public sector unions in Wisconsin, Cruz has only three years in Washington to his name. That level of experience didn't stop then Sen. Barack Obama (who had just as much experience as Cruz does now when he ran for president), but it leaves Cruz open to criticism from his potential challengers.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cruz Tweets: “I’m Running for President”

Cruz Tweets: “I’m Running for President” Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(VIRGINIA) -- Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has announced he’s running for president in 2016.  Cruz announced his decision in a tweet, writing, “I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support.”  Sen. Cruz will formally announce his presidential bid Monday at Liberty University in Virginia, aides to the senator confirmed to ABC News. However, shortly after midnight, Cruz tweeted his announcement, along with a 30-second video. At around the same time, Cruz also released his new presidential campaign website, TedCruz.org. This declaration is the first made among any of the major potential 2016 presidential candidates from either party. It has long been rumored that Cruz, who has only been in the Senate for just over two years, has had his eye on the White House. Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.Generally, presidential hopefuls form an exploratory committee before arriving at a decision to run. However, Cruz appears poised to begin a campaign, which might compel other potential candidate to make their intentions known sooner than they planned. A staunch conservative and Tea Party favorite, Cruz is perhaps best known for triggering a partial government shutdown in October 2013 that angered many within his own party -- yet boosted his standing among potential voters looking for a conservative candidate for the White House in 2016.  World News Videos | US News Videos Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Head of House Homeland Security Committee Disturbed by Events in Yemen

Head of House Homeland Security Committee Disturbed by Events in Yemen

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday morning that he was alarmed by the chaos that has engulfed Yemen, which has led to the withdrawal of U.S. special operations forces from the war-torn country. The Texas congressman also cited the blurring of lines between the various Islamist extremist groups operating in the country as a threat. “I think these developments in Yemen greatly disturb me, because of the – their potential to attack the United States,” McCaul told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on This Week Sunday. Yemen, which is engulfed in a civil war, endured a string of attacks across its capital this week that left over 130 people dead, including at two Shiite mosques. The U.S., which recently closed its embassy in Yemen, also decided to pull its remaining special operations forces from the country this weekend because of the escalating violence. McCaul said the move leaves the U.S. with no intelligence resources in the country, which has been a critical hot spot in the U.S. fight against terrorism. “I think the problem is that we're not going to have any intelligence in Yemen. Yemen is one of the most dangerous spots in the world. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the largest external operation force within al Qaeda,” McCaul said. “Good intelligence stops plots against the homeland. Without that intelligence, we cannot effectively stop it. That's what I'm most concerned about,” he added.

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