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Kerry Pledges $212 Million in Assistance to Gaza, Calls for Leadership in Middle East

Kerry Pledges $212 Million in Assistance to Gaza, Calls for Leadership in Middle East

State Department photo/ Public Domain(CAIRO) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Sunday at an international conference to aid reconstruction in Gaza following the airstrikes and missiles launched between Israeli forces and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip in recent months.Kerry pledged $212 million in assistance to the Palestinian people, promising that with it would come "immediate relief and reconstruction." The hope, the U.S. secretary of state said, is that the funding will be used to "help promote security and stability, and economic development, and it will provide for immediate distribution of food, medicine, and shelter materials for hundreds of thousands for the coming winter."Calling the tensions from this past summer "a difficult few months on a difficult issue in a difficult neighborhood," Kerry spoke of the thousands of homes that were damaged or destroyed and the millions of Gaza residents forced to flee for safety. Kerry said the key to reconstructing Gaza is to ensure the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis remains in place. "The United States," he said, "remains fully, totally committed to returning to the negotiations not for the sake of it, but because the goal of this conference and the future of this region demand it."Kerry said a two-state solution "is even more compelling today" than it was a year ago. "It's a time for leaders to lead," Kerry said Sunday. "And at a time when extremism, which offers no constructive vision for the future, is capitalizing on the vacuum, it is imperative for all of us to fill that vacuum with a prospect of peace."

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Alaska Governor Vows to Appeal Ruling Striking Down State’s Definition of Marriage

Alaska Governor Vows to Appeal Ruling Striking Down State’s Definition of Marriage

Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Thinkstock(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell announced on Sunday that the state would appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that struck down the state's constitutional definition of marriage."As Alaska's governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution," Parnell said Sunday. "Although the district court today may have been bound by the recent Ninth Circuit panel opinion, the status of that opinion and the law in general in this area is in flux. I will defend our constitution," he added, noting the recent ruling that struck down similar laws in Nevada and Idaho. Alaska's constitution had defined marriage as being "only between one man and one woman."In a brief to the district court, the state of Alaska had called the right to same-sex marriage "a decision for the citizenry to make through the democratic process, not the judiciary."

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Wendy Davis Defends Controversial Campaign Ad

Wendy Davis Defends Controversial Campaign Ad

Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis defended the ad her campaign released on Friday featuring an empty wheelchair -- a criticism of her opponent, Greg Abbott, who is partially paralyzed.Davis has received criticism for the ad, which highlights Abbott's "hypocrisy." Abbott, Davis says, was the beneficiary of the judicial system that awarded him a large settlement following the accident that caused his paralysis. Later, as Texas' attorney general, Davis says Abbott sided against victims in similar situations. "Victims of a surgeon were paralyzed," Davis said Monday, "and he sided with the hospital against them. He has shown time and time again his hypocrisy."In a post to her Twitter account, Davis said that Abbott "deserved justice for his terrible tragedy," but criticized his later decision to build a career on "denying the same justice to fellow Texans."

 

Greg Abbott deserved justice for his terrible tragedy, but he turned around and built his career denying the same justice to fellow Texans.

— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) October 13, 2014

Davis, who gained notoriety when she filibustered for 11 hours against a bill that would have placed strong restrictions on abortions in the state of Texas in June 2013, faces a tough campaign against Abbott in advance of the November election for governor of Texas.

 

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Obama Pressed to Name an Ebola Czar

Obama Pressed to Name an Ebola Czar

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With news of a second confirmed case of Ebola on U.S. soil, questions are mounting over the government’s ability to respond to the crisis.Several Republican lawmakers have called for the Obama administration to name a single point person to make sure the deadly virus doesn’t spread.“I would say that we don’t know exactly who’s in charge. There has to be some kind of czar,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said over the weekend.While the White House isn’t ruling out naming an “Ebola Czar,” they have not done so because their response needs to be “as nimble and as bureaucratically lean as possible in order to bring the overseas epidemic under control and respond efficiently and effectively here at home,” according to a National Security Council spokesman.For now, the White House point person is Lisa Monaco, the president’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser.“Lisa does have a lot on her plate, but she’s a very talented individual,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week.The White House stresses that operationally, USAID is in the lead overseas, while, here at home, Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in charge of the preparedness effort. Monaco is tasked with coordinating the interagency response.In addition to calls for a czar, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, wants the CDC to determine whether Ebola patients should be treated at hospitals or moved to biocontainment  facilities.“The CDC attributes the new infection (in Texas) to a breach in protocol, which raises the question whether ordinary hospitals that may not have had specialized training on caring for seriously ill patients safely should be responsible for the long-term care of an Ebola patient when there are beds available in one of our nation’s biocontainment units,” he said.The House Energy and Commerce Committee will break its recess to hold a hearing on Ebola on Thursday.

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Meet the Candidate Whose Name Is Trouble on the Stump

Meet the Candidate Whose Name Is Trouble on the Stump

David Greedy/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- “Iowa is not going to vote for Bill Braley and vote for him a third time, that’s for sure,” Mitt Romney proclaimed at a campaign event Sunday.He’s right: Iowa won’t vote for Bill Braley this November. They might vote for Bruce Braley, Iowa’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee. Trouble is, nobody can seem to get his name right.Romney, who was stumping for Braley’s Republican opponent, Joni Ernst, isn’t the first surrogate to flub Braley’s name.Surrounded by signs touting “Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate,” first lady Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to the candidate as “Bruce Bailey” at least seven times last Friday.“I am beyond thrilled to be here today to support your next senator from Iowa, our friend, Bruce Bailey,” she told a crowd of more than 1,200.“You can go to Vote.BruceBailey.com. That’s Vote.BruceBailey.com,” Mrs. Obama said, before the crowd finally corrected her.“Braley! What did I say?” she said with a laugh. “I’m losing it. I’m getting old. I’ve been traveling too much.”The first lady also mistakenly referred to Braley as a Marine Corps veteran.The Ernst campaign pounced, snapping up a variant of the website Mrs. Obama mentioned: www.votebrucebailey.com now redirects to Ernst’s website.Last month, Bill Clinton also misstated Braley’s last name, calling him “Bruce Bailey” at a steak fry thrown by retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin.“You know what you ought to do to honor the Harkin legacy, and that is to elect Bruce Bailey,” the former president said.Both the Braley campaign and the Iowa Democratic Party declined to comment.

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How Gabby Giffords Is Shaking Up a Competitive Congressional Race

How Gabby Giffords Is Shaking Up a Competitive Congressional Race

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Gabby Giffords isn’t running for office, but when it comes to the race for the Congressional seat she once held, you’d almost think she’s the one on the ballot.The contest for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional district is pitting Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, Giffords’ former district director, against Republican Martha McSally, a former Air Force colonel. But lately, Giffords has stepped squarely into the spotlight, appearing in campaign ads, becoming a talking point in debates and, at times, overshadowing the candidates themselves.Temperatures are now at an all-time high. The latest sparks flew last week when the two candidates met for their first debate on the heels of the release of a new ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure committee that featured images of Giffords.“Gabby Giffords fought for border security and voted against Nancy Pelosi,” the narrator in “Follower” says. “Ron Barber voted for Pelosi and followed Pelosi’s lead, voting against strengthening our border.”Giffords was evidently not pleased with the portrayal.“No organization or person -- no matter which party they say they represent -- should think they can come to Southern Arizona and pretend to speak for me,” the former congresswoman said in a statement. “I work hard to speak, but it’s my voice. So take it from me: Ron is an independent leader in Congress, and no one will fight harder for our community.”And Giffords didn’t stop there. Her group Americans for Responsible Solutions released a counter-ad the following day featuring the former congresswoman, who was shot by a gunman in 2011 and resigned from the House of Representatives a year later.

In “Fight For Us” Giffords says looking directly into the camera, “We expect our leaders to fight for us, not the special interests. Ron Barber is independent, he’s courageous, and most of all he’s Arizona through and through.”The ad will air on broadcast, cable and online for at least two weeks and is backed by what a spokesperson for Giffords’ group called a “strong six-figure buy.”But the recent skirmish didn’t come out of nowhere.Last month Americans for Responsible Solutions released two television ads taking McSally to task for her views on background checks for firearm purchases. In one of the ads titled, “Stalker Gap,” a Tucson resident named Vicki tearfully discusses her husband and daughter’s murder at the hands of her daughter’s former boyfriend. A narrator chimes in, “Martha McSally opposes making it harder for stalkers to get a gun.”“I don’t think she really understands how important that is to a lot of women,” Vicki says in closing.The specific attack from Giffords’ gun control group focused on McSally’s objection to closing a loophole that allows individuals convicted of misdemeanors for stalking to buy guns. McSally aides immediately expressed outrage, saying they found the accusation particularly shocking because McSally, herself, had been a victim of stalking.“For an outside group to tie me to the tragic occurrence of a stalker killing his victim is not only personally offensive, it’s degrading to all women and victims who have experienced this pain,” McSally said in a written statement. “These false and malicious ads are being run by Congressman Barber’s political allies, and for him to remain silent in their wake is damning…He needs to denounce these degrading ads and demand they be pulled down.”According to her campaign, a stalker broke into McSally’s car and repeatedly trespassed in her apartment building. The McSally campaign did not elaborate on the incident.The controversy about the ad spilled over into last week’s debate between the two candidates.“You have an opportunity now tonight to denounce that ad and apologize,” McSallly said during a particularly heated exchange. “Do you believe that that ad was wrong, Ron?”Barber refused: “That ad was not run by me, and I’m not going to talk about an ad that I didn’t sponsor.”Giffords and Americans for Responsible Solutions have received criticism from other quarters, too.An editorial late last month in the Arizona Republic, titled “Vile ad bounces off McSally, sticks to Gabby Giffords,” referred to the ad as a “nasty piece of work” and “demagoguery in heart-rending tones.”“The ad waves the bloody shirt. Takes the tragic killing of two innocents and drops it at McSally’s feet, as if she were responsible. A murder indictment implied,” the editorial board wrote, adding: “Perhaps the Tucson shooting changed Gabby Giffords.”Mark Prentice, a spokesman for Americans for Responsible Solutions, told ABC News that Giffords had no plans to campaign alongside Barber between now and Election Day, but wouldn’t rule out additional ads.

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In Run-Up to Midterms, Obama Scarce from the Campaign Trail

In Run-Up to Midterms, Obama Scarce from the Campaign Trail

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- With just three weeks to go until the midterm elections and control of the Senate hanging in the balance, candidates are scrambling toward the finish line, but one key figure has been largely absent: the Campaigner-in-Chief.The president has appeared at zero public campaign events this cycle, opting instead to tap into his fundraising prowess to boost democratic candidates behind closed-doors. Obama’s absence on the trail underscores how the president has become a political liability for many candidates. With his approval rating down in the dumps, a personal visit from Obama would likely hurt rather than help his party’s cause in the hotly contested states.President Obama is expected to step-up his public presence on the campaign trail in these final weeks, but likely only in deep blue states. He will attend his first public campaign rally for a candidate this Wednesday when he stumps for Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.It’s not unheard of for the president to be scare in the run-up to the midterms. President George W. Bush headlined 15 rallies in 2006, but they were all in the final weeks, according to Brendan Doherty, professor of political science at the US Naval Academy and author of The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign.Democratic Candidates Eager to Distance Themselves from the PresidentNot only is the president a persona non grata on the trail, Democratic candidates are going to great lengths to avoid being even remotely associated with him.Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democrat challenging Senate Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell, has repeatedly declined to say whether she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, including spending an astonishing 40 seconds refusing to answer the question during an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal last week.“I don’t think that the president is on the ballot. As much as Mitch McConnell might want him to be, it’s my name, and it’s going to be me who’s holding him accountable for the failed decisions and votes that he has made against the people of Kentucky,” she said in response.Colorado Sen. Mark Udall became tongue tied when asked earlier in the year if he wanted the president to campaign for him, telling CNN “we’ll see what the president’s schedule is, we’ll see what my schedule is.” “But Coloradoans are going to reelect me based on my record, not the president’s record, not what the president’s done, but what I’ve done and how I’ve stood up for Colorado,” he added.Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor similarly stumbled when asked recently if he backed Obama’s handling of the Ebola crisis. “Umm, I would say that it’s a – it’s hard to know, uh, because, um, I haven’t heard the latest briefing on that, you know,” he told MSNBC.  What Is the President Doing?In lieu of public campaign appearances, the president has kept up a frenetic fundraising schedule away from cameras.Last week alone, he raised money on both coasts, rubbing elbows with Hollywood stars at Gwyneth Paltrow’s home and traveling to Greenwich, Connecticut, for a $32,000 a plate fundraiser at the home of a real-estate billionaire named Rich Richman.                                                                                                                                                        In all, Obama has attended 59 fundraisers this year to fill his party’s coffers. Top Obama Surrogates Hit the Trail While President Obama has stayed silent, his top surrogates are another story. The first lady and vice president have been crisscrossing the country to campaign publicly for Democrats.Last week, the vice president missed a National Security Council meeting in D.C., a rare occurrence, to campaign for Sen. Jeff Merkley in Oregon and grab ice cream with the candidate. The first lady, whose approval rating is far higher than her husband’s, has also been appearing with candidates and has taken things a step further, taping a campaign ad for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren Says Administration Is Too Chummy with Wall Street

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Says Administration Is Too Chummy with Wall Street

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sounding as if she hasn't entirely closed the door on a 2016 White House run, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took a battering ram to the Obama administration in an exclusive interview with Salon, charging that the White House failed the American people by siding more with Wall Street during the near-financial collapse six years ago.Warren, who says she's not seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, was blunt, claiming the president's economic team "protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over. So I see both of those things and they both matter."She accused the nation's rich of making an all-out effort to concentrate money and power, but Warren, a populist, believes, "We have our voices and we have our votes. If people get engaged on the issues, the votes are on our side."The first step to leveling the playing field just a bit is raising the federal minimum wage.Warren did offer some conciliatory words to the White House and Democrats for "fighting for the right things." She said that had it not been for Obama, "we would not have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Period. I’m completely convinced of that.”Warren was an early advocate of the CFPB, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch O'Connell has threatened to roll back if the GOP gains control of the Senate.

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HUD Secretary Julián Castro Doesn’t See President in the Mirror

HUD Secretary Julián Castro Doesn’t See President in the Mirror

ABC/Rick Rowell(WASHINGTON) -- When Housing and Urban Development Secretary and rising Democratic star Julián Castro looks in the mirror, he says he doesn't see a president or vice president peering back."I have never woken up in the morning and seen in my future, when I look in the mirror, and said, 'Oh, I think I'm going to be president,'" Castro told ABC News.While Castro says he wants to focus on his work at HUD, his twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, has not shied away from presidential politics.Joaquin Castro endorsed Hillary Clinton for a 2016 presidential run, as many have suggested that his brother would make a strong vice presidential candidate who could help deliver the Hispanic vote.But that is another claim Julián Castro is quick to deny."I don't believe that I am going to be vice president," Castro said.However, Castro hasn't dismissed a potential Texas gubernatorial campaign after he completes his term at HUD in two and a half years. When asked if he has woken up in the morning and thought about running, Castro didn't exactly say yes, but he didn't say no."There were definitely mornings when I woke up and wished that there were a different governor of Texas," Castro said.In fact, Democratic pundit Donna Brazile said Sunday on This Week that she is eager to show off her Castro support, despite the current campaign of Democrat Wendy Davis."No, no question. I have a button. There's no question. Castro for Governor 2018," Brazile said. "He is a rising star. He is the future face of not just the Democratic party, but American politics."Castro, whom Obama once called an "all-star," grew up in west San Antonio and brings a unique perspective to his office."I'm the first HUD secretary that had a family member, a parent who lived in a housing project," Castro said.Castro said he views housing as the link to greater opportunity and is pushing mortgage banks to loosen credit in an effort to revamp the housing market."It is too hard for hard-working, average Americans who are responsible and who are ready to own a home to get a loan," Castro said. "In fact, we estimate that there are about 13 million folks who ... under normal circumstances would be able to access credit for a home that today are basically shut out."The Department of Housing and Urban Development employs about 8,500 people and is charged with overseeing housing needs and laws, including public housing and mortgage insurance."There's probably no upside politically of being at HUD," Castro said. "However there is tremendous upside in terms of the satisfaction of the work that we do in trying to create more opportunity in people's lives."

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Gen. Martin Dempsey: ‘Challenging Task’ Against ISIS Without Sunni Support for Iraq Government

Gen. Martin Dempsey: ‘Challenging Task’ Against ISIS Without Sunni Support for Iraq Government

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Sunday that the fight against ISIS would remain a "very challenging task" until the Iraqi government is able to win over the substantial Sunni population living between the capital cities of Iraq and Syria."The government of Iraq, which is moving but has not yet achieved a narrative that would cause the 20 million Sunnis who live between Damascus and Baghdad to believe that their future is with the government of Iraq, in the case of Iraqis, and certainly the Syrian regime is not reaching out to the Sunni population in Syria," Dempsey told ABC News' Martha Raddatz for This Week."Until those facts change, this is going to be a very challenging task. In other words, until ISIL [ISIS] doesn't have, you know, freedom of movement in and among the populations of Al Anbar Province and Nineveh Province, and in Eastern Syria, this is going to be a challenge," Dempsey said of ISIS, the extremist Islamist group also referred to as ISIL or the Islamic State.During the interview for This Week, the general discussed an incident this week when ISIS fighters were within 20 to 25 kilometers of the strategically important Baghdad airport, where Apache helicopters were called in to assist Iraqi forces."Had they overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the airport. So we're not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport," Dempsey said.Dempsey also highlighted the difficulty of targeting ISIS forces as they make efforts to conceal their presence, including blending into local population centers."The enemy adapts and they will be harder to target,"Demspey said. "They know how to maneuver and how to use populations and concealment. So when we get a target, we'll take it."

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Paul Krugman: Obama a More ‘Consequential’ President Than Clinton

Paul Krugman: Obama a More ‘Consequential’ President Than Clinton

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman told ABC News that President Obama has made more lasting changes to the country while in office than the last Democrat in office, President Bill Clinton."Bill Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician," Krugman told ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "But, in fact, Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, is a consequential president."Krugman's comments follow a new cover story he wrote for Rolling Stone, in which he calls Obama one of the most "successful" presidents in American history.His defense of the president comes as a surprise because Krugman has previously been a harsh critic of Obama. In 2009, Krugman was featured in a Newsweek cover story titled "Obama is Wrong: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman," which identified him as the leading liberal voice against the president."People who had this idea that Obama was going to bring a transformation of America, I thought were being naïve," Krugman told Karl this week. "But, by God, we got health reform, and we got a significant financial reform. We are getting the environmental action … it's not everything you would have wanted, but it's more than anyone else has done for decades."Krugman also said that Obama's achievements were more consequential than those of Republican President Ronald Reagan."In the end, Reagan did not leave the structure of America's society particularly different,” Krugman said. "He did not in fact change the basic legacy of Lyndon Johnson and FDR."Krugman's ranking of consequential presidents, he said, would be Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, followed by Obama and then Reagan.Krugman did acknowledge that national security is a weak area for Obama, who recently faced criticism from Leon Panetta, the president's former secretary of defense, and former President Jimmy Carter for his handling of ISIS."I don't think there's any way you can call him a great national security president," Krugman said."I don't think you can call him a terrible one either. And what I say is he's basically fairly typical for a post-Vietnam president," he said."Not everything is wonderful but some big achievements and no really huge disasters," Krugman said. "Obama really has left the world, has left America a different place."

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Obama Wraps up California Fundraising Trip

Obama Wraps up California Fundraising Trip

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- President Obama wrapped up his fundraising trip to California on Saturday, addressing a Democratic National Committee event at the W Hotel in San Francisco. As he spoke to a cheering crowd, Obama touched on the ISIS threat in Syria and Iraq, Ebola in West Africa, and Russian aggression in Ukraine. "..What ties these things together is the fact that on each and every one of these issues... at the center of it, leading it, is the United States of America," the president said. "When problems happen around the world, they call us."While Obama cited the U.S. as a world leader, he addressed the issue of "showing leadership at home."The President touted progress -- in health care, energy production, and educational and economic changes -- over the last six years, but emphasized the need for more progress with minimum wage and and benefits for the middle class. "We live in cynical times.  And Washington feeds that cynicism," Obama said, alluding to differences between the two parties. "But I always tell people:  Cynicism didn’t put a man on the moon.  Cynicism never cured a disease.  Cynicism never built a business. Cynicism is a choice.  Hope is a better choice."

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Obama Says He Will Keep Minimum Wage Fight Going ‘Until We Win’

Obama Says He Will Keep Minimum Wage Fight Going ‘Until We Win’Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama took the time to speak, once again, on the importance of an increased minimum wage on millions of Americans. Highlighting the latest positive data from the L...

GOP Weekly Address: Obama Administration ‘Confused’ on National Security

GOP Weekly Address: Obama Administration ‘Confused’ on National Security

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, Senate candidate Scott Brown, from New Hampshire, spoke about the importance of defending American borders and defending the nation's interests abroad.

Highlighting the growing number of international threats to American security -- ISIS, the situation in Ukraine, continued Israeli-Palestinian tensions and the threat of a nuclear Iran, among others -- Brown calls the Obama administration "confused."

Brown recommends securing American borders, reversing the Obama administration's drawdown to the number of U.S. military troops and "[keeping] faith with America's veterans."

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

"Hello, I’m Scott Brown, Republican candidate for U.S. senator in New Hampshire.  "In these closing weeks of the 2014 campaign, Americans are realizing how much is on the line – especially when it comes to national security.  We are at a dangerous moment for our country and our friends.  It’s starting to feel like the world is on fire, with so many crises getting worse, so many adversaries gaining ground."In Iraq and Syria, an expanse of territory larger than New England has now been lost to a terrorist army, ISIS.  Our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, faced rocket attacks by Hamas all summer long.  In Iran, the extremist regime is still intent on building nuclear weapons.  "In Ukraine, America’s friends are dealing with belligerence from Vladimir Putin and the Russian army.  China, meanwhile, is bullying its neighbors, while also pressing ahead with a massive military buildup."So many challenges, so many threats and problems – and all at the same time.   Yet the Obama administration seems only more confused as things unravel.  This is what the world looks like without American leadership."So it’s hardly surprising that national security is a central issue in this election.  I believe our state deserves an independent senator who will put party loyalty aside, and put our national interests first, each and every time—rather than simply voting with President Obama 99 percent of the time."Like many other Republicans, I’m running to restore American leadership.  And how about we start by protecting our own borders? "Isis thugs have been threatening for months to send people here to kill Americans unless their demands are met.  Well, a porous border is an obvious pathway for terrorists to get in here.  And yet, all we’ve heard from the administration is more talk of amnesty, by executive decree and right after the election.  "Let’s not kid ourselves:  When the enemies of our country are planning attacks and our leaders in Washington are planning amnesty, something is wrong.  We have got to get serious about guarding this nation’s borders and enforcing this nation’s laws.  "Second, we need to reverse the defense drawdown of the Obama years.  We have seen massive reductions in personnel everywhere – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.  We’re now on track to have an Army smaller than it was before the Second World War."At a time when so much is expected of our military, we need to give it all the manpower, all the equipment, and all the support to succeed in every mission and come back safe.  We owe that much at least to the people who defend us."Third, we need to keep faith with America’s veterans.  The V.A. under this administration has been an outrageous failure.  Even as the federal government tries taking over our whole health care system, it can’t even deliver on the most basic promise to take care of veterans.  Well, this election is a moment of accountability – not just at the V.A., but all across the federal government.  "In every part of America, people have deep worries about national security and border security – and all this when so many are still worried about job security.  Yet we’re asked to believe that this is the best America can do.  I do not accept that defeatist attitude for one moment, and neither should you.  "We can secure our own border.  We can maintain a military superiority that no rival will dare to question.  We can restore this great country’s leadership in the world, and everything rides on our success.  "As President Obama said recently, he’s not on the ballot but his entire agenda is.  That’s your invitation to send the clearest possible message to the establishment in Washington.  Elect Republicans to the House and Senate, and we will bring that big-government agenda to an end.  And we will set this country on a better, safer path."This is Scott Brown in New Hampshire.  Thanks for listening."

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Biden Honors Gun Control Advocate James Brady at Memorial

Biden Honors Gun Control Advocate James Brady at Memorial

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden spoke highly of former White House Press Secretary James Brady at a memorial for Brady, who passed away in August, on Friday.Brady was shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the gunshot wound later being ruled the cause of his death following his August passing. Describing Brady as "simply heroic," Biden remembered the man who became an advocate of gun control after he was shot."There were two things you had to know about Jim," Biden said, "he was tougher than you were and he was smarter than you...he truly lived every moment he was alive, even until the end."After the shooting, Brady was partially paralyzed. He and his wife have also worked with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for decades to help push legislation to prevent prohibited gun purchases.

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Wendy Davis Attacks Wheelchair-Bound Texas Gubernatorial Opponent in New Ad

Wendy Davis Attacks Wheelchair-Bound Texas Gubernatorial Opponent in New Ad

Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Is this the nastiest campaign ad of the 2014 cycle?The Wendy Davis gubernatorial campaign in Texas is out with its most negative ad of the campaign cycle yet, characterizing her opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, as a hypocrite for arguing against victims who sue for damages despite having reaped a high-figure amount himself after an accident paralyzed him 30 years ago.

The opening shot of the ad features an empty wheelchair. Abbott has used a wheelchair for 30 years after a tree fell on him while he was running and paralyzed him when he was just 26 years old.

“A tree fell on Greg Abbott,” says a narrator in the ad. “He sued and got millions. Since then, he’s spent his career working against other victims.”“Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb,” the narrator says. “He ruled against a rape victim who sued a corporation for failing to do a background check on a sexual predator. He sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon who paralyzed patients.”Abbott’s campaign condemned Davis’ ad, calling it “disgusting” and said it should disqualify her from seeking the governor’s office.“It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis’ disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represent Texans. Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician, and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas,” said Amelia Chasse, deputy communications director for Abbott’s campaign.The Davis campaign has run other negative ads this cycle, including one which said Abbott sided with a corporation over a sexual assault victim. Davis is trailing Abbott in most Texas polls on the governor’s race.

In another negative ad, the Davis campaign said Abbott picked the side of a hospital instead of patients.

Last month, Abbott ran a lighthearted positive ad highlighting his disability, joking that sometimes he moves faster in his wheelchair than Texas traffic.

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Same-Sex Couples in Virginia Can Adopt, Governor Says

Same-Sex Couples in Virginia Can Adopt, Governor Says

iStock/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Same-sex couples in the state of Virginia can now legally adopt, the state's governor said on Friday.Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal of a lower court's ruling striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. In doing so, the lower court's decision became effective, prompting the state to recognize and allow same-sex marriages."Now that same-sex marriage in Virginia is officially legal," Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement, "we owe it to all Virginians to ensure that every couple is treated equally under all of our laws, no matter whom they love." Calling the Supreme Court's decision "historic," McAuliffe stated his "sincerest hope that it will also open more doors for Virginia children who need loving families."Citing Virginia law, which states that a "married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption," McAuliffe said the message was being sent "once again that Virginia is open and welcoming to everyone."McAuliffe sent a bulletin to local divisions of the Department of Social Services on Friday making clear that, due to the Supreme Court ruling, the state will recognize and allow same-sex marriage, and allow any married couple -- including same-sex couples -- the opportunity adopt.

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Jeh Johnson Announces Members of Panel to Conduct Review of Secret Service

Jeh Johnson Announces Members of Panel to Conduct Review of Secret Service

US Dept of Defense(WASHINGTON) -- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the four panelists who will conduct an independent review of the U.S. Secret Service on Friday.Johnson expressed "full confidence that these distinguished individuals will conduct a fair, thorough and unbiased assessment."

Johnson named former Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, former Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President Danielle Gray and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joseph Hagin to the panel.On Oct. 1, Johnson stated that his deputy, Alejandro Mayorkas, with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security's General Counsel, will have control of the ongoing inquiry into the Secret Service. The assessment will focus on the Sept. 19 fence-jumping incident at the White House in which Omar Gonzalez bypassed Secret Service and made it deep into the White House. Mayorkas will complete his review by Nov. 1.The panel is expected to submit its assessment, primarily focusing on White House security by Dec. 15.

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Obama Praises Nobel Winners’ ‘Unyielding Commitment to Justice’

Obama Praises Nobel Winners’ ‘Unyielding Commitment to Justice’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama offered congratulations and praise for Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, the winners of the 2014 Noble Peace Prize.Obama, who won the award himself in 2009, called the announcement "a victory for all who strive to uphold the dignity of every human being." Highlighting the importance of equal opportunity for all, "regardless of their background, or gender, or station in life," Obama spoke highly of Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who he said "has inspired people around the world with her passion and determination to make sure girls everywhere can get an education."Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago for insisting that girls have the right to an education.

"When the Taliban tried to silence her," Obama said in his statement, "Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve.""Michelle and I were proud to welcome this remarkable young woman to the Oval Office last year," Obama noted. "We were awe-struck by her courage and filled with hope knowing this is only the beginning of her extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place."Obama also spoke of Kailash Satyarthi, the second winner of this year's award. Satyarthi, Obama said, "has dedicated his life to ending child labor and wiping the stain of slavery from our world." His work, the president added "reminds us of our shared responsibility to end the exploitation of others, especially the most vulnerable among us."The two winners "share an unyielding commitment to justice and an unshakable belief in the basic dignity of every girl and boy," Obama's statement read. "Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek -- one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally."

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The Obama Quote Republicans Can’t Stop Repeating

The Obama Quote Republicans Can’t Stop Repeating

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- A few sentences uttered recently by President Obama are fast-becoming the defining talking point of the 2014 election season for GOP candidates across the country."I am not on the ballot this fall ... Michelle’s pretty happy about that,” Obama said during a speech to business students at Northwestern University. “But make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."It didn't take long for Republicans to use the president's own words against their Democratic opponents in debates, campaign ads and stump speeches.Almost immediately after the speech, Senate candidate Thom Tillis, R-N.C., took to Twitter to post a picture of Obama and his opponent Kay Hagan with a link to a blog post on his website titled, "28 words that Democrats really wish President Obama didn’t say today."By the next morning, Pat Roberts, Scott Brown and Mitch McConnell had released new campaign ads featuring the Obama remarks to attack their opponents.Roberts has been fighting a tough battle for a Kansas Senate seat. His latest ad argues that Obama’s policies such as debt, Obamacare and unemployment are on the ballot -- and that a vote for his opponent Greg Orman "is a vote for the Obama agenda."Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton also used the quote at an event last weekend to link his opponent's voting record to the president's policies."He said last week that he may not be on the ballot, but his policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them… more debt, higher taxes, Obamacare, a foreign policy of weakness and indecision," Cotton told ABC News' Jeff Zeleny. "Here in Arkansas the way you find those policies on the ballot is Mark Pryor -- cause Mark Pryor's voted for him 93 percent of the time."The quote has been a popular go-to line in debates too, and was used by Tillis and Georgia Republican nominee David Perdue in Senate debates this week.David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to the president, said on NBC's Meet the Press that he would not have included the line if he was still writing the president's speeches."It was a mistake," Axelrod said.When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked during a briefing if he agreed with Axelrod's assessment he replied, "Well, I guess the short answer is no."Earnest sought to clarify the president's comments, saying he meant voters have a choice this election between "candidates who are supportive of policies that will benefit the middle class, and candidates who are supportive of policies that will benefit those at the top in the hopes that the benefits will trickle down to the middle class."

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