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Biden: House Republican Proposed Budget Would Reduce, Eliminate Programs Aimed at Helping Domestic Violence Victims

Biden: House Republican Proposed Budget Would Reduce, Eliminate Programs Aimed at Helping Domestic Violence Victims

Pete Souza / The White HouseWASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden criticized the budget proposed by House Republicans on Friday while addressing the seventh biennial National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence, saying that the proposal would reduce or eliminate programs aimed at assisting female victims of domestic violence."You saw the debates we had about reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act," Biden said. "But wasn't it amazing that after all these years and all the evidence presented that it's still a debate?" He called that debate "one of the most disappointing things to me in all my years in public life."The Republican proposal, which would eliminate the Affordable Care Act, would also cut home visitation programs for victims and allow health insurers to consider injuries caused by abuse as previously existing conditions, Biden said. Other programs would be slashed by more than 12 percent, including subsidies to help alleviate a backlog of untested rape kits nationally."A budget is to reflect a country's values and priorities," Biden said. "The House Republican budget -- it will not pass, God willing -- totally eliminates the Affordable Care Act, does not replace it with anything, and all those programs I just mentioned that benefit victimized women will be gone," Biden concluded.

He also took to Twitter, saying that as important as it is to protect American women from violence, we must do the same for women around the world.

 

"As we protect women in America from violence, we have a similar obligation to end violence against women around the world." -VP Biden

— Vice President Biden (@VP) March 20, 2015

"Our Administration will continue using the tools at our disposal to promote the human rights of women." -Vice President Biden

— Vice President Biden (@VP) March 20, 2015

 

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Rep. Trey Gowdy Calls for Hillary Clinton to Turn over Email Server

Rep. Trey Gowdy Calls for Hillary Clinton to Turn over Email Server

US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, sent a letter Friday requesting that Hillary Clinton turn over her email server used for State Department business to an independent third-party for analysis to determine which records should be preserved in the public domain."Though Secretary Clinton alone is responsible for causing this issue, she alone does not get to determine its outcome," the South Carolina Republican said in a press release. "That is why in the interest of transparency for the American people, I am formally requesting she turn the server over to the State Department's inspector general or a mutually agreeable third party."Gowdy said that the committee has "no interest in Secretary Clinton's personal emails, but the American people have a clear right to the public record from her time as secretary of State."Clinton has come under fire after if was revealed that she used her personal email address exclusively for State Department work. Clinton said at a news conference last week that she and her staff "went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department," she said, adding that all other emails were personal and pertained to matters such as "yoga routines," "family vacations," and "planning Chelsea's wedding."Gowdy's letter, addressed to Clinton's attorney David Kendall, calls for the "immediate inspection and review" of her email server.

"The Committee must have objective assurances it, and by extension the House of Representatives as a whole, has received all relevant information requested and necessary for a thorough investigation into what happened before, during and after the attacks in Benghazi, Libya," Gowdy writes.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Goes on Adventures in Japan

First Lady Michelle Obama Goes on Adventures in Japan

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Bentos, kimonos and drums, oh my!Just before the cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C., a symbol of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, Michelle Obama made her first ever visit to the island nation.Although the purpose of her fourth official solo trip abroad as first lady was to promote her Let Girls Learn initiative, a program aimed at training local activists and community leaders to help young women connect with education opportunities, Obama didn't deprive herself of fun.Over three days, Obama indulged in Japan's rich and ancient culture. First stop, Tokyo.Obama stepped off the plane in a vibrant green dress by Kenzo, a French fashion house founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada.

 

Konichiwa! The First Lady's in Japan to announce a new partnership to help #LetGirlsLearn worldwide. pic.twitter.com/KB5w0a2Gcb

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) March 18, 2015

Meeting with the Japanese First LadyObama met her Japanese counterpart, Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the country’s capital.Made It to the Top of Mount Fiji...Sort OfThen, she tweeted this amazing view from her flight to Kyoto, Japan:

 

 

Flying over Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, on the way to Kyoto. pic.twitter.com/IctrQ487R3

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) March 20, 2015

Toured a Buddhist TempleAccompanied by Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Obama enjoyed a breathtaking view of one of Japan’s oldest cities, Kyoto, from one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples, Kiyomizu-dera.The historic temple, established in 778, is halfway up Otowa Mountain.

 

 

Taking in a beautiful view of Kyoto from the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist Temple with @Amb_Kennedy.

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Mar 19, 2015 at 10:55pm PDT

Watched a Noh PerformanceWith the beautiful view of Kyoto below them, local college students had the privilege of performing for the first lady. Noh is a form of classical Japanese musical drama with elaborate costumes.Played the DrumsStudents from the Akutagawa High School Taiko Club also performed for the first lady in front of the Fushimi Inari Shinto shrine.

 

Taiko drumming, which includes a broad range of percussion instruments, is a popular cultural aspect of Japan.

Ordered a Bento BoxIn keeping with her healthy habits, Obama breaked for a bento box -- a Japanese staple for lunch -- while at the Jojuin temple, which is famous for its hydrangea blooms.

 

Lunch time in Kyoto: A delicious and colorful bento box at the Jojuin Temple.

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:50pm PDT

Watched a Traditional Tea Ceremony"Finally, I got to watch -- and participate in -- a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in which tea is prepared and served through an elaborate series of graceful movements," Obama wrote on her blog post on Medium. "It was magnificent."Here's a White House recap of Obama's trip to Kyoto:

 

Obama left Japan and arrived this morning in Cambodia. It is the first time a sitting American first lady has ever visited that country.

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POLL: The Top 15 Issues That Have Americans Worried

POLL: The Top 15 Issues That Have Americans Worried

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week.Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern.Worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care top the list of Americans’ worries, each causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50 percent of Americans.Topics that worry Americans a great deal:

54% - The availability and affordability of healthcare 53% - The economy 51% - The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S. 46% - The Social Security system 46% - The size and power of the federal government 46% - The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S. 43% - Hunger and homelessness 43% - Crime and violence 39% - Illegal immigration 38% - Drug use 37% - Unemployment 34% - The quality of the environment 28% - The availability and affordability of energy 28% - Race relations 25% - Climate change

The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans’ concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern.The list also holds some good news. While Americans’ concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. The percentage of Americans worried about unemployment fell substantially from 49 percent in 2014 to 37 percent this year. Furthermore, Gallup says that figure has not been this low since before the start of the economic recession.Of the topics on the list, Americans are least concerned about climate change. Race relations and the availability of affordable energy fill out the rest of the bottom three. Gallup attributes this shift in worry to “amped up” conversations on racism and police brutality in some communities, combined with economic growth and lower gas prices.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FBI Now Probing Outgoing Rep. Aaron Schock

FBI Now Probing Outgoing Rep. Aaron Schock

US Congress(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — The FBI office in Illinois’ state capital has opened a criminal investigation aimed at Rep. Aaron Schock.Federal prosecutors in Springfield are assisting with the probe, which is looking at whether certain actions by the outgoing congressman violated federal law.Even Schock’s father has acknowledged his son’s ethics troubles might lead to time behind bars."[It] all depends on what the Department of Justice wants to do,” Richard Schock told Chicago’s ABC affiliate WLS-TV on Wednesday. “Two years from now he will be successful if he’s not in jail.”Nevertheless, a decade from now, “whatever he’s doing, he will be successful at. I promise you that,” Richard Schock insisted.The congressman’s father also said the four-term lawmaker, 33, has been unfairly targeted.Once Schock’s resignation officially takes effect on March 31, at least one pending House ethics investigation will end.Before any of the drama over decorating his office to resemble the set of the popular show Downton Abbey, Schock was already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules and standards of conduct. That investigation will end March 31 with the end of Schock’s service in Congress.The Office of Congressional Ethics was also reportedly beginning its own probe into Schock’s expenditures. That probe will also end on the 31st, as OCE doesn’t have jurisdiction over former members of Congress.

Sources familiar with the FBI investigation say that grand jury subpoenas have been issued to congressional and campaign staffers for their testimony. Some of those subpoenas call for appearances before a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, in early April. Schock has repaid all money he’s received during his congressional career in the hopes of getting ahead of any potential legal ramifications after allegedly bilking the Treasury out of tens of thousands of dollars by overstating mileage on his official auto trips.“In an effort to remove any questions and out of an abundance of caution, Congressman Schock has reimbursed all monies received for official mileage since his election to Congress,” a Schock aide wrote in an email.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ATF Director B. Todd Jones Stepping Down After Nearly Four Years on Job

ATF Director B. Todd Jones Stepping Down After Nearly Four Years on Job

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The man brought in to repair one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies after it was scarred by a gun-running scandal is stepping down, ABC News has learned.Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director B. Todd Jones has informed Attorney General Eric Holder he plans to resign. Jones has secured a new job in the private sector in New York City, and may be joining a professional sports league, ABC News was told.Jones first took charge of the agency in August 2011, holding the position in an “acting” capacity until the U.S. Senate confirmed his presidential nomination nearly two years later. ATF had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.During that time, the ATF and the Justice Department more broadly were blindsided by the “Fast and Furious” scandal, named for the ATF-led investigation in Arizona that put guns into the hands of criminals in Mexico, two of which ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in late 2010.In the wake of the scandal, President Obama then tapped Jones to chart a new course for the ATF. At the time, Jones was serving double-duty, holding onto his position as U.S. attorney -- the Justice Department’s top prosecutor -- in Minnesota.Once confirmed, though, Jones left the U.S. attorney’s office, devoting his full attention to what ATF’s website says is “the unique law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice with the responsibility for enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations.”Last month, however, controversy simmered across the country again when the ATF proposed banning certain.223-caliber bullets, which the ATF warned can break through a supposedly bullet-proof vest. Nevertheless, the public outcry and pressure from lawmakers prompted ATF to abandon its plans.Before becoming U.S. Attorney in Minnesota at the start of the Obama administration, Jones was a partner with a major national law firm in Minneapolis, according to his official biography on ATF’s website.After receiving his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983, he went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as an infantry officer with the First Marine Division and, subsequently, both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of court martial proceedings, his official biography says. Though he left active duty and returned to Minnesota in 1989, he was recalled to active duty in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Barney Frank Says Aaron Schock Should Be ‘Exposed’ If He’s Gay

Barney Frank Says Aaron Schock Should Be ‘Exposed’ If He’s Gay

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — It took former Rep. Barney Frank 32 years to come out as gay.But now, as rumors swirl alleging that retiring-Rep. Aaron Schock is gay, Frank said the Illinois Republican should be “exposed” if the gossip about his sexual orientation is true because of his voting record on gay issues.“When you are in public office and you vote opposite to the way you live your life, no I don’t think you have privacy,” Frank said. “Anyone who is gay and votes in an anti-gay fashion has, it seems to me, lost their right to privacy, because it’s been converted to a right to hypocrisy.”Schock has not publicly responded to the recent claims about his sexual orientation, but his father Richard Schock told ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago that “he’s not gay.”When Frank sat down with Power Players to discuss his new autobiography, Frank: A life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, the Massachusetts Democrat defended a joke he made about rumors over Schock’s sexual orientation.

"If they're not true, he spent entirely too much time in the gym for a straight man," Frank told Business Insider earlier this week.Asked about the comment, Frank responded that it was “a perfectly valid thing to joke about” and that any controversy sparked by his remark “is a reflection of the notion that it’s a terrible thing to be gay.”“I don’t think it’s a terrible thing, and now that I’m not in public office, I feel free to make jokes,” Frank said. “It’s a joke…making fun of gay men who obsess about being in the gym, and it did seem to me that it was an unusual thing. I don’t know many straight guys who spend that much time in the gym and pose with their shirts off all the time.”And while he admitted that his joke could perpetuate a stereotype about gay men, he said it could also serve to diminish it -- making the case that there is an element of truth in his humor.“What determines your worry about how good you look is not whether you're gay or straight but whether you're trying to appeal to men or women,” Frank said. ”Historically…women, because they were economically dependent, couldn't be as choosy about their partners, so straight men got away with not having to worry about themselves. Gay men and women are both trying to appeal to men and obsess, so yeah, it's true.”In his book, Frank has nothing but praise for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, writing that they were early allies in the effort to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and also his efforts to bolster her bid to fill John Kerry’s old seat in the Senate.But when asked about the possibility of a presidential bid, Frank’s admiration of Warren pales in comparison to his allegiance to the presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.“She is very bright and very well informed and they cannot discredit her,” Frank said of Warren. “I don't think she has any chance to win right now. If Hillary Clinton decided not to run that would be a different story. But at this point if anyone were to beat Hillary Clinton, I don't think they would or should, it would be out to a very vicious battle in which unfair ideological arguments would be made.”While Frank said he believes President Obama has been a strong liberal president -- and praised his work on healthcare and gay-rights issues -- Frank is not without his criticism of the 44th president.“What I said in the book was, when he said he was going to be post-partisan, he gave me post-partisan depression,” Frank said. “I am a little bit disappointed; now he's moving in the right direction on the military but not far enough and I agree with those who say we should tighten up the language about going back into Iraq.”Frank's strongest rebuke of Obama is that he promised the American people that anyone who liked their healthcare plan prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act would be able to keep it. That promise proved to be untrue. “He shouldn't have said that, you don't mislead people,” Frank said.For more of the interview with Frank, including his take on what the Democratic Party needs to do to define itself going forward, check out this episode of Power Players.

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Scott Walker Stumps in South Carolina

Scott Walker Stumps in South Carolina

ABC News(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continued his presumed quest to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination by making several appearances in South Carolina Thursday where voters go to the polls next February for the first southern primary.The governor, who has won three elections in four years, including an effort to recall him, has positioned himself as a Washington outsider with broad appeal to both Republican establishment-types and social conservatives.Walker is particularly attractive to GOP voters in South Carolina for his strong stance on national defense, opposition to unions and religious roots as the son of a Baptist preacher.His only drawback at this point is being unable to match the fund-raising ability of probable frontrunner Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who still hasn't formally declared his intention to run for the White House.Seeking to set aside doubts that he can't keep up with Bush, Walker told one gathering that South Carolina Republicans were among his "almost 300,000 donors in the past four years” from all 50 states.“Only Mitt Romney has more donors on the Republican side than that, and obviously he’s a former nominee,” Walker added.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NCAA March Madness 2015: Possible 2016 Presidential Candidates Join Our NCAA Bracket Pool

NCAA March Madness 2015: Possible 2016 Presidential Candidates Join Our NCAA Bracket Pool

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When in the course of human events a person, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, watches the NCAA basketball tournament, it becomes necessary for that person to participate in a joint ABC News/ESPN bracket pool.Well, "necessary" might be pushing it, but 14 of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have done just that.In partnership with our sister network ESPN, ABC News reached out to every major politician who's said he or she is looking at a run for the White House. The result: Our official NCAA bracket pool for possible 2016 aspirants, live and viewable at ESPN.com--in the same format we and everyone else uses for ESPN bracket pools with our friends.See the ABC/ESPN 2016 Potential Candidates' Pool here after games tip off.In this pool, the stakes could be presidential. See below who picked whom, and what it might mean for the future of the White House and the country.JEB BUSH -- VIRGINIAThe GOP's 2016 front-runner shied away from the NCAA front-runner, Kentucky, and picked the University of Virginia to upset the Wildcats and win it all. Through the most jaded political lens, it could be considered a play for Virginia's coveted swing-state votes in the general election -- but we know the former governor isn't looking that far ahead just yet. Losing Iowa State, who Bush had going to the Elite Eight, was a difficult way to start the tournament, though.

 

Filled out my bracket last night. Picking @UVAMensHoops to win it all! In SC today if you want to lodge complaints... pic.twitter.com/lKKDdH1RJL

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 17, 2015

BOBBY JINDAL -- LOUISIANA STATEStanding by his home state until the end, the Louisiana governor picked LSU to advance as a nine-seed and win it all over Kentucky. The nationally known governor threw a potential bone to Iowa voters, picking Northern Iowa to upset Louisville in the second round. Jindal also had Iowa State in his Elite Eight.

 

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal's NCAA bracket: LSU all the way pic.twitter.com/K6znEBUcR3

— Chris Good (@c_good) March 19, 2015

LINDSEY GRAHAM -- KENTUCKYStaying true to his Southern roots, the South Carolina senator sent two teams from his neighboring state, North Carolina, and two teams from Kentucky to the Final Four. In the end he put all his faith in the state of Kentucky -- home of a potential 2016 rival and fellow senator, Rand Paul -- and had Kentucky and Louisville playing for the title, with Kentucky winning it all. Graham is also the third possible candidate to suffer the loss of Iowa State.

 

 

.@LindseyGrahamSC's favoring 2 states in the NCAA Tournament, w/ 2 Kentucky teams & 2 NC teams in his #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/lB3AttO2LL

— A.J. Feather (@AJFeather) March 19, 2015

SCOTT WALKER -- WISCONSINUnsurprisingly, Gov. Walker chose his home-state team to win the tournament. But he also stayed true to the Midwest by putting the Iowa State Cyclones in his Final Four. That decision turned out to haunt him when the Cyclones were upset on Thursday.MARTIN O'MALLEY -- MARYLANDStaying true to his state, the former Democratic governor of Maryland -- and the lone Democrat participating in our bracket challenge -- Martin O’Malley picked the Maryland Terrapins to win it all. He matched Walker in disappointment, though, with the loss of a Final Four team in Iowa State.

 

 

@GovernorOMalley staying true to his state roots, picks @umterps to win it all. #MarchMadness #MarchMadnessBracket pic.twitter.com/aSOFQrGIgw

— Veronica Strac (@VeronicaStrac) March 19, 2015

BEN CARSON -- KENTUCKYThe neurosurgeon played it safe and showed a steady hand in sticking with top-seeded picks to make it to the Final Four. The potential Republican candidate is going with the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats as his champion.CARLY FIORINA -- VIRGINIAThe one-time Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO put her numbers game to the test with carefully calculated picks. Baylor is the lowest seed she sent to the Final Four, with UVA winning it all.TED CRUZ -- KENTUCKYAlthough the Texan senator tweeted out a congratulations to all the Texas teams that made the tournament, Cruz opted out of picking any of his home-state teams to reach the Final Four. That turned out to be a good call, as the University of Texas, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University and Texas Southern all lost on day one. Cruz also sided with sports analysts and picked the undefeated Wildcats as the winner.JOHN BOLTON -- KENTUCKYThe former U.N. ambassador puts his geopolitical pragmatism to use in this bracket that includes three one seeds and a two seed in the Final Four. A Yale alum, Bolton picked his alma mater's rival, Harvard, to win its first-round game.JIM GILMORE -- VIRGINIAThe former Virginia governor picks a homer bracket, with his home state's UVA team going all the way. Gilmore, however, made the popular -- but ill-fated -- selection of putting Iowa State in the Final Four.

 

 

Virginia Gov. @GovernorGilmore picks his home state's team UVA for the win: #marchmadness pic.twitter.com/JBkzt4dRLN

— Stacy Chen (@stacyytchen) March 19, 2015

RICK SANTORUM -- WISCONSINThe former senator and onetime GOP presidential runner-up played it safe, carefully picking the higher seeds in most games. However, like other possible 2016 hopefuls, he appeared to be favoring Iowa -- whose caucuses he won in 2012 -- putting the Iowa State Cyclones in the Final Four. He also made sure to represent Pennsylvania, with Villanova also reaching the semifinal round.BOB EHRLICH -- KENTUCKYThe former Maryland governor stuck with the front-runner in this field, picking the Wildcats over Duke in the title game. Ehrlich might be an early underdog to the 2016 front-runners if he enters the race, and he chose some upsets in the tournament this year, with UCLA and Davidson both advancing.GEORGE PATAKI -- KENTUCKYIn what could be construed as a naked play for support from Iowa caucusgoers, or a massive error in judgement, the former New York governor had Iowa State reaching the title game, before the overwhelming odds prevail with a Kentucky victory in Gov. Pataki's bracket.MIKE HUCKABEE -- ARKANSASLast, but certainly not least, the 12-seed darling of the 2008 presidential race declined to submit an actual, pool-worthy bracket, but he shows out for his home state of Arkansas with what might be the biggest homer NCAA bracket ever tweeted.

 

 

Just filled out my bracket for the NCAA tournament. Pretty sure I nailed it. #gohogsgo #woopigsooie pic.twitter.com/vUE5cZ2qgx

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 17, 2015

 

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Why Hillary Clinton Thinks America Has a ‘Fun Deficit’

Why Hillary Clinton Thinks America Has a ‘Fun Deficit’

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton appears ready to embark on one of the most rigorous and time-consuming political journeys -- the presidential campaign trail -- so her message to Americans Thursday was unexpected: Take a break and have more fun."There's a huge fun deficit in America," Clinton said during remarks at the American Camp Association conference in Atlantic City. "We really need camps for adults."With a wink and a nudge to Congress, Clinton made the case that if more adults -- and perhaps politicians -- had more fun, more people would get along."The red cabin and the blue cabin have to come together and actually listen to each other," Clinton joked to the crowd of roughly 3,000 summer camp professionals.The event also included a rocket round of questions for Clinton:What's the historic figure you most identify with? "Eleanor Roosevelt"Who is a mentor of yours? "Marian Wright Edelman...founder of the Children Defense Fund."If you were not a political figure or lawyer, what would you have liked to have been? "A teacher."What's the most important thing you learned from your father? "Discipline...a sense of getting up every day ..and doing the best you can."What do you like to read? "I love to read good mysteries...especially mysteries written by women. I like to read American history."Do you watch Homeland? "I have. I'm little behind to be honest."How about House of Cards? "Yes...we binge watch. But we haven't yet watched the third season....Great acting, unrealistic stories."What is the most important character trait? "Love and kindness."Words you live by? "I really try to start every day and end every day practicing the 'discipline of gratitude.'"Clinton, who has been steadily staffing up and seeking counsel ahead of her expected run for president, also noted that she's recently been reading about founders of the United States, including the George Washington administration.The Atlantic City event -- a paid speech, which included prepared remarks followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Jay Jacobs, a Democratic National Committee member and camp owner -- also marked the end of an era for Clinton, who has been on the paid speaking circuit since leaving the State Department. This was her last scheduled paid gig ahead of when she is expected to announce her candidacy early next month.

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See Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Stone-Faced Selfie

See Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Stone-Faced Selfie

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) --  Justice Ginsburg dissents…from smiling.Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi snapped a selfie with the ladies of the Supreme Court at her annual Women’s History Month reception Wednesday, but not even a sappy Instagram filter could soften the Notorious R.B.G.

While Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan smiled obligingly, 82-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – known on social media as “Notorious R.B.G.” – remained remarkably stone-faced.

 

Celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth by honoring women of "Supreme" achievements! #WomenSucceed pic.twitter.com/X7y9vRUu5p

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 18, 2015

Considering R.B.G. is an O.G. (that’s original gangster, for all you non-'90s rap fans), it’s perhaps not surprising that she’d “mean-mug” in a selfie.While the group photo, taken in Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill, may not break the Internet, the “Supreme selfie” is generating some buzz in part from Ginsburg’s stoic expression.Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are the only female justices in U.S. history.

 

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Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy Insists No Crash at White House, No Videos ‘Erased’

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy Insists No Crash at White House, No Videos ‘Erased’

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  The new chief of the Secret Service Thursday 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" surveillance video showing the incident.“There was no crash,” Director Joseph Clancy told a Senate panel during his second appearance before lawmakers this week. “There was no damage to the vehicle.”Indeed, the video of the March 4 incident he has reviewed shows the vehicle driving at a speed of about two mph before “pushing aside a plastic barrel” standing outside of a White House checkpoint, according to Clancy. Earlier this week, he said the barrel was “nudged” by the government vehicle but did not fall over.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 said. Nothing was 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."Clancy also said “there’s no question” the practice of taping over surveillance video every 72 hours needs to change. He said the practice began before he became director, and it has been based on privacy concerns that extended archives of surveillance video could amount to “databases" of those visiting the White House or walking the streets around it.Speaking before a House panel Tuesday, Clancy acknowledged that how he handles this controversy is a "first test" for him as he tries to chart a new course for the Secret Service. Clancy reiterated frustration that it took his personnel five days to inform him of the allegations that two senior-level Secret Service agents were "inebriated" and crashed into the White House grounds.That delay “is unacceptable” and “puzzles me, but it’s not going to happen again,” according to Clancy. He said he held a senior-staff meeting to “ma[k]e clear” that he needs to be promptly notified about such allegations, and he promised lawmakers that any Secret Service employee found to have concealed information “will be held accountable.”“Our mission is too important for this to happen,” he said. “It undermines my leadership, and I won’t stand for it.”The agents driving the government vehicle, Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie, have been reassigned while the investigation is pending, according to the Secret Service. No one has been charged, and no police reports were filed about the incident, which took place at the southeast entrance to the White House complex at 15th Street and E Street in downtown Washington.While Clancy has often dismissed suggestions that a culture within the Secret Service has led to so many alcohol-related controversies in recent years, he acknowledged earlier this week that “there is an element” within Secret Service ranks that copes with the stresses of the job by drinking alcohol.Lawmakers told ABC News the two agents had been at a retirement party before driving to the White House to retrieve another vehicle.“When they got to the entrance of the White House, they apparently flashed their badges or whatever, and it was obvious that...to the guards that were there, that they may have been a bit impaired," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told ABC News.The vehicle then drove through an active crime scene set up after a woman left behind what was considered a suspicious package, according to accounts by Cummings and Clancy. The video Clancy has reviewed was saved because of the probe into the suspicious package, not because it related to the subsequent and separate allegations of employee misconduct, Clancy said.Clancy emphasized Thursday it’s a violation of agency policy for any Secret Service employee to drive through an active crime scene, and information about the incident should have been sent up the chain of command.Clancy also insisted it’s still unclear whether the agents were intoxicated, saying it’s a question that will be answered by the Department of Homeland Security Committee’s Inspector General, which is now investigating the matter."They are still allegations,” Clancy said of reports the agents were impaired by alcohol.Nevertheless, when uniformed officers confronted the agents, a supervisor ordered them to let the agents go without charge, government sources said. The supervisor is still on the job, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told ABC News. Unlike the agents in the car, the supervisor has not been reassigned. pending the investigation.In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas three weeks ago, Clancy vowed to chart a new course for the Secret Service.“We have not received an unfair rap,” he conceded. “I think when you fail, and we have failed, we own it. Now, it’s up to us to correct it.”In September, a man with a small knife in his pocket jumped the White House’s perimeter fence and made it deep inside the presidential building. That came more than two years after the Secret Service was shaken by the 2012 prostitution scandal out of Cartagena, Colombia.At the time those scandals and others unfolded, Clancy was the head of security for Comcast, having left the government in 2011 after 27 years with the Secret Service. Clancy was “shocked” by what happened, he said.Then, last month, a small drone flew over the fence and crashed on the White House grounds - prompting a predawn security scare. President Obama was in India at the time, and although the incident turned out to be a recreational flight gone awry, Clancy said he's “certainly concerned” about the threat a drone like that could pose.

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Boehner Reiterates Call for Hillary Clinton to Turn over Email Server

Boehner Reiterates Call for Hillary Clinton to Turn over Email Server

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday repeated his call for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her private email server."Secretary Clinton must hand over her email server to an independent third party arbiter," Boehner, R-Ohio, said.Doing so, he said earlier this week, is "the fairest way" to ensure all public documents are turned over, particularly in regard to the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012."We need the secretary to do the right thing here so that we can get to the facts about what happened before, during and after an attack on our people," the House speaker said Thursday.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Boehner and other Republicans' request for Clinton to turn over her emails to a third party is a waste of taxpayer money."I think it's a mistake for those committees to continue a political investigation of Hillary Clinton," Pelosi, D-Calif., said.Pelosi said Congress' concern about Clinton isn't really about emails -- it's all about politics."I think we're gonna just see the ongoing attempt to investigate Hillary Clinton, whatever the subject, whether it's her emails or it's her hair or whatever it happens to be," she said.

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Boehner ‘Stunned’ by Rep. Aaron Schock’s Resignation

Boehner ‘Stunned’ by Rep. Aaron Schock’s Resignation

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the aftermath of Rep. Aaron Schock’s abrupt and unceremonious downfall, House Speaker John Boehner said he believes there are “ample controls” in place to keep members of Congress in check ethically, adding a warning that any member breaking the law will have it catch up with them “sooner or later.”“I do think there are ample controls in place to deal with the allegations that are involved here, but understand something: If somebody's going to violate the rules, you know, they're going to violate the rules,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “And in almost every case, sooner or later, it catches up with you.” When Schock, R-Ill., decided to resign, his decision unraveled so quickly he did not even notify leadership that his resignation announcement was coming. Boehner says he was “a bit stunned” to learn of Schock’s intent to resign at the end of the month.“I have to tell you I was a bit stunned…by the announcement,” Boehner said. “But I think I expect and the American people expect members of Congress to be held to the highest ethical standards. And I think Mr. Schock made a decision. Frankly, I support the decision he made.”Schock briefly surfaced at the Capitol Wednesday, where he met with House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranked Republican. While Schock appears to be making the rounds to make amends with GOP leaders, Boehner said he has not met with Schock.House rules do not require members of Congress to undergo ethics training, although congressional staff is compelled to take an ethics orientation course.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who previously served on the Ethics Committee for seven years, said she believes it would be “important” for lawmakers, their families and congressional staff to have ethics training.

“I think we should just do the ethics training period so everybody has a comfort level as to what is personal, what is official, what is political. That's really where lines are crossed,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said.Schock is the second Republican of the fledgling 114th Congress to resign from office, joining disgraced former Rep. Michael Grimm.

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US Examining Approach After Netanyahu Reverses Campaign Rhetoric

US Examining Approach After Netanyahu Reverses Campaign Rhetoric

Uriel Sinai/Getty images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House will continue to “reevaluate its approach,” despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt Thursday to walk back his comments abandoning his commitment to a Palestinian state. “This commitment to a two-state solution has been the bedrock of a lot of U.S. policy...Now the prime minister of Israel says earlier this week, days before an election, that this is a principle he no longer subscribes to, that his nation no longer subscribes to, that means the United States needs to rethink our approach,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday at the daily briefing.Netanyahu on Thursday seemed to walk back from what Earnest described as the prime minister’s “cynical election day tactic” to rail against Arab-Israelis. "I don't want a one-state solution," Netanyahu told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. "I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution." Despite these comments, Earnest said Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution has been called into question.President Obama still has not talked directly with Netanyahu since the election. Members of the administration are in touch with the prime minister’s team to schedule a phone call, which would take place as early as Thursday, Earnest said. Earnest did not rule out that Obama could raise Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric on the call.

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Jeb Bush, Ludacris Meet at Georgia State House

Jeb Bush, Ludacris Meet at Georgia State House

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Remember that time Jeb Bush and Ludacris met on the floor of the Georgia statehouse? It may sound like the set-up of a joke, but it happened Thursday with the 2016 hopeful and rapper both addressing state lawmakers in Atlanta.The former Florida governor was scheduled to speak Thursday morning to both the state Senate and members of the House of Representatives, and before the two met, Bush joked to members of the state Senate: "I actually came here because I was told Ludacris was going to be here.”Bush then praised the entertainer, who was being honored on the floor of the chamber for his work at his philanthropy, the Ludacris Foundation, which has donated over $1.5 million to youth programs across the country.“I appreciate the fact that there are people engaged in assuring that children gain a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time, that we have high expectations for every child and the fact that Ludacris is involved in supporting charter schools here in Georgia is something to be admired,” Bush said. “Tell him I appreciate the fact that he is using his talents to be able to assure that children rise up because if we don’t get that right, it’s hard to imagine how our country will continue to be the greatest country on earth.”Soon after, they crossed paths in the House chamber, taking photos after Ludacris -- known as Luda to his fans -- spoke. Bush took the stage soon after the rapper, who real name is Christopher Bridges.“I’ll be very brief, I came to see Ludacris. I’ve already done that. I appreciate the fact there’s a successful guy that is giving back and you all giving him this honor is quite appropriate,” Bush told members of the state House of Representatives, after posing for photos with the performer.

 

Never thought @Ludacris would be my opening act! His foundation does great work pic.twitter.com/RsF00SQgOw

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 19, 2015

 

Bush is also in Atlanta for two fundraisers and both of his speeches to the state lawmakers were brief, but he focused on education. He didn’t mention his support for Common Core standards, which he has faced conservative criticism for, but told the lawmakers, “Nothing is more important than making sure there is a system that is child-centered, that is customized to the uniqueness of every child and that we hold every child to high expectations that will allow them to be competitive in the world to come. So I encourage you to be big and be bold.”During the 2008 campaign, Ludacris released a song titled “Politics” supporting then-Sen. Barack Obama, but going after Bush’s brother, President George W. Bush, as well as then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Sen. John McCain. The Obama campaign criticized the song in which Ludacris raps that Bush is “mentally handicapped” and “Hillary hated on you, so that b**** is irrelevant.”

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‘Bill Clinton’ in Drag Pushes Hillary Clinton for President

‘Bill Clinton’ in Drag Pushes Hillary Clinton for President

BillForFirstLady2016.com(WASHINGTON) — An ad campaign gaining traction online aims to send Bill Clinton back to the White House -- as his wife Hillary Clinton’s “first lady.”A video shows male actors dressed in a giant Bill Clinton head alternating between a red dress and an American-flag bikini and posing with Hillary Clinton supporters calling on her to run for president in 2016.The video shows the "Bill Clinton" meeting supporters around the country, stopping by New York’s Times Square, landmarks in Washington, D.C., Miami’s South Beach and the Ohio State University campus.“They always say it: ‘Hillary wore the pants,’” says the narrator in his best Bill Clinton impression. “Now, I’m wearing the dress.”

A note at the end says the video is paid for by BillForFirstLady2016.com PAC, and a website selling related swag says the political action committee is backed by “a national online grassroots movement of young Americans” supporting a Hillary Clinton presidential run. Visitors can sign a petition calling for a Clinton campaign, too.“The enthusiasm is hashtag cray-cray,” fake Bill Clinton says in the video.Another video on the site shows young girls talking about the importance of putting a woman in the White House -- using somewhat vulgar language -- and a “White House Wonder Woman: President Hillary” comic strip depicts a red dress-wearing Bill Clinton saying, “Put Hillary in the White House...I’m, like, totes homesick!!”Democratic activist Luke Montgomery is behind the campaign, which plans to send the dress-wearing "Bill Clinton" to Ohio, New Hampshire and other states if Clinton announces she’s running. Montgomery backed last year’s viral “Potty-Mouthed Princesses” videos of young girls promoting equality while dropping f-bombs, and has pushed similar social media campaigns in favor of gay rights and other liberal social issues.“What we want to do, basically, is create a pop-culture icon,” Montgomery told ABC News, who said Clinton in drag drew big crowds and lots of laughs.“Everybody wanted a selfie with him,” he said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US-Israeli Relations: Is US Weighing UNSC Resolution?

US-Israeli Relations: Is US Weighing UNSC Resolution?

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly reversed his commitment to a Palestinian state, the White House is not ruling out that the U.S. could turn to the United Nations to try to force a lasting two-state solution."Based on PM Netanyahu's comments we will need to reevaluate our position and the way forward. We’re not going to get ahead of any decisions about what the United States would do with regard to potential action at the U.N. Security Council,” a senior administration official told ABC News.It seems the U.S. may be inching closer toward supporting the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a solution based on the pre-1967 border and mutually agreed swaps, as first reported by Foreign Policy.Just Wednesday, the White House made clear it was “deeply concerned” by Netanyahu's Likud party’s “divisive rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens.”“It undermines the values and democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

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White House Has Stern Words in Response to Netanyahu’s ‘Divisive Rhetoric’

White House Has Stern Words in Response to Netanyahu’s ‘Divisive Rhetoric’

baumsaway/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House issued a set of stern words for the recent rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party ahead of and during Tuesday's election."The U.S. and this administration are deeply concerned by divisive rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. "It undermines the values and democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the U.S. and Israel together."On Tuesday, as he was involved in a tight election race against the Zionist Union party, Netanyahu called for his supporters to turn out, as higher Arab voter turnout put his government "in danger.""We've talked a lot about how our shared values are an important part of what binds our two countries together and rhetoric that seeks to marginalize one section of their population is concerning," Earnest said.Secretary of State John Kerry called Netanyahu on Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his apparent election victory. No substantive issues were discussed on the call, a Senior State Department Official said, because of the ongoing process of government formation in Israel.

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Former Connecticut Gov. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison on Corruption Charges

Former Connecticut Gov. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison on Corruption Charges

Photo by Bob Falcetti/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Wednesday for concealing the extent of his involvement in two federal election campaigns."It is disheartening that an individual who once held two of our country's highest elected offices, and who also served time in prison for a previous federal conviction, chose to deceive voters and violate laws that were established to ensure fair and open elections," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gustafson said.Evidence presented during a trial found that Rowland "devised a scheme to work for the campaign of a candidate seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District during the 2009 and 2010 election cycle, and to conceal from the Federal Election Commission and the public that he would be paid to perform that work," a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut said. Rowland also drafted a sham consulting contract through which he claimed he was performing work for a separate corporate entity owned by the candidate he was assisting. Rowland also concealed his involvement in the campaign of another candidate seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District, Lisa Wilson-Foley. Rowland was found guilty of two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, one count of conspiracy, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions in September 2014. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and tax fraud in December 2004. Wilson-Foley and her husband each pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions in March 2014.

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