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White House Dismisses Alleged Prostitute Scandal

White House Dismisses Alleged Prostitute Scandal

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House said Thursday that there's nothing to allegations that a former staffer spent a night with a prostitute in Cartagena, Columbia, prior to President Obama's arrival for a summit in 2012.Nonetheless, Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants documents from a review conducted by former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler about the alleged incident, which administration critics are trying to tie a scandal involving Secret Service agents partying with prostitutes during the same trip.Some members of that advance team were either fired or disciplined for their reported lapse of judgment.Chaffetz contends he has it on reliable authority that a male volunteer spent time with a "female foreign national" even as White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters Thursday that Ruemmler "looked at these allegations and found there was nothing to them."Meanwhile, an attorney for the former volunteer, identified as Jonathan Dach, said that during the night in question, Dach had dinner and went right to bed, unaccompanied.One reason Republicans may be trying to stir the pot is that Ruemmler, who is currently in private practice, is being considered to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.

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‘Working Mother’ Gwyneth Paltrow Gushes to Obama: ‘You’re So Handsome That I Can’t Speak’

‘Working Mother’ Gwyneth Paltrow Gushes to Obama: ‘You’re So Handsome That I Can’t Speak’

The White House(BRENTWOOD, Calif.) -- It was the kind of fawning praise President Obama hasn’t gotten much of this campaign season — and might have left first lady Michelle Obama a bit jealous.“You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly,” actress Gwyneth Paltrow told Obama before a crowd of several dozen deep-pocket Democratic donors at a glitzy fundraiser inside her Brentwood, Calif., estate.“I’m one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest,” she said. “The life that you brought to this country and the passion will historically be the most looked at and scrutinized presidencies of all time.”The 42-year-old star lavished Obama with compliments at a time when a majority of Americans -- 52 percent -- see his presidency as a failure, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. His rating for strong leadership also dropped to a new low in the poll last month.Paltrow praised Obama’s advocacy for equal pay for women, which she called, “very important to me as a working mother.” She also called him an, “incredible role model for this generation.”The fundraiser, which benefited the Democratic National Committee, included 200 guests at a $1,000-per-person reception and 50 attendees at a $15,000-per-person dinner, party officials said. A cool 32 grand bought the well-heeled a chance to meet the beleaguered president.The event was closed to coverage by press cameras. Pool reporters who were allowed to hear Obama’s remarks provided the quotes for this report.Spotted in the crowd were Paltrow’s kids Apple and Moses, as well as actress Julia Roberts, wearing black-rimmed glasses, and actor Bradley Whitford.“I’m taking her to the next event,” Obama joked about the handsome remark as he took the microphone.

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Holder Praises Rulings Blocking Voter ID Laws in Texas, Wisconsin

Holder Praises Rulings Blocking Voter ID Laws in Texas, Wisconsin

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Eric Holder praised a pair of rulings on Thursday night that prevented Texas and Wisconsin from implementing laws that would require voters to prove their identification at the ballot box.A federal district judge ruled in favor of the Justice Department's lawsuit against the state of Texas' law on Thursday night. That ruling, Holder said, "affirms our position that the Texas voter identification law unfairly and unnecessarily restricts access to the franchise." Holder said that his department, "even after the Voting Rights Act was seriously eroded last year...vowed to continue enforcing the remaining portions of that statute as aggressively as possible." Thursday night's ruling, "is an important vindication of those efforts," the attorney general said.Also on Thursday night, the Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin's voter identification law from going into effect pending an appeal. Holder said that he and his department were "also pleased that the Supreme Court has refused to allow Wisconsin to implement its own restrictive voter identification law.""This department will never yield in its commitment to protecting that most sacred of Americans' rights -- the right to vote," Holder concluded.

Proponents of the measures insist having voters prove who they say they are is not only not restrictive, but necessary to combat voter fraud.

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Hillary Clinton Steals the Show at Philly Campaign Rally

Hillary Clinton Steals the Show at Philly Campaign Rally

State Department photo(PHILADELPHIA) -- New grandmother Hillary Clinton made her first public campaign appearance of the year Thursday for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf, giving passionate and personal remarks that if not for the “Wolf for Governor” signs prominently behind her could easily have been mistaken for a presidential stump speech.While Wolf, a businessman from York County, has a strong lead in the polls against incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, the star of Thursday night’s “Women for Wolf” event at the National Constitution Center downtown was clearly Clinton.To a crowd of nearly 1,000 people and with the “Ready for Hillary” bus stationed outside, Clinton took the stage to roaring applause (and Katy Perry’s “Roar” blasting overhead), and laid out a case that Wolf was the “fresh start” both Pennsylvania and the country needed, praising his “Made in America” success story and his commitment to working-class families.“Tom Wolf stands for families, for working people, for fairness, and for justice,” Clinton said to a cheering audience.Clinton went on to talk fervently about the need for affordable education, raising the minimum wage, equal pay, quality affordable childcare, reproductive rights for women, and even same-sex marriage equality, crying out: “We will never compare the marriage of two loving and committed partners to incest.”But Clinton’s speech was also uniquely personal, with a number of her own anecdotes and Pennsylvania connections woven throughout.When she championed for working families, she reminisced about her hard-working father who grew up in Scranton and the summers she spent with him in the Poconos.When she talked about the importance of family values, she gave a shout-out to Marjorie Margolies, her son-in-law’s mother who was in the audience, joking they both have the same “grandmother glow.”When she stressed the importance of helping women get work, she told a story about how when she and her husband, Bill Clinton, were waiting at the hospital for Chelsea Clinton to give birth last month, Mrs. Clinton claimed a nurse came up to her and thanked her for all she’s done in the fight for paid leave.And when she spoke about the future, she spoke about little baby Charlotte: how, most importantly, she wants all children in the country to have the same opportunities she knows her new granddaughter will have. “You should not have to be the granddaughter of a president to get a good education and good health care,” she said.But while Clinton made her own vision and hopes for the future clear, it was Wolf, she said, who would help bring the country there.“Tom Wolf is the right leader at the right time for Pennsylvania’s hard working people,” she said. But, she warned, it will only happen if people go out and vote.“You feel there is a ‘movement’ stirring across the country, you can see it from coast to coast, but nothing will matter if you don’t do everything you can in the next month to bring everyone you know to the polls,” she said.The program also included remarks by Sen. Bob Casey, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, and former Pennsylvania governor and staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, Ed Rendell, who teased he knew what Clinton’s next job would be.“I predict that Hillary Clinton’s next job will be…babysitter,” he joked.Clinton, who has said she will not decide about running in 2016 until after the midterms, is traveling the country campaigning for Democratic candidates. Her fall schedule has roughly 25 events, including ones in Iowa and New Hampshire.

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Christie Calls Hazing Scandal at NJ High School ‘Extraordinarily Disturbing’

Christie Calls Hazing Scandal at NJ High School ‘Extraordinarily Disturbing’

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(SAYREVILLE, N.J.) -- Gov. Chris Christie called the hazing allegations involving a New Jersey High School football team "extraordinarily disturbing" on Thursday."As the father of a number of teenage athletes," Christie said, "the idea that that kind of conduct could be permitted, if it's true, that that kind of conduct could be permitted in a high school athletic program, or anywhere else in our state for that matter, is absolutely unacceptable."Students at the school allegedly took part in hazing rituals that amounted to sexual assault. "If these facts as alleged are true, then this is a nightmare for the parents of those young men," Christie said, adding that he aims to, "ensure that no other young male or female athletes are exposed to that type of treatment."Christie says he has been in touch with New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe about ongoing work to deal with potential hazing.

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A South Dakota Senate Candidate Is Stumping with Music Videos

A South Dakota Senate Candidate Is Stumping with Music Videos

Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(PIERRE, S.D.) -- Rick Weiland is trying to sing his way to the Senate.As national Democrats finalize plans to pour $1 million into South Dakota to help Weiland, the Democrat is flooding television airwaves with country song parodies.Since April, his campaign has aired three music videos in the state that put an election-year spin on songs like Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” and Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.”Weiland, 56, has made campaign finance reform a central plank of his campaign.In one parody, “Big Wheel,” inspired by Old Crow Medicine Show’s rendition of “Wagon Wheel,” Weiland sings, “So I’m running for the Senate but I’m not a big wheel, don’t have an RV, just my automobile / Hey, no one’s bought me.”

In “Everywhere Man,” he changes Cash’s lyrics to say, "I'm going everywhere man. Our country needs repair."

His songs are attracting attention because South Dakota is suddenly emerging as a competitive state in the battle over whether Democrats will maintain their majority in the Senate.Democrats see South Dakota as a new opportunity to expand the midterm map. An independent candidate, former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler could siphon votes from Republican candidate Mike Rounds, a former governor who is facing controversy over a visa program scandal.Weiland’s videos are mash-ups of campaign stops and performances, featuring what he calls the “Take It Back Band,” a mix of friends and family members named after his campaign slogan.“It’s been good for the campaign and a good thing for politics,” Weiland told ABC News. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback.”While the videos may be a breath of fresh air to voters who have grown tired of traditional campaign ads, Weiland has been writing and performing parody songs for years.A self-taught guitar player, Weiland played only with friends and his church band until he was appointed to serve in the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Clinton.While he never jammed with Clinton, who plays the saxophone, Weiland played music with FEMA colleagues, including director James Lee Witt—now a Democratic candidate for Congress in Arkansas.“We wrote some really great FEMA parodies on American Pie,” Weiland said. “We rhymed ‘Chevy’ with ‘levee,’ it was a lot of fun.”Weiland has aired each video in full once during the campaign. With the songs checking in at roughly three minutes, it’s a feat only possible in South Dakota, where campaign ads are relatively cheap compared with states like Kentucky and North Carolina.Should Weiland's campaign release their fourth and final music video--a rendition of Cash's "I Walk the Line" -- before the election, it will have to share time with ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will spend $1 million in South Dakota on ads and a field operation.

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Gov. Christie on Ebola: NJ ‘Not Ready At the Airports Yet’

Gov. Christie on Ebola: NJ ‘Not Ready At the Airports Yet’

ABC/ LOU ROCCO(TRENTON, N.J.) -- Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey expressed concern about the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa and its potential impact on the United States on Thursday."We're not ready at the airports yet, but we will be," Christie said regarding the additional screening that will be implemented at five major airports in the U.S. He also admitted that he was worried about the current situation, saying, "I don't think there's anybody in the country who's not concerned.""In terms of our own sense of preparedness in our hospitals," Christie said, "I think we've already proven that we can do that." He cited an Ebola scare last weekend in which a passenger on a flight into Newark Liberty International Airport was "dealt with very quickly." Christie also noted that he was "in contact all day not only with the federal Homeland Security director but my own homeland security director" and "worked with the folks at University Hospital in Newark" to ensure that protocols were followed and screening completed properly."I do think that we're as ready as we can be from the hospital perspective," Christie said.The governor did express hope that the federal government picks up the pace in its response. "I hope the federal government moves even more quickly to get Newark Airport up and ready to go from that perspective, because they are in charge of that aspect of providing security at our airports." Christie said he would continue to coordinate with the White House.

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No Charges to Be Filed in Brawl Involving Palin Family, Police Report Released

No Charges to Be Filed in Brawl Involving Palin Family, Police Report Released

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- The Anchorage Police Department on Thursday released their report on the brawl that occurred last month that involved members of Sarah Palin's family.The incident took place at a house party on Sept. 6, police said. When officers first arrived, they saw multiple people leading a man, later identified as Track Palin, to a limousine. When one officer approached the limousine, Sarah Palin reportedly told her son to cooperate with the officer.Track told the officer that it had been his father's birthday and that they had left a party in Wasilla to go to a friend's house where another birthday party was happening. During the party, Track claimed that "some guys were talking rudely to his sisters," the police report read. As Track and his sisters, Willow and Bristol, left the party with another friend, Track said an unknown person sucker punched their friend, prompting the fight.The son of the former Alaskan governor said that he could not identify the attackers. His father, Todd Palin, told officers that the sucker punch escalated the situation to a point that the Palins couldn't walk away from it.Multiple other partygoers claimed that Track had started the fight, and that the Palins had been asked to leave the party after Bristol threatened to beat up another guest. One witness said he saw Bristol Palin punch the owner of the house in the face multiple times before he "picked her up, brought her from the yard to the street and put her down" and telling the Palin family to leave.The police report notes that the Track and Bristol Palin both appeared intoxicated following the fight and that officers "had a hard time getting [Track] to calm down."The police report doesn't indicate that Sarah Palin was interviewed by police. No arrests were made and no charges will be filed in connection with the fight.

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Gwyneth Paltrow to Host Obama at DNC Dinner

Gwyneth Paltrow to Host Obama at DNC Dinner

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hollywood and politics go together like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The close ties will be on full display Thursday night when Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow hosts President Obama at a star-studded Democratic National Committee fundraiser and dinner at her Los Angeles home.Candidates of both parties might welcome any celebrity firepower they can get, especially this year. The stakes are particularly high because Republicans only need six more Senate seats to win back the majority in the Senate, and Democrats are struggling in key races.Although many celebrities donate to candidates, Paltrow is just one of many high-profile celebrities going above and beyond that level for campaign 2014. Here are a few others:The campaign of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., raffled off tickets for a fundraiser hosted by fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus Amy Poehler, who also campaigned for Franken. Winners of the raffle got to attend a party hosted by the Parks and Recreation star in L.A.Back in September, singer and Atlanta native Usher hosted a campaign event for Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Georgia, at his house. Former President Bill Clinton was also a guest.Employing her musical talent, Alanis Morrissette wrote a campaign song for author Marianne Williamson, who was hoping to represent California’s Beverly Hills district. Unfortunately, Williamson, who ran as an independent, lost in the California primary in June and Morrissette’s song didn’t get much use.Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., at his personal cinema this past Tuesday.New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker got a lot of love from celebrity A-listers. Oprah Winfrey hosted a fundraiser for Booker at a New Jersey restaurant back in 2013. Actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck also co-hosted a fundraiser for Booker, whose guests included Affleck’s wife Jennifer Garner and producer JJ Abrams.Maybe starring in House of Cards inspired actress Kate Mara to get involved in politics. She tweeted out this picture after attending a fundraiser last April for the former Newark mayor.In June, Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes hosted a fundraiser for the DNC at her home out on the West Coast. Scandal star Kerry Washington and Obama attended.And although a lot of celebrities have been endorsing Democratic candidates, Donald Trump frequently voices his support for GOP candidates on Twitter.Retired football star Brett Favre also starred in a campaign ad for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

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Bloomberg Group’s $1 Million Aimed at Washington State Gun Vote

Bloomberg Group’s $1 Million Aimed at Washington State Gun Vote

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s largest gun safety advocacy organization, is funneling $1 million into a Washington State campaign to pass a ballot initiative for stronger background checks.This is the second million-dollar investment the group has invested in the Washington State race to pass Initiative 594, which would mandate background checks for buyers at state gun shows and among individuals besides immediate family members.John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said Washington State is Ground Zero for gun safety measures in 2014.“It’s the only place in the country where voters will have an up-or-down vote on background checks, which we’ve been fighting for in DC and states across the country. I-594 also represents new ground in the fight for this crime-reducing and life-saving public safety measure -- taking it straight to the voters,” Feinblatt said.Feinblatt's group is the successor to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the women’s organization Moms Demand Action.Everytown noted the National Rifle Association's involvement in the race, stating “The National Rifle Association is working to defeat I-594 and recently released videos filled with false claims about background checks.”There is a second measure, I-591, on the ballot that would bar additional background check measures without there being a national standard in place.Advocates for I-591 in Washington State have complained that the NRA hasn’t done or spent enough in favor of I-591, although they’ve spent $200,000 in the fight against I-594.

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Biden Enjoys Ice Cream After Campaigning for Sen. Merkley

Biden Enjoys Ice Cream After Campaigning for Sen. Merkley

David McNew/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Amid all the crises and blunders, there are moments when Joe Biden makes being vice president look like it’s downright fun, and that’s exactly what happened when the VP popped into a hipster ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon.Donning his signature Rayban aviators, Biden, who was campaigning for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., on Wednesday, walked into the Salt and Straw to enjoy a frozen treat.“Jeff has been bragging about this place for the last 20 minutes,” Biden said.The vice president went big and ordered up two scoops -- Chocolate Woodblock and Double-Fold Vanilla. Merkley asked for the Marionberry ice cream, but they were out. Instead, he chose the same chocolate flavor as Biden and another scoop of Stumptown Coffee and Bourbon.Biden picked up the tab for both, handing over two $10 bills for an $8 tab and calling himself “the last of the big time spenders.”

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Justice Kennedy Blocks Same-Sex Marriage in Idaho

Justice Kennedy Blocks Same-Sex Marriage in Idaho

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Clarifying an earlier order, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stated Wednesday that same-sex marriages could take place in Nevada although a block on gay and lesbian nuptials was still valid in Idaho.Kennedy initially reacted to a ruling by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco earlier in the week that lifted same-sex marriage bans in the two states.As it turned out, only Idaho and not Nevada filed an emergency request to keep the bans in place while deciding what to do next.Nevertheless, it's expected the delay on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Idaho will only last a few days.This has been a whirlwind week for advocates of homosexual nuptials with the Supreme Court first refusing to hear cases before it, which cleared the way for another ten states to permits gays and lesbians to wed.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that followed affects as many as five additional states, bringing the total number that have legalized same-sex marriage to over 30.

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Janet Who? Most Can’t Identify Fed Chair

Janet Who? Most Can’t Identify Fed Chair

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Janet Yellen has one of the most important jobs in the country. But she’s hardly a household name.Although Yellen helps steer the economy, hopefully in the right direction, fewer than one in four Americans could identify her as chair of the Federal Reserve in a News IQ survey conducted by Pew Research Center.Even after her name was read along with three others, 48 percent of respondents admitted not knowing who heads the Fed. The second choice was former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan at 17 percent.Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts were third and fourth with six percent and five percent, respectively.Yellen, the first woman to hold the job as Fed Chair, has a way to go before getting the same kind of recognition as her predecessor, Ben Bernanke. Back in 2009, 45 percent in the News IQ survey knew he was the head honcho at the nation’s central bank.

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Ebola Threat Prompts Additional Screening at Five US Airports

Ebola Threat Prompts Additional Screening at Five US Airports

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Additional screening measures will be implemented at five U.S. airports in response to the Ebola outbreak overseas, the White House announced on Wednesday.The five airports are: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, O'Hare International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.These five airports are the destination of 94 percent of individuals who travel to the U.S. from the three West African countries currently affected by the outbreak, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.Roughly 150 passengers arrive at these airports daily from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the White House. “This is an additional layer of screening that can be targeted to that small population in a way that will enhance security but also minimize disruption to the broader traveling public,” Earnest said.The screening will involve taking the temperature of passengers who arrive from the affected countries in West Africa.The White House maintains confidence in the screening measures in West Africa, Earnest stressed. The U.S. is adding a layer of security at these five airports to “add some confidence in our ability to continue to protect the American people from an Ebola outbreak,” he said.“Preventing individuals who are already exhibiting symptoms of Ebola from boarding a plane in the first place is the most effective measure that will counter and has countered the spread of Ebola,” he said.

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Kerry Calls Turkey Buffer Zone ‘Worth Examining,’ State Dept. Not Considering ‘At This Time’

Kerry Calls Turkey Buffer Zone ‘Worth Examining,’ State Dept. Not Considering ‘At This Time’

Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry may have spoken out of turn on Wednesday when he called the idea of a buffer zone on the Syrian-Turkish border something "worth examining, looking closely."House after Kerry made those comments at a press availability with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that while the concept has never been ruled out, the U.S. is, "just not considering the implementation at this time." Psaki later told reporters that Gen. John Allen and Ambassador Brett McGurk will discuss the concept among a range of military options later in the week.The Turkish government has been seeking a buffer zone in order to protect Syrian refugees and bolster its own borders. The decision could have an impact on Turkey's impending decision on stepping up action against ISIS.

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GAO Report: Voter ID Laws Negatively Impacted Turnout in 2012 Election

GAO Report: Voter ID Laws Negatively Impacted Turnout in 2012 Election

roibu/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Government Accountability Office released a report on Wednesday that shows that state voter identification laws may have a negative impact on voter turnout.The GAO says it conducted the "quasi-experimental analysis" by comparing voter turnout in Kansas and Tennessee -- states with changes to their voter identification requirements between the 2008 and 2012 elections -- and four comparison states that did not have any changes to their voter identification laws or other election changes that would impact turnout. Their analysis found that voter turnout among eligible and registered voters fell by 1.9 to 2.2 percent more in Kansas than in the comparison states and 2.2 to 3.2 percent more in Tennessee than in the comparison states.Those statistics, the GAO says, were consistent across voter populations and data sources."To further assess the validity of the results of this analysis, GAO compared Kansas and Tennessee with different combinations of comparison states and with individual comparison states and controlled for demographic characteristics...such as age, education, race and sex," the agency said. The results remained consistent.The GAO also noted that in Tennessee and Kansas, larger reduction in voter turnout was found among 18- to 23-year old voters than 44- to 53-year old voters. Additionally, a greater reduction was seen in voters registered for less than one year compared to those registered for over 20 years and in African-American registrants than among any other racial population.

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Pentagon: Airstrikes Alone ‘Not Going to Save the Town of Kobani’

Pentagon: Airstrikes Alone ‘Not Going to Save the Town of Kobani’

Digital Vision/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby noted on Wednesday that airstrikes over the town of Kobani, a Syrian border town, may not be enough to fend off ISIS militants."We all need to prepare ourselves for the reality," Kirby said, "that other towns and villages, and perhaps Kobani, will be taken by [ISIS]." While there have been 19 airstrikes in the area over the last two days, Kirby noted that ISIS may continue making territorial gains, at least until trained moderate Syrian rebels join the battle against the militant forces.The goal of the airstrikes, Kirby says, is to put "pressure on [ISIS] from the air," and that the Pentagon believes those strikes "have had an effect on [ISIS] in and around that town." Still, "airstrikes alone are not going to do, not going to fix this, not going to save the town of Kobani," Kirby explained, calling for "strategic patience." The long-term solution, he said, is "good governance, good governance in Iraq and good governance in Syria."

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Democrats to Make $1 Million Investment in SD Senate Race

Democrats to Make $1 Million Investment in SD Senate Race

Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(PIERRE, S.D.) -- Just when you thought the campaign battlefield was set for the final 27 days of the midterm election season, is there suddenly a new seat in play? Yes, Democrats believe, and it’s in South Dakota.A top Democratic official tells ABC News Wednesday the party will spend at least $1 million in TV ads and field operation in South Dakota.There is a fascinating three-way race unfolding in South Dakota to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson.It’s suddenly coming onto the radar because a third-party candidate is threatening to upend the race.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will start its advertising campaign as soon as Monday, an official tells ABC News, in hopes of boosting Rick Weiland, a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle.The Republican candidate, former governor Mike Rounds, is embroiled in a local controversy over state financing. The independent candidate is former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler. There is a fourth candidate in the race, too.Democrats, of course, are struggling in several key races – Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana – so they are also trying to expand their opportunities on election night. They believe South Dakota, like Kansas, could help the Democratic Party save the Senate.Republicans privately concede they are increasingly worried about the South Dakota race, but do not believe Rounds is in immediate danger of losing.

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Jimmy Carter Faults Obama on ISIS

Jimmy Carter Faults Obama on ISIS

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Jimmy Carter believes the Obama administration “waited too long” to act on ISIS, allowing the group to shore up the funding and resources for its success in taking over parts of Iraq.“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” Carter said in an Oct. 7 interview with the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”Carter said ground troops could enable the mission to succeed, but that troops would only help Iraq, not Syria, where ISIS originated.Carter’s comments come as ISIS forces advance further into Kobani, a Kurdish town in Syria bordering on Turkey. Gen. Martin Dempsey told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Oct. 7 he is “fearful” a full ISIS takeover of Kobani could be imminent.Carter's dissatisfaction with President Obama's ISIS strategy may be indicative of his feelings toward the president's Middle East policy as whole, which he implied lacked focus.“It changes from time to time,” Carter told the Star Telegram. “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”Carter also criticized the president’s counter-terrorism drone policy. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress informing them that four Americans had been killed in drone strikes targeting terrorists in the Middle East. Carter told the Star-Telegram that the deaths of these Americans "violate our Constitution and human rights."“I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven’t been brought to justice and put on trial,” he explained.Although as Democrats they share the same party affiliation and have held the same title, this is not the first time Carter has criticized Obama. In an interview with Parade magazine last October, he characterized the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as “questionable at best,” although he cited the legislation as one of Obama's main accomplishments.Carter, who is 90, served one term as president, from 1977 until 1981. According to the Star-Telegram, he was in Fort Worth, Texas participating in a Habitat for Humanity Project.

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DHS Rebuffs Congressman’s Claim ISIS Infiltrating Southern Border

DHS Rebuffs Congressman’s Claim ISIS Infiltrating Southern Border

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Homeland Security is denying a congressman’s assertion that fighters with the militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, have been caught crossing the southwestern border.“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. “DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told Fox News on Tuesday night that ISIS is sneaking into the U.S. through the southwestern border."I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas," Hunter claimed. "There's nobody talking about it.""If they catch five or ten of them, then you know there's gonna be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol," he continued.One source close to Hunter worked to walk back the comment, emphasizing that the congressman received a tip from a “high level” source at U.S. Customs and Border Protection who told him that a group of people with “suspected ISIS affiliation” -- even Americans who traveled to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army against President Bashar al-Assad -- were apprehended at the border.The tip "was from a confidential source with the Border Patrol," the source said in an email. "[It’s] more accurate to say people with known associations. Not 'fighters' in the sense folks might immediately think."While DHS and several other congressional sources shot down the claim outright, a spokesman for Hunter said that the congressman fears ISIS sympathizers could easily melt into U.S. cities and breed home-grown terrorism.“The Congressman was conveying what he knows -- and what he was told,” Joe Kasper, deputy chief of staff to Hunter, wrote in response to the DHS denial. “It makes sense that the left hand of DHS doesn't know what the right hand is doing -- it’s been that way for a long time and we don’t expect that to change.”Customs and Border Protection is part of DHS.Hunter’s office declined an ABC News request to interview the congressman.

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