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Obama Touts Job Growth

Obama Touts Job Growth

The White House(PRINCETON, Ind.) -- President Obama on Friday trumpeted the latest better-than-expected jobs report, saying “we’re on pace for the strongest job growth since the 1990s.”“All told, the United States has put more folks back to work than Europe, Japan and all other advanced economies combined. All them combined, we’ve put more folks back to work right here in the United States of America,” the president told workers at Millennium Steel in Princeon, Indiana.

Obama's remarks came just hours after the Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent.“This progress that we’ve been making, it’s been hard. It goes in fits and starts. It’s not always been perfectly smooth or as fast as we want, but it is real and it is steady and it is happening, and it’s making a difference in economies all across the country,” he said.As part of “National Manufacturing Day,” the president took the economic campaign message that he outlined on Thursday directly to workers and young people in Princeton, fielding their questions and underscoring the important role that American manufacturing plays in job growth. “There are a number of steps that we can take to make unemployment go down faster, to make sure that wages are rising faster, and it would benefit everybody,” he said, as he stood in front of massive wheels of steel in a huge plant. “If you look at American history, the times we grow fastest and do best is when we’re growing the economy from the middle out, when middle class families are growing, when working folks can get their way into the middle class.”

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US Dept. of Transportation Grants Special Permit for Transportation of Ebola-Contaminated Waste

US Dept. of Transportation Grants Special Permit for Transportation of Ebola-Contaminated Waste

AdamGregor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday approved a special permit permitting a Lake Forest, Illinois-based company to transport large quantities of Ebola-contaminated waste from a Dallas hospital for disposal.The permit covers all waste within the state of Texas, in case another diagnosed case presents in the state. Special permits, the DOT says, "are issued to individual companies to ensure that each holder is fit to conduct the activity authorized. Stericycle, Inc. The permit largely sets the standards by which the company must package and transport the materials.The permit grants Stericycle two options for packaging, each consisting of a series of inner and outer packaging and the use of CDC-authorized disinfectant.

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McCain Writes to Mexican President on Behalf of Marine Jailed in Mexico

McCain Writes to Mexican President on Behalf of Marine Jailed in Mexico

ABC/Donna Svennevik(PHOENIX) -- Sen. John McCain sent a letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday appealing for the release of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in Mexico since March.McCain acknowledges that the case "is rightfully a Mexican judicial matter," but calls the incident "the clear result of an honest mistake." Tahmooressi reportedly visited shops in Tijuana, Mexico by foot after leaving his car in San Diego. After returning to his vehicle, he apparently made a wrong turn, crossing the border into Mexico, where he was stopped an apprehended after disclosing the presence of three loaded firearms in his car.Tahmooressi was arrested on March 31, McCain says. "I continue to hope that your government will find, after full examination of the facts of his case, that he committed an honest mistake; harbored no malign intent toward your country or its citizens; and, therefore, can be allowed to return home to the United States. McCain sent the letter two days after a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing that featured multiple congressmen calling for Tahmooressi's release.

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CDC Director to Testify Before House Subcommittee on Ebola Outbreak

CDC Director to Testify Before House Subcommittee on Ebola Outbreak

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(WASHINGTON) -- Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the ongoing global Ebola outbreak.With a handful of Americans being treated for the disease, largely after returning from West Africa, Frieden will speak before the committee on Oct. 16 to discuss his agency's preparedness for and response to the outbreak. Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, called Ebola "a global public health issue that demands an all-hands-on-deck response.""We cannot afford to look back and say we could have done more," Upton said in a statement.In addition to Frieden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, will also testify at the Oct. 16 hearing. Additional witnesses remain to be announced.

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This Might Be the Best Thing Joe Biden’s Ever Said

This Might Be the Best Thing Joe Biden’s Ever Said

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Vice President Biden has delivered some colorful lines over the years, including calling President Obama’s healthcare plan a “big f****** deal,” but his best Biden-ism yet might have happened Thursday night.Speaking at the Harvard Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Biden was asked a question by the vice president of the student body, prompting Biden to joke about how he feels about being number two.“Isn’t it a b****?” Biden said to laughs from the crowd. “I mean, excuse me, the vice presidency? I mean woah.”Biden was quick to clarify his comment was simply a joke.“I’m joking, I’m joking, I’m joking. Best decision I ever made,” he said. “I’m a joking. That was a joke. That was a joke.”The student then responded, “I hope you love your job.”“I do actually. I love the guy I work with,” Biden said.Biden ran for the presidency twice in 1988 and 2008, and he has said he is considering a run for the White House in 2016.

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Lena Dunham Is Getting Political on Her Book Tour

Lena Dunham Is Getting Political on Her Book Tour

ABC/Lou Rocco(WASHINGTON) -- On her hit HBO show Girls, Lena Dunham’s character broke up with a guy once she found out he was Republican. It turns out that life imitates art.The actress has teamed up with EMILY’s List for her Not that Kind of Girl book tour to help pro-choice female Democrats get elected this November.“Lena stands for what we stand for at EMILY’s List–making sure women’s voices are heard,” said EMILY’S List communications director Jess McIntosh. “She’s committed to electing more pro-choice Democratic women to office because she knows that’s how we get the policies that work for women. We’re thrilled to have her on our team.”Dunham posted on her Instagram page Friday morning, “I am thrilled to support Emily’s List candidates (pro-choice pro-woman!) on my trip across America! #voteearlyvoteoften”BuzzFeed first broke the news of Dunham’s alliance with EMILY’s List.The 11-state book tour will make stops in Iowa and Texas, where EMILY’s List has been endorsing Staci Appel for Congress and Wendy Davis for governor, respectively.Dunham has become Hollywood’s poster-girl for feminism and frequently addresses woman’s issues on her show, Twitter account and most recently, in her memoir.The actress has also teamed up with Planned Parenthood and published a blog on their site to encourage people to get out and vote.“I vote because the number of backwards, out-of-touch, downright freaking unbelievably anti-women’s health politicians out there right now makes my blood boil,” Dunham writes. “But rather than go deep into a rage spiral, I vote. It’s healthier, more effective and infinitely more pleasant.”

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Meet the Man Who’s Now Running the Secret Service

Meet the Man Who’s Now Running the Secret Service

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson earlier this week, the agency has brought in Joe Clancy to temporarily lead the elite unit charged with protecting the president of the United States and his family until a permanent replacement is hired.Reportedly nicknamed “Father Joe” because friends and colleagues believe he looks like a priest, here are five things to know about the 58-year-old now in charge of President Obama’s security:1. HE’S NOT A NEWCOMER.Clancy was formerly the head of Secret Service’s Presidential Protective Division, which he retired from in 2011. In a press conference Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “He is somebody who has earned the respect and admiration of the men and women who were his colleagues at the United States Secret Service. He is also somebody who has the full confidence of the president and the first lady.” Besides Obama, Clancy also worked for President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.2. HE HAS EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH SCANDAL.Back in 2009, Washington socialites Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed a White House party. According to the New York Times, Clancy was in charge of White House Security, but the incident was more of an embarrassment for then Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.3. HE USED TO TEACH HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY.During the ’80s, Clancy taught history at Father Judge’s High School, an all-boys Catholic school in Philadelphia. To be exact, his subjects were Modern European History and American Government.4. HE’S A WEST POINT DROPOUT.Earnest had accidentally said that Clancy graduated from West Point. Earnest however made the correction later and said that the White House had been mistaken. Clancy attended West Point, but dropped out due to poor grades, and went on to finish his bachelor’s degree at Villanova University.5. HE PREVIOUSLY WORKED FOR COMCAST.Clancy returned to Washington from Philadelphia, where he was the director of corporate security for the cable giant. In a statement, Comcast said, “During more than three years at Comcast he was an integral part of our security team and we are sad to see him leave.”

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Washington State Could Vote for More and Less Gun Control Simultaneously

Washington State Could Vote for More and Less Gun Control Simultaneously

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Rifle Association -- the nation’s largest gun rights organization -- is sounding the alarm with voters in Washington state with a new online ad, warning that a ballot initiative there might seriously curtail gun rights.“There’s no question in my mind that the goal is collecting a database of gun owners,” Robin Ball, the owner of a Washington state gun shop and shooting range, says in the seven-minute ad.“It’s time for us, the American people, to say stop,” says Ozzie Knezovich, the sheriff of Spokane County.But the Washington state fight isn’t just over the vote on increasing background checks. The pro-gun side also has a measure on the ballot, and there’s a chance both could pass, opening the door to a potentially heated debate on gun control and an unprecedented quandary for the state Supreme Court.Initiative 591 would prevent the state legislature from enacting background check laws unless there is a federal standard, which doesn’t currently exist. It would also prevent the government from confiscating firearms without due process.In the other corner is Initiative 594, requiring background checks on all gun purchasers except on antiques or an immediate family member’s firearm. The language of that initiative is actually based on a bill that failed to pass in the divided Washington legislature, with a Democratic House and Republican Senate.There hasn’t been much reliable polling on the measures since summer, when an Elway poll found just under 50 percent in favor of I-591 and 70 percent in support of I-594. Both got such high ratings because just over 30 percent of Washington voters polled said they would vote for both measures –- even though they are diametrically opposed.No one really knows what might happen if Washingtonians vote for and against background checks simultaneously. Such a scenario has never happened before in state history, said David Ammons, a spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State, who administers the elections.“We have no case law or statute dealing with this situation,” he said, adding that potential options could include punting to the state legislature to pick a winner or, more plausibly,  resulting in the state Supreme Court hearing both sides’ arguments -- revitalizing an issue that’s already been heavily litigated in state government.The leaders of both the I-591 and I-594 support campaigns said they’re focused on winning “yes” votes and will start worrying about what comes next, if need be, on Nov. 5, the day after Election Day.“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Alan Gottlieb, a national gun-rights activist and head of the pro-591 campaign Protect Our Gun Rights. He noted that I-591 has the support of the largest Washington state organization representing law enforcement officials.Zach Silk, the campaign manager for the pro-594 Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said his group is spending time making sure voters understand the differences between the two measures.“We are concerned about it. We’re definitely talking to voters about voting yes and no -- we can’t take anything for granted,” he said.Another dimension of the gun rights battle here is the influence of national spending. Gottlieb said he is frustrated because the powerful NRA has taken a neutral position on I-591 although they are actively campaigning against I-594, putting two field staff in the state and creating ads like the one released online Thursday.“I’ll be honest, in the last couple months we stopped trying” to get the NRA more involved, Gottlieb said. “We have to run a campaign, we’re doing then best we can and if we win on 591 it will be without the NRA’s support.”NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the group’s attention in the state was where should be, suggesting the priority is defeating I-594, not making sure I-591 wins.“594 is a very bad initiative and the focus ought to be on defeating what will negatively impact the law-abiding gun owners of Washington state,” he said.One reason national groups like the NRA might not get more involved in I-591 is because it doesn’t comport with Washington state law in several ways: it would put restrictions on the state legislature in anticipation of federal laws which don’t yet exist, and it is only one paragraph long, versus the 18-page I-594, which Silk said meets state law requirements to have potential new laws fit seamlessly into existing ones.Silk called the wording of I-591 “mushy,” while Gottlieb said I-594’s length meant that “to understand it, basically you have to be a lawyer.”National advocacy groups are helping voters grasp the differences between the two measures, but the pro-594 campaign is getting much more outside help from groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, the successor to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and the organization Moms Demand Action, as well as top donors in the Washington business community.The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has raised more than $7.5 million, much of which came from Everytown and wealthy Washingtonians such as Bill and Melinda Gates and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. Meanwhile, Protect Our Gun Rights has raised $1.13 million, none of which comes from the NRA, which has instead contributed $192,000 to a local affiliate’s anti-594 effort.Erika Soto Lamb, a spokesperson for Everytown, said the battle in Olympia was the most important race for them this year. “This is the Washington that matters to us. It’s the only place where Americans will actually be asked to vote for gun safety reform,” she said.Regardless of all the preparation that both sides in the fight are making, one thing remains clear: what happens after Election Day if both measures win remains a mystery.“This is really different. We’re making a little bit of history,” Gottlieb said.

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WATCH: Rock the Vote Gets Angry in New Ads

WATCH: Rock the Vote Gets Angry in New Ads

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How do you get millennial voters from their dorm rooms to voting booths on Election Day? Try sarcasm.Rock the Vote, best known for its celebrity endorsers and partnership with MTV, has released five new ads featuring cynical narrators daring young voters to turn out in the midterm cycle.The ads, part of the “Care Like Crazy” campaign, focus on issues young voters care about, said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote. “We really wanted to drive home the message that if you care like crazy about issues, you have to vote,” she said.While young Americans are less likely to vote this year than they were in 2010, according to a survey by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, Rock the Vote is hoping the ads will change that.In one, a man with a grocery bag under his arm talks about the importance of voting to women’s issues—before taking a surprising turn.“I never forget [to vote] because I care about people, like women,” he says. “I love women -- but they’ll never be as smart as men.”

In another, concerning student loan debt, a callous businessman tells the camera he won’t “let a bunch of kids whining about their student loans ruin my business.”“If you still live in your parents’ basement, you shouldn’t decide our future,” he says.

Both ads end with the same question to viewers: He Votes. Do You?“These aren’t the traditional political ads,” said Spillane. “We went to edgy and funny to get their focus.”The TV ads, backed by a $250,000 buy, will appear in college towns throughout six states, as well as on websites including YouTube and Hulu.

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Panetta Says He Urged Obama to Leave Troops in Iraq

Panetta Says He Urged Obama to Leave Troops in Iraq

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says in a new book that the administration should have left a residual force of American troops in Iraq following the 2011 military withdrawal, despite Baghdad's refusal to grant soldiers immunity from prosecution for any alleged war crimes.Panetta, who served as defense chief from 2011 through 2013, claims he tried to convince President Obama that some U.S. presence would be needed in Iraq to keep the government stabilized and prevent the rise of militant groups.His advice may have been prescient.  Panetta was fearful that without American troops, Iraq "could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S."The U.S. is now waging an air offensive against Sunni extremists known as the Islamic State, which has overrun large regions of both Iraq and Syria.Panetta also writes in Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace that the arguments he and others had with the president and his staff "occasionally became heated."Nonetheless, Panetta maintains that the administration was "so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests."

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Obama Promises Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute He’ll Act on Immigration

Obama Promises Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute He’ll Act on Immigration

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Acknowledging doubts about immigration reform and questions about his commitment to it, Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala attendees on Thursday night, "Let me put those questions to rest right now," and pledged not to give up on a comprehensive fix to U.S. immigration policies."Fixing our broken immigration system is one more big thing that we have to do and that we will do," he said after referencing health care.Repeating something he often says about big initiatives on his agenda, Obama warned that Republican opponents will bring out every "excuse" they can find to block it.

However, Obama said, "If House Republicans brought the Senate bill up for a vote today, I would pass...it would pass today...I would sign it today and they know it."

Obama urged those in attendance for their support, asking them to "keep putting pressure on Congress," noting that a Senate bill would be more "comprehensive" and "lasting" than any executive order he made.

"The next month, month and a half, six weeks, eight weeks, I'm going to be spending that time, not just talking about what we've done for the economy but explaining why immigration reform is good for our economy and why it's good for everybody," Obama said Thursday night.

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Hagel, State Dept. Praise Turkish Vote to Allow Military Operations in Iraq, Syria

Hagel, State Dept. Praise Turkish Vote to Allow Military Operations in Iraq, Syria

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. praised a Turkish vote to allow its military to join the coalition operating against ISIS in Iraq and Syria Thursday.Calling the vote "a very positive development," Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the U.S. "will continue to consult with the Turkish government on the specifics of how the implementation of that authority would be carried out." Hagel, speaking at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Yves LeDrian, said that the U.S. does not currently plan on implementing a "buffer zone" that would give Syrian refugees a humanitarian area -- something that has been discussed by Turkey.U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also praised the vote, noting "numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria."Gen. John Allen, recently named Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk are in Iraq drumming up support for the coalition, and will travel to Turkey later on their current trip.

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No Word on When Supreme Court Will Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

No Word on When Supreme Court Will Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

zimmytws/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court declined to hear any of seven possible same-sex marriage cases -- for now -- on Thursday.The court issued a paper list Thursday morning detailing which of the cases that have piled up over the summer it would take on. Seven of those cases related to same-sex marriage.The new term begins on Monday, and the justices had the option to choose one or more of the cases to hear arguments for. Instead, it remains unclear when the Supreme Court will listen to both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

Currently, same-sex couples can legally marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Among the cases that the court did choose to take up were a case regarding redistricting in Arizona, and another on whether or not Florida judicial candidates can solicit campaign contributions. The court will also hear a case regarding whether or not a woman denied a job at Abercrombie and Fitch for wearing a head scarf was required to ask for a religious accommodation.

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College Republicans ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ in New Ad Campaign

College Republicans ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ in New Ad Campaign

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is Rick Scott the new Oscar de la Renta?He is, according to a new ad released by the College Republican National Committee. The Florida governor, who is seeking re-election in a tight race against Democrat Charlie Crist, is one of several candidates who are featured in a new series of online ads aimed at enticing young voters – especially women.The committee’s ads, dubbed “Say Yes to the Candidate,” are inspired by TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, a wedding-themed reality show, and they got a ringing endorsement on Thursday from none other than Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.“I think it’s a pretty clever ad,” Priebus said during a Q&A session at George Washington University.“Everything’s micro-targeted now,” Priebus added. “You’ve got to consider, ‘Where can I place this ad that will get me to where I want?’”The first ad features Brittany, a young college graduate on a budget.“The Rick Scott is perfect!” she says of the Florida governor – er, wedding dress. “Rick Scott is becoming a trusted brand. He has new ideas that don’t break your budget.”The mom in the ad, on the other hand, has some opposing views on her daughter’s outfit choices.“I like the Charlie Crist,” she says, “it’s expensive and outdated, but I know best!”The salespeople remind them that the Charlie Crist dress has additional costs, and Brittany’s friends refuse to let her walk out of the voting booth “looking like that.”In the end, Brittany stands up to her mother and tells her she sees a better future for herself with the Rick Scott. They then pop bottles of champagne, naturally.And the Florida governor’s race is just the beginning -- the College Republican National Committee is also running ads on behalf of governors in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado and Arkansas.

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US Envoys Visit Iraq on Trip to Drum Up Support in Fight Against ISIS

US Envoys Visit Iraq on Trip to Drum Up Support in Fight Against ISIS

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- Gen. John Allen and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk are in Iraq this week as part of a five-country trip on which they will represent the United States and attempt to drum up support for Iraq and the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.Allen was recently named Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. ISIL is another name for the group that also goes by ISIS or the Islamic State. He and McGurk arrived in Iraq on Thursday, where they are scheduled to meet with officials from the Iraq government and other regional leaders.The two men will also travel to Belgium, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey on the trip, meeting with "a wide range of government officials, regional partners and multilateral institutions in support of international coalition efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL," according to a release from the U.S. Department of State.The trip to Turkey will come after Thursday's vote in which the country is expected to approve military operations in Syria and Iraq in support of the coalition's efforts to defeat ISIS.

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The Bush Family Thanksgiving Will Be Even More Awkward Than Yours

The Bush Family Thanksgiving Will Be Even More Awkward Than Yours

Photo by Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With two former presidents, one former governor, the likely future land commissioner of Texas, one TV news correspondent and a strong-willed matriarch all sitting around one table, this year’s Bush family Thanksgiving will be a gathering unlike any other in America.But it’s clear that, like many other dining room tables across the country, the Bush’s turkey and gravy will be served with a heaping side of political tension. And which member of the Bush clan is likely to be most uncomfortable? That would be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who’s thought to be contemplating a White House bid. As Jeb Bush’s son, Jeb Bush Jr., acknowledged last month, 2016 is “the 800-pound gorilla in the room” at family gatherings.Recent news reports suggest that Jeb Bush should expect to have his entire political life dissected by his famous family members, who all seem to think they know what’s best for him.“I think he wants to be president,” Jeb Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, said on Fox News Thursday. “I think he’d be a great president.”And despite W.’s April 2013 assertion that his brother “doesn’t need my counsel ‘cause he knows what it is,” George W. Bush revealed on Fox that he’d doled out some advice anyway.“I, of course, was pushing him to run for president. He, of course, was saying, ‘I haven’t made up my mind,’” the former president said of a recent conversation between the two brothers. “I don’t think he liked that his older brother was pushing him.”But even as Jeb Bush’s big brother eggs him on, his mother reins him in.“We’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House, Barbara Bush told NBC’s Matt Lauer in April 2013. “There are other people out there that are very qualified. ... It’s not just four families."“He’s by far the best qualified man, but no,” she said, when asked if she’d like to see her son run.Then, earlier this year, she seemed to warm up to the idea -- a flip-flop that is sure to spark some dinner table conversation.“Maybe it’s OK,” she said on Fox & Friends in March 2014. “It just seemed to me ridiculous, in a country of this size, that we didn’t have other families. ... Maybe Jeb’s given all he should give. 'Cause he’s worked awfully hard for a long time. But he is the best qualified person in the country, there’s no question about that. Put me down as saying that.”In April, however, Jeb Bush’s niece, Jenna Bush Hager, let it slip that she doesn’t want to see another Bush in the White House “anytime soon.”“I don’t want to answer that question!” Bush Hager declared.Even as his extended family publicly focus-groups his candidacy, you’d hope Jeb Bush could count on his immediate family's support. But Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, is rumored to share her mother-in-law and niece’s reticence.His son, George P. Bush, who’s running for Texas Land Commissioner, confirmed that he would at least vote for his father should he mount a bid for the White House in 2016.“I would definitely vote for him, I think it’s safe to say, otherwise I may not be invited back home for Thanksgiving,” the younger Bush said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Thursday. But stretching his neck out to formally endorse Dad? That’s another story.George P. Bush’s senior adviser, Trey Newton, later clarified that a promised vote is not the same thing as a formal endorsement and said George P. Bush had no plans to actively campaign for any one presidential candidate, according to Journal reporter Laura Meckler.(That sentiment apparently hasn’t stopped Jeb Bush from stumping for George P. Bush in Texas.)This isn’t the first time George P. Bush, who insists he’s “a man in my own right who stands in my own shoes,” has appeared reluctant to support his father’s presidential ambitions.When asked if he would endorse Jeb Bush’s potential presidential bid in 2016 at the Texas Tribune Festival last month, George P. Bush was evasive.“You’re telling me ... you would not endorse your dad?” Texas Tribune Editor Evan Smith pressed Jeb Bush’s son.“My focus has to be this agency,” George P. Bush replied, referring to the land commissioner position he is seeking this November. “If I’m entrusted by the voters of Texas to be land commissioner, that’s going to occupy my time.”Really, it seems like the only family member who hasn’t taken a position on Jeb Bush’s candidacy is Jeb Bush himself."I'm trying to avoid the family conversation, to be honest with you,” he said during a November 2013 forum at Fordham Law School.He may not be so lucky when it comes to his family.

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Irked by Critics, Obama Says He’s Good for Business

Irked by Critics, Obama Says He’s Good for Business

The White House(CHICAGO) -- Deviating from his prepared remarks for minutes at a time, an apparently irked President Obama responded to critics who’ve called him anti-business, pointing to improved corporate profits and mocking Republican policies, during his economic speech in Chicago Thursday.Those critics’ “notion is that this agenda I just outlined is somehow contrary to pro-business, pro-capitalism, free-market values,” Obama said, appearing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.The president had just reiterated some of the stump-speech points made during his 60 Minutes interview -- that the economy is better than when he took office, but that many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit -- and had gone on to call for his usual array of economic measures: infrastructure spending, tax reform, clean-energy investment, greater availability of high-quality preschool education, immigration reform, student-loan relief, equal pay, paid maternity leave, and, of course, a higher minimum wage.“Since we’re here at a business school, I thought it might be useful to point out … corporate balance sheets are the strongest, just about, that they’ve ever been. Corporate debt is down, profits are up, businesses are doing good. So this idea that somehow any of these policies, like the minimum wage … or clean energy are somehow bad for business is simply belied by the facts -- it’s not true,” Obama said.The president referenced Thursday’s Bloomberg story juxtaposing corporate criticism of Obama with the health of S&P 500 companies, which are seeing their lowest debt-to-earnings ratio in 24 years.Obama challenged Republicans to be a “true opposition party” and lay out their own agenda.“Has anyone seen a credible argument that that is what our economy needs right now? Seriously,” Obama asked of lower taxes on higher incomes.

“Folks are just pontificating … based on what? What’s the data, what’s the proof? If there were any credible argument that says, when those at the top do well, and eventually, everybody else will do well, it would have borne itself out by now. We'd see data that that was true. It's not,” he said.

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Hillary Clinton Adds Key Line to Pre-2016 Stump Speech

Hillary Clinton Adds Key Line to Pre-2016 Stump Speech

Alex Wong/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky is just five days old and already appears to be a living embodiment of themes her grandmother, Hillary Clinton, could put to use on the campaign trail.During her prepared remarks at a women’s real estate convention in Miami Thursday afternoon, the former secretary of state used a line never heard before on her paid-speaking circuit: one about the future for her new granddaughter.“I think my granddaughter has just as much God-given potential as a boy born in that hospital on the same day,” Clinton told the crowd at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.Chelsea Clinton’s daughter, Charlotte, was born last week in New York City and is the first grandchild for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Thursday’s one-day visit to Miami is the first time Hillary Clinton has traveled outside of the state since the baby’s birth. Earlier this week, she cancelled her appearance at two other fundraising events in Washington, D.C., because of the new baby.In addition to her keynote at the CREW convention Thursday afternoon, Clinton is also holding a book signing for her new memoir, Hard Choices, and campaigning for Florida’s Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist.While Clinton still says she has not made a decision about running for president, equality for women and girls is an issue very close to her and one she will likely bring with her on the campaign trail should she decide to run.Her comments Thursday indicate that the newest addition to the family is well-positioned to play a role in Clinton 2016 -- even if just symbolically.

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Midterm Elections: In Search of a Theme

Midterm Elections: In Search of a Theme

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just one month before the November elections, the fate of the U.S. Senate isn’t the only thing that’s up in the air -- so is the theme of this year’s midterms.Pundits and politicians have been searching for a unifying idea for months. First it was the Republican-inspired government shutdown. Then the botched rollout of the Obamacare website. Then, perhaps, immigration reform (or the lack thereof). Then the disquieting state of international affairs, led lately by the U.S.-fronted campaign against ISIS.But now, with the midterms around the corner, it’s possible no single defining issue will emerge.One thing we do know: The state of the economy is still crucial. Thirty-five percent in last month’s ABC News/Washington Post poll, a plurality of Americans, single out the economy and jobs as the single most important issue in their vote for Congress -- just off the four in ten who did the same in 2010, as the United States was struggling, even more mightily than now, to emerge from the Great Recession.Historically, the economy often is the top issue for a plurality of Americans. But -- unless the economy is overpoweringly awful, or the nation’s entangled in an unpopular war or other, particular crisis -- other issues often share the limelight.In 2002, a bit more than a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, 28 percent in ABC/Post polling picked the economy as the top issue in their vote, but two in 10 cited terrorism and 12 percent said it was the situation in Iraq. Heading into the 2006 midterms, three in 10 said the unpopular war in Iraq was driving their vote; only two in 10 picked the economy. And in 2010, when Obamacare had just become law, 18 percent said health care was their top issue, second to the economy.But there’s no clear second-place issue this year. The way things are working in Washington, health care, international conflicts and immigration clock in at 15, 13, 12 and 10 percent, respectively.Still, this year’s data highlight some notable nuances within this year’s electorate. People under age 50, who have years of work ahead of them in the still-struggling economy, are more apt to be focused on the economy and jobs (44 percent) than those over 50 (28 percent) -- a 16-point gap, compared with just 3 percentage points in 2010. And, though not a new trend, nonwhites and Democrats also are more likely to consider the economy first and foremost.Meanwhile, those with lower socioeconomic status are more apt than their counterparts to focus on health care. People making less than $50,000 and those without a college degree are six points more likely to select healthcare as their most important issue compared with their counterparts, who seem to have moved on from the issue since 2010. (Similar to the last midterms, women are twice as likely as men to cite health care as a top priority, 17 vs. 8 percent this year).A sizable number of independents have turned to “the way Washington is working” as an impetus for their vote: Twenty-one percent of independents -- 9 points more than in 2010 -- put their focus on DC’s inner workings, compared with 12 percent of others. But this discontent is less of an advantage for the GOP than four years ago. In 2010, those who selected the way D.C. works as their top issue in our pre-election polling backed Republican House candidates by a 24-point margin. Today, that group splits almost evenly.Additionally, those older than 40 and whites are twice as likely as their counterparts to select how Washington is working as their top issue (18 vs. 9 percent and 18 vs. 8 percent, respectively). In 2010, by contrast, there were no such divisions among these groups.As we come down the stretch, these differing priorities make it increasingly unlikely that election analysts will get the one central theme for which they’ve been searching. But hey -- there are four weeks left.

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Obama’s Road to Refocus

Obama’s Road to Refocus

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is back on the road Thursday, trying to refocus attention on his economic record and agenda ahead of the midterms. In a speech at Northwestern University, the president will tout American economic leadership, much as he addressed the role of American leadership abroad during his United Nations speech last week.White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest offered a preview of Obama’s speech in Illinois:

“Six years after the Great Recession, thanks to the hard work of the American people and the policies the President has pursued, our economy has come back further and faster than any other nation on Earth. You’ll hear the President talk about this progress, while acknowledging that too many Americans still don’t feel enough of the benefits of our recovery in their everyday lives. To make sure these gains are felt more broadly, he’ll lay out the commonsense steps our country should take to raise wages for hardworking Americans, continue to create jobs and grow our economy. The location of the President’s speech is fitting -- he will be speaking to an audience of Kellogg business school students who will have a hand in shaping America’s economic future and leadership both at home and abroad.”

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