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Marco Rubio on Presidential Bid: ‘I Can Lead this Country’

Marco Rubio on Presidential Bid: ‘I Can Lead this Country’ ABC News(MIAMI) -- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is running for president in 2016, the Florida senator told ABC News' Chief Anchor and This Week host George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview in West Miami Monday."I think this country's at a generational moment where it needs to decide not what party it wants in charge but what kind of country are we going to want to be moving forward," Rubio told Stephanopoulos in an interview at the Florida senator’s home. "I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction. I can help lead it there from the Senate. I can lead it there as president.”When asked whether Rubio believed he was the most qualified candidate to be the president, he said: “I absolutely feel that way.”The announcement came just a few hours before Rubio will speak to supporters at an evening event at the Freedom Tower, a downtown Miami building with historical significance for thousands of Cuban-Americans.If he is elected president in 2016, Rubio would be the first ever Cuban-American to win the White House.Rubio, 43, is the fourth major candidate to declare a run for the presidency this year. His announcement comes one day after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her presidential bid.Two other Republican candidates -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul -- entered the 2016 race within the last two weeks.Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 and lives in Miami with his wife Jeanette and four children.Watch World News Tonight with David Muir Monday night and Good Morning America Tuesday morning for more from Stephanopoulos' exclusive interview with Rubio. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FBI Investigating Former White House Military Aide

FBI Investigating Former White House Military Aide iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating a former top military aide to three U.S. presidents and his firm over allegations it bilked foreign investors out of millions of dollars by touting his White House ties and making promises of quick U.S. Green Cards to raise funds for a giant hotel complex, ABC News has learned. Five years after an elaborate ground-breaking ceremony in New Orleans, there is only a vacant lot and investors say almost $16 million has disappeared.The former aide, retired Air Force Col. Timothy Milbrath, confirmed to ABC News that he is aware of the FBI investigation but said the allegations against him and his firm “are not correct.” Investors said the FBI has recently conducted interviews, and city officials in New Orleans confirmed agents have collected boxes of documents related to the company. A spokesperson for the FBI in New Orleans declined to comment.The investigation centers on a project set up under a controversial U.S. immigration program known as EB-5, which allows foreign investors to obtain visas, and eventually Green Cards, if they invest at least $500,000 in projects that will create American jobs. As ABC News reported in February, an internal government review found that more than 30 EB-5 projects have come under criminal investigation, including the one set up by Col. Milbrath and a business partner, called Noble Outreach.Promotional videos and material produced by Noble Outreach to entice foreign investors flaunt Col. Milbrath’s White House ties and feature photos of him serving Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as chief of staff to the White House Military Office.In a civil lawsuit, the investors allege that much of the $16 million they invested with Noble Outreach ended up going to Col. Milbrath, his partner William “Bart” Hungerford, Jr., and companies they controlled. None of the foreign investors were able to receive Green Cards because of the project’s failure, investors said.“We were duped,” said Terry Sumpter, a retired British police officer who says he lost the bulk of his savings investing with Noble Outreach. “It’s gut-wrenching, it really is.”Sumpter is now living in Florida on an expired visa. He has been allowed to stay in the U.S. by immigration officials, but if he leaves the country, he fears he will not be permitted to return.Milbrath told ABC News that because of the ongoing litigation, he cannot say what happened to the money but that, “Everything is accounted for.”“I can honestly say that what we have here -- the claims are not substantiated,” he said in an interview to be broadcast on ABC’s World News with David Muir.Noble Outreach is one of dozens of businesses that -- despite being under federal investigation -- remain certified by the Department of Homeland Security to operate as part of the little-known EB-5 immigrant investor program. Federal certification enables the firms to continue to solicit wealthy foreigners to invest $500,000 or $1 million in qualified U.S. projects. And they can promise in exchange that the investors will receive a two-year visa. The firms pledge that if the investment creates 10 American jobs, the investor will be able to short-cut the usually lengthy immigration process and receive a Green Card.Earlier this year, ABC News reported on firms that continued to operate as certified EB-5 regional centers despite being the subjects of national security investigations.One such firm, American Logistics International, was recruiting investors from Iran to be granted American visas, even as it was being investigated by U.S. non-proliferation agents for its possible role in smuggling sensitive electronics to Iran. American Logistics has denied being involved in any illegal activity.Internal documents obtained by ABC News showed dozens of the regional centers have been investigated for a range of criminal violations. There have been so many fraud cases involving EB-5 investment opportunities that the Securities and Exchange Commission has posted an investor alert online warning foreign investors to be “aware of investment scams targeting foreign nationals who seek to become permanent lawful U.S. residents through the Immigrant Investor Program (‘EB-5’).”Homeland Security officials said they remain powerless to revoke a regional center’s certification unless there is proof they have not been creating jobs.“USCIS only has the authority to terminate a regional center if there is evidence the center is no longer promoting economic growth -- not on the basis of national security concerns,” an agency spokesman told ABC News in a written statement. “This lack of discretion limits the ability of the Director or the Secretary to terminate a regional center in the event of suspected or even proven criminal activity.”Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson provided a statement to ABC News saying he is urging Congress to provide his agency “legal discretion to deny or revoke cases when necessary, authority to exclude people with criminal backgrounds from participating in EB-5 regional centers, and authority to require regional centers to certify compliance with our securities laws.”Terry Sumpter, the British ex-policeman, said he started researching investment opportunities in 2007 because, after a career in law enforcement and as a successful entrepreneur in England, he wanted to permanently move to the U.S. He said Noble Outreach promised a quick path to permanent residency, and if the investment paid dividends, he said it would be “a win-win.”“They were saying it was going to help the New Orleans people after Katrina, we would get our Green Card, and we’d get a return on top of that,” Sumpter said. “It really did seem like a good deal.”Noble Outreach appeared to have significant support from public officials. Milbrath and his partner, Bart Hungerford, had brokered a 30-year deal with then-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for exclusive rights to offer EB-5 investments in New Orleans, they established office addresses at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington and in the D.C. suburbs. They unveiled glossy plans to build a hotel, restaurant and conference center development in a blighted lot in Algiers, a neighborhood in the shadow of the New Orleans skyline, and in 2010, at the groundbreaking event, there was a line of local officials waiting to grab a golden shovel for the photo opportunity.But the investor lawsuit alleges that behind the scenes, Noble Outreach had established a tangled web of corporate entities through which the investment money moved without the investors’ knowledge.During an 18-month period beginning in 2009, the suit alleges that one of those entities paid Milbrath and Hungerford and their wives $1.82 million in salaries. The suit alleges that the two partners “in fact, converted millions of the fund’s assets ($6 million at least) for the their own ultimate personal benefit.”Some of Noble Outreach’s early investment money went to finance other ventures, including coffee shops and restaurants in the city’s bustling French Quarter. Investors say those ventures were structured in a way that Hungerford and Milbrath retained a controlling interest, and the jobs those ventures created did not result in any investors receiving Green Cards or a financial return.The addresses Noble Outreach listed on its promotional material, it turns out, were a borrowed desk at a travel agency in the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, D.C., and a rented mailbox at a UPS store in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Addresses in New Orleans were for a law firm that no longer represents the company and an economic development agency.When ABC News tracked down Milbrath at an event last month, he said he and his partner did not enrich themselves in the deal. The projects stalled, he said, because the firm could not recruit enough investors. He said the company struggled to get support from the federal immigration agency that was supposed to process visas.“I just know that what we did was completely within what we thought was our purview to do for the program, I really do,” he said.Milbrath said he wanted to be able to explain why the ventures have not yielded the promised benefits for the investors, but because of the lawsuit he cannot. But he did tell ABC News he believes the real fault rested with difficulties Noble Outreach had in dealing with the immigration agency that oversees the EB-5 program, USCIS. At one point, Milbrath and Hungerford enlisted help from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, who wrote a letter to the agency on their behalf.“Congressman Van Hollen’s office asked DHS and USCIS to respond to [Noble Outreach’s] request for information before we became aware of any investigation or complaints against the company,” Bridgett Frey, the spokeswoman for the congressman, told ABC News. “Once Congressman Van Hollen learned of complaints against NOR, he informed his staff to cease any interaction with them. Congressman Van Hollen believes that the allegations against NOR are troubling, and, if true, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”Frey added that Van Hollen, who is now a candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, also supports a systematic review of the EB-5 Visa Program, which he believes “is clearly is in need of reform.”Sumpter said the greatest insult from his experience in participating in the immigrant investor program has not been the loss of money -- though he estimates that between the failed investment and legal fees, the experience has cost him upwards of $750,000. It has been the refusal of his Green Card. Once two years had expired and his investment had failed to create the required 10 jobs, the government began deportation proceedings.He said he and other Noble Outreach investors now live in limbo. If they leave the United States, they have little chance of returning as anything more than a tourist, he said.“I know one of the investors left on business to go to Europe and now he can’t get back in,” Sumpter said.He said he remains in his own brand of immigration limbo, unsure if he leaves, whether he will ever be able to have the life he does now.“I’m here because I want to be,” Sumpter said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only done everything by the book, what has been asked of me, and it seems I’m being punished for that.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Twelve Defining Moments of Hillary Clinton’s Life

Twelve Defining Moments of Hillary Clinton’s Life Feng Li/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s hard to imagine a time when Hillary Clinton wasn't a household name.The former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state’s path to prominence began nearly half a century ago and was aided by a series of fortuitous events as well as her own ambition.Now, at the height of her global recognition, Clinton is embarking on a second run for the White House, with the possibility of making history as the first woman president of the United States. But how did the young girl from the Chicago suburbs become the woman she is today?From her role as one-half of a political power couple to her years defending herself amid scandal, here are 12 defining moments that have shaped Clinton's life:1. Into the Spotlight -- 1969In May 1969, 21-year-old Hillary Rodham was chosen to deliver the commencement address to her graduating class at Wellesley College. A spur-of-the-moment decision to forgo her prepared remarks gave way to an impromptu, fiery speech that challenged the pro-war, Republican U.S. senator who had just addressed her fellow graduates.Word spread about the young woman who stood up so publicly to a politician. In modern-day terms, her speech went “viral.”The next month, Clinton was featured, along with four other college speakers from across the country, in a June 1969 issue of Life magazine, in an article titled: “The Class of ’69.” And by the time Clinton arrived for her first year at Yale Law School that fall, she was already a recognizable face to many of her new peers -- even, perhaps, to a totally unknown young man, named Bill Clinton.2. The Tag-Team Forms -- 1975On October 11, 1975, in a simple ceremony in their small home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton -- and the ambitions of two joined forces as one.Four years earlier, they met at Yale Law School, and with their shared passion for deep conversation and current affairs, clicked instantly.After law school, despite the disapproval from her feminist friends, Hillary Rodham left behind a job in Washington, D.C., packed her bags, and moved to Arkansas to join Bill. It was there that the couple laid the groundwork for their future, and their unparalleled political partnership took form.3. Two Becomes Three -- 1980Five years later, on Feb. 27, 1980, during Bill Clinton’s first term as governor of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton gave birth to the couple’s first and only child, Chelsea Victoria Clinton.Growing up, Chelsea was kept largely out of the spotlight. But as an adult, she eventually took on a more prominent position in public life.Chelsea now has a young daughter of her own and currently serves as the vice chair of the family’s foundation, and has since become an equal partner and player in the Clinton family brand.4. Taking the Stage -- 1993Just one week on the job as first lady of the United States and Hillary Clinton was tasked with a major effort: To overhaul the national healthcare system.In was an unprecedented move for a president to appoint his wife to such a critical effort, but Hillary Clinton had no intentions of sitting on the sidelines and took on the assignment with gusto.Ultimately, Hillary Clinton failed to garner enough support for her plan, known colloquially as “Hillarycare,” and a year later the administration abandoned the project.While the first lady took a hit in her national approval rating because of it, her work on the initiative raised her profile, and also sent a message: She could -- and would -- take on policy-making roles, too.5. The Beijing Speech -- 1995On Sept. 5, 1995, Hillary Clinton delivered a groundbreaking speech on women’s rights at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. It was there, on that day, that she so famously proclaimed, “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”In a news report from that day, The New York Times lauded the first lady for “speaking more forcefully on human rights than any American dignitary has on Chinese soil.” It was a trailblazing moment for Hillary Clinton. Ever since, Clinton has been one of the most vocal, dedicated advocates for women and girls around the world.6. Standing by Her Man -- 1998From Travelgate, to Whitewater, to allegations of infidelity, the Clinton White House years were marred by scandal. Through it all, Hillary Clinton always stood by her husband’s side, famously proclaiming there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against the couple.But one scandal was particularly wounding for the first lady, and that was Monica Lewinsky. Learning about Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky, “was the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience of my life,” she wrote in her memoir, Living History.Eventually though, through the counsel and guidance of friends, family and her minister, Hillary Clinton forgave her husband and stayed put. But in doing so, she also turned her sights in a new direction. And by the end of Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, Hillary was already plotting for her own next move: a run for the Senate.7. Siding with War -- 2002 On Oct. 11, 2002, Hillary Clinton, then the junior senator from New York, voted "yes" to the Iraq War, ultimately making a decision that would haunt her.Six years later, during her campaign for presidency, Hillary Clinton was criticized for her support for the war, which at this point was deeply unpopular by the American public. Her opponent, on the other hand, then-Sen. Barack Obama, had opposed the war. This distinction, some say, cost Clinton the election.It wasn’t until years later in 2014 that Clinton fully admitted the vote had been a mistake. In her memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton wrote, "I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”8. The Darkest Day -- 2008On June 7, 2008, after 17-straight months of hard-fought campaigning, Hillary Clinton acknowledged she would not be able to “shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” and conceded the Democratic nomination for president to then-Sen. Barack Obama.Clinton, who had hoped to make history by becoming the first woman to ever win the nomination of a major party in a U.S. presidential election, described the loss as “painful.” “My mother’s crying, and my husband’s looking very sad, and my daughter’s looking very sad,” Clinton recalled. “I felt like I had let people down.”She endorsed Obama, and over time, the foes became friends. Eventually Clinton found herself being sworn in as secretary of state to his White House cabinet.9. Becoming Cool -- 2013In 2013, two years into her new role as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton suddenly became hip, when a meme about her titled, “Texts from Hillary” became an overnight Internet sensation.The meme, which put different captions over a photo of Clinton wearing dark sunglasses while working on her blackberry on a plane to Libya, went viral online and quickly caught the attention of Hillary Clinton herself.The success of “Texts from Hillary,” along with her unrelenting itinerary and rigorous travels across the world helped transform Clinton’s image. She embraced her new-found digital presence and signed up for Twitter, even giving the creators of the meme a shout out in her first tweet.10. Defending Benghazi -- 2013On Jan. 23, 2013, after much criticism from Republican lawmakers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before Senate and House Committees over the 2012 attacks on an American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stephens.Growing visibly impatient and frustrated throughout the five-hour questioning, Clinton accepted responsibility for the lack of security at the outpost, but expressed frustration with what she saw as congressional politicking.In the years since, Congressional investigations have persisted and Clinton has continued to deal with the fallout of the attack. In her most recent memoir, Hard Choices, she addressed her critics head on, chastising what she calls the politicization of a tragedy, while simultaneously launching a defense of her actions, should she run for president in 2016.11. E-mail Issues -- 2015In early 2015, as Clinton was preparing to launch her second bid for the White House, a firestorm erupted after The New York Times broke the news that Clinton had not used a government e-mail address while secretary of state, instead using only a personal e-mail address from a private server based out of her own home.After days of silence, Clinton ultimately stepped up and faced the press in a hastily planned news conference at the United Nations. She defended her use of a personal address, saying it was done solely of out “convenience” and insisted that all of her government related emails had been turned over to the State Department.But many of her critics did not find her answers satisfying and continued to voice skepticism questioning what, if anything, she was trying to hide.12. Ready for Hillary -- 2015Two years after leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton was already being called the "presumptive" Democratic nominee for president. And she hadn’t even announced a candidacy yet.This groundswell of support for Clinton was ignited, in no small part, by one upstart group called Ready for Hillary.For two years -- until her official announcement -- the grassroots super PAC dedicated itself to its one goal of encouraging Clinton to run for president. Acting as a “campaign-in-waiting,” the group hosted roughly 1,000 low-dollar fundraising events around the country, ultimately raising $14 million dollars and identifying 3.6 million Clinton supporters.By April 2015, many of the group’s staffers had already been offered full time jobs in Clinton’s official campaign, and the only message they cared about was clear: Hillary Clinton, herself, was finally ready for Hillary. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The 2015 session: What passed, and what it means

The 2015 session: What passed, and what it means(Courtesy Idaho Education News) BOISE — As the 2015 legislative session spilled briefly into Saturday morning — arguably, its 90th day in business — Rep. Reed DeMordaunt received compliments from both sides of the aisle. House Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder of Boise sought out DeMordaunt. The Eagle […]

Hillary Clinton Logo for 2016 Presidential Campaign Riles Up Internet

Hillary Clinton Logo for 2016 Presidential Campaign Riles Up Internet @hillaryclinton/Twitter(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton made her "big announcement" on Sunday in a pre-recorded video, but what's got people riled up on the Internet is the new logo for her 2016 presidential campaign.Some Twitter users have strong feelings about the flat-designed blue "H" with a red arrow running across from left to right, and they're not holding back.While Wikileaks outright accused Clinton of stealing their "innovative" Twitter logo design, other users are seeing similarities between Clinton's logo and FedEx, Iceland's flag, the "History" channel and even hospital roadway signs.   Hillary Clinton has stolen our innovative WikiLeaks twitter logo design. Compare: @WikiLeaks vs @HillaryClinton pic.twitter.com/mifka4mXf4 — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 12, 2015     This logo, though... is this FedEx? @HillaryClinton pic.twitter.com/NIV0zX73Rw — Ben Smith (@bmcsmith92) April 12, 2015     Hillary for America's logo sort of looks like Iceland's flag backwards. pic.twitter.com/jDbQX4Jf6L — Marco Carbone (@crazymonk) April 12, 2015     I can't tell if this is the @HISTORY Channel logo or @HillaryClinton's logo. Both have an "H" and a red right arrow. pic.twitter.com/CSyqRILy4y — Discord (@DlSCORD) April 13, 2015     Finally figured out what the Hillary logo reminds me of pic.twitter.com/rFF47dUlWR — Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) April 12, 2015   And users want to know: What does the logo symbolize? Why is the arrow pointing to the right?Regardless of what message the logo was meant to send across, others just outright hate how it looks aesthetically. And unfortunately for Clinton, people are not sugarcoating their dissing.Visual communication scholar Keith Kennery told ABC News on Monday that one explanation for the strong reactions to the logo is that people respond first to their senses -- what they can see, hear, smell, taste and touch."That's why it's very important to have a good logo, because people have instant responses and feelings about what they see in their environment," said Kennery, who teaches at the University of South Carolina and is working on a book called Philosophy for Media Theory coming out next year. "Symbols are more basic, foundational and fundamental than any written and spoken language. We're hardwired to respond to what we see."Kennery said if he had to improve the logo, he'd redesign it from scratch. The red arrow is one of the logo's main problems, he added."Red is a symbol for danger, and the campaign has a big and bold red arrow pointing right to the right that's dominating the whole logo," he said. "I don’t know if the public wants that. The logo also looks industrial with all the hard edges of the rectangles and arrow. It just doesn't have a warm, fuzzy, welcoming feel."Clinton's campaign team did not immediately respond to ABC News' calls and email requesting comment. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Marco Rubio: Everything You Need to Know About the Prospective 2016 Presidential Candidate

Marco Rubio: Everything You Need to Know About the Prospective 2016 Presidential CandidateABC/Donna Svennevik(WASHINGTON) — Name: Marco Antonio RubioParty: RepublicanWhat he does now: Rubio, 43, is the junior Senator from Florida. He currently serves on the Senate Intelligence, Foreign Relations, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, and Commerce and Science & Transportation committees.What he used to do: Before his election to the Senate in 2010, Rubio was the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. His very first job was building cages for exotic birds. Family tree: Rubio was born on May 28, 1971 to Mario and Oriales Rubio, Cuban immigrants who were naturalized when Rubio was a toddler. He met his wife, Jeannette Dousbedes, at age 19.  After a long-distance courtship, he popped the question atop the Empire State Building, and she quit her job as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. The couple now lives in West Miami with their four children, Anthony, Amanda, Dominic and Daniella.What he believes in: Rubio, who has emphasized his Catholic faith on the campaign trail, was actually baptized as a Mormon at age 8, and attended the Church of Latter Day Saints throughout early adolescence.  He then converted to Catholicism, making his first communion at 13, and now attends a Baptist church.  When Time magazine dubbed him the “Republican Savior” in 2013, he denounced the label: “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus,” he tweeted. Biggest childhood challenge: As a child, Rubio had to wear leg braces because his knees turned inward. Knowing his son hated the braces and was an avid football fan, his father, Mario, would impersonate Dolphins coach Don Shula over the phone, telling Marco he needed to wear the splints  he wanted to play for the Miami team. “I always wondered why Shula had a Cuban accent on the phone but not on TV,” Rubio joked. He played football for a year at Tarkio College in Missouri before transferring to the University of Florida.What he was like in school: In high school, Rubio was so disruptive that his teacher offered to give him a C- minus if he skipped class -- and threatened an F if he returned to the classroom! “I finished my senior year with a 2.1 grade point average,” Rubio admitted. He says he and his high school buddies used to sneak out to booze at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables -- the same hotel where he would later spend his wedding night and celebrate his Senate victory. Debate Prep: To break the tension before debates, Rubio and his aides took to watching clips from the This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary about a British heavy metal band. Just how worried was the senator-to-be about his underdog race against Charlie Crist? “I couldn’t bring myself to write a victory speech,” he once said. Might have wished for a do-over: Call it Rubio’s watershed moment. Tapped to give the official Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2013, Rubio got a tad thirsty on-air. In the midst of his speech -- and without breaking eye contact -- he furtively reached for an off-screen water bottle and took a swig.  Instead of panicking over the awkward moment, his PAC made hay out of the gaffe, releasing a branded water bottle -- to the tune of more than $100,000.Claim to fame: Rubio was reportedly on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. But according to the New York Times, there were “questions about how thoroughly he has been vetted." The spot ultimately went to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.His record in the Senate: A bilingual Cuban-American son of immigrant parents, many Republicans hoped Rubio would appeal to Hispanics, but there’s long been an unspoken rift between Cuban Americans and other Hispanic Americans -- a divide that Rubio dismissed as “offensive.” In 2012, he helped craft an alternative to the Democrats’ DREAM Act. The plan, which was later scrapped, would have allowed immigrants brought to the United States by their parents to reside in the U.S. legally.  Rubio’s mother, who calls undocumented immigrants “pobrecitos” (“poor things”), urged compassion, asking her son not to “mess with them” too much. One of his biggest disagreements with President Obama: Rubio, who grew up despising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, is virulently opposed to Obama’s intention to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. “Now dictatorships know that if they take an American, they may be able to get unilateral policy concessions,” he told ABC. “Five years from now, Cuba will still be a dictatorship -- but a much more profitable one.” The senator even objected when Beyonce and Jay-Z visited Cuba, supposedly for “propaganda purposes.” (Maybe that’s just because he’s got a thing for the lyrical strains of Nicki Minaj.)Guilty Pleasures: Besides Spinal Tap, Rubio’s favorite movies include Pulp Fiction and Wedding Crashers. He’s an avid football fan, and once said the coolest moment in his career was catching a pass from then-Gators quarterback Tim Tebow. He jams to R&B, hip-hop, “non-offensive” rap -- but is definitely not a fan of disco.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Heads to Iowa After Announcing Candidacy for President

Hillary Clinton Heads to Iowa After Announcing Candidacy for President JP Yim/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Shortly after she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton climbed into a van and headed for Iowa.Clinton, 67, left Sunday afternoon from her home in Chappaqua, New York, right around the time of the announcement, an aide to the former secretary of state confirmed to ABC News.Clinton is expected to arrive in Iowa sometime Monday evening.She announced her candidacy in a video posted to YouTube. The video shows Americans getting ready for new challenges -- spring gardening, children beginning schooling, adults moving or applying for jobs -- as well as Clinton discussing the challenges she will take on in a presidential campaign. Specifically, the video focuses on the middle class."I'm running for president," Clinton said in the message, which was also posted to her new campaign website on Sunday. "Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion."In her announcement video, Clinton urged people to get involved in the cause, saying, “It’s your time. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”Clinton enters the race as the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Over the past two years, pro-Democratic groups like Ready for Hillary and Emily’s List have been working on her behalf to raise money, support and enthusiasm for her.In recent months, Clinton has worked behind the scenes to begin building a robust campaign apparatus, hiring a wide range of people, including many of President Obama's former advisers and strategists, for top positions in her campaign.According to her campaign, the next six to eight weeks will be a “ramp-up” period where she’ll travel across the country to “build a nation-wide grassroots organization” and to spend time “engaging directly with voters.”In May, she will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.At this early stage in the campaign, Clinton holds a clear lead over her potential Republican rivals. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll showed Clinton ahead of potential GOP candidate Jeb Bush by a 54- to 40-percent margin in a potential matchup, with even bigger leads against Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who plans to announce on Monday whether he will launch his own White House bid.Despite her lead among other candidates, Clinton does face some challenges.  As a candidate, she will be expected to answer questions that have dogged her over the past few years, including her use of a personal email account as secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of money from foreign governments, and her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.The former secretary of state's announcement marks Clinton’s second attempt to win the White House and become the first woman president of the United States.After her defeat at the hands of Obama in 2008, Clinton repeatedly said “no” when asked whether she would ever seek the presidency again. But in a newly-released epilogue to her memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton indicated her new role as a grandmother may have influenced her decision to run.“Rather than make me want to slow down," she wrote, "it has spurred me to speed up.” ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet the Gay Couple Featured in Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Announcement Video

Meet the Gay Couple Featured in Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Announcement Video Hillary for America(NEW YORK) — Jared Milrad and Nathan Johnson are getting married this July. And they will have one heck of a story to tell at their wedding.The two men were among the “everyday” Americans featured in the video Hillary Clinton used to announce her candidacy for president of the United States on Sunday.Milrad, 31, a lawyer and non-profit founder, and Johnson, 30, a health care consultant, live in Chicago and appear in the video for just a few seconds. In an interview, Milrad and Johnson said they knew the video was for Clinton’s campaign but had no idea it was for her announcement. In fact, their cameo came as a surprise until this weekend.ABC News spoke to Milrad by phone on Sunday.How did you get chosen?“One of our friends who is involved with Democratic politics and did some work for Obama referred us to the media company that was doing the video.” (Milrad said the theme of the project was described to them as “big life changes” and since they were getting married they were referred).Did you know you were going to be featured in Clinton’s actual announcement video?“We didn’t know that we were going to be in this specific video. A friend had reached out that the campaign was working on a video that would be for Hillary...we didn’t specifically know what it would be for. We were happy to support Hillary and the campaign.”How did you find out you were in it?“Through family and friends who let us know they saw us on TV and on YouTube. We were actually out shopping!”What was your reaction?“I think we were both very excited and pleased and a little surprised because we didn’t know when our appearance was and we didn’t know we would be in the announcement video. I think there’s a feeling of a responsibility we both have…that we are the face of the gay community in the video. …We just want to do that justice and be a voice as much as possible for the LGBT community.”And you invited Hillary to the wedding?“We thought if she invited us to her big day -- her big announcement -- we thought it would be the right thing to do to invite her to our big day. …She would get a plus one. We want to be fair. …Given that she’s from the Chicago area, Illinois, we thought it would be the right thing.”  Thanks for inviting us to your big day @HillaryClinton. We're returning the favor & inviting you to ours. #wedding pic.twitter.com/paMtBFLLUW — Jared Milrad (@JaredMilrad) April 12, 2015 Any response? “No formal response yet, but I know she’s pretty busy. …We’ll give her a couple days.”In the video we can tell you’re walking a dog, but can’t see him. What’s his name?“Cooper. He’s a little sad he didn’t end up in the final cut.”Were you both Hillary supporters in 2008?Milrad: “I supported Obama in 2007-2008…his reelection as well. But I’ve always admired Hillary…not only that she ended up working for the president and I know she has worked for the president a great deal. But I was raised by a single mother and we were both raised by strong women…and so I think we both share a belief in breaking the glass ceiling…we really feel like it’s Hillary Clinton who should do it.”Johnson: “I was originally a Hillary supporter in 2008…switched to Obama for general. My mom has been a huge Hillary Clinton supporter like all of my life. The fact that I’m in her video is the best thing in the world for my mom. She’s more happy about that than our wedding!”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Exclusive: Cuban Foreign Minister Says Obama Should Bypass Congress on Embargo

Exclusive: Cuban Foreign Minister Says Obama Should Bypass Congress on EmbargoYAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images(PANAMA CITY) — Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told ABC news in an exclusive interview hours after the famous handshake between Raul Castro and Barack Obama that the U.S. president should use executive action to remove parts of the embargo immediately."The U.S. president keeps very broad basis, very wide executive powers, for use in with a real determination and the president could make the difference in the practical implementation of the blockade," he said. "And there is a practical indication to engage to the congress in a debate on these matters."Rodriguez, who was in the room with the two presidents for that historic meeting, told ABC News he expects Obama will soon take Cuba off the states sponsor of terrorism list, a major impediment to the new diplomacy between the two countries."His (Obama) announcement on the list of countries sponsors of international terrorism immediate consideration is good news," Rodriguez said. "We also appreciate it, his commitment to engage with the U.S. congress in a way to, lift the blockade or embargo in 2015."Bruno Rodriguez said the five-decade long embargo is asphyxiating the Cuban people, 76 percent of whom were born since the embargo was put in place, according to the minister.But as relations with the U.S. normalize more Americans will visit, more private businesses will open. Already, American Express and MasterCard are allowing U.S. citizens to use their credit cards in Cuba, they can bring home $100 worth of cigars, U.S. airlines are applying for regularly scheduled service and the Cubans say this will all lead to discussions of the tough issues."Even in the field of human rights or democracy, or freedom of expression, or freedom of the press, and freedom to travel, etc., and I'm ready for an engagement," he said."I can't imagine that if the U.S. has normal relations with the countries in which they have very important differences on a matter of political system and political doctrines, it could not be possible to do the same with Cuba," he added.The listing as a state sponsor of terrorism remains a priority for Cuba, which has been on the list since 1982."It was unfair. It wasn't justifiable. And I'm confident that President Obama will take the right and just decision," Rodriguez said.When it comes to reopening embassies, Rodriguez said that "common ground" has already been agreed upon on the "core of the diplomatic relations."U.S. officials tell ABC News that the Cubans are moving slowly on reopening embassies in the two capitals, because they are concerned about giving American diplomats the right to travel all over the island nation.Rodriguez, who previously served as Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations, said it's a matter of international law."All the diplomats are under the legal obligation to respect, fully respect the national law of the recipient country," he said.During the press conference with Obama and Castro on Saturday during the summit of the Americas, Castro was asked whether he ever thought he'd be sitting next to a U.S. president. His answer was indecipherable over the noise.Rodriguez told ABC News that Castro heard the question and responded: "President Raul Castro listened and responded saying: 'Yes, I did. I imagined this moment. and I worked for this moment ... and it's a moment of opportunity and a moment of hope for the American people and for the Cuban people."For Rodriguez, these dialogues and movements are just the beginning."And after this first stage, diplomatic one and when we reach common ground and the proper junction for making this historical step and exchange, high level delegation visits, etc., we will start a second stage, a second chapter. Maybe longer and more complicated," he said.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Reaction to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Announcement Mixed

Reaction to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Announcement Mixed DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After announcing on Sunday that she would officially run for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton got the expected support of a number of Democrats, and family members to boot.Clinton's tweet announcing her campaign was retweeted more than 4,000 times -- including once by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Their daughter Chelsea Clinton took to Twitter to offer some support of her own. Very proud of you Mom! @HillaryClinton: http://t.co/PvMlg82cU2 — Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 12, 2015 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, once discussed as a possible presidential candidate himself, called Clinton "a lifelong champion for middle-class families, an advocate for the underserved, and a fighter for civil rights." "She is a tested leader with the resilience and experience to be  great President," Cuomo added. "Having known and worked with her for over 20 years, I wholeheartedly endorse Hillary Clinton's campaign for President."   Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is also in Hillary's corner.   .@hillaryclinton is smart, caring and determined. She is going to be an outstanding president! #Hillary2016 — Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) April 12, 2015 Tennis legend and activist Billie Jean King tweeted her support for Clinton as well. @HillaryClinton has earned my respect and my vote to become the next President of the United States of America. — Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 12, 2015   Clinton also apparently has the backing of former basketball player Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in NBA history.   I love the diversity proudly presented in @HillaryClinton's new YouTube video. http://t.co/wOo1fU3sIa Be our champion & our next #President! — Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) April 12, 2015   Predictably, some of Clinton's potential opponents, especially those from across the aisle, were less glowing about her announcement.   We must do better than Hillary. If you're committed to stopping her, add your name now. https://t.co/GUtxMw19Oh — Jeb Bush (@JebBush) April 12, 2015 I know Hillary Clinton. I served with Hillary Clinton. She does not have the right vision to lead America. http://t.co/of1Rcbyh9N — Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) April 12, 2015   Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Then And Now: Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Announcement vs. 2008

Then And Now: Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Announcement vs. 2008 Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Much has changed since Hillary Clinton last entered a presidential field.While she chose the same format -- a pre-recorded video -- to announce the start of her campaign on Sunday just as she did in Jan. 2007, her message has changed.Here’s a look at the differences between Clinton’s announcement pitches in 2007: ABC Breaking US News | US News VideosAnd Sunday: ABC Breaking US News | US News VideosThe Last AdministrationWhat She Said in 2007: “You know, after six years of George Bush, it is time to renew the promise of America.”What She Said Sunday: "Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."As a Democrat hoping to succeed a Democrat in the Oval Office, Clinton will be playing more defense than offense when it comes to President Obama’s record. But history is not on her side: The White House has stayed in the same party after a two-term president only once since 1951 -- the year term limits were established for the office.Foreign PolicyWhat She Said in 2007: “Let’s talk about how to bring the right end to the war in Iraq and restore respect for America around the world.”What She Said Sunday: NothingClinton ran on ending the Iraq War and ended up losing the Democratic primary to Barack Obama, who pummeled then-Sen. Clinton for her initial support for it. In 2015, with America again leading a coalition in the Middle East — this time, against ISIS — former Secretary of State Clinton will likely run on a more hawkish line, even if her initial campaign roll out remains focused on domestic policy.Voter OutreachWhat She Said in 2007: “So let's talk. Let's chat. Let's start a dialogue about your ideas and mine…With a little help from modern technology, I'll be holding live online video chats this week, starting Monday.”What She Said Sunday: "So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it's your time, and I'm hoping you'll join me on this journey."In the proto-social era of 2007, reaching voters over “online video chats” was a new concept. Now, with the 24/7 news cycle and social media, Clinton 2.0 is reverting to face-to-face retail politics: In her upcoming tour of the early voting states, she’s expected to hold small, intimate meetings with voters to introduce her candidacy, before the official campaign kickoff in May.Domestic AgendaWhat She Said in 2007: “Let’s talk about … how to end the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare. And let's definitely talk about how every American can have quality affordable health care.”What She Said Sunday: "Everyday Americans need a champion -- and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead -- and stay ahead."Some things never change. Despite the implementation of Obamacare, the debate between Republicans and Democrats rages on. And both parties are still debating strategies to overhaul the country’s entitlement programs for the next generation of Americans. The economy took center stage in the 2008 general election with the recession, and Clinton plans to be a "champion" for middle class Americans.DeliveryWhat She Did in 2007: Clinton filmed alone on her couch in her Washington, DC home.What She Did Sunday: Clinton appeared in the last :45 seconds of her two-minute-plus campaign announcement video, after a mix of Americans -- young, old, black, white, gay, straight -- described their economic situations.While Clinton took center stage in her 2007 video, she could be considered a featured player in the new announcement, secondary to the other speakers, their stories, and the video's economic message. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Running For President In 2016

Hillary Clinton Running For President In 2016 NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016. She announced her candidacy in a video posted to YouTube. The video shows real Americans getting ready for new challenges -- spring gardening, children beginning schooling, adults moving or applying for jobs -- as well as Clinton discussing the challenges she will take on in a presidential campaign. Specifically, the video focuses on the middle class. "I'm running for president," Clinton said in the message, which was also posted to her new campaign website on Sunday. "Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion."   I'm running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H https://t.co/w8Hoe1pbtC — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 12, 2015 Clinton also announced that her first post-announcement trip would be to Iowa.   I’m hitting the trail to earn your vote. Headed to Iowa. –H http://t.co/Mut4vOMxm0 — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 12, 2015   An email sent to donors by a top aide minutes before the video was posted confirmed that the former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady will run for president in 2016."I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me – it's official: Hillary's running for president," likely campaign chairman John Podesta wrote in the message. Much of the next two months will be a "ramp up" period for the Clinton campaign. She'll travel around the country building a grassroots organization and engaging directly with voters. In May, she will hold her first rally and deliver the speech that will kick of her campaign in earnest. The former secretary of state's announcement marks Clinton’s second attempt to win the White House and become the first woman president of the United States.In recent months, Clinton has worked behind-the-scenes to begin building a robust campaign apparatus, hiring a wide range of people, including many of President Obama's former advisers and strategists, for top positions in her campaign.An office building in the Brooklyn borough of New York City will serve as the campaign headquarters. Clinton’s staff gathered there on Saturday to talk campaign strategy and messaging.A memo from Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, and obtained by ABC News, outlined the campaign’s guiding principles -- and offer a clear message: Unlike Clinton’s 2008 campaign, this one aims to be drama free."We are open to a diverse range of views," Mook wrote. "When we disagree, it’s never personal. Once a decision is made, we execute it -- together."Allies and AdversariesClinton enters the race as the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Over the past two years, pro-Democratic groups like Ready for Hillary and Emily’s List have been working on her behalf to raise money, support and enthusiasm for her.At this early stage in the campaign, Clinton also holds a clear lead over her potential Republican rivals. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll showed Clinton ahead of potential GOP candidate Jeb Bush by a 54 to 40 percent margin in a potential match-up, with even bigger leads against Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker, and Sen. Marco Rubio, who plans to announce on Monday whether he will launch his own White House bid.Challenges AheadDespite Clinton’s advantages, she has a challenging road ahead.As a candidate, Clinton will also be expected to answer looming questions that have dogged her over the past few years, including her use of a personal e-mail account as secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of money from foreign governments, and her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.Clinton has also suffered a significant drop in her favorability rating since leaving the State Department. The early April ABC News-Washington Post poll showed Clinton with a 49 percent favorability rating -- down nearly 20 points from her all-time high of 67 percent two years ago.Family MattersAfter her defeat at the hands of Obama in 2008, Clinton repeatedly said "no" when asked whether she would ever seek the presidency again.But in a newly-released epilogue to her memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton, 67, indicated her new role as a grandmother may have influenced her decision to run."Rather than make me want to slow down," she wrote. "It has spurred me to speed up." ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Campaign Memo Details ‘Guiding Principles’ for Potential Clinton Campaign

Campaign Memo Details ‘Guiding Principles’ for Potential Clinton Campaign Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While Hillary Clinton has not yet officially announced that she will run for president in 2016, a campaign memo outlines the guiding principles for her potential campaign, including diversity, humility and discipline.The campaign would aim "to give every family, every small business, and every American a path to lasting prosperity by electing Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States," the memo says. "This campaign is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us," referring to the campaign's staff. "It's about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families."The memo harps on a team mentality, with each "guiding principle" beginning with the word "we." Clinton's campaign, the memo notes, would be "a diverse, talented family," which will "work together, empower and respect each other, and have each other's backs, especially our volunteers."The memo also discusses discipline, saying a Clinton campaign would be "driven every day by strategy, not tactics or one offs." "We are humble," it continues, "we take nothing for granted, we are never afraid to lose, we always outcompete and fight for every vote we can win." The memo further acknowledges that "this campaign will be won on the ground, in states."The memo cites Clinton's "bedrock values of hard work, service, fairness, and faith in the American Dream," calls for responsibility and notes "the importance of having fun.""We are open to a diverse range of views," the memo adds. The most apparent message from the memo, however, are its first words. "We Are Hillary for America." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jeb Bush Attacks ‘Obama-Clinton Foreign Policy’ Ahead of Clinton’s Expected Announcement on 2016 Campaign

Jeb Bush Attacks ‘Obama-Clinton Foreign Policy’ Ahead of Clinton’s Expected Announcement on 2016 Campaign Charles Sykes/NBC(WASHINGTON) -- Ahead of Hillary Clinton's expected announcement that she will run for president in 2016, the Right to Rise political action committee released a video featuring former Florida Governor and the PAC's Honorary Chairman Jeb Bush criticizing the "Obama-Clinton foreign policy."In the video, Bush calls it "critical [that] we change the direction our country is heading." Calling the Obama-Clinton foreign policy a single entity, the former Florida governor claims that the policy choices made under President Obama, particularly those made when Clinton was secretary of state, have "damaged relationships with our allies and emboldned our enemies.""We must do better," than that foreign policy, Bush urges. "Better than their failed, big government policies that grow our debt and stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity." Bush claims that "conservative ideas...will renew America, grow our economy, put our fiscal house in order, and make our great country even stronger.""I know we can do better," Bush concludes, "and together, we will." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Kerry Praises Hillary Clinton, Plans to Avoid ‘Hurly Burly’ of 2016 Race

John Kerry Praises Hillary Clinton, Plans to Avoid ‘Hurly Burly’ of 2016 Race Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry is happy to avoid what he calls the “hurly burly” of the 2016 presidential race, especially on the day when his predecessor Hillary Clinton is expected to announce the start of her presidential campaign.While Kerry praised Clinton for having done a “terrific job” as secretary of state, he also said it wasn't his job to defend her record. He added that it was important for him to avoid discussing the race so he can “speak to both sides of the aisle about our foreign policy without being involved in partisan politics.”“As you know, the secretary of state, happily, is able to not be involved in the presidential hurly burly, I’m not going to get involved in it now,” Kerry told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday. “I wish her well in this race and I look forward to being able to stay well away from it.”Kerry said that during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton rebuilt alliances “that had been shredded over the course of the prior years” and helped negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza and made the initial contacts with Iran.Kerry added that Clinton will defend "her own record for herself" while responding to Republicans who have criticized her performance in the State Department."It's not my job to do it," he said. ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos To Interview Marco Rubio On Monday

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos To Interview Marco Rubio On Monday ABC/Donna Svennevik(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will sit down for an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Chief Anchor and This Week host, George Stephanopoulos, on Monday -- just a few hours before the Florida senator will announce whether he will run for president in 2016.The interview will take place in Miami.Rubio, 43, has been considering a presidential bid and he has indicated he will reveal his decision Monday."In just three days in Miami, I will announce whether I will run for president, for re-election to the Senate, or for commissioner of the National Football League," he joked at the National Rifle Association Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday.Born in Miami, Rubio, a Cuban-American, has invited supporters to an evening event at the Freedom Tower, an historic site in downtown Miami which holds symbolic importance for generations of Cubans.Described as the "Ellis Island of the South," the tower once housed the Cuban Assistance Center, servicing thousands of Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974.Rubio’s parents emigrated from Cuba to the United States in the 1950’s. From 2007 to 2009, Rubio served as the first ever Cuban-American Speaker of the House in the Florida state legislature.Rubio’s ascent from state politics to the Senate came in 2010. Once considered a long-shot candidate, Rubio unexpectedly beat Florida’s incumbent Gov. Charlie Crist, who switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent during the race.In the Senate, Rubio has served on the Foreign Relations Committee, becoming a vocal critic of President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.Rubio was also instrumental in crafting an immigration reform plan with the so-called "Gang of Eight." But he has faced criticism from many Republicans for his involvement in the legislation.During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney considered Rubio as a potential running mate.Rubio has previously said he will only run for one office in 2016: The presidency or re-election to his Senate seat. Florida law prohibits a candidate from appearing on the ballot for two different offices at once. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Laura Bush ‘Shocked’ at Initial Barbara Bush Hesitancy to Support Jeb Bush’s White House Bid

Laura Bush ‘Shocked’ at Initial Barbara Bush Hesitancy to Support Jeb Bush’s White House Bid SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former First Lady Laura Bush said she was completely taken aback when her mother-in-law Barbara Bush expressed disapproval – before eventually reversing her position – about a potential run for the presidency by her son, Jeb Bush, saying at the time that the country had had “enough Bushes" in the White House.“I was shocked,” Bush told ABC’s Jonathan Karl during an interview Wednesday, adding that she disagreed with the Bush family matriarch’s comments in 2013, but also making clear that she had no intention of making her aware of that fact.“Do you think I would tell my mother-in-law something?” she said with a smile.Bush, the wife of former President George W. Bush, expressed support for her brother-in-law Jeb’s likely candidacy in the upcoming presidential election and sharply disagreed with the position of one of his Republicans rivals.Sen. Rand Paul, who announced his presidential campaign last week, has called for eliminating all U.S. foreign aid. Bush told ABC News doing that would be both impractical and immoral.“I think that's not really realistic, for one thing. We're a very wealthy nation. We're a blessed nation and I think it's morally improper for us not to save lives if we can,” she said.The former first lady has established herself as a strong proponent of women’s rights through the Bush Institute in Dallas and has made several trips to Africa. One of her newer initiatives involves teaching first women around the world how to empower other women and children in their countries.As first lady, she helped promote PEPFAR, the global emergency plan for AIDS relief, an initiative created under her husband to combat the disease.Bush, who called working with current First Lady Michelle Obama "great,” said she was not sure if the well-known friendship that has developed between former President Clinton and former President's George and George W. Bush could survive as a potential Bush-Clinton faceoff looms large over the current political landscape.“We’ll see,” she said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Says Hillary Clinton Would Be an ‘Excellent President’

President Obama Says Hillary Clinton Would Be an ‘Excellent President’ Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One day before Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her presidential bid, President Obama said Saturday she would make an "excellent president.""She was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president," Obama said at a news conference in Panama."When she makes a decision to announce, I'm confident she will be very clear about her vision for the country moving forward if she announces," he added.The president said he believes that Clinton's role as secretary of state has amply prepared her to "handle herself very well in any conversations and debates around foreign policy."If she decides to run, she's going to have some strong messages to deliver," he said.Asked whether he thinks the Democratic field is wide open, Obama declined to weigh in."Not only have I run my last election, but I am not in the business of prognosticating future elections," he said. "That's your job and there is no shortage of people who are happy to opine on that. I will not be one."Clinton is expected to announce her presidential campaign on social media on Sunday.During the 2008 election, Obama and Clinton faced off in a brutal primary to decide the Democratic presidential nominee. Obama ultimately secured the nomination and won the presidency, but when he arrived at the White House, he brought Clinton along with him, selecting her as secretary of state and forming a close working relationship.Since leaving the State Department, Clinton has maintained close ties with the president, visiting him at the White House and staying in contact via e-mail. But Obama has yet to formally say whether he will endorse Clinton. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro Officially Meet for Substantive Talks in Panama

President Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro Officially Meet for Substantive Talks in Panama ABC News(PANAMA CITY) -- President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met face-to-face Saturday, holding their first substantive conversation in person since the U.S. and Cuba committed to normalize relations in December. The two men sat down for in-depth talks on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas, a historic moment between two countries trying to repair relations after nearly six decades of mistrust and tension. In a plenary session earlier in the day, they both shared their commitment to restoring the relations between the U.S. and Cuba after their countries were at odds dating back to the Cuban Revolution. "The Cold War's been over for a long time and I'm not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born," Obama said. Castro, who was the first Cuban president ever invited to the Summit of the Americas, expressed his admiration for President Obama, adding that his predecessors are to blame for isolating Cuba. "There were 10 presidents before him -- who all of them have some sort of debt to us except President Obama," Castro said. "I admire him and his life and I think his behavior has a lot to do with his humble background." The highly anticipated meeting between Obama and Castro is the latest development in normalizing relations between their countries. The two men were expected to discuss the possibility of reopening embassies in each of their countries, lifting the embargo, and removing Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The State Department has recommended that Cuba be taken off the list. President Obama is reviewing their recommendation and is expected to announce his own recommendation soon. Obama and Castro encountered each other at the summit's inauguration events Friday evening, briefly greeting each other and engaging in an historic handshake. Before President Obama departed on his trip to Jamaica on Wednesday, he called Castro to "review the status" and discuss the steps being taken to achieve normalization between the U.S. and Cuba. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez held an historic meeting of their own Thursday evening -- the first time the nation's top diplomats spoke in person since the Cuban revolution. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Raul Castro: ‘President Obama Is An Honest Man’

Raul Castro: ‘President Obama Is An Honest Man’ MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(PANAMA CITY) -- Ahead of their expected meeting Saturday afternoon, Cuban President Raul Castro praised President Obama, calling him an “honest man.”During a session at the Summit of the Americas, the Cuban president delivered a lengthy address outlining the history between the United States and Cuba. At times, Castro grew animated and visibly angry as he discussed the United States’ treatment of his country over the last century.After delivering one particularly heated criticism of the old U.S. policy, Castro paused and issued an apology to Obama for speaking that way about the United States, adding that the previous presidents, not him, are the ones to blame.“I apologize to him because President Obama had no responsibility with this. He has no responsibility with this,” Castro said in Spanish, though an English speaker translated the entire speech live. “There were 10 presidents before him – who all of them have some kind of debt to us but President Obama.” “In my opinion, President Obama is an honest man,” Castro said.  The Cuban leader noted that he has read some parts of the Obama’s autobiographies, which has given him a clearer picture of the president as a person.“I admire him and his life, and I think that his behavior has a lot to do with his humble background,” Castro said to applause from the entire room.  President Obama addressed the plenary session just before President Castro, saying the U.S. and Cuba are at a “turning point” in their relationship.  “The Cold War has been over for a long time, and I’m not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born,” he said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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