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Alabama Gay-Marriage Turmoil Leaves Potential 2016 Candidates Speechless

Alabama Gay-Marriage Turmoil Leaves Potential 2016 Candidates Speechless

Dendron/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  Same-sex couples married in some Alabama courthouses on Tuesday, but many counties still refused to allow the unions to proceed despite rulings from a federal judge and the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed them to begin in the state Monday. Where the potential 2016 presidential candidates stand on the issue is hard to know, because most of them are not weighing in. ABC News reached out to the prospective candidates to ask whether judges in the state should be following or disobeying the federal ruling, and most declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., declined to comment on the specific case in Alabama, but noted that states will have to comply with what the Supreme Court decides on same-sex marriage this summer. "I've just read the headlines about what's happening in Alabama, so I'm not quite sure what the details are with regards to what the legal arguments the state is using as to why they don't need to comply with it," Rubio said. "I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I believe states - through their legal process, through their legislative process - have the right to define it any way they choose, although I would strongly advocate for what I believe should be traditional marriage." Rubio continued: "There's going to be a Supreme Court ruling in June of this year so they say and I think that would answer a lot of questions about the future of that question in our country and I think that unless that case is overturned by a future Supreme Court or by a constitutional amendment, which I don't see as likely, states are going to have to comply with whatever that ruling is." Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, also said he believes it is a "state issue." "The Supreme Court will take it up in June," Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. "Until then, this is a matter between the State of Alabama and the courts." Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he wants to see Congress pass an amendment to the Constitution if the Supreme Court overrules gay-marriage bans in the states. "We're a nation of laws, that's why I said I want the Supreme Court not to overturn our laws," the Republican said on CNN's New Day Tuesday morning. "If the Supreme Court were to do this, I think the remedy would be a constitutional amendment in the Congress to tell the courts you can't overturn what the states have decided." Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, "I support traditional marriage and the courts are working their way through this issue, but at the end of the day, the supremacy clause is the supremacy clause," referring to federal law and the U.S. Constitution that take precedence over state laws. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a Republican, also kept it vague, saying in a statement "this is an important conversation that is going on in homes, churches, and communities across the country. I think that the worst thing the federal courts can do right now is shortcut this conversation." A representative for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., noted that the senator supported civil unions in Vermont, the first state to pass civil union legislation without being forced to act by a court order, and that when Sanders was a member of the House, he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. The senator has not weighed in on the chaos in Alabama. Former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, declined to comment on the issue. Both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, both Democrats, have expressed support for same-sex marriage, but both also declined to comment to ABC News on the Alabama issue. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, also did not directly comment, but his representative pointed to a tweet from the governor last month in which he argued "marriage equality is not a states' rights issue," but a "fundamental right that we should extend to every American."

 

It's about time, #SCOTUS. #MarriageEquality is not a states' rights issue, it is a fundamental right that we should extend to every American

— Martin O'Malley (@GovernorOMalley) January 16, 2015

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, all Republicans, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., did not respond to requests for comment.

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White House Outlines Proposal For War Authorization Against ISIS

White House Outlines Proposal For War Authorization Against ISIS

Leslie Banks/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and White House counsel Neil Eggleston briefed Senate Democrats Tuesday on what the administration is considering in its request to authorize the use of military force against ISIS.Several Democratic senators attending the luncheon on Tuesday told ABC News the top White House officials described an AUMF that would prohibit “enduring offensive ground operations” in the fight against ISIS. The AUMF would last for three years and require the president to seek reauthorization when it expires.  It would not place any geographic limitations on where military force could be used against ISIS, and it would repeal the 2002 AUMF that authorized the war in Iraq.Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, described the outline presented on Tuesday as an “opening salvo” in discussions about an AUMF.  Senators said the White House did not present any text formalizing their proposal.The White House intends to present its proposal this week – as early, perhaps, as Wednesday; however, the most robust congressional war debate in more than a decade is likely to linger for weeks or months. The opposition from the right and left is intense, and it raises the question of how this divided Congress will ever get behind a proposal.  Several Democrats voiced concerns about the phrase “enduring offensive ground operations,” saying the phrase is vague and open-ended.“I think there's gonna be a lot of us who are very worried about the open-ended nature of the AUMF. I have no doubt that President Obama is going to maintain his commitment to keep ground troops out of the Middle East, but my worry is that this version of the AUMF will allow for the next president to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, said. “For many of us it's going to be tough to swallow restriction on ground troops that doesn't seem to be much of a restriction at all.”“There's really no precedent built up around, you know, the terminology that the administration is going to be using, thus leaving it up to the next president to decide for him or herself,” Murphy added.“That’s a term that doesn’t have precedence in prior foreign policy and so it’s going to have to be defined, there’s going to have to be legislative history and discussion,” Sen. Angus King, I-ME, said. “It’s going to take some discussion to determine whether it’s the right term and I think there’s going to be dispute and discussion around here among various people on both sides of the aisle as to what the limitation should be, if any. I think there’s some people who feel there should not be any limitations.”On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, argued the proposal would tie the hands of the commander-in-chief, which he called “totally not acceptable, totally not acceptable.” “It has never happened, it has never happened, it has never happened and never will as long as I'm able to breathe,” McCain said, fuming at the proposal he believes would place too strict of limits on the force the United States could use.Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, who opposed the Iraq invasion a decade ago, said on Tuesday he is open to supporting a military campaign against the Islamic State. But he said the language of the AUMF was critical, with particular concern about preventing mission creep. He and others praised the three-year timeframe.“It means it will apply to this president during the remainder of his term and to the succeeding president for one year,” Durbin said. “Whoever is elected president after Obama has to start thinking immediately about the renewal of the AUMF and discussing it with Congress.”

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Rand Paul No-Show at Senate Vaccine Hearing After Controversial Comments

Rand Paul No-Show at Senate Vaccine Hearing After Controversial Comments

U.S. Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul was a no-show Tuesday at a hearing on the necessity of vaccines, an issue Paul helped launch into the political spotlight last week by making controversial comments on parents’ choice in getting their kids vaccinated. The hearing, convened by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, on which Paul sits, coincided with a classified Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Iran’s nuclear negotiations, which Paul attended, according to a spokesman. Paul stirred controversy when he said during a TV appearance last week that he heard cases of perfectly healthy children who wound up with medical issues after getting vaccinated. "I'm not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn't own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom,” Paul added during the segment. Later, Paul clarified his comments, saying he supported vaccines and wasn’t saying vaccines caused disorders – only that they were “temporally related” – and also tweeted a picture of himself getting a booster shot. The Democratic National Committee pounced on Tuesday’s hearing to remind reporters of Paul’s comments: “Keep an eye out for whether Paul doubles down on his fringe comments pandering to the anti-vaxxer movement.” They were also prepared for the possibility he wouldn’t attend the hearing at all: “What will he say today? Will he show up to the hearing? Or will he skip it altogether?” Senators frequently have overlapping obligations that force them to miss hearings and other events, but more than half the members on this committee were able to attend, as The Hill pointed out.

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Jeb Bush’s Domain Name Drama

Jeb Bush’s Domain Name Drama

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If Jeb Bush runs for president, he’ll be starting behind the digital curve -- about eight years behind, to be precise.The former Florida governor, who hasn’t held elected office in almost a decade, missed the chance to purchase several domain names related to his name and presidential ambitions, giving their owners free reign to make political mischief on websites that potential Bush supporters might visit.In 2008, a gay couple living in Austin, Texas, CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, bought the rights to the domain name JebBushforPresident.com in response to perceived anti-gay sentiment in Texas at the time. They had hoped their site would encourage Bush supporters to participate in LGBTQA conversations.“This was our original intent; you know, let’s educate people,” Phillips told ABC News. “Let’s try to encourage people to talk to each other about these sorts of things.”Another site, JebBushforPresident.net, was created by a self-described “loyal Republican in the hope of saving the Republican Party from supporting Jeb Bush for president,” and features a plethora of anti-Bush sentiments.Rick Katz, an attorney from Miami, bought Jebbush.us. But, luckily for Bush, Katz is eager to sell to the highest bidder. The former governor has yet to make the purchase and the site is still up for grabs.Purchasing domain names is a key way for public figures to keep tabs on their image. Just ask former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who preemptively bought over 400 domain names related to his name, ranging from Mikebloomberg2013.nyc to the ludicrously comical Bloombergistooshort.nyc.Most potential candidates simply use their name as the URL for their personal site (see LindseyGraham.com, GeorgePataki.com and ScottWalker.com).Bush is the only potential Republican candidate without a personal website (other than Facebook). But his leadership PAC, Right to Rise, which was formally established at the beginning of this year, does maintain a website. Request for comment through Bush’s Right to Rise PAC was not returned.Bush, the two-term Florida governor who left office in 2007, isn’t alone in the domain drama.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s dotcom domain is owned by a private citizen in Milwaukee. But it seems Christie’s PAC, Leadership Matters for America, is doing all it can to make sure the governor has some presence on the site: A Christie ad appears at the bottom of the screen, right under two photos of Christie’s young children.Sen. Ted Cruz’s dotcom domain has also been obtained by a private citizen, apparently to pull support away from the senator. TedCruz.com has only one line of text: “Support President Obama. Immigration reform now!”Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s PAC, Our American Revival, was parodied by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin with the website AmericanRevivalPAC.com, which redirects to a BuzzFeed article poking fun at his leadership PAC name choice.Bush, 61, is working to modernize his digital presence, hiring controversial tweeter-young techie Ethan Czahor as his chief technology officer. And while he might be able to find an alternative site for Bush’s personal domain, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do anything about the Jeb Bush websites that have already been purchased.“Gripe sites and parody sites are protected forms of free speech,” said Josh Bourne, president of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse. “So unless the public figure has defensively registered key domain names before someone else snaps them up, there is often not much that can be done.”

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Michelle Obama, Jenna Bush Hager Surprise White House Visitors

Michelle Obama, Jenna Bush Hager Surprise White House Visitors

The Old Family Dining Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama and Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, surprised visitors touring the White House Tuesday morning, opening up a new room for public viewing.The two stood greeting White House tours at 11 a.m., welcoming them to the Old Family Dining Room and opening the room for public viewing for the first time in history, according to the White House.Mrs. Obama and Hager exchanged brief pleasantries with families making their way through the room, commenting on the cold winter weather and asking the visitors where they’re from.The room will henceforth showcase modern American artists, the first lady said in a press release. The room has been newly refurbished with four paintings and one print -- all by American artists -- plus tableware from the 1939 New York World’s Fair added to its collection.

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Jeb Bush E-Book Reveals Details on His 30-Hour-a-Week Email Habit

Jeb Bush E-Book Reveals Details on His 30-Hour-a-Week Email Habit

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jeb Bush released 250,000 of his emails from his time in the Florida governor’s office on Tuesday, as well as the first chapter of an e-book detailing his attachment to his BlackBerry and how he “spent 30 hours a week answering emails, either from my laptop or Blackberry, often while on the road.”When he was inaugurated in 1999, Bush writes in his e-book, he “didn’t want to disappear into the governor’s office” and email was the way he could “keep track of what Floridians were thinking. I needed their energy and passion and wisdom.”The former Florida governor, who served two terms, said he “earned the nickname ‘The eGovernor,’” writing back and forth with constituents, staff and even children “very early in the morning, late at night, or on Saturday.” He writes that he tried to reserve Sundays for his wife and three children, with “no emails,” but “didn’t always succeed.”The first chapter is from the first month he was inaugurated in 1999 and through an open records request last year, ABC News obtained the thousands of emails.But in his e-book, Bush, 61, uses those emails to tell the story of his first days as governor.The Republican is now exploring a run for the White House and released the emails in the name of “transparency,” but it’s important to note, given Florida’s open records laws, it’s likely he also knew they would be released whether he was behind it or not.Reading them 16 years later, it’s clear Bush is not only accessible to average Floridians trying to get a message to their governor, but also hyper-aware it was a new technological frontier. It’s a startling difference from today when email, text messages and constant communication is a part of every moment of everyday life.Some of the language used also shows the time that has passed from when the Internet and email were still something new to be marveled at, compared to today’s routine use. At the end of the chapter, he writes an exchange with Brian Crowley, a reporter with The Palm Beach Post, in which Bush notes a gift he bought his wife, Columba, online from QVC calling it the “QVC web page site.”Crowley was interested in what Bush’s first month had been like. Bush called it a “joyous experience.”“The biggest surprise is the volume of my voice,” Bush writes. “People listen to what I say and do.”He writes about the “toughest decision” in the first month, saying it was the “appointments process.”“Friends who were expecting jobs have not gotten what they want and while I will always do what I think is right, it’s not fun to disappoint,” he says in the e-book.At the beginning of the chapter, Bush writes being governor of Florida was his "dream job" and that feeling "never changed" in eight years, even through the "hurricanes, budget debates, or even hanging chads."Bush selected emails from that first month that show his constant interaction with voters and staff, even when he is sharing bad news.On Jan. 20, 1999, Bush received an email from a constituent writing that she wanted to meet with him because the Hillsborough County Crisis Center she ran needed $900,000 from the state budget. She sent the email at 10:31 p.m., and the next morning at 6:47 a.m. he replied, "Our budget is at the printer!"Many of Bush's emails to staff focus on the need for his office’s website to get a "major upgrade," making it clear he didn’t want to be the only connected person in the administration. Bush writes to his staff several times, but doesn't seem to be getting the answers he wants. He writes that he wants it to be "interactive" with the state of Florida and the "leader in the nation.""If you disagree, come and tell me why," he writes to aides, including longtime top aide Sally Bradshaw. "If you agree, help me make it so."Not all of the emails are serious: Bush exchanges a humorous one with Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan on Jan. 30, 1999. Brogan tagged along on a drug sting in Kissimmee, Florida, and was eager to tell the governor about it, writing, "Whoever wrote DRUGS MAKE YOU STUPID! wasn't just whistling the theme song from Shaft!!"Bush wrote back, "Power to the people...The short, little people of course."

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Chris Christie Defends His Record and Lavish Jordan Trip in Iowa

Chris Christie Defends His Record and Lavish Jordan Trip in Iowa

ABC/ LOU ROCCO(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke in Des Moines, Iowa Monday night to the Dallas County Republicans as part of the Dallas County Spring Speaker Series. On his 13th trip to the first caucus state, Christie made sure to highlight his record of conservative leadership in a state that leans Democratic."Even in a state like mine, one of the 10 most liberal in the country, leadership matters," Christie said as quoted by The New York Times.After his address, The Times asked Christie about their story last week detailing his lavish trip with his family to visit King Abdullah of Jordan. Christie answered, "The King and Queen are good friends of ours and I have no second thoughts about it at all."Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jeb Bush’s Top Tech Guy Scrubs Offensive Tweets

Jeb Bush’s Top Tech Guy Scrubs Offensive Tweets

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jeb Bush may have stepped into some controversy when he hired Hipster.com co-founder Ethan Czahor to become his chief technology officer.As reported by BuzzFeed, Czahor has been scrubbing his Twitter account clean of offensive tweets in which he refers to women as "sluts," among other questionable comments.Bush, a former Florida governor, is seriously considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.Meanwhile, USA Today reports that it received an email from a Bush spokesperson which reads, "Governor Bush believes the comments were inappropriate. They have been deleted at our request. Ethan is a great talent in the tech world and we are very excited to have him on board the Right to Rise PAC."Czahor's tweets shrunk from 177 to 132 by Monday. One of the deleted ones read, "i know lindsey lohan is supposed to die soon but i'd sure like to sleep with her before that happens."The actual first order of business for Czahor, who was hired last week, was creating the microsite jebspeech.com.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Secretary of State Kerry Supports Arming Ukraine’s Military

Report: Secretary of State Kerry Supports Arming Ukraine’s Military

State Department photo/ Public Domain(NEW YORK) -- Bloomberg News reported Monday night that Secretary of State John Kerry is on the same page as others who want to deliver lethal defensive aid to Ukraine as its military battles Russia-backed separatists in the east.With that, Kerry, who privately stated his views to lawmakers at the site of the Munich Security Conference, becomes the highest-ranking administration official to advocate arming Ukraine’s security forces with major weaponry.President Obama Monday left open the possibility of sending lethal aid to Kiev, but there have been reports he has been reluctant to do so, fearing it would put the U.S. in a proxy war with Russia. National Security Adviser Susan Rice is also said to share that opinion.Nonetheless, Bloomberg reports that Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who strongly supports standing up to Russia with arms to Ukraine, claims that many in the administration also want to provide Kiev with defensive weapons.Although Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t come out and said so publicly, he too appears to be leaning toward arming Ukraine directly. During a speech last weekend in Munich, Biden told other world leaders, “We will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance, not to encourage war, but to allow Ukraine to defend itself.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Secret Service Deputy Director Steps Down

US Secret Service Deputy Director Steps Down

jackethead/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Deputy Director of the U.S. Secret Service has become the latest casualty in an ongoing shake-up at the agency following the scathing review board report on a lack of leadership inside the agency. A.T. Smith, who ran day-to-day operations has resigned, the agency announced on Monday. His resignation is effective on Tuesday. Secret Service Acting Director Joseph P. Clancy praised Smith in a statement on Monday, and in a release that he had taken another position within the Department of Homeland Security. “Deputy Director Smith has had an exceptional law enforcement career spanning nearly 29 years within the United States Secret Service.  His contributions to the Agency have been invaluable,” Clancy said in a statement. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-MD, hailed the move on Monday.“Last week, we met jointly with the White House Counsel and the Department of Homeland Security and expressed our shared conviction that the Secret Service needs to turn the page with respect to its senior leadership. We commend the Department for its numerous personnel actions last month, as well as its recent decision to transfer the Deputy Director out of the agency,” they said in a joint statement. The committee has since postponed a hearing on agency reforms with Clancy that had been scheduled for Thursday.

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Senate Confirms Recovering Alcoholic as Director of National Drug Control Policy

Senate Confirms Recovering Alcoholic as Director of National Drug Control Policy

AngieKT/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Botticelli as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on Monday with a vote of 92-0.Botticelli doesn’t have a traditional history expected of the man tasked with leading the administration’s drug policy: Botticelli has been a recovering alcoholic for nearly a quarter century, an experience he insists gives him a unique perspective in addressing substance abuse problems.His struggles were profiled last summer in The Washington Post.   Botticelli has served as acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy since March.

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Hearings Underway on Washington Gun Law

Hearings Underway on Washington Gun Law

ChrisBoswell/iStock/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Lawmakers in Washington are now considering changes to a new law that requires background checks on gun deals. Voters approved the law in November requiring background checks on all gun transfers, including deals between private individuals and gun loans.  Opponents say the law infringes upon constitutional gun rights and they want it eased.Exemptions are being considered now.  Over the weekend, about 50 people, mostly armed, rallied outside the Washington State Capitol wearing shirts and hats reading "Fight Tyranny-- Shoot Back."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: I Will Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders: I Will Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is flirting with a 2016 presidential bid, on Monday became the first U.S. senator to officially announce he will skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress next month.Sanders, the longest-serving Independent in Congress, said it was wrong that the president wasn't consulted about the prime minister's visit. His statement came during a Q&A session after a speech at the Brookings Institution, a D.C. think tank.Sanders also said he is considering running as a Democrat if he decides to run for president in 2016.He said many Americans are tired of the two-party system and would support an independent candidate but worries that it would be hard to get enough attention outside the Democratic Party."To do it well we would have to put together the strongest grassroots movement in the modern history of this country where millions of people are saying 'you know what, enough is enough," he said during the Q&A session Monday.Sanders said he would engage in a debate on the issues with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumed nominee, if they both run and would keep things positive. When asked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, he said he’s not sure she will run.But, he added, "It is not my style to trash people."His remarks focused on income inequality and the shrinking middle class -- both emerging as dominant themes for the 2016 presidential race.Sanders, who released his 12-point-plan to rebuild the middle class last month, lamented that the country is "moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society -- where we are experiencing a government of the billionaire class, by the billionaire class and for the billionaire class."Sanders suggested a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and publicly fund elections to block wealthy families like the Koch brothers from having "a stronger political presence than either of our major parties."

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President Obama Condemns Continued Russian Aggression in Ukraine

President Obama Condemns Continued Russian Aggression in Ukraine

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- As international leaders grapple with renewed violence in Ukraine, President Obama Monday vowed to continue to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin."The 21st century cannot have us stand idle and allow the borders of Europe to redraw at the barrel of a gun," the president said Monday during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “If Russia continues on its current course...Russia’s isolation will only worsen politically and economically.”“Russian aggression has only reinforced the unity of the United States and Germany and our allies,” he added. “We continue to encourage a diplomatic resolution to this issue.”The U.S. is seriously considering sending lethal weapons to Ukraine to help combat pro-Russian separatists fighting there. Merkel, however, opposes arming Kiev."The progress that Ukraine needs cannot be achieved with more weapons,” the German Chancellor said Saturday. “You have to look reality in the eye.”Instead, Merkel hopes continued economic sanctions will persuade Putin to honor a peace agreement similar to the one that crumbled shortly after it was signed in September.Merkel and French President Francois Hollande discussed the plan -- which would likely include a ceasefire and the creation of a buffer zone -- with Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko via phone this weekend. The four leaders are expected to meet in-person in Belarus Wednesday.Russia has denied U.S. allegations that it sent soldiers and arms to Ukraine. But on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden warned Putin to "get out of Ukraine or face continuing isolation.But even as the French and Germans push for diplomatic solutions, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are urging the Obama administration to arm Ukraine.Republican Sen. John McCain brushed off Merkel’s assessment as “foolishness.”"Asserting that there is no military solution -- which is a truism -- should not lead us to believe that there is no military dimension to the problem or that hard power can play no role in a favorable solution,” McCain said Sunday. “Putin does not want a diplomatic solution, he wants to dominate Ukraine.”Despite this, Secretary of State John Kerry has denied any serious difference of opinion between the United States and Europe, saying, “There is no division, there is no split...we are united, we are working closely together.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Group of Dems Release Analysis Detailing Hillary Clinton’s Record on Middle Class Jobs

Group of Dems Release Analysis Detailing Hillary Clinton’s Record on Middle Class Jobs

Feng Li/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Correct the Record, a subsidiary of the Democratic super PAC, American Bridge, is releasing a one-page analysis document Monday, titled "Fighting for America's Workers." The document details Hillary Clinton's achievements when it comes to creating and sustaining jobs, supporting labor rights and strengthening the country's manufacturing base.

[See the document here.]

The analysis, shared first with ABC News, is the most recent in a series of documents the group has disseminated about Clinton's work on topics such as the environment and foreign policy. It also specifically mentions what Clinton has done to help provide workers with paid family and sick leave, expand job training opportunities for workers, and curb the outsourcing of jobs.The latest release from Correct the Record comes a day after New York's Working Families Party formally called on Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016. According to a New York Times report over the weekend, Clinton has been consulting with more than 200 policy experts to develop an economic platform designed to appeal to both middle class workers and Wall Street bankers.According to Correct the Record's communications director Adrienne Elrod, "Hillary Clinton's economic vision remains clear, concise and consistent -- that our country must do more to help the middle class so that all Americans feel and experience the impact of an improving economy. This can be no better summed up than in Hillary's own words, where she recently said, 'No matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have the opportunity to build a good life for yourself and your family.'"Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Grammys PSA Says Stopping Sexual Violence Is ‘on Us’

Obama Grammys PSA Says Stopping Sexual Violence Is ‘on Us’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- During music's biggest night, President Obama appeared in a public service announcement that aired during the Grammy Awards in which he urged the artists and Americans to take a stand against sexual violence against women, saying, "It's not okay and it has to stop."The president also asked the Grammy artists to call on their fans to join the "It's On Us" campaign.

"Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters. And all of us, in our own lives, have the power to set an example," Obama said during the Sunday night broadcast. "And to the artists of the Grammys tonight I ask you to ask your fans to do it too. It's on us." The "It's On Us" initiative aims to stop sexual assault on college campuses.

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Bobby Jindal Channels Richard Pryor in Response to Viral Portrait

Bobby Jindal Channels Richard Pryor in Response to Viral Portrait

Office of the Governor (Louisiana)(WASHINGTON) -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had a pithy response to a widely circulated portrait of him that made his skin tone look white -- and quickly turned it into an attack on liberals whom he said are “obsessed with race.”“You mean I’m not white?” Jindal, who is Indian-American, said at a breakfast session organized by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C., Monday.The line was famously uttered by Richard Pryor in the 1989 film, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, where Pryor played a blind man opposite Gene Wilder.The portrait in question, which currently hangs in the capital building in Baton Rouge, was tweeted by a liberal blogger in Louisiana last week. It went viral online, even though -- as Jindal’s chief of staff pointed out -- it’s not the governor’s “official” state portrait.

This is Bobby Jindal's official portrait. Photo credit: Robin May of @theInd pic.twitter.com/QBzSsMOoYZ

— Lamar White, Jr (@CenLamar) February 3, 2015

Jindal said on Monday that he doesn't recall even having met the artist: "The painting in question is owned by a constituent. It will go back to the constituent."Jindal, who said he will make up his mind on running for president in 2016 “in the next few months,” also suggested that liberals were behind mockery of him and the portrait.“I think this whole thing is silly. I think the left is obsessed with race,” he said. “I think the dumbest thing we can do is to try to divide people by the color of their skin. The left is devoid of ideas and this is unfortunately what they’re resorted to -- name-calling. ...This is nonsense. We’re all Americans.”Jindal declined to say whether he agreed with his chief of staff, Kyle Plotkin, who took to Twitter in response to the liberal blogger that focusing on skin color in the portrait amounted to "race-baiting."

Hey @CenLamar-that's not the official portrait. Constituent loaned it.This 1's official. Thx 4 ur race-baiting tweet pic.twitter.com/wx2SBY3ZBQ

— Kyle Plotkin (@kjplotkin) February 4, 2015

The governor said he didn't read the tweets written by Plotkin or others. But he did give reporters blanket permission to describe his ethnicity as they see fit."You're more than welcome to put in every article about me that I'm not white. It really doesn't bother me," he said.Jindal also used the appearance to square up against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the issue of education. Bush is a champion of the Common Cause education standards, something Jindal initially supported but has now come out strongly against, as the federal government sought a greater role in seeing the standards adopted by states.Jindal said he looks forward to a campaign where Bush and others articulate their views on education for primary voters.“If Republican voters want to vote for a candidate who supports common core, I suspect they’ll have that option, or several options,” Jindal said. “Do we trust bureaucrats, or do we trust parents? I trust parents.”

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11 Questions for George Pataki, Potential 2016 Presidential Candidate

11 Questions for George Pataki, Potential 2016 Presidential Candidate

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Meet yet another Republican who might want to be your next president: George Pataki.Not ringing any bells?Even the former New York governor acknowledged in a recent interview with Newsmax, “People don’t remember who I am, but we can remind them of that.”Pataki, 69, served as governor of New York from 1995 to 2007, but has since moved to the private sector. Now, he's flirting with a run for the nation's highest office -- the third time he's done so since 2008 -- and he recently launched a super PAC called, “We the People, Not Washington.”ABC News recently spoke with Pataki about his potential 2016 run. The questions have been edited and his answers trimmed for length and clarity.1. I hear that you are “seriously” considering running for president.That’s correct.2. You also considered running in 2008 and 2012. What’s making you think about it again?I look at what is happening in the country and I look at what’s happening in the world, and I think we just have dreadful leadership in Washington. We need to dramatically change the direction of this country and change the leadership in Washington. ...Having led a large state with a very complex government -- a large blue state I might add -- for 12 years and having been able to not just run the state well, but completely change everything from the economic climate to the finances to replacing a culture of dependency with one of opportunity, I believe that I have the ability to not just win an election but to govern this country well and to change its direction.3. You were a three-term governor. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, said he thinks the next Republican presidential nominee should be an outsider -- more specifically, a governor. Do you agree?I think it’s a little self-serving for a governor to say the next president has to be a governor. I think it’s enormously important that that person have the ability to show their executive skills and capability at managing something, and I know I have that experience and ability.4. Hasn’t it been a while since you last ran for something? I think your last campaign was in 2002.Well, as a candidate. But in 2010, I led a group aimed at trying to stop Obamacare from being enacted and then to defeat those who have voted for it. And that was very successful.5. Do you enjoy the campaign trail?It seems to me to come naturally. I enjoy meeting with people. I enjoy engaging [in] ideas even with those who don’t necessarily agree with me. So now, I enjoyed campaigning when I ran for office in New York, and assuming I take that final step and become a candidate for president I have no doubt I’ll be out there enjoying it, working hard. No one’s going to outwork me, and I’m actually looking forward to it.6. You were recently in the early primary state of New Hampshire to give a speech and meet with locals. How did that go?It was tremendous. One of the things I love about New Hampshire is that so much of the politics is retail, where you get to sit across the table with people and hear their ideas and let them hear your ideas, as opposed to a 30-second sound bite on a TV commercial.7. You have some rather sweeping plans for reforming Washington, including congressional term limits (two terms in the Senate and six terms in the House). Tell me more.Right now, there are over 400 former members of the House and Senate...who are registered lobbyists in Washington. One element of my reform agenda would be to pass a law saying [if] you served one day in Congress, there's a lifetime ban on you ever being a lobbyist. I think this is absolutely critical so that people who get elected in both parties from all other the country understand that they’re not just going to stay there and make 10 times what they do in Washington as they would going back home.The second would be to say that whenever Congress passes a law that applies to the American people, it has to apply to them as well and to their staff. When they passed Obamacare telling the American people how great it would be for us, it wasn’t good enough for them so they exempted themselves and their staff -- and that’s just wrong.I think 12 years means that if someone chose to serve that long, whether you were in the Senate or the House, you would have to face the voters again. And I think that’s a good thing. And it would be enough time for people to be able to develop the expertise to influence the process but not so long that they would end up captive of the interest groups that have so much power in Washington today.8. You were governor of New York during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. How has that shaped your view of foreign policy now?It was obviously the most horrific day, certainly for me, for the people of New York, but I think for America, as well, because it was the worst attack on civilians in America in our history. And that’s one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the need to get involved in this race. Because I look at what’s happening around the world and I saw the consequences of looking the other way on Sept. 11.We have got to be proactive in destroying ISIS and any group that poses a clear threat to our safety here in the United States before they have the chance to carry out those attacks. ...I believe we have to take action now, including, if necessary -- and I believe it probably is -- boots on the ground, to go in, destroy this nest of poisonous vipers before they can attack us here. ...But we have to launch a quick, powerful sudden strike that destroys as much of ISIS and any other radical Islamic groups that pose a threat to our security here -- and then get out.I honestly believe we are at greater risk of an attack in the United States today than at any time since Sept. 11.9. If you decide not to run, who do you think would make a good president?The Republican Party has a lot of good, talented people who probably will run. It’s good for the party and good for the country.10. So, West Wing, House of Cards, or Veep -- which one is your favorite?I’ve watched West Wing, I’ve watched parts of House of Cards and I watch Veep. I think Veep is hilarious and, as someone who ran a government and was a governor for 12 years, I find it to be a very funny show.11. Any hints about when you’re going to say whether you’re in or out for 2016?No timeline. I just intend to continue to be very active around the country and to speak out.

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Poll Shows Bush with Narrow Lead in New Hampshire

Poll Shows Bush with Narrow Lead in New Hampshire

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If the New Hampshire primary were held today, Jeb Bush would win on the Republican side -- but just barely, according to a new Bloomberg poll.The former Florida governor leads more than a dozen other potential contenders with 16 percent, followed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul at 13 percent, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 12 percent and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at ten percent.The rest of the field only pulls up single digits, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary on January 26, 2016.New Hampshire can sometimes be a bellwether for the rest of the primary season although some candidates who win in the Granite State often don't become their party's standard bearer.Meanwhile on the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have little problem winning New Hampshire based on the poll numbers that show her with 56 percent support among the party faithful.In second place at 15 percent is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has said repeatedly she's not a candidate for president.  Vice President Joe Biden, who says he'll announce his plans later this year, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent, are each tied with eight percent.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Biden Meets with Kurdish Leader to Discuss Battle Against ISIS

Biden Meets with Kurdish Leader to Discuss Battle Against ISIS

Photo by Timm Schamberger/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden met with Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani on Sunday to discuss the battle against ISIS.According to a readout of the meeting from the White House, Biden spoke with Barzani about "regional developments, cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad, and the ongoing fight against [ISIS]." Barzani expressed his appreciation for the U.S. support and assistance.The two leaders also discussed "additional U.S. and coalition assistance" for Kurdish Peshmerga forces during the intensification of operations against ISIS.

Biden was in Munich over the weekend, taking part in a NATO conference regarding the ongoing tensions in Ukraine.

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