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Fence Jumper Caught Outside White House


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A fence jumper was apprehended Wednesday night outside the White House after he scaled the north fence, a Secret Service spokesman told ABC News.A K-9 unit caught the jumper about 7:16 p.m. on the North Lawn, said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan. The suspect kicked at one of the dogs, then another dog subdued him.The jumper was then taken to a nearby hospital, said Donovan. The White House was put on lockdown during the incident.The Secret Service came under scrutiny last month after Omar Gonzalez, a knife-wielding Iraq War veteran, allegedly managed to slip over the fence, past several layers of security, and into the White House’s East Room, where he was subdued by an off-duty agent.Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned after the incident.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ebola Czar Ron Klain Starts His Job -- Quietly


BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newly-installed Ebola czar Ron Klain appeared for the first time on Wednesday with his new boss President Obama in the Oval Office — and said not a word.In fact, the president didn’t even introduce Klain or acknowledge him during a brief press avail after their hour-long meeting.Klain nodded his head a few times as Obama recapped the U.S. response to Ebola and new federal policies now in place.Obama said he is “cautiously more optimistic” about the situation in the U.S., noting that dozens of people who had interacted with Thomas Eric Duncan have now been cleared.The president said Amber Vinson and Nina Pham “seem to be doing better” and that Wednesday he called their co-workers at Texas Presbyterian to give a pep talk.“Spirits were good,” Obama said. “People were very proud of the work that they’ve done and understandably so.”Obama said the American people should have confidence that the government is in a much better position to deal with any additional cases of Ebola.He also noted a “silver lining” in the Ebola scare: “It’s a reminder of how important our public health systems are, and in many ways, what this has done is elevated that importance.”“There may come a time sometime in the future where we are dealing with an airborne disease that is much easier to catch and is deadly,” he said, “and in some ways, this has created a trial run for federal, state and local public health officials and health care providers.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Chuck Norris Gives Texas Voters a Kick, Boosts GOP Candidate


Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Walker, Texas Ranger returned to the Lone Star State on Wednesday, but not to fight bad guys. He swooped in to lend a helping hand to Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.“Chuck Norris doesn’t campaign with Greg Abbott,” Abbott’s campaign spokesman Avdiel Huerta said. “Greg Abbott campaigns with Chuck Norris.”“Together,” Huerta added, “they plan to give Texas voters a good roundhouse kick in the direction of their local polling places.”With the first week of early voting underway in Texas, both Abbott and his challenger, Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis, are increasing their get-out-the-vote activities, and Abbott is counting on a little star power. Norris will join Abbott at stops in Corpus Christi and San Antonio.This isn’t Norris’ first time in the political arena.In 2012, he endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for president, saying he was the “best man left on the battlefield who is able to outwit, outplay and outlast Obama and his campaign machine.”Norris, 74, also got involved in the National Rifle Association’s “Trigger the Vote,” campaign this summer.“Anyone can throw a punch. It takes a real man or woman to punch a voter registration card,” Norris said in a video.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

History Repeating Itself in Connecticut Governor's Race


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Four years ago, Dan Malloy and Tom Foley had the tightest election in Connecticut’s history, with Malloy winning the governor's race by about 6,000 votes. Now, the two look headed for a similarly tight brawl.According to a new Quinnipiac poll out Wednesday, Gov. Malloy has 43 percent of likely voters while GOP challenger Foley has 42 percent. Independent candidate Joe Visconti has 9 percent.The results are similar to Quinnipiac's poll from earlier this month. There is a wide gender gap so Malloy will know who to thank if he does win. He leads Foley 51 to 32 percent among women, while Foley leads Malloy 53 to 34 percent among men. With just two weeks to go, 81 percent of Connecticut voters say their mind is made up.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Swedish Massages for Rabbits? Taxpayer Expenses You Won't Believe


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In Washington, pork is often in the eye of the beholder. And retiring GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma sees a lot of it.Coburn’s fifth annual and final “Wastebook” lists 100 “silly, unnecessary and low priority projects” that he says cost taxpayers a combined $25 billion.“Is each of these a true national priority, or could the money have been better spent on a more urgent need, or not spent at all?” Coburn writes in the 110-page report.Here are five eyebrow-raising entries on Coburn’s list:1. Swedish Massages for Rabbits: $387,000Eighteen New Zealand white rabbits received 30-minute massages, four times a day in a taxpayer-funded study by the National Institutes of Health. The rub downs were performed by a specially-designed mechanical Swedish massage machine that “simulates the long flowing strokes.” Researchers say humans are the ultimate beneficiaries of the project, which studied the benefits of massage on recovery from exercise. But Coburn calls it a case of waste, citing existing studies of treatments for aches and pains, and suggesting that humans would be better subjects than rabbits. (As for those massaged rabbits, they were ultimately euthanized, the report says.)2. Army Video Game Training Terrorists?: $414,000The U.S. Army spent $414,000 this year maintaining a free online video game that it first developed and launched as a recruitment tool back in 2009, the report says citing the Congressional Research Service. America’s Army is a first-person shooter game that simulates special forces operations. Coburn, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the realistic nature of the program makes it as much a training device as a recruitment tool. “Some intelligence officials worry it could also be aiding jihadists and mass murderers,” the report claims.3. Hungry Spouses & Voodoo Dolls: $331,000What happens between couples when one is particularly hungry? A National Science Foundation study set out to evaluate a connection between low blood sugar and anger by arming couples with voodoo dolls representing their spouse. The hungrier the spouse, the more pins were poked into the doll when they got agitated. A lead researcher concluded, “Hungry people are cranky and aggressive.” Coburn’s report claims the findings are “already obvious to many couples.”4. Mountain Lions on Treadmill: $856,000Three mountain lions spent eight months learning to walk on a treadmill as part of study funded by taxpayers through National Science Foundation. Researchers were studying the big cats’ energy consumption and hunting techniques to “inform public knowledge and opinion of large mammal behavior and conservation.” It follows similar government treadmill studies on monkeys, rats, cows and even shrimp. “While support for basic science is not itself wasteful,” Coburn’s report reads, “federal research agencies should better prioritize how tax dollars are directed to ensure adequate support for more pressing scientific endeavors.”5. Unneeded “Sheep Station”: $1.98 millionA 28,000-acre facility in Idaho to graze 3,000 sheep -- dubbed the “U.S. Sheep Experiment Station” -- has been deemed unsustainable and unnecessary by the Obama administration. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said outright earlier this year that it should be closed to prioritize research on more important projects. But members of congress and other state officials have succeeded in keeping the $2 million a year facility open for the benefit of Idaho businesses, the report says.Asked about several National Science Foundation projects included in the report, NSF spokeswoman Dana Topousis told ABC News that each was funded after a "rigorous merit review process" through which only 20 percent of proposals each year are approved. "All proposals submitted to NSF are reviewed according to two merit review criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts," Topousis said in a statement. "Nearly every proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three independent reviewers consisting of scientists, engineers and educators who do not work at NSF or for the institution that employs the proposing researchers."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

White House Still Confused About Bruce Braley


David Greedy/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House is doing its best to boost Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley, but it keeps getting tripped up.After repeatedly flubbing his name and referring to him as “Bruce Bailey” at a rally last week, first lady Michelle Obama got a do-over Tuesday while stumping for the Democrat in Iowa City.This time, she made sure to get it right, joking that she has so much trouble with names she sometimes can’t keep her daughters straight.“It’s like, who are you? I call Barack Bo,” she said, explaining how she sometimes calls her husband by the dog’s name. “It never works out really well.”Despite the first lady’s attempt to smooth things over, the White House goofed again, sending out the transcript of Mrs. Obama’s remarks in a an email entitled “Remarks by the First Lady at a Grassroots Campaign Event with Democratic Candidate for Governor Bruce Braley.”They got the name right, but not the title. Braley is a candidate for Senate, not governor.The White House later issued a correction.They will get another chance to get it right when Vice President Joe Biden campaigns for Braley next Monday.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Chuck Norris Joins Texas' Greg Abbott on Campaign Trail


Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the first week of early voting underway in Texas, both gubernatorial candidates are increasing their get-out-the-vote activities. And on Wednesday, Attorney General Greg Abbott will rely on a little star power to help him. Abbott will be joined by Chuck Norris, who has campaigned for Republican presidential candidates in the past at stops in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. In 2012, Norris released a video warning that the country would face “1,000 years of darkness” if President Obama was reelected.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Congressional Candidate Wants You to Know She Does Not Hate Puppies


Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Martha McSally asked voters in Arizona’s second district to consider the age-old question: Does this candidate hate puppies? Of course not, according to her campaign.In a new ad released Tuesday called “Puppies,” the former Air Force colonel fired back against the “scare-tactics” her campaign says have been used in the ads of her opponent, Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber, and his political allies.The argument has been used several times over the last few weeks in specific reference to one of Barber’s “political allies” in particular: Former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions.The outside group put out an ad last month that garnered sharp criticism from the McSally campaign and others for accusing the GOP candidate of supporting the “stalker gap” that allows individuals convicted of a misdemeanor for stalking to buy guns after a background check.Giffords is not only Barber’s predecessor, but also his former boss. Turning focus back to her outrage over the Americans for Responsible Solutions ad “Stalker,” McSally’s new ad attempts to mock the outlandish claims being made by her opponent’s side.In the ad, an “over-the-top” narrator, or “Ron Barber’s ad guy,” proclaims over “ominous music” that “McSally dislikes puppies.” “Watch it,” McSally says standing over him in a sound studio.To be clear, Barber’s campaign has never actually accused McSally of hating puppies. The ad speaks to what her campaign believes are the outlandish nature the attacks against her have taken on.There are other silly statements in the ad, like “McSally opposes apple pie.” The narrator also suggests she’s launched her own “War on Women.”“Are you kidding me? This is why people are fed up with politics. The lies keep growing but the jobs don’t. I’m Martha McSally and I approve this message because it’s time for a change,” she fires back to the faux narrator.Other issues referenced in the commercial include McSally’s position on student loans, social security and Medicare.“The ad also corrects for the record once and for all: Martha McSally loves puppies,” according to a statement from her campaign.In response to the ad, the Barber campaign noted: “This campaign is not about puppies, but about people.”“The fact is, Martha McSally’s stated positions hurt the people of southern Arizona and she needs to take responsibility for her positions,” said Ashley Nash-Hahn, spokeswoman for Ron Barber for Congress. “She also needs to take responsibility for the fact that her own attack ads have been called ‘not true’ by non-partisan news outlets.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

First Day on the Job for Ebola Czar Ron Klain Begins at the White House


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It's day one for Ron Klain and already the newly-minted Ebola Czar has a full plate and a packed schedule. On Wednesday he sits down with President Obama at the White House and gets up to speed with the administration's Ebola response team.As the new point-person, Klain is tasked with coordinating the various agencies, and all of the bureaucracies involved, and making sure the government's response runs more smoothly. One item not on Klain’s schedule: testifying before the House on Friday. Other administration representatives will speak at that hearing, since it will only be day three of Klain's tenure.Meanwhile, Klain hasn't even started his new job and already speculation is swirling about his next position. Politico reported on Wednesday that he is in line to replace John Podesta as counselor to the president, or possibly even to succeed Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Not surprisingly, the White House insists Klain is focused on the task front of him.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Christie Fed Up with Talk About Raising Minimum Wage


ABC/ LOU ROCCO(WASHINGTON) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no fan of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour as urged by President Obama.Christie, who many expect will run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, "I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am."The governor went on to say that parents in U.S. want more for their children than aspiring to make the minimum wage.He then went on to mock Obama and his constituency, saying, "The president [is] playing to the lowest common denominator on a higher minimum wage."Christie also went on to attack the Affordable Care Act, calling the health care law "fiction. It doesn’t work, and it should be repealed."And while he was on a roll, the Republican governor picked on one of his favorite enemies, teachers unions, saying "It's time to start offending them."In response to Christie's remarks on minimum wage, Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said, "Raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 could help lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty. A raise could also add billions to the GDP and add 85,000 jobs to the economy."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Bristol Palin Describes Moments That Led to Drunken Brawl


Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Bristol Palin said the drunken brawl involving her family at a house party last month was started when she was defending her younger sister, newly released audio reveals.The eldest daughter of Sarah Palin is heard on the audio obtained by ABC News from the Anchorage Police Department telling an officer that her sister Willow, 20, came up to her while she was waiting in the family’s rented limo and told her an “old lady” came up to her and “pushed” her.Bristol Palin told the police she responded, “Oh (expletive) hell no, no one is going to touch my sister.”Bristol Palin, who was described in the previously released police report as “heavily intoxicated and upset,” tells the officer that when she confronted the woman, a man “gets in my face, pushes me down on the grass, drags me across the grass” and swore at her, calling her a “slut,” among another names.She then says she was pushed down again and pulled by her feet by the man who “comes out of nowhere,” identified in the earlier police report as Korey Klingenmeyer, who owned the home where the party was held.Palin says she doesn’t know the man and has “never seen this guy in my life.”Prosecutors said earlier this month they would not proceed with charges in the fight. The police were called to a birthday party for twin brothers Matthew and Marc McKenna at Klingenmeyer’s home in South Anchorage on Sept. 6. It was also Todd Palin’s birthday, who also attended with his wife and children.Klingenmeyer told officers in the police report that Bristol Palin punched him five to six times in the face and that she was “hitting pretty hard.”An officer wrote in that report that both Sarah and Todd Palin “appeared upset and in a verbal argument with other individuals at the scene.” There is no interview with the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee included in the report.Klingenmeyer, who is described as “moderately intoxicated” in the report, told police he was considering filing charges and was “angry that the Palins had showed up and were causing problems,” according to the same report.He told police he had asked Bristol Palin to leave and she responded, “Who the (expletive) are you?” Klingenmeyer told her he owned the home and Palin said she didn’t believe him and “she will kick his (expletive),” the police report says.The report also includes accounts of a fight that Track Palin, Sarah and Todd Palin’s eldest son, allegedly got into at the same party.Palin’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Political TV Ad Claims Obama Is Bad for African Americans


hermosawave/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While President Obama has returned to the campaign trail to court the black vote ahead of the midterm elections, race has arisen as an issue in two key Senate races, albeit for very different reasons.A new television ad airing in Louisiana makes the case that the nation’s first black president has been bad for the black community.The ad comes from a group called “Progressives for Immigration Reform” and uses images of Hurricane Katrina devastation and blacks standing in unemployment lines to argue that “our own president” wants to allow in millions of illegal immigrant workers to “take jobs when many of us still can’t find jobs.”“African-Americans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, devastated by joblessness and the Great Recession. Now, we face another challenger: Our own president,” the ad’s announcer says.Progressives for Immigration Reform did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.Though the group’s stance on immigration reform falls on the conservative side of the political spectrum, the group’s website says it was founded on the principles of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, a Texas Democrat and the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives from the South. It describes its mission as protecting “low-skill, low wage American workers.”The ad is not targeted at one specific candidate, but implores voters to “ask Louisiana’s leaders where they stand on millions more immigrant workers” at its conclusion.Immigration reform has been a hot-button issue in the Louisiana Senate race, in which three-term incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu is facing a tough reelection bid against leading Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy. Both Landrieu and Cassidy have aired television ads portraying their opponent as weak on border security.In Georgia, where Democrats hope a large African-American electorate could boost Senate candidate Michelle Nunn in her competitive race against Republican David Perdue, the state Democratic Party has sent out mailers that show images from Ferguson, Mo.The mailers read, “It’s up to you to make change happen” and urge Democratic votes to prevent “another Ferguson.”“The fight for the right to vote and for every vote to be counted is part of our state’s history, a part of the fabric that makes Georgia what it is today,” party spokesman Michael Smith told ABC News. “And we have seen what happens in places like Ferguson, Missouri, when voices are silenced.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Georgia Democratic Party Urges Residents to Vote, 'Prevent Another Ferguson'


hermosawave/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The Georgia Democratic Party says it has been sending out political fliers featuring black children holding up signs that read "Don't Shoot," referencing the racial tensions in Ferguson, Mo., asking residents to "VOTE...if you want to prevent another Ferguson in their future."The fliers are a reference to the police-involved shooting in Ferguson that left 18-year-old Michael Brown dead in August. The party issued a statement on Tuesday calling the "fight for the right to vote and for every vote to be counted" a "part of our state's history."The Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted photos of the fliers."We have seen what happens in places like Ferguson, Missouri, when voices are silenced," the Georgia Democratic Party continued.In most counties in Georgia, early voting is under way and will continue through Oct. 31, with the election on Nov. 4.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rick Perry Announces Creation of New Ebola Containment Facility in North Texas


ABC/Matthew Putney(DALLAS) -- Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas on Tuesday.The facility will be set up and operated through a partnership between the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Hospital System and Parkland Hospital System. Those hospitals will contribute physicians experienced in treating infectious disease; space; and equipment to the new facility."In the event of another diagnosis this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus' reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease," Perry said. The facility was among the recommendations made by Perry's Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

White House Fence Jumper Deemed Not Competent for Trial


m-kojot/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A preliminary mental health assessment has determined that the White House fence jumper, Omar Gonzalez, is not competent for trial.Gonzalez was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a weapon, assaulting an officer and numerous local offenses after he hopped the fence at the White House and evaded Secret Service agents on his way into the building in September.Last week, Gonzalez underwent a one-hour forensic screening. Based on the results of that screening, a judge presiding over the pretrial hearing determined that Gonzalez "was presently not competent."A defense attorney objected to the findings of that screening.The judge ordered a more complete health exam within the next month.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

GAO: Thousands of Federal Workers on Extended Paid Leave


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than 57,000 government workers were placed on paid administrative leave for over one month between 2011 and 2013, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday, with 263 employees being paid while on leave for over a year.The GAO review looked at data from the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The GAO noted "inaccuracies in Office of Personnel Management data" caused by differences in agencies' leave-recording practices and what the OPM considers paid administrative leave and differences in what payroll providers report as paid administrative leave.While 97 percent of employees placed on paid administrative leave spent 20 days or less on leave, 57,336 were on leave for between one month and three years.The GAO called upon the OPM to "develop agency and payroll provider guidance regarding the recording and reporting of paid administrative leave" to minimize the cost of paying workers on leave. The Washington Post reports that between 2011 and 2013, the tab for workers on leave was more than $775 million.OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said on Tuesday that she took the GAO's recommendations seriously and will aim to ensure all leave policies are used and reported properly. She noted that "use of administrative leave is under the authority of each individual agency, and that each agency has the ultimate responsibility to use their discretion to determine its proper use."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Obama's 'Unpaid Bills' Quip Disappears from Transcript


Pete Souza - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s unpaid bills have gone missing.During a rare trip home to Chicago, Obama on Monday lamented the life he left behind.“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule,” he told supporters at a fundraiser.“Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills,” Obama joked. “I think eventually they got paid -- but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”The White House, however, left the president’s quip about his unpaid bills out of the official transcript.According to the transcript, Obama said “we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some -- newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”Tuesday morning, the White House issued an updated transcript, but it still didn’t mention the “unpaid bills.” Instead, it included an “inaudible” in that portion.According to the White House, the omission was unintentional and the result of problem with the audio recording.No word on what bills were left unpaid.“I did not have a chance to rummage through the desk of the president while he was home this week,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest jokingly told reporters.The president has been talking a lot about his finances recently. Just last week, he explained how his credit card was rejected during a recent dinner out with the first lady.“I was trying to explain to the waitress, ‘No, I really think that I’ve been paying my bills,’” he joked last Friday.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

RNC Targets Sen. Mark Pryor in New Video


US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Two weeks before the election, the Republican National Committee is targeting Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in its latest “Road to Six” video, arguing that he “does not represent Arkansas values.” The video paints Pryor as a candidate who has voted and sided with President Obama. It also features footage of Pryor saying Rep. Tom Cotton has a “sense of entitlement” because he served in the military.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hillary Clinton to Stump for Sen. Udall in Colorado Again


Scott Olson/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday will make her second stop in Colorado for embattled Sen. Mark Udall in just over a week, anchoring a get-out-the-vote rally in Denver. The former secretary of state’s appearance -- sandwiched between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Friday visit, and first lady Michelle Obama’s stop this Thursday -- is part of a highly choreographed effort to stimulate the Democratic base as early voting begins. While Democrats believe their storied ground game will find voters, and universal mail-in ballots will make voting more convenient than ever, Udall can’t win without energized Democrats. They're hoping some of the party’s biggest stars can deliver that much-needed enthusiasm.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

NC GOP Sends Duck Across State Questioning Sen. Hagan


NCRNC(WASHINGTON) -- Remember the Republican National Committee squirrel that hounded former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of her book tour? Turns out he has a Southern friend. The North Carolina Republican Party has sent someone around the state in a yellow duck costume with a series of signs, questioning Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s decision to “duck” a proposed fourth Senate debate Tuesday evening, as well as the classified Senate ISIS briefing she missed for a New York City fundraiser. The NCGOP Duck visited the USS North Carolina in Wilmington today to ask, "Why is Hagan ducking the Oct. 21?" #ncsen pic.twitter.com/o1ZIGRYr4M— NCGOP (@NCGOP) October 13, 2014 Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Hilarious Moment When a Man Told Obama, 'Don't Touch My Girlfriend'


ABC News(CHICAGO) — President Obama found himself in an unusual situation Monday.As he was casting his ballot early in Chicago, minding his own business behind the voting booth, a young man walked by and warned him “don’t touch my girlfriend.”The girlfriend, who was voting in the booth next to Obama, was humiliated, to say the least. “I really wasn’t planning on it,” Obama joked with the woman. “There’s an example of a brother just embarrassing you, just for no reason whatsoever.”“And now you’ll be going back home and talking to your friends -- what’s his name?” the president asked.“Mike,” the woman said.“‘I can’t believe Mike. He’s such a fool,’” Obama said, impersonating the woman.“He really is,” she agreed.Obama continued: “‘I was just mortified. But, fortunately, the president was nice about it. So it’s all right.’”“I am freaking out right now,” the woman said, laughing.The president got the last laugh, though.“Give me a kiss and give him something to talk about,” the president said, as he gave Cooper a hug and a peck on the cheek. “Now he’s really jealous.”But Cooper downplayed the moment.“He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Just the cheek,” she told ABC’s Chicago station WLS. “Please, Michelle, don’t come after me!”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Bigger the Government, the Happier the People?


iStock/Thinkstock(WACO, Texas) -- For decades, conservatives have decried the concept of big government, claiming it hurts personal civil liberties and stifles economic growth.However, Baylor University political scientists Patrick Flavin argues that conservatives may want to rethink their long-standing belief based on a study he did of 50,000 people in 21 countries.The general consensus is that people are happier with big governments with leftist leanings that provide numerous entitlement programs, including welfare.What's more, their personal satisfaction grows when the government actually intervenes in the economy as opposed to the concept of a free market.Flavin and his team insist that they're not trying to start an ideological debate and yet they say that a social democracy is one that makes most of a country's citizens happy.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

POLL: More Prefer Public Transit to Road Building


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor expanded public transportation options over road building in government efforts to reduce traffic congestion. But where they live makes a difference.Overall, 54 percent prefer focusing on public transit, such as trains and buses, while four in 10 say the government should focus on expanding and building roads instead. Preference for public transit, though, ranges from 61 percent of urban residents to 52 percent of suburbanites and 49 percent of people in rural areas.[See PDF with full results here.]The results come as Vice President Joe Biden and six mayors from major U.S. cities are scheduled to attend a Washington Post forum Tuesday on relieving traffic congestion.There are other differences among groups. Preference for a focus on public transit peaks at two in three liberals and six in 10 college graduates, as well as among nonwhites, people under age 40, those in the top income category, $100,000-plus, and political independents.Other groups have a slight preference for road building: strong conservatives, evangelical white Protestants and white men without a college degree.METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4-7, 2014, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results have a 3.5 point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.stFollow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Answers to Five Simple Questions About the Midterm Elections


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the midterm elections less than three weeks away, Shushannah Walshe, deputy political director for ABC News, answers five simple questions.1. So, let's start with the basics. For those who don't know or have been too busy watching the new season of Homeland or reading Gone Girl think pieces: what are the midterm elections and when are they? Sometime next month, right?SW: Yes, on Tuesday, November 4. But, are you too busy? Aren't we all? In many states there is no need to wait to vote. You can vote early–in many states you can even go today. We are less than three weeks away and according to early voting expert Michael McDonald with the United States Election Project over 1.6 million Americans have already voted. In every district, wherever you live, you can find that information easily accessible online. So, what are you waiting for? Ah maybe you like the excitement of waiting until Election Day.Now to the big question: what are the midterm elections? Midterm elections happen halfway through the presiden's four-year term and if you are wondering if you can vote or should, well that answer is yes, if you are registered. That’s because every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election, yes yours! That's not all. There are important Senate and gubernatorial races as well. What's the most important? Well, it’s all important, but we are closely watching whether the Democrats hold on to the Senate or not (more on that below). Republicans need to gain six states in order to do that and there are several tight races–some that may not even be decided until after Election Day--making it impossible to know right now what will happen.2. Ok, so – as much as everyone is talking about Hillary Clinton – the White House is not actually in play this year. How many seats in the Senate and House of Representatives are up for grabs? A number of governors' races are happening as well right?SW: Correct, the president has two more years and the next POTUS will be elected in 2016. When will that race start? Oh about a day after the midterms are over. But, let's concentrate on this election. All 435 members in the House of Representatives are up because they are up for re-election every two years (what a grind!) and there are 36 gubernatorial and 36 Senate races. Sixteen of those Senate races are deemed competitive by ABC News ratings and of those 16, five are toss-ups. Of the governor's races our ratings show 21 are competitive with seven toss-ups. Go to ABCNews.com's 14 for 14 coverage to see if any of these hot races are in your state.3. So the House is currently controlled by the Republicans AKA the GOP. The Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Any clue if either body will change hands?SW: We don't believe the House will change hands, meaning Republicans will stay in control of the lower chamber. Republicans are actually hoping to gain even more seats next month, while Democrats are aggressively trying to prevent that from happening. There aren't really that many toss-ups despite every seat being up and just a relatively small number that the campaign committees pour money into and watch closely because they tend to flip back and forth between the parties.But, the real fight to watch on November 4 is whether the Senate changes hands from the Democrats to the Republicans. You may be seeing all those nasty ads at home on your TV and this is likely why, because we are in the last weeks of a death match and Democrats are trying to hold control and the GOP wants to wrest it from them, knowing it's only six seats that could make a difference. It all depends on just a handful of critical races; see below for more on that.If you are interested in paying attention these final weeks those are the exciting races to watch, with all of them it could be that one race that determines control. What happens if there is a tie? A tie means that the Democrats win because Vice President Joe Biden is actually the tie breaker. Currently Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight give Republicans a 60.8 percent chance of taking control of the Senate and give Democrats a 39.2 percent chance of keeping the majority.4. OK, so let's say the Republicans win the Senate. What does that actually **mean** in real terms? What will change in Washington?SW: There's so much gridlock now, how could there be more? But, yes expect more gridlock because the president, a Democrat, will still be in the White House while Republicans will hold Congress. It’s quite likely even less could get done. It would shift, though. Instead of Congress not getting anything done, the president will likely veto more of what Congress passes.Of course, Republicans could worry again about more primary challenges so any lawmaking may come to a grinding halt. Many Republicans and Democrats running now are promising to work across the aisle, trying to sell themselves to a public that is sick of congressional fighting. If those promises are true then maybe all these predictions will be wrong, but don’t bet on it. It’s not just voters that are sick of the inaction; there are plenty of senior legislators who are sick of it too. Maybe they will get their way and come to a truce of sorts. Again, unlikely. One other possibility is that President Obama moves toward the Republicans to try and get something–anything–done. We'll be watching.5. So, we established there are a lot of races happening. Can you name three races you find most compelling and why?SW: There are a lot of races and narrowing it down to three is difficult, but let’s give it a try. The Georgia Senate race has just recently become a toss-up and it’s all because of an outsourcing controversy that has hit the Republican in the race, businessman David Perdue, pretty hard. He’s running against Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, and for months it looked impossible for a Democrat in red Georgia to win, but now it’s likely to stay tight until Election Day.Another exciting, and also somewhat unexpected battle, is the Kansas Senate race. In that fight, three-term incumbent Pat Roberts is battling it out against independent Greg Orman. Kansas is also a bright red state, a place not really accustomed to competitive elections never mind this brawl. Orman says he’s an independent choice, while Roberts and his allies are trying to label with him with the L word, liberal. Kansas also has an exciting gubernatorial race, but I won’t count that as my number three.For my final one, let’s go with a governor’s race. The Florida governor’s race is a fascinating one pitting the Republican incumbent against the former GOP governor of the Sunshine State, Charlie Crist. Crist is back, but this time he’s a Democrat, and everywhere he goes he’s accompanied by a fan. Yes, a fan. As a Floridian, I can attest that it gets hot at home, but this fan has even impacted the race with Scott refusing to come out to their debate Wednesday because of the fan. Yes, fangate.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Supreme Court Lets Texas Use New Voter ID Law in Nov. Election


iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The Supreme Court will now allow Texas to use its controversial new voter ID law for the November election.The high court rejected a request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce photo IDs in order to cast ballots.Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement, "It is a major step backward to let stand a law that a federal court, after a lengthy trial, has determined was designed to discriminate. It is true we are close to an election, but the outcome here that would be least confusing to voters is the one that allowed the most people to vote lawfully."Early voting in Texas begins Monday.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio