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Hillary Clinton Unveils $275 Billion Infrastructure Plan

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Hillary Clinton unveiled a five-year, $275 billion plan on Sunday to rebuild and modernize the nation's infrastructure, which she says will be a "down payment on our future.""To build a strong economy for our future we must start by building strong infrastructure today, and putting you and your members to work," Clinton said. "I have a five-year, $275 billion plan to invest on our infrastructure, create good paying jobs and build the future America deserves. This would be on top of what the Congress should finally get around to authorizing. This is a down payment on our future."Clinton's plan, which she unveiled at the launch of "Hard Hats for Hillary" at Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, would include the creation of an infrastructure bank and would be paid for by a "business tax reform," according to her campaign. The release of her plan marks the beginning of her campaign's month-long focus on jobs.As part of her infrastructure plan, Clinton also called for Congress to pass the long-time highway bill by the end of the year, and said that she wants Internet in 100 percent of households by 2020.The Republican National Committee released a statement criticizing the plan."With Hillary Clinton's spending binge already at a trillion dollars and counting, it’s clear she wants to treat Americans’ tax dollars like every day is Black Friday with no plan to pay the bill,” said RNC spokesman Michael Short. "The real reason Hillary Clinton isn't saying how she'll pay for her trillion-dollar spending increase is because she knows it means raising taxes on the middle class."During her remarks, Clinton took a subtle swipe at her Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders as she pledged, once again, that she would not raise taxes on the middle class."I am the only Democratic candidate in this race who will pledge to raise your incomes, not your taxes," she said.And she seemed to embrace her experience, as she talked about the challenges the next president will face."I know this isn't going to be easy," she said. "This is not my first rodeo."Clinton made these remarks with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh standing by her side. Walsh endorsed Clinton on Sunday."Get your sledgehammers ready," Walsh told the group of cheering union workers as he introduced Clinton. "Because we have a glass ceiling to demolish."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

After Attack, Planned Parenthood Blames GOP Rhetoric for 'Toxic Environment'

David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While many Republican presidential candidates have condemned the shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, Planned Parenthood on Sunday accused some of those same GOP candidates of contributing to the creation of a "toxic environment" that provoked the attack."It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create," Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement released on Sunday.Laguens singles out Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina by name, accusing them of "using this tragedy to repeat false claims about Planned Parenthood," and says it's not enough to denounce the tragedy without also stopping their rhetoric against the organization."One of the lessons of this awful tragedy is that words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence," Laguens said. "It's not enough to denounce the tragedy without also denouncing the poisonous rhetoric that fueled it. Instead, some politicians are continuing to stoke it, which is unconscionable."Three people, including a police officer, were killed and nine others wounded in the shooting and standoff Friday at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Robert Dear, 57, eventually surrendered to police and was taken into custody.Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Dear made rambling comments during the incident, some of which suggested animosity toward the health care provider, but police have not said what they believe the motive was for the attack.Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said Sunday on ABC News' This Week that she believed a "negative environment" around Planned Parenthood contributed to recent attacks on the health care provider."We’ve seen that across the country from all sorts of speakers in the last few months," Cowart said. "I can’t believe that this isn’t contributing to some folks, mentally unwell or not, thinking that it’s OK to -- to target Planned Parenthood or to target abortion providers."Fiorina, who has been one of the most outspoken GOP candidates in her opposition to Planned Parenthood and continues to allege that the organization has "harvested" fetal body parts for sale, called the shooting a "tragedy" that cannot be justified. She described attempts to blame the attack on rhetoric she has campaigned on as "typical left-wing tactics."“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don't agree with the message," Fiorina told FOX News Sunday. "What I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts, this is typical left-wing tactics."Trump, speaking on NBC on Sunday, called the attack "terrible" and the shooter a "maniac." When asked whether he thought the rhetoric against Planned Parenthood has grown too extreme, Trump replied, "No."Though Trump, who has in the past referred to Planned Parenthood as "an abortion factory," said he did not understand the killer's motives, he said he understands that many people have strong feelings of dislike for the women's health organization."There's tremendous dislike, I can say that," Trump said. "But I see a lot of anxiety and I see a lot of dislike for Planned Parenthood. There's no question about that."Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has in the past referred to Planned Parenthood as "butchers" engaged in "barbaric" and "evil" trading of fetal body parts, called Friday’s attack an act of “domestic terrorism.”"What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to those of us in the pro-life movement," Huckabee said Sunday on CNN. "We ought to value life. Every life truly does have worth and value."On the suggestion that the strong anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric that he and other candidates have used has created a tinderbox environment for such an attack, Huckabee strongly condemned that suggestion as well."I don't know any pro-life leader, any -- if you can tell me one, please correct me -- I don't know of anybody that suggested violence toward Planned Parenthood personnel or some act of violence toward their clinics. I've not heard that," he said. "I've heard universal condemnations."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ted Cruz Does 'Princess Bride' Impression

Ted Cruz/ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- He’s quoted "Jerry Maguire," "The Usual Suspects" and "Scarface" on the campaign trail, but it's clear, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz loves "The Princess Bride" the most.At a church service today in Des Moines, Iowa, the presidential hopeful was prodded by the pastor of Christian Life Assembly of God to offer an impression from his favorite movie. It didn't take much prodding."I will confess to knowing an awful lot of that movie," Cruz said. Cruz has previously said it's his favorite movie.He admitted to the congregation that while he loved the movie, he's "never shared on a Sunday morning" his "Princess Bride" impressions in a church setting.The congregation laughed and Cruz launched into a two-minute reenactment of a scene that had him acting the parts of four characters made famous by Billy Crystal, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin and Carol Kane. Cruz tackled the scene when a nearly dead Westley is brought to Miracle Max. Cruz explains the story and launches into his impression.Cruz's use of classic lines from Hollywood is part of his regular stump speech on the campaign trail. He often uses the quotes to bring humor to the discussion of policy. At a stop Saturday in Lenox, Iowa, a voter lamented about Obamacare and Cruz quoted "Jerry Maguire," saying "You had me at hello."At a stop in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this month, college students asked Cruz to give an impression of "The Simpsons." He offered up Homer talking to Lisa about her vegetarianism.On the trail, the senator will embody the characters of more than just Hollywood classics. There's a West Texan farmer who says "wanna bet," whom Cruz invokes when discussing federal regulators. He's also launched into impressions of former President Ronald Reagan and reporter Sam Donaldson during a press conference from the 1980s.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Kasich Refuses to Say if He Would Support Donald Trump as Republican Nomine

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich Sunday would not commit to supporting frontrunner Donald Trump as the party’s nominee, saying that he did not expect the real estate mogul to win.“I think he’s very divisive and I do not believe he will last,” Kasich said when asked if he would support Trump if he wins the Republican primary.Kasich pointed to Trump’s recent back and forth with The New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski as a reason he won’t win the nomination. Trump has drawn criticism this week for appearing to mimic Kovaelski's mannerisms, caused by a muscular disorder, which Kasich said Trump “absolutely mocked.”“Somebody who divides this country, here in the 21st century, who’s calling names of women and Muslims and Hispanics and mocking reporters, and says, ‘I didn’t do it,’ but he did do it, it’s just not going to happen,” said Kasich.Kasich added thatTrump’s popularity has been over blown. The two have sparred at recent debates, and Kasich released a video this week featuring a veteran comparing Trump’s rhetoric to that of the Nazis.“Everybody needs to get over it and take a deep breath,” Kasich said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ben Carson Urges Peaceful Dialogue on Planned Parenthood in Wake of Colorado Spr

Scott Olson/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) --  Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson called on pro-choice and pro-life advocates to express their differences in a peaceful manner in the wake of a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that left three dead Friday."What we really have to start asking ourselves is what can we do as a nation to rectify the situation,” Carson said today on ABC’s “This Week.” "I think we should talk about the actual facts. If we can get rid of the rhetoric from either side and actually talk about the facts, I think that’s when we begin to make progress.”Carson condemned the shooting at the clinic, calling it a hate crime. Police have arrested 57-year-old Robert Dear in connection with the shooting but haven't released a motive. "Unfortunately, there is a lot of extremism coming from all areas," Carson said. "It’s one of the biggest problems that I think is threatening to tear our country apart. We get into our separate corners and we hate each other and we want to destroy those with whom we disagree. That comes from both sides, so there’s no saint here in this equation.”Dear, 57, is expected to make his first court appearance Monday.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses Chris Christie

ABC/Randy Sager(WASHINGTON) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s struggling presidential bid got a welcome boost this weekend in an endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader.“In just 10 weeks, New Hampshire will make a choice that will profoundly affect our country and the world. We better get it right,” the newspaper’s publisher Joseph McQuaid wrote in the endorsement. “Our choice is Gov. Chris Christie.”One of the Granite State’s leading newspapers, the Union Leader’s endorsement is a significant development for the Christie’s campaign, which has so far failed to gain traction in the crowded Republican primary.“Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times,” the editorial continued. “He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it.”Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Christie has capitalized on his national security portfolio, which includes his past experience as a federal prosecutor in the wake of the September 11 attacks.As the paper’s endorsement serves to build up Christie’s credentials as a proven leader, it also shoots down several of the other GOP contenders without naming names -- specifically calling out senators and those without any political experience.“We don't need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator trying to run the government. We are still seeing the disastrous effects of the last such choice,” McQuaid wrote.“Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly, but it's important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about,” he added. “Gov. Christie knows what he is saying because he has experienced it.”In addition to his credentials seemingly gaining the attention of the newspaper’s editorial board, the New Jersey governor is also likely seeing the dividends of his campaign’s heavy strategic investment in the first-in-the-nation primary, with Christie himself having already spent 48 days campaigning in New Hampshire.Since launching his campaign this summer, Christie has been polling in the single digits both nationally and in statewide polls.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Says He Was Mocking Reporter's 'Groveling,' Not Disability

iStock/Thinkstock(SARASOTA, Fla.) -- GOP frontrunner Donald Trump says he wasn't mocking a New York Times reporter's muscular disorder when he made jerking motions seeming to imitate the man's condition during a speech last week, saying Saturday at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, that he was just showing a reporter who was "groveling.""I was very expressive in saying it, and they said that I was mocking him," Trump said. "I would never mock a person that has difficulty. I would never do that. I'm telling you, I would never do it."Trump has insisted that he does not know the reporter, Serge Kovaleski, and was unaware of his condition. Kovaleski has disputed Trump's claim and said he was on a first-name basis with the real estate mogul when he covered him for the New York Daily News in the 1980s."I didn't know him, it's possible, probable that I met him somewhere along the line, but I deal with reporters every day," Trump told the crowd. "Now he's going, 'Well he knew me and we were on a first name basis.' Give me a break."Trump went on say that he doesn't take his imitation back, since he says he was not imitating a disability but a groveling reporter."I don't take that back because the person was groveling in terms of creating statements," Trump said, referring to a story that Kovaleski wrote for the Washington Post a week after the September 11 terror attacks that referred to allegations of "tailgate-style parties on rooftops" in New Jersey after the World Trade Center towers fell.Trump has pointed to Kovaleski's story as evidence that his claim that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the World Trade Center’s collapse. But Kovaleski has since said he never heard about "thousands or even hundreds" of people celebrating and that he doesn’t recall the allegations of isolated celebrations ever being confirmed.Trump accused Kovaleski of trying to retract his story and continued to defend his original claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated."I didn't like the fact that he wrote a story and he took it back, because he talked about tailgate parties and other things you all saw, and many people knew what took place and everybody knows it took place worldwide, so why wouldn't it take place in very strong Muslim communities, where they have a lot of Muslim communities?" Trump said.Trump went on to bemoan standards of political correctness when talking about handicaps, saying that "it's complicated out there," and that he doesn’t have time to be politically correct."Never say a disable person or the disabled, say a person with disabilities. In other words you say the other, you’re in trouble," Trump said. "OK, Never use the term handicapped parking, use only accessible parking, even though people have handicapped permits. So it's so complicated out there, it's tough. And we want to be politically correct, but a lot of us don't have time to be politically correct."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Carson Calls on U.S. to Help Refugees Settle in Middle East

Scott Olson/Getty Images(AMMAN, Jordan) --  Ben Carson said Saturday the United States must do more to help solve the Syrian crisis, but that bringing 25,000 refugees from the conflict to the U.S. will "do nothing."The Republican presidential candidate was in Jordan Saturday, where he visited a refugee camp and met with medical professionals, humanitarian workers and government officials. Campaign officials told ABC News that Carson was traveling to Jordan on a "fact finding and information gathering mission.""These brave people want nothing more than an end the war in Syria. They want to go back to their lives. We must find a political end to this conflict. Millions of refugees have now been waiting for years for the end of the war to come in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey," Carson said in a statement released Saturday to ABC News. "Some are giving up hope that they will ever be able to return to the country. We must keep their hope alive."He continued: "Until it is safe for them to return home, Jordan is a safe place for them to wait. The kingdom has welcomed them with open arms. But Jordan is a small country. They need the worlds help to feed, educate, and care for these refugees until the war ends."The visit marks the first time one of the 2016 candidates has visited such a camp since the refugee crisis began this year.The campaign official told ABC News that the goal of the trip for Carson -- who has made controversial comments about refugees -- is to listen and meet with people in the region to get a better understanding of the refugee crisis and foreign policy dynamics in the region.Carson called on the United States to do more to help Syrian refugees resettle in Middle Eastern countries, and said that the Obama administration is not doing enough to solve the crisis, and that bringing the 25,000 refugees into our country is not the answer."The United States must do more. Bringing 25,000 refugees to the United States does nothing to solve this crisis. Jordan already houses 1.4 million refugees. Jordan needs and deserves our help," the statement read. "In the coming days I will offer what I believe are real solutions to the problems created in part by the Obama Clinton administration's failed policies."The trip comes after a recent spate of criticisms for Carson's alleged lack of foreign policy experience, with his own advisers saying he still has a lot to learn."He is not perfect," Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told Bloomberg News recently. "We’ll never be perfect. But he continues to surround himself with people and engage people that can enhance his foreign policy."In The New York Times, Duane R. Clarridge, who has advised Carson, also offered a candid critique."Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East," Clarridge told the Times, adding that Carson needs weekly conference calls on foreign policy so "we can make him smart."He also came under fire after comparing the need to screen refugees to protecting a child from a rabid dog."For instance if there’s a rabid dog running around the neighborhood, probably not going to assume something good about that dog and you’re going to want to put your children away," Carson said in response to an ABC News question regarding whether Christian organizations should be helping refugees.But Williams insisted that Carson is learning, telling ABC News “he is learning, gaining confidence and making tremendous progress.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Philadelphia 76ers Struggling More Than Twitter Foe Ohio Gov. John Kasich

Ben Gittleson / ABC News(NEW YORK) --  In the match-up of Philadelphia’s professional basketball team and the Republican presidential candidate from Ohio, the politician seems to have come out on top.The Philadelphia 76ers and John Kasich, the Buckeye State's governor, got in a bit of a Twitter tiff last month when Kasich jokingly insulted the team's skills at a town hall meeting. The Sixers fired back with a quickly deleted tweet that hit at Kasich's low poll numbers: "At least we win more than 2% of the time."But guess what: So far this season, they don’t. So at least for now, Kasich was right.The 76ers on Friday night set the record for the most consecutive losses by a major professional sports team –- 27. They are 0-17 this season.As long as at least one voter supports Kasich, the candidate is performing better than the NBA franchise.Kasich has since embraced the brief Twitter imbroglio. He has hit the basketball court a couple times on the campaign trail since then, playfully taunting the team but also praising its players and coach."Regardless of what they say, I do have a lot of respect for the Philadelphia 76ers," he told reporters after shooting around with the Milwaukee Bucks this month.Kasich may be struggling to drum up momentum in the early-voting states and across the country, but this match-up is one in which he comes out on top.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

GOP Presidential Candidates Practice Pardoning a Turkey

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- How is the president of the United States supposed to pardon a turkey?Three Republican presidential hopefuls tried out their own turkey-pardoning skills with the Independent Journal. Dr. Ben Carson said he was pardoning the turkey "for being ugly" while Carly Fiorina spent a lot of her time petting the turkey and offering it compliments.Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio offered the turkey some cooking advice and said never to fry a frozen turkey.Watch the full video from the Independent Journal below:Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Administration: States Can't Legally Block Refugees

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said Wednesday that states can't legally block the resettlement of refugees, according to a letter from the Department of Healthand Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement sent to state officials.In the letter, the agency said states are bound by the Refugee Act of 1980 to provide "assistance and services" to refugees "without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex or political opinion," and cannot cut off ORR-funded services to Syrian refugees.Additionally, the letter says refugees are protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which "prohibits discrimination on the bases of race and national origin" in all programs that receive federal financial assistance.More than 30 state governors have indicated they will attempt to block any future refugees from settling in their states.The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Nov. 19 that would require the FBI director to certify a background investigation for each potential refugee from Syria or Iraq, and administration officials including the Department of Homeland Security secretary must attest that each potential refugee is not a security threat to the U.S. The White House and Senate Democrats oppose the measure, which passed through the lower chamber with a veto-proof majority.House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., charged that the majority of U.S. governors have taken positions that reflect the views of their constituents."It’s hypocritical for Obama Administration officials to threaten enforcement action against these states when they refuse to enforce the vast majority of our immigration laws, such as cracking down on sanctuary cities that openly defy federal law and endanger the American people," he wrote. “The Administration’s latest threat shows why we need the American SAFE Act so that the American people have confidence in their government’s ability to fully screen refugees seeking to come here.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump Tweets Lengthy Statement About Reporter, Demands Apology from New York Tim

Robin Marchant/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump responded to critics who accused him of imitating the mannerisms of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski in a lengthy statement he tweeted on Thanksgiving day.“I have no idea who this reporter, Serge [Kovaleski] is, what he looks like or his level of intelligence,” the statement began.Trump said in the statement that he was merely mocking Kovaleski’s journalism credentials for attempting to shy away from the Washington Post piece he wrote on Sept. 18, 2001 that alleges Muslims were celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center with “tailgate-style parties on rooftops” across the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J.“I merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago,” Trump wrote in the statement. pic.twitter.com/T5JBFXOz3F— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2015Kovaelski reportedly suffers from a condition that affects joint movement.“I would definitely not say anything about his appearance,” Trump wrote. “ I have tremendous respect for people who are physically challenged and have spent tens of millions of dollars throughout buildings all over the world on making them handicapped accessible and ADA (Americans Disability Act) compliant.”A statement also read that Trump demands an apology from the New York Times and accused Kovaleski of using his disability as a “grandstand,” adding that he should “get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Thanksgiving at the White House: First Family's Dinner Menu

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After serving turkey to homeless veterans and pardoning a turkey on Wednesday, President Obama will privately enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with his family at the White House on Thursday.So what will the first family be eating this Turkey Day? Check out the menu below:DINNERThyme Roasted TurkeyGarlic Jus and Cranberry-Orange RelishHoney-Baked Ham with Apricot-Mustard GlazePrime Rib and Creamed HorseradishCornbread Stuffing with Chorizo and Roasted Peppers Oyster Stuffing Braised Winter Greens (Collards, Kale and Turnip Greens)Macaroni and CheeseSweet Potato GratinYukon Gold Mashed PotatoesGreen Bean CasseroleFresh GreensKale Caesar SaladDESSERTBanana Cream PieCoconut Cream PiePumpkin PieApple PiePecan PieCherry PieCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How 2016 Presidential Candidates Are Spending Thanksgiving

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- This Thanksgiving, candidates are taking a break from the grind of the 2016 campaign trail to relax at home with their families -- even if it's only for a day.Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson will be with their families in Miami, Chappaqua, New York and Baltimore, respectively. Rubio told voters at a campaign event he will be frying the turkey.Jeb Bush, like Rubio, will also be in Miami. But this holiday will not be spent with the famous Bush clan. Instead, he will be with his immediate family, which he tells CNN includes his "four unbelievably near perfect grand-children."Donald Trump is the third presidential candidate spending the holiday in Florida -- but his location of choice is Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, not Miami.Ted Cruz, who is celebrating the holiday in Texas, is planning on playing Cuban dominoes. Some movies are definitely in the cards as well, with the Hunger Games at the top of the list.And, of course, the menu features prominently into the day. Cruz is excited for his father's flan. Bush insinuated he may break from his Paleo diet to eat his favorite Chipotle stuffing. Bernie Sanders' family menu includes Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice cream, a fitting dessert choice for the Vermont location. Carly Fiorina will be making her special cranberry sauce, with red pepper flakes, single malt whiskey, raisins, mustard, oranges, onion and fresh strawberries.And while the campaign trail is draining, some may need a bit more recuperation than others, mainly Mike Huckabee, who just underwent knee surgery. Huckabee will recuperate in Little Rock, Arkansas this holiday, spending the time with his grandchildren.Noticeably not on the table this Thanksgiving are stops in Iowa or New Hampshire. But the reprieve is short-lived; many candidates, including Trump, Carson and Clinton, pick right back up again this weekend, venturing out to campaign hard before voting officially begins in February.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Likens Syrian Refugees to Pilgrims in Weekly Address

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In this week’s address, President Obama tied the story of the Pilgrims to the plight of refugees fleeing ISIS in the Middle East, saying the settlers who inspired Thanksgiving were “refugees who had fled persecution and violence in their native land.”“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims -- men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” he said. “What makes America America is that we offer that chance.”Obama said Americans have been writing the White House offering to take in refugees fleeing the violence in Syria and Iraq. “Now, people should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States," he said. "That was the case before Paris, and it’s the case now. And what happened in Paris hasn’t stopped Americans from opening their arms anyway.” Read the full transcript of the president's address below:Hi, everybody.  In 1620, a small band of pilgrims came to this continent, refugees who had fled persecution and violence in their native land.  Nearly 400 years later, we remember their part in the American story – and we honor the men and women who helped them in their time of need.     Thanksgiving is a day for food and football, and for hoping the turkey didn’t turn out too dry.  But it’s also a day to count our blessings and give back to others – a reminder that no matter our circumstances, all of us have something to be grateful for.  Maybe it’s good health, a new addition to the family, or a child taking a next step toward college or a career.  Maybe it’s a new job, or a long overdue raise.  Maybe it’s something as simple, and as important, as the chance to spend time with the people who matter most.   Of course, every American can be thankful for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal.  And as President, I’m thankful that I get to see the best of America every day – the courage of our troops and veterans, the resilience of our families, and the basic goodness of the ordinary people who call this country home.   On this uniquely American holiday, we also remember that so much of our greatness comes from our generosity.  There’s the generosity of Americans who volunteer at food banks and shelters, making sure that no one goes hungry on a day when so many plates are full.  There’s the generosity of Americans who take part not just in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but Giving Tuesday – recognizing that in the holiday season, what you give is as important as what you get.   And I’ve been touched by the generosity of the Americans who’ve written me letters and emails in recent weeks, offering to open their homes to refugees fleeing the brutality of ISIL.   Now, people should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States.  That was the case before Paris, and it’s the case now.  And what happened in Paris hasn’t stopped Americans from opening their arms anyway.   One woman from Pennsylvania wrote me to say, “Money is tight for us in my household … But I have a guest room.  I have a pantry full of food.  We can do this.”  Another woman from Florida told me her family’s history dates back to the Mayflower – and she said that welcoming others is part of “what it means to be an American.”   Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families.  What makes America America is that we offer that chance.  We turn Lady Liberty’s light to the world, and widen our circle of concern to say that all God’s children are worthy of our compassion and care.  That’s part of what makes this the greatest country on Earth.    I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by loved ones, and full of joy and gratitude.  And together, may we all play our own small part in the American story, and write a next chapter that future generations can be thankful for.   From the Obama family to yours, have a great Thanksgiving.  Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How to Avoid Talking Politics at Your Thanksgiving Dinner

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Politics and religion: two topics that are best avoided with coworkers and new acquaintances. Same goes with family on Thanksgiving.But, in an election season like this one, politics is in the air and it’s easy to forget this rule of thumb once the turkey is served.So, ABC News spoke to two etiquette experts -- Jacqueline Whitmore, an author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Fla., and Diane Gottsman, who runs the Protocol School of Texas -- to get some tips.Both said that in a perfect world, Thanksgiving would be a time to catch up and rekindle relationships with loved ones. But they acknowledged that a side dish of politics was inevitable.  Are political topics ever fair game at the dinner table?WHITMORE: “I think everything is fair game. Whether it’s appropriate or not is the question. It’s appropriate to have a healthy conversation. Etiquette is all about being mindful of others and also being considerate.”GOTTSMAN: “The protocol at the dinner table is to make pleasant conversation and interact with each other, so normally we would say to stay away from politics, but the reality is, it’s not going to happen. So, if you’re talking politics and chances are you will, you need to be respectful of other people’s opinions. It should be a conversation not a food fight.”What are your tips for making the discussion tolerable?WHITMORE: “As long as you keep it light and positive that’s the most important thing. In a political year, different people have a different way of dealing and discussing different topics. Downer topics are not necessarily the best to discuss.”GOTTSMAN: “It’s all up for debate, because there’s going to be someone that’s offended with anything someone says. If you have to talk politics, make that 10 percent of your conversation and 90 percent should be on reflection around the table. It’s not okay to be combative with your views and express them at the Thanksgiving table.”Let’s say politics come up and things are getting awkward. What’s the most polite way to put a stop to an uncomfortable conversation and change the subject?WHITMORE: “If possible, talk about topics that are most pleasant like holiday memories, food and travel. Or if it’s too uncomfortable volunteer in the kitchen, remove yourself from the situation.”GOTTSMAN: “I always suggest the host take the lead, saying, ‘It’s clear that we all have an opinion -- that we can agree on -- but I think it’s important to reflect on why we’re sitting here together.’ If you are going to talk politics the bottom line is you should do it respectfully. It’s important to show tolerance and consider each other’s views.”If you’re the host, what’s the best way to set ground rules without appearing disrespectful?WHITMORE: “You can always start the conversation on a positive tone by saying, ‘Let’s all talk about what we’re thankful for this year,’ instead of just letting everyone talk about what they want.”GOTTSMAN: “You already know Uncle Bob is just a staunch Republican, and everyone at the table are Democrats. So, set ground rules with Uncle Bob by saying, ‘We will talk politics for three minutes then we will change the subject.’ Tell everyone it’s going to happen and Uncle Bob has to be accepted for who he is. It’s okay to have family banter -- we wouldn’t have family if we didn’t have banter -- and who knows, you might just learn something you didn’t know.”Let’s say your in-laws are in town and you are curious to know their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). What’s the best way to ask at the dinner table without steering the conversation in negative direction?WHITMORE: “I would probably ask them on the side, not in front of everyone, because you’re going to launch a bigger discussion. Pull them aside when you’re preparing the meal.”GOTTSMAN: “If you want to know their views it would be best to say, ‘I’m not certain that I’m really working with all of the facts. Will you just share your opinion with me? Maybe I’m just not understanding.’ Being informed is different than combat.”Any final tips for a relaxing Thanksgiving dinner?WHITMORE: “Keep [the dinner conversation] light and positive, and if someone gets in a heated discussion change the subject or steer it in another direction.”GOTTSMAN: “Come to the table with your own idea of what you want to get out of the meal. The Thanksgiving table is not an open forum, it’s interaction, it’s conversation, it’s asking people about their lives. We know what’s on television, we know the political parties of the people sitting at the table. Unyielding views will not grow relationships stronger. You want people to remember you fondly, not grateful that you’re walking out of the door.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sen. Mike Lee Delivers Thanksgiving Message in Weekly GOP Address

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Mike Lee delivered the Republican weekly address on Thursday, saying he is thankful for the service members who protect the U.S., the volunteers who help those less fortunate and the parents who provide their kids with loving  and supportive homes.But while he said Americans have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, he noted that living costs are rising in the U.S. while pay remains stagnant."We have too many Americans trapped in poverty, sometimes for generations, and often because the dysfunctional government programs that are supposed to help them, only make it harder and less likely for them and their children to build a better life," Lee, R-Utah, said.“I know it’s going to take hard work to overcome the problems besetting our economy,” he added. “But the American people never shrink from our greatest challenges. We always confront them, head on. In America freedom has never meant ‘you’re on your own.’ For us, freedom means, and has always meant, ‘we’re all in this together.’”Watch his full address below:Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Paris Attacks Spark Congressional Debate About Freedom From Surveillance vs. Nat

tupungato/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) -- The terrorist attacks in Paris, which left 130 dead, have reignited a Congressional debate over how much information the government should be able to access from citizens -- and how to balance national security concerns with individual freedoms.Some members of Congress are calling for the government to continue a program that collects vast amount of phone data that is set to expire shortly, and others are saying the problem is the existence of smartphone applications and other consumer technology that allows people to carry out conversations that can go completely undetected.Unless Congress acts, the National Security Agency program that allows the government to collect Americans' phone records in bulk is set to expire on Dec. 1.Sen. Tom Cotton and a growing number of co-sponsors are now calling for the delay of that program's expiration until at least the end of January 2017.Powerful Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain have all signed on as co-sponsors, a Cotton spokeswoman said."Now is not the time to sacrifice our national security for political talking points. We should allow the Intelligence Community to do their job and provide them with the tools they need to keep us safe," Cotton said in a statement last week.But given the program's looming expiration date, the Senate is not likely to have a chance to vote on his bill. The Senate returns to work on the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 30 -- just hours before the program expires."The timeline isn't ideal but it seems likely the NSA would be able to turn the bulk collection system back on if it was permitted to after a period of dormancy," Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt told ABC.So far the list of co-sponsors does not include any Democrats.There is bipartisan support, however, for changes to the burgeoning industry of encryption applications that are marketed to users looking for ways to avoid government surveillance. These readily available apps are believed to be increasingly co-opted by terrorists who use them to shield their communications from government eyes."It is likely that end-to-end encryption was used to communication between those individuals in Belgium, in France, and in Syria,” Burr, the Intelligence Committee chairman, said last week after a classified briefing on the Paris attacks."It's a black Web and there's no way of piercing it," added the committee's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, over the weekend.She said technology companies, many of which are located in her home state of California, must be open to changing their products so that the government can access communications from suspicious users -- what FBI chief James Comey has referred to as a "back door.""I am hopeful that the companies, most of whom are my constituents -- not most, but many -- will understand what we're facing," she said, adding that she envisions such surveillance requiring a court order - a nod to the difficult balance lawmakers face between ensuring civil liberties and protecting national security.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

First Daughters Gobble Up President Obama's Jokes at Turkey Pardon

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama trotted out his best jokes at the 2015 White House turkey pardon Wednesday afternoon in the Rose Garden, even getting some laughs from his daughters -– who appeared at times disinterested in last year’s proceedings.“It is hard to believe that this is my seventh year of pardoning turkeys,” Obama said. “Time flies, even if turkeys don’t.”“That was good, that was good,” Sasha, his youngest daughter, said with a giggle.“I thought it was good,” the president replied.This year’s lucky turkey was “Abe,” an 18-week-old, 40-pound turkey raised in California’s Central Valley under the supervision of the National Turkey Federation.“Abe is now a free bird. He’s TOTUS -– the Turkey of the United States,” Obama said.“If for some reason Abe can't fulfill his duties to walk around and gobble all day, Honest is in an undisclosed location ready to serve in the TOTUS line of succession,” he continued.The Obama daughters were criticized after last year's pardoning for looking bored at times. (One former Republican Capitol Hill staffer criticized them for their expressions, and later resigned over the remarks.)This year, the First Daughters seemed to enjoy this year’s event, joking with each other and their father throughout the ceremony.In his second-to-last turkey pardon -– potentially his last with both daughters, as Malia will start college next year -– the president thanked Sasha and Malia for their participation.“They do this solely because it makes me feel good. Not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing,” he said.“As you get older you appreciate when your kids just indulge you like this, so I'm very grateful,” he continued.Abe was picked to participate in the Rose Garden ceremony over his alternate, “Honest,” in an online poll. Both turkeys –- who were named by California school children -– will live out their days at a historic Virginia turkey farm after receiving their presidential pardons.ABC Breaking News | Latest News VideosCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Shares Homeland Security Status as Holidays Approach

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said Americans should not be concerned that a similar attack to the one in Paris would happen on U.S. soil."As we go into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know is that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe," he said.The president made those remarks after getting an update from his national security team on the homeland security posture in the wake of the Paris attacks and as the nation enters the holiday season."Today’s meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the president's national security team to review efforts to monitor threats, continually evaluate our security posture, and protect the American people. Per his instructions, the president will continue to be regularly apprised of these efforts," a White House official said before the meeting.The official also noted that the administration is not aware of any credible, specific intelligence that indicates a Paris-like plot on the U.S. homeland.The president spoke from the Roosevelt Room in the White House, after the approximately hour-long national security meeting in the Situation Room, which included updates from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.The security update came just a day after Obama met with French President Francois Hollande, during which the two called for all western nations to step up their commitments in the fight against ISIS.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A Look at 'Let the Big Dog Eat' and Other Jeb-Isms

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The famed Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg, South Carolina was packed; Jeb Bush stood amidst an aging crowd, making his pitch on Common Core when he diverged.“I was all-in on the education subject. I was like the pig in the breakfast experience not the chicken. If you know what I mean...I was the bacon,” he said. Silence filled the air.“Get it?” he asked.A few pity-laced chuckles ensued.“I thought that was funny,” Bush joked, unfazed.This is just one of Bush’s more bewildering aphorisms. The former Florida governor has a vast catalog brimming with obscure colloquiums (most are animal-focused), some of which he attributes to his Florida residence and all of which may bolster his self-characterization as a “nerd.”Some amuse, others confuse, but Jeb-isms run in no short supply. These moments may come off as awkward on a great debate stage, but for the voters and reporters who cover him, his phrases can be endearing -- a streak of humanity for a candidate who Donald Trump famously derided as “low-energy.”Let’s take a look at three of the more common phrases:“Let The Big Dog Eat”This phrase is Bush’s most-used on the campaign trail. It commonly makes its way into his lexicon when referring to regulatory and economic reform.At a recent town hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bush said, “People just need to lighten the load up and let people rise up as we say in North Florida, we just need to let the big dog eat. A big dog is inside of each of us.”As oft-used as this phrase is, when Bush campaigns in New Hampshire as he often does, this particular saying can be met with a mix of bemusement and bewilderment.“Unleash the Animal Spirits”Bush uses this phrase when he’s speaking broadly about his plan to bolster the economy and hit 4 percent growth.During his energy rollout in Pennsylvania in late September, he said, "This is what makes America so extraordinary and so special. We just have to unleash the animal spirits as Americans and we will be America renewed again."And in North Carolina, “The animal spirits still exist inside America.”In Iowa, Bush’s usage of the phrase served to complicate a reference to our previous expression.A voter asked him what “let the big dog eat” means. “It means releasing the animal spirits of this country, how about that?” Bush answered.He continued by saying, “This country is extraordinary and it’s because we have this unique ability to take risks, to innovate, to try different things, to dust ourselves off, two-steps-forward one-step-back. We’re a dynamic country and we’re losing our dynamism. That’s what I meant.”"Frogs…Or Crabs In a Barrel"In Conway, South Carolina, Bush was asked about Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan to make college free. He called such tactics “insidious," slamming the notion that the government “can just take care of us.”And then the metaphor came.“It’s like the crabs in the, you know, whatever -- the crabs in the boiling water,” Bush began.A voter tried to help. “Frogs!” she shouted.“The frogs,” Mr. Bush continued. “You think it’s warm, and it feels pretty good and then it feels like you’re in a whirlpool -- you know, a Jacuzzi or something.”“And then you’re dead,” he concluded. “That’s how this works.”The Bush campaign did not respond to requests for comment.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet Hillary Clinton's Old Friends Who Are Hitting the Campaign Trail

Liz Kreutz/ABC News(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- After a recent campaign event in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton slipped backstage at the Nashua Radisson, where 18 of her biggest fans were waiting.“I’m so happy you all could come,” Clinton said after posing for a photo with the group who had traveled from Arkansas to be there. “Thank you, thank you.”For the next five minutes or so, Clinton chatted with them about life: the Razorbacks, her granddaughter, husband Bill, general happenings on the campaign trail. They updated her on their plans. She then hugged each of them and said goodbye. It was back to work -- for everyone.But this was no ordinary group of supporters. These were the “Arkansas Travelers,” a cadre of loyal Democrats -- some of whom are longtime friends and colleagues of the Clintons -- who got together in 1992 to travel the country to campaign for the future president’s first White House bid.In 1992, the group’s efforts turned out to be a real boon for Bill Clinton, who was still relatively unknown to many across the country (“Travelers” recall knocking on doors in Iowa and meeting person after person who had never even heard of him).Ever since, the group has become a staple part of a Clinton presidential campaign -- reuniting for Bill Clinton in 1996, for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and now in 2016. And in an election year that’s never seen more of an emphasis on digital campaign strategies, these “Travelers” are doing things the old-fashioned way. After all, it’s worked for them before.When Hillary Clinton greeted them in Nashua, members of the group had already been out campaigning for five straight days -- door knocking, canvassing, attending house parties and dinners all across the Granite State on behalf of the former secretary of state. And this visit was just the beginning; the “Travelers” plan to campaign for Clinton in additional states over the next year.The job of getting the band back together fell to Sheila Bronfman, the founder and organizer of the “Arkansas Travelers,” who got to work rallying the troops in April after Clinton officially announced her candidacy. By November, she had recruited more than 400 volunteers -- many of them first-timers.But some of the old-timers are on the move this year too, including Bronfman, who wears a whistle around her neck, which she uses to gather up her fellow “Travelers.” Ann Henry, 76, and her husband, Morriss, 83, -- the couple who hosted the Clintons' wedding reception in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1975 -- are also back on the campaign trail.“We're people that have met her, we know her personally, and the other people around here perhaps have only seen her on TV,” Morriss Henry, a physician who served in the Arkansas state legislature, told ABC News in an interview. “They're interested in finding out who she really is in person, and to talk to somebody that has had that experience, like we have, of knowing both Bill and Hillary. And I've known them for a long time.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.