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Ten Candidates Announced for First GOP Debate


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Ten candidates. Two hours. One goal: survive the first Republican presidential debate.A slate of governors, senators and other presidential contenders is set to gather in Cleveland, Ohio to debate each other for the first time this election cycle.Fox News will host the debate this Thursday at 9 p.m. for the newly-unveiled candidates who are polling in the top 10 in an average of five recent national polls.Here’s who's in and who's out:WHO'S ON THE STAGE?Donald TrumpJeb BushScott WalkerBen CarsonTed CruzMike HuckabeeRand PaulMarco RubioChris ChristieJohn KasichWHO'S MISSING?Rick PerryRick SantorumBobby JindalCarly FiorinaLindsey GrahamGeorge PatakiJim GilmoreThese seven candidates will participate in a separate, one-hour forum at 5 p.m. on Thursday.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Joe Biden Gets Praise, No Endorsements From Senate Democrats


David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If Vice President Joe Biden runs for president, as people close to him have suggested he’s thinking of doing, he might not pick up much support from members of the Senate, some of whom he worked with there -- at least not right away.Many Senate Democrats are already declared supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and some just skirted the question altogether when asked, simply responding that they are fans of Biden personally.“I love Vice President Biden, he is so good at so many things,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, a Clinton supporter, said, adding that he threw his hat in the ring even before he knew his former Virginia colleague, Jim Webb, was running for the Democratic nomination too.“Joe Biden’s a great vice president. I have the utmost confidence in him whatever he decides to do,” Sen. Ben Cardin said, before adding that he’s also a Clinton supporter.“Joe’s a wonderful human being,” Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, said.Asked whether Biden should run, he responded, “That’s up to Joe Biden.”“I love Joe Biden! I’m not going to go there,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said.Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Clinton’s earliest major Democratic supporters this time around who endorsed President Obama in 2008, avoided answering at all, letting elevator doors close quickly in front of her.“You know, I’m not going to talk politics today. Thanks,” she said.“He’d be a great president,” said Sen. Tom Carper, of Delaware, who replaced Biden as the senior Delaware senator after Biden became vice president.“I think Hillary Clinton would be a great candidate as well. I think the two of them stand head and shoulders above the announced opposition for the Republican Party,” he said. Carper said he has not endorsed and wasn’t clear whether he will or not.One vote Biden certainly can’t count on is that of Sen. John McCain, Obama’s 2008 Republican opponent, although McCain heaped praise on his former Senate colleague.“He wouldn’t be a president in keeping with my philosophy but he’s an honest man and a friend of mine. We’re different parties. I’ll leave that up to the Democrats,” he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama: How He Celebrates His Birthday


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama quietly celebrated his 54th birthday at the White House on Tuesday, but he may have already had a low-key gathering with family and friends at Camp David last weekend.The Presidential retreat in Maryland seems to be a favorite place for him to ruminate about getting older. He marked his 48th birthday there, playing basketball and bowling with friends.He skipped Camp David the next year, spending his birthday in Chicago, surrounded by friends without his wife and daughters.As any summer baby knows, coordinating a birthday bash in August is hard between vacations and camps.Obama blew out his birthday candles while Michelle and Sasha traveled in Spain, and older daughter Malia was at sleep-away summer camp. But Obama did notice a lot more gray hairs that year."I will be 49 this week," Obama said in 2010. "I have a lot more gray hair than I did last year."With an August birthday, the president has spent many of them campaigning.In 2012, during his quest for re-election, Obama joked that he wanted Florida for his birthday. He got his wish.The next year, back comfortably in the White House, his favorite destination Camp David popped up again. That 2013 weekend included golf with friends at the weekend retreat. Even though the President seems to prefer quiet birthdays for himself, he knows how to throw an amazing party. Back in June, the president managed to host a secret celebration to usher in the First Lady’s 50th. In the days following the First House party, reporters drilled White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest for any leaks about the celebrity-attended event.“The president and the first lady did hold a private party,” Earnest acknowledged, but then he became tight-lipped. Pictures of the “secret” event circulated on the internet.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson posted a picture to Instagram with his girlfriend Ciara.“Dancing at The @WhiteHouse to Prince and Stevie Wonder with my lady Ciara. Thanks Mr. President and First Lady!” 500 guests attended the performances of Prince and Stevie Wonder, and once the football star tackled the confidentiality clause, other loose-lipped party-goers followed suit.The guest list leaked out and the star-studded group included Paul McCartney, Gladys Knight, James Taylor, and Herbie Hancock. Smokey Robinson even let it slip that Beyonce sang to the birthday girl. The First Daughters got in on the act. Many of the dancing guests were their friends.Sasha and Malia have had some practice with parties.In 2009, one of their sleepovers included a scavenger hunt that ended with opening a door, and the Jonas Brothers waiting for them on the other side.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Secret Service Appoints First Chief Operating Officer


Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Secret Service has appointed George D. Mulligan, a former director of the White House Military Office, as its first chief operating officer, ABC News has exclusively learned.“George is a proven leader who will bring broad management experience, knowledge and initiative to the Secret Service as our first COO,” Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy said.It’s the latest reform the department has implemented since a series of embarrassing security breaches last fall. Clancy and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the creation of the COO position in March at the recommendation of an independent review panel examining the Secret Service.As COO, Mulligan will be the principal administrator for planning and directing all business and programming activities for the Secret Service.He is tasked with overseeing all program areas, focusing on improving performance as well as directing coordination and liaison activities and working on budget and strategic planning efforts.Mulligan comes from the Department of Defense, where he spent 29 years as both a senior civilian executive and a former naval officer. He most recently served as chief of staff to the under secretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and deputy director for the Washington Headquarters Services and director of Enterprise management.In 2009, President Obama appointed Mulligan as the director of the White House Military Office, where he worked closely with the Secret Service.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump Turns His Cellphone Voicemail into a Campaign Ad


Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump has turned the tables on Gawker. After the online site released one of Donald Trump’s cellphone numbers, the GOP presidential candidate changed his voicemail Tuesday morning.“Hi, this is Donald Trump and I’m running for the presidency of the United States of America,” he says on the recording. “With your help and support, together we can make America truly great again! Visit me at twitter @realDonaldTrump and check out my campaign website at www.donaldtrump.com Hope to see you on the campaign trail, we’re going to do it!”Gawker wrote that it released Trump’s number because he released the phone number of opponent Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.“We think it’s only fair and right that Republican primary voters be able to reach out to Trump himself,” Gawker writes.In response, the Graham campaign decided to show all the ways you can destroy your cellphone via baseball bat, fire or throwing it off a building.In a statement, Trump EVP Michael Cohen said, “When Lindsey Graham’s cell number was released to the public, his response was to set the cell phone on fire and destroy it with a bat, an ax and a cinder block … which is actually not good for the environment. Donald Trump turns the number into a campaign announcement that has received within the first few hours tens of thousands of calls. Now do you see the difference between Donald Trump and the rest of the field?”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Super PAC Launches in Support of Ted Cruz


ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Keep The Promise I, a super PAC supporting Sen. Ted Cruz, has officially launched Tuesday. In a press release, the group said that it is planning a seven-figure media effort that will involve radio, digital and television buys nationwide and in early primary and caucus states. Filings released last week showed hedge fund manager Robert Mercer had contributed $11 million dollars to the super PAC. Kellyanne Conway, a pollster and senior strategist for Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential run, will serve as president of Keep The Promise I. The group released two videos Tuesday — one called “Show me” touts Cruz’s stance against Obamacare, President Obama’s immigration executive order and the Iran deal. The second touts Cruz’s stance against Common Core educational standards.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Real-Life Piper from "Orange Is the New Black" Gives Her Advice for Prison Refor


Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Piper Kerman, the woman who chronicled her year in a women’s prison in the book Orange is the New Black, now a hit TV series, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the entire female incarceration system needs an overhaul. She detailed some of her own experiences, some of which might have sounded familiar to a viewer of the show, detailing the inadequacy of many prison employees at the Danbury Correctional Facility, the racial bias with which she believed many inmates were treated, and the heartbreak of women trying to raise children from behind bars. “When I was locked up in Danbury, I knew women who were trying to raise their children during brief reunions in the visiting room while fending off sexual harassment and struggling with addiction and trying to get a high school education so that when they got out they stood some chance of surviving despite their felony conviction,” Kerman said. Kerman now works as a communications consultant for nonprofits and philanthropies and helps prison reform groups like the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force. She also serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, which works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, from arrest to incarceration to re-entry into their communities.   She said she quickly realized, upon entering Danbury, that her sentence was much lighter than other disproportionately poor, minority women who had committed similar nonviolent drug offenses -- a disparity that she said state and federal correctional facilities must reform. “The only conclusion I could draw was that they had been treated much more harshly by the American criminal justice system than I had been treated because of socioeconomic reasons, differences in class, and in some cases because of the color of their skin,” she said. Kerman also said programs to help prepare women to re-integrate into society were woefully inadequate, with a construction worker telling them about roof maintenance during a class on housing, and a culinary department officer who taught the health class, who once played professional baseball. “Hence his authority on the health topic,” Kerman said sarcastically. Kerman’s recommendations for overhauling the system included putting all eligible prisoners in halfway houses or home confinement at the earliest possible date, putting an end to mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and sentencing nonviolent drug offenders to community service, including with addicts and their families, instead of prison time.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Real-Life Piper Gives Her Advice for Prison Reform


Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Piper Kerman, the woman who chronicled her year in a women’s prison in the book Orange is the New Black, now a hit TV series, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the entire female incarceration system needs an overhaul. She detailed some of her own experiences, some of which might have sounded familiar to a viewer of the show, detailing the inadequacy of many prison employees at the Danbury Correctional Facility, the racial bias with which she believed many inmates were treated, and the heartbreak of women trying to raise children from behind bars. “When I was locked up in Danbury, I knew women who were trying to raise their children during brief reunions in the visiting room while fending off sexual harassment and struggling with addiction and trying to get a high school education so that when they got out they stood some chance of surviving despite their felony conviction,” Kerman said. Kerman now works as a communications consultant for nonprofits and philanthropies and helps prison reform groups like the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force. She also serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, which works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, from arrest to incarceration to re-entry into their communities.   She said she quickly realized, upon entering Danbury, that her sentence was much lighter than other disproportionately poor, minority women who had committed similar nonviolent drug offenses -- a disparity that she said state and federal correctional facilities must reform. “The only conclusion I could draw was that they had been treated much more harshly by the American criminal justice system than I had been treated because of socioeconomic reasons, differences in class, and in some cases because of the color of their skin,” she said. Kerman also said programs to help prepare women to re-integrate into society were woefully inadequate, with a construction worker telling them about roof maintenance during a class on housing, and a culinary department officer who taught the health class, who once played professional baseball. “Hence his authority on the health topic,” Kerman said sarcastically. Kerman’s recommendations for overhauling the system included putting all eligible prisoners in halfway houses or home confinement at the earliest possible date, putting an end to mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and sentencing nonviolent drug offenders to community service, including with addicts and their families, instead of prison time.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

If GOP Primary Were March Madness, Here's What It Would Look Like


Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Republican presidential field is crowded enough to give us a Sweet 16 -- plus one.So what if the GOP presidential primary was March Madness? What would the brackets look like?On the latest ESPN/ABC podcast Capital Games, we seeded the field with some of the best minds in politics and college basketball: Greg Shaheen, the former organizer of the men’s college basketball championship tournament; Jonathan Martin of the New York Times; and Harry Enten, senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight.com.[You can listen to the full podcast HERE.]Regions provide a bit of a challenge, and this exercise is actually far less impactful than the work of the college basketball selection committee. Rather than breaking down by ideology or job title, we stuck with geographic regions: Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest.Greg ShaheenOur No. 1 seeds in those regions are Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz.Polls notwithstanding, Enten doesn’t think Trump deserves the top overall seed. But based on polling, he’s the frontrunner, thus earning a first-round matchup against the winner of the play-in contest between George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. (Is Dayton, Ohio, available to host?)Strong arguments could be made for Marco Rubio grabbing one of those slots –- but he and Bush will fight it out in Florida before the Final Four, in all likelihood. Our guests also feel like Cruz is the weakest of the No. 1 seeds -– Rubio or Kasich could shift regions -– though Martin likened Cruz to a team that could get hot in the conference tournaments (Iowa?) and wind up going deep.There’s plenty of hoops to be played before the voting starts, and we reserve the right to re-seed the field. But this week’s first Republican debate starts the winnowing process, with 10 tickets available for the first contest.“Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein” is part of the ESPN Perspectives podcast series, with original programming on issues across the sports world. The program explores the intersection of sports and politics, through interviews and analysis, and can be downloaded free podcast apps, or on the ESPN Website.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bernie Sanders' Problem with Hispanics


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has positioned himself to the left of front-runner Hillary Clinton on several key issues, ranging from climate change to minimum wage, but his recent comments on immigration are giving some activists pause.In a series of interviews this week, Sanders defended his decision to vote against a comprehensive immigration bill in 2007, arguing he was concerned about increases in temporary worker visas and the potential effect immigration could have on wages and jobs. He did, however, vote for a 2013 immigration bill after he was able to secure funding to fight youth unemployment in this country.“Absolutely, we need a path to citizenship for undocumented workers,” Sanders told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on This Week Sunday. “We need to take people out of the shadows.“What my concern then was -- and remains -- is these guest worker programs,” Sanders, 73, continued. “Where you have folks in high-tech jobs getting fired, while the corporations are bringing people from Russia and other countries into the U.S. to replace American workers and drive wages down.”That idea has been widely disputed by economists from both sides of the aisle, including Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama. Furman wrote in 2012 that “increased immigration to the United States has increased the earnings of Americans with more than a high school degree.”And it is not just skilled labor that Sanders talks about. He told Univision’s Jorge Ramos this week he has concerns with expanding the immigration of unskilled laborers, too.“When you have 36 percent of Hispanic high school graduates who are unemployed, 51 percent of African-American kids who are unemployed, do I think it’s a good idea to open the border and bring in unskilled workers? No, I don’t,” Sanders said during an interview that aired Sunday.Cristina Jiménez, managing director of United We Dream, one of the nation’s largest youth-led immigration advocacy organizations, told ABC News that on the issue of immigration, Sanders seems a bit “disconnected from reality.”“This idea that immigrants could hurt the economy and depress wages; not only is that hurtful to our community, it is not even true,” she continued.Sanders was pressed last week on the issue while participating in a Q&A with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.“My father was an immigrant [from Poland]; immigrants have built this country,” the Brooklyn, New York-born senator said. “That is one of the virtues of America; that we have people coming from all over the world with their own particular set of skills and ideas. That is what makes America a unique country, and something that we should be very berry proud of.”“But there is a great difference in saying, ‘We welcome immigrants and that were going to provide a path towards citizenship for those people and those families that are in the country today,’” he continued. “Then saying, ‘Oh, were not going to have any borders at all.’”The primary focus of Sanders’ campaign remains unemployment and income inequality in this country. On many social issues he is quick to pivot back to statistics about unemployment and low wages.Since announcing his campaign three months ago, he has successfully mobilized an impressive grassroots campaign, turning out thousands to his rallies across the country and signing up over 100,000 people online to attend local house parties for him this week, according to the campaign. Still, if recent elections are any indication, presidential candidates seeking the Democratic nomination must gain support of minority voters.After moderating the Q&A, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez said he did not think Sanders’ positions on a few immigration policies would ultimately costs him votes.“I don’t think there is a single candidate that the Hispanic community today is going to agree with 100 percent,” Palomarez said. “Is immigration important? Absolutely, is it a unifying issue, absolutely, but it is not the only issue.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama to Host Entrepreneurs for First-Ever White House Demo Day


Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will host entrepreneurs at the White House on Tuesday for the first-ever "Demo Day.""Unlike a private-sector Demo Day, where entrepreneurs and startups pitch their ideas to funders, these innovators from around the country will 'demo' their individual stories," the White House explains in a statement.The president says every American deserves the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing concepts and turn them into a real product or service.He also plans to make an announcement about efforts to support entrepreneurship at the event.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Republican Presidential Candidates Gather at NH Forum


ABC News(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- The most crowded field of Republican candidates in history descended upon New Hampshire Monday to square off in a rapid-fire question and answer session at the Voters First Forum.Eleven candidates came to St. Anselm College in Manchester, and another three joined via satellite. The result was a one-by-one parade of candidates across the stage, where they answered questions posed by a moderator.For those hovering near the bottom of the polls, it was a chance to appear alongside the frontrunners. For those at the top, it was a chance to appear on a stage without Donald Trump. He walked away from the forum, organized by the New Hampshire Union Leader, over a lack of endorsement from the paper.Only ten candidates will get to appear at the first officially sanctioned debate of the 2016 cycle on Thursday in Ohio -- and those looking to crack the top ten came out forcefully.Sen. Lindsey Graham said China was "cheating" and he promised he would offer China “a clenched fist or an open hand. You choose.”He was also the first to bring up Hillary Clinton. But he wasn’t the last.Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal gave Clinton a bit of a backhanded compliment saying “at least he’s honest enough to call himself a socialist. Hillary Clinton, President Obama – they are no better. They’re just not honest enough to call themselves socialists.”The only candidates not to participate in the forum were Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Gilmore, who missed the deadline for inclusion.Even with Trump out of the state, he still made news Monday. He’s the new leader in ABC News affiliate WMUR-TV’s “Granite State” poll, leaping ahead of favorites like Scott Walker and Jeb Bush.Asked if it was really possible to grow the economy by his promised 4.4 percent per year, Bush said “absolutely. And the fact that Paul Krugman says it’s not warms my heart.”For as much infighting Trump has caused the past few weeks, the candidates were united on many fronts. Every person who was asked said they would de-fund Planned Parenthood. Every candidate hammered President Obama, on topics ranging from Iran to immigration to the economy. And every candidate spoke quickly – under the unique format, candidates could answer as many questions as they could within the time limit.George Pataki found out the hard way. As he finished a thought, he tried to tack. “By the way, Jack,” he began – before being cut off by the moderator.Heath did offer a chance for Rick Perry to redeem himself – albeit it four years later.“What specific government agencies would you cut or reform?” Heath asked, to the candidate whose 2012 was derailed by his inability to name the Department of Energy.“I’ve heard this question before,” said Perry, who avoided the urge to list specifics.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

White House Not Picking Sides in Possible Biden-Clinton Battle


Jeff Fusco/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House isn’t ready to pick sides in a hypothetical primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. But Press Secretary Josh Earnest made clear Monday that the president believes Biden is up for the job should he decide to run.“I won’t get into rating the qualifications of any candidates or possible candidates,” Earnest told ABC News, “but I think the president has indicated that one of the reasons he chose Joe Biden to be his running-mate and to be the vice president of the United States is that he thinks he would be a good president, there's no doubt about that.”“But I would also point out that the president has spoken warmly of others who've served in his administration, including Secretary Clinton,” Earnest continued.Earnest listed off Biden’s experience as a senator and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in addition to his time as vice president as the basis for his strong qualifications as the second in succession and a possible presidential candidate.“This is somebody that had a long career as a fighter for the middle class, he is someone that as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee developed important relationships with world leaders and has used those relationships to advance the interests of the United States, and so whether it is working with leaders in Iraq or leaders of Ukraine or other countries in Latin America, the vice president has been a very effective advocate for U.S. interests around the world and that was certainly true when he was in the Senate and that has certainly been true as vice president. That gives him a unique set of skills and experience and it's not surprising to me that there are people who are talking about this possibility."Earnest batted off the suggestion that Vice President Biden only has an opening to run because of the controversy over Clinton’s emails as secretary of state.“I disagree with that principally because there are a lot of people speculating about the possibility of a Biden presidency long before anybody knew what Hillary Clinton’s email address was,” Earnest saidAsked if the president has spoken to the vice president about his possible presidential ambitions, Earnest would not say. “What I would anticipate is that the president will keep his private discussions with the Vice President of the United States private, and so I don’t have a lot of insight to share with you about either about the vice president’s thinking or his discussions with the president on this issue,” he said.With Biden’s intentions still undeclared, Earnest reiterated several times in the briefing that the vice president should be allowed to make the decision on his own timeframe.“Somebody with the extensive experience of the vice president and someone who has made such a significant contribution to the safety and prosperity of his country should be afforded the opportunity to make that decision on the timeframe that he chooses and it sounds like that’s exactly what he’s doing,” Earnest said.He also offered praise for the Clinton campaign for taking what he called a “wise approach” of staying focused on their own campaign in light of the news that Biden may also enter the race.“Having worked on one successful campaign for the presidency one of the recipes for success is focusing on the race at hand and on the things that you can actually control and it sounds like that’s the approach the Clinton campaign is taking … and I think it's wise approach,” he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amy Schumer Joins Sen. Chuck Schumer to Push for Gun Control Legislation


Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Comedian Amy Schumer is joining forces with her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer, to push for new gun control legislation on Capitol Hill.The Trainwreck star appeared with the New York senator Monday morning at a news conference with a sign saying "Enough Is Enough" by their side."Amy may have started out as a comedian but this subject is really serious," the senator said, adding, "I have a lot of press conferences but I almost never get this many people."For Amy Schumer, the subject of gun violence and mass shootings became "extremely personal" last month, when John Russell Houser opened fire in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana during a screening of her film Trainwreck, killing two people and injuring nine others."Two lives were tragically lost and others injured and I've thought about these victims each day since the tragedy," the comic actress said, while refusing to say the name of the gunman who took his own life during the mass shooting.But Schumer did go into detail about the two women, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, who were killed."My heart goes out to Jillian and Mayci, to the survivors, and anyone who was tied to this tragic, senseless, and horrifying actions of this man who shouldn’t have been able to put his hands on a gun in the first place," she said. "I’m not sure why this man chose my movie to end these two beautiful lives and hurt nine others, but it was very personal for me."She called the three-pronged plan Sen. Schumer is putting forward in Congress "sensible measures."The senator wants to compel states to share information about felons, spousal abusers and the adjudicated mentally ill with the federal government for the national background check system; to survey all 50 states on their standards for involuntary commitment for the mentally ill and put forward national best practices; and to get Congress to fully fund mental health and substance abuse programs."No one wants to live in a country where a felon, the mentally ill or other dangerous people can get their hands on a gun with such ease," his star cousin said.She added, "These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they won’t be my last."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The First Republican Presidential Debate: Who's In, Who's Out


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The first Republican Presidential debate is just three days away, but the question remains: who will be on stage and who will be watching from home?Fox News, which is hosting the first debate this Thursday in Cleveland, says that they will include the top 10 candidates from an average of the five most recent national polls. But Fox News hasn't said which polls they will use to calculate their average, leaving the rest of us to play a guessing game.With the addition of a new Monmouth University poll on Monday morning and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out Sunday morning, an updated ABC News analysis of five recent national polls shows that Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal are likely to fall short of the debate threshold, earning them a place in the "who's out" column. John Kasich and Chris Christie currently hold the final two podiums, with Rick Perry missing from the debate stage by just six-tenths of a percentage point.John Kasich ousted Rick Perry for the 10th and final podium at the debate last Thursday, at least for now. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has solidified his lead over the GOP pack, clocking in at 26 percent support in Monday's new Monmouth University poll.More national polls may come out in the next few days -- and we will watch as GOP candidates jockey for every last percentage point they can earn.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet the Super Fan Trying to Convince Joe Biden to Run for President


Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Will Pierce is never far from Vice President Joe Biden.The 27-year-old executive director of Draft Biden 2016, a super PAC dedicated to luring the vice president into the presidential race, is greeted by Biden’s face on a life-sized cutout every morning. Pierce works from a desk surrounded by Draft Biden signage and stickers.After working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 and volunteering for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s that same year, Pierce held a number of jobs in Congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, mostly doing field organizing.In a recent interview with ABC News, Pierce said he is convinced his efforts to recruit Biden are working. And with a new wave of speculation about a potential Biden run, he may be on to something. Josh Alcorn, an advisor to the late Beau Biden, has even signed on to join Pierce’s super PAC team.Below is an edited Q&A with Pierce:ABC: As the co-creator of this group, what’s the specific appeal of Joe Biden?Pierce: There’s a lot of different reasons, but ... Quinnipiac pretty much summed it up in a poll: What is the number one issue that you want out of a presidential candidate? And they [Democrats and Republicans] said trust and honesty. They want to be able to trust whoever is our leader. And they asked all of the different candidates from Trump to Hillary to Biden to Lincoln Chafee, you know, what’s the percentage on trusting or not trusting? And the Vice President polled the best out of all of those candidates. And basically, I just hear time and time again from past supporters of the Vice President who fall back from ’88, even back to the ‘70s when he was a senator, they say his word is his bond. You know he’s real, he’s genuine, and I’ve been hearing this from people who literally had the Vice President sit in their living room.ABC: Like whom?Pierce: One of our endorsers is the state representative from Iowa, Bruce Hunter. Whenever the Vice President runs or thinks about running, they go to Iowa with him and his wife, Bev Hunter. Bev ... literally runs the unions in Iowa, and they basically consider the Vice President a close personal friend. They say when he comes to Iowa, he’s not , like, trying to get something- he just wants to know how their family is doing. He wants to know how their neighbor, who’s 80 years old is doing.ABC: Is this your full time job?Pierce: Yes.ABC: Have you worked for Biden before?Pierce: I’ve been working with Biden on campaigns for 8 to 10 years -- since 2006. Mainly I was with the vice president 2008 and 2012 as an advance staffer so I traveled mostly with Dr. Biden but I did travel a little bit with the vice president.ABC: Have you had any direct contact with him since you started the super PAC?Pierce: No, since we’re a super PAC we try to avoid any direct contact.ABC: How big is your staff now?Pierce: We have 10-15 people right now. We have people on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. We have about 10 people in our Chicago headquarters, and then right now we have 180,000 supporters across the country.ABC: How late is too late for Biden to enter the race?Pierce: The timeline that we were hearing was that the end of August, early September, is when the Vice President will most likely make a decision. I think that’s going to be the perfect time, just because of the debates as well as everything the Vice President is working on right now. He’s working up on the hill- he’s trying to push the Iran deal through. So, he’s primarily focused on doing his job. That’s why a lot of people like the Vice President. He’s focused on his current job, not his future.ABC: What are the odds he actually runs?Pierce: We haven’t seen any signals saying he’s not going to run. I actually said on MSNBC one time, I called him out and I said, “if you don’t want us to keep doing this, let us know.” We heard nothing from him then, we didn’t hear a no, we didn’t hear a yes, just silence. And that’s beauty to us. But a lot of our supporters, we’re just waiting for whatever he decides. We know he’s not just going to sit there and leave it as an open-ended answer.ABC: Are you raising money?Pierce: Last quarter, we raised $80,000 to $90,000. John Cooper, who was a major bundler for the President in 2008, he signed on to support us. We also had Shiva Sarram, who raised the most for President Obama in one event: she raised about half a million dollars in one night; she came on. And then Dr. Howie Mandel -- not the actor -- he came on to support us and he’s going to be doing a major event for us up in LA.ABC: Have you talked to supporters of the other Democratic candidates who have said that they would transfer their support if Biden ran?Pierce: Yeah. A lot of supporters, they’re supporting the other candidates because the vice president isn’t a candidate yet. But there’s a lot of support out there. e have seen that with a lot of the people who signed our petition. They say, “Right now, I’m supporting O’Malley. I’m supporting Bernie. But when the Vice President gets in, I want to throw my support 100% behind him.”ABC: How do you think the death Beau Biden will affect the vice president’s decision whether to run or not?Pierce: I actually knew Beau. When news came out in May about Beau’s passing, we were very supportive. A lot of our supporters actually knew Beau. One thing that is really key--a Wall Street Journal article came out and said that Beau actually wanted the Vice President to run. And one thing about the Vice President, he’s resilient. And when he was elected to the United States Senate, his wife and daughter were tragically killed in a car crash. And a lot of people thought he wasn’t going to not serve in the Senate because of that. But instead, he Amtrak’ed back and forth to Delaware to be with his sons, Hunter and Beau. What a lot of people are saying, and speculating, is that he can use that as motivation-Beau wanted him to run… personally, I do see him using that to motivate him. There’s been a lot of momentum. We’re urging our supporters to sign the petition- just when and if the Vice President runs, he has an army ready to go behind him.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former President Jimmy Carter Undergoes Surgery on Liver


Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Former President Jimmy Carter underwent an elective surgery on his liver Monday.According to a statement from The Carter Center, Carter, 90, had a "small mass in his liver" removed. The procedure took place at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.The operation "proceeded without issues, and the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery," the statement said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Today on the Trail -- 8/3/15


ABC News(WASHINGTON) — On Monday, the Granite State is in the spotlight. The New Hampshire Union Leader's Voters First Presidential Forum is Monday evening and almost all of the GOP candidates will be there. Donald Trump, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore are out, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are all expected to attend. The event begins at 6:45 p.m. ET Monday night at St. Anselm College in Manchester. The forum is a response to the debates and the 10-candidate limit. Don’t call it a debate, though. Instead, candidates will be questioned individually by a moderator.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Poll: US Voters Oppose Iran Nuclear Deal 2 to 1


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is lobbying Congress -- and the American public -- to get on board with its Iran nuclear accord. But a new poll shows that may be a tough sell.American voters oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, 2 to 1, according to the latest polling from Quinnipiac University. And a majority says the pact will ultimately make the world less safe. The nuclear agreement, which is currently under congressional review, gets only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition from Republicans and independent voters.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bernie Sanders Lands a Sweet Endorsement from Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder


US Congress(FRANKLIN, N.H.) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders landed the sweetest food endorsement so far of the 2016 election cycle: Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s.The ice cream magnate spoke Sunday to a gymnasium of supporters in Franklin, New Hampshire, telling them “as a person who has been his constituent for the last 30 years, I can tell you: this guy is the real thing.”In an interview with ABC News, Cohen explained his involvement.“Finally, there’s a politician worth working for,” he said with a grin. “So I’m working for him.”Along with an endorsement and some prepared remarks, the former CEO brought along ice cream. A line formed around the front door as he personally handed out favorites, including Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, to anyone who wanted a scoop. Nearly all of the hundreds of attendees stayed.It was ice cream weather, too. A day after sweating through his shirt at a town hall without air conditioning, Sanders spoke for almost 90 minutes, over the whir of several fans.He spent much of his time railing against the “millionaire class,” which he claimed was destroying the country.“We are going to end their greed, whether they like it or not,” Sanders said to applause.The message has resonated with Ben Cohen.“The big issue for me has always been poverty and income inequality. And that’s really the core issue for him,” he said.Ben & Jerry’s became famous for its employee-friendly structure — until 1995, no manager made more than five times the salary of an entry-level employee. That policy ended when Cohen stepped down as CEO. But even since, the Vermont-based company formed a tight relationship with its senator, who identifies as socialist.Cohen told the crowd his buddy Bernie has a chance.“If we work for him, if we get out there, and knock on the doors, and wear the buttons, and put the bumper stickers on our cars ... he’s going to upset the pundits again,” he predicted.Cohen plans to chip in, too.“Whenever I come somewhere, I have to come with ice cream," Cohen said. "What’s the ice cream man without the ice cream?”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton's $2 Million Television Ads: All About Her Mom


ABC News(WASHINGTON) --  There's one person Hillary Clinton really want the voters of America to get to know more than anybody else. And her name is Dorothy Rodham.Dorothy is Clinton’s late mother. She died in 2011. But she's playing a starring role in her daughter’s presidential campaign, and is the focus of Clinton’s first television ads.On Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign will begin broadcasting two TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. The one-minute spots, which will air over the course of five weeks, emphasize Clinton’s mother’s story over her own.The first ad, titled “Dorothy,” is almost completely devoid of any discussion of Clinton’s credentials. Instead, it's focused on recounting her mother’s trauma-filled childhood.Clinton, who narrates the story over old photos of her mom, describes how her mother is the person who most influenced her desire to fight for families and to run for president.“I think about all the Dorothy’s all over America who fight for their families, who never give up,” Clinton says while video of a mother tucking her daughter in to bed plays. “That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothy’s.”The second ad, titled “Family Strong,” opens with Dorothy’s story, but then transitions to lay out more of Clinton’s resume -- beginning with her first job out of law school at the Children’s Defense Fund to her new role as grandmother.At one point the narrator bluntly refers to President Obama as “the man who defeated her" when saying Clinton served in the president's cabinet as Secretary of State.The "Family Strong" ad also includes a photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton with their new granddaughter, Charlotte. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, however, is not mentioned or pictured in either spot.The strategy for Clinton to talk about her mom is one that her campaign has been pushing since its launch. The hope is that telling personal stories will soften Clinton's image and re-introduce her to voters."We’re going to make sure everyone knows who Hillary Clinton really is -– who she fights for and what has motivated her lifelong commitment to children and families,” Clinton's Campaign Manager Robby Mook said in a statement. “Since Day One, we’ve planned for a competitive primary with Hillary herself working to earn every vote and, ultimately, the nomination. This is the natural next step.”The two ads, released online Sunday, are part of an initial five-week buy costing the campaign a total of roughly $2 million -- about $1 million in each state.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet The Chicken Mogul, Baseball Owner and Trump Brother Funding The 2016 Campai


It’s all about the money in the race for 2016.Super PACs — outside groups that can raise unlimited money to spend for presidential candidates — need to release their donors and total money by Friday night at midnight. Not all the reports are in, but we are already starting to learn which mega-donors are forking over big bucks, and how candidates are spending the money.But there’s a catch: unlike the campaigns themselves, Super PACs can raise unlimited dollars, but they aren’t allowed to “officially” coordinate their strategies with the campaigns. Still, these dollars will undoubtedly benefit the candidates during the elections, particularly in terms of how many ads they can afford or how outside staff they can support.We went digging into the details:1. An Historic HaulThe dollars are flowing in for Jeb Bush.The former Florida governor raked in an unprecedented $103 million through his Super PAC, called Right to Rise. This amount surpasses his competitors by far; Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC “Priorities USA Action,” raised approximately $15.6 million.Bush also has two dozen donors who have given at least $1 million through the first half of 2015. Clinton had 7 donors who gave that amount to “Priorities USA Action.”And how much has the group spent? Less than 1 percent, which means they have the largest stockpile in the field heading into the crowded GOP primary.2. Big Donors, Big DollarsIt may just take one big donor for some candidates — like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. One of Cruz’s major Super PACs called Keep the Promise II has only one donor: Toby Neugebauer, a private equity firm leader, gave a whopping $10 million to the organization. It’s the largest single donation of the 2016 cycle so far.But Cruz isn’t alone. More than 80 percent of Mike Huckabee’s $3.6 million haul came from Arkansas poultry company owner Ronald Cameron. And Wisconsin businesswoman Diane Hendricks gave $5 million to her governor, Scott Walker.And a combined $10 million went to Rick Perry’s Super PAC from Texas businessman Kelcy Warren and Arkansas businessman Darwin Deason.3. Going For The GoldSome sports owners aren’t leaving it all out on the field. Instead, they’re choosing to play in the political arena.Scott Walker’s Super PAC “Unintimidated” raked in the biggest donation from a sports-associated contributor. The Ricketts family — the owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team — tossed $5 million dollars to the Super PAC backing the Wisconsin governor. Joe gave $100,000, his wife Marlene gave $4.9 million in contributions and their son Todd gave almost $2,500. According to Forbes, the family is worth nearly $4.5 billion.Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is just one of the many donors who gave to Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise, fishing out $100,000 in contributions for the former Florida governor. Snyder donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 and John McCain’s campaign in 2008. Other sports team owners to give to Bush’s Super PAC — Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis ($100,000), Houston Texans owner Robert “Bob” McNair ($500,000), and New York Jets owner Robert “Woody” Johnson ($501,604.27).The long-time owner and founder of the Houston Texans, Bob McNair, besides giving to Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, decided to assist Lindsey Graham’s Super PAC “Security is Strength” with $500,000.New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon pitched in $100,000 to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Super PAC "America Leads".4. Help A Brother OutFamily’s got your back when it comes to Super PACs.Jeb Bush’s father, George H.W. and brother, George W., both made contributions to his Super PAC, Right to Rise. Bush 41 dropped $125,000 and Bush 43 gave $95,000.Christie‘s Super PAC America Leads got one donor who’s known to defend his brother no matter what. Todd Christie showed some brotherly love by giving $100,000 to America Leads.5. The Other TrumpsMarco Rubio’s Super PAC Conservative Solutions received quite the hefty donation from someone with the last name “Trump.” No, not his opponent. Records show Jules Trump, the chairman of the Trump Group, gave $25,000 to the Super PAC. The Trump group, according to its website, is a family-owned investment group established more than 40 years ago. And while Mr. Trump may share the same name and — similar business as the GOP candidate — the similarities end there. When the Real Deal contacted Mr. Trump to profile him, he responded “We’re very boring. We’re very different from Mr. Trump. He’s much more interesting. Go write about him.”That same article also reveals that Donald Trump sued Jules and his brother Eddy to stop them from using their last name. He ultimately prevailed — the brothers had to relinquish their trademark but could still use the name.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bill and Hillary Clinton Made $140 Million Over Last 8 Years


Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton paid roughly $57 million in federal and state taxes over the last eight years based on a statement just released by the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign.The statement does not say how much Clinton earned each year.According to the returns, Bill and Hillary Clinton made an income of $140,937,785 over the past years.During that period, Clinton paid roughly $43 million in federal taxes and roughly $13 million in state taxes. She made roughly $15 million in charitable donations.The amount Clinton paid in taxes stands in stark contrast to a remark Clinton made last year when she told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, were “dead broke” when they left the White House.Clinton, who made most of her income after leaving the State Department by giving paid speeches averaging $250k a pop, later said that she regretted making that statement, although insisted it was accurate.In her statement released Friday night, she reiterated that sentiment.“We’ve come a long way from my days going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund and earning $16,450 as a young law professor in Arkansas — and we owe it to the opportunities America provides,” Clinton said in the statement. “I want more Americans to have the chance to work hard and get ahead, just like we did. And reforming the tax code can help. We should be guided by some simple principles.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.