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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is back in session Monday with only several weeks to run through a list of legislative items -- including a must-pass spending bill that could be caught up in the fight over Syrian refugees.

Here are some of the items on the legislative agenda and why they matter:


Congress has until Friday, Dec. 4, to pass a highway bill that funds infrastructure projects across the country. The measure -- the product of negotiations between the House and Senate following the passage of two separate proposals -- would be a bipartisan, multi-year achievement for Congress, provided members can reach an agreement on financing the measure.


Congress has until Dec. 11 to send a must-pass $1.1 trillion spending bill to the White House, under the terms of the two-year budget agreement President Obama signed into law in early November.

While that bill -- a parting gift from John Boehner for new House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, -- set two-year budget figures in an attempt to make it easier for lawmakers to negotiate a deal, lawmakers are still sparring over the finer details and language of the must-pass bill, raising the specter of another government shutdown.

One possible area of contention after the Paris attacks remains the admission of Syrian refugees to the United States. While the House passed a bill restricting Syrian refugees earlier this month in a bipartisan, veto-proof vote, Senate Democrats have threatened to block the measure. Seventy-three House Republicans have signed onto a letter from Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, to House GOP leaders calling for an omnibus rider that would block funding to admit Syrian refugees into the United States.

Additionally, lawmakers could also include rider language targeting Obama administration financial and environmental regulations.


Senate Republicans are planning to vote to partially repeal parts of Obamacare in a measure that could also include provisions targeting Planned Parenthood funding. The reconciliation bill -- which Senate Republicans can pass around a Democratic veto -- is all but certain to receive a presidential veto. Republicans remain split on tying the bill to Planned Parenthood, which could also be targeted with a rider in the omnibus.


House lawmakers continue to work on legislation addressing national security fears after terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago left 130 dead. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Monday he hopes the House will vote on a bill in December that would boost security on a program that allows foreigners from dozens of countries to enter the United States without a visa. Several of the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris were citizens of countries that participate in the visa-waiver program.

McCarthy, who formed a task force of seven House GOP committee leaders to put forward legislation addressing post-Paris security concerns, told reporters that security is the "top issue" for House Republicans heading into the end of the legislative year, and said members are "very concerned where the president is and where the country is."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration will tighten its visa waiver program in the wake of the attacks in Paris two weeks ago, the White House announced on Monday.

The new changes to the program, which allows some tourists from certain countries to travel to the U.S. without visas, include:

  • Changing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to screen whether travelers have visited countries considered a “terrorist safe haven.”
  • Working with countries participating in the waiver visa program to help collect and use biometric screening.
  • The Departments of Homeland Security and State, the FBI and U.S. intel will work to deploy “foreign fighter surge teams to work with countries to counter terrorist travel.”

You can see the full fact sheet from the White House here.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It's Cyber Monday for shoppers, but for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, it's another chapter in her long cyber-saga, as the State Department plans to release another 7,800 pages of her private email Monday.

After Monday, the public will have had the opportunity to review well over half of the 52,000 pages of documents Clinton turned over to the State Department last year, part of a court-mandated process to make all of them public. All of the emails are on pace to be released by the end of January.

Officials at the State Department say Monday's release will mostly cover emails from the 2012 and 2013 time frame, but that there will be others that span her entire time in office.

The State Department has not been able to release the emails in precise chronological order because much of it had to be set aside to be reviewed by other government agencies with interest in the content of those messages. Officials say many of those pages of emails that have been held up are expected in Monday's release.

And while officials who have closely reviewed Monday's email dump are not expecting any damaging bombshells, the release serves as another reminder of an issue that has dogged her throughout her campaign.

The FBI still has an open investigation into the handling and security of Clinton's private email server and while it says it is not targeting Clinton directly, the outcome of that investigation certainly has the potential to affect her run for the White House.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who is slated to meet with a group of African-American pastors Monday at the Trump Tower in New York City, said he was told the meeting was an endorsement, and believes the pastors received backlash from people opposed to the meeting.

Trump’s campaign had originally promoted Monday’s meeting, which reportedly involves nearly 100 African-American pastors, as an endorsement, sending out a news release Wednesday using that language. The meeting was supposed to be followed by a news conference, which was canceled this weekend, and no media is invited to the closed meeting.

Once news of the meeting became public, over 100 leaders in the African-American community published an open letter to the ministers, urging the attendees to consider Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, which they called “overtly divisive and racist.”

“I was told it was an endorsement,” Trump said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I have fantastic relationships with the people, but I think pressure was put on them when they heard there was a meeting by people who disagree.”

Katrina Pierson, the Trump campaign's national spokeswoman, said Monday on CNN's New Day that it would be too confusing to label the meeting as an endorsement because the entire group was not endorsing him.

"A lot of the pastors were concerned they might get backlash if they weren't one of the pastors that were endorsing at this time," Pierson explained on New Day.

"So the campaign decided, you know what? We want to have the meeting. All the pastors will meet with Mr. Trump and we'll close it to the media."

Trump, 69, also stood by his comments about Muslims cheering on 9/11 in New Jersey, insisting Monday morning he saw the footage, and did not confuse it with scenes of celebrations from the West Bank. When asked why no one could find the video, Trump said it had not been archived properly.

“Fourteen, 15 years ago, they didn't put it in files. They destroy half the stuff,” Trump asserted.

Trump reiterated that Serge Kovaleski, who wrote the 2001 Washington Post article claiming that authorities detained people “allegedly seen celebrating the attacks,” which Trump had been citing as defense for his claims at rallies, is now trying to pull back his reporting.

Trump is embroiled in a controversy over whether he mocked Kovaleski’s disability during a rally last week. He has denied mocking the reporter.

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ABC/Randy Sager(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- When Chris Christie was relegated to November’s GOP “undercard debate,” many assumed it would be the last they saw of the New Jersey governor. Four months into his presidential campaign, his national poll numbers had barely budged, languishing behind those of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz.

In the past two weeks, though, Christie’s fortunes seem to have changed. And they hinge on the state where he has invested nearly all his time: New Hampshire.

First, there was the new set of debate criteria from CNN, which will include polls from early-voting states like New Hampshire. Christie has spent 48 days there this year, second only to Sen. Lindsey Graham. He’s averaging 6.3 percent in relevant statewide polls, which would easily carry him back to the main stage.

Then, on Sunday night, the stunner: a full endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader. The newspaper is the only one to reach all corners of the state, giving conservative publisher Joseph McQuaid one of the largest bully pulpits around.

“He is the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs,” McQuaid wrote. “Governor Christie is right for these dangerous times.”

While many expected the paper to endorse a surging candidate like Sen. Marco Rubio, McQuaid dismissed the notion, declaring Americans “don’t need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator.”

Rubio hasn’t spent as much time in the state as Carly Fiorina, but the editorial rejected her, too: “We don’t need as president some well-meaning private citizen who has no public experience,” McQuaid wrote.

The pick could alter the trajectory of the Christie campaign, Dartmouth associate professor of government James Russell Muirhead Jr. said.

“The importance of the Union Leader endorsement for Christie can’t be understated,” he told ABC News. “The timing is good. It’s going to take him time to ascend, if he’s going to. If this came in January, it would have come too late.”

The paper’s endorsement isn’t always predictive. Newt Gingrich won its support in 2012 before finishing fifth; John McCain won the state twice despite being picked only once.

It’s not just the Union Leader that has Christie smiling, though. He has picked up several major endorsements from New Hampshire activists and elected officials in recent weeks. Renee Plummer, a well-known real estate developer who officially endorsed Christie on Monday, said she had no idea that her pick would come on the heels of the Union Leader’s.

“I love that he comes to these town halls and says, ‘Ask me anything,’” she said, noting that he has held a whopping 35 such events. “And now with what’s happened in the Union Leader, you’re going to have people looking at him completely differently, saying, ‘Hold on, let’s look at him again.’”

Plummer will be joined by an even bigger pickup Tuesday: Donna Sytek, former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, according to a source close to the campaign.

Christie, 53, has also been staking out turf when it comes to New Hampshire’s epidemic of heroin overdoses, which has claimed a record number of lives this year.

Rob Wieczorak, board chairman of the Farnum Center for Drug Recovery in Manchester, pledged his support to Christie earlier this month, after a video of the governor’s town hall remarks on addiction went viral.

“He was the first candidate to focus on the drug problem,” said Bill Greiner, a Bedford businessman and Christie supporter. “There are a lot of ‘recovery voters’ who appreciate that.”

Greiner hosted his first Christie house party months ago. (“I jumped on the bandwagon before the wagon had wheels,” he likes to say.)

But he thinks as endorsements -- and visits -- pile up, voters in New Hampshire will have Christie on the brain as they make their way to voting booths.

New Hampshire’s primary, where Christie is betting it all, is scheduled for Feb. 9.

Muirhead agrees that this could be Christie's moment, but cautions that he'll have to make up a lot of ground.

“He’s really still in that second tier,” he said. “Given where he’s starting from, he’s going to need all of the next eight weeks.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Nearly two-thirds of Americans call climate change a serious problem facing the United States, with more than half calling it very serious. But those numbers have slipped in the past year and a half, marking lingering doubts about the issue’s severity among a minority of adults.

Underscoring that doubt, just 43 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll think most scientists agree that global warming is happening. While that’s a new high in polls back nearly 20 years, 51 percent still think there’s a lot of disagreement among scientists on the issue.

It makes a difference, because people who think that scientists agree about the issue are far more likely than others also to see climate change as a serious problem and to support additional action by the federal government to address it.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

As things stand, a new low, 47 percent, say the federal government should do more than it is doing now to try to deal with global warming, down from a high of 70 percent under the Bush administration eight years ago. This likely reflects increased action on the issue under the Obama administration; indeed more, 32 percent, say the government is doing the right amount, up 11 points. Many fewer say it’s doing too much – 18 percent, also up 11 points.

This survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, was conducted in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this week. It finds that 63 percent of Americans see climate change as a serious issue, with 52 percent saying it’s very serious.

Those numbers have declined by 6 and 5 points, respectively, from an ABC/Post poll in June 2014. Thirty-six percent say climate change is not a serious problem at all, up 7 points.

Public assessments of the issue may be impacted by more immediate concerns about terrorism, given the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. Questions on climate change in this poll directly followed questions about terrorism, and some respondents may have seen climate change as less pressing in comparison.

Regardless, views on scientific consensus are important. Among those who think most scientists agree on climate change, 84 percent call it a serious problem, 74 percent call it very serious and 65 percent think the government should do to more to address it. Among those who think there’s a lot of disagreement among scientists, these numbers fall to 46, 33 and 33 percent, respectively.

Political split

Opinions on the issue remain highly politicized. Eight in 10 Democrats call climate change a serious problem, as do 62 percent of independents; this drops to 43 percent among Republicans. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats think most scientists agree on the issue, while two-thirds of Republicans feel the opposite.

Just 22 percent of Republicans favor additional government action on the issue, compared with 47 percent of independents and two-thirds of Democrats. Still, even among Republicans, just a third say the government should be doing less than it is now to try to address the issue.


Results are similar among ideological groups, with concern highest among liberals, lowest among strong conservatives. Among other groups, concerns about climate change are higher among 18- to 29-year-olds; 76 percent in this group call it a serious problem and 64 percent favor more government action to address it, compared with 56 and 39 percent, respectively, of those 50 and older. Concerns also are higher among nonwhites than whites, a result that follows partisan patterns (nonwhites are much less apt to identify with the Republican Party).

Evangelical white Protestants – generally a conservative Republican group – are especially skeptical about climate change, with 63 percent saying it’s not a serious problem and 67 percent saying there’s no agreement among scientists. Even in this group, however, a minority, 37 percent, want the government to do less to address it.

Conversely, concern peaks among non-religious adults: Seventy-five percent in this group say the environment is a serious concern, 61 percent want more government action to handle it and 61 percent think scientists agree on climate change.

Catholics are in the middle of these two groups; 68 percent call climate change a serious problem. Compared with June 2014 there are no significant changes among Catholics in this view, despite Pope Francis’s encyclical on environmental issues last spring.

Indeed, compared with 2007, Catholics are 32 percentage points less likely to favor additional government action, 19 points more apt to prefer the current level of action, and 12 points more likely to say the government should do less. The decline in support for more government action is steeper among Catholics than among all other adults.

There is a wide gap between college graduates and those without a degree in the sense that most scientists agree on the issue – 55 percent of graduates say so vs. 38 percent of non-graduates. At the same time, given political and ideological influences, there are no substantive differences between these two groups in views on the seriousness of climate change or government action to address it.

In terms of change over time, the decline in those wanting the government to do more is spread evenly across the political spectrum. However, compared with 2007, Democrats are 17 points more apt to say the government is doing the right amount; Republicans and independents, respectively, are 19 and 13 points more likely to say it’s doing too much.

The sense that most scientists agree on the issue, at 43 percent, is up from a low of 30 percent in early 1998 and up from 36 percent when last asked in late 2009. It’s up by about 10 points since 2009 among independents and Republicans, while essentially unchanged among Democrats.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Nov. 16-19, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley said Sunday night that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is making "the sort of appeal that historically has often preceded fascism."

"Trump says we should be monitoring everyone of the Muslim faith, keeping some kind of registry, maybe even issuing special ID cards," the former Maryland governor said during his remarks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner. He continued with an unmistakeable Nazi comparison.

"Let me ask you this. Who is next? Catholics? Trade unionists? Artists? We've seen this road before, and it does not lead to a good place," he said.

"Panic and political opportunism are a toxic mix -- a mix that can often precede fascism or the plunging of our republic into a security state," O’Malley added. The audience jeered and booed at his references to Trump.

After the speech, reporters pressed O’Malley on whether he thought Trump himself was a fascist. O’Malley would not say so explicitly, but said the language Trump uses is similar.

"When he pushes things like registries and ID cards based on things like religion, I do believe that is the sort of appeal that historically has often preceded fascism," he said. "We should not think that we are so superior as a nation that we cannot ourselves fall victim to those sorts of appeals."

He added that "we all" should call Trump out on his remarks.

New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Raymond Buckley said he did not think O'Malley exaggerated the severity of Trump's comments.

"We have seen that elections can go either way," Buckley told ABC News. "The 1 percent chance that Donald Trump is the nominee isn't frightening to us as Democrats, it is frightening to us as Americans."

Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on O'Malley's remarks.

Several Republicans have spoken out against the GOP’s top contender, too, including Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich, who recently called Trump "very divisive," and refused to say whether he would support Trump if he won the nomination.

O’Malley has previously made similar comments. Last week, at a press conference in New Hampshire, he called Trump "shameful," and added that he believed the business mogul's appeals were based "wholly in fear” and could plunge the United States "into a security state."

Polling at 5 percent nationwide according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, O'Malley used his time onstage in the early voting state to distinguish himself from his Democratic candidates too. He started off his remarks saying he was "not a socialist," making clear reference to the progressive independent Bernie Sanders, and he vowed not to take orders or be influenced by Wall Street, implying a close connection between Hillary Clinton and big banks.

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- In her first on-camera remarks about the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, Hillary Clinton doubled down on her support for the organization and accused the GOP of treating women’s health like “political footballs.”

"We should be supporting Planned Parenthood, not attacking it.  And it is way past time for us to protect women’s health and respect women’s rights not use them as political footballs,” Clinton said during her remarks at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Manchester. "Here in New Hampshire, Republicans on your executive council cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. And in Congress and on the campaign trail, Republicans who claim they just hate big government are only too happy to have government step in when it comes to women’s bodies and health. It’s wrong and we’re not going to stand for it.”

Clinton described Planned Parenthood as a place where women can get the health care they need, such as “breast exams and STD testing, contraception and yes safe and legal abortions.” She also offered her condolences for the victims of the shooting, and called for gun control measures.

“How many more Americans need to die before we take action?” Clinton said to a room filled with her own supporters as well as supporters for other Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, “Common sense steps like comprehensive background checks, closing the loop holes that let guns fall into the wrong hands."

She slammed the GOP for not putting out a bill that would prohibit individuals on the No-Fly list from buying a gun in the U.S.

"If you are too dangerous to fly in America, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America," she said.

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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