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GOP Senators Express 'Grave Concerns' Over Pending Immigration Review

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Republican senators wrote a letter to President Obama on Thursday expressing "grave concerns" over the Department of Homeland Security's upcoming immigration review.

In the note, they accuse Obama of "astonishing" disregard for the Constitution and say the changes under consideration "represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement."

"Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it," the letter reads.

The 22 senators go on to say that the Obama administration issued policy directives "incrementally nullifying" immigration enforcement in the U.S, "to the point that unless individuals in the country illegally are apprehended, tried, and convicted for a felony or other serious offense, they are free to live and work in the country."

The three-page letter included signatures from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top GOP senator on the Judiciary Committee.

The president ordered a review of deportation policy after criticisms from immigration activists. Some Democrats and supporters argue deportations from the administration are tearing families apart, while others feel current policies allow the occurrences of preventable crimes.

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Police Shut Down Protest Over Keystone Pipeline

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Activists from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance gathered at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on Thursday in protest of the Keystone Pipeline. However, efforts were thwarted by police ordering them to stop an attempt at stretching a blow-up pipe across the water.

The group of ranchers, farmers, and leaders of several Native American tribes planned to pump air into the mock pipeline, but only got as far as rolling it out. Police put a halt to the actions, telling them to shut off their generators.

Two protesters were able to make their way into the middle of the pool to hold up a sign, undisturbed by officers. Wizipan Little Elk, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and farmer Art Tanderup gave speeches about the pipeline threatening their lands. One speaker said his tribe "would spill their own blood" before allowing construction of the system.

Protests against the oil pipeline across Canada and the United States started after the State Department announced Friday that it would extend review of the project indefinitely. Critics argue the system will make it more difficult for the U.S. to shift away from fossil fuels, while supporters feel it will generate construction jobs and assist in the acquisition of oil.

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance is scheduled to protest in front of Secretary of State John Kerry's home on Friday, with other events set near the White House during the weekend.

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Michelle Obama's Graduation Speech Moved Following Criticism

Samantha Appleton / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama will deliver a commencement speech for Kansas high school seniors a day earlier than originally planned.

The first lady was initially scheduled to speak at the combined graduation ceremony for four area high schools on May 17, the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. Now, Obama will speak to students the day before at a "Senior Recognition Day," according to the White House.

The change follow backlash from families who felt Obama's presence would take attention away from the graduating students and seating would be limited. In response, the Topeka public school district pledged "at least six tickets" for graduates.

One student launched a petition on change.org, asking the district to reconsider the plans and adhere to "normal" graduation ceremonies, even suggesting that the first lady's speech be recorded.

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Christie: Accusations that Office Culture Inspired Lane Closures ‘Factless’

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(BRICK, N.J.) -- Chris Christie gave some advice to a constituent Thursday and sent a message to his critics about how he views the George Washington lane closures scandal, calling the accusations that a culture in his office allowed it to happen “factless.”

An attendee at his town hall Thursday asked Christie how he should “defend to my friends and relatives” allegations that say the New Jersey governor was behind a negative “culture” in his office that would have “approved of such behavior” that led to the lane closures known as “Bridgegate.”

“I think the best way to defend against factless accusations is to answer it with the facts,” Christie told the man at a middle school in Brick, N.J., adding that the same people who originally accused him of being behind the lane closures are now saying he “created the culture.”

Christie then launched into a lengthy defense of the “culture” of his office, saying it “produced unprecedented bipartisan cooperation.”

“If in fact I created a culture where people were going after each other than how did we do all these things together with Republicans and Democrats?,” he asked. “The allegation that somehow this was a culture that was created just doesn’t have any basis in fact. These folks who are making these allegations are folks who couldn’t get a political advantage out of one tactic so now they are trying to get a political advantage out of the other.”

Christie even cited the over 60 mayors and other Democrats who endorsed him in his re-election bid as evidence that he did not create a “culture of divisiveness.”

Emails released in January indicated top Christie aides closed down lanes leading to the world’s busiest bridge as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee who chose not to endorse Christie in his re-election bid.

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer last month, Christie also stressed he ”did nothing to create the environment” that prompted some of his former top aides to cause the traffic nightmare.

Wearing a bright blue T-shirt Thursday that read “man enough to be a Girl Scout” given to him earlier in the town hall by a Girl Scout leader, Christie told the crowd he expects the criticism and they won’t “hear me complain about it.”

“I am a big boy and I understand this business and I understand when you are the guy, you are the governor, you are the guy carrying the ball, you are the guy they are going to try and tackle and I get that and I have to live with it, that’s the way it goes,” Christie said, noting sometimes it does not bother him, but acknowledging “some days it really gets me upset.”

He said that he has taken responsibility for it happening on “his watch,” but he won’t “take responsibility for every fantasy that somebody who wants to be partisan is going to come up” with, promising again he had no prior knowledge of the closures and if he did he would have stopped them.

“We will cooperate with all the appropriate investigations anybody wants to do because in the end what I know is the truth, which is it was a stupid thing to have done, I knew nothing about it, had nothing to do with it and if anybody had ever come to me and said to me they were going to do this I would have stopped it,” Christie said.

He added that since the scandal broke, concerned supporters have come up to him to ask if he is “OK,” but despite the “bumps in the road” there has not “been a day I regret having the job I have.”

“I never told you that I was going to be perfect or all the people who worked for me were going to be perfect,” Christie said. “We are all human beings and that means inherently we are imperfect and mistakes will be made, what matters when mistakes are made no matter what they are is how do you react to them…we are always judged not by the fall, but how we get up.”

A Christie-ordered internal review released earlier this month cleared him of any wrongdoing. Two other investigations -- by a state legislative panel and the U.S. Attorney’s office -- are ongoing. The state investigation subpoenaed four current and former officials to testify next month.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Why the Koch Brothers Are Tangling with ‘Jungle’ Jack Hanna

ABC/Fred Lee(WASHINGTON) -- Hold your horses, Jack Hanna: the Koch brothers just threw a monkey wrench into a May ballot proposal to increase funding for the Columbus Zoo in Ohio.

Less than two weeks from a vote on the proposal, Americans for Prosperity, an interest group financed in part by the conservative Koch brothers, is reaching into the debate over a local tax levy in Franklin County, Ohio.

The move is expected to keep Jack Hanna -- the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo who is commonly known as “Jungle Jack” -- and his allies busy as a bee in this dog-eat-dog political face-off.

“It’s the most curious thing I’ve ever seen in Franklin County politics,” John Kulewicz, co-chair of the movement to pass the tax hike, told ABC News. “Everyone I know is wondering why [the Koch brothers] are getting involved. What does this have to do with anything?”

Much to the chagrin of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other congressional Democrats, Americans for Prosperity has been a major player in U.S. Senate races across the country, taking particular aim at President Obama’s signature health care law and Democrats who supported it.

But Eli Miller, the Ohio state director of Americans for Prosperity, said his organization works at the local, state and federal level, and this involvement wasn’t uncommon for the interest group.

“A lot of our activists in Franklin County reached out to us on the issue that their voices were not being heard on this tax increase,” said Miller. “If you’re going to raise taxes at any level, you’re going to hear from us.”

Americans for Prosperity mailed out ads urging voters to “stop the money grab,” featuring a gorilla hand holding a $100 bill. Miller said the group has also gone door-to-door with its campaign.

But Kulewicz said that he doesn’t understand why the conservative group is getting involved with an issue that pertains to the zoo’s well-being.

“All we know is it’s an outside special interest group from northern Virginia with deep pockets,” Kulewicz said. “I’m not aware that they have any interest in the zoo at all. I know people in Franklin County are up in arms about it.”

Miller wouldn’t comment on how much the group has spent so far on the initiative, but said that they “are going to spend as much as it takes to educate Franklin County constituents.”

“We decided to help educate the public on this issue so Franklin County residents can decide,” Miller said. “As with any tax increase, this is really going to hurt those who can’t afford it.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Girl Surprises Michelle Obama with Unemployed Dad’s Resume

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to the job hunt, they say, it’s all about who you know.

And one little girl, a guest at the White House’s annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” seized the opportunity to get her father’s resume into some powerful hands on Thursday.

When Michelle Obama called on her during a question-and-answer session in the East Room, instead of asking a question, the girl gave the first lady a copy of her dad’s resume.

“My dad’s been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his resume,” she said.

“Oh my goodness,” murmured Mrs. Obama as she wrapped the little girl in a hug.

“Well, it’s a little private, but she’s doing something for her dad, right?” the first lady said to the audience, which were children of Executive Office employees.

“Got it,” she said to the girl, brandishing the resume.

Mrs. Obama took the folded resume with her when she left the event.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Democratic Lawmakers Start to Run on Obamacare

United States House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- As she seeks to emerge from a crowded Democratic primary field in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, Rep. Alyson Schwartz is among the first prominent Democrats to take President Obama’s advice and defend the new health care law.

“It’s a major accomplishment of the president’s,” Schwartz told reporters on a call Wednesday. “It is something I think all of us should be proud of.”

In a new television ad that debuted Tuesday, Schwartz not only celebrated the Affordable Care Act, but highlighted her role in passing it.

“I worked with President Obama on the Affordable Care Act and getting health coverage to call Americans,” the ad said.

Schwartz served on the House Ways and Means Committee during the initial construction of the health care legislation, and the ad included photographs of the president and Schwartz together.

“It was my legislation that said insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions,” the ad continues.

This week, Schwartz called on other Democrats, particularly in her race, to “speak up” about the successes of the law and criticized them for “vagueness” on the issue.

“[They should] express their pride and commitment to implementing this law,” she said on the call.

Nationwide and in Pennsylvania, the health care law remains largely unpopular, though public opinion is trending -- slowly -- in the law’s favor. According to Gallup’s most recent data from earlier this month, 43 percent of Americans now approve of the law, the highest percentage since last October. In addition, the number of respondents who said the law has helped them in their own lives rose to 15 percent, up from 9 percent in November.

According to Schwartz, she hears stories of people “every day on the campaign trail” who have been helped by the law.

More importantly for her campaign right now, Democrats still overwhelming support the law. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll from March, 76 percent of Democrats nationwide approve of the law.

With the hope of appealing to Democrat primary voters, the ad will run only in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, both Democratic Party strongholds.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, another Democratic candidate is on the health care offensive. Elisabeth Jensen, who hopes to oust freshman Republican Andy Barr and become the state’s first female Democrat in Congress, released her own radio ad earlier this month attacking Barr for his votes to repeal the law.

Jensen’s ad equated the federal health care law with Kentucky’s own health insurance marketplace, Kynect, one of the most successful state-run marketplaces launched last fall, with 400,000 enrollees, according to the governor.

“I learned congressman Andy Barr voted 19 times to repeal health care reform. I was disappointed,” Jensen’s ad said. “Thanks to Gov. Beshear, Kentucky Kynect provides health care to Kentuckians who had no insurance. But Barr, along with Mitch McConnell, voted to end Kynect and let insurance companies drop coverage, deny care and charge women more.”

An anti-repeal message could be a safe compromise for Democrats still struggling to talk about Obamacare. A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll from March found that only 29 percent of Americans were in favor of repealing the law, including both those that favored repealing and replacing the law with a GOP alternative (18 percent) and repealing the law and not replacing it with new legislation (11 percent).

Another strategy among Democratic candidates has been to attack Republican governors for hampering the law’s implementation. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who faces a tough re-election, repeatedly has said while campaigning that “the law is not perfect.” But she is also vocal about her support for pending legislation in the state that would obligate Louisiana to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid under the new law, a move the governor so far has rejected.

Similarly, Schwartz’s ad directly criticized incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, who has also chosen not to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania. On the press call, Schwartz said Pennsylvanians are “outraged” that the governor refused the federal funds to expand coverage. In the ad, she promised to reverse that decision.

“As governor I will take the Medicaid expansion, because 500,000 Pennsylvanians need health care coverage,” she said in the ad.

Corbett’s campaign was quick to respond, saying Schwartz had “embraced an extreme liberal agenda.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Caroline Kennedy on Hillary Clinton for President: ‘I Hope So’

Devin Dwyer/ABC News(TOKYO) -- Caroline Kennedy is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 -- “if she runs.”

The new U.S. ambassador to Japan endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, calling him an inspirational figure for a “new generation of Americans” akin to her father in 1960.

“I think he’s been a great president. And I think that this rebalanced Asia is a really good example of somebody who’s taking the long view, advancing the United States interest,” Kennedy told ABC’s Jonathan Karl in an interview in Tokyo.

If Clinton decides to make a bid to succeed him, Kennedy says she’s on-board.

“If she runs,” Kennedy said.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, but two years is a really long time in politics,” she said. “I’m sure she’s looking forward to being a grandmother, I know she’s got to decide soon. So, so you know I hope so.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Hillary Clinton’s Problem with the Media: Too Much Entertainment, Not Enough Facts

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images(STORRS, Conn.) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her frustrations about the current state of media on Wednesday night, describing what she sees as an “entertainment-driven” approach to news that is “not good for the country and not good for journalism.”

The potential 2016 frontrunner, 66, made her less-than-flattering comments during a Q&A session at her first-ever appearance at the University of Connecticut following her keynote address at the Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum in which nearly 2,300 students and faculty were in attendance.

Using questions submitted by students, University President Susan Herbst asked Clinton about the role journalists could play in resolving the gridlock in Congress. Clinton took the question -- and ran with it.

“I think journalism has changed quite a bit in a way that is not good for the country and not good for journalism,” Clinton said, venting about her concern that a more ratings-driven approach to television has led to theatrics over facts. “A lot of serious news reporting has become more entertainment-driven and more opinion-driven, as opposed to factual. People book onto the shows political figures, commentators who will be controversial, who will be provocative, because it’s a good show. You may not learn anything, but you might be entertained.”

Clinton argued that the obligation to show “two sides” to every story can be detrimental to a viewer’s understanding of complicated issues, citing climate change deniers and the handling of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s OK to have people who ask hard questions about what we’re going to do about climate change, who come at it in a very vigorous, scientific way, but not to have people who just basically roll their eyes and say, ‘It’s not happening,’ and, ‘I’m not going to participate.’” she said. “And the Affordable Care Act…people didn’t really understand what was happening with it because all they saw was an argument about it. So we didn’t even give them the basic facts to make up their own minds.”

Even so, Clinton said she was optimistic that the issues “plaguing” journalism today could be resolved with some “professional tweaking” on the part of journalists.

“It’s important for journalists to realize that they have to do their homework, too,” she said. “They really should be well prepared when they interview people, when they talk about issues, because audiences usually tune in to see whoever the journalist is. And so that person has a responsibility, as well.”

Clinton also addressed immigration and her support of the bipartisan immigration bill, the situation in Ukraine and the need for more sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Edward Snowden and his “odd” decision to seek asylum in Russia.

Earlier in the day, Clinton spoke at a women’s conference in Boston, where the potential presidential frontrunner, whose critics have asked whether she is too old to run for president in 2016, suggested that advanced age was a reason to embrace older women in positions of authority.

Older women “feel like they’ve fulfilled their responsibilities, their kids are out on their own. It’s now time for them to show what they can do!” she said.

Though women may take breaks from the workforce to care for children or aging relatives, she said, “their brains have not atrophied.”

Clinton gave few hints at either event about her plans to run in 2016 -- nor did she reflect on her soon-to-be title: grandma -- now that her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, is pregnant.

The president of the University of Connecticut, however, presented Clinton with two UConn “Husky” onesies for the future Clinton grandchild.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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John Kerry Brings His Puppy to Work

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry brought a special guest to a Take Your Children to Work Day event at the State Department Thursday: his one-year-old puppy, Ben (named after Benjamin Franklin).

Ben, who is also on Twitter at @DiploMutt, was not very interested in what his master had to say -- he was very boisterous, jumping around and chewing on his leash.

Kerry joked that because his daughters are grown with children of their own, Ben was the closest thing to an actual child that he could bring along.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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What President Obama Is Eating in Japan

File photo. Pete Souza/The White House(TOKYO) -- President Obama has plenty on his plate -- and in his sake cup.

The eater-in-chief is chowing down on sushi, seafood and even a mound of ice cream shaped like Mt. Fuji during his state visit to Japan.

Obama kicked off his culinary tour in Tokyo on Wednesday night with a sushi dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the esteemed Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three Michelin-starred restaurant famous for being featured in the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

It’s notoriously hard to get a reservation at the restaurant, where chef-recommended meals start at $300.

"That’s some good sushi right there,” Obama said as he left the restaurant.

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and National Security Adviser Susan Rice joined Obama and Abe for the sushi dinner, which lasted an hour and a half.

Kennedy called the meal “incredible” -- as was the conversation, she said.

On Thursday, Obama feasted on royal consommé, Red Sea bream steamed with Champagne, roasted leg of lamb and a seasonal salad at the Emperor’s State Dinner at the Imperial Palace.

Plenty of booze was also within reach, including sake, Hennessy and Moet champagne.

For dessert, fruit and ice cream “in the image of Mt. Fuji” was served.

Obama will fly to Seoul, South Korea, later Thursday, his second stop on a four-country Asian tour.

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Caroline Kennedy on Life as Ambassador: Palace Runs, Twitter Controversy

State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain(TOKYO) -- Her father was nearly killed by the Japanese more than 50 years ago. Now, Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, is bringing history full circle.

“I think that my story in a way is a great metaphor for the U.S.-Japan alliance,” Kennedy told ABC’s Jonathan Karl in an interview in Japan. “Countries that were once adversaries and enemies in war are now the best of friends and allies.

“That I could be here and receive the kind of welcome that I did, I think is an unbelievable tribute to the United States,” she added.

Her father, John F. Kennedy, was nearly killed during World War II when a Japanese destroyer rammed his Navy “patrol torpedo” boat PT 109 sending the crew into the water. He survived. The U.S. and its allies won the war.

Now, a Kennedy is a celebrated figure on the streets of Tokyo, where she received an almost royal welcome here five months ago.

“It was really kind of moving for me…to get the kind of welcome and to hear people that are older talk about President Kennedy and his legacy has been a very moving experience,” she said.

Kennedy has not shied from the public spotlight in her new role. She said she regularly leaves the embassy compound for a run or bike ride around the Imperial Palace. Sometimes people notice her on the streets.

“Depends how fast or slow I’m moving,” she joked.

But being the highest-profile American in Japan has cost her the privacy that had been a defining feature for so many years.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the United States,” she said. “Democracy, freedom, rule of law, is really, you know it’s, it doesn’t, it isn’t even about me at all.”

Kennedy has demonstrated that she isn’t afraid to rock the boat. Shortly after arriving in Japan, she stirred up controversy with a Twitter condemnation of the annual dolphin hunt, a Japanese tradition.

She called the slaughter “deeply concerning” for its “inhumanness,” raising eyebrows among many Japanese.

“The reaction was mixed,” she said of the spat, but “think that the whole point of being allies is that we can you know express our disagreements.”

Opposing the large-scale hunt of dolphins “is U.S. policy, it’s longstanding U.S. policy, it wasn’t my personal opinion,” she said. “It’s an evolving process, and I hope that I’ll be able to be an effective ambassador and work publicly and privately and make connections with people as well as the political leadership here.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s Advice on How to Deal with Getting Fired

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Having been dismissed by the nation’s most powerful boss, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal knows a thing or two about getting fired. And now he’s helping others deal with it.

McChrystal’s almost-40-year tenure in the Army, culminating in his leadership of NATO forces in Afghanistan, came to an abrupt end when impolitic statements he and his staffers made about the Obama administration were published in a 2010 Rolling Stone article.

In a blog post for the professional networking site LinkedIn, McChrystal wrote about how he overcame a period of self-doubt to restart his career.

“My very identity as a soldier came to an abrupt end,” he wrote. “I’d been soldiering as long as I’d been shaving. Suddenly I’d been told I could no longer soldier, and it felt as though no one really cared if I ever shaved again. I’d caught a curveball directly on the chin; I wanted to find a corner of the dugout, away from TV cameras, to rub my head and maybe sniffle a bit.

“I’d never been more tempted to feel like a victim -- an emotion that could have easily consumed me. Many would have supported, even welcomed me in the victim role; pundits would have let me rant, and a tell-all would have been an instant bestseller.”

Rather, McChrystal wrote, he re-evaluated his core skills and beliefs and, with the support of his wife, Annie, he was able to find a new career informed by his experiences in the military.

“What I’d learned, above all other lessons, was the importance of those you surround yourself with,” he wrote. “That lesson would be with me forever, uniform or no uniform.

“So in the end, the answer was simple. My business, and my life, has been people. ...By focusing on this simple truth, and allowing it to guide my decisions through a difficult time, this curveball ultimately opened as many doors as it closed. From starting a company to teaching at Yale, the past few years have been full of incredible experiences shared, most importantly, with true and lifelong friends.”

McChrystal, who now runs a consulting firm, has written several posts for LinkedIn, but this was the first dealing with his dismissal from his NATO role and subsequent retirement from the Army.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Clinton's Accomplishments at State Department Under Scrutiny

State Department(WASHINGTON) -- Faced Tuesday with a question she couldn't answer about Hillary Clinton's accomplishments as secretary of state, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki returned Wednesday, armed with some facts about the high points of the former top U.S. envoy's tenure.

However, it might have been too little, too late.

Psaki was initially put on the spot by Associated Press correspondent Matt Lee's question, "Can you, off the top of your head, identify one tangible achievement that resulted from the last [audit of the department]?"

The press secretary replied, "I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one." Clinton retired in February 2013 just before Psaki joined the State Department.

Psaki, who probably caught some heat for her non-answer, was prepared Wednesday, rattling off the following Clinton achievements: a "stronger emphasis was placed on trade promotion investments and leveling the economic playing field;" "a fuller integration of women and girls into our policy framework planning and budgeting, program monitoring and evaluation and management and training;" and "a reorganization of the undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment."

Just the same, Republicans, who believe Clinton will be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, will probably ignore all that and continue to focus on the deadly 2012 attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which happened under her watch.

On Wednesday, Clinton reiterated that the Benghazi siege, in which four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed, is the "biggest regret" of her time as secretary of state.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Jeb Bush Drops Strongest Hint Yet About 2016 Plans

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The "Jeb Bush for president" speculation went into overdrive Wednesday after the former Florida governor admitted during a New York fundraiser that he was "thinking about running for president," according to a report by Politico.

Bush, the son and brother of two former commanders in chief, has dropped tantalizing hints before about possibly seeking the 2016 GOP nomination.

However, his statement Wednesday that came in response to a question at a Catholic Charities fundraiser was perhaps the surest sign yet that Bush will take the plunge into what is looking like a crowded pool of potential Republican candidates for president.

Politico reported that the audience erupted in cheers and applause after Bush expressed his interest in following in the steps of President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

But supporters shouldn't expect a full-throated declaration from Bush until after the midterm elections, which are still more than six months away.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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