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ABC News(LACROSSE, Wis.) -- What if the presidential nominating process were like Hunger Games?

Well, President Obama suggested on Thursday that the GOP field has enough candidates to try it out.

“I've lost count how many Republicans are running for this job. They'll have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” Obama joked during a speech in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

The president was in Wisconsin to outline a proposal to update a Department of Labor rule that would giving some 5 million Americans a pay raise through raising the threshold for employees required to receive overtime pay. But the speech also became one of the president’s most aggressive offensives yet against the Republican 2016 field.

The president called the GOP field of presidential hopefuls “an interesting bunch” and said that while they are good people, their ideas are bad. He even compared them to the sort of wacky “Uncle Harry” who joins the family for Thanksgiving dinner.

“You still love him, he's still a member of your family, right? But you've got to correct him, you don't want to put him in charge of stuff. That's all I'm saying,” he said.

The president also directly dinged Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who filed Thruday with the Federal Election Commission as a presidential candidate, ahead of an official campaign launch on July 13.

Without mentioning directly Walker by name, Obama took a swing at the governor’s policies in the state he was addressing.

“We've seen what happens when top-down economics meets the real world,” Obama said. “We've got proof right here in Wisconsin. You had a statewide fair pay law that was repealed. Your right to organize and bargain collectively was attacked, per student education funding was cut, your minimum wage has been stuck in place.”

On the topic of his new overtime pay policy, President Obama said it will ensure that people are getting a "fair day's pay" for "a hard day's work."

"It's one of the single most important steps we can take to help grow middle-class wages," Obama said. "It's going to give as many as 5 million Americans, including 80,000 folks right here in Wisconsin, the overtime protections they deserve. It's the right thing to do. The right thing to do."

Under the new rule, employers will be required to pay employees earning less than $50,440 time-and-a-half when their work week exceeds 40 hours, up from the current threshold of $23,660.

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Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(FALLS CHURCH, Va.) -- Former Virginia senator and author Jim Webb will officially seek the Democratic presidential nomination, he announced on Thursday, acknowledging that he will face an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton.

"After many months of thought, deliberation and discussion, I have decided to seek the office of the Presidency of the United States,” he wrote in a more than 2,000-word statement posted on his campaign website.

The letter highlighted Webb’s military experience. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was awarded two Purple Hearts and several other distinctions in the Vietnam War. Webb also served as Secretary of the Navy and as an Assistant Secretary of Defense.

"There is no greater responsibility for our President than the vital role of Commander in Chief,” he wrote. “Let me assure you, as President I would not have urged an invasion of Iraq, nor as a Senator would I have voted to authorize it,” he continued drawing a clear distinction between himself and Clinton, who voted for the war.

He also criticized several other initiatives from the Obama White House.

"I would not have been the President who used military force in Libya during the Arab Spring,” he wrote, adding: "I would not be the President to sign an executive order establishing a long-term relationship with Iran if it accepts Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.”

He has been traveling the country in recent weeks, speaking to voters in several of the state, including Iowa, that hold early nominating contests.

But Webb faces long odds. A poll out on Thursday from Quinnipiac University shows Webb barely registering among likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa. According to the poll, he garners the support of around 1 percent of Democrats.

"I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money," he wrote. "But our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us."

Webb also the author of five books, including Fields of Fire, a novel published in 1978 about the Vietnam War.

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Jason Merritt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Actress and activist America Ferrera joined the growing ranks of Donald Trump opponents on Thursday, arguing in an online missive that the real estate mogul’s recent comments about Latinos are backfiring.

“I heard what you said about the kind of people you think Latino immigrants are -- people with problems, who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don't want to spend my time chastising you,” she wrote in a piece published on the Huffington Post. “Instead, I'm writing to say thank you!"

In the letter, the former Ugly Better star added: “What you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined!”

Ferrera, who is of Honduran descent, noted that by associating Mexican immigrants with crime, rape and drugs, Trump’s tactic has served to, “energize Latino voters and increase turnout on Election Day against you and any candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.”

Ferrera’s letter is a direct response to discredited statements Trump made in his presidential announcement speech last month, saying, “When Mexico sends its people… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

She pointed out that Latinos are both the youngest and fastest-growing constituency in the United States, offering Trump the following statistics: “You are running for President in a country where the Latino population grew by over 49 percent from 2000-2012, while the rest of the country grew by 5.8 percent. What's more, we are the future. The median age of the average Latino is 27 years old, compared to 42 years old for white Americans. In case you need a translation, that means there are a whole lot of Americans who are Latino and have the right to vote. And, we're not going anywhere.”

Ferrera ends the letter by urging Trump to “Keep it up!”

Ferrera is the latest Latina star to speak out against Trump’s statements, including Ricky Martin, Shakira and Eva Longoria. In recent days, a number of businesses -- including Univsion, NBC and Macy’s -- have also suspended their contracts with Trump.

Ferrara is not officially part of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign but she has been very active with the Clinton Foundation, and specifically Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s “No Ceilings” initiative, which aims to expand opportunities for women and girls.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Stewart F. House/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Perry was in Washington, D.C. Thursday, taking on the issue of race.

The former Texas governor told the National Press Club that the Democratic party has failed African Americans.

"I am here to tell you that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who are truly offering black Americans the hope of a better life for themselves," Perry said.

The presidential hopeful invoked President Obama several times, saying the country's first black president has left black voters behind by focusing on big budget programs and not jobs.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Thursday?

Read on below to find out their campaign schedules:

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator will be in Iowa, where he'll hold town-halls at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge at 4 p.m. ET and Morningside College in Sioux City at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Chris Christie

The New Jersey governor will be in New Hampshire for a town-hall at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Rochester Thursday morning, a roundtable in Portsmouth at 12 p.m. ET, an endorsement event at Martha's Exchange in Nashua at 3 p.m. ET, and a house party in Spofford at 5:15 p.m. ET.

Rick Santorum

The former Pennsylvania senator will respond to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling in a keynote speech to a National Organization for Marriage gala in Washington, D.C. at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Rand Paul

The Kentucky senator will be in Iowa for a meet-and-greet at Grand River Center in Dubuque at 9:30 a.m. ET and another at a farm in Brooklyn at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Mike Huckabee

The former governor of Arkansas continues his Iowa religious-liberty town-hall tour with events at the Best Western Starlite Village in Fort Dodge at 8:30 a.m. ET, Pepper Sprout in Dubuque at 12:30 p.m. ET, and The Drake Restaurant in Burlington at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Bobby Jindal

The Louisiana governor will be in Iowa, where he'll visit the Pizza Ranch in Rock Rapids at 12:30 p.m. ET, Rebo's in Sioux City at 1 p.m. ET, Jolly Time Popcorn Factory in Sioux City at 2:15 p.m. ET, and Gary's on the River in Spencer at 6:30 p.m. ET.

He'll attend a town-hall at Sioux City Museum in Sioux City at 7:45 p.m. ET, and he'll hold a "'Big Parade and Mardi Gras Festivale' Event" at Tysons Events Center in Sioux City at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Martin O'Malley

The former governor of Maryland will be in Iowa, where he'll visit Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy at 12:30 p.m. ET, a house party in Creston at 5:30 p.m. ET, and a meet-and-greet at Draught House in Waukee at 8 p.m. ET.

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US Congress(NEW YORK) — Bernie Sanders “gaining ground” on Hillary Clinton, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

The Vermont senator appears to be closing the gap between him and Clinton in the Iowa Democratic Caucus. He is now trailing Clinton, the front-runner, 52-33 percent among likely Democratic Caucus participants, say the poll results.

Vice President Joe Biden has 7 percent, compared to a 60- 15 percent Clinton lead over Sanders in a May 7 survey of likely Democratic caucus-goers by the independent Quinnipiac University.

In Thursday’s survey, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has 3 percent, while just one percent favor former U.S. Sen. James Webb of Virginia.  

Another 5 percent, according to the poll, are undecided.

Seven percent of Democrats say they would definitely not support Biden, Webb or former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, while 6 percent would not support Clinton.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Scott Walker will announce his presidential intentions on July 13, aides to the Wisconsin governor confirm to ABC News.

The announcement will come in the afternoon in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Walker will also officially file his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.

The news comes on the same day that Walker will greet President Obama on a tarmac in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Obama is coming to Walker’s home turf to tout a plan to give a pay increase to some five million Americans through updating a Department of Labor rule that sets the threshold for overtime pay.

Walker is using the presidential visit as an opportunity to contrast himself with the status quo Democratic agenda, releasing a statement calling the president’s overtime pay proposal “empty political rhetoric.”

"The president's effort is a political pitch but the reality is this will lead to lower base pay and benefits and will cut workers' hours and flexibility in the workplace,” Walker says in the statement.

Walker on Thursday also penned a new op-ed in which he broadly contrasts his economic agenda to that of the president’s.

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Wednesday hailed the start of a "new chapter" as he announced the U.S. and Cuba are opening embassies in their respective capitals later this month, and formally reestablished diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years.

"More than 54 years ago at the height of the cold war, the United States closed its embassy in Havana. Today, I can announce that the United States has agreed to formally reestablish diplomatic relations with the republic of Cuba and re-open embassies in our respective countries," the president said in the Rose Garden Wednesday.

"This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas," he added.

Obama said the historic announcement, which aired live on Cuban television, was "another demonstration that we don't have to be imprisoned by the past."

The president said Secretary of State John Kerry would travel to Havana to "proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more."

"A year ago it might have seemed impossible that the United States would once again be raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana. This is what change looks like," Obama said.

The president announced his intent to move forward with restoring ties between the two countries following the Dec. 17 prisoner exchange and humanitarian release of Alan Gross.

"Nobody expects Cuba to be transformed overnight but I believe that American engagement through our embassy, our businesses and most of all through our people is the best way to advance our interests in support for democracy and human rights," he said.

In the next seven months, top American and Cuban diplomats have met in a series of meetings in both countries to discuss issues surrounding normalizing relations.

Wednesday morning, the chief of the interest section, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, delivered a letter from Obama to Cuban President Raul Castro to officially re-establish diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, Cuban diplomat José Ramón Cabañas delivered the letter for the Cuban side.
According to the diplomatic notes exchanged Wednesday morning, the official date for normalized relations will be July 20.  A senior State Department official said that date will be the official restart date and falls outside of the 15 days notification Congress needs. Following that date, either side could open their embassies.
The state department also delivered their official notification to Congress Wednesday morning, which notifies them of their intent to change the status of the interest section into an embassy.
There is currently no date for Kerry to travel to cuba but he plans to for the embassy opening.

In May, the U.S. removed Cuba from the list of countries supporting terrorism, where it was listed since 1982. In April, Obama and Castro sat down for an historic meeting in Panama, the first time the two leaders engaged in a substantive conversation in-person.

The major sticking point as of the last round of talks, for Americans, has been the freedom for staff to move throughout the country; for the Cubans, it was courses provided to Cuban journalists by the U.S. government at the interests section in Havana, which they say fall outside normal diplomatic activities.

Opponents of the president’s Cuba strategy were quick to criticize the announcement.

“Throughout this entire negotiation, as the Castro regime has stepped up its repression of the Cuban people, the Obama Administration has continued to look the other way and offer concession after concession,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, said prior to the speech.

“A policy of the United States giving and the Castro brothers freely taking is not in our national interest and not a responsible approach when dealing with repressive rulers that deny freedoms to its people,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said. “An already one-sided deal that benefits the Cuban regime is becoming all the more lopsided.”

A senior administration official said the U.S. might not nominate an ambassador to Cuba. Several Congressional opponents of the normalization of relations have threatened to complicate any nominations.

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The Flag pole in front of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, D.C. stands for the first time. It cannot fly a flag, however, until after it is officially declared an Embassy. (ABC News)(WASHINGTON) -- After more than 50 years, the Cuban and American embassies will fly their flags once again.

According to diplomatic notes exchanged on Saturday, formal diplomatic relations between the two countries will be normalized beginning July 20; following that day embassies in both countries will be opened.

ABC News recently got an exclusive tour of the rarely-seen building in Washington, D.C, from the expansive entry hall to the Hemingway bar.

The Cuban Interest Section will soon become the Cuban Embassy after more than 50 years. Earlier this month the Cubans put a flag pole up in preparation for the reopening. They can’t fly a flag on the property, which is technically run by the Swiss, until they are once again an embassy.

“We never had the flagpole in the place where it is now, because it was on the top of the house,” Ambassador Jose Cabanas told ABC News. “And it's the first time ever, we had the flag pole outside, and the meaning is different. ... We're finally recognizing each other as states, as sovereign countries. And for anyone, any citizen in the world, the use of his own flag is very important and meaningful.”

Walking into the Cuba Interest Section, which was built in 1917, a grand marble staircase greets you. Office space lines the open floor, with ornate shields above the doors for the six original provinces of Cuba.

When relations broke off in 1961, Czechoslovakia came in to care and protect the building

Above the stairs is a stained-glassed window.

President Fidel Castro visited the building April 1959. “We have a picture of him, by the side of the stair, and at the time, he visited the National Press Club,” Cabanas said. “He had a couple of presentations in Washington, D.C. He paid respect to President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial."

The formal sitting room, or the “blue room” as they refer to it, on the second floor is often used for meetings with other diplomats, scholars and business people. “A lot of business men these days,” Cabanas said.

The building was built as a house for the family of the head of the mission at the time, so every room includes a fireplace. Many of them still original.

The Cuban Interest Section already has the flag it will fly once it is declared an embassy.

“It's three meters,” Cabanas said. “We have very tough rules on our use the flag. ... In our case, we raise the flag every day and we take it down every day. ... If it's raining or it's snowing, you have to take it down and take care of it and protect it.”

The grand ballroom is often used for parties and functions; Cuban art adorns the walls. The entire room has been recently refurbished, including the wood floors. Cabanas pointed out the renovations began before any changes or movement in restoring diplomatic relations began.

“More than four years ago, and it was part of our normal renovation of our facilities,” he said. “I mean, we own the place, the house and the land, as we do in all places in the world.”

Inside the Embassy they have a bar called the “Hemingway bar” as a tribute to American writer Earnest Hemingway.

“We believe he's part of our cultural history. Here you have original pictures of the Hemingway tournament, the fishing tournament in Cuba. He met our president, our leader Fidel Castro, back in the '60s. They had a true, a very good friendship, I would say,” Cabanas said.

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate's top Democrat has joined the ongoing fight between the Burning Man arts festival and the Bureau of Land Management over adding amenities to the famed do-it-yourself celebration.

The agency, which administers government-owned land, has asked organizers to construct a million-dollar compound for officials supervising the event, which is held on federal land.

In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, slammed the BLM's "outlandishly unnecessary" demands as out of touch with the spirit of Burning Man.

Among other amenities, the facility would include washing machines, flushing toilets and 24-hour access to ice cream, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

"Part of Burning Man's philosophy is self-reliance and living with the elements is part of the experience," Reid said in the letter. "Flush toilets and laundry facilities can be found about ten miles away ... if BLM's employees need such amenities."

The request comes as event organizers and federal officials negotiate the term of the permit for this year's event.

Federal officials maintain that the accommodations are needed to support staff monitoring the growing event in its remote location, a spokesperson said. Festival organizers say the requests are excessive, and not cost-effective.

Nearly 70,000 people flocked to last year's festival, a famously grungy affair in the Nevada desert where attendants camp out, bring their own food and share bathrooms.

Reid isn't the only politician to side with Burning Man over the federal government.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, told the Gazette-Journal that the demands were "over the top," while Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, has also raised his concerns with BLM Director Neil Kornze.

"The BLM ... appears to be asking for the Black Rock Desert version of the Four Seasons hotel as a condition of the permit," he said in a statement to ABC News.

The Bureau of Land Management is now reassessing its original proposal, according to a spokesperson.

The story was first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

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nata_vkusidey/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has officially settled #GuacGate2015, the Internet's intense reaction to a controversial New York Times tweet on Wednesday saying, "Add green peas to your guacamole. Trust us."

The verdict? Obama, like the majority of America, isn't buying the ideas of peas in his guac.

Obama added he respected the Times but that he's sticking to his "classic" recipe of onions, garlic and hot peppers for his guac.

His response was favorited over 8,000 times and retweeted over 7,000 times as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday -- only a little over an hour from when he first started #AskPOTUS, a live Twitter chat intended to answer the nation's questions about health care.

Obama revealed last year that chips and guacamole were his favorite dish at a kids' state dinner meant to promote healthy eating.

"My big thing -- chips and guacamole," Obama said. "Basically, if there is a bowl of good chips and guacamole..."

"He loses it," First Lady Michelle Obama said.

"I lose my mind," Obama said. "I lose my mind."

The rest of the Internet also lost its mind after the New York Times made the contentious suggestion to add peas to your guacamole.

In other news, though Jeb Bush disagreed with Obama's decision to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, he did agree with Obama's stance on peas in guac.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It’s only been two weeks since he entered the presidential race, but billionaire Donald Trump has already seen some of his most prominent business relationships go up in smoke following remarks he made about Mexico on the very first day of his campaign.

“When Mexico sends its people they aren't sending their best,” Trump said at his announcement event last month from Trump Tower. “They are bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they are rapists and some are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting.”

In light of those comments, several of the business partners Trump has cultivated over the years decided they no longer wanted to be in business with the Donald. Here’s a look at who has dumped Trump.


The first domino to fall was the largest network aimed at Hispanics across the globe, Univision.

“We see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization,” the company said in a statement.

In an interview with ABC News’ Tom Llamas, Trump said, “I love the Mexican people, I have great respect for Mexico.”

In response to Univision dropping the pageant, Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit this week against the company for damages.


Following Univision, the Mexico-based broadcaster fired Donald Trump for his comments saying in part, “Mr. Trump hasn’t demonstrated understanding or respect toward Mexican migrants and has offended the entire Mexican population.”

Televisa also owns the Mexican equivalent of Trump’s Miss USA pageant and said they would not be sending a representative to compete in Miss Universe.

Farouk Systems

Farouk Systems Inc, which owns hair care brands such as CHI and BioSilk, said they too are done with the Donald.

“Our company is multicultural with people of Latin American descent making up a large percentage of our employees and loyal customers,” company CEO Basim Shami said in the statement. “As a company proudly founded on the concept of coming to the USA in pursuit of the American Dream, Mr. Trump’s comments do not and will never reflect our company’s philosophy or practices.”


The network that has worked with Trump for both Miss Universe and his hit reality television series, The Apprentice, also said goodbye to the Donald this week.

“Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” the company said in a statement.

NBC said Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue. Trump fired back, saying, “If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court.”


The magic of one of America’s biggest retail giants is no longer with Trump. Macy’s pulled its star away from the Donald today, saying in part, “We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation."

"In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004,” the retailer added.

Trump responded by saying it was actually his decision to end the relationship with Macy’s: “Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country. Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators, who are not looking out for the people they purport to represent, but only for themselves. It is people like this that are actually running our country because our leaders are weak and ineffective.”

Even New York City, where the Trump Organization is based, is beginning to question its relationship with Trump.

“We are reviewing Trump contracts with the City," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city. Trump’s comments do not represent the values of inclusion and openness that define us as New Yorkers. Our Mexican brothers and sisters make up an essential part of this city’s vibrant and diverse community, and we will continue to celebrate and support New Yorkers of every background."

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Pictured are the old (R) and new parts (L) of the White House fence. (ABC News)(WASHINGTON) -- Metal spikes were installed atop the White House fence Wednesday, the latest enhancement to fortify the security perimeter at the White House.

Two metal spikes of different lengths were squeezed in between the existing spears lining the fence.

U.S. Secret Service and the National Park Service mounted the “removable anti-climb feature” Wednesday afternoon, but the entire installation process will take six weeks. 

Designed by Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, the metal spikes installed Wednesday are only temporary and will be replaced once a long-term solution is implemented. 

The Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission will review and approve a final design in the fall and construction on a permanent security enhancement will begin in 2016. The renovation comes nearly 10 months after Omar Gonzalez scaled the White House fence, sprinted across the North Lawn and entered the White House.

Some semblance of a fence has existed on the White House grounds dating back to Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. Around 1801, Jefferson built the first post and rail fence around the White House, according to the White House Historical Association.

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An umbrella closed on President Obama's head as he walked in rainy Tennessee, July 1, 2015. (ABC News)(MADISON, Tenn.) -- Everyone’s had an umbrella close on their head from time to time. But it’s not every day you see it happen to the president of the United States.

As he stepped out of his limo into rainy Nashville weather Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama was handed an umbrella. But seconds later as the president was walking, the umbrella closed on his head.

The mishap occurred when the president picked up Kelly Bryant, a breast cancer survivor who wrote to the president about her experience with the Affordable Care Act.

Bryant accompanied the president to a speech in Madison, Tennessee where he is talking about the success of his signature healthcare plan.

While the president didn’t discuss his umbrella snafu, he did note that Bryant had the “distinction of possibly being the first person ever to be picked up at her house by a presidential motorcade.”

“It was so close to the school we said well we might as well swing by and get her,” he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The first photos are beginning to trickle out on social media of people enjoying the first White House tours free of a photo ban.

In what appears to be the first selfie shared on Twitter from a White House tour, a woman poses with a bust of George Washington and tweets “a quick selfie with George W before the Secret Service get me!”

This is the first time in over 40 years that people have been allowed to take photos during White House tours and the White House is encouraging visitors to share their photos using the hashtag #whitehousetour. Under the new rules, visitors are allowed to snap photos on their phones and small cameras, though selfie sticks and video cameras continue to be on the "Prohibited Items" list.

The first tour group Wednesday morning consisted of bloggers, individuals and organizations with large numbers of followers on social media, a White House official said, so as to make sure that the first photos reached a wide audience.

Upon entering the White House, visitors were greeted by the first family's dogs, Bo and Sunny.

Visitors were also shown a video that first lady Michelle Obama posted earlier Wednesday to Instagram announcing that the ban was lifted and a sign reminding visitors that “Photography is Encouraged. But please remember to turn off your flash and no video recording or streaming.”

“If you’ve been on a White House tour, you may have seen this sign,” the first lady says in the video as she holds a sign that reads “NO PHOTOS OR SOCIAL MEDIA ALLOWED.” She then says, “Not anymore!” and rips through the sign.

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