Politics
Subscribe To This Feed

Hillary Clinton (L) Photo: ABC/ Martin H. Simon -- Martin O'Malley (R) Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a significant lead in Iowa when compared to former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley -- a potential opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 -- in at least one platform: Facebook.

Clinton, who announced last week that she’ll again run for the White House, had nearly 90 times the number of Facebook interactions in Iowa compared to O'Malley during a period measured earlier this month. The former Maryland governor is currently considering a bid for the presidency.

According to Facebook, which provided the data to ABC News, the number of interactions from April 8 to April 14 related to Clinton were 268,000, while the number of interactions related to O'Malley were 3,000.

During the that time period, Clinton both announced she’d be seeking the White House and also made her first campaign stop in the Hawkeye state.

Facebook defines “interactions” on the social platform as posts, comments, likes and shares.

According to the Facebook data, 57 percent of the interactions related to Clinton were positive, while 82 percent of the interactions related to O’Malley were positive.

Interactions in Iowa related to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- who has repeatedly said she would not be running for president –- were 15,000, while interactions related to Vice President Joe Biden matched those of O’Malley.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images(NASHUA, N.H.) -- Nineteen Republican presidential prospects gathered in New Hampshire this weekend and largely aimed their fire not at each other, but rather at Hillary Clinton, who's declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton, who plans to arrive Monday in the Granite State for two days of events, was a ripe target for the GOP hopefuls -- a few who have already jumped into 2016 presidential race and others who appear to be getting ready to run.

Here's a look at some of the sharpest attack lines -- and laugh lines -- aimed at Clinton as she prepares to begin her second full week as a presidential candidate:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:

"Hillary's going to raise $2.5 billion -- that's a lot of Chipotle, my friends."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

"How would I contrast my style with Hillary's? Listen. We're different people of different generations and so you know we're going to approach things in different ways."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"The orchestrator of these policies that we have seen that I just mentioned will most likely be the Democrat nominee for president. She's the one that literally brought the reset button to the Kremlin, to reestablish those new relationships with Russia. Well they did re-set us -- that's for sure -- they re-set us back to pre-1989 from my perspective."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal:

"We need to contrast with Secretary Clinton on substance. I think it's a mistake for the Democratic Party to engage in a coronation. I think a primary competition would be better for them, but they don't look to me for advice, so that's O.K."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul:

"I think that her dereliction of duty, her not doing her job, her not providing security for our forces, for our diplomats, should forever preclude her from holding higher office."

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina:

"Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States. I was asked this morning on Fox News whether a woman's hormones prevented her from serving in the Oval Office -- not that we have seen examples ever of a man's judgment being clouded by hormones, including in the Oval Office. Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States, but not because she is a woman. Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States because she does not have a track record of accomplishment, because she lacks the candor and the transparency that are so necessary to leadership and because she will pursue a set of policies that crush the possibilities and the potential of this great nation."

Real estate mogul Donald Trump:

"You can't just sit down with three people that have been vetted and say, 'oh gee it was a wonderful day' and look nice in a brand new suit that looks like it was from central casting. You just can't do that. Eventually she's going to have to answer questions. She's going to have to answer how she did as secretary of state, OK? I mean the world blew up."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham:

"I think it's something out of the North Korean playbook. I mean at the end of the day, the dear leader -- Kim Jong-un -- everybody he meets likes him. I can't believe that this is a listening tour. I mean one -- the only way you can listen to her is chase her car down the interstate. You've got to come and do what we're doing here today: Take questions from real live people. And, at the end of the day, if this is a listening tour then I'm going to get drafted by the NBA."

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee:

"Every time I ever ran for public office. I ran against the Clinton political machine. I ran against their money. I ran against them. Virtually every election Bill and Hillary Clinton would come back and campaign against me. If somebody wants to know what it's like running against their organization and their apparatus, come see me and I'll tell you. I'll show you some scars, because I have a few."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

"As I was coming up, I was a little bit startled because I could have sworn that I saw Hillary's Scooby Doo van outside. And then I realized it couldn't possibly be that because I'm pretty sure you all don't have any foreign nations paying speakers right? We want something new. We want new leadership to change the page and to turn around. You know the Democratic version of this I'm pretty sure is Hillary Clinton having a conversation with a Chipotle clerk."

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(CONCORD, N.C.) -- A North Carolina man may influence the 2016 presidential election from beyond the grave if his family gets their way.

Larry Darrell Upright, an “avid golfer” who loved his family, died Monday in Concord, North Carolina. He was 81.

Upright didn't, however, apparently share that love for Hillary Clinton.

"The family respectfully asks that you do not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016," read the obituary, which ran in the local newspaper. "R.I.P. Grandaddy.”

His family described Upright as a diehard Republican, according to ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“He was very passionate about politics and probably passed a little of that on, so it was natural for me to think about that,” his daughter, Jill McLain, said of adding the unconventional line at the last minute.

Upright may get his final wish. Over a dozen well-wishers posting their condolences on a Kannapolis, N.C., funeral home’s website, which also carried the obituary, made it clear they would steer clear of Clinton, the former secretary of state who announced last Sunday that she was running for president.

"Our deepest sympathies to the Upright family,” wrote one. “Rest assured we will NOT vote for Hillary in 2016."

"I am a stranger and I do not know you or your departed,” another wrote. “However, I saw the obit and wanted to express my condolences and to let you know that your sense of humor is wonderful. Please know that we will not be voting for Hillary.”

Not everyone was swayed, though.

"Sorry for your loss,” wrote one poster, “but I'm voting for Hillary anyway."

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NASHUA, N.H.) -- Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the final speaker at Saturday’s Republican Leadership Summit, highlighted that it was time the United States got serious about dealing with the ISIS threat in the Middle East.

“We need a clear-eyed commander in chief who number one sets the objective and the objective is not to weaken, it's not to degrade ISIS, it is to utterly and completely destroy ISIS,” Cruz said.

Cruz was among several Republicans to address the GOP Leadership Summit in Nashua, New Hampshire on Saturday.

The presidential candidate once again called for abolishing the IRS, and touched on some of his foreign policy positions. He slammed the Obama Administration for not sending a top official to France after the terrorist attacks there in January, saying "imagine a president who stands with our allies."

“We all remember just a few months ago seeing over 40 world leaders walking arm and arm in solidarity with France against radical Islamic terrorism and where oh where oh where was the United States of America,” he said.

After his speech, Cruz was asked if he will vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.

“My vote on Loretta Lynch is going to be unambiguously, No,” Cruz said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NASHUA, N.H.) -- Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke about the need of a strong national defense while attacking Hillary Clinton’s actions in a speech on Saturday.

Paul was among the many Republican presidential hopefuls in Nashua, New Hampshire over the weekend to speak to voters at the GOP Leadership Summit.

The presidential candidate spoke Saturday morning about what it will take for the Republicans to win back the White House, saying his party needs to stand up for civil liberties and that the number one priority of the federal government is national defense.

“The president won't name the enemy but I will. It's radical Islam. Until we name it we can't defeat them and I can tell you this, that if I'm ever the commander in chief, I will do everything it takes to stop and defend the country against radical Islam,” Paul said.

The presidential candidate also criticized members of his own party for being too quick to get involved in conflicts abroad, saying that we need to think before we get involved.

“In fact if you can say one thing that is probably true in the Middle East, every time we've toppled a secular dictator, a secular strong man, we've gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam,” he said.
He also attacked Hillary Clinton’s actions in Benghazi, Libya while she was Secretary of State, saying she completely ignored countless requests for more staffing ahead of the deadly attack in September 2012.

“I think that her dereliction of duty, her not doing her job, her not providing security for our forces, for our diplomatic missions, should forever preclude her from holding higher office, applause,” he said.

Paul added that Clinton’s actions of not providing security there, should "forever preclude her from holding higher office."

“To win these purple states that aren't so easy anymore I think we need to be the party that defends the entire Bill of Rights,” he said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NASHUA, N.H.) -- The first primary election is a little over 300 days away, but Republicans are already trying to capture the moment in New Hampshire and make their pitch to voters.

A total of 19 Republican presidential hopefuls are in the Granite State this weekend for the sold-out Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is officially running, got the New Hampshire million dollar question when attending a house party: Is he a Boston Red Sox Fan?

"“How bout this? I’m not a Yankees fan,” he said.

Recent polls show Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is yet to announce, leading the pack, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Voters on Saturday will get to hear from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, both of which have announced they are running for president, as well as Scott Walker and Donald Trump.


Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  In his weekly address, President Obama spoke of his administration’s efforts to combat the threat of climate change in advance of activities planned for Earth Day on Wednesday.

“The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead,” Obama said. “And that’s what we’re doing,”

The president points out that carbon pollution has been reduced by 10 percent since 2007, even as the economy has recovered from the Great Recession, and that the United States continues to be a leader in wind  and solar power production.

“America is number one in wind power, and every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008,” he said.

Obama said he will call attention to the threat of climate change during a visit to the Florida Everglades on Wednesday, where he plans to speak about the threat it poses to the nation’s economy and to the world.

Read the full transcript of the president's address:

Hi everybody.  Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home.  And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.
 
2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.  This winter was cold in parts of our country – as some folks in Congress like to point out – but around the world, it was the warmest ever recorded.
 
And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe.  Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.
 
And on Earth Day, I’m going to visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy.  The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country.  But it’s also one of the most fragile.  Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.
 
So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored.  The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead.  And that’s what we’re doing.  We’re using more clean energy than ever before.  America is number one in wind power, and every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.  We’re taking steps to waste less energy, with more fuel-efficient cars that save us money at the pump, and more energy-efficient buildings that save us money on our electricity bills.
 
So thanks in part to these actions, our carbon pollution has fallen by 10 percent since 2007, even as we’ve grown our economy and seen the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record.  We’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China has committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.  And because the world’s two largest economies came together, there’s new hope that, with American leadership, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late.
 
This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency.  It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them.  It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm.  It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.  This is the only planet we’ve got.  And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.
 
Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week’s Republican address, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois spoke of the ongoing need to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Kirk, the co-author of sanctions legislation in the Senate, said the United States and its negotiating partners in the nuclear talks must continue to use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons.

“‘Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama,” said Kirk. “Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted which would fund Iran’s terror subsidiaries with billions. Secretary Kerry testified before the Senate and said it would only take two more months to build a bomb.”

Kirk argues that the current economic sanctions are what forced Iran back to the negotiating table.

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Hello I’m Senator Mark Kirk, I’m honored to represent the people of Illinois in the Senate.

I’m here today to talk about my work to ensure that the next generation of Americans never has to hear about a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf.

Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror.

Iran’s Aytatollah’s are now trying to build their own nuclear weapons.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to annihilate Jewish families across the state of Israel.

Four years ago I authored a bipartisan Iran sanctions Legislation that passed the Senate by a vote of 100-0.

These sanctions forced Iran back to the negotiating table.

They were so effective that they dropped the value of Iran’s currency by ¾.

This was probably the entire reason why the Iranians even showed up at the negotiations.

Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama.

Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted which would fund Iran’s terror subsidiaries with billions.

Secretary Kerry recently testified before the Senate and said it would only take two more months for Iran to build a bomb.

We must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.

Stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons is the greatest challenge to peace in our time.

After the Holocaust we promised ‘never again.’

We must keep terrorists from hurting our allies and our nation.

Thank you for listening and God Bless the United States of America.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

marcnorman/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to presidential politics, there’s more than one kind of primary. There are the ones that happen in the states (such as the New Hampshire primary), the one that happens behind-the-scenes (the money primary) and the one that happens in the media (the perception primary).

Introducing the Chipotle primary.

Yes, the early weeks of the 2016 presidential race may be remembered as a moment when the candidates and potential candidates faced a barrage of questions about burritos.

It all started with Hillary Clinton’s pit stop at an Ohio branch of the Mexican fast food chain on her recent road trip to Iowa. She ordered a chicken burrito bowl with guacamole, a chicken salad and a drink. Her aide forked over $21 for meal and reportedly kept the change, leaving nothing for the tip jar.

Now, it’s officially become something candidates and potential candidates for the White House -- repeat, the White House -- have to talk about.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, where Marco Rubio was campaigning for president on Friday, the Florida senator was asked whether he tipped during his own recent visit to a Chipotle restaurant in Washington, D.C.

“I’m sure we did. We always tip,” Rubio explained to reporters. “My dad was a service sector worker."

(The Rubio campaign later clarified that an aide paid for the senator and was in a rush without cash and didn’t tip. But Rubio wasn’t aware no tip was left until the aide 'fessed up to it).

So it goes.

On Thursday night, at an event in Concord, New Hampshire, reporters pressed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the all-but-declared presidential hopeful, whether he had ever eaten there.

"Do I go there? Yeah, I go there. The one on US 1. Drive my own car, park my own car, get out of my own car,” he said. “Get Chipotle, take it home.”

Pressed even further about his tipping practices, Bush shrugged, and gave a quick nod.

But he suggested it was all a moot point: “We normally cook our own food, my own Mexican food at home. It’s pretty good.” (No tipping required).

So, presidential candidates, who’s up next in the burrito line?


Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former first lady Laura Bush provided new details about former President George W. Bush’s much-discussed painting hobby during an interview with ABC News, saying that the couple has had an artist’s studio constructed at their ranch in Texas and that her husband’s latest project is a “big series of prickly pear cactus.”

“It's been a lot of fun for him, very engaging, I think, painting is," she said during an interview conducted last week. "And now that we have the new studio at the ranch, we can -- he can paint there more.”

The topic came up as Laura Bush and ABC News' Jonathan Karl took a brief tour of the newly renovated White House Visitor's Center on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the street from the White House. The two had just viewed a photo on display of her preparing for the first White House State Dinner in September 2001 with then-Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Bush said her husband, who “has teachers,” might give one of his cactus paintings to Karen Hughes, who served in the Bush administration, for her house in Santa Fe.

A self-portrait done by the former president leaked online following the hacking of a relative’s email account in 2013. Later that year, Bush told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that he loved to paint and that it changed his life in an “unbelievably positive way.”

The former first lady, sitting down with Karl, discussed her post-White House life, said the “chef” was the thing she missed most about living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and recalled fond memories of walks abound Washington’s tidal basin, a picturesque spot resplendent with cherry blossoms this time of year.

She enjoyed “driving in now and seeing the cherry blossoms,” she said. "And when we lived here, when we lived in the White House, I had a friend and we'd walk real early in the morning around the tidal basin under the cherry blossoms before any other walkers were out.

“I miss that," she added. "Washington is a beautiful city. It's like a big national monument. I miss the city of Washington, for sure.”


Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama used unusually blunt rhetoric on Friday regarding the fierce opposition from his own party in Congress to the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Being opposed to this new trade agreement is essentially a ratification of the status quo, where a lot of folks are selling here but we're not selling there,” Obama said at a bilateral meeting with the Italian Prime Minister.

The president pointed to Japan, a negotiator in the agreement, and the fact that while DC’s streets are flooded with Japanese vehicles you’d be hard pressed to find a Chrysler in Tokyo.

“There's going to be a set of democratic senators and house members who traditionally have just, on principle, opposed trade because the unions have just on principle, regardless of what the provisions are, have opposed trade. And then there are others like me who believe we cannot stop a global economy at our shores," he said. "We've got to make sure we're writing the rules so that we have a level playing field.”

The president called the TPP’s financial and environmental protections the “most progressive agreement” in trade history and that the trade promotion authority he seeks in Congress to pass it would afford him the same privilege enjoyed “every president in the post-war era, which the exception of Richard Nixon, has received.”

The president also lashed out against Congress for the lack of progress on Lynch’s confirmation, what he called a “crazy situation” and “embarrassing,” particularly in light recent bipartisan cooperation on other hot button issues, like the TPP.

“There's no reason for it,” Obama said, after noting she had already twice been confirmed by the same body for previous jobs. “Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue that's completely unrelated to her.”

“There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It's gone too far. Enough. Enough,” he said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

vichie81/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Kuntzler said that when he and nine other people picketed the White House 50 years ago on Friday, protesting the government's treatment of gays and lesbians, he could not imagine how far the gay rights movement would come in five decades.

That protest on April 17, 1965, is believed to the first gay rights demonstration, advocates say.

"It was so revolutionary,” Kuntzler, 73, said. “It had never been done before anywhere in the world. We all wore coat and ties and we all had pseudonyms."

At the time they felt they had to use made-up names to protect their identities, he said.

"I wasn’t scared," said Kuntzler, who had moved from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, to Washington three years before. "I was intrigued by the idea. But I was intimidated by all the photographers. I was only 23. And as they came across the street they started photographing us. Every time I approached the cameras, I hid behind my sign because I was unnerved by the whole thing. But I don’t think I was scared. I was very open and proud of being gay.”

The group was mostly fighting for gays and lesbians to keep their government jobs. Fifty years later, Kuntzler, who spent his life working for gay rights, is astonished by how the country has evolved and the strides the community has made.

“My sign read, '15 million homosexuals protest federal treatment.' It reflected what I thought," said Kuntzler, who was working as a brick and tile trade associate at the time.

"We could not conceive then the astonishing progress we would eventually make as a community,” the Washington resident said. "The idea that gay people, gay men and women, could work openly in the government and serve in the military. It was beyond our imagination.

“The concept of gay marriage -- we didn't even conceive of the idea. Now the Supreme Court is getting ready to rule and it's legal in 37 states including D.C."

For others, it's hard to imagine what life would be like if it weren't for the pioneers at the White House picket like Kuntzler, Barbara Gittings or Frank Kameny, who all went on to be leaders in the gay rights movement.

"It's awesome to say, as a 52-year-old lesbian, that I have a daughter -- as if it's such a simple thing," said Ellen Kahn, head of the Children, Youth and Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign. "When Barbara Gittings protested in front of the White House, LGBT people couldn't imagine getting married, having children, and being out and protected at work."

For Kuntzler there is a sense of accomplishment.

"I never thought it would happen way back then," Kuntzler says. "I was never terribly interested in advancing myself but in advancing the community. I was able to accomplish that."


Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama appeared on Friday to have softened his position on a key element of the Iran nuclear deal: When sanctions would be lifted.

The White House has consistently said that under any nuclear agreement, sanctions must be lifted gradually as the Iranians demonstrate they are complying with the agreement.  

The topic of sanctions has been described by the White House as a key element of the deal, and an answer to critics who say Iran cannot be trusted.  

After the interim agreement was reached on April 2, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei insisted sanctions must be lifted immediately and the timing of sanctions relief emerged as a major sticking point to reaching a final deal.  

At his joint press conference on Friday with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Obama was asked directly about this and, for the first time, he did not rule out lifting sanctions immediately.

In a long answer, the President said reaching a final agreement will take “some creative negotiations” and suggested that the timing of sanctions relief is less important than having the ability to re-impose sanctions if Iran does not comply with its part of the deal.

“Our main concern here is making sure that if Iran doesn't abide by its agreement that we don’t have to jump through a whole bunch of hoops in order to reinstate sanctions,” said President Obama.

Previously the White House has been emphatic that there would be no deal unless sanctions are lifted gradually.

“It’s very clear and understood that sanctions relief will be phased,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said just last week. “The fact of the matter is, we have a framework. The president has said if the details don’t bear out, we won’t have a deal.”

The President also seemed to soften the U.S. position on another key Iranian issue:  the purchase of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia.  

The United States has strenuously objected to this because the system would help Iran defend its nuclear facilities from a military strike.  

On Friday, President Obama seemed to suggest the sale of the system, which Russia says is about to go through, is no big deal and that he is “frankly surprised” the sale did not happen earlier.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A company led by a former White House military aide that is under FBI investigation for allegedly cheating foreign investors out of millions after promising them an easy path to a Green Card should have long ago lost its federal Homeland Security certification, said Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley.

“There's no reason why [federal immigration officials] could not at least suspend a regional center's certification when there is evidence of fraud,” said Grassley, an Iowa Republican, who has called for greater scrutiny of the foreign investment visa program, known as EB-5. Under the controversial U.S. immigration program, foreign investors can obtain visas, and eventually Green Cards, if they invest at least $500,000 in projects that will create American jobs.

One of the companies with federal approval to market the investment visas overseas was set up by the former chief of staff of the White House Military Office and a partner. The firm, called Noble Outreach, promised investors their money would be used to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, including an ambitious hotel, restaurant and conference center development. But the project was never built and investors said in a lawsuit they believe the two company executives took salary and consulting fees while diverting much of the $16 million in investment money into separate companies or entities they controlled.

Timothy O. Milbrath, the vice president of Noble Outreach, and retired military adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, told ABC News that because of the ongoing litigation, he cannot say what happened to the money but that, “Everything is accounted for.”

“I can honestly say that what we have here -- the claims are not substantiated,” he said in an interview. He said the problems Noble Outreach encountered were the fault of a badly managed federal program that hampered the company’s efforts to get projects going and recruit new investors.

As ABC News reported in February, an internal government review found that more than 30 EB-5 projects have come under criminal investigation, including Noble Outreach. But the Department of Homeland Security has continued to certify many of those firms, even as other federal agencies were investigating them.

Homeland Security officials said they remain powerless to revoke a regional center’s certification unless there is proof they have not been creating jobs.

“USCIS only has the authority to terminate a regional center if there is evidence the center is no longer promoting economic growth -- not on the basis of national security concerns,” an agency spokesman told ABC News in a written statement. “This lack of discretion limits the ability of the Director or the Secretary to terminate a regional center in the event of suspected or even proven criminal activity.”

Grassley responded, “Fraud does not promote economic growth.”

“It seems more likely that the agency won’t decertify a regional center because of its apparent belief that those with political connections should get preferential treatment,” Grassley said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson provided a statement to ABC News saying he is urging Congress to provide his agency “legal discretion to deny or revoke cases when necessary, authority to exclude people with criminal backgrounds from participating in EB-5 regional centers, and authority to require regional centers to certify compliance with our securities laws.”

The EB-5 program comes to Congress for reauthorization this year. The visa option exploded in popularity over the past few years, as businesses and builders began to view it as a welcome option to attract investment during the economic downturn. Foreign investors using EB-5 have financed a number of successful projects, including a Brooklyn, New York basketball arena, a Vermont ski resort and a Los Angeles hotel development.

But it has also generated controversy. Last year, the Security and Exchange Commission issued an investor alert because of the number of EB-5 fraud cases that had surfaced.

Grassley said he believes it “is in need of substantial reform to ensure that national security is not compromised, jobs are truly created and ethical standards are being met.”

At the same time, a spokesman for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told ABC News that his office is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Noble Outreach. Under a prior administration, the city signed a 30-year agreement that gave Noble Outreach the designation of being the city’s broker for foreign investors seeking visas through the EB-5 program. Landrieu’s spokesman said the city has been stymied from participating in the program since Noble Outreach fell silent more than a year ago.

“We are frustrated that Noble Outreach did not deliver on its capital investment promises, and we are cooperating fully with [investigators],” Landrieu spokesman Brad Howard said. “Eventually, we hope to end the prior Administration’s 30-year exclusive [agreement] with Noble Outreach in a responsible way that does not adversely impact those who have previously invested in New Orleans.”

Terry Sumpter, who is one of a group of investors suing Noble Outreach in a Louisiana court, told ABC News he has lost upwards of $750,000 in the investment, and even worse, has been refused his Green Card. Once two years had expired and the Noble Outreach project had failed to create the required 10 jobs, the government began deportation proceedings, he said.

He said he and other Noble Outreach investors now live in limbo. If they leave the United States, they have little chance of returning as anything more than a tourist, he said.

“I’m here because I want to be,” Sumpter said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only done everything by the book, what has been asked of me, and it seems I’m being punished for that.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHUA, N.H.) — New Hampshire Republicans are hosting this weekend's First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit.

The two-day event begins Friday in Nashua, Hew Hampshire, and will feature speeches by many prospective presidential candidates, including the three senators that have already announced they're running: Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

Other potential candidates who will appear at the event event include Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, and Scott Walker.

The sold-out event has been described by the Washington Post as a “festival of political speechmaking” that was “designed to formally kick off the 2016 presidential campaign in the early primary state.”  The newspaper reports that the summit’s name, advertised as the #FITN Republican Leadership Summit, refers to New Hampshire’s standing as the location of the first in the nation presidential primary.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



God Bless America!

970 KSYL On Air Now
CBS Weekend Roundup
12:00pm - 1:00pm
CBS Weekend Roundup
iheart Radio

Talkradio 970

Now A Member Of The

I Heart Radio Family!

Click The Logo To Listen!

KSYL News

The KSYL Morning Report

Monday Thru Friday 7:10a

 

With Host

Dave Graichen

Click Player To Listen


 

The CBS World News Roundup

Click The Logo to listen

 

Kdixie.com

Non-Stop

Commercial Free

Oldies

The Best Of The 60's & 70's

 

Now On Air At 93.1 HD3

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.

 

State Wire
On Twitter
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance

Weekends

 

All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Kim Komando, The "Weekend" Roundup, Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy!), Art Bell, The Real Estate Show, Bill Handel, Chef John Folse "Stirin' It Up" , Doug Stephan's Weekend, The Pet Show & When Radio Was!.

Leo LaPorte

LEO LAPORTE

THE TECH GUY

SATURDAY / SUNDAY

1 TO 5PM

Resources
LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services