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Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton on Saturday mocked Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz over their positions on gay rights during remarks to the Human Rights Campaign, where she also called for new laws to support and protect the rights of transgendered people.

"Ben Carson says that marriage equality is what caused the fall of the Roman empire," the Democratic presidential candidate said to laughter during a breakfast at the LGBT rights organization's annual gathering in Washington, D.C.

Clinton then mentioned Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which drew hisses and boos from the crowd gathered inside the grand ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, and went on to challenge him to join her at a gay pride parade.

"Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a pride parade. He clearly has no idea what he's missing. Pride parades are so much fun. I was marching in them back when I was first lady. You should join sometime Senator, come on," she said.

Both Carson and Cruz have said they believe marriage is between a man and a woman. ABC News has reached out to their campaigns for comment to Clinton's remarks.

"Hillary would have everyone believe she's been in favor of marriage equality since the fall of the Roman Empire," Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said. "When she's not lying, she's spinning!"

Cruz' campaign did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Clinton, who supports same-sex marriage, also took a forceful stance on transgendered issues during her remarks, and called for the military to allow transgender people to serve openly.

"We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued, loved, and one of us," she said. "Transgendered people are still banned from serving ... that is an outdated rule. I support the policy review that Defense Secretary [Ash] Carter recently announced in the Pentagon. I hope the United States joins many other countries and lets transgendered people join openly.”

She later called out the Republican presidential candidates for ignoring the issue all together.

"See if you are ever in a forum with any of them, if you can get them to say the word transgendered," she said.

In addition, Clinton called on Congress to pass the Federal Equality Act. And she said she would upgrade dishonorable discharges of service members who were forced out of the military in years past for being gay.

Clinton, who announced her support of same-sex marriage in March 2013 in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, thanked the organization on Saturday for the work it has done to help get it legalized in all 50 states.

"The people here today deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. You've helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that," she said.

There were plenty of jokes at the event playing on the fact that Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign share the same initials: HRC.

During the opening of her remarks, Clinton said, "It is great to be back with the other HRC ... there’s no one else I’d rather share my initials with.”

And later, when promising to fight for LGBT rights as president, she said this: "That’s a promise, from one HRC to another."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With the 2016 race for the White House heating up, the gloves are coming off.

With 15 Republican candidates and seven Democrats still in the running for their party’s nomination, the crowded field has created fierce rivalries.

While the debates have offered the candidates an opportunity to confront each other face-to-face, many have been throwing punches on the campaign trail on everything from their opponents’ politics to personality.

Here is a look at the most contentious rivalries so far this campaign season:

Bobby Jindal vs. Donald Trump

Hate is a strong word, but it’s safe to say Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal “really, really, really” (his words) doesn’t like the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump. Jindal has made discussing Trump a central talking point of his campaign, both on social media and on the road.

The real estate mogul was quick to the punch, showing no mercy for Jindal.

Despite Trump’s response, it seems Jindal will continue attacking the Republican front-runner.

Jeb Bush vs. Marco Rubio

Although longtime friends Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio have plenty in common (both are Miami Dolphins fans, fluent in Spanish, and experienced in navigating Florida state politics) the 2016 Republican presidential candidates are trying to set themselves apart. Bush in particular has been on the offensive. This week, as Bush made the cable news circuit, the former governor of Florida made the case that his rival, Marco Rubio, lacks the leadership experience necessary for the White House.

During an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Bush likened the 44-year-old senator's appeal to another young senator who ran for office, Barack Obama.

"Look, we've had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing — 'new and improved,' 'hope and change' — and he didn't have the leadership skills to fix things,” said Bush.

Bush also suggested that Rubio is more of a protégée than a potential rival. When asked about Rubio’s leadership on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Bush said, “Marco was a member of House of Representatives when I was governor and he followed by my lead and I’m proud of that.”

Rubio on the other hand has not engaged in tit-for-tat candidate criticisms with Bush. But that could change soon as Rubio and Bush, the two establishment Republicans, court similar donors. While their polling numbers are neck and neck, Rubio is currently trailing Bush in fundraising. And when money’s involved, the gloves might finally come off.

Martin O’Malley vs. the Democratic National Committee

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley routinely takes on Hillary Clinton, but his biggest white whale of 2016 appears to be the Democratic National Committee and its debate schedule.

There are only six sanctioned opportunities for Democratic presidential candidates to duke it out this cycle, down from 26 Democratic debates during the 2008 presidential election -- and O’Malley is not happy about it.

“We need debate” has become the former Maryland Governor’s battle cry. More recently at the DNC’s summer meeting in August, O’Malley argued the debate schedule was “unprecedented” and a “rigged process” made to benefit Hillary Clinton.

Some members of the O’Malley campaign -- including his campaign manager -- protested outside the DNC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters during the night of the second Republican debate. DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has so far remained firm in her decision to keep the debates capped at six.

Carly Fiorina vs. Hillary Clinton

The only two women running for president, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are often compared to each other.

Fiorina kicked off her campaign by attacking Clinton creating a website, ReadyToBeatHillary.com. In August, Fiorina published an op-ed on CNN.com sharply criticizing Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. “Throughout this campaign, I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to name an accomplishment,” wrote Fiorina. “She has yet to name one.” And during the second Republican presidential debate in September, Fiorina quipped, “if you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Hillary Clinton.”

While Fiorina criticized Clinton’s track record as senator of New York and Secretary of State, Clinton responded by saying “If anyone is interested, there is a long list of what I’ve done and I’m very proud of it.”

But after a summer of attacks, is Fiorina starting to go soft? In a People magazine interview last week, Fiorina came to the defense of her political rival.

"I feel empathy with every woman who is working really hard and giving it all they've got – and Hillary is," Fiorina said. "She's smart, she's hardworking, she's giving it all she's got."

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton outspent Bernie Sanders by a 2-1 margin last quarter, hosted almost 10 times as many fundraisers, and spent millions on television ads when Sanders spent none.

And yet, according to the two campaigns Sanders almost matched Clinton’s fundraising numbers for the third quarter. So now everyone has just one question: how did he do it?

Sanders has been able to bring in cash quickly since day one. In the first 24 hours of his campaign, Sanders was able to raise an astonishing $1.5 million from over 35,000 donors, according to his campaign, more than any other candidate who released first day numbers, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Since then, he has convinced fans to give what they can and keep giving, resulting in a groundswell of small donations. While the official FEC filings do not come out until later this month, according to the campaign, the average donation size last quarter was $30 dollars and 99 percent of all of donations to the campaign were under $100.

In many ways, donors are responding to Sanders' populist message. He does not have a super-PAC. He rails against the Supreme Court’s "Citizen’s United" decision, which opened the floodgates of corporate money into elections. He calls for a “political revolution,” and during each of his campaign stops he says his candidacy is not about Bernie Sanders, but about the people.

As a result, donors at his events say they feel invested in and a part of his campaign, and donating to him has come to represent for many a statement against the status quo.

Considering the fact that many progressive organizations, such as MoveOn.org, say that the number-one issue for many of their members is ending the influence of corporate money in politics, it is not so surprising to see the fundraising surge Sanders is enjoying.

Progressives have shown the power of their networks in the past. In 2012 they mobilized their troops and brought in record-breaking $42 million for Elizabeth Warren’s senate campaign, putting her fundraising totals ahead of every other congressional candidate in the country.

And this election cycle, technology has made it even easier for voters on the left to give. Act Blue, a fundraising firm that helps many Democratic candidates including Bernie Sanders, has focused specifically on mobile applications, allowing voters to give on their phones and, by saving payment information, easily give again to their favorite candidates.

In the final hours before Wednesday’s quarterly fundraising deadline, this ability to give easily made a huge difference for Sanders’ campaign. According to Sanders' campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs, the campaign raised over $2 million alone that day, and it came in quickly with $500,000 spilling in the final two and half hours before the midnight quarterly deadline.

Sanders' campaign is also using social media tactics, email blasts and even limited direct text messaging to both get his political message out and translate that message into fundraising dollars.

While Hillary Clinton’s official Twitter account dwarfs Sanders’ in the number of followers, on Facebook, Sanders has slightly more followers than she does (1.6 million compared to her 1.4 million).

In addition, Sanders’ official campaign benefits from a very coordinated grassroots campaign called “People for Bernie,” which almost shadows the official campaign with chapters in multiple states. These chapters runs their own social media accounts and are able to consistently turn people out to Sanders’ events and drive traffic to his official fundraising pages.

From the beginning, the campaign has also been active on Reddit and now enjoys a huge community of active followers on that site. The "Sanders for President" subreddit page, run by grassroots volunteers, for example, is full of comments like these from the last few days.

“Yesterday I set myself up for $15/mo monthly payments for the next year! GO BERNIE! FEEL THE BERN!” writes one user.

“I donated $2 even though I only had $2.41 in my account until I get paid,” writes another. “Anyone want to match or double that? Poor people can only do so much individually, but together we can raise billions.”

Perhaps most telling is the comparison between Sanders and another presidential hopeful who relied on grassroots support: then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008. Sanders is bringing in small contributions at a faster rate than Obama did. As of Thursday, Sanders had received 1.3 million donations, from 650,000 individual donors, according to the campaign. Whereas, Obama did not met the one million mark until February 2008, and in the same quarter, in 2007, Obama raised $3 million dollars less than Sanders.

“What it tells us is that Bernie has financial staying power,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said. “We have the financial wherewithal that will allow for a major campaign through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond in state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate contests for the Democratic Party nomination.”

On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton often says she knew this would be a competitive race and Wednesday evening, her campaign manager Robert Mook said they were excited by their numbers. "We are thrilled and grateful for the support of hundreds of thousands of donors across the country, helping us raise a record $75 million in the first two quarters,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.

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Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama used his weekly address to urge Congress to pass a long term budget and not to “flirt with another shutdown.”

“Look, that’s not the way America should operate.  It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.  And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week,” he said.

He also said that come December, the U.S. could face another government shutdown, and Democrats and Republicans needed to work together to work on a solution to the budget.

Read the full transcript of the president's address:

Hi, everybody.  Yesterday, we learned that our businesses created another 118,000 new jobs in September.  That makes 67 straight months of job creation, and 13.2 million new jobs in all. 

But we would be doing even better if we didn’t have to keep dealing with crises in Congress every few months.  And especially at a time when the global economy is softening, our own growth could slow if Congress doesn’t do away with harmful austerity measures.

Now, on Wednesday, more than half of Republicans in Congress voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years.  Fortunately, there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks.  Unfortunately, that gimmick only sets up another shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas.

Look, that’s not the way America should operate.  It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.  And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week. 

Here’s why.  A few years ago, both parties agreed to put in place harmful, automatic cuts that make no distinction between spending we don’t need and spending we do.  Those cuts have actually kept our economy from growing faster.  Even worse, they’re actually undermining the middle class. 

Here’s one example.  If we don’t undo these mindless cuts, then next year, we’ll be funding our kids’ education at the same levels per pupil we did in the year 2000.  Compared to my budget, that would be like cutting federal funding for 4,500 schools, 17,500 teachers and aides, 1.9 million students. 

That’s not good for our kids or our economy.  It’s a prescription for American decline.  And it shouldn’t happen.  We should invest in things like education today, or we’ll pay the price tomorrow.

Congress should do its job, stop kicking the can down the road, and pass a serious budget rather than flirt with another shutdown.  A serious budget is one that keeps America strong through our military, our law enforcement; that keeps America generous through caring for our veterans and our seniors; that keeps America competitive by educating our kids and our workers.

That’s what I want to work with serious people in both parties to achieve.  Because that’s how we’ll build on the progress of 13 million new jobs, and help the middle class get ahead.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Wyoming Senator John Barrasso delivered this week's Republican address, discussing regulations that he says are costing Americans billions of dollars.

The senator said the Obama administration had issued too many regulations, specifically those more involved with protecting the environment, citing 2,500 new regulations in the past six years.

“In this administration’s race to control more of what Americans do every day, it has lost all perspective," he said. "The rules are based on ideology, rather than practicality."

He continued to say that Republicans would be putting working on legislation in the fall to "rein in runaway regulations," and President Obama would "have to choose between big government and hardworking Americans."

Read the full transcript of the Republican's address:

Hi. I’m Dr. John Barrasso, United States Senator for Wyoming.

Let me tell you a story about a family in my home state. 

Andy Johnson is 32, he works as a welder. He and his wife Katie have four kids and they live out in the country. They have a few cows and some horses.

Two years ago, the Johnsons wanted to build a small pond in their front yard.

They got their plan approved by the state, and used the pond to provide water for their animals.

They thought it was a beautiful addition to the dry landscape.

The pond attracts birds and other animals that make our state a special place to live.

Everything was fine until the Johnsons got a visit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Even though the state of Wyoming had approved the pond, the federal government had not.

The Johnsons now face fines of more than $37,000 every day, until they remove the pond.
This is what’s happened to government in America. It’s gotten so aggressive, so inflexible, and so unyielding – and seemingly for so little purpose.

And it’s going to get worse.

The Obama administration is seizing new authority to control what it calls Waters of the United States.

This includes things like irrigation ditches, isolated ponds – even low points in the landscape where water might collect after a heavy rain.

The consequences of this new federal authority will be severe.

Local land-use decisions will now be driven by Washington bureaucrats.

And this new water rule is just one of the thousands of regulations that Washington is churning out. 

In the final 15 months of the Obama administration, Washington bureaucrats are working overtime, to finalize new rules on everything from prairie puddles to power plants. 

Just this week, the White House released a new ozone rule that will increase electricity costs and decrease reliability.

In this administration’s race to control more of what Americans do every day, it has lost all perspective.

The rules are based on ideology, rather than practicality.

The result is an explosion of expensive regulations and new federal requirements on hardworking families.

Washington’s assault on Andy Johnson in Wyoming could soon be repeated all across the country.

The Obama administration has issued more than 2,500 new regulations in the past six years.

Complying with these regulations is expected to cost our economy a staggering $680 billion. 

People will be forced to spend millions of hours filling out the paperwork.

You might ask, what do Americans get for all this time and money?

One of EPA’s rules on power plants would cost as much as $2,400 for every $1 in direct benefits.

This imbalance is a big reason why Americans’ wages have been stagnant since President Obama took office.

The costs of these regulations are real.

They are significant to our economy, to good-paying jobs, and to the ability of Americans to live freely.

That’s why Republicans are fighting so hard. 

The White House’s cynical response is that only polluters would oppose these new environmental rules.

I’m fortunate to live in Wyoming, one of the most beautiful, pristine places in the world. 

We protect fiercely our open spaces, our clean air, and water. 

At the same time, the entire country benefits from our responsible and reliable production of American energy. 

We’ve proven you can have both.

The Obama administration long ago left this reasonable objective in the dust.

What the administration won’t tell you is that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress oppose many of these regulations – including the new rules on Waters of the United States.

Senators Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin – all Democrats – joined us to change these water regulations.

Yet commonsense changes to all this rulemaking are being blocked by the president and the liberal Democrat leaders in the Congress.

Even the courts have dealt the Obama administration serious setbacks to its regulatory rampage.

But by the time the courts finally act, the damage is already done – those jobs are gone, and communities suffer. 

The head of the EPA bragged that it didn’t matter if the Obama administration lost in court – because the rules had already been in effect for three years.

That’s outrageous. 

Meanwhile, the fines against Andy Johnson continue to pile up, and could exceed $16 million.
His family cannot afford to fight anymore.

Just like the Johnsons in Wyoming, the American people can’t afford the overreach and the near-constant onslaught of new Washington regulations.

This fall, Republicans will put legislation on the president’s desk to rein in runaway regulations. He will have to choose between big government and hardworking Americans.

We’ve already made our choice.

Thanks for listening.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made an eyebrow-raising comment in the wake of the Oregon school massacre -- saying "stuff happens" in response to a discussion about gun violence.

Bush called the shooting in Oregon "very sad," but said he also had challenges that he faced during his tenure as governor of Florida.

"Look stuff happens, there's always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it's not always the right thing to do," Bush said at the Conservative Leadership Project in Greenville, South Carolina, referring to taking away rights.

A gunman opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College Thursday, killing 9 people and wounding seven others. He later died in a gun battle with police.

The 13 guns he had, including six that he had with him at the school, were all legally purchased, federal officials said today. The guns were either purchased by the shooter or his relatives over the past three years.

President Obama, speaking at the White House, said Bush's remarks didn't deserve a response after a question about them from ABC News' Jonathan Karl.

"I don’t even think I have to react to that one," he said. "I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgments based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting. And they can decide whether they consider that stuff happening."

Obama reacted emotionally to the shooting during an address Thursday and lamented that mass shootings had become "routine" in the U.S. He also called for greater gun control.

Bush attempted to clarify his comments to reporters after the event and said they were "not related to Oregon."

"Just for clarity here," he said. "Let’s make sure that we don’t allow this to get out of control."

He then defended his comments, adding that tragedies happen all the time and the key is to finding the solution to the deeper issue.

"It wasn't a mistake, I said exactly what I said," Bush said.

The Democratic National Committee has already pounced on the comments, amidst a firestorm of conversation on Twitter, condemning the remarks.

"Americans are killed and injured, families lose their loved ones, and an individual who wants to be the President of the United States shrugs his shoulders and says “stuff happens.” No. The reason this keeps happening is because we let it," said DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Bush campaign later shot back that the remarks were "sad and craven" and that Democrats would take Bush's comments out of context to advance their political agenda in the wake of a tragedy.

They also tweeted out out a link to two organizations that are supporting the victims of the mass shooting.

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump is speaking out after the latest mass shooting.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told ABC News that current gun laws have "nothing to do" with the massacre that took place Thursday when a gunman opened fire on a college campus in Oregon killing nine people.

"Well the gun laws have nothing to do with this. This isn't guns this is about really mental illness. And I feel very strongly about it. And again politically correct, 'Oh we're gonna solve the problem, there'll be no problem, etc., etc,'" Trump told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, when asked about the possibility of new gun laws.

"You're always going to have difficulties, no matter how tight you run it. Even if you had great education having to deal with mental illness. You educate the community – you're going to have people that slip through the cracks," he said.

More of the interview with Trump will air Sunday on This Week.

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David Livingston/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence emphasized that universal background checks remain, in their opinion, the most effective way to stop gun violence – even though Oregon, where Thursday’s deadly shooting occurred, recently imposed background checks to all gun sales.

It’s not clear whether the Oregon shooter’s purchases would have been prevented by Oregon’s new law because he obtained them over the last three years, and Oregon’s new law was only imposed in May.

“I would question the motive of anyone who will cite one particular tragedy as an opportunity to dismiss the overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of background checks,” said Dan Gross, the Brady Campaign’s president, on a conference call with reporters.

“To use that tragedy to dismiss a law that is going to save lives really questions the intentions of anyone who would cite that in this regard,” he added.

He also said that the most effective legislation Congress can pass to prevent gun violence still relates to background checks, rather than bills that address the problem solely from the mental health approach.

“Our laser focus on expanding background checks on all gun sales is the most effective way of doing that and as a result the most effective way of preventing gun deaths at the hands of people who are dangerously mentally ill,” he said.

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- He's one of President Obama's longest serving members in the cabinet and now he's stepping down.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Friday he will step down from his position in December, after serving for over seven years.

President Obama formally announced the decision on Friday afternoon and introduced Duncan's replacement, John King Jr.

"He's been an educator all his life, a teacher, a principal, a leader of schools, New York state's education chief," said the president.

Duncan told staff in an email his position as education secretary was "the greatest honor of his life," but he wanted to return to Chicago to spend more time with his family.

Duncan was noted for his Race to the Top program, which had states compete for federal grant money as a way to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has quietly backed out of a planned event with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce after the chamber says Trump found out that he would be asked about his plans to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the organization told ABC News.

The event, scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C., was part of the USHCC's Presidential Candidate Q&A Session, which they have been holding with all presidential contenders throughout the past few months, including former governors Jeb Bush and Martin O'Malley, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

The group's CEO, Javier Palomarez, met personally with Trump last month to secure the date for the Q&A, the organization said.

The cause of the withdrawal, according to the USHCC, which represents Hispanic-owned businesses, was that Trump didn't like the format and worried about the questions and some reporters in attendance, according to Palomarez.

"Mr. Trump was unwilling to abide by the terms and conditions of the USHCC's Presidential Candidate Q&A Series -- the same rules that all participants have previously followed," Palomarez said in a statement. "The USHCC refused to change the format of the forum, show any favoritism, exclude any issues or topics, or grant any immunity from objective scrutiny of his policies."

The Trump campaign responded Friday that the presidential candidate will instead be speaking in Nevada at a campaign rally, and alleged that USHCC requested Trump join the chamber "for a fee amounting to between $25,000 and $2 million, which Mr. Trump refused to do."

The USHCC responded that such accusations are a lie and that it never raised the subject of Donald Trump joining the association.

"Trump’s statement on sponsorship is a lie -- he asked if we would consider [Trump National] Doral [Hotel] for our Miami convention. We said no. We’ve also severed business relations with him indefinitely," Palomarez told ABC News Friday.

Trump has repeatedly declared Hispanics would love him because he'd get jobs back in America, but the USHCC denounces the sudden withdrawal as showing a lack of respect towards Hispanics.

"Withdrawing from the Q&A can only suggest that Trump himself believes his views are indefensible before a Hispanic audience," Palomarez said.

Questions for the session are often sent to candidates in advance. And while questions included issues such as jobs, the economy, women's rights and national security, they also planned to address immigration and immigration reform, Palomarez said.

"As it relates to immigration, our objective was to refocus the national debate toward the more positive, fact-based, and economically sound narrative that the USHCC has been advancing for years, long before the 2016 election cycle," Palomarez said. "With an 84 percent disapproval rating among Hispanics, Trump's decision to withdraw from the session only deepens our community's already negative perceptions of him."

Trump acknowledged his planned attendance of the USHCC event during an interview with Geraldo Rivera in September.

"We don't agree on everything certainly but I think I agreed to do some kind of luncheon or whatever down in Washington," Trump said. Palomarez "is having the meeting down in Washington. So, I will be going down at some point in October or whatever. I will go to Washington. That won't be that easy a meeting because you'll have hundreds of people and they will have constituents of his and they may disagree with me but ultimately we will all get along."

USHCC Communications Director Ammar Campa-Najjar told ABC News that the organization knew Trump was getting cold feet, but actually found out about the withdrawal from an inquiry they received from a media outlet.

One of the questions he was uncomfortable with included his plan on mass deportation, Campa-Najjar said.

"We were going to ask him about his own immigration plans. He cites undocumented immigrants get $4.2 billion a year in tax credits, yet estimates show his own plan to deport 11 million in two years would cost $400 billion," Campa-Najjar explained. "These people have to live 100 years to incur the cost of his two-year plan and he was uncomfortable answering those questions."

The Republican front-runner also was apparently uncomfortable with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos being in attendance, USHCC officials said.

Ramos was kicked out of a Trump news conference in August for trying to ask a question.

Trump backing out makes him the only candidate from either party to not participate in the chamber's series. Currently, Sen. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton have agreed to take part in the series.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama expressed frustration that Thursday’s shooting in Oregon would likely not spur Congress to pass legislation geared at reducing gun violence.

“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said during his address from the White House briefing room Thursday night.

Congress’ last big push on big-ticket gun control legislation came in 2013, with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Va., responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut by crafting a bill that would have expanded background checks for online sales and gun shows.

But it still faced resistance from conservative groups and the National Rifle Association, and did not clear the Senate, nor was it expected to clear the Republican-controlled House.

Since Manchin-Toomey, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have continued to push new legislation, but all have been, at some point or another in the legislative process, become stalled.


A proposal from Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist by trade, would add psychiatric beds and improve access to mental health care across the country. The measure, which has bipartisan support and 128 cosponsors, was first introduced in 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newton. Before the Oregon shooting Thursday, Murphy wrote a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders urging them to take up the bill. “Congress will probably have another moment of silence when we get back next week, and I, like many Americans, will be sitting there extremely frustrated,” Murphy said in an interview with CNN on Friday, calling on Americans to contact their members of Congress.

Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., introduced a bill that would, in part, change medical privacy laws to help families have more information about mentally ill loved ones, in August 2015. Both senators had experienced mass shootings in their home states: a July shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater, and the Sandy Hook massacre. The bill passed Wednesday out of a key committee whose leaders urged the full Senate to take up the measure soon.


Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the number-two Senate Republican, introduced a bill in August backed by the National Rifle Association that would encourage states to send the FBI the records of at least 90 percent of the people they know have serious mental health issues. A Cornyn aide said he is working to line up co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle and is optimistic the House will introduce companion legislation.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., teamed up with his cousin, actress Amy Schumer, to introduce a bill in August that would create rewards for states that submit all necessary records into the background check system. They also called for the Department of Justice to write a report comparing all states’ standards for involuntary commitment for mental health issues. The Schumers’ push came after the Louisiana shooting that occurred at a showing of Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck.”

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., introduced legislation in August that would expand background checks to all gun sales and urge states to submit more records of prohibited purchasers to the National Instant Check System (NICS). Her bill “definitely the best example in our opinion of the opportunity to save lives by keeping guns out of the wrong hands and expanding background checks,” Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told reporters on a conference call Friday.

Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced background check legislation that has received bipartisan support, but not enough to make it through Congress. The measure would expand background checks to cover all commercial firearms sales. Gross said the bill doesn’t go as far as Speier’s bill “but would also do a lot of good.”

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK)— Attitudes on gun control are equivocal, even conflicted.

Past heinous gun crimes haven’t shown much, if any impact, on these attitudes. After the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 15 dead, a Pew poll showed an 8 percent increase in people who favored controlling gun ownership. That swing was erased within a year.

Thirteen years later, the influence was even less noticeable after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 20 children died. Only 2 percent more people favored gun control, with that difference being reversed about 13 months later.

Most U.S. adults support some kind of stricter gun control, but most also are skeptical that such laws will reduce gun deaths, and most see gun ownership as a basic right. These are reasons the issue hasn’t gained higher priority in public attitudes.

In polling this past summer:

  • 88 percent of U.S. adults favored background checks “on all potential gun buyers.” (CBS)
  • 85 percent favored making private sales and gun show sales subject to background checks. (Pew)
  • 70 percent favored a government database to track all gun sales. (Pew)
  • But fewer -- 52 percent -- favored making gun laws more strict overall. (CBS)
  • 52 percent also thought stricter gun laws would do “a lot” or “some” to help prevent gun violence, but 47 percent thought they’d help “not much” or “not at all.” (CBS)
  • In other words, Americans, by 60-40 percent, said they thought stricter gun control laws would not reduce gun-related deaths, according to a CNN poll.
  • Americans, by 54-40 percent, said gun ownership does more to prevent crime victimization than to put people’s safety at risk. (Pew)
  • And the public is divided about evenly on whether it’s more important to protect gun owners’ rights or to control gun ownership, 47-50 percent. (Pew)

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Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden is still deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race -- but how much longer can he go before he’s forced to make the leap?

The “maybe” candidate is benefiting from the speculation in the media for now, but filing deadlines to get on early primary ballots that could force the vice president’s hand are already right around the corner.

The first deadline for Democratic candidates -- and perhaps the absolute moment of truth for Joe Biden -- is just five weeks away: a Nov. 6 deadline to get on the Alabama ballot. The problem snowballs from there, as Biden stands to miss out on competing for hundreds of delegates if he waits into December, not to mention falling behind on fundraising and missing the first debates.

Pundits are split on how long Biden should -- or could -- wait to enter the race. People close to Biden say they don’t view the first debate in mid-October as a deadline. Pundits are also split on whether he should jump in soon to begin fundraising and building campaign infrastructure or continue to wait and see whether Clinton’s campaign continues to falter.

So how long is too long to avoid declaring his candidacy? The longer Biden waits, the more he’ll be in danger of missing three things: deadlines, debates and dollars.

Missing the Deadlines

The longer Biden waits to declare his candidacy, the more he’ll struggle to get on the ballot in early primary states.

Just five weeks remain until the first primary deadline on Nov. 6, when candidates need to pay a $2,500 fee and gather 500 signatures to get on the ballot in Alabama. Biden himself will need to sign a statement of candidacy form with the state party. Roughly 60 delegates -- a small fraction of the total number of people who will elect the Democratic nominee at the convention next summer -- are at stake there, although these delegate counts are yet to be finalized and could change.

So what if Biden opts to sacrifice the Alabama primary in favor of letting the clock tick?

Biden has only 72 hours until the next state deadline comes around: Arkansas. Biden stands to lose his portion of the state’s 37 delegates if he decides not to file by Nov. 9, digging himself further into a hole in the race for accumulating the most delegates. His next deadline comes less than two weeks later on Nov. 20, when candidates must pay a $1,000 filing fee to get on the New Hampshire ballot and vie for its 32 delegates.

Biden would stand to lose the most delegates yet if he hasn’t declared by the Nov. 30 deadline for the Florida primary, which has a whopping 245 delegates up for grabs. And if he waits one more day until after Dec. 1 to declare, he’d miss the deadlines for the primaries in Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee, totaling another 229 delegates.

Waiting this long would bring the grand total that Biden doesn’t pursue to more than 600 of the 4,800 expected total Democratic delegates, digging himself a significant hole from which to come back and be competitive for the nomination.

Missing the Debate

If Biden wants to be onstage for the first Democratic presidential primary debate, CNN is leaving the door wide open. The Vice President has until the day of the debate, Oct. 13, to say he’ll run, CNN says, allowing him to declare his candidacy mere hours before air. Biden wouldn’t even have to fill out paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) beforehand.

And we know that debates matter: On the Republican side, 23 million people watched the second debate as Carly Fiorina rocketed herself into the top tier and Scott Walker fell into the basement.

The first Democratic debate will be one of only six chances that challengers to Clinton have to topple her frontrunner status, and giving one up could prove pivotal down the road. If Biden doesn’t declare before Oct. 13, he’d have to wait more than a month to participate in the next Democratic debate.

Missing the Dollars

Biden is also beginning to fall behind on fundraising, and the longer he waits, the larger the gap between him and the competition grows.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Super PACs raised a whopping $59 million before June, and Bernie Sanders raised almost $14 million in the same time period. Both campaigns announced Wednesday a combined $54 million in campaign fundraising since then.

Biden, meanwhile, isn’t allowed to raise any money for a campaign until he declares his candidacy. Draft Biden had raised only $86,000 by June, largely before speculation that he would run started swirling.

He’ll likely struggle to raise more money until donors are certain he’ll be in the race. And meanwhile, the remaining big donors who haven’t committed to Clinton are getting anxious to settle in with a candidate.

And the campaign cash isn’t the only thing he’s falling behind on. Clinton has built a massive campaign infrastructure with offices and staff, and Sanders is beginning to bulk up his operation. Waiting will require Biden to scramble to build his operation with limited time before the first caucuses and primaries.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will call for the U.S. and its allies to designate no-fly zones in parts of Syria.

According to Kasich campaign spokesman Scott Milburn, Kasich will tie his announcement to Russia's recent military action within Syria, noting concern over further escalation.

Kasich was scheduled to speak at a press conference in Concord, N.H., at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of a mass shooting Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a number of presidential candidates took to social media to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones.

According to ABC News affiliate KATU-TV, there were at least 7 people killed and 20 wounded in the shooting in Roseburg, the station said, citing Oregon State Police Lt. Bill Fugate.

The shooter's identity has not been released, but police confirmed the shooter was male and is dead.

Jeb Bush was the first to take to Twitter to respond.

"Praying for Umpqua Community College, the victims, and families impacted by this senseless tragedy," he tweeted.

Following her event in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton expressed disbelief.

"It is just beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again," Clinton told the press. "And as I have said, we have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe. You know, I know there is a way to have sensible gun control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and save lives. And I am committed to doing everything I can to achieve that."

She also tweeted, "Another devastating shooting. We need sensible gun control measures to save lives, and I will do everything I can to achieve that. -H"

Donald Trump told the Washington Post, the shooting was "absolutely a terrible tragedy."

"It sounds like another mental health problem. So many of these people, they're coming out of the woodwork," Trump said, the Washington Post reported. "We have to really get to the bottom of it. It's so hard to even talk about these things, because you see them and it's such a tragedy."

The former Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley, the first Democratic candidate to respond, also offered his thoughts.

He tweeted, "My heart is with those who lost so much today in Oregon. -O’M"

During a radio interview on Thursday with Hugh Hewitt, Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that the aftermath of the shootings would lead to more calls for gun control.

“Obviously there are going to be those calling for gun control but that happens every time we have one of these incidents. Obviously that’s not the issue," Carson said. "The issue is the mentality of these people. And we need to be looking at the mentality of these individuals and seeing if there are any early warning clues that we can gather that will help us as a society be able to identify these people ahead of time.

“What I worry about is when we get to the point and we say we have to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are, and where their guns are," he added. "That is very dangerous that I wouldn’t agree with at all.”

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