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Bill Clinton Targeted Chelsea’s Future Mother-in-Law in Healthcare Bid


US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- The latest batch of newly released documents from the Clinton administration revealed that President Bill Clinton already had his eye on Chelsea Clinton’s future mother-in-law two decades ago.

As the Clintons were readying to make their healthcare push, the documents show the White House listed then-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton’s future mother-in-law, as one of 42 “priority Democratic targets” who were “most important to target immediately.”

The list was revealed as part of more than 7,500 new pages of documents from the Clinton presidency. It was the third installment of documents released by the Clinton Presidential Library.

The list included Democratic lawmakers who were “1) big undecideds on Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce and Education & Labor, 2) those who, on tough floor votes, have difficulty supporting the President or 3) very tough districts.”

Chelsea Clinton married Marc Mezvinsky, son of Ed Mezvinsky and Margolies, in 2010, and the two are expecting a child this year. Margolies is running for a House seat in Pennsylvania this year.

Also on their list of targets for healthcare–then-Rep. Rick Santorum, who was one of 19 Republicans described as those who are “occasionally independent but don’t hold your breath.”

Healthcare wasn’t the only issue the Clintons looked to Margolies-Mezvinsky for help on.  In August of 1993, Clinton was one vote short from getting his budget passed by the House.  And who did he convince to switch their vote? Margolies-Mezvinsky.  After she changed her vote, Republicans started chanting “Bye-Bye Marjorie!” and it ultimately cost her her seat.

In 2010, Margolies-Mezvinsky used this experience to convince House Democrats to vote in favor of the president’s healthcare plan, even if it could jeopardize their political future.

“Dear wavering House Democrats,” Margolies-Mezvinsky wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “I feel your pain. Eighteen years ago, I was elected on the coattails of a popular young Democratic president who promised a post-partisan Washington. A year later, with partisan gridlock capturing the Capitol, there was a razor-thin vote on the House floor over legislation that Democrats said would remake the country and Republicans promised would bankrupt it. I was pressed on all sides: by constituents opposed, my president needing a victory and Republicans promising my demise. I was in the country’s most Republican district represented by a Democrat. I had repeatedly said, ‘I will not be a ‘read my lips’ candidate,’ when asked if I would promise not to raise taxes. I voted my conscience, and it cost me.”

“I am your worst-case scenario. And I’d do it all again,” she added. “You could be Margolies-Mezvinskied whether you vote with or against President Obama. You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week. And this job isn’t supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won’t regret in 18 years.”

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Clinton White House’s Conspiracy Theory of Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If Bill Clinton’s political camp was known for believing the right wing was out to get him, then this undated memo from his administration codified his team’s suspicions.

Clinton White House Conspiracy memo

The memo was released Friday in the latest, thousands-of-pages-long batch of Clinton White House documents to be posted online by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum. The National Archives have been releasing tranches of Clinton documents, previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act, every two weeks this spring.

Reportedly authored by Chris Lehane, then a young White House aide who would later serve as press secretary for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, the memo — the existence of which was first reported by The Washington Post in 1997 — accuses right-wing think tanks and publications such as The American Spectator of fanning conspiracy theories over the Whitewater land deal and the suicide of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster.

Richard Mellon Scaife, a wealthy conservative and supporter of Newt Gingrich, is the object of many of the accusations.

“The controversy surrounding the death of Vince Foster has been, in large part, the product of a well-financed right-wing conspiracy industry operation. The Wizard of Oz figure orchestrating the machinations of the conspiracy industry is a little-known recluse, Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife uses his $800 million inherited Mellon fortune to underwrite the Foster conspiracy industry,” the memo reads.

Scaife gave $2.3 million to The American Spectator to find incriminating stories about Clinton, The Washington Post reported in 1999.

Itself a conspiracy theory — of how conspiracy theories were allegedly peddled — the memo dubs the flow of such theories as the “communication system of conspiracy commerce” and tracks them from conservative think tanks to British tabloids and back to the mainstream press, enshrining this path as “The ‘Blow-Back’ Strategy” and noting how congressional interest legitimized some news stories in the eyes of the mainstream press.

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Bill Clinton ‘Surprised’ at Black Hawk Down Raid


Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newly released documents from the Bill Clinton library provide a fascinating look at how the administration dealt with Somalia before, during and after the disastrous battle of Mogadishu, also known as Black Hawk Down, which resulted in the deaths of 18 U.S. troops and outraged the nation.

In notes from a meeting in May of 1994 between President Clinton and the family of one of the soldiers killed, Clinton admits that he didn’t have prior knowledge of the raid to take down the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid.  When asked by one family member why the raid was launched when the U.S. was “making good progress toward a diplomatic solution,” Clinton puts the responsibility on the military command operating in Somalia.

“It’s true that we had made good progress by mid-August through the efforts of former President Carter to reach a diplomatic solution. And by mid-September we thought we could start drawing back a bit. I knew we had good intelligence that indicated we could take some of the people who killed the Pakistani soldiers off the street, but I was surprised when I heard about the raid.”

Clinton goes on to say that Vietnam taught the U.S. that military decisions should not be made in Washington, but from the “commander on the scene,” but he then repeats that he was as surprised as the public to find out about the raid and “saddened” by the casualties.

The memo notes that “the president then reiterated his belief that the U.S. should not have been the police force in Somalia.”

The batch of documents shows memos from March of 1993, some seven months before the battle, where the administration is trying to convince skeptical Republican members of Congress that U.S. troops already in the country for humanitarian reasons, sent by former President Bush, should now be part of a UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia. In particular then Sen. Sam Nunn expressed reservations about U.S. troops serving under U.N. command and also thought that the action should be subject to Congress approval under the War Powers Act. There was also a separate bill proposed, the Hamilton Act, which would allow U.S. troops in the country to act outside of the UN if necessary.  According to the memos that bill finally passed in May of 1993, after a hard press by the administration

“If we get enough democratic votes to pass the resolution, Republican votes will be easier to influence. I believe we can work this with Republican leadership once we have enough votes,” Alphonso Maldon Jr., director of the White House Military Office, writes in one memo.

Fast forward to Oct. 5, 1993; one day after U.S. troops were killed and images of their burnt bodies being dragged along Mogadishu streets being broadcast around the world, and the documents show an administration in damage control mode.

“I think that it would be helpful if [Secretary of Defense] Aspin and [Secretary of State] Christopher were to call Sen Byrd today and try to talk him out of offering an amendment on the floor tomorrow to the defense appropriations bill to cut off funding for the Somalia operation and withdraw troops by Nov. 15, 1993 unless Congress authorizes the operation in Somalia,” writes Maldon, who orders the calls made before a planned Congressional briefing.

“Otherwise, I think we can expect Byrd to heavily influence Member’s opinions to withdraw troops in this briefing today,” he writes, adding that the President was working on a report due to Congress by the 15th of October.

“Incidentally, I am informed that there is still quiet [sic] a bit of work to be done on OBJECTIVES and U.S. INTERESTS and in addressing Somalia POLITICALLY,” writes Maldon.

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Bill Clinton Aides Worried He’d Be ‘Haunted by JFK’s Ghost’


Arnold Sachs/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s an iconic image -- Bill Clinton as a teenager shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden in 1963.

Clinton credited that handshake for inspiring his life in public service. But as the 30th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death approached, White House advisers worried it would seem Clinton was “haunted by JFK’s ghost.”

In multiple memos released Friday as part of the Clinton documents, speechwriter Carter Wilkie revealed his belief that the press corps was “irreverent” in its coverage of President Clinton and President John F. Kennedy. In a Sept. 7, 1993, memo, Wilkie advised that Clinton not conduct any interviews or hold events related to the 30th anniversary of the death of JFK for fear that “an irreverent press corps” would “charge overkill, hero worship, or worse.”

Wilkie also wrote: “We should not encourage a revisionists debate by having some academic like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. speak about JFK at a White House event. And the last thing we need is a pompous headline, ‘You’re No Jack Kennedy!’”

In a separate memo that same month, Wilkie took issue with the way LIFE magazine framed an upcoming story about JFK and Clinton.

“My argument is not with the story they want, but the way they want the story told. The tone they seek from the President is so self-centered, it’s actually solipsistic,” Wilkie wrote in a memo to David Dreyer, a communications director for Clinton.

“Furthermore, the images of JFK are more LIFE-like than Clintonesque. The President does not need to idolize JFK, nor does he need to sound haunted by JFK’s ghost around the White House just to keep readers interested,” Wilkie added. “I think compromising on this point would suit LIFE’s style, but would not serve the President’s personal or political interests in any way. It may even be counterproductive, given the irreverence in the press anytime this President recalls JFK.”

Clinton shook hands with Kennedy in 1963 during an event at the White House for the American Legion Boys Nation, and in 1998, President Clinton hosted a reunion at the White House for the men who traveled with him to Washington for that event.

Clinton and his fellow Boys Nation delegates recounted his brief meeting with JFK in interviews with ABC News’ Nightline.


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Monica Lewinsky E-Mail Omitted from Latest Batch of Clinton Documents


Lewinsky email redacted from Clinton documents release. Image credit: William J Clinton Presidential Library & Museum(WASHINGTON) -- An email from Monica Lewinsky was omitted from the Clinton library’s latest document dump for privacy reasons.

Every two weeks this spring, the National Archives has been releasing documents from Clinton’s presidency through The William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum in Little Rock, Ark. The documents were previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act. The library posted the latest batch online Friday, linking to thousands of pages of official memos and communications between aides.

Included in a list of withdrawn/redacted documents (commonly interspersed in the large .pdfs), midway through a batch of documents concerning Gen. Wesley Clark, is an email from Monica Lewinsky’s Pentagon email address.

Vaguely referenced as concerning a “medical record,” the omitted email is listed as four pages long.

The recipient, Ashley Raines, is identified as a Lewinsky friend and confidante in the infamous Starr Report, produced by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. The report would later disclose details of the Lewinsky affair and trigger a major scandal that led to Clinton’s impeachment. Raines served as White House Director of Office of Policy Development Operations and Special Liaison to Management and Administration, according to the report, working in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.

In 1996, after an initial affair with the president had stopped according to the Starr report, Lewinsky described the relationship to Raines and showed her gifts allegedly given to her by Bill Clinton, including “a hat pin approximately eight inches long, an antique looking brooch the size of a half dollar, special edition copy of Leaves of Grass by WALT WHITMAN, items from Martha’s Vineyard with ‘Black Dog’ logo, including a ball cap, and a short, baggy summer dress, and an autographed photo of the two of them wishing LEWINSKY ‘Happy Birthday,’” Raines told Starr’s investigators, with lawyers present. Lewinsky told Raines that she had confided in Linda Tripp about her relationship with Clinton.

The email address, “mlewinsk@pagate.pa.osd.mil,” matches Lewinsky’s Pentagon address shown on emails included in the same Starr documents. After her presence around Clinton aroused suspicions, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon.

The library omitted the Lewinsky email from its latest document release for privacy reasons, according to the code given, listing FOIA restriction code P6/b(6), which is explained in a coding chart included in the Clinton documents as “Release would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

According to Lewinsky’s later claims, her affair with Clinton was ongoing when this email was sent.

The email is dated 10/22/1997, a time during which Lewinsky would claim her previously ended affair with Clinton had resumed. Lewinsky would tell Raines that the affair had stopped before the two women spoke in 1996, but later she would tell Raines that the relationship resumed from early 1997 to December 1997, Raines told Starr’s investigators.

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Hillary Clinton Re-Uses Former Secretary of State’s Book Title


Simon & Schuster(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her four years as secretary of state will be titled Hard Choices, her publisher announced Friday.

She’s not the first one to use the title. In fact, she’s not even the first former Secretary of State to do it. Cyrus Vance, who served as Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980 under President Jimmy Carter, chose the same title for his 1983 memoir.

According to the publisher, “Hard Choices is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges that she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.”

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Will Clinton Baby Affect 2016?


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s impossible to talk about the Clintons these days without mentioning 2016 in the same breath. And the announcement of Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy is proving to be no different.

People are already speculating about how -- or if -- the new Clinton grandchild could affect Hillary Clinton’s possible run for the presidency. Could the title “Grandma” mean more to the potential presidential front-runner than the title “President?”

Almost immediately after news broke that the former first daughter was expecting, the Christian Science Monitor published this headline: “Chelsea Clinton Baby: Will Hillary Clinton Be Less Likely to Run in 2016?” A USA Today piece on the announcement included a line with a similar suggestion, noting, “It’s unclear how Chelsea’s pregnancy will affect Hillary Clinton, who is considering a race for president in 2016.”

And a Politico report raised the possibility that “having a grandchild may make the Iowa State Fair a less appealing place to spend the summer of 2015.”

But is it fair to pit grandmotherly desires against political ambition? Would anyone ever ask the same questions about a male politician? Is this speculation, in essence, sexist?

ABC television writer Shonda Rhimes expressed her opinions about all the chatter on Twitter Thursday evening.

“On another topic: This is incredibly stupid. No one would ever write this dumb*** article about a MAN running,” the Scandal creator tweeted, with a link to the USA Today story.

Even the Christian Science Monitor piece acknowledged that drawing a connection between the two could be unfair.

“Perhaps it’s sexist even to ask the question -- how will a grandchild affect her decision,” the reporter wrote. “But until she announces either way, it will be out there.”

Then again, those doing the speculating might be taking cues from Hillary herself. In recent months, when asked about whether she plans to run in 2016, Clinton has actually invoked the possibility of becoming a grandmother, and mentioned how much she has enjoyed her recent, more family-oriented life, to delicately skirt the question.

“I’m not going to make a decision for a while because I’m actually enjoying my life,” Clinton, 66, said last week in San Francisco when asked whether she’ll run for president. “I’m actually having fun, you know, just doing ordinary things like seeing my friends, going on long walks, playing with our dogs, and doing stuff that you know sounds pretty simple but at the end of the day it’s what really gives joy and meaning to your life.”

Last month at a Clinton Foundation event in Arizona, Clinton took to the topic of grandchildren as a seemingly welcome escape to avoid answering a similar question. “I wouldn’t mind one of those grandchildren that I hear so much about,” Clinton said with a smile.

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who was moderating the event, called her out on it: “I love that when asked the question that everyone asks you all the time, you threw your daughter right under the bus with the baby,” he quipped.

Bill Clinton, too, has contributed to the idea that being a grandmother and being president are intertwined for his wife. At the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Clinton spoke about his desire -- and more specifically his wife’s desire -- to have a grandchild.

“I’d like to be a grandfather. I have nothing to do with that achievement, but I would like it,” Clinton said. “I would like to have a happy wife, and she won’t be unless she’s a grandmother.”

Then, alluding to her unsuccessful bid in 2008 for the presidency, Clinton added, “It’s something she wants more than she wanted to be president.”

And when the former president was asked last month whether Hillary Clinton would rather be president or a grandmother during an interview with CBS This Morning, Clinton guessed his wife would choose grandchildren over the Oval Office.

“Do you think she’d rather be -- today, she can do both -- president or a grandmother?” CBS’ Charlie Rose asked.

“If you ask her, I think she’d say grandmother, but I have found it best not to discuss that issue,” Clinton said.

Two weeks ago at the Women in the World summit in New York City, Hillary Clinton laid bare her views about what she believes is a “double standard” that the media puts on women. “There is a double standard, obviously,” she told The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. “We have all either experienced it or at the very least seen it. ...The double standard is alive and well and, I think, in many respects, the media is the principle propagator of its persistence.”

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US Extends Keystone Review as Pipeline Supporters Cry Foul


Laris Karklis/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department says it needs more time to review the millions of public comments about the Keystone XL pipeline project, citing uncertainty about the route’s direction through Nebraska, which is currently being litigated there.

“Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state,” State announced in a statement.

The release noted that there had been an unprecedented 2.5 million public comments regarding the pipeline, leading to the need for a delay in reviewing all of them.

The pipeline has become a hot-button political issue, with supporters of the pipeline criticizing the Obama administration for dragging its feet on approval, and bipartisan sniping began almost instantly after the announcement went public.

“It is crystal clear that the Obama administration is simply not serious about American energy and American jobs.  I guess he wasn’t serious about having a pen and a phone, either,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, minutes after the State Department announced its decision.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is facing a tough re-election, also reacted quickly: “Today’s decision by the Administration amounts to nothing short of an indefinite delay of the Keystone Pipeline. This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”

“The administration is sending a signal that the small minority who oppose the pipeline can tie up the process in court forever,” she said.

The pipeline route runs from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Steele City, Neb.; Wood River and Patoka, Ill.; and the Gulf Coast of Texas. When fully completed it will stretch over 2,000 miles.

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New Bill Aims to Curb Overzealous Photoshopping


Kate Winslet spoke against airbrushing after this 2003 GQ Cover (GQ)(WASHINGTON) -- A new bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives aims at curbing overzealous photoshopping of models and celebrities in advertisements.

Called the “Truth in Advertising Act,” the bill was co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California.

Advocates for the bill want more regulation for photoshoped images that appear in advertisements and other media.

“An increasing amount of academic evidence links exposure to such altered images with emotional, mental, and physical health issues, including eating disorders, especially among children and teenagers,” reads an excerpt of the bill. “There is particular concern about the marketing of such images to children and teenagers.”

Members of the Eating Disorder Coalition (EDC) met with lawmakers last month to lobby for the bill.

Seth Matlins, a marketer and an originator of the bill, said seeing his children react to advertising images without understanding they were manipulated made him want to work on the bill.

“In simplest terms we’re trying to protect the consumer,” said Matlins a partner with the EDC. “People are saying enough is enough. We are and have been manipulated by these ads for so long.”

Advocates for the bill are asking that over 18 months the Federal Trade Commission meet with health care officials and members of the advertising and marketing community to come up with a framework that would regulate how these images could be used in media.

The bill stipulates that it affects post-production changes that “materially change” the characteristics of the models’ faces and bodies, rather than a digitally altered background.

Photoshoped images have long been cited by advocates as leading consumers to see unattainable and unrealistic depictions of people, particularly female models and celebrities.

In 2011, the American Medical Association adopted a new policy to encourage advertisers to develop guidelines to discourage unrealistic images that would “promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”

“The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image,” said AMA member Dr. Barbara L. McAneny. “We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software.”

Earlier this year, Target apologized after featuring a model who was crudely photoshoped so that her legs were unrealistically far apart.

Other stars have come out against excessive photoshopping of fashion shoots. In 2003, Kate Winslet spoke out against a GQ cover that whittled down her frame digitally.

Recently, stars have taken to social media to pull out specific images that they find egregiously airbrushed.

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Teen Confesses Undocumented Status to Hillary Clinton


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A young woman who tearfully and publicly confessed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she was an undocumented immigrant was praised by Clinton for being “incredibly brave.”

Actress America Ferrera moderated the event Thursday at the Lower East Side Girls Club in New York City, billed as the first in a series of the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” conversations aimed at bringing together women and girls from around the world to discuss female empowerment and growth.

Ferrera turned to the group of women in attendance for questions to ask the hosts, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Among the women who raised their hands, one in particular stood out.

“You seem like you have something you want to say,” Ferrera said, pointing at a young woman in the audience.

As she stood up, no one expected the statement she was about to make.

“My name is Nova. I’m 19-years-old…and I have a very different glass ceiling than some of the girls are exhibiting here,” she said.

Nova paused, took a deep breath, and then revealed her secret. “For the first time publicly, I want to say that I am an undocumented immigrant,” she said.

As the gravity of what she had just said sunk in, the young woman’s eyes swelled with tears. But she continued to tell her story.

“And I want to say that it’s extremely difficult for me to empower myself in America,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “It’s been very hard because I don’t have the documentation I need to get a job…to vote…to buy an apartment. To take out a loan to go to college…so I couldn’t even go to my dream college because of that.”

Nova, who said she came to the United States when she was 5 years old from Split, Croatia, then turned the question to Hillary Clinton.

“I wanted to ask, what in your stance is essential for immigration reform? I can just only imagine how many girls there are who can’t fully empower themselves, especially in America, because we immigrated here,” she said.

“So I wanted to ask,” she said earnestly, “what do we need to do to put this in priority when it comes to Congress, because this is an extreme glass ceiling for me that I can’t even control. Not even as a woman, but not even as a human.”

Hillary Clinton responded with praise and admiration for the young woman’s bravery.

“Oh Nova,” she said, pausing for the crowd’s applause to wane. “Wow. That was incredibly brave. And I thank you for doing that.”

“I believe strongly we are missing a great opportunity by not welcoming people like you and 11 million others who have made contributions to our country into a legal status,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Clinton went on to criticize the House of Representatives for not taking the immigration reform bill up after the Senate, describing it as a “big missed opportunity for our country.”

Clinton stressed her continuing devotion to the cause. “I’m a huge supporter of immigration reform and a path to citizenship, and will continue to advocate for that,” she said.

Chelsea Clinton echoed her mother’s sentiment and urged the young woman to continue making her voice heard.

“There’s nothing really worse than being dis-empowered and feeling invisible and you started to change that here today,” Clinton said. “Thank you for making yourself less invisible and more visible today.”

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Carney Gets Candid: White House Press Secretary Opens Up to Students


Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With his press briefing book sitting closed next to him, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t have much to refer to when a person asked if he wanted to take a “selfie.”

“Absolutely,” Carney said, after an audience member at George Washington University promised it wouldn’t be taken on a Samsung device -- referring to the recent controversy with Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz’ selfie with President Obama.

Carney opened up Thursday in a rare “conversation-style” interview, with a noticeably more candid tone at times than most White House reporters have grown accustomed to.

Here are seven takeaways from the event:

1.) He never had aspirations of being a White House Press Secretary:


“I was a reporter for 21 years — 20 of them at Time Magazine. I loved being a reporter,” Carney said, adding that he’d been recruited by Vice President Joe Biden after the 2008 election to be his communications director. That’s when, Carney said, “I woke up every morning for probably six months wondering whether I could do what I was doing or if I was cut out for the job.”

2.) The story behind deciding to accept the ‘Between Two Ferns’ interview:


“We obviously look at ideas and we have some crazy ones that we don’t take. But I think that there’s an advantage to pushing the envelope. There was a conversation about wanting to help, it was their idea. Four of us presented it to the President and he has a pretty good compass on his own,” Carney said. “We knew there was some risk associated with it but it was a smart thing to do. We were trying to reach you [young people], and more people watch Funny or Die and click on 'Between Two Ferns' interviews than watch the Evening News or the morning shows.”

3.) He thinks Jon Stewart probably gave the hardest interview during the President’s re-election cycle:


“I remember we were having the discussion during 2012 about whether it was appropriate for the sitting President to give interviews to Jon Stewart and others,” Carney recalled. “I think if you look back at 2012 and the sitting interviews that the President of the United States gave, probably the toughest interview we had was with Jon Stewart. Probably the most substantive, challenging interview that Barack Obama had in the election was with the anchor of The Daily Show.”

4.) Not surprisingly, the Healthcare.gov rollout was the toughest moment of his tenure (so far):


“This was something that was entirely on us. It was our fault. We built the system, it was supposed to work far better than it did,” Carney said. “That made this unique because a lot of the more challenging times that we face have to do with external events or bogus charges or things like that. This was something that we controlled, that we didn’t get right at the start.”

5.) He disagrees with reporters who say President Obama deserved Politifact’s ‘Lie of the Year’ for his “If you like your health care, you can keep it” promise:


“I think that a lie is one of intent, and that the president believed that is what the policy would deliver. When it didn’t, it became clear that if there was anything we could do to fix, or help those individuals, then it ought to be done,” Carney said.

6.) He might not be 100 percent behind the Pulitzer Prize board’s decision to honor the Washington Post and the Guardian on the stories from Edward Snowden’s leaks:

“I’m not going to comment on specific prize winners. My view, in general, is that the best of those awards go to reporters who break new ground through the shoe-leather reporting of the past and who develop sources, find information, devote hours, days, weeks and months to getting a story right,” Carney said. “I think year after year you see the Pulitzers and other similar awards -- [the] work held up that meets those standards.”

7.) Responding to complaints of a non-transparent White House, he said the Obama White House is the most transparent ever:

“I’ve covered the previous two administrations and know a thing or two about ones before that. There’s never been a more transparent administration,” Carney said. “It is absolutely the case today, and will always be the case that the White House Press Corps will not be satisfied with the level of access it has to the President or the rest of the President’s team. There will always be meetings, there will always be a limit on the number interviews or press conferences because it simply is impossible for the President or any White House to function otherwise. But the press should keep pressing for more access.”

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Obama Hails Health Care Enrollment: "This Thing Is Working"


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has many times declared victory with the Affordable Care Act, including the announcement earlier this month of 7 million sign-ups in the law’s first year.  On Thursday, with a slight grin, he added an exclamation point.

Eight million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges, Obama announced Thursday. “This thing is working,” he declared.  

The White House says 28 percent of sign-ups are between the ages of 18 and 34, slightly below insurers’ expectations but not low enough to break the bank. Millions more signed up for coverage under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.  What is still not known is how many people were previously uninsured – and how many have paid for their policies to seal enrollment.

Obama on Thursday made a case for why Democrats should be confident, embrace health care and try to turn the tables on Republicans in the fall campaign.

The GOP “is going through, you know, the stages of grief, right? Anger and denial and all that stuff,” he said.

“I think what the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families and from hundreds of millions of people who already had health insurance before the law passed,” he said.  

“I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people…we're helping because of something we did. I don't think we should apologize for it, and I don't think we should be defensive about it. I think is a strong, good, right story to tell.”

The president has signaled this week – and said explicitly Thursday – that the White House plans to spend the next few months rejuvenating its messaging on jobs and the economy, and on immigration.  

“If Republicans want to spend all their time talking about repealing a law that's working, that's their business,” he said. “I think what Democrats should do is not be defensive, but we need to move on and focus on the things that are really important to the American people right now. “

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Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton revealed on Thursday that she is pregnant.

She made the announcement during a speech in New York City with her mother, Hillary Clinton, at her side.

“Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year,” she said at the Lower East Side Girls Club at the end of a Clinton Foundation event dedicated to empowering young girls.

Clinton did not say if she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are having a boy or a girl.

“I certainly feel all the better whether it’s a girl or a boy that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong, young female leaders,” she told the audience full of young women. “So thank you for inspiring me.”

Grandmother-to-be Hillary Clinton connected the announcement to the focus of the day’s event, telling the crowd that she is not only excited for her family but for the future generations who may not have to face the same glass ceilings as she did.

“Obviously we are very excited about what's happening in our family,” she told the young women. “But we're also very excited because of what we're doing that we hope gives confidence and support to so many of you across our country as you make decisions about the lives you want to lead and try to make sure there are no ceilings that are stopping you from going as far and as high and as fast as you can.”

Actress America Ferrera, who was moderating the event, noted Hillary’s happiness: “I don't think anyone was smiling as big as your mom at that announcement.”

“I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child -- hopefully children -- as my mom was to me,” Chelsea replied.

Bill Clinton responded on Twitter shortly after the announcement Thursday afternoon.

 

Excited to add a new line to my Twitter bio...grandfather-to-be! @hillaryclinton and I are so happy for Chelsea and Marc!

— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 17, 2014

 

The news shouldn’t come as a complete shock. In an interview with Glamour magazine last year, Clinton said that she and her husband were planning to make 2014 “the Year of the Baby.”

"We sat down and said, 'Here's what we want to do.' The first thing on the list was simple: We want, God willing, to start a family,” Clinton told the magazine. “So we decided we were going to make 2014 the Year of the Baby.”

At the time Clinton added, “Call my mother and tell her that. She asks us about it every single day."

Indeed, Hillary Clinton has made no secret of the fact she’s been eager to become a grandmother.

“I will certainly tell you, that’s a title I would be proud to have,” Clinton said last fall.

And in September, former President Bill Clinton was asked the question by Charlie Rose: Would his wife prefer the title “president” or “grandmother”?

“If you ask her, I think she'd say grandmother," Bill Clinton said, "but I have found it best not to discuss that issue…. My goal is to live to be a grandfather.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Conferees Agree to No Violence in Ukraine but Little Else


US Mission/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(GENEVA) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the lengthy four-way meeting on Ukraine had produced metrics for measuring how quickly the situation there de-escalates, but added that there is still more work to be done.

“All of this, we believe, represents a good day’s work,” he said after the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. “But on the other hand, this day’s work has produced principles. And it has produced commitments.

“And it has produced words on paper. None of us leave here with the sense that the job is done because the words are on the paper,” he added.

Kerry repeated that all sides had committed to refraining from the use of violence, to getting all “illegal” forces within Ukraine to vacate and to supporting an international monitoring mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is already under way.

And Kerry said that if Russia does not show demonstrable progress in these arenas by the weekend, the United States and European Union will start imposing further sanctions on the country.

“This is just the beginning. It depends on the good faith of the parties in following through. And we’re going to watch that very, very closely,” he said.

Kerry added that Ukraine had agreed to an inclusive constitutional drafting process that maintains respect for minority groups and takes into consideration the possibility for more autonomy within Ukrainian regions, some of the chief requests that Russia had made of Ukraine before the meeting, which included the United States, Russia, Ukraine and European Union.

“Ukraine’s leaders indicated that they are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to address regional demands for more autonomy, for local self-government, for the protection of minority rights,” Kerry said.

But in an indication of how Russia may seek to skirt the red lines laid out in Thursday’s agreement, Kerry also criticized Russia’s takeover of the Ukrainian region of Crimea as “illegal.” Russia continues to insist, however, that the annexation was done in the name of defending the Russian-speaking population of that area.

And Kerry added that while the parties convened in Geneva to “move away from what is a spiraling-downwards confrontation,” he noted that Crimea was not a topic of discussion Thursday.

“We have not given up but today we did not come here to talk about Crimea,” he said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Obama Tells Wounded Warriors They Are 'Inspiration'


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama welcomed Wounded Warriors on their Ride to the White House Thursday, calling the participants “an incredible inspiration to me and to our country.”

“Biking nearly 60 miles in three days would be a challenge for anybody, but for all of you, this is a lot more than a bike ride. This is a mark of how far you've come,” Obama said to the audience of service members and their families.

“Many of you are recovering from devastating injuries,” he said. “Some of you have had to learn the basics all over again, how to stand again, how to walk again, how to run again. And now you're here today because that's what Soldiers Ride is all about, seeing each other through the finish line.”

The White House says the event, which is going on its seventh year, is about encouraging awareness of wounded service members and applauding their service.

Dozens participated in the event that lasts a total of four days.   

Obama commented on the soldiers’ “courage, your resolve, your resilience, your tenacity, your optimism.” Adding, “it makes me proud to be your commander in chief.”

“Every day I have the honor of serving as this country's commander in chief. And as long as I have that honor, I will keep fighting to make sure you and your families get the care and treatment and benefits that you have earned and deserve,” he said.

“And it's especially now, as we're winding down the war in Afghanistan after having ended over a decade of war, that we are standing up for you. Our obligations to our veterans endure for your entire lives,” Obama said. “That's our mission. That's why we're here, not just during this ride but all year long.”

Vice President Biden joined Obama for his speech and the two men high-fived riders as they completed a few loops around the South Lawn before beginning the next 17-mile leg of their journey.

Just last week first lady Michelle Obama along with former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Dr. Jill Biden, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter announced a new program for caregivers of veterans and active service members.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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