Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Paul Ryan is discussing the possibility of pursuing the job as House Speaker, a source close to the Wisconsin Republican told ABC News Friday.
Ryan has repeatedly declined to shut down the chatter around calls for him to run for speaker, while his congressional office maintains publicly that he is "still not running."
“Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he's getting from his colleagues but is still not running for Speaker," Ryan's spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement Friday.
If Ryan were to get into the race, it would represent a change of heart for the man who until now has repeatedly declined to seek the top job in Congress despite repeated pleas from the party's leadership, including current Speaker of the House John Boehner, that he seek the job. But after House Republicans huddled behind closed doors Friday morning, it became clear that Ryan was also the top choice of the party's rank-and-file.
Several Republicans who emerged from Friday morning's conference meeting said that Ryan was their top choice to succeed Boehner and the person most capable of leading a divided party. Even Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had previously launched a long shot bid to challenge California Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the election, said that he would drop his own name from consideration and get behind Ryan should he run.
“I would not run against Paul Ryan,” Chaffetz said when asked if he’d drop out should Ryan enter the race.
The calls for Ryan to seek the top job in Congress come a day after McCarthy pulled the plug on his own bid to replace Boehner on the same day that members were slated to vote for Boehner's successor. McCarthy was widely expected to win the race, but he made the surprise decision to pull out after his team determined he only had 175 to 200 House Republicans whom they could count on voting for him, well short of the 218 needed.
“If Paul Ryan got into the race, of course I’d support him, he’d be the kind of person I could get excited about,” Chaffetz added. “One of the reasons I got into the race was that people like Paul Ryan weren’t stepping up to do it.”
California Rep. Darrell Issa, who had entertained the idea of entering the race himself earlier on Friday morning, said after the meeting that he did “everything except carry his gym bag this morning” in trying to convince Ryan to throw his name into the ring.
“The fact is, Paul Ryan is the right man right now, he has moderate support and he very clearly has conservative support,” Issa said. “Members of the Freedom Caucus have come to me one after the other saying, ‘Let Paul know we would be with him.’ That’s a very good sign after the strained relations that John Boehner had with that same caucus.”
The Freedom Caucus, which forced Boehner’s resignation announcement, was also a driving force behind McCarthy’s surprise to decision to pull out the race. While the majority of Republicans had backed McCarthy's bid, roughly 40 members of the House Freedom Caucus pledged to oppose McCarthy on a House floor vote later this month, depriving him of the 218 votes needed to win Boehner's gavel.
Those hardliners showed no indication they would let up against the California Republican in upcoming fights over raising the debt ceiling and funding the government.
In Friday morning's conference meeting, Boehner, R-Ohio, appealed to members to stick together as they work through the process of finding and electing a new leader.
“We have not announced a new date for the Speaker election yet. I want to hear from all of you before we make any decisions,” he said, according to a source in the room. “But while we go through this process, we’ve got to continue to address the people’s priorities. This institution cannot grind to a halt.”
"Time for us to take the walls down, open up our ears and listen to each other,” Boehner added.
And despite his sudden fall from the race a day prior, New York Rep. Peter King told reporters that McCarthy joked in Friday's meeting that he slept very well Thursday night.
Pointing to Ryan as the man best equipped to reach compromise among the divergent wings of the Republican Party, Issa expressed hope that Ryan would officially enter the race.
“I think at the end of the day, or the end of the week, Paul Ryan will be our speaker presumptive,” Issa told reporters after emerging from the Republican conference on Capitol Hill Friday morning.
Ryan said in a statement Thursday morning that he was not running for speaker, and by the end of the day, he said his statement remained unchanged.
“I just don’t have any answers for you right now,” Ryan told reporters as he left his committee office Thursday night. “My statement stands, I haven’t changed anything.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, of South Carolina, had also been floated as a potential candidate following McCarthy’s withdrawal. Gowdy has said he has no interest in the job. But that didn't stop his supporters from pressing them to lead the House.
"I'm going to keep asking him to run," Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said on Thursday of her pleas to Gowdy.
Gowdy maintained that he is still not interested in the job.
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(ROSEBURG, Ore.) -- President Obama met on Friday with the families of victims of last week's deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
The president said the country will need to "come together" to prevent tragedies such as the one at Umpqua, which left 10 dead, including the gunman, and 9 others injured.
“I've obviously got very strong feelings about this,” he said. “When you talk to these families, you’re reminded that this could be happening to your child, or your mom, or your dad or your relative or your friend.”
"But today it's about the families," he said.
The president thanked the community and state of Oregon for helping the families recover. He recounted a portion of his meeting, saying the families shared their appreciation for the outreach and sympathy extended to them.
“In moments like this, words aren’t -- aren’t going to bring their loved ones back,” he said, “But the one thing that they shared is how much they appreciate the entire UCC community coming together, how much they appreciate all their neighbors, all their friends, and people all across the country who offered to help."
The White House did not provide a list of family members who attended the meeting with the president, but at least one family publicly said they would forego the meeting due to the president's position on gun control.
"On principle, I find that I am in disagreement with his policies on gun control, and therefore, we will not be attending the visit," Stacy Bolan, whose daughter was shot and survived the shooting, told Fox News Channel.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Despite a summer that’s often seen him trailing in the polls and eclipsed by candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, Ted Cruz’s campaign amassed a financial haul of $12.2 million in the last three months.
Of the candidates who have revealed their latest fundraising numbers, Cruz is second only to Ben Carson. Carson raised $20 million in the last three months. Rand Paul raised $2.5 million.
Cruz’s third quarter fundraising numbers are an increase from last quarter where he raised over $10 million. The campaign has not disclosed how much cash they have on hand, but says they have “sustainers” or donors who have committed to giving a certain amount every month to the campaign. With those recurring payments, the campaign said in a release that they can cover the cost of their field operations.
Since announcing his candidacy in March, Ted Cruz’s campaign has raised $26.5 million. On the campaign trail, the Texas senator often encourages people to donate to his campaign by saying he will offer a “positive, hopeful optimistic conservative message.”
At a recent rally in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sen. Cruz told supporters, “If you go and contribute, then you’re invested, then you got skin in the game. Then it’s not my campaign, then it’s our campaign." It appears his supporters are listening. The Cruz campaign says they have had 362,300 donors over the course of the campaign. In the last three months, they’ve had donors from 58 percent of the zip codes in the United States with an average donation of $66.
Paul Morigi/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- Aides to Vice President Joe Biden met with Democratic National Committee officials this week to discuss the critical rules and details involved in a presidential campaign, a Democratic official with knowledge of the meeting confirmed to ABC News on Friday.
The meeting included a discussion on the filing deadlines to appear on primary ballots. Many of the deadlines are quickly approaching with the first cutoff occurring in Alabama on Nov. 6.
The vice president publicly remains undecided about a 2016 campaign, but the meeting with DNC officials, which was first reported by The New Yorker, is the latest example of Biden's team readying information the vice president would need to know should he decide to pursue a presidential bid.
While it’s the latest clue into Biden’s ongoing 2016 deliberations, it is common for the DNC to provide these kinds of briefings to potential candidates.
“DNC staff offers all Democratic presidential candidates and potential candidates briefings on the ballot and delegate process,” said a DNC spokesperson, who declined to confirm or deny the meeting took place.
The vice president is expected to spend the weekend in Wilmington, Delaware.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images(INDIANOLA, Iowa) — Inside local eatery the Pizza Ranch, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was in the process of selling himself to a roomful of Iowa voters when a man asked Bush what his biggest mistake had been as governor of Florida and how he would change it.
Seated in the back row, Dorene Oliver muttered audibly, "Not changing your last name."
"That's not a mistake," Bush shot back. "I'm proud of my family."
"I can understand you being proud of your dad," Oliver chimed in. "I'm very proud of my dad."
The exchange was an emblem of a deeply-rooted problem that the Bush campaign always knew it would face: The legacy of Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, who left office with a 34 percent approval rating and the specter of a political dynasty.
In distinguishing himself, Bush initially pushed back on the notion that he'd be more of the same.
"I'm my own man," he often proudly declares on the trail, all while standing under his campaign banner, which conspicuously lacks his last name.
“Before, the people of Iowa only knew him by a last name," said David Oman, a longtime GOP operative and senior adviser. "They just need to get to know him as his own man.”
On his three-day trip to Iowa this week (the most time he's spent there), he sought to re-introduce himself to voters. His first event, on Tuesday, speaking to the Scott County Republican Party, included a broad message that touted his record and was scant on policy details -- something that goes back to his "Taking on Mount Washington" speech from July in which he promised to "disrupt Washington", casting himself as a Washington outsider, not a part of the establishment.
Yet, in the events that followed, as he courted voters and talked policy, he could not escape the shadow of his famous family.
In Muscatine, as with several other stops, a voter asked how his father was doing.
"Strong as a goat," Bush replied, to laughter.
But some questions aren't so friendly. He's been asked about his brother's proclivity for spending, one voter in New Hampshire once asking Bush to assure him that he wouldn't be more of the same.
It is a real concern, especially in Iowa, the first state in the nation to hold a caucus. In a Bloomberg Politics focus group, conducted in Iowa and New Hampshire, some voters described Bush as “over-rated,” “typical politician,” “way out of touch” and as having “a lot of baggage.”
And while participants said they were impressed by his Florida record, many did not see that as being reason enough to put him in the Oval Office, a crushing blow to the Bush campaign, the crux of which hinges on the experience and leadership they say Bush is proven to have.
But, at least one Iowa voter disagrees.
"He's got a good record in Florida and he needs to bring that out, he needs to let people know." Ms. Oliver said told ABC News after the event. " "The speech he gave today was phenomenal, I thought."
And while she says she has "the utmost respect" for George H.W. Bush, she worries that any connection to the last Republican president might taint Jeb.
"I just remember his brother being in and I thought to myself, 'Gosh I hope we don't get another Bush,'" she said. "But this one is just totally different."
Now, he's on her shortlist -- tied with Ben Carson.
(WASHINGTON) — On the same day President Obama travels to visit with the Umpqua Community College shooting victims’ families, the White House says he is considering using his executive authority to create new background check requirements.
In a news conference last week, the president said he directed his team “to scrub what kinds of authorities do we have to enforce the laws that we have in place more effectively to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
“Are there additional actions that we can take that might prevent even a handful of these tragic deaths from taking place?” the president said. “This will not change until the politics change and the behavior of elected officials changes, and so the main thing I’m going to do is I’m going to talk about this on a regular basis, and I will politicize it because our inaction is a political decision that we are making.”
An administration official said examining a potential executive action on background checks “is part of that process” the president requested.
The White House is considering an executive action to create new background check rules for people purchasing guns from dealers selling a large quantity of guns, as first reported by the Washington Post.
The announcement came as the president prepared to sit down with families of the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon today. The visit has created some controversy in the area with at least one victim's family saying they will not attend the meeting.
"On principle, I find that I am in disagreement with his policies on gun control, and therefore, we will not be attending the visit," Stacy Bolan, whose daughter was shot and survived the shooting, told Fox News Channel.
Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson defended his controversial remarks Friday morning in which he suggested that 6 million Jews would not have been slaughtered in they had easy access to guns.
“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said on CNN Thursday. “I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first."
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the comments, saying in a statement: “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
Carson called the Anti-Defamation League’s statement Friday morning “total foolishness.”
“That's total foolishness,” Carson told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America. “I’d be happy to discuss that in depth with anybody but it is well known that in many places where tyranny has taken over they first disarm the people. There’s a reason they disarm the people. They don’t just do it arbitrarily.”
In Carson's new book, A Perfect Union, Carson writes that “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance."
ABC News(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Friday? Read below to find out their schedules: New Hampshire
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham are all in New Hampshire Friday. Washington, D.C.
Ben Carson is in Washington, D.C. Friday for a stop on his book tour. He also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, where he defended his Hitler gun control statements Friday morning. Carson called the Anti-Defamation League statement saying he was incorrect “total foolishness.” Las Vegas
Marco Rubio is stumping for another day in Las Vegas, where he’s holding three events Friday. Iowa
New Hampshire may have the most candidates, but Iowa still has two 2016 candidates: Bobby Jindal and Martin O’Malley. Jindal will hold a meet and greet in Orange City Friday afternoon, while O’Malley will hold a roundtable with workers in Newtown. Arizona
Bernie Sanders will be in Tucson, Arizona Friday evening. Earlier this year, Sanders pulled a massive crowd in the same city.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made up his mind to pull out of the race to be House speaker Thursday morning after hearing from chamber conservatives that they would directly challenge him on the House floor, sources say.
McCarthy’s team determined he only had between 175 to 200 House Republicans who they could count on voting for him, well short of the 218 needed.
McCarthy had the support of the overwhelming majority of House Republicans -- about 75 percent of them -- but the conservatives refused to say they would unite behind him. So, a narrow minority has effectively hijacked the process. They don’t have the votes to elect their own candidate but they have proven they can block a candidate they don’t like.
McCarthy determined that even if he could get the 218 votes and get elected speaker, the conservatives would continue to challenge him, making it effectively impossible to lead the House.
“He thought he would have a honeymoon,” a McCarthy confidant said. “It became clear there would be no honeymoon.”
McCarthy also determined that he’d be unable to lead the House through the serious challenges this fall, especially funding the government and preventing a U.S. default on the debt.
What's next? Here’s what one top Republican close to the House leadership said on Thursday: “Total chaos.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, was the most likely one to unite the House Republicans, but he says he won’t be a candidate.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, now busy with the Benghazi committee, is being asked to run. He has said he has no interest in the job. After Gowdy, look for Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas to be asked, although he has said he didn’t want to take leadership for family reasons.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican candidate Ben Carson continued his controversial remarks about guns Thursday -- suggesting in a new interview that the Jews may have been able to diminish the likelihood of the Holocaust if they were armed.
Carson made the remarks, which drew swift condemnation -- on CNN. He said that passengers on Flight 93, which crashed on 9/11, helped avoid further tragedy by rushing the gunman.
In Carson's new book “A Perfect Union,” Carson writes that “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.”
On CNN, Carson was asked: "But just to clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?"
In response, the candidate suggested that Hitler may not have been as effective in carrying out his plot if the victims were armed.
“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said. “I’m tell you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first."
The comments drew a swift response from the Anti-Defamation League.
“Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate," said Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director of the organization. "The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state."
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Donald Trump took "a lot of credit" for driving Rep. Kevin McCarthy out of the race for House Speaker, he told a crowd of 1,600 in Las Vegas on Thursday.
“I wanna just start by saying, you know Kevin McCarthy is out, you know that? right?,” Trump said to a loud applause. “They are giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need somebody very, very, tough, and very smart, you know smart goes with tough, not just tough.
"I know tough people, they are not smart, that’s the worst, OK?”
Trump told reporters before giving his remarks that he wouldn’t name an alternative.
McCarthy's move stunned Republicans. According to Rep. Peter King, of New York, he said the majority leader wasn't the person to unify the party. Two other congressmen, reps. Jason Chaffetz and Daniel Webster, remain in the running.
Trump also expressed his support for Hillary Clinton's recent move opposing the Obama administration's Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
"Hillary came out against the president," he said. "Be careful Hillary, you might be indicted, be careful. No. That’s very dangerous for her to do, I give her credit.”
Trump, who has drawn fire over his remarks about Hispanics, got support from a woman who he pulled up on stage, Myriam Witcher.
“Oh Mr. Trump,” the woman said hugging the real estate mogul.
“Where are you from?”, he asked, “I”m from Columbia, I’m Hispanic!,” Witcher said overjoyed.
“I’m Hispanic and I vote for Mr. Trump! We vote for Mr. Trump! Yes! Mr. Trump! We love you, on the way to the White House!,” she shouted.
A smiling Trump said he never met Witcher, which she later confirmed.
Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Draft Biden, the super PAC seeking to recruit Vice President Joe Biden into the 2016 presidential race, no longer plans to air the new emotional ad encouraging him to run, a group officials said on Thursday.
The decision comes after a Los Angeles Times report saying the vice president did not want the ad to run, citing a source close to the VP who said he felt the ad treads on "sacred ground."
"The vice president appreciates that they are trying to help," the person close to the vice president told the LA Times. "But he has seen the ad and thinks the ad treads on sacred ground and hopes they don't run it."
Josh Alcorn, senior adviser to Draft Biden, said the group will honor the VP's wish not to air the ad.
"Nobody has more respect for the vice president and his family than we do. Obviously we will honor his wishes," Alcorn said.
The 90-second ad titled "My Redemption" features audio of Biden describing the 1972 car accident that killed his first wife, Neilia, and his 1-year-old daughter Naomi.
“The incredible bond I have with my children is a gift I’m not sure I would’ve had I not been through what I went through,” Biden says as black and white photos of his young family air on the screen. “By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption.”
Draft Biden made a $250,000 ad buy to air the ad before and after the first Democratic debate on CNN on Oct. 13.
The ad received mixed reviews in the political realm. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today the ad was "powerful."
"Vice President Biden's personal story is as powerful as any story in American politics," Earnest said. "What made it particularly effective is they used the words of Vice President Biden. It wasn't somebody else telling his story; it's him telling his own story."
However, David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, called the ad "tasteless" and "exploitative."
"Am I alone in finding this Draft Biden ad tasteless?" he tweeted. "It's powerful, but exploitative. Can't believe he'd approve."
Rand Paul campaign(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul is putting his own mark on the debate over raising the nation’s debt limit, starting a new campaign geared towards getting the federal government to cut what he considers wasteful spending.
Called “Cut Their Card,” the new push coincides with the approaching deadline for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, which limits the amount of money the federal government can borrow. The U.S. Treasury has said the current deadline is November 5th.
The Paul campaign is releasing a series of web-only videos that decry federal overspending – the first two note that the government spends $180,000 a year studying the effect of cocaine on the sexual habits of Japanese quail (which the fact-checking site Politifact notes is actually part of a study on human sexuality).
“Washington has an addiction. They spend more than they have!” Paul exclaims in a voice-over, while punk-sounding music plays in the background. “I have a revolutionary idea. Instead of running up their debt, let’s stop. Let’s cut off their credit card.”
The “Cut Their Card campaign” also features a pop-up visual of a hand cutting a credit card in half, which will feature at all upcoming campaign events, and will encourage supporters to use the hashtag “#CutTheirCard.”
The Paul campaign is also directing viewers to www.cuttheircard.com, which currently features a Paul quote and picture and redirects visitors to a campaign donation page.
This push allows Paul to fuse his work as a U.S. senator with his campaign message of reining in government spending.
“With the debt ceiling deadline looming, this will be a major topic of discussion at each of the senator's campaign stops. This is especially relevant to college students looking to join the work force,” campaign spokeswoman Eleanor May said in a statement.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy took his name out of the running for House Speaker Thursday in a stunning move that came as a surprise to many in the GOP.
"If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that," McCarthy told reporters after informing House members of his decision.
McCarthy said he will retain his position as majority leader.
The decision came as House Republicans had gathered to vote on the next speaker, members told ABC News.
McCarthy told members he is not the one to unify the party, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
At a Speaker forum featuring each of the candidates Thursday morning, McCarthy made his case to the conference to replace current House Speaker John Boehner, giving members the impression his decision to drop out came Thursday morning between the two meetings.
Two other House Republicans are running for House Speaker -- Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla. On Wednesday, Webster earned an important endorsement from the House Freedom Caucus, a key conservative group in the House of Representatives.
Earlier on Thursday, Chaffetz said he still considered himself an underdog, but said he didn't believe McCarthy would receive the magic 218 votes he needed to win the wider vote on the House floor on Oct. 29.
“Clearly, I’m an underdog. I get that. I ran because I’m trying to bridge the gulf and divide in the Republican conference and say hey, it’s time for a fresh start,” he told reporters.
Boehner, who last month announced he would step down from the speakership on Oct. 30, postponed the election.
“After Leader McCarthy’s announcement, members of the House Republican Conference will not vote today for a new Speaker. As I have said previously, I will serve as Speaker until the House votes to elect a new Speaker. We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks," Boehner said in a statement. "Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., whom many urged to run for the speakership, expressed his disappointment in McCarthy's decision and repeated that he will not run for the post.
"Kevin McCarthy is best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership," Ryan said. "While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Republicans must select a speaker who is able "simply to unite a divided Republican caucus."
“There is a minority group of conservative politicians that places their own extreme ideology ahead of everything else and certainly ahead of effective governance of the country, but also as of today ahead of the effective governance of the House Republican caucus.” Earnest said. “Somebody within the - among the house republicans will have to step forward and demonstrate an ability to either tame the forces of that, again small but vocal group of extreme ideologues, or buck up the mainstream or at least more mainstream majority within the House Republican conference that will also include a willingness to work in bipartisan fashion."
When he was asked whether there is a Republican the White House would like to see in the speakership, Earnest said, “My guess is an endorsement from me from here would well not be viewed as an endorsement."