ABC/ LOU ROCCO(WASHINGTON) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no fan of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour as urged by President Obama.
Christie, who many expect will run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, "I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am."
The governor went on to say that parents in U.S. want more for their children than aspiring to make the minimum wage.
He then went on to mock Obama and his constituency, saying, "The president [is] playing to the lowest common denominator on a higher minimum wage."
Christie also went on to attack the Affordable Care Act, calling the health care law "fiction. It doesn’t work, and it should be repealed."
And while he was on a roll, the Republican governor picked on one of his favorite enemies, teachers unions, saying "It's time to start offending them."
In response to Christie's remarks on minimum wage, Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said, "Raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 could help lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty. A raise could also add billions to the GDP and add 85,000 jobs to the economy."
m-kojot/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A preliminary mental health assessment has determined that the White House fence jumper, Omar Gonzalez, is not competent for trial.
Gonzalez was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a weapon, assaulting an officer and numerous local offenses after he hopped the fence at the White House and evaded Secret Service agents on his way into the building in September.
Last week, Gonzalez underwent a one-hour forensic screening. Based on the results of that screening, a judge presiding over the pretrial hearing determined that Gonzalez "was presently not competent."
A defense attorney objected to the findings of that screening.
The judge ordered a more complete health exam within the next month.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Bristol Palin said the drunken brawl involving her family at a house party last month was started when she was defending her younger sister, newly released audio reveals.
The eldest daughter of Sarah Palin is heard on the audio obtained by ABC News from the Anchorage Police Department telling an officer that her sister Willow, 20, came up to her while she was waiting in the family’s rented limo and told her an “old lady” came up to her and “pushed” her.
Bristol Palin told the police she responded, “Oh (expletive) hell no, no one is going to touch my sister.”
Bristol Palin, who was described in the previously released police report as “heavily intoxicated and upset,” tells the officer that when she confronted the woman, a man “gets in my face, pushes me down on the grass, drags me across the grass” and swore at her, calling her a “slut,” among another names.
She then says she was pushed down again and pulled by her feet by the man who “comes out of nowhere,” identified in the earlier police report as Korey Klingenmeyer, who owned the home where the party was held.
Palin says she doesn’t know the man and has “never seen this guy in my life.”
Prosecutors said earlier this month they would not proceed with charges in the fight. The police were called to a birthday party for twin brothers Matthew and Marc McKenna at Klingenmeyer’s home in South Anchorage on Sept. 6. It was also Todd Palin’s birthday, who also attended with his wife and children.
Klingenmeyer told officers in the police report that Bristol Palin punched him five to six times in the face and that she was “hitting pretty hard.”
An officer wrote in that report that both Sarah and Todd Palin “appeared upset and in a verbal argument with other individuals at the scene.” There is no interview with the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee included in the report.
Klingenmeyer, who is described as “moderately intoxicated” in the report, told police he was considering filing charges and was “angry that the Palins had showed up and were causing problems,” according to the same report.
He told police he had asked Bristol Palin to leave and she responded, “Who the (expletive) are you?” Klingenmeyer told her he owned the home and Palin said she didn’t believe him and “she will kick his (expletive),” the police report says.
The report also includes accounts of a fight that Track Palin, Sarah and Todd Palin’s eldest son, allegedly got into at the same party.
Palin’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(WASHINGTON) -- While President Obama has returned to the campaign trail to court the black vote ahead of the midterm elections, race has arisen as an issue in two key Senate races, albeit for very different reasons.
A new television ad airing in Louisiana makes the case that the nation’s first black president has been bad for the black community.
The ad comes from a group called “Progressives for Immigration Reform” and uses images of Hurricane Katrina devastation and blacks standing in unemployment lines to argue that “our own president” wants to allow in millions of illegal immigrant workers to “take jobs when many of us still can’t find jobs.”
“African-Americans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, devastated by joblessness and the Great Recession. Now, we face another challenger: Our own president,” the ad’s announcer says.
Progressives for Immigration Reform did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Though the group’s stance on immigration reform falls on the conservative side of the political spectrum, the group’s website says it was founded on the principles of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, a Texas Democrat and the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives from the South. It describes its mission as protecting “low-skill, low wage American workers.”
The ad is not targeted at one specific candidate, but implores voters to “ask Louisiana’s leaders where they stand on millions more immigrant workers” at its conclusion.
Immigration reform has been a hot-button issue in the Louisiana Senate race, in which three-term incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu is facing a tough reelection bid against leading Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy. Both Landrieu and Cassidy have aired television ads portraying their opponent as weak on border security.
In Georgia, where Democrats hope a large African-American electorate could boost Senate candidate Michelle Nunn in her competitive race against Republican David Perdue, the state Democratic Party has sent out mailers that show images from Ferguson, Mo.
The mailers read, “It’s up to you to make change happen” and urge Democratic votes to prevent “another Ferguson.”
“The fight for the right to vote and for every vote to be counted is part of our state’s history, a part of the fabric that makes Georgia what it is today,” party spokesman Michael Smith told ABC News. “And we have seen what happens in places like Ferguson, Missouri, when voices are silenced.”
ABC/Matthew Putney(DALLAS) -- Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas on Tuesday.
The facility will be set up and operated through a partnership between the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Hospital System and Parkland Hospital System. Those hospitals will contribute physicians experienced in treating infectious disease; space; and equipment to the new facility.
"In the event of another diagnosis this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus' reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease," Perry said.
The facility was among the recommendations made by Perry's Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than 57,000 government workers were placed on paid administrative leave for over one month between 2011 and 2013, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday, with 263 employees being paid while on leave for over a year.
The GAO review looked at data from the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The GAO noted "inaccuracies in Office of Personnel Management data" caused by differences in agencies' leave-recording practices and what the OPM considers paid administrative leave and differences in what payroll providers report as paid administrative leave.
While 97 percent of employees placed on paid administrative leave spent 20 days or less on leave, 57,336 were on leave for between one month and three years.
The GAO called upon the OPM to "develop agency and payroll provider guidance regarding the recording and reporting of paid administrative leave" to minimize the cost of paying workers on leave. The Washington Post reports that between 2011 and 2013, the tab for workers on leave was more than $775 million.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said on Tuesday that she took the GAO's recommendations seriously and will aim to ensure all leave policies are used and reported properly. She noted that "use of administrative leave is under the authority of each individual agency, and that each agency has the ultimate responsibility to use their discretion to determine its proper use."
Pete Souza - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s unpaid bills have gone missing.
During a rare trip home to Chicago, Obama on Monday lamented the life he left behind.
“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule,” he told supporters at a fundraiser.
“Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills,” Obama joked. “I think eventually they got paid -- but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The White House, however, left the president’s quip about his unpaid bills out of the official transcript.
According to the transcript, Obama said “we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some -- newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
Tuesday morning, the White House issued an updated transcript, but it still didn’t mention the “unpaid bills.” Instead, it included an “inaudible” in that portion.
According to the White House, the omission was unintentional and the result of a problem with the audio recording.
No word on what bills were left unpaid.
“I did not have a chance to rummage through the desk of the president while he was home this week,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest jokingly told reporters.
The president has been talking a lot about his finances recently. Just last week, he explained how his credit card was rejected during a recent dinner out with the first lady.
“I was trying to explain to the waitress, ‘No, I really think that I’ve been paying my bills,’” he joked last Friday.
Scott Olson/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday will make her second stop in Colorado for embattled Sen. Mark Udall in just over a week, anchoring a get-out-the-vote rally in Denver.
The former secretary of state’s appearance -- sandwiched between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Friday visit, and first lady Michelle Obama’s stop this Thursday -- is part of a highly choreographed effort to stimulate the Democratic base as early voting begins.
While Democrats believe their storied ground game will find voters, and universal mail-in ballots will make voting more convenient than ever, Udall can’t win without energized Democrats. They're hoping some of the party’s biggest stars can deliver that much-needed enthusiasm.
US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Two weeks before the election, the Republican National Committee is targeting Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in its latest “Road to Six” video, arguing that he “does not represent Arkansas values.”
The video paints Pryor as a candidate who has voted and sided with President Obama. It also features footage of Pryor saying Rep. Tom Cotton has a “sense of entitlement” because he served in the military.
NCRNC(WASHINGTON) -- Remember the Republican National Committee squirrel that hounded former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of her book tour? Turns out he has a Southern friend.
The North Carolina Republican Party has sent someone around the state in a yellow duck costume with a series of signs, questioning Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s decision to “duck” a proposed fourth Senate debate Tuesday evening, as well as the classified Senate ISIS briefing she missed for a New York City fundraiser.
ABC News(CHICAGO) — President Obama found himself in an unusual situation Monday.
As he was casting his ballot early in Chicago, minding his own business behind the voting booth, a young man walked by and warned him “don’t touch my girlfriend.”
The girlfriend, who was voting in the booth next to Obama, was humiliated, to say the least. “I really wasn’t planning on it,” Obama joked with the woman. “There’s an example of a brother just embarrassing you, just for no reason whatsoever.”
“And now you’ll be going back home and talking to your friends -- what’s his name?” the president asked.
“Mike,” the woman said.
“‘I can’t believe Mike. He’s such a fool,’” Obama said, impersonating the woman.
“He really is,” she agreed.
Obama continued: “‘I was just mortified. But, fortunately, the president was nice about it. So it’s all right.’”
“I am freaking out right now,” the woman said, laughing.
The president got the last laugh, though.
“Give me a kiss and give him something to talk about,” the president said, as he gave Cooper a hug and a peck on the cheek. “Now he’s really jealous.”
But Cooper downplayed the moment.
“He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Just the cheek,” she told ABC’s Chicago station WLS. “Please, Michelle, don’t come after me!”
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor expanded public transportation options over road building in government efforts to reduce traffic congestion. But where they live makes a difference.
Overall, 54 percent prefer focusing on public transit, such as trains and buses, while four in 10 say the government should focus on expanding and building roads instead. Preference for public transit, though, ranges from 61 percent of urban residents to 52 percent of suburbanites and 49 percent of people in rural areas.
The results come as Vice President Joe Biden and six mayors from major U.S. cities are scheduled to attend a Washington Post forum Tuesday on relieving traffic congestion.
There are other differences among groups. Preference for a focus on public transit peaks at two in three liberals and six in 10 college graduates, as well as among nonwhites, people under age 40, those in the top income category, $100,000-plus, and political independents.
Other groups have a slight preference for road building: strong conservatives, evangelical white Protestants and white men without a college degree. METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4-7, 2014, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results have a 3.5 point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.st
Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Marie Curie(WASHINGTON) -- Monica Lewinsky nearly broke down in tears Monday as she recounted her experience as “patient zero, the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”
In what she called her “first public talk,” Lewinsky vowed to “give purpose to my past” by speaking publicly about life after her affair with then-President Bill Clinton.
“My name is Monica Lewinsky – though I’ve often been advised to change it,” the president’s former mistress began.
“Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a twenty-two-year-old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic — I fell in love with my boss, in a twenty-two-year-old sort of a way. It happens,” she said. “But my boss was the president of the United States. That probably happens less often.”
In the wake of the blue dress, the beret, and the salacious Starr report, Lewinsky says, she “came close to disintegrating.”
“I was threatened in various ways. First, with an FBI sting in a shopping mall....Immediately following, in a nearby hotel room, I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the affair in an affidavit,” she recalled. “Twenty-seven years. When you’re only 24 yourself that’s a long time.”
Choking back tears, she continued that she was “chillingly told that my mother, too — sorry — that my mother, too, might face prosecution if I didn’t cooperate and wear a wire.”
As her life unraveled in public, Lewinsky says, she heard “a relentless mantra in my head: I want to die.”
“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then. But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites complete with comment sections and emails could be forwarded,” she said. “Of course it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial-up.”
Paying tribute to Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University student “humiliated to death” after classmates posted video of him kissing another man online, Lewinsky vowed to share her story despite the backlash.
“Today, I think of myself as someone who – who the hell knows how – survived....Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too.”
Vladek/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended one of its members on Monday after he was accused exchanging sexually explicit emails.
The court chose to relieve Seamus McCaffery of his judicial and administrative responsibilities in light of the email scandal. The court also noted allegations that McCaffery may have attempted to use his position to alter a judicial assignment outside of the scope of his duties, authorized his wife to accept referral fees from plaintiffs' firms while she served as his administrative assistant, and improperly contacted a traffic-court official in connection with a citation issued to his wife.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille filed a concurring statement in which he said, "in my two decades of experience on this Court, no other Justice...has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute. No other Justice has failed to live up to the high ethical demands required of a Justice of this Court, or has been the constant focus of ethical lapses to the degree of Justice McCaffery.