ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Following a disappointing fifth place finish in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio is going on the offensive.
Hoping for a better performance in Saturday's South Carolina primary, Rubio has spent the last few days repeatedly blasting Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz at various campaign stops in the Palmetto State.
"Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience,” Rubio said in Okatie, South Carolina. “Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.”
He also slammed Trump for recently using a vulgar word to refer to Cruz.
“You turn on your TV and you have the leading presidential candidate saying profanity from the stage. Profanity, from the stage. All these things undermine the things we teach our children,” Rubio said.
Turning to Bush, he accused his former mentor of having “no foreign policy experience, period.”
He assailed Cruz for voting for a federal budget that “bragged about cutting defense spending.”
When reporters later asked Rubio to respond to new attack ads aimed at him from the Cruz campaign, Rubio said Cruz was willing to “say or do anything to get elected. That’s why he ordered his campaign or his campaign ordered people to tell people that Ben Carson was dropping out in Iowa in order to hopefully steal away some votes.”
Rubio’s bare-knuckle approach represents a shift for the Florida senator. Up until recently, he has largely avoided going after other Republicans. But he now says the reason he had a bad debate last week was because he had made the decision not to hit back when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked his record (Rubio instead repeated the same Obama line four times, which had many mocking his performance as robotic).
“In hindsight, maybe that was a mistake,” he told ABC’s Jon Karl.
"I shouldn’t have done it that way because what it did was it moved me to a message that pivoted away from the question and gave this perception that I tried to evade it,” he said. “The truth is, I just didn’t want to get into a Republican-on-Republican fight, but in hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best way to approach it.”
Rubio will get the chance to make things right for his campaign at the next debate, which takes place tomorrow in Greenville, South Carolina. He maintains that he won’t attack other Republicans “gratuitously” but that he does think it’s time they start discussing their policy differences.
"I’m not going to go in with the goal of attacking other Republicans," he told reporters on Thursday. "But if there’s a policy difference, voters deserve to know that, because they’re trying to make a choice."
He added: "I think now the race is even narrower, the differences are gonna be a little sharper.”
ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off Thursday night in the final Democratic debate before the Nevada caucuses, and on Friday, they will come face to face yet again.
Both Democratic presidential candidates will attend the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner in St. Paul, Minnesota Friday evening.
Beforehand, Clinton will hold a town hall in Denmark, South Carolina in the afternoon, and Sanders will attend a forum on race and economic opportunity in the other twin city of Minneapolis earlier in the evening.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, all of the Republican candidates -- except Donald Trump -- will be in South Carolina on Friday. Most have a light schedule -- likely because they are preparing for Saturday night's GOP debate.
Jeb Bush will stop in Anderson Friday morning before attending a “cattle call” with several of his rivals.
Bush, along with Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, will all attend the Faith and Family Presidential Forum at the evangelical Bob Jones University. Carson speaks at 12:30 p.m., Bush speaks at 1:15 p.m., Rubio is at 2:15 p.m., and Cruz is at 4:45 p.m.The event is an important one as the evangelical voting bloc is an important one in the Palmetto State.
Carson and Cruz have no other events, but Rubio will hold a rally at 5 p.m. in Greenville.
John Kasich has three events in South Carolina Friday. In the morning, he will address the Chamber of Commerce in Columbia, before stopping for BBQ in Orangeburg later in the afternoon. He then holds a town hall in Hilton Head.
Trump, meanwhile, will hold an 8 p.m. rally in Tampa, Florida.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Jazz at Lincoln Center(NEW YORK) -- If Michael Bloomberg becomes the second billionaire in the 2016 presidential race, his money won’t necessarily mean he could easily side-step the hurdles facing other candidates.
Indeed, he would face more obstacles by not running in one of the established political parties.
If the former New York City mayor -- who was elected twice as a Republican after leaving the Democratic Party -- decides to run for president, as he has been not-so-subtly hinting in recent interviews, he would join a list of previous candidates who have vied for the White House as an independent.
The Logistics of Breaking Out on Your Own
One of the most immediate challenges for a serious independent candidate would be to make sure his or her name showed up on the ballots in all 50 states, Georgetown University associate professor Hans Noel told ABC News.
The states differ dramatically on the requirements to qualify to have a candidate’s name added to a ballot. Generally, states require a certain percentage of the electorate to sign a petition to have the individual added to the ballot, ranging from more than 178,000 people in California to as few as 275 people in Tennessee, according to Ballotpedia, a website run by a nonprofit focused on government accountability.
The individual filing deadlines range mostly through the summer months, with Texas having the earliest deadline of May 9, according to the site.
A candidate would likely want to hire someone in each state with local expertise, but, Noel points out, most of those individuals have that experience because they’ve been working for one of the main parties "for decades," making them less likely to break away for an independent.
Beyond that, the candidate in question would need to solicit thousands of signatures, indicating widespread appeal.
"If the barrier to an independent candidate were that they couldn’t mobilize enough people to get on the ballot in the 50 states, then that's somebody that’s not going to win," Noel said.
When it comes to campaign finances, the deadline is less of a factor. Christian Hilland, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, said candidates need to register with the agency within 15 days of spending at least $5,000 on campaign activity.
The FEC allows for preliminary work and an exploratory committee to be formed, both of which could easily cost more than $5,000, without having the candidate formally register. That grace period ends when the individual begins explicitly referring to him or herself as a candidate, Hilland said.
Ross Perot and Ralph Nader may have been the most recent men to run as independent candidates, with the Reform and Green parties, respectively, but they weren’t the most successful in terms of results, Noel says.
"The most successful independent candidate was Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and he had already been president … and he still didn’t win," Noel said.
Democratic candidate then-Gov. Woodrow Wilson ended up winning with 41.8 percent of the vote, while Roosevelt got 27.4 percent as a member of the Progressive Party. William Howard Taft won 23.2 percent and socialist Eugene Debs got 6 percent of the vote.
Noel explained that, essentially, Wilson held on to the majority of the Democrats, Roosevelt and Taft effectively split the Republicans, costing themselves the election.
"It’s reasonable to suggest that either had Roosevelt not run or Taft not run, either one of them might have beat Wilson, but because they were both in the race, neither won," Noel said.
Noel said that it remains unclear with which party Bloomberg would align more closely, which makes sense given the media mogul’s political history. He was a registered Democrat until 2001 when he decided to run for New York City mayor as a Republican. Bloomberg, 73, stayed with the GOP until 2007 when he became a registered independent before winning a third term.
"Whichever party he is closest to, his running helps the other candidate," Noel said.
Looking at the Electoral Map
Beyond ballot access and political posturing, the biggest factor that will prove difficult is that Bloomberg would have to win -- not come in second, but win -- a sizeable number of states to seriously compete with the Democratic and Republican nominees.
"You could end up coming in second behind the Democrat in a lot Democratic states and end up coming in second behind the Republican in a lot Republican states and win no electoral college states at all," Noel said.
In the case of Perot in 1992, he earned 18.9 percent of the vote but those votes were from "all over the place," so he didn’t collect any electoral college votes.
"Swing states might be the place [Bloomberg] would be more likely to win because these are places that both of the other two parties are evenly matched, so he might be able to squeeze in there," Noel said. "Those places are larger and more diverse."
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image(LOS ANGELES) -- Leaving his dancing shoes at home this time around, President Obama returned to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Thursday for a wide-ranging interview for Friday's episode on everything from a “depressing” Washington, D.C., to tears he plans to shed at his daughter's coming graduation.
Obama's last appearance on the show was in 2007, when then-Sen. Obama broke down some dance moves to Beyonce's “Crazy in Love.”
This time around, Obama, becoming the first president to join DeGeneres for an in-studio interview, was more restrained.
DeGeneres surprised Obama with a Valentine's Day video message from his wife, Michelle Obama, who appeared on the show last year.
Obama responded with his own message from the Los Angeles studio, where he promised he would be gifting the first lady some zucchini bread and a massage.
DeGeneres, who is married to actress Portia de Rossi, then thanked the president for her staying married to her own "strong, beautiful" wife.
Obama, who spent the day in California keynoting several Democratic fundraisers, admitted to DeGeneres his joy with being outside the Washington bubble.
"It’s always good to get out of Washington, which can sometimes be a little depressing," Obama said, though admitting his sadness over having to give up Air Force One as the end of his presidency approaches.
Obama insisted, as he has multiple times during the 2016 presidential campaign, that despite early turbulence, "the ship will be righted" and cooler heads will prevail.
Win McNamee/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- After criticizing Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War vote at Thursday's presidential Democratic debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Bernie Sanders turned to attacking Clinton’s relationship with Henry Kissinger, whom Sanders called “one of the most destructive secretaries of state.”
“In her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger,” Sanders said. “Now I find it rather amazing because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country."
Sanders continued: "I'm proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.”
“Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy and we have yet to know who that is,” Clinton responded.
“Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger, that's for sure,” Sanders shot back.
Kissinger, now 92, served under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
He also received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.
Speaking to reporters after the debate, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver still wouldn’t say who advises the candidate on foreign policy but said, "we'll get you a list soon."
Win McNamee/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE ) -- In the final Democratic debate before the Nevada caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off at a pivotal moment in the race for the Democratic nomination.
After a sweeping loss in the New Hampshire primary earlier this week, the former Secretary of State aimed to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, Sanders needed to generate more momentum and support from non-white voters as he heads to more moderate, diverse states.
The Democratic presidential candidates turn to Nevada next Saturday, where each candidate needs to take a stand.
Here are five moments that mattered from the Democratic debate:
1. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Over and over Bernie Sanders hammers home his one message: The economy is rigged and money corrupts politics. And tonight, Clinton stole it from him.
"There aren't enough good paying jobs, especially for young people. And yes, the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top,” she said during her opening remarks, echoing the Vermont Senator almost word-for-word from his stump speech.
Clinton also dropped the “R” word during her concession speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
While imitation is the biggest form of flattery, it might also be the biggest sign that the once-presumed Democratic frontrunner is scrambling to find a new message.
2. History on the Stage
Hillary Clinton was asked tonight about the 55 percent of female voters supporting Bernie Sanders over the former Secretary of State in New Hampshire and what women are "missing" about her. She answered that she has "spent my entire adult life working toward making sure that women are empowered to make their own choices, even if that choice is not to vote for me."
She then took the opportunity to note some history on the stage:
"I would note just for an historic aside, somebody told me earlier today we've had like 200 presidential primary debates. And this is the first time there have been a majority of women on the stage," she said referring to herself and moderators PBS's Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. "So you know, we'll take our progress wherever we can find it."
Woodruff quipped: "Senator Sanders, you're in the minority but we still want to hear from you."
The Vermont Senator -- who would be the first Jewish president -- noted, "I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well." 3. Sanders Takes On Race Relations
Bernie Sanders made two unequivocal statements on race tonight. First, this -- “We are looking at institutional racism,” the Vermont Senator declared, citing incarceration rates, youth unemployment, and systemic poverty along racial lines.
Sanders, who desperately needs to close the gap and improve his name recognition with African American and other minority voters as he race for the party’s nomination moves beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, then went further.
Asked point blank if race relations would be better under a Sanders administration, he did not hesitate, “Yes.”
“What we will do is say instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires, we are going to create millions of jobs for low income kids so they're not hanging out on street corners. We're going to make sure that those kids stay in school or are able to get a college education,” he continued.
4. Bernie’s Fight Over Fundraising
It’s no surprise that Sanders brought up “a corrupt campaign finance system” where “extraordinarily wealthy people make very large contributions to super PACs.“
After he implied Clinton’s super PAC does not allow her to remain independent from corporations who donate large sums of money to her campaign, Clinton said, “We are mixing apples and oranges. My 750,000 donors have contributed more than a million and a half donations. I'm very proud.”
Clinton then reminisced about how President Obama was able to stand up to Wall Street even though “he was the recipient of the largest number of Wall Street donations of anybody running on the democratic side ever.” That did not settle well with Sanders.
“Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people,” Sanders said. “People aren't dumb. Why in god's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it.”
5. Kissing Off Kissinger
After criticizing Clinton’s Iraq War vote, Sanders turned to attacking Clinton’s relationship with Henry Kissinger, whom Sanders called “one of the most destructive secretaries of state.”
“In her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger,” Sanders said. “...I'm proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.”
“Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy and we have yet to know who that is,” Clinton pointed out.
“Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger, that's for sure,” Sanders fired back.
ABC News(Milwaukee) -- The Democratic debate took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Here are the best lines of the PBS debate:
ON BERNIE SANDERS’ Health Care Proposal
HILLARY CLINTON: “Because especially with health care, this is not about math. This is about people's lives. And we should level with the American people about what we can do to make sure they get quality, affordable health care.”
“Let's level with the American people. Secretary Clinton has been going around the country saying Bernie Sanders wants to dismantle the affordable care act,” Sanders shot back. “I have fought my entire life to make sure that health care is a right for all people. We're not going to dismantle anything.”
ON HILLARY CLINTON'S PROPOSAL
HILLARY CLINTON: “We have a special obligation to make clear what we stand for, which is why I think we should not make promises we can't keep.”
“My price tag is about $100 billion a year,” she added.
“Well, Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet,” Sanders fired back.
ON WOMEN SUPPORTING SANDERS IN NH HILLARY CLINTON: “I have spent my entire adult life working toward making sure that women are empowered to make their own choices, even if that choice is not to vote for me. I believe that it's most important that we unleash the full potential of women and girls in our society.”
“And this is the first time there have been a majority of women on the stage. So you know, we'll take our progress wherever we can find it,” the former secretary of state added.
BERNIE SANDERS: “Well, you know, I think from a historical point of view, somebody with my background, somebody with my views, somebody who has spent his entire life taking on the big money interests, I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well.” ON REPUBLICANS
BERNIE SANDERS: “When it comes to a woman having to make a very personal choice, in that case, my Republican colleagues love the government and want the government to make that choice for every woman in America. If that's not hypocrisy, I don't know what hypocrisy is.”
ON SOLVING RACIAL DIVISIONS BERNIE SANDERS: “What we have got to do is make it clear that any police officer who breaks the law will, in fact, be held accountable.
“When you give low-income kids, African-American, white, Latino kids the opportunities to get their lives together, they are not going to end up in jail,” Sanders continued. “They're going to end up in the productive economy which is where we want them.”
When asked about solving the needs of the working-class white Americans, Clinton said: “I do think it would be a terrible oversight not to try to address the very real problems that white Americans, particularly those without a lot of education, whose jobs have, you know, no longer provided them or even no longer present in their communities.”
BERNIE SANDERS: “What we have to do right now is bring our people together and understand that we must provide a path towards citizenship for 11 million undocumented people.”
“I strongly support the president's executive actions,” Clinton argued. “I am against the raids. I'm against the kind of inhumane treatment that is now being visited upon families, waking them up in the middle of the night, rounding them up. We should be deporting criminals, not hard-working immigrant families.”
“We have got to stand up to the Trumps of the world, who are trying to divide us up,” the Vermont senator fired off.
ON WALL STREET
BERNIE SANDERS: “Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren't dumb. Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it.”
ON TERRORISM PREPAREDNESS
HILLARY CLINTON: “When somebody like Donald Trump and others stir up the demagoguery against Muslims, that hurts us at home; it is not only offensive but dangerous.”
“Senator Obama, when he ran against me was against the war in Iraq. And yet when he won, he turned to me trusting my judgment, my experience, to become secretary of state,” Clinton quipped.
“Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy and we have yet to know who that is,” Clinton told Sanders.
Sanders responded, “Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger, that’s for sure.”
Clinton has a close relationship with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new ad set to be released online by the Bernie Sanders campaign features Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, explaining why she is backing the Vermont senator.
Eric Garner died in the summer of 2014 when police tried to arrest him in Staten Island, New York. A video of the arrest, in which he could be heard repeatedly saying "I can't breathe," ignited a firestorm of criticism of the NYPD's actions.
“This is what mommy is, she is an activist,” Erica Garner -- who endorsed Sanders -- says in the ad as she walks through her home and neighborhood with her daughter. “I was able to see my dad die on national TV...They don’t know who they took from us...he was loved daily."
Garner says in the ad that her goal is to tell her father's story: that he was “murdered.”
“I never want the world to forget what happened to my dad,” Erica Garner adds in the video.
The campaign says it is working on developing a shorter version of the ad for cable TV, but that they have yet to buy television ad time for the ad.
“I am behind anyone who is going to listen and speak to for us,” she says, adding that Sanders is not afraid to stand up to the criminal justice system.
“I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders," she says. "There is no other person that is speaking about this.”
Sanders' primary challenger, Hillary Clinton, has spoken extensively about issues of criminal justice reform too, but the battle for the African American vote is in full force now as campaigns switch attention to South Carolina and other more racially diverse primary voting states.
The Sanders campaign and some its backers were clearly rattled by the Congressional Black Caucuses PAC decision today to back Clinton. Sanders today picked up one high profile endorsement from the civil rights community —- Harry Belafonte.
Sanders is pictured briefly in the 4-minute ad, speaking at one of his rallies: "It is not acceptable to me that we have seen young black men walk down streets in this country be beaten and be killed in this country,” he says.
A state grand jury declined to indict the officer who put Garner in an apparent chokehold, but a federal grand jury is reportedly hearing evidence in the case.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush got help from his mom and now he’s enlisting the help of his older brother.
George W. Bush joins Jeb Monday night in North Charleston, South Carolina for the pair’s first public campaign event together. The former president has fundraised for Jeb before, notably appearing with their father at a major Houston event last fall.
Honored to have my brother joining me on the trail this week. Join us Monday in Charleston. https://t.co/HETjKZiZZJ
“President Bush has been incredibly supportive of his brother’s campaign and Governor Bush is excited to have him out on the trail,” Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, wrote in a statement provided to ABC News.
”With the threats facing our nation and our allies, we need a steady hand. Few people understand that better than President Bush who knows that we need a tested, strong leader as our next Commander-in-Chief."
The former president has lent a hand in advertising. He appeared in a campaign radio ad earlier this week in South Carolina and was seen in an advertisement during the Super Bowl in New Hampshire sponsored by Right to Rise, the Super PAC supporting Bush.
Though a Gallup poll showed his approval ratings upon leaving office were a mere 34 percent, according to a Bloomberg national poll, former President Bush’s approval rate among Republicans is at 77 percent.
Jeb Bush was joined by his 90-year-old mother, Barbara Bush, on the campaign trail earlier this month ahead of the New Hampshire primary.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus formally endorsed Hillary Clinton Thursday, a move that quickly came under fire from one of the few lawmakers on Capitol Hill supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of two members of Congress to endorse Sanders, claimed today that leaders of the CBC's political action committee made the decision to back Clinton without the input of the larger Congressional Black Caucus.
Cong'l Black Caucus (CBC) has NOT endorsed in presidential. Separate CBCPAC endorsed withOUT input from CBC membership, including me.
A spokesman for the CBC declined to respond to Ellison's comments about the endorsement process and input, but said the decision to endorse Clinton was not made hastily, pointing to Clinton's support among the majority of caucus members.
Lawmakers said the decision to back Clinton was decided in a near-unanimous vote by the PAC's 19-member executive board. (No members of the board voted for Sanders. Two members -- Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and political consultant Angela Rye -- abstained from voting.)
In their endorsement, the black Democrats pledged to help Clinton campaign in South Carolina before that state’s crucial Democratic primary later this month. In 2008, more than half of the Democratic primary voters in South Carolina were African-American.
“You judge a person by their results, and there’s no question that the person who has obtained the most results is Hillary Clinton,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said.
The endorsement comes as Clinton's campaign looks to regain its footing after the former secretary of state's devastating loss to Sen. Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and its political action committee praised Clinton’s record, calling her the best-positioned advocate for African-Americans while questioning Sanders’ record in Congress on the issues of gun control and civil rights.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., dismissed Sanders’ civil rights record when asked about his work organizing for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Chicago.
“I never saw him, I never met him,” Lewis said.
Asked about the appeal of Sanders’ message to young voters, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., said they need to do their homework.
“You can't just listen to what someone is telling you, because most of the time when it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true,” Richmond said. “When you start saying free college and free health care, the only thing you're leaving out is free car and a free home.”
Before South Carolina's primary, Sanders has gained some notable black supporters, including singer Harry Belafonte, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and former NAACP chairman Ben Jealous. On Wednesday, he met with the Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking House Democrat, is reconsidering his pledge to remain neutral in the presidential primary. He said he will discuss an endorsement with close family and friends. He told reporters on Wednesday the Congressional Black Caucus PAC's endorsement wouldn't influence his decision on an endorsement.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A federal judge has ordered the U.S. State Department to finish releasing former Secretary Hillary Clinton's private emails in four installments between this Saturday and the end of the month. The order comes as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation between the State Department and a news organization.
The State Department announced late last month it would fail to comply with the court's original order to release all 55,000 pages of documents by the end of January, claiming it had overlooked 7,000 pages of email that needed further review.
In a court filing Wednesday, the State Department suggested it could release 550 of the remaining 7,600 pages of emails this Saturday to effectively appease the court. Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled today that in addition to the proposed Saturday production, the State Department will have to continue to produce documents as they become available through the remainder of February.
The next production dates have been set as Feb. 13, 19, 26 and 29. The judge also ordered that the final three productions occur before the close of business. The State Department published a set of Clinton documents in early-January at 2:30 a.m. ET.
Clinton has long maintained that she wants her emails to be made public as soon as possible. She is also accusing government officials of unnecessarily upgrading some of her emails to the "top secret" level, making them unavailable for the public to view.
The classification and investigations of her email practices have dogged her campaign since the summer.
The State Department says it does not expect to find any more “top secret” emails.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Rep. Duncan Hunter really likes his vaporizer.
The California Republican busted out his vaporizer pen in a House Transportation Committee hearing Thursday while debating an amendment from Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton that would formally ban the use of vaporizers and e-cigarettes on airplanes.
Hunter, in an effort to demonstrate the devices are safe to use, pulled his own vaporizer out and took a drag, blowing out a cloud of vaporized liquid. “This is called a vaporizer,” he explained, as his neighbor, Rep. Candace Miller waved the smoke away.
"There's no combustion, there's no carcinogens," Hunter added, saying that the device helped him quit smoking.
However, his efforts were for naught: The amendment ended up being passed by the committee.
“Despite the best efforts of Rep. Hunter, who came equipped with his vaping device and demonstrated its use, Members were not impressed enough to defeat my amendment,” Norton said in a statement. “The Member sitting next to Rep. Hunter even fanned away the smoke emitted from the vaporizer, illustrating my point about secondhand smoke.”
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the devices have not been fully studied, and it is not known how many harmful chemicals are being inhaled or whether there are any benefits to using the devices.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by 22 points in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, the largest victory in the state's history for a non-incumbent in the Democratic party.
But when the dust settled, the delegate count was roughly equal, with ABC estimating that each candidate picked up 15 delegates. So what is going on?
To win the Democratic nomination, a candidate must obtain a certain number of delegates -- individuals who will cast votes at the DNC convention this summer. But there are two types of delegates in the Democratic party: pledged delegates, which are generally based on vote count, and unpledged delegates, or superdelegates. The latter include former and current Democratic leaders and elected officials, including presidents, vice presidents, governors and senators. They can select the candidate of their choosing, wherever they want and whenever they want - and can switch at any time.
Sanders leads in pledged delegates; he has 36 while Clinton has 32, according to ABC News estimates. But Clinton has a huge lead in superdelegates, with 362 to Sanders' 8. (There are a total of 712 superdelegates). In New Hampshire for instance, Clinton currently has the support of 6 of the state's 8 superdelegates, which accounts for her total win of 15 delegates. Sanders picked up none (two have yet to decide).
This count has angered Sanders’ supporters, who are claiming the establishment is rigged against their candidate of choice. MoveOn.org, which endorsed Sanders earlier this year, started a petition to tell the superdelegates to honor the will of the voters. As of today, the petition has over 130,000 signatures.
“In a close race, Superdelegates can snatch that victory away,” the petition reads. “Only by pushing back against this possibility can we ensure that the candidate WE vote for becomes the nominee.”
As stated above, these superdelegates can switch their allegiance at any time. Just because they are supporting Clinton now doesn't mean they have to do so in July. And in 2008, that scenario materialized. Clinton originally had a large superdelegate lead over then-Senator Barack Obama. When it became clear that Obama had a stronger likelihood of becoming the nominee, superdelegates who had originally pledged their support for Clinton switched to Obama. By May 2008, Obama had narrowed that lead to 1, according to a CNN report.
In a statement to ABC News, the Democratic National Committee emphasized that the only delegates awarded in Tuesday night's primary were the pledged ones.
"Let's be clear, the only delegates at stake on Tuesday in New Hampshire's First in the Nation primaries were 24 pledged delegates," DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach wrote in an email to ABC.
US Congress(NEW YORK) -- Bernie Sanders met with Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday in New York in an apparent move to diversify his voting base, which may become crucial as the campaign moves into South Carolina.
"Sanders very much needs to up his game among blacks and Hispanics if he's going to win in the more diverse states ahead," said ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer. "And for Clinton these groups are an important bulwark - if she can retain their broad support."
Even in New Hampshire, where Sanders won handily in counties across the state, Hillary Clinton received 52 percent of the non-white vote, while Sanders received 48 percent, according to ABC News exit polling.
Right after Sanders won New Hampshire, he headed to New York City with his wife Jane, where he met Sharpton at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem, the same place where then Sen. Barack Obama met with Sharpton in 2008.
In remarks after the meeting, Sharpton said he “bluntly” asked Sanders about the water crisis in Flint, affirmative action and police brutality, which he described as “issues that affect our communities around the country.”
Sharpton praised Sanders for coming to Harlem the day after his victory in New Hampshire, explaining that it sends a “signal” of the community’s importance.
“Sen. Sanders coming here this morning further makes it clear we will not be ignored. Our votes must be earned,” said Sharpton.
Sharpton did not make an endorsement, but said one would likely come after Clinton meets with civil rights leaders, which is scheduled to happen on Feb. 18. Sharpton said Sanders has also agreed to meet with civil rights leaders.
Sanders has received endorsements from some African-American leaders, including former NAACP head Ben Jealous and Harlem State Sen. Bill Perkins. However, the Congressional Black Caucus’ political action committee is set to endorse Clinton on Thursday.
According to a clip of their conversation posted on MSNBC, Sharpton asked Sanders how he was planning on succeeding with more diverse electorates after Iowa and New Hampshire, which are mostly white.
"We have the issues, we have the agenda, we have the ground troops to rally the people of South Carolina and Nevada," Sanders replied.
Sharpton told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that the campaign wanted to meet with him.
Despite Clinton’s advantages with minority voters, her campaign held a conference call just hours after the Sanders/Sharpton meeting to stress their candidate’s superior record in supporting the African-American community.
The call, featuring Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, President of the NAACP's New York State Conference Dr. Hazel Dukes and South Carolina Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford, claimed Sanders is only starting to express interest in issues affecting African-Americans now because he needs the votes.
“Until recently, Sen. Sanders has been absent from the African community,” said Dukes.
Jeffries said that for the last 40 years, Sanders has been “missing in action” in support of issues important to the African community. The surrogates claimed that Sanders’ stances on guns and healthcare would be harmful to the African-American community and questioned his commitment to criminal justice.
“He may be for us now that he’s campaigning outside of Vermont but what is his evidence of reform for people of color?” said Rutherford.