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Saturday
Aug032013

Anthony Weiner Appoints New Campaign Manager, Blitzes Local Media

Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign has confirmed the appointment of Camille Joseph as campaign manager, thus filling the spot vacated when Danny Kedem quit as campaign manager a week ago.

Joseph, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was formerly the campaign’s political director.

The move comes as Weiner seeks to put to rest questions about the sexting scandal that continues to dog him on the campaign trail. To that end, the embattled former congressman fielded questions from several New York media outlets at his campaign headquarters early Friday afternoon.

“I guess what I can’t dispute for a minute is that days and days and days of headlines about my personal life isn’t helpful,” he told ABC News affiliate WABC, admitting that questions about his past conduct were hurting his ability to connect with voters.

Weiner, 48, said he was staying in the race, but could not rule out additional embarrassing communications or pictures from his past resurfacing.

“These things are behind me 100 percent,” he told WABC.  “I still can’t say that someone else might not have something from two years ago or last year.”

The latest disclosures have cost him his front-runner status in the Democratic primary race.

He also added in a separate interview with WNBC that he had deleted all the records associated with his past lewd conduct. “I don’t have any of the records,” he said. “I deleted everything.”

Weiner also denied reports that the Clinton family is upset about his remaining in the race and said he had not spoken recently with the Clintons.

“I have no reason to believe that she [Hillary Clinton] is annoyed,” Weiner told WNBC.

The New York City primary election is Sept. 10.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec222012

Ben Affleck to Run for Office? Probably Not

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Ben Affleck has been an increasingly popular presence in the political realm as of late. Earlier this week, he testified on Capitol Hill about security in the Democratic Republic of Congo and recently his name has come up as a possible contender in the impending Massachusetts special election to fill the seat to be vacated by John Kerry’s appointment as secretary of state.  Affleck, 40, grew up in Cambridge, Mass.

But it turns out running for political office might be a stretch too far for the actor and activist.

In an interview with GQ, Affleck had some pretty harsh words for the American political system, including “toxic,” “poisonous” and “inappropriate” (laced with expletives before them).

“I have gotten myself involved with politics, actually fairly in a pretty deep way, only to find that it really just took the wind out of my sails,” he said. “You know, it was much more interesting from the outside than from the inside.”

It’s worth noting that Affleck appears to dance around the question: “Have you ever had serious considerations” about running for office?

“I have never had a serious conversation. Not really,” he said. “I could tell you but then I can’t say what it is.”

For those hoping for a Ben Affleck vs. Scott Brown showdown this summer, don’t abandon all hope yet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. In Talks for Plea Deal

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Attorneys for the Justice Department and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. are in talks about a possible deal regarding allegations of campaign finance violations, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Negotiations have been under way for some time.

It is unclear whether the talks will result in a plea agreement, but sources say the talks could come to some conclusion soon.

Part of the investigation's focus is on whether Jackson improperly used campaign funds for personal purchases, including furnishings for his Washington, D.C., home. The investigation is being run by the FBI's Washington Field Office.

Representative Jackson's office said he is currently receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic -- his second prolonged stay there since being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. He is refraining from any official duties until he is given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

The Chicago congressman coasted to victory in Tuesday's election, keeping a seat he first won in a special election in 1995. Jackson won re-election despite having virtually no presence on the campaign trail. A robo-call to constituents describing his recent health troubles and thanking supporters for their "patience, your prayers … during this difficult time" appears to be the only evidence of Jackson's campaigning at all.

He has been absent from his congressional duties since this past summer. He last voted in the chamber on June 8 and has missed every one of the 225 votes since.

Jackson first came under a cloud of controversy in December 2008 when his name surfaced in the investigation of then Gov. Rod Blagojevich's scheme to peddle the Senate seat of president-elect Barack Obama. A House ethics probe into Jackson's activities was triggered but halted at the request of the Justice Department, which was conducting its own investigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Tearful Obama Credits Staff for History-Making Campaign

Win McNamee/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The morning after he won re-election, an emotional President Barack Obama credited his youthful staff of several hundred with running a campaign that will “go on in the annals of history.”

“What you guys have accomplished will go on in the annals of history and they will read about it and they’ll marvel about it,” Obama told his team Wednesday morning inside the Chicago campaign headquarters, tears streaming down his face.

“The most important thing you need to know is that your journey’s just beginning. You’re just starting. And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to whatever you guys end up accomplishing in the years and years to come,” he said.

The moment, captured by the Obama campaign’s cameras and posted online, offers a rare glimpse at the president unplugged and emotional. During the first four years of his presidency, Obama has never been seen publicly crying.

He first came to Chicago, he told the campaign staff, “knowing that somehow I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a great education or helping people living in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work and have dignity. And to make sure that people didn’t have to go to the emergency room to get health care.”

“The work that I did in those communities changed me much more than I changed those communities because it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience of ordinary people,” he said, as senior strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina looked on. “And it taught me the fact that under the surface differences, we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams. And it taught me something about how I handle disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor, and I grew up.”

“So when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind is, it’s not that you guys remind me of myself, it’s the fact that you are so much better than I was in so many ways. You’re smarter, you’re so better organized, you’re more effective,” he said.

Obama said he expected many of those who helped to re-elect him will assume new roles in progressive politics, calling that prospect a “source of my strength and inspiration.”

Senior campaign officials said Thursday that the Obama campaign infrastructure -- the field offices and network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers -- would undergo a period of transition in the coming weeks to determine how to remain sustainable and influential.

“We have remarkable staff, and the campaign that Jim [Messina] put together, you know, is the best in history,” said senior Obama adviser David Plouffe. “But the reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was the relationship between them and our candidate.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

Romney Campaign Readies ‘Go Teams’ for Potential Swing State Recounts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- How seriously is the Romney campaign taking the possibility of a post-Election Day recount?

Romney campaign officials have instructed members of their staff from the political and advance teams as well as other departments to “pack a bag” and bring it with them to Tuesday night’s election night event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Each notified staffer would be part of a “go-team” to be dispatched to one of several states where a close result might lead to a recount. (Inside the campaign, Ohio is the state that has loomed largest in discussions.)

Campaign planes are said to be on stand-by to ferry staff to their as-yet-unknown destination if needed.

In the state capitols of many of the battleground states, the campaign has also kept a small team of advance staffers who would also be ready to spring into action.

“We’re expecting a clear and decisive victory tonight,” a Romney campaign official told ABC News, “but we’re obviously ready for any scenario.”

The campaign already has both volunteer and staff lawyers camped out in all of the swing states.

Team Romney has also set up a “war room” at the TD Garden in Boston where a team of the campaign’s top legal officials, including Benjamin Ginsberg, who played a lead role for George W. Bush’s campaign during the 2000 Florida recount, are monitoring potential problems at polling locations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov052012

Paul Ryan Tells Iowa Crowd: ‘We Have the Momentum’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(DES MOINES, Iowa) – Paul Ryan held the last Romney 2012 campaign event in Iowa Monday evening, flying in from Colorado for a brief airplane hangar rally to the place where the presidential choosing contest begins: the first caucus state of Iowa. He told several hundred people his ticket will be victorious Tuesday.

“That’s why we need your help,” Ryan said, standing in front of a huge “Victory in Iowa” banner.  "That’s why we have momentum. That’s why we are going to win. And that’s why we only have one more day before we get us on the right track.”

The GOP vice presidential candidate gave a nod to the state’s caucus pride, saying they really get to know the candidates in a way other states don’t have the opportunity.

“Look, in Iowa, you have every presidential candidate in your own kitchens,” Ryan said, before referring to Obama. “I mean you really get to know candidates, and what has he been doing? He spent the entire summer and fall just trying to discredit and destroy Mitt Romney. He spent the entire time to distract you, trying to distort, trying to win an election by default, because he could not run on his record.”

This stop was the candidate’s third event and third time zone of the whirlwind day before voters go to the polls. He’s already stopped in Nevada and Colorado and still has Ohio and his home state of Wisconsin to go.

He noted that his 12 events here since being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate means, “We’ve kind of gotten know each other these last few months.”

The most recent Des Moines Register poll shows the president with a five-point advantage with 47 percent support to 42 percent for Romney. It’s a critical state for both campaigns and while Romney stopped Sunday, the president holds his final campaign rally in Des Moines late Monday night. It was Obama’s success in the 2008 Iowa caucuses that gave his candidacy the initial push, leading many months later to victory.

Whether his ticket is successful or not Tuesday, if Paul Ryan may have presidential aspirations of his own – which considering his trajectory, youth, and the fact he seriously considered entering the 2012 field is quite likely, he's expected to be back to Iowa often. From the state fair to the Pizza Ranches, and yes even in Iowans’ kitchens, this state gets to choose first, buoying struggling candidacies while at times ending others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov052012

Ann Romney Asks Virginia Voters, ‘Will We Be Neighbors?’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- Ann Romney may already be daydreaming about life in the White House, asking a huge crowd in northern Virginia Monday if they thought she and her husband might be moving to neighboring Washington come January.

“Are we going to be neighbors soon?” Mrs. Romney asked a roaring crowd of 8,500.

“It’s so exciting to have walked into a room like this and get greeted like that,” she said. “But the thing you don’t know: There’s as many of you outside as inside right now. And that’s the momentum we have been feeling. It’s not just in Virginia. It’s all across this country. And that’s what leads me to believe that I am standing next to the next president of the United States!”

Mitt Romney also seemed taken aback to the enthusiasm of the crowd, comparing it to a welcome pop stars might receive.

“I’m looking around to see if we have the Beatles are here or something to have brought you, but looks like you came just for the campaign and I appreciate it,” he said.

“You know, if anyone wants to know where the energy is — if anyone out there that’s following American politics wants to know where the energy is just come right here in this room and you’ll see it,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov052012

Ryan Says He Feels ‘Very Good’ Hours Before Voters Go to the Polls

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(JOHNSTON, Colo.) – Just hours before voting starts, Paul Ryan stopped at a diner, but didn’t give much away about how he was doing before what could be the biggest day of his life.

“I feel very good,” he told reporters as he stopped in at Johnson’s Corner, a truck stop diner in Johnston, Colorado, famous for their large cinnamon rolls.

Ryan didn’t answer when reporters asked him if he had spoken to his running mate Monday, although he has said in the past they talk daily.

He also met a priest at the restaurant and he asked Father Greg Ames of a church in Northgenn, Colo. to bless his rosary, taking it out of his pocket.

Sunday on a conference call with evangelical voters he said he always keeps a rosary in his pocket, and he also said he and his family “pray throughout the day.”

After visiting Johnson’s Corner he held a rally outside and he made sure to point out that the GOP ticket is “running a campaign” on the “principles that built this country,” including “religious liberty.”

On the call with evangelical leader Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition Sunday he also spoke about the issue, criticizing the president for the administration’s mandate that hospitals and other employers affiliated with religious groups provide insurance coverage for contraception.

“We should not have to sue the federal government to keep our constitutional freedoms,” Ryan said, referring to the Catholic Church’s lawsuit over the mandate.

“Imagine what he would do if he actually got reelected. It just puts a chill down my spine,” Ryan added.

On Monday, the GOP vice presidential nominee also reprised a line Mitt Romney has been using on the stump calling Obama’s campaign and administration “the incredible shrinking presidency and the incredible shrinking campaign,” hitting his opponents on the tone of the campaign.

“It’s partly funny but it’s actually quite sad,” Ryan said.

Both campaigns have spent heavily in the battleground state, dumping $69,551,600 on 114,876 ad,s making it the state with the fourth-highest-spending, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, an ad tracking group. They have also campaigned in the state heavily; Ryan was just there Sunday as well as Thursday.

Polls in the Rocky Mountain State are very tight between Obama and Romney. A CNN/ORC poll from last week showed the president with a two-point advantage, within the margin of error. Obama was at 50 percent support, while Romney was at 48 percent. The ABC News/Washington Post daily national tracking poll out Monday gave the president the same slim edge with 50 percent to 47 percent.

Ryan’s next stop on his five state, five stop, four timezone day is where the presidential contest begins: Des Moines, Iowa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Nov022012

Axelrod: Obama’s Closing Argument ‘Coming from His Loins’

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(LIMA, Ohio) -- With four days to go until the election, President Obama has never been more fired up, according to senior campaign strategist David Axelrod.

“I’ve known him for 20 years… I’ve never seen him more exhilarated than he is right now,” he told reporters traveling with the president in Ohio Friday. “He believes in what he’s doing. He believes in what he’s fighting for.”

“You can see in the speech he’s delivering… that this is coming from his loins,” he said, adding, “I just wanted to say ‘loins.’ I wanted to see if I could get ‘loins’ in the story.”

(He’s succeeded.)

The president spent the day laying out his closing argument at three stops in this key battleground state, where he is leading in most polls. “We always said this was going to be a close state,” Axelrod said. “Virtually every poll we’ve seen in the last week shows the president in the lead. So we anticipate it’s going to be a hard-fought close race, but we’re going to win that race.”

The Obama campaign feels the president’s position in the Buckeye State has been strengthened by GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s misleading ads that suggest automakers GM and Chrysler could be moving jobs out of Ohio to China.

“I think that they have created a huge gulf of trust with the voters of Ohio,” Axelrod said.

“It’s been a disaster for them this week,” senior advisor David Plouffe said. “To have this atmospheric [sic] in the close in Ohio as those few remaining undecideds are making their decision, this ad, the auto industry issue again being the paramount issue in Ohio, we think [Romney's] Election Day job just got appreciably more difficult.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

Ryan ‘Can Smell Success,’ Or Is It Cow Manure?

Scott Olson/Getty Images(Montrose, Colo.) — Just four days before the election, Paul Ryan told a crowd assembled on an airport tarmac that he could “smell success.”  And the crowd roared.

The smell, in fact, was that of cow manure, or something that smelled an awful lot like it. The tarmac is nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and as it became more and more overpowering, and as Ryan was more and more intently describing his running mate’s business credentials, the VP contender paused, took a deep whiff and said, “I can smell success right now."

“That’s the smell of success isn’t it? That’s the smell of progress.  I love that smell, it makes me feel at home,” Ryan said.

It’s the final push to Tuesday, and Ryan was hitting the president on Friday morning’s October jobs report, noting that the unemployment rate ticked up slightly. But he didn’t mention that additional jobs were created, more than economists predicted.

“What we saw today is that the unemployment rate is higher than the day that President Obama came into office,” Ryan said at the brief rally in an airplane hangar here. “What we are seeing today is that 23 million Americans are struggling to find work today. What we see today is that 15 percent of our fellow countrymen and women are living in poverty. This is the highest poverty rate in a generation.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey reported Friday morning that the economy created 171,000 jobs last month, with upward revisions from August and September adding an additional 84,000 jobs. This is the final jobs report before Election Day. Economists had only predicted about 125,000 new jobs. It wasn’t all good news, as the unemployment rate slightly ticked up from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent.

“The economy is growing at less than half the rate that the president said it would be growing at if only he could borrow a bunch of money and spend it on his cronies and stimulus package,” Ryan said, in a familiar hit against Obama. “We are nine million jobs shorter than what he said he would accomplish. Look, in the president’s campaign for another term, he has offered nothing different, and if he is reelected, nothing different is exactly what we would get.”

The crowd of about 1,000 people interrupted the GOP vice presidential nominee with chants of “four more days,” while Ryan told them,  ”We only need to wait four more days. Four more days and we can do this.”

Ryan also tried to sound a bipartisan tone in his final argument to woo independent voters, or those still making up their minds,  pledging that both he and his running mate would work across the aisle if they make it to the White House.

“We can come together, Republicans and Democrats can come together to solve this country’s problems,” Ryan said. “And we have a proven record for actually doing that. Mitt Romney did that that as governor, and I have  been doing that in the House. We know that Americans love America and it doesn’t matter what party you come from. We can fix this country’s problems.”

Democrats in Washington, D.C., as well as those Romney worked with while he was governor in Massachusetts, have consistently criticized both members of the GOP ticket for doing the opposite.

A new CNN/ORC Colorado poll released Thursday shows the candidates within the margin of error in Colorado with Obama at 50 percent support and Romney with 48 percent. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll, released at 5 p.m. Friday, still has the two candidates virtually tied, with the president at 48 percent support and Romney at 49 percent.

As for early voting in the state, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office reports that over 1.3 million ballots have already been cast here. Of those, 457,337 are Democrats, 493, 457 are Republicans and 341,920 are from voters registered as “unaffiliated.” The number of ballots cast so far is already more than half, 53.9 percent, of the total votes cast in 2008.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio