Entries in Dead (12)


New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg Dead at 89

Office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg(NEW YORK) -- Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., the oldest U.S. Senator and the last remaining World War II veteran serving in the senate died on Monday. He was 89.

Lautenberg passed away at 4:02 a.m. on Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell due to complications from viral pneumonia.

Lautenberg was a leader in the Senate with a particular passion for environmental protection, transportation and public health. During his career, Lautenberg had a hand in crafting legislation to curtail drunk driving, including setting the nationwide blood alcohol standard at .08.  He also co-wrote the new GI Bill for the 21st Century, and held the record for number of votes cast by a New Jersey senator.

Lautenberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate in 2014. He is survived by his wife, six children and their spouses, and 13 grandchildren.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hero of Operation Desert Storm, Dies at 78 -- H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, has died in Tampa, Florida at age 78, a U.S. official has confirmed to ABC News.

Schwarzkopf, known by the nickname "Stormin' Norman" partly for his volcanic temper, led American forces to two military victories: a small one in Grenada under President Ronald Reagan and a big one as de facto commander of allied forces in the Gulf War. 

Schwarzkopf's success driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991 during what was known as Operation Desert Storm came under President George H.W. Bush. Though President Bush has been hospitalized in intensive care with a stubborn fever in a Texas hospital, he released a statement through his office on Schwarzkopf's death.

"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," the statement read. "A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man -- and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife, Brenda, and his wonderful family."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Desert Storm, recalled Schwarzkopf as "a great patriot and a great soldier."

"Norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years," Powell said in a prepared statement. "The highlight of his career was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. 'Stormin' Norman' led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government. His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation.

"He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy," Powell added. "I will miss him."

Schwarzkopf, the future four-star general, was raised as an Army brat in Iran, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, following in his father's footsteps to West Point and being commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1956.

Schwarzkopf's father, who shared his name, directed the investigation of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping as head of the New Jersey State Police, later becoming a brigadier general in the U.S. Army.

The younger Schwarzkopf earned three Silver Stars for bravery during two tours in Vietnam, gaining a reputation as an opinionated, plain-spoken commander with a sharp temper who would risk his own life for his soldiers.

In 1983, as a newly-minted general, Schwarzkopf once again led troops into battle in President Reagan's invasion of Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island where the White House saw American influence threatened by a Cuban-backed coup.

But he gained most of his fame in Iraq, where he used his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame and fearsome temper to drive his troops to victory. Gruff and direct, his goal was to win the war as quickly as possible and with a focused objective: getting Iraq out of Kuwait.

He spoke French and German to coalition partners, showed awareness of Arab sensitivities and served as Gen. Colin Powell's operative man on the ground.

Schwarzkopf retired from the Army after Desert Storm in 1991, writing an autobiography, becoming an advocate for prostate cancer awareness, serving on the boards of various charities and lecturing. He and his wife, Brenda, had three children.

Schwarzkopf spent his retirement in Tampa, home base for his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Susan Collins: Elevate Terror Threat Level Now

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee told ABC News the federal government should elevate the nation’s threat level for at least a two-week period, until the intelligence community is able to review the impact of Osama bin Laden’s death, as well as materials found at his compound in Pakistan.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Sen. Susan Collins’ Senate committee Wednesday that she “has not been advised” of information that would cause her to raise the threat level, under the new system that Napolitano used to replace the old color-coding system.
Collins, R-Maine, disagrees:
“I would raise the terror threat level,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told ABC News. “It’s a common sense approach. To do an assessment -- we have all these materials, computer disks, etc., that were seized by our Navy SEALs from the compound. Those need to be fully reviewed and exploited. And until that process, at least an initial review has been completed, and until we have a worldwide intelligence assessment of the impact of bin Laden's death, it just seems prudent to me to temporarily elevate the terror threat level.”
“I think it's an important message to send to the American public. It's not an overreaction. It's not telling people to panic. It's just a prudent step to take until we have a better sense of the materials that were seized in the compound.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Death Gives Obama Approval Rating Spike

Pool Photo(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden has given President Obama's job approval rating a significant boost, but did nothing to temper Americans' concerns about his handling of the economy, a new Washington Post and Pew Research Center poll finds.

Fifty-six percent of Americans now say they approve of Obama's performance in office overall, according to the poll -- nine percentage points higher than an ABC News/Washington Post poll found last month, and the highest rating for Obama since 2009.

But on the economy, Obama's numbers remain low and unchanged -- only 40 percent approve of his economic strategy, the lowest rating of his presidency, according to the Post

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Condoleezza Rice on Bin Laden's Death: 'Extraordinary Moment'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- “Extraordinary” -- that’s what former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who spent eight years chasing Osama bin Laden, called the killing of the al Qaeda leader and the news that Navy SEALs had taken him down.

“It really said so much about the United States of America. I remember when President Bush said ‘We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail,” she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday for Good Morning America. “He really meant the United States of America. And President Obama and his team are to be congratulated to having brought this to an end.”

Rice said she was “surprised” to find out that bin Laden was hiding so close to Islamabad and said it raises some important questions for the Pakistani government.

“Questions that really the Pakistanis need to answer not just for us but for themselves. They have been victims of al Qaeda terrorism. They have been victims of terrorism leading to the death of Benazir Bhutto. So I am sure Pakistan will want to understand better why he could hide right there in plain sight,” she said.

Asked whether it’s time for the administration to rethink the mission in Afghanistan – since they caught Osama and so few members of al Qaeda are still there, Rice said “the mission is really finally making some achievements.”

“The reporting is good about what we have achieved over the last several months,” she said.

“We have a chance to leave an Afghanistan that is more secure with better security forces, a more decent Afghan government and then ultimately a safer South Asian region because it’s not just the stability of Afghanistan but the stability of Pakistan that is important too.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Congressman: Bin Laden Photos ‘Have to Be Released’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As the Obama White House weighs whether to release photographic evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death, voices in Congress are calling for that to happen fast, to put to rest conspiracy theories that have already sprung up online.

“The photos have to be released,” Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told ABC News on Tuesday. “Most definitely -- to make sure we get rid of any conspiracy theorists that think that we didn't take care of bin Laden.”

Heck also held off on condemning Pakistan for not helping locate bin Laden, despite the fact that he was hiding in a large home in a populated area not far from the nation’s capital.

“I don't think we need to cut off aid just yet. We need to further clarify our relationship with Pakistan,” Heck said. “We certainly have had some challenges with sharing of information, with being allowed access to execute missions. But they are still a critical asset and ally in the fight against terror and we need to continue to maintain that relationship.”

“All indications at this time are that they did not know” that bin Laden was in Pakistan, Heck continued. “The higher-ups did not know. But you know, as we've said, [he was] hiding in plain sight.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Carolina Republican Primary Debate: Romney Out, Cain In

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced Monday that he will not participate in the first presidential primary debate of the campaign season Thursday in South Carolina.

“Gov. Romney will not be participating in this week’s South Carolina debate because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate," Romney strategist Matt Rhoades said. "Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party have both been notified of this decision. Gov. Romney is planning to visit South Carolina on May 21 and he looks forward to debating there closer to their primary.”

Another potential Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has also said he will not participate.

Businessman Herman Cain said Monday that he will file formal papers with the Federal Elections Commission in order to participate, but his aides cautioned it does not constitute a formal announcement of candidacy.

"I look forward to participating in the debate Thursday," Cain said in a statement announcing is participation. "It gives me the opportunity to share my 'Common Sense Solutions for America,' as well as my private sector experience in balancing budgets and creating jobs."

The debate will take place Thursday night in Greenville, S.C. and it is sponsored by the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News.

Other potential candidates who have already confirmed their participation include former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Approval Rating: Boost from Osama Bin Laden Death Likely

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden is an enormous and immediate political victory for President Obama, who has faced periodic criticism for his handling of the fight against al Qaeda and struggles to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

While the immediate impact on the president's job approval rating is yet to be known, experts say, the killing of bin Laden -- one of candidate Obama's top campaign promises in 2008 -- will likely lead to a boost in his poll numbers and added credibility for Obama's foreign policy message on the campaign trail.

"It gives him a firewall on Afghanistan," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a veteran of several presidential administrations.

To some extent, it "pulls the rug right out from under" the potential Republican presidential candidates who have criticized the president's strategy, Hess said, adding that many in the likely GOP field "are certainly not coming from a very strong position as foreign policy experts themselves."

In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49 percent of Americans last month said they disapproved of Obama's handling of the situation in Afghanistan -- an all-time low -- up 8 percentage points since the beginning of the year. Those numbers could begin to turn around, at least in the short term.

Immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, then-President George W. Bush experienced a 10-point surge in U.S. approval of his handling of the war in Iraq, according to many polls. Bush's job approval rating gradually gained 6 points.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Carl Levin: Pakistan's Army, Intel Have 'A Lot of Explaining to Do'

Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday said Pakistan’s military and intelligence communities have “a lot of explaining to do” after Osama bin Laden was killed in a huge compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters on Capitol Hill that Pakistani military and intelligence officials need to answer “a lot of questions.”

“I think that the Pakistani army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer given the location, the length of time, and the apparent fact that this facility was actually built for bin Laden and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army,” Levin said.

“I do think the Pakistani president’s statement today was a very reassuring statement, when he very specifically said that he thinks this is a great victory and he congratulated us on the success of the operation,” Levin continued. “So I’m reassured by his statement – not necessarily suspicious that he knew or that the civilian leadership knew, but I must tell you I hope that he will follow through, that the president of Pakistan [Asif Ali] Zardari will follow through and ask some very tough questions of his own military, his own intelligence. They’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Levin was accompanied at Monday’s news conference by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid said President Obama was “very somber” when he informed Reid around 9:30 p.m. Sunday that bin Laden had been killed.

“His death is the most significant victory in our fight against al Qaeda and sends a strong message to terrorists around the world,” Reid said.

“We know there are other terrorists out there, but this is a real shot in the arm to people of good will all over.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Game Faces for White House Officials at Correspondents Dinner

CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night, White House officials had to put on their game faces. The risky and dangerous military operation originally had been scheduled for Saturday, but had been pushed to Sunday because of weather.

Poking fun at C-SPAN’s low ratings, comedian Seth Meyers joked that Osama bin Laden had a daily afternoon show on the cable channel.

But at the dinner, officials ranging from President Obama to CIA director Leon Panetta to White House chief of staff Bill Daley to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen acted as if nothing was on their minds.

Sitting with the ABC News table, Daley showed no reaction when actor Eric Stonestreet of ABC’s Modern Family received a disappointing email that his White House tour scheduled for Sunday had been canceled.

Others at the table turned to Daley to ask him why, to see if something big was going on.

Daley said, "I don't know. Maybe a pipe broke.”

The real reason was that all White House tours had been canceled since the administration didn’t want to arouse any suspicions when tourists saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Panetta buzzing around.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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