2012 Presidential Contender Donald Trump Tumbles in New Poll

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump has often watched his personal fortunes go up and down, so why should his political fortunes be any different?

The real estate mogul and reality TV host was riding high for a while as a possible Republican presidential nominee on the strength of his argument that President Obama might not have been born in the U.S., thus making him constitutionally ineligible to hold national office.

On April 15, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Trump leading all GOP competitors with 26 percent popularity, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee far back in second place with 17 percent followed by a group of other potential candidates.

Then something happened.  Namely, the president released the original copy of his birth certificate, showing he was indeed born in Honolulu, Hawaii in August of 1961.

While some hard-core "birthers" might not have been convinced, apparently enough of them were to send Trump's latest poll numbers plummeting.

Huckabee leads the pack now with 19 percent, with the runners-up Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.  Trump is now tied with Texas Congressman Ron Paul for fifth place, with eight percent.

Being made fun of at the White House Correspondent's Dinner by the president, as well as recent questions about his past business dealings, have also knocked some of the shine off the Trump brand.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: Bin Laden's Death 'Should Inspire Us to Finish What We Started'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- At the first of two fundraisers in Austin, Texas Tuesday night, President Obama stuck largely to his standard remarks for these types of events but was able to add a few references to recent news that that got the crowd revved up.

Going through a laundry list of legislative accomplishments over the past two and a half years, the president noted that the nation has made “incredible progress.”

“Sometimes folks forget,” he said.  "Progress shouldn’t make us complacent but should remind us that change is possible.”

A man in the audience then shouted out, “Thank you for getting Bin Laden!”

“Well, there you go -- case in point,” the president said as the crowd roared its approval.  “It should inspire us to finish what we started.”

Obama later brought up bin Laden’s death, again to great applause.

“Because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation’s uniform and the outstanding work of the intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America,” he said.

The president also highlighted the news that General Motors will add 4,000 American jobs.  About half of those jobs will be filled by some of the 2,000 GM workers who were recently let go from the company.

Approximately 750 people attended the first event at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, with tickets starting at $44 and going to up the legal maximum limit of $35,800.  The second event was a dinner for about 50 people at a private residence in Austin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: Immigration Reform 'Economic Imperative' Despite GOP Opposition

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(EL PASO, Texas) -- President Obama made his first official visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday, where he challenged Republicans to get serious about immigration reform, saying his administration has met their demands for beefed-up internal enforcement and border security.

Speaking before a crowd of supporters in El Paso, Texas, Obama said the unprecedented number of border agents and technological resources along the border have significantly reduced the illegal flow of drugs, weapons and humans into the United Staes over the past two years.

The president said the progress should sufficiently allay concerns that have hampered congressional efforts to bring about more comprehensive reform, including steps to address the legal status of the country's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and streamline the legal immigration system.

"We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement," Obama said. "All the stuff they asked for, we've done. But even though we answered these concerns, there are still some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time."

Earlier in the day, Obama toured a cargo screening facility in El Paso, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers screen hundreds of daily shipments to and from Mexico for guns, drugs, money and radiological threats. The president also held conversations with community leaders about the economic implications of reform.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden and Deficit Reduction Crew: Long on Smiles, Short on Details

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden said he remains “optimistic” that he and the congressional team tasked with reducing the federal budget deficit are heading in the right direction.

But none of the participants offered details following the second meeting of the “bipartisan, bicameral” team Tuesday at Blair House, the White House official guest residence.

“Look, optimism is an occupational requirement. I remain optimistic,” Biden told reporters waiting outside of the closed-door meeting.  “We had a really good discussion. We have set an agenda for the next meeting and we’re making real progress. Whether we get to the finish line with this group is another question."

Biden and the White House team -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew, and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling -- spent almost two hours with Republicans Rep. Eric Cantor and Sen. Jon Kyle and Democrats Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. James Clyburn. When they emerged, members either declined to speak or offered praise for how the meeting went. No one offered specifics.

The deficit reduction team is looking to close a $1.6 trillion budget gap, but Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on exactly how to do that. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has said that raising taxes is not an option while President Obama has maintained that deep cuts in clean energy, education and infrastructure “are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in.”

The next meeting is planned for Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Here Comes 'Newt 2012:' Newt Gingrich to Announce Bid for President

NBC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hopes it will be the tweet that changes America: Wednesday afternoon, Gingrich will officially announce his presidential campaign via Twitter.   After tweeting the news, Newt will do his first interview as a candidate with his old friend Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Beyond the tweet, here's how the Gingrich campaign will unfold:

 At 8 a.m. Friday in Washington at the Fairmont Hotel, he will give an economics speech sponsored by Laffer Associates -- as in Arthur Laffer, creator of the Laffer Curve and the godfather of supply side economics.  On Friday night, Newt will give his first official campaign speech in Atlanta.

On Saturday, he'll be in Illinois to give the commencement speech at Ronald Reagan's alma mater, Eureka College.  On Sunday, Gingrich will appear on Meet the Press.

Newt will then spend almost all of next week in Iowa -- a dozen campaign events spread out over Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday, he'll head across the border for an event in Minnesota. 

Gingrich's campaign organization has already started to take shape.  He's already secured space for his campaign headquarters in Atlanta and will soon have a campaign office opening in northern Virginia. And he's hired a campaign manager: 36-year-old Rob Johnson who, most recently, ran Governor Rick Perry's reelection campaign in Texas.

The former Speaker of the House will position himself as the experienced conservative: he's the only candidate who can say he personally fought for and delivered a balanced federal budget, tax cuts, and welfare reform -- all signed into law by President Bill Clinton. 

"The response to inexperience should be experience," says Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Lawmakers Allowed to View Osama Bin Laden Death Photos

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members of two Senate committees can make an appointment with the CIA to view the photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, multiple congressional aides confirmed to ABC News Tuesday.

Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee will now be able to see the photos if they wish.

Last week a trio of Republican senators claimed to have seen the photos, only for it to emerge that they had been duped by fake pictures. On Wednesday morning, as senators left a closed-door classified meeting with CIA head Leon Panetta, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Saxby Chambliss, told reporters that he had seen the photos. New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte said the same thing. And Scott Brown of Massachusetts told Fox-25 TV that he had seen one of the photos, too.

"I have seen one of them," Ayotte said of the bin Laden photos, adding that it was "clearly his features."

But later that day it emerged that the picture seen by Ayotte, Brown, and Chambliss was in fact not authentic. At least now they'll be able to see the real thing.

Critics -- including some family members of loved ones killed in the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 -- have pressed President Obama to release photographic proof of bin Laden's death. President Obama maintains he will not make the pictures public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Sen. Sanders: Republican Budget ‘Laughable,’ ‘Absurd’

U.S. Senate(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner's declaration that budget cuts need to be in the trillions -- not the billions -- for Republicans to agree to a higher debt limit, landed with a thud among liberals, many of whom are insisting that higher taxes be considered as part of the discussion.

On ABC's Top Line Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that Boehner can't reach his goals without deep cuts in critical government programs, including moves that would "decimate Medicare."

"We're not going to ask billionaires who are doing phenomenally well and seen their tax rates go down" to sacrifice, said Sanders, I-VT. "We're not going to ask them to pay one penny more in taxes. That is laughable, that's absurd, and the vast majority of the American people do not support that approach."

When Republicans were in the White House, Sanders voted against raising the debt ceiling. He wanted to draw a distinction between his votes then, and what Republicans are threatening to do now.

"Traditionally I think that you've seen a lot of people including myself voted against it," Sanders said. "But in reality I think there is the understanding that a compact has been worked out that it is going to pass. The idea that the Republicans may be very serious -- maybe not, we don't know -- on killing of the raising of the debt ceiling, which would cause financial chaos throughout the world -- that's I think a new step forward."

The debt ceiling is a separate debate than the one over the budget, he alleges.

Sanders continued: "To decimate Medicaid, when we already have 50 million people without health insurance, to bring Medicare into a voucher program, to cut back substantially on education when millions of families cannot afford to send their kids to college, and not ask millionaires and billionaires to pay one cent more in taxes, is literally laughable. It is laughable. It isn't gonna happen, it shouldn't happen."

Sanders also made the case for his new proposal to create a single-payer-style health care system -- a bill that he knows will not advance in the current political climate.

"I think you have to have a vision. And the vision for this country should be we've got to join the rest of the industrialized world, where virtually every other country guarantees health care to their people as a right and yet ends up spending in other countries far less per capita than we do."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Make Commencement Speech in Waterlogged Memphis

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- The graduating class at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn., has won a commencement speech by President Obama during their graduation ceremony this spring.

The high school is in an impoverished area close to the site of Martin Luther King's assassination and where Benjamin Hooks, the late head of the NAACP, attended high school. Memphis has been hit hard by recent flooding, as well.

For the second year of the administration’s annual “Commencement Challenge,” schools were asked to submit a video demonstrating their commitment to preparing students for college and a career. Booker T. Washington’s video opened to show housing projects being torn down in black-and-white and highlighted how the community and the school rebuilt and helped students gain confidence and skills to graduate.

Six finalists were selected for their “creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results, and progress in preparing students to graduate college and career ready,” the White House said. Of the final three finalists, chosen by votes online, the president chose the final winner personally.

Some of the school’s progress the White House hailed when making the announcement today -- Booker T. Washington High School’s graduation rate went from 55 percent in 2007 to 81.6 percent in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney to Lay Out Health Reform Plan Thursday

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Massachusetts Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will outline his approach to health care reform in Michigan on Thursday, announcing a plan to “repeal and replace” the law that Democrats enacted last year.

As governor in 2006, Romney signed Massachusetts’ bipartisan health reform law. It required everyone in the state to obtain health insurance and became a model for the controversial law that national Democrats enacted for the entire country in 2010.

The speech Thursday at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center will focus on “rolling out his plan to repeal and replace” the national health care law, according to one senior aide.

Romney’s greatest hurdle as a Republican presidential candidate will be squaring his status as the father of health reform in Massachusetts with the near-unanimous opposition the national law faces among Republicans.

A Romney adviser tells ABC News that he will address his own record on health care reform but that it won’t be a major focus of his speech. Look for Romney to continue his federalism defense: the plan he enacted was right for Massachusetts, but not for the entire country.

Romney will try to differentiate him from the rest of the Republican field by offering something concrete with which to replace the health reform law.

A press release lays out his “2012 Principles for Health Reform”:

  • Restore to the states the responsibility and resources to care for their poor, uninsured, and chronically ill.
  • Give a tax deduction to those who buy their own health insurance, just like those who buy it through their employers.
  • Streamline the federal regulation of healthcare.
  • Reduce the influence of lawsuits on medical practice and costs.
  • Make healthcare more like a consumer market and less like a government program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jon Stewart Revives Rick Santorum's 'Google Problem'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who turned 53 on Tuesday, is trending high in the Google-sphere, but not for the reasons he’d like.

Daily Show host Jon Stewart revived Santorum’s so-called “Google problem” Monday night on his show, encouraging viewers to search ‘Rick Santorum’ and see what they find.

The top results are a less than flattering mix of links to web sites that associate his name with a sex act.

“Santorum might as well change his last name to lemon party,” joked Stewart.

The search results have been the fixation of gay rights advocates since 2003, when blogger Dan Savage mobilized online supporters to create a new definition for Santorum after he publicly compared gay sex to pedophilia and bestiality.

Using a network of cross links and by driving up “clicks,” the activists have succeeded in keeping their definition at the top of search returns.

“There's no better way to memorialize the Santorum scandal than by attaching his name to a sex act that would make his big, white teeth fall out of his big, empty head,” Savage said at the time.

Santorum, who has said he believes homosexuality will “undermine the fabric of our society,” has acknowledged the controversy but sought to downplay its significance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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