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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Summary[]

As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.

RNC[]

Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.

DNC[]

Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for Breitbart.com in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.



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December 8, 2012

Hillary Clinton condemns violence in Northern Ireland

Hillary Clinton condemns violence in Northern Ireland

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United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called yesterday (Friday) for an end to violence which has taken place in Northern Ireland this week, following the decision of Belfast City Council to stop flying the Union Flag year round. Clinton, who was on a visit to Belfast as part of a four-day tour of Europe, said that violence “is never an acceptable response to disagreements.”

Hillary Clinton
Image: Glenn Fawcett.

At a press conference also attended by Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Clinton condemned the violence: “We have seen this week the work is not complete and I join in condemning the recent attacks,” she said. She also called for all Northern Ireland parties “to confront the remaining challenge of sectarian divisions, peacefully together”.

She said that even though peace in Northern Ireland was “remarkably durable”, “there are still those who would try to destroy it.”

Cquote1.svg [violence] is never an acceptable response to disagreements. Cquote2.svg

Hillary Clinton

Even though Clinton will be stepping down as Secretary of State next month, she pledged to continue working on the peace process in Northern Ireland, “I offer to you, as I stand down from Secretary of State, to continue working with you in developing the peace process as an advocate and cheerleader for the process and to reach out to those who are not feeling part of it.”

This week’s outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland followed the decision by Belfast City Council to only fly the Union Flag on certain designated days, instead of all-year round, as is currently the case. Although nationalists on the council had wanted the flag removed completely, Alliance persuaded them to vote for their compromise proposal, whereby the flag would only be flown on certain designated days per year.

Alliance MP for East Belfast Naomi Long has received death threats, which Clinton called “unacceptable”. A Carrickfergus Alliance party office was set on fire and two Bangor councillors’ homes were attacked.

Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton have visited Northern Ireland several times previously. Bill Clinton played a key part in convincing both sides in the conflict to agree to end the violence.

Since becoming Secretary of State in 2008, Clinton has visited over 100 countries, meaning she has visited more countries during her tenure than any other Secretary of State.

There is now speculation as to whether Clinton will launch another presidential bid, following her failed campaign in 2008, when she was beaten to the Democratic Party nomination by Barack Obama. Several international figures have said they would support her presidential candidacy, including former UK prime minister Tony Blair, and Jordanian minister Nasser Judeh. 57% of those polled in a recent survey by the Washington Post indicated that they would support Clinton’s candidacy although she has denied that she is planning to run.

Clinton is now to continue her tour of Europe, which is expected to be one of her last foreign trips as Secretary of State, with visits to the Czech Republic and Belgium.



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October 24, 2012

Former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator George McGovern dies aged 90

Former U.S. presidential candidate and Senator George McGovern dies aged 90

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

George McGovern speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for his book tour August 26, 2009.
Image: Scott C. Clarkson.

Former 1972 U.S. election Democratic Presidential candidate and United States Senator from South Dakota George McGovern died Sunday at the age of 90 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He died at 5:15 am local time (1015 UTC).

McGovern’s 1972 running mate was originally Thomas Eagleton, however, due to revelations about Eagleton’s psychiatric past, he was replaced by Sargent Shriver. McGovern and his running mate Shriver lost to U.S. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. McGovern got only 17 electoral votes. In 1992, he spoke of possibly running for president one last time; however, he judged a younger candidate without his political history would be better.

McGovern was a senator for South Dakota from 1963 to 1981. He was the first Democrat elected in South Dakota to that position since 1930.

He was head of the Food for Peace program under President John F. Kennedy. Later, he was United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998 to 2001. McGovern and Bob Dole received the 2008 World Food Prize for creating a program for international child nutrition and education.

His family made a statement about his death: “Our wonderful father, George McGovern, passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends”.

Many politicians have made comments and tributes about McGovern’s death:

U.S. President Barack Obama said, “George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved. … And after his career in Congress, he became a leading voice in the fight against hunger. … Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, on behalf of himself and Second Lady Jill Biden, “Jill and I are profoundly saddened to hear about George McGovern’s passing. I was honored to serve with him, to know him, and to call him a friend. … Above all, George McGovern was a generous, kind, honorable man. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said, “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern. The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity. We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972. … Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry said, “George McGovern was a voice of clarity and conviction at a time [the Vietnam War] when America needed it most.”

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said, on CNN, “George actually was a very complicated person. He had served as a bomber pilot in World War II, he was not a pacifist and his argument over Vietnam was about that particular war.”

McGovern was born as George Stanley McGovern on July 19, 1922 in Avon, South Dakota. He was raised in Mitchell, South Dakota. He married Eleanor McGovern, and their marriage lasted 64 years until her death at the age of 85 in 2007. During World War II he served as a bomber pilot. They had five children — four daughters and one son.



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Former 1972 U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator George McGovern dies aged 90

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

George McGovern speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for his book tour August 26, 2009.
Image: Scott C. Clarkson.

Former 1972 U.S. election Democratic Presidential candidate and United States Senator from South Dakota George McGovern died Sunday at the age of 90 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He died at 5:15 am local time (1015 UTC).

McGovern’s 1972 running mate was originally Thomas Eagleton, however, due to electroshock therapy, he was replaced by Sargent Shriver. McGovern and his running mate Shriver lost to U.S. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. McGovern got only 17 electoral votes. In 1992, he discussed of running his final election for president, however, he decided for a younger candidate and political scars.

McGovern was senator of South Dakota from 1963 to 1981. In 1962, he was the first Democratic to serve as senator of South Dakota since 1930.

He was the head of the Food and Peace Program appointed by President John F. Kennedy. During his later years he became United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998 to 2001. McGovern and Bob Dole created an international food for education, as well as a program for child nutrition which they presented it in the 2008 World Food Prize.

Last Tuesday, McGovern was reported to be unresponsive in hospice care.

His family made a statement about his death: “Our wonderful father, George McGovern, passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends”.

Many politicians have made comments and tributes about McGovern’s death:

U.S. President Barack Obama said, “George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved. And after his career in Congress, he became a leading voice in the fight against hunger. Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, on behalf of himself and Second Lady Jill Biden, “Jill and I are profoundly saddened to hear about George McGovern’s passing. I was honored to serve with him, to know him, and to call him a friend. It defined him as a Senator and as a man. Above all, George McGovern was a generous, kind, honorable man. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said, “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern. The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity. We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry said, “George McGovern was a voice of clarity and conviction at a time [the Vietnam War] when America needed it most.”

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said, on CNN, “George actually was a very complicated person. He had served as a bomber pilot in World War II, he was not a pacifist and his argument over Vietnam was about that particular war. He was a citizen.”

Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson said, also on CNN, “I think he’ll be remember[ed], obviously, for his stance on the war in Vietnam.”

McGovern was born as George Stanley McGovern on July 19, 1922 in Avon, South Dakota. He was raised in Mitchell, South Dakota. He married Eleanor McGovern for 64 years and died in 2007 at the age of 85. During World War II he served as a bomber pilot. He is survived by four daughters and one son.



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October 21, 2012

Former 1972 U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator George McGovern dies at 90

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for his book tour August 26, 2009.
Image: Scott C. Clarkson.

Former 1972 U.S. election Democratic Presidential candidate and United States Senator from South Dakota George McGovern has died today at the age of 90 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He died at 5:15 am local time (1015 UTC).

In 1972, McGovern lost to U.S. President Richard Nixon. McGovern got only 17 electoral votes.

Last Tuesday, McGovern was reported to be in hospice care.

His family made a statement about his death: “Our wonderful father, George McGovern, passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends.”

Many politicians have made comments and tributes about McGovern’s death:

U.S. President Barack Obama
“George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved. He signed up to fight in World War II, and became a decorated bomber pilot over the battlefields of Europe. When the people of South Dakota sent him to Washington, this hero of war became a champion for peace. And after his career in Congress, he became a leading voice in the fight against hunger. George was a statesman of great conscience and conviction, and Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden
“Jill and I are profoundly saddened to hear about George McGovern’s passing. I was honored to serve with him, to know him, and to call him a friend. George believed deeply in public service. It defined him as a Senator and as a man. And he never stopped serving for his entire life – whether it was his courage in World War II, his time in Congress, or his fight to eliminate hunger at home and abroad. Above all, George McGovern was a generous, kind, honorable man. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”
Bill Clinton
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern. The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity. We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972. Our friendship endured for 40 years. As a war hero, distinguished professor, Congressman, Senator and Ambassador, George always worked to advance the common good and help others realize their potential. Of all his passions, he was most committed to feeding the hungry, at home and around the world. The programs he created helped feed millions of people, including food stamps in the 1960s and the international school feeding program in the 90’s, both of which he co-sponsored with Senator Bob Dole. From his earliest days in Mitchell to his final days in Sioux Falls, he never stopped standing up and speaking out for the causes he believed in. We must continue to draw inspiration from his example and build the world he fought for. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
John Kerry
“George McGovern was a voice of clarity and conviction at a time when America needed it most. He spoke to many of us who opposed the war but loved our country, because he was the genuine article, a soft-spoken, decent and gentle man who lived a remarkable life with humility, a decorated bomber pilot who never bragged about his own heroism, even as he ran into the buzzsaw of the negative and destructive politics that marked the Watergate era. He never stopped caring about things like peace, hunger, poverty, and fairness, whether they were in political fashion or not, and history will record, to paraphrase the old saying, that George McGovern may not have been President, but George McGovern was right.”
Newt Gingrich
“George actually was a very complicated person. He had served as a bomber pilot in World War II, he was not a pacifist and his argument over Vietnam was about that particular war. He was a citizen; I remember being with him at the U.S. Embassy in Rome for dinner one night and talking about he and Goldwater, I mean, he said, one of the nice things about losing badly enough is you don’t have lots of regrets about what one thing might you have changed. And he had a very good sense of humor and he was a very down to earth guy who, later on in life, ran a small business, a bed and breakfast and wrote a great article on all the problems we had heaped up on small business through the regulations he had sponsored.”
Bill Richardson
“I think he’ll be remembered, obviously, for his stance on the war in Vietnam.”



Sources

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October 9, 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, September 2012

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The following is the eleventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews chronicles three of the lesser-known speakers at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a controversial pastor and write-in candidate talks to Wikinews about the unrest in the Middle East, and the ballot-qualified American Third Position Party (A3P) presidential nominee travels to Iran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Summary

September opened with the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the convention’s first night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address, the first Hispanic-American to do so. He discussed the communitarian spirit of the United States and reflected on how his mother “fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.” The speech was compared to Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and garnered speculation that he would seek higher political office. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke that night, discussing her husband on a personal level. On the second day, a ruckus ensued as Democrats moved to re-include “God” and support of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in the party’s official platform after removal of the items drew criticism leading up to the convention. That night, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren each spoke before former President Bill Clinton took the stage to deliver a lengthy, policy-filled speech. In it, Clinton defended Obama’s economic policies, arguing that no previous president, including himself, could have fostered complete recovery this soon in the same economic climate. He concluded that the election was ultimately a choice between the “winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society” of the Republicans and the “we’re-all-in-this-together society” of Obama. On the final night, Vice president Joe Biden spoke before President Obama addressed the convention to officially accept the party’s nomination. In his acceptance speech, Obama asked voters to allow his administration to “finish what we started”, arguing “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades” and Republicans offer only policies that have previously failed.

Castro delivers the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Image: DemConvention2012.

Foreign policy emerged as a major campaign issue after the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya came under attack on September 11, resulting in the deaths of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Allegedly, the attacks were the result of protests against a YouTube video trailer for the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, which the Obama administration condemned in the aftermath of the attacks. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for the response, arguing he “was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions.” An Obama spokesman expressed “shock” at Romney’s response, accusing him of “launch[ing] a political attack”. Shortly thereafter, Romney also criticized Obama for being unable to find time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama then had an hour-long phone conversation with Netanyahu. Later in the month, Netanyahu appeared before the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoon of a bomb, voiced his concerns that Iran would attain enough enriched uranium to make a bomb by the summer of 2013, and called on the world to act. Obama and Romney each spoke with Netanyahu. Each candidate expressed similar sentiment in favor of further sanctions against Iran.

In mid-September, Romney received negative publicity after the magazine Mother Jones released a video of a fundraiser at which Romney alleged, “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … [because they] are dependent upon government”. He then said his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan distanced himself from the remarks, which he labeled as “inelegant”. Obama remarked in response, “We don’t want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington…It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.” The Romney campaign hoped to shift focus from the video to newly-emerged 1998 footage of Obama in which he advocates redistribution of wealth. Additionally, Romney released his 2011 tax returns, as promised earlier in the year. The returns showed he paid $1.95 million out of the $13.7 million he earned on investments. However, less positive news continued for the campaign as September came to a close. Paul Ryan received boos while discussing the proposed repeal of Obamacare during a speech before an AARP forum, which President Obama also addressed. Plus, Obama increased his lead in the polls with Gallup showing a six point Obama advantage, 50 percent to 44 percent in a September 26 poll, up from the 46 percent to 46 percent tie prior to the publication of the Romney video.

Nevertheless, Obama was not the only candidate rising in the polls at the end of September. Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, rose to six percent support in a late September Reason-Rupe poll, up from the 4.3 percent showing earlier in a JZ Analytics poll. The Johnson campaign also increased activity. With the presidential debates looming, the campaign filed suit against the Commission for Presidential Debates, alleging anti-trust practices for denying access to third party candidates. With many polls still excluding Johnson at the end of September, Obama led Romney 48.7 to 44.6 in the September 30 RealClearPolitics polling average.

Lesser-known DNC speakers discuss their experience

While San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren all formally introduced themselves to the national audience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, they were not the only figures to do so. Small business owner Bill Butcher, firefighter Doug Stern, and mother Stacey Lihn were among the “everyday people” the party invited to address the convention and the nation. Wikinews reached out to these three to learn more about their DNC experience and the process of the convention.

Port City Brewing Company owner Bill Butcher.
Image: Bill Butcher.

Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, says he received the invitation after the Democratic Party found him online while searching for someone who had started a small business during the administration and benefited from its policies. Butcher was able to establish Port City Brewing after obtaining a loan through the SBA loan program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Stimulus).

In preparation for his speech, Butcher worked with Obama speechwriters and rehearsed the morning before. Though he admits to being nervous, he discovered that fellow speakers backstage felt similarly. To break the ice, Butcher opened his speech with a joke, apologizing to the audience for not handing out free beer. He then turned to policy, defending Obama as “a president who’s on my side … [who has] kept middle class taxes low…[and] has fought for small-business owners”. According to Butcher, the speech was received positively, even among his Republican friends, who felt it “cool” that their buddy had addressed the DNC.

Fire fighter Doug Stern.
Image: Doug Stern.

Like Butcher, Stern, a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), also received bipartisan praise for his speech. As a union advocate for the repeal of Ohio SB 5, which limited the collective bargaining rights of Ohio‘s public employees, Stern feels the party selected him due to his visibility. Because he received word of the invitation just days before the event, Stern did not have much time to prepare. Rather, he viewed YouTube videos of Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Ronald Reagan to find the right style for delivery. Nevertheless, according to Stern, the best input came from his twelve-year-old son, who advised him that delivering a DNC speech was not such a big deal, since “you give speeches all the time.”

In the speech, Stern introduced himself as a former Republican, but held that as a member of the middle class and as a public employee, the “party left people like me.” He applauded the Obama administration for continuing federal grants to fire fighters, and characterized Obama as someone who “respects middle-class workers like me and my family.” Fellow fire fighters, including those of different political stripes, commended Stern on his remarks, and about a week after the speech, Stern met President Obama in Cincinnati, where he received congratulations. Despite the recognition from his peers and presidential praise, the reception of Stern’s son was paramount. While watching a line from the speech replayed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the 12-year-old admitted to his father that despite his previous comments, speaking at the DNC was “pretty cool.”

Stacey Lihn with her daughter Zoe at the Democratic National Convention.
Image: Caleb Lihn.

Similarly, for Lihn, the night held a special significance due to her family. Lihn, a mother of two daughters one of whom, Zoe, suffers from a congenital heart defect, previously worked with the Obama campaign in March to produce a video documenting how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had helped her family pay for her daughter’s medical expenses. Looking for someone to discuss health care reform at the convention, the video’s producer called Lihn and invited her to speak.

Like Butcher, she rehearsed her speech in the morning prior, finding this to be more emotional than the actual delivery itself. In the heartfelt speech delivered with her husband and daughter onstage, Lihn articulated her appreciation of Obamacare and the fear that the election of Mitt Romney and possible repeal of Obamacare would prevent needed care for her daughter. After the speech, Lihn embraced First Lady Michelle Obama in what she fondly recalls as “a genuine hug — mother to mother.” Others appreciated the speech as well. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian wrote that it was not only “one of the most moving moments of the Democratic national convention … [but] possibly of the entire 2012 presidential race”.

For Lihn, despite the acclaim, she was simply speaking as one of many: “Our story is but one of thousands and I knew that, standing up on stage speaking, that I was speaking for all of the parents who’ve walked in my shoes. I felt the strength of the many babies born with Zoe’s heart condition who weren’t as fortunate as she and passed away before the age of two. I support the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and will continue to do so for those whose voices cannot be heard.”

Wikinews interviews write-in candidate connected to Middle East turmoil

Pastor Terry Jones in March 2011.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Wikinews caught up with Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida. Jones, a write-in candidate for president, is best known for his anti-Islamic activism, which has sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Jones leads an anti-Islam march in Washington, DC.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Jones first gained notice in 2010, after threatening to burn a Koran at Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The announcement prompted protests in the Middle East, causing President Obama to request that Jones not partake in the activity. He obliged, but later burned a Koran in March 2011, leading to violent protests in Afghanistan including an attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, which killed at least 30 people.

Recently, Jones has received mention for promoting the film Innocence of Muslims, whose trailer allegedly inflamed riots in Egypt and Libya on September 11 due to its portrayal of Muhammad. During the riots, the American embassies in the two nations were breached, leading to the deaths of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Jones told The Daily Caller he had remained in contact with the film’s director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was jailed September 28 on charges of violating probation. Jones’s involvement with the film has led to warrants for his arrest in Egypt, where authorities want to try him for insults to Islam, spreading lies, and harming national unity. Death is a possible penalty for such offenses. Nevertheless, Jones holds that Egypt “would definitely be better advised to put Muhammad on trial.”

With Wikinews, Jones discusses ballot access, the Innocence of Muslims, and how he would handle the riots in Egypt and Libya as president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIn which states have you attempted to gain ballot access?

Pastor Jones: Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on the film trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims? Should the filmmaker bear any responsibility for the anti-American protests across the Muslim world?

Pastor Jones: According to many Islamic experts that I have talked to, and the studies that I have done myself, the trailer is very accurate. Muhammad led a very perverted life and a very violent life. On his deathbed in 632, he gave the command to his followers to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of all unbelievers. That is what Islam has been doing for the last fourteen hundred years, killing, murdering and raping anyone that dares to have a different opinion or follow a different religion.
Absolutely not. In fact, what we have done is we have again demonstrated that Islam in its roots, in its foundation is a violent religion. The Koran is a very violent book. It promotes violence. As I said, Muhammad led a very violent life. In the last ten years of his life he had seventy-eight raids on other villages where he killed innocent people, civilians. It was not even an act of war. It was simply genocide. It was simply the killing of anyone who disagreed with him. It is the time that America and the world stands up and sees the dangers of Islam, the dangers of radical Islam.
As far as we are concerned, as far as our efforts are concerned, we are going to continue to press forward. We are going to continue to raise an awareness of the dangers of radical Islam. The western world must stop appeasing Islam or Islam will continue its acts of terror.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your response to President Obama’s reaction to the protests and attacks on the U.S. embassies? Was Governor Romney’s criticism of that reaction appropriate? If you were president, how would you respond to the events?

Pastor Jones: President Obama is an absolute disaster. As president, he bears some of the responsibility for what is going on right now in the Islamic world. President Obama has shown himself to be pro-Islam, pro-Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over in Egypt, situations for minorities and Christians have gotten much, much worse. We know that President Obama favors Islam. He appeases Islam. He has welcomed CAIR into the White House. CAIR is nothing more than a suit-and-tie terrorist organization. President Obama and his appeasing of Islam has only given them a green light, opened up the door for them to feel as though they can attack our embassies and feel that absolutely nothing will be done. Even now as he has spent $70,000 of American taxpayers’ money to run ads in Pakistan appeasing the Islamic radical community, he definitely bears a responsibility.
Governor Romney, or anyone’s criticism, of President Obama’s presidency concerning Islam, his economic policies, and many of his policies whether it is immigration or same-sex marriage are indeed justified.
If I were president, my response would be much harsher to the Islamic community. I believe that we should close our embassies in Muslim and Koran controlled countries immediately. We should pull our people out of those countries. We in the west must realize that Islam is not compatible with western society. It is not compatible with western thinking because Islam is missing the basic elements of a free western society. Those elements are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Islam has continued to prove over and over and over again that it does not tolerate any criticism of Muhammad, the Koran, or Sharia. It has absolutely no tolerance of any other religion. Because of its past history and the past fruits of the religion, Islam and western society cannot coexist. This is why we should close all embassies in Koran and Islam controlled and dominated countries.

A3P nominee meets with the President of Iran

Filmmaker Merlin Miller, the presidential nominee of the American Third Position Party (A3P), attended a film festival in Tehran, Iran early in September, during which he spoke to an audience that included Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After the speech, Ahmadinejad invited Miller to a private meeting, which lasted about twenty minutes. This was the first time a U.S. presidential candidate met with Ahmadinejad, a controversial figure who has called for the dissolution of Israel, questioned the validity of the Holocaust, and spurred Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel allege is not for peaceful purposes.

Merlin Miller shakes hands with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Image: Merlin Miller.

In contrast to such allegations, Miller tells Wikinews that his impression of Ahmadinejad was as “a humble man who deeply cares about promoting truths and the best for his people — including peace.” During the meeting, he gave Ahmadinejad a copy of his 2001 film Jericho and his book Our Vision for America. According to Miller, Ahmadinejad wanted it to be communicated to the American people that “Globalists and Zionists falsely portray Iran, as they seek conflict between nations” and that Iran actually desires peace. Miller says that though Ahmadinejad probably did not know much about the specific A3P presidential campaign and platform, he was “aware of the how Zionist interests control our two major political parties” and “was intrigued that alternative voices in America are starting to challenge the injustices of our current political system and the propaganda of our mainstream media.”

The A3P, which was founded in 2010, is among those “alternative voices”. Its program calls for a tougher approach to crime, economic nationalism, higher education standards, environmentalism, strengthening of the family unit, a non-interventionist foreign policy, opposition to “third world” immigration, border security, and preservation of “white identity”.

Critics such as the Southern Poverty Law Center accuse the A3P of being a white supremacist organization, a charge that Miller denies. Miller appeared on Iran’s Press TV, and discussed the use of the term on his Wikipedia profile, which he claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted to change. He argued that the label likely stemmed from his “criticism of Zionism, of Jewish control of [the U.S.] media, [and] of [the U.S.] foreign policy, which is Israel first”.

Miller and the A3P have attained ballot access in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Colorado, and have additionally qualified for write-in status in Maryland and West Virginia.


Sources

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July 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, June 2012

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The following is the eighth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a Green Party presidential candidate who announced his 2012 plans to Wikinews four years ago speaks to Wikinews once again, the candidate leading the California American Independent Party presidential primary discusses his campaign, and Wikinews explores whether Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will be selected as the Republican Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

In June, California held presidential primary elections for both the Democratic and Republican parties. President Barack Obama was uncontested on the Democratic ballot, and easily won; as did presumptive nominee Mitt Romney on the Republican side. Other presidential primaries in California involved the American Independent, Peace and Freedom, Green, and Libertarian third parties, though not all of these were binding. In the binding Green primary, physician Jill Stein edged comedienne Roseanne Barr to secure enough delegates to become the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. As for other primaries in June, the Republican Party held its final contest in Utah late in the month with Romney easily claiming victory. Afterwards, Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party’s nomination, officially ended his campaign.

Starting off, the Obama campaign had a few difficulties in June: a jobs report for the previous month showed a spike in the unemployment rate; Democrats failed to win a recall against the Republican governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, bolstering Romney’s prospects in the state; Romney called Obama “out of touch” for his remark that “The private sector is doing just fine”; and despite Obama’s position against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, former Democratic president Bill Clinton suggested during a CNBC interview that in current circumstances, extending the Bush tax cuts would be “probably the best thing to do right now.” Clinton’s spokesman later clarified that Clinton backed the president’s position. However, consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader speculated that Clinton was “undermining Obama…to appear with Hillary as very friendly to business” in order to lay the groundwork for a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential run.

Former president Bill Clinton campaigns in Wisconsin in June 2012.
Image: marctasman.

The Romney campaign faced a few challenges of its own: reports surfaced that Romney impersonated police officers in his youth; Obama attacked him for his investments’ alleged outsourcing of jobs; and vice president Joe Biden discussed his Swiss bank account, portraying him as an elitist at odds with the middle class. Nevertheless, a large amount of Romney coverage in June focused on his search for a running mate. After ABC News reported that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was not being vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate, Romney disputed the report and claimed that in fact Rubio was being vetting for the nomination. Additionally, two prospects, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both took their names out of consideration for the spot, though Rice reportedly ‘stole the show’ at a Romney retreat. At the end of June, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio received increased mention as a potential nominee after Senator John McCain jokingly told a group of Portman interns, “now you can say you interned for Vice President Portman.”

In mid-June, Obama injected the issue of immigration into the campaign when he announced by decree that illegal immigrants at most 30 years old who entered the United States before the age of 16 and remain in good standing in their communities, would no longer be deported. During the announcement, Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro interrupted the president to ask how the move would affect American workers. A frustrated Obama acknowledged the interruption, and responded, “It’s not time for questions, sir…Not while I’m speaking.” The interruption threatened to overshadow Obama’s announcement, which analysts suggested was aimed to solidify support among Hispanics. Romney did not explicitly respond to the announcement, but said during an interview with Face the Nation that he instead would implement “a long-term solution”. About two weeks after the announcement, Washington Post analyst Aaron Blake of Chris Cillizza‘s The Fix examined polls from Quinnipiac University and reported that though many voters in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio favored the new policy, those concerned about the issue were much more likely to oppose it. Blake concluded that the new policy would likely help Obama in the Latino-heavy swing states of Colorado and Nevada, but might possibly hurt him in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Other political events shaped the campaign as June came to a close. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a tax. Though deemed a political victory for President Obama, Romney proclaimed that the ruling brought a “greater urgency” to the election, explaining to his base that repealing the health care bill now required Obama to be voted out of office. In the first three hours after the ruling, the Romney campaign raised one million dollars, a spokesman reported. On the same day as the decision, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. President Obama claimed the documents fell under executive privilege. Many congressional Democrats walked out during the vote and accused Republicans of playing politics. Pollsters said Holder was the most unpopular member of the Obama administration but predicted groups outside the Romney campaign would focus on the issue, in order to not divert Romney from his message on the economy. The Romney campaign ran ads at the end of June that used footage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, polled as the most popular member of the Obama administration, criticizing Obama during the 2008 primaries for “perpetuating falsehoods”, concluding with “Shame on you, Barack Obama.” On June 30, Obama led Romney in the national RealClearPolitics average, 47.5 percent to 43.8 percent.

Wikinews interviews Green Party candidate

Kent Mesplay at an Earth Day event in 2008.
Image: Kent Mesplay.

In addition to Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, Kent Mesplay, an air quality inspector from San Diego, participated in June’s California Green Party presidential primary. He finished the contest in third place with 10.8 percent behind Stein’s nomination-clinching showing of 49.3 percent and Barr’s second place 39.9 percent. In the aftermath of the primary and ahead of the July 12–15 Green National Convention, Wikinews reached out to Mesplay.

Mesplay, who serves as a delegate to the Green National Committee, had previously sought the Green presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, falling short both times. Wikinews first interviewed Mesplay during his second presidential campaign in June 2008, when he announced his intentions to seek the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. During his 2012 bid, Mesplay has campaigned on his support for sustainability, indigenous rights, campaign finance reform, and reductions in military spending. He has received the endorsements of party co-founder John Rensenbrink, 2004 Green Party vice presidential nominee Pat LaMarche, and Green activist Kat Swift.

With Wikinews, Mesplay discusses his thoughts on Stein and Barr, Green policies in general, and his future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png With the outcome of the California primary, physician Jill Stein has secured enough delegates to be the Green Party presumptive presidential nominee. What are your thoughts on Stein and her policy proposals? How do they compare to your own and have you discussed the vice presidential nomination with her?

Mesplay: The focus of Stein’s campaign has been a “Green New Deal,” which is a federal public jobs program funded by anticipated military cuts and by updated taxes. I support the stated goals of the program, although I question the practicality of relying upon such anticipated funding sources. Our campaigns agree on the severity of the crises to be responsibly addressed: climate change, economic melt-down, crumbling infrastructure, torn social safety-nets. We need to transform toward being a sustainability-driven culture, rather than one that liquidates our natural resources to our collective peril, and green jobs play a central role in this. I introduced the Green New Deal in campaign flyers in 2008; the idea has been floating around Green circles for a decade or so.
Rather than emphasize an apparently centralized, federal, “top-down” approach to improving our governance, my role in the 2012 Green Party presidential campaign season has been to emphasize a “ground-up” approach, making the case for volunteerism, local currency and scrip, and direct, immediate citizen involvement with local solutions to “fund” the transformation. More than just a complementary approach, direct citizen action is practical in that one does not need to wait for a Green President or Congress. At the federal policy level, we would see more success and less resistance by, say, gradually transforming the military to lead the fight in climate-change through re-training. However we go about it, we should be growing food wherever we can, and we should be better prepared and able to quickly meet the health and safety basic needs of masses of people. My “stamp” is an argument for sustainability as security-enhancing emergency preparation. I am also an outspoken advocate for Native Americans, having this as part of my ancestry and upbringing.
I have not directly discussed the vice presidential nomination with Jill Stein, although I have expressed such interest when Skyping in to a recent Michigan Green Party state meeting. I will support Jill Stein as the Green Party nominee in whatever way I can.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Comedienne Roseanne Barr, who finished second in California, seems to be hinting that she may continue her campaign as an Independent after the National Convention. What is your reaction to Roseanne and her campaign? Has she had a positive influence on the Green Party?

Mesplay: Roseanne is an entertainer. Jill and I privately conferred right after Roseanne entered the race, “for real,” knowing that Roseanne’s behavior could draw the party unwanted negative publicity. We were aware of Roseanne’s self-appointed title of (virtual) Prime Minister of Israel in an online parliamentary project and were concerned about her antics. In getting to know her, I now consider her a friend. She is intelligent, thoughtful, well educated and genuinely concerned about societal and environmental problems, and has been a strong advocate for Native people. When helping to shape the effect of Roseanne’s entry into the race, I said, “Roseanne needs to get serious and we [Jill and I] need to have more fun [with our deathly-serious issues].” Over-all, Roseanne has brought positive attention to the Green Party, has helped register voters and has increased our exposure to the media. She entered the race too late to be a serious threat to Jill’s campaign, and early enough to make it more interesting. And (watch out), she is making a movie about her run for president. She says it’s funny.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png When we last interviewed in June 2008, it was under similar circumstances: you were seeking the Green Party presidential nomination; the National Convention was just a few weeks away; and like Stein, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney had already secured enough delegates to be the party’s presumptive nominee. At the time, you mentioned that you were “taking the steps to begin running for the 2012 presidential race.” Now, at this point in the 2012 race, do you have similar plans to run for president in 2016?

Mesplay: I was the first declared Green candidate in 2012. My challenge is to raise enough money that I can take time off work to actually run, full-time. To date, I have not been able to actively participate in a more visible, effective, competitive manner. I am undecided as to whether I will run, again.

American Independent Party primary results

AIP primary results by county: Noonan (blue violet), Roth (red), Riekse (green), No votes (black)
Image: William S. Saturn.

The American Independent Party (AIP), a paleoconservative group formerly affiliated with the Constitution Party that has guaranteed ballot access in California, listed three presidential candidates on its ballot for June’s California primary: the party’s former chairman Edward C. Noonan; radio talk show host Laurie Roth; and former United States Army Lieutenant Colonel “Mad” Max Riekse.

In the tally last updated on June 26, Noonan led Roth 16,625 votes (38.8 percent) to 16,044 (37.4 percent) with Riekse polling 10,227 votes (23.8 percent) for third place. Wikinews tried to contact the leading two candidates, but only successfully connected with Noonan.

Noonan, who ran for both Governor of California in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2010 as the AIP nominee, told Wikinews that the “only purpose” for his run was to “have standing” in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. Noonan, who refers to Obama as “Mr. Soetero”, said his most recent suit questioning Obama’s citizenship was dismissed in court. He believes Obama’s birth certificate “is forged and a fraudulent document” due to “multiple layers of different typewriter font sizes”, signatures in “multi-colored [ink] and sliced into the document in different patches.” Furthermore, he says that without a legitimate birth certificate, Obama “cannot prove that he is an American citizen [because his]…birth father was a foreign national from Kenya”. Noonan says that this disqualifies Obama from being president.

As a candidate, Noonan has sent out press releases and made numerous attempts to spread his message through the internet; however, he has received very little media attention. He argues that people are indifferent to politics and that the “corrupt news media” ignores third party candidates such as himself. Additionally, he sees the two major parties as corrupt and refers to them as “two heads from the same beast.” He describes his opponent Roth as “a Republican traitor” and feels the AIP made a mistake by listing such a non-member on the primary ballot.

Roth, who says she feels God has called her to seek the presidency, unsuccessfully sought the Constitution Party presidential nomination earlier this year. On her website, she calls for the institution of a two percent consumption tax, the eventual repeal of all other taxes, and the elimination of the national debt in four to five years. Ahead of the primary, she received the endorsement of notable birther activist Orly Taitz. Wikinews has made numerous attempts to contact Roth, but has thus far received no response.

Former congressman Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party’s presidential nominee, and Tom Hoefling, the America’s Party presidential nominee, are both also reportedly seeking the AIP nomination despite not being listed on the primary ballot. The nominating convention is scheduled to take place August 11.

Might Rand Paul be the GOP VP nominee?

After Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky endorsed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in June, speculation spread that Romney might select Paul as his running mate. However, according to two political analysts, the scenario is unlikely and may not be strategically wise for Republicans.

Paul, who holds libertarian views similar to those of his father, Congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas, announced his endorsement of Romney on Hannity. He cited Romney’s support for a Federal Reserve audit, a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act as rationale for the move. However, Paul did not mention his policy disagreements with Romney on such issues as the War on Drugs, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the foreign policy of the United States.

Paul speaks at a Tea Party Express event.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Some libertarians and supporters of Ron Paul reacted angrily to the decision. The Libertarian Party released a statement saying “no true libertarian, no true friend of liberty, and no true blue Tea Partier could possibly even consider, much less actually endorse or approve of, the Father of Obamacare, Big Government tax and spender, Republican Mitt Romney.”

Nevertheless, some saw it as an attempt for Paul to position himself as a potential vice presidential candidate. Paul said it would be “a great honor” for Romney to consider him as a running mate. Proponents of this idea, such as Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative, say Paul would help steer Republicans and the possible Romney administration away from statist and interventionist policies. Others do not view this as sound campaign strategy.

According to North Star Opinion Research strategist Dan Judy, the endorsement was simply Paul’s “way of supporting the Republican team and hoping to curry some favor with the Romney folks in hopes of getting his dad a speaking slot at the convention“. Though Judy held that the pick would help Romney with those concerned about Romney’s conservatism such as the “hard core Tea Party base”, he sees Paul’s political inexperience, questionable appeal to political independents and moderates, and the lack of any geographic advantage for the ticket as reasons that the scenario has “virtually no shot”.

Political analyst Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball largely agrees, stating that the selection would be a “real surprise” and that though “supporters of Ron and Rand Paul are a vocal part of the Republican Party, they are but one small constituency, and their views, particularly on matters of war and peace, are too different from Romney and the Republican mainstream to imagine Rand (or Ron) in the No. 2 slot on the ticket.”



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April 5, 2012

Former US Sheriff of the Year jailed in drugs-for-sex case

Former US Sheriff of the Year jailed in drugs-for-sex case

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

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Patrick Sullivan, who was given the US National Sheriffs’ Association‘s (NSA’s) Sheriff of the Year award in 2001, has been sentenced to a month in prison. Sullivan was sent to the Colorado jail named in his honor for offering men drugs in exchange for sex.

Handcuffs, from file.

The 69-year-old was Arapahoe County‘s resident sheriff until his 2002 retirement. He has testified on police work before the Congress and then-President Bill Clinton placed him on the National Commission on Crime Prevention and Control in 1995, one of a number of national appointments. The Arapahoe County jail was renamed after him upon his retirement.

In actions Michael Dougherty, prosecuting, termed “a disgrace to the badge”, Sullivan last year gave methamphetamine to two male prostitutes in exchange for sex. He was filmed in a sting operation and later admitted the offences of using and distributing methamphetamine, and soliciting a prostitute. Informants assisted the police and Sullivan was arrested last November.

Sullivan, who spent eighteen years as a sheriff, was given 30 days in prison, plus eight days he has already served. He is to pay $1,000 and must undergo a substance abuse programme. He pleaded guilty and said in court Tuesday “I apologise… There is no excuse for my behavior.”

Aaron Kennard, Executive Director of the NSA, said the events were “disheartening and devastating”. Sullivan’s lawyer is reported to have told the court Sullivan has had difficulty with his sexuality.



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April 17, 2011

Bloomberg and Clinton create green alliance

Bloomberg and Clinton create green alliance

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Environment
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Former President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have revealed plans to merge their climate leadership groups C40 and the Clinton Climate Initiative on Wednesday.

File image of Bill Clinton.
Image: MSGT Renee Humble.

Bloomberg serves as the chair for C40 Cities, an organization of cities devoted to tackling climate change. Together with the Clinton Climate Initiative, a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the two high profile environmentalists believe the alliance will assist cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a range of energy efficient and clean energy programs.

“I am pleased and honored to be here with my friend President Clinton. He has been a life-long champion of climate initiatives and I can think of no greater partner in this effort,” said Bloomberg.

President Clinton said the merger will “make it possible to create jobs and grow economies through reduced emissions. By combining forces with the C40, I believe the CCI Cities Program can continue to expand this work and make an even greater impact.”

Mayor Bloomberg also announced that the fourth C40 Summit will commence on May 31st in São Paulo. Both Clinton and Bloomberg will give keynote addresses at the summit, which is attended by the Mayors of many of the world’s major cities.



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August 2, 2010

Chelsea Clinton marries Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York

Chelsea Clinton marries Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York

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Monday, August 2, 2010

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Chelsea Clinton speaking at a 2008 event in Wisconsin
Image: Phil Ejercito.

Chelsea Clinton, the only daughter of former US president William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton and current US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, wed long-time boyfriend and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday evening. The ceremony occurred in Rhinebeck, New York amidst a flurry of secrecy and speculation surrounding the event.

Not much was known about the wedding, and those involved in the event did not say anything to the media. An estimated 500 guests were at the ceremony, which took place at Astor Courts, a large Beaux Arts estate built for John Jacob Astor IV over 100 years ago. The secluded mansion is situated on 50 acres (20.2 hectares) of land in the small town of Rhinebeck. A no-fly zone was established over the estate.

The guest list was the subject of much speculation, but notable figures Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and John Major reportedly did not attend the festivities. Madeleine Albright, Steve Bing, Warren Buffet, and Kobe Bryant were rumored to have been seen at the wedding.

The marriage ceremony was led by Rabbi James Ponet and the Reverend William Shillady. Mezvinsky, who is Jewish, wore a tallit (prayer shawl) and a yarmulke. Clinton is a Methodist. A Clinton family friend read the poem “The Life That I Have”, by Leo Marks. Chelsea Clinton wore a strapless dress designed by Vera Wang. She had been spotted by Women’s Wear Daily at Wang’s New York showroom earlier last week, and Wang was reportedly seen in Rhinebeck as well.

The town of Rhinebeck was the subject of much public interest on Saturday. Photographers, journalists, and ordinary citizens lined the streets to get a peek at the celebrities attending the wedding. Many stores had signs saying something similar to “Congratulations Marc & Chelsea.” Residents temporarily displaced by the wedding were even given bottles of wine for the inconvenience.

30-year-old Chelsea Clinton and 32-year-old Marc Mezvinsky first met in Washington, D.C. while teenagers, and both later attended Stanford University. Now living in New York, Mezvinsky works at G3 Capital as an investment banker, while Clinton recently earned her master’s degree in public health at Columbia University. Mezvinsky is the son of the now-divorced Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Ed Mezvinsky, friends of the Clinton family.

Although thought to cost several million dollars, a Clinton family friend claimed that the event would carry a price tag of less than US$1 million.



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