<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 25 Sep 2016 02:58:38 -0500Sun, 25 Sep 2016 02:58:38 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New York Times Endorses Hillary Clinton for President]]> Sat, 24 Sep 2016 13:25:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hillary-clinton-profile.jpg

The New York Times editorial board endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton Saturday, writing the endorsement is "rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service."

The Times touted Clinton's record as first lady, New York senator and secretary of state in their endorsement, claiming she has shown the ability to work with politicians from opposing parties to enact her policy agenda.

"When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good," the editorial says. "Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters."

The editorial also praised her foreign policy record as secretary of state, but does mention her missteps in that role.

"As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism," the editorial board wrote. "She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial."

Clinton's ability to bounce back from her failings, however, is another one of her strengths as a politician and presidential candidate, according to the endorsement.

"She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience," the editorial board wrote.

The endorsement only made passing reference to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who "discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway," according to the Times.

The editorial board added it will publish another editorial to explain why Trump is the "worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Should Trump Debate Clinton? Advice From a Man Who Knows]]> Sat, 24 Sep 2016 09:38:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/clinton-trump-split-upset.jpg

The man famous for getting in Hillary Clinton’s face during the campaign that launched her political career has some debate advice for Donald Trump.

Stay at his lectern.

Rick Lazio should know. The former Republican congressman didn't — and paid the price for a performance that has become a textbook example of what not to do when your opponent is a woman.

Lazio, today a partner with the Jones Walker law firm, ran against Clinton in 2000 for the U.S. Senate. At their first debate in Buffalo, New York, he crossed the stage to Clinton's lectern, pointing his finger as he urged her to sign a pledge about limiting the funding of their race. He was seen as hectoring, his campaign faltered and she went on to win.

Lazio's misstep is being recalled as Clinton and Donald Trump prepare for their debate on Monday, pitting the first woman to run as a major party presidential candidate versus the former reality TV star who has made browbeating opponents a key to his success. "Little Marco," "Lyin' Ted" and "Low-energy Jeb" have given way to "Crooked Hillary," but will he fling insults at her when they meet at New York's Hofstra University? Will Clinton goad him to try to show he is not suited for the presidency?

Trump said that he would curb his disparaging tone at the debate, to be moderated by NBC News' Lester Holt. The 90-minute debate will be televised by NBC and streamed on this site at 9 p.m. ET Monday. 

"I'm going to be very respectful of her," he told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "I think she deserves that and I'm going to be nice. And if she's respectful of me, that'll be nice."

That hasn't stopped him from mocking her on Twitter.

"Hillary is taking the day off again, she needs the rest," he tweeted Tuesday about her bout with pneumonia. "Sleep well Hillary — see you at the debate!"

For Clinton's part, she zeroed in on Trump's derisive comments when she spoke on Steve Harvey's radio show.

"I am going to do my very best to communicate as clearly and fearlessly as I can in the face of the insults and the attacks and the bullying and bigotry that we have seen coming from my opponent," Clinton said. "I can take it, Steve. I can take that kind of stuff. I have been at this, and I understand it is a contact sport."

Lazio, who said that neither Trump nor Clinton had earned his support, has several suggestions for Trump: Present a positive vision, be aware of non-verbal communication and don't go for the knock-out punch, but rather, amplify Clinton's negatives. Demonstrate enough knowledge of policy details to establish his credibility as president without trying to duel with someone who has been in and around Washington for nearly 25 years. And with nearly two-thirds of the public feeling that the country is on the wrong track, distinguish himself as the change agent and Clinton as more of the failed and uninspiring status quo.

"Have your team prepared and on high alert afterward to drive your debate message," he wrote. “There are two debates — as I well discovered — the actual event and what gets covered by the media and watched by the public afterward.

"And finally....stay at the podium!"

Photo Credit: Getty/NBC Universal
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<![CDATA[A Rare Bipartisan Agreement Reached, Briefly, on Abortion]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CONGRESS_GettyImages-2062515.jpg

Abortion rights advocates and opponents in Congress reached a rare bipartisan consensus at a Friday hearing: Both sides agreed on the effectiveness of a ban on federal abortion funding.

Known as the Hyde Amendment, the 40-year-old law restricting federal funding for abortions has shown to be effective in curbing the number of abortions performed, both sides agreed. For anti-abortion Republicans, the policy’s functionality proves its success. But for abortion rights supporters, it’s a sign that women are simply being denied health care, NBC News reported.

Rep. Trent Franks said the fact that abortion hasn’t become a major issue in this general election campaign is disappointing.

“The American people deserve to know where the candidates stand, in the most important election this century and in the last century,” he said. Franks presided over the House judiciary subcommittee hearing Friday morning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Calls For End to Violence ]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:31:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/US-PA-Trump-3-CR-147464484892100001.jpg Delivering his law-and-order message at a rally in Chester Township, Pennsylvania, saying that "The main victims of these violent demonstrations are law abiding African-Americans who live in these communities and only want to raise their children in safety and peace and with a good education." He also criticized Hillary Clinton, saying that "The job of a leader is to stand in someone else's shoes and see things from their perspective. You have to be able to do that."]]> <![CDATA[Trump Campaign Volunteer Quits After Racially Charged Speech]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:50:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16262084465196_opt.jpg

A Trump campaign chair in Ohio resigned Thursday after she made several racially insensitive comments in an on-camera interview, including a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement as “a stupid waste of time,” NBC News reports. 

Kathy Miller, a volunteer chair, made a variety of comments to The Guardian newspaper, which published the interview Thursday. Miller told the publication, “I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected.”

The video was posted Thursday morning, after the second night of protests in Charlotte, N.C., that were organized in response to the fatal shooting of a black man by Charlotte police.

The Trump campaign in Ohio released a statement Thursday confirming that they’d accepted Miller’s resignation and calling her comments “inappropriate.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ivanka Trump to Attend Two Illinois Fundraisers Next Week]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 16:35:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ivanka+trump+aretes.jpg

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, will headline a pair of Illinois fundraisers to benefit her father's campaign next Wednesday in Peoria and Chicago.

Tickets for the Peoria luncheon range from $500 a person to $250,000 per couple, which includes a “chairman’s circle membership,” a photo opportunity and lunch, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The event will benefit Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state GOP organizations. Illinois is not one of them.

Hosts include Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz, Illinois finance chair of the Trump-Pence Victory fund, state GOP Chairman Tim Schneider and Illinois’ Republican national committeeman and committeewoman, according to the Tribune. U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood and John Shimkus will also host.

Additionally, Trump will attend an evening fundraiser at the home of Chicago businessman Bill Farley that will also benefit the Trump-Pence Victory fund. Tickets for that event range in price from $500 a person to $25,000 per couple, which includes an RNC Eagles membership, a photo opportunity and a reception. Donors who contribute $25,000 also earn a position as a campaign co-chair.

<![CDATA[Trump Backs Up on Stop-and-Frisk, Says He Meant in Chicago]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:08:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump44.jpg

After calling for the use of the controversial "stop-and-frisk" police practice to combat crime on Wednesday, Donald Trump clarified his comments to say he really only meant in Chicago.

"Look, we had tremendous shootings, numbers of shootings. Now, Chicago is out of control and I was really referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk," the Republican presidential nominee said in a phone interview with Fox & Friends Thursday morning. "They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop-and-frisk for Chicago," he added.

Trump intended to clarify comments made in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity that was broadcast Wednesday evening. In that interview, an audience member asked the nominee about addressing "violence in the black community," to which he proposed expanding the policy in which officers may stop and question individuals, possibly searching those they find suspicious. Critics of the practice say it can lead to racial profiling.

"I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well," he said. "You understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do."

"I think Chicago needs stop-and-frisk," Trump said Thursday. "Now, people can criticize me for that or people can say whatever they want. But they asked me about Chicago and I think stop-and-frisk with good strong, you know, good strong law and order. But you have to do something. It can’t continue the way it’s going," he added.

The Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This is not the first time the nominee has mentioned Chicago's violence, drawing harsh criticism for tweeting in August that the murder of Dwyane Wade's cousin is an example of why black voters will support him. 

Just days earlier he also said that he met with a "top" Chicago officer who believed the city's violence could be stopped within a week using "tough police tactics," a claim that the Chicago Police Department refuted

"No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign," a CPD spokesperson said in a statement.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rep. Luis Gutierrez Lampoons Donald Trump Jr. With Skittles]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:12:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/luis+gutierrez+GettyImages-580956024.jpg

Rep. Luis Gutierrez mocked Donald Trump Jr.'s recent tweet that likened Syrian refugees to Skittles candies on Wednesday, eating the candy during a congressional committee hearing. 

The Judiciary Committee hearing was related to Republican attempts to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. Gutierrez snacked on a bag of Skittles while addressing Koskinen, making a point about the incendiary tweet from the Republican presidential nominee's son.

“I really love Skittles because, as you can see, they come orange and yellow, red, and purple." the Chicago Democrat said. “All the different colors."

"A lot of people on this side of the aisle, we like that,” he added.

The congressman noted that, despite occasionally getting a “bad Skittle,” he doesn’t “ban them all."

Gutierrez then related the Skittles to refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

“Just like we shouldn’t ban all the little girls fleeing murder and rape, human bondage and torture,” he said. “We shouldn’t ban them all, just like we wouldn’t ban all the Skittles because there might be one bad Skittle.”

“This is a nation of freedom of religion and, yes, even freedom to pay your taxes to the United States,” Gutierrez added.

The congressman then offered Skittles to Koskinen to share with his staff after the “reckless and bitter” impeachment hearing.

Gutierrez also referenced a recent Washington Post report that found that Donald Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal disputes, acknowledging that he couldn’t specifically ask Koskinen about the billionaire’s taxes. Instead, he hypothetically asked the commissioner about whether tax-exempt charities can use funds to pay the debts of for-profit entities.

“Would that, in your opinion, be legal, within the law, and consistent with someone who declares themselves a law and order individual?” Gutierrez asked.

Koskinen explained that he couldn’t discuss individual cases and that “if hypotheticals begin to look like individual cases” he was not “at liberty to give opinions or judgments about those.”

Gutierrez continued to press the commissioner, asking if tax-exempt money could be used to pay for “business purposes.”

“As I’ve said before, the law is clear, any tax-exempt organization cannot use its money to benefit anyone closely associated with that organization,” Koskinen said.

“Every case is different, every case has background and information surrounding it,” he added.

The congressman then cut Koskinen off.

“Commisioner, you know who I’m talking about,” Gutierrez added. “Everybody in this room knows I’m talking about.”

“All we want is a straight answer,” he added.

Gutierrez continued to question Koskinen about what sort of personal things tax-exempt money could be used for until he was informed that his speaking time had expired.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Poll: Clinton Leads Trump Ahead of First Debate]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 16:12:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/clinton-trump-split-serious.jpg

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by 6 points among likely voters heading into the first presidential debate on Monday, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The survey, conducted after Clinton's return to the campaign trail following her bout with pneumonia, shows a bigger advantage for the secretary of state than did polls taken during the heightened scrutiny of her health.

"Despite arguably the worst few weeks of her candidacy, the fundamentals still point toward a Hillary Clinton victory," says Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.

In a four-way horse race, Clinton gets support from 43 percent of likely voters and Trump gets 37 percent, while Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is at 9 percent and the Green Party's Jill Stein is at 3 percent.

Photo Credit: Getty/NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Donald Trump, Mike Pence Campaign in Ohio]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:16:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump44.jpg

Donald Trump and Mike Pence hold a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio.

Check here for a live stream.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Clinton Campaigns in Florida]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16262057948804-Clinton-at-CBC.jpg

Hillary Clinton is holding a campaign event at the Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Center in Orlando, Florida.

Check here for a live stream. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[7 in 10 Have Concerns About Trump's Comments: Poll]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:49:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16262084465196_opt.jpg

In a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 69 percent of registered voters said they are concerned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments and language in regard to women, immigrants and Muslims, NBC News reported.

More than half of that group said they have "major" concerns about those issues, according to NBC News.

By comparison, nearly as many — 64 percent of registered voters — said they have concerns about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Thirty-three percent of those polled said that Trump's temperament concerns them the most about him; 36 percent said that the issue about Clinton that concerns them the most is her judgment when it comes to dealing with Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: Afghanistan Safer Than Some US Inner Cities]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 08:19:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump44.jpg

Donald Trump promised to "rebuild our inner cities" at a rally on Tuesday, telling a North Carolina crowd that “places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.”

Violent crime in American cities is expected to rise by 5.5 percent in 2016, according to New York University's Brennan Center. According to the United Nations, 5,166 civilians were killed or maimed in Afghanistan during the first six months of the year. Trump did not back up his comparison with statistics. 

In an effort to win African American communities, Trump has recently pitched himself as the candidate to vote for those who have nothing to lose, NBC News reported.

Despite exaggerating disparities in black communities  -- lack of quality education, safety concerns, absence of jobs -- Trump has made minor gains. An ABC/Washington Post poll average from August to September showed Trump polling at five percent with African Americans, compared to previous zero or one percent.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Deadlock: FEC Commissioners Say They’re Failing to Investigate Campaign Violations]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 05:20:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Federal+Election+Commission.jpg

If a campaign cheats during this election season, chances are high it’ll never be investigated. That’s according to some of the very Federal Election Commissioners tasked with enforcing the law, who call the agency “dysfunctional” and “broken,” NBC 4 Washington.

The FEC is made up of six people – one independent, two Democrats and three Republicans – who hold tremendous power. Under federal law, they’re supposed to investigate and penalize candidates and campaigns caught breaking the rules.

But to even investigate these complaints requires at least four votes, and a News4 I-Team investigation found they often deadlock on potentially precedent setting cases – effectively preventing those cases from moving forward.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton, Trump Report Largest Fundraising Month Yet]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:16:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/clinton-trump-trump-clinton-split-.jpg

August was a good month for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of whom reported their best fundraising yet, NBC News reported.

Clinton brought in $59.5 million and Trump $41 million, according to new Federal Election Commission filings released Tuesday.

While Clinton raised more than her Republican rival, she also spent more than him. Clinton spent $49.6 million in August, compared to Trump's $29.9 million.

The fundraising totals are less than what the campaigns had announced earlier this month — those sums included money raised for their joint fundraising committees to help their parties and down-ballot candidates. Those fundraising numbers won't be released until October.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Ricketts Family Now Backing Trump's Candidacy]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:37:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16262084465196_opt.jpg

Chicago Cubs owners Joseph and Marlene Ricketts are now backing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and plan to put money into his campaign, NBC News reports.

Brian Baker, a spokesperson for the Ricketts, said the family decided to back Trump because they don’t want to see Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton win in November. According to Baker, the Ricketts think Trump performing well in the election will improve the GOP's chances of holding on to the Senate.

The Chicago Tribune reports the Ricketts plan to spend about $1 million in support of Trump’s presidential bid. However, Baker would not give NBC News an estimate of how much the family would spend. When asked if the family would donate $10 million or $50 million, Baker said it could be either.

It isn’t clear how exactly the Ricketts will donate the money. Their super Political Action Committee, Ending Spending Action, already has a hand in down ballot races. Baker told NBC News they could create a new entity or use their current super PAC to donate. In any event, Baker noted that the family will not donate to a super PAC controlled by someone else.

According to a Monday CNN report, billionaire Sheldon Adelson will likely give $5 million to the Ricketts’ political efforts.

“I hope so,” Baker said, although he noted that he first heard about the potential donation from the CNN report.

During the primaries, the Ricketts spent $5.5 million on negative advertising against Trump, the Tribune reports. In response, Trump sent a veiled threat to the family in February.

“I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me,” Trump tweeted. "They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Joseph and Marlene Ricketts’ son, responded later that month.

“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” he told reporters at the time. “The fact is, whether it’s my mom or my dad on his Ending Spending stuff or my sister on marriage equality or my brothers and what they do or what we do with the team, we’re pretty much an open book.”

"We stand up for what we believe in. That’s what America should be,” he added.

The Ricketts family has deep and varied political ties.

Pete Ricketts, another son of Joseph and Marlene Ricketts, is the Republican governor of Nebraska. He endorsed Trump in May, the Tribune reports.

Additionally, Laura Ricketts, the daughter of Joseph and Marlene Ricketts, is a prominent LGBTQ activist who hosted a big-ticket Clinton fundraiser in July.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Hits Back at Clinton's Islamic State Claim]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:12:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump17AP_16261672280352.jpg

Donald Trump is again pushing back on rival Hillary Clinton's assertion that his rhetoric serves as a recruiting tool for Islamic State militants. 

Trump told a rally crowd Tuesday: "I'm being tough. How is that a recruiting tool?" 

He was speaking at High Point University in North Carolina.

The Republican presidential nominee said it's Clinton whose policies as secretary of state allowed the militant group to rise. 

He says that ISIS "happened on Hillary Clinton's watch," and added: "the rise of ISIS is Hillary Clinton's foreign policy legacy." ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State group.

At a rally later Tuesday, in Kenansville, North Carolina, Trump predictfed Clinton will copy his language and policy on national security at next week's debate.

He said Clinton "is all of a sudden going to get tough."

The Republican nominee said Tuesday that his Democratic rival will call for "strong borders" and "extreme vetting," the term he uses for screening prospective immigrants.

Clinton has called for an increase in the number of refugees the Obama administration currently allows to seek asylum in the United States from war-torn countries like Syria. She supports a strong vetting program.

Trump wants to stop the refugee program. He called it "a Trojan horse" for terrorists.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Used His Foundation for Legal Settlements: Report]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 13:34:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_573206681703.jpg

The Washington Post says Donald Trump used $258,000 from his charitable foundation for legal settlements involving his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida and a New York golf course.

The Post reports that in 2007, Trump used his foundation's money when his Palm Beach, Florida, club was fined $120,000 by the town for having a flagpole that was almost twice the height allowed under local rules.

As part of a settlement, Trump donated $125,000 to veterans' charities from the Trump Foundation. The foundation's money comes mainly from other donors, not Trump himself.

The Post reports that in 2010, a golfer sued when he was denied a $1 million prize for a hole-in-one in a charity tournament at Trump's course outside New York City. A $158,000 settlement also came from Trump's foundation.

The Post reported that the Trump campaign did not respond to a detailed list of questions. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC.

In a statement, the Clinton foundation cited the report as evidence Trump is "a fraud": "Trump's version of charity is taking money from others to settle his own legal issues and buy at least two pictures of himself, which experts say is a clear violation of laws governing charitable organizations."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gary Johnson Makes Another Blunder on Live TV]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 12:04:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16148621475077.jpg

Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, is facing backlash again, after saying "nobody got hurt" in recent attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, according to NBC News.

When CNN's "Reliable Sources'" Brian Stelter asked Johnson about his thoughts on the recent explosions and stabbings, Johnson responded, "Well, first of all, just grateful nobody got hurt."

Twenty-nine people were injured in the bombing in Manhattan, while nine people were stabbed in the Minnesota attack.

Although Johnson said he misspoke and clarified that he meant no casualties rather than no injuries, he received major backlash for the statements.

The mistake comes after Johnson was ridiculed for not knowing "what" Aleppo is.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: Trump Surrogates Spin ‘Birther’ Narrative]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 05:44:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16262084465196_opt.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie falsely claimed that Donald Trump did not question President Barack Obama’s birthplace “on a regular basis” after the president produced his long-form birth certificate in April 2011.

In fact, Trump continued for years to traffic in baseless rumors that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Trump tweeted in 2012 that an “extremely credible source” told him the president’s birth certificate “is a fraud,” and suggested in 2014 that Obama’s college records would show his real “place of birth.” He even cast conspiratorial doubts on the sudden death of the Hawaii health director in 2013, two years after she approved the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate.

Trump’s history of questioning Obama’s birth certificate dates to at least 2011, when the businessman was contemplating a run for president.

Obama in 2008 produced his official “Certification of Live Birth” — which FactCheck.org staffers touched, examined and photographed, as we wrote in our “Born in the U.S.A.” article. In 2011, Trump insisted — falsely — that Obama’s “Certification of Live Birth” was “not a birth certificate,” when in fact it satisfies the legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport. We covered that and other false claims Trump was making at the time in our story “Donald, You’re Fired!

After Trump revived the so-called birther movement in 2011, Obama received an exemption from the Hawaii Department of Health to release his long-form birth certificate. Obama produced the form on April 27, 2011, as reported in our story “Indeed, Born in the U.S.A.

Christie insisted on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump in 2011 accepted that Obama was born in Hawaii, when in fact Trump for years continued to question the authenticity of the long-form birth certificate.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sept. 18: I want to ask you about this birther thing, because you, as governor, as a politician, you have stood up to some of the darker impulses in American politics. You have been clear for a long time that Barack Obama was born in the United States. Donald Trump, by contrast, he clung to the birther lie for years. He still isn’t apologetic about it. Do you understand why so many people, including African Americans, are upset with him over the issue?

Christie: Oh, listen, I made my position on it really clear a long time ago. And Donald has now made his position on it clear, which is that, after the president presented his birth certificate, Donald has said he was born in the United States, and that’s the end of the issue.

It was a contentious issue and, by the way, an issue that Patti Solis Doyle of the Clinton campaign in 2008 has recently admitted was an issue that Mrs. Clinton also injected into her campaign in 2008 in a very quiet, but direct way, against then Senator Obama.

And so, you know, the birther issue is a done issue. I have said it’s a done issue for a long time. And Donald Trump has said it’s a done issue now. And so we need to move on to the issues that are really important to the American people.

And, Jake, I got to tell you the truth. If you think that anyone is going to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or against either one of them based upon this issue, then I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the concerns of the American people. Let’s move on to the real issues.

Tapper: Well, just as a point of fact, again, Donald Trump did not accept when Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. He kept up this whole birther thing until Friday. That’s five years. But we only have a little time left. So, I want to ask you …

Christie: No, but, Jake, that’s just not true. It’s not true that he kept it up for five years.

Tapper: Sure, he did.

Christie: It’s simply not true.

Tapper: It is true.

Christie: It wasn’t like he was talking — no, Jake, it wasn’t like — it wasn’t like he was talking about it on a regular basis until then.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made a similar claim on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Priebus said that Trump at his Sept. 16 campaign event “came out and said, listen, I was involved in trying to figure this out as well, and I have determined that the president was born in Hawaii, just like I have said for years.”

Christie and Priebus are both wrong. Trump perpetuated the false narrative for years after Obama presented his long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011.

ABC News tallied up 67 instances in which Trump tweeted or retweeted comments that questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate. In some cases, Trump also promoted discredited conspiracies advanced by some of the most ardent believers in the “birther” falsehood.

On Aug. 6, 2012, Trump tweeted that an “extremely credible source” told him the president’s birth certificate “is a fraud.”

On Dec. 12, 2013, Trump tweeted about the death of Loretta Fuddy, the Hawaii health director who approved the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011. Trump used quotes around “birth certificate” and implied that Fuddy’s death was part of the birther conspiracy.

The autopsy revealed that the 65-year-old woman died of an irregular heartbeat from the stress of the crash, as the Associated Press reported.

On Sept. 6, 2014, Trump was on Twitter again, urging hackers to “hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’”

In this tweet, Trump advanced a long-discredited claim that Obama applied for and received a college scholarship for foreign students. It was, in fact, an April Fools’ Day hoax.

As we wrote more than seven years ago, a viral email circulated a fake Associated Press story dated April 1, 2009, that said Obama’s college transcripts from Occidental College showed he applied for and obtained a Fulbright scholarship for foreign students. The email called it the “smoking gun.” But the AP at the time gave us a statement calling the story a fake. The story also claimed that the United States Justice Foundation investigated Obama’s campaign spending and found evidence the campaign misused funds to “block disclosure of any of [Obama’s] personal records.” But the executive director of that group told us in an email, “It’s all a hoax.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump refused to answer questions about Obama’s birthplace — until Sept. 16. A year ago, for example, comedian Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” asked Trump: “I’m going to throw you a big, fat meatball. This is the last time you ever have to address this question if you hit the ball. Barack Obama, born in the United States?” Trump replied, “I don’t talk about it anymore.”

More recently, Trump refused to answer the question in an interview with the Washington Post on Sept. 15, a day before he finally acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S.

It’s simply preposterous for Priebus to claim that Trump has been saying “for years” that Obama was born in the U.S., and for Christie to claim it is “not true” that Trump kept the conspiracy theory alive for years after the president produced his long-form birth certificate.

Christie is also off base when he says that Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, “has recently admitted [it] was an issue that Mrs. Clinton also injected into her campaign in 2008 in a very quiet, but direct way, against then Senator Obama.” That’s not what she said.

In a Sept. 16 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Solis Doyle said that a “rogue volunteer coordinator” in Iowa was fired when the campaign found out that the aide forwarded an email promoting the birthplace conspiracy. Solis Doyle called the incident “beyond the pale,” saying she called Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and apologized for it. “This was not the kind of campaign we wanted to run,” she said she told Plouffe.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Polls Show Clinton Losing Some Millennial Voters]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 05:59:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-605904136.jpg

New polls released this week suggest Hillary Clinton may have a growing problem with millennial voters.

Both national polls and surveys in swing states show Clinton has seen a slide with voters younger than 35, particularly when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are factored in.

In 2012, millennials gave President Barack Obama his biggest numbers by far. He captured 60 percent of the under-30 vote in the national electorate, compared to just 37 percent that went for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama did even better with that age group in Michigan and Ohio, with 63 percent of the under-30 vote.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warren: Trump Is a 'Nasty Little Bully']]> Sun, 18 Sep 2016 20:51:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Trump-Warren.jpg

In Ohio this weekend, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren fired up Democratic base voters by taking the opportunity to dig into Donald Trump. 

Warren targeted the Republican presidential candidate for "inviting his followers to commit a terrible act of violence on his opponent," charging only "a little bully who can't win in a fair fight" would do such a thing.

Warren added that "Trump has led the charge on the "birther" movement, and only when his handlers tied him down and made him did he finally admit that it wasn't true."

"What kind of a man does that?" she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Duckworth Whistleblowers Take Case to Voters in New Kirk Ad]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:47:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kirk+ad+duckworth+whistleblowers+0918.jpg

The two whistleblowers who filed a workplace retaliation lawsuit against Rep. Tammy Duckworth over her time as director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs are taking their case directly to voters in a new ad for Sen. Mark Kirk.

"She said to me point blank: keep your mouth shut and you won't be fired," Denise Goins says at the beginning of the ad titled 'Priorities,' marking the first time she and Christine Butler have spoken publicly about the 8-year-old case since July. 

Goins, a human resources secretary at the Anna Veterans' Home in southern Illinois, alleged in the lawsuit that her complaints to Duckworth about the facility's director were ignored and led to an unfavorable performance review that prevented her from receiving a raise.

The suit was settled in late June, just over a month before it was scheduled to go to trial in mid-August, though the settlement has not been finalized. Plaintiffs Goins and Christine Butler were reportedly offended by the Duckworth campaign's response to the settlement, according to the Daily Herald, and attempted to reject the offer before the case was removed from the trial docket.

"Director Tammy Duckworth was trying to protect Governor Blagojevich. I believe she put her personal aspirations ahead of the veterans' care," Butler says in the ad, one of several attempts by the Kirk campaign to link Duckworth to the incarcerated former governor who appointed her to head the IDVA. "The veteran was not Tammy Duckworth's top priority."

Butler claimed in the suit that she was fired from her administrative role for insubordination after filing complaints against the same supervisor as Goins. Duckworth reversed that decision and instead issued a reprimand with paid suspension after meeting with Butler and being told that she first had to follow written disciplinary procedures. 

Goins and Butler, who both continue to work at the veterans' home, sought compensation of at least $50,000 as well as other financial penalties.

“The story this ad purports to tell is a lie, pure and simple, and Senator Kirk knows it," Duckworth campaign spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement Monday. "The lawsuit was called a ‘garden variety workplace case’ by a federal judge, and has been dismissed in whole or in part three times. Indeed, the plaintiffs agreed to settle the case for what the Attorney General called 'nuisance value,' before Senator Kirk cynically recruited them to star in a political commercial. Tammy Duckworth, a decorated combat veteran, has spent her entire adult life defending our country and assuring that Veterans are treated with respect. Tammy gets her own health care from the VA, and she makes no apology for fighting to assure that Veterans are given nothing but the highest quality care.

McGrath alleged Kirk has lied about his own military record and called the claims in the ad "pathetic."

"[Kirk] should salvage what’s left of his dignity, apologize to Veterans, and pull this shameless ad," the statement read. 

Duckworth herself also called it a "nuisance lawsuit" and said "[the ad] shows the work of desperation."

"You know, Sen. Kirk has no plan for the economy, no plan for what he's going to do for the state or this nation when it comes to helping hard working Americans," she added. 

Kirk spokesperson Kevin Artl told NBC5 that he won't give permission to send the ad to Duckworth's campaign early. The ad was scheduled to begin airing in the Chicago area on Monday.

Photo Credit: Kirk for Senate
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<![CDATA[Ralph Nader Defends So-Called 'Spoiler' Candidates]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000016121592_1200x675_766856771572.jpg

Ralph Nader says he has no plans to run for president again, but the man who some blame for Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 election insists that third-party candidates are still not "spoilers."

The political activist and former candidate dismissed the idea that there are no choices in what is shaping up to be a tight race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Nader pointed to the Green and Libertarian parties as viable options for the presidency, and even advocated people writing in a protest vote, or "your own name in if you have to."

Activists among Democrats and Republicans are fighting against write-in votes, hoping to win as many as possible from outside their parties. But Nader, who recently wrote a book called "Breaking Through Power" for people discouraged by the electoral and political systems, denied that writing in names would count as spoiling the election. 

“The system is spoiled,” Nader told NBC Washington’s Barbara Harrison, “and anybody who wants to run to clean it up should never be called a spoiler.”

The charge is a familiar one to Nader, who some claim would have given Gore a victory in the critical toss-up state of Florida in 2000 if he'd told his supporters to vote for the Democrat. Gore lost the state by a slim margin, though Nader's defenders note there are many factors for Gore's loss, including losing his home state of Tennessee.

Nader told NBC Washington that in this election, both the leading candidates are highly flawed, agreeing with a statement former Secretary of State Colin Powell made in leaked emails that Clinton has “a lot of hubris” that gets her into trouble.

“She’s not transformational, as he said,” Nader added.

But Nader called the prospect of a Trump presidency dangerous because of a tendency to lash out when his "ego's been ruffled." 

“If you take his personal lack of impulse control, everything is his ego,” Nader said. “You have a foreign leader that criticized him, he’ll go nuts.”

<![CDATA[Analysis: Trump's History of Theories and Rumors]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:57:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16259605159319.jpg

Donald Trump's abrupt acknowledgment of President Barack Obama's U.S. birthplace has brought his lengthy history with conspiracy theories, rumors and innuendo back into the spotlight, NBC News reported.

Whether Trump publicly renounces birtherism — and his trolling event on Friday was far from definitive — is largely beside the point. That's because the broader issue isn't just the question of how he feels about Obama's birthplace, it's the way inflammatory and false claims have defined his political career.

Trump has changed his position on a lot of things over the years. But if there's one consistent thread, it has been his seeming obsession with conspiracy theories that touch on race, religion or ethnicity.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Style Guide]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 18:48:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MOB_thumb.jpg The first lady proves she's first in fashion.

Photo Credit: CQ-Roll Call,Inc.]]>