<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Fri, 09 Oct 2015 00:34:39 -0500 Fri, 09 Oct 2015 00:34:39 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[GOP, Dems React to McCarthy Announcement]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 13:37:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_689482047515.jpg

In a stunning move that came as a surprise to many in the Republican party, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy took his name off the running for House Speaker.

McCarthy announced his decision moments before GOP lawmakers were set to nominate the California Rep. as their speaker.

The front-runner threw Congress' Republican leadership race into chaos and disarray Thursday and forced outgoing House Speaker John Boehner to abruptly end the closed-door session and reschedule the vote.

In a statement, Boehner said he will continue to serve as speaker until the House votes to elect a successor.

"We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks," Boehner said. "Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.” 

Presidential hopefuls and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle had mixed reactions to McCarthy’s announcement.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said McCarthy was "unselfish" by prioritizing the Republican conference ahead of his own political ambitions, while anti-establishment GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump expressed enthusiasm over the news in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Democrats warned that the GOP's internal strife shouldn't keep the House from conducting serious business — like raising the debt ceiling before Nov. 5, when the nation risks defaulting on its loans.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says it's easy to "poke fun at the chaos" triggered by McCarthy's stunning move. But Earnest says the challenge facing the next speaker is the same one that McCarthy would have faced — and what outgoing Speaker John Boehner had to deal with.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Murdoch Apologizes for 'Real Black President' Tweet]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:04:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_508647646484.jpg

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has apologized for comments he made suggesting President Barack Obama is not a "real black president,” NBC News reported.

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The 84-year-old tweeted late Wednesday that Republican presidential nominee Ben Carson would give the U.S. "a real black president who can properly address the racial divide."

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Murdoch's tweet praised Carson, the only African-American running in the 2016 race, and his wife, Candy, as "terrific," shortly after promoting the nominee's appearance on "The Kelly File" on his Fox News Channel.

The message sparked controversy on Twitter as thousands voiced their disapproval of his comment, ranging from funny to serious. 

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Photo Credit: Andy Kropa /Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[In Ad, GOP Candidate Fires Gun and Says: 'I'm Hunting RINOs.']]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 19:44:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_110511112754.jpg

Rep. Renee Ellmers is being challenged by House GOP primary candidate, Kay Daly, who in a new ad saying she's "hunting RINOs."

Daly's ad calls Ellmers a "feminist" and a "RINO" (an acronym for "Republican in Name Only") before she fires her gun at the end of the video. The narrator of the ad accuses Ellmers' for voting "to let homosexuals pretend they're married" and for raising "the debt ceiling twice to pay for abortions in D.C. to fund 'Planned Butcherhood.'"

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[New GOP Opponent Challenges Kirk in Senate Race]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:00:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/james+marter.jpg

Sen. Mark Kirk is facing another new opponent in the Senate race, but this time it's a member of his own party.

James Marter, a business owner from Oswego, announced over the weekend that he plans to run against Kirk because "there is little to distinguish Kirk from his fellow Democrats in the Illinois delegation," Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business reports. Marter's campaign Facebook page claims he entered the race even earlier on Sept. 20.

Marter, who owns the professional management and software consulting practice of Marter Enterprises, LLC, claims to stand for the Republican values that Kirk does not, and Marter makes sure to point out Kirk's inconsistencies with his party.

"After serious consideration I have decided to seek the Republican nomination for United States Senator based on Senator Mark Kirk's record, especially due to his recent NO vote against the effort to stop funding Planned Parenthood," Marter said on his website.

"He is a consistent supporter of gun control with an 'F' rating by the NRA, and has a history of opposing school choice, and has opposed almost every effort to significantly cut spending or balance the budget, and finally he is the only sitting Republican senator to have voted for Cap and Trade energy taxes." 

The key issues in Marter's campaign concern repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, "stopping the influx" of immigration, balancing the budget and supporting the 2nd Amendment.

Kevin Artl, Kirk's campaign manager, disputed Marter's claims that Kirk does not align with the Republican party's ideals.

"Republican, independent and reform-minded voters across the state strongly support Senator Kirk's leadership on demanding a balanced budget, holding the line on taxes, working to keep jobs in Illinois and fighting the dangerous Iran deal that threatens our national security," Artl said in a statement.

Kirk is obviously better known than Marter, but a series of missteps during his re-election campaign has hurt the senator. The fact that a member of his own party is now challenging his incumbency could spell even more trouble for Kirk, as long as Marter's campaign picks up steam.

Furthermore, Kirk has seen some serious competition from Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth and even Andrea Zopp, who is Duckworth's main primary opponent.

Photo Credit: James Marter for United States Senate/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Campaigns in Iowa]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:16:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_293658131134.jpg

Hillary Clinton holds a community forum to affordable health care and the economy in Mount Vernon, Iowa. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA['Trumpkin': Illinois Man Paints Candidates' Faces on Pumpkins]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 04:26:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/candidate+pumpkins.jpg

What started out as a $5 pumpkin from Walmart became a viral Internet sensation after an Illinois man painted Donald Trump's face on the pumpkin and dubbed it "Trumpkin." 

John Kettman, of La Salle, Illinois, has since painted two more pumpkins with candidates' faces — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The three candidates were chosen in part because the excitement they were generating on his Facebook feed.

"This year is very political," Kettman said. "We've got a lot of important topics that are representing different people, too. We've got a surgeon, we've got a billionaire, we've got Hillary Clinton." 

Inspired by his sister, Kettman, who a portrait artist, painted his first pumpkin 22 years ago, he said. He picked up the hobby again about six years ago, and this year he turned political with his gourd art.

Kettman wasn't a complete newcomer to the art form, however. In the past, he dabbled in political cartoons, and he also has a collection of portraits he painted on single grains of rice, including one of Abraham Lincoln and another of Jimmy Fallon.

After the "Trumpkin" went viral, Kettman decided his next candidate portraits would be painted on foam pumpkins instead of real ones, so they'll last longer.

Kettman said he'll likely paint a few more candidates' likenesses on pumpkins, but he hasn't decided on which ones. Ben Carson is a contender, but Kettman said he wants to see what the next poll numbers show.

Photo Credit: John Kettman]]>
<![CDATA[Carson: Loss of Gun Rights 'More Devastating' Than Bullet Wounds]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:56:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_388941844272.jpg

In one of his signature Facebook Q&As Monday night, Ben Carson again weighed in on the Oregon school shooting, writing that he had operated on victims of gun violence "but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away," NBC News reported. 

Responding to a question on whether he changed his position on the Second Amendment, Carson suggested new gun-control laws wouldn't solve the problem and accused Democrats of "us[ing] these tragedies to advance a political agenda."

In a separate interview with USA Today released Tuesday, Carson suggested that, if he had a child in kindergarten, he would want school security guards - and even possibly that child's teacher - to be armed.

"If the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, I would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn't," he said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Election: Is Rubio the New GOP Favorite?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 07:03:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_105374863179.jpg

A series of strong performances on the campaign trail and in the two debates as well as missteps by other candidates have helped improve Marco Rubio's presidential prospects, and some top party operatives say the Florida senator is for now the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, NBC News reported. 

The withdrawal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker eliminated one of the Republicans who, like Rubio, had the potential to appeal to both the establishment and conservative wings of the party. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has not overcome reluctance from the GOP to elect a third president from the same family and has made a number of gaffes on the campaign trail.

Senior Republicans say they still think it is unlikely the party will turn to Donald Trump or Ben Carson, who have led in many polls but have little political experience and have made a number of controversial statements that could hobble them in a general election.

Republicans say Rubio must now withstand media scrutiny of his years as member and eventually speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and as a U.S. senator.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Ad to Highlight McCarthy Benghazi Comments]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 05:47:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_293658131134.jpg

Hillary Clinton's first ad to air on national cable will highlight House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments linking the House Benghazi Committee to Clinton's political fortunes, NBC News reported.

In the ad, a narrator says "The Republicans finally admit it" before airing McCarthy's remark that "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. What are her numbers today?"

The 30-second ad starts on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Poll: Trump's Lead Narrows as Fiorina, Carson Close In]]> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 09:42:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fiorina-Trump-Carson.jpg

Donald Trump remains ahead in the early Republican nominating contests of Iowa and New Hampshire, but his lead has shrunk from a month ago, according to new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of these two states.

In New Hampshire, Trump holds a five-point advantage over Carly Fiorina among GOP primary voters, 21 percent to 16 percent. But a month ago Trump's lead over the nearest competition in the Granite State (John Kasich) was 16 points, 28 percent to 12 percent.

Trump is ahead of Carson by five points among potential GOP caucus-goers in Iowa, 24 percent to 19 percent - with Fiorina in third at 8 percent. Trump's lead over Carson in the same poll a month ago was seven points.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton maintains her lead in Iowa with 47 percent support of caucus voters, and Bernie Sanders is still ahead in New Hampshire, leading the former secretary of state by nine points, 48 percent to 39 percent.  

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Campaign Courts Latino Voters]]> Sat, 03 Oct 2015 23:48:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/HilaryClinton-HumanRightsFoundation.jpg

Capitalizing on her still positive polling numbers with Latinos, Democrat Hillary Clinton is making the most of Hispanic Heritage Month to bolster her backing in the community and overall nationally, NBC News reported.

The campaign said Thursday it is launching "Latinos for Hillary" with several events that it will roll out over the next several weeks.

Clinton, the frontrunner early in the 2016 election, has seen her positive ratings drop among all voters and the wide lead over closest rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, shrink or disappear in New Hampshire and Iowa.

The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week shows Clinton with a negative popularity rating, 39 percent to 47 percent (-8) favorable/unfavorable among all voters. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bush on School Shooting Reaction: 'Stuff Happens']]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:56:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_183581022528.jpg

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush drew a rebuke from the president for comments he made Friday about the university shooting that left nine people and a gunman dead in Oregon the day before.

Speaking at a campaign stop in South Carolina, Bush urged caution on the government's reaction to the Umpqua Community College shooting, using the phrase "stuff happens" in reference to crises.

"I resist the notion -- and I had this challenge as governor -- 'cause look, stuff happens, there's always a crisis and the impulse to do something and it's not necessarily the right thing to do," Bush said.

Bush called the shooting "heartbreaking," but was speaking about the larger issue of how to set rules in the face of tragedy. 

"We're taking people's rights away each time we do that and we're not necessarily focusing on the right challenge," he said.

He said "the best laws" are usually at the state level.

Bush's campaign addressed the outrage over his comments in statement:

“It is sad and beyond craven that liberal Democrats, aided and abetted by some in the national media, would dishonestly take Governor Bush’s comments out of context in a cheap attempt to advance their political agenda in the wake of a tragedy. Taking shameless advantage of a horrific tragedy is wrong and only serves to prey on people's emotions.”

President Barack Obama was asked to respond to Bush’s comments at a news conference Friday afternoon.

"I don’t even think I have to react to that one. I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgment based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting. And they can decide whether they consider that 'stuff happening,'" Obama said.

Bush, pressed by a reporter in Greenville about the phrase "stuff happens," said the choice of wording was not a mistake but about tragedies in general. He cited as an example an "impulse" to pass a law about fencing after a child drowns in a pool. 

Photo Credit: File - AP
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Carly Fiorina Attends Town Hall]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:01:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_615136142641.jpg

 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at a South Carolina town hall.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Kevin McCarthy Attempts to Clarify Benghazi Comments]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 03:49:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_380749363036.jpg

Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that he never meant to link a congressional investigation into Benghazi to Hillary Clinton's faltering poll numbers, and that the outrage over his remarks has been a setback to his hopes of becoming the next House speaker, NBC News reported.

In an appearance on Fox earlier this week, McCarthy said, "We put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are [Clinton's] numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."

The comment drew criticism from both sides of the aisle, including some of his fellow members of the House GOP.

McCarthy, the favorite to become speaker once John Boehner retires later this year, said the comments have "been a setback," but he is still confident he will have the votes to become the next leader of the House Republicans.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Calls For Gun Reform After Ore. Shooting]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 16:28:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obama-AP_749073385113.jpg

President Barack Obama spoke passionately and with frustration Thursday night after a gunman opened fire on a community college campus in Oregon, killing nine people.

"Somehow this has become routine," Obama said. "My response here, at this podium, is routine. We’ve become numb to this. It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict pain on someone else to get their hands on guns.”

The president called upon Congress to implement what he called common sense gun control laws. He noted that critics would say that he had "politicized" the issue.

"This is something we should politicize— it is relevant to our common life together," he said.

The shooter, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, also wounded at least nine others at the college in Roseburg, before dying himself.

Obama compared the United States to other advanced countries, saying that they changed their gun policies after only "one mass shooting." States with more gun control laws have less gun violence, he said.

Other countries also have people who are mentally ill, but the United States is the only developed country that sees shootings like the one in Oregon every month, the president said.

Obama added that "our thoughts and prayers are not enough."

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee criticized Obama in a statement on Facebook, saying that his "passion is grossly misplaced into destroying the Second Amendment" and that gun violence is "the fault of evil people doing evil things."

"With few facts, Obama is quick to admittedly politicize this tragedy to advance his liberal, anti-gun agenda," Huckabee wrote. "For this president to make a political pronouncement is at best premature and at worst ignorantly inflammatory."

Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich learned of the shootings during a taped interview with NBC News. He said that "stripping" citizens of their guns won't "get the job done" to prevent these tragedies.

"You can strip all the guns away, but the people who are going to commit crimes or have problems are always going to have the guns," Kasich said. Instead, he criticized the lack of treatment for the mentally ill in order to prevent shootings.

Earlier Thursday, other presidential candidates and politicians tweeted their thoughts and prayers for victims of the shooting.

Republicans Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and Kasich and Democrats Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders were among those sending condolences.

Many of the initial messages streered away from the politics of gun control but not all, including Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Democrat from California and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, who challenged Republicans over gun safety.

Here is additional reaction from other public figures. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA['They're Going Back': Trump on Syrian Refugees in U.S.]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 06:35:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_150044116061.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he’s going to toughen up on Syrian refugees if he wins the upcoming federal election, NBC News reported.

"I'm putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they're going back!" he said at a town hall on Wednesday in Keene, New Hampshire.

The comments are a departure from Trump’s previous, softer remarks about the ongoing refugee crisis. In a speech in Rochester, New Hampshire, two weeks ago, Trump said the U.S. can do something about the crisis, but “we have to get other people to help us.”

This is Trump’s 14th visit to New Hampshire.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Service Apologizes to Rep. Jason Chaffetz ]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 04:57:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_814422308089.jpg

The Secret Service apologized to Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Wednesday for violating federal privacy law, NBC News reported.

The agency improperly accessed sensitive personal information about him dozens of times in little more than a single week. The handling of his information was confirmed Wednesday in a 29-page report by the inspector general's office of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Secret Service.

"It's a bit scary. If they would do this to me, I just, I shuddered to think what they might be doing to other people," he told NBC News. "I'd like to tell you how tough I am, but it's scary, and it's intimidating, and I will continue to investigate the Secret Service and others, but this should have never ever happened."

Chaffetz, R-Utah — who applied to the Secret Service in 2003 — has aggressively pursued allegations of Secret Service misconduct as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[All 15 GOP Candidates Pay Hefty Fee for S.C.]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:06:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_730791540628.jpg

 All 15 top running Republican presidential candidates have paid the hefty filing fee to qualify for South Carolina's primary. 

The Palmetto State's deadline is the first in the nation and requires the most expensive filing fee in the country: $40,000.

All the major candidates, including low-polling, lesser known candidates such as former Virginia Governor James Gilmore and former New York governor George Pataki have submitted the forms and paid. Pataki was the last one to file, having to overnight a package to the South Carolina Republican Party, which received the package midday on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[More Money, More Problems for 2016 Candidates]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:10:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_233926444912.jpg

How much does money matter in the current presidential contest? So far, not that much — at least in terms of those who have spent the most on TV ads.

According to the latest ad-spending data by NBC partner SMG Delta, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign and super PAC Right to Rise spent a combined $5.4 million on TV ads, followed by $4.9 million by Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign and $4.1 million by Hillary Clinton’s team. Louisiana Gov.Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have shelled out nearly $3 million each on TV ads, money that has not translated to surges in polls.

Meanwhile, like an inverse to the current polling, GOP front-runner Donald Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — who has made a considerable cut into Clinton’s national lead in the latest NBC News pol l— have spend $0 on TV ads. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Poll: Latinos Have 'Very Negative' View of Trump, GOP]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 09:18:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-463702166.jpg

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump - and the GOP as a whole - are deeply underwater with American Latinos, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo survey shows.

Nearly three in four Latinos say they have a negative view of Trump, with 67 percent saying their view is "very negative." Trump, who has called for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and has derided opponent Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish at campaign events, gets a thumbs up from just 11 percent of Latinos.

The Republican Party is viewed negatively by a plurality of Latinos as well. More than four in ten have a poor impression of the GOP, compared to 24 percent who view the party positively. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton's Not-So-Subtle Message to Sanders]]> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 06:47:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_6845836253611.jpg

Even though the first Democratic presidential debate is just two weeks away, frontrunner Hillary Clinton isn’t engaging with opponent Bernie Sanders, NBC News reported.

Clinton hasn’t even mentioned Sanders’ name while on the campaign trail, but did point out some of his weaknesses in an interview with NBC/MSNBC's Chuck Todd.

"Well, I'm not in any way going to criticize Sen. Sanders," Clinton told Todd in an interview for the new MSNBC show "MTP Daily." "And he's running a great campaign and I respect that."

During the interview, Clinton said Democratic lawmakers have lined up behind her, not him.

Photo Credit: AP]]>