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Obama Announces Hagel's Resignation


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday praised the work of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he announced his resignation, saying Hagel determined “it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service.”

As the lone Republican on his national security team and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve in the position, Obama explained that Hagel “has been no ordinary Secretary of Defense.”

“He understands our men and women like few others because he stood where they stood, he’s been in the dirt, and he’s been in the mud. And that’s established a special bond,” the president said in the State Dining Room. “He sees himself in them, and they see themselves in him. And their safety, their lives have always been at the center of Chuck’s service.”

The president said Hagel had been critical to helping his administration during a “significant period of transition,” as U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan and the Defense Department faces a host of budgetary challenges. The president also lauded Hagel’s role in tackling the immediate threat from ISIS and shepherding the administration’s response to the Ebola crisis.

“Thanks to Chuck, our military is on a firmer footing, engaged in these missions and looking ahead to the future,” Obama said.

On a personal note, the president thanked Hagel for showing how the two parties can come together.

Recalling that Hagel traveled with him to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, Obama said “it’s pretty rare, at a time when sometimes this town is so politicized, to have a friend who was willing to accompany a nominee from another party, because he understood that whoever ended up being president, what was most important was that we were unified when we confronted the challenges that we see overseas, and that’s the kind of class and integrity that Chuck Hagel’s always represented.”

“We come from different parties, but in accepting this position you send a powerful message, especially to folks in this city. And when it comes to our national security and caring for our troops and their families, we are all Americans first,” he added.

Hagel will stay on until his successor has been confirmed by the Senate. The president has yet to announce whom that may be, but he did drop Sen. Jack Reed’s name during his remarks, who is believed to be on his short list.

In brief remarks following the president, Hagel said it has been the “greatest privilege” of his life to lead the Defense Department.

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List of Potential Host Cities for 2016 DNC Shortened


Keith Spaulding/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The list of potential host cities for the 2016 Democratic National Convention has been narrowed down to three.

Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., announced on Monday that Columbus, Ohio, New York and Philadelphia are the remaining contenders.

“We are fortunate to have such a diverse and vibrant group of cities interested in hosting this special event and we thank Phoenix and Birmingham for showcasing their special communities," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia as we go forward.”

We're getting closer to a final decision on where we'll host @TheDemocrats' 2016 convention! Narrowed it down to Columbus, NYC, and Philly.

— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) November 24, 2014

The announcement came after a round of site visits by the DNC’s Technical Advisory Group to five cities.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Step Down


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from his post.

Flanked by Hagel and Vice President Biden, President Obama announced the secretary’s departure Monday morning from the White House State Dining Room.

“Chuck Hagel has been no ordinary secretary of defense. He was the first enlisted combat veteran in that position,” the president said. “He’s been in the dirt and he’s been in the mud. And that’s established a special bond. He sees himself in [our troops].”

"Thanks to Chuck, our military is on a firmer footing,” Obama continued. “I consider myself extraordinary lucky to have had him by my side for two years.”

According to a senior administration official, “Secretary Hagel began speaking with the president about departing the administration given the natural post-midterms transition time” in October.

It didn't come as a big surprise, one longtime associate of Hagel tells ABC News.

"He took the job to end the war -- not start another one," this associate of Hagel's told ABC News.

The senior administration official indicated that a successor “will be named in short order.” Hagel will remain on until the successor has been confirmed.

Over the past two years, Secretary Hagel helped manage an intense period of transition for the United States Armed Forces, including the drawdown in Afghanistan, the need to prepare our forces for future missions, and tough fiscal choices to keep our military strong and ready, said the official. “Over nearly two years, Secretary Hagel has been a steady hand, guiding our military through this transition, and helping us respond to challenges from ISIL to Ebola.”

The official’s comments reflect that Hagel had been brought on to be a defense secretary who would be at the helm of a military winding down the war in Afghanistan and dealing with budget cutbacks in a tighter financial climate.

Hagel overcame a tough confirmation fight in the Senate from some of his skeptical colleagues who pointed to his previous comments on Iran and Israel as indicators that he was not suited for the job.

After his confirmation his tenure was marked by the rise of new national security threats like the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria that necessitated a return to a U.S. military presence in Iraq. Hagel and other top administration officials have said repeatedly that the fight against ISIS is going to be a years-long effort.

There had been recent speculation that Hagel had lost the confidence of the administration, but officials discounted press speculation.

And the U.S. military is now involved in fighting the threat of Ebola in western Africa in another mission that could last as long as a year.

With his departure, Hagel will have served just longer than the 20 months served by his predecessor Leon Panetta.

He had previously served as a U.S. senator, representing Nebraska from 1996 to 2009. Following his career in the Senate, Hagel served as Co-Chairman of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and was a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board.

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McCain Encouraging Lindsey Graham to Consider 2016 Run


Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain is prodding one of his closest allies in the Senate to consider a run for the White House -- Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I think he is looking at it, and I am strongly encouraging him to take a look at it,” McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC News. “I know of no one who is better versed and more important on national security policy and defense than Lindsey Graham, and I don’t think these challenges to our security are going away.”

“He is eminently qualified,” McCain added.

In an interview with The Weekly Standard last month, Graham, R-S.C., said he might consider a presidential bid after this year’s midterm elections if other candidates aren’t promoting an aggressive foreign policy agenda.

“If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody’s out there talking-- me and McCain have been talking -- I may just jump in to get to make these arguments,” Graham said.

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Graham said running for president is "the hardest thing one could ever do. You go through personal hell. You have got to raise a ton of money. I'm nowhere near there."

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he expects a “very crowded field” in 2016 that will be compromised of both senators and governors.

“I think there's an old saying that if you are a United States senator that unless you are under indictment, or detoxification that you can automatically consider yourself a candidate,” McCain joked. “I think we should let a thousand flowers bloom. I think that the process is wide open right now, and I think not only will members of the Senate be considered, but I think some of our successful Republican governors will also be interested.”

While another presidential run isn’t in McCain’s future, the Arizona senator said he will “likely” run for a sixth term in the Senate when he’s up for re-election in 2016.

“Most likely I will, and I expect it to be a very tough race as I have every time, and I’m making every preparation,” McCain said. “As one of my Irish friends once said, a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.”

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President Obama Defends Use of Executive Action on Immigration


The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama defended his decision to use executive authority to enact changes to the U.S. immigration system during an exclusive interview with This Week, challenging Republican Speaker John Boehner to “pass a bill” if he was not satisfied with the president’s unilateral actions.

“Congress has a responsibility to deal with these issues and there are some things that I can’t do on my own,” the president told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos during an interview in Las Vegas on Friday. “What I do have is the legal authority to try to make the system better. Given the resource constraints that we have, we have to prioritize.”

During a primetime address on Thursday from the White House, the president – expressing frustration over a lack of Congressional action — announced he would be employing executive action to circumvent Congress and offer temporary legal status to approximately five million undocumented immigrants, among other actions.

During the interview with Stephanopoulos, the president pushed back against the argument made by some of his detractors that he is taking action that he previously said he did not have the authority to take.

“What is absolutely true is that we couldn’t solve the entire problem and still can’t solve the entire problem,” Obama said. “But what we can do is to prioritize felons, criminals, recent arrivals, folks who are coming right at the border and acknowledge that if somebody’s been here for over five years — they may have an American child or a legal permanent resident child — it doesn’t make sense for us to prioritize them when we know that we need more resources.”

“If you look, every president – Democrat and Republican – over decades has done the same thing as I mentioned in my remarks,” he added. “George H. W. Bush, about 40 percent of the undocumented persons at the time were provided a similar kind of relief as a consequence of executive action.”

When asked about using executive action, the president said his view on the issue has not changed.

“If you look – the history is that I have issued fewer executive actions than most of my predecessors, by a longshot,” Obama said. “The difference is the response of Congress, and specifically the response of some of the Republicans. But if you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I’ve actually been very restrained, and I’ve been very restrained with respect to immigration. I bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress to work because that’s my preference.”

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Gabby Giffords Completes 11-Mile Bike Race


Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords completed the 11 mile El Tour de Tucson on Sunday on a reclining three-wheeled bicycle.

Giffords, who was critically wounded in a 2011 shooting during a public appearance, had been training for the event for six months. The former Representative posted a photo from the event to her Facebook page on Sunday.

 



Giffords was an avid cyclist before the 2011 shooting. Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly said he wants Giffords to do everything she did before the shooting.

 

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President Obama: American People Want 'New Car Smell' in 2016 Campaign


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama, acknowledging he's taken some political "dings" during his time in the White House, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News that the American people will want that "new car smell" when it comes to the 2016 presidential campaign, suggesting he may not have a prominent role on the campaign trail as the country prepares to select his replacement.

"I think the American people, you know, they're going to want -- you know, that new car smell. You know, their own -- they want to drive something off the lot that doesn't have as much mileage as me," Obama told ABC News Chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

During the interview conducted in Las Vegas on Friday, Stephanopoulos asked the president how he would navigate a potential White House bid by his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

The president, who said he talks regularly with Clinton, called her a friend and seemed prepared for Clinton to differentiate herself politically should she choose to pursue the presidency, which appears likely.

"She's not going to agree with me on everything. And, you know, one of the benefits of running for president is you can stake out your own positions," Obama said.

Earlier in the conversation he'd said he thought she'd make a "formidable candidate" and a "great" president.

The president, who said there were "a number" of potential Democratic candidates who would make great presidents, said he would do everything he could to ensure that a member of his own party succeeded him.

"I am very interested in making sure that I've got a Democratic successor," he said. "So I'm going do everything I can, obviously, to make sure that whoever the nominee is is successful."

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Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies


BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has died at the age of 78.

Barry's D.C. council spokeswoman, LaToya Foster, says he died shortly after midnight Sunday at a hospital in Washington.

He served 4 terms as mayor of Washington D.C, but his terms were overshadowed by his 1990 arrest after he was caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine.

The cause of Barry's death has not been released.

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Biden Announces $135 Million in Humanitarian Aid for Syrians Affected by Conflict


Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that the U.S. would pledge an additional $135 million in humanitarian aid to help feed citizens impacted by the conflict in Syria.

According to a release from the White House, the latest round of humanitarian assistance brings the total pledged by the U.S. to over $3 billion since the start of the crisis, including $222 million to international humanitarian organizations working with the Turkish government. The White House notes that an estimated 1.6 million refugees from Syria have received aid from Turkey, and 190,000 refugees have left the town of Kobani for Turkey in recent weeks.

The breakdown of the aid money includes $133 in regufee food needs -- $63 million for those displaced by the conflict to other parts of Syria and $70 million for those forced to neighboring countries. About $11 million of the $70 million will go towards food assistance for those refugees in Turkey.

Biden made the announcement from Istanbul, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Pro Sports League Domestic Violence Policies


Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee announced on Friday that the committee would hold a hearing regarding addressing domestic violence in professional sports.

Rockefeller, D-W. Va., said that the hearing will examine the current policies held by the four major sports leagues -- the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League. The hearing is expected to focus on how those policies deter violence, promote awareness, provide due process and punish those who commit acts of domestic violence.

The hearing, to be held on the afternoon of Dec. 2, will also examine potential future policies.

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House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Finds No Intelligence Failure Before Attacks


Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The House Intelligence Committee released a report on Friday concluding that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

The report took more than two years to investigate, and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., determined that while there was no intelligence failure, "the early intelligence assessments and the Administrations' public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attack were not fully accurate." The committee also determined that the CIA didn't conduct any "unauthorized activities in Benghazi, and "did not intimidate any officer or otherwise dissuade them from telling their stories to Congress."

The report is at least the seventh Congressional report on the Benghazi attacks, though the most notable one, by a special House select committee remains ongoing.

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Obama Expands Scope of US Mission in Afghanistan


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has authorized the military in Afghanistan to continue to target Taliban fighters next year, a move that broadens the scope of the training mission that is to begin in 2015.

The NATO and U.S. combat mission is slated to end at year's end and convert to a training mission for Afghan security forces that is expected to last two more years.

Original plans called for the 9,800 U.S. military trainers who would remain in Afghanistan next year to also have the authority to conduct limited counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Those operations would be conducted by part of the 2,000 Special Operations forces that will remain in Afghanistan next year.

U.S. officials confirm that Obama has signed an executive order that would also allow military forces to conduct limited targeting of Taliban forces if they pose a threat to U.S. troops or if they were providing support to al Qaeda.

The order would also allow U.S. military aircraft to provide close air support for Afghan troops on the ground if needed. The new authorizations were first reported by the New York Times.

A U.S. military official said that the new authorization will not allow the targeting of Taliban fighters "solely because they are members of the Taliban." Another U.S. official said the limited targeting would be allowed if specific Taliban fighters posed a specific threat to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military official said that any air support provided to Afghan security forces will occur "in limited circumstances."

"And of course we will protect our own forces and coalition partners," the official said.

The official said the new authorizations have been "an ongoing process that has gotten us a place that we feel is about right to protect our own forces and help the Afghan National Security Forces" in extreme circumstances.

In a video conference with Pentagon reporters in early November, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the number two military commander in Afghanistan, hinted at that process. Asked about the scope of the future counterterrorism mission and when close air support could be provided to Afghan forces with the pending end of the combat mission, he said "those authorities have yet to be defined."

For years the al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan has been estimated to consist of less than a hundred fighters. While they remain the target of U.S. counter terrorism efforts, the bulk of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan has focused on the battlefield threat posed by the much larger force of Taliban fighters.

Since last year Afghan security forces have taken the lead in the fighting against the Taliban as U.S. military forces primarily remained on their bases providing training and support.

That has led to a significant increase in casualties among Afghan military and police personnel. In early November, Anderson disclosed that over the past two years nearly 9,000 Afghan army and police personnel had been killed in fighting with the Taliban. Anderson said such fatality rates were not sustainable and the U.S. was working with the Afghan military to reduce those numbers.

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Obama Talks Immigration Reform in Weekly Address


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's address, President Obama discusses immigration reform.

Obama talks about the specific steps he outlined this week.

"We’re providing more resources at the border to help law enforcement personnel stop illegal crossings, and send home those who do cross over," Obama says. "We’ll focus enforcement resources on people who are threats to our security – felons, not families; criminals, not children.  And we’ll bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can play by the rules, pay their full share of taxes, pass a criminal background check, and get right with the law."

Obama says he will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan bill that can fix the immigration system.

Read the full transcript of Obama's address:

Hi everybody.  Today, I’m at Del Sol High School, in Las Vegas, to talk with students and families about immigration.
 
We are a nation of immigrants.  It has always given America a big advantage over other nations.  It keeps our country young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial.  But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.
 
That’s why, nearly two years ago, I came to this school and laid out principles for immigration reform.  And five months later, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense compromise bill.  That bill would have secured our border, while giving undocumented immigrants who already live here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line.  Independent experts said it would grow our economy, and shrink our deficits.
 
Now, had the House of Representatives allowed a yes-or-no vote on that kind of bill, it would have passed with support from both parties. Today it would be the law. But for a year and a half, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.  Now, I still believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together – both parties – to pass that kind of bipartisan law.  But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.
 
I took those actions this week.  We’re providing more resources at the border to help law enforcement personnel stop illegal crossings, and send home those who do cross over.  We’ll focus enforcement resources on people who are threats to our security – felons, not families; criminals, not children.  And we’ll bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can play by the rules, pay their full share of taxes, pass a criminal background check, and get right with the law.
 
Nothing about this action will benefit anyone who has come to this country recently, or who might try and come to America illegally in the future.  It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive.  And it’s certainly not amnesty, no matter how often the critics say it.  Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people living here without paying their taxes, or playing by the rules.  And the actions I took this week will finally start fixing that.
 
As you might have heard, there are Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better.  Well, I have one answer for that:  Pass a bill.  The day I sign it into law, the actions I’ve taken to help solve this problem will no longer be necessary.
 
In the meantime, we can’t allow a disagreement over a single issue to be a dealbreaker on every issue.  That’s not how our democracy works.  This debate deserves more than politics as usual.  It’s important for our future.  It’s about who we are, and the future we want to build.
 
We are only here because this country welcomed our forebears, and taught them that being American is about more than what we look like or where we come from.  What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.  That’s the country we inherited, and it’s the one we have to leave for future generations.
 
Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

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GOP Address: Rep. Bill Cassidy On 'Fighting for Job-Creating Projects' Like Keystone XL Pipeline


Sean Gardner/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana talks about fighting for job-creating projects.

He specifically cites the Keystone XL Pipeline, which failed in the Senate this week.

Cassidy says the benefits of building the pipeline include boosting the construction industry and creating over 40,000 jobs.
 
"The case for approving the pipeline is clear and obvious," Cassidy said. "This is a perfect example of what the American people want President Obama and Congress to do. Americans' frustration with the President’s failure to strengthen the economy, create jobs and make America energy secure was evident in the election November 4th. But more than six years after the Keystone application was first submitted, the pipeline has still not been approved. This is six years too long."

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Hello. I’m Doctor Bill Cassidy.

 
“I’ve had the privilege of representing the 6th Congressional District of Louisiana. 
 
“As a doctor, I’ve worked in Louisiana’s public hospital system treating the uninsured and underinsured for 25 years.
 
“When my patients tell me about their health concerns, they also tell me they are worried about the economy, their jobs, the direction of our country.
 
“Many families, many Louisiana families, are struggling.
 
“They need better jobs, better wages, better benefits.
 
“We have the opportunity to create these jobs. It starts with developing North America's natural resources and securing America’s energy independence now. 
 
“That’s why I’ve been fighting for job-creating projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
 
“Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Cassidy Keystone bill which would approve the construction of this pipeline. This is the ninth time the House has voted to build the Keystone pipeline.
 
“Building Keystone would create more than 40,000 high-paying jobs, putting billions of dollars in workers’ pockets, and give a much needed boost to America’s construction industry.
 
“Manufacturers and their employees throughout the economy also benefit from the construction of this infrastructure project.
 
“Refiners in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast benefit from a reliable supply of heavy crude, including American oil from North Dakota, which would be transported through the pipeline. 
 
“More than 60 percent of Americans support building the pipeline.
 
“The State Department review found that the pipeline would have little or no impact on the environment. And it will also save lives, because when oil is transported by train or truck inevitably there are accidents and workers may die.
 
“Yet President Obama doesn’t seem to care.
 
“The case for approving the pipeline is clear and obvious. This is a perfect example of what the American people want President Obama and Congress to do. Americans’ frustration with the President’s failure to strengthen the economy, create jobs and make America energy secure was evident in the election November 4th.
 
“But more than six years after the Keystone application was first submitted, the pipeline has still not been approved.
 
“This is six years too long.
 
“So why hasn’t President Obama approved?
 
“Why did it take Louisiana’s Senior Senator nearly 3,000 days to do something about it?
 
“If there was ever legislation that should be easy to get through the United States Senate, it is the Keystone XL pipeline.
 
“When the House passed the Cassidy Keystone bill, we made it as easy as possible for the Senate to get a bill to the President’s desk.
 
“The Cassidy bill contained the legislative language proposed by the Senate.
 
“I worked with colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this version as quickly as possible. It passed with strong Republican and Democrat support.
 
“Unfortunately, President Obama and his supporters in the Senate oppose the Keystone jobs.
 
“It is time for the President to approve these jobs.
 
“But this isn’t just about Keystone. Keystone has become a symbol for the need to achieve North American energy independence.
 
“We need to expand access for energy production both on and offshore, and to allow the development of the infrastructure to transport fuel to the American people.  
 
“That’s why Americans spoke loud and clear on November 4th. They want Congress to work together to do what’s right for the American people. They rejected President Obama’s agenda that discourages the creation of manufacturing and construction jobs – the jobs that would be created because of projects like Keystone.
 
“Americans voted for Republicans. Republicans – we are the party of jobs.
 
“And on December 6th, it’s the people of Louisiana’s turn to be heard.
 
“We, the people of Louisiana will decide whether we want someone in the Senate who represents President Obama, or who represents us. Someone who will work hard for jobs in Louisiana all the time, not just when their job is on the line.
 
“Someone who will repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions;
 
“Who will push back on the EPA’s job-killing regulations;
 
“Who will fight against President Obama’s executive amnesty;
 
“Who will defend our second amendment rights;
 
“And who will push to get the Keystone pipeline and other energy development projects built.
 
“I’m running for the United States Senate because I am that person. Louisiana needs a Senator who can pass Keystone. Louisiana does not need a Senator who supports President Obama 97 percent of the time; we need a Senator who supports us, the people of Louisiana, 100 percent of the time.
 
“Representing the people of Louisiana is a great honor. On December 6th, Louisiana will choose our next U.S. Senator. My commitment to you is that if you choose me, Bill Cassidy, I will do my best to live up to that honor.
 
“Thank you. God bless America, and God bless the great state of Louisiana.”

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President Obama: Don’t Use Ferguson as ‘An Excuse for Violence’


(LAS VEGAS) -- As a grand jury debates whether or not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, President Barack Obama on Friday — in an exclusive interview with ABC News — urged the residents of the city and all others to “keep protests peaceful.”

“Well I think, first and foremost, keep protests peaceful. You know, this is a country that allows everybody to express their views,” Obama told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos during an interview conducted Friday in Las Vegas. “Allows them to peacefully assemble to protest actions that they think are unjust, but using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”

A grand jury in Missouri is in the midst of determining if Wilson — who fatally shot the unarmed teenager on Aug. 9 — should be charged for the incident. It is not known precisely when a decision by the grand jury will be reached, but it’s expected to be announced soon.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Brown’s father asked for calm ahead of the decision. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has also declared a state of emergency in preparation, and the FBI is sending approximately 100 of its own to the St. Louis area in anticipation of possible unrest that could mirror the chaos that ensued after Brown was shot earlier this year.


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