Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
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Christie's Gay Marriage Decision Has Primary Consequences

Oct 21, 2013
Originally published on October 23, 2013 7:35 am

Republican Chris Christie's decision Monday to drop his administration's legal challenge to same-sex marriage made perfect sense for the governor of New Jersey,

But for the potential 2016 presidential candidate, whose path would presumably start in Iowa — where the Republican Party is dominated by social conservatives — the calculation is a bit more complicated.

Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa's powerful evangelical conservative, put it bluntly Monday.

"Gov. Christie has basically backed away from one of the most fundamental social institutions — marriage, between one man and one woman," said Vander Plaats, who heads The Family Leader organization and is considering a U.S. Senate run.

"This is not going to play well for him if he chooses to enter the Republican primary for president of the United States," he said. "It will have tentacles way beyond Iowa."

Politicos in New Hampshire, which traditionally follows Iowa in the primary ramp up, disagree.

"In no way does this negatively affect Gov. Christie here," says James Pindell, who writes Political Scoop and is the on-air political analyst for New Hampshire's WMUR-Channel 9.

"We've had gay marriage here since 2009," Pindell says, noting that it was a Republican-dominated state Legislature that beat back the last attempt to repeal the law.

"The lay of the land is not Iowa," he says.

Now, let's back up.

In New Jersey, polls show that more than 60 percent of voters support legalizing gay marriage and that an overwhelming majority wanted Christie — who is running for re-election next month — to drop his appeal of a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

The openly gay daughter of Christie's Democratic opponent in the race, state Sen. Barbara Buono, has also been using the governor's opposition to same-sex marriage — he vetoed the state gay marriage bill last year — to help raise money for her mom.

"For Christie, this takes away an issue that Barbara Buono had been hitting hard," says Bob Ingle, senior political columnist for Gannett New Jersey newspapers. "We're a blue state, and the surprise in this was that it took this long."

Christie, who as a politician has consistently opposed same-sex marriage, couched his announcement in familiar conservative "activist court" terms.

"Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people," a statement from his office read, "the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution, and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law."

Christie's decision to abandon a legal challenge came on the same day The Washington Post published a front-page article on efforts by some deep-pocketed Republican donors to "push the party toward a more welcoming middle ground."

That middle ground may ultimately be occupied by candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, the paper reported, but donors like hedge fund executive Paul Singer, whose son is gay, are encouraging rhetoric that is less hateful and supporting federal legislation barring workplace discrimination against gay Americans.

"It's important to remember that LGBT equality is more than just marriage," says Michael Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights advocacy group.

The campaign is working with Singer's American Unity Fund to promote the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit hiring and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is expected to consider it before year's end, Cole-Schwartz says.

Its prospects for seeing daylight in the GOP-controlled House, however, remain dim, at best.

"We do realize," Cole-Schwartz says, "that the House Republican leadership has not shown any appetite to bring these measures to a vote."

In Iowa, Vander Plaats dismissed the "middle ground" efforts as a rejection of what he characterized as "core value issues."

"If the party and party leaders walk away from core value issues, this wing will walk away from the party," he said. "The party needs a leader who is a full-spectrum conservative on social issues like marriage, on fiscal issues like Obamacare and the debt ceiling, and on liberty issues like the role of the courts."

Someone, he says, like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Christie was already in the sights of social conservatives for opposing so-called gay-conversion therapy for minors, and nominating an openly gay judge to the state Supreme Court.

"I don't see outrage," Vander Plaats says about reaction to Christie among those in his wing of the party, "just confirmation of their suspicions."

Same-sex marriage became legal in Iowa in 2009 through a state Supreme Court decision. A recent poll showed that while a majority of the state's voters oppose a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, a majority of Republicans — including 61 percent of evangelical Christians — support such a prohibition.

Back in New Hampshire, Pindell says the state's motto of "Live Free or Die" still informs voters' ideology about social issues.

"Most Republicans when you ask them about abortion or same-sex marriage, their answer is, 'I don't care,' " he said. "This will set Chris Christie apart from what will likely be a crowded primary field, and in a way he could benefit."

Though Ingle, the New Jersey columnist and author of Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power, notes that the 2016 presidential race is still "so far away," it's never too soon to begin the political speculation, right?

Ted Cruz, after all, is heading to Iowa this week to give the keynote address at the state Republican Party's annual Reagan Dinner and to go hunting with Rep. Steve King, a social conservative and Tea Party Republican.

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