President Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Thursday, her campaign announced. The endorsement came right after after the president met with her primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, at the White House.
“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said in a video released by Clinton’s team. “She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.”
The two will campaign together in Green Bay, Wisc., Wednesday.
The president, whose national approval rating hovers around 50 percent, will be a key ally for Clinton going into the general election. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, as of now, has no former presidents campaigning for him, as both former Bush presidents have indicated they will stay out of the race. Trump tweeted in response Thursday afternoon: “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!” (Clinton replied “delete your account.”)
Clinton told NPR she’s “thrilled” Obama endorsed her. “We started off as fierce competitors. We’ve ended up as true friends,” she said.
Obama has been eager to campaign openly for Clinton against Trump, but wanted to remain neutral during the Democratic primary. “I want us to run scared the whole time,” Obama told a group of donors last week in Miami, according to the New York Times.
In his endorsement, Obama congratulated Sanders on running a “great campaign” and said he believed the primary “will make the Democratic party stronger.”
Clinton gained enough pledged and unpledged delegates to become the nominee this week, but Sanders has said he will campaign at least until Washington, D.C., votes Tuesday — the final election of the primary. Sanders is under pressure to concede ahead of next month’s Democratic convention.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a speech on the state of the Republican Party at the
Hinckley Institute of Politics on the campus of the University of Utah on March 3, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (AFP photo)
Romney, a businessman, served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. In 2012, he won the Republican nomination, but was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.
After Trump's commanding victory in Indiana's primary last week, his remaining challengers, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both suspended their presidential bids, leaving the businessman tycoon on an uncontested path to the nomination.
Trump’s campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and Muslims.-Press TV
The race is over. Donald Trump is president-elect, defeating HIllary Clinton and putting a Republican back in the White House. The 2016 election campaign wasn’t pretty, but it was entertaining.
A bitter Republican race
The bizarreness of the Republican campaign continued when, in the first primary debate in August 2015, Trump declared he would not pledge his support to a Republican nominee other than himself and didn’t rule out running as a third-party candidate.
Trump, already gaining traction in the polls despite not being backed within the party, later signed a pledge promising his allegiance to the Republican Party.
Both parties’ conventions took place in July, with Melania Trump grabbing the headlines with her allegedly-plagiarized speech from Michelle Obama.
Watch video below:
Clinton used the Democratic National Convention to attack Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants to the US, with the Pakistani-American parents of deceased US soldier Humayun Khan speaking.
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.” his father Khizr Khan said.
Trump caused outrage with his rebuttal when he said “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say.”
Ghazala Khan responded that she was too upset to speak about her deceased son.
Trump picked Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate, with Clinton choosing junior Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine.
The 'Aleppo moment'
The Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson, among other third-party candidates, would keep the nominees company on the ballot. Johnson’s gained most notoriety for famously not knowing what Aleppo was.
Meanwhile, Stein become embroiled in accusations she was “anti-vaccine” after claiming they were not to be trusted, a statement from which she later attempted to distance herself.
'Basket of deplorables' and 'locker room talk'
Comments made by Clinton in September this year that described half of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” caused further damage to her reputation. She apologized for the comment claiming she was wrong to be “grossly generalistic.”
Walls, bans and inappropriate grabs weren’t enough to derail the Republican's campaign though, with Trump becoming president-elect with a stunning win.
Trump delivered his victory speech after receiving a call from Clinton who conceded defeat. She has yet to address her supporters.
Watch video below:
A South Carolina man and several of his friends say they were refused service at a Wild Wing Cafe in Charleston last month and asked to leave. The reason: Michael Brown and his group of 24 friends and family members are African-American, and another customer - a white woman - complained that she felt threatened by the group.
That's according to Brown, who was celebrating his cousin's last day in Charleston with a night out at the Wild Wing Cafe. Brown took his beef to social media, and the story went viral.
The apparent race-based snub came after Brown and his group waited for a table for about two hours.
Brown called the restaurant's corporate headquarters repeatedly to explain what had happened to the manager's superiors. But nobody ever called him back - so he turned to Facebook.
'I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us.
This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT... PLEASE SHARE THIS POST... We need your help,' he posted on the restaurant's Facebook page.
After Brown's post started getting a bit of attention, the restaurant finally acknowledged Brown's complaint.
'We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages,' Debra Stokes, the chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe, told the station.
After the post, representatives for Wild Wing Cafe said they immediately responded and spoke to Brown.
'We had a conversation,' said Stokes. 'It was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there about a month ago, and they are regular customers of ours. So, they were having a going away party, and they just didn't receive the experience that they have come to know and love.'
At no point did Stokes deny that Brown's story was true.
The restaurant offered Brown and his family a free meal for the entire group. But Brown isn't completely satisfied.
'We weren't coming there for a free meal. When we came there that night, we were coming to patronize the business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is ok because it's deeper than that,' he said.
As of Sunday night, Brown's post was shared on Facebook nearly 3,000 times.
Credit: DAILY MAIL
Biggest traitors in American history
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to choose Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil who has worked extensively around the globe and built relationships with world leaders, as his secretary of state, three people close to the transition team confirmed Saturday.
Tillerson’s nomination could face intense scrutiny in the Senate considering his years of work in Russia on behalf of the multinational petroleum company and his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said there would be no official announcement until next week, but other sources said that the pick is expected to be Tillerson, barring a late shift in Trump’s thinking.
Tillerson’s nomination would fit the pattern of other Trump appointments, installing a wealthy business leader with little experience in policymaking. But Tillerson, 64, has spent much of his career dealing with the complexities of one of the world’s biggest enterprises, spanning six continents and about six dozen nations.
The company’s deep ties to Russia would potentially serve Tillerson well given Trump’s desire to repair relations with the Kremlin. But Tillerson’s close relationship with Vladimir Putin could also become a flashpoint during confirmation hearings, especially in light of a recent CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.
“Few corporate titans are closer to Putin than Tillerson,” said Jason Bordoff, founder of Columbia University’s center for global energy.
During the 1990s, Tillerson oversaw an Exxon project on Russia’s Sakhalin island and developed a working relationship with Putin. In 2011, the company signed an agreement with the state-controlled oil company, Rosneft, to work jointly on oil exploration and development in the Arctic and Siberia.
After inking the deal in New York, Tillerson and Rosneft chairman and Putin confidante Igor Sechin dined on caviar at the luxury Manhattan restaurant Per Se, according to one account. The next day they gave oil analysts black pens with the date of the agreement engraved in gold.
Two years later, the Kremlin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, honoring foreigners.
“I don’t know the man much at all, but let’s put it this way: If you received an award from the Kremlin, [an] order of friendship, then we’re gonna have some talkin’,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.). “We’ll have some questions. I don’t want to prejudge the guy but that’s a bit unnerving.”
Exxon discovered oil in a well it drilled in the Kara Sea, but the joint partnership was put on ice after Russian intervention in Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea led to international economic sanctions. As secretary of state, Tillerson, who has been critical of the sanctions, would be in a position to argue for an easing them, which could allow Exxon to resume operations.
“Russia is critical for Exxon,” said Fadel Gheit, oil analyst for Oppenheimer & Co. “Not only for how much production it has there, but the potential growth is huge.” He said once sanctions are lifted, “Exxon will go back to develop the Arctic business at a rapid pace.”
As Secretary of State, which takes the lead in international climate talks, the oil industry veteran could also play a role in unwinding U.S. commitments under the recent Paris accord.
“The closest thing we have to a secretary of State outside government is the CEO of Exxon,” Robert McNally, president of the consulting firm Rapidan Group and a director for energy at President George W. Bush’s national security council. Because ExxonMobil invests in huge, long-term projects, it is concerned “by nature with enduring interests, vulnerabilities, and opportunities,” McNally said.
His selection ends one of the most high-profile contests for a top cabinet post, whose losing candidates included former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. Bob Corker (R-NC).
Tillerson has spent his entire working life at ExxonMobil after earning a civil engineering degree and joining the company in 1975. His career has taken him from Oklahoma and Texas to Yemen and Russia, and as ExxonMobil’s top executive he has cultivated relationships, meeting regularly with world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Saudi oil minister, and the emir of Qatar. He will retire with a nest egg of about $300 million including stock options and pension benefits.
Yet Tillerson’s track record — during a decade in which crude oil prices lurched from under $30 to nearly $150 a barrel — has been mixed. The company has managed some of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects often in forbidding locations, but it has spent heavily on share buybacks and has borrowed heavily to maintain both capital spending and dividend payments. Wall Street analysts say it overpaid for XTO, a domestic shale gas company, and it has failed to meet the production targets Tillerson himself set. In April, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company’s gold-plated triple A credit rating to double A plus, the first time Exxon had lost its triple A rating since the advent of color television and the communists took over China.
Moreover, Tillerson’s career with ExxonMobil isn’t seen as an asset by environmentalists. The company has become a target of environmental groups that allege the company’s scientists knew about the impact the use of fossil fuels was having on climate change, and that the company suppressed internal research rather than sharing it with investors and the public.
The New York and Massachusetts attorneys general have issued broad subpoenas to ascertain whether ExxonMobil’s failure to disclose that information violated Securities and Exchange Commission requirements. ExxonMobil has fought back, persuading a Texas federal court to order that ExxonMobil could do discovery, depose the Massachusetts attorney general and search her internal emails and documents for any signs that she acted out of “bad faith.”
“Covering up climate science and deceiving investors qualifies you for federal investigation, not federal office,” May Boeve, executive director of the climate group 350.org said in a statement. “An oil baron as Secretary of State would do enormous damage.”
When Tillerson took the helm at ExxonMobil a decade ago, he was seen as moderating the company’s position on climate change. Whereas his predecessor opposed any action on climate change, Tillerson said in 2009 that he favored a carbon tax and proposed an initial price “somewhere north of $20” a ton. And he reduced ExxonMobil’s own emissions.
Under Tillerson, ExxonMobil also curtailed funding for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, whose energy and climate expert Myron Ebell played down the extent of climate change and said that no action was needed. Ebell has been the head of the Trump transition team on environmental issues.
Yet Tillerson still insisted that oil use was essential. He chaired the American Petroleum Institute, which hammered on the idea that jobs were at stake. “To say that you’re addicted to oil and natural gas seems to me to say you’re addicted to economic growth,” he once told Fortune magazine.
Exxon has important relationships with countries other than Russia, most notably the Middle East. It relies on Saudi Arabia for oil supplies and is a partner in refinery projects. It has enormous liquefied natural gas export projects in Qatar. It has also managed to carry out exploration and production ventures in both Kurdistan and southern Iraq, transcending rivalries between Baghdad and the Kurds.
But under Tillerson, Exxon has also walked away from some countries. It left Venezuela after contract disputes with the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and it ended its onshore operations in Nigeria, where local insurgents sabotaged infrastructure.
Tillerson said later that “you have to be willing to say ‘no, we aren’t going to do it that way...if we can’t do it this way, we won’t be here.’”
Within the oil industry, ExxonMobil has been regarded as the most button-downed company, conservative and sometimes arrogant.
“Rex is a very, very, very honorable man,” said Gheit, who is also one of his critics. “He is smart, level headed. He has tremendous resolve and very strong character.”
Tillerson was born in Witchita Falls, Tx., the son of a Boy Scout administrator. He still lists the rank of Eagle Scout on his resume, and he has remained active in the organization throughout his life. In 2012, he was instrumental in pushing the Boy Scouts board to admit openly gay youths.
The Exxon chief also chaired the $50 million campaign to restore Washington’s Fords Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated. ExxonMobil and Qatar were major donors.
In confirmation hearings, Tillerson can also expect to face tough questions about his views on international pipelines such as the Keystone XL, which require State Department approval. He’ll also be quizzed on climate change.
“I’d expect the State Department’s climate change envoy— a key role under [Hillary] Clinton and [John F.] Kerry—to have a lot of free time on his or her hands, and that State Department permits to build oil pipelines to Canada will be quite a bit easier to get,” Bordoff said.
Tillerson has acknowledged that climate change is caused by humans, but questioned the costs of weaning the world from fossil fuels.
“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers,” he said at a 2013 stockholders meeting, citing the outsized impact on poor people if environmental activists succeeded in establishing company goals to reduce emissions.
Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.
Bet They Didn’t See This Coming!