<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Politics]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usTue, 03 May 2016 06:50:57 -0400Tue, 03 May 2016 06:50:57 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ted Cruz Says Young Heckler Deserves a Spanking]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 13:34:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ted-cruz1.jpg

Ted Cruz responded to a young heckler who yelled out "you suck" during a campaign event in Indiana by telling the child that such an outburst would land him a spanking in the Cruz household.

The heckler, described by an NBC reporter as a boy who appeared to be 10 years old, interrupted Cruz as he was speaking in La Porte on Sunday.

"Apparently there is a young man who is having some problems," Cruz said.

The person could then be heard yelling, "You suck!"

"Thank you son. You know I appreciate you sharing your views," Cruz responded. "You know, one of the things that hopefully someone has told you is that children should actually speak with respect."

The audience roared its approval as Cruz, a father of two, continued to riff on his parenting views.

"Imagine what a different world it would be if someone had told Donald Trump that years ago," he said. "You know, in my household, when a child behaved that way, they’d get a spanking."

Cruz faces a key vote in Tuesday's key Indiana primary against front-runner Trump, who has a 15-point lead in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Trump in Indiana Says China Is 'Raping' America]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 06:57:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TRUMP_AP_16122772500150.jpg

Speaking about trade policy at a rally in Indiana, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took his rhetoric about China to a new level Sunday. 

"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country," Trump told a crowd in Fort Wayne. "That's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world." 

Trump previously has come under fire for using offensive or degrading language. 

At the same Indiana rally, Trump questioned whether Democratic contender Hillary Clinton has the "strength or energy" to make America "great" again — a line that has drawn allegations of sexism in the past.

His speech was one of several in Indiana over the weekend ahead of the state's critical primary.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Insists He Can Still Win the Dem. Nomination]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 22:32:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/526912210-bernie-sanders-contested-convention.jpg

Facing a large delegate deficit, tough odds and just 10 remaining state contests, Senator Bernie Sanders made it clear Sunday that he intends to fight on to become the Democratic presidential nominee, NBC News reports.

Sanders' stated path relies on primary opponent Hillary Clinton not reaching a majority of pledged delegates and on superdelegates' switching their allegiances.

"It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach a majority of convention delegates by June 14 with pledged delegates alone," Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said at a news conference at the National Press Club, indicating he would fight to persuade superdelegates to flip their support.

"In other words, the convention will be a contested contest," he said of the Democratic National Convention to take place in Philadelphia in July.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[A Look at Clinton's Promise of a Cabinet Full of Women]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 17:42:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16122673573195-hillary-clinton-campaign-trail.jpg

Hillary Clinton last week pledged that, if elected, she would appoint a presidential cabinet in which at least half of the members are women, a move that would profoundly shift the look of the people who govern America, according to NBC News.

Clinton, in an interview on Monday with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, said, "I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?" 

Only 30 women have ever held Cabinet posts. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama appointed a number of women to key posts, but women held just four of the 16 official Cabinet posts during most of their tenures. Clinton is pledging to double that number.

"No hint of quotas or numeric targets — other than 'more than my predecessor' — has ever been part of cabinet head discussions before," said Heather Hurlburt, who served as a senior adviser at the State Department and National Security Council from 1995-2001. "So it's an enormous deal."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Leads Cruz in Crucial Indiana Primary: Poll]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 10:17:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_161110678355521.jpg

Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters in the state, followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July.

According to the poll, 58 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Indiana say they disapprove of Cruz and Kasich teaming up to beat Trump in the state.

Meanwhile, in the Hoosier State's Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by just four points, 50 percent to 46 percent.



Photo Credit: AP, file]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Roasts GOP Candidates at WH Correspondents' Dinner]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 07:06:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WhiteHouse-GettyImages-526666530.jpg

President Barack Obama pulled out the punches during the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., Saturday, taking jabs at the candidates vying for the Republican nomination. 

"It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps the last White House Correspondents' Dinner," he said, telling the audience how great they looked before getting right down to business.

Obama told the crowd at the 102nd and final dinner that his approval ratings have been rising, even in his final year in office. 

"What has changed?" he asked. "No one can figure it out." 

Obama paused, allowing a moment to pass before a split-screen of Sen. Ted Cruz and GOP front-runner Donald Trump popped up on screen. 

Obama didn't stop there. He called out top Republicans, who have touted Paul Ryan as a possible nominee, if one can’t be chosen before the GOP convention in July. 

"Steak or fish?” he told the audience, referring to the choice on the evening’s menu. "A whole bunch of you wrote Paul Ryan. You may not like steak or fish, but that’s your choice." 

Ryan has said he will not seek the nomination. 

Obama wasted no time cutting into the three GOP candidates, saying "some candidates aren’t polling high enough to qualify for their own joke" over a photo of Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

"And then there’s Ted Cruz," he said, calling out the Texas senator for a mistake he made this week in Indiana when he referred to a basketball hoop as a "ring."

"What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one," Obama said, before moving on to an absent Trump. 

"Is this dinner too tacky for 'The Donald'?"

Trump’s absence "hurt" Obama, who said he "had so much fun last time." Obama has singled out the real estate mogul in previous years, making fun of Trump's hair and the businessman's quest to see Obama's birth certificate. 

"Is he at home eating a Trump steak?" Obama asked. "What’s he doing?"

The president went on, making jabs at Trump's lack of foreign policy and experience, and his real estate prowess. 

"There's one area where Donald's experience could be valuable. And that's closing Guantanamo, because Trump knows a thing or two about closing waterfront properties into the ground."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cruz Defends Position on 'Bathroom Bills' ]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 11:03:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CruzMTP-Screen-Shot-2016-04-30-at-7.53.59-PM.jpg

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is standing his ground in his belief that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice opens the door for people "who are predators," dismissing criticism from reality TV star and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner.

"The real danger is not people who are transgendered. It's people who are predators,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd. "People who are predators…use that law as an excuse to go target our kids. And that is a real danger," he added.

Following a recent comment by Donald Trump in which he said Jenner could use any bathroom she wanted at Trump Tower, the former Olympian used a women's bathroom at a Trump property and posted a video to Facebook with the caption: "By the way, Ted, nobody got molested."

Cruz also criticized Trump, President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for coming out for so-called "bathroom bills" like the one passed in North Carolina.



Photo Credit: NBC News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, Cruz Supporters Fight for Delegates at VA GOP Convention]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:20:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Virginia+Republican+Convention+042916.jpg

For Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, winning the Virginia primary in March was an important step in the process, but two months later, a new Trump versus Ted Cruz battle is playing out in the commonwealth.

The Virginia GOP convention got off to a raucous start Friday. It's a scaled down version of what some Republicans envision if there is a contested national convention in July.

A contested convention is what former Loudoun County Delegate David Ramadan wants. He’s firmly in the never Trump camp.

“Based on principles, Trump in my mind is not a conservative and not a Republican, and yes, I’m a never Trump,” he said.

Virginia’s convention may matter because Virginia sends 49 delegates to the national convention. On the first ballot, all must proportionally reflect the vote of the March 1 primary. But if there is a contested convention and a second ballot, those delegates are unbound and can vote for the candidate of their choice. Thirteen of the delegates will be chosen Saturday, and Ted Cruz supporters are trying to win a majority of them. Ramadan expects Cruz to win at least 10 of them.

Trump supporter Isabella Hale is convinced Trump will wrap things up well before the convention.

“He’s the presumptive nominee and I’m going with it,” she said.

Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax County) believes that even though Virginia Republicans are still in a fierce fight, the party won’t splinter.

“In the end, I'm fully convinced the people will say we've had our differences, that was a fight within the family, now it's time to get onto the general election,” he said. “Hillary Clinton has got to be defeated.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Team Shifting Staff to General Election States]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524679204.jpg

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is preparing to hire staffers in some of the general election’s battleground states, NBC News reported.

A Clinton campaign official told NBC News the first wave of new hires and reassignments will involve state directors and other senior staff. The campaign is setting up state directors in Florida, New Hampshire and Colorado, and will eventually have general election operations in every state. 

The aide stressed that Clinton will continue to campaign in the remaining primary states. 

The news was first reported in USA Today.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Bill Unpaid After 3 Months]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:13:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trump-GettyImages-503927392.jpg

The city of Burlington, Vermont, is considering calling a debt collection agency on a billionaire: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat, said Trump is nearly three months late paying an $8,500 bill the city sent his campaign on Feb. 1 for police and fire overtime costs associated with a recent stop in Vermont's largest city.

"We actually had the city attorneys looking into this; there's some complication on an issue like this," Weinberger said in response to an necn question about whether he would seek a collection agency's services.

Weinberger added that the city should have a plan soon about how to address the unpaid bills.

Trump held a rally Jan. 7 at Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts but issued thousands more tickets than there were seats. The city wanted extra personnel to handle the crowds and any potential problems, Weinberger said.

"It could have been a much better-coordinated and organized event," Weinberger told necn. "And had it been, it would have been much easier for the city to accommodate."

Weinberger said the city embraces the process of democracy, and he believes candidates should meet their constituents on the campaign trail. However, the  mayor urged campaigns to coordinate more closely with municipalities in scheduling and planning visits like the one Trump made to Burlington.

Weinberger made it clear the unpaid bills will not bankrupt Burlington or have any serious adverse effects. He said the city’s police department has a more than $10 million annual budget, so the $7,200 portion of the bills for police costs are only a very small percentage of the overall picture.

Still, Weinberger said the city could use the money for any host of purposes and would appreciate payment.

The mayor noted that hometown candidate Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democrats' nomination for the White House, paid his bills on time for police and fire support, as well as other fees, following a campaign kickoff on the Burlington waterfront last May.

Campaigns do have a history of skipping out on the check.

Through a request to the South Burlington Police Department, necn obtained a July 2011 email chain between Chief Trevor Whipple and a New England representative of President Barack Obama's reelection effort. In the emails, the chief was looking for reimbursement for extra staffing costs for security and traffic control for a presidential campaign fundraiser.

Trevor Whipple said Thursday he never heard back on that 2011 request.

"It's frustrating," Whipple said. "Where it's discretionary, especially where it's fundraising, my expectation is [candidates] should bear the cost of that. They should be responsible for reimbursing the taxpayer for the cost of that additional service that would not have been necessitated were it not for this fundraising event."

Whipple said if visits by dignitaries were for official business, he would not seek reimbursement. But he said he sees political fundraisers in particular as different, and the kind of event for which taxpayers deserve repayment.

Necn reached out to a spokesperson for the Trump campaign regarding the city of Burlington's claims, but had not heard back at the time of publication.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Do Celebrity Endorsements Help or Hurt?]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:48:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DAWSON_GettyImages-521061462.jpg

Celebrity surrogates have been ubiquitous on the campaign trail this season, frequently been driving the 2016 news cycle — and in some cases, forcing their preferred candidates off message.

In a crowded media marketplace, the prominence of a celebrity surrogate can make a difference — at least when it comes to media attention — but unlike most traditional political representatives, they are infamously difficult to control.

During an appearance on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" Wednesday, actress Susan Sarandon, a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter, doubled down on her refusal to say whether or not she would support Hillary Clinton in a one-on-one race against Trump. And unscripted diatribes on Sanders' behalf from stars like Rosario Dawson, Killer Mike and Tim Robbins have begged the question: Are these kinds of endorsements really worth it?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Diversity in Politics]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 21:00:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Edwards+vs+Van+Hollen+V2.jpg WHUR's Troy Johnson discusses Maryland's Democratic Senate primary, which some say broke along race and gender lines.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Rocky History Between Cruz and Boehner]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/split2-cruz-boehner.jpg

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz personally told NBC News he had not met John Boehner, when he addressed comments made about him by the former House Speaker.

But the two men do have a past: Ted Cruz was once Boehner’s lawyer, when Boehner sued Washington state Democrat Jim McDermott over a leaked recording. Boehner filed the lawsuit in 1998 involving the illegal interception of an embarrassing phone call in which Boehner discussed House leadership business. He said his personal privacy was violated. 

Boehner won the case — part of which was handled by Ted Cruz. Sources close to Boehner told NBC News the two met during the lawsuit, but likely never had contact after Cruz arrived on Capitol Hill in 2013. 

For Boehner, Cruz led the political charge against him, when he was effectively a “player coach” in the move to oust the former speaker last year. 

Through the government shutdown in 2013, Cruz helped influence House members in the dissent that made the former speaker choose to step aside in 2015. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cub Reporter Broke 'Lucifer' Story]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:06:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/boehner-Ada_Throckmorton.jpg

Stanford Daily cub reporter Ada Statler-Throckmorton, 20, has spoken with big names and tackled weighty topics in the past.

The student from Prairie City, Kansas, has done a Q&A with Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey and covered the controversial fuel-free movement at the prestigious university in Palo Alto.

But she’s never broken a national news story like the one she did on Wednesday night at Stanford University’s CEMEX Auditorium. That’s where she was the first to report to the world that former House Speaker John Boehner called fellow Republican and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh."

As far as she knows, she was the only reporter covering the speech, other than internal Stanford media. And when Boehner said those words, she knew it was big. But she didn’t know just how big — so big that her mother heard about it while listening to NPR early Thursday morning.

Google News returned about 300 articles for a search of Boehner and "Lucifer in the flesh" Thursday afternoon, including all the major American political news sources, all of which cite Statler-Throckmorton's story. The Stanford Daily's original article has more than 1,000 comments and 8,000 shares on Facebook, amid what its managing editor told CNNMoney is record web traffic.

“I didn’t realize it would go this viral and this fast,” Statler-Throckmorton said, noting she isn't even a journalism student, but is majoring in Earth Systems and wants to go into environmental communications.

Boehner didn’t stop at comparing Cruz to the Devil, though, and Statler-Throckmorton wrote down what he said in a candid speech that was not broadcast or videotaped: “I have Democrat friends and Republican. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” The Stanford Daily was able to capture some audio of the now-hyped up talk.

Later in the day — and all thanks to the scrappy Stanford sophomore — Cruz held court with reporters, taking aim at Boehner, saying the former speaker allowed his "inner Trump to come out." As for the "Lucifer" comment, Cruz said: "If John Boehner is calling me 'Lucifer,' he’s not directing that at me.  He’s directing that at you."

Statler-Throckmorton has been sought after from major news outlets ranging from Fox to CNN to NBC News, which is all the more curious to her because the headline of her campus newspaper  - “John Boehner talks election, time in office” - certainly does not sell the story the same way those outlets did. 

The Stanford Daily hadn’t promoted the story by the time the first news organization latched onto it, and Statler-Throckmorton doesn’t even have a Twitter account. She still doesn’t know who first picked up her story.

Victor Young Xu, the managing editor of news at the campus paper, told CNNMoney that on a typical day the entire site draws 11,000 to 13,000 page views. 

Xu told CNNMoney the Boehner story had already reached 169,220 page views as of 11:40 a.m. PT, which represented 94.5 percent of all visits to the site. To compare, the second most-viewed story published over the last year — a satirical piece on Stanford's admissions rate — drew a little over 40,000 views.

Relishing in her 15 minutes of fame, Statler-Throckmorton said she’s been trying to juggle all the media attention cast on her while paying attention to classes. 

As for her family’s own political leanings, Statler-Throckmorton said “we’re certainly not Republicans.” But she added she certainly kept an open mind to what the former speaker of the House had to say. 

“He was very interesting to listen to,” she said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area; Inset: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['If We Win In Indiana, It's Over': Trump]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:48:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpIndiana-AP_16119692031356.jpg

Donald Trump set the stakes of the Indiana primary Thursday, saying he refused to take time off from the campaign trail because of the importance of the primary, NBC News reported. 

Trump continued his pivot toward the general election with the rally in Indiana, where he told the audience he “will be so much better to women than Hillary Clinton is — for health care issues, on the protection of our country.” 

"If we win in Indiana, it's over," he said.         

Trump told the audience Clinton can’t win New York because the Clintons “abandoned Arkansas for New York” and aren’t “real New Yorkers.” He also insisted Clinton “doesn’t do great in Arkansas,” even though she won the state's Democratic primary.

It's a hint at where Trump's focus lies after primary wins across the Northeast on Tuesday, putting him closer to the nomination.     



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[USHCC Endorses Clinton, Kasich]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:46:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/split2-march15-kasich-clinton.jpg

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday it is endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John Kasich, in its first ever endorsement of any presidential candidate, NBC News reported.

"Secretary Clinton has stood with the USHCC and the Hispanic community at-large for decades," USHCC president and CEO Javier Palomarez said in a statement. "For more than 40 years, Secretary Clinton has fought to ensure that those who are willing to work hard in America have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead." 

Palomarez added that Kasich “understands that sustainable economic growth is needed in order to allow the American people an opportunity to succeed, regardless of background. He also understands that the Hispanic community is not monolithic, and that the issues most important to all Americans are: jobs, the economy, health care, education, immigration and national security." 

The group, which advocates on behalf of the country's Latin-owned businesses, bypassed Ted Cruz — the only Latino left in the presidential race.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Testimony At Hastert Sentencing]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:04:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Hastert+Arrival.png

For seasoned court watchers, attorneys, even veteran prosecutors, the sentencing of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert proved to be powerful and troubling.

"Nothing is more disturbing than having 'serial child molester' and 'Speaker of the House' in the same sentence," Judge Thomas Durkin told a packed but silent audience in his 14th floor courtroom. “Some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works.”

For two hours, the gut-wrenching testimony unfolded. Two accusers detailed sordid tales of sexual abuse from Hastert’s days as a wrestling coach in Yorkville. His own attorney conceded he could not contest the allegations. Prosecutor Steven Block told the judge that the government regretted they couldn’t hit him with tougher laws.

“Had there been an opportunity to charge the defendant with sexually abusing boys in his care, we would have,” Block said. “His decision last year was designed to keep his dark secrets.”

That decision, to mislead agents investigating massive bank withdrawals to pay off an accuser, eventually led to a person still identified only as “Individual A”, who described sexual abuse at Hastert’s hands when he wrestled for Yorkville High School in the seventies. Eventually, four other alleged victims were discovered.

One, Stephen Reinboldt, died from Aids in 1995. But in court Wednesday, his sister Jolene Burdge stood before the former Speaker.

“I hope I have been your worst nightmare,” she told Hastert, who did not react. “You took his life Mr. Hastert…because you took his innocence and turned it against him.”

Reporters filled the jury box, which went unused because Hastert had entered a guilty plea to a crime called “structuring”. It’s an arcane statute governing massive withdrawals of money. Because of statutes of limitations, he could not be charged with the sex crimes relating to those transactions. But the evidence was presented nonetheless. And it was difficult to hear.

“As a young boy, I wanted to be part of what Coach Hastert had created,” said another accuser, “Individual D”. A near gasp rumbled through the courtroom when he stated his name as Scott Cross. His brother Tom was well known to most reporters in the courtroom, as a former State Representative, and onetime protégé of the Speaker himself.

“Coach Hastert sexually abused me my senior year in high school,” Cross said, choking back tears. “I did not say anything to anyone. Coach Hastert and I never spoke of it.”

Cross said he considered the abuse his darkest secret.

“I wanted you to know the pain he caused me then, and still causes me today,” he told the judge. “It is important to tell the truth—I could no longer remain silent.”

As observers watched Hastert, he showed no emotion. No obvious twinges of pride as his attorney Tom Green described his client’s post-9/11 heroics on Capitol Hill. No apparent shame when Green stated, “Mr. Hastert abused.”

Green concede that his client “made some very poor decisions.” But he begged the judge to consider the total arc of Hastert’s life.

“Dennis Hastert was able to reshape his life into a career of public service and extraordinary accomplishment,” Green said. Then he conceded, that those “decades of accomplishment have been erased.”

Then the time came for Hastert himself to state his case. The clock ticked. Reporters leaned forward. His attorneys helped the former speaker push his walker to a lectern. A prepared statement was unfolded before him.

“I’m deeply ashamed,” Hastert read from the paper. “I’m the only one responsible.”

But even then, he could not bring himself to use the words “sexual abuse”.

“I know I am here because I mistreated some of the athletes I coached,” he said. “The thing I want to do is say I’m sorry.”

But the judge wasn’t buying it, and he interrupted Hastert’s statement.

“Did you sexually abuse Mr. Cross?” he asked.

“I don’t remember doing that,” Hastert said. “I accept his statement.”

“Individual B?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” Hastert admitted.

“Stephen Reinboldt?”

“That’s a different situation,” Hastert said cryptically. He paused to confer with his attorney, before conceding that he could not dispute the comments of Reinboldt’s sister.

“So you did sexually abuse him?” the incredulous judge asked.

“Yes,” Hastert said.

When it came time for him to impose sentence, Durkin spoke for more than 40 minutes. He did nothing to hide his disgust, and clearly demonstrated that the many pleas for mercy had fallen on deaf ears.

“If I’m going to consider the good, I must also consider the bad,” Durkin said, “which is that the defendant is a serial child molester.”

“Your actions were cynical,” he told Hastert. “You abused those who wouldn’t or couldn’t cry out.”

Attorneys had asked for leniency due to Hastert’s failing health and advanced age. The judge said the Bureau of Prisons would offer adequate medical care.

“Your age did not prevent you from committing crimes,” he said. “Your age should not prevent you from being punished.”

In the end, he sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Reporters frantically sent out the news, thumbs flying on silent keyboards. Hastert’s attorneys made last minute arrangements for their client’s surrender, pending assignment to an appropriate prison.

And then it was over. But not before one last moment of despir from the judge.

“Nothing today gave me pleasure,” he said. “This is a horrible case. I hope I never have to see a case like this ever again.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Tapping Fiorina Early, Cruz Echoes Reagan's Gamble]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:49:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CRUZ_AP_16118751601761.jpg

Ted Cruz's unconventional decision to tap Carly Fiorina on Wednesday as his running mate echoes Ronald Reagan's gambit heading into the 1976 convention, a history that offers cautionary notes for Cruz.

Reagan finished the primaries as both a beloved conservative and party underdog, trailing incumbent President Gerald Ford by 100 delegates.

On July 27, 1976, a few weeks before the GOP convention, Reagan held a press conference to announce he was picking Richard Schweiker, a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania, to be his running mate.

"The people and the delegates have a right to know, in advance of the convention, who a nominee's vice presidential choice would be," Reagan said, explaining his logic for "departing from tradition" to announce the pick early.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[MD's GOP Candidate Looks Ahead at Her Path to US Senate]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 20:44:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Kathy+Szleiga+042716.jpg Kathy Szeliga, the Republican candidate for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, explains News4's Chris Gordon why she thinks she can beat Democratic candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen in an overwhelmingly Democratic state and how the popularity of presidential GOP front-runner Donald Trump could help her campaign.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Get More Census Info for LGBTQ Community: Rep. Grijalva]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:35:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RaulGrijalva-AP_82052430668.jpg

Arizona Democratic congressman Raúl Grijalva believes sexual orientation should be included in the Census to strengthen the LGBTQ community's access to resources and legislation, NBC News reported.

Rep. Grijalva and Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) requested the American Community Survey start asking Americans about their sexual orientation and gender identity to create “urgently needed” statistics for the LGBTQ population. 

"In order to make further progress toward understanding the LGBT population (including its economic, racial, and geographic diversity), we strongly believe the Census Bureau should measure ACS respondents' sexual orientation and gender identity," they said in a letter to Census Director John Thompson. 

Grijalva said other categories like marital status are based on sexual orientation and gender identity.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dancing White House Visitor Gets ID Thanks to New Rule]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:37:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Virginia+McLaurin1.jpg

Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old woman who charmed President Obama with her dance moves earlier this year, is finally getting a government-issued photo ID thanks to a new regulation in the District, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday. 

The regulation, which goes into effect immediately, expands the list of documentation D.C. residents over the age of 70 can use when obtaining an ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

A recent Washington Post article revealed that McLaurin could not get a photo ID in the District, because she didn't have a birth certificate from her home state of South Carolina.  But to get a copy of her birth certificate, she needed an ID.

McLaurin lost her original ID in a purse snatching years ago, according to The Post. 

"These common sense regulations will ensure that District seniors can get an ID if they lack the kind of documentation that may not have been around when they were born," Bowser said. 

Bowser visited McLaurin Tuesday and gave her a temporary ID. Her permanent ID will be sent to her in the mail. 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hastert Gets 15 Months in Prison]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:07:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Hastert+Update.png

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for breaking federal banking rules in a hush-money scheme attempting to cover up decades of sexual abuse.

He was also fined $250,000, Judge Thomas Durkin ruled, saying there's nothing worse than using "serial child molester" and "Speaker of the House" in the same sentence.

"It gives me no pleasure to sentence Mr. Hastert," Durkin said. "It's sad for our country."

Hastert faced up to five years behind bars for the banking charges, which were but one part of the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. 

In court Wednesday, he apologized for his actions and admitted to the sexual abuse for the first time.  

"I want to say sorry to those I've hurt," Hastert said in court moments before learning his fate. "What I did was wrong and I regret it. They looked up to me and what I did was wrong."

Among those testifying at Wednesday's hearing was Scott Cross, previously identified as "Individual D," the brother of former State Rep. Tom Cross. Cross claimed Hastert abused him when he was 17 years old and captain of the wrestling team Hastert coached.

"I was alone with Coach Hastert in the locker room. Coach Hastert said I could make weight by giving me a massage. I trusted him," he said. "He pulled down my shorts, grabbed my penis and began to rub me. I was stunned by what he was doing, grabbed my shorts and ran out."

When Cross finished his statement, applause erupted in the courtroom.

Also testifying in court Wednesday was Jolene Burdge, the sister of another of Hastert's victims, Steven Reinboldt.

"I hope I've been your worst nightmare," Burdge said. "What you did wasn't misconduct. It was sexual abuse of a minor."

Hastert admitted in court to sexually abusing Reinboldt. He added that while he does not recall abusing Cross, he "accepts his statement" and does not deny the allegations.

Hastert pleaded guilty last year to a crime known as "structuring," an effort to mask payments to an unnamed individual he had wronged decades ago when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High.

Prosecutors have claimed Hastert agreed to pay the accuser more than $3 million to conceal allegations Hastert molested him in a motel room when he was 14 years old. That accuser has since filed suit against Hastert for breach of contract, claiming he failed to finish making the agreed upon payments.

Authorities allege Hastert tried to mislead the FBI by instead accusing the victim of extortion.

"He was a victim decades ago and you tried to make him the victim again," Durkin said, adding that if Hastert had told the truth "he probably would have gotten probation."

In total, at least four former students have come forward alleging the now 74-year-old molested them when he was a teacher and coach. 

Attorneys for Hastert pleaded for mercy, saying Hastert has been punished enough through failing health and his own guilt and humiliation. Soon after his guilty pleas last October, the former speaker was hospitalized with a series of medical problems, including sepsis and a small stroke.

His attorneys asked that Hastert be spared time behind bars, and instead receive probation. 

"This is one of the most tragic and sad cases I've ever encountered," said attorney Thomas Green. "His life will forever be comprised and diminished."

Still, Durkin said Hastert's age would not deter him from sentencing the 74-year-old to prison and said his medical needs can be met in prison.

"I hope I never see a case like this again," Durkin said.

Hastert's attorney said in a statement that Hastert "accepts the sentence imposed by the court today."

"As he made clear in his own words in addressing the court, he takes sole responsibility for this tragic situation and deeply apologizes to all those affected by his actions," the statement read. "He hopes that he now can focus on addressing his health issues and on healing the emotional damage that has been inflicted on his family and friends who have shown unwavering support throughout this trying time."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Soccer, Statehood and More]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 05:57:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Muriel-Bowser-AP_816174278725.jpg

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was wielding a silver-plated sledge hammer on Monday.

She didn’t wave it at reporters (Terrific restraint, Mayor!).

Bowser, instead, was enjoying the ceremonial demolition starting construction of the new $300 million D.C. United soccer stadium in Southwest.

The site is just across South Capitol Street from Nationals Park. It’s due to open in 2018. The city is responsible for purchasing and clearing the land. The team is responsible for the stadium itself. Your Notebook has scowled at the unimaginative design, but we’re told it’s not finished.

Bowser did get into some big machinery. She pulled a few levers to knock down a wall. The mayor says it’s a bit scary to do, but she’s happy to promote the 1,000 construction and permanent jobs the project represents.

The soccer stadium is a centerpiece of what will be a complete makeover of Southwest land that is now dotted with a concrete plant and other industrial uses.

“This is the opportunity to really help to rethink the way Buzzard Point and this end of Southwest are really realized,” said Ward 6 D.C. Council member Charles Allen. More than a billion dollars of investments are expected in the once-ignored area.

Monday’s ceremony was picketed by activists from Empower DC. The group contends there are serious environmental concerns with clearing the land. Nearby public housing residents say they fear worsening air pollution. They also fear the potential gentrification that will move them out.

Mayor Bowser and Council member Allen say they are mindful of those concerns. “We think any investment in this area is going to enhance the quality of life for everybody,” Bowser told us.

■ Kasich KOs statehood. Presidential candidate John Kasich is the Republican governor of Ohio. But he’s not interested in the District’s bid for statehood. Maybe, he says when asked whether our delegate to Congress should have voting rights, but he hasn’t really thought about it.

Here’s his full quote in a brief, satellite interview on Monday with NBC4’s Chris Gordon:

“I’m not for statehood. I mean the idea that somebody who is a delegate would have the right to vote, I’m not opposed to that. I need to look at all the ramifications, but I’m not for statehood. The reason I’m not for statehood is the founders set it up so D.C. would be a neutral place. I think they were wise in doing that. As for the delegate, I’m open to the suggestion.”

It sounds like he’s been talking to former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who tried mightily to get voting rights for D.C.’s delegate. But Davis was thwarted by District politicians who turned down the chance in favor of full voting rights in the House and the Senate someday. That’s the operative word. No one in authority in the District ever heard of the phrase, “a bird in the hand … .”

Maybe activists can point out new statistics from the city’s tax office. District citizens (not just “residents”) paid more than $26 billion in taxes to the federal government in 2014, but got back only $3.5 billion. That figure doesn’t include matching funds that all states receive.

As DCist reported, the District’s federal tax payments are bigger than 22 states and Puerto Rico. Now, that’s taxation without representation.

■ It’s alive! New opposition filings to the $6.8 billion merger of Pepco and Exelon seek to ensure this isn’t a done deal after all. Although the Public Service Commission in March voted 2-1 to (finally) approve the deal, the Office of the People’s Counsel now wants reconsideration. “I strongly believe that the manner in which the decision was reached was legally flawed,” said people’s advocate Sandra Mattavous-Frye in a release late last week.

However, many people believe it’s extremely unlikely the PSC will attempt to rewire this deal.

■ A final word. Former D.C. school board member R. Calvin Lockridge died this weekend. He was 81 and had been in ill health for several years. But in his day, Lockridge was a controversial, combative member of the school board — a key player in its struggles to improve schools and retain superintendents amid many battles.

In 1988, Lockridge was under fire for meddling in staff hiring at Ballou High School and other ward schools. Linda Cropp, then the school board president, threatened to censure his actions.

Responding to The Washington Post at the time, Lockridge was unapologetic, saying high-level jobs weren’t going to Ward 8 residents in an unfair system. “I plead guilty to hustling jobs for the Ward 8 constituents. I have made no bones about the fact that my constituents are generally not qualified for professional jobs. So when opportunities for custodians, food services and other jobs become available, I demand that those positions be made available to my constituents.”

The Post’s Colby King in 1998 wrote a withering article about “buffoonery” in city government, singling out Lockridge for, among other things, his numerous antics and possible wrongdoings. “If the city had an Elected Officials Hall of Shame, Lockridge would be a charter member. A loud, antics-loving political figure, he made D.C. voters look like they had lost their minds.”

Despite all, the Notebook does miss those occasional calls from Lockridge offering up some off-the-record tips or gossip. “I’m talking to you now, just you,” he’d say in hushed tones before passing along information. But Lockridge, despite the flaws, was far from hushed in public life.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: Clinton Playing Woman Card]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:38:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TRUMP_AP_16118114842811.jpg

Coming off a huge win on Tuesday night, Donald Trump said he has all but clinched the Republican nomination, NBC News reported. 

"I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely," Trump said at a press conference after winning all five state primaries held on Tuesday by crushing margins.

Turning to the general election, he predicted he would "beat Hillary [Clinton] so easily" and even compete for deep blue states like New York, despite trailing Clinton nationally in every recent poll, often by wide margins.

"The only card she has is the woman's card," Trump said. "If Hillary Clinton were a man I don't think she'd get five percent of the vote."

Clinton said Tuesday night that "if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the 'woman card,' then deal me in."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Indicted Congressman Loses Primary]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 03:44:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Evans_Fattah_1200.gif

Longtime Pennsylvania House Rep. Dwight Evans, the face of Philadelphia's Democratic delegation in Harrisburg for decades, is set to go to Washington, D.C.

He defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the Democratic primary Tuesday, virtually assuring for himself the 2nd Congressional District seat, held by Fattah for the last 22 years.

Evans, a leader from the powerful Northwest section of the city, seized on an opportunity to unseat Fattah after the 11-term congressman was indicted last July on federal racketeering charges.

What likely aided in Evans' upset bid was his Northwest stronghold — known for its "power wards," areas with strong voter turnout.

But the district also covers much of West Philadelphia and parts of Montgomery County. Fattah in recent weeks spent heavily on radio and television advertisements, using special funds allotted to congressional offices.

Fattah is currently facing charges in connection with campaign funding dating back to his 2007 bid for Philadelphia mayor. A hearing is set for next month, and the trial could begin soon after that.



Photo Credit: AP/NBC 10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Primary Day: Voters in 5 States Cast Ballots]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:57:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/election-27-GettyImages-524665434.jpg Democratic and Republican primary voters in five Northeastern states went to the polls on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MD Results Delayed as 4 Baltimore Polls Close Late]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:16:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Voting-Sign-Generic-Ballot-1.jpg

Results for the presidential campaign and a U.S. Senate race were delayed in Maryland Tuesday night after a judge granted an injunction to keep some polls in Baltimore City open past the 8 p.m. scheduled closing.

News4’s Chris Gordon said the judge ordered four precincts in the city to remain open until 9 p.m. The injunction was filed by attorney Billy Murphy on behalf of U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Edwards campaign press secretary Ben Gedis told WBAL-TV reporter Kai Reed the judge ruled any poll location opening 45 minutes or more late would be remain open the same amount of the delay, up to 9 p.m.

Linda Lamone, state administrator for the Maryland State Board of Elections said two precincts in Baltimore opened more than an hour late and 12 opened less than one hour late.

The locations are John Eager Howard Elementary School, Beth-Am Synagogue, Oliver Multi-Purpose Center and Pimlico Elementary School.

Montgomery County Board of Elections said because of the Baltimore City situation, they would not be able to release results until 9 p.m. Prince George's County also will not release results until all polls are closed.

The Associated Press said the State Board of Elections will not release any results while any polling places remain open.

The court proceedings were delayed after a small fire in the courthouse forced evacuation of the building. No one was hurt, and the small fire was quickly extinguished.

]]>
<![CDATA[Who Will President Obama Roast at This Year's White House Correspondents' Dinner? ]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:42:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/whcd2016-04-26_1652.jpg PYPO Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Thorp discusses the humor, celebrities and parties that come with the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. She predicts that President Obama won't hold back in the comedy roast.]]> <![CDATA[Bernie Sanders Floats Elizabeth Warren's Name for VP]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:53:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Sanders-Warren.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said a female vice president would be a "great idea" and mentioned Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as an example of a woman qualified to hold the office.

The senior senator from Vermont discussed the possibility on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" ahead of Tuesday's primary elections in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island.

"I think the women of this country — the people of this country — understand that it would be a great idea to have a woman as vice president," Sanders said. "It's something I would give very, very serious thought to."

When asked if any women were particularly well equipped to serve as vice president, Sanders scoffed.

"Pfft, are there any women? Yes, there are many women who would be qualified for that job," he asserted.

The senator said it was "a little bit early to be speculating" about a potential running mate, but named Warren as an example when pressed. He did not mention rival Hillary Clinton.

"Elizabeth Warren, I think, has been a real champion of standing up for working families, taking on Wall Street," he said. "There are fantastic women who have been active in all kind of fights who I think would make great vice presidential candidates."

Warren, whose name has also been floated as a possible pick for an all-female ticket with Clinton, has not endorsed a candidate but said she will likely make her choice known before the July convention.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>