<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 05 Jul 2015 08:56:39 -0400 Sun, 05 Jul 2015 08:56:39 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Blames Border for SF Shooting]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 04:14:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.


San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:33:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:15:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Static Over Our Housing Boom…]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:48:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/realestate1112.jpg

The District of Columbia is changing — as the cliche goes — right before our eyes.

Look in most any direction to see massive redevelopment.

Look and listen a little closer.

Among the clanging cacophony you’ll also hear the cries of the poor and lower middle class. They are losing their homes and the hopes of ever finding other ones in the nation’s capital.

“Weekly we lose some,” at-large D.C. Council member Anita Bonds told us over the weekend. “We have about 40 [subsidized] properties that are losing their affordability” around the city, she said, amounting to a housing crisis struggling to be heard. “If we are serious about housing affordability, and we should be, then some our resources must go toward saving these units,” she said.

Last week, dozens of low-income tenants gathered near the convention center at 401 K St., a sprawling relic of about 300 subsidized apartments. Chinese immigrants make up about 60 percent of the renters, according to Washington Post reporter Perry Stein. They are trying to save their apartment homes in the fast-changing neighborhood.

The property has been the focus of tenant and landlord legal battles since 2014 when Bush Cos. announced plans to end federal subsidies and redevelop the property into luxury rentals and condos at profitable market rates.

Under the District’s landlord-tenant laws, the tenants have what’s called the first right of refusal to band together and buy the property. But Bush set the asking price at $250 million. A court ruled that too high, but the matter remains in litigation and the tenants’ future in doubt even if the price is lowered.

Council member Bonds, who has focused on low-income housing, said the remaining tenants still will get individual rent subsidies if they’re forced to move, but finding suitable housing will be tough.

The federal subsidy runs out at Museum Square in October as the owners move to exit the federal housing Section 8 program and tear down the structure.

“We have nowhere to go,” said Vera Watson, who has lived in the building for 33 years. She told The Post, “Even if we get a voucher to move somewhere else, the voucher will not help us in D.C.”

Another activist tenant, Jenny Tang, told The Post, “I want my children to be part of this community.”

Tang, 44, is a native of China. She has lived at Museum Square for five years with her two daughters.

Sam Jewler, a community organizer with Jews United for Justice, told us, “Development doesn’t have to mean displacement.”

He said the developer is determined “to push the long-term community out and bring higher-paying residents into Museum Square. We need our elected officials to show some real leadership and find a solution that maintains this vital part of the cultural and social fabric of D.C.”

Jewler said the city “has the resources and power to do it.”

Bonds told us the city since 2008 has had a law on the books that would allow the government itself to step in and buy this type of housing to preserve its affordability. But seven years after the law was passed, she said, the rules and regulations required to implement the law have never been written.

■ Not so fast. There were many cheers — and even jeers — over the U.S. Supreme Court ruling approving same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. There has been a common thread among much of the reaction: The ruling came amazingly fast. The end game did come quickly as many courts over the past few years threw out bans on same-sex marriage.

But if you ask any gay person, gay activist or any person of goodwill, the fight was not fast.
Here in the District, the city was the sixth jurisdiction in the nation to legalize marriage equality. It passed the D.C. Council 11-2 and became legal in March 2010 after the required congressional review period ended.

The law in 2009 was proposed by then-at-large Council member David Catania, the first openly gay member of the council.

But kind of lost in the celebration was that marriage equality in the District was first proposed back in 1975 — nearly 35 years earlier. Arrington Dixon, still active in city issues today, was a member of the earliest elected D.C. Council. In proposing reforms and no-fault divorces, Dixon had included a provision to allow same-sex marriages.

As he told the Notebook this week, he was shouted down by city clergy and others. Philip Pannell, then an activist as he is today, testified on behalf of the Dixon law during a 1975 hearing on the bill.

But Dixon’s proposal went nowhere.

“At its heart, a city is its people,” Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance leader Rick Rosendall said in 2010 when marriage quality finally had passed in the District. The alliance was honoring activists for its 39th anniversary. “The people of Washington, by consistently electing a strongly pro-gay legislature, have given our nation its first majority-black jurisdiction to enact civil marriage equality,” he said then.

■ A final word. There was sad news of the death this week of Ron Linton. He was the feisty chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission from 2011 until this past January. Appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray, he helped lead (drag?) the taxi industry into the 21st century with credit card machines and a uniform color scheme that now lets local and out-of-town visitors all know what a cab looks like here.

Ron Linton was a good man with a hearty laugh and a big love for our city.

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

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump: "I Don't Think It Matters If I'm Nice"]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:17:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/donald-trump-univision-pone-fin-a-relacion-comercial.jpg

Donald Trump spoke in New Hampshire Tuesday night- just one day after getting dumped by NBC Universal and Univision due to his comments about Mexican immigrants.

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists," Trump said during his presidential run kick-off speech.

If you thought Trump would apologize for his comments at his first public appearance since the controversy at a pool-side reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, you'd be wrong. He brought research he said he had done to support his earlier statements.

"I mentioned the word 'rape.' I felt oh, maybe, you know, maybe there's never been a rape. Maybe there's never been a problem. Maybe there's never been a crime," Trump began. "To me, it's impossible to almost believe — 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States."

In addition, Trump stirred it up on the topics of Univision and NBC. He announced that he is suing Univision for $500 million for dropping the Miss Universe Pageant that Trump runs.

"What NBC and Univision did to these young women is disgraceful," he said.

Trump spoke for more than an hour, at one point defending himself against critics who say he's not nice.

"I don't think it matters if I'm nice or not, because I really believe this is going to be an election that's based on competence."

On the word that Trump weighs in at number two to Jeb Bush in the latest New Hampshire poll, Trump was stumped.

"It's hard to believe I'm second to Bush," Trump said. "Because Bush is not going to get us to the promised land, folks."

The Republican presidential candidate has made 14 stops in New Hampshire so far ahead of the 2016 primary. 

<![CDATA[Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Summer Jobs Program]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:56:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150629+Jobs.jpg

More than 15,000 young people started their first summer jobs in D.C. Monday as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s first summer jobs program.

The program is named after late Mayor Marion Barry, who started the summer jobs program in 1979.

Bowser offered advice to the young professionals at Enlightened, Inc., a consulting and IT company in D.C. She recounted her first job and explained the importance of the program in preparing the city’s youth for entry level jobs.

Summer jobs teach “how to get up on time, how to show up at work, how to dress appropriately. How to, you know, finish a task,” Bowser said.

Enlightened, Inc. CEO Antwayne Ford was a summer jobs student in 1980.

“I'm glad to see kids that are here because once we open the door, these kids are great. They just need opportunity,” Ford said.

Participants in the summer jobs program range in age from 14 to 24. They will be paid $5 to $9 per hour in the six-week program.

Participant Jacobi Glover is headed to Morehouse College in the fall. But he didn’t want to sit around all summer waiting for classes to start.

“That won’t prepare me for my future because I don't plan to hang out with my life. I plan to do meaningful stuff,” Glover said.

<![CDATA[Hogan Undergoes First Round of Chemotherapy]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:48:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-06-25_1710.jpg

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan underwent his first round of chemotherapy in the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

On his Facebook page, Hogan said he was feeling healthy and strong after his first 24 hours of chemo. He praised his medical team and thanked them for “taking great care of me.”


I'm happy to report that things could not be going any better. I just made it through the first 24 hours of chemo. I am...

Posted by Larry Hogan on Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hogan announced his illness at a press conference on June 22. At the time, he said tumors had spread through his abdomen and were pressing against his spinal column.

Hogan said he was diagnosed after finding a lump under his chin while shaving.

"They found 12 more of these things in my neck," he said.

He said he had "20 or 30" more tumors in his core and groin area, adding he has been having many tests and procedures and that his team of doctors is treating his case aggressively. The governor said his doctors have told him he has a good chance of beating the disease.

Hogan said he was “humbled, heartened and uplifted by the outpouring of the tens of thousands of prayers and well wishes from around the state” after the announcement of his diagnosis.

He said he plans to work as much as he is able, describing himself as a workaholic. He said Lieutenant Gov. Boyd Rutherford will step up "even more," as will his cabinet.

<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls on Gay Marriage Ruling]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:36:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-478464492_PRide.jpg

The presidential candidates’ reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage broke down predictably along party lines — with Democrats tweeting about love and equality and Republicans criticizing the justices.

Hillary Clinton’s reaction was short and colorful: “HISTORY” in the rainbow colors.

Clinton came out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013 after stepping down as secretary of state. When she ran for president in 2008, she opposed gay marriage.

Martin O’Malley praised the people of Maryland for leading the way on human dignity and equality.

He tweeted a photo of then 3-year-old Will Lewis-Benson laughing between his mothers, Amy Lewis and Tricia Benson on the day the Maryland House of Delegates approved same-sex marriage in 2012.

“There’s no greater human right than love," he said.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee congratulated the Supreme Court for a good ruling.

And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent running for the Democratic nomination, said the Supreme Court had fulfilled the words engraved on its building, "Equal justice under law."

"For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people," he said.

But Gov. Bobby Jindal accused the court of following opinion polls and trampling on states’ rights.

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he said in a statement.

He predicted the ruling would open the way for an assault on the religious rights of Christians who disagree with the decision.

“The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies,” he said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted the decision as judicial tyranny and vowed he would not acquiesce to an “imperial court.”

"The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity,” he wrote.

Like other conservatives, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania accused the Supreme Court of redefining marriage and said leaders do not accept bad decisions that they believe would harm the country.

"The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices," he wrote in a statement.

Now the public must respond, he said.

Carly Fiorina called the court an activist one that was ignoring its constitutional duty to say what the law was, not what it should be.

She said in a statement that although she was in favor of all Americans receiving equal benefits and rights from the government, she did not believe the court could or should redefine marriage.

“I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country,” she said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who might run but says he has not made up his mind, said when asked at a press conference that he agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts: This was not a decision for five lawyers.

Donald Trump wrote, referring to former President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, another  Republican presidential candidate: "Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down. Jeb pushed him hard! Remember!"

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who might run for the Republican nomination, told residents of his state that the government would not coerce them to act against their religious beliefs.

He called the decision a grave mistake.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was disappointed with the decision. Marriage laws should be left to the states, he said.

"Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written," he said in a statement.

Ben Carson wrote that he strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision, but that the ruling was now the law of the land. He said he supported same-sex civil unions but to him marriage was a religious service.

"I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected," he said in a statement. "The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs."

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believed that the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. But he also said he would respect the court's decision.

"Furthermore, given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress," he said.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that he believed in traditional marriage and thought that the justices should have left the decision to the states.

But he added, striking an inclusive tone, "I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the right to change marriage laws should lie with the people not the justices.

"This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years," he said.

The next president must make it a priority to nominate judges and justices who will apply the Constitution as written and originally understood, he said.

He also called for respecting those who disagree.

"A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court's decision today," he wrote. "In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Understanding the Supreme Court's ACA Ruling]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 18:52:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010955250_1200x675_471241283668.jpg NBC News Political Editor Carrie Dann speaks with Eun Yang about the importance of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act for the second time.]]> <![CDATA[Va. Leaders React to Same-Sex Marriage Ruling]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 19:19:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010974865_1200x675_472096323881.jpg Virginia lawmakers had mixed reactions to Friday's Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, explaining what it means for residents of the Commonwealth.]]> <![CDATA[Big-Name Governors May Face Difficulties in GOP Race]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:35:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010939497_1200x675_470591555670.jpg NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray says Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have trouble finding their footing in the race for the GOP nomination.]]> <![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: 'Oh, Say Can You See…’]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 05:55:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/South-Carolina-Confederate-Battle-Flag-23-June-2015.jpg

What do you see when you see the Confederate battle flag?

The lines pretty clearly are drawn between hate and heroism.

Hate has been winning.

That flag has been waved by white racists for decades in defiance of federal power and in the name of “states’ rights.” It’s been used to assail black and white civil rights proponents with fear, and it festoons far more vehicles than just a few pickup trucks here and there.

Against this high tide of intolerance, there are those who hold a more benign view of the flag, arguing that it has been co-opted, stolen or disfigured from its true meaning.

“There is no flag for the million Confederate soldiers other than this battle flag,” said Joe Whitney, an earnest and 30-year student of all that is the U.S. Civil War.

On Monday, we stood in Fairfax County on the sliver of land that commemorates the Battle of Ox Hill, a battle that followed Manassas and played a role in the Confederates giving up a plan to attack the U.S. Capitol.

The Union troops “put up a fight here and it dissuaded Robert E. Lee from trying to take D.C.,” Whitney said. When he sees the Confederate battle flag, he sees a flag that honors American soldiers even though they were on the losing side.

Those soldiers, some in their early teens, “fought bravely, left their homes and families to go and fight and die for what they believed in,” he said. And that is how Whitney and thousands of others see the Confederate battle flag: “To us, it’s not about a cause; it’s about honoring American soldiers.”

Whitney has spent more than 30 years re-enacting Civil War battles. He plays in Civil War-era bands. He’s been a technical adviser to films like “Glory,” “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.”

He’s made battle flags and he’s slept next to campfires more times than he can probably remember.

As we walked on hallowed ground where maybe the bones of soldiers from both sides lay buried, we asked if it bothered him that white supremacists have corrupted the flag he cherishes.

“Well, yeah, anybody can take any symbol,” said Whitney. “A symbol is a tool and a tool can be used for good or bad. They’re trying to make it something bad.”

Before Republican leaders of South Carolina announced that they now thought the Confederate flag should no longer fly at the state capitol, Whitney said it should have been lowered like the U.S. flag to honor the slain victims at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

The undercurrents and hate that prompted those horrific shootings obviously are more than the persistence of one flag. Maybe the place for that flag is a museum, not flying in disgrace or disputed honor. It’s part of American history. Let’s learn from that history.

■ Confederate symbols in our area. NBC4 pointed out this week that the Mississippi state flag is among those flying in Columbus Circle at Union Station. It uses the Confederate design. The Arkansas flag and other banners incorporate parts of the Confederate flag.

But the biggest Confederate flag can be seen along I-95 in Stafford County, Va.

The flag, measuring 30 feet by 20 feet, flies from a flagpole 90 feet tall. It’s on private property but is seen clearly from the interstate. Its supporters, a small group call Virginia Flaggers, told The Washington Post that the flag is not racist but honors Confederate soldiers.

■ “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The History Channel has posted some little-known history of the national anthem. During the Civil War, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was an anthem for Union troops. It was not until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating it as the official anthem for military ceremonies.

And it was not until 1931 that Congress passed a law officially designating it as the national anthem of the country.

■ The Frederick Douglass Bible. The Bible owned by Frederick Douglass is on display at the National Historic Site in Anacostia. It’ll be there until July 5. The Bible recently was used for the swearing in of Loretta Lynch as the nation’s first African-American female attorney general.

Washington’s own historic church, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, gave Douglass the Bible in 1889. It’s an Oxford University Press edition that has both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

According to the National Park Service which maintains the Douglass home called Cedar Hill, Douglass’ life has been “the source of inspiration and hope for millions.”

The address is 1411 W St. SE.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9 Things to Know About Md. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:21:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Boyd+Rutherford.jpg

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes, calling it "very advanced and very aggressive."

Hogan vowed to continue to work, but he also said Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will take on a greater work load.

"He's going to fill in more at the Board of Public Works," Hogan said. "He's going to have to fill in for me on some other meetings, as will our entire Cabinet. They're going to step up and do more things and fill in when I can't be there."

Hogan said Rutherford already has taken on a big role as lieutenant governor.

"Boyd has my back," Hogan said Monday. "There's no question about that."

Here are nine things you need to know about Lt. Gov. Rutherford:

  1. Rutherford and Governor Larry Hogan were friends before teaming up in Maryland. They both previously served as cabinet members under the Robert Ehrlich administration, according to Rutherford's website.
  2. The D.C. native graduated from Howard University with a degree in economics and political science.
  3. Rutherford also obtained a law degree and a master's degree in communications management from the University of Southern California. He practiced law as an attorney at Benton Potter and Murdock before getting involved with politics. 
  4. This is Rutherford's first time serving as an elected official. He was appointed to federal office twice by George W. Bush -- once as associate administrator for the U.S. General Services and again as assistant secretary for administration at the USDA, according to his website.
  5. If Gov. Hogan is unable to complete his term, Rutherford would take over under in accordance with the state's constitution, the Washington Post reports. Rutherford would become the first-ever black governor in Maryland and the fifth black governor in U.S. history, according to Reuters.
  6. Rutherford is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Howard County chapter of the NAACP, according to the Maryland state archives.
  7. Rutherford has led the effort to combat Maryland's growing heroin problem by assisting Gov. Hogan in creating a task force and orchestrating regional summits throughout the state.
  8. He also actively participated in the planting of a community garden in West Baltimore, one of the new renovations at the BIGGYS Community Center.
  9. Rutherford lives in Columbia, Maryland, with his wife, Monica, and their three children.

<![CDATA["Shocking News to Me": Gov. Hogan Has Cancer]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:51:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP365239982635_MdGov.jpg

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been diagnosed with an advanced, aggressive form of cancer, he announced Monday.

Hogan, 59, revealed during a press conference Monday he has B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, describing the diagnosis as "shocking news to me" but appearing determined to fight his illness. He was diagnosed just days ago, he said. 

"I won't just beat this disease, I will fight it and beat it and be a stronger governor when we get to the other side," he said.

Hogan's revelation came five months to the day after he was inaugurated as governor. He said he told his family the tough news on Father's Day, and was surrounded by them in Annapolis when he made his public announcement shortly after 4 p.m. Monday.

He said he has tumors that have spread through his abdomen and are pressing up against his spinal column.

"On a stage [of cancer], we're not quite sure yet," he said. "It's at least very advanced stage III, if not stage IV."

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the body's disease-fighting network, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Hogan said he was diagnosed after finding a lump under his chin while shaving. "They found 12 more of these things in my neck," he said.

He said he had "20 or 30" more tumors in his core and groin area, adding he has been having many tests and procedures and that his team of doctors are treating his case aggressively.

The governor says his doctors have told him he has a good chance of beating the disease and he will soon be taking time off to undergo aggressive chemotherapy due to the fast-growing nature of his cancer. 

"As far as the treatment, they want to be as aggressive as possible...." he said. "They’re going to put me in the hospital for four days and shoot me with intense chemotherapy in intensive care."

He also said he expects to lose his hair as a result.

"Most likely I'm going to lose my hair -- I won't have these beautiful gray locks," he said. "I may trim down a bit."

He said he didn't know how it started or how long he has had the illness.

"It just hit me in a very short period of time," he said.

Most treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma are done without long-term hospitalization, Dr. Catherine Broome of Medstar Georgetown University Hospital said.

"Aggressive lymphomas often respond very well and very quickly to the therapies that we prescribe," she said, describing drugs given intravenously once every three weeks on an outpatient basis.

The governor appeared nervous at the start of his his press conference, but seemed to become more upbeat and confident as he went on. He cracked jokes but said, "It's a tough time to go through."

Hogan said he plans to work as much as he is able, describing himself as a workaholic. He was greeted with laughter when he said that if he halved his work hours, he would still be working more than any other governor.

"I’m going to miss a few meetings but I’ll have every capacity to make decisions," Hogan said. He said Lieutenant Gov. Boyd Rutherford will step up "even more," as will his cabinet.

"The fact is, I'm just like the more than 70,000 people diagnosed with lymphoma every year who fight it, beat it and continue to do their jobs at the same time," Hogan said.

Hogan said he has energy and not much pain, but not much of an appetite, either.

"I've been feeling fine," he said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Raisin Program Unconstitutional: Supreme Court]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:06:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP060410025294raisins62215.jpg

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the government can't force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it's worth, a victory for conservative groups that hailed the decision as a win for private property rights.

The justices ruled 8-1 that a 1940s-era program born out of the Great Depression is unconstitutional because it allows federal officials to seize personal property from farmers without fully compensating them, even though the goal is to benefit farmers by stabilizing market prices.

The court sided with California farmers Marvin and Laura Horne, who claimed they were losing money under a program they called outdated and ineffective. They had been fined $695,000 for trying to get around it.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay "just compensation" when it takes personal goods, just as when it takes land away.

Roberts rejected the government's argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of growing different crops if they don't like it.

"'Let them sell wine' is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history," Roberts said. "Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated."

The case was considered one of the most important property disputes to reach the high court since 2005, when the justices ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could use the power of eminent domain to hand private homes or businesses to developers to help stimulate economic improvement. That case sparked a backlash in many states and led more than 40 state legislatures to pass laws protecting property rights.

By contrast, Monday's ruling in the raisin case was seen as a decisive win for property-rights advocates seeking to limit government power.

"The decision confirms what should be obvious: the government cannot come and take your personal property without compensation, whether raisins or other property, on the ground that the taking is for your own good," said J. David Breemer, attorney for the Pacific Law Foundation, a conservative group that backed the Hornes.

The program was authorized by a 1937 law that allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep prices for raisins and other crops steady by helping to manage supply. A 1949 marketing order allowed farmers to form aRaisin Administrative Committee that would decide how much of the raisin crop handlers must turn over to the government each year.

These raisins would be placed into a reserve pool to be sold outside the open market, used for the school lunch program or given away to charities and foreign governments. Any profits from these reserve sales would go toward funding the committee and anything left over went back to the farmers.

The Hornes refused to participate in 2003 and 2004, when raisin production far exceeded the expected demand. They tried to get around the regulations by packaging crops on their own instead of going through a middleman. But the department fined them for violating the rules.

Raisin handlers, who dry the grapes until they become raisins and then package them, were required to give up 47 percent of their crops in 2003 season, but received far less in return than their costs of production. Farmers gave up 30 percent of the crop in 2004 and were paid nothing.

Raisin prices have been relatively stable recently, and the committee has not ordered farmers to put crops in reserve since 2010.

Only a small number of other crops are regulated in the same way, though federal officials say most programs are not active. Those include California dried prunes, California dates, California almonds, tart cherries, walnuts and spearmint oil.

It was not immediately clear how the ruling might affect other USDA programs. The agency said officials were reviewing the ruling and had no immediate comment.

Roberts said the government could have restricted raisin sales by limiting production, which is how the vast majority of crops programs work.

In a separate opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer agreed that the Hornes were entitled to be properly paid for their crops, but he said the case should be sent back to a lower court to decide whether they would have been owed any money had they complied with the program.

Breyer's separate opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenter. She said the program did not deprive the Hornes of all property rights, it just limited the amount of potential income they could earn from it. 

<![CDATA[ Maine Sen. Angus King Diagnosed With Cancer ]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:15:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AngusKing1.jpg

Sen. Angus King of Maine said Monday he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery on Friday.

The 71-year-old independent said the cancer was discovered early, during a routine annual checkup. It has not spread and he said he expects to make a full recovery.

King says Maine residents should expect to see him back on the Senate floor within weeks and back on the campaign trail when he runs for re-election to a second term in 2018.

"I'm looking forward to a full recovery and to continuing my service in the Senate," King said. "And no, this does not my affect my intention to run for re-election, except my poor little prostate won't be along for the ride."

King also said that as a young man 40 years ago he was successfully treated for malignant melanoma. He said that outbreak and the prostate cancer are unrelated.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton and Sanders Top Candidates on Facebook]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 20:00:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Hilary-GettyImages-477234226.jpg

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders lead the pack of presidential candidates in early primary and caucus states — at least in terms of Facebook likes and interactions.

Discussion on the social network in Iowa, the first caucus state, and in South Carolina and New Hampshire -- early primary states -- over the last month has focused mostly on the two Democrats, according to data provided by Facebook.

The data runs from May 13 to June 13, and ends before Donald Trump entered the race. Facebook's data includes all mentions and doesn't discern between negative and positive mentions. 

In all three states, Hillary Clinton dominated interactions, which are composed of likes, shares, posts, and comments about the candidate. For example, 66,000 unique users in Iowa had 289,000 interactions about the former secretary of state.

Clinton came out as the clear frontrunner in South Carolina, and had 104,000 users making 460,000 interactions about her. The next closest candidate in the state was U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who garnered 132,000 interactions from 34,000 users. 

In Iowa and New Hampshire, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) paced closely with Clinton.

In New Hampshire -- a state that abuts Sanders' Vermont -- he enjoyed 123,000 discussions among 23,000 unique users compared with Clinton's 145,000 interactions among 32,000 unique users.

Rounding out the 18 candidates presented in the data were former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. Pataki had only had roughly 2,000 interactions across all three states, while O'Malley did slightly better, getting 5,000 interactions in New Hampshire and South Carolina and 3,000 interactions in Iowa.  

Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the number of users who interacted with Hillary Clinton on Facebook.

<![CDATA[Marc Maron Interviews Obama]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 10:14:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/presobamamarcmarongetty123456-horz.jpg

President Barack Obama visited with comedian Marc Maron in the garage of his Highland Park  home Friday at the end of a two-day visit to Southern California.

The host of "WTF With Marc Maron" announced in his Thursday podcast that the interview with Obama, who arrived in Los Angeles Thursday for a fundraising stop, will be available Monday. The visit with Maron marks the latest unconventional interview for the president, who discussed the Affordable Care Act with actor Zach Galifianakis on comedy talk show "Between Two Ferns" and also chatted with YouTube personality GloZell.

"We think this is an opportunity to have an extended candid conversation, not necessarily about news of the day items, but I think this is going to be much more about areas of the president's life that don't always get reported in the news," Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, told reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday en route to Los Angeles.

Secret Service personnel have been working with podcast producers to prepare for the president's visit to the historic neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, Maron said. The interview was expected to last about an hour.

"What am I doing in terms of planning? That's a good question," Maron said on Thursday's podcast. "I'm thinking about it. I'm spinning. I haven't done political talk radio in years, no desire to.

"He's an incredibly brilliant and interesting man with a life that I'm going to talk to him about."

Past guests have included comic actors Nick Kroll, Jen Kirkman, and Bob Odenkirk.

Obama will leave Southern California following the interview, bound for the San Francisco area, where he will speak at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The president is expected to return to Southern California on Saturday, spending the night in the Coachella Valley, where he usually plays golf when he visits. Temperatures in the Coachella Valley this weekend are expected to be in the 100s.

Obama spoke at a pair of DNC fundraisers Thursday. In the lone event open to the news media, Obama told supporters he hoped they would leave with the sense that completing "the unfinished business we've got... depends on you."

"If we want the change we believe in, then we're going to have to work harder than ever in our own communities and in our own places of worship and in our own workplaces and reflect those values and ideals and then push this society and ultimately push Congress in the direction of change," Obama told a crowd of approximately 250 at the home of filmmaker Tyler Perry near Beverly Hills.

Obama went on to call for "reforming our criminal justice system in a way that we are not incarcerating nonviolent offenders in ways that renders them incapable of getting a job" after they are released; "immigration reform" that would "bring millions of people out of the shadows"; increased spending on research and making college more affordable.

Tickets for the fundraiser were priced from $2,500 to attend a reception to $33,400, the maximum allowable donation to a national party committee, which included admission to the reception, where Obama spoke, and dinner and a photo with the president. Tickets for the dinner were priced at $20,000 per couple. The price to attend the reception and have a photo taken with Obama was $10,000, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service.

Obama earlier attended another DNC fundraiser -- at the Pacific Palisades home of television producer Chuck Lorre, which was closed to reporters. Approximately 30 supporters paid up to $33,400 to attend, according to the White House.

The visit was Obama's 22nd to Los Angeles and Orange counties as president.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newt Gingrich Takes on New Job: Tech Reviewer]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:38:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/gingrich14.jpg

Newt Gingrich's long resume just got longer.The former presidential candidate, House speaker and political consultant is now also a tech reviewer for Mashable.

His first post, a review of the Apple Watch, hit the site today, saying while there are some hiccups with the wearable gadget, it's a step in the right direction and fun for many people.

"At the moment, the Apple Watch seems best suited for busy people who need quick access to information on the go, those who want access to their schedules at a glance and anyone who likes being an early adopter of the newest technology," he wrote. "In many ways, the Apple Watch is like a beta product, but one promising a new direction, much like the first BlackBerrys and first iPhones." 

The idea to have him write for the site arose on Twitter two years ago, after Gingrich tweeted about virtual cars. A then-Mashable employee tweeted back, saying he wished the Republican would review the car for the site. 


While that review never happened, the prolific writer and technology fan later gave the site another reason to ask. In May 2015, he wrote a post for his own website about the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Mashable again took to Twitter to hint at the idea of him writing for the site.

With an excited response from Gingrich, a plan was set: he would be reviewing the Apple Watch. The 1,000-plus word review, which covered use of the watch during a cross-country flight and managing a busy schedule, got more than 1,000 shares within hours of hitting the Web. And the cub Mashable reporter seemed to be enjoying the job, too. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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