<![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 Fri, 27 Nov 2015 08:57:03 -0500 Fri, 27 Nov 2015 08:57:03 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ben Carson to Visit Syrian Refugees in Jordan]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 01:18:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Carson-AP_843823648598.jpg

Ben Carson will visit Syrian refugees in Jordan on Friday, campaign officials said Thursday.

Officials confirmed the trip on Thursday night, after the New York Times first reported that the Republican presidential candidate plans to visit a refugee camp in northern Jordan.

"I find when you have firsthand knowledge of things as opposed to secondhand, it makes a much stronger impression," Carson told the Times before his departure.

A recent poll shows support for Carson in Iowa has dropped 10 points since October, when he stood in first place.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Slammed After He Appears to Mock Disabled Reporter]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:59:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_608044254548.jpg

Donald Trump has come under fire again. The New York Times has slammed the Republican presidential candidate after he appeared to mock a reporter with a congenital joint condition that limits movement in his arms, NBC News reported. 

Addressing a rally in South Carolina on Tuesday, Trump defended his widely discredited claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered as the World Trade Center came down on Sept. 11, 2001. He then appeared to impersonate reporter Serge Kovaleski, one of the authors of a 2001 article in The Washington Post that Trump has used to support his claim.

"Now, the poor guy — you ought to see the guy: 'Uh, I don't know what I said. I don't remember,'" Trump said, as he appeared to imitate Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis.

Kovaleski told MSNBC on Monday that he did "not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating." 

"We think it's outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters," a spokesman for The Times told NBC News. Kovaleski is currently an investigative reporter for The Times.

Trump's presidential campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Spotlight on Ben Carson]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:20:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: GOP candidates gather for another forum, Obama heads to Asia for APEC meeting, Congress returns to work for four days and Andy gives a dramatic reading.

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<![CDATA[Trump Says He Can Predict Terrorism Via 'Feel']]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 00:19:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpSC-AP_314879649945.jpg

Business deals aren’t the only thing Donald Trump says he’s good at executing. The Republican front-runner told South Carolina voters he can also predict foreign policy trends and events, NBC News reported.

"The other thing I predicted is terrorism," he told the crowd before elaborating on a longer story of a friend who told him the same. "A friend of mind called me and said 'Forget that, you're the first guy that really predicted terrorism.'"

Trump said his prediction of terrorism was documented in this 2000 book “The America We Deserve.”

He's also been touting his idea of bombing Iraqi oilfields and his stance on waterboarding.

He was joined in South Carolina by wife, Melania, and children, Ivanka, Tiffany and Baron.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign Watchdogs: TV Ads Supporting Rubio Are Illegal]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 10:34:08 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_527388600115-Rubio.jpg

Campaign-finance watchdogs say an outside group promoting Republican Marco Rubio's presidential campaign is breaking the law. 

Conservative Solution Project, an independent group, is behind $85 million in TV ads supporting Rubio. Unlike a Super PAC, Conservative Solutions Project doesn't have to disclose its donors because it exists as a tax-exempt social welfare group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. 

But watchdog groups like Campaign Legal Center argue that these ads are illegal because they are benefiting an individual presidential candidate instead of advancing the general social welfare of society.

The groups requested that the Justice Department launches an investigation into Conservative Solutions Project. And while Conservative Solution Project officials claim that they are "not about any one specific elected official or candidate," Rubio is the only 2016 presidential candidate featured in any of the organization's TV ads that have aired in the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as on national cable.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Ready to Rumble?]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:39:57 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: GOP candidates gather for another debate, Obama to meet with Israeli PM Netanyahu, Obama presents another Medal of Honor and Kathryn probes the Pyramids!

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<![CDATA[NJ Residents Outraged by Trump's False Remark on 9/11 'Cheering']]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:55:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_21212478014.jpg

Donald Trump's recent claim that "thousands and thousands of people were cheering" in Jersey City when the twin towers came down on 9/11 is drawing the ire of Muslim residents there. 

Trump made the remarks in Alabama Saturday, saying, "I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down." 

Hamed Elshanawany, president of the Hudson County Islamic Council in Jersey City, said it never happened. 

"If anybody has any proof this happened in the community, is right but no proof at all," he said. 

Trump also tweeted Monday a passage from a Washington Post article posted a few days after 9/11 about Jersey City police detaining people allegedly seen celebrating. 

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop disputed the account.

"There is no record of anything he said, so we would hope going forward he would be more responsible," he told NBC 4 New York. 

The state's biggest newspaper, The Star-Ledger, said it doesn't have any proof that happened.

Even when he was reminded that police said it didn't happen during an interview on ABC Sunday, Trump doubled down on his remarks. 

"It did happen, I saw it," he said. "It was on television. I saw it."

Egyptian-born teacher Nabil Youssef said, "It is insulting, it is hurtful and it makes us not feel like a real American."

Youssef said he ran to help victims on 9/11, donating blood to the Red Cross. 

Trump is sticking by his comments but that may energize Muslims, said Ahmed Shedeed of the Islamic Center of Jersey City.

"He'll get a lot of Muslims upset, a lot of Muslims now going to go out and vote," he said. 

NBC News' political blog First Read dissects more of the recent false statements made by Trump recently in a post titled: "Donald Trump, the post-truth 2016 candidate.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Claims 'World's Greatest Memory']]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:42:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpColumbus-AP_568871122955.jpg

Donald Trump isn’t backing down from comments he made about “thousands and thousands” of U.S. Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, after the Twin Towers came down on 9/11, according to NBC News.

The Republican front-runner even told NBC News in a phone call that he has “the world’s greatest memory.” During the phone call, he offered reassurances that he had seen video of celebrations on television and “all over the internet.”

The comments come as a new poll shows Trump soaring in weekend polls, with a double-digit lead over rival, Ben Carson.

Trump took center stage in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, where he spoke to a crowd about rival Governor John Kasich and about his stance on national security.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Will Ohio Approve Pot?]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:53:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: Legalized marijuana is on the Ohio ballot, Native Americans gather at the White House, Trump.

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<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: GOP and Hillary Square Off Over Benghazi ]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:40:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: Hillary Clinton heads to the Hill to face Benghazi inquiry, new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll is released, Pakistan's Prime Minister Sharif meets Obama -- and Andy has some debate ideas, too.

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<![CDATA[Christie's 'Security Incident']]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 19:33:25 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Christie+Airport.jpg

Presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was involved in a security incident on board a flight from San Francisco to Boston on Friday morning, according to a spokesperson for Christie's campaign.

Campaign staff confirmed that the presidential candidate was on a United Airlines flight when a passenger was removed before takeoff.

According to San Francisco police, the flight crew on board United Flight 1108 was alerted about a passenger taking cellphone photos of the crew. The crew asked the passenger to delete the photos, which he did, police said.

A second passenger saw a picture on the man's phone that showed a second cellphone, which appeared to be rigged with wires, according to police. The second passenger informed the flight crew of the photo, and the man with the cellphone was removed from the plane.

All passengers and luggage were re-screened, including the hand-wipe test for explosive residue, police said.

San Francisco police detained the passenger and ran a background check on him with the help of the FBI. According to police, the man has no criminal history.

All other passengers were allowed to board the flight, which took off around 1 p.m. The man who was held for questioning boarded another flight to Boston.

"United Airlines flight 1108 departed at 1:59 p.m. PST, just over five hours late, following a delay that resulted from a passenger not complying with crew member instructions," United Airlines said in a statement. "We will be reaching out to our customers individually to apologize."

A Christie spokesperson said the passenger did not interact with the governor or threaten him in any way. The governor had been in California for a fundraising event.

"Governor Christie, an aide and a member of his security detail were traveling on a United flight from San Fransisco to Boston this morning when a passenger was removed from the plane before takeoff at the request of United Airlines," Christie's campaign said in a statement Friday afternoon. "At no point did Governor Christie interact with this passenger nor did this passenger pose a verbal or physical threat to the Governor. Any other inquiries about this matter should be directed to United Airlines."

There is no word on why the passenger was removed.

Christie was expected to land in Boston later Friday night. He will be in New Hampshire for campaign events Saturday and Sunday. Click here to see our interactive tracker for candidates' visits to the Granite State.

Photo Credit: @MoizSyed/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Candidates Pan Trump's Call for Muslim Database]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:32:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_102485184838.jpg

Republican presidential candidates swiftly condemned Donald Trump's call for requiring Muslims in the United States to register in a national database, drawing a sharp distinction Friday with the GOP front-runner.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Trump's proposal "abhorrent." Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Trump was trying to "divide people." And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has largely avoided criticizing Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, said that while he was a fan of the billionaire businessman, "I'm not a fan of government registries of American citizens."

"The First Amendment protects religious liberty, and I've spent the past several decades defending the religious liberty of every American," Cruz told reporters in Sioux City, Iowa.

The rebuke followed Trump's call Thursday for a mandatory database to track Muslims in the U.S. In a video posted on MSNBC.com, Trump was asked whether Muslims would be required to register. He replied, "They have to be."

On Friday, Trump said on Twitter that he didn't suggest creating such a database but instead was answering a question from a reporter about the idea. However, he did not disavow the prospect of a database on social media or at an event Friday morning.

Civil liberties experts said a database for Muslims would be unconstitutional on several counts, while the libertarian Cato Institute's Ilya Shapiro said the idea also violates basic privacy and liberty rights.

Marci Hamilton, a Yeshiva University legal expert on religious liberty, said requiring Muslims to register appears to be a clear violation of the Constitution's protection of religious freedom.

"What the First Amendment does and what it should do is drive the government to use neutral criteria," Hamilton said. "You can use neutral criteria to identify terrorists. What it can't do is engage in one-religion bashing. That won't fly in any court."

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League in New York called Trump's proposal "deeply troubling and reminiscent of darker days in American history when others were singled out for scapegoating."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned as "Islamophobic" comments from both Trump and fellow GOP candidate Ben Carson, who on Thursday compared blocking potential terrorists posing as Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. to handling a rabid dog.

"If there's a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog," Carson told in Alabama. "It doesn't mean you hate all dogs, but you're putting your intellect into motion."

Said CAIR's Robert McCaw said in a statement, "Donald Trump and Ben Carson are contributing to an already toxic environment that may be difficult to correct once their political ambitions have been satisfied."

In New Hampshire on Friday, Carson said the U.S. should have a database on "every foreigner who comes into this country," but he rejected the idea of tracking U.S. citizens based on their religion.

"One of the hallmarks of America is that we treat everybody the same," he said. "If we're just going to pick out a particular group of people based on their religion, based on their race, based on some other thing, that's setting a pretty dangerous precedent."

The controversy followed the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility, elevating fears of attacks in the U.S. and prompting calls for new restrictions on refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton took to Twitter Friday and challenged all Republican candidates to disavow Trump's comments. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called Trump's words "outrageous and bigoted."

"This is shocking rhetoric," Clinton wrote. "It should be denounced by all seeking to lead this country."

Several did just that.

"You're talking about internment, you're talking about closing mosques, you're talking about registering people, and that's just wrong," Bush said Friday on CNBC.

A spokesman for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the candidate "does not support databases based on one's religion."

Kasich, the Ohio governor, said requiring people to register with the federal government because of their religion "strikes against all that we have believed in our nation's history." Kasich had faced criticism following the Paris shooting for saying he would set up an agency with a mandate to promote what he called "Judeo-Christian values" overseas to counter Islamist propaganda.

Trump spoke Thursday a few hours after the House passed legislation essentially barring Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the United States. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has slotted the bill for possible Senate consideration, though it's unclear whether the chamber could get enough votes to override a veto by President Barack Obama, who opposes the measure.

The unified pushback against Trump was rare. Republicans have vacillated in their handling of other inflammatory comments from him, wary of alienating his supporters but also increasingly concerned that he's managed to maintain his grip on the GOP race deep into the fall.

The first reference to a database for Muslims came in Trump's interview with Yahoo News published Thursday in which the billionaire real estate mogul did not reject the idea of requiring Muslims to register in a database or giving them special identification cards noting their religion.

"We're going to have to look at a lot of things very closely," Trump told Yahoo News.

According to Yahoo, he also suggested he would consider warrantless searches, saying, "We're going to have to do things that we never did before."

Asked by reporters Thursday night to explain his Yahoo comments, Trump suggested his response had been misconstrued. "I never responded to that question," he said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Save the Date, It's a Democratic Debate]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:40:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: The first Democratic debate is in Vegas. Will Rep. Ryan go for Speaker? South Korea's Park to meet with Obama in D.C., and look who drove McCarthy out!

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<![CDATA[Trump Fires Back At Pro-Kasich Group ]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 06:55:58 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_21212478014.jpg

Donald Trump and John Kasich ended up in a Twitter fight Thursday after a super PAC backing the Ohio governor was launching an ad blitz against the billionaire Republican candidate, NBC News reported.

Pro-Kasich New Day for America PAC is planning to air radio, TV, mail and online ads in New Hampshire, where Trump has a wide lead.

The line of attack is one that hasn't yet been tried on Trump: Arguing he's inexperienced and unsuited for the demands of the White House. According to Politico, the group's first ad invokes the Paris attacks and ties Trump to President Obama, declaring, "On-the-job training for president does not work." The ads are sure to be hard-hitting since the man behind them, Fred Davis, is known for effective political spots.

Trump unleaded a dozen tweets dismissing Kasich because of his standing in the polls.

Trump’s general counsel also threatened to sue the Kasich campaign and New Day over the ads.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Senate Holds Hearing on Syrian Refugee Crisis]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 18:24:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/159977439.jpg

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are held a hearing Thursday on the impact ISIS is having on the homeland and refugee resettlement.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Knocks Obama, Media]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:41:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Donald+Trump+Worcester+111815.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rallied Wednesday in front of thousands of supporters and a small handful of protesters Wednesday in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Among his targets at the DCU Center were President Obama, the media, his Republican and Democratic opponents in the 2016 race, John Kerry, ISIS, undocumented immigrants and the protesters who interrupted him in three separate instances.

One man interrupted Trump while he spoke of how many Americans are unemployed, in poverty and on food stamps.

"It's amazing. I mentioned food stamps and that guy that's seriously overweight went crazy. He went crazy," Trump said after the person was removed. "That's an amazing sight."

Security was very tight at the event, as Trump now has Secret Service. After each outburst, those partaking were promptly and forcibly removed.      

But the great majority of those at the event were wildly enthusiastic supporters.

"I'll be honest with you, I'm petrified right now," said Nancie Zecco of neighboring Holden. "We need somebody like him in office."

One of the people removed from the event was shouting, "Trump's a racist!"

A Hispanic attendee said he disagrees with the accusation of racism and supports Trump on immigration.

"What they need to do is do things the right way," Roberto Rivera of Hartford, Connecticut, said. "Everyone wants to be here - best country in the world. But we need to do it legally."

Trump said that the media would overblow the small number of protesters in comparison to what he called more than 12,000 attendees.

"We had three little protests," he said. "And the press will say 'protests at Trump!'"

Additionally, the candidate insinuated that the media was responsible for glorifying those responsible for the terror attacks in Paris.

"The press plays right into their hands! The press is calling the leader of the pack in Paris a mastermind. So all these kids are sitting home, even in New York and in California and in Massachusetts - 'Ah, the mastermind,'" said Trump. "He's not a mastermind, he's a low-life. This is just a low-life guy."

Trump said members of ISIS are not smart, but are using the Internet as a recruitment tool effectively.

"We have to take back the Internet! There's so many things that we have to do. We have a president that doesn't have a clue," he said. "Obama has been a disaster."

The candidate criticized Obama and Kerry for the Iran deal, saying if he were negotiating, he would have done a better job.

As for his fellow presidential candidates, Trump notably took aim at Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders - even construing the latter's stance in favor of environmental reform as a lack of concern over terrorism.

"According to Bernie, the Paris attacks were caused by global warming," he stated.

With his own stance on ISIS, though, Trump easily drew applause.

"We gotta knock the [expletive] out of these people," he exclaimed.

Another ovation came when Trump said he'd put some focus on taking care of veterans.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Trump's National Security Plan]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:06:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: Donald Trump unveils his national security plan on a battleship, the second GOP debate takes place, Hillary hits The Tonight Show and Andy updates the 2016 campaign.

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<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Shutdown Showdown?]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:40:10 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: Will Congress keep the doors open? Hillary and Carly tangle with Chuck on Meet the Press, a new NBC/WSJ Poll and a "throwback" look at the Pope.

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<![CDATA[Compare Presidential Candidates on the Issues]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 09:09:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/candidates-grid.jpg


New England Cable News reached out to each presidential campaign for its position on select issues. Candidate positions from official campaign websites were used for the campaigns that didn't respond; those cases have been indicated in the graphic. 

Note: Some of the responses have been edited for clarity and length. 

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<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: President Xi Goes to Washington]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:08:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: China's President Xi makes an official state visit, The Pope arrives in Washington, Fiorina in the spotlight and Andy updates the 2016 race.

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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Pulling the Plug, But Not So Fast!]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 05:54:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+Mayor+Muriel+Bowser+GettyImages-492469062.jpg

Mayor Muriel Bowser has pulled the plug on FreshPAC.

The ill-fated “independent” political action committee is still being denounced as wrong-headed, foolish and politically damaging to Bowser’s reform image. Even many of her allies privately bemoaned the gambit.

But pivoting from FreshPAC is not the end of the story.

Bowser supporters and appointees created both the PAC and the controversy with hard-edged fundraising among people with city contracts.

And there still are serious unanswered questions about FreshPAC’s creation, how it sought contributions, and from whom.

Many think no question is bigger than this: Did FreshPAC aggressively seek big cash contributions from Pepco and Exelon even as their proposed $6 billion merger hung in the balance and as Bowser was negotiating a revised deal she could support before the Public Service Commission?

Astonishingly, FreshPAC, Pepco and Exelon so far have each publicly and bluntly refused to comment on whether a big ask was made.

It’s relevant because the Public Service Commission is even now in the midst of reconsidering the power company merger that will have lasting effects on tens of thousands of customers. Perhaps the groups opposing the merger — or the commission itself — will inquire in upcoming public hearings.

All three entities — FreshPAC, Pepco and Exelon — have issued statements saying that no money was given to FreshPAC, but they all skirt the issue of who, if anyone, put the arm on the companies to contribute. Sources who have declined to be identified so they can speak freely about FreshPAC have told your Notebook that Pepco and Exelon rightly — and to their credit — declined to give money to FreshPAC, saying it was inappropriate at the time.

The Notebook takes no side on whether the Pepco-Exelon merger is a good deal or not for District citizens, but public disclosure of the process ought to be clearer than it stands right now.

Did FreshPAC seek to benefit financially from two vulnerable power companies?

Did FreshPAC influence the merger deal even as Bowser was negotiating revised terms?

Who, if anyone, representing FreshPAC made the requests? What did they say to Pepco and Exelon executives?

Mayor Bowser first told NBC4 before leaving for China that she was unaware of any such solicitation.

Last Friday, in her long-distance news conference call from China, she told NBC4’s Mark Segraves that she still doesn’t know if a solicitation was made, but she added that she wouldn’t approve of such a solicitation if it were. She declined to comment on whether the three parties should disclose any interaction.

Here’s the exchange:

NBC4’s Segraves: “Would you instruct your supporters at FreshPAC to answer that question [about donations]? And secondly, [Washington Post columnist] Colby King said [FreshPac] was arrogant and stupid. What do you think this does to your image as a reform mayor?”

Mayor Bowser: “Well, I think that everybody should recognize that the supporters of, the leaders of FreshPAC made a hard pivot away from it. And they recognize the level of criticism despite the fact that it was operating completely transparently and aboveboard, and recognize that any distraction from the important work we have to do was not, was not something that I would support.

“As it relates to the questions about Exelon or Pepco, I’m not aware of anybody reaching out to them or soliciting anything from them, nor would I approve of it if I knew about it. And so, that is not something that I think that the PAC should have been involved in and I don’t know that the PAC was involved.”

Associates of the mayor say the news conference call from China was intended to both promote the positive aspects of the city business trip — a good thing — but also maybe to dampen the media attention she’d receive upon her return.

The mayor said in that Friday news conference that FreshPAC had been “operating completely transparently and aboveboard.” It may take a few more answers before that assertion is verified.

King, the veteran observer of city politics for The Post, says the pay-to-play nature of FreshPAC demands more answers. Writing in his Saturday column, he asked, “Any interest, D.C. inspector general, D.C. attorney general or D.C. ethics board? Or does the U.S. attorney have to do the job for the city?”

King also noted that opponents of the merger are screaming that Pepco suddenly came up with a $25 million donation for fuzzy naming rights to the city’s new soccer stadium project just as the mayor was involving herself in the merger.

In a telephone call last week, Bowser strongly defended her ethics, saying nothing in her political career suggests she would do something unethical or illegal. The Notebook notes that no one has made a specific charge that Bowser herself has done something improper. Most all of the questions go to the people surrounding the PAC, what they knew and what they did.

King, who wrote a previous column asking “who will save” Bowser from her development-oriented friends, noted that opponents of the soccer-Pepco deal have asked the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to look into Pepco’s sponsorship agreement.

And he wrote, “Bowser wittingly decided to get behind the creation of a richly funded political vehicle launched to reward friends and punish enemies, in the finest tradition of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. That is likely to be an issue that will bleed into next year, and in ways that Bowser and her political crew never expected.”

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

<![CDATA[The Week Ahead: Budget Deadline and Iran Treaty Await Congress]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:09:24 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141205+The+Week+Ahead.jpg

The Week Ahead with Andy Gross: Congress returns from break to face a budget deadline and the Iran Nuclear Deal, Biden-Mania continues and Kathryn has a plan for America.

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<![CDATA[Critics Want FreshPAC Investigated Over Pepco/Exelon Merger]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 21:31:10 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000012659622_1200x675_568834115859.jpg Critics are calling for a formal investigation into FreshPAC, the controversial fundraising group supporting D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, over the Pepco/Exelon merger.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Lays Out New Plan for Refugees, Including 'Safe Zone']]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 01:37:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpKnoxville-AP_141770555656.jpg

Donald Trump laid out a new plan for Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks, NBC News reported.

The Republican presidential candidate addressed a crowd of nearly 10,000 people at the Knoxville Convention Center, saying he would build a safe zone for refugees who, he said, want to go home after the crisis is over anyway.

"In Syria, take a big swatch of land, which believe me, you get for the right price, okay? You take a big swatch and you don't destroy all of Europe."

Trump said the migrants would be happier because they won’t have to learn the languages where they would move and because they wouldn’t have to get used to new climates or weather patterns.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Alabama Gov. Seeks to Bar Refugees After French Attack]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 02:15:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bentley-AP_644774718264.jpg

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declared in a statement Sunday night he will not allow Syrian refugees to enter his state under Washington’s refugee assistance rules following the Paris attacks, NBC News reported.

"I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way," he said.

Bentley didn’t indicate how he planned to stop Syrian refugees from entering Alabama. One of the State Department’s refugee processing centers is in Mobile.

His statements come after Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security advisor, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the attacks wouldn’t change the country’s policy on relocating refugees from war-torn Syria.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also said his state will stop efforts to accept Syrian refugees.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Clinton Clarifies Remarks on Fight Against ISIS]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 03:58:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ClintonIowa-AP_156391297688.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the United States has to lead the global fight against ISIS, but can’t and shouldn’t do it alone, NBC News reported.

During a campaign stop on Sunday, she stressed the fight against “radical jihadism” is a top priority.

With former President Bill Clinton at her side, she clarified remarks she made during the second Democratic debate, in which she said “it cannot be an American fight” and that she didn’t think the U.S. had the “bulk of the responsibility.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jeb Bush: 'We Should Declare War' on ISIS]]> Sun, 15 Nov 2015 11:56:09 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jeb-Bush-AP_986935916788.jpg

Two days after terrorists killed 129 people and wounded 352 others in a bloodbath in Paris, U.S. presidential candidate Jeb Bush told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd "we should declare war" on ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the massacre.

"You destroy ISIS and then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace-loving," Bush said on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Bush, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said ISIS "is not something you can contain."

"Each day that ISIS exists, it gains more energy and recruits around the world," he explained. "We should declare war and harness all the power that the United States can bring to bear — both diplomatic and military, of course — to be able to take out ISIS. We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven't show the will."

When asked how he would like to see President Barack Obama respond to the attacks, Bush said the president should declare a no-fly zone over Syria, arm Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Iraq, "reengage" with Sunni leaders and "garner support" from the United States' European allies.

"Lead. That's what I want him to do. Lead," Bush said.

Multiple terrorists carried out coordinated attacks Friday at six locations in Paris, authorities said.

Assailants opened fire at multiple restaurants in the city's 10th and 11th arrondissements, while suicide bombers detonated explosive vests outside the national stadium, where a soccer match was underway. Others gunned down at least 89 people at a music venue where concert-goers had gathered to see a California-based rock band.

Paris' prosecutor said Saturday seven assailants died in the attacks, which French president Francois Hollande has called an "act of war" that warrants a "merciless response."

Photo Credit: AP/File
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