With the entrance of former Vice President Joe Biden into the 2020 Democratic presidential contest on Thursday, the field is largely set, with all the big names included.
The sprawling Democratic field features candidates ranging from 37 to 77 years old; liberals and moderates; senators, governors and mayors; and an unprecedented number of women and minorities. Democrats view the upcoming election as a must-win, and they’re looking to nominate someone who is their best hope to beat President Donald Trump.
Here are the 20 candidates:
Best known for: Being former President Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017 and U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009.
Biggest strength: He’s well-known nationally and popular in some places Democrats have lost recently, such as working-class swing states Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, his birthplace.
Biggest weakness: Biden would be the oldest person ever elected president, with a nearly five-decade record for opponents to comb through, at a time many in his party are clamoring for a new generation to take the reins. The notoriously chatty former senator also tends to commit verbal gaffes and faced recent accusations by some women of uninvited, though nonsexual, touching.
Best known for: Serving as mayor of Newark and, currently, U.S. senator from New Jersey. He made headlines last year during his self-proclaimed “‘I am Spartacus’ moment” as he flouted Senate rules against disclosing confidential documents during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation fight.
Biggest strength: His optimistic, unity-first attitude could resonate at a time of deep political divisions.
Biggest weakness: Trying to convince voters that he’s tough enough to take on Trump.
Best known for: Serving as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and being a former Naval intelligence officer.
Biggest strength: He’s won over voters and many skeptics with his intelligence and an articulate yet plain-spoken speaking style. He’s also shown an ability to inspire voters of different ages with a message of hope and “a new generation of leadership” and has been able to raise millions more than many of his Democratic rivals.
Biggest weakness: His youth and lack of political experience — his only public office has been leading the community of about 100,000 people — will give some voters pause. He also will need to ramp up his campaign operations and do more to appeal to minority voters in order to maintain his early momentum.
Best Known for: Serving as Health and Human Services secretary during President Barack Obama’s second term and as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, for five years.
Biggest strength: His youthfulness and status as the only Latino in the race could help him win the votes of Democrats looking for a new face of their party.
Biggest weakness: His fundraising lags well behind other contenders.
Best known for: Being a former congressman from Maryland.
Biggest strength: He has rolled out a rural-focus policy that includes proposals to strengthen family farmers and rural infrastructure, a plan that could play well in the battleground Rust Belt states won by Trump.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition.
Best known for: Serving as a U.S. representative for Hawaii; the first American Samoan and first Hindu to be elected to Congress.
Biggest strength: Her military service in Iraq and Kuwait with the Hawaii National Guard.
Biggest weakness: She has been criticized for traveling to Syria in 2017 to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been accused of war crimes and even genocide. She was also forced to apologize for her past work advocating against gay rights.
Best known for: The senator from New York is one of her chamber’s most vocal members on issues of sexual harassment, military sexual assault, equal pay for women and family leave.
Biggest strength: Not being afraid to defy her own party in the #MeToo era, calling early for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s resignation over sexual misconduct allegations and saying Bill Clinton should have voluntary left the presidency over an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.
Biggest weakness: Sluggish campaign fundraising in the wake of some unpleasant #MeToo headlines of her own, with Gillibrand acknowledging there were “post-investigation human errors” made when her Senate office investigated allegations of sexual misconduct against various staffers.
Best known for: The former California attorney general is now the junior U.S. senator from California, known for her rigorous questioning of Trump’s nominees.
Biggest strength: As the one black woman in the race, she’s able to tap into networks like historically black colleges and universities and her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority that haven’t been fully realized before.
Biggest weakness: Her prosecutorial record has come under scrutiny amid a push for criminal justice reform.
Best known for: Being a quirky brewpub owner who became a politician late in life, rising to governor of Colorado.
Biggest strength: An unorthodox political persona and successful electoral track record in a swing state. He’s one of the few governors in a race heavy with senators and D.C. stalwarts.
Biggest weakness: He’s previously joked that he was too centrist to win the Democratic nomination. As governor he disappointed some environmentalists by not regulating the energy industry more. He’s another white male baby boomer in a party filled with younger and more diverse candidates that better reflect its base.
Best known for: Being governor of Washington state and a former congressman.
Biggest strength: His campaign emphasis is on combating climate change, which he frames as an economic opportunity in addition to a moral imperative.
Biggest weakness: He risks being labeled a one-issue candidate.
Best known for: The three-term Minnesota senator raised her national profile during a Senate committee hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when she asked him whether he had ever had so much to drink that he didn’t remember what happened. He replied, “Have you?”
Biggest strength: She’s known as a pragmatic lawmaker willing to work with Republicans to get things done, a quality that’s helped her win across Minnesota, including in rural areas that supported Trump in 2016. She says her Midwestern sensibilities would help Democrats reclaim critical battlegrounds like Wisconsin and Michigan.
Biggest weakness: Her pragmatism may work against her in a primary, as Democratic voters increasingly embrace more liberal policies and positions. There have also been news reports that she has mistreated staff.
Best known for: Serving as the mayor of Miramar, Florida, and playing on the Florida State University Seminoles’ 1993 national championship football team.
Biggest strength: He touts his mayoral experience balancing government regulations needed to protect the environment while allowing room for companies to prosper.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition and funding.
Best known for: The Massachusetts congressman and Iraq War veteran gained national attention for helping lead an effort within the party to reject Nancy Pelosi as House speaker after Democrats regained control of the chamber.
Biggest strength: Military and congressional experience.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition, late start on the fundraising necessary to qualify for the summer debate stage.
Best known for: The former congressman narrowly lost the 2018 Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, the country’s largest conservative state.
Biggest strength: A do-it-yourself campaign style that packs lots of travel and multiple events into long days and encourages off-the-cuff discussions with voters that still allow O’Rourke to talk up his days as a onetime punk rock guitarist and his love for his home on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biggest weakness: He’s longer on enthusiasm and vague, bipartisan optimism than actual policy ideas, and the style-over-substance approach could see O’Rourke’s strong early fundraising slip once the curiosity begins to fade.
Best known for: The Ohio congressman made an unsuccessful bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in 2016.
Biggest strength: Ryan has touted himself as a candidate who can bridge Democrats’ progressive and working-class wings to win the White House.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition, late start on grassroots fundraising.
Best known for: A 2016 presidential primary campaign against Hillary Clinton that laid the groundwork for the leftward lurch that has dominated Democratic politics in the Trump era.
Biggest strength: The Vermont senator, who identifies himself as a democratic socialist, generated progressive energy that fueled his insurgent 2016 campaign and the best fundraising numbers of any Democrat so far.
Biggest weakness: Expanding his appeal beyond his largely white base of supporters.
Best known for: The California congressman is a frequent guest on cable news criticizing President Donald Trump.
Biggest strength: Media savvy and youthfulness could appeal to young voters.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition, late start on grassroots fundraising.
Best known for: The senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard University law professor whose calls for greater consumer protections led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under then-President Barack Obama.
Biggest strength: Warren has presented a plethora of progressive policy ideas, including eliminating existing student loan debt for millions of Americans, breaking up farming monopolies and mammoth technology firms, implementing a “wealth tax” on households with high net worth and providing universal child care.
Biggest weakness: She is viewed as one of the most liberal candidates in the Democratic field, which could hurt her chances among moderates. Her policy-heavy approach also risks alienating voters at a time when other candidates are appealing to hearts as much as to minds.
Best known for: Best-selling author and spiritual leader.
Biggest strength: Outsider who could draw interest from voters who are fans of her books.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition, little political experience.
Best known for: Entrepreneur who has generated buzz with his signature proposal for universal basic income to give every American $1,000 a month, no strings attached.
Biggest strength: Robust policy agenda, tech savvy.
Biggest weakness: Low name recognition, no political experience.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s access to the email list used by the Obama-Biden campaign in 2012 will come in handy during Biden’s expected presidential campaign, according to a new report.
According to the report, the Biden-aligned American Possibilities PAC sent out an email blast this week to people on the list. A Biden spokesman then told The Daily Beast the PAC was given the green light to use the list.
“It is a lane to compete for,” the 2012 campaign’s press secretary Ben LaBolt told The Daily Beast. “Talking about expanding upon strengthening healthcare, making the economy work for families regardless of their income level, returning to a government of dignity and normalcy, restoring alliances abroad, that would be an attractive message for a lot of voters.”
Former White House director of communications Jennifer Palmieri, meanwhile, said the list is just one piece of the equation.
Palmieri said the list is “certainly helpful. I don’t know if it is a golden ticket.”
Rumors about Biden running for president — which he has done unsuccessfully on two previous occasions — have swirled for months. He has also been accused of inappropriate conduct with women in public settings, for which he said he would be “much more mindful” about crossing into people’s personal space.
Source: NewsMax America
The White House is standing behind Federal Reserve Board of Governors pick Stephen Moore despite his past comments about women.
According to CNN, Economic Council director Larry Kudlow spoke with reporters Wednesday and conveyed the Trump administration’s belief that Moore is still a solid choice to serve on the fed.
“We continue to back Stephen Moore, continue to back him. He’s in the process of being vetted by the FBI and so forth, and if he gets through that, we will nominate him formally and then he’ll go to the Senate Banking Committee and they’ll vet him also,” Kudlow said.
Moore was found to have made remarks about women that questioned their ability to work as men’s college basketball referees or beer vendors at games, and also said female athletes do “inferior work” to men.
Moore pushed back and said the comments were a joke.
“This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor,” he told CNN.
On Wednesday, Kudlow acknowledged Moore’s explanation.
“He says it was a spoof. That’s what he’s told me — I do buy it,” Kudlow said. “I know him; he’s kind of a great sense of humor, wiseass kind of guy, what can I tell ya? I don’t think it’s germane. I don’t think he was making a statement. I think he was making a spoof. Our support is still there, still there.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
Former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore told The Wall Street Journal he would bow out as the president’s nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board if he becomes a liability for Republicans.
“I want to help make America the most prosperous place in the world,” Moore said Wednesday, adding, “I’m totally committed to it as long as the White House is totally committed to it.”
Since President Donald Trump announced Moore as his pick, several media outlets have reported on Moore’s old columns about women in sports.
CNN published an article quoting four columns Moore wrote in the early 2000s for National Review magazine, which included pithy jokes and commentary about banning female announcers and referees from NCAA basketball games and questioning why ESPN would ever air women’s basketball.
Moore earlier Wednesday accused journalists of pulling a Kavanaugh against me” in reference to sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process last year.
“It’s been one personal assault after another and a kind of character assassination, having nothing to do with economics,” Moore said during an interview with North Dakota radio station WZFG.
But he told the Journal he would back down “if something I said or something I’ve done becomes a political problem. … I don’t want to be a liability. Why should we risk a Senate seat for a Federal Reserve board person, you know? I mean that just doesn’t make any sense.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner responded to a comedian’s apparent taunt regarding an issue in Saudi Arabia by saying he is “privately” applying pressure on Saudi leadership over human rights issues.
The day after comedian Hasan Minhaj called out Kushner — who was seated in the back of the room — during a speech Tuesday night for having a direct line to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Kushner issued a response to Page Six.
Kushner told the outlet he is working on “advancing America’s interests in the region” and admitted he has spoken directly with Bin Salman about the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Minhaj’s comment was in reference to Loujain al-Hathloul, who along with other Saudi women have been detained for activism. Some of them have been beaten and tortured while in prison.
“I will continue to put pressure on privately,” Kushner said.
Kushner was then asked if Bin Salman would take action, to which he replied, “We’ll see.”
During a speech at the Time 100 Summit, Minhaj said, “I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if there was a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, ‘Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it.’ But, hey, that person would have to be in the room. It’s just a good comedy premise.”
It has been reported Kushner speaks with foreign leaders such as Bin Salman on WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned app on which users communicate via encrypted messages.
Source: NewsMax America
The U.S. Capitol building is seen through flowers in Washington, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
April 24, 2019
By Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stephen Moore, the economic commentator that U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will nominate to the Federal Reserve Board, is drawing new fire from top Democrats for his comments denigrating, among other targets, women and the Midwest.
But Republicans, whose 53 to 47 majority in the U.S. Senate gives them the final say on whether Moore’s pending nomination is confirmed, have not weighed in since news surfaced this week documenting Moore’s long history of sexist remarks, some of which he says were made jokingly.
As a Fed governor, Moore would have a say on setting interest rates for the world’s biggest economy. Some economists and Democratic lawmakers have questioned his competence, citing his support for tying policy decisions to commodity prices and his fluctuating views on rates. This week though, it is his comments about gender and geography that are drawing criticism.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability,” Moore wrote in one column in 2014.
In 2000, he opined that “women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work.” The New York Times among others has documented many other instances where he expressed similar viewpoints.
It’s just added evidence that Moore is unfit for the Fed job, vice chair of the joint economic committee Carolyn Maloney told Reuters.
“Those include his reckless tendency to politicize the Fed as well as his bizarre and sexist comments about women in sports that came to light this week,” she said.
Republicans, she said, “should also take note that Moore has said capitalism is more important than democracy. That’s a dangerous comment that further confirms my belief that Moore shouldn’t be allowed on the Fed Board.”
Maloney earlier this month sent a letter urging Republican Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown to oppose Moore’s nomination. Crapo and Brown are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate banking committee, which would be Moore’s first stop in any confirmation hearings.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, have also publicly criticized Moore as well as businessman Herman Cain, who withdrew his name from consideration for the Fed this week amid mounting objections. Cain said he stopped the process because he realized the job would mean a pay cut and would prevent him from pursuing his current business and speaking gigs.
The Senate banking panel’s 13 Republican members, contacted by Reuters about their views on Moore’s suitability for the Fed role after his derisive commentary about women came to light, all either did not respond or declined to comment.
But Brown on Wednesday blasted Moore for comments he made in 2014 calling cities in the Midwest, including Cincinnati, the “armpits of America.” Brown demanded an apology.
“It would be your job to carefully consider monetary and regulatory policies that support communities throughout the country — even those you apparently consider beneath you,” Brown wrote in a letter to Moore. “Based on your bias against communities across the heartland of our country, it’s clear that you lack the judgment to make important decisions in their best interest.”
On Wednesday, Moore told Reuters his earlier remarks on women were not in accord with his current views.
“I DO regret writing that column 17 years ago and it does not reflect my feelings today,” he said, referencing a column on his dim view of women’s participation in the game of basketball.
His views on the Midwest also had improved, now that Trump is in office.
“I’m writing a column about Ohio right now as a matter of fact. Trump is making Ohio great again. It’s a wonderful renaissance. Was just in Cleveland a few weeks ago and the vitality is back.”
(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Evangelical leader Franklin Graham on Wednesday chastised Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg for being gay, calling homosexuality a “sin” that the South Bend, Ind., mayor and war veteran ought to “repent.”
In a tweet, Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, called out the candidate, who is a newlywed, and whose candidacy has been surging in early polls.
“Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian,” Graham tweeted. “As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman — not two men, not two women.”
The tweet follows a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Tuesday during which Buttigieg said, “I get that one of the things about Scripture is different people see different things in it.”
“At the very least we should be able to establish that God does not have a political party,” he said.
“It can be challenging to be a person of faith who’s also part of the LGBTQ community and yet, to me, the core of faith is regard for one another,” Buttigieg added. “And part of God’s love is experienced, according to my faith tradition, is in the way that we support one another and, in particular, support the least among us.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
Shahzadi Rai, 29, a transgender woman and activist, poses during an interview with Reuters at her home in Karachi, Pakistan April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
April 24, 2019
By Syed Raza Hassan
KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Transgender people in Pakistan’s Sindh province will be able to serve as regular duty police officers, the police chief said, adding it was time to offer more opportunities to a group relegated to menial jobs in government.
After years of sometimes brutal persecution, transgender Pakistanis gained recognition in 2009 when the Supreme Court granted them special status with rights equal to other citizens.
While discrimination still persists, the move to allow transgender police recruits would be a significant step for the community, activists say.
“We will make them part of Sindh police,” Syed Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of the Sindh police told Reuters in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.
“They are good God-gifted people. Citizens like us. We should stand by them,” said Imam, who as a junior officer became aware of the discrimination against the community.
As in neighboring India and Bangladesh, transgender Pakistanis have faced widespread discrimination for decades. Many live in secluded communities, earning a living as dancers or forced into sex work or begging.
A 2017 census counted 10,418 transgender people in the country of 207 million, but rights group Charity Trans Action Pakistan estimates there are at least 500,000.
In a major step forward in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that transgender people could receive national identity cards as a “third sex” and in 2017, the government issued its first passport with a transgender category.
While some transgender people have achieved celebrity as news anchors or fashion models, entry into the police force would be a major development for the community.
“Police behavior and their complaint mechanism is not trans-friendly. I will try to make police trans-friendly and educate colleagues when I join the police,” said Shahzadi Rai, a 29-year-old transgender activist who hopes to join the force.
“When we go to lodge any report at the police station, their behavior and questions hurt us. They don’t ask questions about the case, but about our gender,” Rai said.
Zehrish Khan, a program manager at Gender Interactive Alliance, a transgender rights group, said the community had always sought inclusion and was now seeing the fruits of the 2009 Supreme Court ruling.
“If we are inducted into the police, we’ll show we can work harder compared to men and women,” Khan told Reuters.
It could be months before the first transgender police officers are hired, Imam said, but they will have the same opportunities as other recruits and perform regular duties in the field.
“We will give them space, facilitate them so that they can come into the mainstream,” the police chief said.
(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; editing by Darren Schuettler)
The United Nations emblem is seen in the U.N. General Assembly hall during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
April 23, 2019
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A U.S. threat to veto U.N. Security Council action on sexual violence in conflict was averted on Tuesday after a long-agreed phrase was removed because President Donald Trump’s administration sees it as code for abortion, diplomats said.
A German-drafted resolution was adopted after a reference to the need for U.N. bodies and donors to give timely “sexual and reproductive health” assistance to survivors of sexual violence was cut to appease the United States.
“It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict – and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant – should have the right to terminate their pregnancy,” French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told the 15-member body after the vote.
The language promoting sexual and reproductive health is long-agreed internationally, including in resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 2009 and 2013 and several resolutions adopted annually by the 193-member General Assembly.
The text adopted on Tuesday simply reaffirms the council’s commitment to the 2009 and 2013 resolutions. A reference to the work of the International Criminal Court in fighting the most serious crimes against women and girls was also watered-down to win over Washington, which is not a member of the institution.
Before the vote, acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen told the Security Council: “None of us can turn our backs on this issue.”
“It requires the engagement of all member states and of the United Nations to support the efforts of those fighting to protect women, provide accountability, and support survivors,” he said.
RUSSIA, CHINA ABSTAIN
Thirteen council members voted in favor of the resolution, while Russia and China abstained over a number of concerns – including a German push for expanded U.N. monitoring of sexual violence in conflict – and even circulated their own rival draft text, which they did not put to a vote.
“Please do not even try to paint us as opponents of the fight against sexual violence in conflict. Our stance on this issue remains firm and unyielding, this scourge has to be eliminated,” Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.
The council voted after hearing briefings from Nobel Peace Prize winners Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was held as a sex slave by Islamic State militants, and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, who treats rape victims; Libyan rights activist Inas Miloud and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.
“Dark clouds are hanging over the chamber of the Security Council,” South African U.N. Ambassador Jerry Matjila told reporters ahead of the vote, describing it as “a sad day.”
The U.S. threat to veto the Security Council resolution was the latest in a string of moves made by Washington at the United Nations that some U.N. diplomats say has been driven by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, a conservative Christian who staunchly opposes abortion rights.
Pence’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cohen did not speak after the council vote.
Washington cut its funding in 2017 for the U.N. Population Fund because it “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” The United Nations said that was an inaccurate perception.
In 2018 Washington unsuccessfully tried to remove language on sexual and reproductive health from several General Assembly resolutions, then failed in a similar campaign last month during the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meeting.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Susan Thomas)
Rescuers search a mine shaft at a mine where two women were found dead, near the village of Mitsero in Cyprus, April 21, 2019. Picture taken April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
April 22, 2019
ATHENS (Reuters) – Police in Cyprus are probing the actions of a possible serial killer after two women were found murdered and dumped in a mine shaft and a third, a six-year-old child, is still missing.
The victims were discovered in the space of a week at an abandoned mine about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) west of the capital Nicosia.
One has been identified as a 39-year-old woman from the Philippines who disappeared in May, 2018 along with her six-year-old daughter.
A second victim, found late on Saturday, is thought to be a 28-year-old from the Philippines who was also reported missing last year, though has not been definitively identified.
A 35-year-old career officer with the Cypriot army is in custody on suspicion of killing all three.
“This is a form of crime unprecedented for the norms of Cyprus. It’s premature to assess the extent of this crime,” police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou told reporters.
There was an intensive search at the mine shaft, which is submerged in water, and at a reservoir in the area on Monday morning.
Both women had worked in Cyprus, which has a sizeable Filipino population.
In court hearings, police said the army officer was suspected of having approached the women on an online dating site.
Campaigners say police ignored fears expressed for their safety when they went missing last year. One campaigner, Louis Koutroukides, said police questioned his motives and suggested the 39-year-old and her child may have moved to the north of the divided island.
“If they believed me when I went to the police things would have turned out differently,” he told state TV.
Chrysostomou said police had “every intention” of investigating any perceived shortcomings and would assign responsibility where due.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas, editing by Ed Osmond)