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  • The Gingriches’ guide to surviving a presidential campaign

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    As the wife of a former presidential candidate, Callista Gingrich has some advice for the spouses of 2016 presidential hopefuls.

    “Focus on the positive, try not to let the negativity get you down, because you really have to keep your [attention] on those issues that are most important to the future of this country. And some days that's a challenge,” Gingrich said. “But just be open-minded and appreciate the moment.”

    Gingrich, who is out with a new children’s book, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” said that part of staying positive means steering clear of reading the news if you’re the subject of the report. “Probably avoid that,” she told “The Fine Print” in a joint interview with her husband, Newt Gingrich.

    But don’t expect the Gingriches to put their advice to personal use again come 2016: He’s not running. They said their days on the frontlines of a presidential campaign are in the past.

    “We had an opportunity, and I think we worked very hard,” Callista Gingrich said. “There is a new crop of candidates, and we will help as much as we can and be involved in the process.”

    The problem for Clinton, Gingrich predicted, will be the same one she had in 2008.

  • Capitol Hill's Craigslist: Meet the man who helps D.C.’s unemployed find jobs after election losses

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    For every member of Congress who lost his or her job in the midterm elections, there are multiple Capitol Hill staffers also out of work.

    And that’s where Tom Manatos comes in.

    The former Democratic aide learned first-hand how hard it can be to find work after a new party comes to power. He now makes it his business to help other unemployed workers get back on their feet. His web-based D.C. jobs board, Tom Manatos Jobs, is known among Washington's ambitious as the place to find jobs in the halls of power. In the last month alone, since the midterm elections, Manatos has gained nearly 100 new clients freshly out of work.

    “Especially when, at the end of a campaign cycle, people have lost their job, I think you have a camp of people who are proactively looking before just in case their boss lost, and a camp of people who are so loyal to their boss that they didn't even want to start looking,” Manatos told “The Fine Print.” “And you've got to help these people walk through the next steps in their career. It's where do you want to be in two to five years and what next job is going to get you there.”

  • The spy who infiltrated Congress: Meet Rep.-Elect Will Hurd

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    As a CIA undercover officer, Will Hurd made it his business to go unnoticed. But as a newly-elected member of Congress, this spy has thoroughly blown his former cover.

    On his first trip to Washington since being elected, the Texas Republican – the first black Republican elected from that state since Reconstruction – told “The Fine Print” how his years working in the CIA inspired him to come out of the shadows and into the political spotlight.

    “One of the other things I had to do was brief members of Congress, and when I was in the agency I was shocked by the caliber of some of our elected officials and decided to do something about it,” Hurd said. “My mamma said, ‘You're either part of the problem or part of the solution,’ and so I decided to run.”

    What shocked Hurd most, he said, was that many members didn’t even know the basic difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims while the U.S. was engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Hurd hopes to put his background in intelligence and national security to good use on Capitol Hill, noting that “of the 435 members up here, nobody has my background in intelligence, national security or foreign policy.”

  • 'American Idol' star Clay Aiken sings a different tune in bid for Congress

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    More than a decade after Clay Aiken made his singing debut on the stage of “American Idol,” he is taking to the political stage, competing for a very different sort of title: U.S. Congressman.

    Running as a Democrat in North Carolina’s 2nd District, Aiken is making the case to voters that his voice is good for more than just singing.

    “What people don't recognize is that in the months and weeks following 'American Idol,' I worked to set up an organization for kids with disabilities, and for the last 11 years I've helped grow that organization from one that had programs in North Carolina to one that has programs in states across the country,” Aiken told “The Fine Print.”

    In an effort to get voters to focus on him as a candidate rather than a singer, Aiken has put a stop on the singing – at least for now – as he travels across in his native North Carolina, where he faces an uphill battle as a Democrat running in a conservative district.

    “The Colbert Report” aside, Aiken has made a few exceptions to his ban on campaign trail singing.

    And though Aiken said he didn’t “go Hollywood,” he believes Ellmers has gone Washington.

  • Ted Cruz calls for ISIS shutdown: 'We ought to...take them out'

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    With foreign policy suddenly on the front burner of domestic politics, Sen. Ted Cruz said it “increases my interest” in changing the direction of the country and running for the White House.

    “Foreign policy has risen to the forefront, because it is clear that what we are doing isn’t working,” Cruz told “The Fine Print” during an interview in New Hampshire. “And I do think the American people in November 2014 and also November 2016 are going to be looking for leaders who want to work to restore America’s leadership in the world.”

    Cruz stopped short of saying he will definitely seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but is elevating his criticism of President Obama and his strategy for the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

    “So far, the president has not demonstrated that he’s taking ISIS seriously,” Cruz said.

    While Cruz said he believes ISIS is in a vulnerable position at the moment, he said the opportunity to put the group into retreat is being squandered by the Obama administration.

    Despite his call for a tougher approach to ISIS, Cruz said the White House should not take major military action without congressional approval.

  • Can the lone black Republican in Congress fix the GOP's diversity problem?

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

  • Ready for Warren? Well, even if you are, the Democratic senator says she’s not

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    Are you ready for Warren? That’s the question supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren are asking with the recent formation of a Ready for Warren Super PAC, which is taking a page from Ready for Hillary in laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign should the Massachusetts Democrat decide to run in 2016. Though many of her fans are cheering “Run, Liz, Run,” Warren is putting the brakes on such enthusiasm. “I am not running,” Warren told “The Fine Print” when asked if she’s mulling the idea of a presidential bid. It's the same answer she always gives -- in the present tense. She doesn't rule out whether she would ever run.

    ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, Imtiyaz Delawala, John Bullard, Gale Marcus and Jake Lefferman contributed to this episode.

  • The Texas two-step: Bipartisan duo from Lone Star State takes lead to fix border crisis

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    A bipartisan duo of lawmakers from the Lone Star State have joined forces to present a Texas-style solution to the nation’s border crisis.

    Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, have introduced legislation aimed at easing what’s been called a humanitarian crisis caused by a wave of unaccompanied Central American children who have flowed into the United States across the Mexican border.

    “The cartels, the transnational criminal organizations that smuggle people from Central America into the United States, have figured out this loophole in a 2008 law, which dealt with human trafficking,” Cornyn told “The Fine Print” in an interview.

    “This is part of their business model, exploiting this,” Cornyn continued. “So, what we would do is we would treat children that come from Central America the same … as we do now from children that come in from Mexico.”

    The pair’s new bill, known as the Humane Act, would speed up the process by which the undocumented children currently stuck in legal limbo in the United States would have their cases heard by a judge. Cuellar noted that there are currently 375,000 such children waiting for a judicial hearing.  

  • Has the establishment won the GOP’s civil war?

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    No one has fired up Republicans more than one person: President Obama.

    But with his political spotlight gradually starting to fade as he inevitably slides into the role of second-term lame duck in the White House, will Obama be as much of a motivating factor for Republican voters this fall as he's been in recent elections?

    "For voters more in the middle, I am concerned that he may be becoming almost irrelevant," Steven Law, president of the leading Republican super PAC, American Crossroads, said in an interview with "The Fine Print."

    Four months before the midterm elections, with Republicans within reach of winning control of the Senate, that's one of the questions on Law's mind: Is stopping Obama as urgent for Republicans as it was in 2010, when the GOP won back the House?

    In the ongoing turmoil between the competing wings of the Republican Party, Law has been one of the GOP establishment’s secret weapons. He has played a leading role in funneling financial support from major party donors to help boost candidates who bear the establishment’s stamp of approval.

  • Wounded warrior Rep. Duckworth “appalled” by Iraq’s spiral into violence

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    The Fine Print

    Rep. Tammy Duckworth is no stranger to realities of the Iraq war. She lives with the consequences every day, as a veteran who lost both legs when the National Guard helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq.

    And as President Obama prepares to send up to 300 Special Forces troops to advise the Iraqi military in its effort to combat the militant Islamist group ISIS, the Illinois Democrat said she is “disheartened.”

    “I'm pretty appalled that the Iraqi military just abandoned their post after all of the time that American forces invested in training them…in both training but also arming them and equipping them,” Duckworth told “The Fine Print.”

    “This is also a tragedy for the American people with all of the resources we put into that nation, as well as all the men and women who served in uniform there,” she added.

    While proud of her military service, Duckworth said she didn’t agree with the United States decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003 and doesn’t support the prospect of recommitting military resources today – whether it is in the form of boots on the ground or even more limited air strikes.