TIME 2016 Election

Obama Political Guru Secretly Advised Hillary Clinton on 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the keynote address at the Dreamforce convention Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in San Francisco.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the keynote address at the Dreamforce convention Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in San Francisco. Ben Margot—AP

Much of the President's team is already backing Clinton for 2016

A longtime top political adviser to President Barack Obama secretly met with Hillary Clinton recently to offer up his advice for how to avoid another presidential campaign loss if she runs again in 2016, according to a new report.

Politico, citing unnamed sources, reports that David Plouffe, the architect of Obama’s 2008 defeat of Clinton, met with the former Secretary of State in September. Clinton is widely expected to run again, and much of Obama’s political brain trust is already backing her. Plouffe reportedly advised Clinton to make better use of advanced data analytics, define a coherent rationale for her candidacy and stick to a defined message throughout a campaign.

The report details Republican efforts to develop a strategy to block Clinton from winning the White House in 2016—efforts that have yet to yield a clear answer.

“Everybody’s looking for a silver bullet, but in the absence of that we’re finding a lot of lead,” GOP strategist Michael Goldfarb said.

Read more at Politico

TIME relationships

Men Swipe Right on Tinder 3 Times as Much as Women

App Tinder
Franziska Kraufmann—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

More "likes" than "nopes"

Men apparently see much more that they like on Tinder than women do.

On the popular dating app, which has users swipe right to indicate they “like” a potential match and swipe left to say “nope,” men are almost three times as likely to swipe right than women are, the New York Times reports. Men do it 46% of the time, while women do it just 14% of the time.

MORE: The new dating game

The Times, citing an unnamed source, reports that Tinder now has close to 50 million active users. Co-founder and CEO Sean Rad touted its more realistic appeal to physical attraction over the algorithms that other dating sites say yield compatible matches, algorithms viewed skeptically by social scientists.

“When was the last time you walked into a bar and someone said, ‘Excuse me, can you fill out this form and we’ll match you up with people here?’” Rad said. “That’s not how we think about meeting new people in real life.”

[NYT]

TIME celebrities

Here’s Jesse Williams Venting About Ferguson and Trayvon Martin Halloween Costumes

Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013.
Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013. Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images

"We don't reflexively celebrate random or routine white death, make memes of your bleeding corpses"

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams went on a Twitter tirade this week about the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and about people who dress up for Halloween as Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teen who was shot dead.

Here’s just a few of his tweets, some of which were sent in response to the recent release of an autopsy report that seemed to give some weight to the police version of events in the Ferguson shooting, which sparked weeks of sometimes violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

Read more at Essence

TIME movies

Watch Lloyd and Harry Hit the Road in an Exclusive Scene from Dumb and Dumber To

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play a rather lewd game

Lloyd and Harry are back on the road, and they’re still driving their traveling buddy crazy.

An exclusive clip of the upcoming Dumb and Dumber sequel, premiering today on TIME, shows our hapless heroes, played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, driving in a car with Rob Riggle (of Daily Show fame) — and, spoiler alert, they’re playing a game about farts.

The game of “He Who Smelt It” is all quite complex with a “complicated” scoring system, but in the end, Riggle spots the big hole in the game.

There’s only a one-in-a-million chance you’ll ever play this game yourself. So yes, we’re telling you there’s a chance.

See the clip above. Dumb and Dumber To hits theaters on Nov. 14.

TIME 2014 Election

Voters Say Events in U.S. ‘Out of Control’

Poll finds anxiety on a range of issues, from Ebola to health care costs

Call it the Freakout Election.

Two-thirds of likely voters in the most competitive states and congressional districts in the midterm election fight think events in the U.S. are “out of control,” according to a new poll. The survey by Politico found widespread anxiety about the Ebola outbreak, terrorism, health care costs and President Barack Obama’s leadership. Only 36% think the U.S. is “in a good position to meet its economic and national security” challenges.

The poll underscores how both Obama’s low approval ratings and a general sense of disarray are weighing down Democrats just weeks before voters go to the polls to decide which party will control the Senate. A majority of voters, 54%, either strongly disapprove or somewhat disapprove of Obama’s job performance.

Read more at Politico

TIME Television

Everything You Need to Know About the Simpsons-Family Guy Crossover

The cartoon crossover returns Sunday night

Homer Simpson, meet Peter Griffin.

That’s right — this Sunday night will bring another entry in a time-honored (if often lowbrow) tradition of American television: the cartoon crossover. When the 13th season of Family Guy premieres on Fox, it will do so in the form of a one-hour “Smashtacular” crossover with The Simpsons, an episode titled simply, “The Simpsons Guy.”

This episode has everything fans are likely to expect, from self-referential humor to a fight between the two shows’ oafish patriarchs. When Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly confirmed the air date a few months back, he boasted that “generations of fans will be talking about this one.”

That’s a little over-ambitious (sort of like Homer trying to spell the word “smart”), especially since, as any self-respecting Simpsons purist knows, the show that redefined animated TV hasn’t actually been good for well over a decade. Still, the wall-to-wall marathon on FXX of every Simpsons episode ever gave even fans who moved on long ago an excuse to rekindle their love of the once-great show.

Family Guy took the same never-aging, family-of-five (not counting Brian Griffin) cartoon-sitcom format and infused it with a raunchiness and unparalleled use of random-cutaway humor. So an unholy mix of both shows means more than enough reason to watch Sunday night.

Before you tune in at 9 p.m. E.T., here’s everything you need to know about the crossover to end all crossovers.

Sure, I’ll bite. What’s the premise?

Based on the trailers Fox has released and the morsels of information the show’s producers have doled out to a hungry fan base, we know that the Griffins of Family Guy fame are forced to leave their Rhode Island town of Quahog and find themselves in the Simpson family’s hometown of Springfield, State Unknown. After the relatively more normal-looking Peter Griffin observes that the yellowish characters of Springfield look “like they have hepatitis,” they strike up a relationship with the Simpson family.

Sounds promising. Tell me more!

Well, Homer and Peter bond over their love of donuts, Marge Simpson and Lois Griffin connect over their slothful husbands, and Bart Simpson and little Stewie Griffin find common cause in their taste for trouble. “It’s really about the character interaction,” Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane recently told Entertainment Weekly. “People want to see Peter interact with Homer. They want to see Bart interact with Stewie. In a way, the story in a crossover episode, while it has to be there, is never quite as important as how the characters interact with each other.”

Will there be playful cartoon violence?

Indeed, there will be. The highlight of the official trailer shows Peter offering up Homer his hometown beer, Pawtucket Patriot Ale. Homer tries it, disses it as a rip-off of his favorite beer Duff, and a bit of clever self-reference about both shows — always something each show has done well — and their shared lineage ensues.

Homer: “It’s just a lousy rip off!”

Peter: “Hey whoa,whoa, whoa, it’s not a rip-off of Duff! It may have been inspired by Duff, but I, I like to think it goes in a different direction.”

Long story short, it comes to blows — scroll to the 2:11-mark of the trailer at top to see it. Hey, at least Peter isn’t fighting a chicken this time.

What else should I know?

Well, there’s already some controversy over a rape joke depicted in the trailer. Stewie, witnessing Bart’s penchant for crank-calling Moe’s Tavern, wants to give it a try himself. But he goes, well, in a slightly different route when Moe picks up the phone: “Hello, Moe? Your sister’s being raped!”

That joke has drawn headlines, especially at a moment of heightened awareness of sexual violence. Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, told CBS News that he wrote to Fox, MacFarlane and Simpsons creator Matt Groening to try to get the joke taken out of the episode but got no response. “I was blown out of my shoes when I saw the scene with the rape joke in it,” Winter said. “It really troubled me.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, MacFarlane both anticipated and dismissed the criticism. “But in context it’s pretty funny,” he said.

Scroll to the 48-second mark in the trailer to see the controversial moment.

Sounds like pretty standard fare for Family Guy.

Right you are, and in fact, one could find more explicit sexual violence in a strange on-screen promo appeared during a different Family Guy episode. Watch it below.

Any promising cameos?

Not that we know of, unless you’re into a show called Bob’s Burgers.

Wasn’t there a Simpsons crossover before?

Yes, and since it came before the show’s downward slide, it was quite good. It featured Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz) of the short-lived Fox show The Critic.

Thanks for all this, but I think I’ll just stick with the first nine seasons of The Simpsons.

You can’t be faulted for bad taste — it is, after all, the height of American TV comedy. Test your knowledge with this quiz and enjoy the video below.

TIME White House

Obama Falls to Bush-Level Approval Ratings

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama walks out of the Oval Office towards the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Aug. 29, 2014. Charles Dharapak—AP

Troubling sign as midterm elections loom

Americans’ approval of President Barack Obama has dropped to a new low rivaling even the unpopularity that saddled George W. Bush at the same point of his presidency, according to a new poll, a troublesome sign for Democrats just weeks before the midterm elections.

The New York Times/CBS News survey released Wednesday showed that 50% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while 40% approve. By comparison, in September of 2006 56% of Americans disapproved of Bush’s job performance. Obama gets worse marks on handling the economy and foreign policy, signaling that the sluggish economic recovery hasn’t won Obama any political points and that the renewed U.S. fight against Islamist militants in Iraq is weighing down his party.

After Bush had similarly poor approval ratings in 2006, Democrats enjoyed a wave election that gave them control of Congress for the first time in over a decade. And the poll points to a promising midterm election cycle for Republicans. The GOP bests Democrats when voters are asked which party’s congressional candidate they would vote for in their district—a so-called “generic ballot” measurement that Democrats typically need to win by large margins in order to avoid losing seats. Voters trust Republicans more to handle the economy, foreign policy and terrorism, according to the poll.

The survey of 1,009 Americans, conducted Sept. 12-15, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. See the full poll results here.

 

TIME Foreign Policy

Senate Democrat Wants Bill Allowing Anti-ISIS Strikes in Syria

Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Rising Sea Levels At Miami Beach City Hall
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) speaks as he chairs a hearing entitled, "Leading the Way: Adapting to South Florida's Changing Coastline." by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommittee on Science and Space at Miami Beach's City Hall on April 22, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

After the apparent beheading of a second American journalist by ISIS

A Democratic senator said Tuesday that he’ll introduce legislation to give President Barack Obama “clear authority” to order U.S. airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said he’ll file the legislation when Congress returns from recess next week. It wasn’t immediately clear if Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would introduce the measure as stand-alone legislation or as part of a larger defense spending bill. He previewed the legislative move the same day that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) released a video purportedly showing the beheading death of American journalist Steven Sotloff—footage that, if authenticated, would be the second such video showing the group executing an American journalist in as many weeks.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the President has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson said in a statement. “Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

ISIS has for months been mounting attacks and capturing territory across Iraq and along the Iraq-Syria border. American airstrikes have slowed and in some cases reversed the group’s progress in Iraq, but ISIS has continued to wreak havoc in Syria.

TIME Foreign Policy

U.S. Weighs Military Action Against ISIS in Syria

"If you come after Americans, we’re going to come after you wherever you are"

The U.S. is open to the possibility of military action against Islamist militants in Syria, a top Obama Administration official said Friday, warning that the U.S. will “do what is necessary to protect Americans.”

“We’ve made very clear time and again that if you come after Americans, we’re going to come after you wherever you are,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters. “And that’s what’s going to guide our planning in the days to come.”

President Barack Obama has resisted pressure from both outside and inside his Administration to take a more muscular approach in Syria, where a bloody civil war has claimed 191,000 lives in recent years, according to a new U.N. estimate Friday. But the emergence of the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which released a graphic video on Tuesday depicting the beheading of American journalist James Foley, has raised the stakes — and has seemingly made American officials, already engaged in targeted military action in Iraq, more willing to consider doing so on the other side of the border.

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that any strategy against ISIS would have to include action against militants in Syria, and Rhodes didn’t disagree with that assertion Friday.

“Well, we certainly agree that any strategy to deal with the [ISIS] organization has to deal with both sides of the border, Iraq and Syria,” Rhodes said. “The strategy that we are already undertaking does address that in the sense that we are providing training and equipping and assistance to the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish security forces who are fighting them on the ground in Iraq.

“We are also providing support and military assistance to the moderate Syrian opposition,” he added. “What we would like to see is those efforts squeeze the space where [ISIS] operates.”

Rhodes cautioned that no decisions have been made.

“I don’t want to get ahead of decisions the President hasn’t been presented with, specific military options outside of those carrying out the current missions in Iraq,” he said. “But we would certainly look at what is necessary in the long term to make sure we’re protecting Americans.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Is Going Back to Iowa

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) to launch a community campaign to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their young children in Oakland, Calif., July 23, 2014.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) to launch a community campaign to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their young children in Oakland, Calif., July 23, 2014. AP

A visit to a key caucus state as she mulls 2016 White House run

Hillary Clinton will travel to Iowa in September for a high-profile political gathering, according to reports Monday, her first public appearance in the key caucus state in six years, and one that will be widely seen as an attempt to begin courting voters there ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid.

Both Clinton, the former Secretary of State, and former President Bill Clinton will appear at the Annual Harkin Steak Fry, the Des Moines Register reports, a must-visit for presidential hopefuls that is hosted by longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

Harkin is retiring from the Senate this year, and he promised in a recent note to supporters that this year’s Steak Fry, the 37th one and his last, “just might promise to be the best ever.”

The event will mark Clinton’s first public return to Iowa, which holds the country’s first nominating caucuses, since she suffered a critical loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama in their 2008 fight. Clinton placed third that year behind Obama and John Edwards, after her campaign proved indecisive about how hard to campaign for caucus voters who often reward grassroots organizing over big events and TV ads. As the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run again, Clinton could be sending an early signal that she won’t write off Iowa.

“I couldn’t be happier than to share this special day with two such close friends,” Harkin told the Register of the Clintons. “They have contributed so much good, inspiring leadership to this country, and I know they will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

[Des Moines Register]

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