TIME 2016 Election

Ohio Governor Kasich Flirts With Presidential Run in New Hampshire

John Kasich
Jim Cole—AP In this March 24, 2015, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio speaks at a Politics and Eggs Breakfast with state political activist and area business leaders hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H.

“Don’t commit too soon," he told local Republicans

Ohio Governor John Kasich took his presidential flirtations to a new level Saturday, asking New Hampshire Republicans to keep their powder dry as he decides whether to run.

“Think about me, would ya,” he said at the party’s first in the nation conference. “Don’t commit too soon.”

Buoyed by a growing economy in Ohio, Kasich has been floating a presidential run for more than a year in GOP circles, but has done little to expand his profile nationally or in Iowa and New Hampshire. In an 18-minute address followed by a brief question-and-answer session, Kasich, a former House budget chairman, set about trying to change that, educating a roomful of GOP voters about his record in Washington and Columbus.

“Foreign policy experience, actual success in Washington…changing Ohio and having people say, ‘pretty good guy, not perfect, pretty good guy,”’ Kasich said. “Whether I run for president or not, I want you to think about this, because Ohio is a microcosm of America.”

Kasich said he has yet to make up his mind whether to run. “I’m trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to do with my life,” he said. “If I feel this is my call, I will come back again and again and again—and in the meantime I’m not going to change my message.”

“My only goal and my only purpose is to build a stronger situation for the people that I serve,” he said. “And that’s why I wanted to come here”

Known for a do-it-his-own-way approach to governance, Kasich tried to curb the power of public sector unions, but expanded Medicaid. In Congress, he fought to balance the budget—and has embraced the cause of passing a national balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He won re-election in 2014 by an overwhelming margin against a scandal-plagued Democratic opponent.

Kasich joked about his failed 2000 run for president, when he withdrew before the first votes were cast, saying he couldn’t hold town halls because voters wouldn’t show up.

Kasich’s remarks avoided the criticism of Democrats or his Republican opponents that has become a staple of GOP stump speeches. Instead, he said he wanted to lay out a conservative vision for the nation.

“You know, I’m a fighter,” Kasich said. “I could fight with the best of ‘em. I could come in here and spend this whole speech blasting Barack Obama, and all this other stuff, but that’s not what I wanted to do.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

How Hillary Clinton is Trying to Win Over Liberal Critics  

Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event at the Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, on Apr. 14, 2015.
Michael B. Thomas—AFP/Getty Images Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event at the Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, on Apr. 14, 2015.

If you can't defeat them, entreat them

During her first bid for president, Hillary Clinton was attacked for supporting the Iraq War and being too cozy with Wall Street. She flew in a helicopter between events in Iowa and mostly appeared at massive rallies, where her distance from voters was in plain sight.

And in June 2008, the nomination went to then-Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate viewed by many Democrats as more liberal and populist.

As she began her second campaign for the Democratic nomination, there are signs that Clinton will not let the same mistake happen twice. Rather than beginning with a big speech, Clinton embarked on a low-key road trip to Iowa, where she met voters in intimate groups and hit all the notes in the populist songbook.

She criticized Wall Street and called for reducing the influence of money in politics. She endorsed expanded pre-kindergarten programs, expansive immigration reform and gay rights, and she decried income inequality and economic barriers to everyday Americans.

“There is something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses, or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here,” Clinton said in Monticello, Iowa, on Tuesday. “We have to figure out in this country how to get back on the right track.”

Clinton’s rhetoric signals a leftward turn for the 67-year-old candidate. Rather than run her campaign as an experienced moderate, as she did eight years ago, Clinton is flexing her liberal credentials and reaching out to the Democratic Party’s restive progressive base.

She is also protecting her left flank. Clinton is already being questioned by potential opponents and progressive groups who hope Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would run for president. By appealing to progressives, she hopes to snuff out a spark of opposition before it can catch fire.

“If she doesn’t move to the left and really convince us she’s going to be a little more progressive, she cannot win the caucus in Iowa,” Democratic Party chair of Cedar County, Larry Hodgden said last week before Clinton’s inaugural campaign tour.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has emerged as one of the most vocal likely opponents to Clinton, traveling extensively in Iowa and New Hampshire with a not-so-subtle message for Democrats in those states: I’m the true progressive.

MORE: Hillary Clinton begins Campaign Her Way in Iowa

O’Malley criticized Clinton’s recent shifts on immigration and gay marriage at an appearance Thursday at Harvard University.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” said O’Malley. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.”

Meanwhile, Clinton plans to hire a former federal financial regulatory with a record of strong oversight, Gary Gensler, as the chief financial officer of her campaign, Bloomberg reported yesterday. And this week she brought on three policy advisors this week, including Maya Harris of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

She said week she supports a proposal by President Obama for free community college tuition, and said she would be in favor of a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform.

If Clinton’s aim in her first week was win over liberal groups, she appears to have a good start.

“In the first 100 hours of her campaign, we’ve seen many positive steps in an economic populist direction from Hillary Clinton,” said the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a supporter of Sen. Warren, in a statement. “We hope these rhetorical steps are soon backed up by big, bold, populist policy specifics.”

Small Iowa groups that will be important in the caucus are taking Clinton seriously as well. Sue Dinsdale, director of the Iowa Citizen Action Network, a progressive political group based in Des Moines, said she appreciated Clinton’s progressive approach.

“It’s a juxtaposition with her past, but we all have a past,” Dinsdale said. “I think she is genuine.”

“I’m glad to see her taking progressive views on things,” she said.

Clinton has yet to announce firm positions on a number of platforms, something she plans to do in the coming months as her campaign gathers momentum. Her likely challengers, including O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have already articulated their views on several progressive issues.

MORE: Could This Man Beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa?

On Thursday, O’Malley reiterated his platform: reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banks; regulate Wall Street; and implement campaign finance reform.

He also aligned himself with labor groups in denouncing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and voiced support for a $15-minimum wage.

“Free markets, by themselves, do not create the generational wealth of great nations,” O’Malley said. “Rational, hard-working, patriotic and caring human beings do.”

Clinton has staked out some positions already. Last year, she said in an interview with NPR she supports gay marriage activism on a “state-by-state” basis; this week, her campaign said that Clinton hopes the Supreme Court will grant same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry — a decision that would play out at the federal level.

And in 2007, Clinton said she opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to own drivers licenses; this week, her campaign announced she supports it.

O’Malley, who touts his support for gay marriage and immigration reform as governor, criticized Clinton for changing her views. He’s also criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade deal that President Obama and congressional Republicans support but labor unions oppose.

“We must stop entering into bad trade deals—bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—that hurt middle class wages and ship middle class jobs overseas,” he said.

On Friday, the Clinton campaign said in a statement to the New York Times she would not reject a trade deal that would “raise wages and create more good jobs at home.”

MORE: Chelsea Clinton Gets Ready to Take the Stage

TIME White House

President Obama on Loretta Lynch Delay: ‘This is Embarrassing’

Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder
Susan Walsh—AP The top U.S. prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, Lynch was one of the few names on President Obama’s short list without close ties to the White House. If confirmed, she would be the first ­female African-American Attorney General.

"It's gone too far," Obama said Friday. "Enough."

President Obama got impatient as he expressed his disappointment with Senate Republicans’ delay of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.

“It’s gone too far,” Obama said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “Enough. Enough.”

Obama blasted the Senate’s “dysfunction” in failing to confirm Lynch, who is set to become the first black female Attorney General in the nation’s history. A career prosecutor from New York, Lynch has now waited twice as long for her confirmation as the last seven attorney general nominees combined.

Though Lynch received bipartisan support following her confirmation hearings earlier this year, the Senate has failed to bring a vote on her new position. In recent weeks, Senate Republicans have delayed a vote over an unrelated fight on abortion provisions in a bill aimed at providing aid to survivors of human trafficking.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid threatened to force a vote on the Lynch nomination.

On Friday, the President said he was outraged. “Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Let her do her job,” Obama said. “This is embarrassing, a process like this.”

TIME jeb bush

Jeb Bush: No Regrets on Terri Schiavo

Governor Bush attends the Concord City Republican Committee’s “Politics and Pies” series  at the Concord Snowshoe Club.
Brooks Kraft—Corbis for TIME Jeb Bush speaks at the Concord City Republican Committee’s “Politics and Pies” series at the Concord Snowshoe Club in Concord, N.H. on April 16, 2015.

"I don’t think I would have changed anything."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday he had no regrets about fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive, addressing the mid-2000s controversy on his second trip to New Hampshire this year.

“I don’t think I would have changed anything,” he told New Hampshire business leaders at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs breakfast in response to a question about whether he would have handled things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

As governor, Bush signed into law a state measure that gave him the authority to intervene to keep Schiavo, who was in a persistent vegetative state, alive. Her parents fought for more than a decade to keep her feeding tube in place, while her husband, Michael Schindler fought to remove it arguing she would not have wanted to remain on life support.

That law, known as Terri’s law, was found unconstitutional, as was a federal effort by then-President George W. Bush.

“It was one of the most difficult things I had to go through,” Bush said. “It broke my heart that we weren’t successful in sustaining Terri’s life.”
Bush said there was one thing he would have changed—wishing that Schiavo had a living will that would have made government intervention unnecessary.

“In hindsight, the one thing that I would have loved to have seen was an advance directive—that the family would have sorted this out,” Bush said.

He added, that he was potentially favor of a federal requirement that Medicare beneficiaries complete a living will to address end-of-life issues.

“I think if we’re going to mandate anything for government, it might be that if you’re going to take Medicare, that you also sign up for an advanced directive where you talk about this before you’re so disabled,” he said.

TIME

Morning Must Reads: April 17

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Georgia OKs Medical Marijuana

Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation legalizing the use of marijuana in Georgia for medical conditions, including epilepsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease and sickle-cell anemia

Support for Death Penalty Drops

Public backing for capital punishment in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest in 40 years, although a small majority of Americans still believe in it

O’Malley Calls Out Hillary Clinton

Maryland’s former governor had sharp words for Clinton, who’s taken a more liberal stance on gay marriage and immigration as her campaign starts

U.S. Bird Flu Outbreak May Last a ‘Few Years’

A leading agriculture official has forecast that North America’s bird-flu outbreak could persist for some time. “It’s something in North America that we may have to live with for a few years,” the USDA’s chief veterinary officer John Clifford told lawmakers in Minnesota

Jeb Bush Says Senate Should Confirm Loretta Lynch

Answering questions at a town hall with New Hampshire primary voters at the Snowshoe Club, Bush, an all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate, stopped short of explicitly calling for Lynch’s confirmation as Attorney General

Instagram Now Allows Photos of Women Breast-Feeding

An updated set of guidelines clarifies that photos of “women actively breast-feeding” are 100% permitted. Photos of post-mastectomy scars are fair game too. (Images of “sexual intercourse, genitals and close-ups of fully nude buttocks” are banned)

Less Than Half of American Troops Are ‘Satisfied With Work’

Most of America’s 770,000 troops are unhappy at work and report pessimistic feelings. That’s according to mandatory online questionnaires soldiers fill out each year seen by USA Today, which show 48% of service personnel not feeling committed or satisfied with work

Relatives of Boston Marathon Bomber Break Their Silence

Members of the Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers. They believe the charges against him stem from an American conspiracy and they want him to appeal the guilty verdict

E-Cig Use Triples Among Middle and High Schoolers

E-cigarette use among middle school and high school students tripled in one year, U.S. officials say. The new data shows that e-cigarette use has surpassed the use of all tobacco products, including regular cigarettes, among young people

NBA Will Begin Testing Players for HGH Next Season

The league announced Thursday that testing will begin next season and players will be subject to three random, unannounced tests each year, in addition to “reasonable cause testing.” Two of the three tests will be administered during the season

J. Lo Will Pay Tribute to Selena at Latin Music Awards

Jennifer Lopez honored the late singer Selena Quintanilla by portraying her on the silver screen almost two decades ago, and this year she will pay tribute to her again, this time at the Billboard Latin Music Awards

Veteran Chinese Journalist Gao Yu Sentenced to 7 Years

A Beijing court sentenced a veteran Chinese journalist to seven years in prison on Friday after convicting her of leaking a document detailing the Communist Party leadership’s resolve to aggressively target civil society and press freedom as a threat to its monopoly on power

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TIME White House

White House Calls Delay of Attorney General Confirmation ‘Unconscionable’

Josh Earnest focused his strong words against Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest spent several minutes of Thursday’s news briefing lamenting the delayed confirmation of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, via a scathing critique of an Iowa Senator.

Earnest called out veteran Republican Senator Chuck Grassley as “exhibit A in why it is very challenging to work with Congressional Republicans,” citing Grassley’s reversal on when Lynch’s nomination should have been pushed through the Senate. Earnest said the previous seven nominees for the post waited a total 24 days between them to move from the committee to a vote on the Senate floor, and that as of Thursday, she had waited 49 days. He called it an “unconscionable delay.”

In September, the Iowan said the Attorney General vote shouldn’t be rushed through a lame duck Congress. On Thursday, however, Grassley criticized Democrats for not pushing the vote through when they still maintained control of the Senate.

“That in my mind is an astounding display of duplicity,” Earnest said. “The sad part I think, is that Senator Grassley, particularly in his home state of Iowa, has cultivated a reputation as somebody who is true to his word. And I think the only conclusion I can draw from this astounding exchange is that it’s possible that Senator Grassley has been in Washington for too long.”

TIME jeb bush

Jeb Bush Says Senate Should Confirm Loretta Lynch

Jeb Bush
Mark Humphrey—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in Nashville on April 10, 2015.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush weighed in Thursday on the delayed confirmation of Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to be Attorney General, urging the Senate to move along with its consideration.

Answering questions at a town hall with New Hampshire primary voters at the Snowshoe Club, Bush, an all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate, stopped short of explicitly calling for Lynch’s confirmation. Her nomination to replace Attorney General Eric Holder has been stalled for an unusually long 160 days over a Senate showdown on an unrelated sex-trafficking bill that includes a controversial abortion provision.

“I think that Presidents have the right to pick their team,” Bush told a crowd of about 95 voters and a horde of media.

Bush said he had reservations about Lynch’s positions on gun control, but said presidential nominees deserve swift consideration.

“The longer it takes to confirm her, the longer Eric Holder stays as Attorney General,” Bush added, sending a signal to Republicans to lift their opposition to Lynch was only elongating the tenure of someone they like even less. “Look at it that way.”

Bush criticized Holder for having “politicized” his office, adding, “there should be some humbleness inside the Department of Justice.”

During the 60-minute Politics and Pie event, Bush was questioned about Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba and was challenged over his support of comprehensive immigration reform, telling one vocal critic, “I respect your view, but I don’t have to agree with it.”

He also addressed the dynasty question, joking that he’s not running for President to try to “break the tie between the Adams family and the Bush family,” referencing the second and sixth, and the 41st the 43rd Presidents, respectively.

Afterward, Bush, who brought a pair of key lime pies of south Florida’s famed Joe’s Stone Crab, sampled a blueberry pie, breaking his months-long paleo diet to sample some blueberry pie. “To hell with the diet … where are the french fries,” he quipped.

TIME

Martin O’Malley Criticizes Hillary Clinton for Flip-Flopping

Potential Presidential Candidate Martin O'Malley Speaks At Scott County Democratic Dinner
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and potential Democratic presidential candidate, during the Scott County Democratic Party dinner in Davenport, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, March 20, 2015.

He touted his own credentials on immigration and same-sex marriage

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley had some sharp words Thursday evening for Hillary Clinton, who in the first week of her campaign has taken a more liberal stance on same-sex marriage and immigration.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” said O’Malley, who will likely challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.”

“Leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular,” he continued.

Clinton has adopted a more populist tone than she has in the past during her recent tour this week to Iowa, where she made her first stops on the 2016 campaign trail.

Last year, Clinton said in an interview with NPR that she supports gay-marriage activism on a “state by state” basis; this week, her campaign announced Clinton supports a Supreme Court ruling that would grant same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry — a decision that would play out at the federal level.

MORE Could This Man Beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa?

And in 2007, Clinton said she opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to own driver’s licenses. This week her campaign announced she supports it.

O’Malley has trumpeted his past support for both those issues as governor of Maryland. He sponsored a same-sex-marriage bill in the state that passed in 2012 — among the first in the nation to be approved by voters — and signed a law in 2013 that allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

The former governor would run his campaign to the left of Clinton as a more progressive challenger. He currently registers as a blip in the polls but has greeted receptive audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire, where caucus-goers are eager for a more competitive race.

The likely candidate has begun criticizing Clinton as he begins laying the groundwork for his own likely campaign. In an interview late last month on ABC, O’Malley swiped at Clinton, saying that the “presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”

O’Malley said he will make a final decision about running for President by the end of May.

Read next: What Hillary Clinton Did Before Her Campaign

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TIME Tennessee

Push to Make the Bible Tennessee’s Official Book Derailed Amid Legal Questions

But it may not be the last we've heard of the Bible as a state book

Legislation to make the Bible the official state book of Tennessee was beaten back by the state Senate on Thursday, but even if the measure had become law, it would have been on constitutionally shaky ground, legal experts said.

The state Senate voted to “refer” a bill passed by the state House back to a legislative committee because of questions over its constitutionality, and Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam has also criticized the bill.

Even though the Tennessee measure appears to be scuttled for now, this may not be the last the country sees such laws floated. On the heels of a quickly withdrawn attempt last year to make the Bible the official state book of Louisiana, a similar bill was introduced earlier this year in Mississippi. It fizzled in committee, but state Representative Tom Miles, a Democrat, said he plans to introduce it again next session. “We feel like if it would have hit the floor, we had the votes,” he told TIME.

As these states weigh measures on the Bible—and as religious exemption laws sparked concerns in Indiana and other states over potential discrimination against gays—the question of how much states can wade into issues of religious freedom is coming to the forefront. In some cases, proposed laws are clashing with the Constitution, experts said.

The Tennessee bill likely violates not just the state’s constitution—as a prohibited endorsement of religion by the government—but also the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on laws “respecting the establishment of religion,” legal scholars said.

To test whether a law violates this clause in the Constitution, judges look to whether it’s an “endorsement” of a particular religion, or whether it is fundamentally secular, said Suzanna Sherry, a law professor at Vanderbilt University. For example, it’s easier to defend the inclusion of “under God” in the pledge of allegiance in schools because of the phrase’s history, but it could be more difficult to defend a law that a state adopts amid controversy.

Robert Blitt, a law professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law, said choosing an official state book is such a clear endorsement of religion that it would be hard for a state to defend. “I don’t think one could make a distinction that this is about invoking a generic god or having a national prayer breakfast. I think there is something substantively different making the Bible the official book of the state. Are they going to be printing copies of the official state book? Hosting the state book on government websites? That gets into entanglements that are problematic.”

But as a practical matter, a case against the Bible as a state book might be surprisingly difficult to win.

The issue is that anyone who wants to challenge the constitutionality of a law must show that they were harmed by it, and there is a question of who specifically would be harmed by the Bible becoming a state book. It’s easier to challenge laws that subsidize religion, as well as public religious displays like a nativity scene, because they clearly affect individuals.

No matter what happens to the Tennessee bill, its success in the state’s House has given legislators who support these bills, like Miles in Mississippi, something to celebrate. “I’m proud they were able to get a vote for it, because I think that’s great impact,” he said.

TIME White House

Meet the White House’s New Social Secretary

Deesha Dyer
Carolyn Kaster—AP In this photo taken April 15, 2015, Deesha Dyer walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington to attend the seventh annual White House Kitchen Garden Planting with first lady Michelle Obama.

She worked her way up from a White House internship

The White House has a new social secretary, or the person whose job it is to make sure events at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue go off without a hitch. Deesha Dyer, 37, was named the new head of the East Wing office on Thursday, and becomes the second black woman to hold the position. She takes the reins from Jeremy Bernard, the office’s first male and openly gay social secretary, who announced he would step down at the end of the month.

Dyer currently serves as the second-in-command in the Social Office, having worked her way up from an internship when she joined the White House staff in 2009. In a statement, First Lady Michelle Obama said she’s been impressed by Dyer’s “passion, creativity, public-mindedness, and relentless competence.”

“Whether helping flawlessly execute state dinners, or going the extra mile to open the White House to people who never dreamed they would walk through these doors, Deesha has worked tirelessly to truly make the White House the ‘People’s House,’” Obama said. “I am thrilled that she has agreed to continue her service as our Social Secretary.”

Dyer’s path to the White House is a bit atypical. According to the statement, she didn’t go to college immediately after high school, opting instead to work as a freelance hip-hop writer and at several companies in her hometown, Philadelphia. At 29, Dyer went back to school to obtain an associates degree from the Community College of Philadelphia, around the same time Barack Obama, then an Illinois Senator, announced he was running for President. In an interview with Refinery 29, Dyer said she hung a picture of Obama on her desk, telling herself that one day she would end up working for him, even though she didn’t quite know how she’d make it work.

But at 31, she did. She applied for an internship at the White House and was hired to work in the Office of Scheduling and Advance. In 2010, she was brought onboard for a full-time position in the scheduling office and later became the Deputy Director and Hotel Program Director. Two years ago, she was promoted again to become the Social Office’s deputy director.

Dyer said in a statement that she is “honored” to serve in the new role.

“I am constantly inspired by the openness, diversity, and traditions of this Administration,” she said, “and I look forward to leading the talented Social Office team as we further the goals and priorities of the President and First Lady throughout these last two exciting years in office.”

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