TIME Chris Christie

Christie Opposes Exemptions for Clerks Who Object to Same-Sex Marriage

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester—2015 Getty Images New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.

“You took the job and you took the oath."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke with many in his party’s social conservative wing Wednesday, telling reporters that government employees who have objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses should not be allowed to opt out.

While many conservatives have called for steps to protect government employees who have objections to Friday’s same-sex marriage ruling from the Supreme Court, Christie said those who work for the government should abide by their oaths.

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” Christie told reporters following a town hall at a lakeside home, noting there are laws that he enforces as governor that he disagrees with. “I’m sure there are individual circumstances that might merit some examination,” he added, “but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

Other Republican presidential candidates have stressed the importance of protecting religious freedom. Fellow GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal issued an executive order in May in an attempt to protect those who believe that same-sex unions should not be recognized. His executive counsel released a memo Monday arguing that state employees with objections should be protected.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took a similar line on Sunday: “If they have a conscientious objection, I think they should be excused.”

When asked about protection for clerks who object to providing same-sex marriage licenses, Christie implied that there could be specific accommodations made for religious exemptions on a case-by-case basis. But overall, he said those trying to opt out should rethink how they are doing their jobs.

“You took the job and you took the oath,” he said. “When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it.”

TIME White House

President Obama Sang the Davy Crockett Theme Song at an Event

"Is your name really Davy Crockett? That's a cool name"

When a man named James Davy Crockett asked the President a question at a town hall on Wednesday, President Obama had some questions of his own—and also, the urge to sing.

“Is your name really Davy Crockett? That’s a cool name,” Obama said. “But you don’t have that beaver cap?”

“I’ve got one at the house,” Crockett replied. (The frontiersman Crockett was actually known for a coonskin cap.)

Obama then recalled the Davy Crockett show that aired in the 1950s. “”Ya’ll remember that TV Show?” he asked the giggling crowd at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Madison, Tenn. He then briefly broke into the show’s theme song.

The President’s exchange with Crockett began much more seriously—Crockett told the President he had unsuccessfully tried to get Social Security benefits, but had been turned down four times. Crockett’s story has been highlighted in the past, with an April Tennesseean article detailing his struggles with his health and gaining insurance. During Wednesday’s event, Obama promised to reach out to the Social Security Administration to get Crockett’s application expedited.

Obama took questions for about 50 minutes from a friendly crowd at the elementary school. He said his work on health care was not yet finished and thanked local leaders for their work in getting people in their states insured. The event followed the recent Supreme Court decision that kept the Affordable Care Act in place.

Watch a clip of Obama’s exchange with Crockett:

 

 

 

TIME Hillary Clinton

Emails Offer Glimpse Into Hillary Clinton’s Private Side

Buried in more than 3,000 messages are hints at what Clinton is like with closest friends.

When she was in Washington, Hillary Clinton often rushed to the White House to meet with visiting dignitaries, to hash out policies toward the world’s trouble spots and to shore up a once-rocky partnership with President Obama. On the road, she kept a breakneck pace of international travel. At home or abroad, she endured marathon calls and meetings with world leaders, often scheduled in 15 minute blocks. She started her schedule before dawn most days and, when she got to her home or her hotel in the evenings, yet another briefing book was waiting for her there to study.

Yet between it all, she kept her dry sense of humor, her generous approach with her trusted staff and loyalty to those who had known her for decades. Her boosters for years have insisted the hard-nosed and calculating caricature of Clinton that has emerged in the public eye is not recognizable to those closest to her. She is, they have insisted for years, one of the best bosses they’d ever had.

Aides told Clinton who was having birthdays, which State Department employees were grieving and which ambassadors and envoys were becoming troublesome, according to a trove of her emails released Tuesday. Amid the whirlwind, she was trying to do her best to carve out time for herself and her friends. In one email, Clinton told her aides that there was a 7 p.m. concert at a Washington area school. It was the day before she was slated to head to Brussels for NATO meetings. “Can I get there?” Clinton asked her team.

This intimate portrait of Clinton has emerged as part of State Department’s release of 3,000-odd emails on Tuesday, a slow-drip release of Clinton’s correspondence from her time as Secretary of State. As the country’s top diplomat, Clinton conducted business as on email stored on a personal email server stored in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home — a decision critics have condemned as a breach of protocol.

Clinton said she co-mingled her work and personal emails as a matter of convenience and deleted the messages that she considered truly personal: funeral arrangements for her mother or dress fittings for daughter Chelsea’s wedding, for instance. The balance of the emails, she said, she turned over to the State Department for review and release. She has repeatedly said she wants the messages released as quickly as possible.

The State Department for months has been going through the emails, redacting parts officials thought fell under exemptions to public records laws, such as national security discussions or private matters that made their way into official correspondence. This was the first batch of emails that were ready for public review. Officials will release thousands more emails in small batches before January 2016.

Meanwhile, a congressional committee led by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy is scrutinizing Clinton’s correspondence that took place around the time of the September 2012 Benghazi attacks for evidence of an alleged cover-up. That committee plans to release its findings next year, just as the presidential campaign hits full stride.

The State Department email batch details, in hour-by-hour fashion, Clinton’s first months as the United States’ top diplomat, always on the go but also always wanting to do more and know more. At times she seemed genuinely impressed; she wanted to know about a carpet she found particularly lovely in China. At other times, she sounded downright bored. For instance, during an international summit in Trinidad and Tobago, she asked Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills for an update to things happening elsewhere. “Count your blessings since I am sitting thru, as of now, 2 hours of speeches. Not done yet and still have cultural performances to go.”

As she runs for the White House, the complex portrait of Clinton that emerges from the first round of email releases depict a management style that is efficient under pressure and reflective in the late hours of the day. Armchair psychology has its limits, of course, but the bursts of thinking, shared by smartphone between meetings and during sleepless nights circling the globe, offer hints about Clinton the person and those around her.

Clinton appeared well aware of her foibles. In the email asking about the carpet in China, her subject line was knowingly self-deprecating: “Don’t laugh!!”

Clinton’s campaign has cast their candidate as a combative mother-hen, a candidate both protective and pugnacious. In the recent batch of emails, the concerned grandmother-to-be makes an appearance in a note to John Podesta, now the chairman of her campaign. “I’m on endless calls about the UN. Could I call you early tomorrow? Would btw 6:30 and 8:00 be too early?” Clinton wrote to Podesta, who was then 60 years old. “Please wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm,” she added.

In another note, she tries to encourage her deputy chief of staff and policy adviser. As Clinton was preparing for a July 2009 trip to India and Thailand, she dashed a quick note to Jake Sullivan, now a leading contender to become her National Security Adviser if she wins the White House. “Jake—i told you yesterday, but it bears repeating—you’re doing a wonderful job. Not just on the speech, but all the work to establish and implement the priorities it represents. I’m very grateful—Hillary”

Irritation with technology was apparently unavoidable even for the world’s most important diplomat. While U.S. troops were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton was at home battling a fax machine: an exchange of emails with longtime aide Huma Abedin over half an hour show Clinton growing increasingly frustrated with a non-working fax line. In an earlier exchange, Clinton is apparently unable to set up a secure phone call. “I can’t get it to work. They go secure and then there are noises and voice interfering w any ability to talk. Can you help?” Clinton asks.

The mundane, day-to-day logistics also come through in the messages. During an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore, she messaged Abedin about her schedule. “I do not think I’m supposed to be here. I don’t see another FM,” she said, abbreviating foreign minister. As Secretary of State, she essentially shared that rank with other nations’ top diplomats. “Can you check?” she asked Abedin. During another exchange, she messaged her aides; she was at the White House for a meeting and seemed to be the only one who showed up. “What’s up???” she demanded.

The schedules in the emails reflect a humble approach to the job, as someone who traveled to meet with people rather than summon them to her. She traveled to the Naval Observatory on one Tuesday in June 2009 for breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden. She shared lunch that day with Larry Summers, then the Director of the National Economic Council—and previously Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary—in the White House cafeteria alongside the 20-something aides who made copies and ran errands. For dinner, she shared noodles at Hunan on the Hill with Sen. Chuck Schumer, with whom she represented New York for eight years in the Senate.

Clinton’s career-long focus on girls’ education didn’t end when she became Secretary of State. In August 2009, Clinton inquired about a Yemeni girl, Nujood Ali, who at the age of 10 had asked for a divorce; two years later, a news report indicated Ali was bitterly unhappy and not going to school. “Is there any way we can help her?” Clinton asked the U.S. ambassador for global women’s issues in an uncharacteristically long email. “Could we get her to the US for counselling and education?” Next week, she followed up. “That’s good news,” Clinton wrote after finding out Nujood was indeed attending private school.

She also never lost her uncanny sense for the value of personal politics. When Sonia Sotomayor was named as Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, she got a message from her chief of staff with a simple subject line: “Sonia Sotomayer,” misspelling her name. Clinton then messaged her assistant. “Can you get #s for me so I can call and congratulate her?”

In another note, longtime friend Marty Torrey messaged Clinton to alert her about the arrival of a newborn. At the end of the note, the one-time chief of staff to former Rep. John Sweeney added a note of encouragement: “Still think we need you as Pres.” Clinton forwarded the note to her assistants: “Pls do a congrats letter.” She made no acknowledgment of another White House run.

During another note with Torrey, she jokingly suggested that former Rep. Harold Naughton should become a regular contributor to Fox News: “Those shows need at least one sane realistic voice.”

Her wariness of the press comes through in other passages. The day a New York Post article appeared about her vacation with Bill Clinton in Bermuda, she emailed Abedin about the image. “Did you see the photo in the NYPost of Bill and me from yesterday?” she wrote. “It was after lunch but I didn’t see anybody w a camera so obviously a long lens from afar.”

There are also flashes of a demanding boss.

When a brutal snowstorm blasted the Washington region and shut down the government, Mills sent Clinton a note letting her know the State Department would be having a snow day. Not seeming to understand this, Clinton replied, “What does this mean for our schedules?” Mills replied that no one would be in the building. “What about … everyone who asked to see me? I have to come anyway,” Clinton declared in a Sunday evening message back.

The notes also depict a wife to a man as busy as she was. In one June email exchange, Abedin sent a note to her boss letting her know Bill Clinton—William Jefferson Clinton, or WJC—was making a stop to pick up jet fuel, and his longtime aide Doug Band had his cellphone on: “If u r still up, wjc landed in brazil for refuel. He should be on the ground for an hour or so. Call dougs cell.”

During another fast-developing moment, Clinton learned that her husband had agreed to become a Special Envoy for the United Nations’ response to a devastating earthquake in Haiti. News leaked from the UN before Bill Clinton had time to phone his wife to let her know of his new role. “Wjc said he was going to call hrc but hasn’t had time,” Band wrote to Abedin and Mills. Mills forwarded the message to her assistant. “You need to walk this to HRC if she is not gone,” Mills told the aide.

Between international diplomacy and running a sprawling department, she often turned to routine tasks and comforts. As Clinton was preparing for a two-week trip to Africa, aides were trying to find some time for her to look at new furniture for her house in Washington. “Are you around this week?” designer Rosemarie Howe asked Clinton in an email directly to the Secretary of State. “If you have any time we could look at coffee tables for the den.”

During another email exchange, she asked her assistant about the New York-grown apples that were always around her Senate office during the fall months. When she moved to Foggy Bottom’s State Department headquarters, she worried she might no longer be getting New York apples now that she didn’t represent the apple growers in the Senate. “Will we receive them this Fall? How can I buy some for personal use?”

TIME White House

See the First Tourist Instagrams Taken at the White House

“Visitors are now able to take photos and keep those memories for a lifetime!” Michelle Obama announced on Instagram Wednesday, lifting a 40-year ban on tourist photography inside the White House

TIME Chris Christie

Maine’s Tea Party Governor Endorses Chris Christie

Chris Christie, Paul LePage
Robert F. Bukaty—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage in Bangor, Maine, on, Aug. 12, 2014.

He's the first sitting Republican governor to endorse in the 2016 race

Maine Governor Paul LePage became the first sitting Republican governor to endorse a presidential candidate Wednesday morning when he boosted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the waterside Becky’s Diner in downtown Portland.

The two make an easy pair, with Christie having made a number of trips and steering more than $2 million as chairman of the Republican Governors Association to boost LePage’s re-election candidacy last year. They share a similar temperament, with both known for high-profile flare-ups in front of television cameras. Just last week, LePage joked about shooting a newspaper cartoonist who has been critical of him.

“He’s a little bit shy,” LePage quipped about Christie as he delivered his endorsement. “I’m going to work over the next year, to bring him out of his shell.”

“He’s not gonna be a politician and talk out of both sides of his mouth,” LePage told a gaggle of about 30 journalists after greeting and posing for photos with diners eating short-stacks and sipping coffee . “What he’s gonna do is tell you things you may not want to hear but you need to hear, and then he’s gonna go to work to fix them.”

Christie thanked LePage for the endorsement. “I think that says a lot about our candidacy, and quite frankly, it says more about Paul LePage,” he said. “This is a guy who knows how to make decisions.”

“He’s a great friend and he’s going to be an important part of this campaign as we move forward,” he continued.

The hastily arranged event less than 24 hours after his presidential announcement took Christie on a detour from his five-day swing to New Hampshire, where he is devoting his all, to neighboring Maine, whose caucuses proved inconclusive amid a bitter intra-party squabble in 2012.

LePage’s endorsement of Christie forty miles north of the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport comes after matriarch Barbara Bush appeared in a Republican Governors Association ad on LePage’s behalf last year, endorsing the controversial figure on behalf of herself and former President George H.W. Bush.

Speaking to reporters, Christie condemned clerks and other government officials in several southern states who have refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses after last week’s Supreme Court ruling, pointing to his own experience in New Jersey after his state Supreme Court ordered it legalized two years ago.

“I believe that folks need to enforce the law, enforce the Constitution if you’ve taken an oath,” Christie said. “Whether you agree with any particular law or not, they don’t put that caveat in your oath. The oath is to enforce the law and the Constitution.”

Christie said he was not concerned that some presidential candidates will be excluded from the stage at the first two presidential primary debates beginning next month, saying he believes he will make the cut, even as he is in danger of falling from the top 10 in several surveys.

“My view is, I intend to be on the debate stage and I intend to speak my mind and I’m sure that that will go well for us,” he said. “And we’ll see what everyone else does. But in the end, it’s up to the party and the debate sponsors.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on Track to Raise Record $45 Million in First Quarter

She beat President Obama's 2011 record

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is on track to raise more than $45 million in the first quarter of the primary race, a Clinton official said Wednesday, far outpacing her Democratic opponents and breaking President Obama’s previous first-quarter fundraising record of $41.9 million in 2011.

For much of the past 11 weeks, Clinton has spent her afternoons and evenings attending house parties for donors, where the former Secretary of State regularly spends about an hour and fifteen minutes schmoozing with guests, taking photos, and delivering her campaign talking points. The parties, which follow a nearly identical format and which Clinton holds in states as far flung as New York, Iowa and California, asks attendees to raise $2,700 and hosts to bring in $27,000.

A crucial measure of popular enthusiasm for Clinton, however, will not be just the amount of money she raises, but the number of small-donor donations to her campaign. In that arena she is likely to be outmatched by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has raked in about $8 million with an average donation of around $40—which puts him at around 200,000 donors.

Clinton’s campaign has set a goal of raising $100 million to pay for the primary, a target that appears well within reach after just two-and-a-half months of fundraising and seven months to go before the Iowa caucus. The numbers have not been finalized, and the Federal Election Commission is not due to release campaigns’ intake through June 30 until the middle of July.

Clinton officials have not yet released the total number of donors that have given to the candidate as of June 30, but in an email to supporters on Tuesday evening shortly before the midnight deadline, the campaign said there were only “2,109 to go” before reaching 50,000 “grassroots donations.”

According to the campaign, much of Clinton’s donations has come from online and grassroots donations, with 91% of donations at $100 or less.

Hillary for America has also built out a robust online store that includes an array of cheeky apparel and accessories, including a “pantsuit tee” a “Chillary Clinton” beer koozie, and a “Grillary Clinton” barbecue apron. The store will allow the campaign to build out an email list as well as bring in small-dollar donations.

“The campaign has been focused on building an inclusive and diverse group of supporters at all levels,” said a Clinton official, “including longtime Clinton supporters, Obama supporters and some who have never really gotten involved in Presidential politics before.”

In a handwritten note posted on her Instagram Wednesday morning, Clinton personally thanked her donors. “Thank you so much for being part of this campaign,” she wrote. “When the road ahead is tough you need the best people by your side. That’s I’m thankful for you.”

TIME

Obama Announces Cuban Embassies

But he pushed Congress to go further

President Obama called the reopening of U.S. and Cuban embassies after a half century a “historic step forward,” but pushed Congress to go even further and end the trade embargo with the island nation.

“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people,” he said in a brief announcement at the White House that was carried live on Cuban television. “We begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.”

The reopened embassies are just the latest step in a rapprochement that began in December when Obama announced the U.S. would normalize diplomatic relations with the communist country. The Obama Administration has also removed Cuba from an official terror list, and Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the country at the end of summer, after the expected July 20 embassy openings.

Republican presidential candidates largely oppose the move, with only Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul backing Obama’s decision. The Republican-led Congress is also unlikely to end the longstanding trade embargo, with the House already including provisions to block Obama from the moves he has already taken on Cuba.

But Obama cited one prominent Republican, former George W. Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who wrote in a New York Times column in June that he has changed his mind and now supports normalizing ties.

Obama said that “nobody expects Cuba to transform overnight,” but he stressed that he believes a new policy of engagement will advance American interests and the cause of democracy and human rights there.

“This is what change looks like,” Obama added.

 

TIME Companies

Macy’s Is Cutting Ties With Donald Trump

The department store will phase out Trump menswear line

Macy’s said on Wednesday it was phasing out its Donald Trump line of menswear as a result of the Republican presidential candidate’s derogatory comments last week about Mexican immigrants.

It was the second time in less than a week that Trump, a real estate developer cum reality-television star, has seen a major business partner sever ties after comments in which he accused many undocumented Mexicans of committing serious crimes, including murder, rape, and drug dealing. Last week, Comcast’s NBCUniversal canceled plans to air Miss USA and Miss Universe — the network’s joint venture with Trump — while also opting not to invite Trump back for another season of his reality show The Celebrity Apprentice.

“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” the department store said. “We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico,” Macy’s added, decrying Trump’s depiction of Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos, “who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation.”

Those contributions also presumably include helping Macy’s return to fast growth. The retailer has made it a major priority to reach Latinos, the fast growing major segment of the U.S. population, by allowing its stores in areas like Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Houston, among others, tailor their assortment to local tastes. Macy’s reported a slight drop in comparable sales last quarter, making it extremely risky to alienate such a sizable part of its customer base.

Macy’s started selling Trump’s menswear line — including $70 dress shirts, $65 ties, and cuff links and watches — in 2004. Trump, who declared his candidacy for the presidency last week, has also appeared in Macy’s commercials.

In a speech last week, Trump said of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” adding: “Some, I assume, are good people.” After Univision cut ties with Trump’s Miss USA Pageant, Trump sued the Spanish-language network for $500 million.

Macy’s came under additional pressure earlier this week when Move.on published a petition, which now has 728,311 signatures, calling on the retailer to dump Trump.

In a statement obtained by PBS, Trump said it was he who had ended the Macy’s relationship, and that in any case, he was uncomfortable with the fact that his line there was made in China.

“Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration,” The Donald said. “Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Marijuana

Ohio Legislature Strikes Back Against Marijuana Legalization Bid

Marijuana plants grow on the grounds of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, June 9, 2015.
ROBYN BECK—AFP/Getty Images Marijuana plants grow on the grounds of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, June 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio took a step closer to making November’s ballot Tuesday, after its promoters turned in more than twice the required number of signatures.

But the measure will face competition at the polls. Ohio legislators also approved their own ballot measure on Tuesday to undermine the pot plan, which lawmakers worried would amount to a “marijuana monopoly” because of its provision that only 10 growers would control the wholesale pot market.
The lawmakers’ measure would block other measures that benefit select economic interest groups.

The marijuana ballot measure campaign, dubbed Responsible Ohio, is just one of many ballot measures in recent history that are designed to benefit their backers. The companies funding the Responsible Ohio campaign would control — and likely profit from — the marijuana growth sites should the measure pass.

As detailed by the Center for Public Integrity, the campaign’s director, Democratic activist Ian James, came up with the idea and is planning to pay his own firm $5.6 million to push the ballot initiative.

MORE: How an Ohio Ballot Measure Could Create a Marijuana Monopoly

Ohio Rep. Mike Curtin, a Democrat, said he sponsored the anti-monopoly measure because he opposes the way Responsible Ohio is using the citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, not because he opposes pot legalization.

“Are we going to allow a small group of investors, who have literally no background in drug policy… to carve themselves a special niche in our state’s founding document?” he said. “To me it’s galling. It’s nauseating.”

But James said voters should have the right to decide the issue.

“Some statehouse politicians believe the voters are smart enough to elect them, but they aren’t smart enough to decide ballot issues like marijuana legalization,” he said in an earlier statement.

James’ group still has to wait for the Secretary of State to determine if enough of its signatures are valid to make the ballot, which could take several weeks. It submitted 695,273 signatures to the state, far more than the 305,591 registered voters it needs to qualify.

If voters approve both of the conflicting measures, Ohio law says whichever gets the most votes would win.

But Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, recently said that if both passed, the legislatively referred anti-monopoly measure would block Responsible Ohio’s plan because citizen-initiated measures take 30 days to go into effect.

The issue could end up before a judge.

If both pass, “we have a very interesting court fight on our hands,” Curtin said.

This story is from The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative media organization in Washington, D.C. Read more of its investigations on the influence of money in politics or follow it on Twitter.

TIME White House

Now You Can Take Photos at the White House

A four-decades-old ban is overturned

Visitors on public tours to the White House can now take photos and post to social media, First Lady Michelle Obama said Wednesday.

In a video posted to her Instagram account, she is shown tearing apart a White House sign saying “no photos or social media allowed.”

“Visitors are now able to take photos and keep those memories for a lifetime!” Obama wrote in her post. The White House is also encouraging visitors to share photos on social media with the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour.

The announcement overturns a four-decade ban on visitors taking photos on public tours. Video cameras, flash photography and live-streaming remain banned. The new policy doesn’t change restrictions on access for press photographers, which have long caused tensions between the Obama Administration and photographers at news organizations.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com