TIME Hillary Clinton

How Barack Obama’s Trade Deal Puts Hillary Clinton in a Bind

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with local residents at the Jones St. Java House in LeClaire, Iowa on April 14, 2015.
Charlie Neibergall—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with local residents at the Jones St. Java House in LeClaire, Iowa on April 14, 2015.

Sen. Marco Rubio is rarely on the same side as President Obama. But the Florida Republican, who is running for president in 2016, recently drafted a letter to the White House in support of Obama’s signature free-trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress is expected to vote on this term.

This odd-bedfellows moment backs Hillary Clinton, who announced this week that she is running for President, into a particularly uncomfortable corner — sandwiched between Republicans and centrist Democrats on one side, and the Democrats’ liberal, activist base on the other.

So far, Clinton has kept quiet about whether she supports the deal.

Most Republicans, the Obama administration and a powerful coalition of business interests, some of whom have donated to Clinton’s campaign, would like to see the former Secretary of State champion the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They argue that the sweeping, 12-nation free trade pact, the largest-ever for the United States, would been a boon for the U.S. economy.

“We stand ready to work with you to ensure quick consideration and approval of legislation to renew TPA,” Rubio wrote in the draft letter to Obama, which was obtained by TIME, in reference to the Trade Promotion Authority, the so-called fast track bill designed to facilitate the passage of the trade deal. “We must work together to ensure that goods and services created by U.S. workers are able to enter and effectively compete in overseas markets.” Rubio’s office declined to comment on the letter.

Meantime, an increasingly vociferous coalition of liberal lawmakers, labor leaders and grassroots populists, whose support Clinton will need during the primary campaign, have warned Clinton that they deeply oppose the pact, which they describe as a job-killing sweetheart deal for global corporations.

“People feel a lot of urgency and tension around this moment,” said George Goehl, the executive director the the National People’s Action, a network of progressive, grassroots organizations nationwide, in a press call Thursday morning.

“This is not a theoretical question for [Clinton] to answer,” he added. “It’s real-life right now and people want to know where she stands.”

On Wednesday night, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a potential Democratic presidential candidate who has been one of the loudest voices in Congress in opposition to the deal, rallied members of the progressive organization, Democracy For America, against the bill during a conference call. “The only way a member pays the price [for supporting TPP] is if the poeple are educated and organized,” he said, adding later that “What we have got to do is rally the American people and educate them and put pressure on vulnerable members.

“Keep the emails coming, put the pressure on,” he urged.

Clinton’s silence about the Trans-Pacific Partnership has sent both supporters and critics into spirals of speculation.

In her most recent memoir, Hard Choices, published last year, Clinton expressed limited support for the deal. “It’s safe to say that the TPP won’t be perfect,” she wrote. “No deal negotiated among a dozen countries ever will be — but its higher standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers.”

But during her 2007 run for the White House, she explicitly distanced herself from the last big free trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement which her husband signed in 1994, and said she would not pursue any new trade deals for a while.

After supporting NAFTA as first lady and in her 2003 memoir, Living History, Clinton said in an interview with CNN in 2007 that it “was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would, and that’s why I call for a trade timeout.”

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat who has been outspoken about his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, refused to speculate on Clinton’s position on trade. “I’m not going to go there. Hillary’s got a history. I’m pretty sure she was against fast track, against CAFTA. [She] spoke out in ’08 that we should renegotiate NAFTA,” he said Thursday. “So you make an assumption that Hillary is bad on trade but you would be wrong, I’d think.”

The Senate Finance Committee proposed a fast-track bill on Thursday afternoon that would give Obama the power to submit the trade pact to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote with no amendments. Supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say such legislation is crucial as it assures other countries that Congress won’t significantly change the deal during debate.

Opponents, including Sens. Brown and Elizabeth Warren, have called the fast track undemocratic, in part because it makes it easier for negotiators and lobbyists to insert provisions into the trade deal that Congress would not approve individually.

The populist base has also railed against the non-transparent, and sometimes downright secretive, process surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation process. As of last fall, a network of 566 stakeholders, 85% of whom represented industry and trade groups, were given limited access to the draft trade agreement, according to the Washington Post. Although more stakeholders have since been invited to access the document through a secure website, the details of the agreement, which will include twelve nations in the Asia-Pacific region, have not been made public or provided to the press. Even lawmakers have not been given copies of the draft plan.

In the coming weeks, Clinton will be asked, probably repeatedly, to take a strong position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If she opposes it, she risks alienating a slew of powerful, corporate interests. But if she doesn’t, she risks the rage of the populist left. And if she does nothing, she’ll lose points with both sides and be criticized by pundits for ducking a major issue.

“It’s a choice between a corporate vision of a world economy and a vision in which … workers’ rights and sustainable development is allowed by the legal system,” Roger Hickey, the co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, said on a press call Thursday morning. “It’s a big issue.”

TIME rick perry

Rick Perry Takes a Swing at Three Senator Rivals

Rick Perry
Mark Humphrey—AP Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry runs off the stage after speaking at the National Rifle Association convention, Friday, April 10, 2015, in Nashville.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday he doesn’t think American voters “want to take a chance” on electing another Senator to the White House, delivering a sharp blow to the three declared Republican presidential candidates.

Speaking to reporters after a lunch with New Hampshire business leaders in Nashua, the second-time candidate, who has yet to publicly announce his presidential campaign, said that after electing first-term Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, voters don’t want to take the same risk again. Perry declined to say whether he believes Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are qualified to be president.

“These are really bright, capable individuals,” Perry said. “But my point is, do you want to take a chance on someone who doesn’t have a track record of being an executive. When you walk off the Senate floor, you walk off the Senate floor. You don’t walk away from things when you are Governor, you have to deal with things.”

In his roundtable with the business leaders, the longest-serving governor in Texas history said he understood why people gravitated to Obama, but argued that his lack of experience let the country down. “I think he was talented, he was a unique individual,” Perry said, “but he had no executive experience, and I think the country is seeing the cost of that.”

Perry compared electing a well-spoken Senator to flying on a plane from Boston to London with a charming pilot who can explain the theory of aerodynamics, but has only 150 hours of flight time. “Or do you want to be with that grizzled old 20,000-hour captain who has taken that airplane back and forth thousands of times safely,” Perry asked.

“That’s the juxtaposition of a young inexperienced United States Senator versus a skilled, experienced executive,” he continued. “I just think the American people are going to want an executive after eight years of Barack Obama — I’m thinking they’re going to want to have somebody who has got a real track record: don’t tell me, show me.”

Perry, 65, addressed concerns that he is among the older generation of Republican candidates, quipping to reporters, “I’m just filling out my Medicare card, so I hope they don’t hold my age against me.”

TIME chelsea clinton

Chelsea Clinton Gets Ready to Take the Stage

President Obama Speaks At The Annual Clinton Global Initiative
Spencer Platt—Getty Images Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton are viewed in the audience as U.S. President Barack Obama, who is in New York City for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 23, 2014 in New York City.

Chelsea has stepped up since her mother's first presidential bid

Shortly after a ferocious earthquake rocked Haiti in January 2010, Chelsea Clinton arrived near Port-au-Prince. With a small group of health workers she toured a makeshift camp where the newly homeless slept under tarps and hastily built tents and used open latrines.

“Her father would probably kill me,” Dr. Paul Farmer, the renowned global health worker who accompanied Chelsea, told TIME. “I don’t think he would have been happy with me taking her into a crowded camp.” Chelsea then advised Farmer to set up a hospital to train Haitian doctors and nurses, quietly helping connect the hospital with logistical support and international aid. “She’s a good person to have around you in a bad situation,” Farmer said.

There have always been two sides to the Clinton family. The public-facing side, most often personified by Bill, is out on the stump, hustling for votes and selling the latest policy ideas. The private-facing side, most often personified by Hillary, works behind the scenes, connecting key players and diving deep into the wonkish details.

To date, Chelsea Clinton’s forte has been outside the spotlight, working with people like Farmer and international charities. At the Clinton Foundation, where she is now vice chair, she has a reputation as a data nerd who will dig into briefs to see if money is being spent efficiently and effectively. Aside from campaign appearances for her mother in 2008 and a stint at NBC News, she’s done most of her work away from the public eye.

That’s about to change. As Hillary Clinton launches the largest Democratic presidential campaign in American history, her daughter will be close by. Democrats say that Chelsea will give a big boost to the campaign, making her mother seem more approachable and adding a valuable surrogate spokeswoman.

“She’s definitely someone I expect will be in the center of the room and commanding an audience in a way she may not have wanted to eight years ago,” said a source close to the campaign. “She’s obviously grown up a lot since 2008.”

Chelsea has experience on the stump. Her part in the 2008 campaign began when she quit her job to represent her mother’s on the trail, eventually doing more than 400 events in 40 states over the course of five months, she said in an interview with TIME in 2012. As a liaison between her mother and millennial voters, Chelsea said the experience reminded her “that politics has to be part of any solutions for the future,” she later recalled, and that “everyone needed to participate and have their voices heard at the ballot box.”

As 2016 approaches, however, Chelsea’s role will likely grow. She’ll be in demand during the campaign: Americans increasingly want female candidates to talk about their families, according to the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, a nonpartisan group that researches women in politics.

“It’s believable and real when you’re talking about your kids and grandkids,” said Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of the Barbara Lee foundation. “Voters connect with that.”

Hillary appears to have taken note, and has discussed her family often in the recent months. “I have a new granddaughter, and I want her to have every opportunity. But I want every child in our country to have every opportunity,” she said at a campaign stop this week in Monticello, Iowa, on Tuesday. “And that’s one of the main reasons that I decided to run.”

With her mother likely to focus on her family and her personal life more in this campaign than eight years, Chelsea will be a key voice. The mother-daughter duo’s connection on stage is apparent: Hillary calls her daughter “Chels,” and Chelsea feels comfortable correcting her mother. Chelsea’s natural connection with younger voters makes her an important complement on the campaign trail to her 67-year-old mother. Emily Lobbato, a 22-year-old who saw Chelsea and her mother at an event last month, says “Chelsea and Hillary remind me of me and my mom.”

Since 2008, Chelsea has also played an increasingly active role in the family business. She has become a force at her family’s $2 billion philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, appearing on stage at a number of events. Behind the scenes, she advocated for a data and metrics office, as well as a partnership with the high-end data company Palantir, a stats review to help inform Foundation projects. She also pushed for organizational overhauls and implementing a 2011 Simpson Thacher review recommendations for tighter fiscal oversight.

Eric Braverman, recently CEO of the Foundation, worked previously with Chelsea at the consultancy McKinsey & Company. She’s also ruffled some feathers along the way, primarily the old guard at the Foundation who saw Chelsea as the face of change as it expanded. In 2013, the foundation was renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation.

“Chelsea has her own background and her own political savvy,” said Democratic strategist Celinda Lake. “She’s part of the multi-generational Clinton story. She’s a major asset.”

Much like her mother, Chelsea is a private operator, eschewing media attention except in controlled scenarios. The account of her visit to Haiti in 2010 with Farmer was never reported, and neither has much of her humanitarian work with the Foundation. During the 2008 campaign, she mostly stuck to a script and avoided speaking to reporters at campaign stops. In one case, she even refused a question from a nine-year-old reporter from Scholastic News. “I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately—even though I think you’re cute,” Chelsea said at the time.

If Chelsea is vulnerable to criticism, it’s an essentially Clintonian one: however committed to public service she may be, she lives a protected life. She and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, a hedge fund manager, bought a Manhattan condominium for reportedly over $9 million. She earned a $600,000-per-year salary working as a correspondent at NBC News, and her and Mezvinsky’s wedding reportedly cost $5 million.

But if some criticize the Clintons for being too cozy around wealth and power in Washington and New York, Chelsea has so far appeared to escape such scrutiny, in part because she has learned to play the public-facing side better.

In an unscripted moment at a Clinton Foundation event in Miami, Chelsea mentioned a study that shows there are more men named John, Robert, William or James on corporate boards than there are total women corporate directors. Upon hearing that statistic, Hillary, who was on stage with Chelsea, joked, “sounds like we need to change our names!” Chelsea emphatically cut in to raucous applause: “No, we need to change the system.”

Michelle Bernardino, a 24-year-old student who attended the presentation said afterwards, “That’s what sticks with me,” Bernardino said of Chelsea’s role. “That it’s about changing the institutions.”

Read next: Clinton Foundation Will Still Accept Foreign Donations From 6 Countries

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TIME 2016 Election

Influential GOP Group Backs Cruz, Paul and Rubio

U.S. Senator Rubio announces bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during speech in Miami
Joe Skipper–Reuters U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during a speech in Miami, Fla. on April 13, 2015.

Conservative outside groups could be poised to play a kingmaker role in the 2016 nominating contest

The first three candidates to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination earned rave reviews Thursday from a powerful conservative group.

The Club for Growth, a deep-pocketed network of economic conservatives, published detailed analyses of the voting records of Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio that heaped praise on each of the candidates.

“Cruz, Paul, and Rubio are the real deal,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “We’ve looked at their records and their rhetoric, and they give us hope for the future of the GOP on fiscal policies.”

The verdicts weren’t a surprise. The Club backed each of the candidates in their campaigns for the Senate, and all three have amassed staunchly conservative voting records during their short stints on Capitol Hill. But the rave reviews were a reminder that conservative interest groups are poised to play a kingmaker role in the 2016 nominating contest, pulling candidates to the right in the process.

The Club has long been known for spending large sums to oppose candidates who stray on economic issues. But it is considering a more aggressive role in this year’s GOP primary, including a possible endorsement. In late February the group drew a range of presidential hopefuls — including Cruz, Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — to address a donors’ conclave in Florida.

The group found quibbles with each of the first three candidates, from Cruz and Paul’s support of special tax credits for NASCAR to Rubio’s proposed top marginal tax rate. But overall, it spared little praise for the Senators. “Cruz has shown extraordinary determination in the fight against Obamacare,” McIntosh said. “Paul’s budget proposals are a blueprint for limited government, and Rubio has drafted a massively pro-growth tax cut and reform plan.”

It’s a far cry from the 2012 presidential race, when the group was lukewarm or worse on candidates ranging from Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty to Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. And there will surely be 2016 candidates who don’t fare as well. (Keep an eye out for a withering assessment of Mike Huckabee.) But the first batch of reviews was a early sign that this cycle’s crop of candidates will produce a far more competitive — and potentially just as conservative — race after the yawner of four years ago.

TIME Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina Outlines New GOP Strategy to Talk About Abortion

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor Carly Fiorina speaking at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C. on April 16, 2015.

Carly Fiorina laid out the new Republican strategy for talking about abortion at an event in Washington Thursday.

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and likely Republican presidential candidate explained how she discusses the issue with female voters, many of whom she said are initially “uncomfortable” with the GOP’s pro-life stance.

Her answer, she says, is always to ask them whether or not they’ve read the Democratic platform on the issue.

“I remind them that it says any abortion, any time, at any point in a woman’s pregnancy for any reason to be paid for by taxpayers and now, some would like to add, to be performed by a non-doctor,” Fiorina said. “A policy succinctly summarized by (Sen.) Barbara Boxer as, ‘It’s not a life until it leaves the hospital.’ How do you feel about this? Women are horrified by that.”

The 2012 Democratic national platform says that it “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.” The Boxer quote, often cited by pro-life activists, comes from a 1999 colloquy on the Senate floor which the California Democrat has said is taken out of context.

Fiorina’s roadmap on the issue tracks other Republican comments. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who recently launched his campaign for the GOP nomination, took a similar tack when answering a question about abortion on the campaign trail.

“You go back and go ask (Democratic National Committee head) Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that’s just not born yet,” he told a reporter with the Associated Press. “Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.”

Fiorina said that bringing the Democrats into discussions about abortion is a crucial way to make people who may have been skeptical more receptive to the Republican message.

“I don’t expect everyone to agree with my position on everything,” she said. “But I do think when you start to have a conversation in that way and lay out things that maybe people haven’t thought of before, then it is easier to find common ground.”

TIME Chris Christie

Chris Christie’s Straight Talk Plan Hits Its Tax Speed Bump

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holds a town hall meeting at Londonderry Lion's Club on April 15, 2015 in Londonderry, N.H.
Darren McCollester—Getty Images New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holds a town hall meeting at Londonderry Lion's Club on April 15, 2015 in Londonderry, N.H.

Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to use straight talk to fight his way back into the 2016 Republican presidential primary has already hit its first snag.

On Tuesday, the New Jersey Republican proposed reducing or cutting Social Security benefits for future retirees who continue to earn money, an idea known as means testing. Under his plan, Social Security checks would be reduced for those who earn more than $80,000 a year in retirement and ended for those who earn more than $200,000.

Christie has framed the proposal as a much-needed burst of truth-telling on America’s entitlement programs. But it has already drawn criticism from some influential conservatives as a roundabout tax on upper-income Americans.

“Is it not, a straight-out wealth tax,” influential conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Christie Tuesday. “It’s a tax on people who accumulated wealth during their life, or inherited it, they might not have earned it, they might have inherited it, but it’s a straight out wealth tax, right?”

Christie defended the plan to Hewitt, saying, “What it is, is a recognition of the fact that this program needs to provide first and foremost for those people who need retirement security the most.”

Taxes are a tricky issue for Christie owing to his record as governor. Despite a no-new-taxes pledge as a candidate in 2010, he cut property tax breaks for many New Jersey residents shortly after taking office to close a budget shortfall—effectively increasing their rates. He also raised fees for many state services.

Asked by a reporter Wednesday whether he would be open to raising any revenues at the federal level, Christie said he would listen to all proposals.

“Listen, I think we need to change the tax system significantly,” he said, adding, “As I’ve said in New Jersey, I always consider everything. Everything is on the table for conversation. But I don’t think that the problem right now in America is that we are under-taxed.”

But even his openness to considering revenue increases puts him outside GOP orthodoxy, where signing the Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” pledge has become the norm. Christie has not signed the pledge, according to a database maintained by the group. (He’s not alone. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has also said he would not sign the pledge, drawing criticism from some conservatives who are still unhappy about his father’s record as president.)

It also breaks with recent history. In 2012, all of the Republican presidential candidates unanimously pledged to veto any deficit reduction plan that raised new revenues, even if 10 times the amount taken in was cut from the budget.

Christie has not exactly endorsed the idea of raising taxes, but for some conservatives, anything but all-out opposition signals squishiness on the issue. Still, he framed his thinking on the issue as more straight talk.

“I am a guy who is always willing to listen to anybody, but let me be clear, I don’t believe the problem we have in America right now is that we’re under-taxed,” Christie repeated. “And so the fact of the matter is when you’re a leader, you have to be willing to listen to everybody’s ideas, but my ideas, I’ve laid out very specifically how to fix the programs, which doesn’t include raising taxes. That’s not the way to fix this problem.”

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist defended Christie Wednesday in an email to TIME, praising him as a acolyte of President Reagan.

“To date Christie has opposed and vetoed all tax hikes in New Jersey,” Norquist said. “Reducing a benefit is not a tax hike. Shame on any conservative who confuses spending cuts and tax increases. For a Northeast Republican he is very Reaganite.”

TIME

Morning Must Reads: April 16

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

Meet the 2015 TIME 100

Here are the most influential people in the world: the titans, pioneers, artists, icons and leaders who are shaping the future. “We tell 100 stories of individual influence,” managing editor Nancy Gibbs writes. “But taken together, these stories are an anthem to interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonize a good idea”

Tsarnaev’s Family Speaks

Members of the Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers

ISIS Launches New Offensive

ISIS launched an offensive Wednesday in Iraq’s western Anbar province, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi

Here’s Why Wi-Fi on Planes Could Lead to Disaster

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says new aircraft may be susceptible to having inflight computer systems hacked by terrorists through onboard wi-fi networks or remotely. Passenger wi-fi, it said, was “a direct link between the aircraft and the outside world”

Pakistan Could Charge CIA Officials With Murder Over Drones

A judge in Pakistan has ordered police to formally investigate former CIA agents for allegedly authorizing a 2009 drone strike. It may mark the first time that U.S. citizens have been charged with murder, under Pakistan’s penal code, for covert drone strikes

U.N. Envoy to Yemen Resigns

The U.N. envoy to Yemen has resigned, citing an interest in “another assignment.” Jamal Benomar, who has served as the U.N. Secretary-General’s special envoy to the Middle Eastern country since 2012, reportedly quit due to lack of support from Gulf countries

Morris Scores in 1st U.S. Start in 2-0 Win Over Mexico

Jordan Morris made a loud statement in his first start for the U.S. national team against his country’s biggest and most bitter rival. The 20-year-old Stanford sophomore scored his first international goal early in the second half

Netflix Membership Soars Past 60 Million

The online-video-streaming company’s growth continued last quarter as revenue jumped 24% and membership surpassed 60 million global users. Netflix reported $1.57 billion in quarterly revenue, in line with analyst predictions

Aaron Hernandez Gets Life in Prison

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the downfall of an athlete who once had a $40 million contract and a standout career ahead of him

Chris Christie Pins Hopes for Comeback on Straight Talk

Dogged by lower approval ratings at home and overshadowed by Republican rivals, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is pinning his still unannounced campaign’s prospects on straight talk, hoping his unscripted moments will help revive his presidential ambitions

Gisele Retires After 20 Years on the Runway

The supermodel, who has two children with NFL-quarterback husband Tom Brady, says she is leaving to spend more time with her family but plans to continue to work in the fashion industry, likely as a designer. She already has her own line of flip-flops and lingerie

Michael Phelps Will Aim for 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

The gold medalist swimmer said Wednesday that he will try to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, marking the the first time Phelps has publicly committed to trying for the Games

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TIME 2016 Election

Clinton Foundation Will Still Accept Foreign Donations From 6 Countries

Future donations will only be allowed from six governments

(WASHINGTON) — The board of the Clinton Foundation says it will continue accepting donations from foreign governments but only six nations, a move aimed at insulating presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton from controversies over the charity’s reliance on millions of dollars from abroad.

Clinton resigned from the foundation’s board last week amid criticism over the charity’s ties to foreign governments.

Foundation officials said Wednesday night that future donations will only be allowed from the governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. All have supported the charity’s health, poverty and climate change programs.

Other nations could continue participating in a subsidiary program, the Clinton Global Initiative, which doesn’t require direct donations.

The foundation also will begin disclosing its donors every quarter instead of annually.

TIME Marco Rubio

Why Marco Rubio’s Presidential Bid Makes Republicans Nervous

U.S. Senator Rubio announces bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during speech in Miami
Joe Skipper–Reuters U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during a speech in Miami, Fla. on April 13, 2015.

It throws a costly, competitive Senate race up for grabs

When he announced his campaign for President on Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio noted that not everyone in his party was thrilled about the idea. “I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn,” the Florida Republican told supporters gathered at Miami’s Freedom Tower.

Rubio wasn’t just alluding to critics who question his decision to run for the White House while still in his first term in the Senate. He was also talking about some of his allies on Capitol Hill, who were tracking his deliberations for an entirely different reason.

The freshman Senator, 43, is also up for re-election in 2016. And when he jumped into the race for the White House, Rubio reaffirmed his decision not to defend his Senate seat. “If you’ve decided that you want to serve this country as its president, that’s what you should be running for,” he explained to NPR in the wake of his campaign launch.

Rubio’s decision to ditch the Senate puts the GOP in a bit of a bind. Republicans recaptured the chamber last fall, but in 2016 they will be defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10. With a shaky majority and an unforgiving electoral map this go-round, the GOP was counting on Rubio — a proven fundraiser with name recognition and some cross-party appeal — to win re-election in one of the nation’s few true swing states.

Instead Republicans now seem destined for a contested primary and competitive general election that will force them to spend extravagantly to keep the seat. “It’s a problem,” says a former senior official with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). “The challenge that Rubio presents is that there’s a $20 million hole that was just blown in the NRSC budget.”

To skirt this problem, some Republicans quietly sought to persuade Rubio to stay in the Senate, arguing he faced an uphill contest against former Gov. Jeb Bush, a fellow Floridian who has been soaking up the support and largesse of the party’s most powerful donors. If strategists in Washington fretted about shelling out millions to protect the seat, some GOP operatives and donors in the Sunshine State were shocked Rubio would run against Bush, who remains a dominant figure in the state and whom Rubio has described as a mentor.

“There’s a lot of angst about him running” for President, says one veteran Republican consultant, who believes Rubio’s bid for the Oval Office is a long shot. “He would’ve held onto the [Senate] seat. He’s a terrific fundraiser, and it probably wouldn’t have been as competitive.”

Republicans have a deep bench in Florida. “Florida Republicans have consistently demonstrated a proven capacity to win statewide races and we look forward to electing another strong Republican like Senator Rubio,” says Kevin McLaughlin, deputy executive director of the NRSC. But the GOP Senate campaign arm may struggle to recruit a candidate of comparable strength. Already two top potential candidates, state chief financial officer Jeff Atwater and former state House speaker Will Weatherford, have passed on the race.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has announced a run for the Democratic nomination. In the absence of Rubio, the race could be one of the nation’s toughest. Last month the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling surveyed hypothetical match-ups between eight leading prospective contenders from both parties; on average, the Democrat led by less than one point. Rubio, in contrast, was running well ahead of top Democratic rivals.

That’s why some Republicans are holding out hope that he reconsiders his decision if his presidential run fails to gather steam. As Rubio has noted, Florida election law bars a candidate from running for two offices on the same ballot. But the filing deadline to jump into the Senate race isn’t until May 2016, leaving plenty of time to test the waters in Iowa and New Hampshire. It would hardly be an unusual strategy. Fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul is running for re-election in Kentucky as he mounts a bid for the White House after lobbying the state party to change its election laws to allow him to do both.

But Rubio has always been a man in a hurry, and as he’s confessed to allies, the Senate’s sclerosis has frustrated him. This dissatisfaction with the job helps explain why he’s ready to relinquish it for a shot at the presidency. And some longtime Florida political hands argue Rubio’s stock in the GOP primary is undervalued.

“There were a lot of Republicans who were shocked, at times even indignant, that Marco would step out of line,” says Steve Schale, a Florida Democratic strategist who served as a top adviser to both of Barack Obama’s Florida campaigns. “I’m in the camp that thinks he’s going to do better than most people have been saying.”

With reporting by Alex Rogers and Zeke J. Miller

TIME Chris Christie

Chris Christie Pins Hopes for Revival on Straight Talk

Chris Christie
Jim Cole—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. takes a questions during a town hall meeting with area residents in Londonderry, N.H., April 15, 2015.

For Chris Christie, it was a do-over of sorts. Laura Condon, a New Hampshire anti-vaccination activist, took the microphone at the Londonderry Lions Club to ask the New Jersey Governor if he would stand with conscientious objectors who want to opt out of vaccinating their children.

“Yeah, no, you can’t count on me for that,” the shirt-sleeved New Jersey governor said without missing a beat, surrounded by applauding voters in the first in the nation primary.

It was a much different response than he gave when a reporter asked Christie during a February trip to England. Then, his off-the-cuff remarks about balancing parent choice and public health led to criticism and a quick walk-back by his staff back in New Jersey.

But if Christie’s presidential ambitions can be hurt by his unscripted moments, he also hopes they’ll help revive his campaign. Dogged by lower approval ratings at home and overshadowed by his Republican rivals, Christie is pinning his still-unannounced campaign’s prospects on straight talk.

Wednesday’s event was the kick-off of his “Tell It Like It Is” tour, designed to put Christie into the fray in town halls, restaurants and rec centers across the Granite State.

Christie’s presidential ambitions depend on his success in interactions like this, modeled after former Sen. John McCain’s two successful primary campaigns in the state. He and his political aides are betting it all on his ability to break through in New Hampshire, as he seeks to resurrect his presidential ambitions following the fallout of the politically motivated closures of approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 and a tough fiscal climate in New Jersey.

The town hall is Christie’s preferred format at home, where on Thursday he will hold his 135th since taking office, though they often feature high-octane interactions with those that disagree with him. Christie brought his swagger to New Hampshire, but he didn’t need it. He faced a capacity crowd of friendly faces, even dispensing his ritualistic recitation of his four rules for town halls, including the warning that “if you give it, you are getting it right back.”

And it worked on the vaccination critic.

“He was pretty harsh with his answer, but I don’t think he was disrespectful toward me,” Condon told reporters after the 90-minute event, crediting him with being “strong in his opinions.”

The interaction highlighted Christie’s core strength as a politician and all-but-certain presidential candidate—his confidence interacting with voters one-on-one, on topics of their choosing is second-to-none in the Republican field. Christie and his political aides are betting it all on his ability to break through in New Hampshire, as he seeks to resurrect his presidential ambitions following the fallout of the politically motivated closures of approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 and a tough fiscal climate in New Jersey.

On Wednesday, he faced questions on his new plan to reform Social Security and Medicare, the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran, and the rising cost of college tuition.

“We need to start having a national conversation with out colleges and universities about cost-control,” he said using his own family as an example. His eldest son and daughter are students at Princeton and Notre Dame respectively, and Christie said his tuition bills next year would top $120,000, drawing gasps from the audience. He suggested that future federal grant money be tied to schools’ commitment to keep education affordable.

He delivered a detailed response to a question about campaign finance reform, saying he believes that the best solution to repairing a broken system to allow unlimited donations with immediate disclosure.

“There shouldn’t be any restrictions on who can give how much to whom,” he said, “But there needs to be 24 hour absolute giving out of that information on the internet of who you are taking that money from.”

And he earned a round of chuckles mocking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose campaign and its affiliates are looking to raise as much as $2.5 billion to send her to the White House. “But she wants to then get the corrupting money out of politics…,” he said, referencing her promise to do the same in Iowa on Tuesday.

On his entitlement plan, which would raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security and means-test the programs, Christie sought to reassure a room heavy with seniors that his plan wouldn’t affect current or near-term beneficiaries. He added that some advisors tried to convince him not to give speech about entitlements yesterday, owing to Social Security’s mythical status as a ‘third rail’ of American politics. “I have to say this stuff because it’s true,” Christie said, earning another round of applause.

On immigration reform, Christie said he would prioritize border enforcement, but that building a border wall “sends a bad signal about who we are as a people.” He added that the debate over a path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status is only prolonging immigration reform efforts.

“So let’s stop having this argument about a path to citizenship, because most of the folks that I’ve met want to work,” he said, not vote.

Former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Wayne MacDonald said the performance reminded him of McCain’s 2000 and 2008 “straight talk,” which propelled him to victory in both primaries.

“New Hampshire is about retail politics—it’s about events like this one,” MacDonald, who has yet to endorse a candidate, told TIME. “The candidates who appreciate that process are the ones that do well and are the most successful, and certainly Gov. Christie demonstrated that today.”

Before the town hall, Christie visited Chez Vachon, the Manchester diner that has hosted dozens of presidential contenders over the years, where he was playfully ribbed by a table of seniors about the bridge closing and the ending of the HBO drama The Sopranos.

On Friday, Christie will be back in New Hampshire for another town hall at an Exeter sportsbar. “We’re doing a town hall meeting in a bar, because a guy from Jersey should do a town hall meeting in a bar,” Christie joked. The crowd ate it up.

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