TIME republicans

Businessman David Perdue Wins the GOP Senate Primary in Georgia

David Perdue
David Perdue waves to supporters after declaring victory in the Republican primary runoff for nomination to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, at his election-night party in Atlanta on July 22, 2014 John Bazemore—AP

The Republican businessman will take on Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, at the polls in November

Georgia Republicans picked themselves a Republican nominee for Senate Tuesday. For the first time in many a pecan season, the choice was less about the quality of the GOP candidates than about who was best to beat the Democratic candidate, Michelle Nunn.

Nunn, the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, is the most formidable Democratic candidate to crop up statewide in Georgia in years. She will face off with David Perdue, a businessman and nephew of former Governor Sonny Perdue, who won the primary runoff with less than 51% of the vote against Representative Jack Kingston. (Ideologically speaking, both Kingston and Perdue are very similar and capable of giving Nunn a tough race.)

Nunn enters the general elections with a money and momentum advantage over Perdue, who topped a May primary of seven candidates but faced a runoff with the other top vote getter, Kingston, after failing to secure more than 50% of the vote. Nunn had at least $3.7 million on hand at the end of the last quarter in April and her campaign recently announced she raised another $3.5 million in the second quarter, though they’ve yet to disclose how much cash on hand remains. Perdue, a millionaire who has already given his primary campaign $1.25 million in personal funds, had $784,000 cash on hand as of July 2, but his primary with Kingston was bruising and required a lot of paid media in the final weeks.

Neither Nunn, the former CEO of Points of Light — a national volunteer program run with the Bush Family Foundation — nor Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General, have ever been elected to public office before. They are running to fill the seat of retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican. Georgia is one of the Democrats’ top two pick of seats in the Senate and a stopgap measure as they stand of the edge of losing the Senate majority.

Kingston’s defeat was a defeat for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which poured $2.3 million into the race on his behalf, effectively making Perdue the CEO candidate without business backing. Kingston had a long record of probusiness votes, while Perdue is more of a blank slate.

“There is a clear contrast in this race between Michelle Nunn, a leader who has spent the last 25 years leading volunteer organizations and lifting communities up, and David Perdue, someone who has spent his career enriching himself while often times tearing companies and communities apart,” said Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter. “Georgians want leaders who will fix the mess in Washington, not someone who puts personal profit ahead of regular people.”

TIME 2016 Election

2016 Conservatives Take the Common Core Test

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 14, 2014.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 14, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin—AP

The state standards are becoming a defining issue for GOP presidential hopefuls

If you’re searching for signs that a Republican politician is serious about a 2016 presidential run, watch what he or she says about Common Core.

Over the past several months, the state education standards developed by a bipartisan group of governors and educators have become one of the conservative movement’s biggest bugbears. Common Core is now “radioactive,” as Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad put it recently. And the animus toward it within the Republican base has sent the politicians who are vying to be their next leader scrambling to distance themselves from the policy.

On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin became the latest 2016 contender to ditch the standards, issuing a one-sentence statement calling on the Badger State legislature to repeal Common Core and replace it “with standards set by the people of Wisconsin.” But Walker is hardly the first national figure to revisit his position toward Common Core as the conservative outcry intensifies.

Earlier this week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed an executive order creating a commission to examine the efficacy of the standards. The move was a hedge by Christie, who has supported Common Core, and may buy him cover to move further away from the policy later if the politics continue to sour.

Other likely 2016 hopefuls have been less equivocal. In April, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation dropping Common Core. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state adopted the standards in 2010, issued executive orders last month to spike the policy—against the wishes of his state’s education superintendent.

These GOP governors are at the back of the pack of 2016 hopefuls when it comes to ditching Common Core. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law banning the standards in his state. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all came out in opposition last year as the backlash built, fed by the (inaccurate) perception that Common Core is a federal takeover of education foisted on the states. By now, the only potential 2016 GOP candidate unambiguously in favor of the standards is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—and his embrace of the policy is a major reason many believe his brand of conservatism is out of step with the national mood.

The irony in this trend is that key features of Common Core—including tougher standards, state-drawn curricula and teacher accountability—reflect conservative values. (So much so that the American Federation of Teachers, the influential union, is now backing away from the policy.) But political winds can blow away policy convictions when they’re inconvenient. Just ask Barack Obama. He spent much of his presidential campaign attacking No Child Left Behind, the national education standards championed by George W. Bush. Once he entered the Oval Office, Obama set about promoting his own set of national standards.

TIME Opinion

Todd Akin Still Doesn’t Get What’s Wrong With Saying ‘Legitimate Rape’

Todd Akin
Then-U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)) address the media on September 24, 2012 in Kirkwood, Missouri. (Whitney Curtis--Getty Images) Whitney Curtis—Getty Images

He says it's a law enforcement term. It's not.

Former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin went on MSNBC Thursday morning to try to explain his much-maligned comments from 2012 in which he said abortions wouldn’t be necessary for rape victims. “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” he told a St. Louis TV station in 2012.

Akin was on MSNBC to promote his new book, Firing Back, but he also took it as an opportunity to explain his earlier flub. “Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term, it’s an abbreviation for ‘legitimate case of rape,’” he told Chuck Todd. “A woman calls a police station, the police investigate, she says ‘I’ve been raped,’ they investigate that. So before any of the facts are in, they call it a legitimate case of rape,” explained Aiken.

 

But is ‘”legitimate rape” really a law enforcement term? We asked some experts.

“I’ve taught police officers, and worked with police officers on every continent in the world, and that’s something I’ve never heard in my 50 years in law enforcement,” says Dr. James A. Williams, former Chief of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces for the U.S Department of Justice, who also worked in municipal law enforcement in New Jersey. “I’ve never heard of that. Never.”

Richard Lichten, a veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and expert on sexual assault investigations agrees:

“I have 30 years of experience, I’m qualified to testify in federal court on the way to investigate sexual assault crimes, and I’ve never heard of that,” said Lichten. “In all my life I’ve never heard of that.”

Nonetheless, Akin believes that everyone took what he said out of context. “This was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes. It doesn’t make any sense to say ‘a conservative is saying that rape is legitimate,’ that doesn’t even add up.”

But the real problem isn’t that people think conservatives are pro-rape, it’s that Akin’s comment sounds like victim-blaming. By calling some rapes “legitimate,” he is (perhaps unintentionally) implying that some aren’t. And that has lead his critics to say that Aikin wants to make sure that a woman’s claim of rape is “legitimate” and that they aren’t just making it up to get a free abortion or something.

Once the topic of abortion came up, the interview took an even more controversial turn. When asked point-blank whether rape victims should be allowed to have abortions if they get pregnant, Akin turned it around. “Should the child conceived in rape have the same right to live as a child conceived in love?” he said. “I had a number of people in my campaign that were children…who were conceived in rape.” That assertion was not immediately verifiable.

Chuck Todd (rightly) pointed out that if Akin had staffers who were conceived from rape, then wouldn’t that disprove his theory that women can “shut that whole thing down?” Yes, according to logic, but all Akin had to say was: “I believe that little children are special.”

 

 

TIME 2014 elections

Dems Latch on to Hobby Lobby in Election Year Push

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Was,. is joined by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Col,. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a news conference following a procedural vote on S.2578, the "Protect Women's Heath From Cooperate Interference Act of 2014," July 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Was,. is joined by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Col,. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a news conference following a procedural vote on S.2578, the "Protect Women's Heath From Cooperate Interference Act of 2014," July 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch—UPI/Landov

Democrats are using Hobby Lobby to get women to the polls in 2014

Senate Democrats tried and failed Wednesday to pass a legislative fix to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court. The bill would have forced all employers to offer all types of available contraception, and it was proposed after the court ruled Hobby Lobby, as an employer with religious beliefs, had a right not to pay for its female employees to receive four kinds of contraception the family owners believed to cause abortions.

The vote, which failed to overcome a GOP filibuster 56-43, was a political one, as there was no chance that House Republicans would have passed the measure. But it did what it was designed to do: highlight to female voters what Democrats say is a coordinated GOP push to take contraception away from women.

“I sincerely hope our Republican colleagues will join us and allow us to proceed to debate on this important bill,” Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat who sponsored the bill, said on the Senate floor before the vote. “I’d like to remind them that women across the country are watching—and I think they will be very interested in seeing who is on their side.”

Democrats are hoping to turn out unmarried women—a reliably Democratic group but one that doesn’t always vote in midterm elections—this November in a bid to save the Senate from falling to Republican control. To that end, they have focused on a women’s economic agenda. On Wednesday, House Democrats unveiled a “middle class jumpstart agenda” that would raise the minimum wage, which disproportionately effects women, and limit executive compensation over $1 million.

Republicans, still smarting from the loss of two Senate seats in the 2012 elections due to inopportune comments about rape uttered by two of their candidates, have made a concerted effort this year to keep their candidates in line. They’re also pushing back on the legislative front. This week, Senator Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, introduced a family leave bill that competes with Democratic initiatives aimed at helping women and families get more flexibility at the workplace. And House GOP women are looking at legislation of their own in the coming weeks on equal pay and other work issues.

Fischer, along with Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, inked an op-ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal pushing back on the Democratic efforts around the Hobby Lobby decision.

“In the days since the Supreme Court’s June 30 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, we have been troubled by those who seem eager to misrepresent both the facts of the case and the impact of its ruling on women—all to divide Americans and score political points in a tough election year,” they wrote. “Americans believe strongly that we should be able to practice our religion without undue interference from the government. It’s a fundamental conviction that goes to the very core of our character—and dates back to the founding of our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which protects rights of conscience, reaffirmed our centuries-old tradition of religious liberty.”

Still, Republican women aren’t unified on the issue. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine’s Susan Collins—who make up half of the GOP’s female Senate population—voted with the Democrats on Wednesday to end their colleagues’ filibuster. And polls show a majority of Americans were against the Hobby Lobby ruling and that women are trending Democratic in this election. But the question remains for Democrats: will their efforts get women to the polls?

MONEY The Economy

The Capitalist Argument for Renewing the Export-Import Bank

While this bank is a government agency, it levels the global playing field and promotes U.S. jobs.

Having excoriated big-government liberals and tax raisers, the Tea Party has now set its sights on the Export-Import Bank.

To the anti-government Tea Party movement, the bank is just one more government intrusion into things that private parties can do for themselves.

Created in 1934 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Export-Import Bank is a U.S. government agency that lends money to foreign buyers to help them purchase our airplanes, computers, and other goods and services. Since 1945, its charter has been subject to periodic renewal by Congress. The latest renewal runs out in a couple of months.

In the vast majority of cases, the loans are paid back in full, with interest. Last year the default rate on loans the bank made was about 0.2%. The bank earned about $1.06 billion for the federal Treasury.

The bank is not supposed to compete with private lenders; therefore, it specializes in higher-risk loans that private institutions are unlikely to make. Over the years it has financed many large projects, including the Pan American Highway that runs from Alaska to Chile. It was involved in the Marshall Plan after World War II, and in the rebuilding of former Soviet countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Who Benefits?

The purpose of the bank is not primarily to help the countries to whom money is lent. It’s to enable them to buy our goods and services, and therefore to create jobs in the U.S.

Between now and September, the reauthorization deadline, the Tea Party will be arguing that the main beneficiaries in the U.S. are big companies that don’t need help.

When you look at the organizations now lobbying for a renewal of the Export-Import Bank, it might appear that the Tea Party has a point there.

Among the organizations that have been speaking up on behalf of the bank are Boeing, General Electric, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

At this moment, the battle is too close to call. In the Senate, sentiment appears to favor renewal of the bank’s charter. In the House, there is a good chance that the majority will vote for its abolition.

Competitive Landscape

My biggest disagreement with the Tea Party here is that it doesn’t make sense to be an ideological purist and think only in terms of the U.S.

Foreign companies such as Airbus receive a variety of subsidies to help them compete internationally. The Export-Import bank provides an indirect subsidy to U.S. manufacturers, helping their customers afford our goods and services.

Why should the Tea Party attack an institution that evens the playing field, helps to create jobs in the U.S., and makes money for the Treasury?

Harry Reid (D., Nev.), the Senate majority leader, is talking about a short-term reauthorization of the bank, tied to a bill that would fund the government past September 30 — again, for the short term.

A more statesmanlike solution, I’d say, would be to extend the bank’s charter for at least another three years, as Congress has done 16 times before. The most common extension period has been five years. That’s what the administration has asked for this time, and that’s what Congress should do.

John Dorfman is chairman of Thunderstorm Capital LLC, a Boston money-management firm. He can be reached at jdorfman@thunderstormcapital.com.

TIME Immigration

Homeland Chief Will Make Case for Obama’s $3.7 Billion Border Request

Jeh Johnson
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Charles Dharapak—AP

Johnson's scheduled appearance Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee comes a day after Obama met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch critic of the president's handling of what Obama has called an "urgent humanitarian situation" at the border.

(WASHINGTON) — In what figures to be a tough sell, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is going to Capitol Hill to make the case for President Barack Obama’s request for $3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of unaccompanied child immigrants that has overwhelmed the Border Patrol in South Texas.

Johnson’s scheduled appearance Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee comes a day after Obama met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch critic of the president’s handling of what Obama has called an “urgent humanitarian situation” at the border.

During his fundraising trip to Texas, Obama also met with faith leaders and other Texas officials to discuss the wave or more than 57,000 children, mostly from Central America, who have been caught crossing the border without their parents since Oct. 1. At the same time, immigration officials have arrested more than 39,000 immigrants, mostly mothers and children, traveling as family groups.

In a preview of what Johnson may hear Thursday from senators, some Republicans made it clear Wednesday that Obama’s budget request would be a hard sell.

“I cannot vote for a provision which will then just perpetuate an unacceptable humanitarian crisis that’s taking place on our southern border,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor, where he was joined by fellow Arizonan Jeff Flake and Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. They took take turns blaming Obama’s policies for causing the border crisis.

In the House, Speaker John Boehner was noncommittal about bringing the spending measure to a vote.

“If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. “And if you look at the president’s request, it’s all more about continuing to deal with the problem.”

Republicans blamed the president’s decision to relax some deportation rules for fueling rumors circulating in Central America that once here, migrant kids would be allowed to stay.

“We’re trying to stop human trafficking. Are we actually increasing it?” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked several Obama administration officials during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, said she wanted to be careful about approving the president’s emergency spending request.

“What I’m going to be focused on is accountability, who’s in charge, what the plan is, who’s going to be held responsible before we spend, you know, $3.7 billion,” Landrieu said. “So we’ve got a lot more questions to be answered before I think we run too far ahead.”

The president’s emergency budget request includes funding for the Justice Department to hire 40 new immigration judge teams and about $1 billion for immigration enforcement efforts within the Homeland Security Department to help speed removal of immigrant families traveling with children, in addition to about $295 million to support repatriation, reintegration and border security efforts in Central America.

The Justice Department also announced Wednesday that deportation cases involving families and unaccompanied children would be moved to the top of court dockets. That means lower-priority cases will take even longer to wend through a system where there’s a backlog of more than 360,000 deportation cases.

Emerging from the highly anticipated meeting with Perry, Obama said he was open to suggestions from the Texas governor and others that he dispatch National Guard troops to the border but warned that such a solution would only work temporarily. He urged Republicans to grant his emergency spending request so the government will have the resources to put a variety of ideas into action.

“The problem here is not major disagreement,” Obama said in Dallas. “If they’re interested in solving the problem, then this can be solved. If the preference is for politics, then it won’t be solved.”

TIME Benghazi attack

Another Group May Have Been Involved in Benghazi Attack on CIA Complex

Benghazi Two Attacks
In this Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya after an attack two days earlier. Newly revealed testimony from top military commanders involved in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks suggests that the perpetrators of a second, dawn assault on a CIA complex probably were different from those who penetrated the U.S. diplomatic mission the evening before. Mohammad Hannon—AP

The House Armed Services Committee released the testimony Wednesday.

(WASHINGTON) — Well-trained attackers executed the deadly dawn assault on a CIA complex in Benghazi, Libya, suggesting different perpetrators from those who penetrated the U.S. diplomatic mission the previous night, according to newly revealed testimony from top military commanders.

The initial attack, on Sept. 11, 2012, killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and communications specialist Sean Smith and set the mission ablaze. Nearly eight hours later at the CIA complex nearby, two more Americans, contract security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in a mortar attack that showed clear military training, retired Gen. Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door testimony earlier this year.

The House Armed Services Committee released the testimony Wednesday.

The second assault probably was the work of a new team of militants who had seized on reports of violence at the diplomatic mission the night before and hit the Americans while they were most vulnerable, according to testimony that could clarify the events. The testimony also reveals how little information the military had on which to base an urgent response.

Bitter recriminations in the U.S. followed the 2012 attacks, including Republican-led congressional investigations and campaign-season denunciations of the Obama administration, which made inaccurate statements about the Libyan attacks. The testimony released Wednesday underscored a key detail that sometimes has been lost in the debate: that the attacks were two distinct events over two days on two different buildings, perhaps by unrelated groups.

The U.S. government still has not fully characterized the first attack in which, according to Ham and eight other military officers, men who seemed familiar with the lightly protected diplomatic compound breached it and set it on fire, killing Stevens and Smith. A disorganized mob of looters then overran the facility.

In testimony to two House panels earlier this year, the officers said that commanders didn’t have the information they needed to understand the nature of the attack, that they were unaware of the extent of the U.S. presence in Benghazi at the time and they were convinced erroneously for a time that they were facing a hostage crisis without the ability to move military assets into place that would be of any use.

To this day, despite the investigations, it’s not clear if the violence resulted from a well-planned, multiphase military-type assault or from a loosely connected, escalating chain of events.

Two House panels — Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform — conducted interviews with the nine officers on separate days from January to April.

In their testimony, military officials expressed some uncertainty about the first attack, describing protests and looting in an assault that lasted about 45 minutes.

The military attache to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli told Congress the first attack showed some advance planning. The Libyan police officer guarding the diplomatic compound fled as it began.

The defense attache, whose name wasn’t released, suggested the attackers “had something on the shelf” — an outline of a plan based on previously obtained information about the compound and its security measures, so they were ready to strike when the opportunity arose.

“They came in, and they had a sense of purpose, and I think it sometimes gets confused because you had looters and everyone else coming in,” he said. “It was less than kind of full, thought-out, methodical.”

Ham testified that the second attack, which killed Woods and Doherty at the annex a mile from the diplomatic compound where the assault began the night before, showed clear military training. It was probably the work of a new team of militants, taking advantage after reports of violence at the first site and American vulnerability.

“Given the precision of the attack, it was a well-trained mortar crew, and in my estimation they probably had a well-trained observer,” said Ham, who headed the U.S. command in Africa. The second attack showed “a degree of sophistication and military training that is relatively unusual and certainly, I think, indicates that this was not a pickup team. This was not a couple of guys who just found a mortar someplace.”

Ham said the nearly eight-hour time lapse between the two attacks also seemed significant. “If the team (that launched the second attack) was already there, then why didn’t they shoot sooner?” he asked.

“I think it’s reasonable that a team came from outside of Benghazi,” he said of the second attack in testimony on April 9. Violent extremists saw an opportunity “and said, ‘Let’s get somebody there.’” He also acknowledged that the absence of American security personnel on the ground soon enough after the first attack “allowed sufficient time for the second attack to be organized and conducted,” he said.

Stevens had gone to Benghazi from the embassy in Tripoli to open a cultural center, State Department officials said.

The attacks came as President Barack Obama was in a close re-election battle, campaigning in part on the contention that al-Qaida no longer posed a significant threat to the United States and that, blending the economy and the fight against terrorism, General Motors was alive but “Osama bin Laden is dead.” A terror attack on American assets could have damaged that argument.

Five days after the attack, after feverish email exchanges about her “talking points” among national security staff members and their spokesmen, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice linked the Benghazi attacks to protests in Tunisia and Cairo over an anti-Islam video. Weeks later, U.S. officials retracted that account but never fully articulated a new one.

Republicans seized on the inaccuracies, contending that the Obama administration was covering up a terror attack for political gain.

Several congressional and independent investigations have faulted the State Department for inadequate security, but they have not provided a full reading of who was involved in the violence, what the motives were and how they could pull off such a seemingly complicated, multipronged assault.

People on both sides of the debate tend to link the two incidents as one attack.

The congressional testimony that distinguishes the attacks came from military officials in Tripoli or, like Ham, coordinating the response in Washington. Most have never given a public account. But they agreed that confusion reigned from the outset.

“We’re under attack,” was the first report the military received from Benghazi. That message came from Stevens’ entourage to Tripoli in the late afternoon of Sept. 11. Word was relayed to the defense attache, who reported up the chain of command.

That report gave no indication about the size or intensity of the attack.

The defense attache testified that the assault on the diplomatic mission was followed by a mob that complicated and confused the situation.

He said of the original attackers, “I don’t think they were on the objective, so to speak, longer than 45 minutes. They kind of got on, did their business, and left.” For hours after that, he said, there were looters and “people throwing stuff and you see the graffiti and things like that.”

Once the first attack ended around 10 p.m., the military moved to evacuate Americans from Benghazi, while preparing for what it erroneously believed might have been an emerging hostage situation involving Stevens.

In fact, Stevens died of smoke inhalation after the diplomatic post was set on fire in the first attack.

Seven-and-a-half hours later, at dawn, mortars crashed on a CIA compound that had been unknown to top military commanders.

The military worked up a response on numerous fronts.

At one point, fewer than 10 U.S. military personnel in Libya were grappling with the mortar and rocket-propelled grenade attack on Americans who had taken cover at the CIA facility and, some 600 miles away, the evacuation of about three dozen people from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli by a convoy of armored vehicles.

An unarmed Predator drone conducting an operation nearby in eastern Libya had been repositioned over Benghazi, yet offered limited assistance during the nighttime and with no intelligence to guide it. A standby force training in Croatia was ordered to Sicily, while another farther afield was mobilized. Neither was nearly ready in time to intervene during the first 45-minute attack and couldn’t predict the quick mortar attack the next morning. An anti-terrorism support team in Spain was deployed, though it, too, was hours away.

American reinforcements of a six-man security team, including two military personnel, were held up at the Benghazi airport for hours by Libyan authorities. Drone images and intelligence hadn’t provided indications of a new attack, but word eventually came from two special forces troops who had made it to the annex and reported casualties from the dawn attack up the chain of command.

In Tripoli, military and embassy officials were evacuating the embassy there and destroying computer hardware and sensitive information.

The administration last month apprehended its first suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, and brought him to the United States to stand trial on terrorism charges.

The Justice Department maintains in court documents that Abu Khattala was involved in both attacks, and it describes the first breach on the diplomatic post as equally sophisticated. The government said a group of about 20 men, armed with AK-47- rifles, handguns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, stormed the diplomatic facility in the first attack.

Abu Khattala supervised the looting after Americans fled, the government says, and then returned to the camp of the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia, where the Justice Department says a large force began assembling for the second attack.

The Justice Department provided no supporting documentation for those conclusions. They also reflect the divisions among current and former government officials about the two attacks.

In her book “Hard Choices,” former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote that there were scores of attackers with different motives. “It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well.”

Abu Khattala’s lawyer says the government has failed to show that he was connected to either attack.

Ham, who happened to be in Washington that week, briefed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. They informed the president.

Many of the military officials said they didn’t even know about the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, let alone the CIA’s clandestine installation nearby. Few knew of Stevens visiting the city that day. Given all of the confusion, Ham said there was one thing he clearly would have done differently: “Advise the ambassador to not go to Benghazi.”

TIME 2016 Election

GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention

Cleveland 2016 GOP Convention
Detroit Superior Bridge over Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, Ohio. Getty Images

GOP picks swing state for quadrennial confab

The Republican Party is taking its convention to Cleveland.

After a five-month selection process, the Republican National Committee on Tuesday selected the Ohio city as the host for its 2016 convention. The announcement by the party’s site selection committee all-but-assures that the city will host the convention, with the party now opening negotiations with the city before the the full 168-member RNC votes to finalize the selection next month when it meets in Chicago.

The city once dubbed the “Mistake by the Lake” will host the thousands of delegates, alternates, party officials, and journalist when the GOP formally selects its next presidential and vice presidential nominee two years from now at the Quicken Loans Arena. The city has undergone a downtown revival over the past two decades around the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it’s still plagued by declining population, foreclosed homes and poverty.

The relatively temperate Cleveland beat out Dallas in the final selection round, due to concerns about Texas summer heat, the state party’s recent rightward shift, and the presence of the Bush family. The 2012 convention in Tampa was marred by financial difficulties, oppressive humidity, and a hurricane threat that forced the cancellation of the first night’s program, muddling the party’s carefully-scripted message throughout the convention.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has set his sights on moving the convention earlier in the year, shortening the primary and caucus process and freeing up general election funding for candidates sooner. The move, a response to the drawn-out 2012 primary fight that marred Mitt Romney’s political standing before the convention, has the party eyeing two potential dates: the weeks of June 27 or July 18. The final dates will be announced when the RNC gathers next month.

“As goes Ohio, so goes the presidential race,” Priebus said Tuesday on Fox News.

Concerns had been raised over Dallas’ ability to hold the convention on the earlier date because of the chances its basketball team will make the NBA finals. Both cities had been able to demonstrate to the committee that they could fund the estimated $68 million price tag for the convention. Cleveland had more than $30 million on hand, while Dallas claimed more than $50 million in commitments.

Cleveland, located in the political heart of Democratic Ohio, has hosted the Republican National Convention twice before, in 1936 when the party nominated Kansas Gov. Alf Landon and in 1924 when it nominated President Calvin Coolidge. Democrats are considering hosting their convention in Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix, with a decision expected early next year. Cleveland will likely be cut from contention now that it has been selected by Republicans.

The other cities initially considered by the GOP for the convention were Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Tuesday’s announcement comes four years to the day after basketball star Lebron James announced he was leaving Cleveland for Miami.

What 2016 Will Look Like For Republicans:

First week of February: Iowa Caucuses

Second week of February: New Hampshire Primary

Mid- to Late- February: South Carolina Primary followed by Nevada Caucuses

March 1: States other than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada begin to hold nominating contests with proportional delegate allocation; states can set a threshold as high as 20 percent for obtaining delegates.

March 16: States may begin holding winner-take-all contests.

May 17: Earliest cut-off for primaries and caucuses. Forty-five days before first potential convention date. States that don’t have Republicans controlling the scheduling of their primaries and caucuses will be granted automatic waivers from the cut-off requirement.

June 28: First start date under consideration for the Republican National Convention.

July 18: Second start date under consideration for the Republican National Convention.

TIME republicans

Republicans Can’t Decide if Obama Is a Weakling or a Tyrant

Is Obama the weakest president in a generation, or a dangerous autocrat ruling by fiat? The GOP tries to have it both ways

At some point over the next few weeks, the House will vote to sue President Obama to compel him “to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country,” House Speaker John Boehner said in an op-ed on CNN.com over the weekend.

“[T]oo often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold—at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him,” Boehner wrote.

The White House has called the move a stunt and notes that, compared with other Presidents, Obama’s 182 executive orders is actually a relatively moderate number: Ronald Reagan had 381 such orders, Bill Clinton had 364 and George W. Bush had 291 (though Obama still has a few years yet to catch up).

“Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions,” Obama told a crowd in Minneapolis on June 27. “They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad that I’m doing something. I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they find most offensive, but they’ve decided they’re going to sue me for doing my job.”

The judicial branch has long settled disputes between the executive and legislative branches, though. Individuals, or in the case of Hobby Lobby, “closely-held corporations,” have sued the President, or his representatives, and won. The Supreme Court 13 times in the past three years has struck down the President’s executive orders: just last month it found three of Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board unconstitutional.

And Boehner’s list of grievances against the President is long: selectively enforced sanctions against Iran passed by Congress; the unilateral pushback of several launch and enrollment dates for Obamacare; the issuance of tough coal laws by the Environmental Protection Agency; the unannounced release of the Taliban five in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan; and the No Child Left Behind waivers that Republicans hate. It remains unclear whether Republicans will sue on some or all of these points.

But as they mull how to proceed, Boehner and the GOP might be hard pressed to prove a personal loss—a necessity to win the suit—due to any of these policies; indeed they have raised vast sums of money from making Obama out to be a tyrant worthy of deposing. And Democrats will benefit too. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has boasted of raising nearly $3 million “since Boehner and the Republicans announced their ludicrous plan to sue President Obama.” No word from GOP groups how much they’ve raised.

The problem is, the Republican Party is not uniform on Obama’s autocracy. Conservative blogger Eric Erickson mocked Boehner’s move. “John Boehner’s lawsuit is nothing more than political theater and a further Republican waste of taxpayer dollars,” he wrote Monday. “John Boehner and the House Republicans may lack the testicular fortitude to fight President Obama.”

Worse, many Republicans have actually called on Obama to use his executive powers more, calling him the weakest President in a generation. As the GOP has moved on from Obamacare and the recovery economy, it has taken up a schizophrenic approach to its criticism of the President. Here are seven ways Republicans have called on Obama to use his “pen and his phone,” as Obama puts it, more not less:

1. Keystone Pipeline: Congressional Republicans have been eager for the Administration to make up its mind on whether to build this pipeline from Canada to Louisiana. They’ve even passed resolutions calling on the President to approve it.

2. Trade: Forget the fact that Congress hasn’t granted the President the authority to negotiate free trade acts. Republicans are encouraging Obama to complete two massive deals ASAP—one with Asia and one with Europe. That Free Trade Promotion Authority needed to approve those deals? No worries, Republicans will overcome Democratic doubts and pass it whenever the President likes.

3. Border Security: Immigration reform may be dead, but one part of it is very much alive: shoring up the border. The fence! The patrols! Must keep those unaccompanied minors out! Republicans have been clamoring for beefed up border security since the immigration debate under Bush in 2005, even after they built the massive 1,951-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

4. Syria: Remember when Obama decided he needed congressional approval to bomb Syria? Congress went from hawk to dove overnight, suddenly balking at the idea of taking responsibility for another war in the Middle East. Which is partly why Syria never got bombed—well, that and Vladimir Putin’s cagey moves. Resolutions have been introduced in both chambers calling on Obama to do more to help arm and train the moderate Syrian opposition. Never mind needing permission from Congress.

5. Iraq: If Syria wasn’t hard enough, Iraq is an even bigger challenge. Many GOP neocons blame the collapse on Obama’s pulling out of all U.S. forces from Iraq two years ago and ending U.S. involvement there. Clearly, then, he’s not doing nearly enough to fix the problem. Boehner even accused Obama of “taking a nap” while Iraq burned. Does he need permission to act? Nah, he still can use Bush’s old war powers resolution still in effect from 12 years ago.

6. Boko Haram. Bring back our girls, were the instructions from Congress after the terrorist group kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria. The girls still haven’t been found, but Obama did send over military advisers to help look for them. Again, no permission from Congress needed—lawmakers simply wanted Obama to act ASAP.

7. Ukraine/Russia: Obama is getting played by Putin. Obama’s is Putin’s lap dog. Or so the GOP refrains go. Clearly, the President should be doing more to help Ukraine stand up to tyranny and oppression—not to mention Russia annexing the Crimea—or so says a spate of congressional resolutions. What “more” means is fairly vague: sanctions, visa restrictions, frozen accounts? All things presidents do with pens and phones.

TIME 2014 Election

McDaniel Campaign Begins Legal Challenge in Mississippi GOP Primary

McDaniel delivers a concession speech in Hattiesburg
Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel delivers a speech to supporters in Hattiesburg, Miss. on June 24, 2014. Jonathan Bachman—Reuters

The Tea Party challenger says a write-in campaign is not off the table

This year’s most hotly contested Republican primary elections entered a new round of controversy Thursday morning, when the Tea Party challenger attempting to unseat incumbent Senator Thad Cochran officially initiated a challenge to the results of a runoff last week.

Insurgent candidate Chris McDaniel Thursday sent a “Notice of Intent to Challenge” to the Cochran campaign, the first step in an attempt to invalidate the election by revealing voting irregularities. Early next week the McDaniel campaign will file its official challenge with the state Republican Party, which oversees the primary election, McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch told TIME. A legal challenge in the courts will follow, Fritsch says.

“Most important in this challenge is the integrity of the election process. That’s what this is really all about,” Fritsch said. “What you have here are multiple criminal allegations, criminal misconduct.”

Cochran won a runoff against his more conservative challenger by about 6,700 votes, in part by appealing to moderates and Democrats, who were legally allowed to vote in the Republican runoff in Mississippi if they did not vote in the June 3 Democratic primary. McDaniel alleges that a significant number of Cochran votes came from Democrats who had violated that rule.

The McDaniel campaign has thus far found more than 4,900 votes it calls into question, Fritsch says. The campaign has not yet received access to records in 31 counties or to 19,000 absentee ballots, Fritsch says.

A Cochran campaign spokesman, Jordan Russell, told TIME he could not confirm the campaign had received the notice from McDaniel but called the challenge “baseless.”

“It’s not going anywhere. There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing,” Russell told TIME. “Frankly, it’s a publicity stunt, an attempt to help him to retire his campaign debt.”

Conservative activists were outraged by Cochran’s narrow victory, won with the support of Democrats after McDaniel bested the long-time Senator in the June 3 primary (neither man won more than 50% of the vote, automatically triggering the runoff). Some in conservative circles have called for McDaniel, a firebrand State Senator and former conservative radio host, to mount a write-in campaign, which may not be legally feasible under Mississippi law. A write-in effort would be good news for Democrat Travis Childers, a former congressman from Mississippi who under normal circumstances would face extremely long odds against a Republican in the deeply conservative state.

“We’ve got thousands and thousands of people telling us to do that” Fritsch said when asked if McDaniel would consider a write-in effort. “Oh no. We’re not taking any actions off the table right now.”

-With reporting from Zeke Miller

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