TIME

See How Much Americans Prefer Fictional Presidents to Barack Obama

The real President trails in the polls to Francis Underwood, Fitzpatrick Grant and other actors who play politics on TV

Being leader of the free world isn’t easy–especially when you have actors running around showing people they can do a better job than you. President Barack Obama’s approval rating trails that of many actors who have played President on television in recent years, according to the mischievous pollsters at Reuters/Ipsos.

20th Century Fox Television (1); Getty Images (3); Netflix (1); AP (1)

The poll found 46 percent of Americans view Obama favorably, according to the survey published Monday. Americans’ favorite TV president? David Palmer of 24. Of those who have watched the Fox thriller, 89 percent said they hold a favorable opinion of the President played by Dennis Haysbert. Martin Sheen’s Jed Bartlett of The West Wing scores an 82 percent favorable ranking among viewers. President Laura Roslin of the SyFy channel’s Battlestar Galatica pulled in a 78 percent favorability ranking from those who have watched her outfox Cylons.

Obama even trails the famously scandalous leaders of House of Cards and Scandal. Fitzgerald Grant, one of Shonda Rimes many gifts to the world, has a 60 percent favorability rating from Scandal watchers. Francis Underwood, the Netflix President played by Kevin Spacey, is seen favorably by 57 percent of the show’s audience.

When compared to real competition, Obama performs much better. At this point in his second term, George W. Bush carried a 34 percent approval rating.

Read next: The Underwoods: A Less Perfect Union

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TIME Television

Watch Kerry Washington’s Stirring Speech from the GLAAD Media Awards

Kerry Washington
Charley Gallay—Getty Images Kerry Washington accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 in Beverly Hills.

The "Scandal" star devoted her time to discussing equal rights for all citizens and how to make that a reality in the media

When Kerry Washington accepted the Vanguard Award at last night’s GLAAD Media Awards, she knew her acceptance speech would, eventually, come under some scrutiny.

“…On Monday morning, people are going to click a link to hear what that woman from Scandal said at that awards show, and so, I think some stuff needs to be said,” Washington said to a round of applause before launching into her speech.

The Scandal star then devoted her time to discussing equal rights for all citizens and how to make that a reality in the media. Washington acknowledged the “access to basic liberties” that are denied to many citizens around the world, noting how “women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people…have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of other.”

But Washington believes that the stories of these disenfranchised communities must be told to prevent this from happening on screen and in the real world.

Watch Washington’s full speech as she advocates for more “inclusive storytelling” and “inclusive representation” both in front of and behind the camera.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME brazil

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s Impeachment

Protesters say the President knew about a huge graft scandal at the state oil company Petrobras

More than 1 million people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday to demonstrate against President Dilma Rousseff.

Many were calling for her impeachment over a massive corruption scandal while she was head of the state oil company Petrobras, Agence France-Presse reports.

Rousseff, 67, also faces anger over rising inflation and a weak economy, especially among lower-income voters who traditionally back her Workers’ Party, locally known as PT.

The biggest demonstration was in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, where some 500,000 people took to the streets, dressed in the yellow and green of the national flag. “Get out, Dilma; get out, PT!” they chanted. Rallies took place in 83 other towns and cities across the country, including the capital, Brasilia, where 40,000 people marched toward Congress.

Opposition parties backed the protests but didn’t go so far as to call for the President’s impeachment.

Petrobras officials allegedly accepted bribes totaling a whopping $3.8 billion in exchange for contracts for refineries, oil tankers and deep-sea platforms, with payments channeled to powerful politicians and political parties.

An investigation into dozens of prominent political figures is under way, but the President, who was chairwoman of the company’s board at the time, has not been directly implicated and denies any involvement.

After the protests, the government said it would introduce measures to fight corruption and impunity.

[AFP]

TIME Television

Lena Dunham Is Going to Mess Everything Up on Scandal Next Week

The Girls star has a guest role on the ABC drama

As if Olivia Pope didn’t have enough problems, Lena Dunham is set to guest star on the next episode of Scandal, and if the promo is any indication, she’ll bring all the destructive energy of her Girls character Hannah Horvath.

Dunham plays a writer with a book that threatens to reveal some of Washington’s dirtiest secrets, which spells big trouble for Pope. The episode, “It’s Good to Be Kink,” airs Thursday March 19 on ABC.

TIME States

Politician Apologizes for ‘Sexting’ with Woman at Center of Weiner Scandal

Exxxotica 2014 Convention - May 2-3, 2014
Larry Marano—Getty Images Sydney Leathers attends Exxxotica 2014 on May 2, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

State representative represents Indianapolis

An Indiana politician apologized for sending illicit text messages to the same woman who was at the center of the Anthony Weiner “sexting” scandal in 2013.

The gossip website TheDirty.com reported on Tuesday that Indiana state representative Justin Moed had responded to an ad posted by Sydney Leathers, the woman at the center of the sexting scandal that derailed Weiner’s campaign for New York City mayor.

“I am truly sorry I have hurt the ones I love most with my poor judgment,” Moed, a second-term Democrat representing downtown Indianapolis, said in a statement to The Indianapolis Star. “This is a private matter and I ask for it to be treated as such.”

TheDirty.com reported that Moed had attempted to hide his identity from Leathers, but his name was accidentally included in a leash and collar he ordered for her on Amazon.com.

[The Indianapolis Star]

TIME White House

Bill Clinton’s Portrait Includes Symbolic Nod to Lewinsky Affair

Former President Bill Clinton gestures after the portraits of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton and him, were revealed on April 24, 2006 at the Smithsonian Castle Building in Washington D.C.
Haraz N. Ghanbari—AP Former President Bill Clinton gestures after the portraits of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton and him, were revealed on April 24, 2006, at the Smithsonian Castle Building in Washington, D.C.

The artist who created the portrait of President Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery admitted he sneaked a subtle reference to the Lewinsky scandal into the background of the painting. The shadow is "a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held"

The artist who created the portrait of President Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery has admitted he sneaked a subtle reference to the Lewinsky scandal into the background of the painting.

Painter Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News on Friday that a shadow in the 2006 painting, which can be seen falling on the mantle of the Oval Office fireplace, was more than it appeared:

“It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there,” Shanks said. “It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”

Shanks claimed that the Clintons “hate” the painting and have lobbied for its removal from the National Portrait Gallery, a claim the museum’s spokesperson denied.

Read more at the Philadelphia Daily News.

Read next: Here’s How Much the Home of the Next President Is Worth

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TIME celebrities

Actress Emma Thompson, Husband Mull Withholding Taxes After HSBC Scandal

Actress Emma Thompson arrives for the British Independent Film Awards at Old Billingsgate Market in central London, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.
Joel Ryan—Invision/AP Actress Emma Thompson arrives for the British Independent Film Awards at Old Billingsgate Market in central London, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

Thompson's husband Greg Wise said the couple are "not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison"

Two-time Academy Award–winning actress Emma Thompson may refuse to pay taxes until those implicated in the HSBC tax evasion scandal go to prison, according her husband Greg Wise.

“I am disgusted with [the HM Revenue and Customs]. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison,” Wise told the Evening Standard in an interview this week.

And Wise made it clear that Thompson was fully supportive of the proposed boycott. “Em’s on board. She agrees. We’re going to get a load of us together. A movement,” he added.

The acting couple’s disgust stems from a decision by the U.K. customs department to not prosecute anyone after leaks detailed misconduct in HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, including helping chief executive Stuart Gulliver shelter over $7 million in a Swiss account away from the taxman’s gaze.

Thompson is an iconic British actress who won two Best Actress Oscars, first in 1992 for her role in the movie Howard’s End, and in 1995 for Sense and Sensibility. She has been nominated for three other Academy Awards.

TIME Crime

News Corp. Will Not Be Prosecuted in U.S. Over Graft Allegations

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corp and Chairman and CEO 21st Century Fox speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corp and Chairman and CEO 21st Century Fox speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 29, 2014.

The media giant has been at the center of a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will not be prosecuted in the U.S. over allegations of corruption.

Officials were investigating whether News Corp., a U.S. company that controls entities such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, broke anti-bribery laws over alleged payments to British police by journalists, the BBC reports.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Monday that it was ending its “investigation into News Corp. regarding possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning bribes allegedly paid for news leads.”

The media giant has been embroiled in a hacking scandal in the U.K., which caused its Sunday tabloid the News of the World to cease operations in 2011.

Several of the paper’s journalists have been prosecuted in the U.K. over the tapping of phones of public and private figures and illicit payments to officials.

If new information comes to light, the Department of Justice says it can reopen the inquiry.

[BBC]

TIME White House

The Story Behind Bill Clinton’s Infamous Denial

It was on this day in 1998 that President Bill Clinton (as seen around 6:18 in the video above) uttered 11 words that would go down in history: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”

Though the definition of “sexual relations” — and other phrases — may be questioned, even in hindsight, Clinton did eventually end up admitting to an affair.

So why did he say those 11 words in the first place?

One possible explanation can be found in the Feb. 9, 1998, TIME special report that explored the impact of that speech:

While Starr was trying to make his case, Clinton’s job last week was to persuade the American people to reserve judgment, let the investigation proceed and bear with the Great Explainer’s refusal to explain much of anything. So after days of watery nondenials and rumors of resignation, last Monday Clinton finally gave voters who wanted to believe in him an excuse to do so. In the Roosevelt Room of the White House Monday morning, with Hillary beside him, he stared into the camera and narrowed his eyes. “I want you to listen to me,” he said. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never.”

It was an enormous gamble, the result of a fierce White House battle. While Clinton had for days been urged by adviser Mickey Kantor and others to toughen his denial, the Monday morning statement was finally worked out in a post-midnight strategy session with former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes and Hollywood imagineer Harry Thomason. Ickes, the street-smart infighter who had steered Clinton’s re-election campaign only to be bumped out of a second-term job, flew in from California and went straight to the White House. Ickes’ prescription for the President: Look the people straight in the eye and, to the extent you and your lawyer are confident, say, “I didn’t do it.” Only a loud, unambiguous denial would “stanch the wound,” Ickes said. Thomason, meanwhile, helped the President rehearse the stern, reproving body language, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

It was the first of several turning points, and it worked. That afternoon, when Hillary arrived in Harlem to visit an after-school program, the crowd was jeering reporters, chanting, “Leave Bill alone!”

Read more about the semantics of the statement, here in the TIME Vault: When Is Sex Not ‘Sexual Relations’?

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