TIME 2014 Election

Watch Obama Encounter a Jealous Boyfriend: ‘Don’t Touch My Girlfriend’

Politicans cast early vote ballots
President Barack Obama casts his early votes at Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Antonio Perez—Chicago Tribune / Getty Images

'I really wasn't planning on it'

President Barack Obama held his own against a jealous boyfriend in Chicago on Monday.

“Mr. President, don’t touch my girlfriend,” said a man identified by CNN as Mike Jones, as Obama cast his early ballot in the Illinois state elections next to a woman named Aia Cooper.

“I really wasn’t planning on it,” Obama said, without looking up from his ballot, as Cooper laughed. A visibly embarrassed Cooper then offered an apology on behalf of her fiancé. Obama was sympathetic, though, joking “there’s an example of a brother just embarrassing me for no reason.”

After a brief conversation as the two finished voting, the video shows, Obama gave Cooper a quick kiss on the cheek, to give Jones “something to talk about.”

[CNN]

TIME 2014 Election

Obama White House Finds Ebola and ISIS Crises Silver Lining

US-VOTE-OBAMA
President Barack Obama casts a ballot in early voting for the 2014 midterm elections at the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center October 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

An excuse for why he's not campaigning for more Democrats.

President Barack Obama has found a silver lining in months of global crises: an excuse for why he’s not out on the campaign trail for Democrats this fall.

Asked Monday if it was odd two weeks before the midterm elections that Obama was not spending more time on the road for Democrats, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz pointed to all the president’s other commitments, including the twin crises of Ebola and ISIS, which have upended Senate campaigns around the country.

“I don’t think it’s weird given everything that we are trying to manage,” he told reporters in Chicago, where Obama cast an early ballot this morning and held one of just seven pre-Election Day rallies last night. “As I think we’ve said now for some time there’s a lot of significant, complex situations going on both around the world and here at home and I think a lot of those issues have dominated the president’s time. Given that the elections are a few weeks away, obviously that is a priority as well. So I think you’ll see the president as he did yesterday campaign when he can.”

Few Democrats around the country have invited Obama out on the campaign trail, given his toxic appeal in swing states this cycle. Nationwide, Obama’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, stands at 40%, just above his historic low of 38%. In the second week of October, 41% of the country disapproved of Obama’s performance, compared with the 37% approval rate George W. Bush had at the same point in his presidency.

Last week the White House announced that Obama would appear at only seven rallies in Democratic-leaning states, and would only appear with a single Democratic Senate candidate before Election Day. The Senate appearance will be with Gary Peters, a Democratic candidate in Michigan, who has been leading by double digits in some recent polls. One of the seven rallies, for Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, was postponed last week so Obama could attend meetings at the White House on Ebola. The White House said it would be rescheduled before the election.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to win control of the U.S. Senate next year. Current polling averages suggest the party is slightly favored to win at least that many, with fifteen days to go before polls close.

TIME White House

Richard Nixon’s Comic Genius

NIxon's The One
Harry Shearer as Richard Nixon, with Henry Goodman as Henry Kissinger Ollie Upton—Sky Arts

Richard Nixon was imitating comedians, says the comedian who's imitating him

Most Americans think they have a pretty good idea of Richard Nixon: Checkers speech, Watergate, resignation.

Which is why Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons actor Harry Shearer decided to debut his Richard Nixon series, Nixon’s The One, in the U.K. The show, for which the scripts came from actual transcripts of Nixon’s Oval Office tapes, debuts for American audiences on YouTube on Tuesday — and people who think they know Nixon may be surprised, the actor says.

That’s because the Richard Nixon of Nixon’s The One is, in many ways, a comedian. Shearer and his co-writer Stanley Kutler, the historian who played a major role in getting those tapes released publicly, spent hundreds of hours listening to the tapes in search of “bizarre, funny, spooky, crazy, weird conversations” that weren’t necessarily about major world events but that shed a light on the President’s day-to-day character. Because many of the tapes had not been transcribed, as they were irrelevant to the Watergate investigation, they relied on logs of his Oval Office meetings to guess which tapes would contain conversations about the themes in which they were most interested; when they did listen, the tapes were often muffled and hard to decipher. And Shearer, who had played Nixon before, found that he had to do extra research in order to capture a relaxed version of the President, who was rarely seen in such a state publicly.

“One of the ways I try to figure out people is to figure out who are they imitating,” he says. “It struck me that the stance that I saw Nixon take when he was relaxed was imitative of the two most relaxed comedians of his era, Bob Hope and Jack Benny. He was sort of doing them, so I did him doing them.”

Nixon’s comedic side came out in particular in the scene prior to Nixon’s resignation, which was caught on camera rather than by Nixon’s audio recorder. In the minutes before he went on air, he joked with the camera crews, a choice that had long struck Shearer as odd, especially considering Nixon’s lack of affection for small talk. In the course of rehearsals, however, the actor came to believe that the joking was for a reason: “He thought, I believe, that these guys on the crew are going to go back home and talk to their families and say he wasn’t upset, he wasn’t angry, he wasn’t sad, he was nice, he even wished us Merry Christmas,” Shearer explains. “It was the start of the next campaign, to rehabilitate his reputation.”

See an excerpt from that segment of Nixon’s The One:

And, says Shearer, the whole arc of Nixon is a comedy — or rather a tragicomedy — in its deep irony: Nixon was a self-made man, and then he became a self-destroyed man. “There’s something quite elegant about that,” Shearer says. “He sort of wrote the perfect punchline for his own joke.”

Read more: 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Richard Nixon

TIME White House

Ebola Czar Ron Klain Is a ‘Top-Flight Lawyer and Savvy Politician’

Lawyer and politcal operative Ron Klain on May 13, 2008 in New York City.
Lawyer and politcal operative Ron Klain on May 13, 2008 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker—Getty Images

The new Ebola czar is no stranger to making news

The White House confirmed Friday that President Obama has picked Ron Klain as the Administration’s “Ebola czar.” In his new role, Klain will be the point person for coordinating the nation’s response to the virus. The appointment marks a return to public life for Klain, who formerly worked under vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, but who has since spent several years in the private sector.

Though it’s a departure from his current job, the oversight role will no doubt draw on the skills that Klain has spent decades developing. In fact, back in 1994 TIME named Klain — then Chief of Staff to Janet Reno — to its list of 50 people who would make up the next generation of leadership. Here’s what we said about him back then:

In a city where name recognition is synonymous with success, Ron Klain has made a virtue of being unknown. As Attorney General Janet Reno’s chief of staff, he is all but invisible to the public but recognized in Democratic circles as the man to have on your side in a political or legal fight. A rare mix of top-flight lawyer and savvy politician, Klain shepherded the nominations of Reno and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg through the Senate and steered the omnibus crime bill through the turbulent legislative process. An honors graduate of Georgetown and Harvard Law, he clerked for Justice Byron White. Spurning six-figure law-firm offers, he signed on as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a job Justice Stephen Breyer once held on his road to the High Court. Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, an admiring former teacher, calls Klain ”one of the most politically talented and intellectually powerful students I’ve ever had” — one destined to lose his anonymity soon.

Over the decades that followed, that paragraph would not be the only time Klain would show up in the pages of the magazine. His name came up in 2000 when Al Gore was questioned about a 1996 campaign-finance scandal, and throughout that year as Bush v. Gore progressed; John Kerry praised his help on the campaign trail in 2004; he was named as a possible replacement for Rahm Emanuel in 2010; he even joked around with Joel Stein in 2012 after the Supreme Court cited a TIME article about Internet privacy.

Today, as the U.S. and the world continue to fight the Ebola outbreak, Klain’s name in the news is sure to be an even more regular event.

Read the introduction to the “50 for the Future” list that included such luminaries as Ron Klain, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates, here in the archives: The Real Points of Light

TIME White House

Obama Signs Order to Secure Government Credit Cards From Data Breaches

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President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order to implement enhanced security measures on consumers' financial security following remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington, DC, October 17, 2014. SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images

"Identify theft is now America's fastest growing crime," said Obama.

President Obama signed an executive order Friday to improve security measures for government credit and debit cards, equipping them with microchips in place of the standard magnetic strips and PINs. Obama discussed the new order during remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Friday.

“Last year . . . more than 100 million Americans had information that was compromised in data breaches in some of our largest companies,” said Obama, referring to high-profile security breaches at Target and Home Depot. “Identify theft is now America’s fastest growing crime. These crimes don’t just cost companies and consumers billions of dollars every year, they also threaten the economic security of middle class Americans who worked really hard for a lifetime to build some sort of security.”

“The idea that somebody halfway around the world could run up thousands of dollars in charges in your name just because they stole your number or because you swiped your card at the wrong place at the wrong time—that’s infuriating,” said Obama. “For victims it’s heartbreaking. And as a country we’ve got to do more to stop it.”

Obama highlighted the efforts of Home Depot and Target to secure their systems after being hit by breaches this year. They will join Walmart and Walgreens in installing chip and PIN technology in all their stores, most by the beginning of next year. Obama also noted that the Federal Trade Commission will develop IdentityTheft.gov for victims to aide the reporting and remediation process with credit bureaus.

“Identity theft has been American consumers’ number one complaint for more than a decade, and it affects people in every community across the nation,” said Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “I welcome the opportunity for the Federal Trade Commission to participate in this new initiative advancing efforts to address this insidious problem on behalf of consumers.”

The White House also called on Congress to pass data breach and cybersecurity legislation. “The current patchwork of laws governing a company’s obligations in the event of a data breach is unsustainable, and helps no one,” wrote the White House in a statement.

With reporting from Sam Frizell

 

 

 

TIME White House

Obama Appoints Ron Klain As Ebola Czar

Lawyer and politcal operative Ron Klain on May 13, 2008 in New York City.
Lawyer and politcal operative Ron Klain on May 13, 2008 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker—Getty Images

He's a longtime Democratic insider

President Barack Obama has appointed longtime insider Ron Klain to coordinate the administration’s global response to the Ebola epidemic, a White House official confirmed. The move came just hours after a Texas nurse diagnosed with Ebola after treating a patient with the disease was moved from Dallas to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

“The President has asked Ron Klain to take on the task of coordinating his administration’s whole of government Ebola response,” the official said Friday. “He will report directly to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and the President’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa.”

Klain, who served as chief of staff to Vice President Biden and former Vice President Al Gore, helped to oversee the 2009 stimulus bill. He will now be tasked with coordinating both the domestic public health response and the international humanitarian and military efforts to stop the virus in West Africa. Klain will work out of the White House’s West Wing.

“Klain’s role is consistent with the view the President articulated in the Oval Office [Thursday] night that Monaco, Rice and others have done outstanding work in confronting this challenge so far – but given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response,” the White House official said.

Republican lawmakers had been calling on the White House to appoint the so-called “czar” for weeks to lead the Administration’s response. The White House had been cool on the subject until Thursday, when Obama told reporters he was considering making such an appointment. Other Obama “czars” have coordinated the auto bailout and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, to boost banks after the 2008 financial crisis.

 

 

TIME White House

White House Wants Poor Parents to Speak More to Kids

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Randy Falco, Barbara Bermudo
Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, alongside Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc, left, and Barbara Bermudo, host of Univision's news magazine program "Primer Impacto", right, read to children at the launch of "Pequeños y Valiosos" (Young and Valuable), a parent-focused effort on early childhood development, at the East Harlem Council for Human Services Bilingual Headstart Program, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in New York. John Minchillo—AP Images for Univision

By reading and talking to babies from birth, research has shown kids can enter school better prepared for success

At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, a new program is about to get underway that serves a purpose near to both the Obama White House and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton care a great deal about.

Benioff is one of two locations where Too Small to Fail, a joint venture between the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, is launching a pilot program that will expand their efforts to close the so-called word gap. A little over a year ago, Too Small to Fail was started with the goal of getting more parents talking, singing, and reading to their kids starting from birth. Studies have shown children born to higher-income families are exposed to some 30 million more words than their counterparts on welfare before the reach kindergarten.

About 73% of the families served by Benioff Children’s Hospital utilize Medicaid, says the hospital’s President and CEO Dr. Bert Lubin, making it the ideal setting to test the benefits of providing tools and support to families and communities that encourage them to interact with their babies. “It’s such a simple thing,” Lubin says . “The parents who are not talking, singing and reading. They love their children, but they don’t know that not doing it is something that really permanently effects the child.”

On Thursday, representatives from the Oakland program will be at the White House sharing their stories with other community leaders, including the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island where a Bloomberg Philanthropies funded program that records and tracks the words spoken to babies has been underway for a little over a year. Too Small is joining with the White House to use the nation’s most powerful bully pulpit to spread the message that learning is important and support local communities working to get their children and babies best prepared for school.

The White House will announce an investment to fund a research coalition to build more research around the word gap. The federal government will also be working with the tech community to get their input in the effort to close the word gap. Some apps, like the Text4Baby mobile application, are already in use, helping provide mothers with information on the development of their child throughout pregnancy and infancy.

Over the next year at Benioff and around Oakland, parents will receive books, clothing and reading materials from birth to remind them to get chatty with their bundles of joy. They’ll be reminded of the benefits of speaking to their kids on billboards and in advertisements, at community-based programs and in churches. The hospital also plans to track and record the development of babies who are being interacted with regularly to gauge the benefits and encourage other cities to do the same. “The reality is if we address this word gap, everyone is more likely to stay in school, get a job afterwards and contribute to society,” Lubin says. “The investment is small in terms of the impact it will have on our society.”

Almost half of infants and toddlers come from low-income families and about 25% live in poverty, according to the National Center for Infants and Toddlers. Though having enough food and shelter is extremely important to a child’s health, cognitive development is equally important. Families play a pivotal role in children’s early development, but only about 48% of parents read to their kids every day. That lack of interaction is detrimental to children who’s way out of poverty is through school. According to research from Rice University, children from low income families heard about 30 million fewer words by age 4 than their high income peers. Kids from working class families heard about 15 million fewer.

“This word gap turns into an achievement gap once children reach school,” says Ann O’Leary, the director of the children and families program at Next Generation.

Too Small to Fail’s first year was spent increasing public awareness on the importance of closing the word gap. A partnership with Univision ensured ads appeared in Spanish and English. The topic came up on television shows including The Fosters and Orange is the New Black—this year, the issue is expected to come up on more shows including Modern Family and Criminal Minds. The American Academy of Pediatrics adopted a policy message that speaks to the importance of early literacy. And last March, Tulsa became the first city to launch a partnership with Too Small to Fail, similar to what’s happening in Oakland.

O’Leary says reading and speaking to children should be as important as brushing their teeth.“When you imagine that this is not an optional activity, but that this is a must-do activity it becomes kind of shocking that only half of families are doing this,” O’Leary says. “What if half were only brushing their teeth? We think it’s just as urgent to get this information out. These are not optional activities.”

 

 

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 16

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Accountability in education is essential and non-negotiable, and testing works. Just not in reading.

By Robert Pondiscio in Flypaper from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

2. Carbon capture technology is costly, but could be an interim solution for climate change. And a carbon tax could pay for it.

By David Biello in Yale Environment 360

3. Immersive public art is improving lives and safety in one Detroit neighborhood — and serving as a model for other communities.

By Anna Clark in High Ground News

4. Presidential pool reporters are circulating their own news reports to bypass pressure from the White House Press Office.

By Paul Farhi in the Washington Post

5. Unregulated campaign cash and elected judges together undermine the independence of our judiciary.

By Norm Ornstein in The Atlantic

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME White House

13 of JFK’s Wedding Negatives Have Been Auctioned for $37,000

Wedding Of John F. Kennedy And Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy outside St. Mary's Church in Newport, R.I., after their wedding on Sept. 12, 1953 Charles F. McCormick—Boston Globe/Getty Images

The images, depicting the newlyweds and the wedding party, were reportedly taken by photographer Frank Ataman

Thirteen original negatives of photographs taken at John F. Kennedy’s wedding were auctioned off on Wednesday for a sum of $37,073.

Boston-based RR Auction said the negatives, which have probably never been published, were sold to a Las Vegas doctor who chose to remain anonymous.

The images show Kennedy and his new bride, Jacqueline Bouvier, cutting their wedding cake and leaving the church, and a couple of others show the entire wedding party posing outside, the Associated Press reported.

The wedding took place on Sept. 12, 1953, in Newport, R.I., and was attended by nearly 2,000 people. Kennedy was still in his first term as a U.S. Senator, and wouldn’t go on to become President until more than seven years later.

According to RR Auction, the images were taken by freelance photographer Frank Ataman, although the negatives were found in another photographer’s darkroom.

Other items related to the Kennedys sold on Wednesday included a holiday card signed by the couple just days before the President’s November 1963 assassination. It fetched $19,500.

[AP]

TIME White House

The Super Cute Story Behind Abraham Lincoln’s Beard

Lincoln by Currier & Ives
A beardless Lincoln by Currier and Ives Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Oct. 15, 1860: Grace Bedell, age 11, tells Abraham Lincoln to “let your whiskers grow”

Concerned that Abraham Lincoln’s gaunt, worry-lined face was so severe it might scare off voters, 11-year-old Grace Bedell crafted a solution: Grow a beard.

On this day in 1860, the Westfield, N.Y., tween wrote a letter to the Republican nominee outlining her plan to help him win the upcoming presidential election. It reads, in part:

I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.

Until then, the frontier lawyer had lived a clean-shaven life, apparently aiming for a statelier look than Bedell gave him credit for. “Lincoln’s Beard,” a 1935 publication by the Lincoln National Life Foundation, explains:

In the pioneer day (it was) the course of least resistance (for) most of the men on the frontier to allow their beards to grow. It may be said to the credit of Thomas Lincoln that he was always clean shaven. In this respect, as in many others, Abraham Lincoln followed in the footsteps of his father.

But Lincoln was not afraid of change. He wrote Bedell back four days later, answering her question about whether he had any daughters (he did not) and asking one of his own: “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?”

He appears to have answered his own question, since he began growing his facial hair shortly after. He had a full beard when, on his way to his 1861 inauguration, he arranged to have his train stop near Westfield so he could greet his young pen pal. She later recalled that he shook her hand and said, “You see? I let these whiskers grow for you.”

The whiskers have since become inseparable from the memory of the man; no card-carrying Lincoln impersonator leaves home without them. Even a pre-beard portrait was old-timey-photoshopped to include whiskers after Lincoln took office. “Currier & Ives, through a process of retouching, brought one of their smooth-faced Lincolns up to date by putting a beard on him,” wrote the authors of Lincoln’s Beard.

Still, Lincoln’s fear that the whiskers would be ridiculed as a “silly affectation” was not completely off the mark. Two months after corresponding with Bedell, he found himself punned about in the Evansville Daily Journal: “They say that Old Abe is raising a pair of whiskers,” the story went. “Some individual of the cockney persuasion remarked that he was ‘a puttin’ on (h)airs.’ ”

Read all about Lincoln impersonators here, in TIME’s archive: It’s Not Abe. Honest.

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