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marcnorman/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to presidential politics, there’s more than one kind of primary. There are the ones that happen in the states (such as the New Hampshire primary), the one that happens behind-the-scenes (the money primary) and the one that happens in the media (the perception primary).

Introducing the Chipotle primary.

Yes, the early weeks of the 2016 presidential race may be remembered as a moment when the candidates and potential candidates faced a barrage of questions about burritos.

It all started with Hillary Clinton’s pit stop at an Ohio branch of the Mexican fast food chain on her recent road trip to Iowa. She ordered a chicken burrito bowl with guacamole, a chicken salad and a drink. Her aide forked over $21 for meal and reportedly kept the change, leaving nothing for the tip jar.

Now, it’s officially become something candidates and potential candidates for the White House -- repeat, the White House -- have to talk about.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, where Marco Rubio was campaigning for president on Friday, the Florida senator was asked whether he tipped during his own recent visit to a Chipotle restaurant in Washington, D.C.

“I’m sure we did. We always tip,” Rubio explained to reporters. “My dad was a service sector worker."

(The Rubio campaign later clarified that an aide paid for the senator and was in a rush without cash and didn’t tip. But Rubio wasn’t aware no tip was left until the aide 'fessed up to it).

So it goes.

On Thursday night, at an event in Concord, New Hampshire, reporters pressed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the all-but-declared presidential hopeful, whether he had ever eaten there.

"Do I go there? Yeah, I go there. The one on US 1. Drive my own car, park my own car, get out of my own car,” he said. “Get Chipotle, take it home.”

Pressed even further about his tipping practices, Bush shrugged, and gave a quick nod.

But he suggested it was all a moot point: “We normally cook our own food, my own Mexican food at home. It’s pretty good.” (No tipping required).

So, presidential candidates, who’s up next in the burrito line?


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former first lady Laura Bush provided new details about former President George W. Bush’s much-discussed painting hobby during an interview with ABC News, saying that the couple has had an artist’s studio constructed at their ranch in Texas and that her husband’s latest project is a “big series of prickly pear cactus.”

“It's been a lot of fun for him, very engaging, I think, painting is," she said during an interview conducted last week. "And now that we have the new studio at the ranch, we can -- he can paint there more.”

The topic came up as Laura Bush and ABC News' Jonathan Karl took a brief tour of the newly renovated White House Visitor's Center on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the street from the White House. The two had just viewed a photo on display of her preparing for the first White House State Dinner in September 2001 with then-Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Bush said her husband, who “has teachers,” might give one of his cactus paintings to Karen Hughes, who served in the Bush administration, for her house in Santa Fe.

A self-portrait done by the former president leaked online following the hacking of a relative’s email account in 2013. Later that year, Bush told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that he loved to paint and that it changed his life in an “unbelievably positive way.”

The former first lady, sitting down with Karl, discussed her post-White House life, said the “chef” was the thing she missed most about living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and recalled fond memories of walks abound Washington’s tidal basin, a picturesque spot resplendent with cherry blossoms this time of year.

She enjoyed “driving in now and seeing the cherry blossoms,” she said. "And when we lived here, when we lived in the White House, I had a friend and we'd walk real early in the morning around the tidal basin under the cherry blossoms before any other walkers were out.

“I miss that," she added. "Washington is a beautiful city. It's like a big national monument. I miss the city of Washington, for sure.”


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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama used unusually blunt rhetoric on Friday regarding the fierce opposition from his own party in Congress to the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Being opposed to this new trade agreement is essentially a ratification of the status quo, where a lot of folks are selling here but we're not selling there,” Obama said at a bilateral meeting with the Italian Prime Minister.

The president pointed to Japan, a negotiator in the agreement, and the fact that while DC’s streets are flooded with Japanese vehicles you’d be hard pressed to find a Chrysler in Tokyo.

“There's going to be a set of democratic senators and house members who traditionally have just, on principle, opposed trade because the unions have just on principle, regardless of what the provisions are, have opposed trade. And then there are others like me who believe we cannot stop a global economy at our shores," he said. "We've got to make sure we're writing the rules so that we have a level playing field.”

The president called the TPP’s financial and environmental protections the “most progressive agreement” in trade history and that the trade promotion authority he seeks in Congress to pass it would afford him the same privilege enjoyed “every president in the post-war era, which the exception of Richard Nixon, has received.”

The president also lashed out against Congress for the lack of progress on Lynch’s confirmation, what he called a “crazy situation” and “embarrassing,” particularly in light recent bipartisan cooperation on other hot button issues, like the TPP.

“There's no reason for it,” Obama said, after noting she had already twice been confirmed by the same body for previous jobs. “Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue that's completely unrelated to her.”

“There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It's gone too far. Enough. Enough,” he said.

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vichie81/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Kuntzler said that when he and nine other people picketed the White House 50 years ago on Friday, protesting the government's treatment of gays and lesbians, he could not imagine how far the gay rights movement would come in five decades.

That protest on April 17, 1965, is believed to the first gay rights demonstration, advocates say.

"It was so revolutionary,” Kuntzler, 73, said. “It had never been done before anywhere in the world. We all wore coat and ties and we all had pseudonyms."

At the time they felt they had to use made-up names to protect their identities, he said.

"I wasn’t scared," said Kuntzler, who had moved from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, to Washington three years before. "I was intrigued by the idea. But I was intimidated by all the photographers. I was only 23. And as they came across the street they started photographing us. Every time I approached the cameras, I hid behind my sign because I was unnerved by the whole thing. But I don’t think I was scared. I was very open and proud of being gay.”

The group was mostly fighting for gays and lesbians to keep their government jobs. Fifty years later, Kuntzler, who spent his life working for gay rights, is astonished by how the country has evolved and the strides the community has made.

“My sign read, '15 million homosexuals protest federal treatment.' It reflected what I thought," said Kuntzler, who was working as a brick and tile trade associate at the time.

"We could not conceive then the astonishing progress we would eventually make as a community,” the Washington resident said. "The idea that gay people, gay men and women, could work openly in the government and serve in the military. It was beyond our imagination.

“The concept of gay marriage -- we didn't even conceive of the idea. Now the Supreme Court is getting ready to rule and it's legal in 37 states including D.C."

For others, it's hard to imagine what life would be like if it weren't for the pioneers at the White House picket like Kuntzler, Barbara Gittings or Frank Kameny, who all went on to be leaders in the gay rights movement.

"It's awesome to say, as a 52-year-old lesbian, that I have a daughter -- as if it's such a simple thing," said Ellen Kahn, head of the Children, Youth and Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign. "When Barbara Gittings protested in front of the White House, LGBT people couldn't imagine getting married, having children, and being out and protected at work."

For Kuntzler there is a sense of accomplishment.

"I never thought it would happen way back then," Kuntzler says. "I was never terribly interested in advancing myself but in advancing the community. I was able to accomplish that."


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Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama appeared on Friday to have softened his position on a key element of the Iran nuclear deal: When sanctions would be lifted.

The White House has consistently said that under any nuclear agreement, sanctions must be lifted gradually as the Iranians demonstrate they are complying with the agreement.  

The topic of sanctions has been described by the White House as a key element of the deal, and an answer to critics who say Iran cannot be trusted.  

After the interim agreement was reached on April 2, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei insisted sanctions must be lifted immediately and the timing of sanctions relief emerged as a major sticking point to reaching a final deal.  

At his joint press conference on Friday with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Obama was asked directly about this and, for the first time, he did not rule out lifting sanctions immediately.

In a long answer, the President said reaching a final agreement will take “some creative negotiations” and suggested that the timing of sanctions relief is less important than having the ability to re-impose sanctions if Iran does not comply with its part of the deal.

“Our main concern here is making sure that if Iran doesn't abide by its agreement that we don’t have to jump through a whole bunch of hoops in order to reinstate sanctions,” said President Obama.

Previously the White House has been emphatic that there would be no deal unless sanctions are lifted gradually.

“It’s very clear and understood that sanctions relief will be phased,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said just last week. “The fact of the matter is, we have a framework. The president has said if the details don’t bear out, we won’t have a deal.”

The President also seemed to soften the U.S. position on another key Iranian issue:  the purchase of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia.  

The United States has strenuously objected to this because the system would help Iran defend its nuclear facilities from a military strike.  

On Friday, President Obama seemed to suggest the sale of the system, which Russia says is about to go through, is no big deal and that he is “frankly surprised” the sale did not happen earlier.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A company led by a former White House military aide that is under FBI investigation for allegedly cheating foreign investors out of millions after promising them an easy path to a Green Card should have long ago lost its federal Homeland Security certification, said Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley.

“There's no reason why [federal immigration officials] could not at least suspend a regional center's certification when there is evidence of fraud,” said Grassley, an Iowa Republican, who has called for greater scrutiny of the foreign investment visa program, known as EB-5. Under the controversial U.S. immigration program, foreign investors can obtain visas, and eventually Green Cards, if they invest at least $500,000 in projects that will create American jobs.

One of the companies with federal approval to market the investment visas overseas was set up by the former chief of staff of the White House Military Office and a partner. The firm, called Noble Outreach, promised investors their money would be used to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, including an ambitious hotel, restaurant and conference center development. But the project was never built and investors said in a lawsuit they believe the two company executives took salary and consulting fees while diverting much of the $16 million in investment money into separate companies or entities they controlled.

Timothy O. Milbrath, the vice president of Noble Outreach, and retired military adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, told ABC News that because of the ongoing litigation, he cannot say what happened to the money but that, “Everything is accounted for.”

“I can honestly say that what we have here -- the claims are not substantiated,” he said in an interview. He said the problems Noble Outreach encountered were the fault of a badly managed federal program that hampered the company’s efforts to get projects going and recruit new investors.

As ABC News reported in February, an internal government review found that more than 30 EB-5 projects have come under criminal investigation, including Noble Outreach. But the Department of Homeland Security has continued to certify many of those firms, even as other federal agencies were investigating them.

Homeland Security officials said they remain powerless to revoke a regional center’s certification unless there is proof they have not been creating jobs.

“USCIS only has the authority to terminate a regional center if there is evidence the center is no longer promoting economic growth -- not on the basis of national security concerns,” an agency spokesman told ABC News in a written statement. “This lack of discretion limits the ability of the Director or the Secretary to terminate a regional center in the event of suspected or even proven criminal activity.”

Grassley responded, “Fraud does not promote economic growth.”

“It seems more likely that the agency won’t decertify a regional center because of its apparent belief that those with political connections should get preferential treatment,” Grassley said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson provided a statement to ABC News saying he is urging Congress to provide his agency “legal discretion to deny or revoke cases when necessary, authority to exclude people with criminal backgrounds from participating in EB-5 regional centers, and authority to require regional centers to certify compliance with our securities laws.”

The EB-5 program comes to Congress for reauthorization this year. The visa option exploded in popularity over the past few years, as businesses and builders began to view it as a welcome option to attract investment during the economic downturn. Foreign investors using EB-5 have financed a number of successful projects, including a Brooklyn, New York basketball arena, a Vermont ski resort and a Los Angeles hotel development.

But it has also generated controversy. Last year, the Security and Exchange Commission issued an investor alert because of the number of EB-5 fraud cases that had surfaced.

Grassley said he believes it “is in need of substantial reform to ensure that national security is not compromised, jobs are truly created and ethical standards are being met.”

At the same time, a spokesman for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told ABC News that his office is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Noble Outreach. Under a prior administration, the city signed a 30-year agreement that gave Noble Outreach the designation of being the city’s broker for foreign investors seeking visas through the EB-5 program. Landrieu’s spokesman said the city has been stymied from participating in the program since Noble Outreach fell silent more than a year ago.

“We are frustrated that Noble Outreach did not deliver on its capital investment promises, and we are cooperating fully with [investigators],” Landrieu spokesman Brad Howard said. “Eventually, we hope to end the prior Administration’s 30-year exclusive [agreement] with Noble Outreach in a responsible way that does not adversely impact those who have previously invested in New Orleans.”

Terry Sumpter, who is one of a group of investors suing Noble Outreach in a Louisiana court, told ABC News he has lost upwards of $750,000 in the investment, and even worse, has been refused his Green Card. Once two years had expired and the Noble Outreach project had failed to create the required 10 jobs, the government began deportation proceedings, he said.

He said he and other Noble Outreach investors now live in limbo. If they leave the United States, they have little chance of returning as anything more than a tourist, he said.

“I’m here because I want to be,” Sumpter said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only done everything by the book, what has been asked of me, and it seems I’m being punished for that.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NASHUA, N.H.) — New Hampshire Republicans are hosting this weekend's First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit.

The two-day event begins Friday in Nashua, Hew Hampshire, and will feature speeches by many prospective presidential candidates, including the three senators that have already announced they're running: Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

Other potential candidates who will appear at the event event include Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, and Scott Walker.

The sold-out event has been described by the Washington Post as a “festival of political speechmaking” that was “designed to formally kick off the 2016 presidential campaign in the early primary state.”  The newspaper reports that the summit’s name, advertised as the #FITN Republican Leadership Summit, refers to New Hampshire’s standing as the location of the first in the nation presidential primary.

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PhotoQuest/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As candidates begin to announce their bids for the White House in 2016, a new book takes a historical look back at presidents, not to name the greatest foreign negotiators or domestic policy pioneers, but to see who ranks as the top partiers-in-chief in American history.

Sitting down with ABC News/Yahoo News just a short stagger away from the White House in Grant’s Bar at Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest saloon, the author of Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief from the Oval Office, Brian Abrams, explained his metric for determining which president's partying habits earned his legacy a spot on the list.

“If you look at all the presidents who drank regularly, or drank like a sport -- I don’t mean like wine with dinner -- I mean actually could sit down and plow away at whiskey or wine…that leaves us with about half of them,” he said. “Of that half, I would say that you look at body mass.”

Weighing in at about 250 pounds, Grover Cleveland takes the cake as the hard-swigging president with the highest body mass -- with Lyndon Johnson a close second at around 230 pounds.

The 22nd and 24th president of the United States earned a reputation for drinking during his early days as sheriff in Buffalo before becoming governor of New York. “Grover was known in Buffalo that he could just pound mug after mug of beer. He would take days off [at the bar],” Abrams said.

On the “lechery” aspect of Abram’s study, he said while Bill Clinton certainly places high -- recent revelations about one president’s extramarital affair may tip the scale in his favor as history’s biggest presidential lech.

“Warren G. Harding [came] up in news headlines in this last year when a lot of his personal papers were released, these love letters to one of his mistresses, Carrie Phillips,” Abrams said. He added that the letters “might have been the jaw-dropping moment” for him while writing the book.

“They weren't so much creepy as they were cheesy,” he explained. “In one of the letters, [Harding] wrote: ‘My jerry is standing up beside me as I write this.’ And then he also named her anatomy seashell, which I think is hacky. You can do better than seashell.”

Also earning a top spot in his review is perhaps the most well-known playboy president, John F. Kennedy.

“He deserves some kind of award I think,” Abrams remarked. “He could make people see the stars, when in fact he's running around like diving into swimming pools with naked flight attendants while Jackie's at Neiman Marcus.”

Asked which president he would chose to spend one crazy night with after researching the book, one name immediately came to Abrams’ mind: President Gerald Ford.

“Ford just seems very lovable,” he said, explaining that while researching the president for the book, he was hard-pressed to find any retired member of the White House Press Corps who covered Ford that was willing to talk about the experience.

“I eventually got one to talk to me, and he explained that a lot of them felt a certain loyalty to [Ford]… I found that so charming,” he recalled.

After Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal in August 1974, Ford wasn’t the only one to score a big promotion -- the reporters who were assigned to cover the vice president did too, Abrams said.

“They're all of a sudden on Air Force One instead of Air Force Two,” he said.

What’s more, Ford was fun to cover because he liked to have a good time. Abrams cited one particular anecdote from the very beginning of the Ford administration.

“The first week in the White House, there was a dinner function for the king of Jordan, and Ford just gets down on the dance floor to ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,’” he said, referring to the 1973 tune by American folk rocker Jim Croce.

As for the current commander-in-chief, Abrams said Obama hits about average as far as historic presidential partiers go.

“I would probably put Obama in the middle," he said. "He was no prude…he dabbled in drugs in high school and in college. He still enjoys a drink every now and then now.”

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Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton’s campaign road trip continues next week. This time, she’s headed East.

After spending several days road tripping across the country this week and campaigning in Iowa, Clinton’s second official trip as a presidential candidate will take her to New Hampshire Monday.

According to her campaign, Clinton will take part in “roundtables of students, educators and employees of a New Hampshire small business,” as well as “private meetings with elected officials, activists, and community leaders from across the state.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The Bible is not going to be the official state book of Tennessee.  At least not this year.

One day after the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a measure 55-38 declaring the Bible the official state book, the state Senate Thursday voted 22-9 to send the measure back to committee, effectively killing it, the Tennessean reports.

Republican Senator Steve Southerland supported the bill, telling fellow lawmakers, “The Bible has great historical and cultural significance in the state of Tennessee.”

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, a Republican, opposed the measure: “All I know is that I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief. You just dumb the good book down far enough to make it whatever it takes to make it a state symbol, and you’re on your way to where he wants you.”

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey also opposed making the Bible the official state book. “We don’t need to put the Bible besides salamanders, tulip poplars and ‘Rocky Top’ in the Tennessee Blue Book to appreciate its importance to our state.” 

The Blue Book is the official government manual of Tennessee. Salamanders, tulip poplars and "Rocky Top" are Tennessee’s state amphibian, tree and song, respectively.

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Charles Sykes/NBC(CONCORD, N.H.) -- When it comes to Mexican food, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush doesn't need a campaign stop to stock up -- he cooks it himself.

“I actually cook it at home. I don’t need to go to Chipotle,” Bush said at a Republican gathering at the Snow Shoe Club when asked whether he goes to the burrito restaurant.

Though he didn’t mention Hillary Clinton by name, Bush was clearly aware of her recent pit stop to the Mexican fast food chain on her road trip across the country, taking the opportunity Thursday night to take a not so subtle jab at the former secretary of state.

“Do I go there? Yeah, I go there. The one on US 1. Drive my own car, park my own car, get out of my own car,” he said.  “Get Chipotle, take it home.” (Notably when Bush left the event Thursday night, he sat in the passenger’s seat of the black SUV that awaited him).

“But we normally cook our own food, my own Mexican food at home. It’s pretty good,” he said.

Bush has previously talked about his love of cooking Mexican food, saying he makes a “really good guacamole.”

In other food related news, Bush broke his Paleo diet at the “Politics and Pie” themed event, gleefully shoveling fork after fork of blueberry pie into his mouth. Bush was unapologetic about his blatant breach of the Paleo rules.

“This is a total violation,” he said.  “To hell with the diet. Where are the French fries?”

And it’s looking more and more like Bush isn’t a strict adherent of the Paleo diet.  He acknowledged to ABC News that he does indeed enjoy a non-Paleo friendly glass of wine from time to time.

“Actually, I drink wine in the evenings sometimes, and that’s not Paleo either,” he said.

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Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama ditched the Oval Office for the Rose Garden on a beautiful Thursday afternoon to sign into law a rare bipartisan achievement: a permanent change to how Medicare pays doctors, ending years of annual fights over looming cuts to reimbursements.

With his signature at the White House picnic table, Obama blocked a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments that was set to take effect this month and had many doctors threatening to leave the program and dump patients.

The law also provides financial incentives for physicians to bill Medicare patients for their overall care, not individual office visits. It also extends for two years the Children’s Health Insurance Program for low-income kids.

"Not only does this legislation permanently fix payments to doctors, but it also improves it,” Obama said. “What it starts doing is encouraging payments based on quality and not the number of tests that are provided or the number of procedures that are applied, but whether or not people actually start feeling better. It encourages us to continue to make the health care system smarter, without denying service.”

Obama said he’d be hosting a reception for lawmakers in the coming days to celebrate the bipartisan achievement.

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ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Chipotle. Gas Stations. Commercial Flights.

Yes, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announcement had moments of apparent spontaneity, but behind the veneer there was no doubt a clear plan.

With a newly outfitted image, Clinton traveled back to the Hawkeye State to make her first official appearance as a presidential candidate, all with the hopes of learning from her past mistakes and ingratiating herself with the state she so painfully lost back in 2008.

Overall, Clinton got generally good reviews, but her performance also raised some questions.

Here are five things Clinton accomplished during her two-and-a-half-day Iowa swing, as well as the unknown elements of her campaign that are still left to be determined.

What She Accomplished: She Reintroduced Herself to Iowans.

Clinton wanted to show Iowans that this time things would be different, and she did just that, at least at the outset. Instead of traveling around in the “Hill-o-copter,” as she did in 2008, this time Clinton came via a road trip in her van, dubbed Scooby. She held small, intimate meetings with what she calls “everyday Iowans,” instead of large rallies. And she listened to their concerns (often over coffee, or chai in her case), which she says will help shape her policy plans. Many of these events were clearly choreographed and staged -- down to the "everyday Iowans" who were anything but, but even so, Clinton made the effort to make a fresh start.

 

This is scooby. Currently parked outside a small coffee shop. It is a Chevy. pic.twitter.com/F6kFhpyyup

— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) April 14, 2015



Did She Convince Them? Clinton may have pressed a reset button in Iowa, but it's unclear that will be enough to shake off pre-conceived notions. While many Iowans expressed appreciation for the effort Clinton was making, not all left completely convinced she had their vote. For many Iowa Democrats, like State Rep. Scott Ourth of Ackworth, it’s still a wait-and-see kind of game. “The field has yet to evolve,” Ourth told reporters, when asked whether he’d caucus for Clinton. “I’m eager to see how this pans out.”

What She Accomplished: She Relayed Her Message.


On the most basic of levels, Clinton made her campaign message known. During her first official event Tuesday, Clinton spelled out four central themes for her campaign: building the “economy of tomorrow, not yesterday,” strengthening families, fixing the dysfunctional political system, and protecting the country from threats at home and abroad. “I want to be the champion who goes to bat for Americans” in those areas, Clinton explained.

 

 

Clinton. Coffee shop. Iowa. (photo from @ABCLiz) pic.twitter.com/OaNe3iAa1n

— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) April 14, 2015



Where's the Meat? Clinton gave big picture ideas, but said little to none in the way of details. Even Clinton’s website still does not have a section explaining her key policy issues, let alone details of specific policy plans. Clinton did hint that the nuts and bolts of her plans would be coming, but just not yet. “Before I roll out my policies,” she explained Wednesday, “I want to hear from people on the frontlines.”

What She Accomplished: She Dodged the Tough Questions.


Even as another New York Times story broke regarding Clinton’s use of personal email as secretary of state, she managed to steer clear of any of the controversies that have surrounded her over the past few months. Clinton avoided all questions on the subject of her emails, as well as other questions on topical issues, telling reporters, "We’ll have plenty of time to talk later."

But How Much Longer Can That Last? As a presidential candidate, Clinton will eventually have to respond to the hard questions. Although she said she would chat with reporters at some point, it’s unclear when that will be and how long she’ll be able to keep this up.

 

 

Hillary Clinton, in Iowa, leaving coffee shop, entering Scooby. (As captured on my periscope)

A video posted by Liz Kreutz (@kreutzel) on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:05pm PDT



What She Accomplished: She Heard From ‘Everyday’ People.

Instead of a big rally in a large venue, Clinton visited local shops and diners, and held roundtables and coffee chats, often in very small spaces, to learn about the day-to-day concerns of local business owners and students.

But Can She Keep It Up?
When it comes to the Clintons, there’s no such thing as small. Even Hillary Clinton’s roundtables of just a few people in Iowa had swarms of press watching -- in many cases more reporters that "civilians." Logistically speaking, it's a challenge either way. But the lingering questions is how long can a candidate call for intimacy when hundreds of media are following her every move?

 

 

. @HillaryClinton sits down for an intimate roundtable discussion pic.twitter.com/6rr9AtdtGk

— Amy Chozick (@amychozick) April 14, 2015



What She Accomplished: She Managed Some Surprises... 

In a day and age of constant Twitter and Facebook postings, Clinton managed to keep some guessing. Of course the road trip wasn't as “spur of the moment” as her team insists -- in fact, it was a retread of one she took while running for Senate, right down to the "Scooby" name of the van -- but regardless, Clinton did inject a little spontaneity and buzziness into her campaign launch.

 

 

Bye for now, Iowa, & thank you! I loved talking to so many of you about what’s on your mind & your ideas for the future. See you soon! -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 16, 2015



But Did It Make a Difference? Not all were enamored by Clinton's allegedly impromptu schtick. For some it was just too much.

"It was...contrived or overthought," said Josh Skipworth, an Iowa Democrat who supported Obama in 2008. Even so, he added, she's done a "good job."

 

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Commission on Fine Arts(WASHINGTON) -- The Commission on Fine Arts on Thursday approved temporary alterations to the White House perimeter fence aimed at helping to deter jumpers and intruders until a more permanent solution can be vetted and installed.

The new “no climb” features, to be installed this summer, incorporate “metal spikes to deter climbing,” CFA secretary Tom Luebke told ABC News.

CFA continues to solicit proposals for an entirely new permanent fence, which will go through the concept design review process this fall, according to the National Park Service.  

On Thursday, the NPS and U.S. Secret Service presented some ideas to the CFA for discussion behind closed doors, but no vote was taken.  

The Commission has already ruled out a moat, electrified fence and a solid wall, Luebke said.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta returned to the Pentagon Thursday for the unveiling of his official portrait. And he brought along his dog Bravo, who is also included in the portrait.

Speaking to an audience in the Pentagon Courtyard, Panetta explained he had included Bravo in the portrait because he too had enjoyed his time at the Pentagon.

“Bravo truly loved the Pentagon, particularly the parade field, and he left his mark there,” he joked. 

But Panetta said the most important reason to include Bravo was because of the smile it will bring to people’s faces “in a town that doesn’t have a lot of smiles.”

He said that smile will serve as a reminder that with all of the global flashpoints and concerns, the U.S. still has the world’s strongest military. He also said Bravo has been his loyal friend and his presence in the portrait will be a reminder of the loyalty those in the military have to each other and to their country.

Panetta said his proudest moment as defense secretary was being “able to open up opportunities for everyone to be able to serve their nation.” It was Panetta who lifted the restrictions on women serving in combat units, a process that is to be completed in January.

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