rss logo Top Orlando Area Local News Stories

Miami Marlins remember star pitcher Jose Fernandez

<p>The Miami Marlins honored their late pitching ace Jose Fernandez on Monday night, a day after he was killed in a boating accident -- a death that stunned and saddened the baseball world.</p><p>His teammates took the field at Marlins Park before their game against the New York Mets decked in jerseys with his last name and number 16. </p><p>Marlins and Mets players stood holding their caps on their hearts as a trumpeter played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." </p><p>Players from the teams hugged each other and the Marlins converged on the pitcher's mound to rub dirt on their pants in honor of the late pitcher, who used dirt on the mound instead of a rosin bag to keep his hands dry. </p><p>The Marlins, in honor of their fallen star, beat the Mets 7-3.</p><p></p><p>Fernandez was one of baseball's premier pitchers.</p><p>He made his big-league debut against the New York Mets on April 7, 2013. For five innings, he baffled hitters with fastballs and curves, surrendering one run and striking out eight on his way to being named National League Rookie of the Year. </p><p>Fernandez, who defected from his native Cuba at 15, died early Sunday in the boat crash at the entrance of Miami Harbor. The Marlins canceled their Sunday game against the Atlanta Braves as news of his death has stunned the baseball community, with players and fans alike taking to social media to express their grief.</p><p></p><p>The fans loved Fernandez, enjoying his energy and admiring his talent. Before Monday's game, they lined up to purchase Fernandez jerseys, which were flying off the shelves and people paid their respects at a makeshift shrine outside the stadium.</p><p></p><p>Dora Amador is a season ticket holder in the "Jose's Heroes" section of the stadium. Amador, a fellow Cuban, said she met Fernandez outside the stadium after one of his starts in 2013. "I'm so heartbroken," she said. She said she met him after one of his first starts. </p><p>One boy held a sign that said, "We will always remember you Jose Fernandez. You were awesome to us. RIP. Rest in Peace Jose."</p><p>As the Marlins came to bat, Dee Gordon smacked a home run. The stadium went wild as he rounded the bases in an emotional moment for players and fans.</p><p>"The two-time All-Star second baseman, after taking one pitch while batting from the right side, switched back to his natural spot as a lefty hitter and two pitches later belted his first home run of the season," according to an MLB.com story.</p><p></p><p>Veteran baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal tweeted about Fernandez on Monday. </p><p>"Something for MLB to consider: A Jose Fernandez spirit award, presented to the player who best exemplifies love and passion for the game."</p><p>Adam Conley took to the mound for the Marlins on Monday. </p><p>Conley tweeted a photo of himself and Fernandez in the uniform of the minor league Greenboro, North Carolina, Grasshoppers, with the message: "You were family, miss you brother." </p><p>At an emotional news conference Sunday, Fernandez's death was described as a loss to baseball, the Miami community where he lived and beyond. </p><p>"The magnanimity of his personality transcended culture, religion and race," Marlins President David Samson said at a news conference where he was flanked by team officials.</p><p>"Jose is a member of this family for all time," Samson said. "His story is representative of a story of hope, and of love and of faith, and no one will ever let that story die."</p><p></p><p>Fernandez was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, and defected to the United States in 2008. </p><p>He was drafted by the Marlins in 2011 and went on to become the franchise's star pitcher and a two-time All-Star.</p><p>But his story was about more than success on the field. </p><p>In 2008, Fernandez made his fourth attempt to flee Cuba, according to a 2013 Miami Herald story. </p><p>He'd been jailed for a previous failed attempt and, this time, was attempting to reach America via Mexico with his mother and sister.</p><p>Once on the open water, the newspaper reported, someone fell off the boat, and Fernandez, a good swimmer, asked no questions; he jumped in to save the person. It turned out to be his mother, Maritza. </p><p>Early Sunday, Fernandez and two other men were found dead after their boat was discovered at the entrance of Miami Harbor, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz.</p><p>Coast Guard personnel on patrol noticed the vessel upside down on the north end of a rocky jetty early Sunday, Veloz said. Divers recovered two bodies under the boat, and a third victim was found on the rocks.</p><p>The Marlins tweeted on Monday: "There's a game to be played. He'd want it that way."</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:16:03 GMT

Voters could soon decide if convicted felons should regain right to vote

<p>Florida voters could have the chance to approve a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore civil rights for nonviolent felons after they have completed their sentences.</p><p>Desmond Meade is the president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.</p><p>He is one of many volunteers who have collected more than 68,000 signatures, the number required for a Supreme Court review, to determine if the issue should be put on the ballot in 2018.</p><p><strong>[WEB EXTRA: <a href="http://www.sentencingproject.org/">The Sentencing Project</a>]</strong></p><p>"Every American citizen, once they've paid their debt to society, deserves to have that right restored to them immediately, because that's what citizenship is all about," Meade said.</p><p>It's been 12 years since Meade served time for nonviolent felony offenses. </p><p>He has gone on to get married, and even graduated law school, but he still can not vote.</p><p>His wife, Sheena Meade, ran for a seat in Florida's Legislature this year and Meade said not being able to vote for her was "heartbreaking."</p><p>Even though he graduated from law school, he can't practice law.</p><p>His felony conviction prohibits him from taking the Florida Bar. </p><p>"You shouldn't have to pay for the rest of your life," Meade said.</p><p>Meade is by no means alone.</p><p>There are more than one 1.6 million felons in the state, according to The Sentence Project, an organization that has tracked incarceration rates by state for 30 years.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>No Longer A Citizen</strong></p><p>In 1997 Laura Johns pleaded guilty to a nonviolent felony.</p><p>She never served time but was sentenced to probation, which she completed. Nearly 20 years later, she still can't vote.</p><p>"You're basically being told that you're no longer a citizen of the state of Florida and it makes you feel like you're no longer an American," Johns said.</p><p>Nationally Florida, Kentucky and Iowa have the most extreme policies requiring all felons to petition to get their rights back, according to the Sentencing Project.</p><p>In Florida, four people make the decision, a clemency board made up of the governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services.</p><p>Since Gov. Rick Scott has been in office, fewer felons have had rights restored than previous administrations.<br /> During his two terms as governor, Jeb Bush restored the rights of 76,736 felons.</p><p>Gov. Charlie Crist had his clemency board automatically restore civil rights to over 155,315 people.</p><p>But in 2011, Scott overturned automatic restoration and has only restored the rights of 2,251 people.</p><p>"It's vitally important that we take that kind of power out of the hands of politicians and put it in the constitution," Meade said.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:36:50 GMT

Golf legend Arnold Palmer dies

<p>Arnold Palmer, known as "the King" for his transformative legacy in golf, has died at the age of 87.</p><p>Palmer died Sunday evening at a Pittsburgh hospital while awaiting cardiac surgery, according to a statement from his company.</p><p>The family of Palmer said it is waiting until after the Ryder Cup this week for a public farewell.</p><p>Alastair Johnston, the chief executive of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, said Monday at a news conference that a public ceremony to commemorate Palmer would be held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 4 at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.</p><p>Johnston said the last thing Palmer would want is for a golf schedule to be interrupted.</p><p>He said the funeral will be later this week and limited only to family.</p><p>Palmer was born in 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and began playing golf at the early age of 3 at the Latrobe Country Club, where he was taught by his golfing pro father.</p> <div style="width:100%;margin:10px 0;"> <iframe frameborder="0" height="669" scrolling="no" src="https://w.graphiq.com/w/2PYRsjL69O5" style="position:static;vertical-align:top;margin:0 auto;display:block;width:600px !important;max-width:100%;min-height:669px !important;max-height:none !important;border:none;overflow:hidden;" width="600"></iframe> <div style="text-align:center;font:14px/16px Helvetica,arial;color:#3d3d3d;"> <a href="http://pga-golf.pointafter.com/l/13/Arnold-Palmer" style="color:#3d3d3d;" target="_blank">PointAfter | Graphiq</a></div> </div> <p>Palmer went on to study at Wake Forest College, but made a decision in his last year of study to U.S. Coast Guard. He turned pro in November 1954.</p><p>Palmer was the winner of over 90 golf tournaments, including four Masters wins in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, a U.S. Open win in 1960 and two British Open wins in 1961 and 1962.</p><p>Palmer was the first athlete to cross over into marketing and promoting products and the first person to make $1 million playing the sport.</p><p><img embed-content-articleid="266323710" embed-content-groupid="33113" embed-content-id="266377029" embed-content-index="0" embed-content-type="subStoryType" height="240px" src="http://media.clickorlando.com/photo/2016/03/16/Arnold%20Palmer%20Sitdown%20Edited20160316143038_2417334_ver1.0_160_90.jpg" width="360px" /></p><p><strong>WATCH: <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/video/arnold-palmer-sitdown-edited">Ping talks to Arnold Palmer in wide-ranging interview</a></strong></p><p>As an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, Palmer has two PGA championships to be named after him, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Palmer Cup for college athletes.</p><p>Palmer's namesake is on the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, and the Winnie Palmer Hospital, which is named after his wife.</p><p>%<inline>INLINE</inline>%</p><p>"We are deeply saddened to hear reports that Arnold Palmer has passed away," Arnold Palmer Medical Center said in a statement. "Mr. Palmer lived an incredible life and accomplished so much on and off the golf course. He built a world-class medical center that has had a tremendous impact on the lives of children and families in this community for more than 27 years. As we wait for an official statement, our thoughts and prayers are with the Palmer family during this difficult time."</p><p><strong>WATCH: <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/flashpoint/jamie-seh-talks-arnold-palmers-legacy-on-flashpoint-">Jamie Seh talks Arnold Palmer's legacy on 'Flashpoint'</a></strong></p> <div style="width:100%;margin:10px 0;"> <iframe frameborder="0" height="494" scrolling="no" src="https://w.graphiq.com/w/29oFhvlIAnP" style="position:static;vertical-align:top;margin:0 auto;display:block;width:600px !important;max-width:100%;min-height:494px !important;max-height:none !important;border:none;overflow:hidden;" width="600"></iframe> <div style="text-align:center;font:14px/16px Helvetica,arial;color:#3d3d3d;"> <a href="https://www.graphiq.com/vlp/29oFhvlIAnP" style="color:#3d3d3d;" target="_blank">PointAfter | Graphiq</a></div> </div> <p> </p><p>Palmer was the first person to make $1 million playing golf.</p><p>"I would like to be remembered for bringing golf to a worldwide audience," he told CNN in 2012. "Players today have no boundaries."</p><p>He and his two great rivals in the "Big Three" -- Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus -- helped take the sport around the globe in the 1960s, capitalizing on the ever-growing reach of television. Golf grew into made-for-television events and with it came massive sponsorship and prize money.</p><p>"He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself," wrote Nicklaus in a statement.</p><p>"Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed. He was the king of our sport and always will be."</p><p>After learning to play golf at age 3, Palmer never stopped.</p><p><strong>Winning in style too</strong></p><p>It was not only Palmer's knack for golf that won him legions of adoring fans.</p><p>Long before the age of social media, Palmer was the first golfer to attract his own special following -- "Arnie's Army" -- diehard fans who surrounded every green to cheer him on, win or lose.</p><p>"When I was a boy learning to play golf in my hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, I never could have imagined that one day I'd have an 'Army' of fans or that people would call me 'The King' of the sport I love," Palmer previously wrote on his website.</p><p>He had charisma combined with good looks and style.</p><p>GQ Magazine named him one of the "50 most stylish men of the past 50 years" and Esquire had him in a list of the "75 best-dressed men of all time."</p><p>Golfers are rarely remembered for their fashion sense, usually the exact opposite. But Palmer insisted on a consistent style throughout his career.</p><p>"It was not something I really planned," he told CNN in 2012. "I liked a sharp crease in my slacks, my shoes polished to shine, while my shirts were conservative with a straight collar."</p><p>Palmer even had a drink named after him -- a mix of lemonade and iced tea that he used to take on the golf course with him in a thermos.</p><p><strong>Early years</strong></p><p>Born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, he was taught how to play the game by his father who worked at the local country club.</p><p>Palmer started his professional career in 1954 after winning the United States Golf Association Amateur Championship.</p><p>Two years later he signed with Mark McCormack, who founded what would become the global sports management behemoth International Management Group (IMG). The late McCormack promoted Palmer, who proved to be a very marketable star, showing that an athlete's commercial endorsements could outstrip prize-money earnings.</p><p>Palmer retired from competitive golf in 2006, but remained active in the sport.</p><p>"It is not an exaggeration to say there would be no modern day PGA Tour without Arnold Palmer," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. "There would be no PGA Tour Champions without Arnold Palmer. There would be no Golf Channel without Arnold Palmer. No one has had a greater impact on those who play our great sport or who are touched by it."</p><p>A PGA tour competition was renamed for Palmer, in 2007. The Arnold Palmer Invitational is played every March in Orlando.</p><p>Tiger Woods tweeted: "It's hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King."</p><p>Palmer received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.</p><p>Former President George W. Bush, who presented him the Presidential Medal in 2004, said in a statement: "He was a great American whose friendship - and swing thoughts - will be missed."</p><p>Palmer is survived by his second wife, Kit, his two daughters, six grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:36:35 GMT

Clinton, Trump clash in first debate: CNN's Reality Check Team vets the claims

<p>Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump clashed Monday in their first head-to-head debate of the general election season, with Trump in particular straying from the truth, CNN's Reality Check Team found.</p><p>The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the debate and selected key statements from both candidates, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it's complicated. </p><p></p><p></p><p>Clinton claimed Trump "thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," a charge Trump immediately denied. Who's telling the truth?</p><p>On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."</p><p></p><p>Over a year later, Trump tweeted in response to weather reports, "Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!"</p><p>And Trump's doubts have continued into the campaign season.</p><p>Last September, when he was seeking the Republican nomination, Trump told CNN that while he supports clean air and water, "I am not a believer in climate change."</p><p>Trump went on to refute the connection between climate change and a rise in extreme weather phenomenon.</p><p>"Weather changes," Trump said. "And you have storms, and you have rain, and you have beautiful days, but I do not believe that we should imperil the companies within our country. And by the way, China is doing nothing."</p><p>In March, Trump took a more nuanced approach, telling a Washington Post editorial board that he doesn't believe climate change is the result of man-made causes.</p><p>"I think there's a change in weather," he said. "I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I'm not a great believer."</p><p>And while Trump has repeated the hoax line on multiple occasions, he's walked back the assertion that it was created by the Chinese, saying he meant that as a joke ... sort of.</p><p>"I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China," Trump said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends." "Obviously, I joke, but this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change."</p><p>While Trump doubts the validity of climate change, his company has prepared for it. According to a Politico report, Trump International Golf Links applied for a permit to build a sea wall at his golf course in Ireland to protect it from "global warming and its effects."</p><p>Our verdict: True. While Trump has wavered on the cause of climate change, he has repeatedly denied its existence and called it a hoax.</p><p></p><p>Clinton claimed that her economic plan would create 10 million jobs, while Trump's plan would cost the nation 3.5 million jobs.</p><p>"People have looked at both of our plans, have concluded that mine would create 10 million jobs and yours would lose us 3.5 million jobs," Clinton said.</p><p>Clinton is quoting a report from Moody's Analytics' Mark Zandi that came out over the summer. Zandi's report said the nation's economy would grow by 10 million jobs under Clinton's plan, but lose 3.4 million under Trump.</p><p>Those statistics, however, are misleading. Zandi found the economy would add 7.2 million jobs even if Clinton didn't do anything. So her plan would boost job growth by about 3 million jobs.</p><p>Meanwhile, it's also not fair to compare the assertions that 10 million jobs would be gained under Clinton vs. 3.4 million jobs lost under Trump because the time frames are different. Contacted by CNNMoney, Zandi said a more accurate comparison to the 10 million jobs created under Clinton would be 400,000 jobs lost under Trump, not 3.4 million.</p><p>Another analysis by Oxford Economics found that under Clinton, the nation would create an additional 200,000 jobs by the start of 2021 if she implements all her policies. Under Trump, however, the US would lose 4 million jobs, according to the report, released earlier this month.</p><p>Therefore, we rate Clinton's claim as true, but misleading.</p><p></p><p>Trump and Clinton scuffled over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Trump asserting Clinton would ratify the massive trade pact should be elected president. </p><p>"You want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership," Trump claimed. "You were totally in favor of it. When you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, I can't win that debate."</p><p>"You called it the gold standard of trade deals," Trump continued. Clinton responded by claiming she said she "hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated, which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn't."</p><p>Clinton is on the record calling TPP a "gold standard" deal in 2012 when she was serving as secretary of state, and her phrasing back then did not match her claim now of "hoping" the deal would be worthy of support.</p><p>"This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field," Clinton said at an event in Australia in 2012. "And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40% of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment."</p><p>However, Trump's claim that Clinton would approve the trade deal if elected president does not match her current campaign statements. Clinton announced in October 2015 she was against TPP, saying the deal didn't match what she'd hoped for as secretary of state. She has vowed to reject it if she wins.</p><p>"I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as president," Clinton said in August.</p><p>Trump's claim that Clinton called TPP the "gold standard" is true. But Trump's claim Clinton would approve TPP as president is false.</p><p></p><p>Clinton hit Trump for his claims that he is a self-made man.</p><p>"You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life and that's all to his benefit," Clinton said. "He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father."</p><p>Trump has repeatedly said that he built his companies and wealth from a $1 million loan he received from his father. While that loan may have gotten Trump's business up and rolling, it leaves out many of the other loans and perks he got from being the son of a wealthy real estate developer in New York City.</p><p>According to the Wall Street Journal, a 1985 casino license disclosure proves that at the time of its filing, Trump had taken out $14 million in loans from his father, Fred Trump, in the late 1970s and 1980s.</p><p>Fred's backing further helped Donald as he reassured city officials that he would "watch the construction and provide the financial credibility" of his son's first big hotel deal, according to Wayne Barrett's 1992 book, "Trump: The Deals and the Downfall."</p><p>The elder Trump also set up trust funds to support his children, acted as a guarantor on loans that Donald applied for, and helped open doors for his son throughout the city.</p><p>While it is true that Trump began to build his business with a $1 million loan from his father, Clinton's claim that Trump borrowed $14 million is also true and paints a more complete picture of the support Donald received from his father.</p><p></p><p>When Clinton said Trump had said he would negotiate down the national debt if elected, Trump denied it was true. </p><p>But in a May debate, Trump said he would try reducing the national debt by trying to get creditors to accept lower amounts than the US owed.</p><p>In an exchange at Monday's debate, Clinton said, "You've said you'd negotiate down the national debt." Trump interrupted her to say, "Wrong."</p><p>In May, he also told CNBC that he would borrow, and if the economy crashed, he would "make a deal."</p><p>A few weeks later, Trump walked away from his comments about debt, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo he was misquoted. </p><p>"First of all, you never have to default because you print the money," he said on CNN's "New Day."</p><p>Verdict: True -- Trump claimed he would negotiate down the debt.</p><p></p><p>Discussing financial progress since the Great Recession, Clinton accused Trump of rooting for the housing crisis. </p><p>"He said, back in 2006, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money," she claimed.</p><p>The Democratic nominee based her claim on an audiobook released by now legally troubled Trump University in 2006. The audiobook, titled, "How to Build a Fortune," includes an interview between Trump and marketing consultant Jon Ward.</p><p>Ward asked Trump about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market (was) heading for a spectacular crash." Trump responded, "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy. If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money ... If you're in a good cash position, which I'm in a good cash position today, then people like me would go in and buy like crazy."</p><p>Clinton ended her comments on Trump's past remarks by noting the accuracy of his 2006 prediction saying, "Well, it did collapse." Trump responded, "That's called business, by the way."</p><p>As CNN predicted in May, Trump's comments from before his run for office did come back to haunt him. </p><p>And that's called politics, by the way. </p><p>Verdict: True.</p><p></p><p>Trump claimed that New York City's stop-and-frisk policy was not ruled unconstitutional -- but it was.</p><p>"It went before a judge who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her and our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case," Trump said. "They would have won an appeal."</p><p>A federal judge deemed the policy carried out under Michael Bloomberg's mayoralty to violate the law of the land in August 2013, and Bloomberg vowed to appeal. But a few months later, Bloomberg was out of office, and his liberal successor, Bill de Blasio, dropped the appeal as part of a settlement with New York police in January 2014.</p><p>So while Trump is correct that it is unknown how an appeal might have turned out had it not been dropped, that is not what unfolded. The lower court's ruling was the final one, and so we rate Trump's claim false.</p><p></p><p>Trump claimed that a false conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama's birthplace began with Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.</p><p>"If you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened, (Sidney) Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it, they were pressing very hard," Trump said. "She failed to get the birth certificate. When I got involved I didn't fail, I got him to give the birth certificate. So, I'm satisfied with it."</p><p>Facts do not support Trump's claims. Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton friend, denied to CNN last week that he peddled theories about Obama's birthplace to reporters. </p><p>"This is false. Period," he said. "Donald Trump cannot distract from the fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the birther lie and bears the responsibility for it."</p><p>Trump's characterization of Doyle's comments last week on CNN is similarly misleading. She told Wolf Blitzer that "The campaign, nor Hillary, did not start the birther movement. Period. End of the story." She recalled there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded an email propegating the conspiracy, but that Clinton herself decided "immediately" to fire that person.</p><p>As for Blumenthal's role in the campaign, some 2008 staffers have told CNN that he was not officially part of the Clinton campaign, and a CNN check of Federal Election Commission records shows no payment to Blumenthal from the campaign.</p><p>Verdict: Trump's claim that Clinton's campaign began the birther conspiracy is false.</p><p></p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:28:06 GMT

Clinton puts Trump on defense at first debate

<p>Hillary Clinton forced Donald Trump onto defense over his temperament, refusal to release his taxes and his past comments about race and women during a fiery debut presidential debate Monday -- a potentially pivotal moment in a tight election campaign.</p><p>Clinton, who has seen her dominance of the presidential race fade in the weeks since the Democratic convention, delivered a strong performance in which she demonstrated a command of policy and a sense of humor, smiling through some of Trump's strongest attacks. She delivered the best zinger of the night in response to criticism from Trump for staying off the campaign trail recently.</p><p>"I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate," she said. "And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be President. And that is a good thing." </p><p>Trump came out swinging at the beginning of the debate, and made some effective points on the economy and jobs -- some of the aspects of his outsider presidential campaign that have struck a chord with many Americans. But the debate highlighted Trump's tendency to make false claims as he made inaccurate statements on everything from laws regarding policing, his support for the Iraq War and his contention that Clinton was behind the so-called birther conspiracy.</p><p>Appearing in the "spin room" after the debate to talk to journalists, Trump said he was happy with his performance.</p><p>"It went better than I ever thought," he told CNN's Dana Bash.</p><p>One of the most powerful moments of the debate came when the conversation focused on the so-called birther debate following Trump's recent acknowledgment that President Barack Obama was born in the US -- a fact that has been evident for years. With Trump standing just a few feet from her, Clinton blasted him for perpetuating a "racist lie."</p><p>"He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior," Clinton said as Trump shook his head.</p><p>Trump hit back, noting Clinton's tough critiques of Obama during their bitter 2008 primary battle. </p><p>"You treated him with terrible disrespect and I watch the way you talk now about how lovely everything is ... it doesn't work that way," he said. "When you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn't work."</p><p>As the debate ended, Clinton hammered Trump over his treatment of women. </p><p>"This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs," Clinton said.</p><p>She accused Trump of calling a Latina contestant in a beauty contest "Miss Piggy" and a housekeeper because of her ethnicity, seemingly throwing Trump off as he twice asked "Where did you find this?" </p><p>Clinton repeatedly sought to correct Trump's statements -- going so far as referring viewers to fact checks on her website -- as she aimed to portray him as out of touch with the complexities of the American economy. </p><p>"I know you live in your own reality," she told Trump.</p><p>Clinton and Trump opened the debate on a positive note by shaking hands before stationing themselves behind their podiums at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. Their spouses, former President Bill Clinton and Melania Trump, also greeted each other before taking their seats in the debate hall.</p><p>From there, the drama quickly unfolded.</p><p>An increasingly angry Trump slammed Clinton for putting her plans to fight ISIS on her website -- and thereby tipping off America's enemy. </p><p>"Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS," Clinton responded, referring to his previous statements that he has a "secret" plan to destroy the terrorist group.</p><p>Clinton also hit Trump over his refusal to release his tax returns. </p><p>"Why won't he release his tax returns?" Clinton asked.</p><p>"Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is," she went on. "Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be," "Maybe he doesn't want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes."</p><p>Clinton pressed Trump on the issue, saying "There is something he is hiding."</p><p>Trump replied that he would release his taxes when Clinton made public 33,000 emails that were deleted from her private email server. When Clinton said that Trump had paid no federal income tax in some years, Trump replied "That makes me smart."</p><p>Clinton also set about Trump's business record, pointing out that he had called himself "The King of Debt" and accusing him of "stiffing" thousand of contractors who did work for his business.</p><p>When the debate turned to racial issues and crime, Clinton said that it was important for police to work together with local communities to restore trust. </p><p>Trump accused Clinton of refusing to say the phrase "law and order" and bemoaned the state of inner cities. He said that African-Americans and Hispanics were "living in hell." </p><p>"You walk down the street, you get shot," Trump said.</p><p>Clinton rebuked Trump for painting "such a dire picture" of black communities.</p><p>Trump and Clinton are facing off with the campaign at a critical point, as the race is a dead heat just 43 days before Election Day. </p><p>A CNN/ORC poll released Monday found Trump edging Clinton 42% to 41% in the crucial battleground state of Colorado among likely voters in a four-way race. In Pennsylvania, another key state, the poll found Clinton in a virtual tie against Trump among likely voters at 45% to 44%.</p><p>The former secretary of state is relying on both states to help pave her way to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.</p><p>Nationally, CNN's Poll of Polls finds Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck 44%-42%.</p><p>The rivals spent the day preparing for their big battle.</p><p>Clinton participated in mock debates with her tart-tongued former aide Philippe Reines playing Trump. In one practice debate, Reines assumed the character of the unpredictable nominee by praising Clinton for her role as a pioneer for women, campaign sources said.</p><p>Reines even wore the kind of signature red tie that Trump favors and adopted his characteristic hand gestures in a bid to fully prepare Clinton for her unpredictable foe.</p><p>The Republican nominee has watched videos of Clinton, but his preparation has been less intense than his opponent's, in keeping with his more freewheeling style. He did not hold mock debates, for instance, with someone standing in for Clinton.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:29:24 GMT

First presidential debate

<p>Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton participate in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. </p><p>With a tight election on the line, Trump and Clinton will face off at their first presidential debate, a battle 18 months in the making that is emerging as the most hotly anticipated moment in modern US political history.</p><p>An audience rivaling that of the Super Bowl -- perhaps around 100 million Americans -- will be glued to televisions, smart phones and social media when the rivals rip off the gloves at 9 p.m. ET. The debate marks a rare shared experience for a country deeply divided along political lines and fragmented in the media they consume.</p><p>Suspense has been building for weeks, given the huge political stakes of an increasingly competitive election. And Trump's wild-card antics, which will test Clinton's fact-checking skills, mean no one can predict how the showdown at Hofstra University in New York will unfold.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 02:45:22 GMT

OneOrlando Fund set to begin payment distribution for 299 claimants

<p>The final distribution plan for the OneOrlando Fund was approved Monday, and payments of the $29.5 million donated to the fund will begin to be processed Tuesday.</p><p>City officials said the board approved the allocation of funds to 299 claimants in categories of deceased, injured with hospitalization, injured with outpatient treatment, and present inside Pulse nightclub.</p><p>All payments will be issued by Friday, officials said.</p><p>“In the days and weeks following the Pulse tragedy, our community and the world opened their hearts and donated millions of dollars to the OneOrlando Fund," said Alex Martins, president of Orlando Magic and the chair of the OneOrlando Board, in a news release. "While no amount of money will ever erase the horrific events of that day, we are hopeful support from the OneOrlando Fund will help victims and their families with the healing process."</p><p>According to <a href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-one-orlando-fund-pay-out-20160926-story.html" target="_blank"><strong>the Orlando Sentinel,</strong></a> families of the 49 who lost their lives in the June 12 shooting will each receive $350,000 from the One Orlando Fund.</p><p>Victims who were hospitalized will receive between $65,000 and $300,000 each, depending on the length of time they were in the hospital.</p><p>Victims who received outpatient care will receive $35,000 each, and people who were inside the club and didn't experience physical injuries will receive $25,000 each.</p><p>A news conference to be held Tuesday will provide more information.</p><p>Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured in the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.</p><p>Nearly 150,000 people and more than 120 companies contributed to the fund, with Equality Florida's GoFundMe page setting records for the largest online philanthropic campaign, officials said.</p><p>The distribution announcement comes hours after News 6 reported a Pulse survivor <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/pulse-orlando-shooting/pulse-survivor-sues-oneorlando-fund" target="_blank"><strong>filed a lawsuit seeking an audit of the $27 million assistance program and the halting of the disbursement.‚Äč</strong></a></p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 02:02:56 GMT

Pence on Trump's debate plan: 'We'll see where it goes'

<p>Mike Pence on Monday night was tight-lipped about running mate Donald Trump's planned debate tactics, offering an opened-ended "We'll see where it goes" when asked.</p><p>"I think what you'll see tonight is the same Donald Trump you've seen throughout this campaign," the Indiana governor told CNN's Jake Tapper before the presidential debate. "He's going to be a bold truth-teller, he's going to speak plainly."</p><p>He added: "I think Donald Trump always speaks straight from his heart and straight from his mind."</p><p>Pence, on-site for the debate on Long Island at Hofstra University, said his own debate prep is more "traditional" than his running mate's.</p><p>"My focus the last four years has been and continues to be leading the state of Indiana," he said. "So I've been brushing up on all those Washington issues ... but I'm looking forward to a good debate this week."</p><p>"My only advice to him is be yourself," he said. "I've come to know him over the last several months ... This is a good man who I believe will make a great president of the United States."</p><p>When asked about Trump releasing his tax returns, an issue that has been repeatedly brought up during the course of Trump's campaign, Pence reiterated the campaign's previous stance.</p><p>"I think Donald Trump has made it very clear that he will release his tax returns when the routine audit is complete," he said.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:48:41 GMT

Reid signals possible solution to funding stalemate

<p>Four days before the government is scheduled to run out of money, lawmakers on Capitol Hill remain at odds about whether to add millions of dollars for Flint, Michigan, to a spending bill to keep agencies operating.</p><p>Democrats are insisting help for Flint -- hard hit last year by lead poisoning in its drinking water supply -- be attached to the must-pass bill. If it's not, they vow to block the legislation on a key vote in the Senate on Tuesday, leaving little time to get a funding bill through both chambers.</p><p>But top Democrats signaled Monday there may be a way to resolve the impasse: if House Republicans were to assure them the Flint money would make it into a separate bill that the House is voting on this week. A top House Republican leader seemed receptive to the idea.</p><p>"This funding measure does not quote a single penny for Flint, Michigan. Not a penny. The people of Flint, Michigan, have been waiting for emergency assistance to clean their poison water for more than a year," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said in a floor speech. "Senate Republicans claim they'll address the needs of Flint when we return after the election. We've heard that before, haven't we?"</p><p>Republicans counter that Reid's demand for Flint funding to be added to the government spending bill are new and may be politically motivated, designed to disrupt smooth passage of government funding and make Republicans appear ineffective just weeks before the presidential and congressional elections that will determine the balance of power in the capital.</p><p>"It's true that some in Democratic leadership would like to turn this simple 10-week funding bill into some unnecessary partisan food fight," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "They think it's good election-year politics."</p><p>Last Thursday, after weeks of unresolved negotiations, frustrated Senate Republicans stepped away from the negotiating table and put a GOP-authored bill on the floor, essentially daring Democrats to oppose it. The Republican bill would fund the government and the federal response to Zika. Importantly, Republicans said it met Democratic demands for leaving out controversial policy riders.</p><p>The bill also included what Republicans described as a "down payment" for disaster aid for flood-stricken Louisiana. But Democratic leaders balked arguing they couldn't support money for flooding for Louisiana unless Flint was also addressed.</p><p>Earlier this month, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act, a major water bill that included $220 million in relief aid and loans for Flint. The House is set to pass its version of that bill this week, but it doesn't have any money for Flint. Democrats remain skeptical Republicans will actually agree to provide money for Flint as the two chambers merge those two competing bills into final legislation.</p><p>However, a Democratic source suggested Monday that one possible way to end the stalemate would be for House Republicans to give Democrats an "ironclad" commitment that the Flint money would be added to that pending water bill.</p><p>Reid suggested that was a possible path forward, too, when he said on the floor to Republicans: "Call and tell me they're going to take care of this. Give me some assurance we're going to take care of it."</p><p>Senate Republicans believe they've already shown a commitment to Flint when they overwhelmingly approved the water bill with Flint funding and have vowed to press House Republicans to do the same.</p><p>House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, told reporters Monday the Flint aid "works perfectly" in the water bill.</p><p>McCarthy would not say if he would allow the House Democrats to add the Flint aid as an amendment to the water bill, but argued that it would be an issue for a conference committee to settle since the aid is included in the Senate package.</p><p>Senators will vote Tuesday afternoon on whether to begin debate on the government funding bill. Sixty votes are needed for it to advance and Democrats should be able to block it despite a couple of defections from Democratic senators whose states are impacted by Zika and who want to quickly approve that funding.</p>

Published: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:05:24 GMT

Houston shooting: Nine injured, suspect dead

<p>Nazi emblems were found among the "personal effects" of the man who was killed in Houston Monday after wounding nine people in a mass shooting, according to the head of the police homicide division.</p><p>Capt. D.W. Ready said the shooter was dressed in some kind of military uniform and had Nazi emblems with him and at his house. </p><p>However, Ready would not speculate on whether the Nazi insignia would help establish a motive. He said the emblems may have been collector's items. At the shooter's home, police found vintage military equipment and paraphernalia dating back to the Civil War.</p><p>"At this point we are very open-minded as to the motive," said acting Chief Martha Montalvo. </p><p>She described the shooter as a lawyer who had "issues" at his law office.</p><p>The Bellaire Police Department and West University Police Department also responded with Houston police to the report of an active shooter in a neighborhood strip mall in the affluent neighborhood of West University Place at 6:30 a.m. </p><p>Nine officers engaged the gunman in a gunfight while assisting wounded citizens, Ready said. The gunman took cover behind a tree, he said.</p><p>"Multiple officers engaged the suspect, who was shooting randomly at passersby as well as anybody he could put his sights on," Ready said. "He was wearing a military-style apparel, I don't know exactly what nationality or exactly what army or anything like that."</p><p>More than 75 expended shell casings were found at the scene, and the gunman had 2,600 rounds of ammunition for his .45-caliber pistol and .45-caliber Thompson carbine rifle, which carried a 40-round clip, Ready said.</p><p>Attorney Nathan DeSai has been identified as the shooter, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. Police declined to identify the gunman publicly. </p><p>DeSai was a lone gunman who was disgruntled over matters at the law firm where he worked, according to the mayor, who said he'd been briefed on the shooting by police. DeSai practiced business, criminal and family law, according to his profile on the State Bar of Texas website. </p><p>Police said one victim was critically wounded and another was seriously wounded. The rifle was purchased legally in 2009, and the handgun was purchased legally in 2011, Montalvo said.</p><p></p><p></p><p>It was still dark when Antoine Wilson drove through the neighborhood Monday morning and suddenly found himself in the middle of a gunfight.</p><p>"I didn't realize I was right there by the shooter," he told CNN affiliate KTRK. "Gunshots, I literally hear the gunshots pass my face, 'cause I'm leaning out the window looking, trying to see."</p><p>Then he saw police running down the street.</p><p>"You (could) hear people screaming," he said. "I'm talking about steady gunshots, just steady shooting, back and forth ... police and the shooter. Helicopters were everywhere."</p><p>Firefighters and police swarmed the scene as gunfire rang out, KTRK reported.</p><p>"I'm still shaken up," Wilson told KTRK. "I've never been in no standoff like this before."</p><p>Later Monday, Kevin Quinn caught a glimpse of cars that apparently were caught in the crossfire. The KTRK reporter tweeted photos of vehicles parked near the scene with bullet-riddled windshields and shattered glass.</p><p></p><p>Early reports indicated the shooting took place in a strip mall parking lot near the corner of Weslayan Street and Bissonnet Street in southwest Houston.</p><p>Montalvo later said it's possible the shooting had occurred on a nearby street.</p><p>"As the victims left, the ones that could, possibly, came to this location," she told reporters at a press briefing near the strip mall.</p><p>After the shooting, CNN affiliates reported that the parking lot became a triage scene where first responders treated the wounded.</p><p>An emergency alert from the city told people to avoid the area and warned residents to take shelter in place. Hours after the shooting, officials told residents the shelter-in-place warning had been lifted and asked the public for help tracking down information about what happened.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:54:30 GMT

Stein escorted off Hofstra University campus

<p>Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein was escorted off the Hofstra University campus Monday after her prearranged media interviews because she didn't have credentials to be there.</p><p>Stein's campaign told CNN that she was at the university doing press interviews and was escorted off after an interview with MSNBC.</p><p>"We were on our way to an interview with @MSNBC when we were stopped by Hofstra security and Nassau County police just now. #debatenight" she tweeted.</p><p>The Nassau County Police Department told CNN that Stein failed to provide the proper credentials at the university, which led to her being escorted off campus.</p><p>"She was on the college campus, we asked to verify for proper credentials, she did not have them, and she was nicely escorted off the campus," a police department spokeswoman said.</p><p>Stein told MSNBC in an earlier interview Monday that she would try to get on the debate stage despite failing to meet the requirements needed to participate.</p><p>"Well, what I am really hoping to accomplish is what the American people are hoping to accomplish, which is to open up the debates so we have a fair and inclusive debate at a time where the American people rejected the two establishment candidates at record levels," she said. "They have a right not only to vote -- they have a right to know who we can vote for."</p><p>Stein, along with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, failed to qualify for the first presidential debate.</p><p>The candidates needed to make a 15% polling threshold across several major national surveys in order to qualify for the debates. The commission determined that the polling averages for the candidates had Stein at 3.2% and Johnson at 8.4%.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:32:37 GMT

7 memorable presidential debate moments

<p>The U.S.' first televised presidential debates didn't involve any major gaffes or zingers or other pithy soundbites; they were wonky back-and-forths about policy. But those debates, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, created the model for debates on TV, in which style can matter more than substance.</p><p>In the Kennedy-Nixon debates, radio listeners famously thought Nixon fared better, while those who watched on TV in 1960 were struck by Kennedy's handsome appearance and put off by Nixon's pallid complexion and an ill-chosen gray suit that blended into the background.</p><p>In the years since, matters of substance have produced what were deemed memorable gaffes, although such moments may not have similar impact this year, in what's been described as a post-truth campaign. Much of the focus, rather, will likely be on style points, as well as memorable zingers or one-liners, which tend to be what most people can remember about debates past -- along with the spoofs of them on "Saturday Night Live."</p><p>Here are several of the key moments from debates since 1960 that will surely be in the minds of commentators looking for comparisons to what transpires between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (as well as Tim Kaine and Mike Pence) tonight and in October:</p><p>Carter-Ford (1976): Then-President Gerald Ford made a serious gaffe when he stated there was "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe," which would have come as news to countries living behind the Iron Curtain. What Ford later characterized as an inarticulate moment wound up causing a major stir.</p><p>Mondale-Reagan (1984): Ronald Reagan's age (he was 73) had become an issue, especially after he performed poorly in his first debate with Walter Mondale, including a rambling closing statement. Reagan defused the matter with a well-delivered joke during their next encounter, saying, "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." He went on to win reelection in a landslide.</p><p>Bush-Dukakis (1988): Moderator Bernard Shaw hit Michael Dukakis with what was, by any measure, a tough question, asking if he would maintain his opposition to the death penalty if his own wife, Kitty, were raped and murdered. Dukakis flubbed the response, betraying not a hint of emotion at the hypothetical and going straight into a wonky policy explanation.</p><p>A writer for Time derided Dukakis' response as sounding like "a time-and-temperature recording."</p><p>Bentsen-Quayle (1988): The vice presidential debates seldom make the cut in these discussions, but Lloyd Bentsen was clearly waiting for Dan Quayle, George H.W. Bush's running mate, to compare his relative inexperience to that of Kennedy when he ran for president.</p><p>"I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," Bentsen responded, to howls from the audience. Bush and Quayle won the election, but the bruise left by that remark lingered.</p><p>Bush-Gore (2000): It seems almost quaint to make an issue of it now, but Al Gore's repeated, exasperated sighs in response to George W. Bush's answers became a focal point of the post-debate analysis.</p><p>Another awkward moment came during the town-hall format (which allowed the candidates to roam the stage, as opposed to just standing behind lecterns) when Gore stood and approached Bush -- in what some described as an effort to intimidate him -- prompting Bush to nod at him in the middle of his answer.</p><p>Biden-Palin (2008): The mic caught Sarah Palin asking Joe Biden, "Hey, can I call you Joe?" when they shook hands before their vice presidential debate, which helped set up her "Say it ain't so, Joe" line later on.</p><p>Palin was generally perceived as having surpassed low expectations, perhaps in part because Biden appeared so determined to not look as if he were being rude or abusive.</p><p>Obama-Romney (2012): While it may have lacked one single signature moment, pundits and polls overwhelmingly gave the opening debate to Mitt Romney, suggesting that President Obama had sleepwalked his way through it, and even comparing his sluggish performance to Reagan's first outing in '84.</p><p>In a consideration regarding a new medium that would have been unthinkable before the 2008 debate, the New York Times later quoted Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter as telling the staff, in real time, ""We are getting bombed on Twitter." Obama rallied in the subsequent debates.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:04:14 GMT

5 things to watch at Monday night's Clinton-Trump debate

<p>Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off for the first time on the debate stage Monday night, the biggest moment of the already extraordinary 2016 presidential race.</p><p>With national polls showing a tight race just six weeks out from Election Day, the Hofstra University fight offers one of the last chances for each to speak directly to the tens millions of voters who are expected to tune in.</p><p>For Clinton, a veteran debater, one of her biggest challenges will be both to provoke Trump and avoid being provoked by him, while delivering an earnest and candid performance.</p><p>And for Trump, who had uneven and at times explosive debate performances during the Republican primary, his first one-on-one debate presents a serious test of his ability to stay on script and keep his cool.</p><p>Here are five things to watch at Monday night's debate:</p><p>During the long Republican primary, there was no telling which Trump would show up to a debate.</p><p>Sometimes it was the combative and hostile Trump -- quick to throw punches and go after his opponents with personal attacks. Other times, it was an uncharacteristically subdued Trump, content to disappear from the spotlight for long stretches of time and let his competitors command the stage and attack one another.</p><p>"We are preparing for different Trumps that might show up," Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri told reporters last week. "He may be aggressive or he may lay back and that's hard to game out."</p><p>Being overtly antagonistic toward Clinton would be a risky move for Trump. If he is unable to keep calm and stay focused, it will only feed the narrative that he lacks the temperament to be president and potentially make him look small next Clinton, who is famous for being measured.</p><p>Trump also won't have the option of sitting on the sidelines. As one of only two candidates on stage, the Republican nominee must make the most of every minute allotted to him and show a level of agility and rapid-response instincts that was far less critical on a debate stage with numerous candidates.</p><p>Monday night will pose a critical test for Trump, who has so far shown a relative lack of depth on policy. With approximately half of the debate's 90 minutes dedicated to the GOP nominee, it will be far more difficult than in past debates for Trump to get by with sweeping statements that he is accustomed to making at rallies and in interviews, particularly given that Clinton's strong suit is policy.</p><p>No one understands Clinton's debating chops better than President Barack Obama, who faced off against her numerous times in the 2008 election.</p><p>Obama's advice to Clinton for Monday? "Be yourself and explain what motivates you," the President told ABC's Robin Roberts last week. "I think there's a reason why we haven't had a woman president before, and so she's having to break down some barriers. There's a level of mistrust and a caricature of her that just doesn't jibe with who I know."</p><p>So far in this campaign, Clinton has struggled to do precisely that, and appearing unguarded and likeable -- fairly or not -- has been one of her biggest political challenges.</p><p>There's no question that policy is Clinton's forte -- aides to the former senator and secretary of state describe her as a wonk who knows policy inside and out. As she marshals her fluency in policy, she will want to avoid coming off as lecturing or smug, the way critics say Al Gore did in his debates with George W. Bush.</p><p> </p><p>But appearing next to Trump could help make Clinton more likable by comparison: Polls show that a majority of voters question Trump's temperament and view him as appealing to bigotry. The Clinton campaign says it plans to drive home the point that Trump habitually makes factually inaccurate statements.</p><p>"Donald Trump has pattern of repeating lies hoping no one will correct him," Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, said on a call with reporters last week. "This warrants particular focus because his level of lying is unprecedented in American politics."</p><p>Clinton has acknowledged that she doesn't have the natural charisma of Obama or her husband, Bill Clinton, but she has fleshed out her personal story and offered a sharper positive message in recent weeks, and she will likely attempt to continue that effort on Monday.</p><p>The 2016 election has already showcased a whole lot of nasty name-calling, but Monday night has the potential to descend into the worst mudfight yet.</p><p>Even before the debate had begun, the two campaigns were in full trolling mode.</p><p>The Clinton campaign offered Mark Cuban -- the TV celebrity billionaire who recently endorsed the Democratic nominee -- a front row seat at Hofstra. Cuban has been relentless in attacking Trump-- in July, he said Trump "went off the reservation and went bats -- crazy" -- and he has also called out Trump for not releasing his tax returns.</p><p>Having Cuban in the front row is the kind of mind game that the Clinton camp hopes will distract and throw Trump off his game.</p><p>But in Trumpian fashion, the GOP nominee responded over the weekend by threatening to bring Gennifer Flowers as his guest to the debate. Flowers is a former Arkansas state employee who claimed to have had a multi-year sexual relationship with Bill Clinton. The former president has admitted to having a sexual encounter with her.</p><p>The Trump campaign later said it won't invite Flowers to the debate. Still, Trump's comments may foreshadow his willingness to dredge up some of the most painful incidents from the Clintons' past, including Bill Clinton's various indiscretions.</p><p>Hillary Clinton, too, could go there if provoked -- Trump has been married three times and has two messy divorces under his belt; has openly boasted in the past about his playboy lifestyle. Moreover his offensive remarks about women and minorities are part of her campaign's argument he is temperamentally unfit to be president.</p><p>Asked by CNN on her plane earlier this month whether she believes it is fair game to go after Trump's personal life, Clinton didn't rule out the possibility. Trump, meanwhile, said on Fox News last week: "If she treats me with respect, I will treat her with respect."</p><p>There's no shortage of top-tier issues -- terrorism, Syria, ISIS, immigration, the economy among them -- but the first general election match-up comes amid national outrage sparked yet again by police killings of African-American men.</p><p>The recent deaths of Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina and Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma have sparked fresh and impassioned calls for justice and protests that have at times turned violent. With the issue of police force -- particularly toward minorities -- dominating headlines, the politics of race is guaranteed to be a discussion topic.</p><p>Both Clinton and Trump had planned to visit Charlotte -- where Scott was killed -- around the debate: Clinton on Sunday and Trump on Monday. But both campaigns scrapped those plans after Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts told CNN's Erin Burnett that the city was too stretched on resources.</p><p>For both Clinton and Trump, the challenge will be to offer detailed proposals on how they would address unnecessary police violence and thoughtfully speak to a grieving community. It also gives both a chance to make arguments to key constituencies -- Clinton to African-Americans who voted with Obama, and Trump to GOP base voters with his "law and order" pitch.</p><p>The debate will likely delve into many other policy issues including healthcare, trade, economy and foreign policy. But many of the core disagreements between Trump and Clinton are rooted in the different ways in which they view race and inclusion.</p><p>The two nominees have starkly contrasting views on immigration, for example, and how to handle people who enter the country illegally. They also clash on the national security front --- particularly on how they want to combat terrorism. Clinton has urged measured responses that ensure that an entire religion is not villanized -- Trump, meanwhile, has suggested using methods of racial profiling and keeping out entire ethnic groups as a safety measure.</p><p>No one who will face more pressure Monday night than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- except Lester Holt.</p><p>The NBC "Nightly News" anchor and veteran newscaster is about to enter uncharted territory as the moderator of the first Clinton-Trump face-off.</p><p>Monday will mark Holt's first time presiding over a general election presidential debate; some 70 to 100 million people are expected to tune in; and there is no telling what dynamics will drive ultimately drive the prime-time event.</p><p>Both campaigns have preemptively cranked up the heat, suggesting that Holt and the other moderators might be less than fair to their respective candidates.</p><p>Palmieri told reporters last week that her biggest concern heading into the debate is that Trump and Clinton will be graded on different curves.</p><p>"You should be held to the same standard on knowledge, what kind of plans you have, your ability to explain your plans," she said. "Our concern is just what kind of standard is he held to."</p><p>Trump, meanwhile, has suggested that Holt is a Democrat. "Lester is a Democrat. I mean, they are all Democrats. OK? It's a very unfair system," Trump said. (Holt is actually a registered Republican.)</p><p>What Holt wants to avoid at all costs is the fate that recently befell his NBC colleague Matt Lauer. The "Today" show host moderated the network's "Commander-in-Chief Forum" earlier this moth, and the reviews were disastrous.</p><p>Lauer was accused of multiple transgressions, including aggressively interrupting Clinton, spending too much time grilling her on the email controversy, asking Trump relatively soft-ball questions and failing to call him out when he falsely stated that he had opposed the Iraq War.</p><p>With regard to fact-checking, "Lester is not going to be a potted plant," one NBC staffer close to Holt said.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:21:13 GMT

Bridgegate: Port Authority officials planned to make Fort Lee 'traffic jam as bad as possible'

<p>Former Port Authority executives and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie staffers planned to make the traffic from the September 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge "as bad as possible," according to testimony heard in federal court Monday.</p><p>David Wildstein, former Port Authority director of Interstate Capital Projects, testified that in June 2013, Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, was upset that their office had not secured the endorsement of the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee New Jersey, Mark Sokolich, for Christie's reelection campaign.</p><p>Wildstein, who has previously pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud on federally funded property and one civil rights violation, told Kelly that shutting down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to put some political pressure on Sokolich was an option, according to his testimony.</p><p>Wildstein is testifying as part of his plea deal. Sokolich testified last week that being a "Democrat in a Democratic town" put him in an uncomfortable position vis-a-vis a Christie endorsement, and he eventually declined because he did not want to "alienate anyone."</p><p>On August 13, 2013, and as CNN has previously reported, Wildstein received an email from Kelly saying: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."</p><p>"Got it," Wildstein responded.</p><p>A phone call with Kelly the same day established the lane closures would go forward, it was revealed in testimony Monday.</p><p>"I did not question senior officials in the office of the governor," Wildstein said in court when asked if he questioned the decision.</p><p>Wildstein became the de facto organizer of the eventual lane closures, and communicated every step of the way with Kelly and his then-boss, former Port Authority deputy executive director, Bill Baroni, according to his testimony.</p><p>Wildstein and Kelly discussed and agreed that there would be no advance notice of the closures to Fort Lee officials or the public. They discussed how the Port Authority would respond to any inquiries, and agreed that all calls would be directed to Baroni's office and Baroni would not return the calls, testimony revealed.</p><p>This "radio silence" policy was discussed with and approved by Baroni, Wildstein said.</p><p>Wildstein testified that that lack of advance notice was to "maximize the impact on Fort Lee." Wildstein also recalled discussing the timing of the closures with Baroni and Kelly.</p><p>Baroni asked when the first day of school in Fort Lee was, and when Wildstein told Baroni it was September 9, Baroni smiled and said, "Fantastic," according to Wildstein's testimony. Kelly agreed on the September 9 date.</p><p>Wildstein testified that his initial plan was to shut down all three Fort Lee access lanes, but after discussing the matter with Port Authority engineers who feared this could cause "sideswipe crashes," Wildstein recommended to Baroni and Kelly that they shut down two lanes.</p><p>On Friday, September 6, 2013, Wildstein informed several Port Authority staffers of the closures that were scheduled to begin on Monday, September 9.</p><p>Bob Durando, Port Authority general manager of the George Washington Bridge expressed concern, telling Wildstein that the closures would cause a "mess."</p><p>Wildstein told Durando the closures would be going forward, and to prepare accordingly.</p><p>"I told him not to say anything to anybody," Wildstein testified. Wildstein told Durando to direct any inquiries he gets during the closures to Baroni's office.</p><p>Wildstein then informed former Port Authority chief engineer, Peter Zipf, of the closures, and asked Zipf to organize a way to get "some numbers" on the traffic patterns.</p><p>Wildstein also informed Cedrick Fulton, Port Authority director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals. Fulton asked if Port Authority executive director, Patrick Foye, was aware. Wildstein testified that he told Fulton "yes," but that this was a lie.</p><p>All of these staffers were under the impression that the closures were part of a traffic study.</p><p>On the day the closures began, Wildstein watched the traffic build up on screens inside a Port Authority administration building on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge.</p><p>"I knew the plan that I had set into motion was working," Wildstein testified.</p><p>A Port Authority lieutenant also drove Wildstein around Fort Lee so Wildstein could see the traffic on the ground.</p><p>Wildstein testified that he called Kelly that morning to tell her that traffic was building up, and "she was pleased."</p><p>Several calls and emails began coming in to Baroni and Wildstein from Fort Lee officials, including the mayor, Sokolich, but their plan of "radio silence" was put into effect and no messages were returned.</p><p>Last week, Wildstein testified that Baroni's role at the bi-state agency was essentially to be a representative of Christie's administration and that their top priority was to represent Christie's office's interests.</p><p>Wildstein said he created a phrase that he and Baroni often used, "the one constituent rule." This referred to the fact that Governor Christie's opinion or good favor was the only one that mattered when it came to Port Authority affairs. Wildstein and Baroni used the "one constituent rule" as a barometer by which decisions would be made.</p><p>Kelly and Baroni face conspiracy and fraud charges in connection with Bridgegate. Their attorneys have previously said they will both testify in their own defenses.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:58:41 GMT

Tim Kaine speaks in Orlando ahead of presidential debate

<p>Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine held several events in Central Florida on Monday, hours ahead of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.</p><p>%<inline>INLINE</inline>%</p><p>Kaine spoke to Hispanic faith leaders with emphasis on the path to citizenship, economy and respect to minorities in a roundtable discussion.</p><p>Kaine will then host a debate watch party in downtown Orlando.</p><p>Tuesday's presidential debate airs on News 6 at 9 p.m.</p><p>Check back for more on this story.</p><p> </p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:45:09 GMT

Houston shooting: Nine injured, suspect dead

<p> </p><p>Nazi emblems were found among the "personal effects" of the man who was killed in Houston Monday after injuring nine people in a mass shooting, according to the head of the Houston police homicide division.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p>A gunman who died in a shootout with officers in Houston Monday was a lawyer who lived in the neighborhood and left a car full of weapons near the scene, the city's police chief said.</p><p>"We are bringing in the bomb squad to secure it safe," Acting Police Chief Martha Montalvo told reporters.</p><p>Attorney Nathan DeSai has been identified as the alleged shooter, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CNN.</p><p>DeSai was a lone gunman who was disgruntled over matters at the law firm where he worked, according to the mayor, who said he'd been briefed on the shooting by police. DeSai practiced business, criminal and family law, according to his profile on the State Bar of Texas website.</p><p>Police said nine people were injured in the shooting, one critically and one seriously.</p><p>The FBI is at the scene and assisting the investigation, Montalvo said.</p><p>It was still dark when Antoine Wilson drove through the neighborhood Monday morning and suddenly found himself in the middle of a gunfight.</p><p>"I didn't realize I was right there by the shooter," he told CNN affiliate KTRK. "Gunshots, I literally hear the gunshots pass my face, 'cause I'm leaning out the window looking, trying to see."</p><p>Then he saw police running down the street.</p><p>"You (could) hear people screaming," he said. "I'm talking about steady gunshots, just steady shooting, back and forth ... police and the shooter. Helicopters were everywhere."</p><p>Firefighters and police swarmed the scene as gunfire rang out, KTRK reported.</p><p>"I'm still shaken up," Wilson told KTRK. "I've never been in no standoff like this before."</p><p>Later Monday, Kevin Quinn caught a glimpse of cars that apparently were caught in the crossfire. The KTRK reporter tweeted photos of vehicles parked near the scene with bullet-riddled windshields and shattered glass.</p><p> </p><p>Early reports indicated the shooting took place in a strip mall parking lot near the corner of Weslayan Street and Bissonnet Street in southwest Houston.</p><p>Montalvo later said it's possible the shooting had occurred on a nearby street.</p><p>"As the victims left, the ones that could, possibly, came to this location," she told reporters at a press briefing near the strip mall.</p><p>After the shooting, CNN affiliates reported that the parking lot became a triage scene where first responders treated the wounded.</p><p>An emergency alert from the city told people to avoid the area and warned residents to take shelter in place. Hours after the shooting, officials told residents the shelter-in-place warning had been lifted and asked the public for help tracking down information about what happened.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:08:17 GMT

Man pointed gun, impersonated officer in road-rage incident, police say

<p>A New York firefighter on extended leave has been arrested after Daytona Beach police say he pointed a gun and flashed his badge at a driver on Saturday in a road rage incident.</p><p>Vincent Arcuri, 23, has been charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.</p><p>Police said they were called to Pelican Bay Saturday afternoon by the victims, who said Arcuri pointed a handgun at them after they attempted to run each other off the road.</p><p>The victims said that Arcuri told them they were in trouble, claiming he had their tag number and flashing the firefighter badge, according to the report.</p><p>Police said the victims continued to drive on Beville Road when Arcuri cut them off and pulled out the handgun.</p><p>When police talked with Arcuri, he said that he pulled up next to the victims to tell them they shouldn't drive recklessly, according to the report. </p><p>Police said that Arcuri said he never told anyone he was a cop, only that he was a firefighter and that he was standing his ground when the victims approached him.</p><p>Arcuri was booked into the Volusia County jail.</p><p> </p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:13:02 GMT

Iowa city hit with evacuation as flooding worsens

<p>Swollen rivers and creeks have prompted evacuations and curfews in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin as flooding threatens thousands of people with loss of property and possibly life.</p><p>The city most immediately threatened is Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa, where more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from homes and businesses.</p><p>The city is preparing for the Cedar River to crest at 23 feet at 7 a.m. Tuesday and for it to hold that height for six hours, Greg Buelow, the public safety coordinator, told CNN.</p><p>Buelow said city employees and volunteers have tried to mitigate damage from flooding, but he warned that people were still under significant risk if they did not abandon the area.</p><p>"The temporary flood protection systems have held to this point; however, there are no guarantees with temporary flood protection measures of earthen berms, Hesco flood barriers and levees," Buelow said. "We are still strongly encouraging people to evacuate."</p><p>More than 400 soldiers of the Iowa National Guard are working at evacuation points and helping people leave neighborhoods, authorities said. Interstate 80 was still open, but the state department of transportation said it was being closely monitored for flooding.</p><p>Local officials ordered a curfew in the evacuation zone between 8 p.m and 7 a.m and residents seen in the area will be stopped by law enforcement, authorities said. Police Chief Wayne Jerman said the curfew is expected to be in effect every evening until the flooding subsides.</p><p>Flooding already claimed two lives last week in western Wisconsin's Vernon County. One man was killed Thursday after a mudslide destroyed his home, according to CNN affiliate WEAU-TV. </p><p>Also Thursday, a second man died while trying to drive through floodwaters near his home, the station reported.</p><p>Cedar Rapids residents were advised to take personal belongings, medications, and important documents like identification before leaving their homes. Mayor Ron Corbett said evacuated people should expect the downtown area to be closed off until October 1 following the evacuation. </p><p> </p><p>Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz thanked volunteers who answered the city's call for help Friday and Saturday to put together sandbags to hold back the Cedar River's raging waters.</p><p>"This is a situation no entity can handle alone. Our volunteers have been absolutely phenomenal," he said. </p><p>Cedar Rapids police tweeted a video of volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning to help out. </p><p>Volunteers also helped clear out the first floor of a local elementary school. Cedar Rapids schools tweeted photos of people working Saturday at Taylor Elementary School. </p><p></p><p></p><p>Other cities and towns in Iowa are also facing serious flooding, including Waterloo and Charles City, CNN affiliate KCRG-TV reported. </p><p>CNN affiliate KGAN-TV tweeted photos from cities already seeing flooding.</p><p></p><p></p><p>Govs. Terry Branstad of Iowa and Scott Walker of Wisconsin each declared disaster emergencies for 13 counties, freeing up state resources to respond to the flooding. </p><p>Branstad tweeted pictures from his stop in Clarksville, where people are already seeing damage. </p><p>More than 180,000 sandbags, 4,300 linear feet of flood barriers and 27 water pumps have been delivered to the impacted areas by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Brandstad's office said.</p><p>Heavy rain this week in eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin is behind the flooding. Some cities saw as much as 10 inches of rain between Tuesday and Thursday last week, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:44:59 GMT

High school football player dies two days after injury in game

<p>A high school near Cleveland is mourning the tragic death of a football player days after he was injured during a game Friday night.</p><p>Andre Jackson, 17, was hurt during a kickoff play in which he may have been kicked or kneed by another player while going after the ball, according to CNN affiliate WEWS. Officials have not identified what his injury was.</p><p>Jackson, a fullback and outside linebacker for Euclid High School in Euclid, reportedly walked off the field after the play, went to the hospital and was released.</p><p>But on Sunday, the high school junior was pronounced dead. His cause of death is not yet known.</p><p> </p><p>"This community just lost such a special boy, and he's irreplaceable. There'll never be a smile like Andre Jackson's," Jeff Rotsky, Euclid High's head football coach, told WEWS.</p><p>"He would be the first kid at study hall. He'd go for extra help. He was what you want to see out of a young man who wanted more out of life," Rotsky said. "He deserved so much more."</p><p>Jackson, whose favorite subject in school was math, was described as a "hardworking student athlete" in a statement from the Euclid City School District. He "brought smiles to all those with whom he came in contact," the statement said.</p><p>Although football-related deaths are extremely rare, a few other high schools across the country have lost players at young ages this year.</p><p>Including Jackson, there have been five high school football-related fatalities since July, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.</p><p>Just two weeks ago, Chase Lightfoot, a football player at Shadow Creek High School in Pearland, Texas, died of a cardiovascular problem on September 10 after he collapsed during the second half of a game, according to CNN affiliate KTRK. He was 17 years old.</p><p>In August, Lewis Simpkins, a football player at River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina, collapsed on the field during practice. He was taken to a hospital and died shortly after, according to CNN affiliate WYFF. He was 14 years old. Simpkins died as a result of a pre-existing heart condition and complications from an irregular heartbeat, WYFF reported, and the heat and humidity during football practice probably contributed to his death.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p>More than 1 million high school athletes play football. During last year's football season, seven deaths in the United States were directly related to the sport, and they all involved high school players (PDF), according to a report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research.</p><p>Among high school and college players, about 12 football-related fatalities occur each year, according to a 2013 analysis from the center. The most common causes of death are cardiac failure, brain injury and heat illness.</p><p>There are three times as many catastrophic football injuries among high school athletes as college athletes, according to the Southwest Athletic Trainers' Association.</p><p>The American Academy of Pediatrics released recommendations last year to improve the safety of young football players. The recommendations, which were published in the journal Pediatrics, were:</p><p>"Officials and coaches must ensure proper enforcement of the rules of the game. A significant number of concussions and catastrophic injuries occur because of improper and illegal contact, such as spear tackling." "Removing tackling from football altogether would likely lead to a decrease in the incidence of overall injuries, severe injuries, catastrophic injuries and concussions." "The expansion of nontackling leagues for young athletes who enjoy the game of football and want to be physically active but do not want to be exposed to the collisions currently associated with the game should be considered by football leagues and organizations." "Efforts should be made by coaches and officials to reduce the number of impacts to the head that occur during participation in football. Further research is needed in this area." "Delaying the age at which tackling is introduced to the game would likely decrease the risk of these injuries for the age levels at which tackling would be prohibited." "Although definitive scientific evidence is lacking, strengthening of the cervical musculature (in the neck) will likely reduce the risk of concussions in football by limiting the acceleration of the head after impact." "Efforts should be made by football teams to have athletic trainers at the sidelines during organized football games and practices."</p><p> </p><p>Many experts point to a shortage of full-time high school athletic trainers as a possible link to the higher risk of injury for young football players.</p><p>A 2015 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that, while 70% of schools provide trainers at games and practices, only about one-third have full-time athletic trainers.</p><p>"This number must increase further to provide appropriate medical coverage at athletic practices and games for secondary school athletes," the study concludes.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:43:59 GMT

Arnie's legacy: Millions of lives touched through hospitals

<p>Dr. Gregor Alexander remembers the day he met Arnold Palmer for the first time a little differently than "The King" himself does.</p><p>%<inline>INLINE</inline>%</p><p>"It was in the early 1980s, probably 1981, and not too many people in the hospital knew the importance of that day," said Dr. Alexander. "But he came, he walked through the neonatal unit, he saw the amazing work we were doing with the babies and the limitations with the facilities."</p><p>Alexander said Palmer was accompanied by his late wife, Winnie, invited by a former hospital board member.</p><p>"We talked to him about the dream of having a children's hospital and he said we could do better," said Alexander. "It was eight years later that we opened the Arnold Palmer Children's hospital, Sept 10, 1989, Arnold Palmer's 60th birthday. It was a dream come true for all of us."</p><p>The last time News 6 spoke with Palmer before death, he recalled the same meeting with Alexander some three decades ago but said he was skeptical and harsh.</p><p>"Well you're being kind, because my words were really stronger than that at the time," said Palmer. "I wasn't sure we were going to accomplish anything but I let it be known I thought it was poorly handled. And Frank Hubbard, being a dynamic man and a great friend, said 'Arnie, why don't you do something about it?' I said, 'well what can I do Frank?' 'Well, let us name the hospital the Arnold Palmer Hospital.'"</p><p>That's when the partnership between Dr. Alexander, co-founder of the the neonatal unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, began.</p><p>"Just the first time I met him I knew there was something different, special, our savior that was going to make our dream possible," said Alexander. "He wanted to be sure his name was going to be associated with the best of the best children's hospital."</p><p>It is.</p><p>Alexander, whose Alexander Center for Neonatalogy at Winnie Palmer Hospital bears his name, said families, doctors and nurses have come from around the world for Palmer's 2 world-class hospitals - Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, named for his late wife.</p><p>Alexander also said Palmer's hospitals are the busiest and biggest children's hospitals in the world.</p><p>"We have had babies and children from all over the country and all over the world coming to our facility," said Alexander. "We believe that we are the best of the best and we will continue to be the best of the best."</p><p>Donna Todd of St. Cloud was at Winnie Palmer Monday afternoon to visit her 9th grandson. All nine had been born at the same hospital.</p><p>"Actually my son said they wouldn't consider having his baby anywhere else after he was born," said Todd. "This is the only way they want to be. There's so much love, and you can feel the warmth."</p><p>Luz and Luis Rosales were visiting their newborn nephew. Her triplets had also been born at Winnie Palmer two months premature. Today they are healthy.</p><p>"I'm always grateful, always going to be grateful for this hospital and Mr. Palmer," said Luz Rosales. "Grateful that he created this place for moms like me."</p><p>Dr. Alexander is a humble, gentle man, his beard thinner and more gray than it was the first time he met Arnold Palmer. He said he's only trying to emulate The King's never-ending humility.</p><p>"I just feel very honored that I was a small part of his life and very thankful for his friendship and his support and we're not going to let him down at all," said Alexander.<br />  </p>

Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:32:45 GMT