Presidential races

Presidential races

Clinton: 'Ludicrous' birther claims will hurt GOP

Former President Bill Clinton dismissed the claims of so-called "birthers" as "ludicrous" in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired Monday, warning Republicans against embracing questions about President Obama's birthplace.

"If I were them, I'd be really careful riding that birther horse too much," Clinton said. "Everyone knows it's ludicrous."

While the rumored field of Republican presidential hopefuls have largely dismissed "birtherism," real estate mogul Donald Trump has practically made it the centerpiece of his would-be campaign.

Trump is weighing a run for the GOP nomination next year, and in a series of recent TV interviews has demanded that Obama produce his birth certificate, arguing that questions over whether the president was born in the U.S. are legitimate.

It even led Trump to release his own birth certificate, which, as it turned out, was not his original birth certificate.  

During the 2008 campaign, Obama released a certificate of live birth after some critics first raised questions. Obama was born in Hawaii.

"I think he will fight back," Clinton said of Obama during the ABC interview, "but I think one of the elementary rules of combat is you don't want to get in your opponent's way if he's shooting himself in the foot."

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Poll: Young voters increasingly happy with Obama

President Obama's job-approval rating among young people has gone up, even as his overall approval rating has hit an all-time low in certain surveys.

A new poll of 18- to 29-year-olds by Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP) found 55 percent of so-called Millennials approve of Obama's presidency — a six-point increase over a similar IOP survey in October. His approval rating is even higher among those attending a four-year college, where 60 percent back Obama. That was a nine-point increase from the last survey.

A recent Quinnipiac University survey found Obama's approval rating at just 42 percent, but that survey was of registered voters. Harvard's poll was conducted in online surveys of 3,018 18- to 29-year-old U.S. citizens, and has a margin of error of 2.4 percent. It was in the field from Feb. 11 through March 2.

The findings are good news for Obama, who was propelled into the White House in 2008 with the votes and volunteer hours of millions of young people. Their renewed enthusiasm could help boost his reelection bid.

One other finding that emerged from the survey is that Facebook "statuses" are the second biggest source of news about the presidential race for Millenials. While major national newspapers were the preferred news source for 49 percent of respondents, 36 percent cited Facebook as their top go-to for political coverage.

This comes as campaigns have increasingly sought to boost their social-media presences. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), for instance, recently announced in a video posted on Facebook that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee.

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Rep. Ron Paul to decide on White House bid soon

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Thursday that he will make a final decision on a 2012 White House bid "within a couple of months."

During an appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," Paul said he nearly formed a presidential exploratory committee earlier this year, then backed off to think about it some more.

Paul noted that his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), recently said there is a 50-50 chance that he or his father will run for president.

With a laugh, the elder Paul said he would say there is a 50-50 chance that neither mounts a White House bid.

The House lawmaker, who lives with his son in Washington, said he and the senator have never talked seriously with one another about their possible 2012 aspirations.

--This story was updated at 10:55 a.m. 

Watch the Paul below:

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Trump: Libya rebels are tied to al Qaeda, Iran

Donald Trump said Monday that the rebels in Libya are tied to al Qaeda and Iran.

During an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, the possible 2012 White House hopeful ripped President Obama's handling of the conflict in Libya, questioning why the U.S. is backing the rebels, who are trying to oust Moammar Gadhafi.

{mosads}Trump said, "What are we fighting for? They talk about the rebels. But I hear, on fairly good information, that the rebels are closely associated with Iran. And they're closely associated with al Qaeda.

"So what are we going to do? Put Iran into Libya?"

Trump also said the U.S. is paying far too much for the operation in Libya, calling on other countries to commit more resources to the effort.

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Q&A: Spanish broadcaster poised for influential role in 2012

President Obama's decision Monday to speak at a town-hall forum broadcast by a Spanish-language network highlights the increasing importance of the Hispanic community in American politics, particularly at the national level.  

Univision, which aired the event, is now one of the top five networks in the country and is increasingly an outlet for lawmakers of both parties to address the growing Hispanic community. Its version of "Meet The Press," called "Al Punto," attracts almost 1 million viewers each Sunday and has hosted everyone from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and first lady Michelle Obama, to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

As the 2012 campaign begins, Cesar Conde, president of Univision Network, said lawmakers from both parties are "waking up" to the need to address Hispanics directly or risk electoral defeat. In an interview, he talked about the role Univision will play in the next campaign, the growing influence of Hispanics and what issues will be important to them heading into the next election.

Ballot Box: Are Democratic leaders more eager than Republicans to appear on Univision?

Cesar Conde: We've got a tremendous amount of interest from both parties and all spectrums. I think people are really realizing, [because of] the census, how fundamental the Hispanic demographic is going to be in the future growth of our country. People are really waking up to that.

Candidates who want to win election fully understand that they cannot do it on a national, and certain state level, unless they have the opportunity to speak directly to the Hispanic community.

I think both parties are continuing to hone their skills when it comes to speaking directly to the Hispanic community in Spanish language. Certainly in this last cycle, all the Hispanic candidates that were elected to federal office were Republicans. In the past, it was Democrats. What it really shows is that the Hispanic community's vote is up for grabs. Hispanics are the swing vote in this country right now. And any candidate from either party that wants to be able to win consistently is going to have to be able to speak effectively to that community on the issues that matter to Hispanics.

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