Vice President Joe Biden drew laughter from the audience at a National Urban League conference in Ohio this week when he lamented not having even one Republican child. "I should have had one Republican kid to go out and make money," Biden said. "You know, so when they put me in a home, I get a window with a view. You know what I mean?"
Biden has long made a habit of casting himself as comparatively poor, saying in June that he is the "poorest man in Congress," a claim which is best supported by his high levels of debt. Biden also says he has no savings and no investments, which is true by technicality: The stocks and bonds are in his wife's name.
Biden may indeed be poor compared to the many millionaires who roam the halls of Congress, but surely not compared to the population at large. He has been a senator or vice president continuously since 1973, when congressional salaries were pegged at $42,500 per year, and he now earns an annual salary of $230,700. Median per capita income in 1973 and 2012 was $4,141 and $28,281, respectively.
Biden's poverty rhetoric has been compared to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's much-criticized statement in June that her family was "dead broke" upon leaving the White House at the end of Bill Clinton's term. Bonnie Kristian
President Obama landed in Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday for his first visit to the stricken city since its water was contaminated with dangerous levels of lead after the local government changed water sources. In addition to delivering a speech and meeting with city officials and leaders, on Obama's agenda was a meeting with 8-year-old Flint resident Mari Copeny, who had written a letter to the president in March asking to meet with him and his wife during her trip to Washington, D.C to watch Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's congressional hearings. While Obama did not see Copeny, known as "Little Miss Flint," in Washington, he did meet her Wednesday in Michigan — and it was adorable. Watch below. Kimberly Alters
"When something like this happens, a young girl shouldn't have to go to Washington to be heard. I thought her President should come to Flint to meet with her." —President Obama on 8-year-old Mari Copeny. Mari, AKA "Little Miss Flint", wrote to the President about how she's working to bring attention to the public health crisis in her community, and yesterday she met the President in Michigan.
The last Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, plans to skip his party's national convention in Cleveland this summer and avoid watching the official nomination of Donald Trump, The Washington Post reports. An aide confirmed for the paper on Thursday that "Gov. Romney has no plans to attend."
Romney has spent the past several months firmly situating himself in opposition to Trump, going as far as to rip into him during a formal address in March. In addition, two former Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, both announced Wednesday through their spokesmen that they would not be endorsing a candidate this year. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, also plans to skip the Cleveland convention.
For his part, Donald Trump doesn't seem too bothered by Romney's likely absence. "I don't care," Trump said. "He can be there if he wants." Jeva Lange
Donald Trump's campaign announced Thursday that Steven Mnuchin, chairman and CEO of private investment firm Dune Capital Management LP, will serve as Trump's national finance chairman for the general election. Instead of self-funding his general election campaign as he did his primary run, Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has revealed that he will be creating a "world-class finance organization" to actively raise funds to compete with Hillary Clinton's fundraising powerhouse.
For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to start regulating electronic cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and pipe tobacco just as it does tobacco products. The Obama administration announced the new rules Thursday, which will take effect in 90 days and prohibit teens under the age of 18 from purchasing e-cigarettes. Those purchasing the products will have to show photo identification, and both free samples and sales of the products in vending machines accessible to minors will no longer be allowed.
The rule change will also require manufacturers whose products hit the market after Feb. 15, 2007, to provide the FDA with a list of product ingredients and get approval from the agency for continued sales. Health warnings will now be required on packaging and in advertisements.
Most Americans would prefer a more restrained foreign policy and greater attention to solving issues here at home, according to new poll results from Pew Research Center.
(Pew Research Center)
Some 57 percent of respondents preferred having the U.S. "deal with its own problems" while letting other countries deal with theirs, while only 37 percent disagreed, saying America should help other nations solve their problems. Broken down along party lines, Democrats were almost evenly split on this question, while nearly two-thirds of Republicans favored dealing with America's own problems over trying to help abroad.
Partisan differences emerge on defense spending, too. While Republicans prefer a less activist foreign policy, they want higher defense spending. And though Democrats are more comfortable with intervention, they want to do it on the cheap. Bonnie Kristian
There's a massive wildfire burning in Canada right now. In the oil town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, a blaze spanning at least 10,000 hectares is raging and has been amplified by the hot, dry conditions in the area. The flames have destroyed more than 1,600 structures, forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents, and could "threaten the entire community," according to the CBC.
It can be hard to understand what a wildfire this huge looks like, but Canada's National Post newspaper dedicated its front page to this harrowing photograph:
— Jordan Timm (@JordanTimm) May 5, 2016
Because weather conditions are still so unfavorable, the intense heat has interrupted air operations intended to fight the blaze. The CBC reports that more than 150 firefighters have been working the disaster, with many more planned to arrive from other provinces to join the battle. Kimberly Alters
Bill Clinton handily won West Virginia when he ran for president in 1992 and 1996. Hillary Clinton was the state's overwhelming favorite in its 2008 Democratic primary, beating Barack Obama by a whopping 41 percent.
But in 2016, West Virginia doesn't like the Clintons anymore. Bill was booed during a recent campaign stop, and if current polling results hold, Hillary stands to lose the state's May 10 primary to Bernie Sanders.
West Virginians' newfound animosity for the Clintons significantly stems from Hillary's March promise to "put coal miners out of work" if elected president, which predictably did not sit will with the state's many coal miners. She has since backtracked, apologizing for the comment this week. Bonnie Kristian