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July 9, 2015

It doesn't matter that their wife and brother, respectively, both hope to be the next president of the United States — Bill Clinton and George W. Bush say that nothing is going to come between their unlikely friendship.

"He loves his brother," Clinton told USA Today Thursday during a joint interview with Bush. "I love Hillary." If both wind up being their party's nominee, "he's going to vote for his brother; I'm sure going to vote for Hillary, and something will happen. But we'll still be friends." Clinton added, "If they win the nominations, it's going to be a very hard-fought campaign, and if it's like any other campaign, it'll be somewhat bruising, and the surrogates will be really tough, and they'll have hard debates, and we'll just live with it."

Bush also is sure that the relationship he has with Clinton won't change the tone of a potential Hillary versus Jeb race. "I don't think it's going to be different," he said. "I think it's going to be a political campaign. ... I know Jeb will treat Hillary with respect, and I'm confident Hillary will treat Jeb with respect. I'm not sure I can speak that highly of some of the surrogates they may have out there, but these two surrogates will."

Both men know that their friendship is surprising to many, but as Bush points out, they have a lot in common, beyond just being Baby Boomers and former governors of southern states. "[We're] affable people; we're not zero-sum thinkers," he said. They're also "like two old war horses, put out to pasture." Clinton shares a strong bond with George H.W. Bush as well, and W. has joked that Clinton's his "brother by another mother." Clinton is relishing the fact that Bush just had a birthday, turning 69 right before he does. "For one month a year, I'm the younger brother," he said.

Read the whole interview at USA Today. Catherine Garcia

3:33p.m.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has lost quite a bit of ground in his race to become Minnesota's attorney general.

A Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll published Tuesday found that Ellison's Republican opponent, attorney Doug Wardlow, is now in the lead among likely voters, with 43 percent support to Ellison's 36 percent. This is a major 12-point shift from a poll conducted last month, in which Ellison led Wardlow by five points.

In recent weeks, Ellison's campaign has largely been overtaken by talk of abuse allegations. Ellison's ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, has accused him of emotional and physical abuse, including once screaming at her while trying to drag her off a bed, reports The New York Times. In 2005, Ellison's ex-girlfriend, Amy Alexander, sought a restraining order against him and alleged he pushed her and verbally abused her, the Star Tribune reports. Ellison has denied both allegations. An investigation conducted by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party could not substantiate Monahan's claims because she would not provide video evidence that she says she has, reports TIME. Monahan says she misplaced the video, CNN reports.

This new poll found that about 50 percent of respondents aren't sure whether to believe Ellison or Monahan. But more voters believe her now than in September: 30 percent believe her allegations, compared to 21 percent last month.

The Star Tribune/MPR News poll interviewed 800 likely voters in Minnesota Oct. 15-17. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

3:12p.m.

White people calling the police on black people for living their everyday lives has inspired viral video after viral video in recent months. Apparently, the greater community is at risk when black people barbeque in the park, study in college libraries, and enter their own apartments. That's why The New York Times came up with 1-844-WYT-Fear, a hotline for white people to call when they're alarmed by the presence of black people.

The hotline may not be real, but its message still stands. Taige Jensen and Jenn Lyon of the Times created a satirical infomercial for the hotline, featuring actress Niecy Nash, pointing out that white people overreacting to black people doing normal things can be especially worrisome considering the state of police brutality in America.

Curious about what happens if you actually call the number? An operator instructs you how to proceed if you're a white person scared of a black person and in need of advice regarding your prejudices. But no matter what option you choose, the outcome is still the same: "Based on your menu selection, we have determined that you are not in danger and are probably just racist." Watch the infomercial below and try calling the number yourself. Amari Pollard

2:21p.m.

NBC host Megyn Kelly has set off yet another firestorm.

During a Tuesday morning segment about Halloween costumes, Kelly wondered why wearing blackface on Halloween is so frowned upon. "You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface," she said. "Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as a character."

She cited the time that a Real Housewives of New York City star faced criticism for donning blackface to dress as Diana Ross for Halloween. Kelly seemed stunned that anyone would consider this racist, arguing that it should be acceptable because "she wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don't know how that got racist on Halloween."

All three of Kelly's guests seemed to disagree, with one arguing that the Diana Ross costume she described actually "sounds a little racist to me." Kelly didn't concede. "I can't keep up with the number of people we're offending just by being, like, normal people," she said, wrapping up the segment.

Kelly's take on this issue was poorly received among many viewers. Television host and activist Padma Lakshmi responded to Kelly's comments on Twitter. "I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018," wrote Lakshmi. "You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues." Watch the segment below. Brendan Morrow

Update 3:50 p.m. ET: Megyn Kelly has now apologized and retracted her comments in an email to colleagues, saying that "listening carefully to other points of view" has caused her to change her opinion, per The Hollywood Reporter. "I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry," she adds.

2:03p.m.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman briefly gave their condolences to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's family in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Saudi state media reports that Khashoggi's son Salah "expressed their great thanks" to the leaders during the meeting. But state-sanctioned photos suggest otherwise.

Khashoggi's son has reportedly spent a year banned from leaving Saudi Arabia, a friend of the family told The Associated Press. His siblings are U.S. citizens, and one received a condolence call from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul-based news site Daily Sabah reports.

Khashoggi was likely killed in Turkey's Saudi consulate earlier this month, and Turkish officials believe bin Salman ordered the hit. Bin Salman has denied involvement, saying "rogue" operatives killed Khashoggi. The U.S., Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are all currently investigating the matter. Watch a video of Tuesday's quick meeting below. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:32p.m.

President Trump is going after Puerto Rico once again, this time with another unfounded claim.

The president on Tuesday claimed that the "inept politicians" of Puerto Rico are trying to use the "massive and ridiculously high amounts" of disaster relief funding they have received to "pay off other obligations." He didn't provide any evidence to back up his statement, but did make sure to note that the people of Puerto Rico in general are actually "wonderful."

Just hours earlier, a federal board approved a new financial reform plan for Puerto Rico, which is $70 billion in debt; the plan recommends spending cuts that some Puerto Rican officials find too strict, reports Reuters. The plan also projects a $30 billion surplus over the next 15 years, thanks to the proposed reforms and the $80 billion coming in for disaster relief following the destruction of Hurricane Maria. Although this recovery should help Puerto Rico's ailing economy, politicians have not suggested using the federal aid to help pay off "other obligations" like Trump claimed, Bloomberg reports. Neither the island's leaders nor members of the federal board have proposed spending the $80 billion on anything other than recovery efforts. Brendan Morrow

12:18p.m.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping away from public life due to progressing dementia.

In a Tuesday statement, the 88-year-old O'Connor said she was diagnosed "some time ago" with "the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease." This "condition has progressed," and now O'Connor says she is "no longer able to participate in public life." Still, she had some thoughts to share "while I am still able," she said.

O'Connor was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981. "As a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert," she wrote, "I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice." She retired from the court in 2005 at age 75, citing her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Still, she remained devoted to "advanc[ing] civic learning and engagement," even founding a free online learning platform called iCivics — an organization that she said now reaches half the middle school and high school students in the country.

She recently left the office she kept at the Supreme Court and hasn't made a public appearance in the past two years, The Associated Press reported Monday. O'Connor said she would remain at home in Phoenix, Arizona. "While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying," she wrote, "nothing has diminished my gratitude." Read her full statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:27a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence appeared at The Washington Post's "Transformers: Space" event on Tuesday to discuss the Trump administration's developing Space Force. But first, he had some of the administration's strongest words yet regarding Jamal Khashoggi's presumed murder.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Tuesday that Saudi officials had been planning to kill Khashoggi inside Istanbul's Saudi consulate since September. U.S. intelligence is reportedly also skeptical of the Saudi claim that "rogue" operatives killed the U.S.-based Saudi journalist, who wrote for the Post. Still, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been reluctant to decry Saudi Arabian officials for their alleged involvement in the murder.

Pence, meanwhile, didn't hesitate to call Khashoggi's death a "brutal murder" and a "tragedy" at Tuesday's Post event. "It was also an assault on a free and independent press," Pence said, additionally confirming that CIA Director Gina Haspel is currently in Turkey to investigate.

Pence acknowledged that Erdogan's statement "flies in the face" of Saudi Arabia's claims of innocence. But he went on to echo Trump and Pompeo, calling for a full investigation into the murder. Once that is complete, the U.S. will take retaliatory action "in the context of America's vital interests in the region," Pence said, pointing to the U.S.-Saudi "alliance" that he claimed has been "renewed" under Trump's leadership. Watch Pence's remarks below. Kathryn Krawczyk

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