Kanye West has officially launched his White House 2020 campaign, with an unorthodox rally in Charleston, South Carolina.
The 43-year-old rapper is running as a candidate for his self-styled “Birthday Party”.
At the event, Kanye West seemed to make policy decisions off-the-cuff and made several rants, including on abortion and on abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Fans have questioned whether his last-minute bid for the White House is actually a promotional stunt.
The Charleston rally did little to clarify whether Kanye West’s run is genuine. But a now-deleted tweet sent from Kanye West’s account on July 18, appearing to show the song list for a new album, added to the speculation.
The event, held at a wedding and conference hall in the city, was said to be open to registered guests only – but Kanye West’s campaign website had no function for people to register or RSVP.
Kanye West appeared with “2020” shaved into the back of his head and wearing a protective security vest, and addressed the gathered crowd without a microphone.
There were no audience microphones either, leading the rapper to repeatedly tell the crowd to be silent so he could hear the questions being asked.
At one point Kanye West began crying when talking about abortion, saying that his parents almost aborted him: “There would have been no Kanye West, because my dad was too busy.”
He added: “I almost killed my daughter… even if my wife [Kim Kardashian West] were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn’t want to.”
However, the rapper then added that he believes abortion should remain legal, but there should be financial support for struggling new mothers – suggesting that “everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars”.
“The only thing that can free us is by obeying the rules that were given to us for a promised land,” Kanye West said.
“Abortion should be legal because guess what? The law is not by God anyway, so what is legality?”
At another moment, Kanye West gave an impromptu monologue about 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
He said: “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people.”
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery, but managed to escape a Maryland plantation in 1849, at the age of 27. She then returned to the South to rescue other slaves on the network of routes and safe houses known as “underground railroad”, risking her own life to lead people to freedom.
Kanye West also became tearful when talking about his late mother, who died in 2007 from complications during cosmetic surgery.
The speech has been met with anger by some – mostly sparked by the rapper’s comments about Harriet Tubman – but also with concern over Kanye West’s welfare.
Kanye West, who announced his candidacy on 4th of July, has already missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states. He needs to collect enough signatures to appear on the ballot in a number of others.
Last week, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the deadline.
In order to appear on South Carolina’s ballot, Kanye West needs to collect 10,000 signatures by noon local time on July 20.
With Elizabeth Warren’s departure, a Democratic race that began with a record high of female candidates is now effectively left to two male front-runners, who praised her and her campaign.
Asked how she made the decision to drop out, Elizabeth Warren said she returned to the issues that anchored her campaign – the vast costs of student loan debt, healthcare, and childcare that plague millions of Americans.
The former Harvard law professor was vaulted into the political arena more than a decade ago as she pushed for tougher regulation of the financial sector after the 2008 economic collapse.
In 2010, Elizabeth Warren helped the Obama White House set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a Wall Street watchdog agency she championed.
Two years later, Elizabeth Warren rode that momentum to a seat in the Senate for Massachusetts.
Marco Rubio has announced he will run for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election.
The 43-year-old Florida senator said on a conference call he was “uniquely qualified” to bring the party into the future.
Marco Rubio is the third Republican to officially announce a candidacy after Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
He is expected to make a formal announcement at a political rally in Miami on April 13.
It comes a day after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would stand for the Democratic nomination.
Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama’s policies, especially on immigration and the diplomatic thaw with Cuba.
“The Republican Party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future,” Marco Rubio said on the call, according to the Associated Press.
“Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow,” Marco Rubio added, referring to Hillary Clinton.
Marco Rubio, who was first elected in 2010, holds conservative positions on government and military spending, abortion and negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
He was previously criticized by some Republicans for initially supporting a bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill.
Marco Rubio has since said that border security must be strengthened before any change, criticizing President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
He is due to speak to supporters at the Freedom Tower in Miami at 18:00 local time.
Marco Rubio would be the first Hispanic president if he won, as would Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
The field for the Republican nomination is likely to be crowded, with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also expected to run.
Hillary Clinton, the first major candidate on the Democratic side to declare, is travelling to Iowa and other states, seeking to meet voters before a more formal rally in May.
Hillary Clinton is to announce her 2016 presidential bid on Sunday, April 12, according to Democrats sources.
The forms secretary of state’s announcement will most probably come via social media, including a video message. Early state visits could come as soon as next week with Iowa the most likely first stop.
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid marks the second time she has tried to become the first female to win the White House.
After her defeat at the hands of Barack Obama in 2008, Hillary Clinton firmly said “no” when asked whether she would ever run for president again. However, since then, her position has evolved.
In recent months, Hillary Clinton has been gearing up for her campaign. Behind the scenes, she has hired a robust team, including many of Barack Obama’s former advisers and strategists.
Her team also recently signed a lease for a new office space in Brooklyn, New York, which will serve has her campaign headquarters.
Hillary Clinton will enter the race as the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and is leading all her possible Republican opponents in early polls.
It’s been a long slog of a campaign and many Americans – whether their favored candidate won or lost – are just relieved it’s over. Here are 10 signs Election Day has been and gone.
1. No-one cares about Ohio
Once every four years, the state finds itself at the centre of the political universe, before dropping off the map. Ohio is often the butt of American jokes – seen as the embodiment of a Midwestern backwater. But as the election draws near, the world’s media descends, and commentators talk breathlessly about how “it’s all about Ohio”.
“People enjoy it,” says Fred Andrle, a former talk show host in Ohio. Most of the time, “we are considered fly-over people”.
Ohio law student Andrew Gordon-Seifert, 24, appreciated the attention – not least from the candidates themselves. But he says: “There’s a sentiment of cynicism – they realized how important we are to getting elected, but will they be there for us in the future?”
2. Mattress ads back on television
There were more than one million campaign ad airings in this presidential campaign – almost double that in 2008 and 2004. It has been a bonanza in terms of ad revenues for TV stations, but now the adverts have returned to staple subjects like mattresses, a dog’s arthritis or erectile dysfunction. Answering the phone has become a whole lot easier for those in swing states too – if there is a call, it is probably a real person.
3. The polling addicts are in detox
There are lots of “poll junkies” out there, says self-confessed addict Daniel Hamermesh, who teaches economics at the University of Texas at Austin and Royal Holloway in London. With a habit of checking the latest polls at least four times a day, he set himself the target of going cold turkey up to Election Day. He lasted just three days.
“I fell off the damn wagon,” he says.
But with the election over, he says he’s coping fine: “The thing that caused the addiction is gone – it’s as if there has been a tobacco blight, and the tobacco is gone,” he says.
“My wife is happy to have me back more full-time.”
4. All the news is about this cliff thing
Lots of things get put on ice during election season, but this one will have to come out of the freezer soon. The “fiscal cliff” refers to a deadline of December 31st for Congress to agree on spending levels and tax rates. The Fitch ratings agency recently called it the “single biggest near-term threat to a global economic recovery”. The word “bipartisanship” is one that has come out of the deep-freeze in the last couple of days. It will be needed.
Ten signs Election Day is over
5. You only read Buzzfeed for pictures of cats
Once upon a time, Buzzfeed was a site devoted to cats playing the piano, photos of kids with weird haircuts, and 90s nostalgia. But then Politico whiz-kid Ben Smith came on board just in time for the drama of the 2012 election. Suddenly the site known for articles like This Grandma And Her Cat Are The Cutest Best Friends Ever and 9 Most Controversial Salads was a must-read for political junkies, with trenchant articles from a stable of talented reporters, putting forward a mix of breaking scoops and in-depth features. They’re probably still doing all that stuff, but now that the election is over, you’re more interested in those salads.
6. Joe Biden stops emailing you
You can open your inbox without it being full of emails from the candidates or their campaign teams, usually exhorting you to dig deep into your pockets or give up some time to get people out to vote.
Mitt Romney’s final email on Election Day began with the words: “Friend, Polls are open for a few more hours. Your vote, and your outreach efforts, will determine the outcome. America’s future is up to you.”
7. Celebrities go back to selling you their perfume, not their political views
Celebrity endorsements have been a staple in American politics for some time, and this year was no exception. Barack Obama managed to muster a longer line-up, with more A-listers, but the celebrity moment of the campaign definitely goes to Clint Eastwood for his soliloquy to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. That may well be remembered, but the B-and-C-listers will vanish back into oblivion.
8. Election tat is piling up
It will be decades before the bog-standard mugs, badges, bumper stickers and posters of this campaign gain any significant value as collectors’ items, says Steve Ferber an expert on political memorabilia. Campaigns have begun to charge for things which used to be given away for free, he says. There has also been an “amazing increase” in buyers from abroad, he says – especially from the UK, Germany and Australia, who are keen on Barack Obama items.
9. You can say what you like on Facebook
Election time can create some awkward moments with friends and family on the other side of the political divide. Student Andrew Gordon-Seifert says most of the political chat among his friends was on Facebook, and things could get testy at times, with inflammatory political posts, and angry ripostes. He took care about what he would say politically – both online and in person – to keep the temperature down. Now it’s over, “we can get back to not being so divided”, he says.
10. The talk is all about 2016
In-between the fierce recriminations and soul-searching among the Republican Party, is speculation on who will run for the presidency in 2016 (Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush, is Politico‘s prediction). This future-gazing actually begins a few days before Election Day, says Karlyn Bowman with the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute.
“We’re polled out. Everyone is so exhausted, that people just want to turn to something new,” she says.
Many who live and breathe politics are now – with their source of sustenance suddenly gone – feeling a little deflated now, she says.
But the main sentiment is a kind of collective phew: “Everyone will say a prayer – not just for Thanksgiving, but that the campaign is over.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – a political independent who has played a prominent role in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – has delivered a big boost to President Barack Obama by endorsing him for re-election.
Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat who became a Republican to run for Big Apple mayor in 2001 and ran as an Independent for re-election in 2009, said that Hurricane Sandy had helped reshape his thinking about the presidential campaign.
He had been pointedly critical of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, saying that both men had failed to address properly the problems afflicting the nation.
But Michael Bloomberg said in recent days he had decided that Barack Obama was the best candidate to tackle climate change, which the mayor cited as a contributory factor to the violent storm that took the lives of at least 38 New Yorkers and brought carnage costing billions of dollars.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast – in lost lives, lost homes and lost business – brought the stakes of next Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Michael Bloomberg wrote in an article for his own website Bloomberg View.
“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be – given the devastation it is wreaking – should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg has delivered a big boost to Barack Obama by endorsing him for re-election
The timing of the endorsement is unexpected because Michael Bloomberg this week publicly called on Barack Obama to resist visiting New York this week because the city was too busy dealing with the disaster.
But his backing is the latest indication that Hurricane Sandy could be a big factor in Tuesday’s election.
Barack Obama has already used it to burnish his bipartisan credentials and a Washington Post/ABC poll found that 80 per cent of voters viewed his actions favorably.
Republicans dismissed the endorsement saying that Michael Bloomberg, as the epitome of the monied east coast elite, would hardly sway voters in the mid-West battleground states.
But there is little doubt that the Romney campaign would dearly have loved to have had the New York mayor’s backing.
Barack Obama said in a statement: “I am honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement. I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he’s doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has admitted his remark that 47% of Americans are government dependent victims was “completely wrong”.
Mitt Romney told Fox News he was committed to “helping the 100%”.
His comments, secretly filmed at a fundraiser in September, were possibly his most damaging campaign moment.
Polls suggest he is back on track after a debate with President Barack Obama this week. Barack Obama has urged him to reveal the true cost of his policies.
Observers say the president is seeking to portray his rival as dishonest about how middle class families will be taxed, while Mitt Romney wants to distance himself from his earlier gaffe.
After the video emerged from the private donors dinner in September, Mitt Romney said his remarks were “inelegantly stated” but did not retract them.
However, Mitt Romey went further in his interview with Fox on Thursday.
“Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you are going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” he said.
“In this case I said something that’s just completely wrong. I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100%… When I become president, it will be about helping the 100%.”
Most observers agree that Mitt Romney won the televised debate on Wednesday. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Thursday suggested Mitt Romney had a net positive rating for the first time in the presidential campaign.
The poll said 51% of voters viewed him positively, with Barack Obama at 56%. The Republican moved ahead of his Democrat rival on which candidate voters trust to handle the economy, create jobs and manage the deficit.
Many of Barack Obama’s supporters are puzzled he chose not to bring up the 47% comments in the debate, although his campaign has used the remarks in a television advert.
At a rally in Denver on Thursday, Barack Obama urged his rival to tell the “truth” about his own policies.
“The real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that,” he said.
At a campaign rally in Virginia, Mitt Romney did not respond directly to the president’s criticism.
But he did argue that Barack Obama had failed during the debate to make his case for another term.
During Wednesday night’s head-to-head Mitt Romney repeatedly denied the $5 trillion claim.
Fact-checkers have said that Mitt Romney’s proposal to lower taxes by 20%, abolish estate tax and the alternative minimum tax would reduce revenue by $5tn over a decade.
The Republican has said he would help offset that by eliminating tax loopholes; the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says the sums do not add up.
The candidates went head to head for 90 minutes on jobs, taxes and healthcare.
Opinion polls agreed that Mitt Romney had the upper hand in the debate – the first of three between the White House rivals.
Various surveys gave Mitt Romney a 46-67% margin, with Barack Obama trailing on 22-25%.
The president was criticized for appearing hesitant and subdued, while the former governor – who has been lagging in the race – seemed animated and assertive.
Vice-presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will meet in Danville, Kentucky on 11 October, before the second presidential debate on 16 October.
Herman Cain, one of the US presidential hopefuls, announced he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Herman Cain blamed political and media pressure on his family in the wake of “false” allegations of sexual harassment and a 13-year-long extra-marital affair.
He told supporters in his home city of Atlanta, Georgia:
“I am not going to be silenced and I’m not going away.”
Next month, voters in Iowa will begin the process of choosing a Republican presidential candidate for 2012.
Herman Cain, one of the US presidential hopefuls, announced he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination
Herman Cain said the allegations against him had taken a toll on his family, but added: “I am at peace.”
“I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family,” Herman Cain told supporters at what had been billed as the opening of his campaign headquarters.
“These false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family.”
Herman Cain said he would endorse another candidate at a later date but gave no hint of where he would direct his supporters to go.
On Friday, Herman Cain discussed with his wife, Gloria, whether to press on with his campaign.
Last week, an Atlanta woman, Ginger White, 46, came forward to claim she had a 13-year affair with him.
Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, Ginger White denied they had been in love, saying: “It was a sexual affair – as hard as that is for me to say.”
While rejecting any suggestion of an affair with Ginger White, Herman Cain has acknowledged helping pay her monthly bills and expenses, and that his wife did not know about the friendship.
Sources say even before the questions arose about Herman Cain’s private life, there were doubts about his plans for tax reform and his understanding of foreign affairs.
The former pizza executive went from obscure long shot to unlikely frontrunner to tabloid fodder.
While Herman Cain’s ratings slumped, support for former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged.
Newt Gingrich has now overtaken frontrunner Mitt Romney in some opinion polls on who should be the Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November 2012.
Within minutes of his speech, rival Republican candidates Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, as well as Newt Gingrich, had tweeted their praise for Herman Cain.
“Herman Cain provided an important voice. His ideas & energy generated tremendous enthusiasm for the conservative movement,” Michele Bachmann tweeted.
Newt Gingrich tweeted: “I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend and I know he will continue to be a powerful voice for years to come.”
Herman Cain made his announcement before the series of state-by-state contests, known as primaries and caucuses, begins next month in Iowa to choose the Republican nominee.
Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive – who has never won an election – was propelled by conservative Tea Party support to the front of the Republican field in October.
Portraying himself as a business-savvy, anti-establishment outsider, Herman Cain captured the spotlight with his folksy charm and catchy 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.
Supporters were also alarmed when Herman Cain made confusing comments about abortion and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a recorded interview.