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Hillary Clinton Meets the Ex-Janitor Who Donated $1,000 to Campaign

Earl Gibson III/Getty Images(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Pinching pennies paid off for the former janitor who scrimped and saved to donate $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Marquis Boston was invited as a special guest at Clinton’s fundraiser Monday night in Little Rock, Arkansas where he got a chance to meet and take a photo with the Democratic presidential candidate.

Clinton posted the photo of her meeting with Boston on her Instagram account Tuesday, where she thanked him for his support.

As ABC News first reported, Boston, a 34-year-old, Little Rock native, budgeted and saved up, cutting back on things like groceries and haircuts over the past year so he could make the $1,000 donation to Clinton’s campaign.

“I just had to kind of think of a way to make it happen, and so I just said, ‘Well I need to just start budgeting,’” the former janitor, who now works a day job as a collections agent and a night job as a switchboard operator, said in an interview with ABC News in July.

After reading his story, Clinton invited Boston to her fundraiser on Monday.

(He was so excited about it that he drove by the house where the fundraiser was being held the day before the event just to make sure he knew how to get there.)

Following the fundraiser, Boston told ABC News about the moment he met Clinton, who, he said, recognized him immediately.

“I went to shake her hand and started to say ‘Secretary Clinton’ and she just yelled out ‘Marquis!’ he said.

Clinton then thanked Boston for his donation and told him how his story made her “smile.”

“I told her that when things get hard on the campaign trail, she should always think about that story to remind her that there are people out there supporting her and cheering for her,” Boston said.

Boston brought with him an old TIME magazine that Clinton was on the cover of, which she signed for him.

He left the fundraiser — which was held at the home of Kaki Hockersmith, the woman who redecorated the Oval Office for the Clintons while they were in the White House — before her remarks because he had to get to work.

But even with his night shift at the Little Rock Marriott ahead of him, Boston was over the moon.

“Oh my god,” he told ABC News that night about the meeting. “It was amazing.”

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Why Pope Francis Will Have No Time For Fist-Bumps on Capitol Hill

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Pope Francis is set to spend little more than an hour on Capitol Hill Thursday -– and congressional leaders want to make the most of that limited time.

That means no congressional fist-bumps.

Leadership and the organizers behind the pope’s visit are employing a number of strategies to keep His Holiness on schedule, and have the well-orchestrated event that has been months in the making go off without a hitch.

They’ve asked members to refrain “from handshakes and conversation along and down the center aisle” of the House floor during the announced arrivals of the pope, the Supreme Court and other officials, according to a letter sent to offices last week.

Pope Francis will meet with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has long sought a papal address to Congress, and spend a few minutes with other House and Senate leaders.

“I’m really happy to have the pope come and visit us,” he said last week. “It’s going to be one of the biggest events in the history of the Capitol, and members on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol are looking forward to it.”

Any delays from members could derail the pope’s tight schedule –- he’ll next head to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Catholic Charities, before leaving Washington, DC for New York City later in the day.

A holdup could also rush his planned appearance on the West Front of the Capitol, where more than 40,000 people will be waiting to hear him speak briefly from the Speaker’s Balcony before departing Capitol Hill.

To that end, members won’t be allowed to leave the chamber until the pope leaves the Capitol.
Leadership has also selected members to sit along the center aisle of the House chamber to “create a physical zone of restraint” between members and the pope, according to Roll Call.

A Democratic leadership aide tells ABC News that certain Members have been selected to fill the aisle seats – which are usually open to the rank-and-file for large addresses and State of the Union speeches.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs committee known for his prowess at wrangling aisle seats to State of the Union addresses, says members should focus on the historic nature of the pope’s visit — not their proximity to His Holiness.

“I intend to go and sit in whatever seat is available,” said Engel. “It’s important to listen to him and hear what he has to say.”

Engel has already greeted a pope: As a newly-elected member visiting Italy in 1989, he attended mass at the Vatican. He still remembers shaking hands will Pope John Paul II – and the pope saying “God Bless America.”

“You remember it, it’s not someone you meet every day,” he said of meeting the pope. “Certain people stand out in history, and I suspect this will be the same thing.”

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Hillary Clinton Says She Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton has come out against the Keystone XL pipeline — taking a stance on the controversial issue for the first time.

“I think that it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is – a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change,” Clinton said in Des Moines today. “Therefore I oppose it.”

This is a developing story…

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Democratic Senator Urges White House to do More on Syria

Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama’s own party is directing more criticism at him over his handling of the crisis in Syria and neighboring countries.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania penned a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the administration to step up efforts to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, increase humanitarian assistance in neighboring countries and boost the protection of Syrian citizens still inside the country.

Casey joins a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers who say the administration is not treating the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East with the urgency the situation requires.

“I believe the United States should make the protection of Syrian civilians from war crimes and crimes against humanity a higher priority,” Casey wrote.

Casey, a former chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on the Middle East, expressed concern that Russia is entrenching itself in Syria, saying that country is increasing its support to the Assad regime under the guise of fighting ISIS.

So far, the administration has said it is also worried about Russia’s escalation there, but its message to Russia has been ambivalent.

“There’s an opportunity for the Russians, if they would like, to constructively contribute to the anti-ISIL coalition… we’d welcome their participation in that regard. But thus far, it’s unclear exactly what Russia’s intentions are,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a briefing Monday.

Casey also said the U.S. should encourage neighboring countries that have taken in millions of refugees, like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, to allow legally registered refugees to take jobs that would not adversely affect local economies.

A recent report by the International Labor Organization noted that Syrian refugees in those countries struggle to make the same wages and earn the same benefits as citizens there.

Casey also said the United States, in its position as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, should do more to hold Syria accountable for its violation of measures that forbade the use of weapons like barrel bombs in populated areas.

The humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq has become a rallying cry for many Democrats, who say the White House could be doing more to help.

Six senators recently called for the administration to increase assistance to displaced Iraqis, and many have also said the U.S. should accept more of the region’s refugees within its own borders.

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Bernie Sanders Rallies Striking Federal Workers in Nod to Pope

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders received a warm welcome from federal contractors striking on Capitol Hill today, telling them at a rally before Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States that they have the right to earn $15 an hour and to form a union.

“As we welcome Pope Francis to the United States, I hope that every member of Congress and the president will heed his call for social and economic justice,” Sanders said before calling on President Obama to sign an executive order giving federal contract workers $15 an hour.

Sanders spoke highly of the pope after his speech.

“I think he is one of the great moral forces on this earth today and when he speaks out about the injustice of income and wealth inequality … I think it will have a significant impact,” Sanders told ABC News.

Hundreds of federal contract workers from the U.S. Senate, the Pentagon and the Department of Education are on strike Tuesday to protest for higher wages and the right to form a union, with the pope scheduled to arrival in Washington Tuesday afternoon. Security concerns prevented organizers from staging any protests Thursday, when Pope Francis will address Congress on Capitol Hill.

“That’s why we are doing it today, because the pope is coming,” union organizer Jaime Molina said. “We want to call him and let him know that the workers need his support and ask him to pray for the poor.”
Several contract workers spoke — in English and Spanish — about the experience of serving senators while struggling to make ends meet.

“We wear one uniform inside and we leave wearing a different uniform, said Sontia Bailey, who works in Senate food services. “Working in the Capitol is not peaches and cream.”

Bailey said she works 70 hours a week with two jobs, and said a recent miscarriage was attributed to her workload.

The day of activity follows a letter 40 Senate workers wrote to the pope earlier this month, requesting an audience with His Holiness.

While they did not get a response from the Vatican, the workers hope the pope will touch on income inequality in his speech.

“I think he’s spiritually aware of us,” said Charles Gladden, the formerly homeless Senate worker profiled in The Washington Post.

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White House: Vatican’s Angst over Guest List Won’t Sour Pope’s Visit

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett says that negative publicity surrounding the Vatican’s unease with some of the guests expected at a White House welcoming ceremony has not soured the excitement of Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States.

“Oh my goodness, no,” Jarrett told ABC News when asked whether the reports of the Vatican’s restlessness has taken away from the pope’s historic trip. “There’s so much excitement. I think the crowd reflects the diversity of our country. Everyone who is coming is excited about the opportunity to be in his presence, and so I think that this visit means a great deal to America.”

The Vatican last week expressed discomfort over some of the guests who are expected in attendance — reportedly concerned by the optics that could be created if the pope is photographed with transgender activists, the first openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop or a nun who will be on the South Lawn for the ceremony Wednesday morning.

She stressed that the president and pope’s mutual interest in climate change, income inequality, justice and improving relations with Cuba will be “front and center” during their time together this week.

“There are many issues that the president shares in common with the pope and he looks forward to welcoming [him] here for his very first visit to the United States today, and having an impressive 15,000 group reception for him tomorrow,” she said. “It’s one of the things that the president reflected on after his last visit is how easy their conversations were and they have great chemistry.”

The high-profile event bumps up on the calendar against the Chinese president’s state visit on Friday, and comes days before the president travels to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Jarrett admits that the administration has “a lot going on” but says “everybody’s working cooperatively together” — especially the president’s fourth social secretary in six and a half years, Deesha Dyer.

“She’s a rock star! Let me tell you she’s been planning all of these events for a very long time, both the Pope visit, the state visit with China, as well as the UN — all of those fall under her portfolio,” Jarrett said. “She probably has not slept in weeks. She’ll probably be spending the night here tonight and she’s just been performing terrifically.”

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Ben Carson Defends Muslim Remarks: ‘Our Real Problem Is Our Politically Correct Culture’

Sean Rayford/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In Ben Carson’s first news conference since his controversial comments about Muslims, Carson again stood by his remarks saying the real problem is our “politically correct culture.”

“Sharia law is completely antithetical to Americanism,” Carson told reporters minutes before his upcoming rally. “We need to fix America, and we need to get people to actually start listening and being capable of understanding our Constitution.”

Carson said he has heard from a lot of Muslim-Americans, some of whom he claims he has worked with, trained and operated on who agree with his stance.

“They say we know you and what you’re saying,” Carson said at the presser.

After coming under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who has demanded that Carson drop out of the race, Carson said that he is open to a discussion with the group.

“A lot of the problem is that people get in their respective corners. It’s not helpful to have gladiator fights,” said Carson.

Carson also took time to address Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s announcement that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

“For some reason it just was not catching on,” Carson said. “And maybe it’s just not the right time, but I have nothing but admiration for him.”

ABC’s Tom Llamas asked Carson at the presser, “Was Walker trying to send you a message by asking for candidates to drop out?”

Carson responded, “No, he wasn’t trying to send me a message to drop out. When he said the current front runner it was clear what he was saying.”

Carson concluded his remarks by reiterating his stance on who should be allowed to hold the nation’s highest office.

“Anyone who is running for president should embrace the Constitution and should place it above their personal beliefs,” he remarked. “Anyone who can’t do that should not be running for the presidency.”

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David Petraeus Apologizes for Giving Classified Info to Alleged Mistress

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Retired Gen. David Petraeus apologized Tuesday to lawmakers for sharing classified information with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell in what was his first public testimony before lawmakers since resigning as CIA director.

Petraeus began his testimony by apologizing for the scandal that led to his resignation and conviction in a federal court.

“It was a violation of the trust placed in me,” he said.

Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus said the U.S. military should stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of devastating and indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks, which most observers agree are cause for a majority of the death in Syria and the subsequent human migration.

“We could tell Assad that barrel bombs need to end or we could stop their air force from flying,” Petraeus said. “We have that capability.”

Grounding the Syrian Air Force would require the creation of a no-fly zone, which would significantly increase the involvement of U.S. military forces.

“It would demonstrate that America has the power to stand against Assad,” Petraeus said.

Petraeus did not mention the fact that Russia has deployed 28 military aircraft to its base in Syria for the purpose of helping Assad fight ISIS. The presence of Russian aircraft could complicate the establishment of a U.S. made no-fly zone.

The former head of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan also said he would establish enclaves protected by U.S. air power in Syria where Sunni forces could be trained to fight and internally displaced people could seek refuge. To support that effort, Petraeus called for U.S. boots on the ground in Syria in the form of “advisors or support elements.”

Petraeus recommended that the U.S. military change its base of operations in Iraq from Kuwait to Baghdad.

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Today on the Trail — 9/22/15

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Tuesday? Read below to find out their schedules:

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are both in Iowa Tuesday. At an event in Des Moines, Clinton is expected to present her plan to bring prescription drug prices down. Bush will hold events in Cedar Falls, Gladbrook and Cedar Rapids.

Rick Santorum will also be in Iowa Tuesday, where he will attend a candidate forum luncheon in Des Moines.

Ben Carson is holding three events in the critical state of Ohio, as well as a press conference.

Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee will both travel to South Carolina. Fiorina will attend a national security forum in Charleston, as well as hold a town hall in Myrtle Beach. Huckabee officially files for the presidential primary in Columbia and holds two other events in the state in the late afternoon.

Lindsey Graham is in Manchester, New Hampshire attending a dinner for the Financial Management Association on Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders was expected to attend and speak at a strike Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill with federal contract workers who provide food and cleaning services in the Capitol. They are calling for a $15 minimum wage ahead of the Pope’s visit. They are also planning a “prayer action” during the protest.

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Carly Fiorina Says Ben Carson ‘Wrong’ on Muslim President Comments

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Responding for the first time to Ben Carson’s comment that he would not advocate for a Muslim president in an interview on NBC’s The Tonight Show, Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina said Carson’s position is “wrong.”

“I think that’s wrong,” Fiorina told Jimmy Fallon in an interview on Monday. “You know, it says in our Constitution that religion cannot be a test for office. It is also true that this country was founded on the principle that we judge each individual and that anyone, of any faith, is welcome here.”

Fiorina went on to say that people of faith, regardless of their particular religion, “make better leaders” and spoke of how her own Christian faith sustained her during some of the most challenging moments of her life.

“I battled cancer, I’ve lost a child. I’ve been tested,” she continued. “But whether it’s a person of Christian faith or Jewish faith or Muslim faith, or other faiths, I think faith gives us humility and empathy and optimism and i think those are important things.”

Carson set off a firestorm Sunday over whether Muslims should be considered for the nation’s highest office in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd over the weekend.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said on Meet the Press.

Fiorina’s rejection of Carson’s remarks echoes that of other Republican presidential candidates who have also condemned Carson’s remarks in pointing out that the Constitution does not include a religious test for selecting the president.

But in the face of criticism from his opponents, Carson doubled down on his opposition to the concept of a Muslim presidential candidate, taking to Facebook on Monday to answer a couple questions as part of his “Ask Ben” series that the campaign does a few times a week.

“Know this, I meant exactly what I said,” Carson wrote in the Facebook post. “I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law.”

Carson reiterated that he could not support a Muslim candidate for president “until these tenants are fully renounced.”

“I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs,” Carson wrote. “But until these tenants are fully renounced. … I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for president.”

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