Obama: Syria Airstrikes on ISIS 'Not America's Fight Alone'

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said Tuesday morning that airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria is "not America's fight alone," thanking other Arab nations for their help in Monday's military operation.

"America's proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security," he said from the grounds of the White House.

Obama also touted the bipartisan support he has gathered for the airstrikes from both Republicans and Democrats.

"America is always stronger when we stand united," the president said said.

Obama's statements come the morning after the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIS targets inside Syria.

The Pentagon justified the strikes, saying that they targeted Khorasan, a part of al Qaeda that U.S. military forces reported were in the process of plotting an attack against Western targets.

"We believe they were nearing the execution phase in either Europe or the homeland," Lt. Gen. William Mayville said at a briefing Tuesday morning.

He added, "Strikes like this in the future can we expected."

The U.S. was joined by a coalition of Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. military's Central Command said early Tuesday.

Obama said the U.S. "will do what is necessary to defend our country."

"These terrorists can't find safe haven anywhere," he said.

Up to 20 targets were hit, according to the Pentagon, many of which near the alleged ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

Obama is headed to New York on Tuesday to address the United Nations. During his visit, he will also meet with representatives of the Arab nations who took part in the airstrikes in Syria, the White House said.


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Obama Declares Climate Change Defining Threat of the Century

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Even as he battles ISIS and Ebola, President Obama on Tuesday declared climate change the threat that will “define the contours of this century more than any other.”

“Climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. The alarm bells keep ringing. Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we don’t hear them,” Obama told delegates at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York, referencing the massive demonstrations over the past few days.

“We have to tackle this global threat before it’s too late,” he said.

Obama cast himself as a global champion of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the administration’s efforts to boost fuel efficiency of American cars and trucks, curb carbon pollution from coal-fired U.S. power plants and planned phase-out of the use of HFC coolant in refrigerators and air conditioners.

The White House also unveiled an Executive Order the president will sign requiring government agencies to take climate change into account when funding international development work. The administration also said it was providing new tools -- including improved NASA satellite data, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorological forecasting tools and other measures -- to help poorer, developing communities manage the impact of climate change.

Obama warned the U.S. cannot solve the crisis alone.

“We will do our part. We will help developing nation’s do theirs. But we can only succeed combating climate change if we are joined by every nation, developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass,” he said.

“None of this is without controversy. In each of our countries, there are interests that will be resistant to action. And in each country there is a suspicion that if we act and other countries don’t then we will be at an economic disadvantage,” he said. “But we have to lead.”

Overshadowing the climate summit was the list of big names that chose not attend, including the leaders of some of the world’s biggest polluters -- China, India, and Russia.

Tuesday’s meeting was not part of formal negotiations for a global climate treaty to be signed in Paris next year, but it’s been billed as a highly symbolic show aimed at pressuring visiting heads of state to make commitments to help curb greenhouse gas emissions.


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Obama Offers Motorcade for Chelsea Clinton's Delivery

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If Chelsea Clinton goes into labor, her dad has nothing to worry about: President Obama has got her covered.

Obama jokingly offered up his motorcade to the pregnant former first daughter at a Clinton Global Initiative event in New York City on Tuesday.

"I was just discussing with President Clinton that if Chelsea begins delivery while I'm speaking, she has my motorcade and will be able to navigate traffic," he said with a smirk. "I don't know what the problem is. Everybody hypes the traffic, but I haven't noticed."

Earlier in the day the president made remarks at a climate summit at the U.N. General Assembly. The annual meeting creates notoriously bad street closures and traffic jams across New York City as whole sections of Manhattan become police-enforced "frozen zones" to protect national leaders as they move around the city.

Chelsea Clinton, who announced her pregnancy in April, is apparently due any day now. President Clinton told CNN Sunday he hopes to be a grandfather "by the first of October."

"I don't know" the gender of the baby, Clinton said. "My daughter and son-in-law decided not to know. They want to be surprised. So we're all just sitting around waiting."


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Watch Matt Damon Do His Best Bill Clinton Impression

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Matt Damon dusted off his southern accent on Tuesday, briefly aping President Clinton's signature drawl at a Clinton Global Initiative event in New York.

"The president has been great, and when we talked to him, to President Clinton a few years ago, he said, 'Just keep running those numbers up. Just run 'em up,'" said the Good Will Hunting star, who attended CGI to plug clean water initiatives.


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The Clinton Global Initiative, an annual conference organized by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, is in its 10th year.

Clinton ended on a more somber note, saying, "No matter how dark the hour, we remember the words of Dr. King: the time is always right to do the right thing," he said.

"Dr. King also said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. The reason we support civil society is because we have seen in this country of ours that it does, in fact, bend towards justice, but it does not do so on its own. It does so because there are hands of ordinary people doing extraordinary things every single day."


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Wave of Top Republicans Rally Around Sen. Pat Roberts

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Kansas has become the destination for the Republican Party's biggest names as they swarm to the state to bolster the re-election bid of Sen. Pat Roberts, whose seat could make the difference in the GOP's hope to win control of the Senate.

According to Roberts' campaign manager Corry Bliss, former Florida governor Jeb Bush will be in the state to campaign next Monday. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., will both be in the state in October to stump for Roberts.

These newest additions accompany a list of three former presidential candidates -- who all lost -- already giving a hand to the campaign.

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney recorded a robocall that ran throughout the state two weeks ago. Former Kansas senator and another GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole is back in the state this week attending town halls with Roberts. Roberts will then be joined by Sen. John McCain, the Arizona president who also lost a presidential run, at campaign events Wednesday and Thursday.

McCain's running mate, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is also rumored to be a "special guest" at a pancake breakfast in Independence, Kan., on Wednesday morning, according to the Wichita Eagle.

Ryan, Paul and Bush have all generated buzz over their potential as contenders for a spot on the Republican presidential ticket in 2016.

Now, they are working the state to help defeat independent candidate Greg Orman. The multimillionaire businessman has shown a lead over Roberts in several recent polls, and with Democrat Chad Taylor now off the state's ballots, Republicans are more jittery over the prospect of Orman defeating Roberts -- and being a deciding factor in the balance of the Senate.

Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon told ABC News her group has no plans to endorse Orman, but they are in full support of Kansas voters voting out Roberts.

"The fact they have to prop [Roberts] up with all of this star power shows a lot about their concerns about this race," Wagnon said. "They're trying to nationalize this election and I think they'll find out that Kansans really don't like that."

Republicans have been quick to paint Orman as a liberal, though he has not yet indicated which party he would caucus with if he is elected.

In a video posted to his campaign website, Orman says, "If I get elected to the United States Senate, there's a reasonable chance that neither party will have a majority. And if that happens, that's a great thing for Kansas."

"Those senators who are centrist like myself… would be able to come together and basically say we are going to caucus with whichever party is willing to solve our country's problems," Orman says. "It's something we've never really seen before in the United States Senate. We've never really seen the opportunity to hold the party in charge responsible."

Bliss said the outside help was an indication of the importance of the election.

"The Republican Party is uniting around Pat Roberts because he is the only candidate in this race who will ensure Harry Reid is no longer in control of the Senate," Bliss said in a statement to ABC News.

Orman registered to run as a Democrat in 2008 and voted for Barack Obama that year, but he also has said he voted for Romney and Ryan in the 2012 election, both of whom are now campaigning against him.

Paul and McCain are the only sitting U.S. senators to commit to campaign in the state for Roberts, but could also be potential colleagues to Orman if he defeats Roberts in November.

Orman's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.


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Former Sen. Jim Webb 'Seriously' Considering 2016 Presidential Bid

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said Tuesday he’s “seriously” considering a 2016 presidential bid, and will make a decision within the next two to five months.

“I am seriously looking at the possibility of running for president,”  Webb said in an appearance at the National Press Club.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions among people I respect and trust about the future of this country, and we’re going to continue to have these discussions over the next two to five months,” he said.

Webb added that he is looking for a “support base”  for a potential campaign.

The 68-year-old decorated Marine Corps veteran, who served in the Senate from 2006-2012, recently conducted a three-day, 800-mile tour of Iowa, and has plans to visit New Hampshire in October.

As an economic populist staunchly opposed to American intervention abroad, Webb is seen as an intriguing challenger to presumptive Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

In the Senate, Webb opposed Clinton’s proposal to arm moderate Syrian rebels against the Assad regime. On Tuesday, he referred to U.S. policy in the Middle East as a “tangled mess,” but declined to hold Clinton responsible for the region’s current state when asked to evaluate her performance as secretary of state.

“I think that’s a question that really should be directed at Secretary Clinton. I’m not here to undermine her,” he said.


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White House Arrest Underscores Problem of Gate Crashers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kevin Carr came to the White House on foot Saturday afternoon saying he had an appointment with the president after driving to Washington from his home in New Jersey.

According to court records, Carr told Secret Service agents that he was "the Prince of Peace" who often communicated with President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin telepathically. He was there at the White House, he said, to discuss "resolving the conflict in the Ukraine."

Aside from his self-described telepathic powers, his story had other problems. He told officers that his appointment was at noon, but it was now 3:12 p.m. and the president was not home. The first family had departed for Camp David the previous evening.

After checking his car at a nearby parking garage and finding "nothing of interest," Carr was told to go back to New Jersey, according to court papers.

Agents told him he should go home and Carr volunteered that his grandparents said he had been behaving strangely and sent him to see a therapist. The therapist, Carr told the agents, is a liar. He also told agents he does not have any mental health issues or take medication.

Minutes later, Carr appeared at a different White House entrance, this one at 15th Street and E Street and this time driving his Chevy Cruze. Again, he told an officer he had an appointment to meet with the president, but omitted any talk of telepathic communications with world leaders.

This time, however, he was directed to a restricted parking lot for "authorized vehicles only" inside the White House complex. Instead of parking, Carr allegedly drove his vehicle "25 feet in the general direction of the White House, even further into the White House Complex," according to court papers.

A Secret Service account filed in court with the complaint states, "Had the defendant not falsely stated that he had an appointment to meet with the president, and omitted the information about his communications with the president...he would not have been allowed to enter the White House Complex at all."

At this point, Secret Service officers broadcast a lookout alert for Carr. Officers immediately responded to the vehicle and asked Carr why he was there. According to the filing, Carr said, "I am persistent."

Carr was arrested and charged with unlawful entry, a misdemeanor. He appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Monday and was released on his own recognizance with an order not come within a block of the White House Complex and that he submit to drug testing.

Saturday’s arrest came less than 24 hours after a fence jumper with a knife was arrested after he gained entry into the White House on Friday. The suspect in that case, Omar Gonzalez, had two prior encounters with the Secret Service, law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

ABC News is awaiting comment from the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.


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Obama Gesture to Marines Dubbed 'Latte Salute'

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- Some are calling it the “latte salute.”

When President Obama stepped off Marine One at the Wall Street landing zone in New York City, en route to the United Nations, he saluted two Marines at the bottom of the stairs as he held a coffee cup in the same hand.

The unusual gesture appeared in an Instagram video posted by the White House on social media.  Obama is also wearing sunglasses as he arrived, with the first lady not far behind.

The video drew ridicule from some Instagram users, who saw the unorthodox salute as “un-presidential.”

“Hopefully it was just a slip by this President,” one user posted.

Others saw unnecessary nitpicking in the criticism.

“People are dying from disease, abuse or even hunger,” another user commented on the video. “Priorities.”


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Scott Brown Says Obama Is 'Confused' About ISIS

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As Americans wake up Tuesday morning to news of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, expect the threat of homeland terror to continue to have a deep impact on the November midterm elections.

In the New Hampshire Senate race, Scott Brown is out with a new television ad positioning himself as the safer choice when it comes to dealing with the threat of ISIS.

“Anyone who turns on the TV these days knows we face challenges to our way of life, radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country. President Obama and Senator [Jeanne] Shaheen seem confused about the nature of the threat, not me,” Brown says into the camera.

Over photos of Brown in his National Guard uniform, where he served for 35 years, the former Massachusetts senator says, “I want to secure the border, keep out the people who would do us harm and restore America’s leadership in the world.”

The campaign won’t say how large the buy is, but says it will begin airing Wednesday on local and cable stations in New Hampshire and Boston.

Brown is also giving what his campaign is billing as a major foreign policy speech Wednesday, titled “Protecting America’s Freedom.” He is expected to address the ISIS threat, as well as again try to align his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Shaheen, to the president.

The Shaheen campaign immediately responded to Brown’s ad, accusing him of “peddling the politics of fear,” while Shaheen is “working to defeat and destroy ISIS, supporting air strikes, voting for military action and working to crack down on the terrorists’ financing to disrupt their operations.”

“If Scott Brown is concerned about the border, he should call Speaker Boehner and urge him to schedule a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill 68 Senators including Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte passed last year that would double our border agents and build 700 miles of border fencing,” Shaheen campaign communications director Harrell Kirstein said in a statement.

Brown is not the first candidate tying an ad to terrorism. The nation’s military has already been a popular topic. Expect that to continue in the few weeks before Nov. 4.


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White House Adds Second Fence Following Intrusion

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of Friday’s fence-jumping incident, the White House is stepping up security with one of the most basic defenses in its toolkit: a second, shorter fence in front of the existing one.

The new portable fence is about waist high and appears to be linked together with plastic ties.

The permanent fence, the only physical barrier in place until Tuesday, stands about eight-feet tall.

The new double barricade comes just four days after an Army veteran scaled the fence and managed to enter the executive mansion with a 3.5 inch knife.

Following the security breach -- which has President Obama “obviously concerned,” according to press secretary Josh Earnest -- the Secret Service vowed to clamp down on security protocols.


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UN General Assembly: Five President Obama Handshakes to Watch

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama arrives at the United Nations headquarters Tuesday for a whirlwind three days of meetings, forums, receptions and lots, and lots of handshakes.

Representatives of more than 193 states will attend the U.N. General Assembly, including more than 120 presidents and prime ministers. Here are five to pay attention to if and when they shake hands with Obama.

1. IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI

To shake, or not to shake? That’s the question aides to Obama and Rouhani will be weighing after a history-making encounter during the U.N. General Assembly last year. The rival leaders spoke briefly by phone at the end of the 2013 summit, marking the highest level American-Iranian contact in decades. But a rumored face-to-face meeting never materialized. Now, as western powers race toward an end-of-year deadline on nuclear negotiations with Iran -- and seek Iran’s help in the fight against shared-nemesis ISIS -- perhaps a little presidential touch could be in order.

“The President of the United States is well known for being open to such a meeting, but the choice is really Iran’s,” a senior Obama administration official said last week. There is no official meeting on the books -- and it’s not clear Obama and Rouhani will ever be in the same room at the same time. Secretary of State John Kerry met privately with his Iranian counterpart for more than an hour on Sunday at a New York City hotel.

“This week is an opportunity to make additional progress,” Kerry said. “It is our intention to do so."

2. EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISSI


When President Obama shakes hands with President Abdel el-Sissi of Egypt for the first time on Thursday, there’s a good chance the former Egyptian army general will say, “I told you so.”

El-Sissi says his role in last year’s coup and his imposition of a hardline ruling order in Egypt -- both of which have drawn criticism from the U.S. -- have been valuable antidotes to the establishment of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.

As Obama looks to bolster his anti-ISIS coalition with commitments from Arab countries, the personal encounter with El-Sissi could be a critical moment. Perhaps they can seal a deal.

3. IRAQI PRIME MINISTER HAIDER AL-ABADI

As American warplanes help put the squeeze on ISIS militants terrorizing his country, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi on Wednesday will have his first face-to-face meeting with the U.S. military’s commander-in-chief. In many ways, al-Abadi is the linchpin of President Obama’s new strategy to take the fight to ISIS. The White House has said the formation of an inclusive, “broad-based” Iraqi government was a prerequisite for greater American military involvement in the fight. On Sept. 8, Obama called to congratulate al-Abadi on getting it done.

One thing on which both men will agree: no U.S. ground troops should surge into Iraq to join the fight.

4. INDIAN PRIME MINISTER NARENDA MODI

For almost 10 years, Narenda Modi was barred by the State Department from stepping foot in the U.S. This week, newly installed Indian Prime Minister will meet President Obama and be feted with a private dinner at the White House.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, had been denied entry since 2005 under provisions of a 1998 law that restricts visas for political figures responsible for “severe violations of religious freedom.” The George W. Bush administration determined that Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat, India, failed to stop a series of riots that turned deadly for Muslim minority groups in his state. But an Indian supreme court has since ruled that Modi was not culpable and the Obama administration has quietly lifted the ban.

Obama may shake Modi’s hand, but it’s unclear whether there a picture of the encounter will be made public.

5. UKRANIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO


On the heels of a highly-symbolic trip to Washington and meeting in the Oval Office, Petro Poroshenko has plenty of reasons to shake President Obama’s hand and smile for the cameras. He went home with $53 million more in U.S. humanitarian and military aid, and effectively sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about where Ukraine’s alliances stand. Putin, who was uninvited from the G8 summit earlier this year, has chosen to not attend the U.N. General Assembly. But a Russian role in the fight against ISIS remains very much under discussion with that country’s foreign ministers who are at the table.

“We have demonstrated over the course of our relationship with Russia is that it is possible for us to have strenuous disagreements related to their behavior in certain parts of the world while being able to maintain some ongoing cooperation and collaboration with them in other parts of the world,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “And our counter-terrorism relationship with Russia despite our very strong and vigorous differences as it relates to Ukraine, is ongoing.”


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Obama Alerts Leading Supporters on Capitol Hill of ISIS Airstrikes in Syria

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is getting regular updates on the operation against ISIS targets inside Syria, which began earlier Monday night, according to a senior White House official.

The president also phoned House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to brief them on the missile strikes and bombing.

Congress is in recess, with members scattered across the world on trips and back in their districts. But the president began reaching out to a few key members of Congress late Monday afternoon.

In addition to the calls from the president to leaders, senior Capitol Hill aides tell ABC News that Vice President Joe Biden reached out to a wider ring of senior lawmakers -- including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice called House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce earlier Monday evening with a notification, a GOP congressional aide told ABC News.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., issued this sign of support on Twitter: "All Americans must stand w/Pres Obama in our war against ISIS - particularly tonight's air strikes in Syria."

Meanwhile, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, encouraged unity among the divided Congress, noting that "in times of war and of peace it is important that we come together as a nation."

"To defeat ISIS, we must cut off the head of the snake, which exists in Syria. I support the administration's move to conduct airstrikes against ISIS wherever it exists," McCaul, R-Texas, wrote. "ISIS is not just a threat to the United States - it is a threat to all nations that value human life and decency. We must continue to lead the coalition and utilize all tools available to combat this threat until ISIS is destroyed."

Obama travels to New York Tuesday, where he will deliver remarks at the Climate Summit 2014 in the General Assembly Hall.


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White House Fence Jumper Had 800 Rounds of Ammo in Car

New River Valley Regional Jail(WASHINGTON) -- White House fence jumper Omar Gonzalez had more than 800 rounds of ammo in his car plus two hatchets and a machete, prosecutors said Monday as Virginia authorities revealed the Army veteran was arrested last July and charged with possession of a sawed-off shot gun and eluding police in Wythe County, Virginia.

Police also found "several assault rifles" in the vehicle at the time of his July arrest, according to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News.

After Virginia State Police received several calls about a reckless driver on July 19, Virginia State Police observed a grey Ford Bronco moving at high speeds.

After eluding police and nearly crashing, Gonzalez was eventually pulled over, according to the complaint.

Gonzalez has been homeless for the past three months after more than a decade in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq, authorities said.

Virginia State Police confirmed to ABC News that Gonzalez had a map of Washington, D.C., with a circle drawn around the White House, along with 11 different guns in his vehicle when he was arrested in July on charges of reckless driving, eluding police and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Virginia State Police also confirmed that they alerted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as the Secret Service about their arrest of Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was also stopped on Aug. 25 while walking along the south fence of the White House, prosecutors said. He had a hatchet in his rear waist band but was not arrested after he permitted a search of his car, which was parked nearby. Police found camping gear and two dogs but no ammo, prosecutors said.

Asked by a judge Monday whether Gonzalez needed a mental health eval, his lawyer said no.

The next court hearing has been set for Oct. 1.


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The Worst White House Security Breaches of All Time

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After Omar Gonzalez of Texas scaled the north fence and entered the White House Friday, the Secret Service immediately began clamping down on security protocols.

But this is hardly the first time an intruder has managed to gain access to the White House grounds, one of the most historic and seemingly secure places in the world.

Here's a look back at some of the most egregious breaches at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

July 1976: Chester Plummer

Armed with a 3-foot-long metal pipe, Chester Plummer, 30, climbed the 8-foot fence and advanced toward the White House in July 1976. After reportedly menacing a Secret Security agent, he was shot in the chest and died 90 minutes later.

October 1978: Anthony Henry

Dressed in a white karate uniform, Anthony Henry, 35, scaled the fence and charged the North Portico in an attempt to convince President Carter to remove the phrase “In God we trust” from U.S. currency. When officers approached, Henry adopted a karate stance and whipped a knife out of the Bible he was carrying. He slashed one officer in the face and another in the arm before being wrestled to the ground.

January 1985: Robert Latta

Just a few hours before President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, Robert Latta, 45, sauntered into the White House with the Marine Corps band and wandered around for about 15 minutes before being apprehended by Secret Service.

September 1994: Frank Eugene Corder

In September 1994, during President Clinton's first term, former Army mechanic Frank Eugene Corder allegedly stole a single-engine Cessna airplane and crashed it on the South Lawn. The plane skidded across the lawn and slammed into a wall just below the presidential bedroom. Corder, reportedly intoxicated at the time, was the sole fatality.

October 1994: Francisco Martin Duran

About a month later, Francisco Martin Duran, 26, pulled a rifle from under his trench coat and opened fire, unleashing at least 29 rounds at the White House, where President Clinton was watching football. When he stopped to reload, passersby managed to tackle and subdue him. Duran later claimed he was attempting to save the world from an alien “mist.” He was convicted of attempted assassination and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

February 2001: Robert Pickett

In February 2001, Robert Pickett, a former IRS accountant with a history of mental illness, allegedly fired several shots outside the White House and then refused to drop his weapon, spurring a tense 10-minute standoff that ended when a Secret Service agent shot him in the knee. Just 700 feet away, President Bush was exercising in his private residence. Pickett, 47, was eventually sent to a Bureau of Prisons psychiatric hospital for treatment.

January 2005: Lowell Timmers

Angry that his daughter’s undocumented fiancé could be deported, Lowell Timmers, 54, threatened to blow up his van near the White House in January 2005. "I want my son, and I'm not leaving until my son-in-law is out of jail," Timmers reportedly told authorities during the ensuing four-and-a-half-hour standoff.  He eventually surrendered peacefully, and later pled guilty to making a false explosive threat. He told the court, however, that he couldn’t “rule out” the possibility that he would do it again, but “the odds of that happening are 800 million billion [sic] to one.”

November 2009: Tareq and Michaele Salahi

In what may have been the most glamorous breach in White House history, aspiring reality stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to slip through two security checkpoints and into a White House state dinner, where they mingled with the president, vice president and chief of staff in November 2009. The pair, who publicly maintained they had been invited to the event, pled the Fifth at a congressional hearing examining the breach.

November 2011: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez

Apparently fearful of an impending apocalypse, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez fired at least eight rounds at the White House from the window of his Honda Accord, striking the building several times and severely damaging its façade. President Obama, whom Ortega, 23, reportedly called “the anti-Christ,” was away at the time. Ortega fled the scene and was apprehended in a hotel room in Pennsylvania five days later. He eventually pled guilty to firing an assault weapon at the White House and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Authorities agreed to drop an assassination charge as part of a plea deal.

June 2013: Joseph Clifford Reel

In June 2013, Joseph Clifford Reel, 33, rigged his driverless Jeep to crash into the White House security gate, hoping it would create diversion and allow him to paint a “don’t tread on me” sign on an exterior wall of the White House. According to prosecutors, the Jeep had two machetes as well as hundreds of bullets and eight knives. No one was injured in the crash, and Reel was apprehended with a can of spray paint in the courtyard. In a manifesto posted online, Reel slammed the Obama administration, saying “Every once in a while, bad people take over. .?.?. And every once in a while, regular people have to get up and say, ‘No.’?” Reel, who claimed he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.

But not all the security snafus at the White House have been so serious. In perhaps the most adorable security breach to date, a 2-year-old squeezed through the bars of the north fence last month, spurring a lockdown and delaying the president’s impending address to the nation.

"We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him,” a Secret Service spokesman said, ”but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents.”


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'Kissing Congressman' – and His Wife – Ask Louisiana Voters to Forgive

mcallister.house.gov(WASHINGTON) -- "Kissing congressman" Rep. Vance McAllister is back, and this time, he's with his wife.

McAllister, the Louisiana Republican who was caught on surveillance video passionately kissing a married woman on his staff, released a new TV commercial Monday. His wife, Kelly McAllister, is looking into his eyes, praising his character as she says: "I'm blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes."

The McAllisters' marriage was thrust into the spotlight in April after the compromising video of the congressman surfaced. Republican leaders in Louisiana and Washington urged him to resign, but he issued a public apology, asked for forgiveness and said he would let the voters of Louisiana's 5th Congressional District decide.

"Life is filled with ups and downs," McAllister says in the ad.

"But a man's character is based on how many times he gets back up and stands again," says Kelly McAllister.

As images of their children pass by on the screen, she reaches over to clasp his hand and shows her diamond ring, while he says he is "blessed with a great family and a wonderful Christian wife."

Then, she replies: "I'm blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana."

In June, Kelly McAllister said she fully supported her husband's decision to run. But the ad released Monday, called "Blessed," marks the first time the couple has made the indiscretion a central part of the campaign.

McAllister, who won his congressional seat a year ago in a special election, now faces several challengers, including Zach Dasher, a nephew of Duck Dynasty TV star Phil Robertson. If none of the candidates win at least 50% of the vote on Nov. 4, the top two rivals face off in a runoff election in December.


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