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iStock/Thinkstock(GORHAM, N.H.) -- At the Fourth of July parade Hillary Clinton marched in Saturday in Gorham, New Hampshire, reporters following the candidate were kept -- and at moments, dragged -- behind an actual moving rope line.

The rope, which two Clinton staffers held on to on either side, was meant to give Clinton space as she walked down the parade route, but photos of reporters being dragged behind the rope as she marched have gone viral on Twitter.

The New Hampshire GOP released a statement critiquing Clinton, saying her use of the rope "insults the traditions of our First-in-the-Nation primary" and touted the Republican presidential candidates for marching in parades without "obstruction from their staff."

Clinton's campaign has not responded to ABC News' request for comment regarding the use of the rope for reporters or to the GOP criticism.

Clinton, meanwhile, seemed to enjoy the parade herself, as she waved to and greeted voters -- ignoring a group of loud protesters that trailed right behind her.

"Where were you at 3 a.m. when the phone rang? Name one accomplishment! Tell us about when you were poor!" shouted one man, holding up a sign that read "BENGHAZI."

But Clinton didn't let that rattle her.

"I'm just having a good time meeting everybody," Clinton said when asked whether she had anything to say to them.

And even by the end, her sentiment hadn't changed.

"It was fabulous," she said. "I love parades, I love walking in parades, got such a great response ... a lot of enthusiasm and energy to celebrate the Fourth of July."

Following the event, Clinton made a stop at Dairy Bar, a relatively empty nearby restaurant, where she mingled with patrons. Clinton was asked by this reporter about her thoughts to the backlash against Donald Trump. But she dismissed the question in lieu of dessert.

"I'm going to sit down and have some pie," she said.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A Humans of New York photo showing what it says is a distraught young boy crying because he is gay has gone viral, with thousands of people commenting on Facebook offering advice and words of support.

“I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me,” the caption reads.

The photo seems to have grabbed the attention and pulled at the heartstrings of even Hillary Clinton, who left her own message for the child as well.

“Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing,” she wrote. “You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you – there will be lots of them.”

The comment was signed “-H,” meaning it’s actually from her.

Clinton’s Deputy Communications Director Kristina Schake tweeted a screenshot of the comment.

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Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama paid tribute to the men and women in the military, touched on the country’s diversity and wished the women’s soccer team luck in the World Cup final on Sunday.

The president said he is going to spend the day outdoors “grilling burgers and dogs,” celebrating Malia’s birthday and watching the fireworks with family and friends.

He also asked that all Americans remember the words of the nation’s founder.

“We are of all races, we come from all places, we practice all faiths, and believe in all sorts of different ideas,” Obama said. “But our allegiance to this declaration – this idea – is the creed that binds us together.  It’s what, out of many, makes us one. “

Read the full transcript of the president's address:


Happy Fourth of July, everybody.  Like many of you, Michelle, Sasha, Malia, and I are going to spend the day outdoors, grilling burgers and dogs, and watching the fireworks with our family and friends.  It’s also Malia’s birthday, which always makes the Fourth extra fun for us.

As always, we’ve invited some very special guests to our backyard barbecue – several hundred members of our military and their families.  On this most American of holidays, we remember that all who serve here at home and overseas, represent what today is all about.  And we remember that their families serve, too.  We are so grateful for their service and for their sacrifice.

We remember as well that this is the day when, 239 years ago, our founding patriots declared our independence, proclaiming that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

A couple of centuries later, we have made ourselves into a big, bold, dynamic, and diverse country.  We are of all races, we come from all places, we practice all faiths, and believe in all sorts of different ideas.  But our allegiance to this declaration – this idea – is the creed that binds us together.  It’s what, out of many, makes us one.  

And it’s been the work of each successive generation to keep this founding creed safe by making sure its words apply to every single American.  Folks have fought, marched, protested, even died for that endeavor, proving that as Americans, our destiny is not written for us, but by us.

We honor those heroes today.  We honor everyone who continually strives to make this country a better, stronger, more inclusive, and more hopeful place.  We, the people, pledge to make their task our own – to secure the promise of our founding words for our own children, and our children’s children.

And finally, what better weekend than this to cheer on Team USA – good luck to the U.S. Women’s National Team in the World Cup Final!

Thanks, everybody.  From my family to yours, have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas discussed Republicans' efforts to provide U.S. troops and intelligence professionals with the support they need to carry out their vital missions.

Hurd spoke of the importance of funding America’s military, despite claims that Senate Democrats have held the defense spending bill hostage in order to get more money for agencies that have abused their power.

“Too much is at stake right now to let our differences get in the way of our work to protect freedom," Hurd said . "America's men and women who serve our country make up the greatest force for good this world has ever known.  They deserve our unwavering support on Independence Day and every other day."

Hurd, who sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Information Technology Subcommittee contends that using additional funding for “unrelated” agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency would block efforts towards improving the nation’s defense.

“I hope they’ll reconsider because too much is at stake right now to let our differences get in the way of our work to protect freedom,” he said.

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Hello, I’m Will Hurd, and I’m proud to represent the 23rd District of Texas in Congress.  I hope you and your family are having a great Independence Day weekend.

First, I want to wish the U.S. women’s soccer team the best of luck in the World Cup Final.  We are so proud of all that you’ve accomplished together as a team.  Your grit and determination is inspiring a new generation of American athletes to dream big.

Of course, we’re fortunate to live here in the United State of America, a country where you can work hard and be anything you want to be.  Growing up in San Antonio, my parents – Mary Alice and Bob – instilled that lesson in me at an early age, along with the values of honesty and service to a greater good.

Before the people of Texas sent me to Congress, I spent nearly a decade as an undercover case officer in the CIA.  I witnessed folks struggling for freedom overseas.  And I saw firsthand why we can never take our liberty for granted.

Today we face enemies around the world that are more determined than ever.  They have no intention of giving up their pursuit of nuclear weapons, or the violence, fear, and hate they use to cling to power.  Our principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — they represent everything our enemies want to destroy.

So as we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s recommit ourselves to supporting our troops, supporting our intelligence professionals, and winning this fight.

Already this year in the U.S. House of Representatives, we’ve passed measures to provide new mental health resources to our veterans and bolster cybersecurity while protecting privacy.  And last month we passed a strong national defense bill that meets the president’s funding requests and authorizes a much-deserved pay raise for our troops.

Sadly, some members of the president’s party are trying to block this critical measure.  They think that by playing political games, they can extract more funding for unrelated federal agencies like the IRS and the EPA.  I hope they’ll reconsider because too much is at stake right now to let our differences get in the way of our work to protect freedom.  America’s men and women who serve our country make up the greatest force for good this world has ever known.  They deserve our unwavering support on Independence Day and every other day.

Thank you for listening, and God bless the United States of America.

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ABC News(HANOVER, N.H.) -- Hillary Clinton does not yet seem fazed by Bernie-mentum.

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Friday, the Democratic presidential front-runner responded to a question from a reporter about the massive crowds her challenger, Vermont Sen.Bernie Sanders, has seen at his own campaign events this week.

“We each run our own campaigns and I always knew this was going to be competitive,” Clinton said at Dairy Twirl ice cream shop in Lebanon, New Hampshire, when asked about the growing support behind Sanders and how he's seeing crowds even bigger than she is.

“I want to have a great debate in the primary and caucus around the country and that is what I am looking forward to," she added.

This past week Sanders drew the largest crowd yet of any presidential candidate this campaign cycle. An estimated 10,000 people filled an arena in Madison, Wisconsin, to hear him speak.

Clinton's comments on Friday came just after she held an organizing event at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. According to her campaign, the rally had a turnout of roughly 850 people – a measly number, perhaps, compared to what Sanders attracted this week. However, Clinton's campaign did have to move the afternoon event to a larger venue because of what they said was “increased local interest in attending.”

During her remarks at the rally, Clinton also doubled down on her own record as a progressive candidate.

"I take a back seat to no one when you look at my record of standing up and fighting for progressive values," she said in a woodsy, outdoor arena on the Ivy League's campus.


ABC US News | World News

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Photo by Getty Images(VIENNA) -- The deadline passed three days ago, but the U.S. and Iran are still at it this July 4th weekend, trying to make an historic nuclear deal.  

Secretary of State John Kerry met Friday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna to try to work through unresolved issues that prevented an agreement on a nuclear deal by the June 30 deadline.

Kerry said they have a lot of work to do and said there are "some tough issues." Kerry said they will continue to work, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday to try arrive at a conclusion.

“I think it's fair to say that both sides are working extremely hard with a great sense of purpose in a good faith effort to make progress and we are making progress,” Kerry said.

Zarif also talked of progress.

“We're all trying very hard in order to be able to move forward. And we have made some progress, there are still tough issues to discuss and to resolve but I think with political will, we will,” he said.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s become almost cliché in American politics to call a politician Nixonian or “like Nixon” -- and it’s rarely a positive to compare an officeholder or candidate to the only U.S. president to resign from office.

Yet to Evan Thomas, the author of a new Nixon biography who also covered the Clinton White House, comparing Hillary Clinton to Nixon works -- to an extent.

“Mrs. Clinton does have some Nixonian attributes. She can be guarded and defensive, a little bit too tough on her enemies,” Thomas told ABC News. “I saw this firsthand. She needs to watch that.”

“She’s not involved in anything like Watergate. She's not Nixon,” he continued. “If you think you can manipulate the press and stonewall forever, [when] you're running for president and you're president, I don't think that works.”

Thomas’ book, Being Nixon: A Man Divided, captures the contradictions of the 37th president, a profane and often bitter man who was also an optimist (he always thought even bad movies would get better, Thomas writes) who won four elections on national tickets.

Thomas describes Nixon’s habit of working out of the Executive Office Building on the White House conflict -- he didn’t like the Oval Office -- in overnight hours, when he couldn’t sleep.

“Here's the guy who's the most powerful political person in the universe at the time -- didn't like people. He was shy,” Thomas said. “Mostly he wanted to be alone.”

The Nixon that comes through on the famous Watergate tapes -- vindictive, racist, anti-Semitic, angry -- doesn’t capture the full man, he said.

“He showed off. He was trying to be like [Lyndon Johnson]. LBJ was good at swearing, Nixon was bad at it,” Thomas said. “It just wasn't natural to Nixon. He did a lot of it -- I'm not minimizing what's on those tapes, it's terrible. But you know if you listen to a lot of the tapes -- he talks about the world. He's a very intellectual, intelligent man, It's just that he would show off by yelling too much.”

Representatives for Hillary Clinton did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News.

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Mitchell Haaseth/NBC(WASHINGTON) -- The reigning Miss Universe joined a chorus of voices denouncing controversial remarks by the pageant’s owner, Donald Trump.

“I find Mr. Trump’s comments unjust and hurtful,” Paulina Vega wrote in an Instagram post. “As a Colombian and as Miss Universe, I want to show my support and validate the sentiments of the Latin community.”

Trump angered many with comments in his presidential announcement speech last month about Mexican immigration to the United States.

“When Mexico sends its people,” Trump said, “they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Vega joined a list of prominent Latinos condemning Trump’s remarks.

This week, actress and activist America Ferrera, who is of Honduran descent, wrote in The Huffington Post that Trump’s remarks were “incredibly ignorant and racist,” but would drive Latinos to the polls.

Others speaking out have included Ricky Martin, Shakira and Eva Longoria.

In recent days, a number of businesses -- including Univision, NBCUniversal and Macy’s -- have suspended their contracts with Trump.

Vega suggested she would consider suspending her relationship with Miss Universe, but believed, “The Miss Universe Organization works independently from its owners. For the past 64 years, they have created partnerships with great charity groups and have helped thousands of communities. Their legacy of uniting countries from around the world has been inspiring to many. If the Miss Universe Organization shared any anti-Latin sentiments or any type of racial biases, I wouldn’t be in this position today.”

Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Before Chris Christie announced his presidential candidacy, he posted a picture on Instagram and Twitter with his Snapchat handle.

He immediately made use of the app during his campaign trek through New Hampshire. Users who follow Christie on Instagram can currently access his snap story, a nearly 3-minute long series of videos showing bits of his stops across the state, talking to voters and greeting them after his speeches.

Christie may be the 14th GOP candidate to enter the presidential race, but he is the seventh from either side of the aisle to join Snapchat, the popular social messaging app which allows users to send "snaps" and "stories" -- photos and videos that only stay on users’ feeds temporarily.

Christie's new username definitely reinforces a trend: If 2012 highlighted the importance of Twitter in forming perception of the candidates, and, to an extent, the debates, we may be seeing the same thing with Snapchat in 2016.

Much like Twitter and Facebook, candidates have made use of the tool to broadcast news about their campaigns. Martin O’Malley used the platform to tell users when he would make his presidential announcement. Rick Perry used it to show voters “extra” behind the scenes moments during his announcement in May.

But Snapchat itself seems to be gaining momentum among all candidates, even the ones who don’t (yet) have accounts. The same day Jeb Bush officially launched his candidacy, for instance, his campaign also announced that he would be the first candidate to partner with Snapchat.

As a result of this partnership, Snapchat had representatives on the ground at Bush's announcement who curated photos and videos, turning them into a live story that was available to the platform's millions of users, many of whom are millennials.

At first glance, Snapchat may seem like an odd platform to promote political content from campaigns. With "snaps," users take photos or videos that can last up to 10 seconds and send them to their friends, but they disappear from the server after the allotted time.

The ‘temporary’ component may partially explain the appeal -- a snap with a gaffe will permanently erase itself in the way a tweet or Facebook post can't.

But the bigger appeal may lie in Snapchat's “story tool” where users can send photos and videos in chronological order. For politicians attempting to connect with voters, this particular tool allows them to broadcast their event in a way that enables remote viewers to feel like they are part of it.

“On Snapchat, if you’re looking at a birthday party, you get to watch the birthday party unfold from beginning, middle to end which really gives a familiar feeling,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said in a YouTube explanation.

The same can be said for a political event. The snap story surrounding Bush’s announcement not only included traditional components like excerpts of his speech, but showed his mother Barbara getting ready for her son’s announcement, and Bush after his announcement, serving meatballs and interacting with supporters.

Traditionally, these types of “behind the scenes moments” have largely only been available to people like candidates’ campaign operatives and family members. There is even a case to make that Snapchat viewers had better access to these types of moments than the people who were actually on the ground. Even for people at the event, it’s highly unlikely they saw Barbara Bush in the crowd of people.

Snapchat provided similar snap stories in their live feeds during two other major events in the campaign cycle, Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” in June and Hillary Clinton’s kickoff campaign rally on June 13 in Roosevelt Island, New York.

And from a demographic standpoint, the platform is particularly important in reaching millennial voters, a crucial voting block candidates are targeting in 2016.

"Snapchat offered huge reach to a younger audience. Jeb just watched it and he thought it was fantastic," Jeb Bush’s communications director, Tim Miller, told ABC News after his announcement.

A Snapchat representative declined to provide figures on the number of views on Bush’s announcement.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Just how far did American spying on Germany go?

Berlin is looking into whether the U.S. was monitoring German journalists at places like the magazine Der Spiegel.

The White House's national security team didn't deny the reports, but said the U.S. only does surveillance when there is a national security or intelligence concern at stake.

A senior intelligence official added that U.S. intelligence activities are not intended to inhibit or intimidate journalists.

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Was it really Christmas in July for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or did it just seem that way because she happened to need a haircut?

That's the question in the air as one of the biggest mysteries from the Clinton emails may be close to being solved.

Two emails released by the State Department earlier this week revealed that Clinton had meetings with an unidentified person referred to as “Santa.”

In July 2009, Clinton wrote in an email to her aide, Huma Abedin, “I’m seeing Santa at 8:30 so won’t take off until closer to 9:30. Is that ok?” And she wrote another email in September 2009: “The timing, however, is hard for a visit since I need to see Santa around 7:45 after seeing Lisa.”

The emails raised eyebrows. The New York Post wrote about Clinton’s “mysterious Christmas in July."

But the “Santa” in the emails may have nothing to do with the holiday and may not be a code name for some high-powered Clinton associate.

Santa actually may be Clinton’s longtime hairdresser, Santa Nikkels.

Nikkels owns a small salon in Chappaqua, New York, where the Clintons live. In fact, former President Bill Clinton was spotted regaling customers in the shop last weekend, and People magazine interviewed Nikkels just before Clinton announced her campaign in April.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the identity of her still-secret Santa.

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Heidi Gutman/NBC(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump has been a presidential candidate for only a little more than two weeks, and his White House bid so far has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride.

Trump has offended some, wowed others and managed to find himself running in second place in a crowded field of candidates -- just behind Jeb Bush -- in at least one major national poll.

Here’s a look back at Trump's brief, but eventful, campaign so far:

An Unforgettable Entrance

Trump kicked off his campaign on June 16 at Trump Tower in New York City in true Trump fashion: By grandly descending an escalator to the lobby for his speech.

Rockin’ the Boat

His kick-off theme song -- Neil Young’s "Rockin’ in the Free World" -- did not go unnoticed by the artist himself. Young lashed out at Trump for using his music without permission, expressing his support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the process.

On June 24, Trump offered a response in a series of tweets, adding that he "didn’t love" Young's song anyway.

A First Offense

It did not take long for Trump to stoke controversy. In his announcement speech he laid out his stance on immigration reform:

"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said. "They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."

He later reinforced the sentiment in tweets.

Trump Gets His Own Piñata

Trump's comments did not go over well in many quarters, including Mexico, where local artist Dalton Avalos Ramirez unveiled a Donald Trump piñata on June 19.

Made in China?

Even before he was an official presidential candidate, Trump expressed support for returning jobs to the United States, but many items in his signature clothing line are manufactured overseas.

Seeing Stars

On June 25, Univision announced it would not broadcast Trump's Miss USA pageant and would sever all business ties with Trump as a result of his comments. Trump responded with the threat of a $500 million lawsuit for breach of contract, claiming that “the Mexican government and others” were putting pressure on Univision -- accusations that Univision CEO Randy Falco called "ridiculous and "bordering on the bizarre."

Trump Turns the Tables

The next day, in a sternly-worded letter to Falco, Trump banned Univision employees from his Miami golf resort, located a block from Univision’s headquarters.

You're Fired!

NBC chose to end its business relationship with Trump on June 29.

"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," reads the company’s statement. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."

Trump responded, saying NBC was “weak” for firing him -- he has threatened to sue the company for breach of contract. The retail giant, Macy’s, followed suit shortly thereafter, announcing plans to phase out the sale of the Trump menswear collection from its stores. Macy’s said the company “stands for diversity” and has no tolerance for discrimination.

Gaining Ground

Despite his troubles, Trump is still ranked near the top of some polls. A recent national CNN poll shows Trump placing second among the Republican field nationwide. Trump would meet the threshold required to be able to appear in early presidential primary debates, the first of which is next month.

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Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- "Bernie-mentum." No one is quite sure how to spell it, but Bernie Sanders supporters definitely feel the growing momentum for their underdog candidate.

“Hopefully, Webster dictionary will recognize it as a new word soon,” said volunteer Tyson Manker of Jacksonville, Illinois, who drove five hours to help at Sanders’s massive rally in Madison, Wisconsin, on Wednesday night.

Campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs called the turn-out impressive but not a surprise. “We had been getting indications all along that there was that much interest,” Briggs told ABC News over the phone Thursday morning.

The event was not an anomaly either. In June, 5,500 people came out to see Sen. Sanders in Denver, Colorado. In May, another 3,500 people attended a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Sanders. And approximately 5,000 people gathered in April in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, for his campaign launch, roughly the same number who attended frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign kickoff event in New York City.

“Also impressive,” Briggs added, “In Rochester, Minnesota, this morning -- on a Thursday morning -- we had 600 people for an hour-long town hall meeting,” The list of these smaller, but still relatively impressively well-attended events goes on and on. In the end of May, 300 people turned up for an event for Sanders in Kensett, Iowa, a rural town where only around 240 people live.

The campaign gauges interest in upcoming events based on RSVPs through their website and has had to change venues on more than one occasion based on a large number of people signed up to attend. It has already changed its venue for an event in Portland, Maine, on Monday, where the campaign expecting over 5,000 people to attend.

All this buzz is translating to movement in the polls, too. According to a Quinnipiac poll out Thursday, the independent Vermont senator now trails Clinton (52–33 percent) among likely Democratic Iowa caucus goers. And in New Hampshire, WMUR has Sanders within eight points of Clinton (43-35), when just two months ago a previous poll there had him down by over 20 points.

Sanders does not have a PAC and he says he does not want donations from corporations. Still, according to a note out from the campaign today, he has raised an impressive $15 million since launching his campaign on April 30. They say that total comes from 250,000 individual donors, with the average donation size around $33 dollars.

“Some campaigns have a machine, Sanders has a ground swell of support where people are doing their part,” Mankner said.

“Fundamentally different kind of campaign,” he continued. “People are taking ownership. ... There is no centralized leader.”

Sanders likes to tell the crowds that come out to see him that his campaign is not about him, but is instead “a political revolution.” It is a message that resonates with grassroots organizers from labor groups, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the former "Ready for Warren" campaign that has now pivoted to Sanders. These organizers used their online networking experience to amplify his message and effectively get the word out for upcoming events.

“A lot of people have been disenfranchised from the system and Bernie is a candidate that people can rally behind,” said Shana East, an artist and activist from Chicago who helped organize the website and social media campaign "People for Bernie," which now has sub-chapters for almost every state and major city.

“Bernie is a candidate that people can rally behind. He has a lot of integrity. They feel like he is not just another political puppet,” she added. “People are coming out of the woodwork who want to get involved. We are helping to empower them so they feel like their role is important.”

Through the group’s website, those interested in Sanders can organize a "meetup" event and "People for Bernie" will help promote it. They are also taking the time to train people on how to use Twitter and Facebook. The group successfully facilitated 99 events (symbolic of “the 99 percent”) in the first week of Sanders' campaign and have held nationwide conference calls every two weeks since.

Super volunteers like East see themselves as playing a key role traditionally reserved for a paid campaign staffer. “We knew how important it was for the media to see how many people are backing Bernie,” she said about the event in Madison. “We have artists making memes, making video and sharing it.”

“We can show visually this isn’t some crackpot candidate. He has a following. It is a movement," she said.

Although Sanders would be the oldest president ever elected, he has an impressive social media presence himself. His Senate Facebook page has over 1.3 million likes and his campaign page is catching up, with over 700,000. In addition, his campaign has adopted a method of signing up supporters at events for text message alerts.

Sanders’s Iowa director, Pete D'Allesandro, said the mega-events and his on-the-ground effort in the Hawkeye State go hand-in-hand. “They help build enthusiasm for us here,” he said. “Because of social media, you can see the increase in the Bernie and Iowa supporter pages.”

Last Sunday, Sanders told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos he was riding the momentum all the way to the White House.

“We are going to win New Hampshire. We're going to win Iowa and I think we're going to win the Democratic nomination, and I think we're going to win the presidency,” he said.

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ABC News(LA CROSSE, Wis.) -- What if the presidential nominating process were like Hunger Games?

Well, President Obama suggested on Thursday that the GOP field has enough candidates to try it out.

“I've lost count how many Republicans are running for this job. They'll have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” Obama joked during a speech in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

The president was in Wisconsin to outline a proposal to update a Department of Labor rule that would giving some 5 million Americans a pay raise through raising the threshold for employees required to receive overtime pay. But the speech also became one of the president’s most aggressive offensives yet against the Republican 2016 field.

The president called the GOP field of presidential hopefuls “an interesting bunch” and said that while they are good people, their ideas are bad. He even compared them to the sort of wacky “Uncle Harry” who joins the family for Thanksgiving dinner.

“You still love him, he's still a member of your family, right? But you've got to correct him, you don't want to put him in charge of stuff. That's all I'm saying,” he said.

The president also directly dinged Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who filed Thruday with the Federal Election Commission as a presidential candidate, ahead of an official campaign launch on July 13.

Without mentioning directly Walker by name, Obama took a swing at the governor’s policies in the state he was addressing.

“We've seen what happens when top-down economics meets the real world,” Obama said. “We've got proof right here in Wisconsin. You had a statewide fair pay law that was repealed. Your right to organize and bargain collectively was attacked, per student education funding was cut, your minimum wage has been stuck in place.”

On the topic of his new overtime pay policy, President Obama said it will ensure that people are getting a "fair day's pay" for "a hard day's work."

"It's one of the single most important steps we can take to help grow middle-class wages," Obama said. "It's going to give as many as 5 million Americans, including 80,000 folks right here in Wisconsin, the overtime protections they deserve. It's the right thing to do. The right thing to do."

Under the new rule, employers will be required to pay employees earning less than $50,440 time-and-a-half when their work week exceeds 40 hours, up from the current threshold of $23,660.


ABC US News | World News

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker(L) after arriving on Air Force One at La Crosse Regional Airport in La Crosse, Wisconsin, July 2, 2015. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)(LA CROSSE, Wis.) -- When President Obama touched down La Crosse, Wisconsin  on Thursday to give a speech on the economy, he was forced to share the spotlight with the state's governor and soon-to-be presidential candidate Scott Walker. Walker was there to greet the president's plane when it rolled up in all its grandeur at La Crosse Regional Airport.

And though Walker and Obama had what seemed to be a cordial encounter -- sharing smiles and a handshake during their brief exchange -- the two politicians were locked in a political turf battle throughout the day.

While President Obama came to Wisconsin to tout the success of his policies and outline a new plan to give a pay increase to some 5 million Americans, Walker put on a show of his own.

Using the presidential spotlight to his own advantage, the Wisconsin governor on Thursday officially filed with the FEC as a Republican candidate ahead of an announcement on July 13 in Waukesha.

“I’m going to point out that the president and others in Washington could pick up a lesson or two by the good work we’ve done to get our budget balanced, to get our finances in order, our economy is much better,” Walker said in a radio interview. “There’s a lot the president can learn from the state of Wisconsin.”

It's no mistake that Obama chose the Badger State to make his case for working class Americans. The president has made clear he's no fan of Walker's economic policies. When earlier this year Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work state (making union payments voluntary), Obama criticized the state law, which he called "anti-worker" and said would "weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy."

And though Obama never directly named Walker in his speech on Thursday, he was pointed in critiquing Walker's policies.

“We've seen what happens when top-down economics meets the real world," Obama said. "We've got proof right here in Wisconsin, you had a statewide fair pay law that was repealed. Your right to organize and bargain collectively was attacked, your student education funding was cut, your minimum wage has been stuck in place.”

And for his part, Walker took the president on directly in criticizing his overtime pay agenda, calling it “empty political rhetoric," and touting his own economic record.

"The president's effort is a political pitch but the reality is this will lead to lower base pay and benefits and will cut workers' hours and flexibility in the workplace,” Walker said in a statement critiquing the president's overtime pay proposal, which boosts the threshold for paying overtime to salaried employees.

Walker also published a new Op-Ed Thrusday titled “Welcome to Wisconsin, Mr. President,” in which he contrasts his economic agenda to that of president's, making the case that the “bright spots in the Obama economy are few and far between” and touts Wisconsin’s economic recovery under his watch “in spite of – not because of – the president’s big-government policies.”

His team is also taking to social media to push points of contrast between Wisconsin's economy and national trends. One tweet uses a chart to show that Wisconsin's unemployment is below the national average -- at 4.6 percent compared to 5.3 percent nationally.

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