October 2015 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of October 2015.
Gunman Kills at least Seven at Oregon Community College (Oct. 1): A gunman opens fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Nine people are killed and seven more are wounded. The suspected shooter, 26- year-old Chris Harper Mercer, kills himself after exchanging gunfire with the police. The college is located about three hours south of Portland in the rural southwestern town of Roseburg.
Vigil for the Oregon Community College Shooting, Oct. 2015
Source: AP Photo/John Locher
Supreme Court Term Begins (Oct. 5): The Supreme Court beings a new session. During this session, the court will weigh in on affirmative action in higher education, public-sector unions, and, possibly, its first major abortion case in eight years.
2016 Democrat Presidential Candidates Hold First Debate (Oct. 13): The first debate among 2016 Democratic presidential candidates is held in Las Vegas and included Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Senator and Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. The debate is largely drama-free with the candidates agreeing on many of the issues. Clinton dominates the debate and takes on Sanders, her main challenger, when it comes to his views on capitalism and his voting record, especially a past vote on gun control. A major highlight comes during the discussion of Clinton's emails and the investigation surrounding them. About Clinton's emails, Sanders says, "Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails." Hearing that, Clinton smile and the two candidates shake hands. (Oct. 20): A week after the first debate, Jim Webb announces that he is dropping out of the democratic primary race, but he doesn't rule out a run as an independent. During a press conference, Webb says, "It was very difficult to fundraise inside the Democratic Party structure right now. I have no doubt that if I ran as an independent we would have significant financial help from people who want me to run as something other than a Democrat." (Oct. 21): After much speculation, Vice President Joe Biden announces that he will not challenge Clinton and Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. In a press conference, Biden says that the mourning process for his late son had delayed a presidential bid and now it was too late, "Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination." (Oct. 23): Lincoln Chafee ends his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. His decision to quit the race comes after a poor debate performance earlier this month and a lack of fundraising and enthusiasm for his campaign.
Obama Announces Reversal on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan (Oct. 15): President Obama announces that 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2016. The decision comes after military leaders appeal to the President to extend the deadline for removing the troops. The announcement goes against Obama's original plan to pull out all troops except for a small military presence at the U.S. embassy there. The new plan will keep the current number of troops (9,800) in Afghanistan through most of 2016, reducing that number to 5,500 throughout 2017 by a schedule to be determined by military personnel.
Hillary Clinton Grilled in Benghazi Hearing for Hours (Oct. 22): Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. The testimony lasts 11 hours, including breaks, going from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. In her opening statement, Clinton says, "My challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge I put to myself. Let's be worthy of the trust the American people have bestowed upon us. They expect us to lead, to learn the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship." For much of the day, members of the committee from opposing parties take shots at each other. In one key moment, Clinton directly addresses her feelings about the Benghazi attack, "I lost more sleep than all of you put together. I have been racking my brain about what more could have been done."
Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Benghazi hearing, Oct. 22, 2015
Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Republicans Hold Third 2016 Presidential Candidate Debate (Oct. 28): The 2016 Republican presidential candidates participate in their third debate. Held in Boulder, Colorado, this debate is two hours instead of three, a change demanded by several of the candidates. During the debate the candidates complain about the aggressive questions from the CNBC moderators. Overall, Marco Rubio has a strong night, not allowing attacks from former mentor Jeb Bush to rattle him. However, it is Donald Trump and Ben Carson who continue to dominate the polls after the debate.
Paul Ryan Is Elected House Speaker (Oct. 29): Paul Ryan is overwhelmingly elected by fellow Republicans to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House. The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and Wisconsin congressman receives 236 votes. After the vote, Ryan says this to his colleagues, "Let's be frank: The House is broken. We are not solving problems. We are adding to them. And I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean."
Paul Ryan, 2015
Source: AP Photo/Molly Riley, File
U.S. Sends Troops to Fight ISIS in Syria (Oct. 30): U.S. officials announce that troops will be deployed on the ground in Syria to assist the rebel forces fighting ISIS. This is the first time the U.S. has sent troops to advise and help in the fight against ISIS. Fewer than 50 U.S. Special Operations forces will be sent to a Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria where they will assist Kurdish and Arab forces.