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Hotel Hosts US Presidential 'Beverage Debate'

Hotel Hosts US Presidential 'Beverage Debate'

Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa serves presidential cocktails at debate screenings

Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort

Puerto Rico’s Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is celebrating this year’s presidential election with election-inspired cocktails.

Served at its series of Dive-In Debates, poolside screenings of the presidential debates in October, the hotel’s election-themed drinks include President Barack Obama’s favorite, the Americano, and a cocktail made with Mitt Romney’s choice, chocolate milk. President Obama’s Americano contains Campari and sweet Vermouth, while Romney’s chocolate milk is served both as a cocktail or as a mocktail.

During the "beverage debate," the number of presidential cocktails served will be tracked to see how each candidate is doing throughout the debates, not only on television but at the bar.

The drinks are served with popcorn, Obama’s favorite chocolate chip cookies, and Romney’s favorite Welsh cookies.

Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.

Venetian Clean Your Safety is our Top Priority

The Venetian Resort is currently accepting new reservations for June 4 and beyond.

Upon opening, our guests can expect all the amenities of a luxury Las Vegas resort. Enjoy the full service casino, more than a dozen restaurants and several bars, including the acclaimed Dorsey Cocktail Bar. Relax at the newly renovated Venetian pool and reserve a luxury cabana for the ultimate escape. Throughout the resort, be assured that we are taking extra steps for your health and safety as part of The Venetian Clean commitment.

"Wonderful stay at this hotel. "

We were very impressed with the friendly staff and very clean rooms and casino. Extra efforts were made to keep everyone safe and to keep everything as clean and sanitary as possible. The rooms are huge, comfortable and clean. The pool was fun, service was on point and there was plenty of extra towels and seating. Grand Lux was open late for eating and was reasonably priced and very good. This is our number one hotel to stay at in Vegas from now on. Very impressed with the accommodations, staff and restaurant choices.

Loews Hotels says it won’t host a fund-raiser with Senator Josh Hawley.

Loews Hotels said on Saturday that it would not host a fund-raiser with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, the latest indication that many companies are distancing themselves from Republicans who voted to overturn the election results.

Fighting for Missouri, a political action committee affiliated with Mr. Hawley, had planned to host a “fun-filled, family-friendly Orlando weekend event” with the senator at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15, according to an invitation for the event. Tickets were being sold for $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the group.

But Loews said that the fund-raiser had been called off after the deadly riot at the Capitol, which many Democrats and Republicans have blamed in part on Mr. Hawley and other members of his party who supported President Trump’s efforts to stop the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

“We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions,” the company said on Twitter. “In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fund-raiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels.”

Mr. Hawley sharply criticized the decision by Loews, which was established in 1960 and owns or operates 26 properties in the United States and Canada.

“If these corporations don’t want conservatives to speak, they should just be honest about it,” he said in a statement. “But to equate leading a debate on the floor of the Senate with inciting violence is a lie, and it’s dangerous. I will not be deterred from representing my constituents, and I will not bow to left-wing corporate pressure.”

Mr. Hawley persisted in his challenge to the election results even after the mob was cleared out of the Capitol this month, forcing the House and Senate into two hours of debate over Pennsylvania’s electoral votes even though he never made a specific charge of wrongdoing.

The rejection by Loews came after Simon & Schuster said that it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Mr. Hawley, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” which had been scheduled to be published in June.

Simon & Schuster said that it had made the decision because “we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”

Mr. Hawley had said the cancellation “could not be more Orwellian,” and added, “We’ll see you in court.”

In recent days, a flurry of companies have suspended donations to some of the Republicans who voted to block the certification of the Electoral College results.

Morgan Stanley said it was suspending all PAC contributions to members of Congress who did not vote to certify the results. Marriott said it would pause donations from its PAC “to those who voted against certification of the election.” And the chemicals giant Dow said it was suspending all PAC contributions “to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election.”

She's already best buds with her Weekend Today co-star Peter Alexander.

While announcing her new Weekend Today job, Peter called Kristen his "big little sister," and went on to say that "she is one of my best friends in the world, not just professionally, but personally. I really do consider her part of my family." Likewise, Kristen said Peter was like her "brother."

The New York Times reports that Kristen used to vent to Peter about her bad dates and relationships before meeting John.

Can't wait to see what fun they will bring to the weekend program!

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NEW YORK — This fall’s presidential debates have chewed up moderators.

President Donald Trump steamrolled Chris Wallace with constant interruptions in the first one, a performance that cost the Republican incumbent support in the polls. Susan Page struggled to make the vice presidential candidates adhere to time limits their campaigns had agreed to in advance.

The NBC News White House correspondent is moderating Thursday’s second and last session between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. It’s hard not to feel trepidation for her.

Both of her predecessors came into the assignments with more experience. While Welker was one of four questioners at a Democratic presidential debate last fall, this is by far the 44-year-old journalist’s biggest stage. Trump and his supporters have already tried to get in her head by attacking her in advance.

Colleague Savannah Guthrie’s well-received (except by Trump) town hall with the president last week offered Welker a roadmap to success, but also may have ratcheted up the pressure.

“Kristen represents the best of NBC News and of journalism generally,” said her boss, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. “She’s fair, she’s deeply prepared, she’s well-versed in the issues and she’s going to do a great job.”

The Philadelphia-born Welker has been with NBC News since 2010, after local news stints in Redding, California Providence, Rhode Island and her home city. A former intern at the “Today” show, she now hosts the program’s weekend edition.

She’s the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.

Earlier this month, Trump aide Jason Miller said on Fox News that he has “a very high opinion” of Welker and suggested she would do an excellent job as moderator. She’s “very fair in her approach,” Miller said.

Yet last weekend, the president tweeted that Welker has “always been terrible and unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters.”

It wasn’t clear why she’d earned Trump’s disapproval. Trump has questioned why Welker had disabled her Twitter account after C-SPAN’s Steve Scully claimed — falsely, he later admitted — that he had been hacked. Scully was to have moderated an earlier debate that was canceled.

NBC said the halt to Welker’s Twitter account was temporary and done for security, not to hide anything she may have tweeted in the past.

Some of Trump’s supporters also dug up evidence that Welker’s parents had contributed to Democratic campaigns in the past as a way of questioning her objectivity. There have been no such accusations levied against Welker, a registered independent.

Andrea Mitchell, the NBC News correspondent who moderated last fall’s Democratic debate with Welker, Rachel Maddow and Ashley Parker, doubted her colleague would be intimidated.

“She’s got her eye on the prize,” said Mitchell, who has been helping Welker with debate prep and praises her hard work. Welker wasn’t made available for an interview.

The best defense against such pregame criticism, Mitchell said, “is to know what she’s talking about.”

Still, after having watched the earlier debates, Mitchell has no illusions about what her colleague is getting into.

“It’s a hard challenge,” she said. “Chris (Wallace) and Susan (Page) are really experienced journalists. I’ve worked with both of them. It became impossible. I don’t know if anyone could have handled that.”

Welker needs “to have the best night of her career,” Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan wrote this week. She needs to establish control in a way that Wallace and Page never did. Welker will have one potential assist: The debate commission said Monday that microphones for the two candidates will be turned off while their opponent gives a two-minute answer to an initial question.

While Welker can’t fact-check everything that is said in the debate, Sullivan said the NBC correspondent “can and must keep the debate from becoming a super-spreader of disinformation.”

Oppenheim, who was in Nashville, Tennessee, this week to help with Welker’s prep session and mock debates, said he believed no one is better suited to the task.

“She is focused on delivering for the American people a substantive conversation about the issues that voters care about and she’s going to do everything in her power to make that happen,” he said.

Will President Biden’s Overseas Trip Help Open International Travel?

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium. (photo via Getty Images)

Could Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as President be a harbinger of good things to come for international air travel?

The White House has been forced to defend Biden’s plans to travel to Cornwall, England in June for the G7 Summit while travel restrictions remain in place for U.S. citizens due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden will be in England from June 11-13, and then attend a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium on June 14. The Summit was canceled last year, and The White House is taking criticism for this trip particularly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said it was more prudent for Americans not to travel overseas.

“Well, I would say I think most Americans would see it as slightly different from the president of the United States – I’m not suggesting you’re saying otherwise – but as a president of the United States making a diplomatic trip, abiding by Covid protocols and flying on Air Force One, than whether it is safe for mass numbers to fly internationally,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

But if the trip is successful from a health standpoint, it could hasten the return of international travel and, perhaps, business travel – two areas that have not been nearly as successful in coming back to life as the airlines would hope.

“Obviously, everybody wants (international travel) to be reopened,” Psaki added. “Europeans, we do, American people who would like to travel . But, you know those conversations are really happening between health and medical experts and they [will] make an evaluation based on what they think is safe for the American public.”

The G7 Summit will be the first face-to-face meeting for the global leaders since the outbreak of the pandemic, including German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.

DoubleTree by Hilton Reveals Official Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

PHOTO: DoubleTree by Hilton is sharing the official bake-at-home recipe for its beloved chocolate chip cookies. (photo via DoubleTree by Hilton)

With most travelers stuck at home in their effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), DoubleTree by Hilton has decided to share the official recipe for its famous chocolate chip cookies.

"We know this is an anxious time for everyone. A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness," said Shawn McAteer, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton, in a statement.

"We hope families enjoy the fun of baking together during their time at home, and we look forward to welcoming all our guests with a warm DoubleTree cookie when travel resumes."

Find the recipe and baking directions below to start making your own cookies today.

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (makes approximately 26 cookies)

1/2 pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

3/4 cup plus one tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 & 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 & 2/3 cups of Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chips chocolate chips

1 & 3/4 cups of chopped walnuts


—Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

—Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl.

—With the mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.

—Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

—Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.

—Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.

Ku Klux Klan Members Plan to Appear at Presidential Debate Site

Corey Dade reports from Oxford, Miss., on the presidential race.

When the University of Mississippi hosts the first presidential debate tonight, the two sides of its troubled racial history could converge.

The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plan to be on campus for the face-off between Republican nominee John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, the first African-American nominee of a major party, according to a Friday report in the university's student newspaper.

University officials haven't commented. But, since winning the bid as host a year ago, they have used the attention to promote the university's efforts toward racial reconciliation.

The university newspaper, the Daily Mississippian, first reported earlier this month that the white supremacist group planned to appear among the throngs expected on the Oxford, Miss., campus. The emperor of the White Knights group, whose identity was withheld as a condition of the interview, said his members would be "invisible . Our people won't be in regalia or demonstrating. So, I guess you'll just have to guess which of the people present are Klansmen."

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Ballot-Worthy Bites: 11 Election-Themed Dishes and Drinks

It’s been a heated election season, with no shortage of debates, speeches and campaign revelations, and the race to the White House has had everyone talking — including the country’s chefs and bartenders, who are taking politics into the kitchen. From burgers to ice cream to cocktails, check out the creative election-themed specials that bars and restaurants across the country are whipping up.

Hillary and Trump Burgers at Good Stuff Eatery , Washington, D.C.

Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s burger joint is holding its own election, pitting two nominee-inspired items against one another. In the running: the “Hillary,” topped with Muenster cheese, arugula, spicy caramelized onions and balsamic ketchup, versus the “Trump,” featuring Swiss cheese, mushrooms, crispy onions and lemon-truffle mayo.

Trick Dog for President at Trick Dog , San Francisco

For its eighth campaign — er, menu — the award-winning Mission District bar went with a political theme, crafting drinks named after historic slogans. A dozen cocktails make up the list (printed, of course, on an Old Glory background), including Morning in America (Absolut vodka, Tempus Fugit Kina, grapefruit, vanilla, marjoram and lime) and Acid & Amnesty (Tequila Ocho Plata, Campari, tomato water, Ceylon tea and lime).

Spicy Hot Chocolate and Vanilla Cherry Coke Doughnuts at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken , Washington, D.C.

The candidates’ favorite foods served as inspiration for the limited-edition doughnuts available November 1 to 8. A chocolate cake round topped with chipotle-chocolate glaze represents Clinton’s love of cocoa and chiles, while a cherry-filled yeast doughnut finished with a cherry-cola icing nods to Trump’s preferred sweets — cherry-vanilla ice cream and Diet Coke.

Build Your Own Taco Platter at Playa Betty’s , New York City

Show off your patriotic side on Election Day with the BYO special at this beachy California-meets-Mexico eatery. Choose from red, white and blue tortillas and fill them up with chicken, beef or baby shrimp, plus all the usual taco fixins. Bring your “I Voted” sticker and get a complimentary frozen Paloma shot.

Unfinished Business and The Best Word at Bar Dupont , Washington, D.C.

The Dupont Circle Hotel’s swanky lounge is dealing out two presidential sips: the rye-based Unfinished Business, inspired by Clinton, and The Best Word, a chartreuse-and-gin ode to Trump.

Make America Orange Again and Madam President at Ample Hills Creamery , New York City

Brooklyn’s popular ice cream shop is blazing a trail to the White House with what it knows best: dessert. Putting a whimsical spin on an otherwise heated election, Ample Hills launched Make America Orange Again, a marshmallow-Creamsicle ice cream mixed with brownie bricks, and Madam President, a chile-infused chocolate pint studded with chocolate chip cookies (made using Clinton’s own cookie recipe). A portion of the proceeds goes to a good cause: Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative.

Clinton’s Pickwick’s Oliveburger and Trump’s Buttered Toast Crispy Fishwich at the Watergate Hotel , Washington, D.C.

The Watergate Hotel reopened this election season with a presidential sandwich lineup. To support Clinton, order the Wagyu beef sliders topped with pimento-stuffed green olives to back Trump, request the tempura-battered whitefish slathered in Old Bay remoulade. Seeking a bipartisan snack? There’s the “Winner Takes All” brownie sundae finished with a scoop of whiskey ice cream.